Mean Girls #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Happy Tuesday, folks. I should probably warn you, this might get a tad ranty. As the title says, I’m talking mean girls today, specifically those in the author playground.



Hmm, yes. I heard something this week, which left me stumped, namely authors in one publishing house talking trash about a fellow author in the same house.

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Come on now, peeps that is so not cool. Now, I get, it, personalities clash,  things said are taken out of context, the ugly green-eyed monster rears its head…. we’re human… I. Get.It.

But for the love of all that is holy try to keep things professional, especially when you’re voicing such opinions in front of readers. It makes us all look bad and like the mean girls. Really, haven’t we left those antics behind on the playground?

We’ve said it many times on here, there is room for all of us. This is not a competition. Sure we’d all like to sell tonnes like some authors seem to do so effortlessly, and yeah, it can grate if you perceive your stories to be that much better than the ones that sell.

Here is the rub, though, that is just your perception. What sells, what doesn’t, what grabs a reader’s attention is all so very subjective and that is as it should be.

There are as many different stories and authors out there as there are readers, and that is a good thing.

Variety is the spice of life and all that. There have been plenty of times I read something and shaken my head in wonder, and asked how the hell?

That’s fine, we’re all entitled our opinions. What none of us is entitled to do is voice those opinions at the expense of some one else’s feelings, especially when they’re not in the room, so to speak to give their side of the story.

And this is the other thing. There are always, always two sides to every story, or more if more than two people are involved.

And here is the other rub, both sides of that story might be right. So much is down to individual perception of things, after all. Rarely do two people see exactly the same thing, or take away the same impression from a book, painting, even a conversation.

What has sparked all this, you might ask. Well, if you’re one of the people involved and you’re squirming in your seat right now, take a good long hard look in the mirror, that’s all I’m going to say.

None of us is perfect. We all make mistakes, that’s a given, but there is never, ever an excuse for being one of the mean girls.

To further clarify, as far as I know, no-one has been spouting rubbish about me, or if they have I’m blissfully unaware.


And you know something else, knock yourself out if you are. That sort of thing always says more about the person who’s doing it then the person they’re talking about.

It reminds me of when I first started what you would call high school in the UK back in the day in Germany. I very quickly fell in with the popular crowd. I was tall, reasonably pretty, skinny, and sporty if a tad quiet.

I was happy with the status quo, why wouldn’t I be, until the new girl started. She was on the chubby side, with dark hair and ugly glasses, none of which were her fault, and of course, the popular crowd picked on her straightway.

Well, I’m happy to say my gran raised me better than that. I couldn’t just stand by and join in with the taunting. I stood up for that girl, and we became the best of friends.  Naturally, that also ended my spell as the popular girl. I became the picked on one, but you know what?

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and all that. I learned a valuable lesson back then, to be myself, to not be a sheep, to not follow any bandwagon and to stand for what I believe in.

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What you see is what you get with me, and that can be brutal honesty at times. It’s a shame most folks don’t seem capable of extending that same courtesy.

*side note… Jamie…. Outlander….drool*

Erm, where was I? Oh, yeah, I was ranting, as I do. 😉

Seriously, though, let’s stop the playground mentality and support each other. Don’t be the mean girl. We’re all better than that.

And another side note, with all this drama seemingly going on behind the scenes all the time, how does anyone find time to, you know, actually write.

Baffles me, I have to say.


Anyhoo, that’s enough from me today and my attempt at putting the world to rights. ( I wish!)

Stay naughty, folks.

D xx

“You don’t read that rubbish…” #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely peeps, Doris here with her Tuesday thoughts, which will be short and sweet, and quite possibly ranty. You have been warned.


What brought this on, you may well ask? Well, the title will give you a clue! The above was actually said during a wedding dinner I attended this weekend. Now, don’t get me wrong the actual event was fab, and I really enjoyed myself, but as we were sitting around this table making small talk which folks we’d never met before the conversation inevitably turned to, “So, what do you do?”

My ever supportive and far too proud of me hubby announced that I was an author.

“Oh, really, what sort?”

All well and good until the subject of what exactly I write came up.

As per usual, the whole oh like Fifty shades came up. I just smiled sweetly and said, “My dear, I write far hotter than that.”

