Monday, 10 December 2018

Sign Up To Get Free Quick Reads +WIN a Murder Mystery!

This festive season I'm offering my readers regular 'quick reads' for free AND, as a bonus, a free eBook of their choice. 


All you have to do is sign up to my newsletter and I'll send you my short stories with tantalising twists. From mystery and intrigue to romance and relationships, they're a simple way to thank you for all your support and keep the silly season light and er, silly!

And, because I can't help myself, I'm also offering THREE subscribers a chance to win one of my eBooks for free. That's any of my crime fiction—the choice is yours.

For more info and/or to sign up for my fortnightly newsletter, click here: calarmer.com

And stay tuned for more deals and steals, stories and thrills!
xo Christina


Tuesday, 27 November 2018

5-Minute Murder Mystery (My Free Gift To You!)

Hello and welcome to the first of my free quick reads. Every few weeks I’ll send you a short story with a twist. From mystery to romance, they’re a simple way to thank you for your support and keep the silly season light. Happy reading, everyone!


The Other One

My sister has always been deemed more beautiful, and I can’t understand why. We’re identical twins. We’re supposed to look the same. 
Yet for some reason men find her more attractive. Hell, everyone’s more attracted to Kara—old women, toddlers, even the Alsatian next door gallops across, tail wagging like a windsock when my ‘better half’ comes around. He offers me little more than bare teeth, and it bugs me.
Or, at least, it did until a few months ago, when Kara showed up dead.
They say a handsome young lad found her body. That’d be right. He alerted the police, they called in the fire brigade who, in turn, called in the Search and Rescue squad. Lots of handsome lads then, scurrying about. She was hard to get to, apparently, stuck in a tree, halfway down a cliff. Just dangling there, like a dripping carcass in a butcher’s shop window. For all to see.
The irony of it hit me. Kara wasn’t much of a show pony, never ostentatious, no siree. Her image was what they called ‘sophisticated’. Subtle make-up, stylish shoes. I gather she spent all she earned at that over-paid PR job on her high-end pumps. I’ve got them all now, of course, but they aren’t taking me where I thought they would.
I’m more your ‘cheap and cheerful’ type anyway—bright opshop clothes and sparkly chemist cosmetics, thick blonde highlights I get from a box. So kill me, I’m frugal. I have to DIY. You can blame all the bitchy bosses who keep ‘letting me go’, like they’re doing me a favour with their high standards and disappointed smiles.
Bit like the guys I’ve tried to date.
I had a boyfriend once, quite a passionate character. Until he met her. Of course Kara would not be tempted by someone so ordinary, but she might as well have. He never looked at me the same way again. I mean, we continued going out for a bit, but the fire had been doused, I could see it in his cold, wet eyes. Eventually he left me dangling, like I knew he would.
Dangling. It’s a funny word, don’t you think? Ugly. Humiliating. Out of control.
Kara was never normally out of control. She spoke well, she made friends easily, she drank just enough, never put on weight. She was School Captain and University President. Of course she was! She had been in love, but she never fell there like the rest of us. She sauntered up to it instead, opening the door for it, offering it a seat. And she always left them, a few expected tears, and happiness again.
“I love being single,” she told me once. “I love being on my own.” I’d noticed. Apart from our eight months wedged together early in the piece, we’d never been close. I smirk at the thought of poor, classy Kara stuck in the slimy environs of our mother’s womb, her limbs entangled with mine, unable to get away. No wonder we were premature—she led the charge, desperate to make her escape.
Last holidays Kara got away from me for good. She was pushed from a cliff. Then she really was all alone. And now, in death, as she lies rotting beneath the worm-infested soil, she rests all alone. Except for the constant stream of visitors, of course. Mum can’t bring herself to leave Kara’s grave. Has practically set up a camp site. Old boyfriends have driven miles to pay their last respects, weeping over her headstone, leaving perfectly healthy roses to wilt without water and die. And I watch this all from a distance, disbelieving and dismayed.
I’m still here, guys! The other one. Give me a second of your time, hand the flowers over. Look at me!
One man has complied. A lovely policeman by the name of Jones. Talked to me a lot, asked all sorts of questions, mostly about me. I liked that. It was refreshing. Revealing, too. He discovered that I did it. He locked me up and threw away the key.
