Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Stumbling in the Dark

Today I welcome Shelly Bell to Terry's Place. Shelly's debut book, A YEAR TO REMEMBER, releases today as an e-book and will be available in print this July. Here, she's sharing some of the things she learned about the other side of writing...promotion.

I love to read. To me, there’s nothing better than reading a book. From snuggling on the couch during a snowstorm to sunbathing at the pool, you’ll always find me with my Kindle.

Maybe that’s why I got a crazy notion to write a book. Only, like my book’s protagonist, Sara, I’m stumbling in the dark looking for the light switch. I’ve written my story and gotten it published. Now what?

Before I entered this industry, it never occurred to me that authors had to do anything other than write a book. I assumed the publisher took care of the advertising. Wrong! In addition to the writing and editing, an author is responsible for the marketing and publicity of the book. I’m an attorney by day. I’ve never had to ponder the ins and outs of the advertising industry. Where to begin?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Just Romantic Suspense, and Editing

Today I'm over at Just Romantic Suspense talking about the differences between mystery and suspense, especially in the romance genre. I'm giving away a copy of Finding Sarah to one commenter (and if you have already read the book, I'm happy to gift it to someone you choose should you win.)

click to enlarge (I hope)
I've been working on edits for my next Pine Hills Police story. I've mentioned it before, but for me, the best way to deal with this round of edits (the ones I do after I hit "the end" but before I send it off to the editor)

I print the entire document, because your eye will see things differently on paper. I change the font, again to fool the eye. To save paper, the first time I tried this, I printed the manuscript in 2 columns and found that added yet another piece of eye-trickery. You're not reading across long lines of print, and your eye will pick up even more since nothing is laid out the way it was on the screen. I also reduce the font size slightly—my intent is to read this like a book, and books have smaller type, so it's not something totally out of the realm of what I'm used to.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Romantic Suspense or Romantic Mystery?

I'm over at Just Romantic Suspense today, talking about romantic suspense, which is what the romance publishing industry calls romance books that fall into any of the mystery sub-genres. Please visit. I'm giving away a book to one commenter.

And scroll down to yesterday's post to see if you're a winner of a giveaway from last week's post!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

And The Winners Are...

Thanks to all who left comments on my post on Monday, and Mike Nettleton's post on Tuesday. Our random number generators have selected the winners.

For my post about what authors owe readers, the winner of a download of any of my e-books is Teresa K. Email me at terry (at) terryodell (dot) com and let me know what book you've chosen, and what format (Kindle, Nook, or Smashwords)

Mike's offering a choice of either a download or a print copy to Elizabeth Spann Craig and Janet Kerr. Email him at deadlyduo (at) comcast (dot) net to claim your prizes.

Congratulations, and thanks again.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Field Trip - Colorado Mornings

Remember, there's still some time to comment on both my Monday post and Mike Nettleton's Tuesday post to enter to win books. Winners will be picked this evening and announced over the weekend, so be sure to check to see if you're a winner.

We've had some glorious sunrises recently. Thanks to Jason and Hubster for these pictures. Some are mine, but I'm sure you can spot the ones taken with good cameras. (Not to mention they put their names on their shots)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Whose Story Is It?

What I'm reading: Contest entry #4 of 8; The Affair, by Lee Child.

Remember, there's still plenty of time to comment on both my Monday post and Mike Nettleton's Tuesday post to enter to win books. And another reminder about my POV workshop at Savvy Authors. I'll be giving books away there, too. If you know someone who might benefit from a basic craft workshop, point them that way. (Link in the sidebar)

In the world of romance fiction, reader expectation dictates that you have (at least) two Point of View characters: hero and heroine. They both must have complete story arcs, almost equally weighted.

Key word: "almost". Because it's not really 50-50. It might be as close as 49-51, but the reader is usually left with the feeling that it was a "his" book or a "hers" book.

Not being much of a plotter, I knew who my characters were, and what their conflicts were, but I wasn't really paying a lot of attention to whose book it would turn out to be. It didn't really matter until I needed a title. (That's another thing I rarely come up with in advance.)

