Chocolate Potato Soup

I’ll bet that title got your attention. And yes, there’s a story behind it. As you’re reading this blog, I am at the eye surgeon having a cataract removed from my left eye. In two weeks, I’ll have the right eye done. So what does that have to do with chocolate potato soup?

Back in the 1960s, my dad had cataracts in both eyes. In his mid-forties, he was rather young for having this kind of surgery. And back then, it wasn’t the quick out-patient dash-and-slash that it is now. Back then, it required a week in the hospital, six weeks recovery at home, and all sorts of special instructions and cautions.

My dad did a lot of the cooking at home and he was especially good at soups. When he was able to get around again, he decided to make some potato soup. As most know, one of the last things you do is add milk (or cream) to the soup. Dad, still not seeing quite right, grabbed the milk carton from the fridge and added it to the soup. When it started coming up brown, he thought he’d burned the soup. But he hadn’t. He’d grabbed the container of chocolate milk! (The boxes were similar in size, color, etc.) Thus, chocolate potato soup.

No, we didn’t eat it, but it has been a family chuckle for many years.

So what’s the first thing my son said when I told him about my upcoming eye surgery?

Don’t make potato soup!

Have a good one everyone!

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What’s in a name?

Shakespeare once used the line: “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

A name, or in the case of a writer, a title, for a book is not always sweet. Or easy to come up with. My cover designer (Charity Parkerson) asked me yesterday what the titles to two of the books I’m working on (as my alter-ego) are so she could finish the cover art. And I had no clue. I’ve been working on both of these books for some time, but couldn’t come up with titles. Everything I thought of… had dozens of similar titles already in the places I checked. Very frustrating. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what my titles would be. Usually, I have a title in mind when I start working, but not with these two. Or rather, I did, but, as noted above, dozens of books already had those titles. One of the books concerns a phoenix/woman. The other is about a young man and his dragon.

I know a lot of writers struggle with this subject. Titles can draw a reader in, or turn them away. They can give indications of the genre, the events, and more. Titles are a major part of the book, a marketing point that helps sell your book.

Right now, there is a huge brouhaha going on over an unscrupulous author trying to trademark a word that is in the title of a series she wrote. She is demanding that all other authors who use this word take down their books and give them new titles because she owns this word. So bunches of writers got together and wrote stories with that word in the title. She took them to court. Guess what? She lost the lawsuit. It’s a long, involved case that I won’t get into, but it does point out how important titles can be. You can’t copyright (and yes, copyright and trademark are two different things) a title. A book, yes, but not the title. That’s why there are so many with the same titles. So how to make mine unique? I kept searching.

The titles I eventually settled on?

Dragon Crumbs

The Last Phoenix

Now that I have the titles in mind, I can get back to writing the stories! 🙂