31 May 2012

Close Encounters Of The Embarassing Kind

And then we laughed and laughed...

The cyber-world presents a ripe environment for misunderstanding.  Inflection, tone, body language and the like are conspicuously absent from conversations sailing back and forth across invisible paths.  Add in my tendency to assume (Oh!  The Assuming!) and you've guessed it, a recipe for hilarity. 

Hesitant to post what will surely become known as 'The Notariani's Debacle Of 'Aught Twelve', I consulted my humor loving family.  (They ever enjoy a laugh at my expense - it's the way of my family; I reciprocate when I can.)  All agreed, 'You've got to laugh about it!  Don't be a sensitive ninny.'  So...here goes.

I've developed an acquaintance/friendship with a fellow blogger/writer over the last few months.  We comment back and forth, read what's new and interesting on one another's blogs, email once in a blue moon.  I'm an extrovert, and enjoy talking/writing/communicating - so much so that I'd talk the ears off my victims friends and family - and I adore a jokey-and-pun-filled-euphemism-laced-conversation.  Now this particular writer/blogger has made a few comments that offered hints of the quirky humor right up my alley.  (Believe me, my sister and I can laugh at anything.  ANYTHING.  It's a gift...and a curse)  Fellow blogger/writer and I very recently guffawed over the All-Knowing-Google.  So...when I opened an email from a person bearing the same name and listing Google as the means of introduction, I immediately jumped to the following conclusions (quite in error)

1) Same name = same person
2) The acquaintance had taken on the comfortable status of friendship where humor reigns supreme. 
3) The new addition to those I count as friend had decided to inject aforementioned supremely reigning humor via a cheeky email. 
4) Hilarity would ensue after my equally cheeky reply.

Cringing commenced the next morning.  In the end, same name most definitely does NOT = same person.  Please write that down.  Ha!  In fact, it turns out that the email happened to come from an entirely separate entity (who just happens to share the same name as fellow writer/blogger/acquaintance/friend)!!  When I received the reply to my cheeky reply - well - I nearly laid an egg, fairly certain of my gross misunderstanding.  I immediately forwarded the three emails to blogger/writer with a boldly typed request, 'If this is not you, please email me immediately.'  Clarification was given, and mortification followed. 

So... Did I learn my lesson?  For today.  My sense of humor overrides all good sense at times, and I make no promises that it will never happen again.  I learned long ago not to promise what I cannot hope to fulfill.  I've had to dig my foot from my throat in the past, and remain quite confident this shall not be my last painful extraction.  Ha!

After I managed to patch up my sorely abused dignity, I had to admit, the whole incident was quite funny.  It's like something out of a Seinfeld episode.  For now...there are two people of the same name - most likely wondering and shaking their heads.  Writer/blogger/acquaintance/friend has been exposed - prematurely and confusingly - to my absolute slavery to gaining a laugh, and person-of-the-same-name likely thinks me a lunatic.  Ha!

...But I've no worries :}  Here at the Notariani household...we laughed and laughed....

 ~ Nadja

30 May 2012

A Spellbound Scribe? Sure!

Another week is zooming by!  Time, surely, speeds up as I number my days with equal parts hard work and silliness...

It's that time again.  Another check-in brings us to that reckoning of accomplishments and progress, revealing the good, the bad, and the ugly!  Ha.  How are you faring?  On top of the world?  Struggling to scale the next peak? 

I've had a fabulous week.  A Round Of Words In 80 Days introduced me to Claudia Lefeve , and over the course of the last year, we've visited back and forth, coming to know and encourage one another as we dare to write, edit, and publish as Indie-Authors.  So, when an invitation came to join up with The Spellbound Scribes I said, 'Sure!'...well, after I picked myself up off my smarting keester and pinched myself once or twice. 

Spellbound ScribesSpellbound Scribes features posts on writing and the like straight from the hearts and minds of paranormal authors!  Monthly themes from differing perspectives offer readers a sampling of opinion and style, broadening the scope of topics deliciously.  I sure hope you'll stop by and support these talented ladies...ahem...and me too!  *shameless promotion in progress*  Ha.   

On The Writing & Goals Front...

*  Chapter Five is complete.  Phew.  This chapter was an absolute joy to pen...er, pencil.  My heroine is knee deep in it, not knowing whether to sit or stand.  She's all 'sixes-and-sevens' for the moment, and my hero is wearing an impish grin, smugly satisfied at her present state.  This delightful theme will continue through Chapter Six, much to my amusement.

*  Exercise is done and done! 

*  Social goals  - check.

The Third Fate's Updated Tour Schedule*  Promotion for The Third Fate continues, and I have to give a huge shout out to Vickie and Shauni at Innovative Online Book Tours .  Ladies, you all are fabulous.  Thank you for making my first book tour a wonderful experience.  To anyone nearing a new release, I highly recommend you check out this site.  I am impressed with their professionalism and the reviewers who've signed on. 

