Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought, where they write about ideas and creativity. Diane posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome as it turns an article into a discussion. They must, however, be in English to avoid spam getting in here.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Changes-- I got changes

by Rain Trueax

Not just indie writers sometimes change their book title or cover. It's, of course, easier for an indie because you only have to please yourself. I have a couple of books where the covers have never changed, titles worked from the get-go. Others just seem not to gel even though I had thought I had them right when I brought them out. The right title is a keystone-- those few words can kill sales or lead a potential reader to explore further. It matters even more that it depict what is in the book.

What was wrong with my book titled Enchantress' Secret was the meaning of the word enchantress. I had thought of it originally as connected to being a witch but also a beguiling woman. My heroine was both. The thing was-- she was not an enchantress, a rather negative word for those who are aware of paranormal meanings
"a woman who uses magic or sorcery, especially to put someone or something under a spell. Synonyms: witch, sorceress, magician, fairy, Circe, siren-- 'the enchantress put a curse on all the young men of Underwood Village'"
The business, of putting a curse or spell on someone, is not the nature of the Hemstreet Witches. They use energy and natural-born and supernatural gifts but only to do good. Sirens are another of those titles that many don't think of as evil but in the mythology, they were. 
"In Greek mythology, the Sirens were dangerous creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and singing voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. Roman poets placed them on some small islands called Sirenum scopuli."
Some might say I am splitting hairs, as aren't witches also bad creatures. There are indeed, many ways of seeing witchcraft, from those who don't believe it exists, to those who see it as Satan worship and intended for evil. It's never been my understanding of witches. When women were killed as witches in the dark ages, they were often natural practitioners using herbs and helping women birth babies. I thought this was a pretty good piece on how witches can be seen-- [What is a witch?]

Paranormal books are different than fantasies. Paranormals are set in a real world, our world, with those who have special powers. They share this world with other supposedly fantasy beings, many invisible to those who choose or are told not to see. A paranormal novel will have ordinary people sometimes caught up in a world they were told does not exist. 

In my Hemstreet Witches series, the women are human, with a natural life span, but born with special powers to use energy in ways most cannot. They have been taught to use it to keep the street safe for the ordinary folks, who might stumble across something that could hurt them. To be an enchantress would be regarded as evil and not remotely part of their charter. So how could I let the book be called Enchantress' Secret? What though could I use as a title that would let the reader know they would be stepping into a different world? 

In my paranormals, I try to put truths about the 'other' side that I have been told exist from those with more powers than I certainly have. To many humans, those other elements are illusions or are they? Are we just not aware of what shares our world? Many religions do believe in the supernatural world also, like angels and a god who intervenes with prayer. What we believe often is based on what we have been taught and which words make us comfortable.

I was editing the fourth in the series, Something Waits, enjoying the Sonoran Desert (the sunset photo is from our place here), where these books are all set, and two things came to me that were intended for the book-- and fit with the overall theme. When such things come along, I say they came from the muse, which I don't try to define-- I just appreciate.  

It opened me up to the series, which eventually will be five books, and led to looking at what I had for titles and covers. Changing a title is a drawback as it can confuse readers, who previously read it. Of course, I'd put the old one into the blurb but not all read the whole blurb. The change had to be made but it took awhile to find the right title. It not only suited that heroine's story, but worked with the overall theme of the series. 

Originally, I thought I would not change the cover, and then I found an image that did it all for me-- showed the sophistication and humanness of the heroine. She sits in a garden, where a lot of the book happens and even has the hero's cat.

The four sisters are descendants of witches and shamans. Their own father was an exceedingly powerful shaman, which they hadn't fully understood while he was alive. They were still trying to grasp how he could have been killed. It made no sense for such a powerful man. They also had not known how many of their powers had not just come from the maternal line but also the fraternal, as warriors for good. Thinking of that, the first book had a natural title, The Shaman's Daughter.  

The new title tells more about what is to come, which a series should do as even though each book stands alone, there is a connection in any series.

The new title proves to be the keystone, for which I was searching. I will be excited to begin the fifth, which can't start until I finish editing the fourth-- that has been as hard a slog as writing it. It's not because I don't consider the book exciting-- it's because of all the potential it has. 

These books, as with all my paranormals, are exclusive on Amazon for sales, which is required for them to be in Kindle Unlimited for borrowing

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