Pronouncing Names and the Reasons Behind Them

A fun little conversation over on the new Parasol Protectorate Facebook group sparked this blog. So thank you, Gentle Facebooker, for the prod in the articulate direction.

Here are some tricks I use when choosing names:

  • Most of the names have google-able meaning. 
  • Sometimes they are foreshadows (Tunstell)
  • Occasionally they relate to a historical character or place (Tarabotti)
  • Often I just like the sound (Loontwill)
  • Once in a while the names was invented via a drunk friend (Hisselpenny). 
  • I'll looking at lists of old fashioned and Victorian names to make sure it is not modern.
  • I'm thinking about ensuring not too many characters in the same book/series have names that start with the same first letter (Dimity, Agatha, Sophronia).
  • My heroines need names that are different from each other between series (Sophronia, Alexia, Rue). Or I simply like the name for no good reason, as if that character told me what they wanted to be called (Alexia, Soap).

Here are a few specifics from the Parasol Protectorate:
  • Tarabotti ~ TARA-bot-tea (As in Scarlet O'Hara's home. It's an homage to a historical figure of the same name, the fascinating early early feminist, Archangelica Tarabotti. If you look up her story, you'll find cookies. Archangelica appears as an actual character in the Alessandro short story, or her namesake does.)
  • Maccon ~ Mack-CON (Not like Bacon, sadly. I chose it for the meaning.)
  • Akeldama ~ Ak-el-DA-ma (It's mispronounced in the first audiobook because they didn't consult with me until the second.) I don't know how it would be pronounced in the original language but is has to be pronounced DA-ma for reasons that become apparent in the Timeless.
  • Lefoux ~ Leh-FOO (I pronounce that way in my head, but I think it may rightly be pronounced differently. We all know how faux-pas is pronounce. The name is a inside joke amongst my friends.)
  • Sidheag ~ SHEE-ak alternatively pronounced SIDH-hey, just to make matters confusing. (Again, chosen for its meaning, all the pack names are.)
  • Dubh ~ Duv
  • Featherstonehaugh ~ FES-ten-hew (Chosen because I knew it was one of "those" British names and I just wanted to mess with people. Also, I'm a big fan of the movie adaptation of the EM Forster novel Maurice.) There's contention over this one and I think it is pronounced differently in different classes and parts of the UK.
  • Quesnel ~ Qui-NELL (I think, I'm bad with the French ones.)

Book News:
My publisher's official announcement about the release of Heartless.

Quote of the Day:
“You know, sometimes I wonder if the reason the Rethwellan royal line has so much trouble is because of the wretched things they name their children.”
~ Mercedes Lackey (By the Sword)


In Which We Officially Welcome Heartless Into The World

Today, according to Amazon, we officially welcome Heartless into the world.

As you may already know, Gentle Reader, I tend to try to parody different types of Victorian literature with each Parasol Protectorate book. Soulless poked fun at the early romance novels, Changeless went back to the gothic roots of all my favorite genres, Blameless was intended to be an Alan-Quartermian-style Boy's Adventure novel, and now Heartless . . .

Heartless is a cozy Sherlock-Holmes-style mystery. I had a lot of fun researching this book: reading Conan Doyle and delving into his fascination with the occult. It's entertaining to take his perspective and place it into a world where the occult, in essence, really does exist and practically-minded scientists struggle to undersstand this, much as Sherlock does in many of Doyle's later adventures. Alexia hasn't Sherlock's mind but she has his practical approach to problem solving, and his propensity for charging about willy-nilly no holds barred.

(The role of Dr. Watson will be played by an every increasing bevy of adorable young men. A girl's gotta have her fun!)

I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it and that those of you who are Doyle fans will find my paltry efforts endearing rather than insulting. I also hope that as you read, knowing some of my motivation will allow you to pick up on those moments of writerly winking when I am playing with my source material for the pure joy of it.

Your moment of parasol . . .

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Tisane of Smart:
Your Writerly Tinctures:

Timeless: Finished with last draft, awaiting copyedits.
Etiquette & Espionage: The Finishing School Book One: First draft done. Working on entering edits into computer.
Secret Project PPA: Only a twinkle in my little eye.

