frog booksI’ve been at this writing thing for quite some time, so you’d think I’d get better at selecting titles for my books. Not so much. There’s a certain skill involved that on good days I can utilize. On bad days, I’m clueless. I found this out when I began writing my romantic comedy series, Once Upon A Romance.

I heart Cinderella. It’s no secret. I took the classic fairy tale and gave it a twist. My heroine, Charlie, didn’t need to be rescued. In fact, she didn’t want the prince. So how could I give this story a fitting title? Ah ha! Modern Day Cinderella seemed perfect. But, as luck would have it, my New England accent stumbled over the word modern. (I kid you not! I still can’t get that word right.) I scrambled for a replacement title, toying with Once Upon A Romance, since I thought this would be a single title. When I realized I had to make this book the first in a series, I changed it to the name of the series and went back to my think tank. If The Shoe Fits popped in my head and the rest is history.

Onto book 2. Francie left her sheltered life behind to find her wings. I needed something to show how she woke up from dreaming and discovered how to live. The title Waking Sleeping Beauty happened to be my one and only idea since it matched the story perfectly.

Book 3 proved the easiest book to write, yet the most difficult to find the right title. It’s a twist on the classic Beauty And The Beast. Free spirit Priscilla meets Griffin who is bent on revenge against her family. Hmm… Taming The Beast sounded a little X-rated, if you know what I mean. I tried out different titles and discarded them all except for using the nickname she gave him. And thus Taming McGruff was born. (Fyi, I love it since I know the story. However, I know I could have probably done better if I had a few more years to think about it.)

Ah, book 4. Peg, tall and willowy, feels like an ugly duckling in her All-American family. Actually, she’s beautiful and doesn’t know it. The title The Reluctant Beauty fit her and the message in the book like a glove.

I knew book 5 was a play on Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs. Evelyn loves kids and wants one or a dozen of her own. In the meantime, she babysits. A lot. In fact, she has seven little ones she looks after for her friends and co-workers. But I couldn’t use the number seven in a romance (again, that X-rated vibe). I sent the manuscript to my amazing proofreader, Faith Williams, the owner of The Atwater Group, with just the book 5 heading. She finished the edits and sent it back with a few great title suggestions using the word kiss. I liked it and jotted down a string of combinations and ended up with Awakened By A Kiss. (Thank you, Faith, for the inspiration!)

The concept for book 6 was a twist on Rapunzel. Paige had been through so much and I couldn’t let her down now! Hubby and I brainstormed and nothing worked. Then one morning I went to my desk and found he’d compiled a list of possible titles. Interesting! Among them, I found the gem, Tangled At First Sight.

Okay, time for book 7 and it was getting a little more difficult to come up with a title for a play on the story Goldilocks And The Three Bears. (Once again, the weird X-rated factor for three guys…) I’m creative, right? And Madison is indecisive. Mr. Wrong is long gone and Mr. Right is here. But is he the one? Nope. Dex is her Mr. Just Right. So I added to it to get Finding Mr. Just Right.

Book 8 arrived with a splash. Yes, you guessed it. I took The Little Mermaid concept and put a spin on it. The entire time I wrote the book the title was Splashed. However, once I listed all the titles in the series, I noticed how off this one appeared in comparison (authors do look at little quirks like this and stress over it). Back to the drawing board. And hubby left another list for me to discover. There it was in the midst of the two page long suggestions. That’s how Making A Splash came to be the one.

I have the concept for book 9 down and now I just need to uncover, or is it discover, the perfect title?

So there you have it, my tale of how—with a little help from my hubby, proofreader, and a whole lot of head banging—I selected the titles for the books in my ever growing Once Upon A Romance Series.

Stay tuned for more stories of how I trip over my words and try on and discard and try on again to find the perfect fit for my book titles…

Pictures from the Passenger Seat - May

Hubby and I went to DisneyWorld a few weeks ago for a family reunion, so these pictures are technically not from the passenger seat. However, I wanted to share some of them with you since we love this place so much.

Let’s just say the weather was gorgeous if you like sunny, hot, and humid. Me, not so much the humid part. I burn in a flat New York minute, which happened the very first day. (I remembered sunscreen after the burn.) Other than that, we had a great time and the flowers were in bloom everywhere we went.

Disney photos

The annual flower show was in full swing!


Entangled Tower

The Tangled Tower and waterfall is one of the newer features. So pretty!


Disney flowers

Downtown Disney. Beautiful flowers!


Disney photos

Hubby booked lunch reservations for us at Cinderella’s castle. Love the atmosphere and the food is delicious. We had the yummy chocolate clock for dessert! Ah…the perfect ending to a great meal.


Travel tip: Pack light. Travel light. If possible, only bring one suitcase per person. A tote bag is a given to bring, too. We don’t like to check bags. It’s time consuming and, if you have to catch a connecting flight, sometimes the checked on bags don’t make it to your destination.

For packing, I place my jeans/pants half in and half out of the bottom of my suitcase, and then I roll my shirts/blouses up or skirts/dresses (sometimes with undergarments in them – so a day’s outfit is all in one roll) and line them up on top of the jeans/pants. Recently, I was able to get seven “rolls” in the suitcase that way! (A small travel bag with the essentials fit neatly on top.) I tuck in socks in the four corners, undergarments in the side pockets, and sandals/flats or shoes in plastic store bags tucked along the front or back edge. Next, I fold over the ends of the jeans/pants and that part is good to go. Nightwear, workout outfits, or swimwear can be placed in the mesh section of the inside suitcase flap.

Oh, another tip within a tip, make sure every piece you bring color coordinates so you can mix and match outfits. Make traveling easy on yourself and leave the stress of packing and what to wear when you’re on your trip behind you.

Safe travels!

I’ll be back next month with some real pictures from the passenger seat. See you then…

Book Titles - Part 1

Book-titleAs a writer, I have to create a four to five word title to summarize sometimes a four hundred plus word book. Talk about pressure! How do you reduce everything in that vast volume to a few words that describe the entire work? It’s not easy.

My late writing mentor, Wendy Haley, gave up giving her romantic suspense novels a title; she knew the publisher would reject hers. So she’d send in the manuscript as Romantic Suspense #3 and so on. Of course, they’d ask her about it and she’d shrug and say, you’re going to change it anyway. Which they did, no matter if she came up with one or not.

In my case, I’ve been able to select the title that goes to print. Was it always my first title? Definitely not. My three book The Heart Romance Series began with other titles the editor didn’t like and asked me for suggestions. Thankfully, I came up with some which satisfied the editors enough to use them.

Here’s what they were and what they turned out to be:

 Meant For Each Other became Secrets Of The Heart
What Might Have Been became Crimes Of The Heart
Bad Boy’s Back In Town became Lies Of The Heart

The new titles tied each book to the series and it made them stand out, so the changes were the right move. (Phew!)

I’ve found it takes a certain knack to select the right fit to titles (it goes something like trying on those body shapers over sweaty skin – pull, stretch, yank, repeat!). It’s sometimes funny and sometimes frustrating (especially when it comes down to the wire). Even after all these years of writing, I’m still working on getting the right feel and sound to each one. You’ll have to let me know if I’m hitting the mark. Oh, and don’t be surprised if I ask for a suggestion or two in the near future. I can always use the help.

Stay tuned for my funny tales on how I selected the titles to my Once Upon A Romance Series…