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Blogging By the Sea
Saturday, October 22 2016

Our Round Robin Blog for October is How important is a title? What attracts you to a certain title, and how do you determine what to title your book?

One of the first books that I wrote bore the title WORRY STONE while I was writing it and right up to the moment when my publisher decided all the books in that series had to have a similar sound to them. It got renamed, and I’m only partly reconciled, but my editor has more experience in what catches someone’s eye and makes sales than I do, so I bowed to her wisdom. But that title was important to me because the small smooth stone that sat on my desk while the book was being written was a worry stone – as my heroine explained it to my hero when she gave it to him, a small stone you carry in your pocket to feel and fiddle with when you’re worried or stressed. That little stone was my writing talisman, and it appeared many times in the book, mostly when my hero was stressed about something, and tying it to his relationship with her. But maybe I’m the only one for whom that title would be important.

Sometimes I think titles catch one’s interest because they provoke a question. Like THE THINGS THAT THEY CARRIED. The title is intriguing, but it really doesn’t tell you much of what the story is about. Neither does OUTLANDER which is even less attention getting without the cover art to draw the eye. Back when Books like YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN, or GONE WITH THE WIND were first published, most books were in hard cover and didn’t have elaborate cover art to draw attention, so the title was the entire first impression one got. Today things are very different and I think the title is far less important than the art it is printed against.

Take BLACK ICE – there are probably a number of books by that title, but the one I read was about Detective Harry Bosch, the other cover I saw was for a very different kind of story and the two very different covers were far more influential than the title of the book. My first mainstream novel was WHATEVER IT TAKES. Not being very savvy about titles, I didn’t realize there were half a dozen books by the same title and my book didn't appear until page 2 or 3 on the Amazon listing if you didn't include my name. Other covers with that same title were a wide range of genres and many were romance, which mine definitely was not. When my publisher re-released it earlier this year, we chose to retitle it as well, changing it to THE CANDIDATE, which was a lot more specific to the story line.

      

I think when I used to find nearly all my reading choices at the local library where books are shelved spine out and only the title was showing, I paid a lot more attention to titles as a reader. Today it’s the cover art that captures my attention, in spite of the old adage about judging a book by its cover. I think some authors go out of their way to make titles obscure - GIRL ON A TRAIN leaps to mind. And the cover art is just as obscure. It's been a hit, but I doubt the title had much to do with its ratings. The kinds of titles that do grab my interest when it's not an author I'm already following promise me something I'm pretty sure I'm going to like. One recent non-fiction title that caught my interest was DUSTOFF 7-3. I know what a Dustoff is and I know I'm probably going to enjoy reading the exploits of a pilot who risks his life to save wounded soldiers. My most recent release is titled HEALING A HERO, a title that would have attracted my interest as a reader and I hope any other reader of romance who is touched by heroes who might have a vunerable spot either physically or emotionally. But I think, with all the graphics available now, both on the printed cover or online, an intriguing title is a lot less important than a unique title and an eye-catching cover.   

But that's just my take on titles - check out how these other authors view the importance of titles.


A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com
Dr. Bob Rich  http://wp.me/p3Xihq-MI
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com

Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/

Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/

Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca

Posted by: Skye Taylor AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  8 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, October 11 2016

When I first told my friends I was moving to Florida, one of them questioned the wisdom of relocating to the hurricane state. Of course that was after Katrina and that wasn’t Florida. But I was confident – it wasn’t California with mudslides, earthquakes, massive fires and punishing droughts. Nor was it Oklahoma or any state in Tornado Alley.

I bought a house on a barrier island just south of the oldest city in the US and quickly found out that Old A1A, which ran right between my house and the seawall and ended a couple hundred yards south of me, washed out in Hurricane Dora in 1964. But since my house had been built in the 1920s, I still felt confident it could withstand another hurricane. Photo by Jeff Greene as he prepared to evacuate before the storm.

So, along came Matthew. Roaring across the Caribbean, decimating Haiti, punishing the southern tip of Cuba and now headed our way. I’m just daring enough to buy a house by the sea, but not crazy enough to stay here when told to evacuate so off I went to weather the storm with my friend Betty Johnston in Jacksonville. As the storm barreled through the Bahamas, we hunkered before the television listening to the ever more alarming forecasts from weathermen who sometimes looked as if they hadn’t had much sleep. Then the storm got to St Augustine. Summerhaven is south of the city and if the streets of the city were underwater, what was happening to my little neighborhood? Betty and I brainstormed our books until nearly four in the morning with images of the storm parading in the background, and the fate of my little beach bungalow continued to worry me.

Finally, two days after Matthew had moved on to torment the Carolinas I got to go home. All I can say is that I have two very busy little angels watching over me. Summerhaven was one of the hardest hit areas of the ancient city, yet my house stood, sturdy and welcoming in the afternoon sunshine, surrounded by devastation. The house right next to me had the ocean crash through the front door and trash everything inside. Two historic houses down the street are just shells and will have to be taken down. And there is no more Old A1A – only just a couple short sections remain. The rest was rolled up like an old carpet by the pounding surf.

A little water had squeezed under the sliders so I washed my floor. I found a way to barricade the hole in my fence where my neighbor’s fence crashed into it, on the way down the street on the crest of the breaking waves. God only knows why that rush of tons of water driven by hurricane force winds on a storm surge of 6 feet or more didn’t find its way into my house, but the SandCastle stood strong. My powerline mast was bent but a friend splinted it with a split truck muffler and u-bolts. After spending most of the afternoon helping my neighbor shovel water, sand, and silt out the door and hauling ruined furniture to a pile by the street, I needed a shower and something to eat.  Photo by Jeff Greene after Matthew got through with us.

                                                                               

Another neighbor had made a lasagna right before the power went out and he heated it up on his grill so we had a hot meal. Then I headed for the shower, already cringing at the thought of icy water sluicing over my tired body. Imagine my surprise to discover my water heater still had hot water. That was another wonderful little blessing. I woke up on Monday feeling every year of my age – more clean up, more helping others.                  

In the midst of so much loss, there is a lot of goodness we don’t always see in the news. A friend up the street brought me a cooler filled with ice to put my perishables in. A state trooper went door to door asking if there was anything we needed. A group of Mormon teenagers armed with buckets and mops went around asking if they could help folk clean up. Another group from the Anastasia Baptist Church showed up with hot meals for anyone who needed one. A local preacher I have never met before stopped to pray with me, thanking God for my home having survived and then we asked for Him to care for all those who were still in trouble in North Carolina and Haiti. And I’m thankful for all the friends who called, texted, emailed or messaged me on FB to ask if I was okay and offered to help out if there was anything I needed. I am truly blessed.   Jeff Greene has a sense of humor - this is where my mailbox ended up to allow for mail delivery with the road closed.

    

                    

This used to be Old A1A.                   Once a bluff overlooking the beach      Sea wall and road gone

     

Two historic old cottages a couple hundred yards down the street from me.   Fences down everywhere

Posted by: Skye Taylor AT 05:47 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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    Skye Taylor
    St Augustine, Florida
    skye@skye-writer.com

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