What’s in a Name?

January 5, 2015


We all have more than one name – and I’m not talking about writers or artists who use pen names, either. I’m talking about the different roles we all have in our lives, and the names that go with those roles.

For instance, a lot of us go by our first name at work, and with family and friends. But most people are “Mom” or “Dad” to their offspring. You might be “Son,” to your parents (isn’t it funny how seldom anyone calls their daughter “daughter?” Maybe it’s because it’s a longer word…) and many of us have embarrassing childhood nicknames that considerate siblings avoid using in public. If you’re a doctor or dentist or vet, you might be “Dr. Jones” or “Dr. Pat” or something of that sort; if you’re in the military you might be Sgt. Lastname. If you’re calling a friend on the phone, you’d probably say, “Hi, Firstname!” If you were calling them from across a field, you might yell their last name – or I would, anyway – because there may be a thousand Joes but only a few Flugelheimers.

The way you’re addressed also says something about your relationship with the person who’s speaking to you. (Most kids know that if Mom starts out with their full name, they’re in trouble.) Even the way you talk to yourself says something. “Well, Lee,” I might say to myself, “we’re past the holidays. It’s time to start thinking about less food and more exercise.” Or, on a deadline, “Look, Rowan, it’s time to apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair and get that blog written.”
I’ve had this on my mind because of a recent review in which the reviewer seemed to be conspicuously irked because I did not refer to my characters in Ransom in the same way every time I mentioned them. I’ve had this noted in edits, too, and thought maybe it’s time to talk about this—what I do and why I do it.

I first noticed how a name affects the mood of a story when I was a teenager—anyone else remember the old Man from UNCLE novels based on the TV series? That was my education in authorial style. Some of the writers were clearly doing by-the-book hack writing: they had the stylesheet, they had the names, and the universe outline—but they had no sense of the fun and camaraderie between the characters. Those writers used last names.

Other writers—particularly David McDaniel and J Hunter Holly—had a better feeling for the characters and often used first names. After devouring the books a dozen times (this was before videotape,* remember, before the internet, before fanfic) I saw how the use of first names was subtly different, creating a sense of intimacy that most fans already had from the series. Those books were just more fun. And in a story where the plotline is part adventure and part love story, intimacy is essential.

But intimacy is not always something that’s safe to reveal.

In the Royal Navy series, Will and Davy live a double life because if their relationship becomes known, they are dead – and not metaphorically, either. Also, they’re in the military—last names are part of their professional identity. When they are not alone, on duty or off, they generally think of themselves the way they’re addressed, as Mr. Marshall or Mr. Archer. (Mr. was the informal title for anyone under the rank of captain. This was a more formal time—you didn’t address a social equal by first name unless invited to do so.) David usually thinks of himself as “Archer,” and Will usually thinks of himself as “Marshall,” though he sometimes slips into first-name mode when he’s feeling relaxed. And they often think of themselves by first-name when they’re together in private.

How they think of each other is a little different. In duty situations, it’s generally last name as well; the charade is played for mortal stakes and it’s easier to stay in role. When they’re intimate, it’s definitely first names. And when Will is worried about his lover—which happens more often later in the series—he’s almost always Davy. Will isn’t even aware he does this. Speaking to others, he would refer to Davy as “Mr. Archer.”

But when they’re in bed… Well, if they call each other “Mister,” there, it’s purely in fun.

Deciding on this point-of-view business for Home is the Sailor was complicated because almost everyone in the story is an Archer – though none of them are addressed that way because David’s father is His Lordship (the father-son relationship is not close), his mother is “my mother,” and his sisters are (technically) Lady First Name. But while Will thinks of them as Lady Amelia (et al), Davy never does. And he refers to his brothers, living and dead, on a first-name basis. Though if he were honest, and not a well-mannered gentleman, he would probably refer to one of them as “that rat.” So in Home, Davy is “David” in his own point of view, and “Davy” in Will’s.

So – does this makes sense to you as readers? (Or is this something you notice at all?) Do you have some friends who address you by first name and others by last? How did that come about – college, the military, professional formality?

I’ll be drawing a winner for a download of the Royal Navy e-book of your choice from the answers on this post.

