Monday, October 3, 2016

Catchy Titles

A little self-promotion: Having a Great Crime – Wish You Were Here, A Sandi Webster Mystery, is available in ebook format, and should be available in paperback today or tomorrow.

1936 – In the small farming community of Battle Ground, Washington, a scream is heard and actress Bonnie Singleton is found dead. With no evidence or suspects, the crime goes down in history as an unsolved murder. The only one who knows the truth is Bonnie Singleton, and her voice has been silenced.

That is, until many years later when Sandi Webster-Goldberg and her husband, Pete, go on a belated honeymoon to a new Bed and Breakfast in the small community.

Plenty of surprises await the couple when the proprietor of the B&B asks for their help. She doesn’t want her business to be known as the local haunted house.

Have Sandi and Pete ever been able to turn down a challenge? The request to find the truth has been made and once again they’re reluctantly on a cold case.

I thought that was a catchy title, but then I have to think that.

Sue Grafton has done the Alphabet series and Janet Evanovich has done the Numbered series. Mary Higgins Clark has done some with song titles. And, like mine, there are some that are sort of a play on words. There are titles of series where all of them have something to do with food, and many of Elizabeth Peters titles have to do with archaeology. So far, J. Michael Orenduff’s titles have to do with a pot thief. Interesting. Carolyn J. Rose’s titles in her series have “substitute” in the titles. Her character is a substitute teacher, so it makes perfect sense.

I have to admit that I’ve picked up many books based on the title. Any mystery that has “chocolate” in the title will get my attention.

I’ve never been able to come up with a hook like that. Maybe someday I’ll think of just the right hook. My husband came up with the title, Old Murders Never Die, which I thought was great and apropos to the story. He also came up with How Now Purple Cow. If I saw that title on someone else’s book, I’d have to wonder what a purple cow might have to do with a mystery. I might walk away shaking my head, but then again, I might pick it up and read the description on the back. Who knows? Sometimes I think it depends on our mood at the time.

Sometimes a title will take hold and it won’t let go. I’ve been known to buy a book, and then months or a few years later buy the same book again, not remembering that I’ve already read it. It was the title, grabbing me again. Another issue is when I find a great title, but when I read the book I find that the title has absolutely nothing to do with the story. In a way, it reminds me of false advertising. Oh, well, that’s my problem. However, if you think about it, a title is a form of advertising. Huh. I’ve never thought about that before.

There have been times when I came up with a title before a story. I know other authors who’ve done the same thing. Having a Great Crime – Wish You Were Here was one of those times. I have a card file where I keep notes about stories and titles. This title was something I jotted down a few years ago. The time finally seemed right to use it.

What are some of your favorite titles and what was it that caught your eye? The word “secret” always catches my eye and, like I said, “chocolate” grabs me.

Until next time, read some good books, no matter what the title is. Just enjoy reading. Let a book take you away from day to day life.

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Don’t forget that Choosing One Moment – A Time Travel Mystery is also a new addition to the McGraw books. Have I been blatant enough yet?


  1. I agree. Titles are very important as are book covers. And, I LOVE the title and cover of your new release. Can't wait to read it!

    1. Thank you, Pat! Your titles keep me guessing and grab my attention, and I can't wait to read your next book. Thank you so much for stopping in!

  2. Marja, I love the title of your new book (it reminds me of the joke about the postcard that said "Weather is here- wish you were beautiful!"). I like titles with a house name in them--Jamaica Inn, Murder at Marble House, The House of the Seven Gables, etc.

    1. Thank you, Amy, and I love the postcard you referenced. LOL All good titles. They say something about the stories. Thank you so much for stopping in!

  3. All your novel titles are wonderful, and they each give the reader an inkling of what the story is about. This one, in particular, makes the reader interested in the story even before turning to the first chapter. Looking forward to reading the print version.

    1. Thank you, Evelyn! Usually, but not always, I try to take the title from something in the book. : ) Thank you so much for commenting!