Eighth Army Headquarters

15 10, 2018

The Tale of a Book Title

By |2018-10-14T20:32:47-05:00October 15th, 2018|A Writer's Life, Writer's Life, Writing Craft|2 Comments

Book titles and covers are important because the old adage — Readers do judge a book by its cover — is true. So, how can an author know beforehand what’s going to resonate?

Wiser people than me have come up with three criteria.

  1. A great title needs to create an image that synthesizes the story and suggest the story’s meaning or theme.
  2. The cover must also grab the attention of a casual book searcher.
  3. A title must describe the contents while being so piercing and articulate that readers will take notice.

Recently, I rebranded three previously published individual titles into a series. I considered coming up with new titles for each book, but each book already had an ISBN and the content was not changing. It wasn’t necessary.

Instead, I used a branding tagline or blurb (below) and a graphic — the ribbon — to link the books.

PROMISES series 

Two men and one woman met at Eighth Army Headquarters, South Korea in the turbulent Vietnam War years and found their lives linked together forever. The PROMISES series tells their stories through the decades that follow.

In making my decision, I examined my titles based on the expert’s criteria.

  • Book 1 is Love in the Morning Calm, Prequel to the Pendant’s Promise.

With love in the title, a reader gets the story will be a love story. The picture of Headquarters, Eighth Army identifies the setting as a military. A knowledgeable reader may also recognize that another name for South Korea is Land of the Morning Calm.

Conclusion: I may have I tried too hard.

  • Book 2 The Pendant’s Promise

The cover design with the Pendant, the Vietnam Wall, and the word promise signal another love story. I love this cover because my very talented daughter designed it. With the rebranding, my current graphic designer, Jim Peto at Petoweb.com, enhanced the graphics.

Conclusion: The title and the cover artwork make a reader notice.

 

  • Book 3 Until He Returns

The old Army green color clues a reader of the setting and time frame. The title suggests whoever needs to return is in the military. (Those who have read the first two books will know the character has been MIA since book 1.) Close examination reveals the character’s name on the dog tags.

Conclusion: Unsure whether this title hits the mark the mark or not. While the dog tags are clearly visible on the paperback cover, the tags are not readable on the eBook thumbprint.

 

  • Book 4 Promises to Keep

This is the final book of the series, which will be out next month. The title ties back to the second book’s title and the series title. The couple clues the reader it’s another love story. The sunset background suggests the end of the day and the last of series.

Conclusion: It synthesizes the story and suggests the story’s theme.

 

Overall, I give myself a generally good grade for my titles. What say you?

Should you want to read any of the books, simply click on the buy links on the sidebar. The buy link for book 4 will be added next month.

11 11, 2013

VETERAN’S DAY

By |2013-11-11T06:00:40-06:00November 11th, 2013|Holidays|0 Comments

veteran's day vintage

“From the bitter cold winter at Valley Forge, to the mountains of Afghanistan and the deserts of Iraq, our soldiers have courageously answered when called, gone where ordered, and defended our nation with honor.”   ~Solomon Ortiz

My husband is a retired Army officer.

My father served in the Army Air Corps.

My uncle was a Marine.

My meager contribution to military service was a short stint as a Department of Army Civilian at Eighth Army Headquarters, Yongsan, South Korea. Now, I write military romances  and offer happily ever after endings that aren’t always present in the non-fiction military world.

This video as a poignant reminder of why we have this special day to honor veterans.

In recognition to all veterans, I say…

TY

29 07, 2013

Beyond and Behind the Story

By |2013-07-29T05:51:39-05:00July 29th, 2013|Beyond and Behind the Story|0 Comments

One of the question authors are most frequently asked is where do ideas come from.

Today, I’ll be sharing the background behind Love in the Morning Calm and The Pendant’s Promise These two books tell the love story of Alex (Ace) Cabot and Lily Reed Johnson.

Though not a series in the true sense of a book series, Love in the Morning Calm is the Prequel and tells how Lily and Ace met and fell in love. The Pendant’s Promise picks up the story twenty years later.

The idea for Lily and Ace’s story came from my personal experience at Eighth Army Headquarters in South Korea. What was I doing in South Korea at Eighth Army?

That’s a story in itself.

My husband is a retired Army Reserve officer. He completed R.O.T.C. during college and at the height of Vietnam War received his commission when he graduated.

With a military background – my father was an Army Air Corp officer, I was proud that my husband joined the Army Reserves…until his first unaccompanied assignment.

The thought of being stateside while he served at the Korea Procurement Agency, Eighth Army, South Korea, was not appealing.

It was so unpleasant that I sold our car, purchased airline tickets for our toddler daughter and myself, and followed him.

Jerry-SaraE7-2

During our time there, I worked as a Department of Army Civilian (DAC) at Eighth Army Headquarters in G3. 8th army HQ

That’s why, in the story, Lily is a DAC at G3. I knew what it was like. You might recognize the picture from the cover of Love in the Morning Calm.

lbj-in-korea-12Both novels are fiction loosely based around Lyndon Johnson’s Southeast Asia in 1966.lbj-in-korea-4

The characters in Love in the Morning Calm and The Pendant’s Promise are  figments of my imagination, but I confess they have some traits of people I met during my time at Eighth Army G3. (That tee shirt saying, watch what you say or you might end up in my novel, is actually true.)

The setting is accurate though I’m sure that Yongsan Compound has changed dramatically since we were there.

If you’re read either Love in the Morning Calm and The Pendant’s Promise, you might recognize some of these places.

The parade field in front of Headquarters, pictured here from 1966.2276276862_8th Army hdqtrs

Korean busThe PX 2240085375_ PX Yongsan

                         The military buses

Next week, I’ll be sharing more photos of places around Seoul that I incorporated into both stories.

YOUR TURN: Do you like seeing “real” pictures to compare to what you imagined when you read books?