May 21, 2015

.@VickiBatman - What name was popular when you were in school? #namingbaby #MFRWorg #RLFblog #cozymystery

The Name Game

When I went to grade school, there were at least three other girls in my class with the same name. However, they were spelt differently.

I’m: Vicki

Those girls were: Vikki, Vickie, Vicky

Later on and when I thought about it, Susan, Cathy, and Kathy names dominated, as did variations with full names or short names, like Katie, Katy, Kat, Cathie, Cathleen, Suzie, Suzy.

So when I was pregnant with #1son, Handsome and I struggled over naming him, even though we didn't know he would be a boy. I’d toss out something.  “No.” And more. “Nope.”

I was determined he would not have a J name:  Jonathan, Justin, Jacob, Jake, Joshua, etc. Those names were way too popular. I didn’t want him to have to go through what I did. Finally when watching an old and favorite detective movie, I said, “What do you think about this?”

Handsome said, “Yes.”

Great Rejoicing! I can’t say what #1son’s name is because he doesn’t want me to tell via social media. Lol. The funny thing is in his Sunday School class of 24 kids, there were two other boys with the same name. Yikes!

I never thought I’d have a boy. I come from a family of four girls. In my mind, I was going to have girls. And name the first, Holland. The second, Hayley.  And the third, Hattie.

Sadly, no girls came my way. Instead, I got #2son: first name is his dad’s, second name is a church friend’s.

And let’s mention, they get the wonderful Batman as their last name. lolol.

A lot of character’s names just pop in a writer’s head and as a writer, I know when this instance does happen, that name is most likely absolutely perfect.

I have gone the route of looking at the census and seeing which names were popular in specific years. In 2014, these are the names used:

If you want to look up your birth year, go to: Social Security

Now back to naming the girl thingy—I did get to. I named my heroine from my romantic comedy mystery, Harriette Lee Cooks, Hattie for short. I thought Hattie sounded sassy. And the background for her name came from her grandmother, Harriette.

When I grew up, if my mom yelled my whole name, Vicki Lea, I was in serious trouble and had better hotfoot her way instantly. Hattie’s mom does this also. And I used an L name for the middle name. It’s a way of honoring my sisters whose middle names begin with an L, as well as my mother’s, and my grandmother’s first name was Lillie. Her sisters’ names began with an L too.

So lay it on me: Do you like your name? Were there too many others in your class with the same one? What is your favorite name?

To discover more about Hattie and her wacky journey through unemployment, her romance with a hunky hero, and murder, go to: Amazon

May 19, 2015

Rowdy #RT15 Photos and a Regal Release @katbaldwin

The Romantic Times Conference finished up yesterday 

There were several Princesses in attendance. If you think this looks like a Where's Waldo drawing you would be right. There were thousands in attendance at the Giant Book Fair. Were you there? Can you find yourself in this crowd? Ha! Me, either. I can't find my own nose in a room that crowded.

This photo comes via the fabulous Kay Thomas - Thank you Kay
Here's a closer but highly candid Where's the Princess photo. In this picture try to find Sylvia McDaniels, Kathleen Baldwin, and Chris Keniston. Oops! Chris stepped out of the photo. But she was there earlier. And so was Princess Liese Sherwood-Fabre.

Fun was had by one and all. There was line dancing with the Steampunk crowd, bull riding with the western writers.

And silly selfies, like this one with me and author Patience Griffin. 

And eating! Lot's of eating.

Tasting of savory and sweet delights; such as Bacon lollipops at the Meddlesome Moth, and this delicious fried cheesecake, which Princess Sylvia shared with me and our pal, author Kay Thomas. Yum!!

And here's Princess Phyllis at a scrumptious dinner with her editors and fellow authors at Soul Mate publishing.

On Saturday, we met readers, tons of readers. See top photo. We talked about our favorite stories and signed our books. Like my brand new release: A School for Unusual Girls, which New York Times Sunday Book Review said, "is enticing from the first sentence." They also said this... "Baldwin has an ear for period dialogue as she draws us into this world of sharp, smart young ladies who are actually being trained and deployed for the British war effort by the mysterious headmistress, Miss Stranje. It’s speculative historical fiction, with a trace of steampunk inventiveness..." And a bunch of other nice stuff. 
So, I am a very happy Princess. 
Many thanks to Suzanne Farrell for this photo
Princess Kathleen's new Historical YA series debuts today. To read more about it got to A School for Unusual Girls on Amazon. 

If you were at RT tell us what you did there? Who you met? What you ate... Did you ride the bull? Line dance. (I tried line dancing, but I didn't know how. So author Angi Morgan coached me.) 
Your turn.
Tell ALL!!!

