As many of you may know, “Shaken and Stirred” is my very first novella. I couldn’t have been more excited when my editor at Harlequin invited me to take part in the HEAT WAVE collection of sexy beach reads with authors Stephanie Bond and Leslie Kelly. I think I jumped up and down, and then immediately began dreaming up the story I wanted to write for the anthology.
The idea for Mike’s and Abby’s story came to me pretty quickly, but there was one small problem—I wanted Mike to be a United States Marine, even though I know absolutely nothing about that (or any other) branch of the armed services. Not that I intended to let that stop me. One of the lovely things about being an author and belonging to a rather extensive community of other writers is that you can usually find someone who knows all about whatever it is you need to research. In this case, I had a friend who had a friend who had a Marine father, a Marine husband, and a handful of Marine sons. Ooh-rah! (That’s Marine lingo for “yippee,” by the way. *vbg*) I hit the jackpot. And once I had Amy to turn to, I knew I’d be all right.
Then came the second hurdle…deciding on the perfect title for my sexy summer set-on-the-beach novella. I started out calling it something like “California Lovin’”…the only problem was, the story wasn’t set in California. Then I considered “Summer Lovin’,” which I liked, but also thought was a bit generic. After a while, given the storyline, I decided to try the title “Good Girl Gone Wild.” The story was set in Fort Lauderdale, after all, and I thought it would be an amusing play on all those “Girls Gone Wild” videos. Then as I was chatting with some friends at a conference, one of them suggested calling the story “Cinderella Gone Wild,” because Abby Weaver does have a bit of a Cinderella moment during her adventure to the beach. I stuck with that one for quite a while, but at the last minute before sending the completed story to my editor, I decided to change it to “Shaken and Stirred.” No reason, other than that I thought it suited the heroine’s emotions at the situation she found herself in. I also suspected that Harlequin would want the title changed no matter what I called it, and in that case, I fully intended to go back to one of the others I’d toyed with while writing.
Instead, I got a phone call from my editor for this project informing me that they just loved the title of my story. They thought it was fabulous and suited the story and heroine so well. (Yay for me, but color me surprised.) As was becoming sort of typical for this novella, there was only one problem… They wanted even more references written in that would tie the title to the story. The characters drinking martinis or a mention of something James Bond-ish. Okay, no problem; I could do that, right? (The answer is yes. *g*)
So this is my challenge to you: As you’re reading “Shaken and Stirred” in the HEAT WAVE anthology this July, see if you can spot my favorite reference to the story’s title. There are two, but one of them still makes me smile. J
Drop me a line if you find it…or just to let me know what you thought of Mike’s and Abby’s story.
Until then, stay cool!