*  Chapter two is well on its way to being typed.  For a few weeks, I couldn't muster the 'umph' needed to get my fingers to tapping.  I feel better having finally worked on this, and can offer no silliness on what I consider an odious task.  (okay...call me out, for I cannot help but offer one final Ha! before I close) 

 ~ Nadja

27 May 2012

Researching For Romance ~ History In Style

Beautiful Dresses From The Seventeenth Century...
(Photos have been removed from post)
Next up within my newest blog feature, Researching For Romance, I'll share some lovely fashion finds!  Historical novels/novellas share top billing in my romance reading favorites along with contemporary and paranormal.  When writing a contemporary, dress is easily described in as elaborate or little detail as the author would care to go into.  Within the paranormal world, the author can get downright creative - or not - as preference dictates.  But when writing a historical, the fashion spectrum narrows.

The gowns and beautiful dresses of long ago enchant me.  So, when I wrote my first historical novella, researching popular fashions was a treat!  The mid 1600's were a period of varied dress for ladies.  Courtly gowns were far more elaborate than the Northumberland countryside setting in which I have my heroine, Lady Mariel Hayes.  (At that time, whether one was 'high' enough on the nobility ranking to rate the official title or not, the feminine persuasion was addressed or referred to as 'Lady' by polite society.  Encyclopedia Britannica)

Both of the gowns pictured are fine examples of what Mariel may have worn.  The green above is just beautiful!  I love the neckline and fitted waist. 


In this painting,  (Workshop of Gerard van Honthorst Title: Amalia van Solms (1602-75). Wife of Prince Frederik Hendrik.  Date 1650 Medium Oil on canvas.) we see a princess' gown, which is bulkier and more elaborate.  My hero and heroine are far lower on the nobility tier, Gervase being only a Baron. 

One fashion accessory I had to include in Mariel's wardrobe was the snood.  I own a few snoods myself, covering my hair a priority on those days when humidity reigns and my overly-zealous natural curls go wild!  Wild, I say!  Here's a beautiful snood my research produced.  I modified it's sparkly look to tone it down a bit for my Mariel, who is not a flashy character.  Ha! 

What is your favorite historical dress style? (I'm also partial to empire waisted gowns, but that's for another post!)  Do you research clothing, too? 

On The Writing and Goals Front ~

*  Chapter five is moving right along.  My heroine begins to be affected by our rakish hero, as she catches glimpses of what lies beneath his exterior.  How?  Why?  Well, he's come up against an enigma...a woman who challenges him, confuses him.  As he begins to know her, through their interactions and through watching family dynamics, he's drawn to her.  She's not what he expected.  He understands that he wants to have her know him...wants to earn her trust.  It's a good time for me as a writer to eek these two characters toward one another little by little. 

*   Exercise is checked off the list for this week.  I broke the minute mark in holding a breaking parallel squat.  Noodle legs followed.  It was a glorious feeling....well, after I got my sea legs back.  Ha! 

*  Social media goals - check.  Easily. 

*  Promotion is wild and crazy.  Summer Kick-Off has me offering my latest, The Third Fate for only $0.99 through the month of June.  Reviews are coming in, emails are flying back and forth through cyber-space, and I'm smiling ear to ear.  Even though it can be harried and consuming, I'm having a blast.  Thanks to all the readers who've taken the time to post reviews and stars.  You all make me smile. 

*  The Third Fate's online tour with IO will wrap up this week.  I've been introduced to some fantastic review sites, and look forward to following.

*  Another round is nearing the close.  The next will begin 02 July!  I need to set my goals over the next two weeks to prepare.  I've decided to push hard through the next round, and may set a goal to be ready for edits on my current WIP by next round's end.  It's a daring move, but I'm feeling it....we'll see!

Have a great week, everyone!
 ~ Nadja

25 May 2012

Summer Kick-Off Promotion!

Memorial Day weekend signals summer's kick-off, at least in my mind.  To celebrate my favorite season, I'm offering my newest release, The Third Fate for $0.99 through the month of June!  Snap it up for a little paranormal frolic on the covered patio.  :}

The Third FateBuy At Amazon!

'One Fate be granted mortal man, used for evil or good as the inner voice directs. Alas, the divine spark draws the eyes of the Fates, the Second Fate sparingly gifted by their hands. Be warned offspring of the gods; guard your gifting well. For if the Third Fate be unleashed, the soul lays bare before one so touched by the gods.' ~

Cautious and quiet by nature, Paige Kinnell watches life unfold from the sidelines, maintaining her simple existence as a shield to hide behind. But underneath her shy, careful ways, Paige senses a disconnect with the world around her, indulging instead her ever curious interest in the legend and lore of time nearly forgotten.

One chance encounter with an ancient of the undead begins an unraveling of reality as Paige knows it, leaving her to sort through dreams and enchantments, discovering along the way that one's Fate can be mere illusion, and that the consequences of opening her heart to another may cost dearly.

