Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wednesday's Wonderings

Wonderful Wednesday All!

Hope you're having a good week and staying warm. It's still too cold here in the South, but I've discovered if I wear several layers of clothing, I can stay comfortable and then peel them off as the day gets warmer...or my blood unfreezes

Yesterday's title discussion was good and as I mentioned, I love coming up with what I hope will be the perfect title for my books. But there's another naming chore that I agonize about for days, sometimes weeks, and that's naming my characters. Even though I love finding that perfect name because it means I'll soon meet some amazing people I'd love to know in real life (well, with the exception of the villains), finding the right name for each person can be difficult.

I think I mentioned last week, that I went through several names before deciding on Jordan in RESCUE ME. He went through almost half of the book with the name Dane, but it just wasn't working for me. My usual process is to give them what I think is a good name and then, as I get to know them, it'll either stick or I'll have to think of another one. If the name isn't working for me, I often have to stop writing and brainstorm names before I can continue. I have books and websites I peruse, and I drive my family and friends crazy asking for input. The villain gets almost as much attention. I want to make sure I never give the villain a name I like so much I want to use it as a hero's name one day.

Names are important to me not only in my writing, but my reading. If there's a main character with a name that seems off, I just can't get into the book as much as I might have with a different name. I've even renamed a character occasionally to help me enjoy the book more. LOL, yes, I am a bit obsessive about this!

Most of my pet peeves comes from names of people I've known or maybe television shows that pigeonholed that name for me. Whenever I hear that name, I see that face. One that comes to mind is the name Jethro. Now, I know that many people will think of Mark Harmon in NCIS and I admit, he has given that name a wonderfully, sexy image. However, before NCIS, all I could picture is Jethro Bodine from The Beverly Hill Billies. And as hunky as that actor playing him was, his character wasn't exactly the kind of sexy hero I love in romance.

So here are today's questions:

Are there certain names you just can't abide in a romance? Are there any that you adore? Are names important to you or is one name just as good as another? What are your favorite male and female names?

Looking forward to hearing what you think.

Have a great day all!


Ronlyn said...

One of my favorite name stories is in PC's historicals: Morgan. My sister is Morgan, so to have a hot sexy man named Morgan caused a double (triple) take for me. I dubbed him "Magnum". LOL

I love names and try to check my own impulses at the door when it comes to character names. I'll have to think on some of my favorites.

Crystal (cmac) said...

YES YES YES! Names are so important! Like you I have renamed a character so I can really enjoy a book. If the name doesn't fit the character personality or if it is really difficult to pronounce it drives me bonkers. I like unusual names that really hit a character right on. Kinda like Izzy. I can't imagine him with any other name. But I also like strong names like Ethan, or Marc ect. Not much on Howard or Lloyd or Earnest ect. lol (Two of those names are the names of my grandfathers whom I loved dearly but still..)

oklanannie said...

Good morning, Christy! To start off -- I love both names, Dane and Jordan. I think you picked the right one for "our" Jordan!

Names are important to me but most of the time it won't detract my attention from reading UNLESS it would be something atrocious like Gertrude or Angus. I don't like the old standard names very much, i.e., Charles, Edward, John, Phillip or Carol, Loretta, Marie, Constance. I prefer something different and modern.

Once again, it's one of those "diff'rnt strokes for diff'rnt folks" scenarios.

Hope you're feeling better today and I hope everyone is having a good week!

Some of my favorites are:

Female: Kerrigan, McKenna, Lauren, Mia, Kambryn, Alyssa

Male: Dane, Jordan, Kaden, Lucas, Jared, Roarke, Braden

(but the lists can go on and on).

Luci said...

I totally missed yesterday 's post about the titles - i was the one who had suggested it! Posted a comment now :).

Character names are important to me up to a certain point. But they are not cdentral to my liking of the book. I cannot remember offhand any i did not like although, having seen it mentioned often here, Howard is one that is not a favourite. Didn't like Bramwell from SEP's What I did For Love either. I used to love the name Jack but now I have had an overdose of Jack heroes. I find Nora Roberts' heroes sometimes have names that are strange to me - but that might be because i am not form the US. Hers must be the names I like least - which has nothing to do with the way she writes though, which is mostly fantastic.

Deb said...

Most of the time, I don't pay too much attention to names, unless they are sort of unusual and remind me of someone from the past. One of those, I can't remember the book, but the name was Knox (I know you know who I thought of). I do have one of each that I love and one of each that I just didn't think worked.
Izzy Zanella-Suzanne Brockman Black Op Series
Maura Isles - Tess Gerritson

Don't like
Raphael Mendoza - Feel the Heat Cindy Gerard
Milla Edge - Cry No More Linda Howard

Alison said...