* Strange but true! There are people alive today who saved their favorite TV shows on reel-to-reel tape recorders, and took blurry photos off their TV screens!

Welcome “Home!”

January 5, 2015

Good morning!

It’s a grey January day here, but it’s warm and sunny somewhere, so … Launch Party! Bang a bottle of champagne on the hull – not too hard, don’t waste it! – pour a glass for Neptune and Calypso, and pass the rest around.

I’m Lee Rowan and I’m delighted to announce that Home is the Sailor is back in print as of right now!

Just about a year ago to the day, I was informed that Cheyenne Publishing was going out of business, and that began a mad scramble to find a new publisher. There were two that I really, really hoped would be interested, and Dreamspinner was one of those… and I got lucky. And then I got luckier still when Reese Dante was assigned to do my covers. I ask you – is this gorgeous, or what?


For those who haven’t read any of my Royal Navy series, the storyline follows two young officers in (of course) the British navy in the Napoleonic War era, starting just before the turn of the 19th century. At the time, same-sex relationships were a crime punishable by death. In Ransom, Will Marshall and David Archer become lovers – it’s quite a shock for Will but a dream come true for Davy, who’s been living with unrequited love for several years. In Winds of Change and Eye of the Storm, now in a single volume, they deal with major changes including a near-death experience for Davy.

If you want to go peek at the synopses (and the first two beautiful covers), you can find them here: http://www.lee-rowan.net/2.html

The 3rd book in the Royal Navy series, Home Is the Sailor is set immediately following Eye of the Storm. After an unprovoked attack during peacetime—was it revenge for their abduction of one of Bonaparte’s top military scientists?—Commander William Marshall and his lover, David Archer, are sent into hiding at David’s ancestral home in Devon.

But this is no peaceful shore leave. With the best intentions in the world, Will has discovered that his fear of losing Davy is still stronger than his desire to keep Davy beside him on the quarterdeck. And Lieutenant Archer is having problems of his own–the family that seemed so rock-solid, if distant, is staggering under the loss of its eldest son and heir. Was it an accident… or murder? And if so, how will he ever prove it to an autocratic father who still sees him as the inept youngest son? Out of their element, Davy and Will are thrust into the role of sleuths while trying to determine what sort of future, if any, they may have together.

Here’s an excerpt:

The apparently harmless craft, which they had passed on their way into shore, was now bristling with guns; the notion of passing close to the other vessel now seemed an imprudent one. As the Mermaid came into small-arms range, the enemy began to fire.
At least this was an enemy their little guns could reach. “Fire as you bear,” Marshall shouted.
He could have sworn he heard a similar order from the other ship, and the pop-pop of the small arms was punctuated by the boom of an undersized cannon, most likely a swivel gun like their own. One lucky shot was all either of them would require, and the fight would be over. On his present course, he would be past them in only a few minutes. But with the wind as it was, he could not veer too far away, without risking that damaged section of bow. If the Mermaid dipped enough that the hole in her bow scooped up water, not only would she be impossible to steer, they might well founder, and if any of his men went into this cold January sea…

He put that fear out of his mind, concentrating instead on holding her steady in the strong current, hearing a yelp as one of his men at the starboard gun caught a flying projectile. His gun crews were at work, though, even with their pitiful popguns, and he grinned as the enemy snipers ducked down below their own railing. Just like old times. A pity they weren’t actually supposed to engage the enemy…

Then, amid the uproar of conflict, he caught a glimpse of a familiar figure running about in the smoke and flying lead, and his heart stopped within him. “Davy, to me!”

David Archer ran up, carrying a rifle. “Thought we’d need this. Orders?”

Marshall’s hands stayed steady on the wheel, but his mind was gibbering, flooded with memories of Davy lying near death, struck down during the last battle they’d fought together, carried below with blood staining his white uniform waistcoat. His throat was so tight he could hardly speak. “Get below.”

Davy frowned. “Sorry, what?”

A spent bullet ricocheted off the binnacle, and Marshall’s whole body jerked in reaction. “Get below. Now, Davy. Go! I can’t–”

Davy glanced about the deck, bit his lip, and nodded. As he disappeared down the stair to the captain’s cabin, Marshall’s attention returned to the matter at hand. The fishing boat—Frenchman, Spaniard, it made no difference, really, that neutral Portuguese flag they flew was a joke—was coming about, making ready to pursue them.

