Girls Write Out
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
My favorite book title so far is FIRE DANCER, due to ship September 12. The title is courtesty of my peep Denise Hunter. I'm now working on a new book that has a serial killer in it. The killer chooses his victims based on the verse in Proverbs 6:16-19. He lops off the appropriate body parts. Nice guy, huh? LOL How DOES my mind work? Sometimes I wish I knew! The killer calls himself Gideon and it's set in Rock Harbor where friends Eve and Bree will face their greatest challenge with their search dogs.

Now here are the questions, readers. Would that bug you? I'm not talking about graphic detail of this body part removal, just the mention of what he's done. And would a title like ABOMINATION appeal to you or do you think it's too harsh to attract a female suspense reader? We're tweaking my brand just a tad. Still romance and mystery, but I'm upping the suspense factor to mach speed. You ready for the ride or do you want to steal a spark plug? Honest opinions now!
Colleen Coble  
posted at 7:49 AM  
  Comments (36)
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At 8:51 PM, Blogger Sheryl said...

I, for one, would read anything you wrote :-)

The title Abomination might turn off some of your readers who are more into the "romance" than the "suspense." But my guess is you would pick up some new readers, both male & female, that appreciate more "mach speed" suspense.

Readers will always have their favorites and their own opinions, and you can't please everyone. But I know that if you write what the Lord puts on your heart, then he is going to bless those efforts.


At 8:55 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Oh Sheryl, you just made my day! My publishing house and I have been trying to figure out where the line is on the title and content. LOL You're a great help!

At 9:01 PM, Blogger Sabrina L. Fox said...

Because I'm an established reader of your work, I'd pick the book up, however, when I don't know an author, titles can turn me off. For a couple years I wouldn't pick up Brandilyn's books and now I love them.

But Sheryl is right that you might pick up more of the deep suspense lovers.

Fire Dancer is way cool!

At 9:03 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Thanks, Sabrina! I'm gathering all the comments and passing them along to my editor.

At 1:23 AM, Blogger Katie Hart said...

I read both romantic suspense and suspense, and the title turns me off a little on the romantic side. It would help if the cover and even the tagline gave a hint of romance to balance it. Not too much of a hint, which would turn off male readers.

At 2:24 AM, Anonymous bethanie said...

i would totally read it. i'm all for suspense!

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

You know me, Colleen. I'm the Secretary of the Big Honkin' Chicken Club, so I like a title that tells it like it is so I don't grab it by mistake and get the wits scared outta me! ;o)

I've read a few of your books and destroyed my manicure doing it! :o)

What about those opposite words in titles? Like Cold Heat. Maybe you could tie something to Abomination that ups the "chill factor" - something sick and spooky.

Did I just say that???!!! ROFLOL

At 10:08 AM, Blogger Jaime said...

slice and dice, baby, slice and dice. Ok and now to not sound so awfully sadistic ... the title Abomination wouldn't turn me off in the slightest. In fact, it would probably tweek my interest. Of course, to me the key to a title is the book cover. If the two go hand and in hand, I am even known to skip reading the back cover and just buying the book! (Case in point: "House" by Frank Peretti)

The only thought I had was not that the title would turn me off, but that it reminds me of an "End Times" book title. But then, the cover design could change that impression.

Ok ... can't wait to read "Fire Dancer" even though I'm still trying to get through the Aloha Reef Series, which by the way is sooo good but I haven't had time to read. GRRR!

At 10:11 AM, Blogger C. H. Green said...

Although I love suspense I sometimes have problems sleeping after I've read a tale like you describe. I think it comes from the fact that there are psychos out there that really do these things. I recently read The Lovely Bones. It was absolutely chilling. I would probably read it just to see the Christian spin you would put on it.

At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I LOVE the title Fire Dancer. It totally grabs me. I love books that are mystery, even murder mystery, but aren't graphic. That being said, I normally just read chick lit, so I wouldn't be the best title critic, but I think the title you've chosen is very strong and yet still appeals to me as a woman.

At 11:20 AM, Blogger eileen said...

Yep. Good title- Abomination. Catches the attention. I'm a thriller reader in the secular world, too. (I know, pray for me!) Kellerman and Koontz use those one word PUNCH titles. Good to go.

