May I Misquote You?

This was originally written June 2, 2010, for my Fun in Writing group. The topic for the week was a special adage. Since I couldn’t really get my head around that, I wrote this instead. ~ Dellani

I couldn’t think of anything to fit this subject, so I changed it up a little to quotes that are frequently misquoted. Shakespeare suffers a lot from this, but so do movies, plays, books and even songs.

One that springs to mind, since I just saw it on DVD, is from Hamlet. When he’s in the graveyard and picks up the skull, he’s often misquoted as saying, “Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him well.” Not so! He says, “Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio.”

A second one, also from Hamlet, when the queen is asked her opinion of the play: “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.” Instead, it’s: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

Another one, this time from MacBeth: “Bubble, bubble toil and trouble.” When if fact, it’s “Double, double toil and trouble.”

Leaving Shakespeare for the moment, let’s reflect on a couple of Bogart movies. The main one misquoted is from Casablanca. It is, of course, in reference to their famous song. So often, this line is not only misquoted, it’s attributed to the wrong character. How often have we seen Bogart impersonators take on the famous overbite and say, “Play it again, Sam.”

He doesn’t even say the line! Ingrid Bergman spoke to Sam and said, “Play it, Sam.”

From another Bogart movie, the famous whistle quote. I’ve always heard, “You know how to whistle, just pucker up and blow.” Lauren Bacall didn’t say that at all. “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.” (Though I like pucker up and blow better.)

Moving on to another movie icon, Mae West. We’ve all heard “Come up and see me sometime.” She actually said, “Why don’t you come up some time and see me?”

One of my favorite misquotes of all time was said by Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. Everyone always says, “Do you feel lucky, punk?” Poor Harry didn’t say that at all. He said, Ah-ah. I know what you’re thinking: ‘Did he fire six shots, or only five?’ Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But, being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, PUNK?”

So, in conclusion, I leave you with a great quote, (which is correct) and sums up my point perfectly: “What we’ve got here… is a failure to communicate!”


Announcing One Night in Daytona Beach by Dellani Oakes

Originally posted on Dellani Oakes:

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It’s finally here! The long anticipated (at least for me) One Night in Daytona Beach, #17 in the City Nights Series from Tirgearr Publishing, is Available Now! Grab your copy while it’s still only .99 cents!

When I first heard of the City Night Series, I was intrigued. The parameters of 24 hour time frame and erotic romance, were somewhat daunting as I usually extend my stories over longer periods of time. However, I saw it as a challenge. However, I couldn’t think of a city, that I had knowledge of, which could be in any way interesting. I’ve lived a lot of places, and visited more, but somehow I didn’t think that One Night in Lubbock, Texas sounded quite as enticing as I might like. And then Troy Lambert wrote about Boise, Idaho and I knew that I could do it. Thank you, Troy!

My own city, in…

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One Night in Daytona Beach by Dellani Oakes

One_Night_in_Daytona_Beach_by_Dellani_Oakes - 200One Night in Daytona Beach, Dellani Oakes’ newest novel. Part of the Tirgearr Publishing City Nights Series, One Night in Daytona Beach is hot and steamy as a Florida night.

He hadn’t seen her in 10 years, but there she was, dressed in black leather, straddling the Harley. Draven Wick is back home, on a break from filming his vampire themed TV show, when he spots Jamie Humphrey at a Bike Week raffle. The love of his teen life, Draven never thought he’d see her again. Rekindling their romance after 10 years is the easy part. Unfortunately, Draven has been blamed for the death of a notorious bike gang leader. Staying ahead of the police, and the biker gang bent on revenge, takes Jamie and Draven to the brink of disaster.

Below is an excerpt from Chapter 2

The rain cut loose as he pulled into Moose’s driveway. Turning up the collar of his leather biker jacket, he lit his flashlight again and made his way to the back door. This time, the heavy set biker gang leader sat in his favorite easy chair, his glass in one hand, a Marlboro in the other. The door slammed shut behind him, and Draven knew he was in for it.

“Man disrepects me, I thow that man a beaten,” Moose said, nodding to whoever was behind Draven.

