What’s In A Name? A Guide To Naming Your Fictional Characters

I’ve had this saved in my drafts for almost 2 years now #lazy. After two years I figured that I should finally right and this blog post. Actually, I’m using the dictation feature on my iPhone while I’m in the car with my dogs waiting for my husband to come out of the grocery store.

Dictation is a success. Dick Dick Dick Dick Dick Dick Tatian. That was me playing with the feature. Haha. Dick!

On to the point because I hate when bloggers tell me about their lives before they get to the recipe.

As someone who writes fiction, I often get asked where do you come up with the names for your characters? For some reason, people seem to be really baffled by the fact that you can make up a name for a fictional person even though there are millions of them in the fictional universe.




Here are some pointers.

1. Keep it simple

My characters all have simple, meaningless names. Rex. Alex. Evelyn. Aaron. Kat. Autumn. Chris. Craig. Claire. Gavin. Holden. Jack. Lola. Candy.

You’re going to be typing these names a lot. What would you rather type several hundred times…Jack or Balthazar?



Don’t be Rose. Don’t let go of Jack.


The most complicated names I have in my book series, which has a lot of characters are Jeanette and Deirdre. They might have to die.

Also, names don’t have to mean anything. Mine sure as hell don’t. The majority of the names I’ve used in my fiction are from this site.

This rule might not apply if you’re writing a fantasy novel. If that’s the case, go nuts. It’s what the readers want and expect from a fantasy novel.

A murder mystery set in the 1930s wouldn’t have the same type of names that a fantasy novel would. The one-off short, horror novellas I churn out on occasion are full of characters who are going to die in a few pages anyway. What’s the point in investing in typing out some crazy ass name for 5 pages when you’re just going to kill them anyway?

Readers are going to get frustrated with hard to pronounce names or names that don’t fit the narrative. Also, flowery, overly descriptive writing, including names reads like your seventh-grade portfolio or that you’re trying too hard. Neither one is cool.

Just a friendly reminder you will never be this cool.


2. Be original

By this, I don’t mean unique. I mean don’t blatantly rip off another character’s name. Don’t name your hero Wayne Bruce or your female character Scarlett.

Bonus: avoid naming a fictional character after a real person. It’s lazy. Unless you are writing historical fiction about a real historical figure. However, naming characters after cities, towns, counties, and streets is fine.

3. Don’t over think it

Insert cliché here. It’s not rocket science. Think about all the crappy books out there and the crappy books you’ve read. If those bonehead authors can come up with names for their characters, so can you.


Another bonehead author



Why I Write What I Write (And Don’t Hold Back)

This week, my second book and first full novel was released on Amazon. Yay me! (I guess… waiting for the inevitable bad reviews.) I didn’t want to self-publish my book and be an indie author. The label of indie can either be cool or pretentious crap, depending on your tastes. Since I don’t write pretentious crap, I suppose that makes me cool.

I still feel like a failure because I didn’t get an agent and a shiny book deal. In a sea of generic romance novels, predictable mysteries, over-detailed, dull dribble, and the ever-popular young adult novels set in dystopia, I honestly didn’t stand a chance. Now, here we are. I guess I’ll just have to get over it. I got over a hundred rejections AND actually had an agent tell me by book wouldn’t sell. Writing books is hard, guys.#DestinedForMediocrity


Me trying to get my book published.

There’s no denying ebooks are the future, and the future is now. I don’t have to look up an article to prove that traditional book stores are slowly dying. It’s sad, but it’s the reality of what is happening in the world of publishing. Books and bookstores are great. So is technology and capitalism, two things we know always win. Amazon has a clear monopoly on ebooks and e-readers, and no one wants to admit it. No one knows this more than authors, both traditional and indie. Both of my books are exclusively available on Amazon and always will be. I’ve read similar sentiments from many authors stating they’ve had no sales or minimal sales on iBooks and Nook (Barnes and Noble), to the point where they don’t even list their books on those sites. Smashwords, an exclusive indie book site is probably the second most popular ebook site for indie authors. This should also worry traditional publishers. Many writers, including several previously agented authors are going the self route because it’s easier, you get more creative freedom, and often more money unless there is an advance. From what I’ve gathered, advances are getting smaller or publishers aren’t even offering them.

