Thursday, November 29, 2012

What's His Name?

Have you ever sat down and named the entire cast of characters for an entire book in one sitting?  It’s exhausting.  It’s worse than when you’re sitting down with a bunch of guys to play D&D and no one can decide on a friggin name for their character, so you waste three hours.  Besides, you have to have some idea of what kind of appearance, personality, and what role each character will play in the book.  This also means more often than not, even though you would like to name everyone in one sitting – you can’t do it.  So, even if you’re on a writing rampage, you have to stop, google baby names and come up with a new character on the fly.  Who can blame Stephenie Meyer for naming three quarters of her characters after her siblings?

Anyway, naming human beings is a completely different matter than naming a character.   For starters, when you’re naming a character, you can choose their last name.  First name and last name can exist harmoniously because they were both conjured out of thin air.  Not so when you’re naming a person.  The last name has already been decided and you have to work with it. 

Secondly, there is no taunting.  You can name your character something that would obviously result in teasing, alligator bites and wet willies without fear.  Those things will only happen to your character if you want them to happen.  If only we could obtain that much control in real life.

Thirdly, it doesn’t matter if someone else has the name you picked.  There can be 200 guys named Christian in the literary world and no one gets confused.  It’s not like all our imaginary guys go to the same school and the teacher can’t keep the names straight.

Naming real people is a serious headache.  You don’t know what they’re going to look like when they’re grown up, or what they’ll be like, or anything.  The only thing you know is that the little person contains some of your genetic material and some of its daddy’s.  That’s it.  So, you have to agonize about spelling.  Do you want the spelling to be something that everyone is going to understand easily or do you want to make the spelling unique?  Are you going to name it after someone?  Is that someone likely to annoy you in the future?  Name it after someone dead.  Do you know anyone else who coincidentally has the same name?  Is there likely to be confusion? 

There is a million ways to botch it really and once it’s done.  It’s pretty much done.  Yuck!  I seriously used to enjoy naming characters in books and thought that I would love naming a baby, but in the end, it just tires me out.  Scratch that.  Both those things tire me out.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sometime in November

Today is going to be a random, mixed up post where I talk about a variety of whatever.  What can I say?  It’s not October and it’s not December.  It’s a random month.

The other day I was watching a romance on Netflix.  I know – total contradiction of my blog last week – but it was hilarious.  I was watching The Decoy Bride and the hero of the story was the actor from Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire who couldn’t stop licking himself.  I sat there the whole time laughing wickedly wondering how I could take that guy seriously.

Next random item – I have been reposting my novel Dragon’s Moon on  If you’re at all interested in that sort of thing, go check it out, but please remember that I have posted the exact same novel (almost) on under the title Mark of the Dragon and the whole thing is there intact as I type.  So, if you want a really good read – go to fictionpress and read Mark of the Dragon by Sapphirefly.  You’ll love it.

I have been reading The Ring operas by Richard Wagner, getting all prepped up to go see The Hobbit next month.  And I gotta say; the world can’t possibly end on December 12th of 2012 because The Hobbit doesn’t open until the thirteenth.  I mean - really!  Anyhoo – I know y’all think I should be rereading The Hobbit and not reading ancient operas from the 1870s but I promise you – it’s way funner this way.  This way I get to read Mime and Wotan make each other answer riddles this month and next month, I’ll get Golem and Bilbo.  This way makes for a little more variety.

So, some authors have it marked on that they don’t want fanfiction written about their work.  One of them is Terry Goodkind, the author of The Sword of Truth series.  I read the first two books in that series when I was a teenager and just the other day I watched a couple episodes of the mini-series Legend of the Seeker on Netflix.  Did it seem really lame to me because I haven’t watched TV much in the last six or seven years?  Because that seemed really weak.  I’ve also decided that you can pretty much gauge how confident the writing is in a piece based on how much cleavage they allow the main woman to flash.  Somebody will watch it for the eye-candy even if the plot is thinner than nail polish remover. 

Anyhoo, I gave you something old, something new, something borrowed and something at least worth one giggle.  Now you can get married without toting around any bad luck. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

When did 'Gross' and 'Romance' become Synonyms?

Where did my love of a good romance go?  It’s sad really.  One day I was curled up in an armchair with a book cracked over my knee pouring over a drippy romance novel wishing that the afternoon would never end.  Now when I scrolling through the latest movie previews I skip the romance.  How did that happen?

I have some theories.  Here’s one.  I think it might be because none of the romances that I read/watch these days resonate with me at all.  They seem to be about people who hop into bed with each other, find out that their personalities don’t match, but they still like sex, so they continue to see each other until they can figure out a way to get along.  That means nothing to me.  Absolutely nothing. 