I hear ya Christy…its way too cold these days in the south! Houston’s been very chilly the past few days. Thankfully my dogs are very snuggly and are helping keep my feet warm:)

Most of the time I'm not distracted by the characters name, but today’s question made me think of a couple times I was bothered by the name, In the 2nd troubleshooters book. Eve was telling her story to Amy and the tutor’s name was Ralph. I know they said it was pronounced Rafe, but I couldn’t stop seeing it and hearing it in my mind as Ralph. Another name that I couldn’t stand was in Stephanie Laurens “A Secret Love”…the hero’s name was Rupert. How unsexy can you get! Thank goodness he went by Gabriel most of the time.

For female names I tend to prefer feminine names, like Natalie.

As for male names I like strong, masculine ones like Gage, or Luke or Kade.

Hope said...

This is a good question, and I have to say, OH RONLYN, she just cracks me up naming him Magnum, cause I go straight to gutterville.

I love the name Jordan (cause that is what I named my son). For men, I love strong names. Travis, Marc, and maybe Nash.

For women, I love the name Shae, (that would have been our daughters name if God would have blessed us with one), but I also love the name Phoebe, although I haven't read a book with a Phoebe that I can remember.

Luci said...

Hope Phoebe is SEP's heroine in It Had TO Be You if you'd lik eot try her books. She then shows up in This Heart of Mine and also in Match Me If You Can.

I also lik ethe name Tess.

Aly said...

There are so many that work for me but I have always loved the name Jack. And there are so many literary Jack's that melt my heart!

I will say that I have a very difficult time with the name Sam for a man since that is what my husband calls me.

Aly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crystal (cmac) said...

Alison, I had the same problem with Ralph/Rafe. Why couldn't it just been Rafe. I like that name. :)

Elke said...

Hi Christy, hope you feel better today,hey everyone.

Names sure are important - when I like a name its much easier to build a cute picture of the character in my mind.
A name I really liked is Noahs short version of Samara -Mara.
For men I like short names -Sam, Jack , Tom .
Some names sound strange to my german ears - such as Gabriel (but the characters named Gabe - Gabe Jones, Gabe Maddox - are great so I don´t really mind) or McKenna (I like the name but I would have thought its a last name - is it an american custom to use last names as first names ,because I thought that about some names in other books too.

Hope said...

Funny, I was thinking about this while reading everyones thoughts, and I think I like different names for different genres. I mean, for cowboys (yes, to me they are different genres lol) I like Travis, Luke & something like....maybe Reed. But for my military men, I like Scott, Noah (was a good one), and maybe...Ethan or Mark. For the fluff books, as I call them, I think maybe a Owen...I don't read historicals, *sticking my tongue out at Crystal*, just seems like there are certain names that go well with certain genres...

oklanannie said...


It's time to dip your toes in the historical waters!!! You're missing a lot of great reading. I use the historical as fillers while waiting, waiting and waiting for my favorite romantic suspenses!!! And Pamela Clare has some of the best historicals around.

Hope said...

Anne, that is what I use the cowboy books for, is filler and sometimes I just really need me a cowboy lol.

Shelly Estes said...

I missed yesterday's column too, so went ahead and posted late.

I agree with Hope, certain genre's have names that are more appropiate than others. Imagine an historical with a name like Tyvan or some thing... wouldn't work!!

I admit that even reading paranormals I have problems with blatantly made up names, mostly because I don't know how they should be pronounced. It's had to fall in love with a character that you can't pronounce their name!!

Christy -- it's been in the single digits here this week -- 20 degrees below normal temps -- I would trade your 30's for our 4's in a heartbeat!! Try some cocoa with peppermint schnapps -- that'll warm you up pronto!! Hope you're feeling much better today!!

Crystal (cmac) said...

Well Hope ...flipping my hair over my shoulder.... When those cowboys don't fill the need I'm sure a Duke or a Lord could pick up their slack. lol

I agree with you on the names going with the "type" of guy in the book.

Alison said...

Anne you are so right...I don't read paranormal books, but when I encounter a name I'm not sure how to pronounce, its distracts me. I spend half my time trying different pronuncations out in my head.

krisgils33 said...

I like unusual names, but not if I have to think hard about how to pronounce them while I'm reading. I also love those strong alpha names that typically pop up in books.

I'm down in NOLA and it's a bit chilly here. Better than back home though which started out in the teens this morning, I'm told.

Christy Reece said...

Hey All, just checked in and saw all this wonderful discussion on names. Love it!

I can't respond as I'd like to because I'm all tied up with Dylan. Sigh, such a tough job I have!

