Links! It’s like we’re on the internet, you know?

Few things could be more awesome than a site called Garden Rant. No, no, I’m wrong.

This entry on Garden Rant is so full of turgid, erect win, I have to go lie down for awhile. Flaccidly.

[Thanks to Jane Moore for the link.]

Thanks to Scrin for this bit of penalty: flag on the play. 10 yard penalty, massive spanking to for offering crap advice on naming characters:

Tip 3: Exotic names are for romance novels, soap operas and strippers

Romance novels and soap operas and strippers all have one thing in common—they evoke a fantasy of romance and/or sex. Characters in these genres tend to have names that are more exotic, like Chesapeake Divine or Rod Remington. If you are not writing a romance or soap opera, however, this kind of name can sound silly and out of place.

Well, crap. I just finished a romance novel and the hero’s name was… Ben. Oh, and here’s one. No, his name is Harry.

Screw you, Says Scrin, “I have to say, you’ve corrupted me. I now get angry when I see a slight towards romance novels.”

And finally, here, have a massive suckage of your free time if you like words and word usage as much as I do – but don’t blame me. Blame Betsy who sent me this link: gives you not just an (out-of-print) dictionary definition, but cites in context, recent tweets (!) and a graph showing common usage over time.

Check out “sarcenet”
and then “sarsenet”

and note the different contexts and uses.

Yeah, see you in about 4 or 5 hours.


The Link-O-Lator

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    closetcrafter says:

    LOVED IT. Also looked up boucle, love that word. LOVE THE FREQUENCY BUBBLES. Love to know origins and usage.

  2. 2
    copaceticbroad says:

    The Babynames page has some other questionable advice—point #2 is a little wacky. And apparently Stephanie Meyers has read it too!

    my word is hotel69. I wish that were somehow relevant.

  3. 3
    MichelleR says:

    Do you know how much I heart the name Ben for a romance hero? I can remember it as the name of the guy in the second Harlequin I ever read—back a million years ago.

    Ben Maxwell/Turbulent Covenant/Jessica Steele/ridiculously early ‘80s.

    However, don’t ask me what I had for breakfast—that might stump me.

  4. 4
    heidenkind says:

    Cheasapeake Divine?!  You must kidding me.

    Ditto to screwing!  They can kiss my behind, and the behind of the babies I’m going to name after characters in Shakespeare.  :P

  5. 5
    Zinemama says:

    Not a comment on this, but I just wanted to say that I finished BHB this morning and loved it! I was reading it on the way to the beach yesterday (I wasn’t the one driving!) and finally had to inform my son that I was sorry, but what I was laughing so hard about could not be shared with a nine-year-old boy. Thanks for a delightful few days of reading! You gals rock.

  6. 6
    Scrin says:

    Yeah, that ticked me off.

    And, really, I’ve used the website a lot before. Sometimes by meaning. You can find good names like that. So can pillaging for words which have the right sound. Some random examples…

    -There’s a Terry Pratchett Discworld book which has a minor character, a self-made businessman whose name is Seldom Bucket. You notice it once, and then people keep calling him Mr. Bucket, which isn’t too improbable, and you realize that Seldom isn’t a bad sound, either.

    -A friend needed an undead knight as a semi-antagonist for a DnD game. He was stuck on the name, and I somehow came up with Gaeran Losenger—which inspired the knight’s pseudonym (to protect the relatives), Lord Loss.

    -I have to shake my head at the Puritan slogan names. Imagine your name being “O-Be-Joyful” or something even more extreme like, “If-Jesus-Had-Not-Died-For-Thee-Thou-Would-Be-Damned” In a recent contest, I had an idea for a high school guy named Love-Thy-Neighbor who introduced himself as “Elton” based on initials L-T-N. And, for another Pratchett example, a rather badass lawman was named “Suffer-Not-Injustice”.

  7. 7
    Scrin says:

    Er. Due to the distraction of an IM, I left out a bit in the middle. It was supposed to go something like:

    “But, really, names should have a good sound. They almost come out and say that. They shouldn’t be too exotic. And if you have a funny name, you have several approaches—make a point of it, or ignore it and just make sure it sounds right.”

