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Monica Burns | What's in a Title?

Thanks to Fresh Fiction for inviting me back to talk about my upcoming release, PLEASURE ME. It’s a story about an older woman/younger man story where the hero happens to be a virgin. When trying to come up with a title for the book, my editor and I bounced several ideas back and forth until we settled on PLEASURE ME.

One of the really interesting things about my books and titles is that they often prove to have meanings that I don’t see at the time of their creation. I’ll be three-quarters through a book when I’ll write a scene which capitalizes on a minor plot point I’d written at the beginning of the book. It can be something as insignificant as a ring someone wears, something someone says or the actions of a minor character. Then later in the book that insignificant piece of information proves to be a critical component in the storyline. It’s not something that’s planned on my part. It just happens, and I love when it does that.

I love how my characters or plots put twists in front of me that enrich the book through character development or surprise plot directions. It’s such a cool surprise to come to a fork in the road and suddenly realize which fork to take is an easy choice. That happened to me in PLEASURE ME with a very minor character. I hadn’t even seen their value until they popped up at a critical moment without my planning for it. It was perfect timing that I didn’t even see coming when the character was briefly introduced in the first quarter of the book. This person was simply a way for me to bring two pivotal characters together. Imagine my surprise when this minor character is witness to an important moment in the story. I had one of those, oh my god, I love how my subconscious can see something coming from a ten miles away.

The same thing happens with titles for me as well. When my editor and I finally settled on PLEASURE ME, I didn’t realize how important a title it was. When I write a book, my goal is to give my readers an enjoyable read. With PLEASURE ME, I had the same goal, I just didn’t realize that the title had double meaning. It wasn’t just about Garrick and Ruth silently telling each other that they wanted to be pleasured. It was about readers asking for a book that would pleasure them as well.

I’ve played up that theme with my upcoming blog event where I’ve invited 35+ NYT and USAToday bestselling authors along with many others  to join me in chatting about of historical romance, aptly named PLEASURE ME With Romance. The entire event is about pleasuring readers with posts from their favorite historical authors. Spotlighting why writers write, the types of heroes everyone likes to read, the writing life and a slew of other topics. I even managed to land a coveted two-part Q/A interview with the amazing Jayne Ann Krentz, who writes historicals as Amanda Quick.

I hope the event and the book truly live up to the name, PLEASURE ME, because I’m first and foremost all about pleasing my readers.

What do you find the most pleasurable aspect of reading a romance?

Monica Burns




61 comments posted.

Re: Monica Burns | What's in a Title?

I love losing myself in another time & space. I love the love.
(Mary Preston 12:37pm January 14, 2011)

When you get lost in the book and feel like you are the main character..
(Patty Rosellini 12:40pm January 14, 2011)

bravo on all your wonderful work!Your books got me through tough times when my son was in Iraq
(Melisa Clark 2:05am January 14, 2011)

The NOW disappears for me as I let myself sink into a good romance. When I
come up for air I find myself more relaxed and ready to handle whatever is going
on in my life.
(Sandra Spilecki 5:50am January 14, 2011)

Just reading about happy people makes me happy.
(Marjorie Carmony 6:03am January 14, 2011)

You write such wonderful books!
(Joanne Reynolds 6:20am January 14, 2011)

I like reading romance because you can leave all your problems behind.
(Debbie Penny 7:38am January 14, 2011)

Love being "taken away" from everyday life and into another time/place.
(Leanna Morris 7:41am January 14, 2011)

Your characters are always wonderful and I fall for the leading man always...AND your covers jump off the shelf.
Keep writing. And I hope I get to win one of your books.
Patricia R.
Cape San Blas, FL
(Patricia (Pat) Pascale 8:31am January 14, 2011)

In most cases, when I read a romance novel, or any book for that matter, I tend to put myself in the shoes of the main character. If it's well-written, I come away from reading the book feeling rejuvenated, and in an odd sense, a better person for having read the book. If it was written in a setting that I'm not familiar with, I've also learned a thing or two that I wasn't aware of. I'm the type of person that always loves to learn new facts about people or places, and always puts myself in other peoples' shoes and feels their pain. I hope that answers your question. Good luck with your new book. I'm sure it will do well, and I'm anxious to read it.
(Peggy Roberson 9:14am January 14, 2011)

Books are my escape from everyday BS and for 20 min to a couple of hrs I can be some place else
(Vickie Hightower 9:17am January 14, 2011)

really feeling like I know the characters. It keeps me turning the page.
(Pam Howell 9:53am January 14, 2011)

I enjoy the characters and their journey to the HEA.
(Maureen Emmons 10:29am January 14, 2011)

I love a book that has such a great story it almost hurts to have to put it down. The "happy ending" helps, too.
(Maria Munoz 10:38am January 14, 2011)

Wow! It's still early yet and so many comments already! I am feeling the love! Thank you for that.

