Vampire Books

11 June 2014: What’s in a name …. The stories of how characters got their names

A lot of people ask me where I got the names for characters in the books. That’s a difficult question to answer because the answer is All over the place!

In my third novel, one of the characters is Mason Turner. I remember seeing that name on a business card taped on the desk of a coworker several years ago. It was just some salesman’s card who’d stopped by the day before to sell him something. But something about that name just struck me, so I wrote it down. A few books later, I needed a name and found that little note I’d made and Mason was born.

Sophronia Hood is another name I love. It’s the name of Daniel’s grandmother. Sophronia is a name I’ve run across on several different occasions in the course of my genealogy research. There’s a few in my family tree. It’s not a popular name now (no really, it’s not …) but it wasn’t that unusual back in the 1800’s. I got Hood by doing a little digging for family names from the area around New Paltz.   You ask, ‘Well how do I find that out?’.   That’s not too hard. I just looked up a local New Paltz cemetery on http://www.findagrave.com and looked at last names of older burials. I knew I wanted the first name Sophronia, so I just picked a name I thought sounded good with it.

There are a lot of characters that are named after my friends as well. In Book Three where Sara is at the hotel, her coworkers are Odalys, Keith, Christy and Mirta. These are also the names of friends of mine that I used to work with at a hotel here in Orlando.  Kerri and Laura, Sara’s across the hall neighbors in Capen Hall are names after two New Paltz roommates of mine.

Henry Preston was named Preston because I wanted something that sounded nautical. Preston may not sound all that nautical to you, but when I was a kid my family would drive out east on Long Island to Greenport, NY on weekend afternoons. We’d usually go to a store called Preston’s that sold all sort of nautical knick knacks and antiques.  To me, it’s a very nautical name. The same can be said of Mr. Wentworth, Sara’s boss at the hotel. Again, I wanted something nautical for his name. He ended up being named after Captain Wentworth, a sea captain and the hero of my favorite books, Persuasion by Jane Austen. Mr. Wentworth owns Clipper’s Inn. The inn is modeled after Danford’s Hotel and Marina in Port Jefferson. However, I named my hotel Clipper’s Inn because I used to work for Clipper Cruise Line. It’s an homage to all my fellow crewmates out there.

My friend Jim has the distinction of having two characters named after him. Jim Forgy in Book 3 (Forgy being a family name on his mother’s side) and Madam Huff. I had to sort of apologize to him about Madam Huff.  Sometimes when I’m writing and I can’t think of a name, I’ll just stick a place holder name in there and come back to it later. Huff was a placeholder name, but after a while it sort of grew on me and then before I knew it, I’d forgotten I was going to change it. So, yes, I did make it up to him with big, strapping, burly Jim Forgy.

Ben’s brother Brian is another funny story. One day I was sitting at my desk at work. I’d been pondering what to name Ben’s brother for a while now and at that moment had found myself lost in that great internal debate. I heard a sound and looked up. My boss Brian walked in the door. Humm… Brian. Yeah, that works.

The Pearce family is named after an actor I used to know when I worked at the hotel in Hollywood. His name is Guy Pearce. I think when I was imaging what Randall might look like, I kinda had an image of Guy in my head. That and the fact that I wanted what sounded like and old American name. (Ironic, yes I know as Guy is Australian) But Pearce also had a vintage quality that I liked about it.

Sara is the same way. Boy did I bounce around with a long list of names for her! I’d always wanted something that was an old traditional name. I had thought about Elizabeth as that’s my middle name, but decided against it. There were too many nickname variations of Elizabeth. I ended up with Sara, but decided on the slightly less traditional spelling of Sara, not Sarah with the ‘h’ at the end. Donnelly is because I wanted something Irish to sort of match my last name. This was because so much of Sara’s genealogy is mine as well. This was why her father is name Carl. He’s named for the German side of the family. Carl sounded like a good strong traditional German name.

I’ll end here but I think you get the gist of it. My names come from anywhere and everywhere. And yes, I’m still adding to that list I keep of prospective names. You never know when you’re going to be searching for just the right name for a character you’re giving birth to.

