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Category Archives: Epic

Path of the Magi – the Final Cover

Adventure-1-Cover-Wrap-FinaThe Chronicles of Covent™ is proud to reveal the final cover for Path of the Magi, Book One of the Adventure Series. A special thanks to Illich Henriquez for bringing the cover to completion. Davril’s warmagi hood is now visible as is his sword blazing with magic. In addition, Festan has his horns and Edronius’ stylish robe/gladiator armor combination is finally finished. The volcanoes now look especially sharp and the tower cities are now all uniform. As an added bonus, our Dragon Priest on the rear also has a wicked magical effect. Killer job Illich!

The Kindle edition is already available. The softcover is coming soon and the other ebook editions will also follow within the next few months. This story follows Davril and Edronius, a magician and a warrior mage type as they leave a magic school run by the legendary Phendyrimoth. Their departure starts them on a series of quests and experiences that will prepare them for the Triloriad™. We are very excited to finally be delving more in-depth into magic in our world, which will play a crucial role in the Triloriad and houses many layers and hidden secrets. Pay attention to a few of the background characters because a few of them will prove far more important in time and will have their own books coming out.

See the blog dated November 22nd to learn more about Davril and Edronius. As for Festan, Merrymaker Extraordinaire and Minstrel at Large, many of you already met him during his cameo in Shade One: Waiting Game. But finally Illich has given us a face to go with his jovial name. Festan has a larger than life personality and was loads of fun to write, so don’t miss the free chapter sample. We also have Jaruk and Janil, who will be drawn on a later cover. Jaruk is a giant of man with a bear sized heart and temper, while Janil is a skilled heroine and his devoted wife. I’d define them as free spirits, mercenaries with morals if you will, but they have a great bond and brave hearts.

A few readers have expressed their desire to see some more traditional heroes, or people who would be easier to root for. Given that Shade is a dark-hooded assassin, the Elves are so embroiled in a horrible war, the Adventure Series was always meant to contain such heroes. We have yet to unveil a few of our greatest heroes who will play major roles in the Triloriad™, but this small band of adventurers boasts several major noble characters who are of chief importance, so here you go. Plus, this book lays the groundwork for my favorite race of all Covent. Just as Tolkien had a heart for the hobbits, there is a race I am building to which has also captured my imagination and deepest sense of fun.

GravenNow I’d like to take this opportunity to plug a new major villain introduced in this book. This is Graven.He serves as the main antagonist of Path of the Magi, other than the obvious horde of dragon men that have swarmed the cover. Graven is a magehunter consumed with his desire for vengeance, driven by his rage and hatred for all magic users. He is a deadly bounty hunter immune to most magic arts, making him a grave threat to any magic user. His family was burned alive by a warlock, who went mad with power in his pursuit of the Greater Powers. Graven’s body and face was burned beyond recognition and his family lost.

Graven is a complex point-of-view character, one who I think readers will thoroughly enjoy. His rage is justified, but his obsession with wiping out all magic users shows the cancer that can eat away at a soul when consumed by vengeance. Expect Graven to play a major role in the Adventure Series and I hope you enjoy reading him as much as we enjoyed writing him. A special thanks to Nestor Cruz, one of our fabulous volunteer artists, for providing Graven’s wickedly good concept art.

I’ve uploaded a couple sample chapters to the Chronicles of Covent homepage. Davril & Edroinus are featured on pages: 1 to 23. Festan is featured on pages: 23 to 28. And are dark embittered Graven is featured on pages: 33 to 39. Click here to download.

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The Wootten Debacle

Greetings blog readers! I’m sorry it’s been so long since we’ve given an update, but our cover for our newest novel Path of the Magi was in a state of flux for nearly a year. As result, our book was delayed and part of me grew so disenchanted with the whole experience I had began to wonder whether this cover would ever be completed. I’m happy to say that we are back on track and the cover has been completed. Nevertheless, my schedule was crazy the last month, so I didn’t get a chance to share until now, so this blog will come in two stages to bring you all up to speed.