@MaryPreston - That losing oneself in a different place/time is awesome isn't it!

@Patty - I like that sensation too. Although I don't get it as often as I used too. Reading romance without my internal editor and analytical self taking over is tough. I do try to let it go tho, *grin*

@Melisa What can I say to a compliment like that? I cannot imagine what it must be like to have a child placed in danger like that. I hope he's now home safe and sound. Hugs

@Sandra That coming up for air bit is a great way to put it. I know I love being immersed in any great book, no matter the genre. Escapism is wonderful

@Marjorie - In today's environment, HEAs help us handle all the bad stuff we see these days. Gives us hope

@Joanne - oh thank you very much. It's so nice to hear that readers enjoy my stories.

@Debbie - Pushing one's troubles out of the mind while reading a book keeps us sane I think. At least it does me! I NEED that escape

@Leanna Another reader who loves that escapism piece of the puzzle. Books, and I think Romance in particular, do that in such a terrific way.

@Patricia Thank you for the compliment. I love my leading men too. I think Garrick in Pleasure Me is one of my most tender heroes yet. He's hell bent on getting Ruth to see things his way, and he's a REALLY fast learner. LOL

@Peggy A lovely answer to a really broad question. Thanks for the best wishes with Pleasure Me. I hope readers like it.

@Vickie isn't it great to just fall into another world and forget about all the office politics, rude people and other stuff that exists in our world. I also like it that I get to see the villain suffer the ultimate pains in a book. Something I seldom get to see with the nasty people I meet/know in my own existence. I'm so bloodthirsty that way. LOL

@Pam I love it when I really connect with a character. It makes the read memor
(Monica Burns 10:53am January 14, 2011)

@Maria, hurting when you turn the last page of a book is a surefire way of knowing the book was a great read!
(Monica Burns 10:54am January 14, 2011)

I love a book with a strong emotional base. I do like the
hot and heavy stuff but I find the books I enjoy the most
are the ones where the hero and/or heroine have a strong
emotional connection. To me a great book is one that makes
you feel the emotion from reading the story. I also like to
feel a connection with the characters.
(Leagh Christensen 10:56am January 14, 2011)

I enjoy reading compellingly written characters. Thanks for your column.
(G S Moch 10:56am January 14, 2011)

Everything Monica writes is pleasing - even this blog post! I can't wait for the Pleasure Me event AND the book's release! I'm telling all my friends about it.
(Linda Dershem 11:03am January 14, 2011)

The most pleasurable aspect of reading a romance for me is when two people try to deny their attraction for each other and in the end they end up succoming to their desires and finally allow themselves to be together. I loved that aspect of your Order Of The Sicari Novels. Seeing how I enjoyed Assassin's Honor I know I would enjoy reading Pleasure Me.
(Raquel Vega-Grieder 11:33am January 14, 2011)

I love to put myself in the story, and lose the everyday "stuff" behind.
(Debra Simning-Chapman 12:01pm January 14, 2011)

I, like others, enjoy getting "lost" in the story, another time/place far away from the days headaches. A good story can help relax & rejuvinate.

Like that your new book has the older woman-younger man (which is rare in historicals) as well as the experienced woman-unexperienced man (which is uncommon as well). It makes for a unique story & can't help but want to see how it all works out.
(d Kenney 12:34pm January 14, 2011)

I enjoy going with the characters on their road...and sometimes rocky road..to their happily ever after.

in Germany
(Valerie Bongards 1:09pm January 14, 2011)

an escape from my reality
(Debbi Shaw 1:41pm January 14, 2011)

The most pleasure aspect of reading a romance is the emotion the author can evoke in me through the written word while still attaining the HEA. No matter what that emotion may be: passion, hate, suspicion, anger, love, kindness, violence, silliness, hunger, etc. I want to feel what the characters feel; be a part of them.

Ms. Burns, I do agree with you. A title can hold so much weight. Many times just a title of a book alone has caught my attention to investigate it further.

I look forward to PLEASURE ME so very much.
(Cynthia Netherton 1:41pm January 14, 2011)

Books take me to another world and help me forget any problems I might have.
(Shirley Nienkark 1:45pm January 14, 2011)

The most pleasurable aspect of reading a romance is being able to be drawn into the book as though you are the heroine and being able to identify with the characters.
(Cathy Phillips 2:05pm January 14, 2011)

Definitely entering whatever worlds are between the pages of books... following along the characters journey to get to the HEA!
A virgin hero... interesting
(Colleen Conklin 2:12pm January 14, 2011)

I love losing myself in the story..A well written story will make me feel a gamit of emotions...anger, embarrasment,arousal, contentment, joy. I love it a few days after I finish a book trying to remember Was it a movie I just saw or a book....It always amazes me when I realize that it was a book. So well written that the words came alive in my mind and a movie was played...Your books always become a movie in my mind. Thank you!

