Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What's in a Name? Titling a Romantic Suspense Novel

So, for the past week my Harlequin Intrigue editor and I have been going back and forth on titles for my April 2014 book release. I initially submitted the title as See No Evil, mostly because I planned to have two more books as a follow-up, not surprisingly entitled: Hear No Evil and Speak No Evil.

I still plan to write both the follow-up stories, but they won't be released as a back-to-back series. They may not even end up being connected at all, except for in my own mind. Which is nothing new.

My manuscript, See No Evil, was tentatively named that because the heroine of the story is an ex-FBI profiler with special abilities: she can hear the thoughts of killers when she's around them or around things they've touched. It makes her a pretty powerful tool in fighting bad guys. But unfortunately the ability also leaves her incapacitated and physically helpless when she's around baddies.

But See No Evil wasn't going to work as a title for Harlequin Intrigue. They told me that from the beginning and I had no problem with it. Titles are terribly difficult for me, so I hold on to them very loosely. Plus the editors have much more to consider than just my one book when selecting a title: overall branding of Intrigue, the other five books that will be released that month, how everything will fit on the cover together.

Here are some of the titles my editor and I were throwing back and forth.

Dangerous Intent
Murder Radar of Love
Primal Instinct

In case one of the titles looks a little out of place, a couple writer buddies and I decided that if you tack "of love" on the end of any title, you've come up with an instant Romance Novel title. For instance: Aliens of Love, Dirty Dancing of Love, Throw Momma From the Train of Love. All obviously instant best-sellers.

The title has already been chosen by my editors. Anybody want to guess on what you think it will be?

What is your guess for the title of Janie's new booK?
pollcode.com free polls 

The official title will be announced soon!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sunday Showdown: AFI vs. IMDb (#32 & #30)

It’s the Sunday Movie Showdown, The American Film Institute’s (AFI) Top 100 vs. the Internet Movie Databases’ (IMDb) Top 100.

Not much time to concentrate on the poor Showdown this week, but wanted to get through a couple.

#32 - The Godfather Part 2 vs. Sunset Blvd.
#30 – Apocalypse Now vs. Memento
(#31 – Maltese Falcon vs. Lord of the Ring: The Two Towers has already been covered)

I watched both The Godfather and The Godfather Part 2 this week. The Godfather is ranked as #2 for
Such a young Al Pacino
both lists, but I wanted to watch them in order. 

To make a short story shorter, I had forgotten how great these movies are. Somehow they had become parodies of themselves in my mind.  All I could really remember were Marlon Brando and horse heads and hear the “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

But these movies so much more than that. Both are sweeping epics about love and hatred and respect and family.

I have to admit, I am not as big a fan of Part 2 as the original Godfather. I know some consider it to be just as good as the original, but not for me. I found the middle saggy and confusing. But that young, brooding Al Pacino…  Wow.

Gloria Swanson - Fabulous in Boulevard
Sunset Boulevard provided a pretty good fight against Godfather Part 2. I went into Boulevard scarred from having seen the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical version of the story. (That was the longest piece of crap musical I have ever sat through. Seriously. ) I’m happy to say I enjoyed the film much, much more.

Sunset Boulevard is about an aging actress’ attempt to cope with living out of the Hollywood limelight. It’s been called time and time again the best Hollywood film ever made about Hollywood. And I agree. Definitely worth seeing, if you haven’t. 

But I just can’t give Boulevard my vote over The Godfather Part 2 – if only for that very last scene in Godfather 2, so poignant. Godfather 2 shows up again as IMDb’s #3 against Casablanca. I doubt I’ll have difficultly voting against it then. (Sunset Boulevard shows back up as #16, ironically, also against Casablanca).

#30 Apocalypse Now vs. Memento

I know some people love Chris Nolan’s Memento. As a matter of fact the IMDb people love Christopher Nolan in general. He has five movies in the top 100 on IMDb, more than any other director except Stanley Kubrick. Perhaps the IMDb peeps are trying to make up for the fact that Nolan doesn’t make it onto the AFI list. At all.

