Red Garnier: Not a Shampoo!

Back in 2007, I decided to get serious about my writing and joined the Toronto Romance Writers. While I was there, I met Wylie Kinson and started following her blog. One of the other regular commenters over there was today’s guest, Red Garnier.  So when I headed to Texas for the annual RWA conference, my overly-confident, newbie self contacted Red and arranged to meet her in person.

Red Garnier is a delightful tiny whirlwind of a lady. I have to confess, I had her in mind when I first came up with my character Rosie from Personal Protection. So I’m thrilled to have her here as my guest today.

It’s not shampoo!
I frequently get asked if Red Garnier is my real name, and if it isn’t, then why did I pick this particular name to write under?
 
Wow, you know? I’m not really sure!
 
What I do know is that I didn’t really get to pick my pen name. Somehow, it picked me.
When I started writing for Ellora’s Cave, my editor mentioned that because I was a new author, EC would not approve just any name. EC would like it to be different. They suggested I stay away from last names already taken by other authors, so Red Michaels – which I loved – would have to wait.
Worried about choosing the right one, I looked up the EC author list, noticed there were very few authors under certain last names that began with certain letters, so I asked my husband to help me find a cute last name with the letter G. He must have been watching TV – a soap opera, most likely. Or a shampoo commercial. I have no idea, but he said Garnier. And I protested, “That sounds like lingerie!” He said, “Sexy lingerie.” And I loved it instantly.
 
So now we’re stuck with each other, Red Garnier and I. Some people love my name, and others find it strange, but in my case, I’ve found that the more I use it, the more comfortable it becomes. Like a pajama – just gets better with wear.
Crazy as it sounds, I no longer feel like a Red Michaels at all!
Now if you’ve read one of my books, I think you’ll agree my name is fitting. And if you haven’t, then hell! Why not pick up a copy of THE SATIN SASH?
Sash is my first full-length print release, and I absolutely adore it. A passionate love triangle—sexy, provocative, and just plain adult fun. It’s in your nearest bookstores now and possibly one of the best ways to keep cozy and warm during the holidays.
Speaking of which—how do you all celebrate this time of year?
I celebrate with family, lots of warm cocoa, and time to indulge in a great book.
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If you want to know more about Red, head on over to her website. You can also follow Red over on Twitter.
Leave a comment telling Red how you celebrate at this time of year, and you will be entered to win a print copy of her brand new release The Satin Sash.  I’ll pick a winner on Sunday! (As always, this contest open to anyone, not just those in the US or North America!)

Guilty Pleasures @ Naughty Girls Next Door

I’m guest blogging over at Naughty Girls Next Door today – talking about my guilty pleasures. Reading romances. Thanks to @limecello, Vivian Arend, @HockeyVampiress and Inez Kelley for answering my desperate call for ideas at 1 a.m. Without them, I would have been up all night. Thanks, ladies!

Blog Birthday

Exactly one year ago today, I posted my first blog. Exactly one year ago this month, I joined the RWA after attending the Toronto Romance Writers Romance 101 course taught by Margaret Moore earlier in the month. And realized I’d come home. I’d finally found a writers’ group that could help me realize my dream of getting serious about my writing – my New Year’s resolution of 2007. There I met some incredibly supportive ladies – Christine d’Abo, Wylie Kinson, Amy Ruttan and Savannah Chase among just a few of whom I consider friends. Not to mention the squee moments when I realize that other members include Kelley Armstrong, Margaret Moore, Michelle Rowen, and Eve Silver. The world of blogging and life within the RWA has introduced me to far-flung friends – Marley Delarose, and Red Garnier, and Julia, and Kim Smith and there’s so many more.

Over the year I’ve taken courses – too many actually. Aside from the research courses I’ve taken, I’ve also taken craft courses: Mary Buckham’s Sex Between the Pages – an excellent course, Margie Lawson’s Deep EDITS course, another one I highly recommend and will use from now on. I’ve taken courses on plotting, and pacing, and beginnings. On GMC and pitching. On engaging a reader through emotions. On how to write erotica. I’ve taken so many I realized I needed to stop for a breather and find my own voice again.

And somewhere in amongst all those courses, I’ve finished three manuscripts – one a full length historical that I’ve left in its first draft as I decide its future; one short-novel-length erotica that I’ve edited, re-edited and polished ’til it shone; and a short 15K erotic novella that was equally polished that will continue to be sent out until it finds a home.

My first blog talked about how I was jumping into the deep end in taking my writing to the next level. And boy, I had no idea how prophetic that would be. I didn’t just dabble my toes in the shallow end just attending the TRW meetings. No, I climbed up the high diving platform and took the jump of my life. For in July I found myself boarding a jet and flying to Dallas to attend the mother of all conferences – the RWA conference where I met authors such as Sherrilyn Kenyon and JR Ward, Cathy Maxwell, Stephanie Laurens, Kathryn Smith, and and and – oh, it was overwhelmingly fantastic. And while I was there, in the leap of a lifetime, I actually pitched one of my manuscripts to an editor and got a request – I’m still awaiting its fate. Talk about being in over my head!

So it’s been a wild ride this year … hopefully in the next year it’ll only get better.