At 12:07 PM, Blogger Julie Carobini said...

Not crazy about the title or the body part thing (Jeffrey Dahmer, anyone?) But that's just me. I don't read a lot of suspense (although I am reading Alaska Twilight at the moment...!)

What can I say? I'm a chick-lit lover ;-) But I'll ask my mom, the original I'll-read-any-and-all-mystery gal, and let you know.

At 12:08 PM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

I wish I could comment but I can't. I'm into Nicholas Sparks and Janette Oke. Which is probably why I write stories like theirs.

But I'll pray that God'll give you guidance, Colleen, in these decisions. Remember James 1:5. "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously...AND IT WILL BE GIVEN TO HIM."

At 12:13 PM, Anonymous tina said...

Colleen, In my opinion, the title is great. I read all kinds of fiction and would not be turned off by the title. As far as the body part thing, I think there will always be readers who won't like that, but they probably don't read many suspense books anyway. Romance is a part of life, but in Distant Echoes I noticed the action overtook the romance, and I was glad. Just my two cents.

T. Forkner

At 12:22 PM, Blogger Martha W. Rogers said...

Oh, wow, like Sheryl and others, I'd read anything you write. The title sounds intriguing to me, and since I know the basis, I would pick it up in a second. Mysteries are my favorite, no matter how scary. Romance along with it is fine, but the mystery is what keeps me reading.

This title would more than likely attract male readers, too. At our conference I had some mysteries on the table of our give-away books, but the men didn't choose them because the titles didn't appeal to them or sounded too much like romance.

Several of my friends have become fans of yours because I tout your books in our bookstore and convince our librarian to purchase a copy. I love your titles in the past and know that whatever you choose, you will seek the Lord's counsel first.

I'm so excited you're going back to Rock Harbor. I loved those S&R dogs!

BTW, I'm reading Dangerous Depths now, and loving it.


At 12:30 PM, Blogger CHickey said...

Go for it!

At 12:43 PM, Blogger Kristin Billerbeck said...

I take it this won't be a Women of Faith title? LOL Well, let me just say, as your critique partner, I may have to put my foot down at lobbing off body parts. You'll have to get Robin Miller to read that part. LOL But I like the title because it says "psychological thriller" as well. I just watched "Notorious" again last night. Dang, that's a well-written movie. I'll keep you on track for the motives and pacing, someone else can handle flying parts.

At 12:57 PM, Blogger Jaime said...

oh, one other thought ... on the sadistic side of "flying body parts" - make sure you incorporate duct tape. Duct tape is a MUST in a psychological thriller. And the one lone light bulb swinging back and forth, back and forth from the ceiling.

At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Peg Brantley said...


Go for it, Colleen. I love the whole idea, and know you will deliver it with skill and taste.

Knock 'em DEAD!

At 1:53 PM, Blogger Kathy Harris said...

It doesn't reek of romance, but it's intriguing!

At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Dana said...

That title is very intriguing as is the whole idea. Because I enjoy sleeping and those type of books rob me of that (nightmares!) I have stopped reading sure is tempting! The biggest intrigue or wonderment comes from the person doing such sadistic things using religion as their reason. For example, how good was the movie Seven? Spooky, interesting, riveting, terrifying, unforgettable... Hope this helps.

At 2:17 PM, Blogger Leslie said...

I just asked my co-worker if she would read a book called "Abomination" She grimaced (she loves Stephan King/horror/murder mystery books, and I've recently been able to introduce her to Frank Peretti's books). I then had her read what you said it was about and she still seemed unsure if she would read it with that title.

Me? I wouldn't but that's because I don't care for murder mystery/suspense.

At 3:49 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Well you all are a bunch of ghouls! I'm in good company. LOL I've gotten a lot of private emails too who say the title doesn't put them off but it sounds like end times so I definitely need to talk to Ami about that. Thanks so much! You guys are great!

At 7:18 PM, Blogger Julie Carobini said...

Okay, so my mom says she likes the title. The body part thing wouldn't necessarily turn her away--she'd read the back cover first, after all.

At 7:24 PM, Blogger R.G. said...

Colleen... speaking from two perspectives, one as a voracious reader of all types of fiction, and two as a former in-house editor who has sat through many a titling meeting...

