Life has taken on a new kind of normal. As many of you know, Mr. Nina and I have been bumping around the northeast, hoping life–and more specifically, the healthcare field–would settle down enough that would could set down some new roots ourselves. Well, it’s finally happening and hopefully we’ll be able to get back on track with our career goals. And for me, that means finding my way back to writing.
One of my goals for the last couple of years is to find my way back to my SHIFTING BONDS series. And I’m excited to say it’s finally heppening. Yay Me! I’m stepping back into the books cautiously, but optimistically. Hopefully the end of 2018 into the beginning of 2019 will see these sexy shifters back out in the world!
In the meantime, I thought I’d share how I came about finding the names of my main characters in this sexy erotic suspense novel.
Being the visual person that I am, I can’t even get one sentence down without knowing exactly who my characters are. And it’s not so much who they are and where they came from, as a pantser that stuff just sort of unravels itself while I write. Nope, I’m talking about their names.
That’s right. You should see what I go through to discover who my characters are. I start with the site Baby Names. I usually have an idea of at least a letter which helps with my search. And some names are easy to eliminate. I mean you don’t want an hero named Edwin or Arthur. Neither of those names conjure up a sexy alpha hero capable of being both commanding and gentle. (But Cole … there’s a name can work with!)
The same is true when it comes to naming your heroine. Hester, Evelyn and Ruth bring to mind grandmothers, not kickass women ready to save the world. That doesn’t mean that in certain situations the name doesn’t work. I’m just talking generalities.
If baby names doesn’t work for me, I use Random Name Generator. What I like about this site is I can decide how obscure I’d like to make the name. And if that doesn’t work, I end up rifling through the phone book.
Once I have their full name and I’ve got an idea what the character looks like in my mind. I go to Female Celebrities and List of Male Actors and search out famous people who most closely fit my vision. I like to choose people in the media because I can google their images and find a couple of pictures that I can put on my character profile. But sometimes, like in A TOUCH OF LILLY, which has a very sexy alien, sometimes only the talent of my cover artist captures the character.
Once I have the pictures of my characters I put them in a document and make lists of eye color, hair descriptions and body characteristics (like tattoos) as I’m writing. Often times the characters quirky habits or their childhood backgrounds are added to the list as well. The nice thing about all of this is that I often don’t intend to write series stories, but inevitably, I fall in love with characters and want to continue their story. These photos then can be used when the characters decide I haven’t quite finished telling their story.
Probably more information than you ever wanted to know about all the hoops I jump through to meet my characters and begin writing a story, but there you have it. 😀
… than an interview with Reese Colton, the hero of my firefighter novella, UNCONTROLLED BURN? This sexy vampire arrived on the page as a complete surprise (who knew somone this dark, sexy and irresistible hero could also be an immortal?)
Nina: Welcome to my corner of the internet, Reese. I know a lot of my readers have been looking forward to your visit.
Reese: Nice to be here. I’ve been wondering why it’s taken so long for you to invite me. *leans forward and whispers* You know all my secrets, you’ve delved into the deepest part of my psyche, don’t you think it’s time to share? *leans back with a satisfied smile*
I’d like to welcome guest blogger, Molly Daniels, author of the ARBOR UNIVERSITY series. Molly Daniels resides in the Midwest with her husband, three children, and various household pets. Her fifth-grade teacher showed this avid reader how to write the stories swirling in her head, successfully unleashing her imagination upon the written word.
Kenzie is the ‘wild child’ of author Molly Daniels. They cohabitate nicely inside the brain of a woman in Indiana who’s the mother of three and ‘Aunt Molly’ to the entire neighborhood. A devout chocoholic, her hubby has learned to watch out when the characters in her head take over and not get too upset when the words are flowing and all concept of time is lost. (LOL)
Thanks for having me today, Nina! All this week, I’ve been the featured Author-of-the-Week over at the Secret Cravings blog, and I’ve decided to extend the deadline for you to have a chance to win a free download of their choice of my back list.
