Camp NaNo Update Day #30

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Thanks for hanging out with me during July 2018 CampNaNoWriMo.  I learn something every time I start a new project and Sins of the Mother has turned into a major education.

I’ll wrap up tomorrow so, for now, here’s one last excerpt from Sins of the Mother.


Sally tried to relax as she sat on the tailgate of the ambulance.
The paramedic who’d introduced herself as Ruby, frowned while taking Sally’s blood pressure.
Sally attempted to lighten the mood. “Will I live?”
Ruby continued to frown.
“Your blood pressure is running low and your pulse is rapid. Not unusual for what you’ve been through, ma’am. But add the nausea, fatigue and enlarged pupils, and I believe you’re suffering from mild shock. You should be seen by a doctor.”
Overwhelmed and on the verge of tears, Sally Bennett pleaded. “I believe you, Ruby and I’m not trying to be difficult, but I just need this night to end. I don’t think I can handle anymore sitting, waiting and endless questions.”
Ruby glanced from Officer Holland to her partner, Mackie and back to Sally. Her face softened. “I understand, ma’am. But you should also know shock can mean blood isn’t reaching your organs the way it should and can trigger a cardiac episode hours or even days after a traumatic event.”
“I understand, but I just want to go home. I promise if I feel worse, I’ll get to the hospital. And even if I don’t, I’ll call my doctor as soon as his office opens.”
Ruby held the clipboard while Sally signed the refusal of transport document, then turned to Holland. “Take care of her and don’t let her drive.”
“No driving. You got it.”
He helped Sally from the tailgate and they approached the Ramirez home. “I’ll find an officer inside to follow us in your car when I take you home.”
Sally didn’t hear him.
Three feet from the front door she froze in her tracks and Officer Holland felt her body trembling.
“You don’t have to do this, Mrs. Bennett. Tell me where your things are and you can wait with Ruby while I get them.”
Several minutes passed before Sally responded, staring at the front door.
“I’m going in. Graciela and her daughter have to come back here and live. I can go in long enough to get my things.”
Allowing her to set the pace, Officer Holland entered the home behind Sally.
She was floored by all the activity.
Sally had only seen the Ramirez home in the muted and subdued lighting required by Graciela’s vision problems. Now, every room light and lamp appeared to be on. People moved around rooms, drawing on notepads and taking pictures. She entered the hallway, finding it also full with members of law enforcement. However, all eyes focused on Sally and moved to the side, allowing her to pass.
Making sure Officer Holland was right behind her, Sally headed for the guest bedroom.
Sally swiped a hand over her ear as the buzzing returned.
The hallway appeared to stretch out in front of her, making it take twice as long to cover the short distance.
As she passed Graciela’s room, Sally’s stomach rumbled and she pursed her lips staving off another wave of nausea.
A flash of light from inside Graciela’s bedroom caught her attention and before Sally could stop herself, she turned and looked inside.
Her attacker’s body still lay on the floor at the foot of Graciela’s bed surrounded by the coroner and his staff.
Sally’s view was obscured by the crowd and all she could see was his head.
His face was turned away from her as more photos were taken to identify him.
She looked at the thick, wavy chestnut hair with fine strands of gray and a sense of familiarity returned.
She knew this man.
Sally entered the bedroom, but Officer Holland grabbed her by the hand. “Ma’am, you don’t want to do that.”
She pulled from his grasp. “I have to,” and before anyone could stop her, Sally Bennett pushed her way through the crowd and stared down at the dead man.
The buzzing in her head roared.
She opened her mouth to scream but there was no sound.
Crime scene techs tried to cover the assailant’s face, but it was too late.
Brian Holland strode through the crowd trying to get to his charge, but Sally backed away into the corner.
The boiling bile in her gut would no longer be denied and erupted from her as she turned and faced the wall.
Sally slumped to the floor clawing at her chest and the burn left by the offensive acid.
Officer Holland tried to help her up but she scooted away… toward the still body.
The small crowd looked on in confusion and horror as Sally stroked the dead man’s hair.
Her voice returned and mournful, pitiful wails filled the room.
Sally’s mind snapped and surrendered to the comfort of the darkness as she stared into the lifeless eyes of her husband, Frankie Bennett.


Day 30 word count – 51,749


©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Camp NaNo Update Day #29

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It’s ironic I crossed the fifty-thousand-word mark before the end of the challenge when it wasn’t my goal.

