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What’s In a Name?

By On Sep 5 2012, 4:50 am

Words have power. It's said that to know someone's true name is to have power over her/him. At least, if you're a magic user in the wizarding world. Then again, names give meaning to ideas. To stories. From character names to titles, there's strength in pairing the right name with the right concept.

Naming a rough and tumble hero Ned or Timmy just doesn't have the same punch as Rafe,Damon or Slade. Yes, obvious hero names used to death, but you get the picture. The same with the blazing heroine carrying two strapping weapons. I really don't see her as an Annie (unless it's Oakley) or Missy or Jinny, girlie names that don't have that same punch. (And okay, to all you Missy and Jinny types I've now offended, I'm stereotyping to make a point.)

Same goes with titles. But here it gets tricky. There's nothing worse than picking up a dark tale entitled, The Devil's Deep and finding the story about a puppy who nearly drowns in a creek. The words don't fit the concept. I've had some tough times coming up with titles. Especially since most everthing has been used before. I thought In Plain Sight (for one of my Cougar Falls books) was awesome. Only to realize there was a television show with that name after I'd selected it. Or Fit to Be Tied, which really applied to a bondage themed book I'd written years ago. The publisher took the revised book, but had me change the title because it was too similar to something they'd already published. Then a week later, I saw that same book title in Borders, on a print book newly released. Bummer.

Character names are easier to select because there are a bazillion baby books out there, not to mention the Internet. I've heard of authors keeping a log of the names they use so as not to repeat them in other books. But I don't see the problem. Why can't you have a Harry in one book, who's exactly the opposite of a Harry you write about four books later? I guess so as not to confuse the reader.

For Samhain, I've already written about Burke, Dean, Grady, Monty, Rafe, Hunter, Dylan, Derrick, Gage, Ty, Rachel, Gabby, Julia, Sarah, Alex, Storm, Sydney, Hailey, Stacey, and a host of others. Pretty soon I'll be adding a Harper, Freddy (a girl), JD, and Remy to the mix. Sigh. It gets tough to keep track, but when you open up that baby names book or see the top 10 baby names for the year, more possibilties appear.

On that note, because I know you're probably curious–and I know I am–these are the top (U.S.) baby names for boys and girls for 2012:


1. Liam  2. Ethan  3.Mason  4. Noah  5. Jacob  6. Jack  7. Aiden  8. Jackson  9.Logan  10. Lucas


1. Emma  2. Olivia  3. Sophia  4. Ava  5. Isabella  6. Ella  7. Emily  8.Mia  9. Chloe  10. Lily

And now I'm off to record a few of these for my new characters in new books. 





2 Responses to “What’s In a Name?”

  1. Charity says:

    I was surprised by Liam! My lil man was born in the last year. His name is Parker. Good blog. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Marie Harte says:

    Parker is a great name. My son’s friend’s brother is Parker. I don’t know of any Liams except for actors. :) But I like seeing how the lists change from year to year.

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