Friday, January 28, 2022

A Brave Thing—by T.K. Thorne



Writer, humanist,
          dog-mom, horse servant and cat-slave,
    Lover of solitude
          and the company of good friends,
        new places, new ideas,
           and old wisdom.





My daughter recently posted this on Facebook.  

Dolly, I did a brave thing. During the pandemic, I started painting. That wasn't brave, because nobody was looking over my shoulder pointing out my mistakes (the paintings did that!)  But I really wanted to contribute something to the Pulpwood Queen Book Club's silent auction for the Pat Conroy Literary Center. So here's the brave thing—I did a "Low Country" painting and gave it to the silent auction.

It started out very ugly. (A good lesson for the drafts of our novels.) I was thinking that I might have to just throw it away and start over, but I decided I was having fun and just kept going. (Another lesson for writing.)

When I paint, I am often drawn to go "visit" the project while passing the studio (library/book storage/printer/extra-closet room).  As a painting dries, the colors lighten and the perspective changes. One night, I made my normal stumble to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Drawn to the studio on the way back to bed, I looked at the painting in the dim light of the hall nightlight and insanely decided the color of the water wasn't right. 

You have to understand, I am fortunate to find my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night (and the morning, for that matter.) Not bothering to sit, get my glasses, or turn on decent light, I grabbed a brush and started "fixing" it. 

The next morning, I braced myself to look at what I had done, certain it would be a disaster.

Amazingly, it looked okay.

When the painting was finished, I was happy with it. Then I panicked, realizing to meet the deadline, I  had to send a photo in to the auction. (A familiar panic, as it happens with every manuscript when I hit "send" to the editor.) I stalled as long as I could and then, with great trepidation I sent it. 

It was received kindly. But how else would polite people react? We praise a child's art efforts no matter how primitive and stick it proudly to the refrigerator. The few friends, sister, amd hubby with whom I had shared my attempts had been encouraging. But this was different. People who don't know me were going to be looking at this, and I didn't think they would want to pay to stick it on their refrigerator.

I berated myself:  You're a writer, not a painter.  What were you thinking?

The auction was for a good cause and was open to the public, so I did my duty and posted it on Facebook with an invitation to the auction. I told myself the worst thing that could happen was that no one would bid on it and no harm would be done. I'd just go back in the closet as an artist and continue painting just because I loved doing it.

The response on Facebook was immediate: 

To say I was blown away by the warm and excited comments is an understatement. In spite of the fact that I am a Writer (took a long time and several books published to own that word), it slowly bloomed in me that perhaps I could be an Artist too. Tears repeatedly came to my eyes that so many people thought what I had created was beautiful. Some of them were "real" artists. At that point, it really would not have mattered if no one bid on it.

However, they did. In fact, there was a bidding war! The executive director of the Center said he "thought there was going to be a bloodbath over it." It received the highest bid of any item (and there were great things there).

When you finish a book, there is a certain sadness, a letting go, a goodby to the characters you have lived with for months, sometimes years. Tomorrow, I will put my little painting in a box and send it away to a stranger who lives on the other side of the country. I am happy/sad. 

I wonder if all joy has an element of sadness. The joy of seeing a child grow up and go off into the world mixes with the sadness of losing something precious. The joy of accomplishing a goal mixes with the sadness of having accomplished it. The joy and sadness of creating . . . and finishing. 

Many wise people have said this better: It is not the destination that brings us happiness, but the journey. 

Speaking of which, I think I will finish this blog and go start another painting . . . .

