…Authors… looking for a good title?… Tony McManus has some tips for yeez…

Say… I did this with the name of celtic band I started up a few years back. “What’re we going to call ourselves?” One of the members was memorizing Richard III’s soliloquy so I took a look at it, and then found the title about 20 lines in: “I am not meant for these sportive tricks,” he says. Sportive Tricks was born. (And now all its success comes from the current members, not my paltry contribution in the beginning.)

I hadn’t thought to do this with a book title. Freakin’ brilliant.

Seumas Gallacher

…my irrepressible scribbling pal, Tony McManus has unearthed more fascinating gems regarding  book titles… have a wee peek…





“…that which we call the rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” Shakespeare reminds us. And it’s true of most things in the world, but not in the world of books; especially fiction. Here’s my take on things.

Ernest Hemingway believed a title should have magic. I’ll buy that. A dull title can kill an otherwise good book. An inspiring one can help make it a best seller. In my view, a title should at least hint at the genre and tone of the work. It should be intriguing. It should also be unique; a writer should always check his title against existing works. Type your title into a search engine or Amazon.com and you’ll get to know…

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I miss Alistair MacLean

I’m reading Kal Sprigg’s Fenris Unchained. Yes, Leo, it has lovely editing.

The premise is that an AI warship of unimaginable power has fixed itself up and is now back on course to destroy a planet, 100 years after the fact.  Our protagonist, Melanie, is a ship’s pilot and gets enmeshed in a whole series of spy games.

I was mildly perplexed at not keeping the characters all straight, though I thought I had ’em down. You need to pay better attention. Apparently, nobody is who they seem to be. Nobody.  Not even that guy.  It’s almost like a series of rubber masks in a Scooby Doo episode: “Mr. whipple!” “And I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you darn kids.” [Mr. Whipple had to get past the censors of the day, else he’d have really cussed out the gang.]  [Yes, he was squeezing the Charmin. Smug bar-sinister.]

About 30 years ago, I remember reading Ice Station Zebra and When Eight Bells Toll (which is navy speak for the end of a 4 hour stretch – midnight, 4 am, 8 am, noon, etc.) and Where Eagles Dare.  I remember vaguely that Ice Station Zebra you could never tell who was whom and who to trust. “Not that guy! He’s going to shoot you!” This book strongly reminds me of that.  I’m 33% of the way through and that means there’s still a lot of meat to the book left before we get to the climax.