Ariadne Stories from A to Z

Last year, I participated in the A to Z Challenge, and for that challenge, I wrote a very brief story about a person who lived on Ariadne for each letter of the alphabet. It grew into something bigger than I imagined it would. It became an actual story and sets up the first novel a bit. This year, I didn’t participate because of our move to Canada. However, in honour of the challenge, here is last year’s challenge, all available in one post with links to each part. Read it all if you like. Each part will be very quick to read. Enjoy!

I hope you stuck with the entire story. I mostly just skimmed over some of the parts, and realised that I really need to read it again. Get my mind back into Ariadne and the characters so I can continue to write Journey to Ariadne and the first novel.

Please leave comments below, or you can leave comments on the story posts. I’d love to hear your impressions.

Week in Review – April 25, 2016

I don’t know where to start. It’s been a crazy week. So much happened so fast. Not much was expected. At the moment, I’m taking care of my daughter with my mom and sister for a few days. You’ll see why.


None done, but I got some new books! They arrived last week, and I made a post about it.


Again, nothing written. Soon, though!


Still studying Esperanto. I’d like to speed up my study of it. I should get back to work on French, too.


Here’s where things got crazy. My wife got an email from the Manila visa office saying that they can’t send her decision package to Canada. We were dumbfounded. Why? Apparently, they could only send via courier to Tokyo. Well, after trying to figure out if the visa application centre in Tokyo could courier it to us, we found that they couldn’t, and the deadline was far too close to arrange any delivery method. So my wife is currently in Japan. That’s right, she went to Japan just to pick up the mail. She got the decision package, and told me that the envelope has our Canadian address on it! They couldn’t send it to us in Canada because customs can be so notoriously slow about allowing packages into the country. They needed to make sure that it could get to us on time, and sending it by express mail to us was too risky. Well, my wife returns to Canada in a couple days, and she’ll officially be a landed immigrant. And she’ll be able to start going to school starting with ESL lessons provided by the government for free.


Thinking about getting to work on this today.

The Blog

I’m starting to get back into the twice daily blogging schedule. I’m going to get my regular weekly schedule ready for next month. Expect a return to normal next week.


Maybe this summer.

The Next Week’s Goals

Most important things are to pick up my wife from the airport, get her driver’s license translated, get her health care sorted, and so on. Also, apply for lots of jobs. And maybe start up the birds of Alberta blog and the restaurant review blog. Those last two are not definite. I’ve also caught up on comments, so the next thing to do is catch up on social media. Expect a lot of tweets, Facebook statuses, Google Plus posts, and pins from this blog over the next couple of days.

How was your week?

Game of Thrones and Others, Why I Won’t Watch Them… Yet

I heard Game of Thrones is back on TV with new episodes now. I won’t watch it. My mom told me The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was on TV last night. I said I didn’t want to watch it.

Why would I refuse to watch these? I’ll watch The Shannara Chronicles. I’ll watch the Ender’s Game movie. Why will I watch these, but not the others?

The answer is simple: If I’ve read the book, I’ll watch it. If I haven’t read the book, I won’t watch it.

I’ve read up to the third book for A Storm of Ice and Fire, but I don’t really want to watch the TV series until I’ve read more of the books. I’ve only read the first Narnia book, but the Dawn Treader is the third book. I have read Elfstones of Shannara, which the TV series is based on. I have read Ender’s Game.

The reason why I won’t watch the movie or TV series until I’ve read the books is because I don’t want the actors to appear in my imagination. I don’t want the sets to appear in my imagination. I want my mind to create the appearance of the people and places. I don’t want that spoiled.

Do you feel the same? Let me know in the comments below.

Is there a Useless Language?

Recently, Jeremy Paxman, said something controversial. He said that French is a useless language. He went on to say that English is the only language we need.

How arrogant. There are about eighty million native speakers of French, and it’s an official language of twenty-nine countries. Certainly not useless to those people. And if you travel to those countries, French is incredibly useful. It’s useful as a second language, as well.

I enjoy studying languages. French is my main target language, other than Japanese. I live in Canada now, and French is useful if you want to have a job with the government or tourism. And if you want to visit Quebec, it’s extremely useful.

Without French, English wouldn’t be the way it is today. There are a lot of words of French origin in the English language. And to be honest, English is one of the most ridiculously illogical languages in the world. It’s the Frankenstein’s monster of languages. It’s adopted words from so many languages that the spelling and pronunciation rules often don’t even apply. That’s one of the things that makes it more difficult to learn than many other languages. At least French has rules that are followed.

But it brings me to this question: Is there a useless language? I don’t think there is a useless language. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Got an Itch for Birdwatching

Ever since coming back to Canada, I’ve been watching the birds whenever we’ve gone out. My wife has been taking pictures, I’ve been listening to the birds. I’d like to find my field guide to birds of western North America and start birdwatching.

This is going to be a bit bigger than just finding the birds. I plan on taking pictures and posting them, but not on here. I’m going to start a separate blog for birds of Alberta (and more). I’ll just keep taking pictures and posting them, even if they’re birds I’ve taken pictures of before. I may take a very good picture that has to be shared. On that blog, I’m going to keep a checklist of the birds I’ve seen, and update whenever I find a new bird.

So, in addition to this blog, I’ll have the bird blog and an Edmonton Asian and burger restaurant blog.

