Congratulations to Alison (agboss) who won Susanne Dietze's The Reluctant Guardian!

Congratulations to Elise Jehan who won a copy of The Secret Admirer Romance Collection!

Friday, June 28, 2013

I Need a Hero

by Niki Turner

I'd like to lay the blame for my current Avengers obsession on my grandson, but he IS only two. It's not his fault I've watched the Avengers movie three times in a month, and it's not his fault I went and saw Iron Man 3 in the theater twice. Once all by myself.

No, it's me. I'm craving heroes, and the Avengers seem to cover all the bases for four of the basic hero archetypes in literature. At least the ones I found in this amazing syllabus: The Four Types of Heroes/The Hero Archetype.

The Classical Hero (Of royal birth, or half mortal and half god; performs extraordinary feats; noble character; fights for honor and the greater good.)
Chris Hemsworth as Thor 
In the Avengers, this role is played by Thor. Thor's a demi-god, of course, and that kind of puts him on a different level than the others. I mean, who can compete with a demi-god with a really big hammer and great hair? Seriously, Thor is the unattainable hero, the guy you love but know you can never have, and that's always a bummer, especially in a romance novel. For me, that's a warning as a writer... don't make my heroes TOO perfect. I'd throw Superman in this category as well, but Gina may disagree with me. 

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America 
The Medieval Hero (Of common birth, good moral character, obedient to authority, follows the rules, wages war on behalf of others, not himself.)

So this would be Captain America, the ultimate "good guy." I mean, he's so good that if he weren't ridiculously cute, he'd be boring. In fact, there's a big chunk of our American superhero culture clad in this particular cape and mask. They're the ones you forgot about while you were drooling over Batman or wishing you were Lois Lane. These guys are just too nice to be hero fare, in my opinion. The love interest for these nice guys is usually a very bad girl (i.e. The Black Widow, for the nice Cap'n). Gotta have some balance, you know. 

The Romantic Hero (Birth and class are unimportant, battle is internal/psychological, he makes his own rules, his passions are outside of individual control and he is often moody, isolated, and introspective, his loyalty is to a project or community of like-minded others.)

I think the Hulk/Dr. Bruce Banner belongs here. As would Wolverine and probably Spiderman. This is the the tortured, tormented hero seeking to come to terms with himself. He's a little hard to get to know, a little hard to read, and impossible to keep in shirts. He could actually be a threat, but the right heroine will see through the danger and offer him unconditional love.
Mark Ruffalo as Dr. Bruce Banner/Hulk
The Modern Hero/Antihero (Seeks merely to survive in a dark world and find meaning; code of behavior, not a code of ethics; might be as "bad" as the villain; his internal struggle is often with addiction to something, external struggle is with corruption.)
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man in Iron Man 3
Honestly, I didn't save this one for last on purpose, but this IS my hero of choice. This is the quintessential bad boy with a sordid past and a heart of... well, whatever Tony Stark's neon blue disk is made of. We see this hero show up in fiction as the thief or the gambler or the pirate or the rogue. He's bad, and he knows it, but it's really just a cover for all that depth of emotion. Batman probably fits in this category quite nicely, as well. This hero needs a woman who is extremely independent. He's got too many issues to deal with a needy chick. 

Who is your favorite superhero and why?
Does he match up with your favorite type of literary hero?

Niki Turner is a writer, former pastor's wife, mother of four, and grandmother of two. She has thus far been unsuccessful at coming up with catchy taglines for her writing, her purpose in life, or what she hopes to achieve in the future. Suggestions are welcome.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Inside, Outside, Upside Down Christianity

by Dina Sleiman

In college I remember writing a poem that began with those words from the famous children's book. “Inside, outside, the whole world is upside down.” At the time I was attending a Christian university in the middle of the Bible belt South, and more often than not, what I saw was Christianity focused on outward issues.

In a way it made sense, I guess. The Christian university would have had a hard time dictating that we all put others first, have loving, intimate relationships with Christ, hear his voice and walk according to the moment by moment leading of the Holy Spirit.

