Names of the Week


Alternate Spelling: Alexandra (Alessandra is the Italian and Spanish Version)
Nickname: Alex, Ales (Pronounced Alice), Ally/Allie
Pronunciation: Ah-Leh-Sahn-Dra
Origin: Italian
Meaning: Defender of Mankind
Well-Known Alessandras: Alessandra Cullen (The Devil’s Advocate), Alessandra Ambrosio (Model), Alessandra Torresani (Actress), Alessandra De Rossi (Actress)



Alternate Spelling: Alena, Eleena, Eleana
Nickname: El; Lena
Pronunciation: Ee-Lay-Na
Origin: Italian
Meaning: Shining Light
Well-Known Elenas: Elena Gilbert (The Vampire Diaries, L.J. Smith); Elena Lincoln (Fifty Shades of Grey, E.L. James); Elena “Helene” Vasilyevna Kuragina (War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy); Elena Galathynius Havilliard (Throne of Glass Series, Sarah J. Maas); Elena Jane “Ellie” Goulding (Singer)



Alternate Spelling: Horacio
Nickname: Ray
Pronunciation: Huh-Ray-Shee-Oh
Origin: Italian
Meaning: Man of Time
Well-Known Horatios: Horatio (Hamlet, Shakespeare); Horatio Hornblower (Hornblower, C.S. Forester), Horatio Caine (CSI: Miami); Horatio Alger (Novelist)



Alternate Spelling: N/A
Nickname: None that I am aware of
Pronunciation: See-En-Ah
Origin: Italian
Meaning: Reddish Brown
Well-Known Siennas: Sienna Martin (The Lifeboat Clique, Kathy Parks); Sienna Blake (Hollyoaks); Sienna Rosa Diana Miller (Actress and Model); Sienna Tiggy Guillory (Actress)



Alternate Spelling: Enzio
Nickname: N/A
Pronunciation: N-zoh
Origin: Italian
Meaning: Short Form of Lorenzo
Well-Known Enzos: Enzo Valenciano (The Young Elites, Marie Lu); Enzo (The Vampire Diaries); Enzo Knol (Dutch Youtuber); Enzo Anselmo Ferrari (Founder of Ferrari)


Alternate Spelling: Franncesca; Fransesca
Nickname: Frankie, Frannie
Pronunciation: Fran-Ches-kah
Origin: Italian
Meaning: Free
Well-Known Francescas: Francesca (Torment, Lauren Kate); Francesca Altifiorla (Kept in the Dark, Anthony Trollope); Francesca “Franky” Fitzgerald (Skins UK); Francesca Isabella Simon (Author); Francesca Gregorini (Writer/Director)


Alternate Spelling: Izabella; Isabela
Nickname: Bella; Issy; Isa
Pronunciation: Iz-ah-bell-ah
Origin: Italian
Meaning: Devoted to God
Well-Known Isabellas: Isabella “Bella” Swan, a fictional character in Stephenie Meyer’s, Twilight, series; Isabella Knightly (Emma, Jane Austen); Isabella Thorpe (Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen); Isabella Linton (Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte); Isabella (Measure for Measure, Shakespeare)


Alternate Spelling: Marra
Nickname: N/A
Pronunciation: Mar-ah
Origin: Italian
Meaning: Of the Sea; Bitter
Well-Known Maras: Mara Jade Skywalker (Star Wars Extended Universe); Mara (Clockwork Forest, Doug Macleod); Mara Amrita Dyer (Mara Dyer Trilogy, Michelle Hodkins); Mara Carlyle (Spontaneous, Aaron Starmer); Mara Wilson (Actress and Author); Mara Liasson (Journalist)


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Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, 2001

Fellowship of the Ring.jpg

December 19, 2001
Dir. Peter Jackson
Prod. Barrie M. Osborne, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Tim Sanders
Genre: Epic High Fantasy
Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Sean Bean, Ian Holm, Andy Serkis

I love Lord of the Rings. The whole series is amazing and it’s definitely what kicked off my love for New Zealand.

I’ve seen the first film in the trilogy more times than I can count and think it’s absolutely brilliant. I recently bought the extended edition (finally) and have really enjoyed seeing all the behind the scenes stuff that went into making the film.

