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Friday, November 25, 2016

Cover Reveal & Guest Post: The Dragon’s Blade: Veiled Intentions by Michael R. Miller (by Michael R. Miller & Mihir Wanchoo)

The 2016 edition of SPFBO has been a revelation, not only have we gotten wonderful indie titles that span a wide gamut of characters, plots and general awesomeness. This year we have also seen some fantastic cover art. This was evident to all of us blogger judges and Mark Lawrence even held a cover face-off.

The winner of this unique cover art contest was THE DRAGON'S BLADE: THE REBORN KING by Michael R. Miller. What was also über-cool about Michael's win was that his book was the joint numero uno among the bloggers as well as the general public. All of us agreed that the cover with its spartan style and swirling colors was truly unique and the most eye-catching.

THE DRAGON'S BLADE: THE REBORN KING was also reviewed by the lovely ladies over at Bibliosanctum and while they said some lovely things about it, sadly it didn't make the 2016 finals. The review however peaked my interest and I plan to read and review later whenever time permits.

Continuing on from the success of his debut title, Michael was kind enough to include us among the cover reveal for his second book THE DRAGON’S BLADE: VEILED INTENTIONS.

So read on to find how Michael and his book designer Rachel Lawston continued their terrific partnership and combined Rachel's genius and skills with Michael's vision to come up with an better cover for the sequel. The stage is all yours Michael:

Mihir had asked me to provide some thoughts on the book cover and my collaboration with Rachel Lawston for it, with the following questions – “Could I kindly get a write up from you describing what & if you provided any instructions to Rachel for the cover? Also what were you going for with the cover and what did you think of the distinct colour pattern?”

Instruction provided to Rachel:
As with book 1, I had the chance to fill out a substantial design brief for her It included competing authors, other covers I admired or wished to emulate along with their pictures, and my own ideas for the cover. All in it was well over one thousand words long.

My initial thoughts included a scene of a decaying cityscape around the tower, however, that would have likely cluttered the cover or required custom illustration. An advantage of having an experience designer is knowing they won’t be afraid to dissuade you from certain ideas. So, after a bit of back and forth we settled on the lone tower. I was absolutely sure that a round tower with a spire would look best and linked some sample images but it was Rachel who hunted down this version. It’s a woodcut image that we manipulated further by chopping off its base and adding more levels in to suggest a great height.

What was I going for? In the brief, I wrote, “The atmosphere should be one of intrigue, mystery and subtly dark.”

The spooky lone tower has been done before but it certainly gets the job done. I looked to Sanderson’s UK cover of The Final Empire, RothfussSlow Regard of Silent Things, King’s The Dark Tower: Wizard And Glass  and Erikson’s Gardens of the Moon (the edition with a creepy tower) for inspiration.

The colours and pattern The swirling pattern was used on book one’s cover to great effect, conveying fire from the sword without having flames drawn on. We decided it could be a way to unify the design of the series while still changing the image and colours with each book. As with book one, the swirls here do relate to the world – this time a specific location we visit in the book. Blue and silver are colours connected to magic in the series, and the tower in question is the now desecrated centre for the wizards of this world: the Cascade Conclave. My wizard POV character, Brackendon, will revisit this tower and uncover some rather nasty secrets. Both the tower and the area around it are pivotal to the story of book 2 for several reasons. To say any more would be to spoil too much.

Rachel and I put a lot of thought into these covers. It took us about a month to get book 2 just right and I’m delighted with the result. I may even like it more than book 1 but it’s a close call!

Official Book Blurb: Rectar has always had his sights set on conquering the human lands. His demonic invasion of the west is gaining momentum – an unrelenting horde unhindered by food or sleep. Now, only the undermanned Splintering Isles lie between the demons and the human kingdom of Brevia. If the islands fall, the rest of Tenalp will soon follow.

The Three Races must work together if they are to survive, but they have another problem – Castallan. The traitorous wizard has raised a deadly rebellion and declared himself King of Humans. He believes himself safe in the bowels of his impenetrable Bastion fortress, but Darnuir, now King of Dragons, intends to break those walls at all cost.

To face these threats, all dragons, humans and fairies must truly unite; yet old prejudices may undermine Darnuir’s efforts once again. And as the true intentions of all are revealed, so too is a secret that may change the entire world.

Official Author Website
Order The Dragon’s Blade: The Reborn King HERE

Official Author Information: Michael is a young Scot living in London and getting stuck into writing his first epic fantasy series, The Dragon’s Blade. Book 1, The Reborn King, made the top 20 books in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off 2016. The second in the trilogy, Veiled Intentions, releases February 10th 2017. Michael is ‘that guy’ who enjoys the mad fan theories of Game of Thrones even more than the books or show, and knows more about World of Warcraft than is probably healthy.


Frank Allan said...

The cover in itself is so awesome making me want to pick this up!!!


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