Which Novel Cover?

A novel cover is so important because, despite the saying, we DO judge a book by the cover.

There are so many things to consider: Does it fit the genre, is it an accurate reflection of the story, does it promise the reader the premise, and will it make people at least read the book blurb.

I thought I finally came up with a novel cover I liked, but feedback from a beta readers made me question my choice. The beta reader said they didn’t like photos on the cover… It took away from using your imagination.

Is this true? So many novels have photos now…  But so many don’t.

So I played the cover again (which was a lot of fun). Which cover do you prefer? The novel is a light/soft sci-fi (speculative fiction) with a little bit of mystery/romance/action.

Please comment below and let me know your thoughts.

Cover A

Love, Lies, & Clones Cover

Cover B

love, lies & clones cover 3







Book Blurb:

June’s biggest struggle isn’t that she’s a clone.  It’s that her father has disappeared and the police aren’t doing enough to help her find him.  True, they’re a little occupied with a serial killer who just killed again after two years of silence.  Maybe if June would just tell them her dad was involved in illegal human cloning they’d be more interested?  But that would only cause trouble for her dad when (or perhaps IF) they found him.

June can’t sit and wait for the police to find her father, so she sets out on her own investigation with the help of Elliot, a man currently AWOL from the military.  Can she trust this man with her secret?  With each clue they discover, they learn more about the twisted experiments June’s father headed and why she was created.  When June and Elliot finally get close to uncovering the truth, they find themselves dodging bullets.

www.ProWritingAid.com — A Fantastic Resource

As I’ve been working more and more with beta readers, I’ve been referring some authors to the website http://www.prowritingaid.com for some editing / writing style help.

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On this site, you can paste up to 3000 words of your writing for free and it will give you a detailed analysis.  I urge you to try it out.

I’ve been using this site for a while though, and had forgotten how overwhelming it can be.

When I first discovered http://www.prowritingaid.com I felt I needed to fix EVERY suggestion it made.  This was impossible and I didn’t always agree with all of them.  PLUS it took me HOURS to fix a few thousand words.

Now, I pick out the sections that are the most helpful to my writing.

I made a quick tip sheet for one writer I’m working with, and I thought I’d share it her for anyone else who feels overwhelmed by the site.  Your style may be different and this tips sheet may need to be tailored to you.

Here is an example of what the report looks like:

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ProWritingAid Tips

Here is each section and what I use/don’t use. I hope this helps make it less overwhelming. I definitely don’t follow everything they say. I skip more than I change.  I also tend to run a section through the program with each revision, so more and more get fixed as I keep going with the writing process.

Also, once you change a lot of these things, you will pick up on them in your writing and avoid them. This makes future writing projects easier to edit and your writing cleaner overall.


  • Overused Word Check: I only worry about the words marked in red, and then I only change it if they are easy fixes or the amount they list to remove is about half of more. (i.e. if it says, “remove 5 out of 9 occurrences” I focus on this word.)
  • Writing Style Check: This is a great section. I don’t do everything suggested, maybe just half of it – and only if I agree and it makes sense.
  • Sentence length Check: I skim it for the really long sentences, but sometimes still end up leaving them.
  • Clichés and Redundancy Check: I don’t care about clichés, I tend to like them in my writing (I know, that’s wrong.), but I do look for redundancies.
  • Grammar Check: I go through all of them, but skip a lot of the suggestions. Again, only if I agree and feel it will make my writing stronger.
  • Sticky Sentence Check: This is a really neat idea, but I completely skip it. The amount of work it would take me to rewrite everything into more meaningful sentences is beyond my writing skill level/desire.
  • Plagiarism Check: Skip
  • Repeated Phrase Check: I fix repeated 4+ word phrases. I think these get repetitive to the reader. I skim and fix the easy 2 or 3 word repeated phrases – or ones with high counts that there is an easy alternative.
  • Dialogue Tag Check: I skip, but I don’t tend to use a lot of dialogue tags.
  • Repeat Check: This is tedious, but I do find value in skimming through it. If there is a unique word that is repeated, I change one of them. I still end up missing repeats though that beta readers point out.
  • Paragraph Length Check: I just look at the items in red.
  • Corporate Wording Check: Skip
  • Dictation Check: Skip
  • Vague and Abstract Words Check: Again, this is long and I probably should focus on it to make my writing pop, but the time I’d need to devote to this, I skip it.
  • Eloquence Check: Skip.
  • Transition Check: Skip.
  • NLP Check: Skip.
  • Complex Word Check: Skip (but I don’t write with a large vocabulary.)
  • Pacing Check: I glance at the blue bar. If there is a lot of white, I take a look at my writing style. There is probably a lot of tell and not show or I need to break up paragraphs some, or throw in some more dialog.
  • Homonym Check: Skip
  • House Style Check: Skip
  • Consistency Check: I skim through this as I tend to make consistency issues with UK vs US spellings and inconsistent capitalization/hyphenation.
  • Alliteration Check: Skip
  • Pronoun Check: I skip, but I probably shouldn’t – but again, this would be a lot of work to fix.
  • Thesaurus Check: Skip
  • Combo Check: You may be able to pick your favorite ‘checks’ from above and make a custom report, but I haven’t played with this.