It was much easier to say you had to wear skirts everyday that came to the tops of your knees (that would be for the girls of course, and I must confess, I’m cool with guys not being allowed to wear skirts.) For the guys it was daily ties, short hair, and no earrings or beards. There were rules about swearing and alcohol and mandatory church attendance. We had a student honor code and dress code and dorm rules (if you were under 22 and unmarried you had to live in the dorms). The rules went on and on and they were all focused on who we were on the outside and the sort of impression we gave the community and the all important donors.

Now there’s not anything wrong with any of those rules in and of themselves, although few had anything to do with actual Biblical principles. I’m sure they were all designed to make us disciplined individuals and productive people, but rules were not going to lead us one iota closer to Christ. In fact, in a lot of cases, the severity of the rules caused people to rebel.

You may have a hard time believing this from your friendly neighborhood free-spirited, heavy-metal-loving Inky, but I was raised to have great respect for rules and authority, and I do. There were basically three responses to these excessive rules in college: students who didn’t mind them and followed them, students who ignored them and didn’t care, and students who were in constant angst, feeling that the rules were ridiculous and unfair, but who wanted to honor God by following the rules. In other words students who wanted to live from the inside out. In other words, me.

Okay, I feel like I’m caught in the college years, kind of like when I have nightmares about wandering through campus without my schedule or being forced to live in the dorms with three kids. Let’s fast forward to today. Today, I’m raising my own teenagers. And I’m not raising them in dormitories or with upside-down Christianity that focuses on outward standards. I’m raising them to live as I long to live, from the inside out.

Outside-in Christianity is a result of focusing on law. In the Old Testament God gave us law because Christ had not yet died on the cross for us. The Ten Commandments are great and all, but did you ever stop to consider that there weren’t just ten, there were hundreds? If you want to live by the law, shouldn’t you follow them all? The law brings death. Jesus brings life. We are now living under a new covenant. A covenant with principles, not law. A covenant where God calls us to a higher standard and demands our very hearts.

Note: I wanted to insert a scripture here, but I pretty much needed to quote at least one gospel and most of Paul’s epistles. So, you know what, just re-read the whole New Testament. It certainly won’t hurt you.

Did you ever stop to consider that for several thousand years of mankind’s history there was no law? God judged by the heart for at least 2,500 years (let’s not get into a debate over the creation date here, cause I really don’t care). Only for the last 1500 or so years before Jesus did we have the law. The law was revealed so that man would understand how far we lived from God’s standard of holiness, and that we could never, ever, meet God’s expectations on our own. We needed a savior.

And he sent one, who died on the cross to redeem us from our sin and reconcile us to himself. He now wants us to live by basic principles. The law of love. The fruit of the spirit. We need to know his word, yes. Absolutely. Not because we need to reach our daily quota of Bible reading, but because God renews our mind through his word. Because God reveals his character in his word, and we need to know him as a best friend. We need to pray, yes. Because how can you be intimate with someone you don't communicate with? We need to be in church, yes. Because we need the fellowship of other believers to help us grow in our walk with the lord. Because we are one body in Christ, and we need to function together to reach out to a hurt and dying world. We need to live a holy life, yes. Because it pleases God and keeps Satan from getting entrance into our lives.

But living a holy life goes much further than keeping the Ten Commandments. (Read those epistles one more time please. Seriously, it will be good for you.) It involves dying to self, putting others first, extending love to the world around us. No more gossip or gluttony or lust. No more worry or condemnation, bitterness, despair, or low self-esteem. We are God’s children. His heirs. A royal priesthood. His ambassadors to the world.

But we’ll never get there on our own.

We’re going to fall short. God is well aware of that. That was his whole point in sending a savior. It’s almost as if the outside-in people act like Christ saved them once, and it’s been their job to save themselves everyday since.

This simply is not what the Bible says. Anywhere. God wants our hearts. A much higher standard than the law. He is not out to zap us. He has paid the price to secure our eternal destiny. He wants relationship with us that flows from the inside out.