He sensed two men. Not letting either of them get a hand on him, Draven pulled a telescoping baton from his boot. With it in one fist, he slammed back as it expanded. His other fist connected with flabby gut and a handful of nuts. Both men grunted. Jumping forward, Draven spun around, his back unavoidably to Moose. The fat leader sat still, enjoying the show. He’d been known to taze people, so Draven risked a glance at him before he faced off with the other two men. Both were big, with bulky muscles and a hefty layer of fat. Big might mean brutal, but it also meant slow. Draven was half their bulk and twice as fast.

The one to his right was Eisley, Moose’s second in command. Snarling, he flipped a knife open. The one of the left put on a pair of brass knuckles. Smiling wickedly, they lunged at Draven. Hopping out of their reach, Draven swatted at them with his baton. They backed him up until his left heel hit the couch. Advancing, they both took a swing at him.

Jumping nearly a meter in the air, Draven did a back flip, landing on the couch. The baton popped forward, slamming the knife from Eisley’s hand before connecting with the knuckles of the other man. He followed up with hits to the balls. Both were on the floor howling when he heard the chair leather creak. Moose made a grab at him, but Draven was too quick. He swung his baton, only to have Moose grab it from him. A sharp crack on his right arm and it went numb from elbow to fingers. Glad he was left handed, Draven punched Moose in the jaw as the fat man raised his arm to strike again. Getting in under his guard, Draven landed a punch to the flabby gut.

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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Dellani’s Alphabet Challenge Letter Z – Zenobia from Driving Blind

ABC ChallengeI thought of this story when I was driving down State Road 44 into New Smyrna. The traffic is horrible at certain times of day, particularly in the summer. I can’t remember now why I was there, rather than taking I-95. There had to have been a good reason for it, because it’s usually a drive I avoid. In any case, this story, Driving Blind, was born as I languished in traffic.

It had been an indescribably horrible day. Zenobia drove with the top down, listening to Battle Without Honor or Humanity at full volume. Her red VW Beetle zipped along Interstate 95, her sun-streaked blonde hair billowing behind her like a standard.

She pulled off at the New Smyrna, eastbound exit, slowing way down for the sharp curve. Checking traffic, she eased her VW into the flow heading toward town. At the stoplight on the east side of I-95, she slowed as the light changed to yellow. She could have driven through, but there was a motorcycle cop three cars behind her on the left. She turned down her music and waited for the light to change. The left turners eased across State Road 44 and the police officer on the motorcycle pulled up next to her.

Zenobia risked a glance at him. She couldn’t see much because of the helmet and glasses, but she saw a strong chin, broad shoulders and tanned arms covered in silky black hair. She smiled and looked away when he turned toward her. The light changed and she carefully put the car in gear, moving forward slowly in the heavy traffic.

As luck would have it, the next light was also red. Slightly frustrated, Zenobia checked the traffic to see how badly it was backed up. Another look out the front window showed the cars were thick ahead as well as to the rear. The police officer was a car behind her, but eased up once more, crowding the SUV ahead of him. The driver peeped over her shoulder guiltily, but the officer did nothing.

Zenobia felt eyes on her and looked around to see the officer staring at her. She smiled again, nervously, and flipped her hair to cover her face. A furtive glance in her rearview mirror showed the officer staring at her, smirking. He had full lips and a hint of a five o’clock shadow. Of course, with hair that dark, he probably had a shadow right after he shaved. What little she could see of his hair was so black, it had a bluish cast to it.

The light changed and the car behind Zenobia honked. Flustered, she forgot to put her car in gear. Scrabbling around, she put it in first, took her foot off the clutch but not the brake and the car stalled. More honking followed. Mortified, she got the car started, put it in gear and jack-rabbited through the intersection as the light changed to red.

Flashing blue lights and a whoop of a siren warned her to pull over. There was an abandoned driveway from a long defunct business. Zenobia rolled over there, turning off her car. She pulled out her license and registration, ready for the officer. He was busy on the radio, calling in her humiliation and probably checking to see if she had any priors or outstanding warrants. Thankfully, her driving slate was clean. She lived a steady, boring life. At 29, she lived with her parents, putting her advanced computer degree to less than great use working on the Geek Squad at Best Buy. Far from ideal, her circumstances couldn’t be helped. She’d had a lot of difficulty finding a good paying job in her field that was also close to home.

