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Choosing a #Book Title...or 7! #amwriting #writerslife #writingcommunity #amreading #FridayReads

I've been a reader my whole life, and long before I could search GoodReads or other online book recommendation sites for stories I might like (or even before those mail order clubs became a thing--I belonged to one of those for years), I spent tranquil hours walking through the stacks in libraries.  Often I would just start at the beginning--authors with the last name "A"--and go from there, taking time to linger over my favorite writers to see if there were new releases.  And then there were the titles along the spine that grabbed my attention.  Being a fan of all things spooky--especially Gothic romance (see Phyllis A. Whitney) and haunting mysteries--my heart beat a little faster when I caught sight of a book entitled Ghost Moon in the "R" section...a 2001 release by Karen Robards.  The cover was atmospheric, the blurb on the inside flap was intriguing, and the setting was one of my favorites...the bayous of Louisiana.  From what I remember, there really wasn't a ghost, or any other paranormal aspect, but there was romance, an old mystery, danger, and dark secrets...some of my favorite things in fiction.  I know I enjoyed the story, and I also remember clearly thinking that I loved the title, and my dream of someday writing a novel drifted through my mind again.  

A few years later, inspiration struck, and I had an idea!  Another year later, the complete story arc of my own Romantic Suspense/Ghost Mystery constantly played out in my imagination, and when I explained the plot to my husband, he encouraged me to start writing it.  And...I did. 

I had the premise for the novel,
the characters, the story arc, and an image
of the perfect cover...but no title
Oh, how I wanted to call it Ghost Moon.  I pictured a cover in my expanse of lake with a full moon hanging in the dark sky above.  But being completely new to the business, I thought a book title had to be unique.  I had no idea that different books often share identical titles, and that (most) book titles are not subject to copyright.

So as I was writing this reunion romance, about a group of estranged friends who reunite at a lake house in a last-ditch attempt to solve the mystery of their missing friend's disappearance, I decided on a different title:  The Lake House.  Then a hit movie with the same name came out in 2006.  (For some reason, I was sure this movie was also a Nicholas Sparks book...but in writing this post, I discovered it's not).  Anyway, that title became unavailable in my mind, and I was disappointed.  Back to the drawing board.

But I finally hit on a title I liked when I named the fictional lake where the house that played such a big part in the group's past was located...Silver Lake.  And that became the working title.  At the time, I couldn't find another book with that title on Amazon (that has changed in the 8 years since publication).

I was thrilled when the manuscript was contracted in 2011 by a publisher, and even more excited when my pub decided to kept the original title.  The eventual cover also captured the key elements I was looking for, thanks to my publisher's policy of allowing the author some input when the time for cover art arrives.  Silver Lake will always have a special place in my heart, and I do love the title.

Silver Lake went on to get acquired by a larger publisher
and became a #1 Amazon Bestseller!

I know this post is getting long--side effect of isolation--but I'll nutshell by saying that although I learned that titles are not copyrighted, I factored in an attempt to find something original in my next few books (along with a two-word theme I've stuck with aside from The Haunting of Hillwood Farm).  But as more and more books hit the market, nearly every title with just a few words gets used more than once.  

My first five books all had two-word titles:
Silver Lake ~ Gull Harbor ~ Divine Fall ~ Haunted Souls
(and Dangerous Currents, which came after this banner)

So, when I was trying to come up with a title for my seventh (!!!!) book, I returned to that love of Ghost Moon.  I checked Amazon, and there are several books now using that title.  Not so many that finding my book would be difficult for anyone looking, but enough (including some very well known authors) that made me decide it was okay for me to use it as well.  Also, it echoes that two-word theme I've had going for most of my books.

As you can see below, I went with my heart's desire.  I'm thrilled I have my own Ghost Moon now, and I wish I could tell my younger self that she'd realize that dream of writing a novel times over.  And that eventually, she'd have a book titled Ghost Moon with her name on the cover.

And what a cover!  This might be my favorite one yet!
If you enjoy steamy romance and spooky suspense, I hope you'll give my books a try!  Thanks for coming by, stay safe, and happy reading.
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