"Low Country"

T.K.Thorne is a retired police captain who writes Books, which, like this blog, go wherever her curiosity and imagination take her.  More at

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Banned Books and Tip Lines to Snitch on Teachers by Juliana Aragón Fatula


1990's Cast from Su Teatro Intro to Chicano History 101 by Anthony J. Garcia 

Dear Reader, 

I woke at 4:30 a.m. and realized that I'm losing my mind. I thought about the state of the country and I began to cry and laugh simultaneously. I wondered if I'd gone insane to be able to laugh about the news that Governors were not only banning books but creating tip lines for parents to call in to report/snitch on teachers teaching history, culture, art, music, etc. that offends their students by revealing the atrocities perpetrated against women, people of color, religions, gender fluidity, whatever. I began to cry again at the absurdity of our nation and the political turmoil that surrounds us because the left and right are strangling each other with hate against anything they don't like. 

I watched last night's DVR recording of my favorite journalist, Ari Melber, and his guest the world renowned astrophysicist, Neil Degrasse Tyson. I love them both. I watched the interview and couldn't believe what I was hearing. Neil was speechless several times because the clips that Ari showed him from the new blockbuster movie, Don't Look Up, showed Meryl Streep as the President of the U.S. telling her supporters lies. They believed her lies instead of the scientists who were telling the world that an asteroid was hurling towards Earth and would destroy everyone and everything much like the extinction of the dinosaurs. He laughed at the clips but explained that it was frightening because it paralleled what the previous leader of the U.S. had done by lying to the world and claiming that he had won the election and lying about the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th saying it was a peaceful protest of patriots. wtf.

I listened to the two men, who I respect, talk about this movie that explained how we are headed for doomsday because SCIENCE and facts/truth no longer matter to people. I wondered what the fudgecicle happened to people to make them so easily duped. 

I had a good cry and remembered that books were being banned because they were teaching students to open their eyes and learn about how this country was stolen, how indigenous people were slaughtered, how Africans were kidnapped, and made to work for those same people who slaughtered the indigenous and forced to work as slaves and make those murderers rich. Students' books and libraries are being listed as books to ban because they tell the truth about how this country came into being and how people were beaten, hung, murdered, raped, humiliated because they were other. LGBTQ books would be banned, books written by people of color about their culture would be banned, religious books would be banned if they didn't teach Christianity. I threw up a little in my mouth and began to sob. 

I must have cried, laughed, puked, shat, farted, broke into hysterics for hours. Then I drug myself off the bathroom floor and began to write this post. My books would be banned because I dared to write poetry about drug addiction, child molestation, rape, genocide, alcoholism, cultural appropriation, religious persecution. I felt sick again and dragged myself back into the bathroom to purge the negativity out of my soul and watch it swirl down the toilet.

I for an instant thought, I don't want to live in a world where books are banned and then I realized that if I flushed myself down the toilet and died nothing would change and THEY would win. I made a pact with myself that I would keep writing my stories, poems, plays, novels, essays and telling my truth because the truth matters. And I know that when I was teaching I would have been one of those teachers that was snitched on the tip line for teaching the truth/science/facts/history/world culture/world peace because the haters gonna' hate and the only way to fight them is with the truth, and books that are banned are the ones the students need to read. FREEDOM.

Juliana Aragón Fatula’s ancestors indigenous to Aztlan, migrated from New Mexico to Southern Colorado. In 2022 she was awarded the title of Corn Mother for the Return of the Corn Mothers Project funded by the Colorado Folk Arts Council, Chicano Humanities Arts Council, Metropolitan State University of Denver and US Bank. She is the author of The Road I Ride Bleeds, Crazy Chicana in Catholic City, and Red Canyon Falling on Churches (winner of the High Plains Book Award in 2016.) She has been a Macondista since 2011, was a Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities ambassador and Director of Creative Writing for las mujeres unidas de CSU Pueblo and she conducted writing workshops for Colorado Writers in the Schools K-12, Bridging Borders, Cesar Chavez Academy, and Cañon City Middle School. She performed in the nineties with Su Teatro Cultural Performing Arts Center and after Operation Desert Storm, she toured in the Persian Gulf for the Department of Defense with the Latin Locomotions. She is shopping her first mystery, The Colorado Sisters, for a publisher. She believes in the power of education to change lives.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The Story Behind the Story, Part 2

Original Paperback Cover
By Lois Winston 

I began my writing career penning romance and romantic suspense before I segued into mystery. These early novels hold a special place in my heart because two of them were my first published books. They also represented the beginning of what would become a trademark of sorts for my books, whether romance or mystery, and that is my use of actual events as source material for my plots. I thought I’d devote some of my monthly spots on The Stiletto Gang this year telling you how some real-life events influenced my writing.


