Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What's in a Name?

When it comes to titling books, authors are all over the place. Some authors narrow the choice down to a few options and ask their affinity groups and/or fan base to help select the title. Other authors toss out the premise and ask for suggestions for titles. Some wait until the book is done, expecting the completed novel to name itself after all that intense work on it. Some authors have a great title, and they let the story unfold around it.

One thing all authors acknowledge is that naming your book is one of the most important elements of novel writing. It’s the first thing any potential reader sees first. They don’t read the blurb first then look for the title. The title grabs them (or not) so they pick up the book to read the blurb (or not). What’s in a name? a lot! Despite Shakespeare’s argument to the opposite, authors know book names matter.

I am one who does not struggle finding titles for my work. Which is not to say I don’t struggle with writing. I have demons I wrestle that other writers put down with ease. No, I am just saying, gratefully, that at least I don’t have titling issues to contend with as well.

Some of my titles are pretty pedestrian. Lucinda is the title character in my historical fiction in two time periods. Land’s End is the name of the condo complex where my short story anthology unfolds. But the real fun of naming is with my two culinary mystery series.

For some reason, many culinary mysteries are puns. It adds an extra fillip to the story. Diane Mott Davidson’s Goldy Bear series includes titles like Dying for Chocolate, Cereal Murders, Chopping Spree, and Main Corpse. What’s not to like for a foodie and a mystery lover?

Being a word guy, punny titles appeal to me on several levels. Son Brooklyn jokes that I should auction off some of my culinary mystery titles since I can never live long enough to write them all. He thinks that might net me more income than the book royalties. Gee, thanks, Kid!

But I’m not going to do that. Here are titles I know I’ll use and some I can’t live long enough to use. Help yourself. I’ll look forward to reading what you come up with if you write a culinary mystery, too.

Plan to use for “Dinner is Served” series:
Mission Impastable     
Prime Rib and Punishment
Cooks in the Can
Peas Porridge Pot       
The Taming of the Stew
Tequila Mockingbird
Grape Expectations
Glazed and Infused
Roux the Day
Case of Syrah, Syrah
The Holy Grill
Bone Appétit 
Fried and Prejudice

Plan to use for “For Everything a Season” series”
Mint to Be
Thyme to Die
Sage Advice
Arsenic and Old Mace
Down by the Bay Leaf
Cumin to Me
Broken out in Chives
Gingerly into the Night

Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time

Help Yourself:
Romeo and Julienned
King Sear
Midsummer Night’s Cream
Measure for Measure
O, Jello
Much Ado about Noshing
The Berry Wives of Windsor
Crumb What May
That’s a Moray           
Dressed to Kill
Chop to It
An American Pie in Paris
Peppered with Shells
Take with a Grain of Salt
Dead and Butter
By Hook or by Cook    
Borne and Bread
Fry, Fry Again
Garden of Eaten
Refry Gravity 
Serial Griller
Bashed Potatoes
Good to Grate
Veg Out
Rye, Rye Again
Cream a Little Cream of Me
Boxed Up
Ryes and Shine
I’ll See You in My Creams
Butter Off Dead
Under Lox and Quiche
Wrapsody in Blue Cheese
Lick It to Me
Porky and Buns
Dough, a Dear
In the Lick of Thyme
A Steak in the Heart   
A Spoonful of Sugar
Grilling them Softly
Easier Fed than Done
Pitcher Perfect
Fat or Fiction?


  1. I totally love this! I haven't set up my blog yet, trying to figure out how and what to even write about. I had been brainstorming some ideas and one that came to mind was this exact title "What's in a Name?"Don't think my story will turn out as good as yours.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Thanks, Virginia. I keep up with three blogs! Kind of challenging, but it allows for a very wide range of topics for different audiences. Post when yours is going, and I'll check it out.

  3. Glazed and Infused-- you kill me! That's great, and many delicious titles here. An interesting and helpful post, Sharon, thanks!

    1. Thanks so much for coming by to read and comment. I appreciate it. Making up these titles is so much fun! Pick one and do it! Let me know what you concoct!