So here I go – all this week I’ve been researching and outlining book three. (Yes, I am actually a plotter, despite my aversion to storyboards and worksheets and notecards. I just write it all out in narrative form in one big file.) I’m so excited about this book. It brings all the characters from my previous books back into the mix: Lucy, Jeremy, Sophia, and Gray all have minor parts to play. There’s going to be a secondary romance, which is a new challenge for me. Therefore, this one requires a bit more plotting and (erp) organization before I even begin.

What it’s missing is a working title.
To recap, the titles of books one and two are:
Goddess of the Hunt
Surrender of a Siren

So from this pattern, the third should ideally include:
a) The word “of”
b) Some sort of mythological or divine reference.

Here’s the blurb:

All Isabel Grayson wants is to save the world. Is that too much to ask? Ashamed of inheriting her family’s ill-gotten wealth and her mother’s exotic, sensual beauty, Bel has decided to redeem both by trading them for influence. She’s come to London to marry a nobleman—ideally one who shares her passion for social justice, but any gentleman with a seat in the House of Lords will do. She’s looking for Lord Honorable; she’ll settle for Lord Malleable. But she falls in love with Sir Toby.

Sir Toby Aldridge just wants his life back. Before his fiancé jilted him and made him a laughingstock, he was the ton’s most ruthless flirt. When he spies Isabel on a secluded verandah, he sees the perfect balm for his bruised pride. Not only is she an angel inhabiting a body designed for sin, she’s fresh off the boat from the West Indies. Determined to impress Bel before any humiliating rumors reach her ears, Toby turns on the charm. When she professes an interest in politics, he impulsively tells her he’s destined for a seat in Parliament.

When Toby’s joking proposal of marriage meets with Bel’s eager acceptance, he’s stunned. When she announces their engagement in a crowded ballroom, he’s horrified. And when he learns Bel’s sister-in-law is the woman who jilted him, he’s doomed. His pride can’t take another broken engagement; Bel won’t marry him unless he makes good on his promise to run for MP. And against all reason, she seems to believe in him. Can Toby, a hopelessly shallow flirt, unearth a passion for justice and a hidden talent for politics? Doubtful. But then, Toby only promised to run. He never promised he’d try to win.

Any ideas?

Of course, all of these are subject to change, but I feel sort of adrift without some sort of title.

Actually, the file on my computer already is called something Sara Lindsey dreamed up, which is so perfect:
Toby or Not Toby MP
I think that’s already this book’s sentimental title, like Goats on a Boat was for book two. (The first book, in case you’re wondering, was Regency House Party Massacre.)

38 comments to “This Book Needs a Name”

  1. terrio
    · February 28th, 2008 at 2:20 pm · Link

    I’m thinking about this but all I’ve come up with so far is Oath of Office. LOL! Sorry, that’s no help. I’ll keep thinking.

    Great story, btw! Talk about conflict. That SIL part is just cruel. LOL!

  2. Lindsey
    · February 28th, 2008 at 2:36 pm · Link

    I’m crap at titles and nothing’s going to beat Sara’s, but I have been pondering female figures to match the Goddess/Siren theme. Muse seems like the obvious choice, except that it’s not really a romance buzzword. Same with Angel, which is either fitting or uncool based on your use of it with Toby-Sophia. Enchantress fits the theme, but possibly suggests paranormal. Any other female deity terms are pretty obscure.

    What about something of the Lady/Queen/Damsel/Maiden variety? Not quite as mythical, but they’d definitely capture the sort of knight-champion & his lady aspect of their relationship (and Bel’s beauty).

    And why do you keep changing people’s names on me?

  3. Tessa Dare
    · February 28th, 2008 at 3:14 pm · Link

    LOL, Lindsey – I forgot about that. Yeah, I changed from Arabella to Isabel b/c her mother was Spanish, and Isabel is a Spanish name. She’s still Bel, though.

    Hmm. Maybe “Beauty” could be the word? I’ve thought of Angel, too. It would be fitting, since part of what Toby’s going to realize is that actually getting his “perfect angel” isn’t as great as he thought it would be. Lady might work. Although she’s not a “Lady Anything”. I like the mythological feel of “muse”, but I’m not sure how it would work into the story. “Enchantress” is…a lot of syllables.

