Sunday, 13 April 2014

The King's Ward - Covers


The king's Ward has been in edit for a while and is now ready to go. Covers have also taken a while, but I'm getting some nice results now from Keith Draws, who I am very happy ot have as artist for the cover art. We've been throwing ideas back and forth and I thought you might like to see a couple of versions. I think we are pretty much there.

I love this one; the central figures are exactly what I had in mind. Keith is a genius. But I thought the image in the mirror might be a bit too SF for an Urban Fantasy novel.

This is the scene the reflected image is based on, so you can see it isn't really quite there...

# Calista #

The furious scream made me jump and gasp as I lifted my hands to cover my ears.
“What?” Matholwch looked up, “Now? Dammit,” he glanced at me, appraising. “Well it has to be some time, I suppose. There's no escaping it. Go look, then,” he said, “while I deal with this challenge. I'll find you when I'm done, never fear,” he smiled and winked, then rose powerfully into the air, Gáe Bulg appearing in his hand.
I watched him only for a moment, catching a glimpse of a dark cloud bearing two figures as it rapidly descended, then I stepped through the open doorway of the Keep. I knew I had to find the King's Ward for him, and I knew I could not resist. But I knew it was not here, and commanded to find it, I could also flee from him, pass through the gate back into the outside world.
If I could find the gate.
The room within the tower lay bare before me. There was only one feature. Broad steps that lead straight down, so down them I went.
But slowly. My mind and body were bruised and battered and pained me. The steps seemed endless and steep and if I fell I would roll and bounce forever on the hard stone steps. I touched one palm to the cold, rough wall and took one step at a time, my knees threatening to give way and my legs shaky and weak.
I kept my eyes down at my feet and concentrated on each step. One at a time, each with care. Slowly the light changed but it was not until I was at the very bottom, the intricate mosaic floor of a corridor stretched out before me and the pale green light surrounding me, that I looked up. And gasped.
The Keep under the Lake, Abarta had called it, but he could have called it the Castle of Glass and would have conveyed the truth better. In fact, it was both. The walls and ceilings were glass. The clear waters of the lake surrounded me, the lake bottom just beyond the walls, sand and rock, kelp and fish, clearly visible. Not so far away, a room with tables and chairs just visible through clear glass walls. I turned this way and that in wonder. Many rooms hung above and around me at varying depths and distance. Stairs and corridors and rooms were all picked out by their opaque floors, and sometimes walls, of colored glass. Wall hangings obscured some, and many were translucent, like the nearest room, furniture seeming suspended in water.
Magic lights, like I had seen in the hall of Gwalchmi's keep, brightened every room so that even where the room was distant and particles suspended in the water would have made them invisible, I could still see the suspended room as a brightly colored gem suspended in the murk of distant water.
It was breathtaking and I stood for several seconds, alone in the corridor, simply gazing about me, picking out detail after detail, following schools of fish, watching kelp shift with unseen currents, gazing at a bright blue hall as big as Gwalchmi's hall where shields and weapons hung on the walls about a great table and a hundred chairs.
High above, at the surface, light flashed here and there and I was reminded that Matholwch was nor far away and that above me in the land intelligent horses fought for their lives against monsters from other lands. And I was not here as a tourist, but a deeply involved though unwilling participant.

This is where we are now. I have to say, I like it fine, but the harsh highlights on the face of the girl reflected just bother me. The window, of course, has to be there. It's Urban Fantasy and takes place partly in another world.
Release is literally any day soon - could be tomorrow.

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