While the women at the table were supportive, you had to get one joker, who came out with the rubbish comment, not to me, I hasten to add, but to his wife, who was talking to me about my books.

Cue her reply, “No, but she writes it.”

Cue me, smiling not so sweetly at Mr. Clever Clogs. “Yes, that’s right, and I do very well, thank you.”

The expression on my face must have given me away. I know I have a very expressive face and probably looked ready to take his head off…. because he dropped the subject. Then again, my continued ignoring of his might have had something to do with that too.

Seriously, though…. grrr….

That was on top if the usual, “Oh, I should write a book,” and wink, wink, nudge, nudge comments. Is it any wonder I normally keep what I do to myself?

   Anyhoo, just had to get that off my chest. I shall never understand why folks have such a low opinion of the romance industry in general and erotic romance in particular.

On the upside I also met several folks at the wedding who are avid fans of my writing, so, ya know it swings in roundabouts.

They tend to be quieter than the neighsayers, mind you, but that’s okay.  I shall continue to ignore those that belittle the genre and continue to write what I love. Best way of dealing with them really, and well I know what my next villain will be called.

He may or may not find himself emasculated by a pint-sized, erotic romance reading woman…


*whistles innocently*

That’s all from me today, folks.

Do stay naughty, won’t you!





Measure Your Own Success #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely peeps, Doris here, with my thoughts on Success.


In particular how you define success. And you know, this will be different for everyone, and if you start comparing yourself to other authors, well, then, you’ll be thoroughly disappointed.

There will always be someone who is more successful, or who you perceive to be more successful. And you know this whole successful thing is relative.

Yes, I think we can all agree that there are those authors, the ones that immediately spring to mind, because everyone has read them, or at least has heard of them.

You’ll find them in every bookstore, on posters in public transport etc.

Fame and success right there, I guess.

I’m not talking those authors, however. I’m talking you and me, the average run of the mill person, who also happens to be an author.

How do we define our success?

Well, the obvious one is to look at your sales. I just did an interesting exercise of working out my average sales per book with both of my publishers. It was a rather eye-opening experience, and it made it clear to me where I should be sending the majority of my books in future.

I’ve gone with my gut on these things in the past, but as hubby reminded me this is a business, and it deserves a calculated approach. In my case a calculator-wielding hubby, lol. Seriously, I’m useless with numbers.

So, that is certainly one way to measure your success. However, if you only look at your sales, you will probably end up disappointed. It goes back to there will always be someone who sells more than you do.


I don’t believe money can ever be your sole motivation to write. If it is, you will a) end up disappointed, or far worse, b) sell your soul and integrity to the devil, and simply churn out things that you know will sell.

And that, my lovelies would be a such a shame. Of course, we all need to eat, and if you write full time with no other income, then yes, to a certain extent you will have to do that.

No judgment here. Every one of us authors defines their own career paths, and what is right for one will not be right for the other.

However, if you’re one of the multitudes of authors who write in addition to an evil day job, or to simply contribute to the family income like I am, then you can be more discerning in how you define your success.

To me, in its simplest form success means being a published author. Every time I type those magic two words – The End – I get such a buzz. It’s  hard to describe if you’re not an author, that sense of achievement.

Then there is that magic moment you get your publisher’s e-mail to say they would like to publish the book. The buzz of release day, and the oh so precious reader comments.

Never underestimate the power of that. A reader saying they enjoyed your story. That you lifted them up on a bad day. Even if that book tanks, to know that you reached that one reader… success in my book.

So, be who you need to be, and define your own success, peeps.

Make Your Dreams Happen

That’s all from me today, folks.

Do stay naughty and count your blessings. You’re more successful than you think!

D xxx

A word to the readers #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely peeps, Doris here. I’m going to aim my post today specifically at the readers. Those lovely folks, who buy our books, cheer us on and generally speaking keep us writing.


Us authors would be nothing without our readers, and we really do love loyal readers. I know, I love getting e-mails and messages, and I’ll do my utmost to reply in a timely and informative manner, as do most of us I should think.

Now, before I get to the point of this blog post let me say here that this is not aimed at any of my readers. And let me say a great big thank you to all them.

Thank You - Words on Yellow Sticky Notes

Like I said above us authorly types do love our readers. However… we love it less when our readers turn into hecklers.

