Calling All Critiques: Submit Your Cover Art

Starting now, Calling All Critiques is accepting entries for your cover art.


How to Enter

Submit your entry to Cut and paste the following template into your email and fill it in.

Your name/pseudonym:
Your website (optional):

Genre (include audience, such as YA/Adult, and category):

Attach your cover art to the email in a standard format (.jpg, .gif, .png preferred). Make sure it’s big enough to be legible when viewed at full-size on a standard web browser.

This week, we will keep accepting entries through Monday or Tuesday, depending on interest. If you get them in before 8 p.m. EDT and spots are open, you will go into the next day’s round.

More Details

Questions? Check out some of the earlier blog posts or leave a comment below:

After You Submit…

After you submit, check out all the participating blogs and bloggers:

Thanks for being part of Calling All Critiques!


13 Strategy-Altering Blogging Stats

I’ve decided to reblog this amazing blogging infographic posted on Red Website Design Blog, as my blogging experience attests to its validity. When I posted my top post “5 Ways New Writers Chase Away Potential Readers” which garnered over 70 comments and almost 1,000 views in just a couple of days, I thought the blog would sort of be on auto-pilot in terms of getting a steady flow of new followers, as long as I didn’t neglect it altogether. But no, that didn’t happen. Apparently, blogging once a fortnight, or even once a week leads to semi-stagnation.

My weekly WIP: Where, How and Then What interview column, featuring authors presenting their workspace and work process, generates traffic especially on Mondays through #MondayBlogs, but, still, I’ve noticed that more regular posting is needed to add to those followers and media sharing numbers. My recent involvement in the Friday Fictioneers weekly event which asks of the blogger to create 100-word short stories based on a picture prompt seems to have done the trick of adding engagement on top of new followers. That’s all very recent, however, so I’ll come back with more info on that.

What’s your experience? Study the infographic and, please let me know if you have anything to add. (Clicking on the picture will take you to the actual article.)

Calling All Critiques: First Week Wrap-Up

Thank you to everyone who has participated in our first week of Calling All Critiques, whether you were a submitting author or a critiquer or just stopped by the blogs to see what was going on. The Rafflecopter random giveaway of two eBooks and a $10 Amazon gift certificate ends on Sunday at midnight, so give some feedback on one of the earlier posts and maybe win some prizes:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

First 500 Word Random Winner

As a thank you to all the authors who submitted their work to be critiqued, we’ve randomly chosen one lucky winner who has a choice of the following prizes:

20-page professional edit/critique by Proof Positive OR

This week’s winner is:

Entrant #5
Toya Barnette

Toya, look for an email in your inbox later today. You have until Sunday to respond as to which of the three prizes you want. If we don’t hear from you by then, a runner-up will be chosen. Once you choose your prize, we will provide you and the blogger with each other’s contact information to coordinate timing.

Next Week: Cover Art Critique

Starting Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 6 a.m., submit your cover art to Cut and paste the following template into your email and fill it in.

The name you want to be known by:
Your website (optional):

Genre (include audience, such as YA/Adult, and category):

Attach your cover art to the email in a standard format (.jpg, .gif, .png preferred). Make sure it’s big enough to be legible when viewed at full size on a standard web browser.

Updated info for this week: Your entry will be assigned a number in the order in which it is received. Our cutoff is now 30 entries. Entries 1-6 will be posted on our blogs Monday morning, entries 7-12 will be posted on our blogs Tuesday morning, etc. This week, we will keep accepting entries through Monday or Tuesday, depending on interest. If you get them in before 8 p.m. EDT and spots are open, you will go into the next day’s round.

And all the rest is the same: Your email will be kept confidential. What you submit is what will be posted, so double- and triple-check your spelling and grammar. (We may correct crazy formatting errors as a result of email quirks, but still, make sure it’s clean before you press send.) You may resubmit an entry, but it goes to the end of the queue: if you submit it past the 30-entry cutoff, you’ll have lost your spot.

All 30 accepted entrants will be entered into the prize drawing, and the winner will be chosen by their assigned number through

As always, if you don’t want both positive and negative feedback, please don’t enter. This event is for us to help one another grow as authors and maybe to make some friends in the process.

Some fine print: Entries that don’t include the above information will be discarded. At our sole discretion, we may also discard other posts for reasons such as offensive/distasteful material. Erotica may be confined only to certain blogs, and we may put an adult content warning on it.

