Guest Author & Giveaway: Emma Lang featuring Endless Heart

Thursday, May 24

I often wonder how authors choose names for their characters, don't you?  Sometimes they seem so perfect, other times they are just name, and then a few sad times you wonder what in the world they were thinking when they picked that name!  Names are very important to me in a romance, it helps me connect to them as people, even though they aren't real.

Author Beth Williamson aka Emma Lang is my special guest today to share with us a bit about the names of the characters in her upcoming historical western romance, Endless Heart, the third book in her Heart Trilogy (which I have enjoyed immensely.  Ruthless Heart was one of my favorite reads in 2010).  Enjoy!


What's in a name? Quite a lot

As a writer, I often choose the character names before I even know what the story is. It's true! Picking the right name is so important to me because it helps me shape the character. It's also important for me to be historically accurate - I cannot use names that were not "invented" in the time periods I write in. I do spend an inordinate amount of time picking names. Let me show you why.

For example, when I wrote the first book in the Devils on Horseback series, NATE, I spent time picking the names of the five men. Readers might not realize that each of the five men, the Devils as they are, have biblical names. Yep, they sure do, Nathaniel, Jacob, Ezekiel, Cornelius and Gideon. Each of them was granted a name that fit their personality.

Let's take Zeke, or Ezekiel as he hates to be called. It means "God strengthens." How appropriate for this ex-soldier, sheriff and the strongest of the devils.

Plus I had a bit of writerly humor giving bible names to the devils. Hee.

My next release, ENDLESS HEART, brings the Heart trilogy to a close with Lettie's story. Her name, Lettie Brown, is as plain as the clothes she hides behind. She has brown hair, brown eyes, brown dress and her name is brown. But what you find out in the story is there is more behind the brown, in fact, there is Violet.

Her real name that is. Beneath the tough, hard exterior lies the soft, fragile petals of a flower. She has grown a wall around herself to protect that fragility, hide it from the world.

Then there is Shane Murphy. Ah, my tortured hero who insists on punishing himself over and over for the same mistakes. Shane is a version of Sean, which is a version of John. Such a noble name, but hidden amongst the layers of darkness Shane buries himself in. John means "Yahweh is gracious" and there was never a hero who deserved the grace of God than Shane Murphy. He spends his days drowning in whiskey, lost in the shame and guilt he wears like a blanket.

In ENDLESS HEART, the names of the hero and heroine set the tone for the story, tell the reader right away, these two characters are in trouble. If their names were something like Claire and Tim, it wouldn't be the same, would it? Those names would diminish the dark undertones and affect the entire story.

Then there is the title of the book itself. ENDLESS HEART - what does that mean to me? The word "endless" means seeming to have no end. These two characters have the capacity to love so deeply, it will never end, but only grow deeper and stronger. Their hearts are so full of shadows, they have to find each other and thus, the love that grows in that endless heart.

It may be the geek writer who lives inside me, but names are critical to a book when I'm writing it and when I'm reading it. I admit I judge other people on their name choices and wonder, what made them pick THAT name? Like a Medieval with a character named Willow or Tiffany. Um, no. Or something like Brock for a cowboy. It just doesn't work for me and it can throw me for a loop.

I *hope* my characters and their names work for my readers. That the care I take in selecting their monikers translates into a fully rounded character that someone can relate to and take a journey with.

Signed, Beth
(whose grandmother was named Elizabeth, although called Betty, which means "God is my abundance". I do indeed have a lot to be thankful for :)

She’s learning to live. He’s forgotten how. Love will be their teacher.

Heart, Book 3

Lettie Brown has lived in the shadow of violence. After escaping her brutal past, she’s finally at home in Forestville, Wyoming, where she would live a normal life—if she knew how. She’s content working at The Blue Plate and printing the town newspaper, if not happy. Then a stranger stumbles into her world and turns everything upside down.

Shane Murphy is a shell of a man, destroyed by the aftermath of the war, his personal tragedies and a penchant for cheap whiskey. When he lands, literally, on Lettie’s feet, his future takes a hard right turn.

