Guest Post: How Novels Can Stand Out

Welcome to the iReads Book Tour for Copper Waters by Marlene M. Bell. With a Guest Post on How Novels Can Stand Out + A Special Giveaway!

  • Title: Copper Waters – A New Zealand Mystery
  • Author: Marlene M. Bell
  • Series: Annalisse Series Book 4
  • Genre: Mystery-Suspense
  • Publisher: Ewephoric Publishing


Annalisse Drury and Alec Zavos find themselves on opposing sides when an ex-lover from Alec’s past introduces him to his alleged son. With Alec distracted and their future engagement in limbo, Annalisse accepts a key to her dream cottage—situated on a picturesque sheep station on South Island, New Zealand—only this time, she travels alone.

But not long after her arrival she’s confronted by two peculiar deaths—either accidental, or the deliberate acts of a psychopath.

Local investigators are closing the cases too quickly and want Annalisse to exit the country before she reveals the town’s darkest secrets.

Will she return to Alec, or sacrifice their future together to expose it all?

How my novels stand out in a crowded arena

Having a writer’s work stand out among so many published books is a dilemma for authors. We all have different writer’s voices and certainly, this helps. So does meticulous editing. The trick to selling books on a larger scale is coming up with a comfortable style that satisfies not only the author but the reader as well.

My first published work (no longer in print,) is a good example of early experimentation where I’d combined a nonfiction memoir/journal with a how-to-book for raising sheep. The writing situations presented were fun, but the combination was a poor attempt at mixing genres. It wasn’t until I began my long trek into writing fiction that I learned through a book series what appeals to my readers most. Book reviewers will advise you what they like and dislike for free! Ignore them at your own risk. Objective criticism is sunlight on a finished project.

To have books stand out among the rest: Be certain the editor(s) is a good fit for your writing style. I had totally researched my ten early copyeditor candidates who’d offered their sample edited pages. Upon reflection, I learned after the first series book went to print, my chosen editor had sliced the finished work more severely than her sample edit portrayed. She’d rewritten my prose in her own abbreviated style which seemed acceptable for a newbie like me at the time. I’d allowed her to accept all rewritten changes in my manuscript, and sadly, the story became her vision, not mine. 

After a year of critical comments on the first book, I realized that I’d settled on the wrong final copy editor. My new choppy writer’s voice needed smoothing out—and added details in complete sentences, according to reviews. I reread the published book again, and in 2022, I updated Stolen Obsession adding three thousand words to the original manuscript.

Today, my books are written in a punchy, conversational style to move the story forward quickly with common language. Novels that require a reader to pack around a dictionary can take them temporarily out of the story, so I avoid that with shorter sentences written in simple English. 

In conclusion, my novel series is geared to a domestic US audience, having tested readers in other countries where it seems they prefer a slower pace and deeper description in third-person narrative. I’m a rule-breaker, too. I love adjectives because some situations require more descriptors! Readers expect sensorial pictures in their minds such as sights, smells, and tastes to immerse them in each scene, and I use the senses whenever possible. My favorite sensory details are describing smells. (Around dead bodies, what could go wrong?)    

About Marlene M. Bell

Marlene M. Bell is an eclectic mystery writer, artist, photographer, and she raises sheep in beautiful East Texas with her husband, Gregg, three cats and a flock of horned Dorset sheep.

The Annalisse series has received numerous honors including the Independent Press Award for Best Mystery (Spent Identity,) and FAPA— Florida Author’s President’s Gold Award for two other installments, (Stolen Obsession and Scattered Legacy.) Her mysteries with a touch of romance are found at She also offers the first of her children’s picture books, Mia and Nattie: One Great Team! Based on true events from the Bell’s ranch. The simple text and illustrations are a touching tribute of compassion and love between a little girl and her lamb.

connect with the Author:  
website ~ website ~ twitter ~ facebook instagram ~ goodreads

Other Books in the Annalisse Series

Click on each book to learn more:


COPPER WATERS Book Tour Giveaway
Share your love


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *