Contests & Giveaways

The Best Character Names

This is the day you’ve been waiting for: when I finally stop blogging about baby names and get back to things that really matter. Like Halloween costumes.

Yes, it’s time to give away a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card, and we have a winner (courtesy of a free random-choice web program that I sure hope didn’t give my computer a virus). Congratulations to Melissa of Austin, TX!

What? You, gentle blog reader, didn’t win? Don’t feel bad: lots and lots of other people didn’t win, either, which is how these random choice things work. But! I have two more books to give away to the two people who sent in names that, when combined, created what I felt was the best character name . . . or, more specifically, a character name that would work in my next book (which hasn’t been announced yet but is scheduled for a Spring 2012 release).

If you haven’t received an email from me, then, um — well, you didn’t win this, either. But maybe you’ll see one of your submissions on this list of runners up. And that’s almost as good as winning, right? Right?

The Best Character Names (Honorable Mention)


Zada Grace

Summer Sonora

Pemberley Reede

Penelope Todd

Jane Grayson

Audrey Rayne

Pearl Adair

Nadine Vondell


Odysseus Grant

Brutus Cash

Seth Sergio

Royce Camden

Sawyer Stone

Marley Owen

Trenton Truitt

Vincent Stephanos

And the winner is . . . Allegra Trip.

Thanks to Lisa of Knoxville, TN, for the Allegra and Krystyna of Saint Cloud, MN (which has got to be the best town name), for the Trip. In her submission, Lisa made it clear that “Allegra” was inspired by Lord Byron’s daughter, not the allergy medication. Thanks, Lisa. I’ll keep that in mind.

The Best Baby Names

So maybe that headline is misleading (though the search engines will love it). Name choices are too subjective to label, “best,” but my mother, husband, son and daughter have chosen their favorites from almost two hundred submissions. The decisions were sometimes fraught, which is why I have included honorable mentions. You know what you get for a honorable mention? Your name and town in my blog! Congratulations!

And the winners of the baby name contest are . . .

Favorite Girls’ Name: My Mother’s Choice

I don’t mean to complain, but . . . I will. My mother — whom I love more than life itself — gave her fourth child — that would be me — a full name that made childhood Christmases hell and is hard to say. Try saying “Carol Snow” out loud. The L to the S does not work. Somehow, it comes out sounding like “Carol Snell.” Or “Carol’s No.”

As time went on, she gave some thought to what she should have named her daughters. “Johanna” led the pack for years, but once she started having granddaughters, she picked a new favorite (which none of us used). So when Marguarite from Marion, OH, sent in Annabel — it was pretty much over. Congratulations, Marguarite! (Ironically, Marion is my middle name. And I don’t like that, either.)

Favorite Girls’ Name: My Daughter’s Choice

An “A” name took the prize again for the second favorite girls’ name selection. My daughter Lucy (whom I instructed not to choose “Lucy” — sorry, Susan from Avon, NJ) spent a lot of time narrowing down the list to eight . . . and then three . . . and then one: Aubrey. Good going, Sandra from Newton Falls, OH! The near-miss names were Anika (thanks, Jodi of Lincoln, NE) and Claire, which was my husband’s and my second-choice name for Lucy. “Claire” came in twice, courtesy of Kari of Independence, IA, and Sheila of Annapolis, MD. It is also the name of the protagonist in my first young adult book, Switch.

Favorite Boys’ Name: My Husband’s Choice

When I was pregnant with our son, my husband, Andrew, suggested we call him Freddy. Or Hamish. He was kidding. Sort of. Astonishingly, no one submitted either of those. I could have told contest entrant Jessica that William, nicknamed Will, did not stand a chance as Andrew’s favorite because I spent seven hormonal months trying to talk into it, and he wouldn’t budge. One of our shortlisted names, Jameson, is an old family name that came in courtesy of reader Mary (as did three Jameses and one Jamie). Jameson was one of Andrew’s top three choices in the contest, as was Aiden (which, along with Aubrey, came from Sandra of Newton, OH). But the final selection? Daniel. I agree: it is a nice name. And way better than Hamish. Congratulations to Allison of McDonough, GA!

Favorite Boys’ Name: My Son’s Choice

If not Freddy, Hamish, William or Daniel, what did we name our son, you may wonder? (Or — you may not. But it’s my blog so I’m going to tell you.) Our son is named Philip. He is twelve years old. And he does not like the name Philip. Apparently, none of you do, either, because no on sent it in. A few years ago, Philip announced, “I wish you had named me Jake.” I did what any good mother would do — I stole his words and put them in a book. No one submitted Jake (though Jacob came in from Cindy of Eldred, PA), but it wouldn’t have won, anyway. I asked Philip to pick his FAVORITE NAME from the list, not the name he’d choose for himself (which was Jason, submitted by Mary of Arlington, TX; Mayling of Naperville, IL; and Georgina of Hilton Head Island, SC). I don’t know whether Patricia of Winter Springs, FL, was thinking “twelve-year-old boy” when she sent in her names. I don’t know whether or not she is familiar with Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. What I do know is that when Zeus came in, the rest of you didn’t stand a chance. Well, except for Megan of Parkside, Australia, who submitted her husband’s name, Odysseus.

Congratulations to the winners. I hope you enjoy your signed books!

Check back to see what I choose as my favorite name(s) and also to see who gets the $50 Barnes & Noble gift card.