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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Guest Blog: Meg Bellamy: "Melinda"- RIP

A recent question from one of my beta readers really caught my attention. She'd noticed that the villains in my books TV Bride, Divorce by Chocolate and Starts with F were all named "Melinda".

"Is it the same Melinda in all three books?" she asked with some confusion.

"No," I admitted. "Melinda is the name I've chosen for all my female villains." In fact, there's yet another Melinda in one of my yet to be published books.

"Ah," responded my patient beta reader.
So, yes. Though I have heard that there are some very lovely women named Melinda, I had specifically chosen this name for villains. My motivation lay in an unfortunate professional experience back when I was teaching full-time. One awful year, I was working with a "mentor" who turned out to be more of a tormentor. Not supportive, in fact borderline traitorous since she used information I'd confided in her against me.

To compound that source of misery, she was in cahoots with her friend the administrator -- who, to my utter astonishment, was also named Melinda. I felt as if I was being harassed in duplicate!

What got me through the year was my vow to immortalize both Melindas as every kind of villain I could imagine. I must admit I'm smiling as I write this.

Fast forward a number of years and a number of books. So far, Melinda has been a tempestuous, larcenous Italian artist (Divorce 101, in press); the manipulative conniver on a reality TV show (TV Bride); the ungrateful protégée who steals her boss's husband and business (Divorce by Chocolate); and the wretch who steals her best friend's husband and business and frames her for his attempted murder (Starts with F).

Whew, Melinda really gets around. Uh, let's make that, Melinda really got around. My beta reader's question served as a wake-up call for me. First of all, I don't want to confuse my readers. Second of all, I really am over the ordeal of having worked with two Melindas.
Interestingly, the F in my title Starts with F is for forgiveness, a major theme of this book. There might be some irony in my getting over the Melindas in connection with a book about forgiveness. Maybe the time has come to forgive them. Whatever. One thing I know for sure. It's time to let Melinda go and find another name for villains. In fact, maybe from now on, maybe the villain of each story will have a different name.
"It's your kid's wedding, not the end of the world."
Actually, Armageddon is a pretty mild description of professional cook Donna Byrne's complicated dealings with her ex on the eve of their son's wedding. Desperate to comply with her son's request for a temporary truce between his parents, Donna joins a Nuclear Nuptials support group -- other pre-wedding moms with toxic exes. To her surprise, the group is a great community. As a bonus, Donna meets the gorgeous instructor of the forgiveness class the group enrolls in.

Max Leiter, a Sir Galahad type with issues, is kind, caring and really hot. A widower who's as committed to his daughters as Donna is to her son, Max is there for Donna when she needs him. Arrested on trumped-up charges for the attempted murder of her ex, Donna is out on bail when she attends her son's wedding, with Max as her escort. He not only helps Donna through her ordeal but learns he's not meant to be superman. Together they get through the tough stuff -- still holding hands when all their dreams begin to come true.

Starts with F is the first book of the Nuclear Nuptials series -- loving parents dealing with impossible situations as they gear up for their children's weddings.


Along with her husband, her family and her books, language and travel are Meg Bellamy's passions. Meg writes contemporary romance, both of the traditional and the women's fiction type. Her first Meg book, Homecoming, was released by The Wild Rose Press in 2011. She's currently writing two series of romantic stories -- TV Tales and Nuclear Nuptials. Her latest Meg releases are Divorce by Chocolate and Starts with F, first book in the Nuclear Nuptials series.

For the latest information, please check . Meg would love to hear from readers at . You can follow @MegBellamy on Twitter and on Facebook.

Feedback and reviews are always welcome!


Rose Gorham said...

If I used the same name for my villains, I would totally confuse myself. Love your titles!

Rose Gorham said...

If I used the same name for my villains, I would totally confuse myself. Love your titles!

Cara Marsi said...

Meg, I love the premise of Nuclear Nuptials. I need to get this book.

I use the names of the mean girls in school as my villains. If the villain is a male, I use the last name of one of the mean girls. We writers know how to get our revenge.

I love how you got your revenge on the Melindas.

Molly Daniels said...

I absolutely LOVE your books! And 'Melanie' is often my choice for the female villian's name. Probably because there was a 'Melanie' in school I couldn't stand, and the feeling was mutual.

Sandy said...

Oh yeah, I could use Janice for a villain, but I know some really nice women named Janice. Great post, Meg. I like your hero and heroine.

Meg Bellamy said...

Thank you for all your comments -- I so appreciate the kind words!

LOL, Rose, maybe using the same villain name is why I'm so confused all the time... I'll see if that changes when I find a new one!

Thanks so much, Cara. Whenever I mention the premise of Nuclear Nuptials, people tell me their own particular story about divorced parents at weddings... I know I lived through one, and I'm not alone in that.

Thank you, Molly. Isn't it interesting how we can trace our reactions to certain names...

Thanks so much, Sandy. Yes, it's much clearer whenever everyone we know with a certain name is similar in character...


Jasmine Haynes said...

I love it, Meg! I, too, have created villains out of terrible bosses. In that way, they got their just desserts!

Meg Bellamy said...

Tee hee, Jasmine. What a treat if one of them read a book and saw their name as a villain... Especially if it caused them to wonder just a bit...


Melissa Keir said...

What great reasoning. I think I can give you a new name... how

I love the idea of your future series about non-nuclear families.

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