Friday, June 29, 2012

So I've had some time to go over all the amazing suggestions you gave me for naming one of my newest characters. I loved so, so, so many of the names you gave me. I took quite a few of them and let young Mr. Tilburn try them on. While I liked a whole bunch of the names, there was one that fit him so perfectly I knew I'd found the right one.

So, *drum roll begins*...

The name of choice turned out to be

Bennett Tilburn


Congratulations and thank you to "Cate" for the original suggestion. If you'll use the "Contact Me"  link on the linkbar to send me your mailing address and let me know which book you'd like a signed copy of I will get that out to you right away.

To everyone else who made suggestions, thank you so very, very much. A few of these names I'd already chosen for characters in books just waiting to be released. Many of the others are on my short list of names to use in the future.

ALSO... I have an official release month for my next novel An Unlikely Match. It should hit shelves in October!! (I'll post a cover image just as soon as I have one.)
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I am absolutely blown away by the response to my pathetic little cry for help last week. I begged for names and y'all came through in a big way. I cannot tell you how much time I've spent staring at long lists of historically appropriate name with nothing jumping out at me. One name just sort of faded into the next. But your comments, emails, facebook comments, etc. have been perfect. Several names struck me as definite possibilities.

As an interesting FYI, I saw in the suggestions Miles, Nicholas, Charles, Layton (different spelling in the suggestion, but what are the chances of that name coming up?!) and Carter. Oddly enough, these are names I have already chosen for heroes of upcoming books. As my 9-year-old would say, "Same brain! Same brain!"

Now is the point where I take the names from your lists and let this character try them on, walk around a while with each one, and figure out which fits him best. Once I've done that, I'll post the name of choice here on the blog.

Thanks again, everyone. You are the best! 

And, PS, I'm holding on to this amazing list of names for future reference!
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Friday, June 15, 2012

Sorry, y'all. No "I Need Friends Friday" again this week. My excuse... er, reason? It's summer vacation and my kids are home and I'm a busy mom right now. Time is a commodity I don't have much of right now. I'll try to post something over the summer, but I make no guarantees.

Now, back to business.

I need your help. I need it enough, I'm willing to give away a prize in exchange for your assistance. So, here's the deal:


I am currently working on a book (Daphne Lancaster's book for those of you keeping track) and I have a name dilemma. Our hero's name is James and this name suits him wonderfully and I have no intention of changing it. The problem is his brother. *sigh*


I originally named the brother Julian. I love this name. It's deliciously historical. It is appropriate for the Regency era. It's a unique enough to be interesting, but not so weird it's... weird. It just plain has a cool sound to it. But, I found that, since these men regularly appear in scenes together, often in conversation with each other, having two "J" names gets really confusing and repetitive and almost a little sing-songy.


Try as I might, though, I can't seem to hit on the right name for James's brother. So I am turning to you for suggestions. Here's a little info to help you in your name search:


  1. Because this is an historical set in England, the name needs to be either a very traditional English name (think "Edward" and "Charles"), an English surname that works as a first name (like "Fitzwilliam," Mr. Darcy's given name), or a place name that works as a first name (like "Trent" [a river in England] or "Glen")
  2. The family's last name is "Tilburn," so a name that kind of works with that.
  3. And no names that begin with J or D (since those are the letters the main characters' names start with and that was the whole problem to begin with.
Now, for the prize. Yippee!

For solving my name dilemma, I will give the suggestor (is that even a word?) of the chosen name:
  1. A signed copy of your choice of any of my books.
  2. A shout-out in the acknowledgements of this book when it is published.
  3. My undying gratitude.
Okay, so the prize is a little lame. It's all I got. But I would, actually, really love some suggestions. Thanks tons!
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Friday, June 1, 2012

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)
Today's friend is Stephen Hines. In his own words (stolen shamelessly off his website): "So far I've written one novel, Hocus Focus, published in 2008, and one graphic novel, Valedictorian USA, which is being published issue by issue. There are samples of Valedictorian on the book's section of my site (click the title on the main menu). Also, I recently finished a web comic strip series called Clyde the Redneck. What am I working on now? Well, for now: a memoir mini-comic series called Crackerstacker, and a few assorted comic book series and one-shots. Stay tuned!"

Are you as exhausted reading all that as I am? Busy guy, am I right?

Let's get to know comic-author-Friday Friend, Stephen Hines.



SME - Welcome to INFF.

Stephen Hines - Thanks! How are you this evening?

SME - I am actively attempting to get excited about having my kids home all summer. *sigh*

Stephen Hines - Hahahaha! As a teacher, I see our outlooks are reversed.

SME - My kids are firmly on your side with this one. They are ecstatic.

Stephen Hines - I believe it. How old are they?

SME - Old enough to insist they should be allowed to spend the summer eating junk food and watching cartoons.
Of course, if that is what *you* do all summer, I can totally support that. Teachers deserve the vacation.

Stephen Hines - I try to cram in as much writing and sleeping as I can. Other than that, I try to do comic cons and I do some volunteer work.

SME - What do you teach, Stephen?

Stephen Hines - I teach 11th and 12th grade English.

