Book Cover Finalists (Revised)

The people have spoken above the cover concepts for The Mark of the Spider: A Black Orchid Chronicle.

Unfortunately, they did not say what I wanted.

Half of the comments — and forty of you chimed in via comments, emails, and texts — favored the Blue version. One-quarter each liked the Green and Red concepts.

I initially favored Red but switched my vote to Blue. I’m afraid Red had to go.

I asked my design team at to make changes to the Blue and Green concepts, primarily to make both the orchid and the spider web tattoo more prominent.

Here are the finalists. Input always welcomed.

And thank you to all of you who expressed a preference in Round One. I hope you’ll still order the book when it comes out in August.


Book Cover Requests Your Feedback, my design firm, has delivered three great concepts for The Mark of the Spider: A Black Orchid Chronicle.

Three design treatments, three color schemes.

Which cover — because we ALL judge a book by its cover — would make you pick it up and read it? Let me know by Wednesday night, EDT, either by comment or email.

The candidates are Blue, Green, Red:

I’m having a hard time choosing so your input will count for a lot. A LOT.

Ugly Face of Proofreading NSFW


I hate proofreading.

I hate it. It’s boring. It’s tedious. It’s exacting. (Like a religion, you must choose the one, true spelling or interpretation of grammar.)
Proofreading requires absolute focus and concentration. No interruptions; no digressions. No email. No last-minute research. And above all, no rewriting.

I get it.The MS is done. I’m just making sure the language is right. I know it’s the difference between amateur and professional, but I hate it just the same.

Today, I gathered my tools:

  • The dictionary my parents bought me for high school, now bound with duct tape.
  • A dog-eared copy of Roget’s II Thesaurus.
  • Three-ring binder containing my rewrite notes and continuity file.
  • Magnifying glass (for the dictionary).
  • Pens and scratch paper for capturing quick reminders and random thoughts.
  • The Google for fact-checking.
  • One unbound printed copy of the 540-page manuscript of The Mark of the Spider: A Black Orchid Chronicle. (Coming soon, not long after the proofing is finished.)

For five and a half hours, I toiled over trails of characters, searching for misspellings, dropped commas and all manner of English grammar traps.

For every printed page that contained multiple errors or corrections too complex for my crabbed left-handed writing, I printed a new, improved, better page. (Check for redundancy and choose the best one.)

Proof desk_IMG_5020

My proofreading prison.

And when my soul cried, “No more. I can take no more,” I had reviewed only 68 pages, leaving 472 more for tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Proof day1_IMG_5021

After Day #1: Pile on the left still needs to be proofread.

Progress Update [6/20]

Proof day2_IMG_5022

After Day 2: Pile on the left still to be done.

Progress Update [6/21]

Proof day3_IMG_5023
After Day #3: Pile on the left awaits attention, but more than halfway there.

Progress Update [6/23]

Proof Day4

After Day #4, pile on the left requires attention. About 150 pages remain.

Progress update [6/24]


After Day #5, the end (last 50 pages on the left) is in sight.

Progress update [6/25]

It’s done. Off to the designer.


After Day #6, no more pages on the left to be reviewed.