Now I am trying to figure out what is the impairment that he is so concerned about....
(Kimberley Coover 2:29pm January 14, 2011)

I love just getting lost in the story, especially when it's really good. For those hours that I'm reading, the rest of the world just falls away, and I imagine myself as a part of the world that the author created.
(Devon Gainer 2:37pm January 14, 2011)

@Raquel, I think you'll enjoy Pleasure Me as well!

@Debra I'm seeing a recurring theme here! Lose oneself in a book and forget about the real world for a while. Great, inexpensive vacation

@d Kenny I'm hoping the premise is unique enough to intrigue readers into buying the book

@Valerie That rocky road is part of the fun in a romance isn't it!

@Debbi escape, I'm at the day job and could use a good book, or at least some time to write. LOL

@Cynthia, First, it's Monica...I've never stood on formality, but appreciate your thoughtfulness in using it. I think when a title and cover is combined, I think it makes for a compelling reason for a reader to pick up a book by an author they don't know.

@Shirley I love going to exotic worlds that the books I read take me!

@Cathy Indentify with characters is a great reason for reading romance. I identified with Ruth quite a bit as my husband is younger than me.

@Colleen aha I pique your interest with the virgin hero angle! I love it when I can grab a reader's attention!

@Kimberly I mention Garrick's impairment in another post somewhere but I can't rememer which blog...hmm...maybe it was Smexybooks. I can't remember blasted memory

@Devon I love creating stories that do that for readers. I like being able to capture the imaginations of readers and holding the for a short time so they can escape the doldrums
(Monica Burns 2:59pm January 14, 2011)

I totally lose time and place and become one with the book. I look forward to be pleasured by a younger man!
(Kathleen Bianchi 3:29pm January 14, 2011)

I love books like this, I am so looking forward to reading this. Wonderful blog today! Thanks
(Penney Wilfort 4:40pm January 14, 2011)

I love a quick, breezy read which provides me with a couple hours of escapism.
(Anne Muller 4:55pm January 14, 2011)

I love a book that draws me in from the very first chapter and keeps me reading even if I need to stop and take care of something else. Pleasure Me sounds like this kind of book and I will not want to put it down once I begin reading but I know I will enjoy reading every page. Thanks
(Brenda Hill 5:36pm January 14, 2011)

Like so many others, getting lost in the story, and not wanting to put it down when I reach the end of the book. Having read some of your other works, I'm just going to have to wait on tenterhooks until I can get my hands on this one!! It's TOO long until March!!!!


(Lynn Rettig 5:52pm January 14, 2011)

I enjoy escaping into someone else's world and finding romance right along with them.
(Sue Farrell 5:54pm January 14, 2011)

I love my life precariously through my books reads!!!
(Joanne Bozik 5:59pm January 14, 2011)

The dialog between the main characters and where it may lead to.
(Deb Pelletier 6:34pm January 14, 2011)

I loved Assassin's Honor and Assassin's Heart. Very impressed with your research.
(Clio Teixeira 6:56pm January 14, 2011)

Where do you find your inspiration??
(Maria Antunes 7:05pm January 14, 2011)

I love reading books, because I can go into the stories and characters,and leave everyday problems behind for a while.Thank You for giving me a chance to win your book.
(Linda Hall 7:06pm January 14, 2011)

This one sounds intriguing too!!
(Clicia Tremblay 7:27pm January 14, 2011)

i twited and face book you and the book sound great
(Desiree Reilly 7:36pm January 14, 2011)

I love being able to forget everything else in losing myself in the book's fantasy. It's a form of meditation for me. Thank you, Monica, for appearing here today. I'm going to pick up a copy of your book when it comes out (unless I'm lucky enough to win a copy today!). Thanks again.
(Linda Townsend 7:56pm January 14, 2011)

Getting away from the stress and just losing yourself in the book.
(Diane Sadler 8:05pm January 14, 2011)

@Kathleen ROFL I love it when a reader uses my own words against me!

@Penney So glad you enjoyed the blog and I hope you enjoy Pleasure ME

@Anne Reads that are fun is what it's all about.

