Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lida Quillen, of Twilight Times Books, informed me last week that she wants to put out three of my books next year. There's no problem having enough material, I still have about seven books waiting in the wings. I was planning on two possible releases, but whoa...three! I have lots of work ahead of me!

One of the books is scheduled for second quarter 2011. One Potato, Blue Potato (long story goes with this title, but it does match the storyline) is the sequel to Healey's Cave (2010). Only problem is, Ms. Quillen believes the story is much more exciting than the title warrants. So, time to come up with a new one.

Wanna help?

Here's the synopsis, then I'll tell you what I went through yesterday to come up with a lovely independent list of great selections that went bad when I did some Amazon searches...

Sam’s daughter Beth has been unreachable for several days. Something is seriously wrong, and the Moores don't know where to turn for help. No ransom note comes, no kidnapper calls. When Zafina Azziz, Beth’s roommate and NYU Medical student, arrives on Sam’s doorstep worried about Beth, they realize it’s time to call the FBI.

In the midst of the investigation, Zafina’s larger than life personality wows Sam’s wife, Rachel, and when Hashim Azziz arrives on the scene, she welcomes both siblings to her home. But Sam thinks there’s something wrong about the woman who slinks around like an Egyptian princess with her cat eyes and strange ways.

The Moores unravel with worry as the green marble, a talisman connected to Sam’s dead brother Billy, thrusts Sam between past and present. When Sam's friend, Senator Bruce MacDonald, is tapped for the Presidential nomination, the town goes berserk preparing to welcome the sitting President to the opening of a new arts center.

But all is not well in the small village. A bomb explodes in the back of Yasir Khoury's Dry Cleaners, escalating fears of terrorism and anti-Iraqi bigotry. As Sam fights the tide that threatens to sweep his missing daughter away, he discovers a shocking link between Beth and the terrorists, then dives head first into the melee to avert a calamity that could rival the 911 disaster.

Okay, so this should give you some of the theme ideas. A threatened President, a missing daughter, anti-Iraqi sentiments, shocking surprises... and more, all set in the beautiful countryside of the Genesee Valley in the Finger Lakes region of NY.

I went through a phrase list yesterday, with common sayings and their origin, and came up with this list. I was quite pleased with myself, thinking how original and exciting some of these titles were. Much to my chagrin, I discovered - as we all well know - that there are hardly any "new" ideas, including titles, and that almost every one of them had been used many times in fiction (and non-fiction, which I didn't count!).

Bold as Brass
Bombs Awa
Clean Sweep
Cat Among the Pigeons
Crack of Doom
Cry Havoc
Dark Horse
Eleventh Hour
Eye for an Eye
Fair Game
Finding Beth
Feeding Frenzy
Flushing Fletcher Biddle
Fletcher Biddle’s Bluff
Forbidden Fruit
Friendly Fire
Hell for Leather
Hell or High Water
Home to Roost
Insult to Injury
Loose Cannon
Midnight Oil
Multitude of Sins
Paper Tiger
Paper Tigress
Passing Muster
Pound of Flesh
Prima Donna
Save the President
Score to Settle
Second Nature
Snake in the Grass
Terror on the Hill
Terrorist in the Family
The Gauntlet
The Horse’s Mouth
To the Quick
Tooth and Nail
Touch and Go
Wages of Sin
Zafina’s Revenge

Since I created this list, I sent it to my publisher to get her first reaction. I wanted to know if any titles stood out to her, or if she hated any of them, too. She gave me a list to eliminate.

A friend suggested, "Dying to Meet You." (Thanks, Sonya!) And I came up with a few more since the original effort. I culled the list, eliminated the really famous ones (Agatha Christie and Doestoevsky!), and now have a short list I'd like you to vote on. UPDATE - my publisher says it's okay to go with these, too! I've added "Cat Among the Pigeons" to the short list.

By the way, my publisher also said it didn't matter if the titles were used before, and not to discredit any just because of that. Since we'll follow it with "A Sam Moore Mystery' as a subtitle, it will be unique, in the end. ;o)

Here's my short list.
Dark Horse
Dying to Meet You
Paper Tigress
Prima Donna
She's Missing
Snake in the Grass
Terror on the Hill
The Bluff
Cat Among The Pigeons

Vote for your top three names. Include them in the comments below, or email me at if you'd rather not vote in public.

Thanks in advance for your vote!

- Aaron Paul Lazar

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