Posts Tagged ‘how’d he get his name’

When author BJ Knapp dropped into Susan’s inbox, asking if Jett or I would like to review her book, Beside the Music, I laughed. Jett had already done it. So I sent her the link and asked if she’d like to write a guest post. I checked with Jett about some topic ideas, ran them past BJ, and here we are! Some words about Beside the Music, which Jett thought was worth a read, but I suspect I might like more, especially after reading this. I hope you agree; buy links are at the bottom!

BTM Cover

Beside the Music was born out of a day dream. I often wonder whatever happened to those ‘80s one hit wonders. Sure, when they were on top they were living the high life. And they spent like the money was falling from the sky. The fast cars, the mansions, the hot tubs and the parties where they practically swam in cocaine. At some point somebody had to tell them that the money was gone. A meeting was called. The rockers strolled into a conference room wearing the eyeliner and the leather. A manager or an accountant told them that the money was gone. Then what happened? Did the rockers freak out? Did they demand more money? Did they give up and get office jobs where they sat in cubicles and worked at repairing copy machines? Or did they fight it out and try to re-invent themselves?

I wanted Hydra to try and re-invent themselves. But I wanted them to be clueless as to how the real world functions. They’ve been sheltered behind their managers, assistants and roadies. I originally had the scene where Hydra learned that the money was gone in the manuscript. But it didn’t work with the first person perspective from Brenda’s point of view. I tried for a shifting perspective, but I just couldn’t get it to stick. So I had to ditch the scene where the band comes up with the idea for re-invention.

Brenda had a colossal crush on Keith when she was a teenager. Keith was one of the founding members with his best friend from grade 9, Ben Taylor. I named him Keith Kutter for a few reasons. One is that Keith is such a rock star name. You have Keith Richards…. You have Keith Moon. Two is that Keith is the kind of name that can be said with a sigh as you are daydreaming about a rocker thrusting to the beat into his electric guitar. Try it. It totally works. You can’t sigh a name like Herbert in the same way. I never did come up with Keith’s given last name. In the book he’s Keith Kutter. I wanted to put in umlaut over the u in Kutter, but Microsoft Word wouldn’t let me. (Fricken Bill Gates, thinking he can just take charge of my characters and their umlauts. The nerve of that guy!) But Kutter, with the K, even without the umlaut, is such an ‘80s rock kind of name.

Addiction is, unfortunately, common in the rock and roll world. A great deal of talent was destroyed by overuse of drugs and alcohol, and Keith was no different. However Keith’s addiction was not a result of backstage peer pressure. His was caused by a drunk driving accident, which was entirely his fault. As a result of the accident his son was rendered a quadriplegic—he eased his guilt by raiding his son’s medications. His addiction ended his family, but not his career. His wife Tamsen threw him out, and he dried out by taking off on his yacht to detox alone while at sea. He still has an issue with alcohol, but he managed to ditch the pills. In the book he spent quite a bit of time passed out on Brenda’s couch, until her mother in law woke him by beating him over the head with her Hermes Birkin purse.

To Brenda, Keith is a fantasy. He’s not the main love interest because love with Keith is not real, and Brenda wants a real life and a real love by her side like she has with Tim. The love that a fan has with a rock star is distant. Fans don’t know what the stars are really like. Sure, we watch them on stage, observe them in interviews and read about their lives in the tabloids. But so much of that isn’t real. And she learns a bit of what he’s like when she first has dinner with him. She watches him throw his weight around and demand the expensive bottle of wine. But then he softens up a bit at the end of dinner and they end up having a lovely time once Keith gets over himself a bit. The character of Keith must change over the course of the story, and it does. He learns to lighten up. He takes his ivory tower rock star persona very seriously, but he does change with the help of Brenda and Tim.

Wow! And I totally need to read this, just to see this scene with the Hermes Birkin purse. Pick up your own copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble (You iBook lovers may need to search the store. Those access links confuse me!).



As the word of Rocktober spreads, so does the number of authors who want to take part in the fun (remember, it’s ALWAYS Rocktober over here at The Rock of Pages. This is just the month we crank it up to twelve. ‘Cause eleven’s not loud enough!).

Today’s guest is Juli Page Morgan, who’s got a great guest post about her new release, Crimson and Clover.


Juli, take it away!

He was just supposed to be a minor character, that’s all. The hero of my book, the guy who got the girl, was going to be the lead singer. And that minor character? The lead guitar player for the band. I didn’t think about him much, to be honest. He was only there because the band needed a guitarist. Dude didn’t even have a name.

But one day while I was writing a scene involving the whole band, a scene where the heroine was in attendance, I took a good look at this minor character for the first time. I saw him through the heroine’s eyes, and damn. He was beautiful. I mean the kind of male beauty that makes panties evaporate and ovaries explode. And my heroine? She went into heat. If she’d been a cat she would have rolled around on the floor in front of him and yowled. I was tempted to join her.

So while I salivated over this minor character, I tried to reason with my heroine.

Me: Cut it out. I mean it. You’re in love with the lead singer.

Her: What lead singer? There’s a lead singer? Didn’t notice.

Me: Come on. None of us have time for this nonsense. You love the lead singer, and y’all are going to live happily ever after. This guitar player is just a minor character. He doesn’t even have a name yet.

Her: He doesn’t need a name. All he needs to do is strap on that axe and then get all sweaty onstage.

Me: Stop it. (pause) Sweaty?