If You Enter, Please …

Critique other entrants. The sky’s the limit on how many other entries you critique, but we ask that you at least provide feedback to two other participants.

Also, when you receive feedback on your entry, be gracious if you decide to respond. We would highly suggest not responding except for perhaps a “thank you,” but you’re going to do what you’re going to do, aren’t you? Don’t be defensive or explanatory; these critiques are for you to improve your writing. Take what you want and leave the rest behind.

And If You Critique, Please …

Be nice. Be constructive. Be specific. Be polite.

Mean-spirited or spam posts will be deleted.

Join us for more fun next week!

While you wait, check out all the participating blogs and bloggers:

Owned (Friday Fictioneers #2 )

What an awesome idea! A picture prompt, a 100-word story every Friday that links dozens of writer bloggers! Thank you, Rochelle Wishoff-Fields!

Here’s my second attempt entitled “Owned”.

Picture prompt – Copyright: Jennifer Pendergast



I sit on my favorite bench facing the archway. Two young men pass by, engrossed in conversation. One turns and gives me a genuine smile. I smile back. Freshmen for sure. Seniors reserve a different look for me.

An old sedan pulls up. A man steps out.

“Whatcha doin’ slackin’?”

I stand up and tug at my too short skirt to hide the marks. “Five minutes, Bob!”

“I give you five minutes when the jitters come tonight. See how five minutes feel then!” He climbs back into the car and drives away.

With one last look beyond the archway, I trudge back to my dark corner.

For more stories on this prompt, click on the linky:

Calling All Critiques: Entry#16 (Adult Dark Urban Fantasy)

Here’s another entry by a brave writer who would appreciate constructive feedback. Please read and comment appropriately. If you do, don’t forget to enter our Rafflecopter giveaway. One lucky person will win a $10 Amazon gift card, an eCopy of It Ain’t Easy Being Jazzy by Quanie Miller, and an eCopy of Guarding Angel by S. L. Saboviec.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note that the excerpt contains strong language.

Entry #16

Name: S. L. Saboviec
Title: The Exorcist’s Assistant
Genre: Adult Dark Urban Fantasy

Scarlet was in her office, going over a project status report, when the skin on the back of her neck prickled.

IT was back.

For one stomach-clenching, head-twisting, freezing-sweat moment, she was no longer an almost-fifty vice president of technology in a large bank, she was an eight-year-old girl, huddled under the covers and shivering. Despite the glare of the overhead lights and the twilight glow coming through her window, midnight darkness blasted her skin with a chilly breeze.

“Aw, hell, no.” The words had no effect. She threw her pen across the office. It bounced against the closed door and landed in her trash can. Well, that did a lot of good.

She stood and peered out the small frosted window along the door frame and saw what she expected: Nothing. No human eyes checking if she was still at work at six o’clock in the evening. No janitorial staff passing by and whistling a tune. She turned and stared out her twenty-second floor window, but the tinted glass prevented UV rays and prying eyes from seeing

Scarlet bent down and pulled her pen from the waste basket. She threw it on her desk, ignoring the shivers that told her the creature that had menaced her as a child was back. Sleepless nights and crab-like terror crawling through her belly had been her constant companions for years.

“This is unacceptable,” she said in her best boardroom voice. “What do you want?”

Something moved behind her, and she whirled. The motivational poster on her wall was askance. She marched across the room and straightened it. “That’s it? You want to make a commentary on my art choices?”

She opened the door and stalked down the hall to the vending machine.

It followed her, of course. What else would it do? Just as it had stood over her bed, a black, formless shape that disappeared with the morning, she would never be able to see it in the light of day. But it was there.

Why was it back? The goddamned thing had done nothing more than stir stomach-clenching dread in her as a child, the same dread that was hovering around her, that she was now keeping at bay with sheer rage. For years, Scarlet hadn’t slept well. She’d anchored herself in her schoolwork and withdrawn into a shell, losing childhood friends. Yet it had done nothing but keep her awake and terrified.

Who did it think it was, anyway?

Fucking… thing.

Scarlet plunked money into the machine and pulled out a candy bar. And now it was forcing her to sugar and carbs. Didn’t that just figure. But she needed the calories to think of what to do. When was the last time she’d eaten? She’d been in meetings over lunch, and she may have forgotten to consume anything except coffee for breakfast.

Scarlet shoveled the candy bar into her mouth faster than was socially acceptable. If it was going to be rude, she was certainly not going to be polite either.

