♫ Wouldn’t You Like to Be A Genius, Too ♫

ImageSometimes I have ideas, and I think I’m a genius. Within a week, I see my genius advertised on television for $19.95. Someone beat me to it.

I have two genius ideas right now:

Genius Idea #1- I think every automobile should have a light bar running from left to right across the back of the car. It will show you the degree to which the driver has applied the brakes. Is Grandpa riding the brake and thereby applying only a little pressure? Just a few lights of the bar will light. Is the driver braking rationally in preparation for a stop? Possibly half of the lights will light. Or has the driver slammed on the brakes because a squirrel darted into the middle of the road and held up a stop sign? All of the lights across the rear end will blind you with their redness. Rear end collisions would be eliminated with my light bar, which is a way better idea than that goofy additional red light in the back window. … The Big Three have ignored my emails.

Genius Idea #2 – We don’t heat our upstairs in the winter. It’s great for sleeping, and with plenty of blankets, it’s always warm and toasty in the bed. Getting out is manageable, but taking off warm pajamas to put on frozen clothing is brutal! This year, I’m putting my clothes for the next day into a box with an electric heating pad hooked up to a timer set to turn on an hour before I get up. I’ll let you know how that invention works out and if the guys at the Shark Tank go for it.


When I came up with an idea for my next book, I thought I’d hit upon genius again!

I’m a Janet Evanovich fan. In 2008, I picked up the first book in her Stephanie Plum series, and I read it in one sitting. I laughed out loud – something I rarely do when I’m by myself. I read the next thirteen books in the series, plus the in-betweens, in just two weeks.

In Explosive Eighteen, there is quite a bit of action at Stephanie’s apartment in New Jersey. I thought it would be awesome to have Susan and Darby go to New Jersey, stay with his uncle in Stephanie’s apartment building, and their story would run parallel to hers for one weekend. Darby would comment on the passed-out redhead in the hallway, or they would be awakened by multiple gunshots in the middle of the night, and the uncle would bark, “Go back to bed. It’s just the bounty hunter across the hall.”

Genius I tell you! There would be no mention of any names whatsoever. Only an Evanovich fan would catch the references.

But I do my homework. Research and a quick online consultation Imagewith a copyright attorney quickly exposed my folly. Even though no names would be referenced, characters and locations are by design copyrighted. If fictitious characters and locations can be recognized, you cannot use them.

It would have been fun to write, and I was disappointed. This idea came to me out of nowhere. I was working on something else at the time. Why was it dumped into my head by the universe?

Ha! I don’t give up that easily. It’s still a good idea. In my next book, Windy City Hunter, coming to an eReader near you in 2013, I have Susan and Darby staying in a condo in Chicago. I know I want a subplot in the condo, and I still want to use my idea of these two looking in on events from another book.


Not the book I have in mind.

I’ve been speed-reading Public Domain Books! I’ve already found two possibilities. I’m pretty sure this isn’t an original idea, and when someone reads my book they will likely have no idea what I’ve done, but I’m pleased that an idea fell into my head, and I figured out a way to make it work.

Have you ever used a public domain book when writing? Tell me about your inventions!

30 thoughts on “♫ Wouldn’t You Like to Be A Genius, Too ♫

  1. I love inventing things! I’ve invented an ‘under table heater’ for the winter. My friends come over and we can sit outside for as long as we like. I’m not very good with naming it – everyone just calls it ‘The Invention’. When they come over they say, ‘We’re cold. Can you turn ‘The Invention’ on?’ LOL

    I love the idea about the car brakes though – you ARE a genius!

    • Dianne, I need an ‘under table heater’ for my desk! I can stay warm in the winter, but my feet under the desk fail me every time. How very cool that you can sit outside in the winter and be comfortable. YOU are a genius!! I got the idea for the car brakes when watching the lights on hubby’s stereo system move up and down with the sound of the music. “We need that for brakes,” popped into my head. 🙂

      • Jut get the smallest fin oil heater you can find. They’re completely enclosed (no flames!) and put it under the desk. Throw a rug or large table cloth over and it will stay really warm under there. If my feet are cold it’s really hard for me to get my whole body warm 🙂

    • I’ve already gathered all of my equipment for the task. Undergarments will go right against the heating pad, with jeans, shirt, and sweater following. I hope it works. I hope I don’t wake up too early. 🙂

    • Isn’t that funny! I was singing, ♫”wouldn’t you like to be a wiener, too.”♫ I had the Oscar Mayer song in my head. Now I’ll have Dr. Pepper, wiener, and genius versions rolling around in my head today. 🙂

  2. At Girl Scout camp we used to sleep with our clothes in our sleeping bag.

    I have to be honest, I’m terrible about scattering literary allusions in my work. I’ve got a Toni Morrison reference in my vampire smut, Nabokov in my cuckold, and Flaubert in my fantasy. I skimmed gossip from St. Simon’s book about Louis XIV for my fantasy. No invention was really needed. There’s this story about a bunch of princesses getting in trouble for playing with fire crackers, and another one about how they used to put meat in the pocket of this one princess who was a bit of a harpy. It was all very high-school-lunchroom.

    • I’ve been so tempted to tuck my clothes under the covers at the foot of the bed. … Meat in the pocket of a princess – too funny. I had to republish two of my books after I used song lyrics and found out they could cost me big bucks.

  3. That car light bar thing is brilliant! I can only imagine the car companies aren’t interested because it would be complicated to produce? I don’t know, I’m not an electrician, lol.

    • I don’t know enough about electronics to know how it would be made, but I could see it being a big problem if lights burned out along the line and weren’t replaced. But I think not knowing what the guy in the car in front of you is doing with his brakes remains a serious problem in society today. 🙂

    • I had to Google it. Your hot water heaters are treated so kindly in NZ. Our is in our creepy basement – on the side with the furnace and the dirt floor. If I put my clothes down there, something horrible would surely whisk them away in the night. If my idea doesn’t work, maybe I should just blast them for a few seconds with my hair dryer. 🙂

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