“Aim for her sails!” he shouted. But the words were barely out when he felt a ball slam into their own hull, and the wheel shuddered in his hands. The Mermaid kept moving, though, gallant little craft that she was. He prayed the damage was above the waterline, that it was something they could repair, and then they shot past the other boat and were out into open water.

He whirled at the sound of a shot just behind him, so close his ears rang. Davy stood there, his face grim. “You didn’t see the sniper in their chains, did you? He had you dead in his sights.”

Their stern-chaser boomed as if in emphasis, and the fishing boat faltered as the ball went home, carrying away their bowsprit and staysail.

“Thank you,” Marshall managed. They were out of range now, and so long as they could keep moving, they would have their passenger back to the Endymion within a few hours, and make at least part of the trip back to England under her protection. Though why anyone would bother to attack them, and under a neutral flag, was the real question. He could think of only one possible answer, and he didn’t like it at all, but he had no time to spare for speculation now.

“Take the wheel,” he told Davy, and hurried over to see about the damage to his ship and crew. The puzzle of why they had been attacked was secondary to another, far more critical matter. In the midst of a battle, he had been completely distracted from the matter at hand—life and death, his ship and all who sailed aboard her. That was unconscionable.

Marshall had suspected that this would happen, when the treaty was broken and war resumed. He had feared it would happen; worse than that, he had known it would. And it left him with an insoluble dilemma.

William Marshall was a Commander in His Majesty’s Navy. He was also, against all laws of God and man, David Archer’s lover. As his own behavior had just proven beyond all doubt, he cared more for Davy than for any living soul, or even for the ship under his command.

With Davy aboard, Marshall could not command a ship of war. And he knew how to do nothing else.


Winners from Wild and Precious Release Party

December 31, 2014


Hello Again! Thanks for a wonderful release party yesterday. Wild and Precious is released into the big, wonderful world as of today! Woot!


Here’s the ORDER LINKS one more time…. you still have a few hours to get it for 20% off at:  Dreamspinner Press. Also available at Amazon and All Romance.

And now… drum roll please… the four winners of a CJane Elliott ebook of your choice are…





Please be in touch with hayley@dreamspinnerpress.com and she will get you your free ebook. It can be this new release or any of my other ebooks, including one of my novels.



Wild and Precious Release Party #3 – Your One Wild and Precious Life

December 30, 2014


Okay, time to go a bit deeper. Those of you who know me, know I love to go deeper because I’m a therapist. :)   So here we go…

In the novella, Brent talks about loving poetry. He’s a poet himself, and one of his favorite poets is Mary Oliver. She wrote a beautiful poem called The Summer’s Day which has an amazing last line:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

This line has inspired countless posters:


I love the message here, especially for twenty-somethings like Brent and his friends, who are at the beginning of that journey. Brent struggles throughout the story to start living his one wild and precious life authentically. It’s the thought that he’s letting life go by that impels him into action – to explore his sexuality, for one, and to go ahead and apply to graduate school programs in creative writing. As he says, “damn Mary Oliver” keeps chiming in asking him that damn question!

ORDER LINKS: Dreamspinner Press (20% off thru 12/31)  Amazon  All Romance

So now I’ll ask you that question: tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? What’s one goal or dream that you have or could create that’s in keeping with who you really are?

Signing Off!

December 23, 2014

Okay, so this is my last post of the day! I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. I will be nipping over to Dreamspinner’s Twitter page now, where I will be posting from 4pm EST (9pm GMT) for an hour, so come along and join me there for more chat!

There’s still plenty of time to win the Shuttered ebook, as I’m running on UK time I know it’s still early for some of you guys. So all you have to do is go to this post and leave a comment to win. I’ll be back later to leave a comment in the comments section of the Ghost Hunt post to let you all know who’s won.

To find out what else I’ve written, please visit my website: ejtett.weebly.com

I also have a blog: http://emmy-j.blogspot.co.uk/

I would love more friends on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/29294364-emma-jane

Or you can follow me on Twitter: @emizzy

I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and a happy New Year!



