Category Archives: Sofia’s Tune

The Naming of a Character

Getting It Right

It’s one of the tricky things about writing historical novels. While contemporary novelists probably devote plenty of time in choosing a novel’s characters’ names, when you are

via Flickr by Jack Dorsey

via Flickr by Jack Dorsey

writing historical, particularly in the ancient time frame I’m using now, you sometimes have to choose between names a reader can pronounce in his/her head and names that were actually in use at the time.

I was in the middle of this task when I decided to run my proposed names by the people who follow my Facebook page. Here is what I said:

Readers: Please help! In the novel I’m working on I have to name some children. Always hard to strike a balance with names readers are familiar with and those that have somewhat of an ancient Irish feel. In this case I’m trying to keep them somewhat similar to the actual names in history. How do you feel about these: Egan, Keeva, Meredit, Shona. I’ve tried to use a spelling that helps the reader hear the correct sound. In order they are boy, girl, girl, girl.

The feedback on that post was very helpful. If you offered your opinion, thank you! If you did not, but would like to, feel free to comment below.

Names in My Past Novels

I thought you might like to hear how I came up with other character names. Some of them were quite simple, but here was my thinking:

For Brigid of Ireland, I obviously already had the main character. The original publisher of that book included a pronunciation guide at the front. For instance, Aine is AWN-ya. (Some readers of Pages of Ireland have asked about that one.) My rule for that book was that the names that were fairly easy to pronounce were fictional, and many others that were not were historical.

Grace's Pictures by Cindy ThomsonFor Grace’s Pictures, I thought of Grace O’Malley, the sixteenth-century Irish pirate. I don’t know why. The characters aren’t really alike, but the name stayed with me, and it’s a beautiful name that taken literally reminds one that there by the grace we go. Owen is a name of Celtic origin, and I was influenced by a former youth pastor my son was mentored by. The Parker family was explained in the book: the children were named after trees, which Grace thought was funny…trees in the park? But their mother was an avid gardner. Reverend Clarke got his name because I once knew a Reverend Clark. The other names in the book came to me for no particular reason.

 

For Annie’s Stories I named Annie for Annie Moore, the first immigrant to come through Ellis Island.

The mark used by Annie's father, explained in the novel.

The mark used by Annie’s father, explained in the novel.

For her counterpart, I wanted a name that sounded very American. What’s more American than a president? So, I used Adams. I thought Stephen sounded appropriate for the early twentieth-century and quite American. Speaking of names, I explain in the novel about Annie’s father’s name and his pen name. Annie’s father is the source of “Annie’s stories.”

I held a contest for the naming rights for two characters in this book, but then most of the characters were already in Grace’s Pictures. So the two Eastern European sisters in the book were named that way.

For Sofia’s Tune, I had originally used Sophia, but the publisher (who later opted not to publish

Sofia's Tune by Cindy Thomson

Book Three, Ellis Island Series

this book) changed it to Sofia, which I think is more of an Italian spelling. Sofia means wisdom, and I hoped that throughout the story my character would grow in wisdom, which only comes from God. That is why I was so happy to be able to use Sophia Sing to Me, written by Irish singer/songwriter Andy Rogers. You can hear it on the book trailer found here. I believe the other characters came out of my imagination, if I remember right. But, oh, the dog? Nothing earth-shattering, but I think it was a name I heard in high school and thought it was Italian but not overly common.

I often consult baby name web sites when searching for a name. I love these because they often give the meaning of the name. If you look some of my character names up, you might understand why I gave a certain character a specific name. For instance, in Brigid of Ireland there is a druid named Bram. This is a derivative of Abraham, the father of many. While we don’t specifically know if Bram’s heart was changed in the story, he represented the old beliefs that were about to change for many of the Irish people. Another example. Back to Aine. Her name means “splendor, radiance, brilliance.” As you might remember from Brigid of Ireland, she had leprosy and was healed.

