Category Archives: Cover Art

Mandatory Paradise Cover Art (Fitting the tone of the Book)

Not the most creative title ever, but pretty accurate.  Here is the cover art to my new book below:

Cover art is very important, as often even before a synopsis is read a prospective reader will see the cover.  If you are in a list the title and the cover is all they have, and it must catch the eye and interests of a prospective reader.  It helps if it fit’s the book tonally too, so it is not jarring to a reader if they see an epic fantasy like cover then read a story mainly focused on economics.

The cover you see is not the first draft, and it is significantly different than the first.  The first had an authentic Minoan background, but it clashed a lot with the rest of the cover, and some people thought it would repel readers.  We chose the current background you see of a Labyrinth due too it’s importance to the story, and that it gave a neutral tone so the rest of the cover would “pop” better.

Also, the stark lack of details about book plot from the cover was done like many thrillers. The intent was to give more of a feel and less of a preview of what actually occurs in the book.  The only tone aspect that is not shown in the artwork is the “flippant” (think more Terry Pratchett) tone some chapters are told in due to who the characters are.  Each chapter is written featuring specific characters, and when that is happening the “voice” of the chapter synchs with who is starring in it.  So a chapter about a priestess or a bureaucrat will be more serious than one told from a rather frivolous artist or gruff outsider.

With all of those differences there was not a way to convey this on the cover without clashing in a very “busy” manner.  I do like the details in this cover and it holds up very well when increased in size, and I may eventually make this book available for print (there was resolution issues with my last one, and I will not be able to have that book ready for print until I can resolve them).

As for other final touches, the book will come out this week, most likely Wednesday or Thursday.  There will be a blog post when it comes up.  I’m just doing one last once over and all of the involved formatting before it is released.  The Sample Chapter available at the top of this website has been altered to match the edited text of the book.

The final Synopsis has been made by the way :

Alnanla has not always enjoyed her life as a Priestess and a teacher, but she, like every citizen of the Island of Nimoa, has always had her needs met. At night she gazes up at the energy shield that keeps everyone safe from the flying monstrosities of legend, and she wants more than just to exist in her pre-ordained role. When hundreds of innocents are massacred, Alnanla finds herself to be the prime suspect. To clear her name, she teams up with a grieving Bureaucrat, an eternally optimistic Artist, a gruff Outsider and a sarcastic Spirit. As they begin to discover the details of what really happened, they find more than they bargained for. Should they expose the dark secrets they find and risk their society’s destruction? Or should  they sacrifice their lives and let the lies continue in order to preserve the way of life that has given them all peace and safety for thousands of years?

Poll Question:

Which cover do you prefer?:

A) The Fall of House Nemeni

B) Mandatory Paradise

There were aspects I liked about both covers, but due to the resolution issues I might contemplate using a different artist for the second Allmother’s Fire book than I used for the first one.  I personally like this new one more, but I am curious what my readers think.



Letting your Tapestry have Loose Threads (Foreshadowing)

One of the great techniques used to enhance a book is foreshadowing.  It easy to do wrong, such as doing it so heavy handed and obvious that there is no surprise when the eventual pay off happens because you expect it.  The other extreme is easy to accidentally do, to slip one line in the background and then not reference it again until a book or two later.  When this second thing happens some readers might not even think it was not truly planned out, but that you just randomly took something that happened and gave it significance after the fact (hint: see Lost).

I just saw “The Dark Knight Rises” and it my mind ended what I believe to be the best cinematic trilogy I have seen.  The primary reason for this is a lot of inventive foreshadowing from the earlier movies, that if it was not planned, was done so perfect that it seems so.  At the same time not all of it was expected either.  In the blog I will not directly spoil events that happened in that movie, but I will refer to techniques used (seriously, spoiler free, any examples I give illustrating points will not be from the movie but might be from my own books).

The best technique that I gleaned from the film was when hiding a plot thread that will have later significance but you do not want to make it too obvious at the time, is to have the conversation have a completely different set significance.  That way you can do something like tell a story that gives examples of how ruthless a character is.  The event’s told all point to this and focus on this.  During that story of the past however a character may be introduced as an example of an object lesson in how ruthless the antagonist is, but the seeds might be planted for that same person to come back later and be a character you have already met, without knowing the connection between the two.  The actuakl importnace of the character may also have nothing to do with the original display of ruthlessness.

Another good use to make foreshadowing have more of an affect is misdirection.  Purposely be heavy handed through something “obvious” like prophecy or even physical descriptions.  Make it so that it “must” happen a certain way and “of course” this person will grow up to be Captain.  At the same time you can plant many hints that another person could be Captain too, but “overwhelming evidence” points to the wrong person and only a second reading reveals how much the quiet young person in the corner was better suited all along, but looking at the obvious had obfuscated this.