Cael Maccinnis, the handsome Highlander she's met, seems the answer to every unspoken longing of her heart, even as he awakens dark, secret desires buried within her soul. As strange and unnerving changes begin occurring in her mind and body, Paige has no choice but to face her life's unnatural turn and confront the frightening implications. For within Paige's past a secret lay dormant, hidden even from her. This truth, guarded well and wielded by the Fates themselves, becomes the catalyst invoking the power of The Third Fate.

While Memorial Day signals the promise of summer, it also marks a day to remember. 

As the parent of a U.S. service-person, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all the men and women who are on active duty, in the reserves, attending college through ROTC, or enrolled in military academies.  Your service does not go unnoticed.  As we remember those who have fallen in service to country - in service to fellow citizen -  I'm reminded how fortunate I am to be here.  My grandfather fought in Europe in WWII, my father in Vietnam.  I'm sure they knew many men who weren't so fortunate.  May G-D be with you all.

 ~ Nadja

23 May 2012

Real Life Evaluation And Trauma-Drama In Fiction

Another Wednesday check-in has come around for ROW80 participants. 

June 21, 2012 will mark the end of this round.  Time for a reckoning.  Self assessment.  Introspection.  Evaluation. 

How did you fare?  Meet a lofty goal and want to proclaim it from the roof-top?  Learn yourself better?  Discover your limits only to push past them?  All these questions should be building as we near the end of a round.  It is necessary as we begin fixing our goals for the next. 

We've got a few weeks left!  Push hard to the end.

On The Writing/Goals Front...

 * Begun writing chapter five.  I struggled with the ending of chapter four.  I didn't complete this chapter on time, finishing only last night.  I was tired and cranky and having to forcibly extract words from my brain.  This chapter exhausted me.  But!  Now the hero and heroine are once again under the same roof.  Their interaction should perk me right up! 

 * The typing...  Crickets, crickets.  *smiles awkwardly*


 * The exercise.  Whooping  victoriously!  On-toes push-ups!  That's what this girl has graduated up to.  Jeepers!  It sure did cut into my numbers, though.  Anyway, I'm feeling mighty proud. 

 * Discussed a hang-up I have my heroine experience with my brainstorming partner.  I want her to have this issue, offering fodder for fantastic tension and misunderstanding between her and the hero, but I need to tread carefully.  As a reader, I shy away from overly dramatic heroines.  It's a real turn-off for me.  I shy away from overly dramatic people in real-life; their absolute enslavement to emotion makes me uncomfortable - and wary of their ability to make sound judgements.  I'm using a bit of this with my heroine to balance her issue.  'Experience the emotion, recognize the issue, yet overcome and master one's self.'  That's my motto.  Oops...control freak in the blog...sorry :}   Finding the perfect balance to craft a likable, admirable and sympathetic character without venturing into melodramatic-mess-territory is proving a fine line. 

How do you feel about trauma-drama in your heroine or story?

Winners from the Sinful Siren Giveaway Hop....Drumroll, please....

First Prize - LaceyBlossom

Second Prize - June M. 

Third Prize - Eva P.

Congrats!  I'll be sending emails and prizes out in the next few days!  Thank you to everyone who stopped by and entered!  Come back on June 8, as the Summer Giveaway Hop begins with more chances to win.

 ~ Nadja

20 May 2012

Researching For Romance ~ A New Series

Welcome to Sunday's Check-In For ROW80.  Today I'm Introducing A New Weekly Post Series.

Traveling around the blogs, I've seen a few authors talk about their writing research.  I enjoyed it so much - I've decided to create my own version of this informative meme.  Researching For Romance will be a Sunday feature, and I hope to share random tidbits my own research has produced/produces during the writing process.  From historical clothing styles to Celtic myths, from Jewish and Muslim legends on the djinn to fighting styles within the world of mixed-martial-arts, I'll explore my finds.  Writing in multiple sub-genres within romance, my research takes me all over!  I hope you enjoy.  Please feel free to add your comments and share relevant web-sites helpful to the topics posted.  Gaining knowledge is always on my to-do list!

First up is something from my newest novel, The Third Fate, a paranormal romance.  Being a fan of all-things-Highlander-ish, I grabbed hold of Celtic legend and lore during the writing of The Third Fate, soaking up the myths with an eye toward creating a cohesive back story on the origins of the vampire.  Certainly, this research proved great fun.  Writing a paranormal romance was liberating, offering me great freedom to loose my imagination in new ways.  I loved it.

The Mabinogion, (pronounced Mabin-OGion) a collection of Welsh stories, first introduced me to Pywll.  His service to the god of the underworld, Arawn, inspired my tale of vampire creation within my novel.  Adding to my collection of tales, I discovered Mysterious Britain, another site perfect for perusing Celtic myths.