There’s more to critique!

After leaving your comments, you can head over to one or more of these blogs to see some more great entries:

Thank you to the entrants and the participants!

Calling All Critiques: Entry #9

Thank you to everyone who has shared their work for us to critique. We hope that our feedback is useful.

Also, please note that we still have spots open: Submit your first 500 words to for inclusion in this week’s blog posts. We need it by tonight at 8 p.m. if you want to be included tomorrow and spots are still open.

For critiquers (and if you’re an entrant and you critique, you’re a critiquer), feel free to enter our Rafflecopter giveaway. One lucky person will win a $10 Amazon gift card, an eCopy of It Ain’t Easy Being Jazzy by Quanie Miller, and an eCopy of Guarding Angel by S. L. Saboviec.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Entry #9

NameLeo Valiquette
TitleThe Sword and the Skull
GenreAdult epic fantasy

The iron bells of the Holy Clerisy summoned the faithful of Vysus to morning prayers.

It had been eight years since Sabelwood, and Ryn still couldn’t bear the sound of it. Bells had tolled that night, too. They had been different bells, in a far distant place, but the Clerisy’s cry was the same, wherever it ruled, always shouting the crimes he had committed in its name. A tide of anxious fear, thick and dark, threatened to smother him, driven closer with each strike of the bells’ clappers. Some mornings were worse than others. Today, it was coming on like a raging bear defending her cubs.

He took slow, measured breaths and focused on the singsong chants of the shamanists, rising from a thousand rooftops in praise of the new sun. The rhythms of the two religions drifted through the bedroom’s narrow window with the teasing aromas of outdoor cooking hearths and bread ovens. He could sense the arid heat of the isthmus, rising to chase away the night’s cool respite, through the thick walls of mud brick and stucco.

By the time the bells had gone silent, the worst of his terrors had passed—his penance done for another day.

Josalind’s face was still buried in her pillow, arms cradled over her head. He attempted to slip from beneath the linen sheets without rousing her, but his foot had barely passed the edge of the mattress before her slender frame was astride his waist and coppery red curls tickled his cheeks.

“And where do you think you’re off to?” she asked.

Ryn looked deep into the milky cataracts that blinded her, but, as always, saw only the sea-green lost beneath. “I’ve got to get something.”

“Do you, now?” She brushed her lips across his chin. “You dreams were dark again last night.”

“Were they?”

Did her Sight give her only a sense of their nature, or did she know more? She had never said, and he had never mustered the courage to ask. He seldom remembered his dreams, but if they were dark, there was little doubt about what they concerned. For so long he had wanted to tell her about Sabelwood, of how his cowardice on that evil night was the true beginning of the road that had brought them together and led to Vysus. But as the years had passed, it had become that much more difficult to speak of it. It was his secret, his shame, his burden to bear.

He savored a slow kiss before wiggling out from under her. “Wait here.”

“For what?”

“Just wait.”

He visited the water closet, pulled on a loose cotton shirt and short pants, and made for his desk in the common room of their apartment. A palatar’s sword rested in its scabbard against the desk–a bitter reminder of faith forsaken and oaths broken that he couldn’t bear to cast away. Facets of stained glass were mounted in the squarish pommel, gleaming with the colors of the Clerisy as if the sword hungered to answer the bells’ call to duty.


There’s more to critique!

After leaving your comments, you can head over to one or more of these blogs to see some more great entries:

Thank you to the entrants and the participants!

Calling All Critiques: Entry #4 (Adult Fantasy)

Kudos to Michelle Clover for taking the plunge! Michelle submitted the first 500 words of her Adult Fantasy novel, A Kingdom Betrayed, in exchange for an honest critique. Before you read the excerpt, let me remind you that you’re more than welcome to pitch in with your own critique in the comments section, but please make sure to:

Be nice. Be constructive. Be specific. Be polite.

For more information on this cross-blog event’s rules, read this: Calling All Critiques: The Rules.

And, as mentioned previously, just for helping out, please feel free to enter our Rafflecopter giveaway. One lucky person will win a $10 Amazon gift card, an eCopy of It Ain’t Easy Being Jazzy by Quanie Miller, and an eCopy of Guarding Angel by S. L. Saboviec.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now here’s Michelle’s excerpt:

Entry: #4
Name: Michelle Clover
Title: A Kingdom Betrayed
Genre: Adult Fantasy

The chirping of birds announced the approaching dawn outside Praiven’s window, a distraction he scarcely noticed. He had been up all night, hunched over his bedchamber’s small oak desk, studying from the hidden tomes the queen discovered the previous afternoon while making last minute preparations to the royal nursery.