Remember, my project was to add 30K to an existing WIP.

Which now means… I have too many w-o-r-d-s.

The first draft edit will be epic. Darlings will be killed… or at least removed, to be reincarnated as blurbs and teasers somewhere down the line.


Time for another unedited excerpt from Sins of the Mother.


Exhausted and annoyed, Sally Bennett wanted answers.

Two hours after fighting a masked attacker for her life, three different detectives approached her three different times asking the same questions.

But no one would answer her questions.

Who was the attacker?

Had he been arrested?

How did he get inside the Ramirez home?

She understood they had a job to do but it didn’t annoy her any less.

Sally was comforted knowing Graciela was safe.

She interrupted the attack on Graciela before the intruder could do any real harm, but at Sally’s urging, the gutsy senior citizen allowed paramedics to take her to the emergency room at the hospital where Estelle worked.

Her adrenaline rush gone, Sally sat like a leaden weight on neighbor Nina Arrens’ sofa wrapped in a blanket.

The kind woman who’d pulled Sally and Graciela inside her home misread Sally’s earlier shivers for cold instead of fear and had been trying to keep her warm ever since.

Two of Sally’s interrogators stood near the door taking furtive glances in her direction as they spoke.

The embers of anger smoldered in Sally’s chest.

Calm down, Bennett. This is the job they do every day.

But violence in her life was something new to Sally and she didn’t appreciate being treated as though she did something wrong.

She wanted to go home.

No, that wasn’t true. Frankie was away and she’d be alone with her thoughts at home. She needed her husband, or one of her children, or at least one familiar face who knew her before the worst day of her life began.

A third detective joined the two watching her.

Sally didn’t recognize him, but he also stared at her while trying to act like he wasn’t.

Her jaws tightened as her anger grew.

He walked toward her, taking a pad and pen from his jacket pocket.

“Mrs. Bennett, I’m Det. -”

“No, I didn’t know the man. No, I don’t know how he got in, and no, I didn’t notice anyone watching the house earlier in the evening.”

She smirked at his surprised reaction.

“I guess my detectives have been pretty thorough tonight.”

“Only at asking questions. They suck at giving answers.”

Sally knew she was being rude, but her frazzled nerves were at the breaking point.


He sat down on the sofa next to her, resting his elbows on his knees.

“I’m Detective Sergeant Gavin Marks and I do apologize if it’s seemed like my squad is ignoring you, Mrs. Bennett. We’re still trying to sort things out.”

His apology did nothing to calm her.

“Like what?”

“Well, the city’s been on edge ever since the attacks on elderly women began. At first glance, Mrs. Ramirez’s case fits.”

“At first glance?”

“Yes. While the other victims were alone in their homes, they were all senior citizens in poor health or recovering from illness or surgery. This case fits… except for your presence.”

“Me? What’s this got to do with -” She froze, realizing what he meant.

“So, you’re saying the attacker expected Graciela to be alone? But how? I was subbing for another woman from our service. And we were only needed because Estelle Ramirez couldn’t change her shift.”

Det. Marks considered her before continuing.

“That narrows things down even more.”

Sally let the blanket fall from her shoulders as she scrubbed her hands over her face. Confusion wasn’t mixing well with her fatigue.

Then she got it.

Her mouth gaped open at the thought. No, it wasn’t possible.

“Det., you think Graciela was targeted through Angels Assist? That’s crazy.”

“Like I said, we’re still sorting this out, but I’m trying to keep an open mind.”

“But there aren’t many men associated with the agency—no male volunteers, and all the male staff members are up in age too. They work as drivers and deliver meals.”

He made a few quick notes.

“No one’s mentioned that to me tonight. It’s worth looking into.”

Sally bit her lip lost in thought, trying to figure out the connections.

Marks cleared his throat.

“I’m sorry, Det., did you say something?”

“I’m sure you’re exhausted, ma’am, and I promise to get you home soon. But, please, walk with me through this to see if we’re missing anything. Okay?”

She exhaled roughly. “Okay. Fine.”

He glanced at his notes again before beginning.

“Estelle Ramirez made the eye surgery appointment for her mom twelve days ago. She also put in a request for the week off from her job the same day.

Human Resources approved her time off the next day, with the exception of the current shift because the other two charge nurses were already scheduled off. The HR department posted the shift on the hospital extra-duty website for three days, with no takers. Before committing to the rest of the time off, Estelle called the eye clinic to if it was possible to move her mother’s appointment. It couldn’t be done, but one of the nurses there told her about Angels Assist… and that’s where you come into the story.”