Back in October, I wrote a blog post about how an acquaintance’s not-so-perfect marriage led to my writing career and played a role in the development of Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception, my first novel and second published book. The plot of that book was also influenced by a news story unfolding at the time in a Philadelphia suburb not far from where I lived.


On April 29, 1997, Stephanie Rabinowitz, a twenty-nine-year-old wife, part-time attorney, and mother of a one-year-old, was found strangled in her bathtub. Her husband Craig at first claimed someone had broken into their home and murdered Stephanie.


The police weren’t buying it. They discovered Craig had massive debts, had cheated friends out of nearly a quarter million dollars, that his career as a latex glove salesman was bogus, and that he was racking up more than two thousand dollars a week at Delilah’s Den, a “gentleman’s club.” He also frequented prostitutes and bought $8500 worth of furniture for one of the Delilah’s Den dancers.


Although Stephanie earned only about $33,000 a year for her part-time legal work, the couple had $300,000 worth of mortgages on their home, which was valued at only $230,000 and credit card debt of $100,000.


Craig had also taken out a $1.8 million dollar life insurance policy on his wife. Confronted with the staggering evidence against him, Craig Rabinowitz pleaded guilty the day his trial was set to begin.

Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception is not about the Rabinowitz case. In some ways, Karl Pollack, Anastasia’s deceased husband in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, has more in common with Craig Rabinowitz than does Phillip Wadsworth, the deceased husband in Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception. However, the Rabinowitz case did get me thinking about…well, love, lies, and deception. But mostly lies and deception, and I ran with it, incorporating some aspects of the case as well as what I knew of the systemic Philadelphia political corruption of the time.

I’m currently writing the eleventh book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, and for the first time in one of my novels, I’m incorporating an actual unsolved crime that has fascinated me for more than thirty years. Stay tuned.


USA Today and Amazon bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is a former literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.


Website   Newsletter  Blog   Pinterest   Twitter   Goodreads   Bookbub

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Interview with a Literary Agent!

By Lynn McPherson

I'm super excited to announce that I've found an agent to represent my work! Carol Woien from Blue Ridge Literary Agency. While I dig into initial edits, I thought it might be fun to find out more about Carol, and her journey to becoming an agent.

What is a literary agent?

A literary agent represents authors to publishers, helps build careers, negotiates contracts, and can also offer creative guidance such as book edits.

How, and why, did you become an agent?

I'm friends on Facebook with agent Dawn Dowdle, owner of the Blue Ridge Literary Agency. In one of her Facebook posts she mentioned that she'd hired an agent. I commented that I'd be interested in becoming an agent, too if she had another opening. She messaged me back, we talked, and here I am!

What are some of the most recent books you've read and enjoyed? Any all-time favorites?

So many! I love most all cozy mysteries, especially those by J.C. Eaton, Valerie Burns, and Leslie Budewitz. I'm also a big fan of psychological suspense by Shari Lapena, Ruth Ware, and the writing team of Greet Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. I also confess to loving Danielle Steel. All-time favorite? Daphne by Rebecca Du Maurier is certainly up there.

What do you look for in an author?

Patience, creativity, imagination, good writing skills, and flexibility. Did I mention patience?

Any querying tips?

Queries ideally should hover around 250 words. You need to get to the point quickly with your hook and pitch, and the obstacles your character faces. It's okay to query several agents at a time, but make sure you personalize each query. Be professional.

What is on your #MSWL?