At first, I compiled a list of Celtic gods and goddesses, needing to sort through the plentiful deities.  Druid Circle filled my head with all manner of suggestions from their extensive collection.  I appreciated the description(s) of the god/goddesses realm, origin, and jurisdiction(s), which gave me enough back story in most cases to know if the god/goddess fit into my growing storyline. 

Most striking, for me, was understanding that wide variation existed between the beliefs of Celts, who were spread across vast territory.  Welsh, Irish, Briton, and Scottish legends vary greatly.  I had wrongfully assumed the Celtic religion to be one entity before my research.  My studies on religion had more centered around Jewish studies along with the ancient and contemporary religions of the Near East. By no means have I completed an exhaustive study!  So much is available; paranormal romance writers have nearly unlimited potential to craft fantastic stories from the wealth of myth and legend surrounding the Isles and their fascinating history. 

 ~ Nadja

18 May 2012

Good Reads And Great Advice

Finds and Features ....

Today, I'd like to share a mix of good reads and great advice.  Most of you are familiar with the A-Z Challenge, recently ended with a flourish.  Well done to those who participated!  I enjoyed your various takes and stories.  One in particular stood out - a diamond in the rough. 

Abby And Basil: A Blog Opera, written by Angela Brown at Publishness took me up and down, invoking hope and hate as I impatiently awaited the ending - which wasn't really an ending - but a cliff-hanging-nail-biting-to-be-continued halt.  Arrgh...it tortures so sweetly.  Ha!  Anyway, sit down with your tea, coffee, or beverage of choice and make introduction to some fabulous characters.

The Sinful Siren's Giveaway Hop is in full swing!  Take a peek at my previous post to enter my giveaway - and to find other great chances to win!  There is an extensive list of participants.  The hop runs from 15 May - 20 May, so there's plenty of time!

Marcy Kennedy reminds us that taking a break is important - and often neglected - as we race to meet 'one more goal, accomplish one more task'.  Take a minute to see how she employed Captain America to make her point in a great post. 

On The Writing Front...

Hmmm...since we're on the subject of reaching goals...I thought I'd post this great quote!  Are you satisfied with the life you're living?  If you are, congrats!  If not...what are you willing to do about it? 

I'm all about being satisfied.  That doesn't mean I don't strive for better...but it does mean that I've decided to be happy with where I am today, to be happy living the life I have today to its fullest.  Tomorrow is not guaranteed.  Live, savor, and be thankful for today. 

 * Writing away in Chapter 4.  Loving it!

 * Can only claim chapter 1 as typed.  Sigh. But it is already in the hands of my fabulous - cheeky sister for thoughts and critique.  I'm willing myself to type today...

 * Exercise rates 'nominal success'.  Last week, I only managed three workouts.  This week is the same so far.

 * Social goals have been met, easily. Honestly, I need more time to read all the great posts around the blogs. 

 * Reading for pleasure has been extremely...er, pleasant.  I sneaked two books during late night indulgences...*smiles*

Hope you are finding your groove as we pass the hump!  Weekend....Here we come!

 ~ Nadja

16 May 2012

It's Hereditary...

The Perfect Card...At Least For Me!

As you all know, Mother's Day just passed.  I received the best gifts!  DD#1 bought me a fabulous card and adorable summer shirt.  DD#2 sent me The Jane Austen Daily Devotional with another beautiful card.  Husband and DS#1 gifted me a way-too-expensive-card and overflowing hanging flower basket.  DS#2 and DS#3 each bought me a red rose (with their own allowance...gah!) and made me very creative cards ...  Among other gifts...a new teapot, a coupon book for free hugs-chores-and-breakfast-in-bed, a painting matted and framed by third grader, and a giraffe cut out and glued onto a giant colored construction paper background.  Phew!

My brother, whom I affectionately call Froderick, sent me this.  It will explain the essence of our large, hilarity-loving family.  Please enjoy...

From the wacky, weird, wild, and wondersome world of Monty Python, we most enthusiastically say to you: Happy Person Who Gives Birth to Other Person(s) Day! Or, as known in various other regions around the world that we can't think of off the tops of our heads: Festive Older Female Persons Who Happen to Have Children Day, Feliz Mom-Not-Dad, Happy-ish Person With Maternal Instinct Day, Matriarch Recognition Day, Team Captain of the Home-Front Day eh, The Kind-Of-Day Off For Housekeepers With Families, Women With Children Anonymous Awareness Day, or more commonly: Happy Mother's Day!

Love, The Funkiest Darn Bunch, dad-gummit!

PS- the sender is not responsible for any and all things that may happen to not get done for said person(s) day*; void if you live in Japan**, because it's already tomorrow; does not apply in the Middle East***; anything good that happens was due to the sender of this message****; all rights are reserved if a particularly gooder-ish day was had*****; not made in China******; proudly American made, conceived, manufactured, and written from the mind of one individual who shall at this time remain in the Sender Protection Program until such notice as to the receipt of above message and by extension a really-not-quite-so-bad day was had********.