What preliminary editing tools do you use?


Writing for Fun! (July’s Camp NaNoWriMo)

Only 7 days to go until July’s Camp NaNoWriMo.  (More info HERE, if you don’t know what that is.). I’ve been working nonstop on my novel, Love, Lies, & Clones since I started it in February.  It’s currently in my beta readers’ hands, so I need a distraction…  Something FUN.


Ten years ago or so, I started a story….  It was shoved in a drawer when the whole Twilight vampire craze hit.  Who needs another vampire story, right?

Well, it turns out I do.  The unfinished story has been nagging on me.  I fell in love with the characters, and they are still insisting I tell the story.  So, in July, I’m going to finally finish it!  I could never get past the first act…  But now… drumroll….  I have the whole thing outlined out.  And not just one outline, but two!

I changed my outlining method and tried the 27 chapter approach.  (More on that HERE or HERE.)  This worked so well for me, I may have found a new way to prepare future projects!

Here is my quick outline overview:


And here is a screenshot of the full 27 page beast!

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Now, I can’t wait until July 1st to start writing the story… Again.

Blood & Holy Water Blurb (Also updated my Current Projects page.)

Blood & Holy Water Cover

2nd order angel, Ava, is sick of helping elderly women cross the street and strategically placing spare change where the poor can find it. She wants to be promoted to 3rd order angel and finally earn her wings. An angel promotion takes more than Ava’s hard work and determination – it takes a miracle – literally. Ava’s miracle is saving a fallen angel, one turned vampire 25 years ago.

Fin, the vampire in question, has a different agenda, no miracle needed, no helping a naïve angel earn her wings. He is busy keeping the Blood Board off his back. Fin has spent his entire time as a vampire avoiding his own kind, and now they are forcing him to work with them.

Ava can’t get a break, she is certain this miracle, just like all her miracles before, is a flop when she discovers Fin is impossible — his first killing as a vampire was his wife.

Just when Fin finally scares Ava away, he now frantically needs her because one of his secrets has surfaced. The human daughter he’s been protecting for 25 years is missing. Ava’s ability to detect truth and lies is exactly what he needs when dealing with vampires.

Ava is now busy with her own problems; angels have been turning up dead, drained of blood. It appears a vampire caused the deaths – the problem is vampires cannot see or touch angels. All vampires except for Fin…

Are you ready for camp?

Read (& Critique) to Write Better

Early in my journey to learn how to write fiction, I filled my stories with the huge no-no’s such as…

  • Telling versus Showing
  • Stiff Dialogue
  • Too Many Adverbs
  • Passive Sentences
  • Lack of Description

I’d have people read my stories and point these things out. I’d fix the one instance, but I didn’t understand what they meant and how to fix it in my entire story and was blind to identifying them in my writing.

Then I began to critique other’s writer’s stories and it was like darkness lifted and felt my writing improved. (Though, I still struggle.)

I’ve read many stories still in their rough draft.

There is nothing like reading pages and pages of adverbs to realize how they slow down the story’s pacing and make the sentences feel clumsy.

Or having the story told to you instead of the author showing you what’s happening, making my mind wander and have lack of investment in the characters.

And then when you find a FANTASTIC example and tell the author exactly what they did right.

In education, this is called the teach-back method.

I’ve always heard that writers need to also be readers. This is true, but I argue, writers should be readers and give critiques. Reading both STRONG writing examples and still trying to point out the issues (that may not even be there) and reading writing that has struggles equally will help polish your talent.

In my opinion, all writers need to be readers and help others grow their skills. Not only will this improve your skills, but will also help the entire writing community.

Happy writing!

What are your thoughts?