What’s in a name?

Apparently, a lot of things.

Hello Readers!

I’m Ran, one of the fictional characters who helps run this press. (Melinda Kucsera is the Scribe who runs this publishing press with help from her characters. That’s why I have *posting privileges.*)

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I asked the subscribers of Melinda’s weekly newsletter adventures (which I host) to help name the species of this creature:

And Thing took that personally. In three anthologies, he and his family are taking center stage, but they don’t have a species name. I’ve never had that problem, but I’m a fictional child from a fantasy world.

“You’re lucky,” a gruff voice said from the kitchen table where the magical PC sits. (Said table is currently the office of Magical Mayhem Press.)

That damned creature was reading my mind again. How rude.

“Well? What do you think about the names our wonderful readers sent in?” I asked from the safety of the chaise lounge.

A purple-glowing hoop floated next to it, displaying my cave home and my partner in all things magical and adventurous, Papa. He lay on his stomach with his head pillowed on his arm. Papa was dead asleep, but his magic wasn’t. Some of it wound around me in shimmering green threads that tickled where they touched. I raised my hands to keep the smartphone away from it. Tech and magic didn’t mix well.

“What was the first one?” Thing hunched over the keyboard, and the white light from the screen bathed his owlish face.

I scrolled through our shared inbox on my Scribe, Melinda’s, smartphone. “Tannie suggested ‘chimera.'”

Thing punched a few keys, and the screen redrew with a ghastly creature front and center. “Google says a chimera  is ‘a fire-breathing female monster with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail.’ I don’t have goat, lion or serpent parts, nor do I breath fire. Next name.”

“You’re also not female.” His mate, Amal, elbowed him in the side. Her yellow raptorial eyes glowed with amusement.

I scowled at her owl-monkey-cat mate. What a mouthful. Yeah, they needed a species name pronto. Preferably something short that showcased Thing’s contrary nature like ‘owl-cat.’ That had a nice ring to it. So what if he and his family had opposable thumbs? Wasn’t there a sword-fighting cartoon kitty with thumbs too?

“Exactly my point.” Thing inclined his head to his mate.

“You might not breathe fire, but you do read minds whether or not the owner of said mind wants you want to.” Amal winked at her mate.

“So what? I don’t do anything with what I read.” Thing folded his arms over his chest. Below them, his feathers gave way to fur.

“It’s still not right. You shouldn’t read minds just ’cause you can.” I refused to budge on that point.

Thing’s mate, Amal, swung up onto the chaise lounge next to me using her prehensile tail. Okay, maybe I was wrong about subtracting ‘monkey’ from their name because that was a how a monkey moves. I wondered why she hadn’t just flown across the room to the chair until I saw her wings. One of them was blackened and hanging limply.

She patted my arm. “You would read minds too if you had a family to protect.”

“Maybe,” I grudingly conceded the point. “What happened to your wing?”

“I ran into some bad magic in “Spell of Wings & Glass.”” Amal shrugged. That story appears in Hidden Magic. Order your copy now.

“What’s the next name?” Thing gestured to the phone in my hands.

“Christy suggests two names, ‘Anamyphion’ and—”

Thing cut me off. “One at a time, this search engine can’t multitask.”

I glared at him. “That’s very rude. You shouldn’t interrupt people.”

Amal patted my arm again. Her hands were small since she was only about two-feet tall, but they were strong. Concern softened her hawkish face, but under her feathers and fur, she was as tough as her mate, maybe even tougher. “I like Anamphion.”

“You mean Anamy—”

Thing cut me off again. This time there was a devilish twinkle in his owlish eyes. He was doing that on purpose, the feathered meanie. “According to this Google person, the prefix ‘Ana’ means ‘up,’ ‘against,’ or ‘back’.” Thing inclined his head. He seemed to like that.  

“‘Am’ means love in latin,” Amal added with a wink and a nudge that had me laughing.

How she could read the screen from eight feet away baffled me. But we might have a winner here, so I kept my mouth shut. 