*it's not my fault.
**not quite sure they celebrate this particular holiday. ***you know they sure don't.
****I only come up with the best ideas.
*****like I said above: I'm cool like that.
******we don't believe in using lead based paints and poisons.
*******I only take credit for my good ideas, not somebody else's bad ones.

On The Writing Front...

Chapter four is well underway, and Evangeline is a wonderful mixture of staunch primness and no-nonsense retorts.  Too fun.  Her sister is awash in infatuation - and it's a nice contrast between the two. 

The Sinful Siren's Giveaway Hop has begun!  Stop by the linky list to enter for all the great prizes being offered!  With 132 participants, there's sure to be something for everyone!  I've entered a few giveaways myself. 

ROW80 friends are just a click away - stop by and offer encouragement!

 ~ Nadja

Sinful Sirens Giveaway Hop

Welcome To The Sinful Sirens Giveaway Hop! 

Image and video hosting by TinyPicAre you a Sinful Siren?

We know you are! So come and join us at Under The Covers and Guilty Pleasures for our Sinful Sirens blog hop. This summer we want to heat things up until the only way we can cool down is with a dip in the ocean. Entice other sirens by sharing some of your favorite scorching hot reads!



Blog hop runs from 12:01 AM May15th through to 11:59 PM May 20th, 2012.
Welcome Sinful Sirens...hope you all are enjoying the book blog hop.  Best of luck to everyone entering - and thanks for stopping by for a chance to win!

Here are the prizes!

The Third Fate

First Prize - Amazon ebook of my erotic paranormal romance, The Third Fate and a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card.
Her Dark Baron ~ Romance, Historical Romance

Second Prize - Amazon ebook of my paranormal romance, The Third Fate, and an Amazon ebook of my historical romance novella, Her Dark Baron.

Third Prize - Amazon ebook of my paranormal romance, The Third Fate.

Here's how to enter:

 * Leave me a comment!  That's it! (don't forget to list your email so I can contact you if you win!)

 *  Follow me for an extra entry! (Please leave your GFC name.)

Have a great day - and best of everything to you!

Sinful Sirens Giveaway Hop

1. Under The Covers (Host) Int. 45. Sarah Grimm (INT) 89. Romance Book Junkies
2. Guilty Pleasures (Host) Int. 46. Alison Chambers 90. Sandra Bunino
3. Turning The Pages (Int) 47. LaVerne Clark @ Novel Natterings (INT) 91. Book Lovin Mamas (US)
4. Riverina Romantics (INT) 48. Lori @ Romancing the Darkside (Int.) 92. Wendy Smith
5. LITERAL ADDICTION iNT 49. Lynne Connolly (INT) 93. Madame D's Boudoir
6. Addicted2Heroines (Int) 50. Rhian Cahill 94. Romance Book Club
7. Kallypso Masters 51. Paige Tyler 95. Ednah Walters (US/Can)
8. Eliza Gayle INT 52. Tory Richards 96. Mary @Sweeping Me {INT}
9. Bonnie Bliss (Int) 53. Maxine Mansfield 97. R. Brennan
10. Shelley Munro (Int) 54. As the Pages Turn (INT) 98. Leigh Savage (US/CAN)
11. Leia Shaw @ The Paranormal G-Spot (US) 55. Scarlett Sanderson (INT) 99. Natalie G. OWens
12. CS Maxwell ~ Where (US) 56. Kriss @ The Cabin Goddess 100. Sara Daniel Romance Author (INT)
13. Siobhan Muir (INT) 57. Isabelle Drake (INT) 101. Kharisma Rhayne
14. HEA-Reads (Int) 58. Romance on a Budget (INT) 102. The Book Nympho (US)
15. Blackraven Erotic Cafe (Int) 59. Desiree Holt 103. Lila Shaw (INT)
16. Blackravens Reviews (INT) 60. Cari Quinn 104. Gettin' Shamrocked with JoAnne Kenrick
17. AJ's Reading Nook (INT) 61. P. L. Parker 105. Full Moon Bites
18. The Readers Roundtable After Dark (INT) 62. Dianne Hartsock (int) 106. Michelle Clay
19. Dark Divas Reviews (INT) 63. Cassandra Dean (INT) 107. The eBook Reviewers (US)
20. Cocktails and Books (int) 64. Mari Carr 108. Rhys Astason (INT)
21. The Jeep Diva (US & INT) 65. Gabrielle Bisset (INT) 109. K.E. Saxon
22. My Secret Romance 66. Ju Dimello (INT) 110. Leila Brown
23. Miss Vain's Paranormal Fantasy (INT) 67. Ann Cory(US) 111. Reading On The Wild Side (US)
24. Ramblings From This Chick (US) 68. Dawn Brown 112. Candace Shaw, author of fun, flirty & sexy romance
25. Diane Thorne - Erotic Paranormal Romance (INT) 69. Tami Brothers ~ Live, Love, Write! 113. Book Whore Blog (INT)
26. Close Encounters with the Night Kind 70. Josee Renard 114. Little Read Riding Hood (INT)
27. Natasha Blackthorne (INT) 71. The Bunny's Review (Int) 115. Minding Spot
28. Bianca Sommerland 72. Serenity Woods (INT) 116. After Dark (INT)
29. Megan Slayer 73. Kelly Gendron 117. Billi Jean
30. Melissa Love 74. Cari Silverwood (Int) 118. I am a book addict...and proud of it! (US)
31. Delighted Reader 75. Felicity Heaton, PNR author (INT) 119. Kiru Taye, Author (INT)
32. Casey Crow (INT) 76. The Steamy Side (US) 120. The Wiccan Haus (Int)
33. Talk Supe (INT) 77. Lee Brazil- Lee's Musings (INT) 121. Dominique Eastwick (int)
34. Best Erotica Books 78. Book Monster Reviews (INT) 122. Erykah Wyck
35. Reader's Edyn 79. A Darker Passion 123. I Smell Sheep (US)
36. Mystifying Paranormal Reviews (US) 80. Jess @ Wickedly Bookish 124. Another Look Book Reviews (CAN/US)
37. Picked by Poison 81. Delaney Diamond~Sweet & Sensual Romance (INT) 125. Carly Fall (INT)
38. D. Renee Bagby / Zenobia Renquist (INT) 82. Selena Blake 126. Red Hot Books (INT)
39. Addictive Passions (Int) 83. Autumn Glazier (INT) 127. Nadja Notariani (US/Can)
40. W. Lynn Chantale (INT) 84. Amanda J. Greene (INT) 128. Hesperia Loves Books (INT)
41. DC Juris 85. Lea Barrymire(US) 129. LilyElement
42. Cheryl - A Little Bit of Spice (Int) 86. Romancing Rakes For The Love of Romance(US) 130. Lily Graison, author, (INT)
43. Kacey Hammell 87. Smitten With Bad Boy Heroes (INT) 131. Shades of Rose
44. KyAnn Waters (Int) 88. A Page In The Life: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy 132. Dani Harper, PNR author, (INTL)

