A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME . . . . . THINKING ABOUT NAMES AND TITLES
As most of you probably realize, my name is not Sable. Sable Hunter is a pen name. It wasn’t even my choice of a pen name. I was feeling down and out, laid my head on the dining table, thinking about hanging up my writing profession when my assistant said, “Get up, Sable Hunter, you have a thousand more books to write.” I thought Sable Hunter sounded capable and adventuresome. I asked her where she came up with the name. It turned out that Sable Hunter was her avatar’s name in WAR or some such online game. My name before that had been Josie Arlington, famed New Orleans lady of the evening – hah, I should have just stuck with my real name, but I was trying to be incognito. So much for that - - - so now, I’m Sable Hunter.
My real name is okay. I don’t know if anyone ever truly likes their name. I am lucky, I got to name my brother. My mother’s choice of a name was Philip Alexander, a pretty name, but my father remembered that she had liked a guy named Philip in college and he nixed the idea. We were going to call him Xander, which my dad also thought sounded a little off. So, the night before my brother was born – I was nine by the way – my parents were arguing over names and I spoke up. I knew they both liked Elvis so I suggested a true fan’s insight. “Why don’t you name him after Elvis’s twin brother? My parents both smiled, and in less than 24 hours – Jessie Garon was born. My Aunt had a baby a few weeks later and she named him after two of the Barkley brothers from Big Valley – Nicholas Heath. I guess we’re big in celebrity names.
One of my favorite things to do is pick hero and heroine names. I keep lists for future reference and save back the most ideal ones for the main characters. I also enjoy picking out titles for my books. Before I began writing, back when Jess was still in college, I was attempting to coerce him into a writing career. But he seldom does what I ask him to do, until he has explored every other avenue. He majored in Sociology and Communications and avoided my suggestion like the plague – until he figured out that the 9 to 5 life in an office was not for him. Jess is a marvelous writer and he helps me, as well. Plus he has gone into business with a friend – he’s doing good. Anyway – back to my original point. In trying to lure him into writing with me, I suggested that we write romance novels (he rolled his eyes) based on the songs of Elvis Presley (his singing idol). I suggested we could make Elvis (by another name, of course) the hero of every novel, just like the movies he used to make. Every Elvis movie was actually a romance novel on film. I told him we could contact Elvis Presley Enterprises and maybe they would sell the books at Graceland – haha – I was dreaming big. My proposition didn’t work. Jess wasn’t interested.
However, a few years later, I decided to go it alone. And although I didn’t write the novels exactly as planned, I have used the songs of Elvis several times as titles. And they have been successful – UNCHAINED MELODY, FEVER, T-R-O-U-B-L-E, BURNING LOVE, and FORGET ME NEVER. I took the words of the song and just let the theme speak to me, creating characters and situations that the song could have described.
Other titles came to me in different ways – HER MAGIC TOUCH spoke of Cady’s healing love for Joseph. BADASS was Isaac’s reputation. I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS told of Zane seeing with his heart rather than his blinded eyes. MY ALIYAH was a nod to my Uncle’s favorite show - NCIS and its female Mossad Agent, as well as my own fascination with Israel and the Texas Rangers – quite an odd mix, I admit. BOBBY DOES DALLAS – haha – well, Bobby played for the Dallas Cowboys and I thought anyone who had ever heard of the infamous porn flick Debbie Does Dallas would appreciate it – Bobby was one of my favorites.
My latest, FINDING DANDI was an unusual case. Dandi was a name that I collected in my childhood after watching a Walt Disney movie about a horse with that name – Dandi. I knew then that I would either name one of my children Dandi or eventually write a book with a heroine of that name. And I did. I created the character of Dandi in Burning Love, Beau’s cousin. Originally, I planned to make her and Lucas Dane’s romance a fun and irreverent romp. But Jess changed that, I went to him and said, “I’m thinking of calling the book FINE AND DANDI, something my Mom would say about things she approved of – “That’s fine and Dandi, sweetie.”