Names Are Hard/Names Are Fun

That pretty much sums it up for me. I spend maybe too much time deciding on character names, but I do love the process. Let me know what you think!

 

99 Cent Books to Start the New Year!

Great Savings on Ebooks!

Grace's Pictures by Cindy Thomson

Book One, Ellis Island Series

What better way to start 2017 than with a great deal on some ebooks? My publisher has Grace’s Pictures on sale all month, along with some other great reads. Only 99 cents in January! Click here for the deal.

Grace’s Pictures is the first book of the Ellis Island series, so if you haven’t gotten started, now’s a great time.

But Wait, There’s More!

Sofia's Tune by Cindy Thomson

Book Three, Ellis Island Series

There is also a sale on Sofia’s Tune (book 3 in the Ellis Island series.) But you have to hurry with this one. The price is 99 cents for a couple of days, then goes up to 1.99 for a few days, and then back to its regular price of 2.99, which seriously is still a good deal.

Sofia’s Tune (Ellis Island Book 3) <<<Click this link for the deal.

 

That’s Not All!

a-house-for-agnes-cover-free-tag-picDid you know there is a sequel to the series? It’s short, but helps to explain how Mrs. Hawkins came to open Hawkins House, the setting of all three novels. And it’s FREE! You can’t do better than free. All you need to do is sign up for newsletter. You probably saw a pop-up, but if not, click here.

Happy Reading!

photo by Paul Bence

photo by Paul Bence

Sofia Wins The Clash!

Sofia's Tune by Cindy Thomson
Conqueror ButtonThanks to all of you who voted. I understand the competition was fierce. But since it was a competition between books, it was friendly. I think the other books had some great covers and are worthy of checking out.

Here is the link to the announcement.

Why a Competition?

The winner gets free exposure on several blogs, and hopefully new readers will discover the book. There is literally an ocean of new books published every year, so it’s hard to get noticed. As an author, nothing makes me sadder than to write a book no one knows about. I encourage people, whenever they find an author they enjoy reading, to write a review for Amazon, Goodreads, and Barne & Noble. And to tell their friends.

Thank You!

For voting and for reading! I write my stories for YOU!

A New Place to Meet Authors

The Ides of Books-author meet and greetThe Ides of Books

It’s a Facebook group that has a party every 15th of the month. How cool is that? You can interact with the authors, read excerpts, and even get a free PDF that contains the first chapters of the featured authors’ books.

Here are two links for you.

The Facebook Group page

This Sunday’s Party Event Page

I’ll Be There!

I’ll be interacting off and on, but I’m on the group page today (Thursday, Nov.12) and I’ll be chatting live and doing giveaways (yep, free stuff!) this Sunday, Nov. 15, from 4-5PM EST. I hope you can make it, but if not come next month on the 15th!

Changing Your Tune

I recorded a radio interview yesterday. We talked a bit about the theme of my new book. Sofia’s Tune has a musical theme to be sure.

Antonio is a vaudeville pianist and church organist who dreams of becoming a concert musician. Sofia’s eccentric aunt harbors some records with the emblem of his master’s voice. And, everyone thinks Antonio’s dog resembles the dog on the labels. He is such a loyal pet, always listening for his master’s voice.

There is a famous musician in the story. He would have been in New York City around that time, and he meets Antonio in a manner that he probably met other struggle musicians.

There is also a family heirloom of sorts. An instrument that Antonio’s father, who had wanted his son to become a musician, had brought over from Italy. And Antonio lives in the building on Varick Street that formerly housed the Steinway & Sons piano manufacturer.

So that’s Sofia’s Tune on the surface. Very musical indeed.His Master's Voice

But with most novels, there is more to it than meets the eye. It’s about changing one’s tune. What does that mean to you? Do you know where the phrase originated? Sofia knows. 😉

Enter to Win Sofia’s Tune!

