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I truly believe in the power of positive thinking and that visualization, in regards to your life and your dreams, works to make those things go in the direction you want them to. I have done it many times with many aspects of my life.

As a child dreaming of becoming a writer, I would draw and attach covers to my little story books. I’d make them as much like real life books as a ten-year-old could. Thanks to the foresight of my father, I still have a couple of those in my archives.

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My first novel, The Pride, was not only given a cover, but I did some drawings of the characters, too.


Grolick and Rhyvek from “The Pride”

Apart from a handful of people reading it, it’s never seen the light of any sort of publishing world. I sent it out to a dozen or so places, but all rejected it. One place suggested I re-write it as a screenplay, which I rejected because, frankly, I didn’t have a clue then, nor do I have one now, how to do that nor did I have any interest doing that. It was tucked away and lost in the fast-moving madness of technology for many years until this past summer.

When the erotica titles came into being they too were given my version of a cover. I kept them pretty tame. The publisher had other ideas that I wasn’t always pleased with, but, who was I to quibble? I was grateful to have any say at all in how the cover looked given what I have since learned about how the publishing business works. The covers finally decided on didn’t matter so much as the ones I used to visualize and project my dreams on.

You need to see the end product as clearly as you can. Hold it in your hands. Flip the pages and read the front matter as if it’s not just your personal prototype, but a real published work. These facsimiles made it real in my head and eventually they would become real to everyone else.

I’ve done the same with every horror novel I’ve written, too. I have the vision of a cover in my head, create it in the most basic form, and attached it to the 2nd draft prototype I give to my Beta Reader(s). It’s my mental way of saying the work is done, even though it’s really not. I’ll be reading through that thing at least 2-3 more times. Even though I self-publish, the prototype cover seldom is the same as what we finally decide on putting out there.

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Inadvertently my graphics guy (aka The Husband) usually creates an image I like just as much, if not more, and we work on it until we come up with something we’re both happy with – most of the time. The exception is No Rest For The Wicked. The vision I had for that cover was just too strong for me to let go of or allow him to fiddle with too much. Though not identical to the prototype cover. They both feature the same picture of the same house.

Earlier this week I worked up a cover for Dark Hollow Road.


As I was returning from the printer with it attached to its 140,000+ word tome, I felt a great sense of closure. Once that cover is in place, a switch flips in my head that says it’s okay to stop thinking about this one for a while. It’s a bit like hitting the snooze alarm at 5:30 in the morning, a very long snooze alarm. For the next 3-6 months, the details of Dark Hollow Road will slowly fade from my mind. As they fade, other characters and their stories will start to come into focus.

In the meantime, I feel like I’m in some sort of Twilight Zone Limbo. Though the next book is in my brain somewhere, it’s being very elusive and what a weird feeling it is to not be actively working on a new manuscript.

C’mon, Nell! Get your act together and help me make sense of The Witch’s Backbone. (hint-hint)

1 comment

  1. Hunter Shea

    My niece is writing little books with covers and illustrations all the time. She’s 10 and wants to be like her uncle. 🙂 Hopefully she doesn’t write horror and makes a ton of money some day. LOL

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