Ten reasons I love onomastics

One the questions I am most frequently asked is how I choose my character names. That’s one of the reasons I enjoyed this post so much, and wanted to share it with my readers.

Onomastics Outside the Box

While plenty of people only choose names for their children, pets, and characters because they like the sound or think it’s cool, I’ve long been drawn to the history, culture, and etymologies behind names. I tend to choose meaningful names (both forenames and surnames) for my characters. It’s been years since I chose names from lists in the encyclopedia or the old baby names booklet my mother had when she was pregnant with me.

Some of the reasons I love onomastics include, but aren’t limited to:

1. It reminds me of how the world’s languages (Indo–European or otherwise) are more closely linked than many people assume. For example, the Kazakh name Akhat means “one,” which is very similar to the Hebrew word for one, echad. The spelling of the Etruscan name Egnatius was changed to Ignatius to resemble the Latin word ignis, “fire,” which is likewise very similar…

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Cover Reveal: Some Time Later

stl-ebook-cover

Hi, everyone.  I’m very excited to share the cover for Some Time Later, the latest anthology from the Treehouse Writers Group.  Inside, you’ll find tales by Dover Whitecliff, Kristen Weiss, T.E. MacArthur, Harry Turtledove … and me!  This is the place to get my latest tales, Flowers of London and Flowers of Paris (look for a certain masked inventor in this one!).  Funds from the anthology will benefit literacy programs.  I’ll put up a sales link as soon as it’s available.

Completions and communions

This blogger spent an entire year reading the complete works of Shakespeare (something I’ve never tackled, although I should), and learned some fascinating things about himself. Nicely done indeed.

Shakespeare Confidential

Not long after I finished the complete works, I popped into a bookstore. I knew exactly where to find him. He has his own section. He always has his own section.

I strutted straight over. Shakespeare.

Top to bottom, shelf by shelf, I eyed all the Macbeth’s and Much Ado About Nothing’s, all the Romeo and Juliet’s and Richard III’s. I puffed out my chest. I cocked back my chin.

Think your so tough? I said to myself. I read you. I pointed to Hamlet. I read you. I pointed to The Tempest. I read you and you and you. I even read you, singling out a copy of Cymbeline I was surprised, and impressed, to see stocked. Whatcha got on me?    

Wait. I stepped off.

What do you got on me, Shakespeare?

What did I…

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Spring Fling Blog Hop, and a Bonus Sample

C7XSTXAXkAAFx8v.jpg_largeHi, everyone.  Today is the vernal equinox — the first day of spring.  I agreed to participate in a Spring Fling Blog Hop started by fellow author Kirsten Weiss.  It took a little while to decide what I’d share, but I finally decided on a sample from His Beloved Infidel.  Why?  Because this is also No Ruz (you will find many different spellings), the Persian New Year … and one of the chapters takes place on that day.  Here is a snippet from that chapter. Enjoy!


Farukh stood at the center level of the Opera Garnier’s grand staircase and shot the cuffs of his shirt. He saw Catherine the moment she came in. She slipped off a black velvet coat to reveal an elegant, bias-cut dress of dusty rose satin. It had a simple, draped neckline, but when she turned around he saw that it was open to her waist in the back, with a pleat at the center creating a flowing train. It was the kind of thing a movie star would have worn in the 1930s; she was stunning.

As she continued to look around, Farukh realized that she could not pick him out of the sea of men in white tie and tails — not from that far away. He stepped down the marble stairs as she continued to look around.

31432511“My khanum,” he said as he came up behind her.

Catherine turned around to face him, and could not immediately find her voice. She reached up to touch his smoothly shaven cheek, and he turned his head so that he could kiss her wrist.

“You look magnificent,” he said. “Your dress is perfect.”

Catherine continued to look at him in silence.

“Do you hate it? I will grow the beard back,” he said quickly.

“No, no.” She finally spoke. “You are … beautiful. The truth is, I have never cared for beards. You are more handsome without it, and I would have thought that impossible.”

He smiled and offered her his arm. “Let us take your wrap to the cloak room, and then take our seats.”

Behind them as they went up the stairs together, there were a great many murmurings about what a handsome couple they made.