Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Guest Post: Stacia Kane

I just want to say a huge thanks to Stacia for agreeing to do a guest post and for giving all of us with Terrible fever a little something fun to read while we're trying to wait patiently for book four.

This series is one of my very favorite new Urban Fantasy series, Chess and Terrible are beautifully written and the whole story is gritty, disturbing and utterly addicting.

I'll stop talking now and let Stacia tell you how she came up with the nickname that made us all melt.


Terms of endearment can be funny things. The same term or nickname that makes one woman feel all shivery and precious and warm inside may make another woman jaw-clenchingly angry.

Take “baby.” My husband has always called me baby. I call him baby. It honestly never occurred to me that “baby” could be considered offensive or upsetting or patronizing. But apparently it is; I discovered this a few years ago when I found a whole discussion online about the use of “Baby” in romances and how much the women participating in the discussion hated it.

Then there are things like “Sweetheart.” I call my children sweetheart. I never call my husband that, nor does he call me that. Sweetheart feels sort of diminutive to me.

Or you can get into the more personal terms and nicknames, stuff that comes from a shared history or joke. “Widgins” or “Stumpie” or whatever.

The thing is, what terms of endearment someone uses says something about them and what kind of person they are. (Greyson in my Demons books called Megan “darling,” because he was a “darling” kind of guy. Not everyone is.)

So what sort of endearment would a guy not used to using them use? A guy who doesn’t have a wide education and isn’t necessarily a smoothie with the ladies, a guy who maybe even feels a little nervous about using them? Who isn’t very verbally expressive to begin with, especially. Terrible isn’t as I, think we all know; he’s not used to being verbally affectionate, and he doesn’t think he’s particularly good with words to begin with.

I thought and thought about it, and then I asked everyone I could think of. I emailed my agent and my editor to see if they had any suggestions. I turned to my handy-dandy little Word Museum book, which is where I got a lot of the obscure and archaic words I incorporate into Downspeech, but found nothing; there are lots and lots of words in that book for “whore,” but very few that are actually affectionate, and the ones that are just sound silly now. And I needed something Terrible might reasonably come up with on his own; he’s a lot smarter than he thinks he is, but I doubt he would pull something like “dumpling” or “cuddle bunny” out of thin air, and feel comfortable using it. (Can you imagine? Ha!)

I wanted to use “Angel.” I still wish I could use it; I have a whole backstory for it, wherein because Terrible was two or three years old when Haunted Week happened, one of his earliest memories is of seeing a Christmas display in a window that featured an angel, and little Terrible thought it was beautiful. Sweet, huh? But given that any language of that sort is illegal, and given that for him to call Chess that would necessitate him telling her that whole story, it didn’t feel right. When it came down to it, I couldn’t see him using it, at least not all the time. Maybe once in a great while. And certainly not when they were just friends.

I was actually writing the withdrawal scene when I thought of Chessiebomb. I don’t remember what exactly led me to it, but I do remember making the association in my head between “Chessie” and “Cherry.” And of course, when I think of Cherry, I think of the Runaways’ awesome song “Cherry Bomb,” which has long been one of my favorite songs. And the lyrics fit Chess pretty well, too.

Instantly I knew it was right. It felt authentic, like the kind of thing Terrible might reasonably come up with on his own. It felt like something he would feel comfortable saying. It’s affectionate but not mushy or lovey-dovey, which was of course especially important before they actually got together. So it felt like something he might call her as a friend, and something she might kind of enjoy being called, but it isn’t too heavy or indicative of his secret feelings toward her.

And yes, I also used “baby” in that UNHOLY MAGIC scene. Because you know what? Like it or not, he would say it, especially when she’s ill. He’d never called her that before, so it was indicative of how he felt about her and how he wanted to make her feel better, and the fact that she didn’t even notice, much less feel weird or uncomfortable about it, showed us a few things too: her feelings that she refused to recognize; her comfort level around him; how sick she was.

Of course I had no idea “Chessiebomb” was going to be such a point of interest; to be honest I was afraid people would think it was kind of stupid (I’m always afraid people will find everything I write kind of stupid). So it was really exciting to see the reaction to it, and how much everyone seemed to like it; well, it’s incredibly exciting that people seem to like the books so much, I never even hoped the response would be as enthusiastic as it’s been. It’s a constant source of amazement.

So what do you like about “Chessiebomb,” and what makes it stand out for you? What other sorts of terms of endearment do you think Terrible or Chess would use? Which ones do you use, and which do you love or hate?


  1. Nice to meet Stacia, I was fascinated to read about how the nickname came about - we are sometimes inspired by the strangest things.

