Beware the Spider: Status, Closing in on Publication

That big sigh heard ’round the world last Friday was me as I wrapped up the last edits suggested by beta readers of my new thriller, Beware the Spider.

Beware the Spider Banner

Banner image for Beware the Spider

I sent the completed manuscript — 432 pages, 75,650 words — to my editor. She has four weeks to work her magic.

I’ll take a week to clean it up and then we’ll go to pub on at least half a dozen platforms and hard copy. I’m looking at mid to late May, but definitely before Memorial Day. I want to hit the summer traffic. It’s going to be a great beach (or mountain) read.

Meanwhile, all of the digital design work is done, including the ebook cover, the bookmark and the banner (see above). All that remains is the print cover, for which the designers need the completed MS so they can determine how wide the spine should be.

So, we are rockin’ and rollin’.

Don’t Forget …

The Mark of the Spider, book 1 of the Black Orchid Chronicles, is still available in digital and print editions. You don’t have to read The Mark to enjoy Beware the Spider, but it won’t hurt either.

And you probably already know how important reviews are to authors.

If you read the book and liked it, jot a review. It’s not like doing a book review for homework in high school. Just say that you liked it and maybe why or how excited you are to see the next installment of the Black Orchid Chronicles.

Thank you. But most of all, enjoy.

The Mark of the Spider, Book 1 of the Black Orchid Chronicles, is available in digital and trade paperback (5.5 x 8.5″, 334 pp.) formats at these fine booksellers.

Enjoy it today; review it tomorrow.

Cover Design Winner for Beware the Spider

Thank you to everyone who shared their opinion of the cover design concepts for my forthcoming thriller, Beware the Spider: A Black Orchid Chronicle.Beware the SpiderB

By a two-to-one margin, people preferred Concept B / Tracks.

That design will grace the paperback and digital covers, the Web site and Facebook banners, bookmarks and other marketing materials.

It is more than a worthy successor to The Mark of the Spider and keeps the bar high for book 3 in the Black Orchid Chronicles, tentatively entitled Spider’s Blood and is scheduled for release in 2020.

Thanks to the crew of, who produce such great designs.

Book Status

I have all the feedback from beta readers, and over the next week or two I will tweak the manuscript to address their comments and concerns. (Thank you, beta readers.)

I’ve promised my editor that she’ll have four weeks to go over the book with a fine-toothed comb and weed out my errors.

After that, it will go back to for internal design and formatting and then out to readers.

Beware the Spider: Pick the Cover

My new book, Beware the Spider: A Black Orchid Chronicle, is going through the final edits as I incorporate feedback from beta readers. After that, my editor takes over and goes through it with a fine-toothed comb. (Her run-through of The Mark of the Spider produced 2,000 changes, most minor, a few -oh-my-God major.)

In the meantime, Damon Freeman and the design team at produced three outstanding concepts for the cover. Now I’d like your feedback on the two finalists.

I nixed one concept (Concept A), not because it was bad, but because I knew I would be asking readers to vote on the cover, and I take that input seriously. Last time, showing three designs got unbelievably messy. Concept A did not make the cut. So, for this book, you can have peanut butter OR jelly, but not PB&J. Got it? Good.

Also, bear in mind the cover has to work as a thumbnail like this on Amazon, so don’t fall in love with detail that might not convey.

Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 10.35.22 AM

To give you a little background before you choose, here’s the blurb from the back of the book:

Nature photographer Sebastian Arnett holds a terrible secret: He can kill with his thoughts, a curse placed on him by an ancient spider demon that controls when he can use the power.
His attempts to break the curse take him to a confrontation with a mysterious aboriginal in the Australian outback and then to the demon’s jungle home in Borneo.
Before he can crack the code, ruthless Chinese crime lords hear of his power and go searching for him, hoping to acquire the power. Afraid to tackle Sebastian directly, they kidnap the woman he loves and set off a wild train chase that ends in a battle of demons and leaves Sebastian powerless to confront the victor.


In the event of a tie, input from the beta readers will determine the winner.

Concept B: Tracks

Beware the SpiderB

Concept C: Caboose

Beware the SpiderD2

I’ll take votes (B/Tracks or C/Caboose) until 5 p.m. EDT Friday, March 23. That’s not long, so decide quick and shoot me a message via this Web site, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Tnx. I’ll post the results ASAP.