’Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself though, not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O! be some other name:
From Juliet’s musings on why Romeo has the name he does. The WHY of names can be a wild and random journey.
Recently I worked up the concepts for six new novels. These are for my agent to (hopefully) sell to my publishers, so that I can plan what I’ll be writing in the future. Basically, the pitches look like extended back cover copy. Something like:
Danielle Sosna has no problem denying herself in order to achieve her goals—after all, that attitude landed her a dream job at Vogue Paris. But in New Orleans for one last assignment before heading overseas, she’s faced with the most decadent of temptations. Seductive Cajun chef Bobby Prejean takes Dani’s strength of will as a challenge, and offers her a night of wild indulgence—if she will agree to obey his every command.
Dani can’t resist Prejean’s invitation to join him in a world of carnal desire, complete with fetish costumes and masks. Determined to keep her emotional distance, she gives Prejean everything but her name. A night becomes a week, as she spends Mardi Gras suspended in the delicious space where pleasure meets pain.
Too late, she realizes the cloak of anonymity has not protected her—and that chasing her dream might come at the expense of her heart.
Which is the copy for RUBY, my most recent release. That was also the first book I sold on spec, like this – meaning that I wrote up the concept and then wrote the story. But the early version of that looked considerably different.
Let’s say “rougher.”
See, I start with my heroine – she’s usually the core of the story for me – and then fill in the rest. For some reason, the hero’s name is nearly the last thing I fill in. Thus the draft book sketches I sent my critique partners (CPs) for feedback contained lines like:
Secure in her relative anonymity, Em embarks on an increasingly erotic—and kinky—affair with [name].
Amber likes working for Mr. [something].
By the third one of this group, I’d gotten a little punchy, thus:
Enter Whoosies. He’s had his eye on Seleste for years, not only because of her amazing rack and equally lush figure.
Please note this is NOT how the final wording went. 😉 If I’m being organized, I remember to put my “fill in later” stuff in brackets like [this]. But that takes a LOT of extra keystrokes. Like two! Plus I have to remember to do the second one once I do the first and, I hope I can trust you all with this sensitive information, sometimes that’s just too much for my brain.
So I was amused to see a tweet yesterday from sister Contemporary Romance Cafe writer Brighton Walsh, who said: