It seems that lately I've been hearing a whole lot about France, (a side effect of my Les Mis, A Tale of Two Cities, and Scarlet Pimpernel obsession), so I thought that I may as well compile a list of French names for your character-naming pleasure, since I haven't added France to my name list collection yet.
Unfortunately, I can't really say that most of these names are French in origin, since many of them have roots in the Bible, or other parts of Europe, and are therefore simply "Frenchified" versions of more traditionally recognized names—but they are French in usage. For example, Élie is the French form of Elijah.
However, if French names aren't really for you, I've compiled lists of several other ethnicities, encompassing a wide range from Hebrew to Irish.
• Male and Female English Names
• Male and Female Hebrew Names
• Male and Female Irish Names
• Male and Female Norwegian Names
I'll be posting the feminine side of this list in September. Enjoy!
Adélard – noble; brave; hardy
Adolphe – noble wolf
Aimé – beloved
Alain – little rock; handsome
Aldéric – old; ruler; power
Alexandre – defending men
Amable – lovable
Amand – lovable; worthy of love
Amaury – work; labor; power
Ambroise – immortal
Amédée – love of God
Anatole – sunrise
André – manly
Antonin – ?
Armand – army man
Armel – bear; prince
Aubin – white; bright
Auguste – great; venerable
Aurèle – golden; gilded
Aurélien – golden; gilded
Baptiste – baptist
Basile – king
Bastien – from Sebaste
Benoît – blessed
Bérenger – bear; spear
Blaise – lisping
Brice – speckled
July was another one of those months that I got more reading done than I realized! On the list was I Will Repay and The Elusive Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, The Janus Elixir and The Hound of Duville by Kyle Robert Shultz, and An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott. They were all delightful reads, and just too many to fit them all on the graphic above. :P
The first two are swashbuckling adventures set during the French Revolution, the second two are tales full of Shultz's characteristic humor, and the last was a quiet, old-fashioned tale of love and friendship that I quite enjoyed.
I Will Repay
Baroness Emmuska Orczy
My rating: ★★★★
[There may be some vague spoilers for The Scarlet Pimpernel in the following.]
I Will Repay is North and South meets The Scarlet Pimpernel in all the best ways. It’s a high-stakes adventure set during the French Revolution instead of the Industrial one, with all the aggravating misunderstandings that usually crop up in old-fashioned romances like this. (You know, the kind that makes a book really, really hard to put down.)
Juliette Marny is another strong yet feminine female character reminiscent of Marguerite Blakeney, who (quite frankly), really messed things up from a misguided sense of justice, but was equally ready to do everything in her power to make them right again. I loved her! I think character arcs like that are sorely lacking in today’s stories. So often characters make mistakes and wallow in them, instead of moving forward like a warrior, admitting that they were wrong, and trying to set things right.
Paul Déroulède, on the other hand, is not the swashbuckling type of Hero/Love Interest from The Scarlet Pimpernel. He’s quiet, but fearless, and can always be relied upon to do what’s right. He rose above the degeneracy of his people during the Revolution, and made them feel human again by retaining a human heart himself.
The plot—while not very different from The Scarlet Pimpernel in the main points—felt a lot grittier than its predecessor. Most of the previous book was spent in England, and we only got a very narrow glimpse at France towards the end. The entirety of I Will Repay is spent in France during one of the bloodiest years of the Revolution. I think Orczy did a horribly beautiful job of underscoring the brutality of the time.
As for content, there are various passing references made to sexual immorality and rape (very brief, and not at all explicit), some “demming” on the part of the Pimpernel, (although less than the first book), drinking, and one female character takes accusations of “wantonness” upon herself in order to save the man she loves. (She was completely innocent of such charges.)
In closing, I think it’s fair to say that if you liked The Scarlet Pimpernel, you’ll like I Will Repay. It takes the same formula for glorious adventure and recreates it in an entirely new way. I also appreciated the fact that “true love” was shown to be seeing someone’s faults and loving them anyway, as well as the theme that vengeance belongs to the Lord. It’s a worthy addition to the series!
This post is going to be a departure from my typical writing help-related blog posts, and give all of you lovely people a quick update on where I’m at in the writing process, and what I have planned for the future. I’ve been thinking about doing this post for a while, mainly because I always enjoy author updates, and also because there are a lot of new things on the horizon for the Warriors of Aralan series. Pull up a chair!
