[Bringing this bit from my previous post up to the top again, partly because I'm too busy reading KINDRED to write a whole new post, and partly because I'd love more answers (thanks to all who responded so far here or via email!).]
But about that working title, KINDRED. Book titles aren't subject to copyright. A search at Amazon.com for Blood Ties, for example, will bring up books by different authors sharing that title. Still, I'd rather have my own unique title, insofar as that's possible (with the making of books having no end, and it being a few hundred years since the printing of them began in earnest). The title KINDRED belongs to a published novel by Octavia Butler, and it is, in fact, where I snagged my working title sometime during 2004, the year I began writing Kindred (my Kindred).
Sharing the title (should a future publisher not go and change it anyway, which they're wont to do) would pose no problem had Ms. Butler's book been about banana boat men of the West Indies, say. But it's about slavery in the southern United States, and race relations, and blood ties extending across the color line. So is mine. Although that's about where the similarities end, they're strong enough, and Butler's book (a time-travel/historical) is well known enough, that should my novel be published I could very well spend the rest of my career telling people, "Yes, Kindred is about slavery... no, it's not that Kindred."
So for the past four years I've had my eyes peeled for a new working title--with the idea of leaving KINDRED as the overall series title, because it fits so darn well. I don't have a replacement title yet, though I have a long list of possibilities. Some have to do with the story situation, some with Ian Cameron, my main character. Others reflect various themes in the book--slavery (physical and spiritual), kinship and blood ties, being uppermost. A lot of them have to do with rivers, and crossing them (hence this blog's title).
I realize few have read more than an excerpt or two of the story, if that much, but a book's title is usually what makes me pull it off a shelf at Evangel or Barnes & Noble, to investigate further, when I know little or nothing else about it. A title is a first impression, so if one of these titles makes a good one, post a comment and let me know which, and why.
My top picks from a (much) longer list of possible titles, in no particular order:
Trouble the Water
The Bones of Mountain Laurel
There Is A River
The Wayfaring Son
The Leaf That's Blown
The Beautiful Shore
Wade In The Water
Rivers To Cross
Next of Kin
The Near Kinsman
The Wind-Drifted Branch
Coming Unto Jordan
An Issue of Blood
I haven't tried an Amazon search for all of these titles to see if they're in use, and if so attached to what sort of book (though some I have), but again, if one of the above piques your interest, do let me know.