Welcome Guest Author Morgan Wyatt – The Power of a Name

Morgan WyattIt’s my pleasure to welcome Morgan Wyatt today. Morgan’s the author of sexy romances with alpha heroes and strong, independent heroines. Help Morgan name her new hero for a chance to win a $10 Starbucks or Amazon gift card…suggest your choice in the comments below. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on Monday, June 10.

Welcome, Morgan!

Never underestimate the power of a name. Back a few years ago when I was dating I met men who often didn’t use their given name. They weren’t married or in the witness protection program, either. Instead, they were attempting to project an image with one word.  We usually decide on how we will interact with someone in less than ten seconds.  Depending on the person, you decide if they will be a friend, an enemy, a lover, or unimportant in your future.

Think about this the next time you go somewhere. Often you make eye contact with other people, but immediately look away because the people do not hold any significance for you.  Before we meet people, we often hear their name and form an impression.  Your co-worker or friend wants to fix you up with her cousin. How would you react if his name were Lawrence?

Immediately you might think the name sounds stuffy or old. You might picture a man with muttonchops sideburns smoking a pipe. Worse yet, he’d insist that you call him Larry. You end up saying that you will be out of town that weekend.

The same friend ever anxious to promote your love life, informs you that her husband’s brother  Hannibal is single. You murmur your apologies as you try to control your shudders. Unfortunately, movies have tainted names like Jason and Damien too.

Other names just have low energy. It is hard to get excited about someone named Eugene, Wilbur, Elmer or Harold.  It brings to mind an earnest young man trapped in the fifties.

Ambiguous gender names are sometimes confusing too.  It is hard to consider a fellow named  Sydney, Robyn or Cary as very hetero when they  share the same name as your girlfriends.

Therefore, I am back to the men who pick a name for their dating profile to attract women. Different names attract different women. Alexander may want to be perceived as a more social animal and goes with Alex. Daniel opts for Dan, which he thinks sounds more rugged.

Women can carry off exotic names, while most men can’t. A  survey that polled sexy male names listed relative common names including David, Michael, Sean, Clint and Brandon.

Never underestimate the power of a name. I wanted to like a character name Pea in a novel I read, but it was difficult. It wasn’t her real name, but an insulting nickname. Her refusal to use a decent name made her a weak character.

Naming our villains take more subtlety. Disney got away with naming one of its villainess, Malevolence, which is a very cool name. It would be the equivalent of naming one of our mean girl characters, extraordinarily bad girl.  Accept that there are things Disney can do that we can’t.

Time matters too when naming your character. I decided my hero Dr. Brad Korman in GONE sounded too old for his age. I renamed him Ryan in honor of Ryan Gosling. Just a name change made his appearance change too in my novel. He was always a good guy, but now he went up a few degrees on the hotness scale.

Next time, you think names  don’t matter. Remember all the men trying to find dates who transformed Carl into Adam or Norman into Edward. My husband’s name is Scott, which definitely influenced me when deciding if to date him. Scott is a strong, authoritative name, while retaining some playfulness.

As for me, I am always on the search for the perfect hero and heroine names. My newest WIP in the paranormal series features a college student named Nora who finds her destiny a hundred years in the past. What do you think a good name for her romantic interest should be? ( I am not totally stuck with the name, Nora,  either.) Winner wins a $10 Starbucks or Amazon gift card (winner’s choice.)

A taste of Dangerous Curves:Dangerous Curves Cover

Wolfe Jackson is hot on the trail of a domestic terroristic who has been causing havoc and panic by blowing up factories. The trail, although sketchy, has led to a convention in the Midwest. Is it a false trail? Wolfe is unsure, but he knows that a certain blonde named Krista bears investigating.

Krista Harlow finds her life as a principal dull. So bland in fact, she thinks attending the annual principal conference might enliven it. She even harbors secret romantic aspirations. As a principal, she must keep everything strait laced and buttoned down, but that was before she was mistaken for a corporate saboteur and possible murderer.

Wolfe initially approaches the suspect by pretending he knows her. Krista plays along, proving she’s either devilishly clever or she’s really interested in him as a man. The road to restore his credibility is full of dangerous curves.

An excerpt:

“Rachel, didn’t you hear me calling?” He stepped closer and put one hand on her arm, sending an arc of electricity through her body.

This is where it got difficult. How well did Rachel know him? If they’d been lovers, she would know him very, very well—definitely well enough to remember his name.

