Books as Traveling Companions

While I wait for the temperature outside to reach a whole 10 degrees, I’m thinking about traveling.   Anywhere really, not even someplace warm.  Just someplace other.   Which would require a book.

I do read on my phone.   So even when I’m not traveling, I have plenty of material there.   Yet, there just doesn’t seem to be a good substitute for a book when there are distances involved.   The Kindle app is good enough for the doctor’s office, but an airport or a restaurant requires corporeal pages and covers.   I think it’s because the screen is so small.   The psychological shielding that radiates from a screen is just not enough for me.  I need more breadth and depth and some big block letters, darn it all.   Besides, people who interrupt you while you are reading on your phone always claim they thought you were playing Candy Crush.  Really?  Did you really?

My perfect book to travel with is Robert A. Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.  It’s a book I picked up and loved in high school.  Well before I knew it was supposed to be a great piece of Libertarian thought.  Man, Mike and Wyoming are excellent company.  The cover looks serious, but the pages contain one of the best buddy novels ever.  Nevermind that one of the buddies is a computer.   I also like it because I’ve read it enough that I don’t have to carry a bookmark.  I can open it and know where I am in the story.  Of course, my most recent copy is starting to look disreputable, but somehow I think that adds to the shielding.

Over the years, I have tried other traveling companions.  Persuasion by Jane Austen is a solid choice too.  But for heaven sakes leave Pride and Prejudice at home.  It unfailingly attracts that one woman on the flight that wants to tell you all about her Mr. Darcy.  Just no.  This woman will also not be open to the argument that Pride and Prejudice isn’t the best of Jane’s works.  Which will make the LAX to Narita leg of your journey fairly awkward.  Trust me.

If you really want to read a best seller on your journey, do yourself a favor and invest in the hardcover version, and remove the dust jacket.  I know, that’s heresy.  Just understand, the dust cover can always be put back on, but the scars from being repeatedly interrupted for an opinion or a synopsis can last a lifetime.

Of course, as always, I am open to other suggestions.

Happy Travels!



Domestic Horror Stories #197 – To the Death!

“Watch out for the laundry in the hall,” she said.

“Don’t worry.  I have my sword.”

She looked up at him and blinked twice.  “I just meant, don’t trip over the basket.  I haven’t put it away yet.”

“No coffee yet?”

“The maker is still working on it,” she said, still looking stunned.

“It’s okay sweetheart.  I was just making a joke.”

She shook her head as if shaking off a trance.   “Of course.”

“How about I just go get you a cup.”

Dommestic Horror Stories #196 -Stratergery.

Sure enough, Ray came over and fired off the potato cannon that weekend.   In fact, the guys stayed out in the yard for so long chatting, she began to wonder what they were plotting.  Backyard paranoia at it’s finest.

As the week progressed Ray was also seen talking cars with Edward Sparks, presenting Mrs. Fisher in 2210 with a knit cap for one of her stone Schnauzers, and chatting up the neighbors on the next block at 2216.

The next Saturday Coralie Sparks knocked on the door of 2206 at nine sharp.  “He’s out there teaching the Benson boys how to throw a baseball,” said Coralie when she answered the door.

“Who?  Ray?”


“No way.” She stepped out on to the front porch.  Sure enough, Ray was in the Benson’s front yard showing Bobby Benson how to throw a curveball while the other boys looked on.

“You’d think he’d have more sense than to help them with projectiles,” said Edna as she joined them on the porch.

“It’s a charm offensive,” said Coralie.

She shrugged.  “Maybe the whole thing devolves down into everyone on the block having wine and cheese once a month while Ray castigates us for ten minutes about our lawns.  I could live with that.”

Edna snorted.  Coralie chuckled.

“Like a babe in the woods,” said Edna.

Domestic Horror Stories #195 – Some Things You Don’t Get Over

The satisfying sound of potato pieces thudding into plywood echoed through the neighborhood that evening.   He was a successful amateur engineer!   This would not be his last attempt at an air cannon.

Later, back in the kitchen, as she poured a couple glasses of wine, his phone rang.


She waited as he listened to the caller.

“Sure Ray.  It’s just a potato cannon right now.  No pumpkins.  So don’t worry about that.”  He nodded a couple of times.  “Why don’t you come by this weekend?  We’ll break it out.”

She raised an eyebrow at him.   He grinned at her.

“I think we have a potential convert,” he said when he’d hung up the phone.

“Just so he doesn’t give us any trouble about Sherman.”

“I bet he’s over it.”

She laughed.

More Pen Names

Alright, so I promised some male pen names.  It took me a while to compile this list.   I’m not as good with male names.   Perhaps the consequences of not being particularly manly myself.

Trooper Thorn – If you get the movie reference here, 50 points for you.   Great pen name, probably a guy who writes military thrillers or possibly boxing fiction.  Is there such a thing as boxing fiction?   Doesn’t matter.  If there’s not Trooper will just start his own genre.