What do I mean by that? Well, those that take it upon themselves to inform us not only how we should write, but what. The ones that are constantly asking after one character/story and get their knickers somewhat in a twist, when, in their eyes, the author doesn’t deliver.

I get it, you know. You, the reader love a particular series that author writes, so naturally, you can’t wait for the next installment. I stalk my favorite authors as much as the next person eagerly awaiting that next book.

And from an author’s point of view, it’s awesome to know that readers are so loving a series that they can’t wait for the next one.

However, and there is always a but in these things, it is never, ever okay to turn on said author and give him/her grief because he/she has chosen to write something else instead.

I use the term chosen tongue in cheek here, because most authors, myself certainly included in that, cannot write to order. We are slaves to our muses, and unless said muse wants you to write a particular story it’s just not going to get written. Trust me on this, we don’t chose to jump between series and leave you readers hanging.

So, next time, you find yourself tempted to voice your frustration about how long it takes an author to write, to finish that series, or, indeed, any other gripe that takes your fancy, remember us authors are only human.

We have lives, families, issues that we may not share with you, struggles that have nothing to do with writing, yet impact on it anyway.

By all means ask, just do so nicely, and know, we’ll try our best to deliver.

Do stay naughty, folks.


D xx



How to write for an Anthology#TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely peeps, Doris here with her Tuesday thoughts. I’m going to talk Anthologies today, specifically how to write for them.

Having recently received an acceptance for the next Evernight Anthology—this will be my 10th Evernight Anthology—I’d like to think I learned a thing or two about how to write for them.

So, then exactly how do you do it?

How to written on a white paper

Well, first off read the Anthology call. I can see you rolling your eyes now, but, I mean it, seriously, read it.

Evernight excels at spelling out what they are looking for.

For this Antho call the brief was/is the following:

(for the purposes of this blog post I’m going to stick to the M/F anthology call)

The Alpha lives for the hunt…
Driven by instinct, an Alpha shifter recognizes his fated mate from one scent, one touch. He’ll pursue his woman, regardless of the cost, and anyone else would be smart to get out of his way. He won’t stop until he takes possession of his prize.
Although the hunter doesn’t need convincing, his mate certainly does. The Alpha will have to prove himself as a lover and convince his woman that he plays for keeps. 

Stories must have a strong plot, conflict, well-developed characters/dialogue, and a romance to remember. We do not want erotica. We want quality erotic paranormal romance. Original work only.

The Alpha can be any dominant shifter species. The Alpha’s mate can be any shifter species or human.


Limited space

No rape, infidelity, or incest

So, let’s digest that. They want shifters, that much is clear straight away. They want romance, a well-developed paranormal story line, must be an original work, and the Alpha in question needs to be a dominant species.

So, that means bear, wolf, large cat, etc. not bunny shifters 😉

His mate can be human or shifter, and interestingly enough, can be any species so, hey, she can be a bunny if you like.

Note the term Alpha. That does not mean they want an asshole, overbearing hero. They want an Alpha, a hero responsible for his pack, with a code of honor and a ruthless streak when it comes to pursuing his mate.

She needs to be reluctant, that’s where the conflict comes in.

The guidelines mention a hunt of some sort…interesting. A literal hunt or do they mean the pursuance of the heroine? Open for interpretation. One thing is clear, he recognizes she’s his mate immediately.

With me so far? Good.

If you’re anything like me, ideas are already percolating around in your brain.

Start with the hero. Who is he, what is he? What makes him stand out.

In my story, the hero is a battle-scarred wolf shifter, responsible for bringing peace to the packs in his area of Northumberland in the UK (my stories are always set in the UK!) He is under a certain amount of pressure to find his mate. His pack wants him to settle down, and he is being offered various, far too young in his opinion, she-wolves.

My hero is no angel. He has fucked plenty of females, both shifter and human, but lately, that has gotten old. Besides, he’s busy with his pack and his work in the forestry commission.

The hunt thing in the guidelines spoke to me because I’d found this picture.


That simply screams shifter defending his mate to me.

I got the opening very quickly in my mind. My hero and his pack are hunting, and the heroine literally stumbles into the hunt.

I shan’t tell you more because I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but that was my beginning.

