Dionie McNair - An Exploration of Origins
Dionie McNair - Young Adult Fiction Author

An Exploration of Origins

As a writer and a life long learner I have an inquiring mind. I like to know and understand the world around me. Part of that understanding is knowing the how, where, why, and when of things. 

It is frowned upon to use cliches or hackneyed phrases in our creation of written stories, but at times these trite phrases seem just right and often they have a long and complex history.

I would like, as part of this blog, to share with you small snippets of the fascinating origins and meanings of common words, phrases, names and beliefs.

As this is a record of my discoveries I will have accessed others work as part of that discovery and I would like to acknowledge my sources. This list will grow as my blog does.

Macquarie Essential Dictionary
The Book of Beginnings, Dr R and L Brasch, 2004, ABC
The World of Baby Names, EA Allen, 2006, Hinkler Books
Roget's International Thesaurus 7th Edition, Ed, BA Kifler, 2010
Various Websites: .......

Watch this page for the snippets to come.....

Red hair:

When I made Brianna a redhead I had no idea what I was letting her in for and how you, the reader might perceive her, because of her red hair.

Red hair has long had a reputation - a bad reputation. 
It is rare with only 1-2% of the population carrying the genes to inherit red hair.

Historically red hair has been seen as a sign of witches, werewolves and vampires.

It has been said that people with red hair are bad tempered, evil, mischievous, highly sexed and associated with illness.

Often red haired people in movies and literature are depicted as the bully, or the naughty one - Dennis the Menace, Ginger Megs for instance. If they are not the bully they are often the victim.

People with red hair are subject to nicknames in many parts of the world. In the UK it is 'Ginger', or 'carrot top'. Apparently gingerism is an ongoing problem with bullying of red haired people rife. There is even a website promoting bullying of red heads.

Here in Australia, red heads are often called 'Bluey' or 'Ranga' (after the orangutan). In Australia these names are most often used affectionately, but not always.

In the city of Breda in the Netherlands their is a festival to celebrate red hair called Redhairday.

Famous red heads:

Queen Elizabeth1 of England
Boudica, Queen of the Iceni
David Bowie
Genghis Khan
Prince Harry
Nicole Kidman
Susan Sarandon
Thomas Jefferson
Winston Churchill

(for more refer to List of Redheads: ‎‎‎http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_redheads

From this research I don't think I have to worry - Brianna is in good company.


Does the raven deserve its unsavory reputation as an ominous bird of ill omen and death.
Because of this unfavorable reputation ravens have long been central to myths and legends from many cultures such as the Celts, the Romans, the Greeks and many indigenous cultures
This makes the black bird with the croaking cry and a diet of carrion an interesting phenomenon in literature.

With its diet of carrion many associate ravens with the dead, a mediator between life and death and perhaps even a manifestation of ghosts.

But not myths and legends are negative with stories such as the prophet Elijah being fed by ravens when he was in hiding or protecting the body of St Vincent of Saragossa after he was executed or saving the life of Saint Benedict of Nursia by snatching away a loaf of poisoned bread before he could eat it.

And of course do not forget the famous ravens that inhabit the Tower of London. The rumor goes that when the ravens desert the Tower the British Empire will fall. Although they perished in the bombing raids of World War 11 they were replaced with other breeding pairs before the Tower was reopened after the War.

While in Bhutan the raven is the national bird and represents the guardian deity of Gonpo Jarodonchen.

It is unfortunate that the name raven has been misunderstood and associated with the Latin word rapere which means 'to seize' and has come to mean gluttony and greed. But the word has other origins: it comes from the Sanskrit word ka-rava meaning ‘making a grating discordant noise’ and the raven definitely deserves this description.

The raven in The Scorpions Heart is Hildegarde’s familiar and was tasked with ensuring Brianna took possession of the zeltic dagger not Amon and to warn Brianna of the evil gathering of Braxons. 

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