~GUEST BLOG POST~
Finding Character Names in Graveyards
By Marianne Spitzer
Finding names in graveyards can be fun and interesting. However, first you must not be afraid of graveyards. Many people are terrified of them. For those I suggest using the internet to search for names.
Entering the graveyard, I always drive toward the oldest part. It is easy to spot. It has the tallest gravestones. There is statuary, small mausoleums, and large family plots. You have to get out of the car and search on foot for the best names. Each name has a story behind it. Occasionally, you can figure it out. Many of the old graveyards aren’t kept up as well so negotiating your way may be a bit difficult. I also remember being taught never to step on a grave. It can be a challenge to walk along the foot of each grave.
I try to find the dates I am looking for. I may be working on a piece that needs a name from 1850 or 1900. It is interesting to see how the names will change over time. I also jot down any interesting name I see and the year of birth. There are times I see names that I have no idea how the parents came up with them. Sometimes, I will find a family plot and realize the interesting first name is the mother’s maiden name. That was quite common back in the 1800s, but it makes for an interesting name.
There are times when you will find tears in your eyes, if you are anything like me. I once found a family plot where a mother and her infant died on the same day. Four of her children ages one to six died within the next four months. I could only assume they died from the flu that took so many lives early in the 1900s. Another was a family of five that died on the same day. Was it an accident or a fire? I didn’t want to know.
There can also be a lot of laughs in the graveyard. Laughs? No, I’m not crazy. Today we bury our loved ones with gentle thoughts of love or flowers carved on stones. It wasn’t uncommon around 1900 and earlier for a poem to be carved on a tombstone. Many of them are quite comical. Then you will see the smaller tombstones with a name and date and a word or two: horse thief, town drunk, etc.
Even if you are not looking for unusual names to add to your book, taking a walk through an old graveyard can be an experience. It can be entertaining as long as you prepare yourself for the sad things you may find. It also is nice to have a bit of a connection with the name you are using in your book. It will add a touch of reality to your writing.
Synopsis: “Annamarie and Magdalena” is a supernatural thriller that begins where “Gypsy Spirits” ended. Annamarie walks home from the ordeal in the pines. Certain no one will ever know of her involvement, she tries to settle into the home she inherited from Daniel’s grandfather just two weeks earlier.
Daniel, refusing to accept his own death, has other ideas, and he joins his spirit with the spirit of his best friend, Garret, and an evil man Daniel had planned on killing. What Daniel doesn’t count on is that Annamarie is protected by her great-grandmother Magdalena’s spirit, and her Gypsy spirit family. Annamarie’s unexpected pregnancy drive Daniel to plot to steal his child while Magdalena does all she can to protect mother and child.
Daniel’s evil follows and torments Annamarie in every aspect of her life. Magdalena with the aid of Josef, Annamarie’s great-grandfather, begins a vicious battle of the spirits. Will good win over evil? Will Daniel’s evil be contained? Who will survive? Will Annamarie’s baby be safe or a victim of her father’s evil plan?
Marianne Spitzer’s Books firstname.lastname@example.org
I was born in Milwaukee, and lived there until I was eighteen. Then I spent eight years in Washington state and California before returning to Wisconsin. I love eerie places and books. I began with a love of Nancy Drew books and as I grew I found H.P Lovecraft, Agatha Christie, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle among others. When I am not writing, I am reading or watching sunsets. I have been writing short stories since I was in grade school. Most were in the form of essays relating real life events. Many were purely imaginary trips to magical places and times. I enjoy making up stories about people I meet or see on the street. I can see a story in a picture, especially if the picture is eerie. My imagination runs wild and free. I have self-published a book of essays and a book of children's stories for my granddaughter, Brittney. Gypsy Spirits is my debut novel and the first in the series of three "spirit" books. I have self-published the second "spirit" book, Annamarie and Magdalena. I also self-published a supernatural mystery, THE LETTER. I plan to have the sequel to THE LETTER out this year and the third "spirit" book available winter 2013/14. From there I am sure my muse will guide me into another story plot.
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