I can’t remember the address of this website. All I know is, one night at the office, many years ago, one of my coworkers who no longer works there said, “Hey, here’s a website that tells you your p0rn star name.'” (Yeah, you’d be amazed what silly things happen during downtime in the newsroom.)

We entered our names, chuckled and went back to work. Except I entered a few extra names — those belonging to some of my heroes and heroines.

I tell you this because while I was decluttering my bedroom (a weeklong project), I discovered a Post-it note — no longer sticky, of course — with those names on it. It was buried under a pile of magazines and other crap on my dresser.

It was good for a laugh, for sure.

My fave hero of all time, Mike James, became “Adam Steele.” Dustin, the FBI agent, was “Kidd Gunn” — kind of like Kidd Video … but cooler, I hope. (Does anyone else remember “Kidd Video”? It was a Saturday morning cartoon-ish show, I think on NBC, after MTV got big).

Dustin’s heroine, Cassie Quinn, became Nikki Foxx. Her name didn’t get used, but I worked Dustin’s into the story. (He was talking with his buddy about the p0rn0graphy ring he helped break up, working undercover as … you guessed it … Kidd Gunn.)

My handwriting has gotten worse over the years, but even then, it was horrible. I had a name, Nick Carrington, written down for a character named, as best as I could make out, Gann.

Last night, I had no idea who “Gann” could be. I tried to make it into Brad (of Brad and Erin fame) and even Erin, though her p0rn star name was highly unlikely to be Nick Carrington.

This morning, it hit me: Gavin … as in Gavin Smythe, the foreign exchange student from the “High School Hell” collection I wrote with my roommate. He and Tarrah Ray hit it off by the end of those stories, and I picked up their story years later, after she followed him to London for university, abandoned him and went on to become a wildly successful writer. Gavin became a wildly successful hotel mogul, and their paths crossed again when her book was being made into a movie at one of his properties.

That’s a Harlequin Presents type of story, in case you couldn’t guess. It’s about two-thirds finished (that magic spot where I tend to lose interest and move on) — but what’s written is still pretty good.

Aw, jeez. Did I just commit to another project?

I don’t often do this, but after I wrote this post for my other blog, I realized it’d be a perfect fit here, too. Here goes:

Sign me up for the Vince Vaughn fan club

Has anyone else seen “The Dilemma” yet? In it, Vince Vaughn plays a guy who discovers his best friend’s wife is cheating on him. Then he has to deal with his dilemma: To tell or not to tell.

Am I the only one who thinks Vince Vaughn is a great leading man?

“The Breakup”? Hilarious. “Wedding Crashers”? Heck, yeah. “Couples Retreat”? I could watch it over and over. “Four Christmases”? Yes, please — and I’ll take a couple more while we’re at it.

I love the fast-talking, mistake-prone, so-smart-yet-so-dumb, sweet, funny type of guy Vaughn seems to excel at portraying.

He may not be Brad-Pitt beautiful or Gerard Butler gorgeous, but he’s adorable in his own way. He’s more guy next door … the one the girl doesn’t realize she’s in love with until he’s dating someone else. Then she kicks herself ten ways to Sunday and embarks on a campaign to steal him away from the other woman who is, of course, clearly wrong for him.

Hmm … did I just come up with a story idea? I can work with that.

You never know … maybe I can talk Vaughn into playing the hero in one of my novels someday.

You’re nothing without your dreams, right? 😉

(Speaking of Gerard Butler, the movie trivia playing before the film started said he had a law degree. I did not know that … but I bet Kristan Higgins did. She’s always posting “Gerard Butler Grammar Quizzes” on the RWA newsletter editors’ loop.)

I took a short break from editing Golden Heart entries today to let Bethany and Cody out to play.

Their conversation took a turn (for the better or worse?) to that age-old question that has plagued the males of our species since the debut of “Gilligan’s Island”: Ginger or Mary Ann?

Cody, being the kind of guy he is, says he’d rather have a wholesome girl like Mary Ann. Then he proceeds to tell Beth she’s the best of both — wholesome looking like Mary Ann but with Ginger’s sensual nature (though he thinks to himself he’d get a lot more rest if Beth were less Ginger-esque).

My question for you (should you choose to answer): Would your hero pick Ginger or Mary Ann?

With all the re-reading of my old stuff I’ve been doing, I have way too many characters running around in my head. Suddenly, they’re all jockeying for attention.

As a result, I’m getting a lot of nothing accomplished. Why is it that more ideas does not equal more productivity?

I’m still editing my Golden  Heart entries, and yesterday (my birthday) I got a little new work done on Beth and Cody’s story. It’s probably not the best scene I’ve ever written, but it offers Cody a chance to shine a little.

Next up (on my next payday) is to actually send in my Golden Heart entry fees. The deadline is creeping nearer.

My friend Pat and I had a nice chat today. I made it to her place at around 11 a.m. and didn’t leave until close to 2 p.m. — and then only because I had to get ready for work.

