Saturday, June 27, 2009

Clever Title-ists

I have no talent whatsoever when it comes to naming my books. Which is why I'm grateful I have such clever title-making friends.

As a reporter, it wasn't my job to condense my story into a few pithy words that would both capture the piece and intrigue the reader. Headline writers did that, and I was blessed to have some really good ones over the years. Since I never even did it for a short news story, imagine my surprise when it was up to me to title a 300-page mystery.

When it came time to name my first Mace Bauer Mystery, I dubbed it ''Mama and the Murderer.'' Descriptive, but dull. BORING, in fact. My writers' group brainstormed. The book begins when Mama gets tossed in the slammer because she can't explain why there's a body in the trunk of her convertible. Winning title: Mama Does Time. Brilliant! (Kudos to Kingsley Guy).

Same with Book 2, which is set in the saddle on the Florida Cracker Trail ride. I called it ''Mama Rides with Danger.'' ZZZZzzzzzzzz.

Writers group to the rescue with a double-meaning and clever word play: Mama Rides Shotgun
(Special shout-out to Audrey Roberts.)

I managed to do OK with naming Book 3: ''Mama Gets Hitched,'' in which she ties the sacred knot of matrimony for the 5th time. It's out in 2010.

I'm now beginning Book 4, in which Hollywood comes to little Himmarshee, Fla., to make a movie. I'm back to the uninspired: ''Mama Makes a Movie.''

Yeah, I know .... literal and loser-y. So, I put out the word on Facebook: Help!

Man, do I have smart friends. I got back a passel of proposals. Contenders include Mama Sees Stars, Mama's Big Break, Mama Gets Cut, and Mama Gets a Closeup. Using my executive authorly powers, I vetoed ''Mama Gets Botox'' and "Mama Wants to Direct.'' (Ari Odzer, you'r a funny guy!)

How 'bout you? What's your favorite book title ever?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mama's Out of the Slammer, into the Saddle ... and Making Headlines!

Strange that I had a zillion stories under my byline during 20 years in the newspaper biz. But I'm as thrilled today as a 22-year-old cub reporter making my first crack at 1-A.

MAMA RIDES SHOTGUN, the second book in my funny, Southern-flavored mystery series was spotlighted in Highlands Today in Sebring, Fla. It's especially cool because the Florida Cracker Trail, the setting for the book, passes through the heart of Highlands County.

Check it out: Humorous Mystery Novel Set on the Cracker Trail.

Super job by senior reporter Gary Pinnell, who not only got all the facts right, but makes me sound much funnier than I am. And the paper ran a lovely picture taken by Judge Nelson Bailey. (See below. Got to love that soft afternoon light, at age 50-plus!)


During the week I rode the ride as research, I froze. I ached. I ''watered the grass,'' answering nature's call outdoors. But, hey, artists must suffer for their art, right?

What kind of extremes have YOU gone to in order to reach a goal?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mama's Gone Abroad

MAMA RIDES SHOTGUN is en route to Barcelona, Spain.

How cool is that?

My friend Victoria Allman, a chef on posh yachts, pre-ordered the book. She's just been informed by Amazon that it's being shipped today to Barcelona, where she's docked with her yacht captain hubby, Patrick.

The book's official publication date is July 1. But, as with my first one, MAMA DOES TIME, the book-selling giant started shipping almost a month early. So, Victoria may be unwrapping Mama ''en Espana'' even before I receive MY small number of gratis copies from my publisher, Midnight Ink.

Woo-hoo! Quite a trip for our little ol' Mama from tiny Himmarshee, Fla.

Does this mean I can call myself an internationally known author now?