SME -  HS English? I loved my 12th grade English teacher. "Hi, Mr. Smith!" *waves*

Stephen Hines - "Hi, Mr. Smith! You must rule."

SME - A teacher, a comic-conner, and a volunteer? You're very busy.

Stephen Hines - Not to mention, I'm going to be playing bass on a friend's CD, then writing songs with my multi-instrumentalist dentist.

SME - Dude. DUDE. Awesome.

Stephen Hines - Maybe we'll call that second project: the Choppers...We BITE!

SME - I approve. I can see that screen-printed on t-shirts. Nice.

Stephen Hines - The comic I just released at the end of April came with a soundtrack EP of tunes by the fictional band. It's about a band called The Icons, by the way, in case that last statement made no sense.

SME - Have you always wanted to write/draw comics?

Stephen Hines - I desperately wanted to draw comics for a living when I was a kid. It didn't take long to see that I was painfully slow and inconsistent, though. I switched to wanting to write for a while, then just music for a long time. When I went back to college to be a teacher, I started writing again.

SME - Your tendency to multi-task is beginning to make a lot of sense.
One of our more crucial questions here at INFF: What is your favorite continent?

Stephen Hines - My favorite continent? I've only ever been on North America, but I'm an unapologetic Anglophile (I think that's the right word for worshipping the U.K.).

SME - That is absolutely the right word, and my unofficial middle name. Huzzah!

Stephen Hines - Sweet!

SME - Totally sweet.

Stephen Hines - Most of my favorite bands are either from there or more popular there, so I desperately want to move there. Plus, their beer is WAY better, except for American microbrews of course.

SME - I notice you didn't argue that the *food* is WAY better in the UK. Just sayin'.

Stephen Hines - Haha! Fish n' chips rule! Bangers and mash!

SME - We had bangers and mash for dinner on Monday--a fave at our house!

Stephen Hines - As well it should be!

SME - You make me want to go to the UK even more than usual--and that is saying something.

Stephen Hines - Have you been there before?

SME - I haven't! See how much I suffer?

Stephen Hines - Yeah, well, try living in Ohio!

SME - I'll confess I don't know much about Ohio, beyond the fact that it is one of the easier states to spell.

Stephen Hines - There isn't much to know. Apparently we have a unique accent, but I can't hear it.
Where do you live?

SME - I moved to Utah a few years ago, and no one here seems to realize how much of an accent they all have. In fact, they say *I* have an accent. I forgive them, though, because the mountains are so beautiful.

Stephen Hines - Where are you originally from?

SME - From the great state of Arizona, home of a whole lot of desert. I'm pretty sure that's on the state seal. "Whole lot of desert"

Stephen Hines - Cool! My nephew went to college there. It's a school for motorcross mechanics.

SME - Wow. I had no idea. See how cool Arizona is?

Stephen Hines - The artist for my main comic book series, Valedictorian USA, is originally from Arizona, too.

SME - Arizona rocks.

Stephen Hines - Pun intended? Red rocks?

SME - Wow. We are rolling in the puns today. First the dental joke, now the rocks.

Stephen Hines - I LOVE horrible puns. Ask my students.
BTW: I'm excited to see my stick figure portrait!

SME - That was actually next! I must say, though, sharing my questionable artistic abilities with an actual artist is a little intimidating.

Stephen Hines - Actual artist? Did you look at my art for Crackerstacker? And, if you did, how many adult beverages had you consumed?

SME - Hey. I draw stick figures. My definition of "artist" is very broad.

Stephen Hines - Trust me, I won't critique your art. There's an amazing comic book artist who puts out all stick figure comics called Cynical Man. They're hilarious!

SME - I trolled your website for inspiration before drawing your portrait. I think my attention to detail will amaze you.

Stephen Hines - Hopefully I look like a stick figure Neil Gaiman.

SME - Yours was my first mohawk. I thought I did a good job.

Stephen Hines - I agree! Can I get a high-res scan of that?

SME - You bet. I'll get my techguy, ie my husband, right on that.

Stephen Hines - I'm my wife's tech guy, which my students think is HILARIOUS!

SME - Hilarious as in "ironic"??

Stephen Hines - They think I'm about as computer literate as a caveman.

SME - Well, we've covered your career(s), summer plans and tendency toward puns. That leaves us with the traditional final question of INFF. Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Stephen Hines - 1. The continent question.

SME - Always a favorite.

Stephen Hines - 2. My portrait (should be #1)
3. I didn't have to babble nonstop trying to sell my wares.
4. You have a sense of humor and randomness that is refreshing.
5. You're a fellow Anglophile.

SME - An excellent top 5. I especially appreciate your lack of nonstop babbling.

Stephen Hines - I save that for cons.

SME - Thanks for joining us for INFF. And a thanks to the fantastic Terry Ervin for sending you over!

Stephen Hines - Terry's more fair to middlin than fantastic. :) He'll get me for that.
SME - Have at him, Tery! Well, that's INFF for today. *cue exit music* Join us next week when I'll make a new friend!

If you'd like to be interviewed for I Need Friends Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!
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