That led to a rather deep thinking week-end-- in the midst of family, animal and assorted other activities. I'd be out in the pasture and running through potential titles with each one attempting to see whether it worked, sounded like a romance, and fit the Old West.
The thing wrong with its title is it was about her and not him. I don't write romances with the big emphasis on the woman. Romances are a story of two people-- at least mine are. The cover was just plain flat-- again not the right energy.
As I would go out to see if the cattle had yet been driven home (they had gone walkabout), I'd be putting together combinations of words. I liked Outlaw Trail a lot. One problem. It's so equated with Butch Cassidy that I thought it might mislead potential readers. Renegade something or other? Nah, that didn't fit.
I wanted a title that suggested what happens when we go our own way, when we step beyond accepted codes. I wanted one with the earthy energy of life. That's asking a lot. While I wrestled with words, I also was redoing the cover.
When I create a cover, for me, it's like a painting. The images might be photos but the blending of them, the copy and paste, all of the maneuvering of this subject or that is not that different than getting out the oils with a canvas.
Because I had done a couple of trailers for the book, I had a lot of my images from purchased to my own. As I blended them together, the right words came to me. The Outlaw Way. It is what happens to my heroine as she steps out of her corseted life and takes a risk on a man who never did live within the rules of his time. The trouble is he doesn't want her to be an outlaw and how can he put their lives together if he remains on the outside of society? The book is about a lot of the same relationship problems most couples face-- except this one set in the Old West, during a particularly violent period, with a few kickers from the past to add to the mix.
So here it is, the new title and cover. I still don't know that I can get this book seen by the right readers. It really is a lot about timing and finding its market-- the readers who will like the elements it offers. When the wrong person buys it by mistake, it is damaging to reader and writer.
Romances (at least most) aren't elite novels. They are probably what I have read Shakespeare was to his day before his work was claimed by the intellectuals. Bawdy, fun, fast moving, interesting characters, and about life on a grander scale. Finally, yes, romances are love stories, always love stories.