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What’s Your Name Telling? by Linda Joyce

Blog-LindaIs Your Name Telling Tales about You?

Many thanks to the writers at Petit Fours and Hot Tamales for hosting me. It’s very nice to have this opportunity to visit with all of you. I’m opening up the discussion with Is Your Name Telling Tales about You?

I’m often asked how about the selection process for names of my characters. I confess, mostly I don’t choose. My main characters, particularly my heroines, introduce themselves to me and tell me their names. However, I work out names for my secondary characters, as though names are a fashion show. A character walks a mental runway with a particular name and twirls at the end of the runway while I check for fit. Sometimes it works, other times there’s a name-wardrobe change.

So how important are names? What about in real life? Is a name a predictor of life and love success?

Maybe. Maybe not. However, people are devoting time and money researching this topic. Researchers are using names as a yardstick to define all sorts of things about us.

The Oxford Press has an online magazine, FOCUS Science and Technology and an article by JV Chamary gives insight about the name game. Here’s the link to the article.

Chamary purports that a name can affect standings at work, success with the opposite sex, and even where you choose to live. The Name Game: how names spell success in life and love reveals information about alphabet discrimination and names as intelligence barometers, quotes research about software used to determine life success based on whether or not a name “sounds” masculine or feminine.

Taking the name game a step further, in an article by Reid Wilson in the Washington Post, Reid shares a tool used for exploration by political parties to uncover what names reveal about voting habits.

I decided to put my character’s names to the test. My newest release by The Wild Rose Press, BAYOU BOUND, features Biloxi Dutrey and Nicholas Trahan.perf5.000x8.000.indd

Biloxi is not an everyday sort of name. The result from the Clarity Campaign Labs (the test is contained within Mr. Reid’s article) shows Biloxi isn’t even in their database. Nicholas, on the other hand, reveals there are 471,341 registered voters in the United States by that name. 49% are Republican and 50% are Democrat. It goes on to show that 45% have a gun in their house, 48% attend religious services weekly, and 55% have a college degree.

If you click on the link and input your name, you will learn your results.

I decided to take the a little different approach to the name game. What does Biloxi’s full name say about her in name numerology? I input Biloxi Noël Dutrey into the Scientific Psychic site:

Here are the results: Numerology – What your name means.

Your name: Biloxi Noël Dutrey is associated with the gematria number 7.
Your birth date:
12241978 corresponds to Life Path number 7.
Your sign of the Zodiac is
Capricorn. You were born in the year of the Horse.

Number Seven People
Your capacity for hard work is amazing. You are very independent. While intelligent and friendly, you have a strong streak of selfishness and sharp cunning and should guard against being egotistical. Your number suggests success as an adventurer, scientist, poet, or politician. A person with this number is said to be popular, cheerful and quick-witted. On the other-hand, someone with the number 7 can be stubborn and impulsive. Number Seven People are supposed to be kind to strangers. But not good working with relatives. Number Seven People are strong and friendly.

Here’s another site you might consider using for your name: Easy Calculation (dot) com

Does Biloxi’s character match up with the name numerology? Here’s the blurb from the book, tell me what you think:

Biloxi Dutrey grounds her jet-setting photography career and returns to Mississippi when she learns her family home, Fleur De Lis, is headed for financial ruin. She plans to save it by scooping up the job of Keeper. But that means breaking tradition, and her family isn’t cooperating.

Veterinarian Nick Trahan is new in town and wants folks to stop matchmaking. He won’t settle for just a pretty face. He wants the perfect woman, one who believes in family and commitment—the exact opposite of his parents.

Nick rescues Biloxi during a raging storm, but the squall is tame compared to the tempest between them. Soon they experience the backlash from the long-standing feud between their families. If Biloxi surrenders her dreams for Fleur de Lis and toes the line with tradition, will she also be forced to give up on “forever love” due to the hate their families still harbor?

Bayou Bound won 1st Place in Romance from Southeastern Writers Association. I hope you’ll enjoy meeting Biloxi and Nick.

It’s on sale now at Amazon:

I would love to hear from you. Here are places where you can connect with me:



Facebook Author Page

Twitter: @LJWriter


Fresh Fiction:


*********  And if you leave a comment with this post, you’ll be entered to win an eBook of BAYOU BOUND. *******

 Happy Reading!     Linda Joyce






Marilyn Baron - March 19, 2014 - 6:58 am

I love this post. I can’t wait to go on those sites and find out about my name and my character’s names. I love the name of your new female character. And I agree that the main characters choose you not the other way around. Best of luck with the new book.