Locations! And an excerpt

December 23, 2014

I’m going to talk about some of the locations used in Shuttered now. I’m from a part of England known as the West Country, so I tend to set a lot of my stories here.

Weybury, the town where Daniel lives, is fictional but is based partly on my home town. In particular, the town hall is lifted straight from where I live.



Lyme Regis is real. I often take my own dog there so it made sense to me that Daniel would do the same. The photo is one I took and it shows the gardens, part of the beach, and the famous Cobb around the harbour.  There’s an old listed building in Lyme, which is no longer used, but used to be a hotel called The Three Cups. It’s had some pretty famous guests – Alfred Lord Tennyson and J. R. R. Tolkien, to name but two. I resurrected the hotel for Daniel and Rowan to stay in.

Dartmoor is one of my favourite places. It’s a national park in the county of Devon in the West Country. It’s got some stunning scenery and is full of granite tors and old medieval villages. Postbridge gets a mention in passing, and they have the most beautiful old clapper bridge there. I’ve been twice this year and my dog has had to go and have a paddle in the stream.

Bell Tor is based on Bellever, in Dartmoor, which is very close to Postbridge. There’s a row of teeth-like stones at Bellever and an old cist, which was used as inspiration for a certain event in Shuttered. The below photo is one I took – it shows my dog next to the stone row and cist.  The actual cist itself is quite large and the stones must weigh an absolute ton!


Beau and cist

Where are your favourite places to visit? Let me know below, I’d love to hear from you.


“Is this it?” Rowan asked. A hotel and a chip shop lay to the left of him, next to a path leading out along the sea. To his right, a pebbled beach and a walkway leading to ice cream stalls and shops selling buckets and spades and other crap beach goers might need. He could see the Cobb too, the famous harbor wall curving out into the sea where Louisa Musgrove had fallen in Persuasion, and promised himself he’d go and have a look once his reading was over.

“This is it,” the driver confirmed. “Go right, and you’ll see houses along the front there.”

“Cheers.” Rowan handed over his fare and left the taxi, pulling his collar up around his neck at the chill wind. He waited for the taxi to move off, glanced up at the random little clock tower in the middle of the car park and was pleased to see he was early, before wandering along the promenade.

The pebbled beach rolled in dips and dives down to the sea, whose waves smacked pleasingly against the shore and took him straight back to every holiday he’d ever spent at the coast. Seagulls flew overhead, screeching, and he grimaced and hoped one wouldn’t crap on him. Nobody walked on the beach, but a few people were out on the promenade, walking dogs or kids or elderly relatives. An old man zoomed past him on a motorized scooter, music blaring from his stereo. Rowan raised his eyebrows. Must be the sea air. Or he’s high on fudge.

He carried on, past shops selling ice cream, under street lamps shaped like ammonites until houses of every shape and design lined the way. He figured most were holiday homes, empty for now, but Mrs. Moore had definitely said Marine Parade, so some must have been residential—a few people not yet pushed out by the good folk from London wanting their two weeks at the seaside.

Lucky cow. Imagine falling asleep to the sound of the sea every night. He bet the house cost a bloody bomb though. It was probably less pleasant during the summer months, too, when holidaymakers and their screaming children would pack the beach.


December 23, 2014

A big character in Shuttered, is Daniel’s dog Sasha. I have a four year old Jack Russell cross Poodle called Beau who absolutely loves spaniels. He’ll run across the field to say hello and will follow them everywhere. I used a lot of his personality in Sasha.

Do any of you guys have dogs? And will they be getting anything from Santa? Let me know in the comments. Beau has four presents so far and not all of those are from me! He loves joining in on Christmas Day.

Although you wouldn’t think it from his expression in this photo…


(I promise he only had the outfit on for me to take a pic then it came off!)

Because I love dogs so much, they feature again in the novel I’m currently working on. I like to write about things I’m passionate about as I think this comes across in the story and also, it’s no fun writing about things you’re not interested in. So the main character in my work-in-progress is Alistair – a gardener (another passion of mine!) – and his love interest is Noah the dog groomer! Again, there will be slight paranormal elements, in that Alistair’s constant companion is his dead boss.