“Well, not me exactly.”

Marks frowned, puzzled. “I don’t understand.”

“I work part-time as a services scheduler for the agency. There are two of us. Mona Ingram set up Graciela’s overnight with Kristen, one of our volunteers. After the last attack, her husband insisted she quit. Her call was routed to me yesterday and when I couldn’t find anyone… I took the position.”

Marks was silent for several minutes, adding to his notes before continuing.

“You do that often, Mrs. Bennett… cover appointments?”

Sally shrugged. “Once or twice a month—depends on the workload versus personnel.”

Gavin Marks rubbed his brow, mulling over these new details.

“Is something wrong, Det.?”

“Remember I said this case fits the attacker’s profile at first glance?”


“Well, it’s a wide glance. After two months, we still haven’t found a connection in the first four attacks… or a lead.” He stood. “But I’ll get my people on this when the city wakes up.”

He signaled to a uniformed officer in the foyer. The large African-American man walked over standing next to Gavin Marks, acknowledging Sally with a nod.

“I know you’ve declined medical treatment, Mrs. Bennett, but I don’t think it’s a bad idea for you to go in and get checked out.”

“I’m fine, Detective, really. He didn’t hurt me. Just rattled my nerves.”

“Then I’ll let you go, but I’ll try to answer some of the questions you asked my detectives.”

Sally frowned.

“Your attacker was carrying no identification, so we don’t know who he is. Crime scene techs found the framing around the dining room window stripped away. He probably used a crowbar or screwdriver. And no ma’am, he hasn’t been arrested because he’s dead.”


Day 29 word count – 50,329


©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

#52weeks52stories “The Sweetest Days, Conclusion”

chest and rose

This story vexes with me. It’s another that has more to say, but I’m on WIP-overload right now and have to go with the HFN (Happy For Now) ending.


#52weeks52stories: Week 30

Word prompt: gray

Word count – 1791

Reading time – 2 min, 10 sec

Part 1     |     Part 2


“I hope you’re remembering how hot Kiefer Sutherland was as a vampire.”

Pulled from her thoughts and The Lost Boys movie poster by her best friend’s voice, Moira whirled around.

“Josephine Octavia Jacobs-Broadnax!”

Josie guffawed, embracing her friend. “Woman, if I wasn’t so happy to see you, I’d have to deck you for going full name on me, Moira Suzanne Jennings-Lambert!”

They both laughed aloud as the years melted.

Moira leaned back, appraising her classmate. “Geeze, Josie, you look amazing.”

The self-professed diva spun in a circle and struck a runway pose. “Of course, I do. And it’s just Jacobs now. Divorce is final and Clarence is free to ruin another woman’s life.”

Moira laughed but heart swelled with love for her oldest and dearest friend.

Unapologetic and brash, Josie Jacobs had always been the pretty, chubby girl. No amount of teasing and taunts could break her spirit.

Josie was a force of nature.

She was also the rock-solid pillar of support Moira needed after Kevin committed suicide.

Moira could do little more than breathe when police showed up at the Jennings’ home with notification of Kevin’s death.

Just a few short hours after arguing with their father and after kissing her goodbye, her brother put a gun to his temple and pulled the trigger.

Moira’s pain bottomed out when neither of her parents reacted to the news.

All these years later and Moira still believes she saw a short, cursory nod shared between Abraham and Genova Jennings.

The familial bond between daughter and parent snapped that night. Moira became an occupant in the Jennings home. The honor student seldom spoke to them and kept her head down, studying.

She smirked at the irony of her estrangement with her parents being the catalyst for her edging out Don Thompson for the number one spot in their class.

Most teenagers would experiment with drugs, sex, alcohol, or join a band in an act of rebellion. But Moira Jennings’ act of anarchy was to become class valedictorian. What a troublemaker.

“MJ? Where’d you go? You zone out on me again.”

Flushed, Moira looked away. “Sorry, Josie. Guess it’s just a night for memories.”

Always the schemer, Josie grabbed Moira by both arms, glaring. “You know what else it’s a night for? Across the dance floor, in fifteen minutes… the Walk Like an Egyptian dance contest.”

“Aw, Josie, no way am -”

“C’mon, Moira. This is our night. This could be our last hurrah. Think about it. Ten years from now our knees could be shot or we’ve had hip replacements.”