Now, this book is part of my Pine Hills Police series. I've got Finding Sarah and Hidden Fire. There's also Finding Fire, but that's a collection of connected short stories. The new book features two totally new characters, Scott and Ashley, but there are still many familiar faces. The title should somehow "fit" with the others, giving potential readers a signal that the books are part of a series. For example, my Blackthorne, Inc. series all have "Danger" in the title.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesday - Tomato-Spinach Soup

What I'm reading: Contest entry #3 of 8

Thanks to Mike for his great post yesterday. Remember, there's still plenty of time to comment on both my Monday post and his Tuesday's post to enter to win books. And another reminder about my POV workshop at Savvy Authors. I'll be giving books away there, too. If you know someone who might benefit from a basic craft workshop, point them that way. I'm blogging about it today at their site. Please pop over.

And, I'm still open to more easy gluten-free desserts for our neighbors. I live in the boonies, so fancy ingredients, like gluten-free flours, are hard to come by.  Likewise, baking at 9100 feet presents its own challenges, so I try to steer away from cakes.

My books always include food. Sometimes, however, the scene doesn't end up on the page of the final product, as is the case with Sadie's Tomato-Spinach Soup. In my Pine Hills series, Sarah often eats at Sadie's. One of her favorite things for lunch is their Tomato-Spinach Soup. I'll be making this one for our monthly dinner pot luck on Friday. (In truth, the original recipe, which I've varied, came not from "Sadie" but from Sandra McDonald, my first writing mentor.)

"Sadie's" Tomato-Spinach Soup
Vegetable cooking spray
1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
¾ c chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 ½ cups salsa
1 c fresh tomato, chopped
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 10-3/4 oz can condensed tomato soup, undiluted
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed

Coat a Dutch oven with cooking spray; add olive oil, and place over medium-high heat until hot.
Add the onion and garlic, saute for 2 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients; bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Pacificist Writes About Violence

Today my guest is author Mike Nettleton, a retired survivor of 43 years in the broadcasting business. Mike's career included stints as a deejay in top-forty, adult contemporary, country and album-rock formats. He's co-written five books with his wife, Carolyn J. Rose. His hard-boiled detective novel Shotgun Start is his first solo effort.

Mike will be giving away two autographed copies of Shotgun Start. Winners will be selected randomly from the comments, and announced over the weekend. And I'm giving away a download of any one of my books to one commenter on yesterday's post as well.

How did a life-long pacifist like me end up writing books that are steeped in violence?

In the four farcical cozies I co-wrote with my wife Carolyn J. Rose, the mayhem mostly happens off-screen. We see the aftermath of the bloodshed and join a non-professional crime-solver to determine who-dunnit. Our young-adult fantasy novel The Hermit of Humbug Mountain is filled with the threat of imminent savagery, but only incidental real-time bodily injury.

But, as with most books of the hard-boiled persuasion, Shotgun Start is packed with explicit violence. Not because I revel in writing about people committing acts of brutality, but because I couldn’t tell Neal Egan’s story without it. When you throw a former cop with a manipulative ex-wife into a situation that brings him face-to-face with renegade bikers, the Mexican Mafia, internet pornographers, and various and sundry other thugs and miscreants, you can bet somebody is going to get hurt or killed.

Since I’ve never hit another human being in anger, never owned a firearm (although my law-enforcement employed father carried a sidearm), and oppose war in all of its mutations, how can I write books about people who don’t even blink at inflicting major physical and psychological damage to assert their power or take revenge on perceived enemies?

Monday, January 23, 2012

What Do Authors Owe Readers?

What I'm reading: Contest Entry #2 of 8

First, a warm welcome to my newest followers. Thanks for coming on board, and I hope you'll stop by often. Next, please check the sidebar. I'm teaching an on-line workshop on Point of View next month, and would love to see some of you there.

