Help Me Choose a Title?

My working title for Redemption’s Edge #3 was No Safe Place, but early feedback said it sounded like a chase novel or a witness protection story. Since it’s neither, I’ve done a Marvin the Martian and gone “back to the old drawing board.”

I’ve considered over 50 titles so far, some downright horrible, lots in the middle, and some I really liked that were already over-used.

Below are my top 5 for your input, but first, here’s my latest draft of the back cover blurb to give some context. I’ve struggled with this blurb all week, and I’m sure the wording will change again before it’s final. As well as the suspense, it needs to convey “Christian romantic suspense.”

“Asking questions could get you killed.”

Amy Silver survived the plane crash that killed her fiancé, and found refuge with his best friend, artist Michael Stratton. Falling for Michael was unexpected, and his faith is out of her reach.

Was the small aircraft sabotaged? Anonymous warnings and threats are Amy’s only proof. The authorities don’t believe her, and Michael’s protection is starting to feel like a cage. Pushing his boundaries is not the way to win his heart, but Amy wants answers.

EDITED JULY 11: revised blurb:

“Asking questions could cost your life.”

Two years after the plane crash that killed her fiancé, Amy Silver has fallen for his best friend, artist Michael Stratton. When a local reporter claims the small aircraft may have been sabotaged, it reopens Amy’s grief.

Anonymous warnings and threats are her only proof that the tragedy was no accident. Amy has nowhere to turn. The authorities don’t believe her, God is not an option, and Michael’s protection is starting to feel like a cage.

If you have any comments (especially if something about the blurb confuses you!) please leave them below. Thanks!

21 thoughts on “Help Me Choose a Title?

  1. debelkink

    Janet, this is exciting–can’t wait to read it!

    (I just went through the same exercise of blurb writing a week ago and find it EXHAUSTING!)

    Now, one line in your blurb is particularly interesting and I wonder if it should come earlier in the blurb: “Michael’s protection is starting to feel like a cage.” It’s almost better than the hook you have used, IMO. The blurb as it stands (beginning with the idea of being “killed”) identifies the novel as a (possible) murder mystery BUT I wonder if it’s first of all a psychological thriller? If so, changing the order might bring that aspect to the fore.

    (If you leave it as is, I recommend you get rid of the comma in here: “killed her fiancé, and found” and that you don’t use the word “killed” twice.)

    Reply
    1. Janet Sketchley Post author

      Thanks for your insights, Deb, and it is exhausting indeed — so much so that I didn’t catch the repetition of “killed.” Will fix that!

      This one’s psychological, but not at thriller-level intensity. The external suspense (was it sabotage, and by whom) is likely stronger than the psychological angle, so I wonder about moving this line you like to the very end instead. That’s another strong place.

      Oh, this process is harder than writing a full novel!

      Reply
  2. Teresa Holmes

    I would say your selected titles are good, but maybe seek a scripture ref that closely fits your summarization and then use the key words in the scripture ref. congrats on comp,eating your 3rd! Mom is reading your book and throughly enjoying herself.

    Reply
    1. Janet Sketchley Post author

      Thanks, Teresa, and I’m glad your mom’s enjoying the book. Are you suggesting using those key words in the title itself? Good thought if I can find something that’ll hint at suspense. The one verse I already know that fits into a subplot wouldn’t make a good suspense title 🙁 I’ll ponder!

      Reply
      1. Janet Sketchley Post author

        Way to show off my Biblical literacy… “Meant for Harm” sort of comes from Joseph in the Old Testament, telling his brothers that what they meant for harm God intended for good. *sigh* I haven’t been working too hard at this, not at all!

        Reply
    1. Janet Sketchley Post author

      Peggy, you and Marcia both wondered about that, which means I need to adjust a bit. She thinks she’s unacceptable to God. I need to work some aspect of faith into the blurb so that readers won’t be surprised when it shows up as a plot element, but this is clearly not the best way. Wow, this is hard! Thanks for your help!

      Reply
  3. marcialeelaycock

    Hi Janet. I wonder about the wording in “his faith was out of her reach.” Not sure what it means. I also wanted a transition line between the two paragraphs – something like – “But Amy had a more chilling problem before her. Was the plane sabotaged?”
    I also agree with Deb about the line about Michael’s protection. It would be a great line to either end or begin with. Congrats on finishing!
    I’m trying to get draft one of book 3 of Ambassadors done by the end of this month and just got accepted into the advanced playwriting course. Edits, Assignments and Reading. Oh my! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Janet Sketchley Post author

      Great news about the playwriting course! And all the best finishing your draft. I will work at a transition, and at re-shaping the faith mention. I can’t believe the amount of time I’ve put into this so far. Slow going, when it needs to be done in so few words. One more reason I should be taking poetry classes!

