Summons from His Grace

Summons from His Grace
Regency Anthology

A Scandal To Remember

A Scandal To Remember
Regency Romance

Crazy For You

Crazy For You
romantic comedy

To Love and Protect

To Love and Protect
Romantic Suspense

Dangerous Kiss

Dangerous Kiss
short story

Kisses Of Fire

Kisses Of Fire
contemporary romance

Spanish Eyes

Spanish Eyes
American Historical

Queen Of Hearts

Queen Of Hearts
Historical Western
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Friday, July 2, 2010

Creating Peerrrrfect Titles....

I want to introduce you to Melissa Blue, my wonderful, amazing critique partner and best friend. She's my guest blogger today, so everyone be extra nice...
Registered Nurse by night, Melissa battles the stresses of life and illness by enjoying uplifting tales of love and romance. A firm believer in true love united with an enduring fascination with history has prompted her pursuit of romance writing. She lives in beautiful Big Sky Country Montana with her husband and children.

Creating Peeerrrfect Titles...
Book titles tend to be an author’s white elephant… the elusive horned unicorn that we chase after, toiling for hours over the perfect twist of phrase that will hook readers and ferry the book to the New York Times Best Seller list. No matter how incredible the writing in a story may be if the title is ho hum it will probably be passed over for a title that leaps off the cover and screams to passersby, “Read me!”

What makes a good title?

Key elements that draw me to a title as a reader are:

· Is the wording unique or is it yet another boring seduction-type of title.

· Does the wording fit with the genre of book I’m looking for?

· Does the title tell me a little something about the book?

· Writers create pictures with words. What images does the title provoke?

· Does the title match the back cover blurb? Nothing drives me more crazy than a gripping title that does not seem to match the book in anyway.

Titles are my least favorite thing to write—third only to synopsis and pitch writing—but the title of my latest release Angel and the Unforgiven from Champagne Books is one of my absolute favorites.

How do I come about developing titles like the one for Angel? To be perfectly honest partly by accident. The original title of this book was Angels (with an S) and the Unforgiven. The cover artist goofed and dropped the ‘S’ at which point my publisher and I said, “Ahhh, I think it’s better without the plural.”

Melissa’s keys for developing fitting yet intriguing titles:

· Slap a working title on your story. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate just a name for your work while you get it rolling. Even something like Ghost Story will do.

· Once you reach a point in your writing when certain plot points begin to stand out take note of those elements because they may be great fodder for a title later.

 * i.e. The title of my latest finished project Forget Me Not stems from the Forget-me-not flower the hero gives the heroine. The title is also a clever twist on a double meaning within the story.

· When the time comes and your manuscript is polished and it’s time to polish the title too, develop a few and then run them past a few people.

Now tell me, what is the best book title you’ve seen lately? Mine is Lessons from a Scarlet Lady.

When you read the title Angel and the Unforgiven what image does that provoke in your mind?

Does the back cover blurb match the title?

When murder suspect Cadence Jamison disguises herself as a boy and stows aboard the Heavenly Mistress Captain Curtis Langston may find his two past occasions for rescuing her more than he bargained for.

Bitter and Cynical after service in the Confederate Army, Curtis believes himself no more deserving of another’s love than capable of returning it. Content to drift through life free of emotional and therefore romantic complications the once carefree and mischievous rogue may be forever gone. But when Cadence appears in his life Curtis finds himself smiling again, smiling and dreaming and feeling more like himself than he has in five years. Drawn with almost unnatural force to the sweet and innocent goodness Cadence offers, Curtis blunders again and again to resist the pull of what a life with her could be.

Can Cadence show this wounded soul how to love again? Or is he doomed to be forever unforgiven, haunted by the ghosts of his past?

Happy Reading!

Find me online at

Angel and the Unforgiven E-book:



Phyllis Campbell said...

Melissa, you know I always love your blogs! Thanks for being my very first guest.


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Melissa,
Great blog. You are so right titles can make or break a book.

Stacey said...

Hi Melissa,
As a writer myself, usually the title comes to me and then the story follows, but sometimes I struggle with dozens of titles before the right one hits. Some of my favorite titles that offer great insight into the book are: Dead Man's Walk, The Patron Saint of Liars, One Thousand White Women-The Journals of May Dodd, This Way Madness Lies, and Recipes from the Dump.

Victoria Roder said...

Enjoyed your post! I've been told a lot of publishers request a change to most titles.

Melissa Blue said...

Hi, everyone, thanks for dropping by!

Phyllis, thanks so much for inviting me to be your first guest blogger! Hopefully you'll have me back one day. I would have commented sooner but I went to see Eclipse... the third movie in the Twilight series. Loved it. I must admit I was team Jacob all through readin the books and I still am!!


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

You are very right. Titles are like poetry both image and synopsis.


Allison Knight said...


Titles do make a book. The wrong title and the book won't draw the attention it deserves. I also loved writing titles - usually. But synopses, and pitch sentences.
Now there I disagree. I hate 'em.


Ginger Simpson said...

And all this time I thought I was your best friend! Great post though. :)

About Me

My photo
Phyllis Campbell is an award-winning, multi-published and best-selling author of romance; from the dark and mysterious hero who sends shivers up your spine to the fiesty heroines who somehow manage to keep them in line. She's published with Bookstrand Publishing, Champagne Books, The Wild Rose Press, and most recently, The Dark Castle Lords Publications. Most of her reviewers have given her the title of “Queen Of Sexual Tension”. Married with kids (and three grandchildren), Phyllis has lived in Utah all of her life and enjoys family activities when she’s not writing her next sensual story.