Now Ben Wootten poured more work into the cover over a series of months. Ben did a fantastic job on designing the Drakor, the dragon men, who live in the volcanic mountains of Doruggdoom. The details on the dragon priest and Drakoran soldiers are all top-notch. The rear cover looks out of this world good and the redesign on the tower cities is masterful. The dragon men live in tower cities that cap the mountain peaks, making these tall looming fortresses nearly impregnable. Every year other races are hunted down and carried off in nets to be put to work as slaves in the mines of Doruggdoom. This design truly encapsulate the dread and doom a person might feel when gazing upon the tower cities from a distance.
Adventure-Cover-Take-Three

We were truly excited for all these additions and we waited eagerly the next draft. Then came the bad news about two months ago. Ben Wootten sincerely apologized, but after struggling with the front of the cover he was turning the project back over to us unfinished. Ben was tied up with film projects and was traveling to various movie sets, making it difficult for him to complete the cover. In addition, he had to take some personal time off as well due to some sort of crisis that presented further barriers to him completing the project.

Now before we all go blaming Ben Wootten for this, I will say to his credit that he took the cover this far and did not charge us a penny. That said, we were left with a incomplete and unusable cover. The rear looks like awesome sauce, but the front is a big problem. The front cover is of course the most imporant part of the drawing for a novel and as you can see here it’s missing some very important details. Edronius has no wrist, Festan has no face and poor Davril didn’t even get a head! Oh dear.

I spent another few months scouring Deviantart.com and talked to many other big named artists. Of course, they were either booked up or wanted to start over from scratch and our book was being delayed with every conversation. After much looking I was able to locate another artist, Ilich Henriquez, out of Germany who’s art style was similar to Ben Wootten’s own. Ilich has done some commissions for Fantasy Flightgames. One of my favorite pieces he did for them is right here. Two of my other favorite pieces were his Drizzt fan art, which sold me on his abilities and are put on display in these two shining examples: sample one and two. Now Ben Wootten was kind of enough to send us the layered file so Illich picked up where Ben left off. Here’s the first draft of Illich’s edits and I am quite happy with the results.
Adventure-Cover-Take-Four

Finally our heroes are starting to take shape!!! Davril and Edroinius look stellar! Festan looks great too and Ilich is finalizing even more great details on our brave hereos.  Very well done faces and great hair! I feel funny in saying that, but Ilich has truly got a talent for hair, which only seems to accentuate the characters and the sense of conflict in the piece. I can’t wait to see where Illich takes the cover from here.

Ilich also added some nice details to the Drakor, the dragon men. The dragon priest looks even scarier sporting a even larger wyvern skull mask and the Drakoran warriors’ armor is shinnier and even more spikey. We decided to move some objects around, so readers could get a better look at the tower city and added an even larger horde of Drakor hovering around the gloomy superstructures. And finally Ilich detailed the rock and background with more to come. Illich also said he’s still playing with lighting and particle effects, so expect a few more improvements in later drafts.

This progress has got me so pumped again I’m jumping back on the promotion wagon. Given how long we waited before, I had to hold back on updates and advertising because our book release was so up in the air. Stay tuned for part two of this blog entry and samples, samples coming within the next few weeks, since I have finally gotten some time to sit down and blog.Sssssp…Kindle Users may want to check Amazon for a special early release version of Path of the Magi.

Thanks so much for taking the cover to the next level, Ilich!

 

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The Ben Wootten Cover Saga Continues…

Greetings Chronicles of Covent® readers! Above is another world famous design Ben Wootten completed for the iconic Lord of the Rings movies, the legendary Nazgul, or more commonly known as Ringwraiths. I apologize for the lack of updates, but the cover for Path of the Magi was delayed due to unforeseen events outside the control of Mirror Images Publishing. Ben Wootten was hard at work on the cover in the early spring, but events occurred in his life that required some emergency time off. Of course, as important as the cover was to me, real life needs trump art covers. Begrudgingly, I accepted and explained I understood, wishing him the very best. I’m glad to say Ben is doing much better now, but this left the project in a state of flux for several months.

