Okay so I honestly have learned through the two years in this insane business of writing to simply not worry about the reviews of readers to the point of getting exasperated but I have to tell you one recently quite frankly pissed me off. It’s not the comments about proofing – as that also pisses me off as hard as I try to get everything right and so does my publisher – it’s something else. And while the grammar comment made me freaking frosty, I know some people expect the same type of dialog in every book and I write reality. People talk in short cuts and colloquialisms and I use that style of writing in my books. Hey, you don’t like it – read Tolstoy.
What irritated me was the LONG ass comment about how dare I use the same sexy names it seems are so popular out there. WHAT? How dare I? You must be kidding? I have a hell of a lot of books in print with mostly male characters and I certainly try to mix up the names so that you have different ones – both first and last – but there are times I scratch my head in trying to think of ones that will both draw the reader in and sound provocative and also real at the same time. Who the hell has a name like Dante Ferrari? Uh – no guy I know. But if you use Mike or Mark, or GOD FORBID Stanley or Oscar, you’re going to turn the reader off. Why? It’s called fantasy.
Ladies in particular, do you want me to give you a book with hero names like Stanley or ones like Rowdy and Dane, Dusty and Thorne? Give me the honest truth here. So when I see some person so hates the fact I used the name Dusty for a country music star like it’s an everyday and horrible name, I do get incensed. I try to give names that fit the book and the timeframe. I have vampire books so I can get away with old world names and even dialect. I research to make certain I have the correct Russian or Chinese names. I do everything in my power to make certain I don’t use the same names over and over again.
I also try and fit the genre. Do you think a cowboy is going to be named Martin? Not in my worlds. He’s going to be Rusty or Jake, Drake or Chaz. He just is. Don’t get me wrong, I do the same thing with my female characters. I love using different names a lot because both my real name and my writing names are not only misspelled often but also mispronounced. My name is Bethany. How many times do I get Beverly or Brittany? More than Bethany. That I can tell you. I don’t mind of course but you see my point. When you read a story you want to be taken to distant worlds sometimes where you are able to delve into a fantasy life – one you don’t have.
You certainly don’t want to read constantly about laundry being done or kids screaming in the background. That’s real life. You read a book to escape. So if I use sexy names and ones you’ve heard of before – my guess is the majority of readers will be drawn to Thorne as opposed to Mike. I know – getting off my soapbox now but if you don’t like a book, you don’t like it. There are a million reasons why and I so get it. Just remember names are simply that – names.
Next time you pick up a book, take a peek at the names and allow them to roll off your tongue. Savor the flavor of them as writers generally spend a hell of a lot of time perfecting he characters from what they drink and drive to what they look and sound like and yes, their name has to fit. Hmmm… I kinda like Dusty. Don’t you?
Have a great week – I plan on it and oh yeah, thinking of some new names. If you have any suggestions, do let me know…
LIKE A RIVER
Dusty Walker’s country music career came to a screeching halt after the heart-wrenching breakup with the man he thought would be forever. Unfortunately his band was in jeopardy of losing their recording contract. Determined to help break Dusty’s writer’s block one of the band members suggested a change of scenery — cowboy country. Intrigued, Dusty booked a flight to Missoula Montana and was amazed at the sights and sounds of the stunning snow capped mountains. Hurting for money, fixing up the cabin nestled in the woods seemed like the perfect opportunity to boost his carpentry skills while penning several new songs. Hiding behind a new persona he worked hard to rebuild his career while his demons nipped at his heels.
Damon Shade was a smokejumper by trade. Wounded in Afghanistan he lost not only his innocence to the war but his pride as well. Anger burned within him and he couldn’t control his raging emotions as more than one secret threatened to derail everything he had left. When he met Dusty, he didn’t like the guy but little did he know they both held their past horrors at bay in an effort to begin a new life. As sparks flew and they began to open their hearts another tragedy intervened. Would their respective secrets stymy what was awakened in a secluded cabin in the woods?