Just think about it, Christianity that flows from the outside in (if such a thing can even truly exist) would get stuck there. On the inside. No wonder these upside-down outside-in Christians have such little impact on the world. Christianity from the inside out flows, well, outward. Like a river of living water to quench the needs of a hurt and dying generation. Christianity from the inside out releases God’s kingdom from deep within our hearts to everyone we encounter.

So no more upside down Christianity. Let’s all live from the inside out!

Have you been living from the outside in or from the inside out? Was there ever a time in your life when you lived from the outside in? What results have you seen from outside-in Christianity?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Returned by Jason Mott

by Anita Mae Draper

This past May 14th I saw this tweet go by from Love Inspired Assistant Editor Rachel Burkot:

Rachel Burkot @Rachel_Burkot
Trailer for RESURRECTION, the ABC show based on The Returned by Jason Mott, out in September from Harlequin MIRA!

What struck me was that another Harlequin author was hitting the big time and this time it was a male.  But since I consider the MIRA imprint to be mainstream Women's Fiction, I was curious so I clicked on the link which brought me to The Resurrection's Facebook page with the Official Trailer...

Well, that certainly caught my eye! Intrigued, I began to investigate.

The Resurrection is the ABC pilot show based on the MIRA novel, The Returned, the debut book of poet Jason Mott

Book Blurb: 
Harold and Lucille Hargrave's lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they've settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time…. Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep—flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old.

All over the world people's loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, whether it's a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he's their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human. 

Mr. Mott attributes the inspiration for this story to a vivid dream he had of talking with his deceased grandmother. From reading the comments on YouTube, some feel this story is similar to the film, Flight of the Navigator. And yet I seem to vaguely remember a recent TV series closely resembling this but the details elude me. Regardless of how familiar the story line sounds, I've seen enough to know this book and show are unique.

The Resurrection Facebook Page says, "What if someone you lost returned as if not a single day has gone by? Resurrection will make you question everything you believe."

Will it? I am uneasy with one aspect of this story. The excerpt mentions scripture about the earth giving up its dead, so I went looking and found this verse:

But your dead will live, Lord;
    their bodies will rise—
let those who dwell in the dust
    wake up and shout for joy—
your dew is like the dew of the morning;
    the earth will give birth to her dead.
Isaiah 26:19 New International Version (NIV)

As well, if you search the web and the YouTube site for The Resurrection, you'll find this title has been used several times - mostly with the horror tag attached to it. I don't watch horror. 

I congratulate Jason Mott on his debut novel as well as for making the giant leap to TV. I'll be watching the ABC pilot with interest.

What have you heard of this project? 

Has it piqued your interest? 

Have you watched the trailer?

Have you read the excerpt?

Please share your thoughts.

Remember, you have until 11:59 tonight to leave a comment including your email address on Monday's post to be entered to win a copy of Debra Clopton's Her Rodeo Man.


Anita Mae Draper is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan, Canada with her hubby of 30 plus years and 2 of their 4 kids. She writes stories set on the prairies of Saskatchewan, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Anita Mae has semi-finaled in the Historical Romance category of the ACFW's 2011 Genesis contest and finaled in the Inspirational category of the 2011 Daphne du Maurier, the 2011 Fool for Love, the 2011 Duel on the Delta and 2009 Linda Howard Award of Excellence contests. Anita Mae's short story, "Riding on a Christmas Wish" will appear in A Christmas Cup of Cheer, Guideposts Books, October 2013. Anita Mae is represented by Mary Keeley of Books and Such Literary Agency. You can find Anita at

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Heiress on Auction

By Lisa Karon Richardson

In 1860 Prince Albert Edward, known as Bertie, made the first trip to America by an English royal since the revolutionary war. His visit sparked a sudden infatuation with all things English. By the same token, the notorious flirt became enamored of American girls.

At the time, the social epicenter of the US was New York, but the hidebound Knickerbockers, under the ruthless direction of “The” Mrs. Astor was set on keeping out parvenus. What was the newly-minted-millionaire’s daughter to do? Go to Europe of course, and find the kind of mate that would make the pedigree of the Old New Yorkers look as impressive as a laundry list.