Jess misunderstood me. He goes, “I like that, it’s poignant.” I said, “Huh?” He said, “Yea, FINDING DANDI could tug at your heart strings.” I stepped back and was hit by a wave of inspiration. Dandi and Lucas Dane’s relationship would have to be volatile and inspiring and slip through their fingers – only to be grasped and held onto by the sheer determination of a hero worthy of love. Wow! I have to give it to Jess, sometimes he has good ideas. It was he who convinced me to let Aron McCoy go missing on his honeymoon in Hell Yeah! eight, which has proved to be quite an adventure for both me and my readers.
So, titles are important. Right now, I’m working on THUNDERBIRD with Ryan O’Leary, and SKYE BLUE, Noah’s much anticipated book. Skye is Noah’s love. For any of you that have read the Hell Yeah!, you know that Noah has been a pain in everyone’s patootie. He sees only black and white. Everything has to make sense. He cuts no one any slack. Every column has to add up and the scales of justice, as he sees it, have to balance. Noah has caused the family more trouble than a bull loose in a china shop. But they love him. Dozens of readers have expressed to me, “when is Noah going to get what’s coming to him?”
In SKYE BLUE, Noah will meet his match. A woman who is strong and sure of herself, a woman who is able to teach Noah the depths of love and make him want to go to his knees and beg her to give him a chance to show her exactly what she means to him. Noah’s life is darkened by hopelessness and only Skye can help him brush aside the clouds of despair and let the sunshine of a clear day brighten his heart. Haha! Well, you get the idea. Skye will be every answer that Noah has been searching for and before it’s over, he’ll have a whole new definition of what romance and a relationship is all about. Noah will get what’s coming to him – and he’ll enjoy every second of it.
Here’s an excerpt of FINDING DANDI – I hope you enjoy it.
At home, Lucas lay in his bed and shook with need. He relived every moment they had spent together. Just seeing her today, being near to her was paradise. There was so much he needed to think about, but his erection was enormous and he needed relief. For the first time in a long time he had hope. Closing his eyes, he imagined kissing her lips, nuzzling his face between her breasts, sinking balls deep inside of her sweet heat. “God!” Taking his cock in hand he stroked his own flesh in a hard fist. “Dandi, my Dandi!” He wanted to wrap himself around her, bury his head between her thighs, take her higher and harder than any man had ever taken a woman. “I love you!” he shouted to the empty room as he pumped his cock, his hips lifting from the bed in supplication. Lucas’s whole body went tense as he threw his head back and roared loud enough to be heard in the next county. Hot jets of cum arched up and fell on the skin of his belly and thighs. “Please God, let her love me back, let her remember me.” Grabbing a towel from the bedside table, he wiped himself clean, rolled over and clasped the pillow to his face. He was tired of being alone.
The next morning, Lucas had two priorities. First he had to see to his will. He had responsibilities, he had a child. And he wanted no possibility that Dandi and Lucy wouldn’t be taken care of if something happened to him. His lawyer tried to give him a hard time, asked if he wanted to have a paternity test. Hell, he hadn’t even seen his baby, but he didn’t have to. He was a father; he knew it as well as he knew his own name.
Second, he had to learn how to play paintball. After checking it out on the internet, he concluded that it was simple warfare, except he’d be armed with a gun that shot water soluble dye. Knowing Beau and Firepower Munitions, they would have a world class game field and take their play very, very seriously.
Taking a break between patients, he drove to the sports shop and bought everything he’d need. If Dandi wouldn’t come to him, he’d go to her – anywhere, anytime. As he drove back to the Touch Institute, he let it sink into his mind, body and soul that he had found Dandi. She was safe and – thank God – she was still single. He had his work cut out for him, for he had to win her love for the second time around.
Here’s the buy link to FINDING DANDI –
I’ll be giving away a copy of FINDING DANDI, just tell me your all time favorite title for a book and why. I would love to know.
Thanks for reading,
I'd like to thank Sable for joining us today. She's an amazing writer and I'm looking forward to continuing on with the Hell Yeah! Series.
Don't forget to comment below with your email address' to win it. Sable will announce her winner on Thursday May 9th.
~Author Jennifer Labelle~