Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A rose by any other name

Some people refer to writing fiction as "magic." I'm not exactly who those people are, off hand, but I'm sure they're out there. Where do they get their ideas? From everywhere, from nowhere, they simply existed and the writer is just putting this opus sent from the gods down on paper. And blah blah blah.

Some writers work in a flurry of inspiration, writing dozens of pages of deathless prose a day. Magic.

Not so much with me. It's hard work, this writing thing! Well, some days more than others. But there's one thing that isn't difficult. Something that comes to me like magic and there ain't nothing I can do about it.

Character names.

Sure, I have my "Name Your Baby" books which get raised eyebrows from those I'm bookstore shopping with. "No, I'm *not* pregnant," I tell them. But in a way, I guess I am. But my imaginative babies make up their own names.

For example, in the book I just finished, my MC's name is Valerie. I'd much prefer that it was something else, because I have an aunt named Valerie, and the character is in no way, shape or form based on her. I explained this to my character and she said, "Tough. My name's Val. Deal with it."

She's a bit rude.

In my first book, BITTEN & SMITTEN (January 2006, Warner Forever! Woo!! Um...where was I? Oh yeah...) a character named himself Thierry. I said to him, "What's up with that name? It's hard to say and looks sorta funny." He said, "Tough. My name's Thierry. It's pronounced 'Tee-Airy." Deal with it, ma cheri."

He can be rude at times, as well. Also, he doesn't speak French, so I don't know why he called me 'ma cheri.' Not that I mind, or anything...

I also have a recent character I named Fred. He preferred to be called Lloyd. I didn't have a problem with that. He just had a bit part, anyhow.

At least he was polite and asked nicely.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Blogging on the Road

I've got a confession. I'm the world's worst blogger. Honestly, truly. I keep a journal at home. It's right beside my bed. I write it in most days right after I get up, recording dreams, dumping out my emotions, toying with plot ideas. But what works for me at home, doesn't work for public blogs. I'm actually supposed to entertain an audience. Ulp!

Now, I'm on a month long book tour down Route 66 from Saint Louis to California and the plan was to blog every day. My first dose of reality came when I realized how difficult it was to get Internet access on the road. Oh, you'll find promises of easy hook-up but they just don't materialize. Also, I had no idea how much time the tour would consume. Between the road miles, the bookstores, the launch parties plus writing a book for Harlequin while simultaneously revising my next Warner book, I realized how ridiculously ambitious my first plans were.

So here I am, eleven days into the tour and way behind. See, I told you, world's worst blogger.

What I am happy to report is that I love the people I've met. Great, enthusiastic readers. They're out there, folks, by the droves and I've had the joy of meeting them in person. My first stop was in Springfiled, MO at USED BOOKS OF THE OZARKS where I visited with owner Kathy Ross who was on her way to England and Scotland. (Have a safe trip, Kathy) I met her darling daughter-in-law Ashley, who helps her run the store and her other employees, Rosemary and Kitty. If you guys are ever in Springfield look them up. They're a terrific group and eager to see authors.

Next stop was Del City, Oklahoma where I had the honor of being the first author to ever sign at THE BOOKSMITH. Tracy Smith is an utter doll. I'm sure she'll be doing more signings now, because thanks to Tracy and her assistant Lisa Watford my signing was a huge success. Lisa and Tracy are the most enthusiastic supporters of romance that I've ever met. Great job, ladies. I loved meeting all their customers, especially a handsome young hero-in-training, three-year-old Gabriel. It was like hanging out at the local beauty shop with books instead of hair supplies. Couldn't ask for anything cozier.

After that was an Oklahoma City signing at Borders. Chain stores are definitely different that Independents. You have to work harder to attract a crowd. But the CRM Jackie did a fabulous job and the event was a huge success. Tracy and Lisa from Del City dropped by and it was so wonderful to see familiar faces. It gets tough out there cold selling your books.

That's all for now, the world's worst blogger will return the next time she gets Internet access. Headed for Albuquerque and a signing at Page One bookstore on Saturday. It's the largest independent bookstore in New Mexico. Come on by if you're in the area.

Also, for you others out there considering a tour, stay tuned. I'll have tips and dos and donts for a successful signing. (Tip number one---if you're going to blog your trip, get wi/fi access for your RV. I'll have it the next time around.)

Signing off,
Lori, the bad blogger