Nothing says romance quite like the Wrath of God.
OK, that's got almost nothing to do with today's featured anthology, "Cowboy Christmas ." But it's a catchy little opener, and writing and bookhawking's a whole lot about getting somebody's eyeballs wanting to read more of what you're figuratively and literally selling. So when Christian fiction author Mary Connealy submitted her romantic-comedy manuscript to a publisher under the snappy title, "Room for God's Wrath," she genuinely was surprised it was rejected.
"The characters all want revenge [on] a bad man," says Connealy. "The title [came] from the Bible verse that starts 'Vengeance is mine...leave room for God's wrath.' I thought I was pretty tricky to use the second half of that verse rather than the better known first."
Connealy's read got picked up by that same publisher when she and her agent re-submitted it under a new name they'd created which they believed more apt, "Petticoat Ranch ." Ultimately, the novel inspired a 3-book series in which the publisher brainstormed with Connealy matching titles.
"[We] needed...a lady's undergarment and a ranch-y type word," recalls Connealy with good humor. "Okay, I write Christian
fiction, there are a limited number of ladies' undergarments I'm allowed to mention anywhere, let alone in the title. We ended up with...the Lassoed in Texas series...[including] 'Calico Canyon ' and 'Gingham Mountain .'"
So what's Connealy got to do with "Cowboy Christmas," the holiday anthology I'm psyched to tell you about? Well, she's hit the title trip-up again, 'cause she's got a book out by that same name, plus, there's a Janette Kenny romance so titled this holiday season.
Today's featured "Cowboy Christmas " contains three sexy n' satisfyin' little short stories set 'round the Yule season, one by Pam Crooks, Connealy's PetticoatsAndPistols.com western romance group-blog pal. In Crooks' "Cattleman's Christmas Bride," Crooks riffs on the beloved kidnapping theme when a former sort-of bad guy who's learned his lesson helps a socially ruined heiress find respect while she finds a wealth of inner strength. Luckily, they're still pretty smitten from a couple years back when he took her prisoner...
In Elizabeth Lane's "The Homecoming," a man who's done hard time for a crime committed while saving his irresponsible brothers' life returns home to a wife who doesn't trust him and a young son who doesn't know him. Figuring out whom to forgive may be the greatest Christmas miracle of all.
And the heat is on in Carol Finch's "A Husband for Christmas," as an independent businesswoman "hires" the handsome Texas town marshal to play the part of her spouse as she goes home to visit her blue-blood folks for the holidays. Neither counts on their "pretend" affection turning into a grounding relationship neither thought they'd have.
It's fairly unusual for romances published in the same year, let alone months apart, to have the same titles, as publishers search lists well to avoid repetition. But why don't we just turn the above-mentioned title triple play to our advantage. In fact, during the holiday season, I suggest the well-prepared hostess is one who pleases her best girlfriends by always having on hand a goodly supply of Christmas Cowboys.
Boy, howdy, indeed.
What makes the title of a romance "grab" your attention? At what time of the year do you start reading Winter holiday romances?