In the meantime, I embarked on a personal quest to find a replacement artist of Ben’s caliber, hoping to take our artwork to the next level. This began three frustrating months of tireless searching, which sadly yielded too few results. As result, I had no answers and no answers meant no blog updates. However, time has proved to be the healer of all wounds. Ben and I have recently reconnected. He is back at work and has taken the project back up. He has completed a couple extreme rough draft variations, of which I shall show off here. Please keep in mind this is a work in progress.
This is the first draft we received, more an extreme rough of the cover, but already even in simple blotchy inks you can see the extent of Ben Wootten’s gifts. The scene is truly epic, the fiery mountains of Doruggdoom is the setting. Plumes of black smoke rise from the black basalt, volcanic mountain range choked with fire and brimstone. Lava flows down the mountainsides snaking and pooling into lakes and rivers of terrible hot burning magma. This is where the climax of Path of the Magi takes place.

There are no roads in Doruggdoom. The homelands to the winged race of Drakor, or dragon men, as you may have read in other novels have no need for such land based conveniences. Their legendary tower cities rise up like gigantic spires of death from the jagged mountain peaks. Each tower is a superstructure housing thousands of dragon men. The hordes of Drakor swoop down from the Dragongates suspended hundreds of feet high from the tower cities, patrolling their dark lands and capturing prisoners in nets to be made slaves or sacrificed on the black altars.

There is no escape from the tower cities of Doruggdoom, with no land based gates or lacking many common stairwells, it is said escape from Drakoran slavery is impossible. The tower cities are also virtually impregnable. Footed in the mountain peaks, any siege forces face an impossible uphill battle to the tower cities, with no gate to lay siege. Tens of thousands of soldiers have lost their lives trying to attack such terrible pillars of construction.

As you can see here, we went with more a portrait look on this draft of the new cover. A classic fantasy cover, this concept portrayed three of our heroes: Davril, Edronius and Festan. Many of you may have recognized Festan La Faun, Merrymaker Extraordinaire and Minstrel at Large, as he calls himself. For those of you who have been asking about this Faun since his cameo in Shade I: Waiting Game, yes, Festan is a far more important character than the small comedic role he played in Shade’s first novel. Festan’s antics and tendency to see the world through rose petals adds a lot of fun to our first adventure novel and shows the dark consequences of living too carefree in a dark and dangerous world.
This is a second option for the cover. In this draft we decided to go for a more action-oriented approach. Given the Drakor are swarming our heroes, it does seem a little strange that the companions might pause for a Kodak moment. This option adds a bit more danger and suspense to the cover. It also ties the entire scene together from the back to front cover a bit more organically. I love the Drakor swooping down to strike Davril’s raised shield and Edronius’ pose, once the magic is added, will certainly heighten the sense of action and adventure.

Now let’s learn a bit more about Davril and Edronius themselves. Besides a few small parts, magic has played a very minor role in our other novels published so far. Magic has been more a tool of a hero or a weapon of a foe, but we haven’t delved too deeply into the arts of magic in the world of Covent just yet. Magic is at the heart of the struggle in the Triloriad™ itself and has vast effects on our lands. We’ll start exploring the beginnings of the vast mysteries of magic in the Adventure Series, learning more and more with each new novel. Much of the detail is disturbing and shocking, building until eventually it hangs over Covent like a threat of nuclear proportions.

That’s all I’ll say for now. Edronius is a red robed mage. Schooled in all the arts of both the light and dark magics, he represents the balance of magic. He has a full arsenal of spells and combination magic at his disposal, although his personality is a bit wild and rebellious. Edronius is good at heart, but thirsts for adventure, a trait which his best friend Davril both loves him for and grows wary of. Edronius grew up near the coliseum in Doljinaar where he spent a lot of time play fencing with gladiators. His father was a famous trapper who traveled the lands capturing impressive beasts for the games. Edronius journeyed with his father on many of these hunting expeditions developing a constant need to put his boots to the road and strike out into the world.