With Bertie’s appreciative social sponsorship, dozens and dozens American heiresses crossed the pond. The first wave were received with initial trepidation. The English weren’t entirely sure that they wouldn’t show up decked out in Indian war paint.

And of course, English gentlemen made out on the transaction as well. At the time land prices had dropped, agriculture was in a slump and keeping up with the Jones’s was a major drain on the family finances. Throw in the upkeep on a monstrous pile of an old manor and the landed gentry was left short on cash. An English girl of the same class likely had a family in the same position, so her dowry wasn’t going to be enough to save the family seat from rack and ruin.

Jennie Jerome Churchill
Enter the American heiress whose papa can afford all new ensembles from Maison Worth each season and who doesn’t blink when his little princess wants new baubles from Tiffany and Co. In today’s dollars, literally billions of dollars crossed the ocean with the new brides.

Some of the marriages were more successful than others. Mary Leiter, fell in love with Lord Curzon on first sight. She waited patiently for him. More patiently than most would have been, but they eventually married in 1895. Ultimately she became Vicereine of India–the highest social and political position in the British Empire behind the Queen. A less successful match was that of Consuelo Vanderbilt, who was forced by her social-climbing mama to marry the Duke of Marlborough. There was a notoriously unhappy marriage that ended in divorce a few years later. Most of the heiress brides found things they didn’t like about their new country and things they did like. An English wife had more freedom than an American wife. Jennie Jerome Churchill was the driving force behind husband, Randolph’s, political rise and often credited with his success. Of course, one had to survive the freezing old manors that hadn’t yet been updated with the luxuries of hot water taps and central heating in order to attain that partnership, but it was possible at least!
Consuelo Vanderbilt

Today the marriages have a faint whiff of the mercenary about them, but at the time they weren’t really so far out of the ordinary. Marrying for love was still a pretty novel concept, especially for the wealthy. And it must be said that there was a lot of attraction there for many of those who participated in this particular transatlantic trade. The Englishmen were often captivated by pretty and vivacious young American girls who managed to convey a combination of naivete and daring boldness. While the Americans were impressed by English manners and culture.

I have seen numbers that range from 1/4 to 1/3 of the modern English aristocracy have an American heiress in their family tree. Winston Churchill’s mother was the same Jennie Jerome Churchill mentioned above. Princess Di had an American in her lineage too.

Do you find any romance in the idea of these unions or do you think they were more like transactions than marriages? 

Influenced by books like The Secret Garden and The Little Princess, LISA KARON RICHARDSON’S early stories were heavy on boarding schools and creepy houses. Now, even though she’s (mostly) grown-up she still loves a healthy dash of adventure in any story she creates, even her real-life story. She’s been a missionary to the Seychelles and Gabon and now that she and her husband are back in America, they are tackling a brand new adventure, starting a daughter-work church in a new city. Her published works include “Impressed by Love,” in the Colonial Courtships anthology. The Magistrate’s Folly was published by Heartsong Presents in February of 2013. Diamond in the Rough, (May, 2013) was co-authored with Jennifer AlLee, and is the first in the Charm and Deceit, series from Whitaker House. Finally she has another novella coming out September, 2013 from Barbour entitled “Midnight Clear,” part of the Mistletoe Memories collection.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Debra Clopton: An Ever After Summer

by Debra Clopton

I’m so glad to be here on Inkwell Inspirations today! Thank you ladies for having me here to talk a little about my June 18 release from Thomas Nelson Publishers A BRIDE FOR ALL SEASONS with the wonderful Margaret Brownley, Mary Connealy and Robin Lee Hatcher. What a fun and wonderful experience it was to work with these authors and Thomas Nelson.  

Anita Mae invited me here to share an inspiration about my story in the book AN EVER AFTER SUMMER (my first historical). So, here goes...

