Character Names

Click, click, click… tap, tap, tap… this is me typing away at a new story. I haven’t had the time to be able to sit down and come up with a story idea from scratch, let alone actually start writing it, since before the holidays! However, the other day I found an extra few hours, grabbed it out of the air and away my fingers went until… I had to give my character’s a name. I came to a dead stop at that point.

So, I did as I usually do and used the standard name, Tommy, Penny, and Jill. That’s how I usually write my stories. I pick a very common name to throw in there to begin with and then when I get further into the story, I look on my favorite names list and choose one.

I’m curious to know how other writers come up with names for their characters. Do you find it difficult? Or do you know right off the bat your characters name? Do you use the same method when choosing a child, or pet's name?


And the winner is...

First I must thank Courtney Rene for giving me the opportunity to interview her about her book Shadow Dancer. It was an honor and I know that I will be looking forward to reading her next book. Thanks Courtney!!

Secondly, thanks to everyone who participated in the contest and enjoyed my interview with Courtney. In the future, I will be doing other interviews on various authors and hopefully offer more free copies of their books . My next interview will be with Kelly Hashway, author of the upcoming Children's Picture book titled May The Best Dog Win.

And now drum roll please............................ the winner of Courtney's book Shadow Dancer is... believe it or not... Kelly Hashway!! Congratulations Kelly. You will truly enjoy it. Please contact Courtney and give her what address she needs to send it to.

Thanks again everyone!!


Author Interview - Courtney Rene

The other day, I read one of those kinds of books that I just couldn’t put down. It was a fantasy book for young adults titled Shadow Dancer. So I contacted the author, Courtney Rene, and asked her a few questions about the book and her writing process.  But the best part is, she has not only agreed to answer a few questions but she has also offered a free autographed copy of the book.

All you need to do is sign up as one of my followers and leave a comment about the interview and or the book. I’d love to know why you think you might enjoy her book. The deadline for commenting is Friday, January 21st.

The winner will be randomly selected by a numbering system and announced at the end of the contest date.

So without further ado, the following is the interview with Coutney Rene.

Courtney, can you tell me the name of your book, who published it and a brief synopsis of what it’s all about?

Sure! The name of the book is SHADOW DANCER, which just came out last September through Rogue Phoenix Press.

Sunny, the main character has a gift that she has no idea how to use, until she meets Leif, a boy from the kingdom of Acadia, on the other side of the shadows. 

Leif teaches Sunny about Shadow Walkers and how to use her new found gifts. As they grow closer and their gifts grow stronger, a threat arrives.  The Shadow Guard has been sent to bring Sunny back to Acadia, to determine if she is a threat to the king as the rightful ruler of Acadia.

As Leif and Sunny prepare to defend themselves, Sunny finds that Leif has also been sent to bring Sunny back to the kingdom but for very different reasons.  As a battle for possession of Sunny wages, she is struggling to come to turns with her feelings of inadequacy regarding controlling her gifts as well as the hurt regarding the lies and deceit of everyone around her.

How did you come up with the name ‘Sunny’ for your character in the book?

The name Sunny came to me because I wanted something that was different but not wild and weird or hard to pronounce.  I always call my daughter my sunshine, which got me to thinking about my book and there you have Sunny.  Leif was just a bi-product of that same thought.  I was on a nature kick apparently and Leif matched.

Why did you choose disappearing in the shadows for her special powers?

It’s actually a little on the hokey side.  I was watching a paranormal movie and got to thinking about what would be the best power to have.  That led me to thinking that being able to walk around invisible would be awesome.  The thought refused to leave me and the next day I had the beginnings of a story in my mind about a girl that could walk in the shadows and become invisible.  How great would that be to just disappear whenever you wanted to?  

Do you think Sunny has a little bit of you in her? If so, in what way did you try to bring yourself out in her character?

Oh yes.  On the outside I am a well-mannered, polite, easygoing person.  On the inside though is a different story.  I am snarky and sarcastic and not very nice all the time.  Sunny, she is my inner me.  She says and does all the things that I am always only thinking or wishing I could say and do.  She makes me laugh.  I am very happy to be writing another story with her as the main character. 

Why do you think the YA (young adult) group would be most interested in your book versus say, adults?

Oooh this is a hard question.  Although I think adults would also enjoy this book, I would say that the young adult group will enjoy it more just for the fantasy of it.  Their ability to want to believe will (hopefully) pull them in to the story and the emotions and the what-if of it. 