It’s not so bad in here. I have a cell-mate called Sharon, and she’s not going anywhere.
~~~~~~

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Agatha Christie Book Club 3 - 99c Sale

A dead body lying on a blanket… Sound familiar? (This one's for true Agatha aficionados)

In what will likely be my last Agatha Christie Book Club sale this year, I've discounted my third and newest book club adventure, Evil Under The Stars, down from $3.99 to just 99c for the eBook.
The biggest of all three adventures, that's a lot of bang for your buck, folks—although in this case, it's more a quiet suffocation in a park full of people, including our book club friends, who never heard a thing.
Find out what happens, how they managed to miss the murder, and what they do to redeem themselves and solve an impossible crime. This one's for TRUE Agatha Christie fans. While my book is a very modern mystery, there are some sneaky little clues from the original book that true Christie aficionados just might spot. Test your own prowess against mine!
For more info and retailer links, read on…
Evil Under The Stars: Agatha Christie Book Club 3
The champagne is flowing, the movie is showing, and a killer is lurking just blankets away… When the Agatha Christie Book Club reunite to watch Evil Under The Sun at a moonlight cinema, they quickly find themselves face-to-face with evil under a star-lit sky.

A woman has been strangled in a public park, with hundreds of witnesses and not a suspect in sight. How did no one see the killer lurking? How did no one hear the victim scream? And how could the gang have been lounging just metres away and missed the whole event?

When local detectives hit a brick wall, the book club do what they do best, channelling their inner-Miss Marple to help out. What eventuates is a true a battle of wits between our amateur sleuths and the Homicide Squad, with newcomer Detective Inspector Liam Jackson caught firmly in the middle.

From the author of the #1 best-selling Agatha Christie Book Club, this one’s for true Christie aficionados looking for a contemporary twist on the classic whodunit.

NB: This book follows British English spelling and usage, and contains some Australian slang. Clean read: no graphic violence, sex, or strong language. Genre: humorous, cozy mystery series, amateur sleuths, international mystery, police procedural
Purchase: @Amazon @Apple
Get in quick: sale ends next week!
Happy (book club) reading, everyone.
xo Christina

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

How I Went From Christie to Creepy + Win up to 25 eBooks



Okay, I might stand out like a sore thumb, right (pick my book, anyone?) but when it comes to mystery writing, it turns out I fit right into a whole new category — the paranormal mystery genre. Who knew?
Have you ever read a paranormal mystery? I stumbled into the genre by accident, and am so glad I did!
It was a warm and sunny day, two years ago (well, I’m guessing it was warm and sunny; this is Australia, folks, it’s almost always warm and sunny). I was sitting at my desk and conjuring up a new crime novel, and I wanted it to be different to anything I’d done before. I kept thinking: what do I love best about murder mysteries? It’s not the murder, not really. I’m not a macabre kind of person (as we’ve discussed before). And it’s certainly not the sinister build up to the murder. Sometimes, while reading, I find myself thinking, “Come on, just stick the bloody knife in and let’s get on with it!”
No, it’s all about the CLUES.
I love ’em. Each and every one of them. And I especially love when they’re camouflaged with stinky red herrings—the kind that send you barrelling down the wrong alleyway and lead you further away from the truth.
So why not write a story with the murder already over and done with, and the victim presenting the clues like a narrator from above? Seemed like such a fun, fabulous way to write a book. So I did it.
The first, Do Not Go Gentle, was such a lark, I wrote a second one: my very latest: Do Not Go Alone, which brings us here, folks.
Today, I’m proud to announce that I’ve teamed up with 25 other paranormal authors—authors who’ve been writing this genre for years—to offer you the chance to winup to 25+ paranormal mystery eBooks AND gain access to free and 99c bookswhile you’re at it!
Just click on the image above, or here, and explore a new genre with me. It might be a little spookier than you’re used to, but gee it’s a lot of fun.
Happy (creepy) reading everyone!
xo Christina
Now on sale for just 99c!