What’s interesting to me is that the agents claim to want “fresh, unique writing” in whatever genre they accept. But, end up signing the types of books I mentioned earlier. Let’s face it, all literary agents want is to find the next Hunger Games and get their percentage of the earnings. What’s interesting about this is the books that are being traditionally published aren’t the most popular on Amazon. You know what sells on Amazon?

Also, horror, murder mystery, romantic suspense, and still, young adult. There are indie authors selling millions of copies I wish I could write a generic YA novel and start counting my cash, but I can’t. The old adage “write what you know” rings true. From my experience, you can’t write what you don’t read which is why you’ll never see me write an erotic romance novel or a YA novel. I write murder, weird relationships, anti-heroes, psychopaths, violence, sex, drinking,  swear words, gangsters, historical fiction, characters who have bad days, characters who have nosebleeds during sexual acts (SPOILER), characters who vomit up champagne outside of nightclubs (SPOILER AGAIN), and zombies who attack a wedding…you know, stuff I know and enjoy.

I like to say, without sounding like a dad trying to be cool that I keep it real. By real, I mean my characters who barf, get nosebleeds, and say “the f word” when they are being chased by zombies. Someone left me a bad review because a fictional character said the dreaded “f word”. Boohoo, a fictional character offended you! If you’ve offended someone with your writing you’re doing something right, it shows you’re passionate enough to tell the truth.

It blows my mind in a world where everyone is offended by almost everything, that we don’t get worked up by the gratuitous violence on television. It’s okay to show murdered hookers on CSI. It’s okay to kill kids and bash in heads with barbwire-wrapped baseball bats on The Walking Dead, It’s okay to do pretty much everything on Game of Thrones. If all of those things are okay, books should be no different.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get back to writing murder mysteries set in the 1930s that will probably offend someone.

If Loving Christmas Tree Cakes Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right

My name is Emily Stringer, I’m 28 years-old, and I’m addicted to Christmas Tree Cakes.


Hey, baby. Image.

Little Debbie is an evil bitch who makes delicious snack cakes in the bowels of Hell and sends them to Earth as an effort to end me-and it’s totally working. Her equally evil friends include Mrs. Freshley and Sara Lee, who have also tempted me many a time.

Let’s be real; Little Debbie cakes are damn good. If you can’t admit to liking at least one of these little blessed by the Devil Diabetes bombs, we can’t hang. I don’t care which one it is (as long as it’s not those weird raisin pie things).

Christmas Tree Cakes are obviously special because you can only get them for about two months out of the year. Also, they come in several different varieties, including Red Velvet AND chocolate. My God, people. What’s not to love. Also, they are fresh as hell and every single one of them is just as good (if not better than the last).

I don’t know why I love these so much, besides the fact they are SO GOOD. Maybe it’s because they are only available for a limited time each year. Maybe it’s some weird comfort to deal with the stress of the holidays. Or maybe it’s because they are just good, I’m an adult, and can eat as many damn Christmas Tree Cakes as I want! I’m gonna go with that one because it’s probably the deep-seeded reason why I want to shove as many of these things down my word hole as I reasonably can.

Honestly, I don’t care why I like them. I just wanted to share my snack shame with the Internet in hopes of entertaining and perhaps finding a like-minded individual. Remember, you are not alone in your love for seasonal snack cakes.

*shoves Christmas Tree Cake in mouth*



In Hindsight, These Republicans Aren’t So Bad Compared To Donald Trump

Donald Trump is a terrible human being (if you even want to call him one at this point). No need to go into details. Unless you’re living under a rock or in a coma, you know all about the pussy grabbin’ piece of shit that is Donnie T.

The Republican party did this to themselves by loosing their damn minds and nominating a Cheeto-colored garbage person. Really, guys? You go from Abe Lincoln to that? For a group that calls themselves the Grand ‘Ol Party, ya’ll can do better.

Obviously, I’m not a member of the GOP. I will keep voting for Hillary Clinton until one of us dies. There is literally nothing she could do that would prevent me from voting for her. Regardless of how you feel about our future Madame President, everyone with half a brain knows there is not a single person on Earth who is more qualified to be the leader of the free world than Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton.