“But ‘Amy-‘ is a science-y word about something called a ‘saccharide,’ according to Google,” their son, Crispin added. He stood on a ladder-backed chair by his father to see the screen.

“What about the ‘phion,’ part,” I asked. 

“One second.” Thing typed that word in with his dexterous little fingers. “Google doesn’t say anything about it.”

“What do you think about ‘Anamyphion?'” I looked to the owl-monkey-cat creatures for an answer.

Only three were here, and that was more than enough. The rest of Thing’s extended family was off doing something else, probably searching for its youngest member. Furball tended to get into a lot of trouble, like a the fictional child telling this tale. 😉

“We’ll consider Anamphion.” Thing folded his furry arms over his feathered chest, ending the discussion. His eyes dared me to correct him.

“What about ‘pryonamalg,’ Christy’s other suggestion?” I had no idea if I’d pronounced that right.

“Spell that for me.” Crispin pulled the keyboard closer to him. He was more feline in the face than his parents, making him easier to read and cuddlier-looking. 

I spelled the name, and he punched it into Google.

The screen redrew, and Crispin read the results aloud. “Okay, a ‘Prion’ is a small seabird that eats plankton. Eww. It’s also a kind of protein.”

“I like ‘Anamphion,’ but it’s kind of a long name. I was hoping for something shorter.” Thing swiped the mouse, (not a real mouse, but the mouse used to control the movement of the cursor on the screen). 

Amal nodded. “It’s musical, but you’re right. It is a bit long.”

“You mean Anamyphion,” I corrected them.

“I don’t think we need the ‘y.’ It just makes the word longer and harder to say.” Thing slammed his fist down on the table, and behind him the screen flickered. Uh-oh.

“Wait, we have a few more suggestions.” I scrolled to the next one as the screen continued to flicker. An eerie bluish light emanated from it that reminded me of the Newsletter-Dragon.

In a previous adventure in Melinda’s newsletter, she a mysterious portal ate that dragon. But we don’t know where that portal let out. She could be anywhere, including inside our Scribe’s PC. Since the Newsletter-Dragon might still be mad at me, I reached through the portal to my cave home and patted Papa’s back. He didn’t wake, but his magic wrapped more tightly around me. At least it was awake and ready to protect me if that digital dragon came a-calling.

“Well? What’s the next suggestion?” Thing narrowed his eyes at me. Was he reading my mind? He winked at me.

Stop reading my mind. My mind is not a book, I thought really hard at him, but Thing just parted his beak in a bird-like grin. Well, two could play at game. Carolyn had written in and given me the perfect weapon to use against him, a suggestion for what his name meant. I smiled. Thing had no idea what was coming, and I reveled in that.

Unless you’re Carolyn, you’ll have to wait until a few days to find out what she wrote.

Get Hidden Magic now to find out if Thing and Amal save the lives of their only human friend and find their missing grandchild. Dangerous magic is afoot. Can they defeat it or will it defeat them?

Want more?

Ran also co-stars in the Curse Breaker series by Melinda Kucsera. Every hero needs a sidekick, and Ran is Sarn, the Curse Breaker’s, whether his father wants that or not. He also goes on weekly adventures, which are posted in reverse chronological order on melindakucsera.com/blog. To get them in your inbox, go to www.mkucsera.com/welcomecharacters and invite Ran (and the cast) to stop by every Monday.


Published by Melinda Kucsera

Melinda Kucsera writes fantastic short stories, novels, and books when not being kidnapped by dragons or chased by armies of fictional creatures. (Her characters do, on occasion, rescue her.) She leaves the running of her newsletter to a cast of lovable characters who hog her inbox. Enough about her, it’s us you’re really interested in, her cast of characters. Join us every week for a new story at www.mkucsera.com/welcomecharacters. Over 15,000 readers have enjoyed their fight to survive and thrive as they straddle the often blurry line between fiction and reality. Let them take you on an adventure behind and between the scenes. Sign up at www.mkucsera.com/welcomecharacters to experience our weekly shenanigans. Go where no book or newsletter has gone before!

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