If I were to ask you to name a film (or several) that you thought was truly great I’m sure everyone would have a different answer. However, I don’t think anyone can deny that Fellowship of the Ring is definitely on that list.

Fellowship brings together an intriguing plot, fascinating characters, and a beautiful landscape and creates what is probably one of the best films of all time.

The film follows Frodo Baggins, a hobbit from The Shire, as he embarks on a quest to destroy an all powerful ring. A ring that could bring an end to Middle Earth if it fell into the wrong hands. With the help of several companies along the way, Frodo takes great steps on his journey to saving all of Middle Earth.

Now, as I mentioned before Lord of the Rings is full of interesting characters and in this first film we meet the original ‘fellowship’: Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Gandalf, Aragorn, Boromir, Legolas, and Gimli.

All of these characters are very different and not only do they each bring something unique to the fellowship, but they bring something unique to the screen that makes the film all the more enjoyable.

On the surface each character appears very simple, Frodo is the hero, Sam the loyal companion, Merry and Pippin the comic relief, Aragorn the warrior, and Boromir the traitor. But they are all so much more than that. Each character, from Gimli to Gandalf, offers comedic moments and heart wrenching moments; moments where you admire their bravery and moments where you want to slap them for their stupidity (you know who I’m talking about).

However, even at their lowest moments you can’t help wanting these characters to succeed. Maybe not at everything they attempt to do (like, you know, stealing the ring from Frodo), but at most things. You want to see what happens next, where these characters are going, what they’re going to encounter.

And what they encounter is a whole lot of adventure and a whole lot of beauty as they travel across Middle Earth aka New Zealand.

Over the years my dream destination has changed drastically. As a child of course I wanted to go to Disney World. Then as I got older I wanted to go to England and Scotland, two places my family comes from.

Well now I’ve been to Disney World and I’d still love to go to England Scotland one day, for many years now I’ve wanted nothing more than to go to New Zealand. And Lord of the Rings played a big part in that.

Fellowship was my first memorable view of New Zealand and every time I watch the film and the ones that follow I desperately want to walk the same paths the fellowship follows over mountains and trails.

 New Zealand is Middle Earth, it is magical and mysterious and full of creatures that don’t exist anywhere else.

Kiwi 2.jpg

Fellowship of the Ring is a cinematic masterpiece. Not only does it contain all the things required to make a good film (interesting plot, characters, etc.), but it also contains something that keeps the audience completely entranced. I don’t quite know how to describe it, but anyone who has watched Lord of the Rings will know what I’m talking about.

There’s just something about these films, and Fellowship in particular, that keeps you watching over and over again.

Near the start of this review I called this film one of the best films of all time and I stand by that statement. There are many films that could fall into that category, but for all the reasons stated above and many more, I think you can see why Fellowship belongs there.

What do you think of Fellowship of the Ring? Which character is your favourite?

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Names of the Week


Nickname: Andy; Andie
Pronunciation: An-dree-uh
Origin: Italian
Meaning: Brave
Well-Known Andreas: Andrea (Yesterday’s Child, Barbara Wood), Andrea (The Walking Dead), Andrea ‘Andie’ McPhee (Dawson‘s Creek), Andrea ‘Andy’ McNally (Rookie Blue), Andrea Joy ‘AJ’ Cook (Actress), Andrea Russett (Youtuber)


Alternate Spelling: Carole
Pronunciation: Care-uhl
Origin: French
Meaning: Song of Happiness
Well-Known Carols: Carol Danvers (Marvel Comics), Carol Peletier (The Walking Dead), Carol Ross (ER), Carol Baldwin (Coronation Street), Carol Higgins Clark (Novelist), Carol Ann Sheilds (Novelist)


Alternate Spelling: Glen
Pronunciation: Glen
Origin: Celtic
Meaning: From the Wooded Valley
Well-Known Glenns: Glenn Rhee (The Walking Dead), Glenn Masters (Star of Babylon, Barbara Wood), Glenn Danzig (“The Misfits”), Glenn Worf (Country Music Bassist), Glenn Lee Beck (American TV Host)


Pronunciation: Her-shul
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: Deer
Well-Known Hershels: Hershel Greene (The Walking Dead), Hershel Agasa (“Case Closed”), Hershel McGriff (NASCAR Driver), Hershel Layton (“Professor Layton”