“So sorry, handsome,” Krista purred. “I was thinking about the dress I didn’t buy.”

“Sounds like you. Have you had dinner yet?” He watched her with one expressive eyebrow lifted.

“Um…no.” Krista had doubts about how far she should go with the Rachel thing, but she needed to eat sometime. Why not have dinner with him? Oh sure, it would be a hardship to have dinner with Mr. Stud Muffin.

He cupped her elbow and guided her in the direction of the steak house where the aroma of mesquite-flavored beef enticed shoppers. There was a significant wait so they moved to the bar. A few people called out greetings as they entered. She listened closely in effort to catch his name. Krista was sure his name wasn’t buddy or friend—no help there. He ordered oversized margaritas for both of them. Krista was about to tell him iced tea when she remembered Rachel might love margaritas.

“Wolfe, Wolfe Jackson. You don’t remember me, do you?”

His grin was devastating against his tanned skin. He reminded Krista of a pirate, the swashbuckling type as opposed to the peg-legged ones. She was lost. Perhaps someone would scrape her up as she melted at his feet. Krista shook her head since talking was more than she could handle at that moment.

“We met at my cousin’s wedding, Samuel Levinson. I believe he married your friend Ruth, or is she your cousin?” Wolfe placed his hand over hers on the bar.

Krista nodded eagerly at the verbal lifeline he’d thrown her while she tried to ignore the heat radiating from his hand. “She was, um, is, my friend. I don’t see her much since I moved.” He might wonder if she never talked to her cousin. Krista gulped the margarita in an attempt to alleviate the sudden heat streaking through her body, but the alcohol raised her body temperature instead. Not one of her better ideas. The liquor singed her empty stomach like three-alarm chili, while giving her an air of flirtatiousness she normally lacked. She remembered why she didn’t drink—she couldn’t hold her liquor.

The bartender lingered nearby and asked if they needed anything. Krista looked Wolfe up and down boldly and knew she had everything she needed. Wolfe’s wink caught her unawares, and she almost slipped off the stool. In a flash, he was beside her, wrapping an arm around her waist. For an instant, she leaned into him, inhaling the smell of sandalwood, soap, and a hint of gasoline. Then she remembered she was supposed to be sitting on a stool not oozing all over him like a melted ice cream bar and jerked upright. What kind of girl was Rachel? Krista was secretly hoping Rachel was a touch fast. Fast sounded superb.

A little about Morgan:

Morgan K Wyatt, raised on a steady diet of superheroes, believed she could fly at a very young age. After using trees, barn lofts, sliding boards, and even a second story window as launch pads, she found her flying skills were limited to fast and downward. By the age of nine, her dreams to be a superhero needed some modifications, which caused her to turn to writing and horseback riding as alternatives to flying.

At the age of twenty, she had another chance at superhero greatness as being one of the few female soldiers trained for combat. The fact that women will be able to serve in combat soon indicates that all the witnesses to the grenade incident have retired. The grenade incident didn’t prevent her two sons or daughter-in-law from enlisting in the service. Having different last names probably helped.

Morgan recently retired from teaching special needs students to write fulltime, instead of in the wee hours of the night. With the help of her helpful husband and loyal hound, she creates characters who often grab plot lines and run with them. As for flying, she prefers the airlines now.

Welcome Guest Author Hildie McQueen

I’m pleased to welcome Hildie McQueen today. She’s here to share an excerpt from her new release. There’s a terrific giveaway, too! Here’s a little about Where The Four Winds Collide:

Where the Four Winds CollideAdeline Buckley escapes her abusive father only to find herself in a brothel, on a stagecoach to the untamed west and married to a stranger, all in that order. Plotting another escape becomes harder, the more she gets to know her new husband.

Jackson Pruitt didn’t expect a secretive mail order bride to show up the same week cattle rustlers absconded with a large part of his herd. The bigger surprise was the loveliness of the woman. Why would a beauty like her need to travel so far to marry?

Jackson and Adeline learn that secrets and marriage do not go hand-in-hand when both of their pasts comes knocking and both have to come to grips with the reality, that sometimes trust comes only after you lose it all.