      Reply
  4. authoramheath

    I feel your pain!! I was writing my blurb just last week.
    I may not have any new comments, since I’ve seen the others mention the same things. I understood what you meant by “his faith was out of reach,” but a stronger more clear line about the religious portion would be helpful.
    I was going to suggest a transition line between the two paragraphs. Without it they feel like two different stories.
    As for the title, I kinda like Dangerous Questions more. But since you want to show off more of the Christian aspects of the story, I’d love to see something more scriptural based. I know you said that you couldn’t find a verse that fit but did have a verse that worked as an overall theme. What is it? Maybe we can help you think of something.
    Do you have any critique partners that know your story well? Maybe they can help give you some insight that we can’t?
    I wish you all the best! I know this is tough!

    Reply
    1. Janet Sketchley Post author

      The good thing about this sort of struggle is that most authors face it. I know I’m not alone. Thanks for reinforcing some of the earlier comments. Those are definitely the areas to work on.

      Meant for Harm does have a scriptural base as well as a suspense-type feel. The verse for the faith plot thread is Psalm 68:5-6 “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.” (NIV) Not very suspenseful 🙂

      Reply
      1. authoramheath

        Hmmm The word “defender” really stands out. I wonder if you could work with that? I’m assuming she’s not a widow. My mind kinda wanders along the path of “A True Defender” or “The Real Defender.” Neither are great. :/ But that’s the start of my ideas. You’ll have more insight than I do.
        For me, my thought process is that God will end up proving to be her real defender and that idea may double into the storyline.
        I kinda like “The Widow Defender.” But of course, she’s not technically a widow. I only mentioned it because maybe you can work off of that.
        I just read your new blurb. 🙂 It sounds much better!! But it sounds like it’s missing that final punch line. Like…”Will she learn the truth before it’s too late?” Or….something. 😉
        Lol I don’t know. I may not be helping you much. Hopefully something I’ve said was useful. 🙂

        Reply
        1. Janet Sketchley Post author

          Ooh… True Defender has potential, although it might sound too romantic?

          I see you’ve been in the thick of a cover choice, too. All the best in choosing the best one!

          Reply
          1. authoramheath

            Lol Yeah, it was a lot of fun. The feedback was extremely helpful. Do you normally ask for votes for your titles? Do you do something similar with your covers? I’ve never held a vote for the title, but I have asked for votes or submissions for minor character names and I always ask for advice on choosing the cover. It makes a tough decision more fun. Plus it’s a great way to get the readers engaged.
            True Defender doesn’t sound too romantic to me…but I’m primarily a romance reader/author. I LOVE a good mystery/suspense though. I just don’t dip into that genre as often since I prefer historical romance. You would know best what a good title for suspense novel sounds like. From my romantic viewpoint, I’d say that title has more of a suspense theme than a romantic one.

          2. Janet Sketchley Post author

            This is the first time I’ve done a title vote, and I’m enjoying the engagement. I haven’t done it with covers because I’ve worked with a cover artist and relied on her judgement. I know what I want to finish this series, but it’s something I’ll think about for the future. Looks like you did an actual photoshoot. That could be a lot of fun, and nobody would be using the same image on another cover.

          3. authoramheath

            The engagement is a lot of fun. I didn’t expect to make new followers so that what a plus. This is the first cover selection that I’ve done on such a wide platform. Normally, they’re more private.
            😉 Let’s hope we don’t see another book with my cover on it! Lol That would be a problem.
            The photo shoots are a lot of work, but I really enjoy it. I’m trying to finish off the series so I’ll have one more shoot coming up this summer. I can’t wait to see all the covers together, and even more importantly, to see all of the BOOKS together! When I started this series, I thought it was a stand alone novel. But God clearly had other plans for me.
            Is this the last book of your series? I’m planning to step out of the historical realm again someday and give your series a try. I haven’t looked at the previous 2 books, but the blurb for this one certainly grabbed my attention. 😉 The romantic in me has to know what this Michael character is about.

          4. Janet Sketchley Post author

            Yes, this is the final book in this series (unless one of the characters in it whose story is unfinished convinces me to write that one…) The stories have different characters, members of the same family, and book 1 is more intense suspense while 2 and 3 are lighter tone and have romantic threads as well. All I’ll say here about Michael is that he’s not a point of view character because he doesn’t want readers to know some of the things in his head 🙂

  5. Karen Riley

    This sounds like an interesting book for sure. I would love to read it when you are done with it.

    Reply

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