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Help me name the book!

Let's play a game. Let's call it Title Brainstorming!

Like my foreauthors before me, if you come up with THE title that pleases the publisher enough to go on the cover of the book--or at least, the title that my editor and I call it for a period of longer than five minutes, because if there's one thing I've learned, there are no guarantees on this titling thing--I will send you a copy of the book once it's published. (Signed and personalized if you like.) (And I'll probably acknowledge you in the comments, unless it's too late in the game before the title gets finalized.)

The book started life as The Herbalist's Apprentice. It has been referred to betwixt the editor and me as The Princess Curse. Those are the starting points.

If you haven't read it (and that's most of you), it's set in a made-up region of Romania that I wedged in next to Maramures and Transylvania, in 1489. Reveka, the main character, is an irreverent herbalist's apprentice who decides to break the curse on Sylvania--the curse being that Prince Vasile's 12 daughters wake up every morning exhausted and with holes in their shoes. Everyone who has attempted to break the curse ends up either cursed with death-like sleep or disappears. The local Lord of the Underworld (a zmeu) becomes an important character. To say much more would be spoilery, but suffice it to say, there's a Persephone/Hades sort of situation in the latter half of the book. Herbs, sleep, lies, vows, souls, the water of life, the water of death, the underworld, dragons (zmeu), princesses, cow-herding side-kicks, dancing, shoes, plum blossoms...

The book is Middle Grade, and the title would need to appeal to kids between the ages of, oh, 9-12ish.

Let me know if you want more information, and please play long and hard!


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 21st, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)
Reveka's revenge


Dance with death
Jul. 21st, 2010 05:57 pm (UTC)
I really like Cursebreaker.
Jul. 21st, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC)
I am commenting to add my actual support to this title.
Jul. 21st, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC)
much obliged. ;-)
Jul. 21st, 2010 07:29 pm (UTC)
My suggestions aside, I like this one very, very much
Jul. 22nd, 2010 02:30 am (UTC)
Oh, dear. It looks like Cursebreaker is already a YA/MG title. I will still suggest it, though. IT IS SO GOOD.
Jul. 21st, 2010 08:03 pm (UTC)
I am also voting for Cursebreaker.
Jul. 23rd, 2010 02:51 am (UTC)
Hmmm. Kelly likey Cursebreaker.
Jul. 21st, 2010 05:20 pm (UTC)
The Dancing Curse

The Scourge of Sylvania

The Secret of Sylvania

Jul. 21st, 2010 06:26 pm (UTC)
Strong offerings!
Jul. 21st, 2010 05:39 pm (UTC)
The Twelve Dancing Daughers of Prince Vasile

Jul. 21st, 2010 06:08 pm (UTC)
I will unhelpfully suggest "Dragon Vow" so that people can buy it and be irritated when they read the book and chapter one has no dragons.
Jul. 21st, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC)
Reveka's Mixed Up Adventures or: How She Learned to Stop Worrying and Love a Demon King of the Underworld

Six Ounces of Herbs Will Get You Far Out, Man...

When Life Gives You Nettles, Make An Invisibility Wreath

But Seriously....

Doomed to Dance

The Herbalist and the Princess

Barefoot Through the Underworld

An Herbalist in Hades

Dance, You Merry Princesses

Jul. 22nd, 2010 03:56 am (UTC)
The first one, definitely.


Reveka [lastname] and the Zmeu's Curse
Herbs, Caps, and Curses
The Curse of the Zmeu
How to Save 12 Princesses in One Easy Step
The Princess's Guide to Breaking Curses (which doesn't work)

Cursebreaker is nice because it's simple. Cursebreaking, Breaking the Curse, The Dragon's Curse...
Jul. 23rd, 2010 02:16 am (UTC)
Some of those are definitely on the right track. I never thought of using zmeu in the title!
Jul. 23rd, 2010 02:17 am (UTC)
The Girl's Guide to Cursebreaking ... something like that.
Jul. 23rd, 2010 02:56 am (UTC)
A Girl's Guide to Herbs and Curses (this might be too cutesy with the repetitive sound. Or maybe that's good.)

Jul. 23rd, 2010 02:54 am (UTC)
I like how she's got the funny vibe goin' on.

How to Break a Curse Without Really Trying

Jul. 21st, 2010 08:00 pm (UTC)
"da Vinci's Twilight: Re-Bourne (NOT an Anita Blake novel)"
Jul. 21st, 2010 09:52 pm (UTC)
The Princess Game

The Smell of Plums and Dragons
Jul. 21st, 2010 10:36 pm (UTC)
Hmm...you've got some good ones there.

How about:

Nights' Curse
The Dancing Sisters
Jul. 21st, 2010 10:36 pm (UTC)
I don't have title suggestions, alas, but that description sounds amazing! I can't wait to read it :)
Jul. 22nd, 2010 12:37 am (UTC)
The Dancing Princesses

The Devil and the Herbalist (and the smartass side of me says the subtitle should be A Love Story)

A Curious Thing Happened On the Way to the Nunnery

okay, I also like Cursebreaker.
Jul. 22nd, 2010 01:28 am (UTC)
I was all set because I sooooo want a copy of your book and then I saw Cursebreaker.

((also why didn't The Herbalist's Apprentice work? I loved that title))
Jul. 22nd, 2010 02:32 am (UTC)
Too much like Midwife's Apprentice is bottom line number one. Too close in time, too big a name, too in the genre, it is not to be offending Newbery winners, etc.

There are other considerations, like, do 10-year-olds know an herbalist from a hole in the ground?

I'm excited about not saying "herbalist's apprentice" every three seconds, personally. The sibilants killed me.

Edited at 2010-07-22 02:33 am (UTC)
Jul. 22nd, 2010 08:28 am (UTC)
Let's see - Romania and should appeal to pre-teens. In the experience of local author (Sari Peltoniemi) gore should attract their attention fast. And Hollywood-oriented editor would recognize the appeal, even if the name would have nothing to do with the content (they could demand to put the phrase in the back cover blurb at the very least...)

Dracula's Granddaughter

(vampire imagery in the cover would cater to current vampire fashion as well)


Bloody Revenge for the Dozen

(Would have to include somebody buxom in the cover)


To the Hell for the Sisterhood

(and emphasis for the Quest in the back cover)


Based on my experiences with fantasy titles....
Jul. 23rd, 2010 02:14 am (UTC)

I think it qualifies as ironic: there were numerous Dracula references in the book previously, as my main character's father had fought in Vlad Tsepes's army. I had to remove most of them, to avoid confusing this book with the vampire legions. You're barking up the wrong tree, I'm afraid!
Jul. 23rd, 2010 07:26 am (UTC)
You're barking up the wrong tree, I'm afraid!

I gathered as much :-)

Unfortunately I've also heard horror stories about covers, back covers and titles based on dubious logic, hence my "suggestions"...
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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