One of my favorite quotes comes from the movie You’ve Got Mail with Meg Ryan. I loved the role of Kathleen Kelly (played by Meg Ryan) because she lived the quote. Kathleen was facing a life changing moment, the closing of the bookstore that had been her life and that of her mother's. Her longtime friend, Birdie, played by the fantastic Jean Stapleton, told her not to be afraid. “You are daring to imagine that you can have a different life…you are stepping out into the unknown.” (I’m not certain if that’s completely quoted correctly but its close) I LOVED that!

I’ve been in Kathleen’s shoes and stepped out with God at my side and dared to dream that I could become a writer. Life can be scary sometimes—much of the time actually—but I think that’s how we grow in our faith and in our personal lives by stretching ourselves. I’ve never been one who was afraid to fail, as the Bible says: If God is with us who can be against us! But still there is that worry: am I doing the right thing?

Ellie, my character, lived a life without love. Her story : A born killer, Melvina Eldora Smith killed 3 people by the age of one: her mother at birth, her father of a broken heart and poor uncle Mutt outside a bar with a runaway buggy! When this hook came to me I knew a cute story would follow. Melvina—Ellie for short—is sooo lacking in love that when she sees an ad from a widower looking for someone to love and raise his baby girl—whose mother died in childbirth like her own did, Ellie knows she’s stepping out and changing her life. Good, bad or ugly she’s hitting the road, stagecoach bound for Honey Springs Texas. Little does she know that she is not exactly what Mathew McConnell had in mind when he placed his ad!  

As you see Ellie is drawn to step out on faith and yes—to dare to imagine that she can have a different life…to step out into the unknown seeking that new life. And Ellie does it because if all else fails, there is an innocent baby girl on which she can lavish all the pent up love she has inside of her to give. Like Ellie, I believed in possibilities and years ago took that step and wrote my first book. Of course it took 13 years to finally sell my first story but God had put that desire in my heart and through rejection after rejection I pushed forward. One, for the joy writing brought me and two, I believed that God had a plan. And He did and it came in His timing…not mine. It taught me patience (Lots of patience!) and God’s wonderful, amazing faithfulness.

So, is there a character from a movie or a novel that inspires you or you would like to be? 

I’d love to hear about it. If you leave a comment with your email address I'll enter you in a drawing for a copy of Her Rodeo Cowboy, Book 1 of my Mule Hollow Homecoming series. The drawing will be held Wed, June 26th, at 11:59 pm.

Join me for a blog tour and Facebook week of fun with prizes July 12-23rd, then FB party on the evening of the 23rd.

Also, check out my contest page at and FB

Thanks so much for having me here on the blog for Inkwell Inspirations. I hope you’ll check out A BRIDE FOR ALL SEASONS. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Under the Dome

Jennifer AlLee

TV was a lot different when I was growing up. There were three network stations: ABC, CBS, and NBC. And there was a season that ran from September to June. That's when you saw new episodes of all your favorite shows. The summer was essentially filled with reruns and the occasional made-for-TV movie.My, how times have changed. FOX and CW have joined the network ranks, cable has given us more channel options than we know what to do with, and summer has transitioned into a time when short-season programs run brand new, fresh episodes.

One of the shows I'm looking forward to this summer is Under the Dome. Based on Stephen King's brick of a book, it's the story of a town that discovers it's been placed beneath a huge, see-through dome. I think the premise is fascinating. My son can't take it seriously. "It's the Simpson's Movie!" he insists. Which is partially true. But I still think it's cool.

Think about it... Where did the dome come from? Why is it there? How does a community respond when they are cut off from the rest of the world? Of course, the metaphor of the dome comes into play. The people inside can see people living normal lives on the other side of the dome, but they can't get to them. No matter how much they want to leave the dome, its restrictions, and its challenges, they are trapped inside.

Now, there may be some deep, philosophical thread running through the series. Or it may just be a nifty gimmick with a compelling plot. Either way, I'm watching the first episode, and hopefully all the episodes to follow.

How about you? What are you looking forward to this summer?

