Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Jessica Subject

My super guest blogger today is the amazing and prolific Jessica Subject, one of my fellow Decadent Publishing authors and Six Sentence Sunday pals. Please give her a hearty welcome!

Today, Jess discusses how she comes up with the names for all those folks running around in the writer's brain! And, she's giving away great swag to celebrate the publication of CRASH LANDING, her newest sci-fi erotica release from The Edge, Decadent Publishing's HOT erotica line.

Naming Characters

Depending on the story I’m writing, naming the characters involved can take some work.

For my heroes, I tend to prefer single syllable names, or nicknames. Some examples from my stories include, Frey, Josh, Bryce, Dare, and Quinn. For the heroine’s name, it really is dependent upon the story, and can range from one to three syllables.

Often I will search for a name in my Dictionary of Baby Names, which gives the meaning, derivations, and origins. I’ve also gone online to check the numerous lists of baby names depending on time period and origin.

One of my worst habits when naming characters is using the same first letter over and over. My favorite letters to begin characters’ names are: B, J, and L. I purposely use the dictionary to look under different letters now.

For Crash Landing though, I used Google Translate. Why? Because I wanted very specific names. Latin is now considered a dead language, but it is still used in the formation of new words in the modern language. In this case though, I was looking for exact translations. One characters comes from space, so I looked for the Latin translation of space. The latin noun cael means heaven, sky, universe, world, space, air. So my first character was named Cael. The second character, although also from space, lived in the water. And so he became Mare (sea, water, briny, aqua, brine). The female character is from Earth, and although not an exact translation, I named her Tara.

So, how about you? Do you think character names are important in a story?


Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of the Crash Landing:

Cael gripped the cushioned arms of the captain’s chair as his ship tumbled bow over stern. The console flashed a blinding red in front of him. Piercing alarms drilled into his mind and he lost focus. The seconds raced by as he plummeted toward Earth. He’d fucked up this mission of peace. Contact with his home planet had ended months ago. No one from Narien could save him now. His death was imminent.

The water below wouldn’t soften his landing. At its current speed, his ship would disintegrate on splashdown. The planet’s gravity pulled him down faster.

He coughed; the acrid scent of fried electronics stung his nose and the back of his throat. Please let my death be quick.

A rattling to the left caught his attention above all other noise. The handle on the cabin door shook. Freedom. It wasn’t his time to die, if he could get out.

The altimeter on the dashboard read six thousand meters, high enough to jump and land safely with his chute. Only to land in frigid water and die of exhaustion or hypothermia from treading without any hope of a rescue.

“Shit.” But he’d die if he stayed. He had to take the chance. Yanking off his safety harness, he pulled himself to standing and strained to reach the recess where his pack hung. Stretching up, he fingered the cloth strap. Not close enough to grab hold of it.

The ship jolted and flung him to the stern. He weaved his arm through the straps of the pack on his way past, dislodging it from the hook. Yes.

His triumph was short-lived as he flew starboard, smashing his shoulder against the wall. He groaned when an electrifying spasm shot down his arm to the tips of his fingers. The ship lurched again, and he tumbled back toward the console. He grabbed the door, his feet dangling in mid air. If he didn’t get out now, he’d forfeit any chance to survive.

The ship righted again. He planted his feet against the bottom of the door and twisted the crank. The latch snapped open, filling him with a sense of hope. Careful to keep at least one hand on the handle at all times, he slung the pack over his shoulders.

All set. Time to jump. Pushing off the floor, he slammed his uninjured shoulder against the door. It blew open and tore away from its hinges, lost to the sky.

Cael teetered on the edge before plunging out of his failing ship. Wind whipped all around him as he twisted to catch his bearing during freefall.

Glancing down, he spied crystal blue lake, much closer than he’d expected. Too close.

He jerked the cord on his chute–several hundred feet lower than he should have. At least. His feet skimmed the cold waves just as his chute caught the current and heaved him back into the air.

The ship splashed into the water beside him, disintegrating into millions of pieces. He raised his hands in front of his face as shrapnel flew at him. Tiny shards sliced into his arms and legs, but the extreme heat from the cloud of steam billowing up at him stung the most.

From the moment his toes touched down in the once frigid water, his skin sizzled. He screamed in agony. His death would have been quicker and less agonizing if he’d remained in the ship.

A hard piece of his spacecraft smashed down on his head, and he welcomed the darkness.

Crash Landing Blurb

As his ship plummets toward Earth, Cael believes his life to be over. His last ditch effort to save himself ends in a fiery crash. When he wakes up, he believes he’s entered the afterlife, but his surroundings indicate otherwise. He made it to Earth. But who saved him, and what do they want with him?

Now available from Decadent Publishing and other ebook retailers.


More information and Buy Links here:


Leave a comment with your email address to receive Crash Landing swag (signed postcard & magnet). Giveaway ends October 19th, 2012. Thank you!


Jessica Subject started writing to encourage her daughter to read. Now she writes to keep herself grounded. Although she reads many genres, she enjoys writing Science Fiction Romance the most and believes everyone in the universe deserves a happily ever after. She lives Southwestern Ontario, Canada with her husband and two kids and loves to hear from anyone who has enjoyed her stories.


Taryn Kincaid said...

Welcome aboard, Jess!

Cassandra Dean said...

I love the thought behind the characters names in Crash Landing. Awesome stuff, Jessica :D

Jessica Subject said...

Thanks so much for having me today, Taryn!

It's funny. Earlier this week I had the problem that I had "Jake" as the hero in two of my works-in-progress. There's me with the "J" names again. So, I had to change one of them. LOL

Jessica Subject said...

Thank you, Cassandra!! :)

Taryn Kincaid said...

I love the name Jake! Once named a hero "Rafe" and the publisher made me change it because it had recently published too many books with that name. Changed it to "Ryck," which actually turned out so much better, since his last name was "Van Winkle"!

Taryn Kincaid said...

Thanks for stopping by, Cassandra!

Faith said...

I sometimes use the phone book for both first and last name ideas. Another place I notice names that I write down and use for later are on documentaries or similar programs where a person's name is posted on the screen as they speak. I dunno why, but it seems like I discover more unique names that way.

Taryn Kincaid said...

Great idea, Faith! I like how J.R. Ward did it on the Black Dagger Brothers series. Picked excrutiating words like torment and terror and threw in random "H's"! Provided unity and a theme.

Jessica Subject said...

Taryn - I ended up changing one of them to Luke. Oh, and I LOVE Ryck! Sleepy Hollow Dreams is an awesome story! :)

Faith - I've done the phone book thing before, but I'll have to pay more attention to the shows on Discovery to write down possible character names. Thanks! :)

Shiela Stewart said...

Great post! Names are very important in a story. I use the baby names on line as well. First names are no problem for me. Its the last that I struggle with some times.

Jessica Subject said...

Thanks, Shiela! For last names, I generally use the phone book, or look through the newspaper. Depends on the area of the world I want the person to be from. I always put more thought into the first name though.

Taryn Kincaid said...

Shiela -- I like to vary them; a one-syllable first name with a two or more syllable last name. Or vice versa! Thanks for stopping by Shiela!

Liza O'Connor said...

I think names affect how a person grows up. (Beyond naming your boy 'Sue'). For example, I've found I really like people named Alice. lol. For some reason, they seem to have tolerance of my humor. The thing I like about Sci Fi, is you can them odd names.

Jessica Subject said...

Liza - Yes, a name can definitely affect one's childhood. For sci-fi, you still have to be careful. If the character's name is too off-the-wall, it can be distracting to the reader. Thanks!

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