The final technique I think I saw but did not have proof of was to purposely keep a few threads open, but not attach a reason for them yet. If you do it too often it can go back to the earlier flaw of being so obscure no one believes it was purposeful.  If only done a little bit though, such as knowing someone’s boyfriend left them under strange circumstances, or having a locket always around someone’s neck clues in the reader this is a mystery that might be important later. You do not necessarily have to even plan out what this may be, or you may have two or three ideas and he let the actual flow of the narrative dictate what is the most common sense conclusion and then use it.  No matter what letting a few loose threads fray at the end may help you weave a more beautiful tapestry later.

In case not all the announcements have made it to you I wanted let you know the results of polls and what is happening with the current books:

The second book in the Allmother’s Fire trilogy will now be called “Rise From the Sun Below.”  This book is past the one third mark, maybe around 37% complete or so for the firstfDraft.

The epic thriller fantasy novel will be called “Mandatory Paradise”.  Although sporadically edited by multiple editors in the past it is now a good 85% done through a longer very thorough editing.  The last sentence was not intended to offend any Leprechauns or their family (you know who you are).  Currently I am looking to see who I would want to do the cover Art, and plan to choose before the end of the month.

Just like I asked advice for titles, I will now get some vague advice towards the cover, to have something to give the cover artist.  This is for the Mandatory Paradise novel.

The Mandatory Paradise novel cover should be:

1)Mainly symbolic.  Although it can tie into things from the book, the cover should reinforce the name of the book.

2)An Actual scene: A specific occurrence from the book should be the focus:

3)People or Objects or Locations from the book: It does not need to be an actual scene, but it should represent physical people or objects that are unique to the book

4)A combination of these things.  If you choose this, please clarify what you mean in the comments below!

World Tid Bit:

Since my next focus (not in terms of what I am writing, but in terms of marketing and getting published) is Mandatory Paradise, I will start giving tidbits about it.  This will also help when it comes to ideas for the story description.

The book takes place on an Island named “Nimoa.”  On this island it’s inhabitants live pretty perfect lives.  Their nation houses them, gives them all the sustenance and wine they want, entertains them, and gives them roles to carry out in their lives.  They are safe, never knowing war, and rarely do the Legions even have to act against common criminals, for they are few.  Why have crime when you get everything you want anyway?

Part of why they know they are safe is because the whole island is surrounded by a mystical shield.  On the other side of the shield they can see all the monsters and myths of legends careening in the sky, and destroying the outside world.  As long as they listen to what they are told they are safe, happy and protected, right?

So what happens when a massacre occurs that makes their entire existence seem suspect?

That is the setting for Mandatory Paradise.

Cover Art Part I: The Art!

Without much further ado ladies and gentlemen : The Cover!

Book 1 Cover

I’m very pleased with it, and it is way beyond my expectations.  The interview of Tatiana, the artist, whose choice easily won my poll will occur this weekend.  I will probably be able to post that early next week, hence why today’s blog is part 1.

So while I wait for that interview I wanted to go just a little into what I liked about it so much. Originally I wanted to focus on the ship, as it was an iconic part of the book.  However when I got the first rough draft back the island so overtook the ship in terms of visual impression to me that I had her reduce the ships importance drastically.  Not to mention that the floating island showed off some of the uniqueness of the world even more than the ship does.

You will also notice two light sources, and this is due to their being the Sun Above and the Sun Below in this book, which the artist incorporated into the final version of the piece.  The font also is striking, and gives the book a slightly different feel then others, and tied into why I fell in love this with this cover.

Book status updates: both versions of the book, the kindle version and the one with my publisher are being formatted right now.  The process will probably take a little over a week for each, so I doubt I will have much news to give on either version next week, but does mean optimistically I will probably beat my July deadline of getting it published foreseeing anything major.

Before I go onto my poll I wanted to share another tidbit about the world since I have gotten to private emails about wanting to know about the Allmother (hey everyone, you can sue the polls for that too : ) ) and her church in this world.  Basically it has many similarities to the Catholic church during the Renaissance era but there are a few major differences too.  One, they worship a creator who is female and therefore the Priestesses in this church are too.  Most women except the poorest families either become priestesses or marry, so it is one of the few ways women have power in this society.  Another difference is instead of having one written book they have a collection of songs and tales told orally.  There are written versions of these tales but the primary ways they are passed on is through song in the church.  Although there are other differences the last I will bring up here is one of the main ways a woman born into poverty can have any amount of control of her life is if she is adopted as a ward of the church, and then eventually becomes a Priestess at that same church.

Now for the poll:

This is kinda meta, it’s a poll about polls.  I have noticed a drop off in the past few polls, so I wonder if people still want them.  Here are the choices.

1)Yes, polls every post please.  I just like answering polls.

2)Continue polls sometimes, but not every post needs a poll.

3)We don’t really need polls anymore.  They were fun when helping with the process and affecting how the book would turn out, but I would rather only see them if it was that level of impact again.

Also as always, the directions I take this blog depend upon what is said in the comments below!

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