 ~ Nadja

13 May 2012

The Underlying Power In Naming Your Characters

Naming Characters From My Running List Of 'Power-House-Names'...

Developing and naming characters is a fun and important part of the writing process.  Today I'll explore my varied approach to crafting characters and then harnessing the essence of that character in a name....er...or harnessing the essence in a name to create characters.  Hmmm...the old, 'which came first, the chicken or the egg' question... 

There is such power in a name.  Cliches aside, it's true.  Would you identify with a valiant hero and alpha male named Chauncey?  Not bloody-likely.  Ha!  Would you easily tolerate a kick-a** heroine who vanquishes evil-doers called Lynn?  We associate names with certain characteristics - wrongly at times - but nonetheless, we do. Consider this.  Have you ever known a person who ruined a name for you? This is common with my teacher friends. Or met someone with an odd - or 'unattractive' name that after getting to know them became more lovely?  I, as a young child, avowed that I would name my daughter Prudence because I loved the show Nanny and The Professor...hmm...or was it The Ghost and Mrs. Muir??  Ahhh.  Time steals all things. 

In my first book, Claiming The Prize, I researched plenty of Slovakian names, my hero hailing from that region.  I've compiled a lengthy list of Eastern-European names, which rests safely beside 'Writing-Nook' in my aptly, if boringly, titled notebook - 'Character Names'.  Handy references make life much simpler!  The list has grown, and I have dividers separating names by ethnicity as well as by meaning and emotion invoked.  I must confess to having post it notes slapped on the inside cover and random pages - those quick jot-downs I haven't had the time nor the inclination to categorize.  Ha!  If the glue ever breaks down on those sticky notes, it will be messier than the aftermath of a NYC ticker-tape parade in here.  *frowns at the messy thought*  In that first book, I named secondary characters as I wrote them.  This is interesting, because the name served to shape the character's personality.

For instance, Carson Khaler developed as a smoking gun and playboy.  The name is catchy, it sounded like a rough-and-tumble, pretty-boy, arrogant-and-full-of-himself fighter.

Mac, short for Danny MacGovern, was a promoter - and his persona had to fit his name.  Anyone familiar with the business of professional fighting will 'feel' the connection of the character's 'good-old-boy' tag with the role he fulfilled in the story.
The team of trainers within First Strike, my fictional gym grew into the names I assigned.  And Guy Antolini's team name and slogan - Team Anto-Engage: Engage the Globe, were long contemplated tags.

