Vote for a Title

Posted on January 11, 2008

Note: Additional potential titles added 1/10, 1/11! Plus updates! See below.

Now that I’ve written a bit more about what Destined to Choose is about, I want to share what Book #2 is about.

I have an in-progress 25-words-or-less summary of Book #2, working title: As in Days of Old, which is:

“Minneapolis Rabbi David Cohen intervenes to help catch a violent stalker while David’s wife decides to get more involved in his career.”

22 words. Not a lot to play with there, but I’ll keep trying.

Now for the longer version of what it’s about:

It’s almost Chanukah, and Rabbi Batya Zahav, a Reform rabbi, David’s friend, and wife of Arik, an Israeli-born Minneapolis police sergeant, is being stalked. It begins with threatening letters but quickly escalates. No witnesses, few forensics, and no idea who the stalker is or why he’s targeting Batya.

Frustrated by the lack of progress, Arik involves David in his own investigation, leading them through a chain of fundamentalism and hatred hidden beneath the city’s facade of “Minnesota Nice.”

Simultaneously, David’s wife, Sara, decides she no longer wants to be on the sidelines of David’s career, and initiates actions that could jeopardize his future as a rabbi. While balancing all of this, David is also hosting a friend from rabbinical school and his wife, who find themselves dragged into the middle of a crime scene instead of enjoying a vacation.

That’s off the top of my head, so it will change (dramatically, I hope) before it gets to any sort of official print.

And here’s where I can really, really, REALLY use your help. I need some feedback on potential titles. What do you like? What do you not like? Why? Do you have a better title? (Acknowledgement will be given for anyone who comes up with the published title!)

You can leave comments or email me, because I really want to hear from you!

Here’s what I have:

  1. As in Days of Old (working title)
  2. Anger Avenged
  3. Broken Pact
  4. For the Miracles (modified)
  5. In Your Midst
  6. Payback
  7. Rededication
  8. Rewards of Vengeance
  9. Faith and Fear (new)
  10. Safety From Within (new)
  11. Strength to Strength (new) (also a common Jewish phrase)
  12. Strength to Stand (new)
  13. Strength to Prevail (new)

The published title might be one of these, or might be none of these. I’m too close to it and have been calling it one thing for too long. So knowing what you now know about the book (ask questions here if you need something more – except the ending, which I won’t give away), what’s your vote? (You may vote for more than one.)

Update: As of Thursday, 1/10, I’ve had quite a few responses both in the comments below and through email. THANK YOU! The general consensus is that title prospects 1-8 are likely not high in the running, but based on various suggestions, five more (9-13) have been added. I will note that I have a new favorite for lots of reasons, but I’d like to hear what you think first.

Update #2: Having just answered the comments I’ve received on the blog so far, I realized that I wrote something rather key:

“this book is less about choice than it is about standing up for what you believe in, especially when that belief is threatened.”

While Judaism is certainly more than just a set of beliefs, the above statement really is the heart of the book.


  1. Batya

    Unless the book is complete, just work on it, and the title will write itself later.

  2. Batya

    Unless the book is complete, just work on it, and the title will write itself later.

  3. Sheyna

    Jack – heh… I’m not sure that would fit on the spine. 😉

    Sparrow – I like “Payback” too, though others have pointed out there are at least 20 novels with that title and maybe I could be a little more unique (it being a rather unique series, after all). 🙂

    Jessica – Not overly picky at all. This is often part of how books get their titles, getting feedback from a focus group. That, or some publishers have stock titles that no one, including the author, has a say in. I agree with you – I want a title that has some Jewish connection, yet something that is also appropriate for a suspense book.

    One quickly rejected title was “Champion of the Covenant” which I thought sounded WAY too much like a fantasy novel!

    Steve – Welcome! They all will have “A Rabbi David Cohen Novel” as the subtitle, so that will mark them as part of a series. “Chosen by Faith” is interesting. I know some authors keep a theme running through all their titles (eg: John Sandford’s “Prey” series) but I’m not sure I want to limit myself to that, especially when it comes to naming the third book! 🙂

    Jo – there are always choices! 😉 But this book is less about choice than it is about standing up for what you believe in, especially when that belief is threatened.

    Now that I’ve said that, maybe there’s a title in there somewhere. Hmmm…

    And yes, I’ll send out a follow up email, probably next week. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  4. Anonymous

    I agree with Steve that most of the above suggestions are pretty negative. I’d look for something more positive, I think. (I haven’t read the book yet, of course.) Because fundamentalism plays a role, and maybe the fundaments of Judaism, you might want to include a form of the word “fundamental” in your title.
    I also like the idea of some parallel with the first book’s title. Maybe, “A Fundamental Choice.” Unless there is no choice involved, of course.
    Will you notify us again by e-mail when you narrow the title options down to a few?

  5. Steve

    I think you should keep the series going with a common theme of titles, like “Chosen by Faith” which could reflect both his commitments or the reason for the stalking.

    Most of the titles you offered suggested to me heavier and more negative themes that I didn’t get from your first book or from your summary. I don’t know maybe David has become a gun-toting, karate expert, with special-ops training, kind of rabbi, but I hope not.

    I look forward to this next book and am happy that you have gotten it to its final phase. I also look forward to many more.

  6. Anonymous

    There are certainly a few things I don’t know about how books get their titles, so if I’m being overly picky or something, I apologize in advance. I read your summaries and I don’t feel like any of these titles necessary give me a clue about what the book is about or an overriding theme/point you’re trying to make. It could be that the summary just can’t convey that…

    I guess if I had to choose from these titles, I would pick Rededication because the book is set near Hanukkah, perhaps Rabbi Cohen’s wife sees herself as “rededicating” something to her husband’s career…I don’t know? I like the titles that imply a Jewish connection but I suppose that isn’t necessary.

    I feel honored to be asked to help in a small way with your book! I don’t know whether my feedback will be valuable to you or not but I will purchase and read your book when it comes out no matter what title you end up selecting. 🙂

  7. Anonymous

    I think I like “Payback” best. It is short (to grab my rather miniscule attention-paying capabilities) and “grabs” me right away. Kind of promises a fun read.

    Glad to find you back and not buried in the snow!

  8. Jack Steiner

    A Broken Pact In Your Midst is the Rewards of Vengeance and For All the Miracles of Rededication Payback is Anger Avenged.

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