  2. SQUEEE!!! OMG first off let me say how much I ADORE this series. After I read the first one I hounded, stalked, and bugged Mandi to get me the 2nd, and 3rd for review.
    I think Chessiebomb is perfect. When I first read it I was an instant puddle of much. Why? Because of how and what Terrible is. Any affection from him is going to be low key, private, and in not often. He's only going to say it when his emotions are at their highest-which makes it more special because he's letting his inner most feelings show. It's not an automatic thing for him. Baby is another one that melts me. LOL I won't get into why but lets just say when my hubs says it in a low raspy voice...*clearing throat*... yea. :)
    I'm not sure what Chess wouls call Terrible. She stepped off a big ledge telling him her feelings. She really doesn't seem the affectionate name type. I could see her calling him "my love" but only in her head.
    I can stand just about any nickname. My hubs calls me Hun & Baby,my friends call me T, & my mom calls me sweetie pie. I call hubs Baby or Hun and kidlet sweetie or punkin head. One endearment I hear that makes me cringe is when one adult calling their spouse or significant other "Mama" or "Daddy". It's creepy.

    I can't WAIT for book 4. :)

  3. I love Chessiebomb because it's so atypical and it's unique to Chess. Because Terrible's so rough on the outside and not big on displays of affection, the fact that he uses a nickname at all is all the more special. And then to use one that's just for her makes me fall in love with him every time I read it. *Sigh*

    Hubs and I don't really have any nicknames, but I wouldn't be opposed to using one. Now since we haven't used them for so long I think we'd just start laughing if I tried to call him one:)

    Thanks Stacia!

  4. What I love about Chessiebomb is how I wasn't expecting it. I was hoping that Terrible and Chess were going to be able to overcome their issues - mainly Chess and the whole wanting Terrible but sleeping with Lex thing. Chessiebomb just felt right. It was the right time for something to take place between Terrible and Chess. His simple word, Chessiebomb, made me weak at my knees. It made me love Terrible even more, if that is possible.


  5. I have to say that the ending of City of Ghosts was hands-down perfect for me. As soon as I finished the book all I could write anyone else who had read it was CHESSIEEEBOMBBB!!! Mostly I loved it because it reminded me of Cherrybomb and it seemed to me soooo appropriate for him to call her that, so endearing and yet so TERRIBLE-like. I was hoping and praying for the ending, and we GOT it. I am still gushing over this series. Thank you thank you thank you, Stacia for giving us Terrible, the most unlikely (for me) romantic interest who completely rises to the top of the occasion.

  6. I've only read Book 1, so I can't comment on the nickname other than, man oh man, I hope the mailman brings Book 2 TODAY!

    I see it as the perfect endearment from Terrible. In Book 1, several people call her Chessie, but it just seems like a dimunitive like Tommy or Bobby. Howeverk, in the infamous hallway make out scene, coming from Terrible, it is sexy and intimate.


  7. Awesome post! I LOVE this series. I've already pimped it out to family, friends, and co-workers and several of them are already hooked!

    I'm not big on romantic nicknames, makes me feel kinda goofy but I don't mind hearing/reading about it with someone else. I think chessiebomb is perfect. Felt natural and didn't make me roll my eyes! ;)

    so sad we have such a long wait until the next book! :(

  8. Love, love, love Chessibomb. It felt right coming from Terrible. It's not mushy, like the "cupcake" nickname my 5-year-old calls me (sorry - so silly, but we call each other food names - I call him peanut butter), or overly sexed like "cupcake" coming from the mouth of Joe Morelli.

    Chessiebomb sounds like it's sort of "street," but not too "street." And Terrbile is not verbally comfortable, but he's always able to express himself in some manner, unlike Chess. That's why it was so awesome when Chess finally sucked up her fears of rejection and abandonment and told him that she loved him.

    I love this series and am actively pimping it out, and rereading the books, to keep me busy until Fall 2011.

  9. I'm not a fan of nick names like that. Weirds me out a little. I don't know why. I can put up with being called babe but that's about it. I always get weird looks when I tell people like that. Just because I'm a woman doesn't mean I'm a mushy person.

    Stephanie G
    Paranormal Haven

  10. Oh my gosh. Now I really have to read this book. Absolutely love Chessiebomb. I love it so much I wish my name was Chess. :) Fantastic post.

  11. We've always been big on nicknames. I call everyone hun and when my daughter was little we called her sweetie so much she thought that was her name. My father-in-law was called Tince, cause when he was born he was so little and at # 9 in the bunch they didn't have a name ready. Really, his sister said they called him "that tincy baby" for a long time before they actually named him. My husband has been called "Big Daddy" since he was in high school. He was real tall and looked a little like a drag racer named "Big Daddy". Everyone of his high school friends had nicknames, Potsie, Fro, Wilbur, Sis, Turd Ferguson, and so on. I'm not actually sure what some of their real names are. So nicknames are kind of like breathing, it just comes naturally.