Another theory, and this is more often a book thing, is that the story centers on a girl who has no backbone, yet she has this intriguing man pursuing her.  As a retired pro at getting a man’s attention – door-mousy women bore me.  And in reality, interesting men tend to fall for interesting women.  See?  They bore the men too.  I also think that book is written by an author who has no spunk (and has never been within ten feet of a man who wasn’t her brother), so she quietly writes this mousy female character while dreaming that a man like the hero of her novel will come along and sweep her off her feet.  P.S. I was talking to one of my friends today and I was telling her about a virgin romance where the heroine was pursued by no less than eight men.  She was like, ‘Finally, something I can relate to!’  Tee hee!  Seriously, why can’t we have women heroines who are vibrant and exciting?

Another theory - I have thrown out several books this past year because in the midst of the romance, we are forced to read a section about our heroine’s vibrator.  Doesn’t a woman who reads a romance novel at least want to read about a man?  And doesn’t the author want her book to end up … say … not in the trash can?

The kind of romance novel I like best is one about a woman who is fully aware that all men are pigs, and so she likes to use them for their money and then leave their jaws hanging.  The hero is a man who sees through her angst and schemes, proving to her (rather difficultly) that he won’t disappoint her the way all the other pigs … ahem … men do.  However, he’s really got to break his neck.  It’s no fun if she gives in too easily.

Anywhoo – anyone who knows of a romance with this premise, please send it my way. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Swans in Sight

Today on my blog, I'm promoting the last in Jandy Branch's trilogy, Swans in Sight.  It is the sequel to Bats in Between which I promoted last week and Parakeet Princess for which I did a promotional piece a few months ago.  I did not do the editing on this one, but I did the cover design.  I'll give you fine people the synopsis and then I'll disclose my thoughts and feelings about the cover.

Midway through her 3rd year of university, Heather MacLean hasn't had a date in seven months. With nothing new in her love life, she starts to fall back into old habits -- and old insecurities. Her first love, Ben Jones, is back after two years in Switzerland. Maybe there’s still a chance he can make Heather happy for life. And then there's the more dangerous prospect of the looming return of Heather's favourite vampire. Being on her own would probably be easier if she didn't have to watch Tannis, her best friend, dating Lars Hansen. He’s a man who seems eerily perfect – or, at least, perfect for Heather. Set in a large LDS singles' ward in the mid-1990s, this is the final installment of the "Parakeet Princess" trilogy. It's a clean, uplifting story about the clumsy, convoluted, crowded road to true love.

Obviously, I did the design for this one after the other two, so naturally, I found it the most difficult.  My ideas for the other two covers just sort of fell into my lap.  This cover represents a considerably larger time investment.  In the end, I decided to go with a style that was slightly more like the first novel than the second and aimed for a lighter feel.  For instance, we see Heather's face instead of a shadow.  That's because she's out of the dark and into the light.  The colour scheme is also slightly different - blue for the first book, green for the second, and brown for the third.  I love it.  I think it looks like a chocolate cupcake with pink frosting, but then - I always have cupcakes on the brain.

This book is a delightful read and an excellent end to the series.  Be sure to give all three books a whirl if you're low on reading material.  And remember, the first book Parakeet Princess is still on for free on Amazon and Smashwords and other great ebook sellers. The other two sell for only $1.99 each.  I know you'll love them!  Cheers!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bats in Between

Here's another title I'm promoting by Jandy Branch, Bats in Between.  It's a sequel to her novel Parakeet Princess.  I did some of the editing and I did the cover design again (remember cover design and cover art are two separate things).  Personally, I loved doing this cover.  It was extremely fun.  And I love the little white bats.  Anyway, this is my favourite of her three part trilogy.  I get completely wrapped up in the story.  It's very entertaining.  Here's the synopsis:

In her final year of high school in the small "Mormon town" of Upton, Heather MacLean seems to have everything going for her. Even though she's still considered the new-girl, she's feeling more comfortable. She's dating her dream boy, Ben Jones, and she's on track to become the town's first female valedictorian. But when Ben leaves town to go to university in the capital city, Heather is left to make friends with Aaron, the town's resident gloomy vampire-boy. Will she make it out of high school unscathed? Follow Heather through the sequel to "Parakeet Princess" as she navigates the perils of mandatory gym class, a long distance relationship, and finding out the hard way what love is not. This is a clean, uplifting story about growth and girl-power. Set in the 1990s, it has something to offer older readers looking to see reflections of their own experiences. 

It's available for purchase on, and probably any other location where ebooks are sold.  It's $1.99 and I know that's pretty steep when you could be reading something for free.  Just as a hint, Parakeet Princess was made free awhile back, so if you're thinking you can't read this one because you didn't read the first one, now you can!  For free even!  It's also available in all the same places amazon, smashwords, and all those other places. 

Enjoy!  I loved this book!