Her: Dripping. Just look at that luscious black hair of his. Look at his freakin’ eyes!

So I looked at his eyes. There was a mischievous twinkle shining in them. There were also a lot of really hot promises about what he could do to me … I mean, do to the heroine.

Then he smiled.

Lead singer? There was a lead singer? Didn’t notice.

Still, I tried to carry on with the story I thought I was writing. So the guitar player would assume a bigger role in the book. No big deal. It happens. Besides, lead guitar players are hard to shove into the background, am I right? But the more I wrote, the more he showed up. Little by little he took over the story and the heroine’s heart. I finally had to scrap almost everything I’d written and start again. Only one problem: he still didn’t have a name.

Check that. He had a name, he just refused to tell me what it was. I asked, he laughed. I begged, he laughed harder. One day he let me know it was time to reveal his name. I was indecently relieved and had my finger hovering over the “Find and Replace” function on my computer, ready to change all instances of Guitar Guy (that’s what I was reduced to calling him) to his name. He leaned close and whispered in my ear.

Him: My name is … Delbert.

Then he snickered.

To be honest, I don’t really remember how I came to know his name was Jay Carey. I was writing and the heroine called him Jay. And I just knew. I’m sure he told me somehow, the sneaky little bugger.

That minor character, the one with no name, took over the whole book. He went from a shadow in the background to the hero, the guy who gets the girl. He knew the lead singer wasn’t right for the heroine so he stepped up. Because he wanted her.

Can’t ignore those lead guitarists.

If you want to read Jay’s story it’s called Crimson and Clover. You can read the first chapter and find out how the story begins on my website.

I am in tears over this one. Delbert? Oh, my! This guy has a lot in common with my Trevor, which means I love him already. Maybe not the cat in heat love that Juli has, but that’s okay. He’s hers. I’m willing to let that remain.

Until I read the book and meet the man for myself, anyway…

As always, grab a copy of Crimson and Clover.


Barnes & Noble


All Romance

Smashwords (referral link)

Check out Juli’s backlist of other Rock Fiction romances. Buy them. Read them. Review them.


You all know we love Jessica Topper over here. So of course we’re thrilled to host her today to add to our series of how our fictional rockers got their names.

Jess… take it away!

Rocktober – Name That Rocker!
Jessica Topper

I’ve got a dirty little secret to admit. I cannot name all the U.S. Presidents. Nope. Not in order, not in this lifetime. My brain just can’t seem to retain such information. But give me a rock band and I will name not only its entire current lineup, but also past members, nicknames – hell, maybe even their pets’ names. Talk about a trivial pursuit! Heaven help me if I ever end up on Jeopardy. They’d better have a “Rock Star Etymology” category, or I’m in big trouble.

Now that I write rock fiction, you can only imagine the field day I have with creating fake bands and their infamous members. It’s like being able to take that useless fountain of knowledge and create my own spectacular demented light and water show.

I love to play with words and I love double meanings, so it was no surprise my very first rocker character in Louder Than Love ended up with the name of Douglas Graves. Innocent and ordinary enough…until you start to think about it. He wisely chooses to use his middle name, Adrian, and explains his dilemma to Kat, the heroine in the story:

“You can imagine the delight the lads had in taking the piss out of me in school, with a name like Doug Graves.” He continued, smirking. “Go ahead, you can laugh.”

I shook my head and declined in polite protest, but couldn’t help myself when he admitted he had married a girl named Robyn. “Ah yes, Robyn Graves. It’s true, I’m afraid.” He laughed along with me. “Half the reason she probably divorced me, in the end.”

Adrian – also known as Digger – Graves is the illustrious lead guitarist for the defunct doom metal band, Corroded Corpse. (Hell, I know I will never have the talent or the cojones to be in my own metal band, but dammit, I’m going to have fun creating ludicrous names to rival some of the most popular groups to spring from the 80s heavy metal insurgence.)

At the helm of Corroded Corpse is front man Riff Rotten, who we meet briefly in Louder Than Love, but who grows to larger-than-life, rock star proportions in my latest novel, Softer Than Steel. Born Richard Rottenberg into a wealthy, educated Jewish family, he was re-born as Riff as soon as he learned to shred on the guitar – much to his family’s dismay. In Riff’s case, I was able to put my real rock name knowledge to use, in Adrian’s explanation of how the band’s manager came up a new last name for his up-and-coming client:

“It was Wren who suggested Rick shorten his somewhat ‘ethnic’ surname to Rotten. When we moaned that it sounded like a blatant rip-off of the Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten, Wren pointed out, ‘Do you really think Chaim Witz would have gotten very far leading KISS?’

In their heyday, Digger Graves and Riff Rotten were like the Lennon/McCartney of the metal world, riding the wave of 80s British Heavy Metal like conquering heroes. But due to gross mismanagement and trademark issues, the band is no longer able to use its name when they finally (spoiler alert!) reunite by the end of Louder Than Love. So they begin to play stealth shows under a new moniker, The Rotten Graves Project. It makes total sense, as where else would you find a corroded corpse? In a rotten grave, of course.

Let the band play on!
Happy Rocktober!

I have to confess that I like Rotten Graves Project better than Corroded Corpse… as Jessica says, it’s awfully similar to that early-90s thrash band, Cannibal Corpse, and man, does that interfere with one’s reading!

Here’s Jessica’s website. As always, pick up her books. Read them. Leave reviews and tell your friends. They’re good things, so don’t miss out!