Naming the Beast

I am pleased and proud to announce that Book One of the Aven Cycle now has an official and for-real title! Look for

A Flame Arises

coming next fall!

Titling this book might have been the most arduous part of the process thus far! I am, for the record, rubbish at titling things. Back in my fanfic days, I pretty much stole all my good titles from Shakespeare or song lyrics. Those options weren’t precisely available to me for a Roman-era AU fantasy, though, so we ended up turning elsewhere.

Initially, I liked the idea of using some Latin terms related to fire — Pyria, Scintilla, Ignis, etc — but my editor determined that those might be too obscure and, well, frighteningly Latinate for a general audience. So after bouncing around some other general phrases, I ended up turning to Roman poetry for inspiration.

img_9025Unfortunately, even that wasn’t as simple as it might’ve been. My favorites among the poets, Catullus and Ovid, supplied mostly phrases that would do better to title romance novels than something in the historical fantasy genre. So I had to hunt around for different sources. Eventually I found Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura, which obliged me by talking quite a bit about elemental matters. Among those lines, I found the following gems:

quippe ubi nulla latens animai pars remaneret
in membris, cinere ut multa latet obrutus ignis,
unde reconflari sensus per membra repente
possit, ut ex igni caeco consurgere flamma?
–Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, Liber Quarta

In sooth, where no one part of soul remained
Lurking among the members, even as fire
Lurks buried under many ashes, whence
Could sense amain rekindled be in members,
As a flame arises from unseen fire?
–Lucretius, Of Natural Things, Book Four

And there it was! Or, there it was… eventually. We actually spent quite a bit of time exploring various translations of igni caeco, but none of them struck the ear quite right. The most amusing part of the process was when Sarah and I were trying out synonyms on the phone — while I was sitting in my pajamas in an empty bathtub in Las Vegas, because I was at a convention and didn’t want to wake my still-sleeping roommates! I am destined, it seems, to have important conversations in decidedly odd locations.

I’m so happy to finally have the title settled! It’s so hard to even talk about a book without that. But now, I’ve got a title and a release date — and soon there will be more! Over the coming months, I’ll be hard at work getting A Flame Arises ready for print as well as working hard on Book 2 — and no, don’t ask me for its title yet! ;D By spring, it’ll be time for cover reveal, buy links, and getting all the publicity ducks in a row.

2 thoughts on “Naming the Beast”

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