What’s in a Name?

Like most writers who are also home working hard on their novels, I’m doing what they are… “researching.” And by researching, I mean checking Facebook and blogging for our adoring fans (You do adore us right? Of course you do. ☺ ). Some might call this procrastination. I call it my process. Let me explain this process a bit more clearly. It goes as follows: A cup or two of hot Joe, a little “research,” forcing out a few novel pages, pulling up IM to discuss said pages with Kitty (aka: Jessica), doing a little more “research”, calling my Mother to talk about how slow the writing is going (or about our dogs), and ending the day pumping out just enough pages to keep me from going to bed feeling guilty about doing too much “research” and not enough writing.

Today, while doing my “research” I noticed an oddity. There is, in fact, another Dana Howell (my Maiden name) from my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. And more curious, she happened to graduate from the same high school as my husband, in the same class. How unlikely, I thought to myself! Then, the curiosities continued. It turned out that her full name is Dana Alexander Howell. For those of you who don’t know this, Alexander is Jessica’s married last name. I couldn’t help but wonder who IS this woman with so many names so dear to my heart?!

When asking my husband about her, I got the age-old husband response of a shrug and an expression that clearly stated without words, “I dunno.” Married women the world over will recognize this gesture. For those of you who haven’t reached nuptials, you’ll come to know this gesture well.

All of these random impossibilities got me thinking about names, my name in particular, and how this other Dana possessed three of the four most important names in my life. If she’d been called “Dana Alexander Howell Melton”, I might have added her as a friend right there on the spot! When talking to Jessica about this strange little occurrence, I told her how lucky this girl with my name was to get one of Jessica’s names as well. I almost envied her! You see, I often tell people in jest that I have two life partners, my husband whom I love more than anything, and my writing partner whom I’ve known almost as long and have loved as a best friend for over a decade. Then I realized, in some ways, I have taken one of Jessica’s names… in the form our writing pseudonym, Kirby Howell. Years ago, she had the idea of smooshing our maiden names together to write under, if … you know, we ever did something crazy, like write a book or something.

I suppose this is a long way of saying, Dear Dana Alexander Howell, you are a lucky gal out there in Birmingham, Alabama. But I still feel a little bit luckier to have a claim to all the names of all the people I love most in this world.

Dana Howell Melton, ½ of Kirby Howell


  1. Connie K says:

    I love love love this latest blog!! That is so crazy about the name and all the connections. I too know the husband shrug ha ha ha. I need more “researching” in my life!

  2. Dana Melton says:

    Thanks, Connie! Glad to know we have someone reading these!!!

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