Chances are

Okay, so, what the heck kind of parent would name his/her kid "Chance" or "Slade"?

I've been sorting books in my house (moving them from plastic bags into cardboard boxes) and have discovered TWO of them feature heroes named Chance. What were those babies' parents thinking? Don't they know that every kid in elementary school is going to have at that little darling: Fat Chance! Slim Chance! Gack.

Even if the third graders don't take the bait later on in life, how do the parents come up with the names in the first place? Oh look honey, the little guy looks just like a slab of rock. Let's call him Slate.

In romanceworld, parents are always giving questionable names but they're not as bad as paranormalfantasyland where the parents just adore apostrophes. Ka'oht' Ton'k. Spe'w Fo'orth. K'la Onde R'cks

The absolute worst parents exist in spamville. I've looked through my undeleted spamfiles to bring you some of the best. They give Ford Prefect a run.
Solomon Bitumen
Obiora Kingsley
Kulya Vasiliki
Micheal Stanza
Kamilla Locksher
* * *
Of course this is yet another instance of rocks/glass house. I have a history of giving pretty rotten names. I know that and I usually don't mind changing names if something better comes along, even after a book is finished. (The only name I knew had to stay was "Mick" in Somebody Wonderful--his name had to be a slur on the Irish.)

I'll change my characters' stupid names but only if I find something better. I actually had to leave a critique group because of this issue.

I wouldn't change the name of a hero called Toph (from Christopher) and soon after that, when I came up with a villian named Jacko, well, it was too much for the one member who announced she had trouble reading my books because of those outlandish names. No matter that the woman had a point--hey, I didn't know Jacko was Michael Jackson's nickname--I got a trifle snotty about being told to change the names. After the umpteenth email about my villian's name, I lost it and suggested that I might use a variation of her name for the bad guy.**

Bad Kate****.

She stopped corresponding with me altogether. Ah, the politics of pettiness.

But many of my rotten names are atrocious for a reason. For instance in a manuscript currently making the rounds, the heroine's name is Callie, which is short for Callipygos, a Greek name meaning beautiful buttocks -- Her parents really were dreadful people.

Right. I'm going to go through the books in the bags and see if I can come up with any other examples of "What Were His/Her Mom and Dad THINKING?"


**and in fact, I ended up naming the villian after the one CP willing to critique with me after the Great Name Unpleasantness. "Linder" the bad guy in Somebody to Love came from Linda.

**** which by the way is my real name. My parents liked monosyllabic names. I'm Kate, not Katherine. My sister is Nan, not Nancy. My brother is Jed, not Jedidiah. We'll just skip over David. And the Kiyo and Teresa? Okay, my parents didn't get to name them.


  1. Coulda been worse. Coulda been Steatopygos.

  2. I have a confession.
    I work for the post office.

    The most appalling, what-were-his-parents-thinking name I've ever seen on a piece of mail?

    Ben Hur.

    I processed it with due reverence.

  3. I love Chance as a name! Of course Mark and I were talking about naming the baby that I *ahem* will be having around June Sirius, so......
    Hee hee hee.......
    I'm so excited.

  4. Chance is a pretty common name amongst romance writers. Sharon Sala and Linda Howard have been known to name their heroes Chance a time or two.

    Silhouette books are littered with Chance's.


    WOW. Go ahead and name the lil baby whatever you want.

    and raine? what about Santa Claus? You must see him come through too..

    Karen--ok, I have to ask then. . what is the weirdest-ass name you've seen in your cruises through sillouettes?

    **baby! baby! cheryl's gonna have a baaaaaaaaaaby!**

  6. Well, in historicals even recently there's Submit, Passion, and various turns of Wylde, Wilde, and Wild. (Come on. Did some parent really, really name their child Submit anytime after 1640?)

    Then there's the ever-popular Raine and Stormy.(Although I knew a six-year-old named Stormy in 1989 who's life ambition was to be a stripper or an elephant trainer. Lost track of her.)

    Weirdest name I know, only because it flows so beautifully is Aida Lapitsky. My husband still refuses to believe that's a real person.

  7. I like Raine. *ggg*

    And yeah, we see a lot of Santa.
    Even letters going to Baker Street for Sherlock Holmes. :-O

    And I know I'm a complete stranger, but congrats, Cheryl B!!

  8. Anonymous1:07 AM

    Chauncey Gardner? I'd say the romance rioters are in good company there, even though kaminsky (sp) is a big ole liar( duh, novels?)

  9. Names. One of my father's favorite stories to tell has to do with his friend Harold, called Harry. Harold's last name was Balls. Harry Balls, anyone? Then there was the Katt children: Robert, Thomas, and Kathryn. Affectionately known as Bob, Tom, and Kitty...Katt. Parents can be so cruel. However the winner for the most "unique" first name goes to a kid my friend taught in CA: Handsome. His parents made sure he had a lot to live up to.


    From the girl almost named Browyn (yes, after a romance novel)

  10. er, that would be Bronwyn--with another n. Obviously spelling skills aren't required in bookselling.

  11. Over at karen's blog I saw the horrible Peacock parents had named their son Drew...
    Say it a couple times, you'll get it.

  12. *snickering* ohhhhhh gawwwd sam! those parents should start weekly contributions to that poor baby's therapy fund NOW.

  13. Pumuckl

    After a wee red haired gnome in a German TV series. But people at the registration office at least insisted the parents added a second, less exotic name.

  14. One of our clients was gifted with Richard Head as his name...and, yes, the guy actually went by Dick.

    I confess to liking Chance,though.

  15. Ah, names. I do collect name books and I like a character's name to stand out.

    The best source for weird real life names for me -- schools. When I worked in my first college's nursery school, one family had sisters Silver and Skye (okay, I do like those names) and I don't remember if Prairie was a boy or girl. In my second college, I was friends with gals named Cinnamon Parfet (yes, her parents were actors, and she was a theatre major) and Cherie Pae. Yes, those were the names on their birth certificates and yes they knew each other.


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