There's been a lot of heated discussion on the new Amazon Kindle Select program for indie authors. In case you haven't heard, Amazon created a new program which benefits authors. It makes books available for readers to borrow (provided they've paid the $79 to become a member of Amazon Prime), and also gives authors the perk of promoting their books as free for a specific number of days per quarter. Free books raise the recognition factor.

The catch? You have to agree to publish ONLY at Amazon for a minimum of 90 days.
Authors are jumping on the bandwagon to mixed results. A lot seems to depend on whether they're well known to begin with, and whether they're selling established books or new releases. Since the program is less than 3 months old, it's impossible to make generalizations. Obviously, the authors who are the most excited about the program are the ones seeing immediate results.

Clearly, Amazon is in it to suck up as much of the market as it can, and that's simply doing business. The same goes for the authors who choose to participate. Indie authors are no longer controlled by their publishers, and they get to make their own choices.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Field Trip - Colorado Bike Rides

Some of you might know that my daughter Nicole Drummer is an endurance athlete. Or a triathlete. Or just plain nuts. One of the components of a triathlon is a bike ride (for the Iron Man, it was 112 miles). So, she's out on her bike training a lot. She stops every now and then to take pictures. She's sharing some of the sights today -- and you don't have to leave the comfort of your home to see them.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Responsible Reviewing, Part 2

What I'm reading: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford (book club); Contest entry #1 of 8.

After the discussion in the comments on Monday's post about reviews, I decided to carry it one step further. Since there does seem to be a lot of abuse of the review system, I went to both the Barnes & Noble and Amazon sites to see what they said about leaving reviews.

Barnes & Noble (where there's still a lengthy discussion of sick cats on my Danger in Deer Ridge page) does seem to be trying to guide reviewers as to what's appropriate. This is from their site:

What to include in your review:

Please focus on the title's content. Your review will be most helpful to others if you include the reasons why you either liked or disliked the title. Hold your readers' full attention by limiting your review to 500 words or less.

What to exclude from your review:
Don't ruin the ending for others, and please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the title page. If you see any errors in the information on the title page, please send us an email.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesday - Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Thanks to Sue for those safety tips, and I hope you don't have to use them. 

Next – I have a request for help. Someone in our community fell and broke her leg, and neighbors are pitching in to bring her food. The catch is that she and her husband are both on gluten free diets, and I need a gluten free dessert recipe. Something simple. If you've got one and would be willing to share, I'd love to have it. Thanks. Email it to me via the contact tab. (Click on "email" for the link)

This week's recipe is an adaptation of a recipe I found on the web. It's super quick to prepare, and you can vary it to your own taste.

Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Fruit Preserve Glaze


1 whole pork tenderloin
Olive oil
4-5 T mixed herbs – this is where you can play around a bit. The recipe called for Herbs De Provence. I didn't have any, so I looked it up to see if could wing it. According to Emeril Lagasse, it's equal parts of the following:
dried savory
dried rosemary
dried thyme
dried oregano
dried basil
dried marjoram
fennel seed
Another source said it included lavender as well.

As far as I'm concerned, you can blend any favorite spices. I used what I had on hand, which ended up being dried parsley, rosemary, basil, oregano, and thyme.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Self Defense for Klutzes

Today my guest is author Sue Star. Sue writes mysteries about families in chaos. In real life, she teaches young adults, and in her leisure time, she enjoys hiking, skiing, martial arts, and hanging out with her family. Her novel, Murder in the Dojo, the first of the black belt mystery series, is newly released from D.M. Kreg Publishing.

And while Sue is here at Terry's Place, I'm a guest at Sarah Grimm's blog. And, on top of that, it's my day over at The Blood-Red Pencil where I'm talking about the apostrophe. Hope you'll pop over for a peek and say hello.

A word of warning! If you don’t have the proper training, then we recommend that you not try playing ninja at home. Some of the martial arts techniques we have to use are pretty darned complicated, and my fictional characters and I have been practicing them for years.

Aside from fancy techniques, here are four basic safety rules that everyone should follow. Yes, staying alert to basic safety is the real secret behind self defense.