1 Jun 2014: The Old Lighthouse Museum, Stonington, CT

So now that book three (The Blood That Binds) has been out for a while, I thought I’d start to post some photos related to its contents. Today I’m sharing some pictures I took inside the Old Lighthouse Museum in Stonington, CT. As my readers will know, a lot of the action in Book 3 centers in and around this small museum located in the lovely lighthouse I fell in love with at first sight. The blue door you see is actually the doorway that leads into the backroom where “Roger’s office” is located in my books. All of the other photos are of the ground floor main room of the museum. You should definitely check it out if you’re in the area someday.
The Old Lighthouse Museum, Stonington, CT

The Old Lighthouse Museum, Stonington, CT

The Old Lighthouse Museum, Stonington, CT

The Old Lighthouse Museum, Stonington, CT

The Old Lighthouse Museum, Stonington, CT

The Old Lighthouse Museum, Stonington, CT

The Old Lighthouse Museum, Stonington, CT

The Old Lighthouse Museum, Stonington, CT

The Old Lighthouse Museum, Stonington, CT

The Old Lighthouse Museum, Stonington, CT

31 May 2014: A Chevy what???

So as a reader of my books, did you ever wonder what a Chevy Aveo looks like?  Oh sure you did, come on, admit it.  How many of them do you see on the road anyway?  Yes, Sara drives an Aveo … and so do I.  In case you’re still curious, here’s a photo of what my little baby looks like.  Also what the New Paltz Alumni sticker on the back and the Mystic Pizza take out box that’s under my front seat looks like.  (Don’t freak out, it’s empty)  Why do I have an empty take out box under the front seat of my car you ask?  Well, you wouldn’t be the first to ask that question.  What can I say, it’s been a year and a half since I’ve enjoyed their delicious pizza and I just can’t seem to take it out of my car.  It’s sort of a reminder to go back next time I’m in CT.
So if you’re stopped at a light somewhere behind a little silver Aveo with a New Paltz Alumni sticker being driven by a red head, don’t’ freak out.  It’s not Sara, it’s just me.

My / Sara's Chevy Aveo

My / Sara’s Chevy Aveo

Proud Alumni of SUNY New Paltz (AKA NPU)

Proud Alumni of SUNY New Paltz (AKA NPU)

Mystic Pizza.  A Slice of Heaven??  Believe me, this is not false advertising.

Mystic Pizza. A Slice of Heaven?? Believe me, this is not false advertising.

 

29 May 2014: The Hopkinton, RI Town Founders Monument

This is the monument in Hopkinton, RI dedicated to the families that founded the town in 1757.  Edward Wells is Randall’s father and Edward Wells Jr. is Randall’s older brother.  Randall isn’t on the monument becuase in 1757 at the time of the town’s founding, he would only have been 10 years old. 
I do mention this monument in the books when Randall is telling about the families they used to associate with back when he was alive, him saying that most of them were listed on this monument.
The Town Founders Monument, Hopkinton, RI

The Town Founders Monument, Hopkinton, RI

 

The Town Founders Monument, Hopkinton, RI

The Town Founders Monument, Hopkinton, RI

 

The Town Founders Monument, Hopkinton, RI

The Town Founders Monument, Hopkinton, RI

 

 

28 May 2014: Inspiration inside a Fortune Cookie

Fortunes? Really? Yep, I love reading my fortune out of Fortune Cookies. I even have a little collection of the best ones I’ve pulled out of cookies. I don’t remember how it started, but at some point I decided to challenge myself to see if I could find creative ways to write in some of my favorite fortunes into my books. These two babies are in my recently published Book Three. Can you find where???

Fortune Cookies

Fortune Cookies

Anatomy of an E-Book Cover

As an Independent Author who’s on a budget and has a talent for graphic design, I decided to create my own cover art.  It was daunting at first.  I had to figure out what the technical requirements were, but once I figured all that out, it was pretty easy to do with my photo editing program.  Since I still had so many of my test images saved on my  computer, I thought I’d share with you how the cover for my third novel came to be.

Of course the first question is … what do you put on the cover besides the title and your name?  Well, I like to choose an image, a single thing that sets the tone or represents the spirit of the book.  For book one in my series, I had a DNA strand and a rampant lion.  Since the books center on how special my main characters Blood/DNA is, I thought the DNA strand was a no brainer.  The Lion comes from the Wells family crest.  It’s my mother’s family crest and as I have real ancestors of mine in the Wells family as charters, it seemed a good fit.  Plus lions represent courage and I thought that was my main character, Sara, in spades.  Book two has the just extinguished white candle leaking blood.  This actually represents two things, only one of which is apparent in Book 2.  Sorry, but you’re just going to have to read book 4 to find out what that other thing is.  In Book 2, it represents Daniel’s loss of innocence.   So that brings us to book 3.  Well, unlike the first to books which take place mainly in New Paltz, NY, book 3 mainly takes place in Stonington, CT.  The Old Lighthouse Museum is the hub of all the action, but as you can see if I just said a lighthouse, you’d probably be thinking a big tall tower and small house beside it.  Yes, I describe the lighthouse in the book, but because it’s so distinctive, I wanted to feature it on the cover.  Fortunately for me, the good folks at the real museum didn’t mind my using the photo I took when I was up there doing research.

