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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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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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Shade Like You’ve Never Seen Him Before…

It’s been a while! I apologize for my lengthy absence on the blog. I’ve been hard at work on Shade III: The Weeping Grounds, which is entering into it’s third round of proofing to take us to the final draft. I am EXTREMELY excited about this book since it takes Shade out of his element leaving him broken and beaten. The full broken humanity of Shade’s character is in many ways put on trial in this book and this is Shade like you have never seen him before! More on that in a few minutes…

I’m afraid I’ve done also done a terrible job promoting the release of our latest book: The Last Field of Honor, Book One of the Elf Wars Trilogy. The Last Field of Honor has been out on the market since early this year and is doing fairly well. It seems a lot of folks have been impatient for Shade III, so that’s where I’ve been pouring most of my time. That and the birth and early life of the beautiful new addition to our family. Don’t get me wrong. The Elf Wars Trilogy is a great set of books and will introduce many mega-important characters to the Triloriad™ itself, but it seems many of my readers have grown more attached to Shade himself, at least for now. You can find the purchase links for The Last Field of Honor available in all major formats here.

Now about Shade III: The Weeping Grounds!

Shade allows himself to be captured by his next targets, the Slavelords of the Black Ring. He is stripped down, flogged and shackled with the lines of other caught night mortal slaves loaded onto a slave ship and shipped across the Sea of Mourning. He is forced to suffer countless horrors and abuses on his long perilous journey to his true targets. He is forced to bide his time, playing possum, swallowing his anger and desire to strike back, while the ship takes him ever closer to his true targets…the Slavelords of the Black Ring…

Shade has carefully laid his plans, prepared for every possible contingent in his plot to take out the Slavelords of the Black Ring. And yet not even he can fathom the vast sea of horrors that await him… For powers lurk in the elder planes, ancient powers long forgotten by the fragile mortal constructs of this world. His nights are haunted by dreams and torments. His days are haunted by heralds and visions. The very seas cry out for his blood. The very clouds weep for Shade’s soul. Shade is in for his most harrowing adventure yet…

Bloodthirsty sea monsters lurk in the great depths. Winged shadows swoop down from the mountains looking to settle old scores. And the greatest evil lies buried in the deep bowels of this world, locked away, forgotten until Shade finally encounters a foe that not even his capable hand can slay. Shade finds himself reduced to but a small mortal worm, wriggling in between the wars of gods and Elder Dragons. Shade III is like no Shade book before it…

You can learn more about Shade III at our preview link here. Includes the first three sample chapters of the Weeping Grounds to whet your appetites! I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until this winter to enjoy the full book, but look to the blog to reveal more juicy details and excerpts about the exciting new installment in the Shade saga. If you’re wondering who drew this awesome new Shade III artwork. Check out our amazing new artist, Rob Joseph, at his kicking website: http://www.rob-joseph.com/

 

 

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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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Happy Holidays from the Chronicles of Covent…

Greetings blog-readers! I just wanted to take a moment and wish everyone happy holidays!

Just a few short announcements. I know I had promised Shade 2 would be released at the end of 2012, but it seems Christmas has snuck up on me this year. The book is on the last few chapters of its final proof and I am so excited about Shade’s sequel. I really feel this story shows so many deeper dimensions of Shade’s soul and puts him in a far more interesting role of an anti-hero. There are also so many strong characters introduced in Shade 2 that will play major parts in Shade’s life and he finally finds the worthy adversary he has been thirsting for…

That said I made a promise last year to my wife that I wouldn’t let a book release get in the way of the holidays. Everything was on track this year until that Frankenstorm Sandy hit in late October. Bad Frankenstorm! I spent the last two months working double shifts in servicing the superstorm. I came off of catastrophe storm assignment a few days ago, but in order to complete the book release before Christmas I’d have to eat up all my family time.

As many of you know my wife is pregnant with our second child and my four-year-old, Everett, has been in need of some serious daddy time. We are very excited about this new little addition to our family! Looks like my son is getting a sequel… ; )

The good news for Chronicles of Covent fans is that the release of Shade 2: Kingsblood may be put off until next year, but next year is just around the corner! I am so close it kills me to hold off on the book’s release, but that means you will see Shade 2 appear on the market early 2013! Look for the official release announcement in very, very, very early 2013! Website updates and promotions to follow!