I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to two special ladies, Caitlyn McCarty and Susan Best. Both are Education Majors at Arbor University, and both have wonderful singing voices-
C: How do you know?
S: Oh please, the entire dorm has heard you singing Penny Lover by Lionel Richie. And when you come over to study, we’ve always had a tape or the radio on.
C: True. When I’m at home, my choir director at church used to have me sing solos during the service. My favorite is Amy Grant’s Arms of Love.
S: Lucky. My choir director told me I have a nice voice, but since I’m not one of his ‘pets’, I’ve never been given the chance for a solo.
C: His loss. You sing like an angel.
S: Thank you!
Caty, would you be willing to let our viewers know a little background on you, Bryan Johnson, and Peter Criswell?
C: Bryan and I began dating right after our sophomore year of high school, and all went well until our junior year of college. We only saw each other on weekends, since we were three hours apart. Bryan had a brush with the law and was falsely accused of vandalism, and after he was cleared, I couldn’t make it up to see him one weekend and a girl accused him of getting her pregnant. I’d met Peter several months before, but after Stephanie crashed her car, we discovered he owned the first car lot we went to. He messed with my head-
S: No, he didn’t. He simply opened your eyes to the fact you have tunnel vision when it comes to Bryan.
C: (bristling) Whose side are you on, anyway? Do you know how scary it is, to believe you have your future mapped out, only to have it ripped away your final year in college?
S: You’re right, I don’t. But I do know how scary it when you think you’ve lost your best friend. Rob and I dated in high school too, but he cheated on me when I wouldn’t sleep with him.
So that’s another thing the two of you have in common.
S: Yes. Rob went to another school, and while we had a wonderful summer together, he broke up with me over Labor Day weekend to be with Michelle. I’d met Travis the weekend before, and since all my friends were paired up, I felt jealous and decided to encourage him. But when I started singing with his friend’s band, I felt pressure to lose a few pounds, so I began a crash diet-
C: Sweetie, that was no diet.
S: All I tried to do was keep the calories low. You know how hard it is when there are three other girls who can eat what they want, when they want, and stay the same size? If I even look at the candy machine my jeans feel too tight.
C: I admit, we didn’t make it easy for you. But all you had to do was talk to us.
S: Let’s not have that argument again, please? I don’t think Molly wants us to fight.
Okay, let me get this straight. Cait has tunnel vision when it comes to Bryan and Susan doesn’t feel anyone understands her issue with food.
S: I think that’s right.
So are you still seeing Travis?
S: No; I felt betrayed by everyone. Over the summer, I reconnected with Rob’s brother Jamie, who helped me see I’d made some wrong assumptions, going clear back to junior high-
C: You know what they say about assuming things….they make an ass out of u and me-
S: I know, I know. You’re one to talk. You did the same thing about Peter.
C: (blushing) Yeah, well, we all make mistakes.
Okay ladies, thank you for being here today!
EXCERPT from ENDLESS LOVE:
“Caitlyn, why did you come here?”
“Because, I don’t want to lose our friendship.” Caty sat back down. “I’ve come to value it. I know this sounds selfish, but I enjoy spending time with you, and-”
“Hold it.” Peter held up a hand, shaking his head. “Don’t use me as a substitute, Caitlyn. I’m not the kind of guy who will listen to you gripe and complain about not being able to spend any time with him and who listens to you sing his praises when you do. That won’t work with me.”
“No buts. I put up with some of your bullshit last fall, but that was because you were confused and not sure what you were going to do. Then you made a decision, but since Mommy and Daddy didn’t like it, didn’t support your decision, you went running back to good ole Bryan, whom everyone approved of, and you stopped rocking the boat. What’s going to happen, Caitlyn, if you butt heads with a coworker, principal, some other administrator, even a parent, who doesn’t like what you are teaching in your classroom? Are you going to stick to your guns, or will you change your lesson plan? Are you going to be the teacher who changes policy because one of your kids has a need that’s not being met, or will you be one of those teachers who hide behind the school’s policy? What do you see yourself doing?” Peter swallowed the rest of his coffee after that speech and got up to pour another cup.