First: Avoid trouble. This is the number one rule! Another way to put this, as my sensei would say: don’t be stupid. Stay away from dark alleys. If you have to walk in unlighted areas (as we’ve all been known to do from time to time), then walk in the middle of the sidewalk, not next to dark bushes or parked cars where thugs can hide.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Responsible Reviewing

What I'm reading: Of Noble Birth, by Brenda Novak (Nook); Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue, by Stephanie Laurens (bike).

Side note: Last week, all my "likes" in the sidebar disappeared. I have no clue as to why. But it looks so sad, with nobody liking my blog. If you're so inclined, a click would be much appreciated.

There was some discussion about reviews triggered by offering books for free on the new Kindle Select Program. Being able to get books for free at Amazon was one of the "selling points" for signing up with the new program, as it generates more exposure.

Note: for a myriad reasons, I did NOT opt to join this program, but that's a subject for another post, another day.

One complaint voiced in the discussion was that people were reading books out of their genre, and then giving poor reviews because they didn't like the genre. To me, this is NOT a valid reason for a poor review.

Since I joined a local book club, I've been reading books outside my genres of choice. This month's selection is totally outside my preferred reading. It's literary fiction, and I prefer my books to have an actual plot (or at least one I can follow). Where I can care about the characters. Where I want to know what happens next. Not so in this book. But although I'll give it a low score when the book club meets, because the criteria there is, "Did you like it?" I would never consider giving it a negative review on a review site. To me, a review isn't "I liked the book" as much as it is, "This is WHY I liked the book" or "These are the plusses and minuses of this book."

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Field Trip - Landmarks

When I put out my request for picture sharing, my faithful mom sent along some of her travel photos. Her theme was going to be clocks, but she said she didn't have enough of them, so she sent some "untimely" ones to fill out the post. She told me to let my readers figure out where they were taken. So, have at it.

Oh, and do you suffer from Triskaidekaphobia? If so, you might want to stay in bed today.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Recently, I was hornswoggled coerced invited to play Words With Friends, which, if you haven't heard of it, is an on-line Scrabble game, where you play against another opponent. As time sucks go, it probably has slightly more redeeming value than Angry Birds.

I also subscribe to the "Word of the Day" from Dictionary.com, and I get a random vocabulary word in my email each day. I post these to my Facebook wall, and some of my readers over there have fun coming up with alternative definitions.

Now, knowing obscure words might help when you're playing Scrabble. (Especially if you're savvy enough to understand the strategy of using all those bonus scoring spots on the board—I'm not.) And what about knowing the meaning of those Words of the Day?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesday – Applesauce Drop Cookies

Thanks to Roy & Alicia for yesterday's entertaining blog. I don't think Hubster and I would make a good writing team, although he's very good about beta reading for me.

It's a double recipe Wednesday. If you didn't get over to Chicklets in the Kitchen, there's a recipe for Blonde Brownies that I shared as part of my guest blog post on Monday.

This recipe came from a box of C&H brown sugar. I used to make it in a 13x9 pan as bar cookies (much easier than doing the cookie sheets and scooping dough) but I wasn't sure how it would work up here, so I went with the drop cookies.

Applesauce Drop Cookies
1 c raisins
1 c applesauce
1 c brown sugar, firmly packed
½ c shortening
1 egg
2 c flour (I used 1 c AP, 1 c whole wheat)
½ t salt
1 t soda
1 t cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
¼ t cloves
1 c chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Oven at 375
Mix raisins and applesauce; set aside. In mixing bowl, combine sugar, shortening, and egg; beat until fluffy. Mix flour with salt, soda & spices; add and mix well. Stir in nuts. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls (I use a small ice-cream type scoop) about 2 inches apart on greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen cookies, which keep well due to the pectin in the applesauce.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mars and Venus Writing Together

Today I welcome Alicia and Roy Street to Terry’s Place. Alicia and Roy collaborate writing rom-com mysteries as well as romantic comedy. In 2009 they won a Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.

And while Alicia and Roy are here at Terry's Place, I'm at Sarah Butland's blog. Hope you'll visit me there.