Thanks again,
J. L.

For now whet your whistle on this free sample of the first couple chapters of Shade 2 available for download at ChroniclesofCovent.com

 

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The Brand is Growing…

The Brand is Growing…
I’m very excited to announce I’ve holding the first proof of Shade 2 in my hands! It’s pretty cool to be holding not one, but two Chronicles of Covent books in my hand. Sorry I haven’t been blogging much, but I’ve been tied up working Hurricane Sandy over the phone, so I’ve been quite busy working storm hours. I have been pouring over this proof copy in the evenings however and on my Kindle, which technically means I’m now onto proof 3.

If you can bear with me for one blog, I thought I’d make this blog more about Covent news rather than a terribly clever blog update. That said I’ve got a lot of exciting news and am developing a new strategy for next year that should see a better balance between blogging and the official ChroniclesofCovent.com web updates I promised last year. Although, I enjoyed the blogs I think they distracted me a bit from all the official CoC.com web updates I had originally planned. I think a massive content fantasy website could really walk hand in hand with our books and hasn’t been done before on a large scale.

That said I also believe in blogging. It’s a great way to have get clever, show off content, interview guests and get your name out there. I’ll still be doing blogs, however, I’ll probably stick with once a month so I can continue to pump out books and official ChroniclesofCovent.com web updates. Except far more official ChroniclesofCovent.com web updates next year including characters, races, creatures and more.


Updates! Updates! Updates!!!

We’re excited to announce that the first round of Shade 2 updates had gone live for Characters and Races on ChroniclesofCovent. We have added over 50 new characters and 10 new races to the website. Expect Shade 2 updates to Factions, Races and Places over the next few months. Please forgive a few typos. I’ve had to focus my late evening proofing sessions on the next book, which you can’t fix after it goes to print so website is priority 2. You will notice we had to move away from the fancy flip format pages on these pages. Sorry about that, but loading time was getting worse and worse with all the new entries, especially on Characters. However, going to simpler HTML will allow me to make far more updates myself without waiting forever on our web guy.

New Artwork!
You’ll also notice a lot of new artwork on the official homepage. Some artwork was made by our cover artist Thom Scott, but several other artists submitted Chronicles of Covent artwork to us as well. We realize that some of these art styles don’t totally mesh on the website, but we’re excited for the interest. By representing all of the different artist submissions we’re received is a great way to show off some of the excitement that is buzzing around our new brand and also help artists fond enough to support us to promote themselves. We welcome any other artists wishing to send us more art from our world. We are now listing artist credits in the description of each Character, Race, Faction, Creature or Place. Stay tuned! More artwork to come!!!

So When Is Shade 2 Coming Out?
Shade 2 is reaching its final stage in far more pristine condition than our original release of Shade 1. I’m hoping to release the softcover, PDF and Kindle edition next month, that’s December 2012! The iStore, Nook and Googlebooks versions will probably be available in January as it seems these vendors take twice as long to put the book on the virtual shelves. We are discontinuing hardcovers as this format has not been supported by sales. We are very excited about Shade 2 since our reader’s group has been saying it’s twice as good as the original. Shade 2 is also a bit longer than the original, clocking in over 200 pages. We can’t wait to get this new book in your hands!!!

Stay tuned for a far more active ChroniclesofCovent.com this coming year!!!

 

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Not Sold on the Wii U (Part 1 of 2, Maybe 3 Week Rant)

Kishrub & Zulbash on the Wii UI thought I’d take a break from our regular content that revolves around our insanely overblown fantasy world and talk about something off subject. As all of my friends know I’ve been a loyal Nintendo fan since the original console. I have been loyal to every Nintendo console owning every single system from the original NES to the Wii with the exception of the Gamecube. I have owned no other system but the Playstation 2 which I bought used post generation and an imported Japanese Turbo Duo back when I was into Japanese Anime. I got out of videos games for what I call the “Too Many Buttons” Generation, but I found the Wii to be so innovative in its simple and fresh approach to gameplay that Nintendo won me back to the fold.

