Monday, August 23, 2010

Dear Harlequin,

We have to talk about the titles you choose for books these days. As an intelligent woman with an advanced degree, I don't turn my nose up at your category offerings. No, I consider a good category romance to be a fine sherbet, a way to cleanse my palate between courses of meaty literary and nonfiction books. Your stories of heroes and heroines who grow and change in order to triumph over adversity and find true love bring a cathartic twinge to my usually cynical heart.

Alas, I have to confess I feel stupid carrying around books that pertain only to cowboys, firemen, and secret sons. Some of them sound like personal ads--Dusty: Wild Cowboy, comes to mind. What about His Hired Baby? The first thing that comes to my twisted mind is a bounty hunter baby or a petite mafioso. And just how many books do you have that play on some version of a cowboy and a son? I love cowboys as much as the next girl, but the picture on the front would probably suffice to get the point across.

The first Harlequin I ever read was by Leigh Michaels and called Sell Me a Dream, an appropriate title considering the heroine sold real estate. My best friend Janette and I also were great fans of Flirtation River by Bethany Campbell--another title you don't see every day. What about The Daddy Trap or The Ties that Blind? (also by Leigh Michaels) I'm pretty sure Penny Jordan's Man-Hater was a provocative title back in 1984, and what about her Dangerous Interloper or Island of the Dawn? Are we women so simple that we have to have short titles devoid of all symbolism in order to pick up a book? I hope not.

So, Harlequin, keep up the good work finding intelligent authors who craft wonderful stories that are, for the most part, for women and by women, but please work on those titles. Heaven knows romance authors have enough trouble getting respect without being saddled with short, unimaginative titles. More importantly, I'm awful at titles and could really use your help. After all, I wrote a prospective Harlequin called "Married to the Mortician." Obviously, I could use a little help with titles myself.

Most Sincerely,

Okay, folks, what are some of your favorite or least favorite titles? (No need to list "Married to the Mortician;" it didn't exactly make it to publication.)


  1. It's the book covers that drive me nuts. I refuse to part with my money to obtain a book with half-naked or naked people on it.

    I did order for my eReader the following based on titles alone (don't ask me the authors):
    A Knight Well Spent
    30 Nights with a Highland Husband

  2. And did you spell Harlequin incorrectly on purpose in your title? Funny girl!

  3. I know what you're saying, Robin. I would really like to see the bodice rippers go the way of the dinosaur. The last book I bought based on title alone was Dirty Sexy Knitting. Sorry, I just have to know what that's all about.

    Oh, and thanks for catching the title snafu. It wasn't on purpose; it's called not taking typing because I was too busy geeking it up in the marching band.