What’s in a Name? Dealing with Pronunciation & Criticism

Here’s some straight talk about my latest book. 3-dMy son is working his way through Blessing of the Elements. He reads it out loud as an exercise to strengthen his reading and comprehension skills. The names frustrate him. He said, “Mom, where did you come up with these names?” So, let me explain not only where they came from, but also how to pronounce some of them. Understanding may help someone get through the book.

What’s in a Name

First, where did they come from? Well, where did the name “Chewbacca” and “Ewoks” come from? Darth Vadar? Shall I go on? The answer: Imagination.

George Lucas as well as many others have invented names that can cause someone to pause. My inspiration is a little less glittery. The names came from mixing up letters of real places and real names. Buscom, for example, comes from the word “Columbus.” Tonkipe comes from “Piketon.” Silwan comes from “Wilson.” Mij comes from the name “Jim.” So, as you can see, there is a method to my madness.


As far as pronunciations, here’s the only way I know to help. Do you remember when you first learned to read? Those long and short vowel sounds? Use those skills to help sound out the words. For example, Ziltra is pronounced z – i (short vowel)- l – tr – u. Osatam is pronounced aw-su (short “u” sound)-tom. I wish I could make the short and long vowel marks to help out, but I can’t in such a format. Silwan is  sill-wawn.

Dealing with Criticism

You can’t please everyone 100% of the time. From the buzz, folks aren’t pleased that I migrated to a YA genre and left the “paranormal horror” behind. I believe in versatility. Maybe I should have written BOE under another pen name. I don’t know. But like it or not, I did. This book, as I’ve said countless times, was a cathartic work. Now that it’s over, I probably won’t continue with the fantasy genre. I am currently working on a romance with paranormal undertones, but I’m not holding myself to time constraints with it. It may be years before I publish it. I may never publish is. I have at least three unfinished books on my flash drive; a romance, a mystery, and a fiction about a rock star. Will I ever complete them? I have no idea.

11074484_10205659068109837_6927604007353647784_nEven The Between Worlds Series has come under fire for too much fluff and an undue emphasis on fashion and clothing styles. Here’s my feeling about that. I want people to see these characters in their minds and if I have to explain every single detail so that someone can close their eyes and see what my characters are wearing, so be it. It’s something I was taught at a young age. Describe, describe, describe to help people see what you see. If I overdo it, I guess I’ll own that.

If you happen to be a person who has thrown criticism my way about the aforementioned issues, please don’t take this blog post personally. I know I’m not supposed to take your criticism personal, so I’m asking for the same courtesy (even though I do take criticism personally because you’re telling my work is substandard).


If you have an open mind, an open heart, some patience, and leave your preconceived notions about my writing behind, I think you will actually like BOE and find that it DOES make sense. If you can dive into the fantasy and get away from the real world, you can possibly even enjoy the book. If you can see how Ziltra’s self-sacrifice and struggle can relate to real life issues, you’re set.

I’m not telling you to buy the book. I’m not soliciting. I’m saying, that I don’t really care if you buy the book or if you even like it. That might not be politically correct for me to say that, but I believe in being real, even if it isn’t exactly PC.

BOE was a project I needed to complete for myself. So, when someone comes to me with criticisms about the book, I’ll save you some time by telling you I simply do not care (again not very PC of me, so I hope you don’t take it as if I’m vain or something). I like reviews. They help me. However, there is a difference in reviewing and just being mean or rude. And let’s face it folks, reviews don’t mean what they once did. Amazon is limiting reviews.

So… if you get the book and you do happen to like it, leave a review. I’m all about constructive criticism, but, as I said, being rude is offensive and even best-selling authors are hurt by rude reviews. Keep that garbage to yourself. By all means, tell me how you feel, but leave your attitude at the door.


4 responses to “What’s in a Name? Dealing with Pronunciation & Criticism

  1. Quite rightly said. Rude doesn’t cut it. And true writers can’t write to formulae forever and ever. You have to break free at times.
    (PS: I have Blessing of Elements on my To Buy List- but have to read another six already purchased books first- you know how it goes)
    Best wishes

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Tell Again Tuesday What’s in a Name? Dealing with Pronunciation & Criticism | C.D. Hersh

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