His words hit her hard. “I-I guess I never thought about that. I hope I get a school system that stands behind me in starting up the drug awareness program, but if they don’t, I guess part of me would wait until the next year to try again.”
“What about talking with other people in the community?” He sat down again. “Couldn’t you build support then approach the school board again?”
“I guess so.”
“Come on, Caitlyn. Where’s your fire? Where’s the go get ‘em attitude you had in October?” Peter bit into a slice of bacon. “Or did your parents manage to destroy all your faith in yourself?”
Shaken, Caty stood and collected her coat. “They didn’t destroy anything. I see this was a mistake.”
Peter moved to stand beside her. “You’re doing it again. Nobody’s giving you the answers you want, so you walk away. Look at me.” He cupped her face in his hands. “I see a beautiful, strong, caring young woman who has a problem breaking away from her parents.” He bent down and placed his forehead against hers. “Or maybe the parents aren’t ready to let her go. Anyway, I believe in you, Caitlyn. I believe you have the strength, the power, the will to do whatever you want with your life.”
BUY from Amazon
EXCERPT from Love WEIGHS IN:
“You’re not going to flub up in front of us, are you?” teased a familiar voice. Susan looked up in surprise as Gretchen, Shawn, Amy, Brad, Caitlyn, and Peter approached.
“Hi, guys.” Happy to see them, she stood up and hugged her friends. “No, we’re just talking about making a slight change in the last set.” She introduced the band members.
“We just got here. Let’s go find a table and get a round of drinks. Break a leg, kids.” Gretchen ushered the rest toward the bar.
Susan excused herself to use the rest room and overheard a disturbing conversation between two other girls.
“…can’t believe she’d have the guts. I mean, did you see the size of her thighs? And that shirt. Good lord. You’d think people who pork out like that would have the decency not to tuck their shirts in like that.” A toilet flushed.
“I know, and can you believe her voice? I sing better than that in the shower.” Water running and the hand dryer drowned out the voices.
Are they talking about me? I’m not leaving until I know they’re both gone. She peeked through the crack between the stall door and the wall and saw the two girls touching up their makeup.
“She needs to get with the times. The Madonna look is so three years ago.”
“At least she’s not wearing a miniskirt.” Their voices disappeared as the door slammed closed.
Stunned, Susan left her stall. She looked at her reflection in the wavy mirror and studied herself. They’re right, I am a fat slob. My stomach has this bulge at the zipper, instead of being nice and flat. She stuck out her tongue and washed her hands. And my thighs do look awful in these jeans. Why oh why did I even wear them?
Because you were in a hurry. You were so happy after messing around with Travis, you forgot to be careful with what you wore tonight. Now people are talking about you!
How can I get up on that stage and wow them for another ninety minutes? They don’t want to see me or hear me. I heard that woman! I sing like I’m tone-deaf or something! Susan brushed aside the few tears. I’ve got to get back out there and fake it. Nobody’s forcing me to continue after tonight. I’ll finish this last set, even though my friends are out there, hearing us for the first time.
BUY from Amazon
Again, thank you sooooo much for having me today Nina! And visitors, don’t forget to leave your contact information in your comment! I’ll be choosing a winner and announcing it tomorrow.
I’d like to welcome my second guest this week for the Blogger Book Fair, Drako Damon. Drako was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He is mainly a fantasy writer, though he also writes some poetry and general fiction. He’s very active on both twitter and facebook and you can visit his website to stay current with his newest releases.
Please enjoy this introduction to Drako’s dragons:
It was a night like any other night. I’d just gotten off work from my call center job, and it took me about two hours to get home on the bus. I was tired as hell, but at least there was a good smell coming from the house. Apparently I’d come home to a nice hot meal. It’s nice to know something is going right. Today had been long and crappy. It was ten o’clock at night, and I’d been gone since nine this morning. It’d been a rough few months. I’d lost a job and my car, but found this one and had to start making my way around on the bus. It wasn’t fun, that’s for sure, but it had to be done.