JENNIFER ALLEE believes the most important thing a woman can do is find her identity in God – a theme that carries throughout her novels. A professional writer for over twenty years, she's done extensive freelance work for Concordia Publishing House, including skits, Bible activity pages, and over 100 contributions to their popular My Devotions series. Her novels include The Love of His Brother (Five Star, 11/07), The Pastor’s Wife (Abingdon Press, 2/10), The Mother Road (Abingdon Press, 4/12) and A Wild Goose Chase Christmas (Abingdon Press, 11/12). She's thrilled to be working on her first historical series with the amazing Lisa Karon Richardson. Diamond in the Rough (Whitaker House) is the first book in the Charm and Deceit series, available now. And... as if that's not enough, her novella Comfort and Joy will appear in the Christmas anthology, Mistletoe Memories (Barbour, 9/13) She's a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Christian Authors Network, and the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.
Visit Jennifer's website at

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Welcome Guest Blogger Roseanna White. Roseanna is one of our favorite authors here at Inkwell, so make sure to note that she has a free novella available right now! Links are available at the bottom of the post. 

Allow me to draw your attention to Mark 4:37-41:

37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, 
so that it was already filling.  38 But He was in the stern, 
asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, 
“Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, 
“Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 
  40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you 
have no faith?”  41 And they feared exceedingly, and said 
to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind 
and the sea obey Him!”

Now, I've read those words approximately a hundred times, and I'm guessing everyone else has too. And I've always gotten out of it what the disciples did--wow, did you see that? The wind and waves obey Him! This Man rules the weather!!

Which is awesome. Truly, amazingly awesome.

I've also been struck before by His rebuke of the disciples--they'd just witnessed an amazing miracle, when He fed the 5,000. But they still didn't quite get it . . . and Jesus calls them on that, on their lack of faith.

But as I was reading this section this time, something new hit me. 

He didn't have to do any of that. Ever pause to consider that? It wasn't His time to die. He still had a whole lot to do. There was no possible way that the storm was going to hurt that little boat with its most precious cargo, and Jesus surely knew it. He had no fear, and it wasn't just because He knew He could calm the storm--it was because He knew it wasn't a threat.

And yet.

When his friends, his disciples wake him in a panic, what's his first reaction? He calms the storm. He doesn't first try to explain it to them. He doesn't roll his eyes and go back to sleep. He calms the storm. He does that for them--not to prove He can, but because He loved them. Because He didn't want them to fear.

And, maybe, because He knows they wouldn't have heard him until that fear was gone. 

I don't know why I'm constantly amazed when I realize how far out of His way our Lord goes for us, but it hit me anew here. Jesus could have done any number of things in this situation, and no matter what He had chosen, we know the outcome would have been a safe arrival on the other side. He could have done any number of things that resulted in the disciples seeing His glory.

But He chose the one that calmed his friends. That soothed their fears. And then, then he reminded them to have faith.

Thank you, Lord, for knowing me so well. For knowing that when the storm's upon me, I can't remember the sunshine was ever there. For knowing that clutching for you is, sometimes, all I can do. Thank you, Lord, for making it all I need to do.

Because You calm the storm. And then You remind me that it was in Your hand all along.


Roseanna M. White pens her novels under the Betsy Ross flag hanging above her desk, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When she isn’t writing fiction, she’s editing it for WhiteFire Publishing or reviewing it for the Christian Review of Books, both of which she co-founded with her husband. 

The first novel in her Culper Ring Series from Harvest House, Ring of Secrets, released in March, and the sequel, Whispers from the Shadows, is coming in August. In the meantime, you can download a novella of the intervening years for free! Fairchild's Lady is set on the eve of revolution in France, following a British spy as he attempts to rescue two French ladies from the impending tide of terror. You can download it at Amazon, CBD, B&N, iTunes, and GooglePlay

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Name is Not Inigo Montoya.

by Just Another Debbie from the Fifties...

Naming characters in fiction is just part of the enjoyment. For awhile, romance novels were a testing ground for all sorts of wild, romantic names. In 1975,  no self-respecting romance hero would be named George or Henry.  Generation after generation determines what is acceptable . . .  and then if acceptable is boring or interesting.