~Excerpt and Giveaway~

This is your home now, Adeline,” Jackson told her, watching her closely for a reaction. “We were married earlier this afternoon. You are my wife.”
The color drained from her face and she froze, her spoon halfway to her mouth. He feared she’d faint again so he jumped up and went to her. The action startled the woman, who yelped and leaned away from him, only to topple over. Both she and the chair landed on their sides on the floor.
When Jackson tried to help her up, she scrambled to her feet and moved away from his reach.
“Married?” The shock in her voice made him wonder if the woman was mad. Surely she remembered signing the documents before the judge?
“Yes, Adeline, the judge explained it all to you before you signed the papers at the hotel. Do you not remember?”
“I…” her widened eyes met his and he fought the urge to reach out to reassure her. “I thought it was a dream.”

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Hildie McQueenHildie McQueen loves storytelling and unusual settings, pair that with humor and you’ve got an idea of what her writing is like.

She makes sure action, intrigue, and sizzling romance add up to a story, her readers won’t soon forget. Her favorite past-times are traveling, shopping and reading. She resides in beautiful small town Georgia with her super-hero husband Kurt and two unruly Chihuahuas.

Visit her blog at www.hildiemcqueen.com

Thursday Thirteen – Thirteen Reasons I’m Glad the World Didn’t End on December 21 & A Giveaway

Okay, admit it – last week this time, somewhere in the back of your mind, there was a nagging little thought scratching at the surface of your brain. December 20, 2012…only one more day on the Mayan calendar until time ran out. Now of course, the Mayans didn’t have leap years and daylight savings time and leap seconds and all that good stuff, so logically, we knew it couldn’t possibly be accurate…after all, if they’d been right, we would have run out of time a while back. But still, there was an intriguing sense of mystery…like the mystery of what’s actually in a Twinkie that keeps it springy and fresh for what seems like eternity. The very slim chance that that Mayans knew something we didn’t toyed with our imaginations just a bit. So, I have to confess I breathed a sigh of relief when December 22, 2012 came and went for my friends down-under. There had been a warped sense of comfort knowing that if the world was going to come to a screeching, fiery halt, I could sit back and watch it on CNN before Gozer the Gozerian (yes, I’ve seen Ghostbusters way too many times…I have a mad, impetuous crush on Bill Murray) or Godzilla or a giant asteroid or whatever was to bring our doom arrived in the mountains of Pennsylvania. After all, it’s great to get head-of-line privileges at theme parks…not so great where an apocalypse is concerned.

But December 21, 2012 came and went, and the world as we know it is still here. Now, of course, that means that I will indeed have to pay the bills incurred in purchasing presents to put under the tree, but that’s a small tradeoff for continuing to exist. Here are 13 reasons I’m glad the world didn’t end (not necessarily in order of importance):

1.  My Christmas Eve tradition of watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Clark Griswold is my husband’s inspiration for exterior illumination.

Jinxie hat22. The joy of seeing my cat in her jaunty little Santa cap. Of course, that joy is short-lived (about 30 seconds before she manages to tear it off), but it’s something.

3. I would have missed the joy of adding new books onto my shiny new e-reader.

4. I still haven’t seen Les Miz…definitely on my “must do” list.

5. The joy of watching my family gathered for Christmas Eve dinner. Actually makes the agony of cooking it almost worth it .

6. I have at least 3 stories percolating in my head that I want to write in 2013.

7. This is my first winter surrounded by snowy mountains. I plan to enjoy this beauty.

8. I’ve conquered my fear of flying…seriously, I’m not being metaphorical here…and I intend to rack up some travel miles in the next few years.

9. So many books I want to read…and more wonderful romances being published every week. I need all the time I can get.

10. I can’t wait to see the new adaptation of The Great Gatsby. It’s one of my all-time favorite books.

11. There’s a new Ryan Gosling movie coming out in January.

12. I’ve never learned to ski…this year, I might.

13. I have Twinkies stockpiled just in case…

Of course, I have many more reasons to be thankful the world is still here. I love my family and want to spend many more years with them, and I’m blessed with terrific friends near and far. Laughter is an abundant commodity in my life, and I’m so grateful for all my blessings. But no one wants to read something sappy right now. We’ve had enough to stomach with all the “my family is perfect, wish yours was too” holiday letters that come disguised as Seasons Greetings this time of year.

What are some of your favorite reasons to be glad the Earth continues to exist? Leave a comment for a chance to win an ecopy of Love Potion #7. One commenter will be chosen at random. I’ll post the winner on New Year’s Eve…be sure to leave your email addy so I can contact you.

Happy Holidays!