So that’s what I’m working on… and as well as Shuttered, I have a short story published by Dreamspinner. It’s called Compulsion and it features in the Hot Off the Press anthology, which is a brilliant anthology where the characters are authors and publishers and editors. My story is about a kleptomaniac called Edwin Peach who steals an author’s book at a signing and ends up in bed with him. You can get Hot Off the Press here.

Ghost Hunting

December 23, 2014

Ghosts and spirits feature in Shuttered and a hobby of mine is ghost hunting. Earlier this year, on an April Saturday night/Sunday morn – 10pm to 5am – I (along with my brother) was hunting for ghosts at Bodmin Jail. Once everybody had arrived, we were whisked away to a ‘live execution.’ There’s an old execution area outside – basically a noose over a 13ft deep pit.


(Me, terrified)

We were given a little talk about the history of hangings – told some grizzly stories about how, when using a ‘long drop’, sometimes people’s heads would come off. And told about how the executioners would have to go down into the pit to check the body once it’d dropped to check the person was actually dead, and to measure the distance between their feet and the floor to see how far their neck had stretched. One was half an inch and one was 12 inches!

Then we were shown (on an actual living man) how it was all set up – how his hands were tied, how the bag and noose went over his head, and how his legs were tied. We were told about how prison guards had to stand beside the accused and keep the flat of their palms to the person’s elbows to that when the floor dropped away, the guards’ arms just fell without hindering anything.

Then, the living man was replaced with a weight, the pins were removed from the lever to open the trap door, and then the lever was pulled. The noise was horrific – the slam of the doors and the weight on the rope. Grim. Anyway, then we were invited to clamber down into the execution pit if we wanted. Course, me and my brother were straight down there but some people weren’t keen.

After the demonstration, we had a tour of the jail, and then we headed back to the little break room to be split into our groups.

We spent most of the eve wandering from place to place. It’s a huge place so often you’d be somewhere entirely on your own and we did meet up with another group of sceptics who we had a giggle with and who we did some glass pushing with (nothing happened at all) but that was it. No noises (perhaps because we were rarely anywhere quiet enough to listen), no smells, or feelings, or touches and we definitely didn’t see anything.



The best bit was the old navel prison outside, which is all ruins. That was really creepy. But the trouble was there were a lot of noises out there and we discounted it all as being the pigeons.

A fun evening, but no ghosts. I often talk about my ghost hunts on my blog.

Have any of you had any experiences with the paranormal? Are you a sceptic? Let me know your thoughts and one lucky commenter will win an e-copy of Shuttered.

Emma Jane – Shuttered Pre-release Party!

December 23, 2014


Hello, everybody! I’m Emma Jane and I’m here to chat with you all about my latest novel, Shuttered, which will be released tomorrow! Christmas Eve! I hope you’re all ready for Christmas? Shuttered would make a nice last minute gift. ;)

Here’s the blurb:

When wildlife and landscape photographer Daniel Hopson gets a reading from clairvoyant Rowan Foster at a local craft fair, he quickly realizes it’s a con. But he sees the charm behind the chancer’s façade, and so rather than expose him, he starts to date him—only to discover that some of Rowan’s other cons are far more serious.

The so-called psychic owes ten thousand pounds to two men after deceitfully claiming to be able to find the body of their murdered mother. Daniel must help Rowan recover the genuine gift he possessed in childhood and contact the spirits before the men catch up to them—and the key to doing so might be Daniel’s telepathic connection with his dog Sasha.

You can buy it here.


A few years ago I wrote a short story called ‘My Life and the Pigeon’ which was published in an anthology called Literary Foray. It was about a man who could communicate with a pigeon. I liked the voice of the character, and I love the idea of someone being able to communicate with an animal so I decided I’d write something longer (and more romantic) along the same lines.

Initially, the animal was going to be a squirrel. I’m not sure why. I came to my senses though, and realised a dog would be more logical and would allow the story to move forward. So, Sasha the springer spaniel was born.

Photography is a hobby of mine, so my MC Daniel became a photographer. Another huge love of mine is the paranormal. I often go on ghost hunts (though, like Daniel, I’m a sceptic), and I used to be part of a psychic ‘circle’ when I was younger, though I was never any good at it! My cousin is a medium, and I’m still friends with the lady who ran my psychic circle. So Rowan, Daniel’s love interest, was a clairvoyant.