At least I got to enjoy my meal. The person I was with was still good company. He didn’t work at the time, but I couldn’t fault him for that. He was trying to find another job. We were at that point in life where we’d hit a rough patch and were picking ourselves back up.
At last it was time for bed. During the week I don’t stay up too late because I don’t want to wake up late and not get to work on time. So he and I went off to bed. I drifted off to the sweet oblivion of sleep, or so I thought.
As I came to, I wasn’t where I went to sleep. My other half was nowhere to be found, and I was in a place I’d never seen before. It looks like something you’d only see in the movies. The room I was in was bigger than my entire apartment building. I was lying on the floor right in the middle of the room, and I quickly sat up to take in my surroundings.
It seemed like some kind of hall. There were windows letting in bright sunlight in a clearly stone building. I was in a palace of some sort, and though I wasn’t up to date with the structure of a palace, I’m pretty sure I was in a throne room. Why? Because there was a throne at the end of the room with what was positively the single most attractive male in existence sitting on it. Judging by the extremely bright light all around in this currently empty throne room, save for the eye candy on the throne and the black marble throne he’s sitting on, I figured I must be dead.
A deep rumble of laughter startled me from my thoughts. I looked to the man, who was clearly amused by me for some reason. Perhaps he heard my thoughts?
“Of course I hear your thoughts, human. I’m a god.” He smiled at me.
I can’t say the smile is warm, exactly. This guy was hard to read, and I’m normally great at reading people. I figured since I’m dead, he wouldn’t mind if I enjoy the view. He was a huge towering man, even though he was sitting. He dressed in a black chiton, but it was pulled down to his waist, leaving his chest bare. And what a chest it was. This guy had the body an average guy dreams about, and a short too skinny guy like me drools over. To make it even better (for me at least) he had tattoos all over his torso. I couldn’t make out exactly what they were, but they appeared to be several small dragons with names written around them.
I tore my gaze from his body and looked into his eyes, which were a strange swirling silver. His hair was long and black and rested down his back. His skin was absolutely flawless and brown and he appeared to be in his late twenties at the most, maybe early thirties. God he was gorgeous.
He cleared his throat, snapping my attention back to him again.
“I’m a very busy god, so it would be nice if you’d finish gawking at some point in the near future.”
“Yes, I’m a god,” he told me, clearly following my line of thought. “Come closer. I tire of shouting down the room at you.”
Ok, so I was definitely dead. How else would I come to meet a god? It seemed like now was a good time to start obeying, maybe redeem my soul a little bit. He must be the god of the dead if I was seeing him, right?
“Wrong,” he told me.
By this time I’d moved forward and was now standing directly in front of him. I felt like a two year old standing next to this giant. He smiled at me.
“You are very much a man, now aren’t you?” he chuckled. “Drako, isn’t that your name?”
“Well, yeah, that’s my nickname,” I answered.
He shook his head. “No, that is your name. That name you were born with doesn’t fit you. In my presence, you are and will always be Drako.”
Well, that was just interesting. I did hate my real name, and that’s why I went by my nickname, a unique spelling on the Latin word for dragon. But anyway, I figured I’d better start talking before I get cast into hell.
“So, who are you, if you don’t mind my asking?” I asked
“I’m known by many names, none of which will ring a bell to you because I eliminated myself from human history on purpose. I am Jarel, the Black Dragon God. And you are not dead.”
I couldn’t hold back my skepticism. “If I’m not dead then why am I here? Gods don’t talk to people in my world.”
Jarel nodded. “This is true. Man has long since lost touch with us, and I for one am content with that.”
Well, what the hell was I supposed to say to that?
