Writing of romance, fantasy, and love

What’s In a Name?

Nothing, and everything! The great bard’s answer to that question, of course, is that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Quite true, in the most literal sense. Yet when I’m naming my characters, that rarely proves to be the case.

Someone recently asked me how I come up with the names for my characters. Being of the non-writing persuasion, this individual marveled that I could come up with names that seem just right for the characters. The first answer I gave her was that the names just came to me, that there was no real rhyme or reason. But then I thought about it a little bit, and realized that I actually had a naming convention of sorts, one that encompasses a variety of conscious and unconscious rules.

Take my first novel, for example. In An Unintended Seduction, both my hero and heroine received new names. Because this was my first ever novel-child, I honestly never expected to finish it, much less shop it around and get published. So I gave my hero and heroine rather, um, embarrassing names. No, I won’t divulge that information. I’ll take it to my grave. Once I’m dead, those already in the know are free to spill the beans, but until then…ixnay, no way. Embarrassment aside, when I realized they needed new, more appropriate names, I admit that I was stumped for a while. After all, I’d spent years thinking of them by their original names. But then I realized that I had their names right in front of me.

If you’ve read my novel, you’ll notice I have several allusions to Sir William Shakespeare woven through the tale. Some obvious, some less so. But the most important one centered on our hero and his relationship with his two friends. Growing up, they had called themselves ‘the triumvirate’. I used the idea as a metaphor for the breaking of the friendship. My hero was the leader of the trio. That realization brought the ‘A-HA’ moment. What better name for the leader than Julian, a variant of Julius?

With the hero named, the heroine’s name came to me almost at once, but it wasn’t until much, much later that I realized how apropos the name Miranda would prove. I had unconsciously chosen another Shakespearean name. In The Tempest, the innocent Miranda is both naive and yet strong, an unusual duality. While the name came without conscious thought, it was rooted in my first passion: Shakespeare’s plays.

So what’s in a name? The heart and soul of what makes you a writer.

My first novel, An Unintended Seduction, is officially released! You can find it at The Wild Rose Press or Amazon. Available in print or ebook. I hope you enjoy my excursion into Regency England!

http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=887
http://www.amazon.com/Dorothy-Muir/e/B006VLEIWI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

I’m currently vacationing in beautiful Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Though the air isn’t as crisp as Breckenridge, Colorado, the mist of sea spray is just as pleasant. Meandering through the town, dining at restaurants right by the ocean, all of it brings my muse alive.

Have you ever heard the harsh cries of gulls as they scrabble and fight over food? Or their piercing cry as they call others to a potential bounty?

What about the rush of cresting waves, that eternal ebb and flow of the tide driven by our moon. Have you ever looked at the moon and wondered at the power that barren orb has over our life-filled world?

Have you visited an aquarium filled with exotic fish, and sharks and rays of all types? Tried touching the slippery skin of a ray as it flies through the water with effortless grace?

The sights and sounds of a tourist destination in the off-season is truly amazing. Overheard conversations on teen angst, serious hush-hush political discussions in dark corners, purse-pups standing on the dashboards of Porsches. Everything can be found in such places.

If you’re looking for a lost muse, consider this: Thalia and her sisters might not have abandoned you. They may be beckoning you to wander a little farther afield, to see things you might otherwise miss.

A Wonderful Review

My first novel, An Unintended Seduction, received a lovely 4-heart review from Sizzling Hot Book Reviews!

I am so excited to know that my story was so well-received. I hope everyone enjoys it just as much!

Though my short story, Storm Called, did not win, I feel like it did just from being nominated. I am so pleased that my little romance was included among such admirable entries.

Congratulations to all the winners, and to all the nominees as well! I am humbled to be in such wonderful company.

Thank you, TRS, for such an opportunity!

Music and Tragic Endings

so often seem to go hand in hand. Waking to the news that Whitney Houston has died is indescribable. Though I don’t publicly admit to my age, I am old enough to remember Whitney’s career at its first ascendancy. Personally, I didn’t care for her early arrogance, nor did I like her rendition of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You”. Yet her crystal clear voice and phenomenal range lifted my heart above such petty concerns. The power and soaring beauty of a vocal talent that would have been at home in any opera never failed to thrilled me.

The first article I read this morning spoke of how many of us are guilty of laughter at her all-too human frailties. Being a believer in the essential goodness of humanity, I know such laughter was only the nervous titters of people who saw their own flaws reflected too clearly in her actions. Celebrity targets such as Whitney Houston make an easy outlet for our fears. Rather than regret our taunts, we should reflect on the true reason behind them. We may find those reasons to be the same ones that drove a tremendous talent to self-sabotage, and to the damaged voice that changed Whitney’s life forever.

Those of us in the artistic community know of the constant struggle to believe in ourselves. Many of us are envious of the great talents that rise above even our highest dreams. Yet all us of understand the agonizing struggle of putting your heart on display, which performers of Whitney’s ability do every day.

So remember the music, the talent, and the extraordinary gift that brought so many of us happiness, and forgive the human frailty that we decried during her lifetime. We are none of us perfect, yet some of us were given the ability to bring a unique joy to this world. Whitney Houston was one.

I was just notified by my publisher that my short story, Storm Called, was nominated for the 2011 CAPA Awards in the Fantasy category! I am so excited – it’s such an honor to be a nominee!

The winners will be announced on Valentine’s day, so keep your fingers crossed for me, please!