We shared a lovely lunch (salad, spaghetti and chocolate chip cookies) and settled on “Li’l Slugger” … or maybe “Big Slugger.” What guy wants to consider himself “li’l” anything? 😉

A good portion of our time was spent discussing various stories we’ve written (or are still writing) and it got me thinking about some nearly-finished manuscripts that I haven’t thought about in ages.

One is a Harlequin Presents type of story (high-powered businessman and successful author) with a twist: The two knew each other in high school, when he was an exchange student at her school. They started dating by graduation and she eventually transferred to university in London … but she up and left him with no explanation while they were in college. Now, four years later, their paths cross again when her book is being turned into a movie filmed at his hotel chain.

The other one is a sci-fi romantic comedy that I seem to recall having some very funny moments. I don’t think I’ve worked on it since moving from Indiana, so the details aren’t quite as fresh. I remember I got the Earth girl back to the planet of her hero, who’s as human as she is, just from a different galaxy, and then had no idea what direction to take it in.

I started the other one much more recently, basing it on characters in a collection of short stories my roommate and I wrote about life in high school (tentatively titled  “High School Hell”). got it to a certain point — probably the point I abandon most projects, somewhere in “the sagging middle” — and stopped writing.

Anyway, before heading to work this afternoon, I dug them both out of hiding. (I was pleased to discover I knew where they were — one buried under a stack of magazines on the nightstand, one in a satchel I packed to save get out of the house in case of wildfire several summers ago when one threatened.)

I got sucked into the Presents, and plan to read more when I get back home. It’s pretty near the end — I hope, because I’m nearly out of story. It’s all hand-written, so I have no idea what the word count is.

So far, I like what I see. I may have to see about reviving it after Golden Heart season and the NaNo. (I already have my NaNo idea in place … it’s the story of Brad’s brother, Kenny.)

Of course, I still have Bethany and Cody to contend with. (Even though I still love the story, I think they’ve lost a bit of their luster … They no longer call me to work on their book. I’m probably coming to that dreaded middle again.)

It’s no secret that I hate the working title on Bree and Mike’s story, “To Catch a Wife.” I blogged about it way back in May.

Last night, inspiration struck as I drove to the grocery store. I thought I’d found a perfect replacement: “Virgin and the Tramp.” A play on “Lady and the Tramp” … a description of the heroine and hero … perfect, right?

Not so much, apparently. When I posted the suggestion in my Facebook status, it was almost universally panned. One of my friends, someone I went to high school with, said it sounded like two lesbians. I have nothing against gay romances …. however, I did not write one, so I don’t want the title to make it sound like that’s what it is. I was thinking of Mike as the tramp (at least in everyone else’s mind. He works hard to maintain that image!)

Another of my friends said she’d pick up a book with the first title, but not the second.

So “Virgin and the Tramp” doesn’t play well in the Heartland.

Knowing that, I went back to the drawing board … again. “To Catch a Wife” was a decent title for the original draft of the book, in which Mike spent a good portion trying to convince Bree he wanted to marry her (because he thinks she’s pregnant, which she’s not). That still happens, but the book’s focus has shifted a bit, focusing more on Mike’s journey from pseudo-playboy who uses his bad-boy image to push away girls he doesn’t think he deserves to guy who knows he not only deserves but needs the love of a good woman.

Again, I started toying with the words I’ve been kicking around for months: mirror, image, playboy, virgin (because the heroine is one). I’d been down this road many times before and came up dry. However, the thought crossed my mind that Mike moonlights as a stripper — and a new perfect title was born: “Moonlight Madness.”

At first, I thought, “No way.” But it quickly grew on me. I walked through the parking lot to my car thinking, “That’s not bad.”

I think I even said it aloud: “That’s pretty good, actually.”

Why? Well, Breanne has harbored a crush on Mike, a coworker, since she started working at the paper … but she’s resigned herself to being just friends. As the story opens, she and her roomates are at a bachelorette party at the local strip club. She’s enjoying the show despite herself — until she discovers Mike’s the masked man shaking his junk at her.

Madness sets in and she can’t stop fantasizing about Mike. (She’s only a virgin, not dead!) When they get snowed in on assignment with one hotel room between them, she gets drunk and screws up the courage to give him her virginity (even though she knows it’s a bad idea). Mike, who’s sworn never to get involved with another virgin, doesn’t handle it well when he discovers he’s just taken it … and they spend weeks not speaking until Mike, who has a bad habit of eavesdropping, overhears what he thinks is Bree telling her former roommates (both of whom are now married) she’s pregnant. (She’s not.) Guiltily, he flashes back to that drunken night … yep. No condom. That’s what three hours of foreplay and a six-pack’ll do to a guy. But despite the image he goes to great lengths to create, he has old-fashioned values. So he sets out to seduce Bree back into his life. (Thus the original “To Catch a Wife” title.)