What do you think?

Authors Answer 77 – Naming Characters

Names are important, especially in fiction. They need to be memorable. They need to stand out. They shouldn’t be boring or forgettable. But it’s not the easiest thing to do. Some names are overused, some names sound cheesy. What’s the best way to choose a name?

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 77 – How do you choose character names?

Paul B. Spence

For main characters, they are just there when I create the concept. For others, I glance through name books and pick combinations that I like. Sometimes I work the name of an author from my bookshelf into secondary characters’ names.

Gregory S. Close

A few names come unbidden through the ether and pop into my brain.  Other names have been carefully sourced and researched based on some imagined criteria I’ve come up with – based on Celtic or Native American roots etc.  Baby name websites can be handy, especially if they provide meanings and allow you to sort by derivation.

And… Some names come from stereo components.

Allen Tiffany

Mostly they just come to me. The main characters, anyway. I’ve been told I should pick names with subtle meaning and clever references, which I do for the secondary characters. But the MCs always just show up with their names already figured out. When I do think about names, I often conclude I think about it too much and make a hash out of it.

Linda G. Hill

I have the hardest time with character names! Once in a while they just come to me and I know beyond a doubt that I’ve plucked the character, name and all, from the universe. But most of the time I drive myself nuts with the decision.

D. T. Nova

I use a combination of the name’s meaning, its sound, and other connotations it may have from other uses.

I also sometimes use theme naming for characters associated with each other.

Jean Davis

I’m really exact about character names. I spend hours researching meanings until I find just the right one. And no, not really. Names either come to me in the moment or I mash keys until one happens. I’ve also been known to turn to someone and say, “Give me a name” and there it is.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

For me it actually depends on the individual stories. If I’m writing a drabble or a little flash fiction piece I’ll usually only use first names, and I’ll snatch those names at random from the long list of people I’ve met or worked with. I honestly won’t think about it too much; I’ll just pick the first name I think of that sounds okay.

With “Nowhere to Hide”, however, I was a lot pickier about my character names. Since it was my first horror novel, and I had every intention of it being published, I wanted to use the opportunity to pay homage to other horror names who have influenced me. My main character, for example, is Nancy King. “Nancy” is for the main character from the original “Nightmare on Elm Street” movie, and “King” is for, of course, Mr Stephen King.

With “The Other World” it was a much sillier process that brought my characters their names. For the purposes of a later plot point I definitely wanted my main character’s name to be Victoria, but I didn’t want to be calling her that all the time so I nicknamed her “Tori”. Since the first letter of her name matched mine I chose her last name from my paternal grandmother’s maiden name. Then, on a whim (since I’d already built her name, in a way, from my own) I named her love interest and best friend to match my husband and beset friend…thus Jacob was born from Jason and Kaima was born from Kelly. In retrospect it seems rather a childish way to name my characters, but I’ve grown into the names and love them now, so they’re here to stay.

Eric Wood

I ask my wife. Or I ask my friends. Or I’ll just grab a name that I like. There is usually very little thought to it.

H. Anthe Davis

Starting in middle school, I kept a list of interesting-sounding names that I either thought up randomly or found elsewhere, and would tweak them until they became something that fit a character.  As I built my story-world more, though, I started reverse-deriving some of the names to build the vocabulary in my fake language, and then branched out to defining naming-conventions for the various kingdoms and territories.  So these days, I check the naming conventions first, and then the language dictionary, and tack something together from those — but most of my long-running characters have names from before that age, so might stand out a bit from the rest of the pack, who knows.

Elizabeth Rhodes

I use a generator for most of my names, usually the Quick Character Namer on Seventh Sanctum. I don’t put too much stock in picking the “perfect” name for a character, but I do need to know what to call a character before I can continue. I don’t want a repeat of the placeholder name I mentioned in the last Authors Answer.

S. R. Carrillo

They often jump out at me. Back in the day, my character names were not uncommonly the fourth or fifth round of a name changed from its original version. For instance, Ero’s name used to be Samore Edorelo (don’t ask), which then became Relo for short and then Ero – at one point, it was going to be Aeiro, but thank God that one didn’t stick.

Other times, it’s a process of elimination – often, when I’m working on a project with someone else. We bounce a series of names back and forth until we find something that fits the idea of the people we both have in mind.

It’s really that simple – and complicated. ;]

Jay Dee Archer

I use a variety of methods. Mostly, for my science fiction books, I search online for names depending on the country or culture the character is from. That’s the simplest method. But for main characters, I look for meaning. For Ariadne, the main character of the first book is a girl named Solona. I searched for names of various cultural backgrounds that mean “wise.” One that caught my eye was the Greek name Solona. And that’s how her name was chosen.

For fantasy, I’m likely to make things up for given names, but family names may be based on geography, birthplace, family history, jobs, or any other appropriate category. I have yet to create any names for fantasy, though.

How about you?

If you write, how do you choose names for your characters? Let us know in the comments below.

Attempting to Resolve Difficult Matters

To save you a long and boring story which will be related to you after everything is done, my wife’s permanent residency is approved, but there’s a problem we’re dealing with. And also, customs charged us duty charges for one of our boxes. Used clothes and my daughter’s stuffed animals and dolls. Definitely asking for that money back! In the meantime, some amazing clouds!

I hope you enjoyed the picture.