Feeling an overwhelming desire to cry, Zenobia put her head on the steering wheel. “This is the worst day ever!” she sobbed into her lap. She forced the tears down, but couldn’t keep her shoulders from shuddering.

The clearing of a deep, male voice got her attention. She looked up in the the darkest brown eyes she’d ever seen. Black eyebrows arched over thickly lashed eyes. His nose was almost too big for his face, but he made up for it by having a square jaw and a cleft in his chin. He smiled down at her.

Zenobia handed her license and registration to him. He gave them a cursory look, jotted something down on a pad with his left hand and gave them back to her.

I’m sorry about the mess back there,” she apologized quietly. “I’m still getting used to standard.”

No big thing,” he replied. His voice was deep, husky and flavored with a true Southern accent.

Are you gonna write me a ticket?” Her voice cracked making her feel even more foolish.

You okay?” He frowned, taking a step closer.

Unable to control herself another second, she burst into tears. “I’m sorry. I’m not trying to get out of the ticket by crying,” she sobbed. “I just don’t know what I did wrong and I can’t afford a ticket and I’ve had the worst day ever!”

Rather than being sympathetic, he laughed. Zenobia glared at him. He laughed harder.

I’m sorry,” he gasped. “I’m not laughing at you—well, I am—but not because you’re crying. I pulled you over to make sure you aren’t having car trouble. You had such a problem at the light, I thought maybe your engine stalled. I wanted to get you out of traffic.”

You—you aren’t giving me a ticket?”

No. No.” He chuckled again. “I’m really sorry, Miss Vlachos. I didn’t mean to scare you.”

Zenobia squinted up at him, surprise replacing worry. “You pronounced it right. No one ever gets it right.”

© Dellani Oakes 2015

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Dellani’s Alphabet Challenge Letter Y – Y Do I Bother?

ABC ChallengeThere’s an invisible spot beside my sink where dirty dishes go to hide. Really clever dishes can hang out there 3 or 4 days without being detected. It’s a great hiding place for greasy pots and tomato sauce encrusted spoons, dirty plates and disgusting forks.

The most interesting thing about this invisible spot is that I’m the only one in the house who can see into it. The dirty dishes cannot hide from me. The men in my family—well, that’s an entirely different ballgame. It’s completely hidden from them. Anything to the left of the sink—at the edge of the metal lip, can’t be seen by male eyes. Something about that Y chromosome, I’m sure.

I’ve found that the Y chromosome also seems to make them incapable of changing out toilet paper rolls, voluntarily emptying trash cans or putting new bags in when they’re done. It makes them deaf to the sound of my voice too.

That Y chromosome’s a pesky bugger who really likes to get under my skin. It makes my youngest son stare at me wide eyed, wondering why I’m yelling at him for riding his bike all over town without permission.

It makes my husband say things like, “You got your hair cut? It’s going to take some getting used to.”

My middle son simply doesn’t hear me. I can say the same thing to him sixteen times and not get a response. “Why didn’t you tell me dinner was ready?” “I told you already.” “I didn’t hear you…..”

All of them, without fail, put things away in the wrong places in my kitchen. It’s got to be a Y chromosome problem. No woman in her right (or wrong) mind would put things where they do. I’m missing several things right now. Got no clue what they did with them. Mr. Y also makes them forgetful.

“Who put the potato peeler with the measuring spoons?”

“Wasn’t me,” my husband declares before I even finish speaking.

“I didn’t do it. I know where those go,” the youngest says.

“I didn’t put those up,” the middle one tells me. “Must have been Dad.”

Sometimes, based on where things are put, I can tell who did it. Each of them has a favorite wrong place for things. The measuring spoons are mixed with the peelers (husband). The ice cream scoop is put in the knife drawer (middle son). The metal bowls aren’t properly stacked (youngest).

It’s getting so bad that it takes me twice as long to fix a meal because I’m having to search for food items or kitchen tools as I go. I neaten the bowls only to have the plastic containers fall out of the cabinet at my feet. My spoons & forks are mixed up, spatulas & rubber scrapers are stuck in the wrong drawers.