BLURB (First Book in The Dragon Hunter Series):
Andreas was born a Spartan warrior, long before human history even records Sparta existing. He served directly under Ares, until the day his lover was killed on the battlefield in front of him. On that day, he met his father, the mysterious Black Dragon God known as Jarel. From then on, he served his father faithfully, enforcing the laws of the primordial embodiment of black fire and father of the paranormal. Now, in these modern times, he hunts the rogue vampires and their leader. Little does he know, there’s more to this than vampires simply turning against his father.
While protecting the lovely Cassandra Odele, Andreas must battle forces he doesn’t know as he attempts to stop the resurrection of the Titan king, Cronus. Added to his problems, he now has two teenage nephews to see into adulthood. Of course, there’s always a twist when dealing with the gods, and Andreas will come face to face with his past, leaving him to decide which is more important, his soul or the world?
BUY from AMAZON
BUY from BARNES AND NOBLE
I thought it would be nice to talk with my latest heroine today. I’d like to introduce, Jayda Kynslan. She’s a veterinarian in Lonesome Fork, Montana.
Nina: So what brought you to Lonesome Fork, Jayda?
Jayda: Originally or now?
Jayda: I hate to admit it, but I was running from a broken heart. I mean how cliche is that? I rented a cottage from a friend up on Coppertip Mountain and I was just looking for some hot, unencumbered sex to replace the foul flavor of infidelity. But it seemed I entered the wrong tavern when I walked into the Whip and Bull. Or the right tavern depending on your perspective. I stayed for completely different reasons.
Nina: We’ll get back to why you stayed, but what’s a Whip and Bull?
Jayda: That’s the tavern where the wolf shifters of Coppertip Mountain congregate. *laughs* Of course that night I didn’t know wolf shifters existed.
Nina: Well, now I’m confused. I mean, aren’t you a shifter?
Jayda: I am. But I didn’t know it. I was adopted by a human family. To this day they don’t know anything about my birth parents. Besides the nightmares I had as a girl there was nothing that gave me any indication I had that ability … well, until Cole.
Nina: Cole Takoda? The police chief in Lonesome Fork?
Nina: What did he have to do with you discovering your animal?
Jayda: He saw it the first time we made love. I guess fur and animal parts rolled over my skin when I … umm … you know … climaxed. But I don’t do that anymore. I’ve learned to control my animals.
Nina: Animals? As in plural?
Jayda: I’m what they call a polymorphic shifter. I have wolf, cougar and human all rolled up inside. Depending on which I call up I can be either when I shift. Cole thought I’d chosen wolf when I shifted at the Blue Moon last spring, but when I met Zane over the summer, well, my cougar surfaced as well.
Nina: So how did your relationship develop?
Jayda: Well that’s complicated to be sure. When I first met Cole his wolf recognized me as its mate. There was such a quick bonding between us I couldn’t deny that my heart recognized him as well. We were talking about a mating ceremony and then the cougar died and Marissa, my assistant …
Nina: That’s all right, you don’t need to talk about Marissa. What happened?
Jayda: Zane was there. Zane’s the new leader of the cougar council. He was the one that first brought forth my cougar. *blushing* That’s when I knew.
Nina: Knew what?
Jayda: That Cole might not be enough. I mean ours is a very complicated relationship. But it’s what we all need. Our story is still unfolding, but for now, it’s working. We still haven’t celebrated our commitment ceremony, but it’s in the planning stages. It’s just that the three of us are working to unite the shifter councils of Coppertip Mountain together. I’m not sure why it’s important, but with every fiber of my being I know something is brewing and both the cougars and the wolves will need to be united to fight whatever is coming.
Nina: That sounds ominous. And though I’d love to find out more about it, I’m afraid our time has run out for today.
Jayda: No problem. I’ve got to get back to the veterinarian clinic anyway. It’s been fun chatting with you. And don’t forget to tell your readers that they can read the beginning of my love story with Cole in Blue Moon Rising in the Furry, Fluffy & Wild anthology from Liquid Silver and the rest of the love story with Zane in Bonded by Need through Ellora’s Cave. Thanks for having me.