Interview by Mark A. King

Mark asked me some fun questions about Mage and Source and other various topics over on his blog. Read the full interview here: https://makingfiction.com/2017/07/23/mage-and-source/. Yu’ll get to see a few images ideas for Gante, as well as my soundtrack pics for the book’s opening scene.

Enjoy!

 

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Fan Art Friday: Week 2

I’ve finally found a regular blog feature that I love doing. It’s FAN ART FRIDAY!

In fact, I was so excited about FAN ART FRIDAY that I completely forgot that my book release is today, too. Yep, today is Mage and Source‘s book day! So before I get into the fun of fan art, have a look at Mage and Source over at Amazon, and order your ebook or print version today!

Get Mage and Source here!

Thank you!

Also, all three earlier books are now only $.99!

Ok, now onto the main course, FAN ART covers for awesome indie books.

This week I have two polar opposites as my fan art exemplars, and it’s the fact that they’re entirely different from one another that brought me to present them together. One is a stark black-and-white graphic style, the other is sparkly, colorful, and cinemaplex-bright.

For your viewing pleasure, this week I have covers for Metropolitan Dreams, a New Weird novel by Mark A. King, and for Hex Breaker, a YA-fantasy by Taryn Noelle Kloeden.

How did I end up with two such opposite projects? Well, one of my goals in making my fan art is to represent the book as I see it–and as differently as I can from the real cover. Mark’s original cover by Tamara Rogers was a lush, cinematic extravaganza of color and delight. So I decided to make him a stark black-and-white cover image that still captured one of the elements I loved about his book: the play of dualities and polarities in his themes and images. Here’s what I came up with:

metdreams

Mark’s book is set in London, and so I made this silhouette image of St. Paul’s Cathedral, which has a cameo in the book, and then reflected it to suggest at those dualities that are so central in his story (light/dark, above/below, past/future). The central “railroad” that separates the text also has something to do with the story, but you’ll have to go read the book to find out what!

Up next, Taryn’s real Hex Breaker cover is a restrained, grown-up, greyscale illustration, so I decided to make her a bright, colorful, teenage-movie-poster-style cover mishmash similar to Tamara Shoemaker’s original  covers for her YA Fantasy series. I also wanted to experiment with text effects, namely beveling and embossing.

Here’s my Hex Breaker fan art:

HB1

I ended up only keeping a very light bevel on the text. Some of you with sharp eyes may see that I re-used the nebula image from some of last week’s fan art here, too.

So, two covers, two completely different directions. Which style do you like best? Graphic black-and-white or bold bright color?

 

 

Fan Art Friday

This week I’ve spent some time making use of my new Photoshop subscription, experimenting with images to make faux/alternate book covers for some of my friends’ books. It’s been so fun I’ve decided to try to do it as a feature for the next few weeks.

So, welcome to FAN ART FRIDAY!

First off, we have the image that began it all, for Allison K. García’s Vivir El Dream.  This idea for this image came into my head on Wednesday while I was walking to meet my carpool, and I couldn’t get it out until I made it!

vivir3

 

Then I made a set of three covers for Tamara Shoemaker’s Heart of a Dragon series. A lot of YA-fantasy books have two sets of covers, one set a big, bold, colorful free-for-all that is eye-catching and directed towards the younger readers, and another that is discreet and elegant, for the grown-ups who still love to read YA-fantasy (guilty here). These are my take on the “grown-ups-can-read-these-at-the-airport” version of Tamara’s titles.

KTF1

etf1

uti

I hope you enjoyed this episode of FAN ART FRIDAY. I’ve already started two covers for next week.

Image credits:

“Take me to the zombies” CC 2.0 by Esparta Palma
“The Hungry Mexican Restaurant on Bolton Street” CC 2.0 by William Murphy
“Carina Nebula” public domain
“American Flag background” public domain
“Nightfall of London” CC 2.0 by H. Michael Miley
“Fire (III)” CC 2.0 by H.P. Brinkman
“Fire! Fire!” CC 2.0 by Michael Mol

Dragon pendant image by freeimages.com/profile/ladraco

Goals: July 2017

Last month’s goals were:

  1. MAGE & SOURCE Final read through! CHECK-I’m currently waiting for the print proof to arrive in the mail.
  2. Prep LIGHT & SHADOW and THE EIGHTH OCTAVE and send to readers.CHECK-I’ll be sending L& S out to its first reader on Tuesday. 
  3. Formatting jobs CHECK-I formatted 5 books this month.
  4. BEGIN Tales of Blood & Light BOOK SIX revision. CHECK-I got through this, now I need to finish writing the book’s conclusion!
  5. Promote Mage & Source pre-order.  Check-did the requisite social media posts and some blog posts.

 

July Goals:

  1. PUBLISH MAGE & SOURCE The official date is July 21, 2017. You can pre-order here.
  2. WRITE Daughter of Fortune ending.
  3. WRITE something else-I’m going to get out one of my half-finished manuscripts and try to make some progress.
  4. CONTINUE to Promote Mage & Source pre-orderIf it isn’t on the list, it won’t get done.

Maps

I drew a map of Galantia, the High City, to include in Mage and Source. I think it will go well with the two other maps, one of Lethemia and one of the East, drawn by my friend Jermey Jensen (see his maps below, labeled “Lethemia” and “The East”).

All the maps are hand-drawn.

I also drew a map of Solmari (last map), another fantasy world that I co-wrote with Tamara Shoemaker (that book is called The Eighth Octave). Tamara and I are currently tweet pitching The Eighth Octave in various forums over on Twitter.

galantiamap2 copy

LethemiaMap

THeEastSterling copy

solmari copy

Behind the Cover

I’ve never been one for following rote advice or rules. Like Laith, one of the narrators of Mage and Source, “Emily does what Emily wants,” and in the case of my Tales of Blood & Light covers, Emily wanted to make them herself, so she did, against the advice of just about everybody, everywhere.

That said, I’ve learned a lot by going the independent route (as usual), and I certainly beefed up my Photoshop skills, which were a bit rusty after a stint many years ago as a photo doctor in a psych lab in college. (Side note: back then I was editing images of Breyer horses and yearbook pictures for a study on prosopagnosia, the inability to recognize faces, in case you were curious.)

I always enjoy learning by doing, and working on my own covers has allowed me to do that.

While my favorite cover thus far is Sterling’s–all the pieces just fit together so well to get a striking image–there is a big “darling” in the Mage and Source cover that I wanted to share because I love it so much.

Here’s the Mage and Source cover:

ms

Take special note of the interesting background colors and textures, the iridescent greens, blues, and violets. Those colors came from an image of a very specific thing. Can you guess what?

In the series thus far, each cover’s dominant color has represented the aetherlight color of the narrator. In Mage and Source, I have two narrators, and thus I needed to represent two colors on the cover, neither completely overpowering the other.

I am a relentless hunter of interesting public domain images, and I finally found one that I thought would serve as a good background image for Laith and Elena’s colors. It was this one:

14917895643_1b73be9a4f_o

from the USGA Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab’s Flickr stream. Government science images make my nerdy heart happy.

This is an image of a bee’s wing. Specifically, it is the wing of a female Xylocopa carpenter bee from Thailand. It was so cool I had to use it on my cover!

The rest of the images were sourced from more mundane stock photograph sites. The bird of paradise flower image in the center represents a fictional night queen bloom.

You’ll have to read the book to see how the night queen bloom and the bee’s wings relate to the story!

You can pre-order Mage and Source here.

Add it on Goodreads here.