I first select a genre and then think about interesting subjects that would be entertaining in a story format. After doing some internet research to see if the idea has already been done, I form a concept and theme. The theme is what I want to convey about the subject, similar to a story moral.
Then I create the main characters by looking at actor photographs. This helps me visualize real people playing a role. There are eight main characters in pairs of two that act as opposites. An example would be the Protagonist and Antagonist relationship.
There are other story decisions that are formed early on to define the world the characters live in. Then I plan out the story in a three act structure, comprised of eight scenes. Each scene defines a chapter in book form, but is made up of mini scenes usually totaling 50.
Because I've worked in visual arts my entire career, I have a cork covered wall used to storyboard colored index cards. This helps me organize the action, and later write the movie script. Having a visual reference also motivates me to finish the manuscript.
I actually write the story with pen on loose leaf paper, dating each page. Then I type it into a Microsoft Word document. Call me old school.
How do you approach cover design?
As an artist with much experience in photography and computer graphics, I do my own covers in Adobe Photoshop. I employ the tried and true methods of topography and well established book cover design principles. A printed cover has more versatility with small text than an eBook cover which needs to be readable as a thumbnail image. But I prefer clarity and less is always more.
A Medical Examiner discovers that the new anti-aging wonder drug is killing people, and the monster responsible could be a scorned woman. Can Dr. Singer solve the mystery before the Black Sun Cult conspires to poison mankind?
A high school senior with a love for photography, living in the shadow of his controlling narcissistic bass master father is torn between running from the generational backwoods or facing the cult's black magic urban legend before the Creepler swamp monster massacres the nearby town of Stray Oaks killing the future of humanity.