Warriors of Aralan #9
[distant sobbing because it still needs a name]
I am the worst at cooking up titles, but I’ll figure one out eventually, never fear. The exciting news is this: I’m probably about two-thirds of the way done editing/rewriting/working out all the kinks, and, (Lord willing), it’ll come out sometime later this year! [confetti]
A Light in the Shadows, and Freedom from the Darkness
I owe everyone a bit of an apology here. Since publication, I’ve never really felt right about either of these books, and I plan to revise them in the near future, then release them again. Originally, they were meant to be one book... and after this revision, they might be. (In the meantime, however, feel free to check out any of the other Warriors of Aralan books.)
A Warriors of Aralan Short Story Collection
[throws more confetti]
I’ve been working on a short story collection to offer for free to all my wonderful newsletter subscribers. It’s not ready yet, but it will have three stories—one that explains why Norwynnd has guard towers, the one that I wrote last Christmas titled His Favorite Rakkaus Story, and one that’s still in the works. All three will be from different eras of Aralan’s history, and I can’t wait to offer it to you guys.
An Expansion to the Warriors of Aralan Series
Last but certainly not least… [drum roll] … I’ve finished writing the Warriors of Aralan series, but I have a couple “side series,” in the works: one that takes place in ancient Aralan, and one that takes place in Eclon, starting about the time of Warriors of Aralan #9. They’ll be short—only two or three books each, but they’ll flesh out the world of Aralan even more. It’s already come so far from the days of Branwen’s Quest, and I can’t believe how much it’s grown. [grabs a tissue for happy book parent tears]
So, folks, there you have it… a peek into the insanity that’s my brain. I don’t have definite dates for any of this yet, but I thought I’d give you a preview of what’s to come for the Warriors of Aralan series.
June's reading brought the completion of Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, and Crowning Heaven by Emily Hayse. The first was a rewarding (if long) read, the second, probably the most piratey book I've ever read, and the third, a familiar high fantasy tale about a young queen who suddenly finds herself leading a war between two countries.
If you like thoughtful books, this month's list is for you!
My rating: ★★★★
Little Dorrit is chock full of everything that makes a Dickens novel a Dickens novel. Witty (albeit lengthy) prose, vivid characters, the intricate plot of his later works, sharp satire, an unflinching portrayal of the lowest rungs of society, and a wry sense of humor. In short, it delivered everything I’ve come to know and love about his writing.
The title character, Little Dorrit, (otherwise known as Amy), is a beautiful example of a strong, morally upright female character that doesn’t come across as a goody-two-shoes. She wasn’t loud, and she showed her fear, but she spent the first twenty or so years of her quiet existence tirelessly waiting on the family that never knew what they had. She was the glue that held them all together. Her father, captive in the Marshalsea debtors’ prison, couldn’t take care of himself—Little Dorrit did. Her brother couldn’t hold down a job, but she never stopped trying to find him new ones. Her sister was loud, impetuous, and ungrateful, but Little Dorrit was the anchor that kept her from drifting too far on the stormy seas of life. She even worked for her living as a seamstress, and never considered it a shameful thing, even if the rest of her family did.
Arthur Clennam, on the other hand, had known a very different upbringing from the Child of the Marshalsea. He grew up in mortal terror of a God that would send small boys to eternal Damnation, with never a mention of the merciful Father of the fatherless, the Friend to the weak, the Healer of hurts. God is a just God, but He is also not willing that any should perish. Mrs. Clennam’s religion missed the latter part. Because of all this, he grew into a saddened and disillusioned man that thought he was beyond all happiness in this life. He had a good heart on the whole, but his mother’s own dark view of the world (and by result Arthur’s), stood in stark contrast to the quiet faith shown by Little Dorrit.
But the two main characters were far from the only well developed ones! It took me quite a while to read this book, but it never took me long to remember a character that has been out of the running for a while, because Dickens always made sure there was something memorable about them. Flora couldn’t finish a single sentence without starting a brand-new thought. Mr. Pancks bore a remarkable resemblance to a steam tugboat. Riguad was always easy to pick out of a crowd because when he smiled, his nose always came down over his mustache, and his mustache always went up under his nose. Dickens gave each and every character some small quirk, which made them unique.
