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greatest-american-hero

Remember me? From that cheesy 70s TV show?

Next step as I stumble through this storyline is the love interest. If you’ve read any of my books, you know he is bound to be a manly man with a manly name.

Manly men have monosyllabic names. It’s a Rule. Deal with it:

Sam. Will. Mike. Rourke. Rand. Greg. Tom. Steve. Ross. Rob.

Here are some manly names you will never see in a Wiggs book, because I’m related to them so I can’t write about them as fictional characters (shudder): Nick, Jay, Jon, Dave…all good names, but too close to home to use.

The initial and final sounds of a male monosyllabic name are like muscular biceps framing a massive chest. I’m not kidding here. Pay attention, you might learn something.

Okay, they can have ONE MORE syllable if you promise to give them really cool surnames:

Ryan Calhoun. Jesse Morgan. Dylan Kennedy. Justin McCord.

If they’re really special and have a following even though their book is not yet written, they might get to have a totally special name:

Julian Gastineaux, anybody? Logan O’Donnell?

FYI – here are some move names you will NEVER find attached to the hero of a Wiggs book: Winston. Percy (even though it worked fine for the Scarlet Pimpernel). Vivian, Uriah, Seymour, Poindexter. To name a few.

Oh, and another thing. The name has to sound good next to their girlfriend’s. The female love interest in this one is Tess (short for Theresa) Lindberg. So I wouldn’t want Jess or Jesse. That’s just too cute.

His surname has to work with the girl’s name too, since she has to live with it the rest of her happily-ever-after life. So, Farraday. Someone mentioned that earlier. I’m thinking Quinn. Quinn Farraday. But maybe not, because Quinn + Tess looks a little suspicious, like someone just made them up out of think air. Lemme think on this.

What are your thoughts? What are some of your fave fictional manly names?

lip balm nirvana:

cheetos-balm.jpg

Sometimes they’re just so obvious. Of course his name is Eddie Haven, what else would it be? Isadora Peabody. Eliza Flyte. Michelle Turner. Olivia Bellamy. Mary Dare. Will Bonner. They just popped into my mind and stuck, helping to shape the character.

Other times (um, now), it all feels so artificial. I think it was Elmore Leonard who said (I’m paraphrasing), “Don’t let your characters’ names sound like made-up names.”

So here’s where I am. I’m writing about two sisters, Isabel and Tess. That’s fine, they sound like sisters. The surname is what’s tripping me up. Due to a backstory that accesses an event in WWII, they need a Danish or maybe Swedish surname.

So far, all I’ve come up with are names that sound like Ikea furniture, or…well, you be the judge.

Skytte
Højgaard
Bager
Skriver
Fogh
Kock
Lynge
Klitgaard
With all due respect to the Danes, these are not going to fly with English-speaking readers.
I’m getting tripped up by the letter S. Both Isabel and Tess are already sibilant enough, so I’m looking for something that feels natural, pretty, and doesn’t make me hiss like a snake.
Comments?
good to go

good to go

…at any stage of life. One of my favorite people in the world is getting married today. This is the second time around for this adorable couple. Their kids are grown and flown, and a whole new chapter is opening for them. Inspiring! In a very real way. I think I need to write about a second-chance couple. And check out her outfit. Breathtaking, right down to the ruby slippers.

A quick reminder–post a comment on this blog: http://harlequinblog.com/2009/10/welcome-to-the-new-harlequin-blog/#comments

As a special thank-you to readers who find us on our inaugural post, we have a contest! Please comment about any Harlequin book you have read and enjoyed and we will enter you into a draw for a copy of New York Timesbestselling author Susan Wiggs’s Lakeshore Christmas. We’ll be giving away five copies of Susan’s heartwarming holiday tale. Comment with your name and the Harlequin book you read and enjoyed by October 23 and we’ll randomly select five winners to receive this wonderful hardcover book.  Open to residents of the United States and Canada only. One entry per person. For full contest details, click here.

After the Daisy question, probably the most frequent query I’ve had from readers this month is this:

so many books, so little time

so many books, so little time

“Why did you publish the latest ‘Lakeshore Chronicles’ book, Lakeshore Christmas, in hardcover, after hooking readers into the series with paperback originals?”
A: I’m glad this question has been asked (and asked and asked) by readers. It is annoying to get hooked into a series at once price point–pocketbook-friendly paperbacks–and then to find the next eagerly awaited book as a hardback that costs more than twice as much.
The explanation is, it’s a balancing act. Having low-cost paperbacks available is a great way to build a readership. A reader is more likely to take a chance on an author she’s never read before if she only has to invest $8 or so in the book.
On the other hand, the lack of a hardcover edition creates huge problems for the public library. With their dwindling budgets, libraries can’t afford to buy many paperbacks, because they tend to fall apart. So that creates problems for libraries with tough choices to make.
When I decided to write a Christmas book about saving the library, the best choice seemed to be a hardcover edition, followed by a paperback edition a year later.
It’s not a perfect solution, and it doesn’t thrill me to ask paperback readers to wait. But anyone with a library card can read the book (or audio) for free by taking this form http://susanwiggs.com/library_form.html to the local library and asking them to acquire the book.
That said, I should point out that the decision about a book’s format is made by the publisher. Sometimes the author is consulted, sometimes not. The publisher makes the call based on their goals and marketing research.
Question for readers–does your library provide a “patron request” service? I’m happy to say mine does! Thank you, Kitsap Regional Library!