Moira couldn’t hold in her cackles. “Ok, ok, fine. We’ll dance but -”

“Who’s dancing? I hope you know you’re not dancing without me.”

The two women turned and rushed toward the new voice, already screaming.

“Melanie! YAAY! You’re here.

“So good to see you, Mel.”

With an arm around each of her lifelong friends, Melanie Yankama hugged them close.

The Asian-American wife, mother of five, and middle-school science teacher pulled back, her eyes brimming with tears. “Why do we wait so long to get together? I love my life and everything about it, but, damn, I miss my girls.” She turned to Moira. “It still bugs me I couldn’t be with you after Alexander… well, it was just frustrating. Louis’ dad’s Alzheimer’s advanced so fast and then we lost his mom. She was healthy as an Olympic swimmer and one morning, she just didn’t wake up.”

Josie didn’t respond, recognizing her friend’s need to talk.

Moira touched Melanie’s arm. “Don’t, Mel. No one knows better than me… life doesn’t wait for the right time, it will take its due. Your daily calls meant the world to me and helped me get through some bad days.”

Moira blinked, fighting to hold back her own tears.

“So, are we dancing or dissolving into a messy heap of old ladies?”

“Oh, hush!” Melanie chided Josie. “Of course, we’re dancing, but I’m the only old lady in this conversation. You two look amazing. Do you have portraits in your attics? I feel like one of the Golden Girls standing next to you two.”

“Woman, you are stunning and you know it. Your gray hair looks like professional highlights. Mine look like I lost a battle with life.”

The trio shared a laugh at Josie’s expense.

“Now let’s go dance and watch out for the Conway Twins. Word is they’re on the prowl.”

Moira giggled. “Oh, no! Rick and Dick are here?”

“Yup! And they’re still identical. Even their comb-overs match!”

Howling with laughter, the friends made their across the ballroom, greeting classmates, posing for quick photos, and avoiding Rick and Dick Conway.

Moira Lambert was still well aware of the heaviness on her heart but the despair was gone.

As she danced, shared toasts and reconnected with friends, she was reminded of the fun of high school.

For thirty years, her one focal point was the day her brother died and her parents’ lack of concern. Moira spent so much time hating and avoiding them, she blocked out all the happy times in her young life, even the ones shared with Kevin.

The evening passed faster than anyone wanted, and the pre-dawn hours found the hotel’s efficient wait staff replacing centerpieces and empty snack trays with large bowls of fresh fruit and pots of strong hot coffee.

The early breakfast was such a hit at the last reunion, die-hard class members voted for another and now sat around the ballroom minus shoes, jackets, and a few wigs, in small group conversations making plans for family visits and cookouts.

Moira, Josie, and Melanie each claimed a lounger behind the bandstand. Melanie was on her cell giving husband, Louis, a quick rundown of their evening, while Josie was exchanging texts with someone.

Reclined with her eyes closed, Moira wasn’t asleep or even tired.

Montages of her past played in her mind, along with her late husband’s words.

“Baby, we get one life. Don’t spend it focused on your pain or the people who caused it. We have our kids and careers. We have each other. Days like these are the sweetest. Don’t focus on the pain, honey-bunny. God knows we’d never smile if we only remembered the bad times.”

He was right. Alexander Lambert was always right and as long as he was the center of her universe, she knew the truth.

When Moira returned for her sophomore year, she rented a bungalow from a former professor who recently married and moved all her things out of her parents’ home. Again Abraham and Genova were emotion-free and their daughter was glad to be rid of them.

Until the phone calls began.

When Moira moved out, karma moved in. Excessive drinking, extra-marital affairs, and empty bank accounts were just a few of the things one of her parents would call to complain about.

Moira never took sides or gave advice, and after one too many emotional outbursts from her mother calling her an uncaring daughter, she stopped taking their calls.

But Alexander refused to let her turn her back—he knew regret would catch up to her one day.

He held her hand when they invited her then-divorced parents to dinner to announce their engagement.

Alexander’s wink from the altar made Moira grin as she held her father’s arm all the way up the aisle.

When her parents became ill two years apart, Alexander was at her side, helping to move them each in turn to Indianapolis and manage their affairs in life and after their deaths.

Moira never again had a daughter’s love for Abraham and Genova. She could never mine deep enough in her soul to find forgiveness and her parents made it easy by refusing to talk about Kevin. However, her husband made her understand turning her back on them would only make the memories worse for her.

