I keep choosing topics that require me to blog a book's worth of prose every day. I think this topic, titles, will be different. But what do I know? Let's see if I have any capability whatsoever to write short. Shorter.
When I wrote Artifacts, I was very naive about the mystery world. I had a story in mind that involved a murder and the search for justice, so I called it a mystery and eventually sold it to a mystery publisher. My editor, Barbara Peters, told me at this point, "We're going to take a good book that is nominally a mystery and we're going to make it a very good book that is a mystery." And we did. And I learned a lot. One thing we didn't do, however, is change the title.
I liked the way the single word "artifacts," speaks of my theme, archaeology, loud and clear. And as a word person, I liked the fact that it means "made by human hands." I also liked the sense I had that artifacts are clues that real-life archaeologist use to solve the mysteries of the past. People think of artifacts as simply archaeological finds, but even the beautiful house at the center of Artifacts (and on the cover) is made by human hands...by slaves. In its way, it is an artifact, and an important one.
Since I knew very little about the mystery market when I wrote it, I didn't really plan a series. I just didn't know that series were so common in the mystery world. But the one-word title of Artifacts has led me to give all my books similar titles, and I like them. They're memorable. They say what they mean, then quit. And that's what I'm going to do right now.