Since my eldest son and his girlfriend have been living here the last year or so, the Y factor is even stronger—so much so, it even affects us two women from time to time.

The sink isn’t the only area where things can hide. Other places also harbor the occasional invisibility vortex. One day, my plastic wrap went missing and was gone for quite awhile. I finally asked the household at large where it was.

“Where is my plastic wrap?”

Blank stares.

“It’s red and has a baby on the outside of the box.”

More blank stares and not a word spoken.

I knew exactly where the box is. I’d located it in the garage where one of them left it. I just wanted to see if they’d own up to it or at the very least, bring it back inside. I bought another one, complaining loudly about the loss of the first one. It’s probably still out there.

© Dellani Oakes 2015

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Dellani’s Alphabet Challenge Letter X – The X-Factor

ABC ChallengeI’m always looking for ways to expand my vocabulary and this X Challenge gave me a good reason to go looking for new words. I don’t know a lot of X words, apart from Xylophone, X-Ray and Xanadu. Xenon and Xenophobic also are ensconced in my vocabulary. However, I wanted to expand upon that, so I went to Collins Dictionary and did a little excavating.

I recently watched a silly show on Netflix. One of the characters was named Xanthippe. I found it interesting to read that Xanthippe was the name of Socrates’ sharp tongued, spiteful, harping wife. They writers had obviously chosen this name for a reason, because the character was all of that and more.

I discovered, in my explorations, that xylophagous is an adjective pertaining to certain insects, crustaceans, etc feeding on or living within wood. With xylo as the root of the word, I wasn’t particularly surprised to find that xylobalsamum is the name of the dried, fragrant wood of the Balsamodendron gileadense that produces resin known as Balm of Gilead. And just as logical that xoanon is the name of a primitive image of a god, carved, especially originally, in wood, and supposed to have fallen from heaven.

If that weren’t enough, the x-factor, a noun (informal) an unknown or unexplained element that makes something more interesting or valuable, the excellent apogee of this exciting article, we come to the last X entry in the Collins Dictionary. I didn’t know that a xyster is a surgical instrument for scraping bone; surgical rasp or file. To be honest, I never thought about it having a name. I’m not surprised such an instrument exists, as I’m sure it’s extremely important.

I believe I’ve had enough of X today. Perhaps another time I’ll be more interested in extolling the excellent exigencies of X, but until then I’ll relax, enhance my Xi and plan my trip to Xochimilco noun a town in central Mexico, on Lake Xochimilco: noted for its floating gardens. Pop: 364 647 (2000).

© Dellani Oakes 2015

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Sunshine and Rainbows

I had originally written this article for The Write Room blog, but some peculiarity of my e-mail caused it not to send. Since I was out of town and didn’t have access to it, I wrote something else related to this. I think both are equally good, though this goes into a bit more detail than the other. I finally found it and decided to share it with you here. I felt sharing it on my birthday was auspicious.~ Dellani

IMAG0076As you get older, you learn to appreciate the little things: a special party celebrating birthdays and Mother’s day, Potatoes Anna which comes out perfectly the first time you make it, a piece of music that makes you laugh or moves you to tears every time you hear it. These aren’t necessarily things you notice as a younger person, at least I didn’t.

Today, I’m one step closer to 60. I don’t mention this to brag, or complain, but to give you a bit of perspective. My mother turned 96 on September 14. She didn’t marry until she was 36, had my sister at 38 and didn’t have me until she was 40. Born two weeks premature, I was only 4 pounds and 5 ounces. Had it not been for the invention of the incubator, I probably would have died.

CAM00406But I digress. I want to talk about my mother. She absolutely amazes me. Born in 1919, her life has spanned the mass production of the automobile, a telephone in every home, electric appliances, man on the moon, Desegregation, motion pictures—with and without sound, and a movie star as president. Not to mention computers, cellphones and microwave ovens. She lived through the Great Depression, WWII, The Korean War, Vietnam and countless other conflicts. She’s seen 9 decades and a new century.