@Brenda I hope Pleasure Me does keep you reading even when you're supposed to be doing something else

@Lynn believe it or not, March is MUCH closer than I want it to be!! I'm not ready! LOL And don't forget the Pleasure Me With Romance event

@Sue I feel the same way. Dropping into one of Christine Feehan's books makes me go ahh...I don't have to work on building the world. I can just enjoy it. LOL

@Joanne - I live vicariously through my villains and heroes. I get to be nasty as a villain and I get to stick it to the villain when I'm the hero. Best of both worlds. LOL

@Deb I love dialog too. Sort of like a movie on pages.

@Clio I'm so glad you enjoyed Assassin's Honor and Heart. I love my Sicari, they're a part of me, which is why it's hard to give them up with the last book I'm writing now.

@Maria Inspiration is weird. I sometimes get an idea in the shower, driving down the road, while I'm writing. It strikes wherever and whenever the muse pleases. One little idea then balloons into a full-fledge plot and then a story and then characters and then a book.

@Linda It's clear escapism is the theme for most readers here today.

@Clicia GREAT! I intrigued you. It's exactly what I wanted to do. My work here is done. LOL

@Desiree THANK YOU SO MUCH!! When someone spreads the word it helps so much. Word of mouth is everything to an author.

@Linda Fantasy is a great word for it! And thank you for wanting to pick up the book!

@Diane Aren't books a great DE-stressor?
(Monica Burns 8:19pm January 14, 2011)

I so enjoy being able to escape from reality for a while with a good romance. Just the thing for a cold winter evening along with a cup of hot chocolate as well.
(Teresa Ward 8:27pm January 14, 2011)

I'd have to say that good characterization and humor are my favorite parts of a romance. If the two (likable) characters fall in love and make me laugh all at the same time, I'm sunk. I've read romances that made me cry more than laugh, and they were well-written, but it's the laughter that takes the cake each time for me.
(Rebecca Diederich 9:05pm January 14, 2011)

I'm really looking forward to this book! If for no other reason than for the beautiful cover. I'm also looking forward to your blog party.
(S Tieh 9:22pm January 14, 2011)

I love it when the couple makes an honest connection with each other, no lying to each other for some dumb reason, and then they work together on whatever issues arise.
(Diane Sallans 9:32pm January 14, 2011)

I am looking forward to reading this book.
(Tracy Brown 10:34pm January 14, 2011)

Reading is a wonderful way to escape ordinary life.
(Ginger Hinson 11:18pm January 14, 2011)

An interesting plot which highlights the interaction between the characters, especially the hero and heroine.
(Sigrun Schulz 3:50am January 15, 2011)

@Teresa, you make me want to grab a cup of hot cocoa right now and curl up with my current read. Alas, I've a book to finish. But I think I might try it your way really soon!

@Rebecca, I like to laugh too, but my books tend to be darker rather than light-hearted romps. Pleasure Me might not be for you, but I hope you're ask your local library to stock the book, and that way you're risk is simply your time.

@S It is a wonderful cover isn't it! And I look forward to seeing you at the blog party! I've got some terrific authors lined up! And it all starts MONDAY!! WOOT!

@Diane I confess there's some lying done on both characters parts in Pleasure Me, but I think for legit reasons. But as I mentioned to Rebecca, Pleasure Me might not be for you, but I hope you're ask your local library to stock the book so you can try it just the same.

@Tracy So glad you're looking forward to reading Pleasure Me

@Ginger Escape for a few hours is always great relaxation!

@Sigrun I think Pleasure Me is more focused on characterization, but the plot is there as well.
(Monica Burns 9:28am January 15, 2011)

I love being taken elsewhere with a great love story. I can be on my couch in my own home, yet be somewhere else in my mind taken there with a great love story!
(Brenda Rupp 10:41am January 15, 2011)

Reading romance takes me out of my own life and lets me live thorugh another's eyes for a little while. I love being able to go to other places and see things that I wouldn't have seen if I hadn't read a book. Oh and let's not forget those hot sexy love scenes!
(Mary Kirkland 1:42pm January 15, 2011)

@Brenda I love the laziness of it all. You can telecommute to another time and place without moving from your chair! LOL

@Mary why am I NOT surprised you mentioned the hot, sexy love scenes?? LOL Thanks for popping in.
(Monica Burns 10:23pm January 15, 2011)

I enjoy the emotions (the thug of the heart) that reading makes me experience.
(Sue Ahn 11:42pm January 15, 2011)

Actually, you gave me an idea for a title: Twists and Titles.
(Alyson Widen 1:43pm January 18, 2011)

I find the most pleaserable thing about reading romance is
the intensity in the connection to eachother. I find it hard
to not feel for the characters when there is such a strong
emotional and physical pull towards each other but the
timing is all wrong. I love the emotional aspect but I also
love the hot, passionate love scenes as well.
(Leagh Christensen 4:00pm January 24, 2011)

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