Brynnde Coming in Paperback!

Better late than never! Soon you’ll finally be able to pick up Brynnde in paperback! I received the print proof yesterday, and it looks lovely. Brynnde + Faebourne = beautiful additions to any collection.

As for my current WIP, we have a lengthened list of potential titles:

  • Mortleigh
  • The Widow’s Tutor
  • Grey Mourning
  • Love Lessons
  • Love in Lavender
  • Mina’s Mentor
  • The Widow and the Scholar
  • An Enlightened Heart
  • Tutor for a Tattered Heart

Which is your favorite? Any other suggestions?

Title TBA

So I’m working on a new Regency romance novel. This one is about a young widow and the tutor she hires for her son. And I’d like to find a title for it because things seem to flow more easily once I know the title of my manuscript. Right now it’s simply called “tutor” in my files.

My two other Regency novels have single-word titles: Brynnde and Faebourne. How important is it to stick with that convention, I wonder? Some of my critique partners pointed out that neither of those titles say much about the books themselves, and that many historical romance titles are pretty descriptive, as in (I’m making up examples, though for all I know they actually exist): The Duke and the Milkmaid or Romancing the Rake or whatever. Truth is, though, I don’t love those kinds of titles. Hmm.

So here are some options that have been floated around this WIP. I’ll tell you that the tutor’s name is Samuel and the widow’s name is Mina Mortleigh (the estate’s name is also Mortleigh).

  • Mortleigh <— in keeping with the single-word titles
  • Mina’s Mentor
  • The Widow’s Tutor
  • Love Lessons
  • An Enlightened Heart
  • The Viscountess and the Scholar
  • The Widow and the Scholar

And so on and so forth in that vein.

So what do you think? Do you like any of these? Other suggestions?

BTW, Brynnde will finally be available in paperback next month! Pre-orders will be up soon, so stay tuned!

IWSG: Deadline!

It’s time again for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Posts go up the first Wednesday of each month. Read more posts and/or join in here.

This month I’m mostly insecure about finishing this project in time for the August 7 release date!

Question of the Month: What’s harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

Oh, I’d say they’re equally difficult but not at the same time. I either have the title and the names become a challenge, or I have the characters and can’t think of a title. It never seems to be that both are easy or both are hard. I wonder why that is?

No to Everything

. . . We’ve decided the above will be the title of my autobiography.

There is a bit of contention about which was my first word: “no” or “hot.” They worked in tandem, so I can understand the uncertainty. You see, in order to keep me from touching things as a child, my parents would say, “No. It’s hot.”

This makes sense when talking about, say, a stove. Less sense when talking about the television set. And being somewhat clever, I figured this out. My dad would be watching the telly, and I would make a move toward it. For whatever reason, turning the dial was very satisfying for me. Probably a tactile/sensory thing. I can actually still remember this—the feel of it and the sound of it burring as it clicked. We didn’t have remote controls in those days. Ours was a wood-paneled thing from Montgomery Ward as I recall. I don’t know the make or model but it looked something like:

The point being that I liked to go turn the dial on the television, and my parents didn’t want me to. So Dad would say, “No. Hot.”

And I would smile and say, “Hot?” But I would draw the word out like, “Hooooooot?”

“Yes, Manda, it’s hot.”

So then I’d reach out and turn the dial, then laugh and run away, yelling, “No! Hot!”

I haven’t stopped saying “no” since, though I don’t say “hot” as often. And televisions don’t have dials anymore.

So I think, if I were ever to write an autobiography or memoir, I’d call it No to Everything. Because I’ve been told I do say no to everything. (I’m not convinced that’s entirely true, but apparently I’m somewhat forbidding.) Also, it’s a less off-putting title than I Hate Everyone.

The Naming of Parts

Well, or of books and stories and such.

When I was at SFWC in February, I was pitching The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller. One of the agents I pitched to thought the title was good. The editor from Random House said it needed to be changed. So you see how subjective these things can be!

I saw this article linked on Twitter today regarding titles. I’ll admit I find TFaRoPS somewhat clunky, but it does sum up the story pretty nicely. And puts a bit of a twist on the old “rise and fall” thing.

My peeves with titles stem from a couple things:

1. Too generic. I really dislike when people use some random idiom or cliché as the title of their book. It tells me very little except that the author is, in actuality, not at all original or creative. If s/he couldn’t do better than such a generic title, what’s the writing and story like? I’m not inclined to find out.

And yes, I do realize the pithy title may be meant as a play on words. But if I can’t get that without reading the book . . . I’m probably not going to read the book just to be able to “get” the title.

2. Too obscure. Sometimes I think people just put a couple words together because they think it sounds cool. Regardless of how cool it sounds, however, if you’ve got some book title that can also be, say, the name of a punk band or something, you’ve failed. Because the title should represent the book, not be interchangeable. Blue Desert. Okay. It’s a book about a blue desert? And? So? (I made that up, btw, though if there is a book titled Blue Desert, well, sorry.)

Do you have any favorite titles? I always thought Victoria Holt did a good job with her book titles. But then, genre does play a part, too. Knowing your audience goes a long way toward knowing what kinds of titles might hook readers. (So long as your title doesn’t sound too much like any and every other book in that genre. Again, if it’s interchangeable with others, you’ve failed.) Nick Hornby, too, has nice titles. And Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant books have interesting titles as well.

A good title (and an interesting cover) can go a long way in getting someone to pick up your book and take a look at it. Don’t put a bunch of work into writing a fabulous story and then undercut it with a lame name.

Of Titles

I am currently writing a sequel to “St. Peter in Chains” and now I’m mulling over possible titles.

“St. Peter in Chains” (as a title) came to me quite unbidden; I knew what I would call the story even before I began writing it. Well, before I physically began writing it, since I wrote a lot of it in my head prior to actually typing anything.

Now, “St. Peter in Chains” is a biblical reference, certainly, and the corresponding event is the one known as “The Liberation of St. Peter,” or sometimes “The Deliverance of St. Peter.” But I’m not sure whether to keep the “St.” as part of this second title, though I’ll certainly use “Peter” in some form or fashion.

I don’t want to get too close to Anne Rice’s erotic title Beauty’s Release, so I’m shying away from anything that sounds remotely like that. I’m a bit fond of “St. Peter Set Free” because it has the same cadence as “St. Peter in Chains.” But I don’t know if that will be my final answer.

In any case, I suppose I should focus on finishing the manuscript. It’s going well, and I’m enjoying writing it. So far at least. So many readers were furious with the less-than-perfectly-happy ending of “St. Peter in Chains,” so I’m aiming to remove the ambiguity in this one. We’ll see how it goes.