One of my favorite things about the Lexi Graves Mysteries is coming up with the titles. Back when I first conceived the series, I knew there had to be an obvious link between the titles and came up with idea of using law enforcement/army slogans or terms that reflected Lexi's family background of police work as well as her ill-fated few weeks at army boot camp. But, of course, there had to be a twist. The titles had to be altered just enough that it offered an insight into the comedic elements of the series, but not too much that it wasn't obvious what the title had been altered from.
Here's what we have so far and how they've been altered:
- Armed & Fabulous (Armed & Dangerous) <- This sets the series up nicely as funny and light-hearted from book one.
- Who Glares Wins (Who Dares Wins)
- Command Indecision (Command Decision)
- Shock & Awesome (Shock & Awe) <- This one was my mother's idea!
- Weapons of Mass Distraction (Weapons of Mass Destruction)
- Laugh or Death (Life or Death)
- Kissing in Action (Missing in Action) <- Extra points for only changing only one letter 'M' to 'K'!
- Trigger Snappy (Trigger Happy)
- A Few Good Women (A Few Good Men) <- One of the biggest relationships of the book is that between best friends Lexi and Lily.
and the next one: Ready, Aim, Underfire (Ready, Aim, Fire).
Creating the titles is predominantly about playing with the words and finding something similar in sound or length that works. Sometimes it's as simple as changing one letter so 'missing' becomes 'kissing', sometimes it's about adding a prefix to a word to change its meaning ie 'indecision' rather than 'decision' or 'women' rather than 'men'. Importantly, it has to be a very small change and a small phrase because there's only so much space on the cover and spine!
I have quite the list of possible titles but not all of them work and I want to talk to you about why some of them get nixed.
Here's a few that didn't make the cut and why:
- Rank and Nail File (Rank and File) <- Rank could easily be misinterpreted as stinky or disgusting. Not what I was looking for!
- Call of Booty (Call of Duty) <- This one makes me laugh but could be deemed as a teeny bit inappropriate.
- Absence WithOut Lingerie (AWOL) <- Again, funny, but I don't feel the link to the original acronym was obvious enough.
- Price on Her Head (Price on his head) <- Not snappy enough
- Hit or Kiss (Hit or Miss) <- Implied violence doesn't have a strong enough comedy element to work here
- Fight or Flirt (Fight or Flight) <- Not snappy enough
I hope that gives you a little insight into how I create the titles and why some work better than others!