Originally the room had been used by Thaddeus, the previous king, as a study, but Queen Sienna felt the location was much more suitable to house the child she and King Alexander were expecting in the upcoming weeks. While attempting to hang a painting on the far wall, she came across a loose stone. When she pulled it away, she uncovered two thick tomes, one right behind the other. Ancient writing she did not recognize graced the cover. Luckily, the queen was smart enough not to open the text herself, but instead called for the court mage.

Praiven had only to skim through the leather-bound books a moment before he realized what they were. When Sienna inquired about them, the elf told her they were simply relics that held no significance and he would make sure they were returned to the library. He could tell by the skepticism in her grey eyes that she did not believe his words for a moment, but she chose to remain silent in her misgivings.

Upon leaving the queen, Praiven carried the tomes back to his room and shut himself in for the evening. He knew there must have been a reason the old king had hidden them away in such a manner and he was determined to find out why. He had to carefully peruse them both to really understand the implications of their words on the actions he had taken over the past several months, but it was all there, plain as the nose on his wizened face.

The ancient elf slammed the book shut and cursed his stupidity and neglect. How could he have missed it? How did he not realize that the prophecies leading up to that point contained such a gap?

Praiven leaned back in his chair and began to rub his temples with his fingertips. His head was pounding from trying to connect the text he had been using as a guideline for decades with the newly discovered information. He allowed a small bit of magic to flow into his brain in an effort to ease the pain. Although the healing dulled it a bit, the headache was still present. A prophet would not have had such an issue, but Praiven was no prophet. Even though he could read the text without going completely mad, it was still not an easy undertaking.

A loud pounding on his door caused the elf to jump. Praiven did not even have time to respond before the soldier on the other side barged through the door. He appeared to be frightened and panic colored his voice when he spoke.

“My Lord Praiven, the midwife, she sent me to find you. There’s a problem with the queen. Please hurry.”


Did this whet your appetite for more critiquing? Then head off to the other bloggers’ sites and chip in there as well.



Calling All Critiques: 500 Word Entry Window Extended

Who’s looking for an honest evaluation (not just validation)? We still have spots left next week for critiques of your first 500 WIP words. Send them into by tomorrow, Monday, May 26, at 8 p.m. EDT. There are prized too! Check out our previous related posts:

Calling All Critiques: A Cross-Blog Event

Calling All Critiques: The Rules

We’re looking forward to reading you!

Terry Tyler – WIP Interview

Terry Tyler is an award-winning author, writer and blogger and also blogs for the UK Arts Directory. She has seven novels and a collection of short stories on Amazon.  Terry writes in the genres of contemporary women’s fiction/romantic suspense; her latest book is called Kings and Queens, and is a modern day take on the story of Henry VIII and his six wives (a two-digit perfect 5* score so far!).  A sequel will be started soon!

Fun fact: I started things with Terry on the wrong foot! Her Twitter bio says that she’s into gangster stuff, and in my “thanks for the follow” tweet I wrote “gangsta stuff”! Terry politely pointed out that those are two different things, and then, for a while, I kept calling her “Tyler” instead of Terry! I’m lucky she was still interested in doing the interview! 🙂

Terry, it’s a pleasure having you here. Apart from your amazing writing credentials, we would like to get to know you a bit better. Could you tell us a few things about yourself?

I live in the north east of England with my husband.   I don’t have a great deal to tell you as I mostly live a pretty quiet life these days; I’ve had loads of different jobs (including having my own shop for 4 years, working in a psychiatric hospital, running a deli, all sorts!) and have lived in many different places with all sorts of people but am now happy just stay at home with my husband and write, mostly.  We like to hibernate!  I enjoy going out to the countryside and seaside, and visiting  places of historical interest, too.

Exercise in lean writing: give us a synopsis of your current WIP in under 200 words.

Round and Round is a novella of about 30K words.

Sophie Heron’s fortieth birthday is looming, and she is depressed about her job, her relationship, her whole life, especially since her partner, Chris, has developed an interest in which she definitely doesn’t want to get involved….

Fifteen years before, she had the choice of four men, and can’t help wondering how her life might have turned out if she’d chosen one of the others.

