Naming Babies (and book characters)

I’m thinking about my next book, which means I’m thinking about characters and character names. I like this stage very much – it’s a bit like naming a new baby. 

These are the names I’ve used so far for my main characters, and a bit about why I chose them.JPEG Names

His Brand Of Beautiful

Christina Clay
Right from the beginning, I thought of having a character who would be nicknamed CC by her friends. I also needed something that would work with the name of the family winery in this book, Clay Wines. In the book, a brand is developed for Clay Wines that is called Cracked Pots. Clay. Pots. Get it?

Tate Newell
On a visit to the Sunshine Coast in 2012 we drove on the Newell Highway… need I say more? As for ‘Tate’ this book begins with a ‘mistaken identity’ premise, and I needed a quick short name that could get confused if heard over dodgy reception on the phone. So for me this became a mixup with Tate and Nate.

There is also the character of Christina’s best friend, Lacey in this book. Lacey’s name came from the American So You Think You Can Dance that year.

The Goodbye Ride

Olivia Murphy
Olivia is a personal favourite. If I’d ever had a baby girl, I would have called her Olivia, or Liv, as Olivia gets shortened to in The Goodbye Ride. As for Murphy, I’m not so sure. There was a family with the surname ‘Murphy’ and they had a boy going to my son’s school. I don’t think it’s any deeper than that.

Owen Carson
Being brutally honest, there was an ‘Owen’ in my early years who I didn’t like much at all, but it’s a nice name… As for Carson, I have no idea. Carson’s Law anyone?

Fairway To HeavenFairWayToHeavenFinal-harlequin 200_200x315

Jennifer (Jenn) Gates

I have met and got to know so many Jenn’s since I started this writing life. Jenn J McLeod, Jennie Jones, Jenny Schwartz, Jennifer Scoullar, Jennie Brumley, Jennifer St George… it starts to read like the ‘attack of the Jen’s’ – and they are all lovely. The Jenn in Fairway to Heaven was never going to be named anything else. From the time she first swung a golf club, she was Jenn in my head.

Brayden Culhane
My mother is convinced my fictional ‘Brayden’ and my real husband ‘Brian’ are one and the same… I have no idea if she’s right of course 😉

Sebastian
Sebby is Jennifer’s toddler son in Fairway. I know a lot of Sebastian’s (Sebby’s) and they are great kids. Kudos to my cousin Yvette and my friend Tanja for this name. Thank you for letting me borrow it!

So Far Into You (Out October 2015)

Remy Hanley
Remy Hanley was ‘Quinn Jackson’ for a very long time. Years in fact, because this book has been brewing in various guises for about that long. Somewhere in the last rewrite in 2014, Quinn became Remy in a massive case of ‘Find and Replace’. I blame the same friend Tanja once again. She has a daughter called Remy and I love this name! I’ve lost touch with a lovely friend I had years ago with the surname ‘Hanley’… maybe that choice is a tie to her, but I don’t think it was one I consciously thought about.

Seth Lasrey
Big bad Seth was ‘Dex’ all the time ‘Remy’ was ‘Quinn’… then when Quinn became Remy (are you confused yet?) Dex became Seth. This time, I blame a brilliant television show called Deadwood, starring the delectable Timothy Oliphant. (Or Raylan in Justified if you prefer). The moment I discovered Seth Bullock hiding in Deadwood, Dex Lasrey died and was reborn. I like him much better as Seth.

The New Book (No Name)

Characters so far are: Cally Morgan, Sienna Devereux, Uncle Bruce Devereux, also a dude called Brookes… and now I’m wondering, my Mum might be right in her comment about me and ‘Br’ names… Brian, Brayden, Bruce and Brookes. I’ve also got a secondary character of Bryce in So Far Into You and a Burt in another book I’ve been messing around with. ‘B’ and ‘C’ names seem to be on my hit list. I have a sister-in-law called Bronwyn and a wonderful neighbour called Carrie… I guess that puts them on the hit list for a character one of these days!

What about you? If you could name the heroine and hero of your own book, who would they be? If you’re a writer, do you have any deeper motivations than me about what makes you choose a name?

Weekend of Words and Walks

It’s a long weekend in West Australia this weekend for Western Australia day – which apparently got its name changed from Foundation Day when I wasn’t looking 🙂

I’ve had a wonderful weekend. I’ve finished the first round of edits for my next book, So Far Into You, which is due for release in October this year with Escape Publishing. I’m working with Belinda Holmes on edits, and after a bit of a struggle with my own self-doubt late last week, I managed to get in the swing of the book and finish it Saturday afternoon. My additions (there are lots) are now back with Belinda for her input. I’ll probably see them once more before we count this book done.

In Margaret River it has been the annual Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival. Lots of bookish friends have been staying in Margies and visiting the Festival each day. Carol Seeley who blogs at Reading, Writing and Riesling, has written great wrap-ups of each day of the Festival. She told me romance author Fiona Palmer’s talk was particularly inspirational, and I know Carol enjoyed meeting one of her favourite authors, Robert Gott.

