Monday, September 28, 2015

The Amberlight Covers - changing times

As mentioned on the "Latest News" sidebar, I've recently signed a contract with Wildside Press to issue new editions, primarily e-books, of the first three Amberlight books, Amberlight itself, Riversend and Source.
The fourth book, Dragonfly, will be coming out after numerous dramas - though not with Wildside - for the very first time.

After the sturm und drang of negotiating a contract, and before the greater sturm und drang - in my case, after some bad experiences - of having the mss edited and prepared for actual release, comes the exciting if sometimes stressful part of Getting the Cover Organised.
For this edition, Tim Lantz, who did the illustration for the original print edition of Amberlight, has given me re-use rights. The first time I laid eyes on this cover, I was ecstatic.

Not just because it was a gorgeous image in its own right, but because for once, the cover artist's impression of the character matched or was even better than my own internal vision of her (or him.)

So, time passed, Juno Books brought out Riversend, the first sequel, then changed the shape of the line, and left my series "orphaned" as they call it, with the third book written but nowhere to send it.

Luckily, another publisher heard about the Juno orphans, and sent me a query, and I was very happy when they brought out the third book, Source, though the cover, that time, didn't have quite the charge of the Amberlight one.

Never mind, the book came out, and in due course passed on its way, and in the meantime, I had found myself, to my protesting disbelief, landed with the idea for a third sequel.  More alarming, it was going to be a next-gen sequel, a quirk I usually either regard with extreme caution, or detest.
Made no difference. Them Back There in the writing crew wanted the next instalment of the idea that began the whole series. Shut up, they ordered, dictating furiously, and write.

So I wrote. And finished the book, and it was quite unlike anything I had expected, and I now can barely wait to see it Out There, because I want more reactions to all the, ah, interesting bits I had so much fun getting down.

In the meantime, one of my writing mates, Chris Howard, has developed his art-work and started doing book covers. I no sooner laid eyes on samples than I wanted one. So, since Source was projected for a new edition sometime, I asked Chris to design me a cover, which he did. (Though pardon me, as Mark Antony said while brandishing Caesar's unopened will, I don't mean to show that one off just yet.)

BUT, also in the meantime, the Wildside edition means I need not just one but three new covers: one for Riversend, one for Source, and a first cover for Dragonfly.
Chris is now working on the Riversend cover. When I saw the first draft of that I nearly danced again.  Not only was it gorgeous, but as you can see, it was a perfect complement for the Amberlight original:

But then, as is the way of writers given their heads, I started looking and muttering, "But, oughtn't there to be a bit more River in there somewhere... after all, it's about the states of the Riverworld, and there's a huge River journey eventually..."
Being amazingly patient, Chris did an amended version:

There's the river, yes, but then, beautiful as the autumn colours were, it seemed a bit closed in ...
I'm now waiting for Chris's next amendment.
But in the meantime it has occurred to both of us that since he likes to work with his draft appearing online at his own site, we might as well share the process  here as well.
So, here's the current version of the Riversend cover art, sans title, author's name, etc, and awaiting, from my side, a little less trees just beyond Tellurith's profile.

And I'm inviting comments/suggestions from readers viewers, on the overall effect, any other interesting changes (though they may not actually happen), but particularly on,
Where do you think the title and author's name should go?

Hope to hear from you!


  1. How great that you've managed to get a follow up to that fab cover! I'd consider title at the top, smaller author name at the bottom - both designs lend to it. But text layout is hard!

  2. Yeah, A., they are both amazing covers, aren't they? And the usual idea IS title at top, author name below. But this cover is invitingly dark at the bottom for quite a way, so I'm thinking it might be better to have both down there and leave that amazing autumnal light at the top unspoilt.
    Anyhow, am waiting for Chris's next round of amendments, after he gets finished with his moonshots from the eclipse. He recently bought a heavy-duty telescope and prob. a camera as well.
    And if he doesn't want to go further with the text stuff, Wildside's graphics dept. might do something for it. They have done covers for someone else I know and the covers weren't at all bad.