Mom grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and has many fascinating stories about it. The youngest of four children, she’s another miracle of modern medicine. As an infant, she developed an infection in both ears. The doctor did surgery and scraped the infection from the mastoid bones, leaving only a small scar behind each ear. By some amazing turn of luck, she didn’t lose her hearing as a result. In fact, like me, it was extra acute. I attribute my superior hearing to her genes.

At Western Reserve College, now Case – Western Reserve, she studied to be an elementary school teacher. She made a long cable car ride there and back, in all kinds of weather. Fairly often, she took a detour, if there was a good movie in town.

I don’t know how I passed my classes,” she admitted a few years ago. “I never went. I was always at the movies.”

This is another connection we share. I am a movie junkie, and it’s one of the reasons I write.

My mother taught elementary school for several years. Once, she had her class write letters to Laura Ingalls Wilder about how much they loved her books. She wrote back to them and my mother treasured her letter for years! I remember it neatly written by hand on lined paper. Mom eventually donated it to one of the Wilder museums.

By some chance, Mom and her older sister, found out about Pine Mountain Settlement School in Kentucky, not far mom 1 croppedfrom Harlan. The school was in need of a bookkeeper and secretary. Though neither of them had any experience, or talent, they applied for the jobs and were hired. The big move from Ohio to Kentucky, big city to small mountain community, would have been quite a culture shock. Rather than being overwhelmed by it, they embraced the rustic setting with enthusiasm and started work. Eventually, Mom became a representative for the school and drove all over the country to present a slide show (with slides she’d taken herself) and talk about the school, asking for donations. She traveled alone all over the country, as far as Orlando, Florida and as far north as New York City—before interstate highways, by the way. She drove her blue Studebaker, which she named Bonnets So Blue, that she bought with her own money before she even knew how to drive it. One of the men at the school taught her how to drive and she took the test in her new car, impressing the fellow administering the test, with her skill.

My parents met, by quirk or fate, at the Harlan bus station. They were both there to drop off friends, and decided to chat over a cup of coffee, and were totally smitten. My father was unable to join the military, due to a heart murmur, so he had pursued his education instead. He was a brilliant man, thirsting for someone to talk to who had even a slight chance of understanding him. He found that in my mother. Though 10 years apart in age, they married November 5, 1955.

Even after they married, my mother continued to work at Pine Mountain, until they eventually moved to Tennessee, where my sister and I were born. They lived near his parents while he worked toward his Masters degree at University of Tennessee. When I was three, we lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, while my father got his PdD at Harvard. Eventually landing his first teaching job in Lubbock, Texas, we moved again. With the same indomitable spirit, my mother made that long move from Massachusetts to Texas.

062I was always amazed by the way my mother could find a circle of friends wherever we lived. She kept in touch with people she knew from Cleveland, Pine Mountain, Cambridge, Lubbock, Scottsbluff and Hattiesburg sending out monthly letters via e-mail, until it became too much of an effort. She always loved to read, sharing her favorite books with my sister and me as we grew up. We spent hours learning to knit, crochet and sew while Mom read Little Women, House at Pooh Corner and Alice in Wonderland. It’s because of her strong influence early in my life, that I became enamored of the written word. Because I loved to read, I made the transition to writer and never looked back.

Mom’s eyesight has faded now. She can’t knit or crochet as she used to, nor can she read. She lives a quiet life in a nursing home not far from my sister. It wasn’t an easy decision putting her there, but neither my sister, nor I, have room or the means to have her at home with us. Since she’s in a wheelchair, it makes getting around difficult.

I have hardly touched on my mother’s incredible life. She’s done so much more than I have and she gave me so much. I know that my independent spirit and optimistic view of life is due to her. She never saw the gray clouds in life, she always saw the rays of sunshine and the rainbows.


Dellani’s Alphabet Challenge Letter W – What Happened to the Cat?

ABC ChallengeMy husband is a detail oriented person. As a medical professional, he has to be. It amazes me, however, what details his analytical, scientific mind will latch onto when he reads my novels. He’ll read the entire story and start demanding clarification. Some of it I’ve thought of, other things I make up, glad of my improv experience, because I honestly hadn’t thought of it.