Yves Friarsson - the Friar - was a ju-jitsu/martial arts coach. A soft spoken, serious minded, and well respected man blossomed out of his unique name.
Allen Eisenhower - Ike - fit the bill of hard-core wrestling coach and ground game trainer.  I've known trainers - and Ike is the perfect tag!
St. Clair Davis - Saint - filled the shoes of tough-as-nails-yet-big-old-teddy-bear-underneath-boxing-coach. 
(Incidentally, I had the good fortune of knowing someone with the name Saint in my school years, and have always thought it a fabulous name, loving it so much as to modify it into a surname (St. Johns) for a knight in my second book, Her Dark Baron.)  Readers concur; they're in love with the name, too!  I'd like to believe it's also because St. was such a lovable character - a beautiful, tenderhearted and passionate-about-life guy who was a bit too in love with love.  That tortured guy - the man with a heart made for love but as of yet denied his heart's desire....always a hit.  :} 
Drago Zadrovec, the up and coming MMA fighter in the novel, needed a strong name, indeed, to re-enforce the concept of inner strength needed to succeed in this brutal sport. He was named before the writing...

But names convey much more than strength.

Grace is a soft, feminine name, fitting for my cautious, unworldly heroine with a sweet disposition. It also houses extra potential when considering it's variances.  Grace is a single syllable - it's still strong underneath its gentle meaning.  This worked well, contrasting her soft sweetness against the backdrop of her existence - training and instructing in a mixed-martial-arts gym. 
Gracie reveals her anew from the perspective of those who hold great affection for her - both as a daughter and as a lover.
'Little-G' introduces the well-loved daughter of the gym's owner amongst the men she grew up around - men who exist in a harsh profession yet also have a tender side.

In my second book, Her Dark Baron, I wrote a story outline before I named characters.  This proved an interesting - and helpful - new step.  Naming my characters was easier - I was more acquainted with their story, and therefore, more in touch with names that would portray them as I wanted them to be understood. 

When I sat down to outline The Third Fate's storyline, I went a step beyond, completing extensive character profile packets on each main character.  When I sifted through my extensive list of Scottish/Celtic names, I snapped up my picks with confident ease.  Phew! 

How do you go about naming characters?  Do you put as much emphasis on this process as I do - or does a name grab you and you run with it?  Ever encountered a character with an ill-fitting name?  Or one that has a name that suggested he/she is something other than what you discovered?      

Crafting characters - even a basic development - will aid you in selecting a name that matches the overall mood of your character.  In my newest historical WIP, I have chosen a name that, for me, reflects a rigid and stiff, no nonsense woman, which will thereby enhance the gradual awakening she will undergo as she becomes comfortable with herself.  Her husband's eventual play on her name will embody the inner-metamorphosis in a tangible, 3-D - if you will- way.  Translating this idea from concept to written word is a challenge I anticipate with relish!     

 ~ Nadja

11 May 2012

Book Reviews: Virtual Book Tour - Review: Nadja Notariani's "Th...

    Indulge Me A Minute...:}

I had to share Sapphyria's review today of The Third Fate.  It was the first thing I read this cloudy, dreary, oh-no-it-is-the-filth-and-foul-alarm-blaring-that-racket-into-my-brain morning.  Needless to say, I felt much better after finding this.  I have found a few great sites during my stint with Innovative Online Book Tours - which will continue through the end of May!  I want to take a minute to say 'Thank-You' to Vickie and Shauni from IOBT - you all are just great to work with. 

Here are a few sites I visited.  (My review may or may not be the first to come up...read if you'd like ;)

I've also posted a few fun cartoons my surfing has produced.  I get a kick out of comics - hope you do too!  Have a great day, everyone.

May 1st Adventures of frugal mom (interview and review)  (Interview ) ( Review )

May 2nd All Things Writing (interview and review w/giveaway) (Review )

May 5th Turning The Pages (review and interview w/giveaway) (Review )

May 6th Book’s Reviewed by Bunny ( Review) (Review )

May 7th Gael Blogher.com/GaelMcCarte (review) (Review )

May 10th Sapphyria’s Book Reviews, (review)  (The Third Fate )          

09 May 2012

Short But Sweet...It's A Busy Life!

Welcome To Another Wednesday Check-In!  Visit fellow ROW80 writers....

Today, I'll be brief.  That'll be a first, right? Ha!  It's true.  I've got more than my fair share of irons in the fire...and it's catching up with me at present moment. 

Hopping around with The Third Fate's blog tour has been whirl-windy and fun, but rigorous too.  Then, I've been reading the infamous Fifty Shades Trilogy.  I finished book one on Friday or Saturday (read it in less than two days) and wrote up a written review which I shared on Goodreads, not something I normally do.  I enjoyed James' story more than I expected to.  More on that later....  I'm also working on projects around the house (No...still no office renovations as of yet.  Sigh) and gallivanting around town with my girlfriends.  It's been a social bonanza.  I've not touched my stove in over a week - my boys don't know what to make of it!  Ha.  Not my regular routine at all, but extremely fun.  

*  Chapter two is written in my current WIP, and I'm writing away on chapter three.  So...writing goal met!  I should get some good writing done today - fingers crossed. 

