Tuesday, June 30, 2015

But what's in a name?

Being new to this whole parenting gig means I spend a lot of time unsure what I'm supposed to be contributing to the education of these two young people who now call me their stepmom (prompting me to look around wondering, "who the hell are they talking about?")

But one thing I feel confident sharing with them is my love of '80s music. After a road trip in which I introduced sugar-poppy favorites like Cyndi Lauper, Samatha Fox, and Suzy Q, I got the following text from the 9-year-old:

If that wasn't enough to warm the cockles of my heart, I don't know what cockles are. (Actually, I don't. What the hell are cockles?)

For those unfamiliar with Samatha Fox's delicious nugget of '80s cheese, it contains the classic line, "Samantha Fox is such a wild dame – huh, but what's in a name?"

Which leads me to the point of this blog post (and to the inevitable surprise that I actually have a point). Today is release day for Protector for Hire, my new romantic comedy from Entangled Publishing. Since this is my blog and I can say pretty much whatever I want here, I'll confess right now that this is my favorite of the four books in the Front and Center series (though if you haven't read any of the others, don't worry – I wrote each one to stand alone).

Reviews are already going up on Goodreads and Amazon, and I'm thrilled to see readers seem to share my fondness for this story. But one thing we don't necessarily share is a connection to the hero's name – Schwartz. At least half the reviews misspell it, and several more have remarked on how unromantic it is.

I can't disagree. But is that always a bad thing?

Technically, it's short for Schwarzkopf Alexander Patton. Those who've followed along in the series know all the kids in the Patton family were named for military generals, and while Sheridan, MacArthur, and Grant got the more normal sounding names, it makes sense the black sheep of the family would have the one that's a bit outside the box.

I'll freely admit "Schwartz" doesn't roll off the tongue (no pun intended) the way "Romeo" or "Ashton"or "Blake" might. But it does fit the character, a reclusive, curmudgeonly mountain man who's spent the last ten years hiding out in a remote cabin in the wilderness. There's a hint of "Beauty and the Beast" to this story, so having a hero with a slightly beastly name made sense.

How do you feel about the name Schwartz? Do you prefer your romance novel heroes to have more traditional names? Are we all now remembering the scene from When Harry Met Sally when Billy Crystal questions whether Meg Ryan could truly have great sex with a guy named "Sheldon?" Please share in the comments!

And please take a moment to click over and buy Protector for Hire! It's only $2.99 from Entangled Publishing. Also, I'll be over at Bitten By Books today from noon PST until late in the evening having a rager of a book release party, complete with prize giveaways and lots of book chat, so join us for that.

And last but not least, remember, kids: Naughty girls need love, too!


wrytersblockDH said...

Torturing characters with names is part of the fun. For example, I've got a character named Logan James, the running joke in the book is that others mistake it for being presented last name, first and instead call him James Logan. Much to Logan's annoyance. In another story series, I've got an all-girl indie-rock band named after ex gfs who share the stage last name Dawl, ala The Ramones. The MC in that series is a drummer who only goes by the name "Kix", and as he tells the stories in 1st person, he deliberately does NOT state his real name, even when talking to reporters, "talk talk talk"-she said my real name-"talk talk.."

Laura S. said...

I think it's a perfectly fine name - I've seen way crazier names in romance novels! I do have to ask though, as a German speaker (non-native, but obsessed!), why Schwartz and not Schwarz if it's short for Schwarzkopf?

wrytersblockDH said...

Laura S-
I'm guessing these are American characters. I can hear the T sound in both the full name and the shortened version. Just going by hearing the name during Desert shield/Storm, I'd have spelled it with the T in there too. And maybe it's a nickname that came about from the movie "Spaceballs" (May the Schwartz be with you). Or maybe when the character was younger he had a wart, and got tagged with the nickname. Kids can be cruel. :D


Laura S,

WrytersblockDH is right. I added the "t" to ensure American readers added that hard consonant in the middle instead of seeing it as a word that rhymes with "wars." :)


Laura S said...

OK - I can roll with that!

Laura S said...

Forgot to say - that totally makes sense & thanks!

Sarah Meral said...

I admit, as a German, the name Schwartz or Schwarzkopf for a person sounds weird to me :D
Since Schwarzkopf means black head, it's not easy to wrap my head around calling a person that (as a name, a description would be different).
And the hairproduct company Schwarzkopf is very well known here in Germany (not sure about the US), so I'm also reminded of that.
That wouldn't keep from reading and enjoying a story though :)