Saturday, February 27, 2016

My Titles Evolve Over Time

For the fantasy romance novels set in ancient Egypt, I'm quite basic. Everything is "of the Nile." I figured that would cue people as to the time and place. It was also my homage to the 1950's movie "Princess of the Nile," which is a B movie favorite of mine. So I have Priestess, Warrior, Dancer, Magic and Ghost. Of The Nile. There' s also the novella Healer of the Nile, in a boxed set at the moment but soon to come out as a standalone. This year I plan to write the sequel to Dancer and I'm pondering the title. Return of the Dancer of the Nile is perhaps a bit unwieldy.

My subtitle for the series, chosen by Carina Press back in 2011, is Gods of  Egypt. You may be familiar with the fact that a certain movie has recently come out with the same title? Nope, not based on my books!

So, easy peasy so far.

For the science fiction romance, I tend to start out by thinking of the book in terms of the planet's name. So the early working files are entitled "Zulaire" or "Majumdar". Unless the action takes place on a ship and then it'll be known as something like "Plague Ship". I have one that started out as "Saqqarrain" and still is that on my computer. The manuscript has gone through quite a few iterations and will be released in May as Lady of the Star Wind. And no location in the book anywhere has the long and unwieldy name Saqqarrain any more.

When I began writing science fiction in junor high school, I wasn't very keyed into the title as another tool for selling the book, so I think that''s probably why my titles are utilitarian.

Let's see - Wreck of the Nebula Dream. OK, pretty descriptive and easy to pronounce. Probably ok. Escape from Zulaire. Is that clearly science fiction, set on another planet? Or does it sound like my characters are somewhere in Africa? Without spaceships? Mission to Mahjundar. Again, doesn't signal space adventure and going by the title alone, could just as easily be eastern Asia, minus the blasters and starships.  Probably not good.

I also thought of my novels as standalone stories in a connected series, set in the same universe. They are all subtitled A Sectors SF Romance, which helps a little. The Sectors is my interstellar civilization, the backdrop against which all the action occurs.

So for my next book, I went with Star Cruise: Marooned. And the direct sequel to that is going to be Star Cruise: Outbreak. Future books in this series, which will all occur on an interstellar cruise ship, with be Star Cruise: Something. Look for it at an ebook retailer near you!

Like everything else to do with the publishing business, titles have evolved too. I promise the one thing you'll never see from me is a book title with hashtag hashtag hashtag key words in the title itself!

Ghost of the Nile is on sale at Amazon, by the way, only $.99!

The story:
Betrayed, murdered, and buried without proper ceremony, Egyptian warrior Periseneb is doomed to roam the gray deserts of the dead as a ghost for all eternity.
But then the goddess of truth offers him a bargain: return to the world of the living as her champion for 30 days. If he completes his mission, he’ll be guaranteed entry into Paradise. Periseneb agrees to the bargain but, when he returns to the living world, two hundred years have passed and nothing is quite as he expected.
Neithamun is a woman fighting to hang onto her family’s estate against an unscrupulous nobleman who desires the land as well as the lady. All seems lost until a mysterious yet appealing ex-soldier, Periseneb, appears out of nowhere to help her fight off the noble’s repeated attacks.
Meanwhile, Periseneb’s thirty days are rushing by, and he’s powerless against the growing attraction between himself and Neithamun. But their love can never be. For his Fate is to return to the Afterlife, and Death cannot wed with Life…

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