Now don’t get me wrong. How can one go wrong with a High Definition Wii? I mean after all the Wii’s outdated graphics did not stop it from being wildly successful. Boy does Wii Sports look bad on any decent flat screen TV, but it was fun. The new high definition graphics should make these clumpy polygons a thing of the past and I’m sure Nintendo will deliver some of their franchises in jaw dropping 3D definition at last! Seeing a high definition 3D Mario or Zelda should be every Nintendo fan boy’s dream, so what am I complaining about?

I’ve been reviewing news presses, launch announcements and E3 coverage, but I find myself lacking any initial excitement over the new system. It’s not the graphics or the lack of a MAJOR Nintendo launch title that is putting me off. It’s just I don’t trust this blocky DSi turned controller Nintendo is touting around as the next major video game revolution.

Controls were exactly why I hesitated so long to buy any gaming system in the “Too Many Buttons” Generation. I remember trying Starfox at Walmart and walking away in disgust because the Gamecube controller just was a button too much for me. I fear that Nintendo’s next effort to redefine the industry is a break away from the ingeniously simple customizable Wii controls and a return to a caveman beating himself over the head with an awkward stone tablet.  Duuuuuuuh, how dis work?

I have other concerns, but let me get to them one at a time. Here goes. What’s wrong with the Wii U?

The Shape
Look at this thing! The shape feels all wrong to me. What is this a motion controlled brick? I could not think of a more awkward motion control device. I have a hard time wrapping my imagination around a brick. There were so many natural items the original Wii controller and nunchuck could create together. What am I supposed to do with this thing? Shaking in frustration. What is this an Etch-A-Sketch? Oops I shook the remote when I meant to push a button. Mario just jumped into a pit!

Let’s compare the new so called revolutionary Wii U controller to the original truly revolutionary Wii controller. Look at the sleek long design. It fits very naturally in one’s hand. Oh, I can imagine that shape as a sword or a bat or a tennis racket. Really, all I have to do is swing it like a sword or a handle? Brilliant! What’s this nunchuck thing do? Oh, wait I get it. I can run around with it. Or put up my fists and box. Feels good to throw punches. Goodbye “Too Many Buttons” Generation!

And on top of that it has point and shoot capability? Just point at the screen. Oh, like a gun? Yes, just like a gun. You mean I don’t have to sweep an awkward dual analog stick across the screen to shoot targets? No, you just point and shoot. BRILLIANT! Now I don’t need every first person shooter in the world, but let me tell you playing Metroid and Goldeneye on Wii caused me to NEVER, EVER want to play another first person shooter without Wii controls again.

But now we’re back to this. Mind you its’ not a Gamecube controller, but it’s a glorified DSi controller in disguise. I appreciate what Nintendo has done for the industry, but why do we need to reinvent the wheel every generation? Is there ever a time when Nintendo’s cutting edge efforts ever cut off their foot? This new peripheral is going to drag attention away from the control schemes I really like and go back to playing Gameboy with motion control one hay-wired.

It’s Not Simple

Duuuuuuuh, what we do with this thing? This pad makes me feel about as stupid as Kishrub and Zulbash. It makes me want to wrack my brain over it. Part of the initial appeal of the original Wii was that it was so simple. People just picked it up and used it. It made even casuals instant converts. Now Nintendo you want me to hand this thing to my grandma? Are you nuts?

I can just imagine the look on her face. The “what in tarnation” have you handed me look? I might as well hand her my multi-function TV, amp, VCR, DVD remote back from the 80s. Look grandma its motion control with dual screens. Grandma stop looking at the Wii U controller screen, you can’t see where you’re driving. No grandma don’t shake the controller, you’ll speed boost into a tree. Grandma please don’t stand on the controller. It’s not a Wii Fit board.

This doesn’t sound fun to me or her at all. I’ll feel like I’m telling her how to program the VCR all over again. It’s just not simple. I don’t think casuals are going to embrace this devise like they did the Wii because it feels far less natural, because it’s basically a big awkward object and I don’t think casuals are dying to see Wii Sports in high definition. That’s why Solitaire and Minesweeper have been popular for years. Casuals just want simple straight-forward games.

I have several more hardcore gamer reservations, but I’ll save those comments for next week. I’ve gone on this tirade long enough for one week. Stay tuned for Part 2, and maybe even Part 3, of my rant. I guess I’ve got a whole lot more bottled up inside…

If you’re wondering who we are. You can find out more about us here: http://www.chroniclesofcovent.com/

 

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