Nickname: Judy; Jude
Pronunciation: Joo-dith
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: He Will be Praised
Well-Known Judiths: Judith Grimes (The Walking Dead), Judith Miller (American Journalist), Judith Butler (American Philosopher), Judith Shakespeare (Daughter of William Shakespeare)


Alternate Spelling:
Nickname: Liz
Pronunciation: lih-zee
Origin: Isreal
Meaning: Form of Elizabeth
Well-Known Lizzies: Lizzie Samuels (The Walking Dead), Lizzie McGuire (Lizzie McGuire), Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Bennet (Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen), Lizzie Lakely (Emmerdale), Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Lillian Marvelly (New Zealand Singer-Songwriter), Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Mickery (British Writer)


Pronunciation: Merle
Origin: England; France
Meaning: Blackbird
Well-Known Merles: Merle Dixon (The Walking Dead), Merle Haggard (Country Singer), Merle Evans (Circus Band Conductor)


Alternate Spelling: Micah
Pronunciation: mee-kuh; my-kuh
Origin: Isreal
Meaning: Humble
Well-Known Mikas: Mika Samuels (The Walking Dead), Mika Grainger (Waterloo Road), Mika Boorem (American Actress), Mika Abdalla (American Actress), Mika Brzezinski (TV Host and Journalist), Mika (Singer)


Pronunciation: mor-guhn
Origin: Celtic
Meaning: By the Sea
Well-Known Morgans: Morgan Jones (The Walking Dead), Morgan le Fay ‘Morgana’ (King Arthur Legend), Morgan Flynn (“The Sims 3”), Morgan York (American Actress), Morgan Freeman (American Actor)


Nickname: Ricky
Pronunciation: rik
Origin: England
Meaning: Brave Ruler; Diminutive of Richard
Well-Known Ricks: Rick Grimes (The Walking Dead), Rick Blaine (Casablanca), Rick (“Portal”), Rick Riordan (American Author), Rick Springfield (Australian Singer)


Alternate Spelling: Sacha
Pronunciation: Sah-shuh
Origin: Greece
Meaning: Defender of Mankind; Diminutive of Alexander (Russia)
Well-Known Sashas: Sasha (The Walking Dead), Sasha (Absolute Friends, John le Carre), Sasha Braus (Attack on Titan), Sasha Filippov (Enemy at the Gates), Sasha Issenberg (American Author), Sasha Skenderika (Bosnian Poet)


Pronunciation: Shane
Origin: Ireland
Meaning: Gift From God
Well-Known Shanes: Shane Walsh (The Walking Dead), Shane Collins (Morganville Vampire, Rachel Caine), Shane McCutcheon (The L Word), Shane Botwin (Weeds), Shane Edward Smeltz (New Zealand Footballer), Shane Dawson (Youtuber)


Pronunciation: tar-uh
Origin: Gaelic
Meaning: Tower; Hillside
Well-Known Taras: Tara Chambler (The Walking Dead), Tara Duncan (Tara Duncan, Sophia Audouin-Mamikoian), Tara Brennan (13 Gifts, Wendy Mass), Tara James (Chrissa Stands Strong), Tara Knowles (Sons of Anarchy), Tara Reid (American Actress), Tara Gilesbie (Apparently an Infamous Fanfiction Author)


Alternate Spelling: Tyreece; Tyrese; Tyrees
Nickname: Ty; Reese
Pronunciation: Ty-reese
Origin: America
Meaning: Enthusiastic
Well-Known Tyreeses: Tyreese (The Walking Dead), Prince Tyreese (Dirt), Tyrese Darnell Gibson (American Singer), Tyrees Allen (American Actor)

The Walking Dead returns tomorrow and I decided to celebrate with some Walking Dead names! I’ve also been celebrating quite a bit over on my other blog with a Top 10 Favourite Episodes countdown which you can find here!