Do men and women approach work differently? Some studies say men approach work as they would a competitive sport and their sense of competency (i.e. ego) is always an issue. Then again, today’s women aren’t exactly pushovers. It’s a jungle out there and the female lioness is a formidable hunter. So then just how do the two sexes work things out when moving in for the kill on a project that entails loads of creative energy and specific decision making scene-by-scene and word-by-word?

When people find out we are a husband wife team writing together they often cringe, saying, “I could NEVER write a book with my spouse. We’d be divorced before we got to the second draft.”

So, here’s a short quiz to see if you could write a book with your significant other. Are you ready?

You have a deadline, and the two of you have been working for hours in your home office. You encounter the following situations . . .

Monday, January 09, 2012

Cooking With Characters

What I'm reading: Too Close to Home, by Lynette Easton

Today, I'm over at "Chicklets in the Kitchen" talking about characters and cooking. I hope you'll pop over and leave a comment, even if it's just to say hello. (There's a recipe!) And why not send some of your friends over. (In case this post goes up before hers does, PLEASE make a note to go back later.)

Normally, I try to blog even on days when I'm a guest elsewhere, but sometimes, you just need a day off to deal with all the other aspects of writing, which right now include workshop proposals and "lessons" for my February workshop on Point of View at Savvy Authors.

And take a peek at this new site for mystery books for the Kindle. Don't you just LOVE the banner? Kudos to daughter Jessica for putting it together at very short notice. One quick question. When you visit a blog or website, do you click on images? Just curious to see whether people are aware that the banner is a clickable link.

Tomorrow, I'll have the writing duo of Alicia and Roy Street talking about how a marriage can survive being writing partners. And while they're here, I'm going to be a guest at Sarah Butland's blog, so plan to leave yourself a little extra time for your blog hopping!

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Saturday, January 07, 2012

And the Winners Are ...

Thanks so much to everyone who entered my giveaway contest. I forgot to count as I crammed the books into the box, but I think there are at least 15 that will be on their way to 

Kathy Crouch!

Congratulations, Kathy, and I hope you'll find some books in there that you'll enjoy.

(I still have some books on my shelf that didn't fit, so there might be another contest. And there's an exclusive contest in my newsletter, so if you haven't read yours yet, be sure to check it out.)

And, the ARC of ROOTED IN DANGER goes to Newsletter subscriber (and frequent blog visitor) ...

Karen C!

Congratulations, Karen, and I hope you'll enjoy your advance look at Fozzie's story.

Again, Thanks to all!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Friday Field Trip - Grand Canyon

Remember - today's the last day to enter my Big Giveaway. Details here.

Today's trip to the Grand Canyon comes via frequent blog visitor and commenter, Karen C. She proves that you don't need bright sunny days to take pictures. There's a totally different mood on a cloudy day. Thanks so much, Karen, for sharing!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Twitter: Who Do You Follow? Why?

What I'm reading: The Bargain Bride, by Marbara Metzger (bike) Saving Fish From Drowning, by Amy Tan (book club)

Promo alert – there are only a few days left to get Deadly Secrets for your Kindle or Nook (or apps thereof) for 99 cents.Also, my contest for a USPS Flat Rate Box of Books ends Jan 6th. Details here

Although I never thought I'd be a Twitter person (Tweeter?) I've found the platform to be a fun place to visit. Working in relative isolation, it's like the office break room, where you can exchange quick bits of information, pictures, and other updates. Do people care what you eat for breakfast? Probably not. But they might care about your weather (I've got one follower from Florida who's extremely jealous of the climate up here. Others are glad they don't live where I do.) People ask and answer questions. Also, quite frankly, it's a way for me to know what my kids are up to!

After the holiday weekend, I noticed I had a rather large (for me, anyway) number of new followers. I thought I'd share what makes me follow someone, or follow them back.

