Friday, November 7, 2008

The Rhys Rumble

Gore Vidal said, “Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head. As you get older, you get more skillful at casting them.”

For me, the first step in peopling my story with interesting characters is deciding on their names. The right name tells you volumes about a character. What if Elizabeth Swan had been named Letitia Throckmorten? Changes the whole story, doesn't it?

Before THE CHATELAINES got up and running, the whole gang had some group email discussions about the relative hotness of certain male names. Face it, it’s hard to get excited about a hero named Murgatroyd or Icabod. One name we all agreed had a high hotness quotient was Rhys (pronounced Reece).

I was surprised to learn that several of us had already used, or intended to use, the name. Rhys Drake is the name of my hero’s father in PLEASURING THE PIRATE. Of course, my Rhys is already dead when the story starts, but that doesn’t diminish his influence over Gabriel. Rhys Drake was a hard man, a driven man, one who demanded much from himself and those around him. His indomitable spirit motivates his son Gabriel to leave a life of piracy and try to reclaim his place as a gentleman. My prodigal pirate fails to court a woman of quality, falling instead for the chatelaine who’d held Dragon Caern Castle together in his absence.

Would Rhys Drake have approved? Gabriel will never know. And it wouldn’t matter anyway. Pirates have a tendency to take what they want, devil take the hindermost, and Gabriel might not have a swaying deck beneath his feet, but he’s still a pirate at heart.

So that’s the story of my Rhys. Maybe the other CHATELAINES will tell about theirs.

What guy names rate high on your hot-o-meter?


Cindy Holby November 7, 2008 at 5:19 AM  

Names on my hot-o-meter? Well right now Rhys is one of them. And he's already giving me trouble and I just introduced him into the story. I just finished a book, Fallen, with a hero named John after my first boyfriend! I've always liked that name. I had a hero named Connor in Rising Wind and my best friend said she couldn't read it because her son's name is Connor. Which also makes it difficult for me to write about a Josh or a Drew since those are my son's names.

Its funny how we associate such things. Originally my Rhys was going to be named Devin, but then I met a Devin and could not stand him so had to lose the name. My favorite name is Luke but I've yet to use it in a story. I guess I'm just waiting for the right hero to show up and earn the name.

I'm also loving the name Dax right now. In my Colby Hodge persona I've got a new project with a mech hero named Dax.

EmilyBryan November 7, 2008 at 5:58 AM  

Fallen sounds like a bad boy story.

First boyfriend, huh? Well, I confess, I'm using Ian Michael for one of the guys in the Christmas anthology I'm working on. I dated two different Mike's before I met my husband. My grandmother called my DH Mike long after we were married, just out of habit. I even (yikes!) called him Mike once!

Sorry your Rhys is giving you trouble. Mine was biddable as a lamb. Dead guys are like that. Threaten to kill him off if he doesn't straighten up! (Insert evil laughter here)

Alyssa Day November 7, 2008 at 6:07 AM  

Oh, too funny!!! I have a high prince of the Fae who just showed up in my Warriors of Poseidon series - and his name is Rhys!! We should start a support group! And yes I can't read Cindy's book about Connor because it would squick me out to read my son's name in a romance. Not to mention she always tortures her characters!! Fun new blog, gals!

EmilyBryan November 7, 2008 at 6:21 AM  

Thanks for stopping by, Alyssa. This Rhys support group--would it be for those of us trying to quit using the name or to encourage others to join us? A Rhys crusade to bring a hero named Rhys into every romantic subgenre imaginable!

Well, I have 2 daughters and no sons, so I can read about Cindy's Connor in Rising Wind with relish!

Jennifer Ashley/ Allyson James / Ashley Gardner November 7, 2008 at 6:24 AM  

I have two Rhys's, both while writing as Allyson James. Rhys is a dragon-human shapeshifter in a story called "Dragonmagic" in Ellora's Cavemen, Dreams of the Oasis I. I used the other spelling of Rees in my Tales of the Shareem series, which starts with the delectable Rees. He's big, he's hot, he's a sex slave gone rogue. ;-)

All these hunky Rhys/Rees guys can be found on my Allyson James site (

You're right that names are so important. I notice we romance writers do tend to gravitate to some of the same names (Damien is a favorite of mine; Irish names like Dylan and Connor; Scottish names like Ian). I think it's because we need names that invoke dark sexiness and the choices for that are somewhat limited. Zaphrod Beeblebrox just doesn't do it for me.