It’s not unusual for me to make up some BS answer out of thin air just to get him to quit asking. Sometimes, if the subject really interests him, he’ll expand on it to the point where I’d pay real money just to get him to shut up.

Often, these sessions are helpful, clarifying those nebulous ideas that I hadn’t fully considered. A typical exchange:

“Have you thought about insert random weird concept?” he asks me.

“The readers don’t need to know that,” I reply, somewhat miffed.

“But it’s interesting. You could….”

“Yes, maybe, but why? It’s not the least bit important. Why do you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Ask about the most unimportant elements?”

“I don’t do that. Now, what about…?”

He’s gradually learning not to ask what I’m working on because ninety percent of the time it’s something I haven’t told him about. I shuffle projects and might work on a dozen different stories in a week. I love the fact that he’s interested, but I don’t always want to stop what I’m doing and explain what the book is about.

Once, in a weak moment, I told him about one of my unpublished novels where the psychotic ex-wife of the hero breaks into the heroine’s apartment, shaves her cat and duct tapes it to the hood of his car. Yes, it’s messed up, but the neighbors find the cat a short time later, call the police and take the cat to the vet. I mention in passing that the cat is at the vet’s and he’s fine. I read the passage to him, pleased with how well it came together.


“Someone broke into your place, Mandy.”

“My – what?”

Pale and shaking, she leaned against Derrick for support. He and Jasper helped her sit on the bench just inside the entry way.

“Why? What did they do in there?”

“They took your cat,” Jasper said quietly.

“What? Muse? Where is he? Is he okay?”

“Yeah. He’s okay. We sent him to the vet. Someone shaved him and taped him to the hood of Derrick’s car.”

“My car? Why the hell would they do that?”

“I was hoping you could tell me.”

Apparently, there wasn’t enough information for my husband. “What happened to the cat?” He asked when I got to the end of my explanation.

“What? Which cat?”

“Amanda’s cat, Muse. What happened to him?”

“He’s at the vet’s. I said that. He’s fine.”

“But you don’t mention him again.”

“So? You don’t even like cats. Why are you worried about the cat?”

“I was curious.”

“Forget the cat. He’s fine!”

“Whatever you say, baby.” There’s a long pause, to the point where I’m busy again and have forgotten about the conversation. “You really need to clear that up.”

“Clear what up?”

“The part about the cat….”

The point I’m making is that little details, things we forget about or think are inconsequential, can bother our readers if left unresolved. My husband, who positively loathes cats, was worried about Muse to the point that it detracted from the climax of the story. So I gave him a little more to help satisfy him

When Amanda opened the cat carrier door, Muse came out. He looked hopelessly thin in his shaven state, but rubbed against Derrick as happily as ever. Amanda looked inside the carrier.

“Where’s your friend?” she asked Muse.

The cat, as if he understood her, went to his carrier, nosing at the door, mewing softly. An answering mew came from inside the carrier.

“He made a friend at the vet’s. They were both traumatized and the little one latched onto Muse. He comforted her, wasn’t that sweet?”

She reached into the carrier, gently pulling out a small, scrawny white cat with blue eyes.

“She’s beautiful, Amanda. What did you name her?”

“Aphrodite. I couldn’t resist.”

Muse hopped into Derrick’s lap as he lounged on the couch with Amanda snuggled next to him. Aphrodite leaped prettily into her lap, turned three times and settled into a comfortable mound of white fur.

I’m not suggesting that every reader is quite so easily misdirected as my husband, but some are. Those are the people we have to satisfy by tying up the loose ends. Make sure the subplots are resolved. Give enough of an explanation that it sticks with the reader. Keep distractions to a minimum so that the thread of the story isn’t lost along the way. A few moments spent on housekeeping will prevent the inevitable question: “What happened to the cat?”

© Dellani Oakes 2015

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Dellani’s Alphabet Challenge Letter V – Velda, Vivica, Victoria, Viktor

ABC ChallengeI like unusual names for my characters. Yes, I have typical things like Jack, John, Joseph or James, but I like interesting names like Velda, Vivica Victoria and Viktor.

I’ve noticed over the years, I tend to favor certain letters for character names. The numbers below only include the main characters, or strong support characters, not the entire cast and crew of each story. It would take too much time to go through the lists, and I’m not quite that OCD.

