Naming Secondary Characters

by Rogenna Brewer

In a world where unusual names coupled with uncommon spelling is the norm, I've made a conscience effort to buck the trend and give my characters common names.  

As a reader I don't like stumbling over pronunciation, even in my head.  How about you?

My process for naming characters can be quite elaborate.  Generally, the name and the meaning have to fit before I consider christening him or her.  Please don't get me started on nicknames.  

However, I have a bad habit of naming secondary characters on the fly which is about to come back and bite me.  I've just signed a two book deal with Harlequin Superromance for A Stranger in the Family and a book to be named later.  I can tell you the working title for the book to be named is  Harm's Way. 

Both Harm and Nash first appeared in earlier Superromance titles.  I didn't give much thought to naming them at the time.  Now here I am stuck with some awkward monikers.

Poor Harm.  He first appeared in SEAL It With A Kiss as the brunt of a joke with a toilet seat super glued to his posterior.  But as the new XO he had some wise words for the hero and became worthy of his own story, scarred buttocks and all.

That wasn't even the worst thing I did to him.  I named our soon to be hero Harmon Kyle.  No, not Kyle Harmon.  I gave him a last name for a first name and a first name for a last name.  Please don't follow this example.

I had a good reason at the time.  You see I'm a JAG fan from way back.  So Mr. David James Elliott aka Lieutenant Commander Harmon "Harm" Rabb meet Lieutenant Commander Harmon Kyle.  Affectionately known as Harm.

In case you're wondering Harmon means "warrior."

As for Kenneth Nash, he received a mere mention in The SEAL's Baby.  His sub-plot threatened to take over the main plot and was cut.   Here's a hint from that story.

Mike scrubbed a weary hand over his face.  "We lost two good men last time out.  Then came home and--" he shook his head because he still couldn't quite believe it.  "--now Nash is accused of killing his pregnant wife in some posttraumatic-stress-disorder episode."

Interestingly, Nash is or was also an XO and I had the synopsis for his story long before I wrote The SEAL's Baby.  I just couldn't find the right heroine at the time.  But as I fleshed out this hero for a very intricate plot the name no longer fit his ethnicity.  In order to make the plot work and the name work I had to give him a Syrian mother and an American Marine father.

I don't know Jake Gyllenhaul's ethnicity (actually, I do and it's a mix of this and that), but does it really matter?  He was in the Prince of Persia and he looks hot as a Jarhead.  So why wouldn't he look good as a Navy SEAL?  Kenneth means "handsome."

The point is to be careful naming those secondary and throwaway characters.  One never knows when they might be called into service as the hero or heroine of their own story.

Readers have you ever wondered about a character's name?  Authors how do you choose your character names?

Valentine's Day

Sneak Peak: The Frogman, Prince

Here's a sneak peak at the unedited version of the The Frogman, Prince.  Available March 2013!


Captain Lillian Meredith Chapel is a salvage operator in search of a four hundred year old treasure. Her father’s dream of finding La Concepciòn has become her obsession.

But Lily is running out of money and time...

The last thing the Captain needs is a Pirate in the form of a scarred Navy Frogman commandeering her ship for his mission. Little does she know, his objective is to keep her safe. Which may mean keeping her at arms length.



Summer 1965…

Under the cover of darkness, Toad braced himself in the helicopter’s open hatch, marking time as seconds ticked away. His flippers tipped close to the edge.

Exactly the way he lived.

Anticipation pumped through his veins. Perspiration gathered beneath his wetsuit. He ignored the discomfort like a hundred, maybe a thousand times before.

Flying low over the water to escape radar detection, wind-whipped backwash pelted the tense lines of his face as salty trickles ran into his eyes and mouth. Blinking back the sting, he scrubbed a gloved hand over his chin.

What in the hell was he doing here? Time spent in a Cuban prison still echoed in his nightmares.

What choice did he have?

This was his job.

He lived it. And he loved it.

“Remember, Gentlemen,” he shouted above the whirring blades. “The only easy day was yesterday!”

Flashing the pilot thumbs up, Toad leapt through the hellhole. In the descent from air to sea, seven men followed his lead and the CH-46 SeaKnight veered sharply left, then out of sight.

In the eerie glow of chem sticks, he accounted for every last man before fitting the breathing apparatus of the chest-mounted Dräger LAR-V to his mouth and setting a grueling pace for their two-mile ocean swim. The rasp of exertion filtered through the rebreather like some sci-fi creature on The Twilight Zone.