Now onto the heroine. My first idea was that she was human. In fact, my first attempt at the anthology was a bear shifter and his human mate, but it quickly transpired that the story wouldn’t keep to the required word count (it ended up over 50 K in the end!), so the wolf shifter was Antho attempt #2.

A word to the wise here. Don’t be afraid to try several stories for fit in an Anthology. I wasn’t sure whether I’d have the time to write an Antho story after the first attempt veered off as it were, but I did.

In fact, this story practically wrote itself in the end. 🙂

Back to the heroine. I mulled this over for a while, and then it came to me. Would it not add to the conflict if the heroine was a shifter species which would normally be food for the wolves. In the end, I settled on a deer shifter.

My heroine left the deer shifting community because she didn’t exactly fit into what the stags expect of their mates. This deer isn’t meek and gentle. She has backbone and snark in spades, and she is determined to live life the way she wants it, now kowtow to some overbearing male.


So when she meets the hero, sparks fly, as she fights the pull between them. Then there is the small matter of his pack. They will never accept a deer in their midst, right? Such delicious conflict right there. How will it all work out?

Well, you’ll have to read the Anthology when it comes out to find out what exactly happens, but I had oodles of fun writing that story.

And that is how you should approach any writing really, whether it is for an Antho or not. Have fun with it. Don’t be afraid to change things up, but do stick to the guidelines and the general story premise.

Dig deep with the emotion and the conflict. It’s a challenge to get that across, especially in a short story format, but digging deep and bringing that rounded story will be what makes your submission stand out above the rest.

If you haven’t written for an Anthology before, then do check out previous anthologies that publisher has published. Read them, get a feel for what they are looking for in a story. It helps, trust me.

Last but by no means least, if you get a no, or a revise and re-submit for a different line, do not be discouraged.

It doesn’t mean your writing is crap. Well, it might do, if you made a hash out of it, lol, but I’m assuming here that you’ll have done your best and have produced a great story.

What it does mean, is that it isn’t the right fit for this Anthology. There could be a number of reasons as to why. Maybe the publisher feels the story would be better expanded on. Maybe it is too close to other stories they already have in the collection. Maybe it’s too different from the other stories.

Maybe, you didn’t read the guidelines properly and shot way off base with your interpretation of what they’re looking for.

It happens to all of us. I recall one submission, not for an Antho, but a specific line, that I got way wrong. I did get an R&R, but decided to publish the story elsewhere as I loved it the way it was, and my other publisher took it and it’s one of my bestselling series.

See, it swings in roundabouts, this getting accepted to a specific submission call thing.

I know, especially with Anthologies, I never take a yes for granted. Well, I don’t ever take a yes for granted, to be honest with you. To do so would be foolhardy in the extreme, and smack of diva behavior I have no time for.


One last thing on writing for anthologies. You may not hear back about your submission for some time. You may hear right away, if your story is an excellent fit, and the publisher definitely wants it in there. You might have to wait till after the closing time for the submission call to hear.

Do not read too much into that wait. I’ve waited weeks before and I also heard back within days. It all depends on what else is going on. Of course, your paranoid writer self will assume the worst if you kept waiting.

Been there, done that, but look at it this way. What is the worst that could happen? They say no.

Okay, then you fix what they want you to fix to get it up the right standard and submit to whatever line they’re suggesting if it’s an R&R for a different line.

If it’s a straight no, again, pull up your big girl panties and have a good long look at the story, and see where it could be improved, and go from there.

And you know if the answer is yes, well, then, kick back with a glass of bubbly and look forward to having lots of release day buddies. 😀

Anthologies are great for getting your name out there and gaining new readers.

And if you didn’t make it into this call, there will be others. Don’t give up. Try again and again, if need be.

That’s all from me today.

Do stay naughty, folks.

D xxx





Two little words #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)c

Happy Tuesday, peeps, Doris here with her thoughts on those two little words.

Thank You - Words on Yellow Sticky Notes

They’ll take you far in life, you know.

My gran always said manners cost nothing, and it’s something that I strive to live by in real life and online.

Makes the world so much nicer, don’t you think.

Sadly, there are those who seem to forget even the basics.

You know the ones. They think the world owes them, or perhaps they are just too far up their own behinds to come up and smell the roses.

I don’t much care either way.

