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Posts Tagged ‘Tower in the Mist’

Here it is — the cover you all helped me fine-tune! The Tower in the Mist is getting closer to its publication date, on May 1st. There’s even a pre-order link if you are so inclined.

Mages vs. Warriors vs. Giant Badger vs. Tyranny! Zathi’s job is to capture renegade mages, but Keilos isn’t like any other mage she’s dealt with. Her drive to bring him in only leads them deeper into a cursed forest. Together, warrior and mage will face deadly beasts and grapple with decisions that compromise every principle. Until they stumble upon a place of ancient, forgotten magic. Zathi must choose — allow Keilos to claim it, or kill him once and for all.

Next step? I need to set up publicity and blog visits, and so I once again call on you friends for help. Some of you will soon receive e-mails asking about a visit to your blog, but I’d also love any ideas you have about other blogs I could approach. All suggestions are welcome.

I hope you’re all as excited as I am to visit the deep, dark Hornwood. Here’s that pre-order link again.


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Thanks so much to everyone who commented on my cover choices! I’m pretty much settled on Option 1, with perhaps the subtitles moved around.

This brings me to the cover copy, and here’s what I have so far: “As a hunter-guard, it’s Zathi’s job to capture renegade mages, but Keilos isn’t like any other mage she’s dealt with. Her drive to bring him in only leads them deeper into the accursed Hornwood. Together, warrior and mage will battle deadly beasts and face decisions that compromise every principle. Until they stumble upon a place of ancient, forgotten power. Zathi must choose — allow Keilos to claim it, or kill him once and for all.”

This description packs a lot in, but it may go on too long. My question, bluntly put: would you want to read this book? If not, what would tip the balance? As ever, I look forward to your advice.

One of you sharp-eyed readers also noticed that I’m still trying out variations on the series title. The gist is that these people live in a world after the evil overlord, Dar-Gothull, has triumphed. The mages are trying to bring back hope, and this makes them renegades.

Their powers are based around light, hence I’ve been calling them Light-Bringers, but that title has already been used for a couple of recent series. They travel in disguise as a troupe of minstrels. The name of their land is Skaythe. They spend a lot of time in a dark forest called the Hornwood. So I’m boiling it down to Minstrels of Skaythe or Minstrels of the Light.

What do you think? I really like Minstrels of Light, but I have a hunch it’s already been used by a Christian band somewhere. I also like The Hornwood Series, but I understand there is a Hornwood character in Game of Thrones, and I don’t want to create confusion. More searching to follow…


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Option 1

Here I am with a couple of fairly firm concepts for the cover of The Tower in the Mist. I’d love to hear what you think!

Which font style do you like better? Which color works with the art? Should the sub-headers be placed somewhere else?

I really appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

Option 2

In other news, I’m being interviewed! Dave Koster has invited me to visit his blog, On Writing Dragons. I get these invitations from time to time, and it’s always a ton of fun. It should go live within the next weeks, so watch this space for a link to that.


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I mentioned that I’m searching for key words and phrases in The Tower in the Mist and The Bitternut Grove. I was thinking of using something like “light bearers” or “light bringers” as a series title, but it turns out there’s some folklore there. Who knew that Lucifer (a.k.a. Satan) is sometimes called a “light bringer?” Doesn’t that seem like the opposite?

Anyway, those have both already been used. In fact, “Light Bringers” or “lightbringers” has been used a couple of times. So that’s still in progress. I may just call it the “Skaythe” series, after the setting, and leave it at that.

Mostly, I’ve been working on my cover layout using Canva. I usually make between three and five designs, to try and find the perfect image. The Tower in the Mist will be the first of a series, so I hope to come up with something that will readily be adapted. Then each e-book will look like part of a whole.

I’m finding a limitation with Canva, though. I can’t seem to make those really big, dimensional titles that will pop from the cover. I’d love any advice you have about other programs that can make that big title for me. Something I can save and then upload to Canva would be perfect.

Thanks for all your ideas, and thanks for reading my blog!


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As I type this, I’m beginning the preliminary process for publishing my novella, The Tower in the Mist. My plan is to get it out by early May. I have a month to put it together, more or less.

Step One will be to design the cover. After much eye strain, I’ve picked the art I want for both this and The Bitternut Grove. In spare moments, I’m browsing the fantasy category on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble to see what kind of cover layouts are popular right now. This should give me ideas as I begin playing with layouts on Canva.

Step Two is to search for unique words and names. It would be awful if one of my titles had already been used! So far I’ve found a book called Towers in the Mist from 1938, and a D&D module from the ’80s. I feel confident there won’t be confusion between these books and mine, so The Tower in the Mist can keep its name.

Unfortunately, The Bitternut Grove may be in trouble. Although I created a fictional bitternut tree for my novella, it turns out there’s a real-world bitternut tree related to pecan and hickory trees. I need to research them. If I can’t say, “yeah, those are my trees,” then I will have to call my trees something else. This would require renaming the book, as well. Win some, lose some, I suppose.

