Testing Tommy or Stabscotch?

By ALEXI VENICE—

I need your help in naming the third book in The San Francisco Mystery Series.

Let me explain. Cool, sort of spooky, coincidences happen when I’m writing books. For example, when I was about half way through Amanda’s Dragonfly, I was toying with whether I should have the word “Dragonfly” in the title.

Here’s how I stumbled onto the idea: In Bourbon Chase, I added Tiffany lamps with inlaid dragonflies to Amanda’s office décor. (This was a nod to my boss who has dragonflies in the Tiffany lamp on her conference table. She dared me to use the lamp in a book. Ha. Done. Check off that assignment by the boss.)

Tiffany Lamp

While writing Amanda’s Dragonfly, I decided to continue the dragonfly motif by using accent tiles with dragonflies in Amanda’s guest bathroom. For research purposes, at some point during the book, I went to a shooting range—Marc-On Shooting in Lake Hallie—and asked the owner, Dan, to teach me how to shoot a Glock 9 mm. As luck would have it, he had a “Glock Zev Dragonfly” 9 mm, so I knew AT THAT SECOND that the Glock Zev Dragonfly would be Amanda’s gun, and the book would be entitled Amanda’s Dragonfly. The dragonfly motif was solidified.

Glock Zev Dragonfly

Last weekend, a new spooky book coincidence took place at our lake cottage. I was telling the family (and relatives) that I used the game “five finger fillet” in my current book, Testing Tommy, as a torture technique by one of the bad guys. (It’s also known as “Stabscotch.”) No one knew what I was talking about EXCEPT my niece’s boyfriend, The Rugby Player from Montana State University. (I knew I liked this kid.)

He not only recognized the reference, but also had played the game. He asked me if I knew the little song that went with it. Beyond intrigued, I asked him to sing it for me—since he was in show choir in high school and all. HE DID BETTER THAN THAT. He cleared away his plate, grabbed a salad fork, and did the entire knife routine for me, singing the five finger fillet song! As the youngest of 3 brothers, he shared that he once did this with a real knife, but suffered only a minor stab wound.

Watch him in the below video clip.

Is that totally insane, or what? I was so excited that I had more material to use in the scene I had already written. I went back into my manuscript and added the song, courtesy of The Rugby Player!

This spooky coincidence, however, raised a question that I need your help answering. My working title for the current book is Testing Tommy, The San Francisco Mystery Series, Book 3.  The story is from Tommy Vietti’s perspective. He has a new murder to solve and a new girlfriend named Sadie.

Tommy’s investigation also includes a Scottish woman who ends up playing five finger fillet, or, as she called it back in Scotland—Stabscotch. The Scottish banker—Roxy MacNeil—is gorgeous, manipulative and brutal. Neither Tommy nor Amanda know what to make of her, but one thing is for certain, Jen Dawson doesn’t like her.

In any event, I’m now considering naming the book Stabscotch because it picks up the knife game as well as introduces the Scottish motif to the story. I have only a few more chapters to write, so I have to make a decision this week.

Let me know your opinion by commenting below. Should I name the book Testing Tommy or Stabscotch?

Thanks for your help!

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8 thoughts

  1. Testing Tommy. As I look at my bookcase at Bourbon Chase and Amanda’s Dragonfly, I think Testing Tommy would look better next to them on the shelf than Stabscotch. I can’t wait to read it!

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  2. Stabscotch. I like the elusive quality. it reminds me of the way my brother names his paintings. As an artist he often picks names a bit obscure, but it transports you to a different place. I feel your books do the same.

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  3. As much as “Testing Tommy” currently appears to go well with the other two, I have to admit “Stabscotch” gets my attention.

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