“There’s a bullet in my head and it’s really messing with my hairstyle…” So begins the second in the new Posthumous Mystery series. This time the victim is 27-year-old party girl Maisie who really shouldn’t be dead. Her party’s still pumping she’s missing all the fun. As she hovers overhead watching her loved ones splash about, Maisie begins to wonder: who hated her just enough to slaughter her in the middle of her own soiree then return to the pool as if nothing has happened? Can you help uncover a killer before the creepy dead people convince Maisie to cross?

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Monday, 27 August 2018

It's Launch Day And 3 Subscribers Get My Book For Free (woohoo)

"There's a bullet in my head and it's really messing with my hairstyle…" 



So begins the second in my Posthumous Mystery series. This time the victim is 20-something party girl Maisie May who really shouldn't be dead. There's a pool party going on and she's missing all the fun.

As Maisie hovers overhead watching her loved ones splash about, she begins to wonder: who hated her just enough to shoot her then return to the pool as if nothing has happened?
Can you help Maisie uncover a killer before the creepy dead people lurking by the tunnel convince her to cross?

This is a fun, light-hearted whodunnit with lots of dark humour and a heart-wrenching twist. It's a stand-alone mystery, the follow-up to my first Amazon best-selling Posthumous Mystery Do Not Go Gentle and is now available (see more links below).

But First—Did YOU Win a Free Copy?

Last newsletter I casually mentioned that I'd love to hear your feedback on the cover and there might even be a prize in it for you. A few of you emailed me back with some lovely thoughts—"awesome", "cute" and "DEathLICIOUS" were my favourite responses—so I'd like to thank the following subscribers with a free e-copy of my new book: Linda M, Jackie T and Vicki & Q. I'll be in touch soon.

In the meantime, here's how ALL my beloved subscribers can get their own copy of the book. Just click on a retailer below:
@Amazon
@iBooks
@nook
@kobo
@smashwords and elsewhere

Thanks, once again, for all your support. I do hope you love it, I hope you find time to review it, and I'd love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me back or subscribe to my newsletter for news, views, discounts and prizes: calarmer.com

Happy reading everyone.
xo Christina

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

New Cover Reveal + Winner of My 'Name That Character' Competition (is it YOU?)


Image result for Big Little Lies images

Best-selling author Liane Moriarty recently admitted at the Byron Bay Writer's Festival that she accidentally keeps using the same character names in her books, which include the #1 New York Times best-seller  Big Little Lies, which was recently turned into a HBO series starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. Liane even used her doctor's name in one book, without realising it!

I feel her pain. The more books you write, the harder it is to keep track of character names, let alone concoct fresh ones, especially if your stories are crowded with characters as ours are. Which brings me to my latest competition…

Last newsletter, as a fun gesture (and because I'm a tad desperate for fresh monikers), I gave you all the chance to see your own name used as a character in my next book Do Not Go Alone—see the fabulous new cover, below.
New mystery available for pre-order


As always I was overwhelmed by the response and I am still overwhelmed (you can stop now, peeps, the comp is closed!). I adore your enthusiasm and have snuck a few of the quirkier names away for future use. Hope you don't mind. There were certainly some beauties. For now, though…

The Winner Is…
A big congratulations to LESLIE! You named the character 'Cheyzene' (Bob's hairdresser in Do Not Go Gentle). Well spotted, Leslie, and I'll be in touch with you directly via your email address, just to confirm you're the winner. You opted for your own name to be used in my next book, and so it shall. It's just a small character but it's a pivotal one, so look out for it in Do Not Go Alone, which is now available for pre-order here, and due for release on August 28.

As for everyone else, thank you once again for taking part and don't hesitate to pre-order your copy of the second in my new Posthumous Mystery series, which will be available as a pre-release at Amazon very soon. (And if you haven't tried the first, catch up on it now: Do Not Go Gentle.)

Also, don't hesitate to get in touch and let me know what you think of my new cover. I'd love to hear from you. There might even be a prize in it if you're lucky!

Congratulations, again, to Leslie, and happy reading everyone.
xo Christina

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Get a Character Named After You In My New Mystery

Name A Character in My Next Book!