Step Three will be to come up with catchy slogans, tag lines, and gripping cover copy. This novella is complex, and the description will take some boiling-down. At the same time I’m working on Step Four, which is the final revision. I’m hoping these revisions will help me focus my cover copy. Maybe I’ll try out a few ideas here, and see what you all think!


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Today I’m sharing an excerpt from my forthcoming fantasy novella, The Tower in the Mist. It introduces one of the most unique dragons I have ever written: the drakanox!

While writing this blog for almost seven years, I’ve learned about many dragons with different powers and traditions. One of the most interesting facets has been that some ancient dragons relied on poison rather than fiery breath. Fafnir, in particular, was so poisonous that he created an invisible cloud of lingering poison that killed everything within miles of his lair. In creating the drakanox, I pushed that concept even farther.

For your reference, Zathi and her squad of hunter-guards serve the evil mage, Dar-Gothull. They have captured a renegade mage, Ar-Keilos, and are marching him toward a fatal confrontation with their master. They have encountered a few obstacles…


Zathi didn’t like how the vegetation glistened with moisture all around them. This heavy mist had too much texture and it carried a faint, bitter odor. Jaxynne had asked if they should turn back. Zathi wanted that more than she cared to admit, but she held strong.

“No. We keep going.”

They needed the second ox, had to follow it no matter how far. That, or the day was wasted and everyone pushed the wagon. Between her legs, Spark was calm. He would have been acting up if he smelled something amiss. Zathi held to that for reassurance.

Still, the fog bothered her enough that a call from the back of the line was almost welcome.

“Zathi..?”

Of course, it would have to be the mage. She turned Spark to see Ar-Keilos brushing past Keerin on Ember. Thersa stormed up behind him.

“Hey!” The guardswoman grabbed for his elbow. He deftly avoided her.

“I’m not running off.” Concern tightened his features. “Zathi —”

“I’ve told you not to call me by name.”

His shoulders sagged momentarily. “What, then? I’m not under your command.” Then he waved vigorously, as if shooing a fly. “Ugh, it doesn’t matter. We have to get out of here.”

“You’ll call me sergeant, and why should I listen to you?”

“Because it isn’t fog. Watch this.”

Ar-Keilos snatched a stick from the ground and poked at a cluster of needles on a low-hanging branch. Accumulating moisture weighted the branch down. As they watched, liquid rolled loose, but it didn’t spatter. Instead, it dribbled along the stick in viscous strands, almost like mucus from a runny nose.

“What the,” Razzet muttered from the rear, and Giniver said, “That’s not normal.”

The mage tossed the stick and waited, forcing Zathi to ask the question. “What is it, then?”

“We’re inside a drakanox.” His lack of smugness was almost more alarming than a smirk would have been.

“Bullshit. That’s just a story,” Zathi snapped. Her guardswomen were listening, gauging her reaction. The mage shook his head slowly.

“It’s real. Dar-Gothull used it to bring down Seofan Holl. I know you’re heard of the battle there. You might not have heard that the drakanox got away from him afterward.”

“Nothing gets away from Dar-Gotholl,” Thersa answered stiffly.

“It can turn into mist,” he answered patiently. “How would anybody cage it?”

There was a brief silence. The mage went on, “We minstrels heard that the drakanox is so poisonous that even when it turns to mist, the mist is deadly. At Seofan Holl their arms corroded and the buildings crumbled. It killed every living thing in the Seofan Valley and when it was sated, it turned into a river of fog and went into the Hornwood. They say it wanted to sleep. Or maybe to spawn.”

“Spawn?” Giniver wrinkled her nose with disgust.

“Dar-Gothull wouldn’t let go of a weapon like that,” Keerin objected.

“It was his. He created it,” Jaxynne added.

Zathi nodded. This was part of Dar-Gothull’s legend, a measure of his power and cunning that he brought such a monster into being. Vanquishing Seofan Holl had all but cemented his conquest of Aerde.

“He didn’t actually create it,” the mage rebutted gently. “There were tales of the drakanox long before his rise to power. Dar-Gothull simply made a bargain with the drakanox to fight on his side. Also, he wasn’t at Seofan during the battle or he would have been killed, too.”

“A bargain? You know nothing of Dar-Gothull,” Thersa hissed.

“All the tales agree, Dar-Gothull was in Dakadoz when the drakanox attacked Seofan,” the mage said. “He wasn’t there to stop it leaving, or extend their bargain, or whatever you believe the relationship was.” Again he waved his hand to dismiss the unimportant. “The fact remains, we’re inside the drakanox. We shouldn’t linger.”

The cold weight of decision settled onto Zathi’s shoulders. Ar-Keilos appeared sincere in his concern. Not surprising, since he would share whatever fate they encountered. Yet she didn’t want to take advice from a mage. Despite the appearance, he could be manipulating them.

Still, it seemed she had been right to bring him along. Being right… was a curse.


Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

 

 

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