The cool thing about the title Abomination is the contrast between the intense title with the masculine connotation -- and the author's name which is clearly a woman and one who is also known for romantic themes! It's an intriguing juxtposition.

"Abomination" by Randy Ingermanson might seem like a ho-hum title. Yeah, okay, another thriller. But Abomination by Colleen Coble -- now we're talking!

At 9:46 PM, Anonymous Katherine said...

The cover for Fire Dancer looks fantastic! I'm still trying to find your last book're whipping books right out! I love it!
Abomination is a title that will really catch people's may not sound like a romance novel, but I think it will draw people in enough to pick it up and read the back...maybe make sure the back plays up the romantic side of things.
I'm looking forward to reading this, and every book you write.

At 5:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooooooooooohhhhh.....I like the title Abomination and the storyline makes me drool! Although I'm a bit over the top sometimes, lol

At 7:33 PM, Blogger Robin Caroll said...

LOL....I LOVE the title, but then again, I'm really twisted. And hey, if you wanna lob off body parts, I'm happy to read the gore and save Billerbeck! LOL

At 8:58 PM, Blogger Rachel Hauck said...

No, it's not too much!

:) Rachel

At 4:52 AM, Anonymous Pam S. said...


Oh, yuck. Can't you come up with a better character than some bizarre psychopath who lops off body parts? I don't like the idea or the title. It grosses me out. Guess that will be a book that I'll take a "miss" on.

By the way, I've just finished the first two Rock Harbor books and enjoyed them. I'm dying to read the third book, but I have to wait until the middle of October when a friend is coming from the States and can carry it to me. (I live in Turkey.) Patience, they say, is a virtue--but I still wish I had the book in my hands TODAY! (To tide me over, I read the first chapter on

Take care. Pam S.

At 7:07 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Gee Pam, tell me what you really think! LOL I'm in the middle of writing the new book and I promise you it's my normal read. LOL You won't see any body parts being lopped of. Hey, I kill people in ALL my books. LOL

Thanks, everyone, for your help. It looks like Abomination is going to stick as a title. We'll soften it some with the cover. You'll still recognize it as one of my books, I promise. LOL

At 7:11 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Oh Pam, I forgot to say that the killer isn't the main character of course. Eve Alexander and Bree Matthews are. Remember Bree from Rock Harbor. And there are several search dogs who will probably steal the show. LOL

My killer thinks he's doing society a favor by killing the "dregs." Eve accidentally caused the death of his wife, though she's unaware of it.

At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Pam S. said...


Ok. Ok. So the Gideon-person who wields the knife is NOT the hero. I still wouldn't like him as the bad guy -- or even one of the bad guys (but I suspect you don't mean for him to be liked.) Hmmm. I guess I've lived in Turkey so long (18 years) that I'm out of touch with the American scene. I guess the culture has "gone on without me?" If it says anything for me, I couldn't stand to look at the "bad-guy" with the creepy-crawly octopus beard in "Pirates....2" either. (Had to keep covering my eyes, much to my 12-year daughter's disgust.)

But I do like mysteries. Your mysteries. :)

Bye. P.S. Did you really write those entries at 4 a.m.? (And I thought a mother -- and a teacher's-- job was never done!)

At 1:09 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Hmm, I don't remember writing it that early but I must have gotten up for something and not been able to resist, Pam. LOL

I promise not to write anything too gross, girlfriend. You can trust me. LOL

At 2:34 PM, Anonymous Pam S. said...

Joking aside. Writing really IS about trust, isn't it? (Ok. Not very profound, but true, I think.)

You write--trusting God, trusting in your ability to get a believable story on paper, trusting your writing friends to give you honest feedback about the quality of your writing, trusting your editor to put on the "spit and polish," and on and on.
Later, we readers buy the book, trusting you to "deliver the goods," so to speak: We're looking for a good read.

Ok. I trust you. :) Write away. I'm curious, though, how you'll "soften it with the cover." (Daisies?) LOL

At 2:38 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

LOL Pam! Daisies. Hmm, now there's a thought. LOL I've got the best cover designers in the business! I can't wait to see what they do with it. Check back later for a sneak peak when we see what they come up with!

Boy you nailed that trust issue on the head!


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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