*  Chapter one is typed!  I'm basking in this accomplished task...trying not to think about beginning the process for chapter two...lol.

*  Exercise goals ...well, I don't have clearly defined goals.  Just that I do work my body.  Done!  I've continued alternating upper and lower body by days.  I may add in abdominal days, but some of my other exercises work core strength pretty well. 

*  Social goals have been met.  I keep a running goal of visiting five fellow writers/bloggers on each day Monday through Friday.  This is quite easy as I love reading what everyone is getting into. 

That's it!  Have a great weekend!

06 May 2012

Eleven Random Questions And Writing A Book

ROW80Checking In...For ROW80

Lauralynn Elliot tagged me with the Eleven Random Questions!
OK, here are my questions for the people I tagged (and for those of you who weren’t tagged, but want to play). I actually kept a couple of Emma’s questions.

Who is your favorite author?

Well, I don't have only one favorite. Some authors I enjoy reading are, Treanor, Steel, Gray, Clancy, Kellerman, Twain, Austen, Tolstoy, Lewis, and now...James.

What’s your favorite color?

Again, I don't have a favorite.  I like them all.  I'll admit to being partial to white and off-white...maybe.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I'd like to live by the sea in a warm climate.  Beyond that...there are so many good choices that it's hard to say.  Italy, Greece, maybe?

How old were you when you had your first real kiss?

Ha!  This is a great question.  My first 'real' kiss came in the summer before my freshman year at school.  The funniest part was that I was stunned!  So stunned, in fact, that I stammered, 'What are you doing?' 
Ummmm, not my finest moment. 

Who is your hero?

I'll have to say my dad.  It's his opinion I think I respect most.

Who is the sexiest person on TV right now?

I don't really watch television, except for late night Netflix with my sons once in awhile.  My last favorite show (which I watched once the whole thing was ended) was Lost.  Naveen Andrews is very sexy.  So is Christian Bale.
Who is your favorite vampire?

Saloman, from Marie Treanor's trilogy of books, Blood On Silk, Blood Sin, Blood Eternal. 

What’s your favorite beverage?

Hot tea.

What’s your favorite food?

Yes.  (ha ha.  I love most all food...no favorite)

What would be your ideal job?

Writing romance novels.  Oh!  Wait...that is my job.  :}

What do people do that annoys you the most?

I am the only woman in a house filled with testosterone....where do you want me to start?? 
1)  Wipe the seat...ahem.
2)  Keep bodily functions private.
3)  Sit on furniture, don't lay....it smacks of sloth.
4)  Use table manners.
5)  Take shoes off before entering my house.
6)  Have some couth.
7)  Pick up after yourself. 
8)  Don't lie to me.  Ever.  (You may screw up royally....but don't lie.  If you do, we're done.)
9)  Be respectful.
10)Strive for better.
11)There are instances where cursing is apt and wholly appropriate.  Use them then.  Refrain at other times.

So....as you can see...the opposite of these things is what annoys me most...lol.

Writing A Book....

The writing continues.  I've nearly finished chapter two...we'll see.  Maybe by tonight.  It's a long chapter, and there's been some tricky maneuverings to orchestrate.  Love it!  There's some fun banter going on between characters, leaving my hero looking around for his equilibrium.  It's always nice to see that happen.  My heroine is having her own issues, but not over the hero as of yet.  She's resistant, not in a panicked way, but in a I'd-rather-not-go-there way.  This is my favorite aspect about her thus far.

I have failed to type chapter one.  Not. One. Word.  Arrgh.  I will endeavor to do better this week.  I've been out and about, eating dinner, having drinks, and shopping my 'posterior' off - so work suffered this week.

Exercise is going along well.  I've been swapping out days, squats one day, push ups the next.  I've graduated to 40 push-ups (four sets of 10 one after the other with a 30 second rest in-between)  and this makes me happy.  I've seen my arms really change and tone up.  Unfortunately, I've seen no major changes in my thighs.  I don't really understand this, as I am cranking out 60-120 breaking parallel (butt below knees) squats every other day.  I think I'll have to add weight.  I haven't done one of my 'Death-by-insertyourexercisehere' workouts this week.  I'll probably try a new one this week.

Things have been going along with my book tour also!  I've made a few stops and found a couple blogs I'll re-visit.  It's been fun.  Reviews are beginning to come in for my newest book, The Third Fate.  I like what I'm hearing - but the verdict is in.  I've got to make these books longer!  I've been a bit fearful of dragging out my story too much - or adding in too much and overwhelming the main story.  (And let's not mention that I'm still growing as a writer...an epic is something I think I have to graduate up to achieve...lol)  What I'm hearing is that I should let my pen loose and add in all manner of secondary character storyline and such.  Exciting...I think.  :}

Have a wonderful week, everyone!  What are you stuck on?  How have you succeeded and where are you dropping the ball?  What make your writing a joy this week?

See you all next week!