First, unless it's clearly a spammer, I'll never block someone who wants to follow me. There's no limit (as far as I know) as to how many followers I can have, so why kick them out? I also don't "unfollow" people who don't follow me back. To me, it's not a game of reciprocity. If someone finds my Tweets interesting, why not let them have access to them? If they unfollow me because I don't automatically follow them back, that's their right, and if that's the way they're using Twitter, that's fine. I think it's a kind of snobbery, but that's just my opinion, and they're free to have their own.

Here's how it works for me. I get an email that says Jane Doe is now following me on Twitter, and there's a link to her profile. I'll click over to that and look at:

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesday - Irish Whiskey Cake

Today's recipe comes all the way from Northern Ireland, via my daughter, Jessica.

Irish Whiskey Cake

6 T each: Irish whiskey, milk
1 c raisins
½ c packed dark brown sugar
½ stick (1/4 c) butter
¼ c vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 t baking soda
½ t baking powder

¼ t each: salt, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg
1 ½ c flour
¾ c chopped pecans

Whiskey Syrup
⅓ c water
¼ c sugar
6 – 8 T Irish whiskey


Tuesday, January 03, 2012

One Writer’s Resolutions

Remember: My  newsletter goes out tomorrow. If you're not subscribed, take a minute to do so at my website (and don't forget to click through on the confirmation email)

Today I welcome Susan Paturzo as my first guest of 2012. Susan has accumulated houses during the economic downturn and to support her unfortunate real estate addiction turns to work as a software developer. When she manages to escape from a cubicle, Susan writes mysteries and has won awards for her short fiction. She also blogs about life – or the lack thereof – in corporate America. In today’s blog she shares with us her writing resolutions for 2012.

First of all, thank you for the opportunity to be the first guest of the year at Terry’s Place! I don’t ordinarily put much stock in New Year’s resolutions, but when it comes to writing I need all the help I can get. Herewith, one writer’s goals for the coming year:

I will put writing first instead of waiting until the email is read, the bills are paid, the laundry is done, the dog is walked, the web is surfed, and all the other myriad “necessary” tasks I reflexively put ahead of my creative life.

I will look rejection in the face and laugh. Or, at least not whimper. I have, as I write this, “only” been rejected by three agents. That’s nothing, a grain of sand, a proverbial drop in the bucket. When I’ve hit three hundred I can complain.

I will complain less. A wise friend once pointed out that the word complain shares the same root as the word comply. As long as you’re complaining about something you’re not ready to make a change. Here’s to more change and less complying in 2012.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Generic or Name Brands?

What I'm reading: Because of You, by Jessica Scott (Nook)

If you haven't read my weekend post, please take a minute to check it out, because there's giveaway information you don't want to miss. My Newsletter will go out on Wednesday, and while you can still get an extra entry if you sign up after that date, you won't get the newsletter until the next issue comes out in April.

Today is one of those strange days. It's January 2nd, which is usually a "normal" day. But because New Year's Day fell on a Sunday, it's a holiday. But yesterday was the "real" New Year's Day. I'm confused! There's something just not "right" about not having the Rose Parade on television, not to mention the Bowl Games. But the NFL has commandeered Sundays—or so we think. But before that, back in 1890, the Tournament of Roses organizers established the precedent that it would never be held on a Sunday. Why? Because they were afraid it might scare the horses tied up outside the church. (I'm not making this up, honest. I'm not that clever. See for yourself.)

So, I'm feeling that there are probably a lot of you out there who aren't into your normal Monday routines, either. I thank you for stopping by.

While watching so many football games (or just having them on in the background—I'm not a faithful "watcher"), the repeated commercials quickly grated. While I grasp the concept that there's no way these manufacturers could create enough commercials so they're all different, hearing the same ones over and over had me hitting the mute button. The same thing happened in a couple of books I read recently.

Which brings me to "product placement" in our novels. Most of my publishers don't like using brand names. One makes its authors list every trademarked product and the page it's on so their legal department can make sure they're not going to get sued. Another goes so far as to list every single one in a "disclaimer" at the front of the book. The temptation exists to make up or avoid brand names. However, you still have to look them up in the trademark database, because a made-up name could actually be real!