    Terri, yes fate is quite cruel to poor Toby. Hey, the Fates were mythological creatures! So were Harpies and Gorgons. Maybe not.

  4. MsHellion
    · February 28th, 2008 at 3:19 pm · Link

    *ROTFLMAO* OMG–Goats on a Boat! And I love the Toby or Not Toby–that’s the title. My English degree wills it so.

    Muse is so…nice. *LOL* Bel seems more like an Amazon. Amazons are crusader types, right? Ardor of the Amazon. Or Amazon of My Dreams. *LOL*

    I’m a BAD title namer.

  5. MsHellion
    · February 28th, 2008 at 3:20 pm · Link

    HEY, the Fates would be a good one.

  6. seton
    · February 28th, 2008 at 3:49 pm · Link

    I suck at titles but I do know my classical mythology and i agree with Lindsey: “Muse” seems to be an obvious choice. That or “Nymph”.

    “Seductress” is sexy but it almost has as many syllables as “enchantress”.

    Bel doesnt seem to be a Sprite or a Titan and Olymphian is too sporty. Naiads, dryads, Hesperides are all probably too obscure.

    Of course, if you choose Gorgon or harpy, you would be my hero 🙂

  7. Elyssa Papa
    · February 28th, 2008 at 3:50 pm · Link

    I thought of Muse too but wasn’t sure what would go with that.

    The Temptation of a Muse
    Lure of an Angel
    Lure of a Muse
    To Tempt an Angel
    Walking in Beauty (from She Walks in Beauty) Ugh.
    Temptation of a Beauty

    For some reason, I keep wanting to use temptation with this novel.

  8. Elyssa Papa
    · February 28th, 2008 at 3:51 pm · Link

    But I do like Muse the best or Beauty.

  9. Elyssa Papa
    · February 28th, 2008 at 4:00 pm · Link

    Just for laughs… Let’s play off other books and movies:

    The Angel and Sir Toby (instead of The Devil and Daniel Webster)
    Three Faces of Toby (Three Faces of Eve)
    Gone with the Fog (Gone with the Wind)
    The MP and the Angel-Faced Lady (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)

  10. Tessa Dare
    · February 28th, 2008 at 4:01 pm · Link

    Just for you, seton:
    The Heart of a Harpy

    But the thing is, she’s not a harpy. She’s quite innocent and sweet…at first.

    Great ideas, Ely. Funnily enough, I submitted the proposal with the title “To Tempt an Angel” and Ballantine said… ehh, no. Hence, the big UNTITLED on my contract.

    Whatever mythological figure is selected, the other word will have to be something sexy, I suppose.

    The Passion of a Selkie? She does have a lovely, sleek black pelt, er head of hair.

  11. Tessa Dare
    · February 28th, 2008 at 4:15 pm · Link

    Forgot to mention – there’s always the possibility that Toby could be the mythological figure… although I’m not at all sure what kind of mythological figure. Satyr?

  12. Tessa Dare
    · February 28th, 2008 at 4:17 pm · Link

    Redemption of a Rake?

    Toby’s more of a flirt than a true rake, but we won’t need to clarify that for the cover copy. He’s a beta rake, if you can believe it.

  13. Elyssa Papa
    · February 28th, 2008 at 4:19 pm · Link

    I like Redemption of a Rake because it “fits” what is going on with Toby.

    Besides, we love Rakes. *g*

  14. Elyssa Papa
    · February 28th, 2008 at 4:21 pm · Link

    Or seeing how populuar the Sarah Silverman and the Jimmy Kimmel videos are, you could do…

    I f**ked Sir Toby

    If you haven’t seen the two videos, you must hightail your way to or youtube.

  15. Elyssa Papa
    · February 28th, 2008 at 4:22 pm · Link

    But seriously, Tessa you create some of the best heroes. Sigh.

  16. Janga
    · February 28th, 2008 at 4:53 pm · Link

    Love the blurb, Tessa!

    If you could use the plural, the Graces would be appropriate for a romance since they were attendants of Aphrodite and their presence assured happiness. But one grace just sounds like a name.

    I agree with Lindsey that “Muse” is the obvious choice. If you pair it with a strong romance word, perhaps its not being part of the romance lexicon won’t matter.

