Thursday, August 27, 2009


Since I mentioned the Irish name "Declan" in my previous post, I've been thinking about the names of characters in my books. For surnames, I steal them from the lists of actors, producers or directors that crawl down my TV screen after a program. For first names, I began using names that were popular at the time. But, lately, I've named my heroines Megan, Dana, Kimberly and Darcy, which belong to girls and women in my family. Some heroes are called Jonathan, Steve, Michael and Richard, also family names. These may seem like "plain vanilla" (read "dull") to some, but I happen to think it's important for the reader to be able to pronounce and spell the names I use.

That's why I don't understand the current craze to change the spelling. Instead of Christine, we have Krystynne, and Barbra, not Barbara. A woman calls herself Sessalee. Wasn't that name formerly Cecily? How about Keyren for Karen, Mairi for Mary, Kerralynne for Caroline, and Karole for Carol? Some men are just as bad. Instead of Larry, we have Lary; instead of Dan we have Dann. I even met a man who spelled his name Xchyler and pronounced it Skyler. A writer cals himself Samm, and another "Bhyl," which I suppose is pronounced Bill. and one named Jimmy spells it "Jhimye." Or maybe that was a woman.

I once belonged to a writing group where authors chose names of places for their characters. Probably because of Tennessee Williams, Minnesota Fats, Indiana Jones and Paris Hilton. Authors used Montana, Nevada, Washington, Colorado, Alaska, Reno, Devon and even Arabia. Fortunately, I moved away before someone thought of Baghdad.

Writers are beginning to change their own names too and perhaps it helps their careers. I don't know. My father, who was British, gave popular English names - Vera and Phyllis - to my sister and me. When film was a new medium, actors often changed their names to something simple. Now they make them as strange as possible.

I shudder to think what the future holds when so many people give their children - or themselves - weird names. As a example, here are the names of contestants on a game show I sometimes watch. (You can learn a lot more than the cost of vowels watching WHEEL OF FORTUNE.) Sashimia, Farisa, Tamashia, Chadira, Plezetta, Saptosa and Tayonna. Tonnacus, Tavis, Ramar, Tenok, Okey and Rami are all men. I kid you not.

Is this just a fad that will come to an end before I give up trying to spell names altogether? To keep my sanity, I'm beginning a list of all the weird names that belong to real people. If you care to add some I'll be glad to post them and keep them in my little black book.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I can't believe it's been so long since my last (my first) blog post. Every time I started to write one, something came up--a long trip from California to Missouri aand back (that took all of June), then a family wedding in Oregon--plus getting a part in a new musical to be performed in our local little theatre. Yes I sing too, but Celine Dion has nothing to fear.

Ideas for blogging came to me from time to time--newsworthy events to comment on, like ship piracy off the coast of Somalia (remember that?) and Michael Jackson's untimely death (will that coverage never end?), but those are too out-of-date. So, instead, I'll go with what happened within the past week. I think the French call it "deja vu."

Jazz being one of my musical faves, about nine days ago, we went to see Diana Krall perform. Afterward, I Googled her and learned that her husband, Elvis Costello is Irish and his real first name is Declan. I'd never heard that name before. but four days later, I saw the name in a magazine article. And, two days after that--in the chapter of a book posted in my online critique group--there was Declan again.

This wasn't the first time I heard of something and then it popped up again two more times in short order, and I'm told by friends that they've had similar experiences. Makes you believe there's some truth to the theory that if you concentrate on something, you'll bring more of it into your life. (Money. Money. Money. Published books with my name on them.)

Well, the latter came true yesterday, when the books I ordered from Wild Rose Press arrived. They're copies of my latest romance novel, ROMAN HOLIDAY. It's an inspirational romance which came out last month and I'm getting ready to give copies to relatives for Christmas. If you'd like a free, autographed copy, just be one of the first three to post a comment here.

I won't always give away books, but I need to make up for my prior tardiness. I promise to post more often from now on.