As they fumble through a relationship that should not have been, a deep love takes root, one that cannot be denied. Together they discover a bond as unbreakable as steel and as undeniable as life itself—until the past rears its ugly head and threatens the happiness they’ve found in each other.

Product Warnings
Get ready for a deep, intense love story that will leave you crying, cheering, shouting, squirming and sighing. Prepare for a hero who needs to be held, a heroine who needs to be loved, and a story that needs to be told.

 And enjoy this special excerpt just for Musings readers in the flipbook below:

or read it in a Google document here


Thank you Beth for being my guest today!  And I couldn't agree more, names are hugely important to me when reading a story.  So I thank you even more for taking such care in choosing them for your characters.  I have to say I think Shane, the hero in Endless Heart, is one of my favorite heroes so far this year.  My heart went out to him, and I think his name is perfect.

If you'd like to learn more about author Beth Williamson and Emma Lang (one in the same) you can find her at her oh so fab website, her blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.   I think one of the things that attracted me to Beth's books at first was her slogan, "Read a book, Ride a Cowboy!".  I heart that so much! LOL.

To celebrate the release of Beth's newest and upcoming Historical Western Romance as Emma Lang, Endless Heart, the third and final book in her Heart Trilogy, she would like to giveaway a digital copy of the book to one very lucky Musings follower.  Here's how you can enter to win.

Ways to earn entries:
  • Mandatory: What's your favorite part, or line from one of the excerpts?  AND/OR ask Beth/Emma a question about her book or characters (good for 1 entry)
  • Mandatory: You MUST be a Google Friend Connect (GFC) follower in order to be eligible to win (unfortunately an email subscriber, or subscription in Google reader, and a follower are not the same thing so make sure you are signed up as a follower if you'd like to win this book)
  • If you have a blog, or even if you don't, you can earn extra entries by telling your friends. If they successfully enter to win and mention that you sent them you can each earn extra entries. You can blog about it with a link to this post, post it on Facebook, Twitter, email...or even word of mouth (good for 5 entries for the referrer and the commenter for each friend) . Please note that to earn the points they must mention your GFC name so that I can match you.
  • You can also earn extra entries by sharing the flipbook excerpt on Facebook, Twitter, your website or blog or other social media sites. You can earn 5 entries for each place that you share it and leave a link in the comments.
  • Purchase any item from the Seductive Musings Amazon store by using this link, or the Amazon widget contained within this post and email a copy of your purchase receipt to me no later than the deadline to enter (email available in sidebar). Sorry purchases made prior to this date do not apply, and link contained in this post must be used. No faxes or snail mail copies are allowed. No purchases are necessary to win. (good for 25 entries, or 50 entries if a purchase is made from the featured author's available titles)
How to enter:
  • You can choose to enter as many different ways that you want, but please place all of your entries in ONE comment 
Rules and disclaimers:
  • This contest is open to US & International addresses
  • You must be at least 18 years or older, or of legal age in your country
  • The contest will end on May 26th at 11:59 pm EST and winner will be posted after they have been selected
  • Winner(s) will be selected using, and/or by the author
  • The winner(s) will have THREE days from the date they are posted to provide a mailing address. If you do not contact me within three days a replacement winner will be selected. NO EXCEPTIONS
  • The book(s) will be mailed directly from the publisher or author and no substitutions are allowed
  • Winners will be subject to one copy per household, which means that if you win the same title in two or more contests, that you will only receive one copy of the title in the mail
  • Seductive Musings is not responsible for prizes that are not honored, distributed in a timely manner, lost, stolen, or damaged during transit 
  • All giveaways are subject to change/cancellation without prior written notice
Good Luck!

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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.


Beth Williamson May 24, 2012 at 9:43 AM  

Howdy everyone! First let me say thank you to the lovely Booklover for allowing me to blog with her today. Always a pleasure!
I'll be back later to chat with the peeps who swing by to hang out!