Also visiting for the festival were three people who I have only previously cyber-met, but who have become friends, particularly the lovely and talented Louise Allan who had her novel, Ida’s Children, final in the 2014 City of Fremantle TAG Hungerford Award. Louise, Rae Hilhorst, and Swanbourne Bookcaffe manager and aspiring writer, Emily Paul, travelled from Perth together and had weekend passes to the Festival.

On Saturday night, Louise, Rae and Emily came to visit at my place. Hubby lit the firepit at the base of our block (I think this was so he could watch football uninterrupted by four women talking about books), and we sat watching the rising moon and the stars, sharing several glasses of wine, nibbles and a meal around the fire. I don’t think we stopped talking for about 3.5 hours, except to take another sip of wine. It was so cold away from the fire that our white wine didn’t need to be in an ice bucket, and our red wine ended up rather chilled (to say the least).

It was a great evening, and very inspiring, like I find most times I get the chance to talk books and writing with other authors, bloggers and writers, no matter what stage of their writing careers. (#DirtyDraft sessions, I’m thinking about you).

P1020503
Looking south from the carpark at Gnoocardup (pardon the spelling). Imagine an Irish woman trying to mangle this pronunciation… it’s said: Newkardup.

Topping off the weekend, things got physical today with a group of five ladies enjoying a walk along a 12.5km stretch of the Cape To Cape walking track. We dropped a car at Sea Gardens cafe in Prevelly this morning then drove back to Ellensbrook Homestead and walked from Ellensbrook to Prevelly, through Gnoocardup (which I shudder when I try to spell), Joey’s Nose, Kilcarnup and eventually to the Margaret River mouth.

Both Saturday and Sunday have been blessed days with the weather. Can you believe tomorrow is the first day of Winter and yet today, at the end of our walk, three of our party ended up jumping in the ocean for a swim? (Not me – I’m way too chicken! That water was cold!)

P1020505
The Cape to Cape walk trail, at Cape Mentelle.

So, a wonderful weekend, capped off with a footy win for the West Coast Eagles… and there’s still another day going free tomorrow. Rumour is if the weather holds, it will involve fishing at Augusta. Or at the very least, lunch at the Augusta pub.

Lots of Bookish News

Well, not heaps of bookish news, but some.

First, my next book for release, So Far Into You, is currently in the hands of one of the wonderful team of Harlequin editors, the lovely Belinda Holmes. Belinda has edited some of my work before, for an anthology called It Happened At Cafe Nix that was released by a group of Escape Publishing authors earlier this year. It made me all warm and fuzzy inside to think I’d be working with Belinda again.Lily's Nix cover

So Far Into You begins in Margaret River and moves to the Adelaide Hills, so it’s sort of mimicking my life. I was born near Margaret River and went to school here before moving to South Australia in late 2001 (although I’ve since moved back to Margaret River in 2013). The book is set in the wine industry and involves several events from my memories, the Margaret River Vintage Festival being one.

My early memories of the Margaret River Vintage/Wine Festival were way back when it was set in what was then a vacant lot (now a carpark and supermarket) beside the Settlers Tavern. I remember plank-walk races, and barrel races, and that the festival involved laughs, community, and drinking lots of wine.

So Far Into You begins with a meeting between the heroine, Remy, and the hero, Seth, at the Margaret River Wine Festival just prior to a storm that puts paid to the day. The book also includes some other favourite memories, such as bushwalking in spring and looking for orchids, which these characters do. Seth doesn’t know his donkey orchid from his cowslip, but Remy sets him straight.

Orchid spotting on a spring bush walk near where I live.
Orchid spotting on a spring bush walk near where I live.

I’ve been told the book will be ready for release in October 2015, which is very exciting!

Yesterday, I heard from Escape about my last remaining self-pubbed work, the novella, The Goodbye Ride. After picking up Fairway To Heaven last year (this too was originally self-pubbed), Escape Publishing has now agreed to take The Goodbye Ride into their expert hands.

For me right now, I’m moving away from self-pubbing my work and I’ve been happy with this decision.

Last, just for a change of pace. A few of us in our writing group, The Naughty Ninjas, challenged eachother to write a shapeshifter romance in the last week or so. So I just did that (you know, as you do). It’s about 3500 words, involving a prehistoric animal as the ‘shifter’… I don’t have a name for the story yet, but it might just find a home at Wattpad.

Angry Birds & Turtle Doves | A free read on #Wattpad

Lily's Nix cover“Sydney’s hot. Adelaide’s hot. And it’s getting hot down under the tablecloth.”

Have you been following the collaboration of Escape Publishing authors writing “It Happened At Cafe Nix?” It’s been on Wattpad, which is a free reading platform, for the last week. There are 14 authors involved and I’m one of them.

My story Angry Birds and Turtle Doves went live today. It features Seth and Remy from my yet to be published book now contracted to Escape, called So Far Into You.