The only reason I gave it four stars instead of five is because it didn’t quite swallow me up—I cared about the characters, but it was missing that indefinable something that makes a book “unputdownable”—and when a book misses that, and is also really long, it can drag a bit. Stylistically, the book was perfection... I just never fell head-over-heels in love with it. Content includes a smattering of language, drinking, a suicide, and implied domestic abuse, but that’s about it.
In closing, Little Dorrit tells a story of contrasts. Freedom vs. imprisonment, the rich vs. the poor, the folly of putting faith in appearances, and discovering, (for better or worse), what those appearances hide. Little Dorrit must have been groundbreaking at the time it was written, and even today it’s a breath of fresh air. Just because everyone does it, or “it is what it is,” or even looks right doesn’t mean it is right, and it certainly doesn’t mean it can’t be changed.
Today is a great day. "Why?" you ask. Because I get to present to you one of the best books I've read this year: The Electrical Menagerie, by Mollie E. Reeder. This book is one wild ride from beginning to end, and absolutely impossible to put down! To celebrate its release (which is today!) I've invited over the two main characters and their author for an interview. (But shhh, don't tell Carthage and Huxley about Mollie—they have no idea they're in a book. *wink wink*) After that, you can find my review of The Electrical Menagerie. Trust me, you don't want to miss out on this one!
The Electrical Menagerie, one-of-a-kind robotic roadshow, is bankrupt.
Sylvester Carthage, illusionist and engineer, has the eccentric imagination the Menagerie needs to succeed creatively — but none of the people skills. Fast-talking Arbrook Huxley, meanwhile, has all the savvy the Menagerie needs to succeed commercially — but none of the scruples.
To save their show, Carthage & Huxley risk everything in a royal talent competition, vying for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to perform for the Future Celestial Queen. In this stardust-and-spark-powered empire of floating islands and flying trains, The Electrical Menagerie's bid at fame and fortune means weathering the glamorous and cutthroat world of critics, high society, and rival magicians — but with real conspiracy lurking beneath tabloid controversy, there’s more at stake in this contest than the prize.
Behind the glittery haze of flash paper and mirrors, every competitor has something to hide… and it’s the lies Carthage & Huxley tell each other that may cost them everything.
1.) Hello, Carthage and Huxley, and welcome! We're excited to have the producers of The Electrical Menagerie here today. Would you mind introducing yourselves?
Huxley: I’m A.Q. Huxley, producer and stage manager. My colleague, Mr. Sylvester Carthage.
Carthage: I’m the illusionist and the engineer — I built everything you see in the show.
Huxley: My wheelhouse is whatever you don’t see in the show. Location permits. Insurance. Credit rating. You know. The glamorous stuff. No autographs, please.
2.) What's it like, producing The Electrical Menagerie?
Carthage: Invigorating… exhausting.
Huxley: An adventure.
Carthage: Aye, the kind of adventure I dreamed about when I was a boy. Traveling the skies aboard a train. New faces and new places every day. Seeing the world.
Huxley: I’ll admit that living aboard the train has taken some adjustment. I grew up on acreage. It feels strange opening my window to nothing but stars. There are days when I miss good old terra firma. But I wouldn’t trade this life.
3.) Carthage, how do you feel about working with Huxley as a business partner? Does he make a good one?
Carthage: Mr. Huxley is… brazen. He does things differently than I would do them. But I confess his audacity is catching. He has a way of talking that I don’t have — I’m glad I don’t have to do all the talking.
4.) Well Huxley, how do you feel about working with Carthage as a business partner? (We have to make things fair and even here, even if there are rumors of contest sabotage going around.)
Huxley: He’s right, we have different ways of doing things. Mr. Carthage is an enigma; I usually have no idea what he’ll do next. Yesterday, he pulled an electrical rabbit out of his hat at the breakfast table. I almost choked on my toast. He laughed about it for half an hour.
5.) To wrap it up, how good do you think your chances are at winning the contest?
Carthage: I will stand onstage at the palace on Celestia. Some part of me has known that forever. With willpower, and ingenuity, The Electrical Menagerie will make it all the way to the end.
