What’s In A Name

I suck at naming characters, fictional towns, the café on the corner, the fictional Christmas Eve ball extravaganza thingy. So imagine my dismay yesterday as I sat down to start revising my current work-in-progess, Off The Grid, and I immediately had to come up with names for, yes, a Christmas Eve charity dinner, a law firm, and the name of a charitable organization. All in the first 250 words, in the same paragraph. It took me way too long to come up with names (ideas) I could work with. Afterwards, I needed a nap.

There are many authors out there with a talent for clever names. I envy Nora Roberts ability with catchy place names. JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood names: Wrath, Rhage, Vishous, Zsadist, to name some of my favorite brothers. Suzanne Brockmann with her Troubleshooters series and Tara Janzen’s Steele Street crew of reformed chop shop boys all with interesting monikers. The names Albus Dumbledore, Scarlett O’Hara, and James Bond all bring to mind a certain image (even before we saw the movies).

Some writers need the comfort of a solid working title and character names before they begin the story. Names represent the character and the character’s belief and their world. Even when working with a contemporary real-life setting a certain amount of world building is required. Names can reflect the attitude of a character. They are our first introduction. They give a feel for the protagonist, perhaps even their environment. They can ooze mood. Think Wuthering Heights and Heathcliff. What does the name Jane Eyre say about her character? One of my favorite lines comes from a scene between Jane and Rochester: “You think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless?” Her name presents the two sides to her. She may be plain and little, but she has a heart and a soul and strength of character.

I’ve started keeping a list and I add names to the list while watching football. Monday I jotted down Brackenridge, Inkman, and Mann to name a few. Another favorite place to find create name is movie credits. Those are my two most interesting sources. I’ve heard obituaries can be a helpful, if slightly creepy, name resource. You could use something like the Character Name Generator. There are all sorts of baby name help out there.

I definitely don’t need a title before I start writing, I run on the idea that the right title will come, and often does, once I know the story better. The same goes for character names. Right now I have a short story in the works and the heroine’s last name is a question mark. For me, the best solution for the naming dilemma is pen and paper and a chuck of time to work through some ideas.

So, for my work-in-progress, Off the Grid, and three different names I needed I’m starting with: The Spirit of Christmas Banquet for the name of the fundraiser. (I’d really like to use a word other Christmas, and Banquet is just plain boring. So, still needs more work.) A Safe Night’s Refuge for the charity. (This charity gives offers homeless families a safe place to stay. I don’t mind this one.) Carson Cooper for the name of the law firm.

And that’s where I’m at. Feel free to offer any suggestions. Any at all. Please. Of course, the other question is how much time is too much time to spend on something that shows up once or twice in the entire story?

My Thoughts on Jane Eyre

I don’t claim to be a lover of classic literature, more intrigued by it than anything, as my time spent with it has been brief. But I am an advocate of expanding the reading experience. If you can do it with a group of other readers I figure all the better. I’ve always wanted to read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and now I can claim I have thanks to our Carnivalesque Summer Reading Challenge.

Hayley, Jana, and I are sharing our final thoughts over at Hayley‘s blog.

However, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts here as well. Let me start off by saying it was a slow go. It took me literally the whole summer. Although, that largely has to do with our house being in a state of chaos due to main floor renovations. My favorite reading spot was dismantled for two months and…

Okay, enough with the excuses.

I still don’t know what I think of it. Having said that, I did enjoy it and most importantly it made me think.

Setting:  The mid 18th century is not a time period I’m familiar with nor read in. I’m assuming Charlotte Bronte lived in the time period she wrote in. So, contemporary for her and historical for me. I don’t know if that makes a difference or not.  It’s an interesting thought, though. Authors write historicals, but is it the same?

I don’t know. It’s something I’m going to have to give more thought to. I do know Bronte’s style and voice struck a cord with me. I had no problem envisioning the various places Jane found herself in. Bronte’s way with description has inspired me to think even harder about how I use words.