Tamsyn May 24, 2012 at 9:57 AM  

Love the post, especially about the names. Thanks for sharing. Love "..he was dead, and you brought him back to life." Love cowboys too and that cover is great.
GFC follower

AquarianDancer May 24, 2012 at 10:26 AM  

Hi, Beth!

My question is - of all the names you have chosen for characters, which are your favorite and least favorite ones?

This is my favorite part of the excerpt:
'Sam’s brows went up. “Did you just make a joke?”
Lettie shook her head. “Now why would I do that? I’m not funny.”'

Karin (meaning 'Pure')

erin May 24, 2012 at 10:49 AM  

Thanks for a great post and giveaway! I never realized how hard it was to "name" characters, although it makes sense that it does. I'm really interested in your books and I'm definitely going to go check them out!

My question: do you keep a list of "potential" names that you like (i.e. you hear a name that is unique) or do you only start looking when you have a character description in mind?

gfc: erin meaning: "Ireland"

Beth Williamson May 24, 2012 at 1:12 PM  

~ Hi Tamsyn! Thanks so much!

~ Hi Karin (aka Pure :)! Ooh, tough questions. Let's see, favorite character names. Grady Wolfe (RUTHLESS HEART) has to be my favorite hero name (note my sense of humor with Eliza Hunter, get it? Wolfe and hunter? :)
Least favorite? Probably Brett Malloy (THE TRIBUTE). I would have picked a different name for him if I'd known him better. When writing THE BOUNTY, I hadn't fleshed out the siblings yet!

~ Hi Erin (aka Ireland :)! If I hear a unique name, I definitely put it on a "list". Sometimes characters can come to life because of it. Great question!




Filia Oktarina May 24, 2012 at 1:30 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Filia Oktarina May 24, 2012 at 1:34 PM  

I enjoyed this post and the excerpy. Thanks for sharing. I agree with you, name character was very important. Do you always save name for your book or your make and picking name for your latest book.

GFC as Filia Oktarina
Twitter :
filiafantasy at gmail dot com

flchen1 May 24, 2012 at 3:13 PM  

Beth, I love learning how much thought you put into naming! While I don't always consider the names so deeply when reading, I know that no matter what, names do make an impression and when a name doesn't "fit," it can be kind of jarring. It sounds like you mostly choose names up front (kind of like naming kids? ;)) but have you ever had to change names midstream because while you were writing, the characters turned out different than you'd thought? (Maybe that's a plotter/panster question?) :)

Thanks for hanging out and for sharing those fabulous excerpts!

f dot chen at comcast dot net
(and my dad chose "Fedora" because it means "gift of God")

Beth Williamson May 24, 2012 at 3:36 PM  

~ Hi Filia! I usually pick the names before I start writing a book. :)

~ Hi Fedora! Oh, the dreaded question about changing names. Yes, I've done that twice in my writing career. Once at the behest of my editor, which I didn't necessarily want to do but did (no I won't confess which one). The other time, it was my doing because the names did indeed not match the characters. :)




ClaudiaGC May 24, 2012 at 4:07 PM  

Thank you for this lovely post! The cover is goregeous!
What's the difference between your books you write as Emma Lang and the ones you write as Beth Williamson? Are they less steamy?

Thank you for the giveaway!
claudigc at msn dot com
Tweeted about it:

Beth Williamson May 24, 2012 at 8:42 PM  

Hi Claudia! There is no difference between Beth and Emma books. I started using Emma Lang for Kensington at their request. Since the first two the Heart series were published as Emma, I had to publish the third as Emma. :)

Anonymous,  May 28, 2012 at 9:40 AM  

My favorite passage is: "Oh how those two words summed up an ocean of pain and sorrow, of guilt and shame. How could there be a way to explain what happened? There couldn’t and there wouldn’t. That was as far as he would go to tell anyone the truth. The rest of it would fester inside him until he died, eaten alive by what he’d done." It says a lot about who he is.

GFC Follower librarypat.

I tweeted this giveaway:

I shared this publicly on google+ as Patricia Barraclough.

Looks like I missed the giveaway, but it is still worth getting the word out.

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