05-26-18 – Blog Queen - Sarah Raplee

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Light Up the Night

by M. L. Buchman

Sometimes titles are evocative, sometimes they're good, and sometimes they just suck. It's one of the wonders of traditional publishing when you aren't in control of your own titles. (Though I've certainly seen some awful indie titles as well.)

That said, for me: This one Rocks!
The title is totally cheerful, they "Light Up" the night! It's one of those words like working "Heart" into your title or finagling it into the last word of your pitch. It just makes you feel better.

The challenge of a good title is delivering on it.

  • The Divine Comedy for Dante Alighieri's journey through hell
  • Pride and Prejudice that has us still debating two hundred years later exactly which one is which but still sighing at the ending anyway.
  • Zorba the Greek a title which I dare you to say without smiling. Or remember without smiling.
Frequently the trick is that you can make up the title after you've written the book.
  • The Old Man and the Sea is about, um, this old guy and the sea
  • Don Quixote is this book about this, uh, quixotic guy
  • The Hobbit The "What-it?" You just have to pick it up to find out 
All great titles, and I'll bet they were all chosen after the book was at least well started.

The catch with my traditional books has been that the way traditional publishing works, they choose the title before I know what the book is about. I might have main characters, and some guess about where on the planet it will occur. But other than being a military romantic suspense, I don't know a whole lot more than that by the time the marketing pack is due at the sales team (over a year ahead of publication).

That's another of the reasons Light Up the Night rocks for me. The characters really do, almost like a pinball machine. Not only their battles with evil forces (of which there are plenty in the book), but in their sparring with each other. Neither wants to be in love, especially not with the other one, which turned out to be really fun to write.

Lieutenant William Bruce is a Navy SEAL who is working undercover in Somalia.

Trisha O'Malley is an Army helicopter pilot for the secretive Night Stalkers and saves his behind when he doesn't think he needs it.

He's dirt-poor Scottish from Chicago; she's well-bred Boston-Irish.

He's strong and silent; she's so not...silent that is. (Though she teaches him a thing or two about what strong means.)

So, when they take on the Somali pirate lords, and each other, it definitely Lights Up the Night. And like the umpteenth crazy good thing about that cover is that, at least to my author's eye, that's pretty much how they look. (Okay, I'm looking at the really cute girl. I'm a guy who writes romance, so sue me. :) )

Anyway, this title (the latest addition to my "Night Stalkers" series) is available in just 6 days on September 2nd (or sooner if you're reading this later).

The reason I chose older titles above is I'd love to hear what are some of your favorite romantic suspense or romance titles that just really fit the spirit as well as the story of the book.

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Sarah Raplee said...

Great post, Matt! You've got me rethinking some of my furure titles.

As for titles that deliver, Agnes and the Hitman by Jennie Cruise and Bob Mayer romantic Comedy) comes to mind. Also Chameleon: The Awakening by Maggie Faire (YA Fantasy Romance.)

Light Up the Night sounds like an amazing story - can't wait to read it!

Paty Jager said...

This looks and sounds like a great book. Good luck!

Paty Jager said...

This looks and sounds like a great book. Good luck!

M. L. Buchman said...


I kept meaning to read "Agnes and the Hit Man" and then kept forgetting. Thanks for bumping it back onto my TBR pile.