Cozy mysteries, romance, true crime, and suspense.

Where can we find you?

Carol Woien, Literary Agent

Carol lives in Indiana with her husband. Under a pseudonym, she is the author of two previously published cozy mysteries.  She spends her free time reading, writing, at the beach or a pool, visiting with family, and avoiding math. 

Monday, January 24, 2022

Two Mini Anthologies

by Paula Gail Benson

Woman's World has two weekly features: 5-minute romances and 2-minute mysteries. Mystery Writers of America lists Woman's World as one of its approved periodicals/webzines, which means that it meets "MWA's professional standards of good business practice and fair treatment of authors" and that stories published in Woman's World may qualify for Edgar Award consideration and applications for active MWA membership.  

During the holiday season, Woman's World released anthologies of 40 romances and 40 mysteries. Available for $5.99, these compilations provide excellent sources to study the work Woman's World editors are likely to accept.

In addition to some delightful reading, each anthology has information about where to submit stories.

Further information, analyzing the romance stories Woman's World has published may be found in Kate Willoughby's blog, Woman's World Style.

John Floyd, whose mini mysteries often appear in Woman's World, has provided tips for would-be submitters in his Sleuth Sayers posts A Woman's World Survival Guide and 100 and Counting. His fellow blogger, R.W. Lawton, whose short story "The Road to Hana" (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine) has been nominated for an Edgar, also wrote about the process in Writing for WW and Other Magazines.

Looking for a new experience this new year? Why not read these anthologies and submit your own story to Woman's World?

Friday, January 21, 2022

Countdown to Murder in the Mountains!

 by Shari Randall

I'm peeking out of the writing cave to share some fun news. I'll have a story in the new cozy mystery short story collection, MURDER IN THE MOUNTAINS. It was a kick to take the characters from my Lobster Shack Mystery series on a Sound of Music Tour in the Austrian Alps where - of course - they stumble upon a murder. I hope you'll check it out. The collection also features terrific stories from Gretchen Archer, Tina Kashian, Barb Goffman, Eleanor Cawood Jones, Cathy Wiley, Leslie Budewitz, Shawn Reilly Simmons, and Karen Cantwell. There's a special ebook prepublication price of only 99 cents, so order yours today. Hope you enjoy your trip to the mountains!

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Chaos by Lynn Chandler Willis

I have a confession to make. Oh, by the way––I'm Lynn, and I'm one of the new kids on the block. I too am an author. Let's get that little fact out of the way so you'll fully grasp the weight of my confession. Here goes...are you sitting down? You might want to sit down for this. 

I can't write when my world is calm. I need chaos. I crave chaos.  

Not like I crave Dove milk chocolate but that's an issue for another day. I only crave chaos when I'm trying to write so it's not like I'm an adrenaline junkie or some weirdo. We all have our little quirks. Victor Hugo used to write naked. Hemingway wrote standing up. Lynn Chandler Willis writes while stirring the SpaghettiOs or changing a diaper or overseeing snack time. 

I discovered this about my self at, of all places, a writer's retreat. I had just come off a 5-year stint of babysitting eight of my nine grandkids and could not wait to spend a week with other authors. All the learning and sharing and brainstorming––all taking place in a magnificent, ocean-front house with 46 bedrooms. Okay, it may have only been 16 bedrooms but I've never been in a house that big.

The first morning there, I take my cup of coffee to one of the dining tables that could seat a football team and open up the laptop to get started. Here goes...I'm going to write. Okay, maybe it was just a false start. I wasn't fond of that word so I deleted it and started over. Again. And again. And...again.  

I look around the room at the other authors and everyone is engrossed in their work. Fingers are flying across keyboards, red pens are scribbling on paper, and not one single person is talking. Some are wearing headphones, perhaps listening to a playlist of their favorite music. Or maybe they're wearing them to drown out the...silence?

