What's in a Name?

It took a long time to come up with BLACKFIRE, and right away someone pointed out that there is a 1987 Star Trek tie-in titled BLACK FIRE. That teaches me not to Google.

Sure, but it's two words, not one. And there's also an anthology of African-American writing titled BLACK FIRE and novels by James Kidman, Steve Brown and Maggie Bonilla-Thompson. All two words, which makes it a different Amazon search.

Want one word? There's plenty:

• A Native American music group focused on public activism;
• A DC supervillain (only seen in the New Teen Titans);
• A line of car care products;
• A Canadian mining company;
• A erotic magazine for black men (they got the dot-com);
• A clamping flashlight;
• A web and software development company;

and probably more.

Here's the thing: I've been mulling it all morning, and I find I don't really care.

I mean, I survived having THE COLD ONES unintentionally named the same as those damn sparkly vampires in TWILIGHT. Every morning my Google search tracker comes up with nine freaking message boards and untold amounts of fanfic drooling and fawning over those poor beleaguered Cold Ones. I want to introduce those sparkly emo twits to MY Cold Ones.

Let's talk NOCTURNEs. Ho-lee shit. From a 1999 video game to a play by Adam Rapp to one of Ed McBain's mysteries to an entire line from Harlequin (that one completely mucks up my searches), I'm drowning in NOCTURNEs. And that's leaving out Caitlin Kittredges Nocturne City series. I survived a switch from Latin to ancient Hebrew for the title of ABADDON and every bookseller in America trying to call it ABANDON.

And do we want to talk about how many books are titled SANCTUARY? (Hint: More than 400 returns on Amazon in fiction alone, starting with Faulkner's version and including Nora Roberts, Raymond Khoury, Edith Wharton and a Dragonlance book.) I knew that book would be the death of me.

I like Blackfire, both as a title and as the company name. It was the result of a long slightly-oversugared idea session in the cozy living room of my dear friends at Rivendell, as we bounced so many possible names off the wall that I think we chipped the paint.

Frankly, the only thing really giving me pause is the fact that the dot-com is taken, so I wouldn't be able to set up a promo web site for my fake company.

I was looking for something reminiscent of Blackwater, which shed its own name to become the ridiculous Xe, while evoking something physically impossible in real life and could conceivably be someone's last name as well. Blackfire was perfect.

There's a reason we can't copyright titles. (Didn't know that? You can't.) http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-protect.html

The reason is that eventually we run out. I'll be the first to admit my titles aren't always great - I got SETTING SUNS via a reader poll, thanks to constant reader Brent Hutfless who got a character named after him for his assistance. Eventually there will be six books for the most imaginative title.

At that, BLACKFIRE's not doing too badly.

It's possible a different name will occur to me as I write it. But at the moment, I'm keeping it. And watching that Blackfire.com, in case they blink.


  1. It's a good title. That's why it's getting used.

    But I still think identical vulcanoid space pirates, with extra hoo-yay subtext when I see it.

  2. You have http://www.elizabethdonald.com/!!! All you need to do for a promo is add a page titled "blackfire.html" and then make sure all your meta info is in there, so that it's found in a search. You might also be able to do something like http://blackfire.elizabethdonald.com/, which advertises both you and the book in the link. I think I can do that sort of thin on my website.

    (If your host limits how much you can have, check out http://www.crosswinds.net/ -- They have unlimited space and transfer.)(No, they don't pay me; they are simply really good.)

    I read the ST Black Fire, too, but it's been long enough for me not to associate it with yours.


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