You Name the Dog!

June 21, 2018

Dear Ones,

In book #3 of the Cape Charade series, which I’m writing now, seven-year-old Rae Di Luca gets a dog and it needs a name. Thank you to everyone on social media who came to my rescue and suggested a name. There were thousands! And I narrowed down the choices based on:
— Names I love (I’ll use it a lot!)
— Names I haven’t used before in one of my books (Think about it! I’ve named hundreds of characters/pets)
— Names that aren’t the names of my friends or relatives (Rule #1: Never name anything after your mother-in-law! )

Then I created a survey, and it is waiting for your vote. But first!

To help you choose, I wrote this original scene with Rae, Max and Grandma Verona Di Luca, and introduces the new dog! Read and enjoy!

Rae ran into the kitchen yelling, “Grandma! We got a dog!”
Verona turned away from the accounts spread across the table. “Well, let me see it… My God, what’s that?” She pulled off her reading glasses and stared as the fifty pounds of red muscled beast bounded in, tail wagging, and explored her kitchen.
Rae ran after it. “It’s my dog! It’s my dog!”
“That’s not a puppy. You were going to get a puppy!”
Verona’s horror was palpable.
Max wandered in, hands in his pockets. “Rae and that dog looked at each other, and it was love at first sight.”
“What is it?” Verona demanded.
“It’s a dog!” Rae said.
“According to the animal shelter,” Max said, “she’s half Australian cattle dog, half full sized poodle.”
“And half some other breeds. That is a mutt!” Verona turned in her chair and watched the dog race into the living room, nose to the ground. “How old is it?”
Rae ran after it.
“About eighteen months. It’s a stray.”
In a goaded voice, Verona said, “Maximilian, you promised you were going to get a small dog. A puppy! A Pomeranian or a…a Puggle.”
“On the bright side, she’s housebroken.”
From the living room, they heard a crash and Rae yelling, “It’s okay! Nothing’s hurt. It was her tail!”
“House broken is exactly the term I would use,” Verona said ominously. “We won’t be drinking wine in the living room any time soon.”
The dog ran back into the kitchen and for the first time seemed to notice Verona. It stopped, stiff-legged, and stared her full in the face.
Verona stared back.
The dog smiled. It actually smiled, pranced over in a display of delight and affection, leaned against Verona’s leg and put its head in her lap. And smiled some more. “Oh, no,” Verona said. “It likes me.”
Max and Rae exchanged smirks.
“She loves you, Grandma,” Rae said.
“Of course it does.” Verona sighed. “What’s its name?”
“We don’t know. What do you think we should name her?”
“She’s part French poodle, so how about Fifi?” Max laughed at his mother’s expression, laughed hard.
His laugher warmed Verona’s heart. He hadn’t smiled for so long… “How about Luna, like the moon… and lunatic?” she asked tartly.
“I could call her Bella Luna. Beautiful moon. That’s a great name!” Rae said.
Max got a mixing bowl out of the cupboard, filled it with water, and put it on the utility porch. “She looks like a Sadie.”
Calamity.” Verona absentmindedly scratched the dog between the ears.
“Or a Mabel,” Max said.
Quirky, because she’s so funny and fun.” Rae knelt down and hugged her new dog.
“Since she’s half cattle dog and half poodle, how about Canoodle?” Max grinned at his little girl.
“Daddy, that’s a funny name. I like Cara Mia.” Rae crooned to the dog in a perfect Italian accent. “My beloved.”
With a sigh, the dog subsided onto Verona’s feet.
Ramona, like Ramona in the Beverly Cleary books Rae is reading now,” Max said.
“But Daddy, Ramona’s always in trouble!” Rae protested.
“How about that?” Verona muttered.
“She’ll be a superhero like Mommy and me, so — SuperNova!” Rae stretched out on the floor, her head on the dog’s side. “When Mommy comes home, she’ll be so excited to meet my new dog!”
“Yes.” Max took a painful breath. “She will. Now, let’s all vote on the dog’s name!”

Vote here by June 25 at midnight! I can’t wait to see what name you choose. I’ll bet you can’t wait, either, and in the next letter, I’ll send the results.

Please, if you’re not already a newsletter member, I would love to have you join me for book news, book sales, and fun like, “Name the Dog!” Then share this newsletter, the scene, and the survey with your reading friends. Remember, vote here!


Christina Dodd
New York Times bestselling author of
WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER (Had Better Start Running)
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Books by Series and in Order


They say it is better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable, but how about a compromise like moderately rich and just moody?