BIG FAT SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first!

Book News:
Have an interview with Amber Katze and contest to win a copy of Heartless.

Quote of the Day:
"There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and a tired man who wants a book to read."
~ G.K. Chesterton


Off to New Orleans: Crayfish, Ho!

Gentle Reader, I'll be away from the blogosphere for the next few days. I'm delighted to be visiting the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans, (June 25 - 26) and Books A Million in Baton Rouge, (June 26).

Here's my schedule. Please don't hesitate to track me down and say hello.
  • Speaking at the YA Luncheon on Saturday at noon.
  • On the Science, Fantasy & Information Science Program Saturday, 4 ~ 5 PM.
  • Signing at the ALA Hachette booth Sunday, 11 AM ~ noon.
  • Signing at Books A Million in Baton Rouge at 3 PM on Sunday (there is a Facebook events page).


Japanese Changeless Cover

Gentle Reader, here is the cover launch for Changeless, the second Parasol Protectorate novel translated into Japanese (not the manga).

I do love their take on the series.

And, just because I feel like it, here is another . . . Heartless teaser!

"Of course, one knew Lord Akeldama must be able to fight. He was rumored to be quite old, and as such, must be at least capable of combat. But this was akin to knowing, academically, that his chubby calico housecat was capable of hunting rats – the actual execution of the task always seemed to Alexia highly improbable and possibly embarrassing for all concerned."
~ Heartless

Your moment of parasol . . .

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Tisane of Smart:

Your Writerly Tinctures:
Bookends Workshop Wednesday is an interesting query approach, if you are submitting you can certainly learn things.

Timeless: Finished with last draft, awaiting copyedits.
Etiquette & Espionage: The Finishing School Book One: First draft done. Working on entering edits into computer.
Secret Project PPA: Only a twinkle in my little eye.

BIG FAT SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first!

Book News:
Soulless review.

Quote of the Day:
"A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man's mind can get both provocation and privacy."
~ Edward P. Morgan


Manga Art Launch: Lord Akeldama

And now, we have the initial sketches for Lord Akeldama!

It was impossible not to grin at Lord Akeldama; his attire was so consistently absurd. In addition to the heels, he wore yellow checked gaiters, gold satin breeches, an orange and lemon striped waistcoat and an evening jacket of sunny pink brocade. His cravat was a frothy flowing waterfall of orange, yellow, and pink Chinese silk, barely contained by a magnificently huge ruby pin. His ethereal face was powdered quite unnecessarily, for he was already completely pale, a predilection of his kind. He sported round spots of pink blush on each cheek like a Punch and Judy puppet. He also affected a gold monocle, although, like all vampires, he had perfect vision.
~ from Soulless

My manga artist's name is Rem. The Soulless manga is coming out via Yen Press. It launches officially at Comic Con in San Diego July 21. It will be available serialized in Yen Plus, a monthly online anthology. starting July 11, and as a full book next spring!

Timeless: Finished with last draft, awaiting copyedits.
Etiquette & Espionage: The Finishing School Book One: Rough draft done. Working on first read through.
Secret Project PPA: Only a twinkle in my little eye.

BIG FAT SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first!

Book News:
My first Heartless review from Sarah. She says, "It really is the novel where you get to learn just that little bit more. As if that weren’t enough, there’s a really good twist at the end that has huge repercussions for the Woolsey pack and under the full moon, everyone shows their true natures."

Quote of the Day:
"A good book on your shelf is a friend that turns its back on you and remains a friend."
~ Author Unknown


Heartless Winners ~ Lots of Fun Silly Pictures

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I have the best fans in the whole world. The (AB) agrees. "Your fans are totally adorable," the AB sayith unto me as we ruminate over your pictures (and, in my humble opinion, the AB is a bit of an expert on the subject of adorability). No, I did not let said AB influence my decision. I just want to brag about how charming you are.

