Exploiting You Again: Titles

So we need titles for the Rocky Start books. Bob and I kicked some ideas around–“kicked” being the operative word here, some of the right out of the conversation–and we came up with some, but . . . eh, we’re not there yet.

Want to play?

The books are set in a town that’s about 1/3 retired agents. The heroine, Rose, had been hiding out there for nineteen years from the cops on an arrest her ex-lover framed her for. The hero, Max, is just passing through to pick up the boots his ex-boss sent there for him. So we were thinking some play on undercover work, romance, but quirky, off the wall. Because it’s us.

The Spy Who Liked Me is what I’m looking at for the first title, because the book only covers a week, so no time to fall in commitment love. But Bob says they’re not exactly spies.

Then there’s a treasure hunt for gold in the second one, so I suggested The Spy Who Came In With the Gold, but Bob said no.

He does like Dead Drop Gorgeous (thank you, Office Wench Cherry) for the one about three retired female assassins who are out to get each other.

NONE of these are set in stone. So what we need is

Three titles
that are quirky, offbeat
and relate to each other
and imply light hearted romance and some violence
while possibly riffing on the idea of retired or otherwise undercover agents and assassins.

We’re not going to use colors again, but some similarity in the titles is important.
And if there’s something visual there that the cover artist can start with, that would be great.

It’s that charming mixture of romance and violence, aka Crusie and Mayer, that we’re going for.

Have at it. I’m going to go move.

48 thoughts on “Exploiting You Again: Titles

  1. “A charming mixture of romance and violence” is exactly what I’m going to use to describe myself henceforth.

    T(h)reats in Triplicate for our three ladies. Am pondering.

  2. If you like Drop Dead Gorgeous, then maybe two other titles with either drop or dead in them? Drop Everything Else, for instance. Or A Drop in the Bucket. (Yes, I know those suck. Just examples.)

    1. Bob just pointed that “Dead Drop Gorgeous” would get killed by autocorrect.

      Back to the beginning.

      1. I now have Voila’s Drop Dead Gorgeous playing in my head, and have to go watch the music video of it again. I love that video – full of people getting bumped off in all the fun ways, and the song’s such an earworm.

  3. Totally not germane to the conversation, but if you haven’t read “Killers of a Certain Age” by Deanna Raybourn I highly recommend it.

  4. If you want to stick with the ‘drop dead’ theme:

    Drop Dead Date
    Drop Dead List (Hit list)

  5. Neither of you are in the west so titles of westerns may not work but you could do something with classic western titles- they died with their boots on, treasure of the Sierra Madre, who shot liberty valance, etc. it’s not a western but really like Ms. & Ms. & Ms. Smith for the three assassins (after Mr and Mrs Smith). Ha ok I am making myself laugh anyway.

    1. Oh, Bob is all over Westerns. That’s the reason Agnes falls for a guy named Shane.

  6. I like your title of “The Spy Who Liked Me” — exactly what is the distinction between spies and agents that keeps Bob from approving that title? I think the difference is not so salient to most readers that there would be a problem with riffing off various movie titles, especially since James Bond movies are a kind of universally recognized source for public knowledge about intelligence agents.

    Depending on the themes or settings of the three novels, there would be a lot of ways you could go with those titles — “The Man with the Golden Screwdriver” or “Diamonds are Pretentious” or “Octopizza” or whatever. Just a thought.

    1. I’m not exactly sure and he’s backtracking on that.
      Evidently they’re spooks or dogs. I’m clueless.

    2. ‘spy’ is a broooooooaaaaad term, especially in genre fiction! I say run with it!

      The Spy Who Liked Me
      The Hills Have Spies
      Three Way Spyfight

      (done being silly now)

    1. First you go to Books, then click on Advanced Search. Fill in Jenny’s name under Author. Go to Pub. Date, and on the drop down select During. Under Year, fill in 2023. Click the Search Now, and you should get it.

    2. Or just click on Jennifer Crusie, it is on her author page, alternatively change All search to Kindle Store and Lavender’s Blue will be the first book

      1. Thanks Kay and Kim. It does seem crazy that I ran searches for Lavender’s Blue, and searches for Bob and Jenny, both independently and together, and under both Jennifer and Jenny, and no hits at all. I have now finally found it but it took a lot of work.