Those folks only show themselves up in the end. Like Ravenna stated in her post yesterday, Karma.


It is annoying, though,  and it grates on me, when someone can’t even be bothered to say a little thank you, or please.

We call them the magic words in my house.


Even my five year old knows that nothing happens unless you ask nicely and you say thank you.

Why then, do some authors and readers, too, to be fair forget that simple little thing? We all lead busy lives, I get that, but how much does it take to ask nicely for something. To say thanks, ta, no problem, de nada, whatever variation you want to come up with?

To show your appreciation for whatever the other person has done for you?

Because, newsflash, we’re all in this together, and no one owes you anything. You’re not any more precious that the next person, just because you sell more, have more followers, or whatever might make you think you’re above the common courtesies.

This is turning into something of a rant, and I don’t mean it to be. It just never ceases to astonish me when someone is just downright rude online.

Don’t do that, really, don’t.

It’s not cool, it’s not clever, it just makes you look like a divbrain.

Most of us more experienced authors are only too happy to help out. We listen, we lend a helping hand, we host others on our blogs etc.

But, a word to the wise here, just because any author has hosted you before, does not give you an automatic right to be on their blog again, especially when you simply send out a mass e-mail, without asking nicely, to give but one example of things that make me roll my eyes.

The same goes for newsletters. Don’t subscribe folks to them without asking, and for the love of all that is holy, do not bombard the subscribers you do have with newsletter after newsletter.

It all just turns into noise after a while.

And while I’m on the subject. If you win something in a giveaway, say thank you, and make sure you claim your prize. 🙂

Of course, you might just be rolling your eyes at this, and think to yourself, that Doris, who does she think she is to tell us what to do?



that’s your prerogative. I’m a very small fish in a very big sea, but, at least, I’m a polite one. Or at the very least, I try to be.

Manners cost nothing, remember that in your dealings with others.

Or as my five-year-old would say about folks who don’t.

That’s just rude, mummy isn’t it, and we don’t like rude people.


That’s all from me today. You’ll be pleased to hear I’ve put my soapbox away.

Do stay naughty, folks.

D xxx



A Great Editor… @aprilzyon

Hello folks and welcome back to another Friday with me, April Zyon. Today is going to be a short post because I have edits. YAY! I know that’s so strange that I would be “YAY’ing” having edits but the truth is a really great editor makes you think. They make you question what you’ve already written and they find those loopholes that you missed.

A great editor will also find the issues with the “its” “it’s” “your” “you’re” and so on’s. Believe me. They will read the whole book from start to finish without their red pen in hand and then they will go through line by line and start red pening the heck out of your MS. THIS IS GOOD. Don’t let this scare you! They are trying to make your MS better, not worse.

*I will make one caveat on this, that is if an editor is trying to change your voice and not your grammar. NEVER let anyone change your voice, OR your story! (unless you left yourself a loophole or mistake like I did with my latest MS but it is an easy fix and one that she left in MY hands to fix and didn’t try to fix for me.)

I’ve been very lucky, I’ve had amazing editors with Evernight Publishing and I really hope that I continue to have the ones that I’ve had because they make me think. They get me and my quirks and inconsistencies and so far (that I know of) haven’t threatened to kill me. So that’s a huge plus there!

So, in conclusion – yes the story is yours but you need an editor that WILL MAKE YOU THINK, one that has your best interest at heart and one that will call you on your inconsistencies. (Mine called me on my overuse of a word as well. SO…. There is that as well!)

Don’t accept an editor who doesn’t give feedback or only half asses a job, you are better than that!

There, I think that’s it.

Now its time for me to go. ❤

Much love to you all.

Remember, treat everyone with respect and don’t be a mean girl.

❤ April

Writing Series the Panster Way #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Happy Tuesday, folks, and Happy Valentine’s Day! Are you doing anything special with your loved one/s? Hubby and I will be going away for the weekend on Friday, and I can’t wait… I digress, however.


Really, Doris, you do surprise us, I can hear you all groan now but bear with me.

Kacey wrote an excellent post on writing the first book in a series here. I found myself nodding along to a lot she said.  In particular the many series on the go—I haven’t dared count how many series I’ve got—only a handful of which are completed in my mind.