Davril, on the other hand, likes more order and predictability in his life. A son of a Doljinnarian soldier who fell in the line of duty, Davril is well disciplined. An expert swordsman trained at the same infamous magic tower as Edronius, he mixes his blade with magic. Davril is a kind of a warrior mage with a good head on his shoulders, but he is also a powerful caster. A natural leader and levelheaded filter for Edronius’ crazy ideas, the pair have formed a powerful combo. Expect to learn far more about the depths of magic and its consequences on our world in future Chronicles of Covent novels.

To learn more about Path of the Magi, read on our website. Samples to be put online soon! More updates to come as Ben Wootten’s cover progresses. In other news, Kindle is running a sale on The Last Field of Honor, Book One of the Elf Wars Trilogy. For a limited time it is on sale for only 99 cents! The linkage is here. Now to decide on which cover design to go with. Mmmmmmmm. Decisions. Decisions…

 

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Major LOTR artist Ben Wootten to draw for The Chronicles of Covent…

The Chronicles of Covent® is proud to announce a major new art alliance! Sadly, Rob Joseph, who did the cover for Shade 3, is tied up with other projects, so we have had to look into other options. After canvassing many other capable artists, we have received a major opportunity to work with a big name artist. The Chronicles of Covent® is honored to be working with Ben Wootten on our next cover for Path of the Magi, which is the first in our new adventure line of tales.

Ben Wootten’s laundry lists of achievements are remarkable and he has completed artwork for many major brands and iconic films we all know and love. Ben’s past clients include Star Wars TCG, Wizards of the Coasts, World of Warcraft TCG,  Everquest, Dungeons and Dragons RPG, Pathfinder RPG, Paizo Publishing and many more. Ben worked for Weta Workshop for 10 years. During his time at Weta, Ben was smack dab in the middle of the art design for major motion pictures such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson’s King Kong and The Chronicles of Narnia.

Ben was the co-creater of the Peter Jackson’s Balrog you see facing Gandalf on the Bridge of Khazad Dum. In fact, Ben is also credited with the design for The Ringwraith and Steed, Strider’s sword, Gandalf’s Glamdring and many more. By the time Ben Wootten worked on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, he was the head of design at Weta Workshop for the Narnia films. To learn more about Ben’s accolades, check out this interview with Weta Workshop which speaks about much of his work on the films.

Many of Ben Wootten’s sculptures/collectibles from the LOTR films can be purchased at Weta Workshop’s website. Well, the ones that aren’t already sold out. Most of his movie collector’s items were auctioned off for thousands of dollars. Ben recently completed two killer art prints for Weta, which can be purchased here and here for a steal price. The first is an astounding picture of the Balrog’s epic battle against Gandolf and the second is a breathtaking scenic revisitation to Bag’s End at the Shire. Gandolf is knocking at Bilbo’s door. Ah, the memories…

We couldn’t be more excited to be working with Ben Wootten and will post pictures of the artwork as it progresses. Stay tuned for more blog updates in the near future. Now about Path of the Magi. It is first book in our Adventure Series line of tales that features a more traditional quest for a party of heroes. For readers wanting a lighter fare from Covent, as opposed to our dark and foreboding Shade series or the terribly sad and tragic Elf Wars trilogy, this new adventure series is for you.

Path of the Magi dives into the world of magicians and its struggle due to the abolishment of magic in Doljinaar. For those of you looking for more noble traditional heroes, this book is for you. The Adventure Series will also introduce more heroes and villains who will play a major role in our grand epic saga The Triloriad™. Since we released Shade One, readers have been begging for more Festan La Faun, Merrymaker Extraordinaire and Minstrel at Large. Our readers’ hunch that Festan is a major character  was completely correct and his appearance in Waiting Game was more a cameo than a one-off. I just couldn’t resist throwing Mr. Dark and Grim Shade in with the happy-go-lucky Faun for a few scenes. Expect plenty of Festan in Path of the Magi.