I spent an obscene amount of time those first few days scrolling Facebook or reading and answering emails. I even read, and replied to, the spam. I don't remember which day it was that the magic finally happened. Armed with the laptop and coffee, I sat at a covered bar on the second-floor balcony, overlooking the ocean. The sound of the waves crashing and the constant chatter from the seagulls was just the beginning. The house next door was massive, like ours. I have no idea if the people who were staying there were family or friends, but there was at least twenty of them. Not including the kids. 

When those kids ran outside and jumped in the pool, my heart fluttered. It wasn't long before they were splashing and yelling and laughing so loud the neighbors could hear them. And the words came. I wrote a paragraph, and then another one, and another. 

Don't get me wrong––I'd go on another writer's retreat in a heartbeat. Now that I know my style and what I need to get the words down,  I can embrace it. I hug it, and squeeze it, and love it like the cherished quirk it is. I crave it.

The other night while working on the first book in a new series (coming Fall 2022, yeah!), I was struggling with a scene. It just would not come. But a text from my ten-year-old grandson did come. He asked if he could come down and watch his "show."  Poor guy has a twin sister and another sister 11 months older and they don't like The Flash so he comes down to my house where he rules the roost. 

He came down and curled up beside me on the couch where I was struggling with the right words. He turned on the tv, turned the volume up, and settled in. Every once in a while, he'd pause it and say, "Grandma watch this," and I would. I'd look up from the laptop to watch some goofy scene that appealed to ten-year-old boys and I'd laugh with him, or I'd offer a wow! and then go back to writing, the word count climbing. Once again, I embraced the chaos.   

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

North Star Word, by Barbara Kyle

At the start of each new year my daughter Sara chooses a word to embody how she wants to navigate the upcoming year. One word to be her “North Star” for her business and her life.

Painting: North Star by Gretchen Kelley

For example, one year she chose the word “bold” – which I thought was boldly marvelous.

So I, too, have chosen a word to be my North Star for this shiny new year. The word is “true.”

As a writer, it means being true to the characters in the new book I’m creating. As a writing mentor, it means guiding each writer to be true to the soul of their story.

I loved many wonderful books during the year we just left behind, and it struck me how wildly varied they are, yet all deeply true. Especially the following three.

The gloriously entertaining Harlem Shuffle by genius author Colson Whitehead:



The nail-biting real-life thriller Tunnel 29 by Helena Merriman:

 The vivid, exquisitely written profile of a 19th century Japanese woman, Stranger in the Shogun’s City, by Amy Stanley:


Books all utterly different, but all utterly true to their stories’ unique worlds.

“True” will be my bright North Star. For writing my new book. For helping the writers I mentor find the best truth in theirs. For living wide in the world.

How about you? Do you have a guiding word for this new year?



Barbara Kyle
is the author of the bestselling Thornleigh Saga series of historical novels and of acclaimed thrillers. Her latest novel of suspense is The Man from Spirit Creek. Over half a million copies of her books have been sold. Barbara has taught hundreds of writers in her online masterclasses and many have become award-winning authors. Visit Barbara at   

Tuesday, January 18, 2022


Literary Tapas and Readers

By Saralyn Richard


There are 124 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes (OLLI) in the U.S., where learners aged fifty-five and older can experience higher education without grading or course credits. One of the classes I’ve taught at the local OLLI is entitled, Literary Tapas. I began teaching this literature class more than ten years ago, and it’s been a highlight of my life every single semester.

As the course title suggests, we read small pieces of literature and digest them using Socratic questioning. Over the years, the course rosters have changed, but there is a core group of loyal learners who have been with me for a long time, almost like family. Being over fifty-five and living in the local area are the only two demographics we all have in common. The class is so diverse in gender, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, first language spoken, profession, economic class, hobbies—we are a veritable melting pot of society.