I like the idea that dogs have a sixth sense and can see things we can’t, so Sasha’s ability and Daniel’s ability and Rowan’s ability all sit nicely together and work to create (I hope!) an entertaining story.

During my time here today, I’ll talk about dogs, and ghosts, and will share a couple of my photos from locations used in Shuttered. I’ll also be giving away an e-copy of Shuttered, so stay tuned!

THE SENSUALIST & THE UNTOUCHED Release Party #3: Characters & Excerpt & A Giveaway

December 19, 2014

As usual, I’m Susan Laine. I’m hosting a release party here today, Dec 19, starting from 2:00 p.m. EST for my latest release, The Sensualist & the Untouched.

How to describe Corey and Lucian?

Corey is a rational kind of guy. He sees a problem and he tackles it head on. He over-analyzes too, which makes him hesitate whenever the opportunity to be close to someone presents itself.

Here’s an image I had in mind when writing Corey:

Gray Sweater

Lucian, however, is more instinctive that Corey. He’s unafraid to try new things, and he’s a great lover of both men and women. In fact, due to his family, Lucian has made a conscious choice to have his whole life revolve around sensual issues.

Here’s an image I had in mind when writing Lucian:

White Suit

Here’s a scene to show Lucian and Corey learning more about one another in an intimate—and pitch-black—setting at Boudoir:


“Am I your first frigid man?” Corey wondered briefly if that were true. Statistically he couldn’t be the only one in town.

“You’re not my first enigma” was Lucian’s cryptic reply. That seemed so like Lucian that it made Corey laugh. “You want to dance, Corey? No one would see. Not even me.”

Corey bristled. “I happen to be a good dancer.” Then he cleared his throat. “Not that that’s the point or anything.”

Lucian let out a merry sound. “I’d love to dance with you. I bet you lead very well. I must confess the notion of your hand on the small of my back is enthralling.”

Corey swallowed nervously in the blackness. He wasn’t sure what it was about the idea of dancing with Lucian that made him anxious and jumpy. His confused mind still reeled and refused to provide him with clear-cut answers. And his body was so deep into the land of confusion, Corey wondered if it would ever get unlost again.

The rising pace of the “Boléro” changed to a new piece then. A lone saxophone began to play, a blues tune so soft and melancholy it stirred something in Corey’s chest. A heavy weight shifted, an ever-present reminder of the pain he carried. And yet, the notes of the sax held a certain erotic charge that tingled on the edges of Corey’s awareness and in his gut, this time showing him how a single instrument could depict his condition so accurately. The sad longing for sensuality.

Would it be so bad if I danced with Lucian?

Corey threw caution to the wind. “We can try that. One dance.”

Lucian let out a surprised, gleeful gasp. “Really?” Corey heard chair legs scrape on the floor as the man rose and then soft footfalls as he approached. “Take my hand.”

Corey knew that if Lucian had used an endearment right then, he would have changed his mind so fast his head would have been left spinning like in those old time cartoons. But Lucian’s voice sounded gentle and kind and even somewhat yearning, so Corey stood up and fumbled to find his host’s hand in the dark.

How Corey wished he could have felt passionate sparks and colorful fireworks as their hands touched. Alas, all he felt was a hand smaller than his own with delicate bone structure, long, svelte fingers, soft skin that carried the scent of passion fruit, and the feel of luxuriously manicured nails.


Time to announce today’s giveaway! As the above excerpt shows, this is Corey’s first time dancing with someone, and is therefore profoundly meaningful for him.

So I pose you this question: What do you remember from the first time you danced with someone?

I’ll answer to get the ball rolling.

I was a teenager, thirteen or fourteen. My Mom had taken me and my sister on a cruise, just a short two-day trip. I wore a blue silk blouse I’d borrowed from my Mom when a man came to ask me to dance. I did, though I’d never done that before and was feeling a bit nervous. I don’t recall his face, only that he was a lot taller than me and he had a spicy cologne. We never really spoke and I never learned his name. Yet I remember the experience well. I’ve danced with other men since then but that moment has stuck with me.

The prize for this giveaway is an e-book (your choice of format) of The Sensualist & the Untouched—or if you already have it, one from my backlog.

You can find me at Dreamspinner Press and at my website.