I like Nolan, but I’m not a huge fan of Memento. If you haven’t seen it, you should. It will give you a nose bleed.  But for me, it’s too gimmicky and falls pretty flat. I’m a much bigger fan of Following, Nolan’s first film. But I’m in the minority there.

Memento vs. Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now? No contest. Sorry. I don’t care how backwards you tell a story. Apocalypse Now is too iconic and classic to be beat. (Apocalypse Now was IMDb's #37. It also won over The Best Years of Our Lives)

So this week, two more votes to AFI. (Although I must admit I'm still vacillating between Godfather Part 2 and Sunset Boulevard, even as I write this. That's how close it is.) But if I keep my decision as it is, then the score is currently AFI -42, to IMDb -30.

AFI’s Top 100
IMDb’s Top 100 (as of 1/1/12)


City Lights (1931)
LoTR: Return of the King (2003)
On the Waterfront (1954)
LoTR: Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Apocalypse Now (1979)
Memento (1990)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
LoTR: The Two Towers(2002)
The Godfather Part II (1974)
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Forrest Gump (1994)
Annie Hall (1977)
Leon: The Professional (1994)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Citizen Kane (1941)
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
North By Northwest (1959)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
American Beauty (1999)
The Sound of Music (1965)
American History X (1998)
King Kong (1933)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Vertigo (1958)
Shane (1953)
Amelie (2001)
It Happened One Night (1934)
Alien (1979)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Wall E (2008)
Rear Window (1954)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Intolerance (1916)
The Shining (1980)
LoTR: Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Spirited Away (2001)
West Side Story (1961)
Paths of Glory (1957)
Taxi Driver (1976)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
The Deer Hunter (1978)
Double Indemnity (1944)
M*A*S*H* (1970)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
North by Northwest (1959)
The Pianist (2002)
Jaws (1975)
The Lives of Others (2006)
Rocky (1976)
The Departed (2006)
The Gold Rush (1925)
Memento (2000)
Nashville (1975)
City Lights (1931)
Duck Soup (1933)
Aliens (1986)
Sullivan's Travels (1941)
Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind (2004)
American Graffiti (1973)
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Cabaret (1972)
Das Boot (1981)
Network (1976)
The Third Man (1949)
The African Queen (1951)
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
Chinatown (1974)
Unforgiven (1992)
The Treasure of Sierra Madre (1948)
Tootsie (1982)
Modern Times (1936)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Life is Beautiful (1997)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Monty Python & the Holy Grail (1975)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Back to the Future (1985)
Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid (1969)
The Prestige (2006)
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Raging Bull (1980)
Forrest Gump (1994)
Cinema Paradiso (1988)
All the President’s Men  (1976)
Singing In the Rain (1952)
Modern Times (1936)
Some Like it Hot (1959)
The Wild Bunch (1969)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
The Apartment (1960)
Rashomon (1950)
Spartacus (1960)
All About Eve (1950)
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
Amadeus (1984)
Titanic (1997)
Once Upon A Time in America (1984)
Easy Rider (1969)
The Green Mile (1999)
A Night at the Opera (1935)
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Platoon (1986)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
12 Angry Men (1957)
Inglorious Basterds (2009)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
The Great Dictator (1940)
Sixth Sense (1999)
Braveheart (1995)
Swing Time (1936)
The Bicycle Thief (1948)
Sophie’s Choice (1982)
The Apartment (1960)
Up (2009)
Goodfellas (1990)
The French Connection (1971)
Downfall (2004)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Gran Torino (2008)
The Last Picture Show (1971)
Metropolis (1927)
Do The Right Thing (1989)
The Sting (1973)
Blade Runner (1982)
Gladiator (2000)
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Toy Story (1995)
Unforgiven (1992)
Ben Hur (1959)
The Elephant Man (1980)

Next week: Double Indemnity vs. It's a Wonderful Life and All About Eve vs. Se7en