When a murky shadow stirred the phosphorescent algae in his path, he reached for the K-bar strapped to his thigh, but the hammerhead moved on as if sensing a far more dangerous predator in the water that night.

Sixty minutes later, the frogmen surrounded their objective. The hull of the OSV Lily Pad measured two hundred and twenty feet from stem to stern.

As his men bobbed silently in the water, Toad waited to give the man nearest to him the signal to board. Once issued the command would pass from frogman to frogman without fail.

Click here for an unedited sneak peak of The Frogman, Prince on Wattpad.  If you're unfamiliar with Wattpad it's a place where writers and readers connect.  You can log in using facebook.  Don't worry, it's FREE.  I'll be posting installments until the story is published.

Q&A Take a Break

Q: How do you stay in such great shape?

A: Seriously, seriously?  That's the question you want to ask? You must have me confused with another author.

The more I write the less room there is for my butt in the chair.  Speaking from experience, a writer's life can be very sedentary.  On superauthors blog this week, author Kris Fletcher blogged about The Stand-Up Writer we all know she's a comedienne, but this funny lady keeps in shape by standing up to browse the web and with Leslie Sansone's Fast 5 Minute Walk.

I tried it.  And liked it!

The Fast 5 can be done right at your desk.   I'm setting the alarm on my phone right now for several breaks throughout the day and making the commitment to get up and move more.  Care to join me?

Sold! Signed two book deal.

Happy Fat Tuesday, everyone! 

You'll notice I have my Supergirl cape on.  Just signed a two book deal with Harlequin Superromance for A Stranger in the Family and a book to be named later.

I'm guessing this will be a late 2013 or early 2014 release.  I'll fill you in on the details when I have them.  Meanwhile, here's a sneak peak: 

Wrongfully convicted of his wife’s murder, Navy SEAL Kenneth Nash cuts a deal with the Feds in order to pursue the real killer.  Seven years into that deep cover op, he must choose between the integrity of the mission, or saving the son he’s never known, along with the sister-in-law who testified against him.  



Coronado, California
“Freeze!”  Her voice shook almost as badly as the Sig Sauser in her hand.  After thirteen weeks of G-man U in Quantico, Virginia, twenty-two year old rookie FBI Agent, Mallory Ward, never imagined facing down her first perp in her sister’s kitchen.  “Freeze, Nash.  I mean it, damn it!”
Her false bravado lost all conviction as she tried to comprehend the bizarre scene that played out in front of her.  Her brother-in-law, cover in her sister’s blood, cradled a blue bundled in the palm of his hand.
“Dear Lord, Nash, what have you done?”  She’d just stepped outside for a minute to get the cell phone he’d said he left in his pack.  When she couldn’t find his phone, she’d taken those precious extra seconds to grab hers from the rental car parked at the curb.
Mallory kicked past an overturned chair and the cordless phone unit that had been ripped from the wall.  Her sister’s still warm body lay lifeless on the cold tile floor where her brother-in-law had been performing CPR.
Had she punched 911 before dropping her cell phone to reach for her gun?  That seemed like a lifetime ago.  She’d been willing to give Nash the benefit of doubt—until the Navy SEAL had sliced the swell of her sister’s belly.
“She’s gone, Mal.”  His voice never waivered.
“You have the right to remain silent…”
“There was nothing more I could do for her, except save our son.”  Nash dropped his K-bar in the puddle of blood.
Mal sidestepped the slick pool, and still managed to step where she shouldn’t, leaving the imprint of her soles behind.  Biting back the copper tang of panic, she continued to read him his Miranda Rights, Article 31 in the military.  “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law…”
Nash covered the teeny nose and mouth with his mouth.  The tiny concave chest expanded and contracted with each puff.
“Do you understand these rights as I have read them to you…?  She couldn’t afford to make any more rookie mistakes.
Sirens blared in the distance, emergency responders, too late to save her sister.  Mallory felt her world spinning out of control.
The tile floor rushed up to meet her.

© Copyright Rogenna Brewer
All rights reserved.

First Look: The Frogman, Prince Cover

Look who has a new cover!  The Frogman, Prince coming mid-March 2013.  I hesitated putting it up this early because the book is self-published and not available for preorder.  However, facebook friends got a sneak peak when multi-talented cover designer, Kimberly Van Meter posted it to her page. 

Kim?  Our Kim, Kimberly Van Meter? 

What, you didn't know the superromance and romantic suspense author was a cover designer?

Find Kim's cover gallery on facebook.

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