Anne Calhoun Talks Titles (Giveaway)

Titles (in which Anne is a Diva). Discuss.

I love Suzanne Brockmann’s books, but the titles for the first six books in her Troubleshooters series all run together for me. I can’t remember which one is the defiant hero, or the unsung hero, and all I can remember about the other four is that I think Sam and Alyssa’s book is GOING TOO FAR, which is also the title of my favorite Jennifer Echols book. Everyone remembers Sam and Alyssa’s book as “Sam and Alyssa’s book” anyway. So…titles.

The original working title I had for BREATH ON EMBERS was ALIGHT. I loved it. I was completely fangirl, boy-band-obsessed with that title, because I frankly felt it was the best title I’d ever come up with. It worked so beautifully with thematic elements in the story, described the heroine’s emotional journey, hinted at heat, and resonated with the darkness of Christmas broken only but twinkle lights and candles. I sent the manuscript off to Angie James, the editor, fairly confident that ALIGHT would be carried through to the final product.

Then Angie sent me a title worksheet, which I filled out in a totally half-assed fashion and sent back, because this story was called ALIGHT. Period. Full stop. Then I got an email from Angie saying they were retitling it to something I loathed, not to put too fine a point on it.

What’s the matter with ALIGHT, I thought? This is the most perfect title ever. Ever. Themes! Characters arcs! It’s even hot! So I sent Angie a righteously indignant email explaining that I didn’t care for the title the team came up with, I had no idea where they got it, and I could only see ALIGHT as the title for this story.

Yeesh, Anne. Diva much?

Angie’s response came minutes later, gently explaining that no one on the Harlequin team liked ALIGHT or thought it was hot, and furthermore, the one they chose was one I suggested in that title worksheet I submitted.

Oh. This is the tweet I sent Angie, when I stopped laughing at myself.

Hey, @angelajames * redfaced * and also * facepalm *.

She took it in good spirits (thank God…nothing like totally diva-ing up to end a working editorial relationship) and together we came up with BREATH ON EMBERS.

Which I like. Not as much as I like ALIGHT, but compromise is the soul of survival in the publishing industry.


Breath on Embers Anne CalhounChristmas is the perfect time for Firefighter Ronan O’Rourke to take things to the next level with his sexually adventurous girlfriend. He knows she has feelings for him—and he’s sure of his feelings for her—but when Thea refuses his invitation to sample Christmas in New York City because what they share is nothing more than sheet-burning sex, Ronan sets out to change her mind.

Deep down Thea Moretti knows she cares for Ronan, but she can’t move past her grief over her late husband. Loud music and sex with Ronan are the only things she’s got that her feel alive, so she takes as much of both as she can get. She knows Ronan wants more, but during the darkest time of the year finding her way won’t be easy.

Ronan gambles everything and challenges Thea: one night of passion with him and another man. Can he prove to her that what they share isn’t just great sex but an emotional connection strong enough to last forever?

Breath on Embers by Anne Calhoun
December 3rd 2012 by Carina Press
Amazon || Barnes & Noble || ARe

Anne’s info —

What are your favorite titles? Do you remember stories by titles, by author name, or by characters? Comment for a chance to win BREATH ON EMBERS!

Everyone who comments and uses the Promo Simple widget below between Dec. 17 – Jan. 1 on blogcation posts will be entered to win a $50 gift card to the online book retailer of their choice. Come back every day! Open to all.




  1. says

    Lol funny Anne, because just as the Carina team I really don’t care for ALIGHT (maybe after having read the story I’ll see the connection), but for now I don’t find it either sexy or interesting *hides behind the sofa* However, Breath on Embers instantly got my attention, it sounds exciting and poetic, can’t wait to read it! 😀

  2. Sandypo says

    I am terrible at remembering everything these days — I have CRS Syndrome (Can’t Remember Shit!) so I am better at remembering a plot than the characters names or the title of the book. But I can frequently remember the authors — I certainly remember the ones I like!

  3. JenM says

    I tend to remember authors, series names and book numbers within a series, but not individual titles. There are just too many of them. One series that stands out that had great titles though was Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, staring with Soulless. The titles were perfect for the individual books and easy to remember because they were each just one word long.

  4. says

    I hate thinking of titles for things – each of my WIPs is in a folder named for the main character: ‘Sally’s story’, ‘Martha’s story’, ‘Bryony & Aidan’. Not looking forward to when I actually have to come up with something real.

    For books, there are some titles I really like – the Harry Potter ones, for example. Then there are others like the JR Ward books, where I love them but can never remember who’s book was which – similar titles are great for being clear about them being in the same series, but I get so confused with all those ‘Lover’s that I’ve no idea whose story is in which book anymore.

  5. Rebe says

    I like for series titles to be similar enough that I recognize they’re in the same series but not so different I can’t tell them apart. I can never remember which In Death book is which, and I have a hard time keeping Eileen Wilks’ World of the Lupi books apart as well.

  6. Jenn says

    We all have diva moments in our lives … for me, it’s an irrational righteous indignation when people attempt to eat in my car. Lord knows why it bothers me, but I can get downright snarky about it … until I’m hungry and want something on the go myself. Suddenly, not such an issue anymore!!
    I loved this story when I read it – heartbreaking but hot, and you really felt the ache each character experienced about their situation. I remember my favourite stories by characters, as they stick with me when their stories are so amazing.

  7. sienny says

    haha i’m useless with names and title. so when i wanted to read a certain story again, i asked my friends have they ever read that kind of story before and what book is that.

  8. Diane Sallans says

    I do better remembering by a combination starting with description of the story, characters names, author name, and then title. There are some titles used by multiple authors or at least very similar titles. And even covers change – sometimes I’ll recognize those. But to be sure what I’ve read and what I want to read I have a binder of authors lists & carry around a coupon file of index cards with authors & their books.

  9. Stacy says

    I can usually remember stories by cover picture. Especially when said picture is of a shirtless hunk….with rock hard abs….and the infamous V! I’m just being honest!

    The simpler the name of the book, the better. When you have a long title, then the “series” name, then the “part” number its too much!!!!

    Thanks for this awesome giveaway!

  10. May says

    I am horrible at title names! I am much better at remembering writer’s name and the characters’ names!

  11. Trix says

    It’s hard when I’m just getting into a series and the titles are all too similar, since without fail I’ll pick the wrong one and read it out of sequence. Bah!

  12. Deborah says

    For me, it really depends on the story if I remember the title and/or author. If I love the book, I will remember both. BREATH ON EMBERS sounds great.

  13. donnas says

    I am horrible with titles. I remember the stories much better. But I like how the In Death series mostly contains In Death.