How could one person be right all the time?

Well, not all the time. There was the one time Alexander was wrong.

Home just three days after corrective knee surgery, her husband waved off chest pains as indigestion. When antacids didn’t help, Moira wanted to take him to the ER but Alexander refused, saying he’d had enough of hospitals and would prefer to try resting for a couple of hours first.

Less than an hour later, he woke in distress. His breathing was rapid and shallow and he coughed up blood. Moira’s 911 call brought paramedics to her home in six minutes, but it was too late for Alexander. He’d suffered a pulmonary embolism and never made it to the hospital.

Moira sat up, in awe that the memory which caused so many of her tears for over a year wasn’t breaking her down now. Losing the love of her life still hurt, witnessed by the dull ache in her chest, but at last, she knew she’d go on not in spite of her loss but because of it.

“What are you smiling about, MJ?”

Glancing over at Josie, Moira’s smile grew. “Nothing, just memories.”

Melanie ended her call and sat up. “Louis said if you two leave town without coming by to say hello and give him a hug, he’s going to put an ancient Asian curse on you both which will cause your hips to spread.”

“Too late!” Moira chirped.

“Yeah, your hubs is a little late to the party on that front. How did he come up with that idea? A supernatural message from his ancestors?

“Nah. An old episode of Tales from the Crypt.”

They all dissolved into giggles, then Josie looked at Moira with a wicked glint in her eyes.

“You know, we could grab my things from my room, stop by your hotel and get your bags, then spend a few hours at Mel’s, making Louis sorry he ever met us.”

Melanie leaped to her feet clapping her hands. “I like that idea.”

Moira agreed. “Sounds like fun. I’m in.”

The clatter of dishes made Josie peek around the bandstand.

“They’re bringing out the grills and steam tables. First, breakfast, then Operation Annoy Louis.”

Moira chuckled as Josie dragged Melanie toward the breakfast buffet wondering about her chances of getting a six-egg omelet.

Before joining them, Moira paused, resting her hand over her heart.

Alexander Lambert loved her and saved her from every bad thing in her life. Though he was gone forever, his words were still with her, urging her on. Moira closed her eyes, grateful for the time they had together and the life they’d shared. She said a silent thank you to the memory of the man who worked to see the good in everything and everyone… and brought out the best in her.

Smiling, she went to join her friends, looking forward to the sweetest days still to come.



©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Camp NaNo Update Day #28

Camp NaNo Update Day #28 banner


Just as writers have their own style and/or voice, while writing there is generally a routine that falls into play.

Struggling with the opening line and first page. This is pretty much standard. It’s not uncommon for the first page/chapter to go through the greatest number of rewrites.

Building the connection—or lack of—between the protagonist/antagonist or Hero/heroine. It may not be at the very beginning, but still a must.

Introducing supporting characters. This is where it gets dicey for me. I have family members and friends, coworkers and pass-through characters, each serving a purpose in a scene or chapter.

But characters I do not know begin to appear. I’ve gotten used to it. I used to wonder how I could do so much planning and layout scenes and not know this person.

Now I just go with it. They get to stay at least until the first draft is done, then we’ll see.

I validated my project on July 20th and completed the story a week later. However, I’m still writing, making tweaks here and there, altering dialogue and sequence, and making notes for the first rewrite… sometime in the future.

So imagine my surprise when TWO senior citizens show up adding to the story, and the woman is downright rude and obnoxious.

Back it up, grandma! I’ve fallen and can’t get up is a real thing.

But, even though she’s annoying, and I wanted to send her to a home for mean, old biddies, grandma threw a plot twist spanning sixty years on the table and I couldn’t breathe.

Simply brilliant!

So, now I have to go back and do a bit of foreshadowing… and let grandma stay.

Gramps? I have no clue. He’s just sitting over on the sidelines, nodding and smiling.

Not sure I even want to hear what he has to say.


Day 28 word count – 48, 710


©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Song Lyric Sunday | “Life is a Highway” – Rascal Flatts

Song Lyric Sunday banner

Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “street” but we’re gonna call it a highway this time!

