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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Cover Reveal: Tides Of Mana (Matt Larkin) by Felix Ortiz & Shawn King (by Mihir Wanchoo)

Today we have the pleasure to reveal the cover for TIDES OF MANA, Matt Larkin's newest Eschaton Cycle saga title. Featuring the amazing cover art by Felix Ortiz and design/typography by Shawn King. So here we have Matt talking about how he approached Felix and Shawn and what he wanted from this cover...


Grimdark. With mermaids. In Polynesia.

Show me that.

My notes to Felix Ortiz were a little better than this. But not much.

The Eschaton Cycle in general retells myths, legends, and fairytales as a pastiche of grimdark fantasy, historical fantasy, and classic sword and sorcery (complete with cosmic horror).

This story is a retelling of a Hawaiian myth (though it pulls in other Polynesian myths), so I needed something that would convey that vibrance, show a woman with incredible powers, and still fit the tone of what is a fairly brutal story of war and vengeance.

I knew from day one this would prove a hard cover to get just right. After all, I wanted to create something grimdark (or at least grimdark adjacent), set in one of the most vibrant, beautiful places on Earth.

Not an easy match up.

I didn’t know where to start so I actually asked fellow author Rob J. Hayes for advice, and he pointed me to Shawn King. Through Shawn’s page I saw Felix’s paintings and was blown away.

So I contacted Felix and he said, "sorry, I’m not taking clients."

Big disappointment there.

Except, two weeks later, while I’m still searching for an artist, Felix emails me back and says something opened up and asks do I still want to work together.

Yes, yes I did.

We had two basic ideas to toy with, and Felix sketched both. One involved a mermaid—that’s a major element—but Shawn and Felix agreed it might prove difficult to convey the tone with that element at the forefront. The other idea focused on Namaka, the main character, controlling the seas and whipping them into a frenzy.

Obviously, this one grew into the current cover, with which I’m amazingly pleased.

We did some more back and forth to get the clothing just right, and Felix tweaked a few things, but, by and large, the cover remained true to his early sketch.

I gave him a tall order and Felix blew away all my expectations. Check it out in all its glory below...


Official Felix Ortiz Website (cover artist)
Official Shawn King Website (cover designer)

Official Book Blurb - She controls the seas.

Her sister controls the flames.

Together, they rule as god-queens over their island nation. No mortal army can stand against their power.

But what happens when civil war erupts between these goddesses?

Namaka turns the fury of the sea on her sister, wreaking untold devastation on the land and under the sea, earning the ire of the mer kingdoms. Their answer: turn Namaka into one of them. Possessed by a mermaid spirit, she is drawn into battles in their alien world.

How will she survive a war not only with her sister, but with a rival mer nation?

You’ll love this gritty dark fantasy that unfolds across tropical islands and undersea realms laced with hidden savagery.

TIDES OF MANA will be released in February


Official Author Website

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Matt Larkin writes retellings of mythology as dark, gritty fantasy. His passions of myths, philosophy, and history inform his series. He strives to combine gut-wrenching action with thought-provoking ideas and culturally resonant stories. As M.A. Larkin he also writes space opera. At present he has more than 20 novels in print and hopes to continue writing until the end of time. Matt lives in Florida with his wife and daughter.

NOTE: Mermaid art courtesy of Vikasa Yoga.

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