Sunday, March 30, 2014

Compelling Character Names

From Scarlett and Rhett to Bella and Edward, naming characters is a huge part of romance writing. The goal is to create compelling character names, but the process certainly has its ups and downs. Sometimes, names come easy, but on other occasions it’s a battle until a winner is found. When the name game gets tough, I run through a list of resources to spark an interesting moniker – be it a first name, a last name or a nickname. I hope some of my naming haunts work for you.

·           *  The Last Name Generator. This is a website that creates crazy last names. You supply the first name. Visit the site at

·            *  Baby names. Google baby names and you’ll be on your way. The options are many and most websites offer a nice alphabetical list of names. They have multiple search criteria and name meanings. Two other great starting points are a search for the most popular names of any given year or for popular names by country. 

·            *  Movie credits. I’ll pull out my favorite DVD and jump to the credits to find names. Then it’s just a matter of jotting down any first and last names that I like. I always mix and match, never using an actual name from the credits. 

·            *  A Phone Book – if you still have one – is a great source for names. I’ve flipped through an old copy many times. Once again, I pick and choose first names and put them with different last names.

Many times, I can’t find the perfect name right away, but I don’t let that stop me from writing. When I’m stuck for a name, I use a “place holder” name. I have one for a female and a male character. The female’s is Lola and the male’s is Osgood. I’ve never wanted to keep those names for my romance characters – and they usually force me to find a good name fast!


The FBI doesn’t know what to do with Analyst Caycee Scarlet. She’s brash, brilliant and brutally relentless when tracking a serial killer. But she also has a temper, problems with authority figures and recognizing the chain of command. 

Things go sideways for Caycee when she uncovers a lead that saves the Omega Killer’s latest victim. Rather than working the system and making nice with her pompous boss, sparks fly and she gets into an altercation with the lead Special Agent on the case, resulting in a transfer to another assignment. 

Caycee finds herself transferred to an FBI interrogation facility where she assesses the most dangerous of criminals in custody. She struggles to get over the loss of her dream job, but her new boss, handsome Special Agent Gil Graham, may soften the blow. Sparks, of a different variety, fly between the Special Agent and his new Analyst, as they work together to crack the most difficult cases. 

Just when Caycee’s wounds are healing from her expulsion on the Omega Killer team, she is dragged back into the thick of it. Caycee and her new team are front and center, focused on an interview of a bombing suspect, when Omega comes looking for revenge. His attack wounds her team, leaving Caycee with only one option for help—the devastatingly handsome bombing suspect. It will take all of Caycee’s wits, and a kiss for luck, to stop Omega and save her co-workers. 

Available on Amazon


  1. I'm always curious as to how authors create their characters' names. You have some unique approaches and thanks for that web link!

    Appreciate the post and your book sounds really good.

  2. Thanks, Jonetta! Glad you got something out of the blog. Hope you check out "Scarlet Revenge"!

  3. Thanks to everyone for purchasing "Scarlet Revenge"! You've really launched me up the Amazon rankings board. And a huge thanks to Just Romantic Suspense for the guest blog opportunity!

  4. I enjoyed reading Scarlet Revenge. Where did you come up with the name Caycee?

  5. Thanks, TW! I've liked the name Casey for a long time and wanted to use it, as it sounded like a strong character name to me. Once I settled on my heroine's last name of Scarlet, it just felt like a good fit. I changed up the spelling to make it a little more contemporary. Book 2 in the series is out in May! It's called "Scarlet Envy". I hope you like it, as well!


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