Originally a 1991 number one song for Canadian Tom Cochrane, Life is a Highway became a top ten hit fifteen years later for American country group Rascal Flatts when they covered the song for Pixar’s animated hit Cars. The song also appears on their 2006 album, Me and My Gang.
This song is a biggie with my family because of Jordan, my three-year-old grand-nephew.
Before he could walk or talk, J was mesmerized by Cars. It got so bad, the only way to calm a fussy, cranky J was to put the DVD on. (Which of course, I bought for him. 😀 ) And he wouldn’t just watch the movie, he had to hear the song.
J also never watched the movie alone.  If you were present, you were a part of the Jordan on Lighteningviewing audience. So it’s little wonder, the Arizona part of the family knows all the words to the song… and most of the dialogue in the movie. 🙂
Here he is on his riding Lightening McQueen, and yes, he’s wearing Lightening McQueen sandals too. I have no idea where my sis gets them but he gets a new pair every summer.
After being bought every vehicle in the movie, some twice, J became hooked on YouTube toy videos (I didn’t know there was such a thing) featuring the cars… from Cars. He dragged us all to the TV… several times, to see the race track based on the movie. J got a big surprise when he received his own Ultimate Florida Speedway for Christmas in 2017.
Jordan_Ultimate Florida Speedway
If this were last weekend my video would be of him singing the song since he was here, but he’s with his Gigi so I’m playing this one for Jordan!


See my Song Lyric Sunday selection on Nesie’s Place.


Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

Life is a Highway

by Rascal Flatts

Written by

[Verse 1]
Whooo umm yeah
Life is like a road that you travel on
When there is one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind
There is a world outside every darkened door
Where blues will not haunt you anymore
Where brave are free and lovers soar
Come ride with me to the distant shore
We won’t hesitate
To break down the garden gate
There’s not much time left today

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you are going my way
I want to drive it all night long

[Verse 2]
Through all these cities and all these towns
It is in my blood and it is all around
I love you now like I loved you then
This is the road and these are the hands
From Mozambique to those Memphis nights
The Khyber Pass to Vancouver’s lights

Knock me down get back up again
You are in my blood
I am not a lonely man
There is no load I cannot hold
Road so rough this I know
I will be there when the light comes in
Just tell them we are survivors

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you are going my way
I want to drive it all night long

Give me give me give me give me yeah

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you are going my way
I want to drive it all night long

There was a distance between you and I (between you and I)
A misunderstanding once
But now we look it in the eye

Ooh, yeah

There ain’t no load that I cannot hold
Road so rough this I know
I will be there when the light comes in
Just tell them we are survivors

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you are going my way
I want to drive it all night long
Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you are going my way
I want to drive it all night long
Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you are going my way
I want to drive it all night long

Give me give me give me give me yeah

Compiled from,  Genius Lyrics, YouTube, Wikipedia, and Google.

Camp NaNo Update Day #27

Camp NaNo Update #27 banner


Though still weeks away from even beginning the first draft, book promotion has begun.

Crazy, huh?

I agree, but it can take just as much time deciding on book covers, images, and graphics as it does to write the book.

However, by getting a head start, I could be setting myself up for an epic fail… if my finished manuscript is not relative to the cover and graphics I’ve chosen. I would have to go through the entire process again, thus delaying the book’s publication.

Trust me, I don’t need any help delaying publication.

So I’ve chosen several cover ‘concepts,” four to be exact.

I prefer one over the other three but am not sure it conveys the tone of the book. After a recent critique of one of my Amazon sales pages, I’m giving the tone of the cover and more attention. Not if it’s just aesthetically pleasing or eye-catching. Not if the colors pop or if the overall package will entice a potential reader to take a closer look.

But, if they take that closer look, does the cover convey the overall tone of the story inside?

Time for an experiment!

I took out the last twenty-five books I’ve read and rated them on the relationship between cover and content.

Incredibly, I only found nine to truly convey the tone of the story I’d read.

Four I considered generic genre covers and another four could have been on any book, without regard to genre.

The eight remaining books? I had issues with them long before I thought about writing this post.

  1. Cover models bared no resemblance to key characters… none.
  2. The cover depicted a scene which either didn’t appear in the story or wasn’t adequately described.
  3. Stock cover photo used without enhancements which has appeared on dozens of other books… without enhancements. I took it a step further and found one of the covers on five other books on my Kindle. I don’t even want to think about how many other covers it graces in my cloud reader.
  4. The tone of the cover and content were not in sync.

I’m not knocking stock covers. Book covers can be pricey and combined with editing, the costs can easily approach the two-thousand-dollar range.