Q: “Why did you publish the latest ‘Lakeshore Chronicles’ book, Lakeshore Christmas,* in hardcover, after hooking readers into the series with paperback originals?”

A: I’m glad this question has been asked (and asked and asked) by readers. It is annoying to get hooked into a series at once price point–pocketbook-friendly paperbacks–and then to find the next eagerly awaited book as a hardback that costs more than twice as much.

The explanation is, it’s a balancing act between fulfilling the mass market needs (individual readers) with the hardcover market reads (libraries and hardcover fans). Having low-cost paperbacks available is a great way to build a readership. A reader is more likely to take a chance on an author she’s never read before if she only has to invest $8 or so in the book.

On the other hand, the lack of a hardcover edition creates huge problems for the public library. With their dwindling budgets, libraries can’t afford to buy many paperbacks, because they tend to fall apart. So that creates problems for libraries with tough choices to make.

When I decided to write a Christmas book about saving the library, the best choice seemed to be a hardcover edition, followed by a paperback edition a year later.

It’s not a perfect solution, and it doesn’t thrill me to ask paperback readers to wait. But anyone with a library card can read the book (or audio or large print edition) for free by taking this form to the local library and asking them to acquire the book.

That said, I should point out that the decision about a book’s format is made by the publisher. Sometimes the author is consulted, sometimes not. The publisher makes the call based on their goals and marketing research.

Question for readers–does your library provide a “patron request” service? I’m happy to say mine does! Thank you, Kitsap Regional Library!

*Note: All the links in this article will take you to WorldCat.org, or Better World Books.  Both are book sites with a social conscience and library-centric attitude. 🙂

So Lakeshore Christmas is all about saving the library. In fictional Avalon, finances are tight and hard choices have to be made. One of the most painful cuts that has to be made is to the library. The citizens pull out all the stops to keep their library open.

Be an angel - save the library

Be an angel - save the library

Then I was getting dinner tonight when this story came on the air. In order to keep from closing, the children and citizens of Roy have mounted a grassroots campaign to save their library.

The book is fiction but the problem is all too real, and being played out across the country. I put my money where my mouth is, and sent my check (plus copies of the book and audio CD) right away.

Every little bit helps. If you can spare anything at all, please make your check out to Roy Friends of the Library. Here’s the address. Thank you!

Roy Friends of the Library
PO Box 700
Roy, Washington 98580

Playing with the 85mm lens. Barkis was so bored, he fell asleep in the sun.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Barkis falls asleep sitting up", posted with vodpod

Just another day in the life:

  • ___ wrote 1500 words on the book-in-progress
  • ___ interviewed a chef for my next book
  • ___ answered 40 e-mails, deleted around 100 unanswered
  • ___ made a fleece jacket for Barkis
  • ___ talked to Mom, daughter & sister on the phone
  • ___ unpacked from booksigning trip last weekend, repacked for booksigning and writers’ conference this weekend.
  • ___ got a royalty check for some backlist titles (thank you, Hachette)
  • ___ went to the bank, went shopping (see above)
  • ___ made a couple of bestseller lists with the new book
  • ___ Oh, and another thing, drove the boat up onto the trailer. Why yes, that is me at the helm. What else am I going to do in all my spare time?
Take my word for it...

Take my word for it...

...this is NOT as easy as Im making it look

...this is NOT as easy as I'm making it look

It is like threading a camel through the eye of a needle. Really. Except that making a mistake is a bit more expensive.

I love when people ask me questions about books, writing and reading.