Unlike the crew from “Saturday Night Live,” I don’t have a lot to report: I’ve been reading/editing most of the weekend.

That means I’ve done no new writing … and I’m waffling about entering a third MS into the Golden Heart. A couple of nights ago, I started to wonder if I should enter Bree & Mike’s story. (I reread it, and I still think it’s pretty good. I LOVE Mike James. Visually, he’s beautiful and he’s interesting on the page — sordid past he keeps to himself, potentially questionable morals.)

Right now I’m leaning toward not, though. It’d be in the same category with Meg & Matt, the story I think is stronger … It had better be, since I’ve been honing my craft between the two. Of course, a lot of what I really like about Bree & Mike’s story is the stuff I went back and added in this spring, when I was expanding it to the proper length. (It started out at about 38,000 words.)

Besides, I’d have to write a synopsis AND come up with a better title. The frontrunner, thanks to my Facebook clan, is “She’s Snow Virgin” … but I don’t think even that works. (Better than “To Catch a Wife,” though, which is what I’ve been calling it.)

Does SNL even do “Weekend Update” anymore? Working most Saturday nights, I haven’t had a chance to watch in years.

I’ve been having lots of family fun on vacation. Driving around the country, exploring Mall of America, playing games with the kids …

But I’ve had next to no time to write. One day when I fired up the computer, the Boyfriend interrupted me about 10 minutes later. I’d just finished re-reading the last scene written to refresh my memory. No new writing got done.

Guess that’s why “they” say you shouldn’t stop to reread what you’ve written. (Who “they” are, I’m not certain. But I have heard that particular piece of advice before.)

Oh well. I’ll be back home and back to the old grind of my day job soon enough, and then I’ll get back into my writing routine. It shouldn’t be too hard, because Bethany and Cody are still chattering away in my head.

When I get back, it’ll also be time to get started on the next NARWA newsletter … and work on my goals for our next meeting. I believe I said, “revise BDB to incorporate judges’ comments” and “send out at least 2 queries on Meg & Matt.”

Busy, busy, busy. And I’ll only get busier when I head home at the end of the week.

I was enjoying a nice, quiet get-to-know-you lunch with my characters when Bethany dropped a bombshell.

Even in “Blind Date Bride,” I knew that Beth was different. She’s the one who tried to get Kari to get in touch with her inner tramp, and who told Kari, “Keep a man happy in bed and he’ll keep you happy out of it.”

Yes, my Bethany LOVES sex. She’s been around the block so many times the sidewalk was named after her. (It bothers her a little that she’s had more partners than Cody, even though he’s 3 years older, but it bothers her more that he’s more content to cuddle than burn up the bedsheets.)

While I was jotting notes about their appearances and history, Beth revealed something surprising. Scratch that: It went beyond surprising and landed smack-dab in the middle of  astonishing land.

It turns out Bethany had her first sexual experience at 14 years old. Wait — that’s not the surprising part. At 16, her mom kicked her out of the house for trying to seduce her stepfather. (It didn’t happen … it was all in mom’s head, but it still left Bethany estranged from her mom and kid sister.)  She moved in with her aunt to finish high school, then went off to college, where she met Kari (and spent a lot of time on her back, staring at frat house ceilings).

I have no idea what to do with that tidbit. Where does it fit into the story? Will she reconnect with mom? Will she finally realize that there’s more to a good relationship than great sex? (I think she has to … and in the realization, sex with Cody will go beyond great to soul-shattering.)

Anyway, nothing Cody has come out with is all that surprising. It’s not that I find him boring … in fact, he’s shaping up to be one of my favorite heroes (right behind Mike James and Damien). But so far, he’s pretty tame. There is something in his past, alluded to in Kari and Damien’s story, but so far, he’s mum about what it is.

A counselor for at-risk teens, he’s working long hours (which concerns Beth because he’s sometimes — often — too tired to get busy) in part to save up for an engagement ring. He believes actions speak louder than words (and thinks spending the day shopping tells Beth he loves her). Above all, he likes being comfortable, which is why he’s often content to cuddle. Even in high school, he wasn’t one of those guys who was always trying to get some.

I probably need to get to the bottom of that before I get too far into the story.

Right now, I’m in Chapter 3. And, to borrow a catchphrase from McDonald’s, I’m lovin’ it … surprises and all.

Bethany and Cody are chattering away in my head and I’m getting more and more antsy to start telling their story. Today, I spent an hour or so sketching out a basic plot.

Since I’m not much of a plotter, that’s already more plotting than I usually do for a book. I’m thinking it might be time to sit down and write.

Of course, if I do more pre-planning, it’ll make the actual writing easier, right? I keep hoping that’s the case. Usually, I just have a vague idea that something has to blow up in my characters’ faces … this time, I already have a great Black Moment in mind.

It’s been a busy weekend: I’m also doing some research on agents, in preparation to send out queries on “Blind Date Bride.” I’m excited about that story — and I believe in it.