That makes for extremely interesting class discussions. In fact, one of the learners calls the class “group therapy with literature.” The stories, poems, essays, short plays, first chapters of books, quotations, and song lyrics that we read are simply the diving boards that catapult us into deep discussions about our life experiences. Our own personal stories are at least as compelling as the ones we read. Sometimes we have guest authors attend class when we are discussing their works. Often, we have visiting doctors from the local medical branch with whom our OLLI is affiliated. Anyone who visits must follow our cardinal rule of active participation in the discussion.

As the leader, I’m not allowed to answer any questions. All I can do is ask open-ended, thought-provoking questions to lead the discussion into the realm of higher-level thinking. There are no wrong answers, and through divergent ideas and opinions we all learn a lot about the literature, about the world depicted therein, and about ourselves.

As an author, I’m fascinated by the discussions we have in class. I could write a whole book on what I’ve learned from my fellow learners, but here are a few highlights:

  • ·         While it may be useful to analyze the author’s intent in writing, what’s more important is the reader’s response. What the reader extracts from a piece of writing is the true measure of its worth.
  • ·         Different readers bring different eyes to bear on the piece of writing. No one reader sees it the “right” way or the “wrong” way. All ways are good.
  • ·         A reader’s positive evaluation of a piece of writing is often subjective and may depend on variables such as how many times the reader has seen the selection, what mood he is in that day, how much time he has to interact with it, what others in the group think of it, or even how legible the copy is. None of these things are in the control of the author.
  • ·         Some of the best discussions come from pieces of literature that no one in the group particularly enjoys.

These things show me, as an author, that once I’ve told my story in the best way that I can, and the story has left my hands and been sent out into the world, it belongs to the readers. They can consume it, lap it up, chew on it, swallow it, or spit it out, as they see fit. They can analyze and interpret to their hearts’ content, and they can provide feedback through reader reviews. Whatever they do with it, it is theirs. At that point, I’m just a person whose name is on the cover of the book.

Like the teacher at OLLI, my job is not to answer questions, but to ask them. But as an author, I’m also that person who stands behind the curtain, holding her readers in her heart and mind, wishing them a delightful and meaningful reading experience. If you are one of my readers, you are the star of the show!

Saralyn Richard’s award-winning humor- and romance-tinged mysteries and children's book pull back the curtain on people in settings as diverse as elite country manor houses and disadvantaged urban high schools. Saralyn’s newest release Bad Blood Sisters is available for pre-order now. A member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America, Saralyn teaches creative writing and literature at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and continues to write mysteries. Her favorite thing about being an author is interacting with readers like you. Visit Saralyn here, on her Amazon page here, or on Facebook here.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Answering Debra's message from Friday: yes, there is still time for resolutions! Also, there’s time to celebrate last year's accomplishments.

In 2021, I was pleased to make progress in my writing. My short story “Cosway’s Confidence” won second place in the Bethlehem Writers Group annual contest and was featured in their quarterly online publication, the BWG Roundtable. Another of my stories, “Hollandaise,” received honorable mention in the South Carolina Writers Association, Surfside Chapter’s short story contest and appeared in its blog. 

Finally, three of my stories were published in the Red Penguin Books Collection (a group of anthologies) (one twice!): “Beloved Husband,” a monologue based on Norman Baskin, Majorie Kinnan Rawlings second spouse, in An Empty Stage;

“The Fairy Godmother’s Christmas” in Once Upon a Time and Stand Out: Volume Two; and

 “No Legs” accepted for The Robot and Me.

The robot story had to be about the interaction between humans and technology. My story involved Nella Bella, who existed in a fortune telling box and dispensed cards while providing security for her facilitator, a human fortune teller. Without legs, Nella had to find a way to get rid of a spectral being draining her facilitator of all energy and life. A friend of mine called it “a coming of legs” story. I really like that description!

Since October, I’ve been putting some words on paper each day. I’m not as far ahead with some projects as I would like to be, but I’m making progress.

That’s my New Years resolution: to keep moving forward and finishing work. What resolutions have you made?