Anyway, Gentle Contestants, this was a practically impossible decision. I desperately did not want to disappoint anyone. Fortunately, it looks like you had fun doing it (with the exception of some of the canines involved). You've also all been really supportive of each other and I have enjoyed the conversations these have spawned over on the Facebook group. So I am hoping, even if you don't win, you have pleasant memories of the experience. Perhaps I should now run a LOL Cat-style caption contest for the photos?

I had 66 entries and because I had such a hard time, I ended up dividing the submissions into categories. (Archaeologist, this is how we think.)
40% One person and a parasol against the world!
30% The still life of a silly book.
20% Pets in fashion.
6% Tableaus over tea.
4% None of the above, but still ridiculous.

And, drum roll please . . . The Winnah!

(If Sara P would kindly contact me with her snail mail address and any dedication requests, her four signed UK editions will be in the mail on Monday.)

And Second Place by a very slim margin goes to . . .

(All four US editions (yes, I changed that!) to Claire O, which is kind of funny as you are in the UK I suspect. Again, please contact me with your snail mail addy and any dedication requests.)

Why, Miss Gail?

Without knowing, both these entries touched me in unexpected ways. And, I did warn you the choice would be at my whim. I chose the first because it reminded me irresistibly of the life of a lab rat that I once had. In 2007 I fraternized overmuch with ICP-MS Acid Ablation and my work station under the fume hood making acid samples looked so much like the one pictured here, I actually called my old department to see if I had a fan lurking in their midst.

The second place entry features the moving elevator at Lester Uni. I happen to have visited there when I was looking at graduate schools in the UK back in 2000. That elevator scared the bejesus out of me. I was very impressed by her oh-so-casual demeanor inside it.

The random number generator choose this lovely image of Jessie S as our spontaneous winner. She will get Soulless, Changeless and . . . Heartless, US editions. (I'm out of Blameless, if you would believe it?)

Again, Jessie if you would kindly contact me with your snail mail address and any dedication requests?

Ladies all, I hope you enjoy your loot and please consider donating to your local library or a friend of you find you now have doubles.

But wait, there's More!

So many of your images were so much fun I decided to choose runner up awards of silliness! I can't afford to send out books to everyone, so I thought I would offer something usual for me: signed stickers. If you see your image bellow, you may contact me with your address and I will pop four signed teacup stickers in the mail to you, I wish I could do more.

Most Like a Book Plate Award Goes To . . .

Most Verdant Countryside Award Goes To . . .

Most Likely to be Stolen for
Retro Rack Award Goes To . . .

Most Likely to be stolen by Miss Kalendar of
Brass Needles Award Goes To . . .

Most Atmospherically Steampunk Award Goes To . . .


Category: Isn't Gail's Cat? (oh wait, too skinny) Award Goes To . . .

Most Disgruntled Dog Award Goes To . . .


Most Likely to Be Eaten Award Goes To...


Most Novel Way to Carry Novels Award Goes To . . .


Gail's Younger Doppelganger Award (seriously, it's spooky) Goes To . . .

Best Balancing Act Award Goes To . . .


The Ivy Hisselpenny Wants Your Hat Award Goes To . . .


The Lord Akeldama Wants to Know if You'll Consider Dronehood Award Goes To . . .

The Most Likely to Travel Far Award Goes To . . .


The Madame Lefoux Mustache of Excellence Award Goes To . . .

The Lord Akeldama Might Make an Exception in Your Case Award Goes To . . .

The Billy Connolly* Appropriate Head Covering Award Goes To . . .

The Alexia Approved Outrageousness Award Goes To . . .

The Best Representation of Alexia and Ivy Award Goes To . . .

The Reading Lady's Picnic Award Goes To . . .

The Oh No, What Happened to Floote? Award Goes To . . .

And . . . The Future of the Parasol Protectorate Award Goes To . . .

Again, thank you all for playing. I had so much fun, and you are too adorable! Expect many of your images to show up in my "Moment of Parasol" and "Infusion of Cute" over the up coming months. And do, please, feel free to join in the conversation over on Facebook, such silliness is going on there, it quite gladdens my shriveled old heart.

* "Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on."
~ Billy Connolly