Case in point: Top Ten male and female names from 1956. Ahem. 
#1  Michael and Mary
#2  James and Debra
#3 Robert and Linda
#4 David and Deborah
#5 John and Susan
#6 William and Patricia
#7 Richard and Karen
#8 Mark and Cynthia
#9 Thomas and Barbara
#10  Steven and Donna

Good solid names. Who knew Debra would beat out Deborah?  hence the abundance of middle-aged Debbies everywhere I go... not so cute any more, eh? ( My mother said no to Florence by the way)

When I was reading romances in the 70s, the names were all dreamy, unusual. No romance heroine would be named Donna or Patty. More like Tiffany or Stephanie.

But how far does an author go in making up a name?

For a new story set in the first part of the 19th century, in both the US and Britain, an author will do well to stick with the records--easy to find online nowadays such as this list from the U.S. circa 1900.

#1 John and Mary
#2 William and Dorothy
#3 Robert and Helen
#4 James and Margaret
#5 Charles and Ruth
#6 George and Mildred
#7 Joseph and Virginia
#8 Edward and Elizabeth
#9 Frank and Frances
#10 Richard and Anna.

I can tell you that in my grandparents' generation of family names, there was pretty little variety or individualism. Unlike today where people think they are coming up with a new name only to find that 10,000 others thought Madelyn was unusual.

But things did change slowly.
Look at this list from a site claiming to have gathered the most common names of the Georgian Period (a long period during three English King Georges) - 1714-1837:

Mary, Maria, Marianne, Alice, Elizabeth, Eliza, Sarah, Frances, Fanny, Letitia, 
Caroline, Charlotte, Catherine, Rebecca, Hannah, Rachel, Ann, 
Emily, Ellen, Jane, Helen, Ruth, Lavinia, Susannah, Adelaide and Julia

William, John, Edward, Edmund, Peter, Joseph, Charles, Arthur, Anthony, 
Samuel, David, Ernest, Daniel, Benjamin, Alfred, Francis, Robert, Thomas, Philip, Alexander.

 LAVINIA!!! yes! and Letitia. Seriously, girls, don't you wish they hadn't fallen out of favor?  Of course somewhere out there is a Lavinia or Letitia ready to slam the silliness of a name like Debbie. Don't I know it. But it's a free country and you are entitled to my opinion.

The whole point of this post is that we all make associations with names. The old-fashioned names come back after 100 years or so.  So far the names from the fifties are slow to rise. After all, many of these 'old names' sound like someone's grandmother. Who would name their romance heroine after their grandmother or aunt?   (Bertha? I rest my case)

One more list! I love this one. Came from a church in Cornwall (a Celtic corner of England) and is a list of married couples from 1725-1815. Here we are throwing in some real history!

Stephen and Patience
Melchisedeck and Ann
Arthur and Avis
Thomas and Thamasine
William and Philipy
Fraunceis and Damaris
Parmenas and Elizabeth
Eusebius and Dorothy
Jabez and Jenifer
Emmanuel and Honor
Edward and Olympias
Serapion and Elizabeth
Lapidoth and Maria
Carolus and Penelope
Ludovicus and Maria
Uryeh and Philippa
Solomon and Honoria
Jacobus and Dinah
Hugh and Griswel
Sampson and Keturah
Stephen and Bathsheba

So, if you want to go by that list, you pretty much can do any darn thing you want with a name and no one can fault you for your choice.

All this to say...
I never in my lifetime thought that there could be a romance hero named George or Henry.  
But things change...

Ouch. My eyes hurt!
What names do you consider too.. too unromantic to be a hero or heroine's name in a novel?
Are George and Henry still just the names of nerdy boys in your class or your strange uncle? 

So...Strangest names you've come across in a novel lately? (okay fantasy doesn't count) 

And, Happy Birthday to my daughter Tiffany. She was NOT named after a character on Charlie's Angels who debuted a week after she was born in 1979. Really. I thought it was going to be unusual... oh well.