Thursday, March 5, 2015

Mirrors & Mist Cover Reveal

Mirrors & Mist, Book II of The Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy releases March 15. Today, I'm revealing the cover, which I made primarily using Corel Photo Paint 9 (a 15-year-old software that works amazingly well on my Windows 7 machine). I used the same font and title layout as the Crimson & Cream cover, and tried to keep a consistent look and style between the books. Since Mirrors & Mist will be released as an e-book, the cover will be viewed primarily in thumbnail size, so I focused on large, distinct title and author font size to be readable even at small scale. Ideally, by the release of the third volume of the trilogy, I will have professionally-designed covers for all three books, but for now, I'm still flying in the face of popular wisdom and doing it myself.

Mirrors & Mist is a coming-of-age epic fantasy adventure that continues the tale of Jetsam, a runaway orphan who fled Dwim-Halloe as a fugitive, escaping both a zealous bounty hunter and a dragon-obsessed fallen knight. Now, the teenager finds himself a fledgling apprentice to the infamous wizard Seryn Vardan, the Oxbow Kingdom’s most wanted criminal. When Jetsam attempts a heroic rescue during a foray with his teacher, catastrophe strikes as Seryn is captured and slated for execution.

Jetsam vows to free Seryn from his mysterious captors before his public beheading in the city where they are both falsely accused of murder. With his canine companion, Jetsam attempts a risky homecoming by seeking aid from old friends. Can Jetsam save his beloved mentor from certain death, or will he once again be left homeless and alone with a bounty on his head?

Below is an excerpt from Mirrors & Mist that inspired the scene depicted on the cover:
Jetsam opened his eyes to darkness; the torch burned out. Curled in a ball, Tramp snored beneath the blanket, wedged between Jetsam’s shivering thighs and rumbling stomach. In his sleep, Jetsam coiled his lanky frame, mimicking the canine. 
Groggy and chilled, Jetsam unwound and sat up. He ached everywhere—especially his damp neck. His throat burned raw and his head sloshed full of snot, while the inside of his skull pounded. He sneezed and woke Tramp. The dog poked his head out from under the blanket and stretched, his front paws reaching in front of him with his bottom in the air. Jetsam scratched the terrier’s backside as he tried to clear his head. 
“Feel like dung, buddy boy.” 
Jetsam fumbled to retrieve a fresh torch. Hope that was enough rest to let me cast. With a few Elven words and a finger dance, the brand burned bright. Jetsam stood, his muscles screaming, and replaced the dead torch in the nook. He surveyed the cramped alcove. His clothes remained damp, but no longer drenched. “Must have slept longer than I thought,” he told Tramp. “Think I can cast another spell.” 
Still wrapped in a moist blanket, Jetsam focused. Foremost, the practical Seryn taught him survival spells. Jetsam concentrated, remembering the words, and moved his hands, creating a pulsing cerulean light that grew to pumpkin size. The energy gave off heat, and Tramp backed away, growling. Warmth radiated from the conjuration, heating Jetsam’s chilled flesh and damp clothes. He maintained the spell, letting the warmth spread. Beads of sweat coalesced on his brow. This’ll be the last spell I cast for a while. The warmth felt so good, he fueled the cyan sphere until he was spent. I’m sure I’ll regret that later, but sod it, I’m not shivering.

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