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Names of the Week


Nickname: Addy
Origin: Germany
Meaning: Of Noble Kin; Nobility
Well-Known Adelaides: Adelaide Brooke (Doctor Who), Adelaide Langdon (American Horror Story), Adelaide Anne Procter (English Poet), Adelaide Crapsey (American Poet), Adelaide Clemens (Actress)


Alternate Spelling:
Nickname: Lyn
Pronunciation: Ber-lyn
Origin: Germany
Meaning: Son of Berl
Well-Known Berlyns: Berlin (Pop Band, 1980s), Ava Berlin Renner (Daughter of Jeremy Renner)
*These are the only ones I could find, but if you know of others let me know and I’ll add them to the list!*


Alternate Spelling: Elize
Nickname: El; Ellie
Pronunciation: eh-lees
Origin: Germany
Meaning: Consecrated of God
Well-Known Elises: Elise McKenna (Somewhere in Time), Elise de la Serre (“Assassin’s Creed: Unity), Elise Rainier (Insidious), Elise Neal (Actress), Elise Crombez (Model)


Alternate Spelling: Jager; Jaegar
Pronunciation: jay-ger
Origin: Germany
Meaning: Hunter
*Common Last Name**
Well-Known Jaegers: Jaeger Willis (“The Willis Clan”), Werner Jaeger (German Classicist), Hans Jaeger (Norwegian Writer), Gustav Jaeger (German Painter), August Jaeger (English Music Publisher)


Pronunciation: aw-toe
Origin: Germany
Meaning: Wealth
Well-Known Ottos: Otto Klopp (Leviathan Series, Scott Westerfeld), Otto Octavius (Marvel Comics), Otto (Sons of Anarchy), Otto Graham (Football Player), Otto von Bismarck (Politician)

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Names of the Week


Pronunciation: yer-i-ah
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: God is Light
Well-Known Uriahs: Uriah Pedrad (Divergent, Veronica Roth), Uriah Heep (David Copperfield, Charles Dickens), Uriah Shelton (Actor), Uriah Duffy (Bassist), Uriah Smith (Photographer)


Nickname: Vince
Pronunciation: Vin-sunt
Origin: England
Meaning: Conquering
Well-Known Vincents: VincentCrabbe (Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling), Vincent Nigel-Murray (Bones), Vincent LaSalle (Recess), Vincent van Gogh (Painter), Vincent D’Onofrio (Actor), Vincent ‘Vinny’ Guadagnino (Jersey Shore Personality)


Nickname: Will
Pronunciation: Will-oh
Origin: England
Meaning: Freedom; Willow Tree
Well-Known Willows: Willow Lynd (“The Sims 3”), Willow Danielle Rosenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Willow Shields (Actress), Willow Smith (Singer), Willow bay (Journalist)


Pronunciation: Zerks-eeze
Origin: Persia
Meaning: Hero Among Heroes
Well-Known Xerxes’s: Xerxes (The Gashlycrumb Tinies, Edward Gorey), Xerxes (Aladdin), Xerxes (Leader of Persia during battle of Salmis)


Pronunciation: Sar-ah; Zar-uh
Origin: France
Meaning: Light; Princess; To Blossom
Well-Known Zaras: Zara White (Need, Carire Jones), Queen Zara (The Secret History of Queen Zarah and the Zarazians, Delarivier Manley), Zara (The Mourning Bride, William Congreve), Zara Wallace (Editor), Zara Wright (Author)

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Creating Characters: Hobbies

fictional characters

Hobbies is both a fun and a frustrating part of creating characters. Honestly, trying to come up with hobbies for my characters made me feel really stupid because I just kept coming up with the same ones over and over.

Obviously you don’t want all your characters to have the same hobbies and traits because that would be boring. Not to mention incredibly unbelievable. You’ve got six characters who are all avid readers and all love to play volleyball. Unless they were all related and came from a reading/volleyball playing family, this doesn’t seem very likely does it?

Now, I wish I had some super sage advice on how to come up with unique hobbies, but I don’t. Use the internet, that’s all I can say. That’s how I come up with hobbies for my characters. I’ve included the PDF file for the Go Teen Writers Hobbies/Skills list, which is one that I use frequently, on the bottom of the post. It’s a great list and I recommend checking it out if you need help coming up with ideas.

The advice I do have though is to make your character’s hobbies diverse. You can have the stereotypical nerd kid whose hobbies include reading, doing homework, going to conventions and that’s fine (personally, I don’t have an issue with stereotypes, but that’s a post for another time). But! There’s nothing wrong with breaking stereotypes too.