Ever longed for your 15 minutes of fame? How about the chance to see your name in lights? Well, I can't quite promise that, but I am offering all my beloved subscribers a chance to get your name into my latest mystery. Or, if you'd prefer, the name of someone you love (or loathe... vengeance can be sweet, right?)

I'm putting the finishing touches to my 12th mystery, the follow-up to my top-selling Posthumous Mystery, DO NOT GO GENTLE, and I want to write you into it! I'll just use your first name, and I promise the character will NOT reflect you in any way (they could be a baddie after all!) It's just a bit of harmless fun. Interested?

Here's How to Win:

TO BE IN THE RUNNING: Just name one character—any character EXCEPT the main character Lulu—from my first posthumous mystery Do Not Go Gentle (see Amazon link and book sample here).*
EMAIL ME: Just send me an email with the book character's name listed (first name is fine) as well as YOUR name (or the name of the person you want to see written into my next novel), and you will then go into the hat. At the end of the week—just one week, folks!—I will pick a random name out, and then assign that name to one of the characters in my second Posthumous Mystery, which is due out mid-August.*
I will then announce the winner in a later newsletter.* How cool is that? But do be quick! Offer lasts just one week!

Now, for more on the second book…

Book Title Reveal (drum roll please…)

Do Not Go Alone
by C.A. Larmer
'There's a bullet in my head, and it's really messing with my hairstyle…"
Thus begins the second in the Posthumous Mystery series. This time the victim is 27-year-old party girl Maisie who really shouldn't be dead. There's a pool party going on and she's missing all the fun. As she hovers overhead watching her loved ones splash about, Maisie begins to wonder: who hated her just enough to put a bullet in her head then return to the pool as if nothing has happened? Can you help Maisie uncover a killer before the creepy dead people lurking near the tunnel convince her to cross?
Due out: August 2018

Until then, happy reading everyone (and good luck!)
xo Christina

*Terms & Conditions: All entrants agree the author can use the winning entrant's first name only (or the name of their choosing) for one character in her next book. It may be a main character or a bit character, that is entirely up to the author. The book character does not in any way reflect the character of the winning entrant. The closing date for entries is Aug 5, 2018. The winning entrant will be notified in an upcoming newsletter of the author's choice, and will also be notified by reply email. The author's decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into after the winner has been announced. The wnning entrant will receive no payment and all copyright remains with the author. 

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Win Up to 30+ eBOOKS and Gain Access to Deals & Steals

I may rave about my love of cozy mysteries, but I also pen another crime series that's a little less cozy and a lot more cutting edge. The Ghostwriter Mystery Series stars feisty amateur sleuth Roxy Parker, a ghostwriter with a penchant for Merlot, a taste for murder, and an uncanny knack for being in the wrong place at the right time!
And this week, you can jump aboard with her in the 5th—and best-rated—Ghostwriter adventure of them all: Words Can Kill, for just 99c. Or, better yet, sign up with my mates at Authors Cross Promotion to be in the running to score a FREE copy of that ebook, plus 29 others. Yep, that's 30 ebooks, if you're lucky! Just click on the link, below:
The offer lasts as long as the sale: from July 17-23, so don't hesitate. For more on Roxy and her fifth adventure, read on…
Pack your designer luggage, we're heading to Europe for the fifth, fast-paced adventure in the popular Ghostwriter Mystery Series…
This time we're on a missing person's case, and it ain't no holiday. Hunky photographer Max Farrell has vanished into thin air, last seen in the arms of a blonde floozy at a Swiss mountain resort, and his best mate, Roxy Parker, is trying to play it cool. But when Max's flatmate shows up murdered, followed soon after by the floozy, Roxy realises Max’s life is hanging in the balance, and she is his only hope.

In the latest Ghostwriter Mystery (each one a stand-alone story in itself), Roxy heads to Europe with Max's hilariously self-absorbed sister. Together, they follow a series of clues that take them from the heights of Mt Pilatus in Switzerland to the azure Mediterranean Sea, encountering brash German police, secretive Swiss soldiers, and an Italian Lothario with evil in his heart.

Download your 99c copy at:
• Amazon
• Apple iBooks
• B&N nook
• kobo
• Smashwords & elsewhere: 

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Win 70+ Beach Reads (No Need For Sunblock, You Won't Be Looking Up!)