On the more serious side, Path of the Magi will introduce several important mages, warriors and a dark vengeance-fueled villian. The Greater Powers of magic have left many, many wounds upon the world. More details to come. Ben Wootten is already hard at work on the cover. Here’s a sneak peak of the work in progress…a very, very rough draft, but it already has us foaming at the mouth. Nothing like seeing our dragon priest come to life in a full coat of glorious chain mail robes. Thanks Ben!

You can learn more about Path of the Magi at our preview link here. Sample chapters to come! Look to the blog to reveal more info and Wootten art snapshots in the coming months. You can see more of Ben Wootten’s jaw-dropping art pieces on his website:http://benwootten.daportfolio.com/

 

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Shade III: The Weeping Grounds Book Cover Reveal

The Chronicles of Covent is proud to present the official cover art to the highly anticipated Shade III: The Weeping Grounds. Our new artist Rob Joseph has loaded this cover with as much grit, mood and just plain attitude we’ve always wanted to see in our covers. We hope you appreciate Shade’s anger and intensity on this cover as much as we do.

Shade III: The Weeping Grounds is a rare story. The infamous Unseen Assassin has allowed himself to be captured by the Slavelords of the Black Ring. He is forced to endure unimaginable pain and harsh treatments in order to reach the high-profile marks that lie at the end of his dark journey. Shade is playing possum in the most dangerous gamble of his life and yet not even he is prepared for the trials and tribulations that await him.

From the release of Shade I: Waiting Game, we’ve often been asked by fans and reviewers the purpose in making Shade so invincible? Covent is a world teeming with many memorable characters, at all stages of walks in life. Shade starts out at the peak of his career and is the world’s top assassin. He was meant to appeal to readers who love a good bad @$$ character who walks into a bar and takes out everyone. We started Shade here by design.

J. E. and I were great fans of these kinds of characters in our younger high school days. However, these kinds of high testosterone-pumped portrayals in modern film, rarely have time to deal with real life fallout and consequences that comes with this kind of living. Shade’s over-arching story will delve deeply into the cold hard callous life of an assassin, the increasing burden of blood guilt and the high risk living that teeters on the edge of destruction.

Shade stands atop a mountain of his own accomplishments. He has no other place to go but down. The question remains how many times he’ll be able to get back up again after he is brought to his knees. Shade II: Kingsblood challenged him harder than any trial he had ever faced before, but he was able to overcome. In Shade III: The Weeping Grounds Shade is encountered by forces so powerful and beyond his control that he is faced with the demoralizing horror of his own helpless mortality. How Shade will deal with these forces will be a big part of the continuing Shade saga. And so without further ado here is the full color cover for Shade III: The Weeping Grounds.

To read more about the exciting upcoming release and whet your appetite with a free sampler. Click here:

 

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Elf Wars Trilogy Book I Cover Reveal…

Greetings blog readers! It’s been a while since I’ve done a blog. Today I’d like to share the cover reveal for the first book of the Elf Wars trilogy: The Last Field of Honor. We are mega-excited about this book since it reveals several more key heroes and villains who will play a major role in the Triloriad. It also allows readers to finally meet Shade’s ruthless old master, Sadora, who is a major antagonist in the Elf Wars.

The front cover shows off the dueling generals of the Elven forests. General Ka-ling (left) of the golden forests of Jui-Rae leads the Elves in their conflict against General Sien (right) of the black forests of Jui-Sae. The two generals face off on the last field of honor in the two-thousand year old conflict known as the Elf Wars. Both generals are inspiring figures, national war heroes, who represent the last pillars of honor in the Elvish kingdoms, but that hope begins to erode as war crimes by secret meddlers of both Elvish houses send the war spiraling out of control. The fighting turns bitter and the blood runs so red that both Elvish kingdoms battle to the brink of total annihilation.

The Last Field of Honor will be out less than a year from today. It kicks off a totally new set of stories for those looking for a Chronicles of Covent alternative to our original Shade Series that revolves around a cold-hearted assassin. So if you’re looking for stories about war, bravery, honor and sheer tragedy then Elf Wars is the story for you. Shade III: The Weeping Grounds is also coming along well. It will be released as soon as possible.