    The Seduction of a Muse?
    The Waking of a Muse?
    The Dream of a Muse?
    The Heart of a Muse?
    The Kiss of a Muse?
    The Marriage of a Muse?
    The Fire of a Muse?
    (I stole this one from the prologue to Shakespeare’s Henry V.)

  17. Lindsey
    · February 28th, 2008 at 5:41 pm · Link

    Lady of the Rake? Lady of the Knight? 😉

    I thought maybe Beauty, too, but then I worried that was too Sophia. Did this book ever have a “Goddess of” title?

  18. Lindsey
    · February 28th, 2008 at 5:46 pm · Link

    And if she’s the usual Tessa Dare heroine, she could be Beauty of the Feast! 😀

  19. Maggie Robinson
    · February 28th, 2008 at 5:48 pm · Link

    Maid of Honor
    Made of Honor
    Heart of a Hero
    Angel of the Isles
    Angel of the Aisles
    Beauty of the House
    Seduction of Sir Toby

    And then there’s Boinking of the Baronet….sorry, it’s Blanking of the Mind for me today.:)

  20. Tessa Dare
    · February 28th, 2008 at 6:26 pm · Link

    Ooh, more great ideas.
    Janga, I like “Fire of a Muse!” It made me think of the Furies. Fury of Passion?

    Lindsey, this book was supposed to be Goddess of Victory.

    Can I just lament for a moment the loss of that titling scheme? It was so perfect.
    Goddess of the Hunt = GOTH (as in Lucy takes no prisoners)
    Goddess of Beauty = GOB (slang term for sailor. Yes, and other things but…)
    Goddess of Victory = GOV (as in, duh, government)

    Oh, and LOL at Beauty of the Feast. Yes, there’s heroine-feeding in this one, too.

    Ely, thanks for loving my heroes as much as I do. Someone has to. 🙂 In this book you’ll get two-for-one – Toby and Joss. Mmmm.

  21. terrio
    · February 28th, 2008 at 7:50 pm · Link

    I was trying to think of an M word to go with Muse and went to the MP part, but I don’t think The Muse and the Member would fly with the publisher. LOL!

    Still thinking…..

  22. Santa
    · February 28th, 2008 at 10:20 pm · Link

    I just gotta say that Sara ROCKS at this title stuff. She may even rival Lisa Kleypas who seems to be the title muse for the Squawkers.

    How about:

    Scaling Lady Justice – she wants to bring justice to all.
    Gracing the House – Grace is a Greek goddesses of charm and beauty.
    Flirting with Justice

    I also googled ‘goddess of change’ and came up with Indian and African goddesses of change (Kali and Oya). Both promote radical and violent means to change. They pull and prod and shake up your world until change is affected. I suppose you can put a romantic spin on this in her pursuit of social justice and in making Toby a better man.

    I don’t know…I’m just sayin’.

  23. Maggie Robinson
    · February 29th, 2008 at 5:20 am · Link

    Tessa, your original titles were genius. Why didn’t they work?*pouting*

  24. Tessa Dare
    · February 29th, 2008 at 9:16 am · Link

    Terri, The Muse and the Member is hilarious. LMAO.

    Maggie, although they liked the title of GOTH, my agent and publisher didnt want a “goddess” series. There are already a lot of “goddess” romances out there – PC Cast’s, for example. Really, I cannot complain – both GOTH and SOAS are titles I thought up myself – how many authors have the slightest say in their titles? (I say that now, and watch them retitle them all…heh. But they know how to sell books, so that’s cool.)

    Lindsey, I’m actually loving Lady of the Rake right now – “Lady” may actually be the best word – because Bel’s whole goal is to become a lady with social influence, and she does actually become Lady Aldridge once she marries Toby.

    The Passion of a Lady
    The Desire of a Lady
    The Pleasure of a Lady
    Lady of Persuasion


  25. Lindsey
    · February 29th, 2008 at 10:19 am · Link

    Yes, that’s why I like Lady, too – plus the medieval/saint/statues-on-political-buildings (Lady Justice, Lady Liberty) connotation. And it’s two syllables, which better matches Goddess/Siren than Muse does.

    Not necessarily appropriate for Bel’s story, but I’m shocked to realize no one has ever used the title Lady of Pleasure.