Sandy Elzie - March 19, 2014 - 8:03 am

Hi Linda,
Great article…I learned something and will be checking it out further. I choose names immediately when I come up with a story idea…or rather, sometimes the name pops into my mind and I just KNOW it’s the right one for my character.

Love the cover.

Pam Asberry - March 19, 2014 - 9:09 am

Great post, Linda! I enjoyed looking up my name on all the sites you mentioned. Now I think I should check out my characters’ names and make sure they fit. Good luck with your new release! Keep ‘em coming!

Maxine Davis - March 19, 2014 - 10:11 am

Linda, I enjoyed the post. Can’t wait to go to the sites and start reading about the names. Character naming is a real pain to me. I sometimes see the character and know the name can’t be anything but what it is. Sometimes I call them Her and Him until I can think of a name. Also, I really enjoyed seeing you at the book signing at Hiram Books the other Saturday. I loved the reading from Bayou Bound and can’t wait to read it in its entirety.

Susan Carlisle - March 19, 2014 - 1:48 pm

I love your cover. A grabber. I get the names for my characters off school class rolls and granduation programs. I go through until one catches my fancy. Not very scienific, I’m afraid. I might be damaging my characters.

Linda Joyce - March 19, 2014 - 2:17 pm


I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. I had fun doing research for it. I find names fascinating.

Maybe we need to do a contest to name a character in one of our books?



Linda Joyce - March 19, 2014 - 2:19 pm


Isn’t it interesting that each writer has their own process? And how does one explain that a name just pops into a brain? But it does… lol… it does!



Linda Joyce - March 19, 2014 - 2:39 pm


How did your name fit? I’ve tried it with my maiden name, my married name, my pen name, and the name I always wanted to be called. Sometimes it’s scary just how accurate it is.


Linda Joyce - March 19, 2014 - 2:41 pm


It was so sweet of you to come to the book signing. All of us, Marilyn, Melissa, and I appreciate the support. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know Biloxi and Nick. :-)

I will confess that I took a story to my critique group and they pointed out that I had three characters with names all starting with “C” and insisted that I changed them. I had a chat with each character and for two of the three, other names popped up.



Linda Joyce - March 19, 2014 - 2:43 pm


I sometimes look at name lists, too. Your process works for you and I’m glad you shared it because it might be the perfect thing for someone who hasn’t quite defined their process yet. :-)



Sia Huff - March 19, 2014 - 2:55 pm

Interesting way to look at a characters name. Only one of my characters has ever had a middle name – thanks to Pam Mantovani. Sound like fun way to explore, Linda.
Congratulations to Bayou Bound’s win and release. Wishing you many sales.

Linda Joyce - March 19, 2014 - 3:18 pm


I have a quick story to tell about author Jodi Thomas. She had a book that was short on word count. She was happy with the book the way it was, so she gave her heroine a middle name and used it. Something like Mary became Mary Beth, which gave her the word count she needed. :-)


Lori Leger - March 19, 2014 - 3:24 pm

Linda, you put me to shame, girlfriend! This is fantastic information, and I expect nothing less from you. Alas, I’ll probably keep getting my grandchildren to share ‘cool’ names of kids at their school for me. :D
Happy Writing,

Linda Joyce - March 19, 2014 - 3:51 pm

Hey there! I also want to share that book one, Bayou Born, of the Fleur de Lis series (Bayou Bound is book two) is up for a 2014 RONE Award. Would love it if you’d vote. Here’s how:
Voting is this week—Monday, March 17th – Sunday, March 23rd. Please cast your eBallot at

If you’re not a registered subscriber of InD’tale, please send an email to vote to:
In the subject line: Voting for Bayou Born for RONE Award
In the body of the email: I’m casting a vote for Bayou Born by Linda Joyce in the Contemporary: General – 2013 category

Thank you so kindly,


Marilyn Baron - March 19, 2014 - 4:10 pm


That reminds me that almost all of my characters names start with M (imagine that) and people have called me on that but I wanted to keep them.

And yes a contest to name a character in one of our books would be great.

Maxine, thanks again for coming to our signing in Hiram.

Sia Huff - March 19, 2014 - 4:10 pm

That’s too funny and awesome at the same time. Thanks for sharing!

Sandy Elzie - March 19, 2014 - 4:30 pm

Hey Linda,
Just voted…..good luck!!!

