South Korea

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.

5 08, 2013

Beyond and Behind the Story – Love in the Morning Calm

By |2013-08-05T05:48:12-05:00August 5th, 2013|Beyond and Behind the Story|2 Comments

Research and details in a book can make a major difference in a reader’s pleasure.

That’s why in Love in the Morning Calm and The Pendant’s Promise I include details selected from my time in South Korea.

Lily’s apartment is where we lived in U.N. Village.

UN Village4 I walked the same roads that she walked to catch the bus to Eighth Army Headquarters. UN Village6

We got so used to the train whistle we didn’t even hear it.

train on track2These pictures stir memories for me and I hope give you a good idea of where Lily lived. If you’ve read Love in the Morning Calm, is it like your mental picture?

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????A gold dress also plays an important role in both books. I got the idea for those scenes from my own experience having a gold dress made to wear to the reception President Park Chung Hee and his wife gave for President and Mrs. Lyndon Johnson. Here’s what my dress looked like. Is it what you pictured Lily wearing?

There’s a carved Papasan in both stories. I brought back several carvings from South Korea to remind us of our time in Han Nam Dong.???????????????????????????????That’s the Papasan third from the left. When we lived in Seoul, Papasan meant a title used to address elderly men. The term has come to be used for pimps or a  person who manages a bar or a brothel or a similar establishment. The kindly men in the white suits we met didn’t do any of that!

You’ll find I used others places we went during our time in South Korea and developed scenes around them. Places like Chungpyung Reservoir. I can still remember our picnic on the hood of the motor pool jeep with the sound of the roaring dam behind us. Ace and Lily picnicked there too.409284034_Chungpyung Dam

I hope these glimpses of South Korea when I was there enhance your reading of Lily and Ace’s love story. Or make you want to read.

It should also demonstrate how writers use their personal experiences in creating their fictional stories.

MorningCalm_6 for webpgs

In 1966, while on temporary assignment to South Korea, Green Beret Major Ace Cabot meets Lily Reed, a Department of Army civilian at Eighth Army Headquarters. Ace is a high-potential career officer, who should resist the temptation of any woman, but he can’t ignore his interest in her.

Lily is a firm supporter of the budding women’s lib movement. She enjoys her freedom and new life away from her stifling hometown. Her plans leave no room for any man. No matter how captivating his smile.

In an uncertain time, in a temporary safe zone, yielding to temptation changes both their lives forever.

Available for Kindle     Nook    Apple iBook/iPad  and   Smashwords for PDF, Diesel, or Kobo

books_pendant

For twenty years, Lily Johnson’s life, albeit a life of lies, has been good. Then her daughter falls in love and trouble abounds.

The young man her daughter plans to marry is the godson of her daughter’s biological father. A Green Beret Lily thought died in Vietnam.

When they meet him face-to-face, the years melt away and old passion returns, but Lily’s convinced revealing the truth could mean losing her daughter and the only man she’s ever loved. He believes Lily betrayed her promise to wait.

Is the flame of love strong enough to be re-ignited, or, is it too late?

Available for Kindle  Apple iBook/iPad   Nook     Smashwords for PDF, Diesel, or Kobo and in Paperback

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?

14 06, 2013

Miller Farm Friday – Strange Eating Habits

By |2013-06-14T05:18:03-05:00June 14th, 2013|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|4 Comments

By Guest Blogger Chicken Wrangler Sara

I have decided it is my mission in life to make sure no one or no thing in my world goes hungry. 

This goes for chickens and dogs as well as humans. 

Every morning I feed all chickens, dogs, and humans sometimes in that order, sometimes humans first, depending on who is awake. 

We have special feeders for the chicken and the quail to access to their food easily. There are some chickens, however, who are not satisfied with the system and have found their own unique way of eating.

Little Gray Hen, one of the smaller hens who is sometimes pushed aside, has taken to staying on top of the quail cage in the coop.  When I put food in the quail’s feeder, Little Gray Hen helps herself.

The feeder is designed so the birds eat out of the bottom.  Little Gray Hen does not realize that and eats from the top. 

little grey hen

She doesn’t seem to mind that she is eating quail food and, as long as she doesn’t go hungry, my mission is accomplished.

The younger hens have their own feeder on their side of the chicken yard.  Some of them have adopted Little Gray Hen’s method of eating and climb in the top. 

small hens

I suppose as they get bigger that they will do one of two things: stop climbing in the feeder or be stuck in the pail. But, the small hens aren’t going hungry. My mission is accomplished.

Chickens aren’t the only creatures with strange eating habits. 

As a small child, my family lived in South Korea. I was not too fond of rice until our housekeeper put ketchup on it. 

I was an adult before I ate rice any other way. In fact, when no one is around, I still eat it with ketchup.

 I’m not going hungry so my mission is accomplished.