*points to muse standing in the naughty corner*

That same muse rolled her eyes and stuck her fingers in her ears singing tralalalalala when it came to the mention of planning a series, character sheets etc.

Say what?

Oh, believe me, I know that’s an excellent idea and when I find myself searching through previous stories in a series to make sure I’ve got the eye color right for that obscure character, I sure wish I’d at least written that down somewhere, but….you guessed it.

I never do. In my muse’s defense, she does usually remember these details because she will not let me tell anyone’s story until she’s figured this all out in her head, and throws the words at me. Or more accurately bombards me with it in my dreams, so that I have to get up the next day and start writing that story.

I’ve had two series, where I knew how many books were going to be in it. Two, out of thirteen. (Yes, I had to go and count them)

Out of those two, only one I managed to write one after the other, and that was after a long gap between book one and two.

I’m sure it must drive my readers round the proverbial bend, this tendency of mine to flit between series and standalones. It does my head in at times, because the one series I managed to write in order….oh yes, that is so much easier.


Alas, us writerly types are slaves to our muses, and heaven help us when we don’t do as we are told. A muse in a sulky strop is no fun, I tell you. I’ve been there on a few occasions and the outcome is not pretty.

So, how then do you write a series when you’re a panster like me?


Well, you wing it, of course.

That’s all well and good, Doris, I hear you say, but how is that helpful.

Okay, I’ll try and explain my haphazard process. Bear in mind this is the way my mind works and it may well not work for you at all, but here goes.

When it comes to the start of any series, they all have one thing in common. I have no idea at the start of writing that this story will evolve into a series. I simply write, and as the world builds and side characters step forward, I usually get the first inkling that, hang on a minute, this person needs a story, and ooh, I like this world, and what if…

Told you this was going to be jumbled post.

Sometimes the potential for a series doesn’t dawn on me until I get edits. I recall one occasion where my editor commented how much she was enjoying that world and what a shame that it wasn’t a series. So we came up with a series name and that was another series born.

In the vast majority of cases, it comes to me as I’m writing, however.

I’ve learned to listen to that insistent niggle and create a series, even when I have no earthly idea how many stories will be in that series.

I’ve just finished book six of a series like that. The first one was a fun little Romance on the Go story. As far as I was concerned that’s all it was going to be. Then, some time later, I got the idea for a bear shifter story, and as I was writing it, the best friend of the heroine in that little, fun, story I wrote turned out to be the roommate of the heroine, whose story I was writing now.

Say what?

Then came that lightbulb moment, and the rest is history. Like I said, I’ve just submitted book six in that series, and while I have no idea how many more books there will be, I know there will be more.

Again, I hear you ask, how can that possibly work?

Well, if you’re a panster, then you already know the answer to that question. You simply trust in your characters and it all somehow comes together. One of the great joys of writing a series is revisiting previous characters. That little glimpse into their HEA which makes me grin and gels them altogether.

This is where your world building comes in and your timeline. You will quite often find me being vague on things like children’s ages because of that timeline again…

If that heroine was pregnant three books ago, and the events in that series run continuously then she can’t have a baby in this book.


For me, at least, it’s fun to work out these little details, even if I do have to read back, and try and work it all out.

(Yes, I know character sheets would be such a good idea here!)

Really, if you can manage it, then do keep and use them. Do as I say not as I do in this case. 🙂

However, if you can’t, if your process seems completely counterproductive and time-consuming and you have no idea how it will ever work… As long as it does work, keep doing it. This is your process and don’t ever let anyone tell you it doesn’t.

This is, after all, what we’re trying to do here on the Naughty Quills. Give you pointers to help you find your own way.

Hence these jumbled thoughts of mine, because that’s the way I work, and I bet I’m not the only one like this.

I should add here that all my series can be read out of order, as each individual book is a standalone set in that series.

I’m sure I’ve completely confuzzled you all now, as we say in my house. Sorry about that, folks. Welcome to my world.


That’s all from me today, you’ll be pleased to hear.

Do stay naughty, won’t you?

D xxx

Farewell: Freaky Friday with Michelle Roth

It is with mixed emotions that I announce my departure from the Naughty Quills blog. Oh, don’t get me wrong. My quill is always gonna be more than a little naughty, but I just won’t be blogging with you on Fridays any longer.

