Tag Archives: Dr Dennis Hensley

Help me choose a cover artist! :)

Cover art.

It can be bad on self-published books.

I don’t want that. (I’m sure you don’t want that for me either!)

Can you help me find the perfect cover artist for my book, Zombie Takeover?

The Kindle in 30 Challenge is officially over, and this is one of my very last steps. The goal was to have a book ready to publish on Kindle at the end of 30 days–or at least a messy first rough draft.

I had a messy final draft, which I just received back from Dr. Dennis Hensley, fully edited. If you need someone to edit your book–he is excellent!

But I’ve had one problem getting the challenge done.

That cover art.

I am in love with three different artists’ manipulations on deviantART.com. I have contacted all three but am having such trouble choosing among them!

Can you help me?

Sara Helwe is magnificent. Her website is a tutorial of how she creates her masterpieces using stock photos and photoshop, and her Facebook page is a visual delight for any art lover. (Never Strong Enough, KhaleesiMother Nature, and The Warrior all copyrighted © 2012-2015 Sara Helwe.)

Andy Garcia possesses rare talent. Her images are so stunning and dark and real. It gives me chills how good she is. Her Facebook page makes me marvel, “How on earth does she do that???” (Winter is ComingSteampunk Anthology, Closer to the Edge, and My Fire all copyrighted © 2009-2015 Andrea García.)

Okay, you know how obsessed I am with Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s books, right? Well, she recently featured one of her cover artists, Julia Popova. I checked her out on deviantART and oh. my. goodness.  Amazing!

Julia Popova‘s art is ethereal and sweeping with a fairy-like quality. I am instantly transported to another world when I scroll through her creations. Check out her Facebook page and website–you’ll see what I mean! (Apostate, In a Moment of PeaceThousandth Morning, and Ice Crystal all copyrighted © 2009-2015 Julia Popova/Forest Girl.)

Do you see trouble I’m having?

I want all three of them to design my covers! (And I may just do that the more books I publish!) :)

But–for now–I need to choose one.

I need to choose only one of these amazing artists to design the cover for Zombie Takeover.

Which one would you choose? Vote below and help me make this agonizing decision!

Thanks so much–you guys rock! :)

In Him,

Michele

Art used with permission. All rights reserved. sara-hel.deviantart.com, andygarcia666.deviantart.com, and forestgirl.deviantart.com

Writing Tips From a Master

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Wow, just, wow.

When Joyce and Janet, the leaders of my writing group, said with hushed voices and dreamy expressions, “If you can ever take a class of Dr. Dennis Hensley’s, do it,” I thought, Ok, sure.  I’ll keep that in mind.  Maybe.

Um, yeah.  As usual, they were right.

In March, I was privileged to take a writing intensive class with Dr. Hensley and Holly Miller, faculty of the Midwest Writers’ Workshop.  They edited and critiqued the first ten pages of my manuscript, as well as a synopsis and personal bio.  Invaluable information, I’m telling you.

But recently, I took one of the most amazing classes I have taken in my life.

Of course I have to share what I learned.

Dr. Hensley taught a one-day writing seminar through Taylor University.  The focus was Taylor’s Professional Writing degree.  (online.taylor.edu)  I had looked into Creative Writing degrees but not professional, and I wanted to know the difference, and which was better.

The answer?  Professional writing teaches the ins and outs of the industry and makes sure you are well-versed in the many different kinds of writing, whereas creative writing tends to focus on crafting words and manipulating language only.

Dr. Hensley stressed the importance of intimately knowing the industry that writers want so badly to be a part of.

Taylor offers an Associate’s degree online, and a Bachelor’s through their campus in Fort Wayne.

Oh, how I want to go back to school so badly!  Especially now that I finally know what I want to do when I grow up.  :)

The more Dr. Hensley taught, the more I did not want to leave.

He kept the entire class enthralled, on the edge of their seats, just waiting to hear what he would say next.  I am in awe of the number of things he can quote from memory.

He also shared 18 steps to becoming a successful writer, and I want to share them with you.

  1. Prefer plain words to fancy words.
  2. Prefer familiar words to unfamiliar.
  3. Use picture nouns and action verbs.  Not more words, better words.
  4. Avoid clichés, or worn-out expressions you have heard over and over again.
  5. Never use long words when a short word will suffice.
  6. Master the simple, declarative sentence.
  7. Vary the lengths of your sentences.
  8. Keep paragraphs short.
  9. Put key words you want emphasized at the beginning or end of your sentence.
  10. Use active rather than passive voice.
  11. Cut needless words, sentences, and paragraphs.
  12. Write like you talk.
  13. Avoid imitation.  No one wants to read your bad reproduction of Harry Potter.  (Bwahahahaha!!!)
  14. Think clearly and you will write clearly.
  15. Avoid gobbledygook, shop talk, and jargon.  Speak plainly and clearly.
  16. Write to be understood, not to impress.
  17. Beware of the temptation to overuse any one point of punctuation.  (This clearly does not apply to me!!!)  :)
  18. Revise with time.  Leave it alone for a while, then edit.

These are from my notes, and I apologize if I messed up anything he was trying to say!

He shared many other incredible writing tips, and if you would like to read more, please go to his website.  (www.dochensley.com)

I have just one, teeny, tiny, small bit of advice for you.  If you ever have the opportunity to hear Dr. Hensley speak, DO IT.

As in, buy a plane ticket if necessary.

He’s that good.

Write away, dear friends!  :)

In Him,

Michele

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