Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What's in a name? Plenty! (Vote for your favorite book title)

My publisher and I have been going back and forth on a short list of possible titles for my fourth book, a paranormal mystery planned for release later this year. My working title was The Green Marble, but my publisher wanted something with more pizazz that would leap off the shelves and grab readers' attention. Of course, the cover art is still being designed, and that's just as important, but for now, we're asking for your help.

We'd like you to vote for one of the titles at the end of this article. After reading the synopsis, please scan the titles and let us know which one "grabs you," as well as seems to represent the story the best. I have my favorites, as does my publisher, but I'm not breathing a word until I see your feedback!

Here's a synopsis of the first book in the Moore Mystery Series:

Sam Moore's little brother Billy disappeared fifty years ago. Riddled with guilt, Sam still hasn't recovered from the loss that locked him in a mental institution as a teenager. Life as a country doctor has helped soothe his soul, but he mourns for Billy each day and is obsessed with thoughts about his fate. What happened to him? Was he kidnapped? If so, why didn't he come home when he reached adulthood and subsequent freedom? Sam doesn't like thinking about the alternatives, and at the age of sixty-two sill feels a strong link to the eleven-year-old boy who slept in the bottom bunk.

Retirement allows Sam more time in his sumptuous gardens. One day, while struggling to eliminate the rapacious Japanese Knotweed from the grounds, Sam discovers a glowing marble. It warms to his touch and whisks him back in time to his childhood. Billy and Sam's childhood pals appear beside him - breathing, sweating, laughing - and very much alive. Sam is drawn into the strong young body of his twelve-year-old self to re-experience his past.

When Sam pops back into the future, he believes it must have been a dream until the next time the marble warms in his hand and flings him back to his youth. Thrust back and forth through time, Sam tries to untangle the mystery of Billy's disappearance. Demonic teenager Manfred Healy tortures the boys, exactly as he did in Sam's youth. Recently released from prison in real time, Healy haunts Sam and becomes a prime suspect. Did he murder Billy? Or were Sam's childhood friends involved? What about his old buddy, Bruce MacDonald, who'd risen to N.Y. State Senator and was about to be tapped for the Presidential nomination? Or Doug Smythe, the most annoying guy in the world? It couldn't be Harvey Allen, that puppy dog of a man with the shock of white hair who staunchly served his country in the Marines. Could it?

Sam's beloved wife Rachel frets when Sam "falls asleep" outside while journeying to the past. Stricken with multiple sclerosis, she harbors a fierce desire to maintain her independence. Sam cares for his wheelchair-bound wife between the events that escalate, although he's afraid to admit the truth about the marble. With her dry wit and persistent love, Rachel gently helps Sam stay afloat.

When Sam uncovers the skull of a young boy in the knotweed patch, the FBI flocks to his property, sifting through the soil to search for evidence. Sam is sure it's Billy's body, but he's astounded when he learns that the bones belong to young boy who disappeared five years before Billy. Aging FBI agent Mac Stewart befriends Sam and reveals the history of a serial killer who engaged in ghastly crimes for the past fifty years, and who may return to the scene of his first crime to make his final kill. Boys have been murdered every five years since Billy disappeared. Was Billy one of his victims?

As the deadline for the next murder rapidly approaches, Sam worries about his grandson Evan, who fits the profile of murdered boys. Billy's old toys mysteriously reappear in the present. Someone attacks the sixty-two year old Sam, shooting him and bludgeoning him in a nearby cave where the boys used to play near a waterfall. When Evan experiences the same "dream" as Sam, all hell breaks loose.

Little by little, Sam relives the past, following Billy until the day he disappeared. Horrified, he follows his brother's spirit to its final destination. Now, armed with knowledge that may save his grandson, Sam struggles to prevent Evan's murder and is shocked when confronted by the true killer during a raging thunderstorm for the final showdown.

Okay - that's the story. Now here are the titles we've winnowed down from a long, long list. I want to know if you don't like any of these, too. But if you find some that appeal to you, give me your top three votes in the comment section below. Also, if you find a combination of the titles below you think would work better, suggest it. (Actually, all of them would likely be followed by "a Sam Moore mystery" as a subtitle.)

I'll post a pareto chart with the answers, and hopefully we'll come up with the best one that is sure to sparkle and grab readers' attention. ;o)

Thanks in advance for being willing to participate in the voting. We value your opinions and feedback! And if you've time, please ask your friends to vote, too. The more, the merrier!

List of names:

 1. Betrayal
 2. Cat´s Eye
 3. Coward Falls
 4. Going Under
 5. Healey's Cave
 6. Rustle of Green
 7. The Disappearance of Billy Moore
 8. The Marble
 9. Unearthed
 10. Unholy Pact
That's the list! Now choose your top three and let us know
what you think. ;o)

Author and his grandson

In addition to a passion for photography, Aaron Lazar works as an engineer by day, but can be found on weekends in his gardens with his two toddler sidekicks, grandsons Julian and Gordon. His passion lies in writing, where he has created eleven books with characters of depth, color and substance. Lazar entices readers with intricate plots, lush imagery, breathless action, gourmet meals, classical music, bountiful gardens and surprising romantic moments.

Mr. Lazar also writes monthly columns for the Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine, Voice in the Dark newsletter, and has been published often in Absolute Write. He lives in Upstate NY with his extended family. Visit his websites at www.legardemysteries.com; www.mooremysteries.com, and his blog at www.aaronlazar.blogspot.com.

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