Do you remember the very first story you ever wrote? What was it about?

I do actually.  It was a story about a pig in the big city.  I was very small and it was maybe one hundred words (if that).  The pig ran away to the city, was sad and lonely, and went back home to where his family was and lived happily ever after.  The end.  It was my start though. 

What resource has been most influential in helping you become a published writer and why? How often do you refer back to it?

I know you are thinking it’s books or such, but in reality it was my friends and family.  Oh I visit the library all the time and I have plenty of marketing and research books, and web-sites that I visit and on and on, but in the end, it was the faith of my friends and the pushing and shoving they did to keep me submitting and trying.  They listened and were sad with me during my rejections and danced for joy with me during my acceptances.  Being a writer is hard.  Not the writing part actually, but the constant criticism and rejection is hard on the heart and soul.  My friends and family kept me going.  They gave me support every time I needed it.  Without that, I would have given up a long time ago.  So in case any of them are reading, thank you.  Truly from my heart, thank you. 

What is the thing you enjoy the most about writing for children?

I enjoy the fantasy of it.  The “what if” factor.  Adults, we are so concrete and beaten down by the realities of life.  Not children.  Kids still have a wonderful fun imagination where anything is possible. Even teens still want to believe. 

What’s on the horizon for you as far as writing a sequel to Shadow Dancer?

I am currently writing a sequel to Shadow Dancer.  In fact the first draft of it is complete.  Now all I have to do is edit and revise it to death.  The current working title is “Shadow Warrior”.  The main landscape of this book is Acadia, where both my main character and my readers have never been.  It was great fun creating the world on the other side of the shadows as well as the people to go with it.  It has been a joy to write so far, let’s hope my publisher thinks so as well once it’s done. 

Here’s a little (as we say in Louisiana) “Lagniappe” or extra information about the author, Courtney Rene.

Quite the fan of reading even as a small child, Courtney Rene one day decided that reading other peoples stories was not enough for her and decided to writer her own.  Courtney Rene lives in Ohio, with her husband and two children, two dogs, a cat, several hamsters and a plethora of fish.  Along with her novel, Shadow Dancer, just recently released (09/2010) through, her works can also be found in several magazines in the form of articles and stories, as well as several anthologies.  She loves hearing from her readers.  Please feel free to contact her at or check out her website and blog 

Remember, you have a chance to win a free autographed copy of Courtney Rene’s book Shadow Dancer, by signing up as a follower and commenting on this interview. Deadline is Friday, January 21st. You can comment as many times as you wish. Each comment counts as one chance.


Author Interview with Courtney Rene

I've got exciting news! Courtney Rene, the author of a fantastic YA fantasy book titled Shadow Dancer, has agreed to let me interview her about the makings of her book. I'll be posting that interview here on my blog tomorrow. Courtney has also agreed to give away a free autographed copy of her book. Check back in tomorrow for further details. You won't want to miss it!


First Illustration Sketches

Got a look at the first draft of illustrations for my upcoming picture book today. I couldn't be happier. The illustrator has captured my vision, perfectly! I feel so lucky. Sorry, I can't share with anyone just yet but you can rest assured that as soon as I can, I will be sharing.

I never in a million years thought this process would be so easy. I really lucked out when I sent my manuscript to FutureWord Publishing. They are a very small pubishing company; however they have just been wonderful to work with.

Any writer who is afraid of submitting to the small publishers... do it. I believe FutureWord Publishing is able to give me special attention because they are smaller. You do need to be careful though and check (not just small publishing companies but larger ones as well) their contract very thoroughly. But if you are able to latch on to a good one, count your blessings!

2011 is starting out to be a killer year for me!! I hope it's starting out good for everyone else as well. Has anyone else had something great happen to them already this year? Do tell!!


My Picture Book

Can someone pinch me, please!!

Received word from my illustrator for my first picture book titled The Pea in Peanut Butter and the first sketches of the illustrations will hopefully be sent to me this week. I'm so excited to see them. I don't ever want this bubble I'm living in to burst! From what I've seen of her previous work, she is really talented.

I have a writer friend, Kelly, who is also getting her first picture book May The Best Dog Win, published by FutureWord Publishing and she is more then pleased with her illustrations. In the near future, I will be doing an interview with her about that book. Stay tuned.

Also, stay tuned for an interview I will be having with Courtney Rene on her new book Shadow Dancer for teens and YA. We will be giving away a free book so look for details soon.