  7. Out of Service
    Over and Out
    Out of It

    Dead Heat
    Formerly Fuzzy

    Felons & Fuzz
    Badges & Babes
    Gardas & Gals

  8. I love brainstorming but can’t come up with anything really witty/quirky. Here’s my list:

    Whack a Mole
    Whacked Up
    Life Whacks
    Whack off
    Whack Up Plan

    Covert Affairs
    Covert Crush
    Covert Charisma
    Covert Charm
    Charm Assault
    Armed, Charmed, and Alarmed
    Alarm Glock

    Flirting with Danger
    Dirty Little Secret Agent

    Undercover Lover
    Undercover Assets

    Smack Attack
    Heart Attack
    Encounter Attack

    Force Field
    Field Agent of Attraction

  9. Agent Under Covers
    Dirty Double Agent
    Secret Agent Sins
    Sleeper Agent

    Cover Story
    Deep Cover
    Cover Blown

    Trigger Happy
    Hair Trigger
    Trigger Warning
    Trigger Finger

    Hair Trigger Hook-Up
    Trigger Happy Hookup
    The other two don’t work as well

  10. The Rose Decode
    Rose Gold
    Undercover Rose

    I Left my Heart in Rocky Start
    Rocky Start Me Up
    Rocky Starting Over

  11. All I can think of is puns on their names.

    Buried Roses
    Coming Up Roses
    Trailing Rose
    Mountain Rose
    Make Rose Madder
    Rose Tinted
    Rose to the Bait

    Maximum Cost
    Maximum Security
    Maximum Velocity
    Maximum Yield
    Maximum Temperature

  12. Dead Good Something?

    Dead Good Partners / Mates / Friends
    Dead Good Thieves / Crooks
    Dead Good Assassins / Killers

  13. # 3 hit me first: Dead Shot Divas
    #2: Gilded in Gold
    #1: Good Luck and Glock-speak

    Other thoughts:
    Glock Full of Goodies
    Hush-hush, Bang-bang
    A Rose by Any Other Name
    Working for the Week(end)
    Terrific on Target
    Boots, Bullets, Bras, and Beer

  14. A Rocky Start to Romance
    A Rocky Start to Murder
    or drop the A at the beginning

    Rocky Start to Revenge


  15. A Spooky Tale.
    Spooks R Us
    The Spook Who Liked Me
    Something Spooky This Way Comes
    A Tale of Two Spooks

    Probably better for a series with ghosts in it though.

  16. What’s wrong with Rocky start?
    I like that.

    Rocky Start
    Start to Work
    Work to finish

    Clearly I am not cut out for this title business…

    1. Bob likes it, too. So we’re going with it. I’ve been shooting down so many of his ideas that any that I kinda like, we’re going with.

      1. Could you do something like
        Rocky Start
        Rocky Start Revisited
        Rampage in Rocky Start*

        (*Or Riot, or Revenge, or Ruckus, or Rivalry- if there are three women involved)

  17. Brainstorming before breakfast today, but only remembered to refine and submit after midnight.

    It was before work so I guess I was feeling low because I went went kinda dark, more assassin than spy.

    I thought of tools of the trade:

    Thus yielding titles related to tools, types and/or methods that would be used to despatch someone…
    A Silenced Silencer.
    A Sheathed Stiletto.
    The Blunted Bayonet.
    The Uncloaked Dagger.
    A Noticeable Ninja.
    A Magnanimous Mercenary.
    A Lately Localized Legionnaire.
    Unconcentrated Arsenic.
    The Blocked Blowgun.

    All would need a subtitle like, “A Liz Danger novel.”

    Unbareable Arms sounds like a pub. Tagline you can’t carry even if it’s concealed.

    This reminds me of one of two Family Ties episodes I ever watched, where a dream sequence involves signing the US Constitution and it’s hot, so someone suggests that there should be a right to bare arms and everyone removes their long sleeves!

  18. These may not work for this trilogy, but someone should use them

    Stealth and the Single Girl*
    Fear of Spying
    A Doom of One’s Own

    * or Woman

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