Jane:  I wonder how ‘feminist’ this literature seemed at the time? A story about a young woman who largely succeeds due to her own ingenuity and strength. She’s no shrinking violet. Even though she receives an inheritance that gives her the power to greatly better her circumstances I like to think she’d have succeeded without it. I admired her strong sense of faith, and her steadfast sense of right and wrong. I wondered where she managed to amass all her courage. For someone who has received little to no affection, she manages to be very together. There were times I found it impossible to believe she was eighteen years old. However, I found it impossible not to root for her. Damn it, I wanted that happy ending for her so bad and I’m so glad she got it. Without losing any of the qualities that made her so special and that set her apart: her wit, her common sense, and her values.

Mr. Rochester:   I’m a contemporary romance writer. I love my modern day heroes. I’ll say this: he was very human. The best thing about reading books with others is sharing opinions. You can read some of ours here. This proved helpful and I was very interested in what others had to say about Rochester. There were times when I didn’t know what to make of this guy. Did I like him? I’ll say this, by the end I saw him differently then when we were first introduced. I’m now a fan of redeemed heroes. I believe he loved Jane with his whole heart and that she was the one woman for him. I saw a man who tried to do the right thing and then was burdened by the force of those choices. There were times when I wish he would have kept his mouth shut. Then again, the story would not have the power it does.

Am I glad I read it? Absolutely.

It’s Friday!

And today I’m guest blogging at Kate Austin’s blog. She’s a fellow Canadian residing in Vancouver who writes great books. I’m answering questions about setting, my favorite book, and the book I’ll probably never write. Hop on over and say hi!

It’s also time for things to get back to normal here on the blog. So, starting next week things will be picking up.

Something new to start the week off. Tuesday’s Table will kick off on September 11th with it’s first installment. Guest bloggers will be talking about food. It could  be anything to do with food: favorite recipes, worst meals. excellent dining experiences, what they discuss around the kitchen table, etc. They’ll also be sharing information about their books.

Wednesday’s will be devoted to anything and everything.

We’re Back!



On Thursday, September 13th we’re back with our Carnivalesque: The Travelling Blog Show. We’re doing a wrap up of our summer reading challenge of Jane Eyre at Hayley Lavik’s blog. Just what did we think about Jane, did we root for her? And Mr. Rochester? Like him, love him, hate him. There’s so much to discuss. I can’t wait to share my thoughts.



How about you? Does the advent of fall see you setting goals and settling back into normal?

Catching Up!

A little housecleaning before things get back to something that resembles normal next week! With the release of my romantic suspense, BACKLASH, things have been a little crazy around here. Add in the beginning of the long awaited summer and a complete kitchen renovation that extended into a total main floor update and all regular scheduled programming goes out the window. Crazy can be a good thing, but it’s always reassuring to get back into a sort-of-routine. Consider this my first attempt.

Carnivalesque: The Travelling Blog Show is on hiatus for the summer! BUT some of us are getting ready for our Carnivalesque Summer Reading Challenge: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. If you’re interested in following along and checking in for our thoughts as we read through you can go here. And if you’d like to join the challenge, feel free! We’d love to read along with you! Either way, please know we love to hear your comments!

Lucky for me, Jane Eyre came free with my Kobo ereader! So, I’m ready to read. I have to admit to never making it through one of the classics so I’m super excited for this challenge. As a longtime book club member I love reading books in the company of others. For me, it’s the only way to read books you might be hesitant about but really want to try. Looking forward to talking it out ups the chances of success.



Congratulations to Janet who’s my June contest winner for a $10 Gift Certificate to Amazon.




Also, you can win a copy of BACKLASH tomorrow at The Romance Reviews Sizzling Summer Reads Contest. You do have to be registered with Romance Reviews but I hear it’s painless. You will need to answer a little scavenger hunt question but that will be pain-free as well! There are over 400 prizes available with the Grand Prize being a $100 gift certificate!



Have a great weekend! My husband and son return from a bike trip to Holland on Saturday after a ten day absence! That’s going to the highlight of my weekend! I can’t wait to hear all about their adventure. Until then the sun is shining and the lounge chair by the pool is beckoning! Jane Eyre is waiting. And my in-laws have offered to cook us supper. Again. Life is good!