Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Logic Behind a Good Suspense Title

When your titles mix feelings
Have you ever wondered where authors get their titles? With big publishing houses, titles are often chosen by the editorial staff, and are designed to reflect that publisher, author and genre.
Indie authors, that is those who publish independently, have a bit more freedom, but that doesn't always preclude an awesome title. 
But for suspense stories, titles have got to grab and speak the genre. One way to do that, is for the author to consider mixing two opposite elements. 
Think of Tess Gerritson's The Bone Garden. While bones offer up a taste of pain and death, gardens suggest pleasant retreats, beautiful flowers, rich produce. The two incompatible elements make for a mystery, a suggestion of things hidden. A suspense story.
My book, Deadly Trust, also suggests that. Deadly is self explanatory, and so is trust. Juxtaposing these two words creates a question, which suggests suspense. Even my latest Love Inspired Historical, also a suspense, has a title that asks a similar question. Undercover Sheriff (not yet released) asks the obvious question, why is the sheriff undercover? We all know the answer; because he is solving a crime. But the word undercover means a person is a mystery, hidden, while the sheriff is an outward authority figure, one is plain view. 
The title Hidden in Plain Sight reveals a number of fiction and non fiction books that not only suggest two opposites, but even my next point.

When words have different meanings

A number of books with the above title have Amish themes. The word plain means both obvious, and simple, unadorned. 
UnderCovers can also suggest both sensual themes and pretending to be someone you're not. This book has both, so the single worded title does double duty. 

What titles can you think of that suggest a mix of meanings or feelings? What title do you like best?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Where's the logic in owls?

We went camping this past weekend. It was a nice spot, on a lake, with hiking trails (although, whoever drew the campsite map needs a lesson in geography). We appreciated the beauty of a lovely summer weekend.

Then dusk fell.  

The ladies at the next campsite chatted and got all caught up with each others' lives, much to my husband's displeasure, especially when he realized only I had brought earplugs. He confiscated them immediately.
Now, the chatting didn't bother me. I knew they'd eventually fall asleep.

It was the owl. 
That night owl. 
That loud, devious Barred Owl. (I know this because I googled the hooting when I got home. See how devious he is?)

Image courtesy of Simon Pierre Barrette www.flickr.com/photos/vireo_solitarius  via https://crazybugladyblog.wordpress.com/tag/barred-owl/

It sat high in the trees between our campsite and the ladies' next door, dead set on keeping me up at night. 

So my question is this. If an owl hunts at night, where is the logic in sitting in a tree hooting from dusk to dawn? Owls are quiet, swift killers, so how and when is this character hunting? He did not one second of hunting all three nights we were camping. Wouldn't some kind of natural selection have weeded him out? 

You don't eat, you starve. (Well, except some women I know who only eat rabbit food and that is pretty sparse. But I digress.)

As I expected, my question wasn't answerable. Cell service was spotty in the unserviced campsites and I don't have a data plan, either. And my husband didn't know, as he heard only a few hoots. Remember, he confiscated my earplugs on that first night.

So, as dawn approached on the last day of our camping trip, I lay on our air mattress and thanked God that the owl finally stopped calling. Peace reigned and I knew I would finally get an hour or so sleep.

Then a crow woke up.

I shouldn't have left her alone!

That crazy Georgina has done it again!  I left her alone for a few minutes, and now another one of her books is free ! Get it here! ...