How To Title My Next Novel

Let’s start with the first real book ever written. It is ascribed to Homer who lived, according to Herodotus, in the 9th century BC, four hundred years before him. In those days, calendars were kept differently than today. If you ascribe to the politically correct and nondenominational version of history, then “Homer,” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, is described as having “(flourished 9th or 8th century BCE? Iona? [now in Turkey]),” and was the “presumed author of the Iliad and the Odyssey.”

Boy, that’s a noncommittal mouthful. I never understood the aversion to using the life of Jesus Christ as the pivotal point for the modern calendar. So the Trojan war, as told by Homer, took place around 1200 to 1300 BC. That was around the same time as the life of Moses.

The Bible’s title, and not the content, comes from the Greek word, Biblio, the Book. We can assume this because if any individual had wanted to claim authorship, he would have his name on it, like Grimm’s fairytales, or anything written by Shakespeare. The difference between the two masterpieces is, one is a story of war and passion, and the other is a story of war and passion. But I digress.

We’re talking about book titles. In most cases, it is easy to guess how they got their names. Wuthering Heights, A Farewell to Arms, Huckleberry Finn, The Idiot, The Brothers Karamazov, Smiley’s People, Farenheight 451, Slaughterhouse-Five, The Plague, The White Nile, and yes even Oliver Twist.

Or like my own books, Fatal Snow and The Mask of Minos. The former takes place during a terrible Blizzard in which people die. The later is about finding the legendary mask worn by King Minos’ son, the half-man/half-bull Minotaur.

The third novel, Wish to Die, is taken from a John Milton quote about William Shakespeare and goes like this – “And so sepulchred in such pomp dost lie, That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.” This I took to mean that men are willing to give their lives for riches, or perhaps in Shakespeare’s case, fame? I chose it because it sounded really cool.

This brings me to my point. What do I call my latest Harry Thursday novel about rubies found in the San Francisco Peaks of Arizona where rubies do not grow. And, while the hero tries to solve this puzzle, people are being murdered. I gave it the working title Pigeon’s Blood, (look it up). I like it, but it doesn’t seem to capture the depth of the story, which is more than about finding things.

I think soon, I will post a chapter or so of it as a tease.

Perception Is Truth

A husband and wife are making breakfast. As the husband is buttering the toast, he says, “Did you ever notice that if you drop a piece of toast, it always lands butter side down?”

The wife says, “That’s ridiculous, I bet it just seems that way because it makes such a mess when it lands butter side down. I bet it lands butter side up just as often”.”

The husband says, “Oh yeah? Watch this.” He drops the toast and it lands butter side up.

The wife says, “See, I told you so.”

The husband says, “I bet I know what happened. I buttered the wrong side.”

Why I Love Public Speaking

Originally published September 9, 2019

Thinking on the fly

When I first started writing I never dreamed I would have to talk in front of people. Well, that isn’t exactly true, I figured my book would go straight to the NY Times best selling list and I would be eloquent and savvy, and I could fly on my private jet, and people would come to hear my witty ….

I digress.

“I was born to speak in front of people.” This is what I tell myself as I prepare my speeches before any and every public appearance. But I believe I suck at it. Then once I get up in front of everyone and throw out a terrible joke I spent hours hacking together for the event, it all unfolds before me and becomes memorable.

I remember in college, as a liberal arts college student, I had to take a public speaking class. Why? I had no idea. My father told me that liberal arts make you a well-rounded individual. Take Spanish class, please. I had a great Spanish teacher who graded us on our own progress because he knew we were only taking language to fulfill the required course load.

Public Speaking, on the other hand, may sound like an asinine way to waste forty-five minutes every week to a college kid, but twenty years later, I began to see the reasoning behind it. The same applies to typing classes in junior high. The course wasn’t hard, I just made it that way. I remember the first time I had to speak in front of the class, I was so not nervous – scared stiff that I drank almost an entire bottle of gin. Somehow I made it to the class and through the speech. I must have made quite an impression because I got a B for the job. Turns out, the teacher felt the same about her class as my Spanish teacher did. Or she felt sorry for me.

Now, instead of getting drunk, I write lousy jokes to “engage the audience”. Not everyone makes it out of my mouth. Like Ole Honest Abe, sometimes I just leave it out.