Writer's Notes

Okay, I didn’t win but this is good…

By Thonie Hevron

BY FORCE OR FEAR cover-first e-book in a series of three featuring Nick and Meredith from Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.
BY FORCE OR FEAR cover: first e-book in a series of three featuring Nick and Meredith from Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.

Back in May 2013, I submitted BY FORCE OR FEAR to The Writer’s Digest Annual Self-published e-Book Awards. Okay, I didn’t win. I didn’t even place but I was so very encouraged by what the judge wrote as a commentary that I had to share! Another shout-out to my fabulous editor, Billie Payton-Settles! Thanks!!

Writer’s Digest Annual Self-Published e-Book Awards


Entry Title: By Force or Fear

Author: Thonie Hevron

Judge Number: 2

Entry Category: Fiction
Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”. “0” indicates not applicable. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect ranking.


Structure and Organization: 4

Grammar: 4

Production Quality and Cover Design: 4

Plot (if applicable): 4

Character Development (if applicable): 4

Judges Commentary*:


The author has a strong skill when it comes to scene setting.  I love the Sonoma setting for this thriller novel.  Strong female lead and nice procedural research add to a strong plot and clever conflict throughout.  I particularly like the way that the author uses short chapters to keep the tension level high and the pages turning.

The cover is intriguing and while the blurb leaves a little to be desired, the story comes through in the end.

Nice mix of narrative and dialogue and the dialogue was realistic.  My only recommendation is that you take a look at the use of acronyms.  Be sure the reader knows what you’re referring to here.  I know that most readers are educated when it comes to these terms (DOA, DA, etc.) due to all the cop and forensics shows on these days.  But, be sure that you don’t assume the readers knowledge here.

In fact, it was hard to find problems on the editorial side.  I believe this book has been professionally editing and that is a refreshing find.  I would recommend another look at this on the formatting side of things.  There are quite a few extra spaces throughout and when the chapters begin at the bottom or middle of the page it can be disorienting.

–Judge, Writer’s Digest Self-Published e-Book Awards


By Thonie Hevron

Mysteries to keep you reading through the night.

14 replies on “Okay, I didn’t win but this is good…”

Awesome. Keep going Thonie,

I’m so glad you are keeping up after publication. I think this long road of staying in the writing and publishing business is a real challenge and admire you for doing it. I hope to follow your example – SOON!

BTW – My blog has left the track of being all about animal welfare and dogs. Today, I wrote about good and bad quirky stuff I do.

Great job, Thonie. Keep writing. I’m planning to send a couple of entries to that contest this year for the first time. I’m encouraged by the specificity of the critique you received.

Welcome to Thonie's world!

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