Huxley: And he calls me audacious? But he’s right. This contest won’t be easy — look at our competitors! But we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t think we could win. And we aren’t concerned about that so-called “sabotage” you mentioned. I’m sure there’s no grand conspiracy lurking around the corner. This is a talent show. What’s the worst that could happen?
If April was an extremely productive reading month, May was average. I only finished three books, despite the fact that, (or maybe because of), I was also reading Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens the whole time. And so, I bring to you three reviews: one for the Phoenix Fiction Anthology (a collection of short stories by four awesome independent authors), one for Dissociate (the third book in a powerful ongoing series), and one for Where the Woods Grow Wild (Author Book Club's May read, and the first indie book I ever read, and re-read).
The independent author community is strong with this post. If you're looking for recommendations towards that end, look no further.
Phoenix Fiction Anthology
Kyle Robert Shultz, J.E. Purrazzi, E.B. Dawson, Beth Wangler
My rating: ★★★★
Kyle Robert Shultz
First up in the Phoenix Fiction Anthology is a retelling of the minotaur-and-labyrinth myth from Greek mythology. It’s carried off with Shultz’s characteristic sense of humor and imagination, but some of the mythological elements came off a little too strong for me. For example the gods and goddesses were explained to be very much human (if immortal), but their behavior didn’t stray far from their original mythological counterparts. Still, it was a light-hearted beginning to the anthology, and I enjoyed getting inside the head of a minotaur for the first time in my life. xD
Our next stop is a wildly creative take on futuristic Japan. Stealing Life is probably the most intense one out of the four, but I enjoyed it. There’s just something about Purrazzi’s writing that’s like watching a movie in your head, and this short story is no exception. Personally, I found it a little creepy, but in a good way. It centers around people doing things with science that they never should have, and asks serious questions about life and death.
I’d been looking forward to reading this one for a while, and was not disappointed! It’s a dystopian adventure told through multiple POVs, following one man’s journey to the realization that he’s been fighting the wrong war all along. Each of the POV characters were unique, and I found myself chuckling more than once while reading the descriptions of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. (After all, don’t we all know people like that?) And even though the story wrapped up nicely, I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing more of Caleb Weiss in the future. :P
The Lake of Living Water
Last up is an imaginative retelling of the Biblical account of the Fall, in a fictional universe. I loved the comfortable form of narration, as if the main character was telling you the story themselves. I think it takes real talent to make a perfect world interesting—and Wangler pulled it off. The synopsis says it’ll leave you feeling hopeful and refreshed, and it does. The Fall was not the end. One day Aia shall repair what was rent.
April was an extremely productive reading month for me. I don't know whether it was my Goodreads challenge saying I was [gasp] one book behind schedule after spending a month on Les Mis, or the fact that some of these are short stories, but at the end of it I had too many reads to fit into one blog graphic. The five on the picture above are only the full-length novels I read. In addition to Messenger, North and South, Son, Little Women, and The Electrical Menagerie, I also read Arbrook Huxley and the Star-Crossed Lovers, and The Lady of Thorns, both of which being short stories, are available for free by signing up for their authors' respective newsletters.
My rating: ★★★★
Odd as it is, I feel like Messenger did a better job of hearkening back to The Giver than Gathering Blue, merely by putting us inside the head of another likeable male protagonist. Matty, (Matt, in the previous book), is almost all grown up now, but beginning to discover something about himself that frightens him. Something that he doesn’t understand—something that could potentially effect great change in his world.
Other than that, Messenger’s plot follows an entirely different trajectory than that of its predecessors. In the previous two books things were bad, and things that seemed good were not really very good at all. There’s a growing sense of unease—a dull horror that things are not what they seem—building up to a better ending. With Messenger, things start out just the way they should. Life is good in the Village. People share, and don’t discriminate between others just because they’re disabled in some way or another. From there, it gradually travels downhill. The mysterious Trade Mart has people trading away their inner selves and becoming selfish, and only receiving silly stuff in return, like velvet-covered furniture, an improved complexion, or an old slot machine that spits out candy. But what can be done about it? Trades are forever. That's where Matty comes in.