I feel as though the well has run dry for me, as far as useful writing advice goes. I don’t know what else I have to teach you, because.. (and I think I can speak for all of us when I say) we all just stumble through this whole author thing the best we can. That’s why I’ll be passing the mantle on to the absolutely delightful Jules Dixon!  I’m sure she’ll have a ton of fantastic insight and I hope that you learn so much from her.

I’ll still be writing and pimping my books on social media, so don’t be a stranger. Feel free to say hello!


Michelle Roth

That all important cover #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely peeps, Doris here with my thoughts on covers, and in particular how to fill in that all-important cover art questionnaire to ensure you get the kick ass cover your story deserves.

You know that old saying….

Handwritten quote as inspirational concept image

Yes, well, in the days of e-books and thumbnail covers on websites, I’m afraid books do get judged by their covers. You want one that stands out, while being true to the spirit of your story and, of course, as best an interpretation of your characters as you can get.

For the vast majority of us that means relying on a cover artist you employ, or the one your publisher uses. We are very, very fortunate at Evernight that Jay Aheer from Simply Defined Art truly creates magic on the Evernight covers.

Just look at our latest releases in the side bar, or check out Evernight Publishing’s website, if you don’t believe me.

Jay is a true artist and goes out her way to ensure the cover matches up with the writer’s expectation. With every cover she has created for me, she’s blown me away. It’s almost as though she’s plucked the characters out of my brain and brought them to life.

While Jay and other cover artists like her, surely do weave magic with stock images, composition, and the inventive use of Photoshop, they can only create that magic if you give them the material to work with.

So, how then do you achieve this, I hear you ask?

Well, the starting point is a damn good blurb. You need one to hook any potential reader, but the right blurb will also convey the feel of the story to your cover artist. They are experts at reading between the lines and judging the right mood for the cover.

If you use visual inspiration for your characters, then do share those on your cover art request form. Again, it sets the mood for the artist and they will usually try their utmost to match the stock models they use on your cover to your inspiration.

If you hold the rights to the images you use, then, by all means, pass them on, but don’t get your knickers in a twist if your artist can’t use them.

They may work seeming magic, but there’s only so much they can do with any images available to them. Some publishers also prefer to use their own models, stock image sites, so whatever you provide may not be used for those reasons.

So, be gracious, here.

Provide as much physical description of your main characters as you can, and any details you would like to see on the cover. Be sure to also state here what you definitely do not want on your cover.

After one of my covers with my other publisher where one of the heroes looked as though he was wearing make-up, which was just so wrong for this particular hero, it became a standing joke between myself and the cover artist for a while.

What don’t you want on the cover?

No men with makeup, please! 😉

no thanks stamp. sign. seal

A word of warning here, on how to handle it when you do disagree with the cover artist’s vision of your story.

Do not go in guns blazing or as I witnessed several years ago now, one author belittling this cover artists vision publicly on FB. Hell, NO!

Remember your manners and be polite when you request a different version, and, really, if the artist got the interpretation that wrong, then maybe you need to take a good, long, hard look at yourself and what you actually wrote down on that form.

Like I stated above, be concise, give as much description as you can, but don’t be too specific. If your hero is scarred down one side, like one of mine was, be aware that you will not have the exact same scarring or tattoo, for that matter, on the cover as you describe.

As it happens with my scarred hero, Jay placed his face in the shadows and it worked beautifully.

Another one of my heroes with my other publishers was in a wheelchair. I made sure to state that on my cover art request form and also stated that I knew it might be hard to get the right match, but, you know what, she did.

See, if you ask nicely, you usually get what you ask for, or as darn near a match as you can.

One other trick I have learned over the last five years is to give your cover artist as much free reign as you can. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t position a good cover if my life depended on it. I know what I like, but how to convey that in a request… well…

I simply give as much physical description as I can of the H/H and the general mood of the story and then put this.

Please just work your magic.

They invariably do and blow me away with their interpretation. ‘Cause you know, they are good at this, very, very good, and you can trust them to do their best without you breathing down their necks, and micro-managing their creative process.

The perfect cover is very much a creative process of its own, and I for one like to leave it to the professionals.

That’s all from me today, and if you have any other tips to share, please do so  in the comments.

Do stay naughty, folks,


D xxx