The story description is located here. Free chapter sample coming soon!
www.chroniclesofcovent.com/elfwars.html

In other news we’ve finally finished the Shade II: Kingsblood updates to the Chronicles of Covent.com. Characters, Races, Factions, Creatures, Places all have new detailed entries from Shade II including new artwork from a variety of our generous artists. We’ve decided to start doing Elf Wars related entries BEFORE the book release on our official website to create a buzz with each book release and keep us ahead on site updates.

You can check out the newest updates here: www.chroniclesofcovent.com

Lastly, I do apologize for the lack of blog updates in the last few months. My wife and I just welcomed the addition of a new little one to our home. In addition I have made GREAT progress on the actual books. The full draft of Elf Wars I is complete and it is our longest book yet. I’m making great progress on a major rocking revision of Adventure Series I and the killer draft to Shade III, so rest assured the time is being well spent.

This blog will mostly be used for news updates and author thoughts in the future. Do to the increase of demands in my life right now I’ve been forced to make a choice. Last year I was dissatisfied with the lack of updates I was able to complete on the official Chronicles of Covent website. The blog, while fun, ate up a lot of time last year. The original vision was to the make ChroniclesofCovent.com an ever expanding content based website that invited our readers to continually explore the world of Covent. We want to recommit to building the official Chronicles of Covent mega website, more than doing traditional blogs since the official website has received far more rave reviews from web visitors.

With all that said I’m sad to announce we’ve been nerfed! During the genesis of the Chronicles of Covent blog our blogs were being released in the public reader’s sections of WordPress, which gained us web visitors and new followers every week. Then suddenly about four months in we were nerfed by WordPress without explanation and not a single Chronicles of Covent blog has appeared in the reader’s sections since. This as result killed our following and lowered my incentive to keep pouring time into writing witty blogs when books waited in queue. If any WordPress veterans have any advice on this please be so kind as to shoot me an email at jlficks@chroniclesofcovent.com

Thanks again to all our readers support the last two years! We’ve seen the most success on Kindle and Nook, which have received the largest positive reception from readers. We’re continuing to offer Shade I: Waiting Game for free on all e-formats, which has helped us reach thousands of new readers, mostly on these two great formats. Last month we were the number 1 download for Epic Fantasy in the entire Amazon Kindlestore! We will also continue to offer Covent books in paperback, i-bookstore and android as well in hopes of expanding our reader base to other new audiences as well…

Look for more great books from “The Chronicles of Covent!”

 

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Shade 2: Kingsblood Official Book Release

***BOOK RELEASE ANNOUCEMENT***
Shade Tale II: Kingsblood is finally available for sale in print and all major e-book formats!

Shade 2 Front Cover High Rez

 


Shade has returned to his asylum in Jile after single-handedly ousting the ruler of the Kurn underworld. He did not find the challenge he had thirsted for, but deep in the shadows of the nation’s colossal capital a far greater danger brews. An assassins’ war…

Shade is on a colliding path with the challenge of a lifetime. A contract has been written soon to be sealed in the blood of kings. A guild of assassins creeps out of the shadows of mighty Doljinaar, eager to collect on the royal bounty.  Shade is sent in counter and so he must reach down deep inside himself to find out whether any good still lives within him.

The time has come for the world’s darkest assassin to make a stand, but will he stand for good or for evil? And what will Shade do when he at last meets a worthy rival face to face?

Don’t miss the book our reader’s group is calling “twice has good as Shade 1” and “a new level of craftsmanship”

Get your copy today!
http://www.chroniclesofcovent.com/shade2.html

In celebration of our new release, Shade Tale I: Waiting Game has been reduced to 99 cents on all major e-book formats!*

*Please note offer applies to all major formats except Googlebooks. Sadly, Mirror Images Publishing has no control over pricing on Googlebooks.

 

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