Gillian Layne November 7, 2008 at 6:54 AM  

Hurray! A new blog with a bunch of my favorite authors! :) I'll be adding you all to my blog side list and sending other folks your way.

Julian is a on my list of HOT. And Ian. Love them both.

Glenda Garland November 7, 2008 at 7:04 AM  

When I'm looking for a hero's name, I want it to sound either strong with lots of hard consonants, or like something that'd sound good breathed out with a husky "more" attached to it.

I save the names of the guys who dumped me for villains. Makes me want to make them nastier or more unflattering. Or both.

Has anyone come across a hero's name that you just couldn't keep reading because it was too close to you? I don't know if I could read a book with a Jared hero -- that's my son's name.

Cindy Holby November 7, 2008 at 7:47 AM  

I forgot Ian. I've always loved that name and he was the hero of my first book, Chase The Wind.

Also Jamie keeps turning up in my stories. I think I've used it three times so far. It all goes back to Jamie Frazier I believe.

I've used Ian, Jamie, Chase, Ty, Jake, Cole, Caleb, Zane, Connor, John and now Rhys in my historicals. My sci/fi's have had Shaun, Ruben (called Ben), Boone and Zander, who so needs his own book. Then there was Shane from Twist. The new series has Dax, as I mentioned and a mysterious drifer named Jericho.

I'm thinking I might need to stay away from the C names for a while as there seems to be a trend.

EmilyBryan November 7, 2008 at 8:51 AM  

I understand that hard consonants do lend themselves to hot male names. But since I write in time periods where a Jake or Buck would stand out badly, I have to look for names that are silkily dangerous. I've used Trevelyn (Trev)in DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS, Gabriel in PLEASURING THE PIRATE, and coming Feb 24 Lucian in VEXING THE VISCOUNT.

When I wrote as Diana Groe, my Viking names were more alpha-ish. Bjorn in MAIDENSONG, Jorand in ERISONG and Erik in SILK DREAMS. There was a Damian in SILK DREAMS too, but there was some doubt as to whether he was a good guy or a bad guy.

Bonnie Vanak November 7, 2008 at 10:38 AM  

Gillian, that is too funny! Only because a good friend and my former CP's sons are named...

Julian and Ian.

Both very nice kids. Well, not kids anymore.


Jennifer Ashley/ Allyson James / Ashley Gardner November 7, 2008 at 12:44 PM  

Glenda said:

"I save the names of the guys who dumped me for villains."

LOL!! What a great idea. :-)

Good to see you here!

EmilyBryan November 7, 2008 at 12:56 PM  

Naming a character does give an author a sense of power. One of the gals in my local RWA had a co-worker who kept introducing her as a "porn writer" until she took him aside and said if he did it again, she was going to name a character in her next novel after him. And she'd make him a gay sailor!

Since the guy was a career Army man, she never knew which part of the threat worked, either to make him gay or a sailor, but he was very respectful of her writing after that!

Darlene November 7, 2008 at 1:26 PM  

I am absolutley terrible with names to begin with so to put one in print is very scary for me, but I feel in a way, it's an honor to an author when a name they use becomes popular, it means the story was memorable at least for me.

historylover44 November 8, 2008 at 10:20 AM  

I have to agree, Rhys or Reese is one of those totally hot, sexy names well suited to a dark, brooding Welsh hero.

Just read an awesome paranormal with a druid called Rhys, the Silver Wolf, in the romance "The Tide of Destiny", VERY sexy. Grade A beefcake, in fact. ;)

I knew one Reese in person, he was not huge in stature, and very quiet and smart, but there was just something about him that got all the women wild! Flutter goes my heart!

Anonymous December 2, 2008 at 5:04 PM  

I like Jared and Jake

Cindy Holby

Gerri Russell

Joy Nash

Bonnie Vanak

Emily Bryan

C.L. Wilson

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