Thank you so much for this opportunity! You can find a downloadable high resolution photo on my web site here: http://susanwiggs.com/press.shtml
10 Questions for Susan Wiggs
1. What was your favorite book as a child?
SW: I loved so many books as a child, it’s hard to narrow it down. Yertle the Turtle by Dr Seuss was the first I bought with my own money. I sobbed over You Were Princess Last Time about a girl whose mean sister cut off her long, beautiful hair (I had long, beautiful hair.). Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White was one I read again and again. The whole world is in that book–life, death, friendship, family, loyalty, humor, pathos, suspense, drama and an uplifting ending…everything I hope readers find in my own books.
2. What is your favorite book right now?
SW: An unfinished novel called Daisy+Logan+Julian, by my favorite author (me).  I’m not being facetious; I really do love this book and I’ve wanted to write it for a long time. It’s about continuing characters from past books, and I can’t wait to write their story. But I do have to wait, because I have other deadlines to meet. Soon, though!
3. What book do you like to give away as a present?
SW: I Like You by Amy Sedaris–it’s everyone’s childhood in one big, funny book. Meeting God In Quiet Places by F. LaGarde Smith is a comforting book about walking, meditation and prayer. And Literary Feasts, a cookbook with photos and recipes by famous authors with an intro by chef Greg Atkinson; the proceeds go to raise money for libraries.
4. What book are you reading right now?
SW: The Reserve by Russell Banks, about privileged families at an Adirondack Mountain retreat in the 1930s. It’s wonderful!
5. What book have you always wanted to read, but haven’t yet gotten around to?
SW: The da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I believe I’m the only person on the planet who hasn’t read it yet.
6. What book would you have liked to have written yourself?
SW: Same answer as #2 above–the book about Daisy from my series, The Lakeshore Chronicles. I wish I was already done with that book! I feel so much pressure to do a good job on that book, I’m almost afraid to start it. I don’t want my readers to feel let down.
7. What book (not your own) should have made the bestseller lists?
SW: Love in Bloom by Sheila Roberts–a book about all the loves that fill a woman’s life. It’s wonderful, the kind of novel you want to share with all the women you know. And Oxygen by Carol Cassella, an absorbing page-turner with a huge heart and many intriguing twists. Both books deserve a wide audience.
8. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
SW: David Copperfield (I’m a sucker for writers in novels), Huckleberry Finn, Edmond Dantes (The Count of Monte Cristo) and Frodo Underhill from The Lord of the Rings. All of them were such strivers; they never gave up. My favorite romantic hero is (no surprise) Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice.
9. Who is your favorite fictional heroine?
SW: Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh–she inspired me to be a writer. Jo March from Little Women –another writer who never gave up. And Jane Eyre, who never gave up on love.
10. What is your “guilty” reading pleasure?
SW: I never, ever feel guilty about reading anything. All reading is good. Books that are dismissed as frivolous by some readers can be life-changing for others, so I would never want anyone to feel guilty for reading anything. I sure don’t!
Thank you!

10 Questions for Susan Wiggs

1. What was your favorite book as a child?

Hello, Charlotte!

Hello, Charlotte!

SW: I loved so many books as a child, it’s hard to narrow it down. Yertle the Turtle by Dr Seuss was the first I bought with my own money. I sobbed over You Were Princess Last Time about a girl whose mean sister cut off her long, beautiful hair (I had long, beautiful hair.). Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White was one I read again and again. The whole world is in that book–life, death, friendship, family, loyalty, humor, pathos, suspense, drama and an uplifting ending…everything I hope readers find in my own books.

2. What is your favorite book right now?

SW: An unfinished novel called Daisy+Logan+Julian, by my favorite author (me).  I’m not being facetious; I really do love this book and I’ve wanted to write it for a long time. It’s about continuing characters from past books, and I can’t wait to write their story. But I do have to wait, because I have other deadlines to meet. Soon, though!

3. What book do you like to give away as a present?

SW: I Like You by Amy Sedaris–it’s everyone’s childhood in one big, funny book. Meeting God In Quiet Places by F. LaGarde Smith is a comforting book about walking, meditation and prayer. And Literary Feasts, a cookbook with photos and recipes by famous authors with an intro by chef Greg Atkinson; the proceeds go to raise money for libraries.

4. What book are you reading right now?

SW: The Reserve by Russell Banks, about privileged families at an Adirondack Mountain retreat in the 1930s. It’s wonderful! And Save the Cat by Blake Snyder, who passed away suddenly this August. 😦 Wonderful book on storytelling.

5. What book have you always wanted to read, but haven’t yet gotten around to?

SW: The da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I believe I’m the only person on the planet who hasn’t read it yet.

6. What book would you have liked to have written yourself?

SW: Same answer as #2 above–the book about Daisy from my series, The Lakeshore Chronicles. I wish I was already done with that book! I feel so much pressure to do a good job, I’m almost afraid to start it. I don’t want my readers to feel let down.

7. What book (not your own) should have made the bestseller lists?

SW: Love in Bloom by Sheila Roberts–a book about all the loves that fill a woman’s life. It’s wonderful, the kind of novel you want to share with all the women you know. And Oxygen by Carol Cassella, an absorbing page-turner with a huge heart and many intriguing twists. Both books deserve a wide audience. In the children’s arena, Looking for Bapu by Anjali Banerjee and Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors should have been bestsellers.

8. Who is your favorite fictional hero?

SW: David Copperfield (I’m a sucker for writers in novels), Huckleberry Finn, Edmond Dantes (The Count of Monte Cristo) and Frodo Underhill from The Lord of the Rings. All of them were such strivers; they never gave up. My favorite romantic hero is (no surprise) Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. Restraint can  be so sexy. I wish someone would explain that to Barkis.

9. Who is your favorite fictional heroine?

SW: Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh–she inspired me to be a writer. Jo March from Little Women –another writer who never gave up on her dream, even when her bratty sister burned her manuscript. I cried harder then than I did when Beth died! And Jane Eyre, who never gave up on love.

10. What is your “guilty” reading pleasure?

SW: I never, ever feel guilty about reading anything. All reading is good. Books that are dismissed as frivolous by some readers can be life-changing for others, so I would never want anyone to feel guilty for reading anything. I sure don’t!

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