A Brush with Covers, Day Four

Day four of the cover art extravaganza showcases another shift of scenery. Gone is the war, the madness of the aftermath, and more of a focus on character–specifically, Rurik and Essa, hacking their way through one of the book’s many forested landscapes. What are they looking for? Will they find it? (And after The Hollow March, why are they doing it together?) Well, you’ll just have to read to find that out, silly.


© Matthew Watts 2013.

(And if you want to keep up to date on all potential Haunted Shadows-related announcements, or simply join the discussion with other people, be sure to check out the Facebook Page yonder. Yonder I say!)

A Brush with Covers, Day Three

Day three of the cover art extravaganza: or when At Faith’s End goes to war. Whereas yesterday’s artwork captured the dread aftermath of war and pricked at the lonely and hollow qualities of what it leaves behind, today’s carries one right into the heart of it. And without giving too much away, I think I can safely say that this one is indeed a moment from the book itself–one of the more chaotic, at that. You will also notice a few of the black powder-styled weapons therein that continue to carry this series’ world a touch beyond the strictly dark ages feudalism of many other fantasies…


© Matthew Watts 2013.

(And if you want to keep up to date on all potential Haunted Shadows-related announcements, or simply join the discussion with other people, be sure to check out the Facebook Page yonder. Yonder I say!)

A Brush with Covers, Day Two

In which the second of the covers that might have been makes its appearance in rough form…This one is a haunting reminder of the war lying at the heart of the series, as well as the horror it leaves behind both in the characters, and in the world.

© Matthew Watts, 2013

© Matthew Watts, 2013

(And if you want to keep up to date on all potential Haunted Shadows-related announcements, or simply join the discussion with other people, be sure to check out the Facebook Page yonder. Yonder I say!)

A Brush with Covers

Alternative title: On the Path to Finality; Starting it Rough.

In which I play the part of a reasonably regular blogger. Don’t let it throw you for too much of a loop.

This week, the book portions of the site’s labors are being dedicated to the artistic side of the process. The cover art of At Faith’s End, I’m proud to say, has recently progressed into its final stages, thanks to the efforts of the wonderful returning artist, Matthew Watts. For those of you that read The Hollow March, he was the one that handled both the original and the second edition covers, in truly marvelous fashion.

From day one I’ve said I have been blessed to have found him as an artist. Quick, professional, and the quality, well–the quality speaks for itself! If you haven’t seen his portfolio yet (and if I haven’t made it clear already), he comes highly recommended, and I advise you to scurry off to his site as soon as possible.

That said, in honor of his efforts, every day this week I will be posting a snapshot of one of the rough drafts that paved the way (or what might have been) to the final we’ve spent recent days discussing. And with that, I give you the first…


© Matthew Watts 2013.

But Chris, you say, he gave you SEVEN different roughs to choose from? While I admire the math skills that went into that, no, actually–Matthew was kind enough (or cruel enough, depending on how you look at it–given how hard it was for me to choose which one I liked best) to provide 17 different rough covers in the first stage of our process. I’ll simply be sharing 7–and next week, talking a bit more about the process of development.

So be sure to keep tuning in: many a pretty picture awaits!

Rough Covers and Nature’s Would-be Bounties

Today is a mixed bag for me. Truly. Thus I shall put forth the week’s announcements in a bad-good-bad-good format.

There are those times sees your plans and tells you this instead.

There are those times sees your plans and tells you this instead.

Let me begin by saying this little author was supposed to be mucking it through the wild this weekend, camped along a lake shore, in a land of naught but dirt and trees and lake shore. You will surely note, in posting this, I am not actually doing that. Alas. Implosions were had. Things did not quite pan out.

At the same time, for those that might have missed my moment of squee on social media outlets earlier this week: Artwork! Which is to say, Cover Art. As in, the talented Matthew Watts has deposited a host of inspiring roughs for the cover of “At Faith’s End” in my inbox. No less than SEVENTEEN different selections to ponder. His speed and talent both continue to amaze. I can’t share at this point, lest the picking process become biased, but when I can put up a preview I shall, and in the meanwhile, BIG DECISIONS. Also: check out his blog. It is filled with wonderful artwork and you should surely commission him for more things. Or all the things. Your call.

In the meanwhile, enjoy this blatant non-sequiter of a gryphon. You shall see more of them in the novel.


Gryphon (Photo credit: Atelier Teee)

A friend and fellow writer’s heart has broken with a loss no heart, large or small, should ever have to face…and it is breaking my own to watch the shadows seep across hands so accustomed to the feverish lightness the world can bring, and darken a smile from which energy was born to spring eternal. Death never touches but the dying and the dead. It has a grievous tendency to consume the light around it.

A new page shall be opening on the blog later this weekend. It shall involve potentially helpful services for fellow writers. Keep your eyes peeled…it may well sneak up on you.

And to end on a hopeful, creative note for you all, a touch of haiku:

Scattering moonlight
the weight of the world eclipsed
in her waking smile.

Take that, Grindstone!

From At Faith’s End:

“ Fever made a crossroads of the flesh. Iron bound it down. Iron, after all, was the ages old remedy for witches’ magic. Or so the old wives claimed.

Sweat made a sheen of her olive skin, sun and stone her only companions. And the woman, hovering at the edge of it all. Charlotte could see it through her eyes, yet she had the prescience of her own sight as well. Abandonment. This was all that remained to her. Even the keep would not hold the witch now.

Clouds bled the horizon of its precious light. She sat among the rocks, watching as the distant sky lit with nature’s solemn trill.

She did not remain to listen to Usuri’s own tears fall. ”

~Charlotte, Chapter 16


Happy Valentine’s, everyone!

Question mark

Insert Fantasy visual of a Book Cover here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The above, my friends, is what people where I come from call a tease. It also happens to be an excerpt out of the second novel in The Haunted Shadows series, At Faith’s End, specifically from one of the Charlotte-centric chapters. I offer it as a means of announcement: I can now proudly say the first stage editing of the beast is nigh finished. What of it remains should be completed over the course of a very long car ride in the wee hours of the morning to come (to be explained later).

What does that mean? Editors, check your in-boxes this weekend, as I’ll be sending copies your way. You too, beta readers. Presumably, the pestering, somewhat addle-brained (but hopefully loveable?) act of a nervous writer will shortly follow. My condolences.

Final word count: 178K-ish. Another beefy entry into the fantasy genre, but it also means it’s a good deal shorter than the first, curiously enough. As in, about 20K words shorter. Let’s see if I can resist adding another scene or two into the mix once all the peer reviews or over, shall we?

(For those that need to catch up, take a look at the first book in the series: The Hollow March)

I would also like to send congratulations (they’re not really belated, because I already congratulated her on more personal notes!) over to Mrs. Emmie Mears—a fellow writer—for recently wrangling herself an agent. They can be wily and slippery devils. If you get the chance, swing by her blog and give her a round of applause yourself—and keep an eye on her. She’s going far, I tell you.

Sadly, not all the news today is good news, though. For those of you that didn’t catch my tweet on the matter, my sister-in-law’s mother passed away suddenly yesterday, after a long struggle with cancer. I’ll be driving down south in the early hours of the morning tomorrow to pay my respects and support to both my brother and sister-in-law. As such, my presence over the weekend shall likely be the barest flicker of a candle’s light, at best.

Please keep their family in your thoughts. For more information on this broad and terrible group of diseases, as well as the struggle against cancer, I encourage you to visit the website of Cancer Centers of America.