Here is the revelation (reveal?) that I promised: a new look for the Shattered Realms series.
As long-time readers know, I've been exceedingly lucky with my cover designs, through three series and two different publishers. I can't take the credit for the outside -- I paint my pictures with words on the inside. Fortunately, my publishers have always included me in the design process, where my role is not to micromanage what genius designers and illustrators do, but to identify mismatches between cover and story that will bring me a slew of emails.
So when HarperTeen proposed changing the cover look for the Shattered Realms to one that was more character-focused than iconic, I knew it presented opportunities and pitfalls. It might attract a new audience, but there's a certain amount of risk in setting aside an established brand. The iconic covers allow readers to create characters in their own image. If you are a fantasy fan of any age or gender, it sends the message: this might be for you.
On the other hand, keeping that brand for three series causes confusion for the reader. After all, the books involve different characters and settings (contemporary Ohio and the Seven Realms) and there are only so many variations on one basic design. Many readers are looking for a character to align with--how cool if the process begins with the cover!
I'm pleased that the first covers feature two of my favorite kick-ass female characters--Jenna Bandelow and Alyssa ana'Raisa. First, I sent descriptions of those characters taken from Flamecaster and Shadowcaster to designers Erin Fitzsimmons and Amy Ryan at Harper. They worked with the illustrator, Alessandro Taini to develop the concept. I love the way Talexi gave these characters a super heroine, graphic novel feel.
After several revisions, I think they've nailed it. I hope you agree!
Here's the hardback and paperback covers of Flamecaster. The refreshed cover features Jenna Bandelow, a saboteur and demolitions expert who loves to blow things up.
And the ARC and final hardback cover for Shadowcaster. The refreshed cover features Alyssa ana'Raisa, a seasoned soldier and the heir to the Gray Wolf Throne (think shield maiden of the north,)
We're already at work on the design for the cover for the third book in the series, Stormcaster.