Here’s the blurb:

About So Far Into You

A new Australian vineyard romance from Lily Malone, author of His Brand Of Beautiful and Fairway To Heaven.

Millionaire wine tycoons don’t usually go all soft and gooey over love at first sight, but Seth Lasrey wasn’t a millionaire when he met Remy. He wasn’t a tycoon, either. Not yet. All that would come later.

When she cut her viticulture degree short and moved home, Remy wasn’t thinking about anything more than making the next dollar in her pocket. Working two jobs to keep food on the table and a loan shark from the door, Remy and her mother are slowly building a life together. Then a freak storm rips apart the Margaret River Wine Festival, and Seth and Remy’s worlds collide.

He’s old money. She is no money. 

He’s the boss. She’s his employee.

Together they are so far wrong, it can’t ever be right.

But when love runs you off the track, how far would you go to get a second chance?

****

Now the short story does come with a language warning. If you’re game, check out mine, and the other Cafe Nix short stories on Wattpad while you’re there. Escape Publishing has some amazing authors and it’s been a pleasure to be part of Cafe Nix.

This link will take you straight through: http://www.wattpad.com/113743182-it-happened-at-cafe-nix-angry-birds-and-turtle/page/4

Ready for bite-size reading? Coming soon @ Cafe Nix

14 Escape Publishing authors (including me!), one contemporary romance, 15 happy endings. Welcome to Cafe Nix.

31140939-256-k709664Cafe Nix is a collaboration between 14 Escape authors to bring readers epilogues, extra scenes, and all-new material featuring favourite characters from Escape contemporary titles. Each chapter is an original short story of its own, dropping you straight back into the lives of characters already let loose in the world in previously or soon to be published Escape books as they spend time at Sydney’s harbourside cafe, Cafe Nix.

My story is called Angry Birds and Turtle Doves, and it features Seth and Remy from my next Escape Publishing title, So Far Into You. (No release date unfortunately – this book won’t be out till much later in the year).

Who are the Cafe Nix authors?
In order of appearance they are:
Elizabeth Dunk – The Silver-haired Saviour:  In the style of The Lies We Tell
Juanita Kees – Under His Persuasion:  Characters from Tag Raiders Series
Sandra Antonelli – Niagara Falls at Cafe Nix:  Characters from Driving in Neutral
Jane O’ReillyHunk of the Month:  Characters from The Holiday Survival Guide
Nicole FlocktonBound by Their Wedding Plans:  Characters from Bound By His Desire
Cate EllinkDeeper Diving:  Characters from Deep Diving
Ros BaxterStand and Deliver:  Characters from Lingerie for Felons
Jenny SchwartzKissing Time:  Characters from Hero Duty
Ainslie PatonNo Dick Moves:  Characters from Insecure 
Jennie Jones12 Bells and a Baby:  Characters from Swallows Fall series
Lee ChristineIn Safe Company:  Characters from Grace & Poole series
Lily MaloneAngry Birds and Turtle Doves:  Characters from So Far Into You
Rhian CahillChristmas Wishes Do Come True: Characters from Christmas Wishes
Amy AndrewsRisqué Business:  Characters from Risky Business

Where can you get It Happened at Café Nix?
It will be released on Wattpad on April 2 and later will be available as a complete volume through Smashwords.

I’ll let you know when my story comes up!

 

 

“I Loved It From Chapter 8”

So, remember how last time on the blog I was feeling “nostalgic” and “zen”?? And, remember in the blog post before that, I was so close to finishing my fourth book, So Far Into You?
My feeling of zen lasted about a week, until my Beta readers started sending me their feedback for the book I’d just finished.
You see, I was so sure I’d wave that book into the world of Beta readers… and welcome their glowing feedback as it flooded back in lucious waves of WOW, WOW, WOW!!
Or not, as it turned out.
It wasn’t that my Beta partners didn’t like my book, they just didn’t love it. They didn’t get my hero… they didn’t particularly like him. They didn’t like the start.
Some of the comments were:

  • Gina has to go. (Gulp. Gina was the opening scene).
  • Seth is too nasty. We have to like your hero too.
  • I loved it from Chapter 8.
  • The ending is rushed.
  • The antagonist rolls over too quickly.
  • Something worse has to happen at the end.
  • I want another scene with Seth and Remy at the start.
  • We love Remy. (Everybody loves Remy).

So I cursed the world for about 24 hours, and then I re-read all the gold they’d sent me, and thought about how right they were.
So, with my very best pair of slash/hack editing scissors, I lopped off Gina’s head, and started again.
One of the hardest things I find is to get good distance from my writing. Because I know the story inside and out, and I know what my characters are feeling and why they do what they do, it gets very easy to not take readers with me… to make leaps and jumps that feel like they’re perfectly reasonable, while readers who don’t know the story are left floundering in a world of: “WTF just happened there?”
So tonight, I’ve finished this book AGAIN. Four years, three weeks and one day in gestation. I don’t know how much more of this pregnancy I can take!