Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What's in a Name?

Before our Little Man was born, we (okay I) made endless lists of names. I had girl's names and boy's names. When we found out he was definitely going to be a boy, I tossed out the girl's list and concentrated on the boy's list. I had lots of ideas. I liked Seth, Matthew, Charles, Daniel, and James. My husband had two names in mind - his and his father's. Neither was on my list. We did finally settle on a name that combined a name he wanted and one I wanted. Interestingly, Little Man's personality actually fits his name.

The new royal baby is awaiting his name as is the rest of the world. The Vegas odds-makers have George in the lead. Whatever Kate and Will decide to name him, I'm sure it will be a title befitting his place in history. Eventually they will toss him a nickname that will be a better fit. I really can't see the royal couple referring to the infant as His Royal Highness Prince George Albert William Spencer Mountbatten-Windsor. No. They'll call him Bucky or Spence or something cute and easy. USA Today has a fun thing to do finding your royal name. I tried it. I am Her Highness Godiva Del Fuego. It conjures up uncomfortable images of eating chocolate while naked perched upon the rim of a volcano. Regardless, just call me Highness. I like that.

I think a lot about names. I've named, aside from my Little Man, a number of dogs and cats and guinea pigs and birds and bunny rabbits. I always have handy a "Name Your Baby" book to name my characters that didn't come with one (writers will know what that means). And because it freaks my husband out when I'm flipping through it making notes. That's fun too.

Names are important. Names have meaning and tone. The Pope chooses a name he hopes to convey his philosophies and how he wants to over-see his reign. The name of a character can instantly give the reader information about the character's character or the message the author is trying to deliver (think Hester Primm). Angry mothers will use all three names of their children letting their off-spring know just how much trouble they're in (Michael Steven Jones! Get in this house!).

So this is the trouble I'm having. My novel Murder at the Primrose Inn is soon going through a second round of edits. I'm getting close to having it ready for submission and to think about cover art. Yay! Right? Not so much. My working title has to go and I'm not good at titles. I find it easier to write the novel than to title it. Currently the titles suggestions that are in the lead are: Circumstantial Evidence, Circumstantial Innocence, Shades of Doubt, Deception, Appearances of Truth. Would love to hear what you prefer!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Exciting Times

I know it is the middle of summer with the solstice and Independence Day behind us. We are looking at days becoming shorter, cooler and the next holiday is Labor Day which marks the end of summer. Yet, there is a lot of spring going on in my life right now. By spring I mean new beginnings and fresh starts.

First, Little Man has begun potty training. This is a new beginning for us. Soon I won't have diapers to change and he'll experience more independence. It's the end of babyhood, the end of intimacy between us. Soon, he'll be bathing himself and the personal barrio will be put up. We'll no longer be one the way only a mother and child can be. It is the spring of his boyhood and really the beginning of his life.

Second, the first round of self-edits are done on my novel Murder at the Primrose Inn and it is in the hands of my first readers. This is an unofficial edit. I'm using beta readers for many of the edits and a professional editor when it is as clean and interesting as it can get. I know that the manuscript is raw and just one step above a rough draft but the prospect of someone reading my work with a criticizing eye (which is different from a critical eye) makes me nauseous. This is the spring of my first novel. It is the beginning of it becoming the best it can be. Very soon it will not be just a hope or a dream, it will be real.

Finally, the really BEST news of all! My writer's group will be launching an e-magazine (an e-zine) in November of this year. It will be a literary magazine (duh, what else would it be) focusing on Georgia and South Carolina writers; published or unpublished. We have named our periodical Red Clay in honor of the southern soil and because words, like clay, must be molded into form. That's not my line, that's from one of our members, Tim. I liked it so I used it. It is the beginning of something new for us, a spring, well, a spring off anyway.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Big Boy

Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net
Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net
Little Man turned three-years old on the Fourth of July. While the rest of the country is celebrating our Independence Day, we celebrate the birth of our son. This year was his first real birthday party. Sure, we've had parties before with grandparents and such, but this time he had friends and cake and ice cream and balloons and streamers! Okay, there were more adults there than children and we ate the ice cream. Come to think of it, we ate everything and the kids ran around and played the whole time. After all, what's more fun that hamburgers and hot dogs and beer and cake and ice cream and punch and running kids?

Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net
Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net
I was worried that they wouldn't have fun. I found a Pin-The-Tail-On-The-Donkey game just in case it rained and they needed an inside game. I hoped it wouldn't rain so they could play T-Ball, tennis and golf in the back yard. It rained, of course. The kids didn't care and were just as content to play with the trains and cars and blocks that were EVERYWHERE in the living room.

So, now Little Man is getting to be a Big Boy. And potty training has started. Ugh. And he's resisting, of course. But I stop and think
Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net
about what he's learned, what all children learn, in the first few years of their lives. Amazing! In just three short years he has learned to breath, hold his head up, sit up, chew and swallow, walk, feed himself and talk. He's grown a whole set of teeth and learned where literally everything is in the house. He's learned his letters and numbers and can recognize words such as his name and anything with a logo. I believe he's teaching himself Spanish because he watches Spanish videos on my cell phone. Yes, he's learned to pull up YouTube.

Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net
Then I wonder, because Dad usually asks me, what have I learned in the past three years? I've learned to change diapers, speak toddler, make macaroni & cheese, and to remain awake for days at a time. But nothing as amazing as what Little Man has accomplished. Perhaps we need to challenge ourselves to learn something new at least per week.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos
It was my father's 80th birthday in June. That's a big number. So, my brother and sister and I decided that a party was indeed in order. To make it even more exciting, we made it a surprise party. This may not seem like a big deal but it was challenging. It was a surprise for Mom too. because if Mom knows, then Dad knows.

There were a lot of challenges to overcome such as travel (none of us live in the same state), schedule coordinating, finding a place to stay and venue for the party, invitations, RSVPs, refreshments and cake, keeping it a secret, and arranging Mom's schedule with her boss since it was a secret. It was a venture that would have been impossible without the aid of my parent's friends and neighbors we used as spies.

That was not the important part. The important part was that for the first time in six years the entire clan was together. For the first time in 31 years all of us siblings slept under the same roof and spent time together. For the second time the cousins were able to play together. It was a gift that we were able to give our parents but also each other.

Mixed into all this, was a sad happening. My father's sister, his last sibling, passed away just days before the party was to take place. After much questioning whether we should cancel, postpone, or continue, we made the decision to carry on as planned. Not because we're callus, but we thought the best thing we could do for Dad at the time was to show him that his family has expanded to children and grandchildren who love him and the startling number of friends who respect him.

My mother gave me a word. Bittersweet, she said. I liked the word because I like to explore the Yin and Yang of language and life. Yes, it was bitter that Dad's sister passed, but it was sweet to have his family and friends around him. It is bitter that we, as siblings, have moved to different states and get caught up in our own lives and families and forget that we have each other to lean on. But it was sweet to gather together once again and perhaps getting together is something we should do more often. And moving on from siblings to our own families is bittersweet but the way of life. Perhaps that's the real surprise.