I wish for all of you the very best in this New Year, in reading and writing. May you reach all your goals!

Friday, January 14, 2022

Resolutions? by Debra H. Goldstein

Resolutions? by Debra H. Goldstein

January 14. Two weeks since 2022 began. If you are like me, two weeks is more than enough time to have broken every resolution you made or contemplated making. That’s why, this year I didn’t make any resolutions. Instead, I decided to roll with the flow.


How’s that going? I’m not sure. I seem to be weaving down a lot of different paths. Some of them are fun to explore, but many are dead ends. Of course, even when I know which way I’m going, there have been many unforeseen obstacles ranging from the soaring Omicron numbers to realizing my new sneakers look pretty but don’t fit my orthotics and feet well for extended walking.


My writing seems to be following the same pattern as my life. Instead of resolving to write a set number of words a day or so many stories a month, I’ve been letting the muse guide me. How’s that going? Not well. I’m playing a lot more solitaire than I should be. What’s worse, I’m repeatedly surfing the net to see if there are any unread news stories, touching human interest articles, or exciting things reported by friends.


The latter makes me happy for them; but, if they are writers, it also prompts a little jealousy. Why are they getting things accomplished and I’m not? I guess they made resolutions that they are carrying through. There are still fifty weeks in 2022. I think there’s still time for me to make and act on a few resolutions. What about you?


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Gay Yellen: Name That Car!

Does your car have a name? One that captures its true personality? I've named some of mine. After all, boats get names. Why not cars?

By my mid-twenties, I'd already owned two really fun cars: an azure blue Impala convertible and a Corvette Stingray. They were so cool, they didn't need any other identity.

But for reasons best left unexplained, I sold the Stingray and bought a Ford Pinto. I drove it just like I'd driven the 'Vette, fast and furious, up and down the freeways and the canyons of Los Angeles. That little car didn't know it wasn't sporty. I gave it an identity upgrade and named it Penelope, after the wife of Odysseus, because she had spunk.

Fast forward to the 21st century, when my decades-old Mercedes was on its last wheel. Facing a total overhaul, I opted for a new car. At the time, most new designs looked all the same to me. I wanted something I could easily spot in a crowded parking lot, one that wouldn't have me trying to unlock a stranger's car that I'd mistaken for mine. I'd owned some really nice cars by then, and my husband still had his. I only needed a scoot-around-town car. Nothing fancy.

On a fluke, I discovered the Nissan Cube and bought it the same day. I named it Roobix, a play on the name of the guy who invented that other famous cube. Matter of fact, I placed one of his on top the of the little circle of factory-installed shag rug on its dashboard. Roobix is neither sexy nor aerodynamic, but it looks like no other car, and turns out to be one of the most fun cars I've ever driven.

The car is so distinctive that it made a CBS News Top 15 list. Okay, so the list was for the World's Ugliest Cars. But hear me out. It's small on the outside and big on the inside, which is a neat trick if you ask me. It gets a lot of thumbs up as I drive through the city. It has a gizmo that delivers an array of psychedelic lights inside. And the swirly ceiling has a hot tub vibe, minus the heat and the water.

I'm not the only one who's ever been inspired to name my ride. Beyonce called her Jag Honeybee. Obama dubbed his car The Beast. Lady Gaga rolled in her Bloody Mary Rolls Royce. In my Samantha Newman Mystery Series, Sam gives her lowly little subcompact the name Ferret for its ability to squeeze into and out of tight spaces.

And, by the way, my Cube isn't the only car of mine to make that CBS ugliest list. Coming in at #1—Ta DAH!!— the Ford Pinto. Two award-winners! Life is good.

Have you ever given your car a name? We'd love you to share it in the comments below.

Gay Yellen 
writes the award-winning
Samantha Newman Mysteriesincluding:
The Body Business and
The Body Next Dooravailable on Amazon.
Coming soon in 2022: Body in the News