Craig Fairfax – I’m not going to lie.  I lifted this name straight from an exit sign on Interstate 29 somewhere between Omaha and Kansas City.   I will probably use it someday as a character name.  The potential for mustache-twirling it just too loud to ignore.  To add to his charms I’m pretty sure that Craig writes werewolf, billionaire, vampire, surgeon, pirate novels.   So if you’re intentions are to write something else, steer clear of this one.  It has also been whispered to me that Craig is moonlighting from his job as a Certified Public Accountant.  So, you know, he’s got a fallback position.

Apollo Ferranti – This guy is flat out the next Harold Robbins.  Which bodes well for the first three or four books.  After that, your agent will lock you in your hotel room and deny you food and booze until you meet your chapter requirements for the day.   Or so I’ve heard.

Miles Gordon – There is always a science fiction writer among my suggestions, and this is the one.  This name will look excellent in big block letters across a star field.  Ships fighting in the background are optional.

Horwood Bagshaw – I don’t know what Horwood writes.  I do know that his fans call him “Woody”.   He’s a nice guy really.  Fairly talented too.

Quincy Martin – Now this guy is a true crime author.   He’s all about the facts, the figures and the blood spatter.   Be careful.  He likes puns, long walks on dark highways, and metal tools with sharp edges or points.  Other than that, he’s very cool.

Walter Zanello – Walter is a fantastic choice for a fake first name.   I also fully endorse Whit, Will, and Wally.  When paired with an uncommon last name they are interesting and eye-catching without being threatening.  Also, Whit and Walter are an excellent place to start if you want to write detective novels.  There’s just something about a classic.

Have a good week all.  Congratulations if you won NaNoWriMo.  And you know, keep those word counts up.


Need a Pen Name? I Have Suggestions.

Pen names are great things!  They allow you to write as badly as you want and never really have to claim your work.   They also allow you to write wonderfully and then have to convince everyone that it really is your work.   Bummer.   Still fun, and handy.

There is a whole story about how I came up with Dangerosa Jones.  It involves Alison Weir, George Lucas, and my husband behaving in a completely brilliant manner.  I publish under my real name too.  However, the work I put out under my real name is, shall we say, more serious.  Less romping.

But hey, if you need a pen name, here are some suggestions:

Quinby Ash  – I know there’s a Simpsons thing here, but the good mayor’s name is spelled differently.  I think Quinby is an excellent first name.  It sounds exactly like a woman who would go base jumping, and snowboarding, or a man who would buy you coffee and tell you about his five books of poetry.   The last name is negotiable.

Daisy Systems – Admit it.  Daisy writes some amazing Science fiction.  She just can’t help herself.  Also, I reserve the right to use this one as a character name someday.

Bloxom Breezewood – Yeah, we all know what Bloxom writes.   Bet she does it very well.

Deltona Park – Now this lady is very serious.  Exactly the sort of person who writes deep lyric and emotional novels about women wandering the world alone.   Deltona will give you that good cry you’ve been needing this week.

Hopewell Clark – I don’t know what Hopewell writes, but I know I’d at least look at the book.   Although it would tickle me to no end if her works were scholarly.

Rosemont Peters – Yeah, these are historical fiction for sure and certain.  However, I’m sure they are well researched and would hardly make me cuss at all.

Nixie Criterion – I feel that these books must be time-related fantasy or science fiction novels.   Still, I’m sure you could get away with a good deal being named Nixie.

I do notice these are mostly for women.   Another day, we’ll do the men.   I’ll have to think about those anyway.

Write well!

Title Wave (Because Puns are Fun)

I have days,  many many days when all I can come up with is titles for things.  Never titles for the piece I’m writing, of course.  That would be too helpful.  I write them down.   I write most of them down.  I write way too many of them down because you never know when you’re going to need a title.

For instance one day I will definitely create a character who claims to have played with the Indie Punk band Feral Kittens.  You know, until she aged and joined Percussive Maintenance.  Because you have to be under twenty-one to be a Kitten.  What can I say?  I really like Mimsy.  She cracks me up.  I just have to find a book for her.  She’s too good to waste.

Then there is the potential Cardiologists in Love series:  Tandem Tachycardia, Her Atrial Fribulation, and Mixed Palpitations.

Yup, that’s a gold mine.

Although, Her Atrial Fribulation, would be a good punk band name too.

Then there are the political titles like, I Blame Martin Van Buren (which I totally do) or the Dolley Madison Murders. That would be series in which Dolley get’s tired of being the First Lady and starts her own investigation into the disappearance of Theodosia Burr, but ends up solving literally every other mystery she comes across, except that one.

If you’ve read this far, you are entitled to inquire about my point.   Um.   I don’t really have one.   Just, one day, I’m going to have a brilliant idea, and a title to go with it.   If I can find where I’ve written the title down, and if I can read my handwriting.

Have a good one!  Write on my friends.  It’s NaNoWriMo.