This summer relax on the beach with more than just a good book, relax with 70 of them safely stashed in your ereader. Sound like your kind of thing? Read on...
I've teamed up with 69 fellow authors to bring you a whopping ebook giveaway that covers a HUGE range of genres, including my first posthumous mystery DO NOT GO GENTLE (the second comes out in August—stay tuned on that).
By entering, you'll also gain access to the AXP BOOK FAIR where you'll find more books from a range of genres on sale or free. Woof!

(2) Grand Prize "Gift Baskets" of ALL eBooks!
(100+) Winners of Summer Snoops Cozy Mystery Boxed Set!
70+ Winners of Ind
ividual eBooks (randomly choosen)

Just log into AuthorsXP or click here (and good luck!)
xo Christina

Friday, 15 June 2018

Survey Results + E-book Winner + Discount Mystery Sale

So, last newsletter I posed the proverbial question: are you a 'glass-half-full' kind of person or, like me, is your glass not even half-empty, it's well on the way to running dry?

As a crime writer, it seems only natural that I look at the dark side of life, but as a human I know I do this to shine a torch in the shadows and restore order to the world (or at least, that's the excuse I'm sticking to!)

How about you?

Well, thanks to your overwhelming input, now I know! What an intriguing bunch you are. I received hundreds of responses from right around the world and so many of you had such thoughtful insight into why you love crime books and what your outlook is like. And — here's the bit that surprised me — so many of you (about 60%) admitted to being empty glassers, like me. And you're fiercely unapologetic about it!

I also got some interesting reasons why you love and devour crime novels, including this from an Irish reader who told me the Irish are naturally both light and dark: "I read crime because I want to know why we are dark and why crime happens."

Another reader said she believes us half-empty types are there to "give some color, dimension, and depth to our glass is half full pollyanna people!"

One half-full respondent told me she reads crime for "the thrill of the chase" and another because she likes the "happily ever after" that comes with the final denouement.

Many of you read both 'cozy' and "hard core blood and guts mysteries", as one reader described it, while another said she can't read anything too dark or she's up all night (and by the sound of it, she's in good company). 

And I particularly liked this comment from a 'glass is three-quarters full person': "I read crime because I enjoy a puzzle, I enjoy the intrigue and it's good to see the bad guy get caught. I do enjoy humour in my reading so some levity is appreciated."

I hearily agree, which is why I always add a few laughs to every mystery I write. 

Now For the Winner! (Drum roll please…)

This is the fun part (and the hard part for me, because there were lots of names to pop in the hat this time!) This fortnight's winning respondent is: Renee*! If you're the winnng Renee, I'll be in touch via email shortly.

As for the rest of you? A giant THANK YOU for taking the time to share your thoughts, however dark or light. I do read each email that comes in, and I value each and every comment. They inform me as a person and they most definitely inform my writing!

Thanks again, everyone, for taking part and happy (dark or light) reading.
xo Christina
* Full name has been reserved for privacy reasons


Discount E-Book Deal (99c Now!)


This week I'm putting my latest e-book, Do Not Go Gentle, on sale for just 99c, starting from today. It'll be discounted at all good e-stores for two weeks, or just click on the links, below.

DO NOT GO GENTLE is a fun, fast-paced DIY mystery that implores the reader to help solve the crime before the victim is dragged, kicking and screaming, to the light. (She has a dreadful, sinking feeling her beloved 13-year-old son is the culprit and wants to know for sure before she heads off to eternity thinking she spawned a killer!)
This lightly written yet deeply moving whodunnit/coming of age story will be on sale for just two weeks, with the follow-up—Do Not Go Alone— on the stands in August.

COST: 99c  FROM: June 16—June 30
LINKS: @Amazon

Monday, 28 May 2018

The Heart of Darkness (It's in My Head)


It's scary what goes through my mind at 30,000 feet:
'If someone just wrenched open that door handle we'd all go flying out, ripped from our seatbelts, and sucked through the cabin, starting with that smug bloke spreading his legs out in the exit row.'
Image result for airplane seat belt images
and…
'Gee that suction in the toilet cubicle is strong. Wonder if it could vacuum out a small child?'
and… Well, you get the picture.

