So, titles. Perhaps bane is a wee bit excessive, but seriously… coming up with titles for me is painful and vexing. Surprisingly, to this point, none of my titles have been changed by editors. Choosing a title is the very last thing I do when writing a book, and I find it agonizing. The problem with a title is that it has to catch a reader’s attention as well as provide some hint about the plot or characters or setting or genre… sometimes all four. Not a simple endeavor at all.
When I chose the title for my first book, MIA Case Files: Wolfsbane, I had a picture in my head of a nerdy bureaucrat typing up a report about a confidential investigation, and applying a ‘code name’ to the investigation. That particular case involved werewolves, hence Wolfsbane. Seemed a perfectly logical leap for my office worker.
The same theory worked for the sequel. I pictured my same boring clerk reporting on another agency investigation, this time involving vampires and two brothers. And so, MIA Case Files: Blood Relations was born. Imagining my clerk didn’t mean I agonized any less, though! Oddly enough, the third book in the series, which I’m working on now, my office worker was more proactive. It’s one of the few stories I’ve written where I had the title in hand before I even started. As soon as I knew what creature the MIA operatives were fighting, the name fell into my brain.
Spice ‘n’ Solace spent its creation days under a folder called ‘rent boy’. It’s the story of a brothel owner on another planet who gets mistaken for one of the escorts he employs. Even though I’d decided on the name of the brothel fairly early on in the story, it wasn’t until I was title hunting at the end when I realized I could call the book by the same name as the brothel!
My newest book, due out in late summer from Loose Id, is called Trompe L’Oeil. It’s an art term meaning trick of the eye, and despite how perfect I think the title is for the book, I thought for sure my editor would change it! But, if you consider the manuscript was filed under a folder called ‘cursed painting’, perhaps you can see why Trompe L’Oeil works.
The title of a book needs to do a lot of heavy lifting, and I’ve certainly chosen books based on title alone (heck, I’ve chosen books based on the font of the title and nothing more). One of my favorite titles is The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks by Josh Lanyon. Caught my interest immediately, with both the ‘ghost’ idea and the slight absurdity of a ghost wearing socks. Another title I like is The Good Thief by James Buchanan. The juxtaposition of someone breaking the law while remaining an admirable person is made utterly clear in the title, making you want to know what makes the thief good, or how he’ll redeem himself.
Do you have any favourite titles? Ones that grabbed your attention right away, demanding you buy the book? What about titles that make you scratch your head, wondering why that particular title was chosen?
I’d like to thank Simone for having me visit today, and I’ll leave you with a short R-rated excerpt from Spice ’n’ Solace (unfortunately I don‘t have any excerpts for my upcoming release yet). You can find me on the web at www.kcburn.com and I’m on Twitter and Facebook as well.
Buy Link: http://bit.ly/fL2efv
Every year, Jathan One-Moon faces increasing pressure that he marry and have children. What Jathan really wants is a male mate that can enjoy both playful sex and his more dominant nature. To tame his stress, Jathan orders a male escort from Spice 'n' Solace, the premier male brothel in the Galactic Alliance—and is thrilled to be sent a man whose air of innocence and obvious desire for Jathan arouse him like never before.
Jathan doesn't know he has mistaken Kazha Deinos, the owner of Spice 'n' Solace, as his escort. Kaz doesn't intend to pleasure Jathan personally, but his powerful masculinity is irresistible. Kaz has dreamed of a man who'd take charge and indulge his hidden cravings—a man just like Jathan.
With their explosive passion and unexpected tenderness, Jathan and Kaz soon want to stay together—if Jathan's position and Kaz's secrets don't tear them apart...
The unmistakable lurch of a shuttle docking coincided with the chirping of Jathan One-Moon’s comm unit. Bram Hakers was beginning to piss him off. Jathan silenced the device, wondering what the alliance’s undersecretary would do if he turned it off. He’d talked to Hakers every day of his trip to Elora Ki, and he wasn’t doing it again. For some reason Hakers—and the rest of the alliance—treated this brief sojourn as nothing more than an exotic vacation for Jathan, with the alliance picking up the tab.
Jathan did charge the alliance an enormous amount, but they were the reason Jathan had been forced to become a negotiator in the first place. His other negotiations paid well, but they were on a much smaller scale. For the Ankylos negotiations, Jathan charged the alliance in proportion to the almost unimaginable consequences of failure. Because if Jathan failed, the human race could be snuffed out.
Every year he returned to Elora Ki, the site chosen because of its position as the farthest planet from the center of both the Ankylos Empire and the hub of planets ruling the Galactic Alliance. Every year he repeated the negotiations on behalf of the human race.
In truth he’d do the negotiations for free. Diabolical not to, since the Ankylos wouldn’t negotiate with anyone else after his father died. Without him the Ankylos Empire would renew the Wolframite War with the Galactic Alliance. But people didn’t respect things they got for free, and Jathan wanted the alliance to respect his services. Unfortunately Hakers acted as though the exorbitant fees meant Jathan was his slave for the length of the negotiations. With the Ankylos refusing to negotiate with anyone but a person in his father’s bloodline, he was a prisoner of sorts.
A knock sounded at the door to his quarters.
“Come in.” The military escort to his headquarters had arrived.
“Sir. We made good time. We’ve docked early.”
Dammit. Should he contact Spice ’n’ Solace? With his escort due to arrive the next evening, was it worth altering those arrangements? “Yes, thank you. I’m almost ready.”
Jathan fastened his bag and hefted it to his shoulder.
“Sir. Let me take that.” The well-put-together soldier moved into Jathan’s personal space, took the bag and smiled.
Jathan looked down at the man’s face, assessing his motives. The blond was good-looking, although broader and more muscle bound than his usual type.
The soldier used his firm chest to pin Jathan against the wall—under other circumstances a move like that would have made Jathan’s cock swell. Before the negotiations, though, the aggressiveness didn’t work for him.
“We’re on unexpected furlough for the night.” The soldier might have been making conversation, but the erection pressing into Jathan’s hip made his words an invitation.
“Tempting.” Jathan pushed all inflection out of his voice and painted on his most disdainful expression. This wasn’t what he needed. Not now. Military men weren’t equipped to give in, to submit. “But not a good idea.”
The blond quirked a brow. “Sure? Everyone knows how you spend your nights on Elora Ki.” His hips undulated against Jathan’s. Lies, clearly. If everyone knew what he did—he peered at the shorter man’s name patch—Williams would know this wasn’t the approach to take.
Although the forthright invitation was at odds with a man on duty, starfuckers were rather single-minded. He’d fucked others, but it made him uncomfortable. Still, the blond was quite attractive.
“You going to be part of my escort on the return trip?”
“Mmm, I think so.”
On the way home might be a different story. “We’ll talk then.”
“Yes, sir.” Williams stepped back before leading the way out of Jathan’s quarters. In many ways Jathan preferred to pay for his pleasure. No strings, no expectations on the part of the escort and Jathan could take what he needed to make it through another year of negotiations.
Jathan took out his comm unit, still unsure if he wanted to call for an escort. The unit chirped in his hand. Undoubtedly Hakers again, toadying little suck-up. Screw it. He’d had enough. Jathan turned the device off, determined to pretend that for at least one night no one relied on him to save countless human lives.
Text Copyright © 2011 by K.C. Burn
Cover Art Copyright ©2010 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved. ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.