Saturday, January 3, 2009

What's in a name? ...

... Looking back on my noodling/thrashing around with titles for my Silver Rush mysteries, I've realized that, in all cases, my first attempts have never quite "hit it."

The first book in the series, Silver Lies, started life as Dead in Leadville. Then ... after some thrashing around ... it became Silver Lies in Leadville. That was quickly shortened to Silver Lies.

The second in the series, Iron Ties, started as Iron and Blood, inspired by a quote from Otto von Bismarck:
"The great questions of the time are not decided by speeches and majority decisions. . . but by iron and blood."
Ooooo, I still love that quote. It's perfect for the book. But, Iron and Blood? What is this, a vampire book or ...? Iron Ties was suggested by a reader, and it works.


I could see where this was heading, and I was a little nervous. Silver, Iron. Lies, Ties. Uh-oh. Elements (metals, in particular) and -ies of some kind. How long could I keep this going?

So, for the third, I tried to make a break, and lit on Lead into Temptation for starters. I liked it because (again) of a quote:

"Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." And temptation and evil are core elements of this third book.

But... there were problems. The word "lead" (the element or the verb?) worked into my love of wordplay, but in a title ... confusing. And perhaps too "romance-y" sounding. So, we had to start considering other possibilities. From Lead to Leaden (no confusion on pronunciation there) and ... oh no, here we go ... Leaden what?

Dies, cries, sighs, eyes ...

No, no, no, no ...

Well, it rains a lot in the book. The weather is a curse, but also a blessing (read the book when it comes out, you'll see). Gray gray skies. There we go: Leaden Skies.

So, the die (-ie?) is cast; I've accepted that the "-ies" have it.

Guess I'd better buy a rhyming dictionary.


CoganBooks said...

"Leaden Skies" is definitely an improvement over "Lead into Temptation" because at first scan it reads as "leed." I also like the name "Silver Rush." It has a wonderful sound to it.

And I would have gone with "Blood and Iron" but what to I know?

Ann Parker said...

And yes, you (and my editor) are absolutely right: There's the led/leed confusion with the title "Lead into Temptation."

I learned long ago to listen very very carefully to the editors who edit my stuff. They have saved me from myself many times!

"Blood and Iron" would've worked too, I think. Maybe I can use it for something else. A short story? Hmmm. I'll have to think about that!