Don't be alarmed or worried for my mental health. I think these thoughts quite calmly, while sipping my G&T on a Qantas fiight to Singapore (where I'm headed for work). I am not perturbed by the dark images that flitter through my imagination, I just accept them—like you might a distracting throught during meditation—and let them go, as I happily glance around.

This is the way my mind works. Always has. I'm a glass-half-empty, every-cloud-has-a-storm-behind-it kind of person, and that's what drives my writing. It's why I became a crime writer in the first place. Makes sense right?

But it's not all doom and gloom. My (wise-beyond-her-years) niece said to me just before I left, in fact, "Maybe you love mysteries, Aunty Christina, because they get solved, so you're actually being really, like, positive and stuff."

She's right. I might revel in the dark, but it's the fact that I'm shining light on those shadowy corners that really inspires me. It's not the crime that I like. It's the justice that comes for the victim, the answers that come for the family, the order that is restored to the world. And, in the case of the exit door, it's also about the most positive aspect of all—survival. Because after each such thought, I usually go to solutions, like:

'Okay, if that happened, I'd scream out to the bloke to grab hold of his seatbelt, wrap it around his wrist and hold on for dear life.'

And how positive is that?

What about you? As a crime reader, do you also have a dark imagination? Or are you fiercely positive and just happen to stray into dark territory from time to time? If you particularly love cozy crime like me, I tend to believe the answer is the latter, but I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

Are you a naturally dark soul and if so, why? Or is light and positivity your preference? And if so, why do you read crime?

Pop a comment here or jot me an email and let me know.

Until then, happy (sinister) reading everyone.

xo Christina

Saturday, 5 May 2018

3rd Agatha Christie Book Club On Sale NOW - 99c! (Hurrah)

I promised you a book sale...


...and here it is, folks. For just two short weeks—from May 5 to May 19—I'm reducing the cost of the third in my Agatha Christie Book Club series to just 99c. That's a lot of mystery and mayhem for very little moolah.
Evil Under The Stars is one for true Agatha Christie trainspotters. It tells of a woman lying dead on a blanket at an outdoor film night, with hundreds of witnesses and not a suspect in sight. How did no one see the killer lurking? How did no one hear the victim scream? And how could the entire book club have been lounging just metres away and missed the whole event? 
To find out whodunnit, grab your copy while it's hot. You can get a 99c ebook at the following e-retailers:
• Amazon: USUKCanadaAustraliaIndia 
• Apple iBooks
• kobo
• B&N nook
• elsewhere
For other books, comments or just to reach out, visit my website calarmer.com or drop me an email: christina@calarmer.com. I love hearing from readers and getting your feedback.
Until then, happy (discount) reading everyone!
xo Christina

Thursday, 26 April 2018

A Fishy Tale From a Fellow Cozy Writer + My New Book Title Revealed!


Regular subscribers know I don't wax lyrical very often about other authors — this is MY newsletter after all, folks ;-) — but today I'm giving a big shout out to a fellow cozy mystery writer who has a deep love of animals, natural sense of humour and more twists than a leaping whale.

Ruby Loren is an English writer who pens cozies, paranormal mysteries and, of particular interest to me, stories about rockstars (I'm married to a musician in case you were wondering!)

If you haven't tasted any of Ruby's work before, try her latest, Whales and a Watery Grave, which is already an Amazon #1 New Release and will be discounted to just 99c until the end of April - so get in quick!

Featuring popular protagonist Madigan Amos, a zookeeper with a heart of gold and a nose for trouble, this one sees Madi and her fiancĂ©e attempt to take a well-earned holiday to Mallorca (aka Majorca) in Spain. Instead they find themselves dragged into a wildlife documentary that turns deadly.

Dubbed 'Murder at the marine park!', it's a fun, action-packed read and you can grab your 99c copy via Amazon here

At the very least check out her stunning covers, amongst the most beautiful I've seen.

As for me?

I'm happy to announce that I'm midway through my second posthumous paranormal mystery, the follow-up to Do Not Go Gentle.