I will never vote for a Republican as long as my O Negative blood pumps through my cold, evil, liberal, millennial heart. Good thing I live in Kentucky, which has 8 electoral votes so I could never vote again (not going to happen) and it wouldn’t matter. Still, I’m blue ’til the end unless America turns into The Upside Down and the two parties switch.

Looking back on history and past elections, these GOP members listed below don’t seem so bad compared to Lord Assface McOrange.

Ronald Reagan

Potential Pussy Grabs: 2 (he was an actor in Old Hollywood, after all).

Sure, the dude was a huge turd sandwich. He named names during the McCarthy hearings and sold out his former friends and colleagues. He sold weapons to the enemy. He ignored the threat of Saddam Hussein, which later turned out to be a very bad idea.

People loved him despite his epic fails. Look at the man and his dog on Air Force One with his trademark jelly beans on display. My God, he’s like America’s token grandpa. Now, picture Donald Trump.


Mitt Romney 

Potential Pussy Grabs: -4 (unless Marie Osmond is around)

The world cheered when presidential loser Mitt came out and blasted Trump. He really had no chance of winning in 2012, but damn it, he tried and us Dems hated him for it. We’ve moved past it and now he’s just a dude who loves going to Costco with his wife.

Compared to Trump, Mitt is the handsome older guy who lives down the street. He’s the Dad that will take you home from soccer practice. He’s also Mormon as hell, so you know he won’t be grabbing pussy unless Marie Osmond shows up like I mentioned before You  know he and Ann have totally been asked to swing with their weird friends and actually said no.

Most importantly, this GIF exists.

George W. Bush

Potential Pussy Grabs: 0

Oh, W how we don’t miss you. There are so many bad things about Bush 2: ‘Lil Georgie’s White House Adventure, I don’t even know where to start. There was a time when many of us wished you’d choked harder on that pretzel. Sure, he’s a war criminal but a cute one! He also paints, seems to be BFF with Michelle, and is releasing an art book this year.

We sort of forgive you. Keep up the good post-White House work, buddy! No shit.


Richard Nixon

Potential Pussy Grabs: 2

Nixon grabbed Lady Liberty by the pussy and royally fucked her (and not in the good way).

Total crook, liar, and another turd sandwich. Today, Nixon would be viewed as a total liberal Commie by the Tea Party and Trumpers. He started the EPA (anyone who loves trees that much has got to be a dirty liberal), ended the draft AND involvement in Vietnam, and improved relations with China and the U.S.S.R. 

Yeah, total Democrat.

He’s also the first and only president to resign, thus grabbing his own pussy.

Do we actually like pumpkin spice?

Retail and grocery stores tell us it’s “Fall”, but the thermometer still read 90 degrees. This situation is all too familiar, seasons and holidays seem to come earlier every year. Personal preference comes into play when this happens and tempers can flair for no good reason.

For example, I want to spray paint a pentagram on a nativity scene when I see Christmas decor out in August (like I did last week), but when I see one bag of candy corn at Dollar General I turn into this guy.


One thing we can’t escape is America’s love for pumpkin spice anything. Love it or hate it, pumpkin spice is an institution. Even after spawning hundreds of jokes and memes, any spicy, pumpkin fare is sure to fly off shelves.

Personally, I enjoy the pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks (#PSL) and am glad to see it come back every year. I will take a pumpkin donut from Dunkin and maybe a slice of pumpkin cheesecake, but that’s about it.


Pumpkin spice is the swimsuit of Fall, seeing either a latte or a bikini top lets us know the seasons are changing whether you want them to or not and you better get used to it.

This got me thinking, do we actually like pumpkin spice, OR do we like what it represents? A changing of seasons, a new beginning, a new school year/semester, a new haircut, an “edgier” Fall version of you, an update from the iced coffee of sweltering summer days.

I’m going to challenge our beliefs by asking the unthinkable… would pumpkin spice taste as good in March as it does in October?

Honestly, I don’t know and never will. I’m just trying to make a clever blog post about a flavor and come across as slightly profound.

If you still have anything left over from October in your fridge by March, throw it out. Save the pumpkin spice for fall aka DON’T PUMPKIN SPICE AND SPRING!