So, I started with my original photo.  Yes, it wasn’t the ideal photo to work with, but at the time I had no idea I was shooting a cover photo.  I was just shooting shots about town to reference when writing.  I hadn’t written the book yet so how was I supposed to know?  Alas hindsight is 50/50.  So I started with my photo, but I wanted something much more graphic and less photorealism.  I needed it to match the two covers that came before as I wanted them to seem cohesive.  So using my photo editing software, I converted the image to a sketch look.

The Blood That Binds: The Purity of Blood Vol III

The Blood That Binds: The Purity of Blood Vol III

 

Because the first two covers were in a Black, Red and White color scheme on a black background, I added the black and sucked out as much red as I could.  It looked good, but still too photographic.  I wanted more of a stark contrast.  I also sucked out the window panes on the front door and tried to minimize some of the details to just pull out the basic bones of the image.

 

The Blood That Binds: The Purity of Blood Vol III

The Blood That Binds: The Purity of Blood Vol III

 

After I added the text (Same font as other books for cohesiveness) I extended over the grass at the bottom of the cover and added a hint of the bushes to the black spot to the left of the front door.  Was a big black hole that was screaming at me to be filled.  I liked what I had but it still needed something to punch it up.  I was thinking a moon or clouds, but the moon didn’t sit right with me.  First of all, it was too hard to get the subtleties of the light and dark patches of the moon and retain the stark graphic look I was going for.  Plus although good in theory, when I looked at it, it just screamed werewolf to me.  Sorry, no werewolves in my books, so the moon had to go.  Clouds were really hard to manipulate as well and still keep the stark look I was aiming for.

 

The Blood That Binds: The Purity of Blood Vol III

The Blood That Binds: The Purity of Blood Vol III

 

And then came the birds.  I had several nights wrangling to find a bird that worked.  Attempt one didn’t quite live up to expectations.  I liked it but needed to get all of the white out of him and it just wasn’t working.  Bird two stuck and became the final cover.  In the end, I like the idea of the bird.  It’s sort of Sara.  She’s there but she can’t be caged or confined by life or the circumstances she’s presented with.  She’s a survivor and in the end will always find a way to fly free.  Very poetic, I know, but true none the less.

 

The Blood That Binds: The Purity of Blood Vol III

The Blood That Binds: The Purity of Blood Vol III

 

So I’d love to hear you comments on my cover art.  If you have any comments good or constructive, I’d live to get some feed back for when I do the cover for book four in the next month or so.

-Jennifer

 

 

One last reminder to get your book for FREE!!

I just wanted to send out one last reminder out there that today is the last day of my FREE book offer on Amazon.com for the first novel in my book series called The Purity of Blood Volume I.

My books are definitely a good read for anyone intersted in the Wells family  of Hopkinton or the Rogers family of New London County.

Although set in a modern day setting, the story weaves in characters and stories of the Wells family in all five books in the series.  Randall Wells and his wife Lois Maxson are important characters in my books as well as my real life 4th great grandparents.  Book III in the series which I just published last week still has the Wells family but also has a strong storyline telling the story of the Rogers family in New London County, CT.

Today is your last chance to get Book I for free on Amazon.  It’s available as an E-Book for either a Kindle or the Kindle app which you can download onto your phone or computer.

I hope you take advantage of this offer and enjoy my books as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.

-Jennifer

http://www.facebook.com/JenniferGeoghanNovels

Book 1 Final Cover 1

YEAH!! It’s finally here!! Book Three has been published!!!

I’m happy to announce that book three in my series, The Blood that Binds, The Purity of Blood Volume III, is now available for purchase on Amazon.com.  I can’t tell you how happy I am to have one more book under my belt.