Does anyone have a problem with unpronounceable last names? Even a really cool first name can be ruined when paired with something like Zinkinkerflunkin, don't you think? (:

oklanannie said...

Oh Christy! That's a great one and one I'm going to pass along to my grandson who loves to think up funny words for each letter of the alphabet!! Zs are hard ones, too!!

Shelly Estes said...

I'd love to be "tied up" with Dylan too!! Can't blame you for not posting! haha

Jane said...

Names are definitely important. There are a few names that turn me off for one reason or another. It's pretty annoying when an author uses a name that you unfamiliar with and have no idea how to pronounce it.

Crystal (cmac) said...

Last names I can handle being out there easier than first names. Last names don't show up as often so that makes it easier. Kinda like Julian's last name... now that is a tongue twister.

Tanya said...

I like names that fit the character. If the person is a strong Alpha type then yes please have a strong name with that! If any of the names are unpronounceable I always just make something up in my head for what it should be. LoL

Linda said...

A bad name is like finger nails on a chalk board.

If it is a historical romance, I don't mind the names Howard or Geraldine; because it fits within the period.

I read a Lora Leigh book in which one of the main characters name was Jethro....and despite that she did a good job of making him sexy and interesting, every time his name popped up, I thought Beverly Hillbillies.

I like the names Noah,Nick,Jared, Alex,Zane and Lucas.

For the heroine, Rachel, Crystal, Lexie, Cassie and Isabelle.

Kara C said...

Another great discussion! I'd have to say that yes, names matter. I am, after all, agonizing over the name for my new car. ;-)

They're also important to me in a book. Being a teacher, I sometimes have to work hard at not letting all those names attached to students distract me from a story. I'm REALLY distracted by a name I'm not sure I'm pronouncing correctly. I usually pull a Ronlyn and simply rename them.

Wasn't there a Linda Howard female character we've talked about before that had a distracting name? Remember I loved the book, but I think I renamed her. Hope Linda doesn't mind. ;)

Jackie P said...

Names don't usually mean anything to me unless it is a really odd one that I can't say.

Christy Reece said...

Sorry I'm a day late. Dylan kept me occupied longer than I thought he would. (:

Ronlyn, I love the name Morgan, especially for a girl. Umm, Magnum? LOL But I agree, when a name is someone close to me, it does take me out of the story. I once read a story with the heroine's name was Christy. LOL I liked it--she got her man and an HEA!

Crystal, I so agree. Difficult names to pronounce are almost as bad as...well, bad names. I usually end up either giving them another name or mutilating the name so it'll sound better in my head. And I can't name a character with the same name as my family members. Nope, just can't do it. (:

Anne, I'm so glad you liked Jordan. LOL I remember, I think it was in RETURN TO ME, that I had both Noah and Jordan in a car and Noah looked over at Jordan. Every time I read that line, I kept thinking of the song: I looked over Jordan and what did I see...

Oh, I like the name Kerrigan! Might have to consider that one sometime. And glad you like Jared and Mia. (:

LOL Luci, thanks for letting me know you were the title suggester. I couldn't remember. Mmm, Bramwell is kind of odd. I don't think I've read that one yet. Did he go by Bram? I kind of like that. And as prolific as NR is, she's probably used the same names several times. Coming up with new ones once you've used so many might be a challenge. (:

Deb, I'm the same way, though I don't believe I've ever read a book with the hero Knox. Always thought that was such an unusual name. And too funny because I love the name Milla Edge. Sounds so exotic in my mind. (:

Alison, Ralph pronounced Rafe? That would definitely take me out of the story until I could get use to it. LOL on Rupert. Yeah, that doesn't bring a sexy image to mind but that's actually one of my favorite SL books, so I guess I called him Gabriel too. And I love the name Gage. Hope I can use it someday, but since it's too close in appearance to the name Gabe, guess I'll wait a while. Stay warm in Houston!

Christy Reece said...

Hope, I love the name Jordan too. So glad I decided on it instead of Dane. Oh, I like the name Nash! Might have to consider that one sometime. And I love the name Shae too, though I don't think I've ever seen it spelled that way. I'm used to Shea, but either way, it's pretty. And Phoebe isn't a name you see a lot in romances, but, as Luci mentioned, a great one is SEP's It Had to be You. My favorite SEP book!

LOL, and stay out of Gutterville! I've heard it's even colder there!

Luci, love the name Tess!

Christy Reece said...

Aly, I love the name Jack too, but he's a relative, so can't go with that for a character. I adore the name Zack, but there are so many books coming out in the next year or so with that name, I figured I'd stay away from it for a while. And how cute that your hubby calls you Sam. That's so SWEET!