While this completely unscientific, wholly biased experiment is relative to me and what I like or look for in a cover, it does make me wonder what other authors consider when choosing covers and what exactly readers [as a whole] are looking for or expecting.

To some, the cover is simply the attraction—I’ve got your attention now check out my amazing new book—I get that. But when the cover and content are in sync the reader gets a memorable experience which could lead them to recommend your books to others.

For me, a good example is J.F. Kirwan’s Nadia Laksheva Spy Thriller Series. It has spies,  international intrigue, espionage, counter-espionage, suspense, locations all over the world, conspiracies, life and death situations… just an all-around fantastic five-star series.

The cover artist (whom I do not know) captured story tone, story locations and even scenes in each of the covers. When I look at the covers, the story… and all the danger and suspense come back clear as a bell.  To me, covers like this make a story shine.

I have no clue where my story will take me after the first draft but if I can match the finished manuscript with a cover as awesome as these, I’ll be a happy camper.


Day 27 word count – 47,140


©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Camp NaNo Update Day #26

Camp NaNo Update #26 banner


In a perfect world, we learn from our mistakes and do not repeat them.

This isn’t that world.

We make minor adjustments, or even worse, make no adjustments, and hope for a better outcome.

We’re shocked when that doesn’t happen.

Denial is more than just a river in Egypt.

But sometimes, we stumble across something that while it may not change the world, it makes our world a little brighter and easier to navigate.

In relation to July 2018 Camp NaNoWriMo, those things are:

Alexandra Sokoloff’s NaNoWriMo Prep. As I mentioned yesterday, it made a world of difference in my prep and planning, and is no doubt, a major factor in my completing my story during the challenge,

Blogging every day. This was more difficult than writing the story but it kept me focused and accountable to myself,

Reaching out to new people. This is never easy and not something I do regularly because honestly, people are strange. (And I do not exclude myself from that.) Not every connection made will be positive or lasting, but kissing a few frogs is worth it when you end up with people who become a regular part of your day, and even better, understand and share your writer’s journey.

I’m adding these items to the plus column and even if I don’t use them every day, November NaNoWriMo is just around the corner!

Dory_writing meme

Image from Pinterest




Day 26 word count – 45,319


©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Camp NaNo Update Day #25

Camp NaNo Update #25 banner


This ain’t my first rodeo.

And while I’ve always roped the calf, this is the first time I’ve done it in record time!


Okay, no more rodeo references.

I validated my Camp NaNo word count on July 20th—which means I met my goal—but the book wasn’t done.

Guess what?

July 2018 Camp NaNoWriMo is the first time I’ve COMPLETED THE BOOK DURING THE CHALLENGE!

Check out the scene board!

Completed scene board

Very jazzed about this.

As a pantser, it hasn’t been easy finding an outline/planning method that worked for me. I’ve tried several, and while they all had their good points, I disconnected with some aspect of each of them which hindered the process.

Story-boarding is not a new concept but for this challenge, I followed a planning tool from Alexandra Sokoloff’s Screenwriting Tricks for Authors, specifically, the post on NaNoWriMo Prep: The Index Card Method and Structure Grid.


At first glance, the method looked involved and like more work than I wanted to be bothered with.

I was wrong. Once I knew my early scenes, the method actually helped me map out the rest.

I started out with index cards but soon realized before I finished with the set-up; it was labor-intensive.

Index card storyboard

I prefer using Post-It Notes because it’s faster and… this is very important…. You can move scenes around! This was a time-saver. Making adjustments on the board to get the right flow meant less time spent writing and re-writing.

Sokoloff’s method also helps with chronology and continuity.

Like many writers, I don’t write chronologically, but seeing the story in-sequence while writing helps me not lose focus and or be redundant. Or lose entire scenes altogether because… it’s happened.

If you’re searching for a prep method, give this one a try. You’ve got nothing to lose and you may even score a win like me. Twice.


Day 25 word count – 43,402


©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Happy Birthday, George Bernard Shaw!

George B Shaw

George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950), known at his insistence simply as Bernard Shaw, was an Irish playwright, critic, polemicist, and political activist. His influence on Western theater, culture and politics extended from the 1880s to his death and beyond. He wrote more than sixty plays, including major works such as Man and Superman (1902), Pygmalion (1912) and Saint Joan (1923). With a range incorporating both contemporary satire and historical allegory, Shaw became the leading dramatist of his generation, and in 1925 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.


From Google and Wikipedia