  26. Janga
    · February 29th, 2008 at 11:07 am · Link

    Oh, I like The Pleasure of a Lady, Tessa. It’s nicely connotative.

    Playing with the political theme, I thought of these:

    The Proposition of a Lady
    The Policy of a Lady
    The Stratagem of a Lady
    (I know the “stratagem” suggests The Beaux’ Stratagem, and it’s the wrong period. I just like the word. LOL!)

  27. Tessa Dare
    · February 29th, 2008 at 11:56 am · Link

    You know, I’m liking The Pleasure of a Lady a lot – because part of what Bel learns from Toby is how to relax a bit and enjoy life’s little (and not so little!) pleasures. But then, Ballantine just released Nicole Jordan’s To Pleasure a Lady last month. Perhaps too similar… although there is a year and a half between now and then.

    The Passion of a Lady could work, too. She definitely has passion.

  28. terrio
    · February 29th, 2008 at 12:30 pm · Link

    Not Quite a Lady (doesn’t fit the “of” thing)
    Proposal to a Lady (meh)
    Litigate a Lady (har har)
    Lady of Litigation (har har har)
    Lady of Passion
    Lady of a Sort

    I need to stop now.

  29. Lenora Bell
    · February 29th, 2008 at 4:59 pm · Link

    Oooh, good suggestions everyone! Here’s how my brain is thinking…

    Lady/Angel…(insert word that can be used as an action verb)

    So Pleasure of a Lady works really well and so does “Lady of the Rake” (in kind of a weird way).

    Someone said Dream of a Muse but what about Dream of an Angel?

    Nothing else is coming to me…

  30. Elyssa Papa
    · February 29th, 2008 at 5:48 pm · Link

    Lady of the Rake sounds too similar to Lady of the Lake… I’m kind of ‘meh’ on it.

    A Lady’s Proposal

    A Rake’s Proposal

    The Lady is Tempted

    The Tempting of a Lady

    Luck be a Lady (meh)

    This Side of Temptation (lol)

    To Love a Lady

    Loving Sir Toby

    meh, meh, meh

  31. terrio
    · February 29th, 2008 at 7:04 pm · Link

    Lady of the Rake sounds like Scooby Doo trying to say Lady of the Lake. LOL! Ruh Roh.

  32. Tessa Dare
    · February 29th, 2008 at 7:33 pm · Link

    LOL, Terri – wouldn’t that be “Rady of the Rake?”

    But honestly – I though Lindsey was going for the “Lady of the Lake” pun on purpose there – the Lady being a mythic figure and all. 🙂

    I do like The Tempting of a Lady. There’s definitely a lot of temptation going on.

  33. Keira Soleore
    · March 1st, 2008 at 9:48 pm · Link

    In opposition to “The Tempting of a Lady”, I like “Lady of Persuasion,” where she’s doing the work, instead of the first one where he’s doing the work and she’s passive.

    Beauty of Persuasion
    Temptation of a Beauty
    Lure of Temptation
    Lure of Enticement
    Beauty of an Enticement
    Enticement of a Beauty
    Lure of the Charmed


  34. Marnee Jo
    · March 2nd, 2008 at 12:26 pm · Link

    I’m late to the party, but Tessa, is she a lady or is she a miss?

    I was thinking maybe hero or champion for Toby. I like redemption for him too….

    Maybe Redemption of a Hero or Redemption of a Champion.

  35. lacey kaye
    · March 2nd, 2008 at 1:59 pm · Link


    This will be one of those writinge exercises where two people with incredibly different voices use very similar plot ideas and come up with entirely different voices.

    Emailing my own blurb…

    And fwiw, Toby or not Toby MP is hysterical.

  36. lacey kaye
    · March 2nd, 2008 at 2:01 pm · Link

    Redemption of a Rake?

    OMG! More laughter! Mine is called If You Asked a Rake to Reform

  37. lacey kaye
    · March 2nd, 2008 at 2:04 pm · Link

    Er, come up with entirely different *stories*

  38. Sara Lindsey
    · March 4th, 2008 at 11:03 pm · Link

    Oh dear, I missed title day! Thank god my job is over and I can now go back to important things like stalking blogs and coming up with funny, if somewhat useless titles… Hmmm… must start brainstorming! Will e-mail with results!