  8. 8
    JoanneL says:

    Rod Serling
    Rod Stewart
    Rod Carew
    Rod McKuen
    just sayin’

    Nalini Singh has a character in her newest—Branded By Fire—- named Sage…. and the heroine calls him herb. Of course it’s the heroines brother so obviously when naming your kids Ms Singh sees that you have to be more careful about sibling ideas of funny then you do about the childs’ career.

  9. 9
    Jean Poole says:

    The romance with the dude named Ben?  I may have read that one.  I think his last name was Dover and the heroine’s name was Eileen.  No?

    sick sick sick….. my verifying code is “thats69”

  10. 10
    SB Sarah says:

    Not a comment on this, but I just wanted to say that I finished BHB this morning and loved it!

    WOW. That rocks – thank you! I’m so glad you liked the Bosoms! Being someone’s car read is a HUGE honor.

    I wonder if this means that would recommend “bosoms” as a name for a character.

  11. 11

    *laughs and laughs and laughs at the Garden Rant pic* Good lord. That’s… I’m not sure WHAT that is. ;)

  12. 12
    Jessica G. says:

    I’ve been wanting to start landscaping, now I think I’ve got a great idea. Maybe I could trim some azalea bushes like that…

  13. 13
    Mary says:

    Not to swim against the tide or anything, but I’ve encountered an awful lot more Devlins (particularly with the nickname ‘Devil’ or variants) in my Mills and Boons than I have in real life…. In a certain section of the larger romance novel genre (perhaps that section containing the 80s/early 90s category romances) I think may have a point.

  14. 14
    Mary says:

    Not that I’m dissing on anyone called Devlin, of course. It’s an excellent name. Particularly if you’re an sinister, yet misunderstood, alpha male who just wants somebody to give you a cuddle.

  15. 15
    Caty M says:

    Does anyone else feel a compulsion to keep feeding in words to find one that no-one else has looked up?  (Woohoo – seleucid! polymorphous!)

  16. 16
    Sarah says:

    The comment made by the babynames article seems to go with their general attitude…  I’ve never been on the site before but the comments by readers of this article seemed a bit condescending, with one person being surprised that Americans know about Calais in France, since he/she

    just never expected that other Americans actually paid attention outside of where their next hamburger was coming from

    (Luerim was the commenter).

    (Sorry, the American jibe rubbed me the wrong way, and I haven’t finished my coffee yet so I’m not in any mood to be tolerant)

  17. 17
    bounababe says:

    I’m still stuck on the picture with the pornographic topiary. What style would that be, shrubberitalia? florarotica?

    As for names, most of my close male relatives have unusual names that often appear in romance novels. It’s very disappointing to wait for a new book from one of my favorite authors only to find out that the sexy angsty hero has the same name as my brother. Bleah, ewww, and oh no!
    I wish they would set up an ebook format that would allow me to change just the names.

  18. 18
    Ashley says:

    Some of the comments are so ridiculous.  this one is my favourite so far: For example, a friend of mine made a character who was autistic, and named her Cavalier, which is a sort of Medieval word that no-one really uses anymore meaning loud and arrogant.

    number 1: naming an autistic character a name which means loud and arrogant is just plain rude.

    number 2: Cavalier does not mean loud and arrogant.  it’s from the french Chevalier, which means a Knight.  (

    it seems a lot of these commenters don’t actually know what are the meanings of the names they are suggesting.  This seems to occur most often with french based names.  another example of this is a person mentioning that Marie means sea of bitterness.  it’s actually just french for Mary.

    That’s all I’m going to say before I start ranting on the stupidity of the cosmos.  I just think people should do their research more carefully and I feel that Babynames’s tips are either obvious or narrow-minded and silly.

  19. 19
    willa says:

    I don’t get the vitriol. A great deal of the (historical) romance novels I read do indeed have crazy exotic names for the men, sometimes for the women. It’s all Devlin St. Crewelwork, Lord Scrimshaw all over the place. Smart Bitches, I believe your own book and/or blog makes fun of this, what with the Lord Raven of Ravenshawk or Earl of ThunderRook or whatever. It’s fun!

    And the paranormal romances can have ridiculous names as well.

    …Okay, I think I get it—it’s the generalization of the passage that’s annoying? Not ALL romance novels have exotic/porny names, just a lot of them? Hmmm.

  20. 20

    Yeah, names like Stone Barrington? What a tool’s name. Entertaining though! :)

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