So I’ve already gotten a lot of positive feedback on the cover… A LOT OF POSITIVE FEEDBACK! I hope the interior lives up to it!
I usually wait a week or so before I do a cover credit piece, but I can’t resist, especially since so many people were instrumental in making this a reality.
So let’s start off with why we went with such a drastically different design from the past. Well to begin, I’ve been looking around at many different covers to get a feel of what sells recently. So I got into a book known as the Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan. Which is a great book that all of my readers should definitely look into. (After Damnation of course 😉 )
So I went to the creative genius who worked on my previous covers and asked him about things like the above image. It was at this point he informed me about photo realism and that it would most likely be out of scope for him. However he informed me that if I had a photo, he could incorporate that into the cover.
Well… that blew that idea out of the water completely. Admittedly, I didn’t know anyone who looked like the character. I had drawn concept images of what she should look like and no one I knew came close… or so I thought. Recently, an old hometown friend of mine, Rick Chandler, had been doing a lot of really awesome photography. One set of images he’d done looked really awesome. I told him on his page that I thought they were absolutely incredible. The model, Nicole Hailer, sent me a friend request as a result. At that point my Facebook news-feed was filled with other photo-shoots that she’d done and I have to admit, I became a fan of her work.
Back to the present day. I had all but abandoned the idea when I saw one of Nicole’s photos on my news feed:
At that moment I brought up the concept images that I had done for comparison:
Any closer and one might think that I had based the character on her. The likeliness was uncanny. Excited, I immediately asked her if she was interested in doing the cover. She quite enthusiastically said yes. At that point, I recruited Rick to do the shoot and within a few weeks, I had my image:
A lot of people worked very hard on making the image of General Xaphan come to life, and I will be thanking each of them below…
It seemed as though luck was not finished with me… not by a long shot. My cover artist, Brett Warniers had finished up his other projects and was available to do the piece. The first order of business was adding wings to the piece which required a lot of work and detail to pull off. Each feather had to be individually done.
With a little modification to the necklace to make it more story-appropriate, a little fading of the skin, and shadowing around the wings, we were ready to move on to the background.
The story takes place in 16th Century Europe around the time of the Italian Wars. One pivotal point was at the battle of Gavinana. So it was decided that we would use that area as the background.
Brett worked hard on the animation and even went so far as to create the individual soldiers and hand draw the historically correct uniforms for the time period… The rest speaks for itself.
A lot of hard work by some very talented artists went into this. I myself spent years working on the story, but the cover will be the first item that catches everyone’s’ eyes and I would be extremely remiss if I did not acknowledge those people. I’m also including their contact information. Should any of my readers like what they’ve seen and wish to employ them or purchase their works, I would encourage you to reach out. They are all very friendly and very approachable.
Brett Warniers, you all already know. He’s the creative genius behind the covers for Gravestalker, Divinity, and Damnation. He works really well with 3-D Animation and has a real knack for Gothic architecture. Depending on his workload, he does take on freelance assignments. Please feel free to visit his site and view his work:
Nicole Hailer, whom I now refer to as ‘general’ is the model who posed for the cover and is a dead ringer for the character herself. She is very beautiful and talented and, based not only on this cover, but also from her other work that I’ve seen, an incredible model:
Rick Chandler I’ve known for many years. We grew up in the same town and I can honestly say that people of his talents are rare to find. In addition to his unique photography work, he’s a movie maker, and a fellow writer. He has yet to create his own page, though I sincerely hope he does in the near future, but this is his Facebook page where he conducts most of his photography business:
Sam Woods of Samantha Woods Hair and Makeup Artistry did an incredible job giving General Xaphan (Nicole) a battle-worn look. I could not believe how well it came out. You could actually believe, based on the face alone that the character in this image had seen her fair share of battles. Her incredible work added a level of realism to the character that I hadn’t thought possible. Unfortunately, neither her artistry nor her project line, Horrorwood SFX have their own site, but I’ve included her Facebook page below:
Jenny French is the designer who created the sleek and functional, but still sexy outfit that allowed Xaphan to maneuver so well. I’ve checked out the Jenny French Collection’s Facebook page (listed below) and I have to say that I’m impressed. There is a wide range of designs here that is usually unseen. Everything from the sleek and elegant to the dark and Gothic. I highly recommend checking her out:
Nathan Prescott I admit I have not worked with directly, but he is the hair stylist behind Xaphan’s look.The hair complimented the war-torn look on her face extremely well. He is a freelance hair stylist and I highly recommend looking him up. His Facebook page is included below:
Jacqueline Ortega of Ortega Jewelry Designs provided the Jewelry that served as Xaphan’s shoulder and wrist armor. The designs are beautiful, elegant, while at the same time, tough and solid. When I first saw these, I was very impressed and thought they worked very well in an image of a warrior. The necklace had to be modified to fit the story more appropriately, but even that in its original form was incredible. Their Facebook page is included below. I strongly urge everyone to check them out:
As I said before, there is a lot of talent here and my personal thanks go out to each of them for all their hard work on making this project a reality!
Readers, I hope you enjoy this literary work as much as we did creating it! Thanks Friends!
Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.
I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.
Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:
Catch you on the flip side!