A clue for the clueless?

I’m assembling the ninth Underdog Anthology and I have some excellent cover art from a talented artist called Gary V. Foss. All the stories are there, all author contracts are waiting to go but those contracts need one detail. The title of the damn book.

I’m looking for something hinting at a haunted well or underground enchanted water but not too specific because a lot of the stories aren’t about that. The theme on this one was decided when it was pointed out to me that the well we get our tap water from is in fact an ancient holy well. Now in ruins, it still trickles out water into a field of cows and it’s been there since before 900 AD. (I will not use CE because it’s silly. I insist on using Anno Domini even though I don’t believe in any Gods). Ahem. I digress.

Okay. Here is the cover art, and you will soon realise, I hope, that I am reluctant to cover this with a load of text. Short and snappy. It’s a wraparound cover, it will have a spine down the middle and I’ll add a frame around it so the printing process doesn’t trim off anything important.

Of course, the wretched barcode is going to be a huge blot on the landscape but there’s nothing I can do about that. Anyway, I’m here to pick your brains, and not in a Trotsky way. You can have your brains back intact afterwards.

Any ideas? Help!

39 thoughts on “A clue for the clueless?

  1. BEAUTIFUL cover! 🙂 I love the figures and hints of figures scattered through the branchwork!

    In terms of a name… I’m vaguely thinking of some term… perhaps beginning with an “m”… kind indicating an underground or deep water murky whirlpool liquid miasma in a marsh or swamp or somesuch. Ahh! OK… a bit obscure, but it IS short, and it fits the fetid poisoned-well feeling along with a sudden horror: miasm … it could even be sort of strewn loosely or obscurely through the background, maybe colored swirlingly with a mashed and ill-bordered blend of the darkness and the evil orangeness. And if it was truly TOO obscure you could make it clearer on the spine. 🙂

    Maybe all small, maybe capped: Miasm … though I feel the all small might work better.

    Dunno. Maybe it’ll lead someone into something better.

    btw… for you ‘n all your writers Leggy, a reminder of a wonderful, wonderful writer’s tool: https://www.powerthesaurus.org/discredit/synonyms/2


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I seem to have started something here, haven’t I? Having said that, I do have form for hunting down holy wells, most recently the May Road Well on Hameldon Moor near Accrington.

    However, the folklore of holy wells is not just taken up with various bits of Christianity (especially Catholicism, for some reason) but also with dragons. For some reason, dragons and wells, springs, haunted watercourses and the like turn up quite a lot, which might well make for quite a nice cryptic book cover.

    Some of the weird things haunting wells are what a friend of mine, Glen Vaudrey, has termed the “Health and Safety Beast”. ‘Don’t go near that well, you might fall in and drown’ is much less fear-inspiring to a small child than ‘Don’t go near the well, for a huge and horrible, hungry reptilian dragon lives there and leaps out to snatch children if they are alone’.

    Similarly many of the folk tales of semi-demonic huge black dogs seem to appear in the Seventeenth century, when the British government was penniless after fighting several wars and was trying to raise money with iniquitously high taxes on luxury goods. This cause rampant smuggling, which meant that certain folk had to shift the goods from the coast to a place of safe storage.

    A full moon is handy for light, especially when you don’t want to show a light yourself, and the routes used were normally short but hidden lanes, so the demonic black dogs only ever got to haunt very specific lanes and then only by the light of the full moon.

    Made-up tales aside, some holy wells are magical. Or, as the more prosaic of us would say, imbued with radon gas and thus rather radioactive to the point of altering the perception of anyone near the well, which is maybe where the dragons come in. Food for thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are many (sober) reports of dragons in the annuls, claimed by some to be dinosaurs. Since soft tissue is routinely found in dinosaur bones, their demise must have been very recent.

      Not that this solves the problem of the book title. I’ve just started on the third draft of a novel and still don’t have a title.

      Liked by 1 person

    • There is the Well of the Seven Heads, unfortunately at the opposite end of Loch Ness fropm me. One day I’ll get there but the roads around that area aren’t much fun, even in summer.

      I can see why smugglers and poachers would want to spread tales of Full Moon Monsters – werewolves and the like – and there’s a particularly nasty story idea in there 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • I do believe I passed by the well of the seven heads this summer, whilst on holiday, but by the time I had realised what it was the moment was lost. The roads in that area are very busy at times.


  3. Such a shame that ‘Sourcery’ is already taken; how about something to do with ‘Dark -‘ or ‘Hidden Sources’? (The latter phrase occurs in the poem ‘Mrs Reece Laughs’, by Martin Armstrong.)

    I’m sure there’s a good pun on ‘vault’ and ‘spring’ out there somewhere, but it’s the weekend and my brain needs a rest.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A wee hint of Burns and Tam o’ Shanter.
    “A child might understand”

    It is understandable English, and the context.is spooky. Full quote-
    “That night, a child might understand
    The De’il had business on his hand.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Playing Devil’s Avocado – Library of Libraries

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