Sophie’s beloved Aunt Flick died in 2001.   Sophie felt closer to her than anyone; kind, intuitive and rather unconventional Auntie Flick was her best friend and agony aunt.  The two of them had a special place, a tree by a river, where they would go together; when she was a child, Sophie called it the Angel Tree.  Now, she visits this idyllic spot whenever she wants to feel close to Auntie Flick, who said she would always take care of her.  She often senses her aunt there, waiting for her, under the Angel Tree

As Sophie’s fortieth birthday draws near, she calls on Auntie Flick to show her the way forward ~ and help her look back into the past so that she can see what might have been….

Heart-warming and inspiring! Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

I am happy with it, yes, I just wish that other things didn’t get in the way, sometimes!  Me and every other writer, I should think.  I don’t aim at a specific word count each day, because motivation is never a problem.  I spend as much time editing and re-writing as I do on the first draft, during which, of course, word count isn’t so relevant.

What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

Tiredness!  I stop writing, with reluctance, when I’m tired, because I know I won’t produce my best work.  When I start to get a headache and sandpaper eyes I know it’s time to pack it in for the day!

I can so relate to that! Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring?  I always write in the same place, at my desk against a blank wall!

Thanks for including yourself in the picture! Now your photo is “pinned” on my Featured Writers’ Workspace Board on Pinterest. That’s one thing we have in common. I also need a blank canvas before me so that those images will conjure… Oh, the darn reading glasses too! 🙂 Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

Um…. yes, books…!!  If I need to do a lot of research for a novel, I read a lot.   I use Google for one-off facts, though, like everyone does.  I didn’t know there were any other writing tools and apps!

How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

I may smile, and tell my husband… that’s about it, though!  I’ve written about 17 novels over the years, so it’s not a particularly momentous moment, especially as I then go back to the beginning and start all over again with the first rewrite!  I usually leave that for a few days, though.

Which book publishing processes are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself?

I always edit all my own work; I couldn’t let anyone do that!  I feel pretty confident about it now, and can see what’s superfluous, what doesn’t flow right, what needs a bit more detail, etc.  All writers need an independent proofreader – mine says she finds between 300 and 800errors in the average, well written novel.  My worst thing is missing words – honestly, my proofreader (@ProofreadJulia on Twitter, the best!) finds about 300 per novel in mine! Someone else does my covers and formatting for Kindle, too.

Being confident enough to do your own editing? I bet it takes seventeen books and excellent intuition! Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?

Ooh, far too big a subject for an interview answer!  This might help, though: follow @BadRedheadMedia and @RachelintheOC on Twitter, and read her blog posts; in fact, read any blog posts you find on the subject, including mine on my blog on UK Arts Directory.  In short: be prepared to spend a fair bit of time on promotion if you want to succeed, don’t rush to publish your first book before it’s ready, as if people don’t like it they won’t buy another by you , do plenty of research before paying money for advertising so you don’t get ripped off, always get your work properly proofread (I suggest Julia, or @wendyproof) and realise that securing a regular readership is a long process – it might take longer than a few months!

Actually, it was through your UK Arts Directory posts I connected with you! Very insightful! Is contemporary/women’s fiction the genre you will settle in, or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

I have never decided on a genre, I just write the story I want to write.  I don’t think about genre when I start a novel, I worry about that later.  Inadvisable, so they tell me!  One of my books, Dream On, is a bit ‘lad lit’, and has never sold as well as the others.  It’s got the best review average of all my books, but I think the fact that it starts off with some guys in a rock band alienated some of my readers who were used to me writing more about female relationships.  I stay more women orientated now!  Kings and Queens has an historical element to it, and Round and Round has a hint of the paranormal, but they’re all instantly identifiable as my books.  I think it’s best to stay in roughly the same genre, because your readers want to know what to expect.

Would you like to share with us links where we can find you and your work? 

I’d be delighted!  Please see links below:

Amazon UK Author Page:

Opera – [ Terry Tyler: Books, Biogs, Audiobooks, Discussions] Author Page

Opera – [ Terry Tyler: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle]

My Personal Blog

Opera – [Terry Tyler’s Blog]

My UK Arts Directory Blog (about self-publishing)

Opera – [Terry Tyler Blog — UK Arts Directory]

Thank you, Terry, and best of luck with Kings and Queens!

Thank YOU, Maria, for asking me to appear on your lovely blog!