Matty is like Jonas in a lot of ways. He’s just beginning to grow up, and realize that there is more to the world than meets the eye. He’s good-hearted, and willing to sacrifice himself for others if necessary. He’s even beginning to experience the stirring of new power within himself, just like Jonas—Jonas could “see beyond,” The Giver could “hear beyond,” and Matty—well, he can fix a frog. (His words, not mine, folks.) He can heal things just by touch. His old friend Kira has the almost supernatural gift for weaving, and Thomas for carving. Matty can heal.
That healing power makes the climax of this book spectacular, and I’ll leave it at that. I noticed that it is a little brief this read-through, but it utterly wrecked me the first time I read it. Prepare yourself for feels—that’s all I have to say. :P
If you liked The Giver, I think you'll like Messenger. As always, Lowry builds the suspense until the very end, and leaves me wanting more.
1 a : good name or public esteem : reputation
b : a showing of usually merited respect : recognition : pay honor to our founder
2 : privilege: had the honor of joining the captain for dinner
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, honor can be defined as a good name, the act of showing respect, or simply a privilege—a privilege to serve, or to be in the presence of someone greater than oneself.
If you’ve seen my blog post My Writing Testimony, you’ll know that I haven’t always honored God with my writing. For a long time I was in denial—I didn’t think that God could possibly use me—which is of course complete and utter nonsense. God can do whatever He wants. Still, I was a little selfish. I wanted to hang on to the gift He’d given me a little bit longer, and write the stories that I wanted to write. Besides, adding my faith into an already personal thing scared me.
What I didn’t know then was the fact that God has given us our gifts for a reason, and that reason is always to serve Him. He’s the author and finisher of our faith, and as such He always has and always will be the best storyteller in the universe. On the day that Jesus rose from the grave He gave us the biggest plot twist in the history of plot twists. Because of that, I want my pen to mirror whatever poor reflection of His glory that it can.
I have to apologize for the late post. I should've planned ahead a bit better, but as it was, the alignment of holidays really did my blogging schedule in. (No one would have taken it seriously if I posted it yesterday, anyway.) :P As usual, March brought its share of awesome reads my way. Love's Labour's Won and Discover are both short stories available for free through their authors' respective newsletters, Les Misérables was a beautiful but soul-crushing experience that quickly became one of my new favorites, and Gathering Blue was a re-read as I begin to revisit one amazing series.
Love's Labour's Won
Kyle Robert Shultz
My rating: ★★★★
One of the best things about anything Shultz writes is the wonderful sense of humor, and Love’s Labour’s Won is no exception. It stares sickly-sweet love tropes straight in the face, and while making subtle fun of them, Cordelia delivered a truth bomb during the climax that pulled it all together beautifully. (Cordelia, by the way, is quickly becoming one of my favorite fantasy heroines ever.) xD In short, Love’s Labour’s Won delivered the characteristic Beaumont and Beasley goodness we’ve all come to know and love.
My rating: ★★★★
Well that was adorable. I’m a sucker for sweet love stories, and this one delivered, let me tell you. *dies of cuteness* It tells the story of how Maggie and Ethan met—two characters that will be familiar if you’ve read any of the other Allegiance books. Stories like these are so refreshing in a world where lust gets labeled love so often. Ethan loves Maggie for who she is, and Maggie loves Ethan for who he is, end of story. I also liked getting to know a little more about Ethan’s past! I already knew some of Maggie’s, but this short story colored in Ethan’s character a little more vividly.
All in all, Discover is a quick read, a sweet read, and a worthy addition to the world introduced with the rest of the Allegiance series. ^_^
While deciding on the topic for my next blog post, I realized that it had been quite a while since I did one for writing prompts. We writers are always looking for ideas, so I thought I'd add a fifth installation to the ongoing series. After all, there's nothing like a good writing prompt to spark the imagination!
The following prompts are a little wacky, a little weird, and a few even turn cliches on their heads. They also cross several potential genres. Enjoy!
Writing Prompt #2
“I am small but mighty.”
“Yeah okay, mmm-hmm. I’d be more inclined to believe that if you hadn’t just run from the toaster.”
Welcome to Katelyn Buxton Books! I'm a Christian author and blogger, with a passion for writing stories that are not just enjoyable, but also lead people to Jesus. Feel free to look around, and enjoy your stay!