Connie Gillam - March 19, 2014 - 4:45 pm


Very timely post. I had a blog post a couple of weeks ago about starting a new book, but not having a name for any of my characters or a title. I’ll try out the websites you listed once I come up with a couple of names.

Love your cover, btw.

Debbie Kaufman - March 19, 2014 - 4:54 pm

Oh, love the name links. I obsess over character names and their meanings. Since I write historical, I also go back to census data to find period-appropriate names and then look at meanings! Glad to have you with us today, Linda. Bayou Bound sounds great! Sigh, more for my TBR :)

Lisa Coots - March 19, 2014 - 5:05 pm

This is very interesting. I’ve always had trouble with names because I’m so afraid to use the name of someone I know. I’ll have to keep this in mind. Thanks!

Carol Burnside - March 19, 2014 - 6:35 pm

Intriguing blurb. I like it.

My name choosing process is remarkably like yours unless it pertains to a historical period, then I do a bit of research. I’ve been known to visit a graveyard or two and jot down names and time periods, as well. Yeah, I know. Strange.

Linda Joyce - March 19, 2014 - 10:09 pm


Names can come from all sorts of sources, eh. Last year when I was in PT for an injury, I always looked at the sign in sheet. One day, the receptionist asked me what I was doing.

Me: Looking for Hero-type names.

She looked at me funny, then snatched away the sign up sheet. “Why?”

Me: Because I’m a writer and names conjure up all sorts of things.

After that, whenever I went in, as soon as I signed my name, she pulled the clipboard off the counter so I couldn’t name-shop.



Linda Joyce - March 19, 2014 - 10:10 pm


Thank you so much for taking the time to vote. I really appreciate it. Even if I don’t win, I hope some new readers will find my book. :-)


Linda Joyce - March 19, 2014 - 10:12 pm


I’ll have to hunt through my research. Somewhere I have a link to a website that computes the potential “success rate” of a book title. It’s interesting, but not 100% accurate. You might find it fun.


Linda Joyce - March 19, 2014 - 10:15 pm


Looking at census for names…very interesting. Thank you for sharing that idea. I’m sure that it may tickle the fancy of another reader/writer about where to begin their search.

It makes me wonder if Biblical names ever really fall out of fashion. Mary, for example.


Linda Joyce - March 19, 2014 - 10:18 pm


I love that you shared your place for finding names, too. I married my husband in a small, very rural church. The cemetery had headstones dating back to about 1800, which is really old in North Florida. When I travel through the south, I sometimes stop to look at headstones, however, I have to say, my favorite place to haunt is the cemetery in New Orleans where most of my family is buried.


Linda Joyce - March 19, 2014 - 10:23 pm


I know what you mean about using the name of someone you know, especially if you know them well. Most people seem to fit their names. :-)

Back when I worked in corporate America, I worked with attorneys. Two were talking one day about naming children and about how we never see a Supreme Court Justice named Tiffany or Diamond. At the same time, rarely do you see a rodeo jock named Xavier or Wendell. That made me really see just how important names are.


Linda Joyce - March 19, 2014 - 10:26 pm


I thought I mention something more about my cover. The story starts out just after Twelfth Night, which is always in January. The cover is a true representation of a bayou in winter. I am very grateful my publisher took the time to find the perfect look to go with my story. They really worked to make me happy.


marymarvella - March 19, 2014 - 11:36 pm

I had no idea! My folks usually introduce themselves with their names. Secondary characters might remain nameless for a few pages.

Sandra Elzie - March 21, 2014 - 10:50 am

Our winner is Lisa Coots !!! Congratulations !!

Lisa, send me your e-mail and Linda will get your prize right out to you. Thank you for dropping by and commenting.

Linda Joyce - March 21, 2014 - 5:29 pm

To the wonderful writers at Petit Fours and Hot Tamales,

Thank you! This was so much fun. I really enjoyed my time with you. And big congrats to Lisa Coots. I’ll be sending your prize just as soon as I receive the information.


Linda Joyce

Julee J. Adams - March 22, 2014 - 3:45 pm

How fun! I agree that the main characters introduce themselves. Having an unusual name is both a blessing and a curse. People tend to remember you, but they tend to murder your name (pronunciation or spelling), then the topic of conversation becomes the name rather than what you want to talk about. Congrats and good luck on the books! Stop by my Pinterest page–it’s obvious you’ve been a lot more productive writing than I have.

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