I'm calling it ... drum roll please ... Do Not Go Alone and it promises to be a tear-jerker with plenty of laughs in-between! I'll also have a book sale coming up in May, so look out for that.


Until then, happy (fishy) reading everyone!

xo Christina


Monday, 2 April 2018

Finding Nimo—The Trials & Tribulations of Naming Our Kids


Image result for 20000 leagues under the sea

It seemed like a good idea at the time. I was six months pregnant, snuggled on the couch with my husband, watching a 1950’s remake of the classic Jules Verne novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
            "If it’s a boy we should call him Nemo,” my husband suggested, referring to the book’s renegade submarine Captain.
            Keep in mind, this was two years before the Disney film Finding Nemo, and I’d never heard the name before, but I was smitten. Not only did it sound strong and commanding, symbolising what we wanted for our child (he’ll be an explorer, forging his own path!) but I’ve always been a big fan of unusual monikers.


            Call me crazy, but as the only Christina I knew growing up, I revelled in my uniqueness and never wanted my children to be one of five in their class.
            Many parents see that as a positive thing—they’ll never get teased, they’ll always fit in—and the protective parent in me totally gets that. But I didn’t want my child to just fit in. I wanted him to hold his own and, if he did get bullied (as so many gleefully assured us he would), learn to stand up for himself and bounce back.
            I was here to teach my child strength and resilience, not make decisions based on fear and “what ifs”. Besides, we live in the hippie hinterland of a place called Byron Bay where names like Lotus and Maayan are almost ho-hum.
            Cut to three months later and no one we knew bat an eyelid when we named our newborn Nemo. No one, that is, except my mum. It wasn’t so much the name that had her spooked, it was the spelling (it’s ‘omen’ spelt backwards in case you hadn’t noticed).
            We promptly changed it to ‘Nimo’ and that was that.
            Or so we thought.

Image result for finding nemo

            Two years later a famous clownfish swam onto our screens and the name took on a whole new resonance. Vocal critics suddenly thought it was “cute!”, our toddler became King of the Kids at kindie and we even appeared in the local newspaper.
            Yet my husband and I were aghast. Not only would people assume we’d named our son after a Disney character (the horror! the irony!) but Pixar had irrevocably changing its meaning from commanding to… cute?!
            We didn’t see that one coming.

Naming your child can be fraught 

You never know how people are going to react or what’s around the corner. There’s a girl at Nimo’s school whose parents must have had the very best intentions when they named her after the mythical goddess Isis.
            If, like us, you dare to be creative or original, there’s always someone, somewhere, who’ll scoff and tell you how “cruel” you’re being or how “they’ll never become Prime Minister with that name, you know!”
            And once upon a time they had a point. Pre-2009, several highly publicised studies showed that people naturally discriminated in favour of those with common names, both in the classroom and at work.*1
            Well not any more, folks. A 2016 study found no evidence that employers discriminate anymore based on names.*2 Thanks to globalisation and the growth of white collar jobs, there’s been a societal rise in ‘individualism’ which means less of us are picking one of the Top 20 names for our kids.*3
            Where once we chose names based on popularity, tradition, religion, ideology or aspirations (names like Joseph Jr, William and Grace), we’re increasingly choosing quirky names or, heaven forbid, quirky spelling.
            And we can thank the likes of Cameron Diaz, Oprah Winfrey and Barack—who says you need a traditional name to be Top Dog?—Obama. Interestingly, researchers claim the US President has created “the Obama effect”, inspiring more parents to give their babies ethnic-sounding names.*4
            The fact is we all have different motives for naming our kids, and it’s this difference that makes society so rich. Whatever you decide on, it should be done with the best intentions, needs to work whether they’re four or 40, and it wouldn’t hurt to choose a benign middle name should you be thwarted by Hollywood or foreign terrorists (Nimo has Jacob to fall back on).            
            While we chose a more traditional name for our second son, Felix, I wouldn’t change Nimo’s name if I had my time over, but perhaps we should ask the person who’s had to live with it for 16 years.
            “I like my name,” Nimo assures me. “People always remember it. Some think it’s cool and some think it’s weird but I don’t really care what they think. I’m just glad you didn’t call me something boring. I like being unique.”
            Aye aye Captain!

xo Christina