To celebrate the publication of book 3, I’m putting book 1 on special until Sunday May 25th.  It is FREE!!  All you have to do is download it off of Amazon.  And of course leave me a good review on Amazon after you read and love the book.  (Insert Shameless plug)

Seriously, I hope you take advantage and get Book one (The Purity of Blood Volume I)  I’ve poured my soul into these books and have been gratified and humbled by the reaction I’ve received from my readers.  A few years ago I started writing and in a million years never thought the day would come when I’d be pursuing a career as a writer.  I always knew I had the talent, but I think I lacked the drive.  Somewhere, I have no idea where, that drive just finally materialized in me.  It was as if I suddenly at the age of 43 discovered what I wanted to be when I grew up.   I guess I’m a later bloomer.  But the point is that I’ve bloomed, Baby!

The cover is an image of The Old Lighthouse Museum in Stonington, CT where a lot of the action in the book takes place.  Whereas my first two novels focused on the Wells family (my real ancestors) this novel focuses of the Rogers Family of New London County, CT (also my real ancestors)  I hope you enjoy it!!

 

The Blood that Binds: The Purity of Blood Volume III

The Blood that Binds: The Purity of Blood Volume III

The Blood that Binds: The Purity of Blood Volume III

After a tumultuous first year at New Paltz University, summer’s finally here for Sara Donnelly … but she’s not exactly excited about it. Heading off to spend the next few months at home in Wading River should sound like a good thing, but it also means she’ll be parted from her fiancé Daniel until the fall.

After only a few weeks at home, the summer takes an unexpected turn when Sara’s pulled from her job to spend the remainder of her break with her brother Roger up in Connecticut. But something’s amiss in the small museum where Roger’s just been hired as the new curator. When one of his employees mysteriously goes missing, Sara happily comes to Roger’s rescue by agreeing to fill the vacancy. But spending time with Roger isn’t the only reason she’s happy. From the small museum inside the lighthouse perched on the edge of the sea, it’s only a short drive to where Daniel will be spending his vacation at her grandfather’s house in Rhode Island.

Shortly after her arrival in Stonington, Sara finds things in the small seaside borough of Connecticut are not exactly what she’d expected. Roger’s unwittingly fallen into company with an ancient secret society bent of defending their ancestral lands from any and all vampires. Over his head and worried he’s unexpectedly brought Sara into harms way, Roger quickly realizes his shadowy new boss has designs on his beautiful little sister.

Caught in between two worlds, Sara has to find a way to keep the love of her life alive as well as decide exactly how much she’s willing to divulge to her big brother about the vampire that’s about to marry into the family.

 

Creating a Book Cover … by finding inspiration in unlikely places

I thought I’d share my inspiration for the cover of book two. First of all, I LOVE Candles. Always have, always will. A lot of times when a candle burns down to the end of the wick and there is still a lot of wax left, I’ll break up the left over wax and slowly feed it into a new candle. If you look at the photo below, it was a white candle that I fed it the remains of a brown candle. I think back when I came up with the idea of the candle on the book cover, I’d fed in some red wax to a white candle and it sort of looked like blood. And a book cover was born … 

DSCN6749

Cover of Book 2

Cover of Book 2

 

 

 

Vampires? Yep. And I say, why not?

So a lot of people have asked me “why vampires?” Yes, my books are basically romance books, but they’re really so much more when you get right down to it. They’re the story of Sara and how she deals with all the changes in her life that suddenly rush upon her in the most unexpected ways. It’s not only her romance, but so many other discoveries about who she is that make up the arc of the five books I’ve written in the series. Why vampires? Well, why not? I like vampires, I find them the most interesting of the genre of horror creatures. I remember last year when my friend Jim reading book one, a friend or coworker asked him what he was reading so he explained his role as my editor. His coworker/friend kind of rolled their eyes and said vampires had been done to death. When Jim explained my rather unusual take on them, his friend/coworker was intrigued. Basically, I try to make my vampires as realistic as possible. Yes, they are creatures of fantasy (at least as far as I know) but what if they were real? Somehow I don’t think they’d have the ability to transform into bats or have sparkly skin in the sunlight. I thought long and hard about what characteristics they’d have and came up with my own very different take on them as a species. Yes, but why vampires at all? Ok, the premise was how to write a book where I could take my real life ancestors and somehow intertwine them into a modern story …. This is all I’m going to say on this subject because if you want the full explanation, you’re just going to have to read the books. So, why vampires? Well, they just solved a lot of my problems, metaphorically speaking that is.