Elke, I like shortened version of names too. To me, it makes it more intimate and shows affection. When Noah first called Samara, Mara, I was as surprised as she was, that just didn't seem to be like Noah. But then, I realized that he was showing a form of affection he probably didn't even realize. That struck a poignant chord with me. And yes, I think it's probably an American custom to use the last name as a first name. I know several people who have named children the maiden name of the mother. Reece is a great first name too. (:

Hope, I completely agree that certain names go better with certain genres or maybe even locations. I almost wanted Lucas to be Luke, because I like the name Luke, but since he was British, I just felt Lucas was more appropriate.

Shelly, you're right. Paranormals can get away with much odder names that other sub-genres. But then, a paranormal might lose some of it's uniqueness if the characters were named Mary, Sam and Joe. (:

And I know it's much colder where you are. LOL When I lived in Indiana, my blood was younger and didn't freeze as fast!

Kris, I love strong alpha names too. I spend hours saying different names in my mind. If it can evoke a strong, sexy image that goes along with my hero, then I can name him.

Stay warm in NOLA. Seems like the South is frozen as much as the rest of the country.

Christy Reece said...

LOL Anne, hope your grandson has fun with Zinkinkerflunkin. I've not encountered that name yet, but there's got to be one out there somewhere.

Jane, I agree that's it's annoying when you have no idea how the name sounds. Stumbling over a name can bring me out of a story and that's never a good thing.

Oh Crystal, I loved Julian's last name! Every time I saw it, I thought 'Dark Angel'. Sigh...(:

Tanya, I agree if you're going to have a strong, sexy hero, he deserves a strong, sexy name. I guess there are heroes, like the TS's Izzy, who can make any name sexy, but it might take some extra work.

Linda, I think nails on a chalkboard is a good analogy for bad names in a book. And yes, you can get away with less 'sexy' names in historicals, but there are still a few that to me, just never lend themselves to sexy, no matter the time period. Homer, Cleatus and Dorcas, to name a few. And I read the LL book you're talking about. Yes, she was able to make him gorgeous, I'll admit it took me months to finally read that book and the name was one of the biggest reasons I didn't. And oh, I love the name Zane!

Kara, still no name for your car? It will think you don't love it! My first car was Betsy and she was SWEET, except when she stalled every time it rained. She got called something else then. Now, since we have two Jeeps, it's big Jeep and baby Jeep. LOL, so original!

And yes, I think it was All the Queen's Men and the heroine's name was Naima. Funny, but I now have a friend with that name and it doesn't seem unusual to me at all anymore. Though I thought it was very cool that LH actually included the pronunciation in dialogue between the hero and heroine. That helped a lot! Before I knew how to pronounce it, I think in my mind it was Neema. Didn't spoil the book for me, though. One of my fave of LH books!

LOL Jackie, so if Cole had actually been Milton, you would have loved him just as much? (;

Jackie P said...

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Because the name had absolutely nothing to do with the way you wrote the story or him and his AWESOMENESS! And instead of all those months of me driving everyone nuts with Cole, Cole, Cole! It would have been Milton, Milton, Milton! And if I was a day late and a dollor short and I just found you then by the time I got not even halfway through "Rescue Me" I would have hit the store and batting my eyes at hubby so I could get the next 5 books! It's all in the magic you created. :) I do love some Cole...sigh....:)

Christy Reece said...

LOL Thank you, Jackie! Though I'd loved to have seen you do a Milton chant. (:

Linda said...

Christy, I like when the main or secondary characters jokes about calling someone - Cleatus or Homer ----but, Dorcas should only be used in a paranormal romance!

***I have an ex-boyfriend whose name was Jerome....but when we were together, he was Rome! LOL

He was gorgeous, funny, outgoing and a really good friend...and he looked like a 'Rome'.

Mary G said...

There is something about the 'k' names for me: Luke, Zack, Jake, Nick, Jack.

I know I like more modern names. Mildred & Elmer just don't do it for me.

I find it hard to read a weird or unusual name (foreign names are fine). Only because I read fast & I would keep tripping over it.


Heather D said...

Names are very important when I read books. If I cant get comfortable with the name, I cant seem to really enjoy the character. I read the back of a book the other day and the lead character was a man named Desmond. Its a neat name, but every time I saw it all I could think of was a little lap dog. lol "Here Desmond, come here boy"

I love names that are original, but basic at the same time. My daughters name is Carleigh. (average with a creative spin.. plus it will look too cute on the back of a cheer jersey some day haha )

For men I have always loved the names Cullen and Grant. For the women I really like Lis, Bree, and Mira.