May 12, 2015

Donny Osmond Was My First @sloanebcollins #PuppyLove #FirstCrush #DonnyOsmond #LastingLove #PlottingPrincesses #Romance #AmWriting #MustRead #MFRWorg

I was thinking about crushes the other day, and happened to think I covered a lot of firsts with my own first crush, Donny Osmond.  He was my first crush, my first poster on the wall, my first record album (yes, I’m old), my first concert, my first fan club.  I even had the requisite purple socks with his face on them, all the record albums (still have them, in fact), the Donny & Marie dolls, and the concert posters. 

He’s come a long way from the young boy on Andy Williams show. He’s a husband, a father, a grandfather (how’d that happen?), a man of very strong faith, and he continues to entertain fans of all ages.  I still love his music, and I want to go to Las Vegas for the Donny & Marie concerts there.

I graduated from pop star to actor with Vincent Van Patten in 1974 when he played the son on Apple’s Way.  Imagine my surprise several years ago when I caught him announcing some world of poker show.  Only problem with that show is there wasn’t enough face time! 

May 7, 2015

Anticipation is a Good Thing by @sashawrites #Avengers #Thor

I have a confession. I haven't seen the new #Avengers Age of Ultron yet! I know -- it's horrible.
But my brood has promised to take me for Mother's Day outing. I can wait. Really. I can.

Now, I know there have been mixed reviews. A lot of people seem to prefer the first Avengers. A lot of people have posted all sorts of spoiler-y things on FB and Twitter and every other social media outlet - but I'm staying strong. (So please don't post anything here that will burst my anticipation bubble please.)

May 5, 2015

What's Wrong with Hollywood?

Movies! Maybe I should warn you, I’m feeling a bit cranky about this summers movies. Normally, I’m a very happy go lucky person who enjoys a good tale. Last year my favorite movie was Whiplash, an emotional story about a young man who wanted to be the best drummer and be successful professionally. It’s about his RELATIONSHIP (not sexual) with his teacher. A must see if you haven’t already watched this powerful film. Let me warn you it is a dark movie, but emotionally gripping. I also enjoyed The Imitation Game, Gone Girl, The Judge (Robert Downey Jr. you were excellent in this film) and The Theory of Everything. All great films about PEOPLE overcoming some struggle that changes them.  Emotional dramas.

Hollywood is definitely run by men because frankly I don’t know of a single romantic comedy or a romantic drama coming out this summer. Already the men in my household are planning on going to see the Avengers this weekend. They don’t know it yet, but I’m having a Marvel boycott. I’m tired of superhero action movies. I could be the only one, but I like my movies to have some internal, emotional conflict. Not be all save the world from the bad guys. I don’t care if Thor is gorgeous. And fight scenes…five minutes of them punching each other, doing unbelievable stunts is frankly boring. Yawn.

April 30, 2015

#Cowboy #TBT with #RubyVines! #Western #MustRead #Yummy

I've got cowboys on my mind lately as I write the end of Book II in the Texas Tornado series! Which movie cowboy is your favorite? Let me know yours by leaving a comment or visit the #PlottingPrincesses on Facebook by clicking HERE and post a pic of YOUR favorite #TBT #Cowboy!

This is my very FAVE MOVIE COWBOY EVER! I think I've watched John Travolta in Urban Cowboy only half a million times! And who doesn't love all that amazing country music?

Check out the cover for Kickin' Up Dust...Coming Summer 2015!

Happy Friday ~ Ruby Vines

April 28, 2015

@lsfabre #Review of #LeavingTime by @JodiPicoult #mfrworg

Before Christmas, I had the opportunity to attend a special reading and discussion by Jodi Picoult of her novel Leaving Time. In the book, Jenna Metcalf searches for her mother, who disappeared after a terrible accident involving the death of a caretaker at an elephant preserve. She is convinced her mother is still alive and her search comes to a head when she enlists the help of a washed-out psychic and an alcoholic private investigator. Like many of her books, the characters are on a search for truth - what truly happened the night Alice Metcalf (the mother) disappeared, and why would she leave her daughter behind? In this particular story, the elephants come to represent the themes of memory and grief that thread through the tale.

As fascinating as the book is, and there's a twist that is one of the best I've come across (well done, Jodi!), the history and research Ms. Picoult completed for the book is just as intriguing. She visited elephant preserves in the US and Africa, spoke to researchers in their behavior, and collected stories about different beasts. As she noted in her discussion, the stories concerning the elephants are true, only the names were changed to protect the pachyderms. If you are moved by the stories of the incredible intelligence and severe danger these animals are experiencing, she lists a number of organizations accepting donations for their continued protection in an afterward.