I’ve begun a Goodreads giveaway for one of the first copies of Sofia’s Tune, Book Three of the Ellis Island Series. Goodreads is where readers hang out, so if you aren’t a member, you’ll want to check it out–reviews, giveaways, book clubs, discussions…

 

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Sofia's Tune by Cindy Thomson

Sofia’s Tune

by Cindy Thomson

Giveaway ends November 01, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Cover Reveal!

Here is the cover to my new book, Sofia’s Tune, which will be published in November, the final book in the Ellis Island series following Grace’s Pictures and Annie’s Stories.

A Little Background

I directed this cover myself, it was designed by the talented Kim Draper, and photographed by my daughter-in-law Kelsey Thomson. The model is Kelsey’s long-time friend Kaitlan Livingston. I rented the costume from a local shop.

The Meaning

The dog in the story is named Luigi. He plays such an important role, he had to be on the cover. The music represents “tune,” the direction of our lives, the manner in which we orchestrate our plans.

Please Leave a Comment Here

I would love to know what you think! (Description below)

 

Sofia's Tune by Cindy Thomson

 

In Sofia’s Tune, we meet Sofia Falcone, a young woman who has been living in New York only a short time when she is stunned to discover a family secret, one that soon sends her beloved mother into a mental institution. Scrambling to keep her job and care for her mother, Sofia is convinced confronting the past will heal all wounds, but her old world Italian family wants to keep the past in the past.

During this time, she encounters Antonio, a Vaudeville pianist with a street-smart dog, seeking to discover why his father was mysteriously killed. Their crossed paths uncover a frightening underworld in Little Italy. Bringing the truth to light may cost Sofia’s mother’s sanity, Antonio’s career, and the livelihoods of countless immigrants. Change is on the horizon, but it may not bring what they expect.

The Journey to Bring Readers Sofia’s Tune

Cindy Thomson's novel Sofia's Tune is coming!A Canceled Book Contract

It happens far more often in the publishing industry than you might think. At first I was crushed, but it happened a few years ago and I’ve recovered. 😉

It was a business decision, but one that I felt was unfair to readers who liked the series and wanted to see it wrapped up. Grace’s Pictures was hailed by Library Journal as,

GracePicforweb“…a delightful story of overcoming obstacles. Lynn N. Austin fans will savor this historical fiction series debut.”

Grace’s Pictures at this writing has received 143 customer reviews on Amazon, nearly half 5 stars.

 

 

 

 

Annie’s Stories was a 2014 Lime Award Nominee from the Christian Manifesto and Romantic Times gave it a 4-star review. And on Amazon 88% of reviewers gave it four or five stars.

Diane on Amazon wrote:

If you enjoy historical fiction and Christian fiction, Annie’s Stories is a must-read for you. I felt like I was catching up with old friends, and made some new ones that I hope to meet up with again the near future.”

I think readers should be able to catch up with what’s happening in 1903 with these characters and to meet new ones as well.Annie's Stories by Cindy Thomson

So Why Was the Book Canceled?

Low sales. That is the bottom line. And in this market it is hard to get noticed. I don’t blame my publisher at all for the low sales. They marketed and got it reviewed all over. In fact, I received the most publisher support with these two books than I’ve ever had in my publishing career. Besides low sales, Christian publishers are publishing fewer historical titles these days, and bigger selling authors have become available when their publishers shut down or cut back.

I don’t blame myself either. I worked really hard to get the word out there. In fact, I don’t blame anyone! It’s just the way it is.

Why This is Not as Bad as it Sounds!

Authors have many more options these days. I’m going to publish Sofia’s Tune myself. BUT, having experienced superior editing and outstanding cover design, I will not be content to do a quick and inferior job. And it takes money to publish a great quality book. So I decided to see if readers would like to help with this effort, and I got a great response on Pubslush. I’m continuing the campaign here on my web site until I send the book off to an editor and a cover designer. Here is how you can be a part for as little as $5.