A – 17 (2 Amanda)

B – 14 (2 Barry, 3 Ben)

C – 28 (2 Cynthia, 2 Clay)

D – 23 (2 Deacon, 2 Drew)

E – 13 (2 Emma)

F – 6 (2 Fritz, 2 Frank. The only holdouts on the repeat are the 2 girls.)

G – 10 (2 Greg)

H – 8 (2 Hal)

I – 2

J – 19 (2 Jasper, 2 Jason, 2 Jeffrey)

K – 14 (2 Kirk)

L – 10

M – 31 (2 Michael)

N – 5

O – 4

P – 6 (2 Paige, 2 Patricia)

Q – 1

R – 20

S – 20

T – 16 (4 Tom)

U – 0

V – 5

W – 4

X, Y – 0

Z – 4

I found these numbers a little surprising (Except for M, I knew I had a lot of those) What I find really interesting is that of 6 P names, I have 2 Paige and 2 Patricia. Of the F names, Fritz and Frank are very popular for some reason. I’m really not sure why. Four Toms seems excessive. I may need to go back and change a few names around.

Once a name has been given, I have a difficult time changing it. If it’s a minor character, it’s no big thing. However, with a main character, it becomes a part of him or her. I don’t think I could change their names. I have tried, but it doesn’t feel right.

I do have to be careful with minor character names. I once had a story where my characters met two guys named Mickey. That, of itself, isn’t all that unusual. I mean, think how many guys you know named Mike or Mickey—a lot, right? But not only had I given them the same name, they were brothers. Uh. . . No. I do know a family where the boys are named John and the girls are all Mary, with different middle names. But how often does that happen? (By the way, the parents were John and Mary as well. Always seemed egotistical to me.)

I was a little surprised that I had so many Z names. Likewise, W and V. I shall strive to stay away from M names from now on, but I have a feeling that I will probably keep coming back to that. I am nothing, if not consistent.

(This has been edited since its original posting. I started a few more books, finishing one, between when this was written and when I posted it. I have updated the numbers to reflect the new characters.)

© Dellani Oakes 2015

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Dellani’s Alphabet Challenge Letter U – Under the Western Sky and Undiscovered

ABC ChallengeI have two books that begin with the letter U and I couldn’t choose between them, so I’m going to talk briefly about them both. The only thing that these books have in common is that they are both romantic suspense, and they both begin with U. Other than that, there are no similarities at all.

Under the Western Sky is what I call a retro-romantic suspense, set in Under the Western Sky by Dellani Oakes - 5001976 in Western Nebraska. Set in an uncertain time, shortly after a major FBI snafu at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, racial tensions are high. Libby Marshall and Bobby Menendez have just started dating. Her friend, Toni, is seeing Bobby’s cousin Ramon. One night on his way home, Ramon is caught and beaten by a bunch of white boys. Though he lives through the beating, he is seriously injured.

Unfortunately, Bobby runs afoul of the same group, only this time they’re armed with guns, not baseball bats. With the skills his father taught him, Bobby is able to fight back, but now he and his family are marked for death. With the help of some friends, they take flight into a very uncertain future.

Undiscovered by Dellani Oakes - 500Undiscovered is a contemporary romantic suspense, set in Florida. It was my NaNoWriMo novel for 2010. It was inspired by a dream a friend of mine, Micky Hoffman told me about. She gave me permission to use it as the basis of the story.

Someone wants movie mogul Kent Griswald dead. Although the first attempt is unsuccessful, soon the killer catches up with him. It’s up to Detectives Walter Scott and Vanessa Weinstein to make sense of the clues and find the killer before he can strike again.

Cadence Stuart is their only witness and it’s up to Walter and Vanessa to keep her safe. Unfortunately, Walter finds himself falling for his witness. Knowing their involvement could jeopardize the case, the two try to maintain a professional distance, but being thrown together by circumstance makes it increasingly difficult.

Although these stories have nothing in common, except for the U in the title, they are both books I’m very proud of. Oh, and they were both published by Tirgearr Publishing.

© Dellani Oakes 2015

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