Your stereotypical nerd kid could be an avid soccer player or they could love to knit or they could collect shot glasses or something like that. That’s the part of hobbies that I really enjoy, giving the characters kind of strange, unique things.

As frustrating as it can be to think of things, how awesome is it once you’ve got this character who actually has things they like doing. When those things can be incorporated into the story in various ways. It makes them seem a lot more real doesn’t it?

I’ve got a character who is really into certain types of art and whenever I see a piece of art like that I think of that character. It’s weird that something like that can make me think of a fictional character I created, but that’s just how it works and, as weird as it is, it’s a pretty cool feeling. If I feel like that then maybe one day others will too.

Imagine your character really liked black and white photography. Now imagine that your character is someone’s favourite character. Whenever this person sees black and white photography they think of your character. Maybe they even get into black and white photography themselves because of your character. How cool is that?

Hobbies are significantly harder to talk about than I thought they would be. I guess this shouldn’t really be a surprise given how difficult it was for me to come up with hobbies for my own characters, writing about it probably wouldn’t be a walk in the park.

Nonetheless, I hope you maybe found this post helpful. If not, then thanks for sticking with it anyway long enough to reach this point.

How do you come up with hobbies your characters? Do all your characters share a certain feature?


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The Walking Dead Books 1-4, Robert Kirkman

TWD Books

****Warning: This post will contain spoilers for The Walking Dead comics, issues 1-8 (books 1-4)! If you haven’t read them yet and are planning to, don’t read this!****

I had been wanting to read The Walking Dead comics for ages. I’m a huge fan of the show so when I found out my local library had all the books I’ve pretty much been reading them nonstop. And are they ever different from the show!

I already knew about a lot of stuff that happens in the comics through the magic of the internet so I knew that there would be a lot of differences. However, I wasn’t quite prepared for some of them.

For instance, Lori’s death. Totally different from the book to the show! In the show, she dies giving birth to Judith (who lives) and Carl has to shoot her in the head to make sure she doesn’t come back. In the comics, she dies during The Governor’s attack and when she falls she crushes Judith to death. I knew this was coming because I read about it online, but it was still a bit of a shock when it happened.

A lot of people have talked about why they didn’t do this on the show and instead kept Judith the “Walker Car Alarm”. Even though the show can get pretty graphic and horrific, I’m not sure they could actually show a baby (even a fake one) being crushed to death under it’s dead mother. Now she’s a toddler though so I’m not even sure Judith is safe.

Something I really wasn’t prepared for in the comics was Carol. I love Carol in the show, she is absolutely one of my favorite characters and she is so badass. In the comics however, she is… something else. First she gets together with Tyreese, then when they break up she starts hitting on Lori… and Rick… and Lori and Rick together. No really. She suggested the three of them get together and raise Carl and Sophia and the baby as a trio. This is just one of the many things she does in these books that I found kind of strange. But really, all the characters in the novels are a little strange.

I’m currently reading book five which has issues nine and ten. I know I have a lot more to go and I’m definitely going to read them because they are enjoyable. But, and this is probably the unpopular opinion, I do enjoy the show more.

Don’t get me wrong, I like both, but I feel like I can get more invested in the show. When I watch the show, I watch it for hours and I feel like I get to know the characters. Then, when a character dies, I feel something about it. If it’s a character I liked then I’m sad, if it’s a character I didn’t like then I’m glad they’re gone. But I can finish one of the books in a couple hours and when a character dies, then that’s it, I turn the page and they’re gone. I turn the page and they’re just not being drawn anymore.

I just feel like, with The Walking Dead comics, I don’t really have time to become invested in these characters like I do in the show or like I would with other comics I’ve read where the characters are in hundreds of issues.

However, that is not to say these aren’t amazing. They are. They’re different from anything I’ve read before and, while I prefer the show, I am thoroughly enjoying them and am excited to keep reading.

Have you read The Walking Dead comics? What did you think?

Buy The Walking Dead Book One on Amazon

Buy The Walking Dead Book Two on Amazon

Buy The Walking Dead Book Three on Amazon

Buy The Walking Dead Book Four on Amazon

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