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.




Free Books from the Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is making fifty years worth of books free on the Net.

I downloaded about ten from the Met Publications site. No charge. Easy search. Easier browse (since I don’t know much about art). Download as PDFs.

The artwork is, as you would expect, spectacular.

I downloaded “Bloom” because in my other life I take a lot of photos of flowers. Published in 1995 and now out of print, Bloom is a “celebration of flowers in fashion.” I didn’t read the text but I enjoyed looking at the photos and was amazed by the dressmaker’s lavish attention to detail.

I was especially intrigued by two books of American Indian art — Masterworks from the Museum of American Indian and Native Paths: American Indian Art from the Collection of Charles and Valerie Diker. I’m researching tribal legends, myths and belief systems to round out a character for the third book of the Black Orchid Chronicles. That manuscript is almost done, but I need to add some heft to the “Pony That Sees Far” character, aka for dumb white folk as Joe.

If you love ancient Egypt, you have just unlocked a graduate study of resources not just of Egyptian art but hieroglyphic language. Teach yourself Egyptian. It’s free.

I don’t know much, if anything, about art. I don’t write about art.

But I think any writer could find at least a half-dozen useful resources here. And did I mention it’s free?

Mark of the Spider: Paperback Cover Final


Subject line says it all.

Much work still to be done. Digital files in hand to be proofed.

Still on course for an August 15 launch.

Tnx again to all who provided feedback on the cover design. Once again, my design team at, conveniently located in New Zealand, came through.