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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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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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The Last Field of Honor…

Greetings blog readers! I’m excited to announce that we have completed The Last Field of Honor, the first book in the Elf Wars Trilogy. It is over 300 hundred pages and our longest, most character packed book yet. Due to the runaway sales on the Kindle platform, we have agreed to do an early release of the Last Field of Honor, exclusively to the Kindle platform in exchange for better marketing position and more exposure. It is available now.

You may find the link hereish;
http://www.amazon.com/Field-Honor-Chronicles-Covent-ebook/dp/B00FV9F1EA/ref=la_B007A30AFU_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1381717604&sr=1-3

The Last Field of Honor will launch on all other e-device platforms at our usual launch window of early next year. We apologize for the wait on other formats, but Kindle sales have blown the other formats away. We’ve rec’d advise from many successful authors that utilizing this exclusive deal was instrumental in helping them find their audience, which is every author’s biggest challenge. That said, the terms of our exclusive agreement with Amazon does not prevent us from putting out a softcover earlier, so look for the book in about a month or so. The agreement is three months long, making The Last Field of Honor available on all formats early 2014.

The Last Field of Honor introduces more key heroes and villains who will play a part whether for good or evil in the Triloriad™. The Elf Wars also entertain the prospect of an age old war, one that has gripped the two Elvish societies leaving them teetering on the brink of annihilation. I’ve always wanted to explore this concept. What would an age old war look like? How deeply would the seeds of anger burn? What rules of warfare would the enemy nations agree to grant small but necessary reprieves from the endless war? How many sons can two nations bury before they just don’t remember what they’re fighting for anymore?

Elves seemed the obvious choice for such a war. In modern fantasy tradition Elves, live longer than other races. They count days and years far more slowly than men. The Last Field of Honor pits the Elves of the golden forests of Jui-Rae, against the Dark Elves of the black forests of Jui-Sae. This is our reader’s first extended chance to explore Shade’s homeland. It also fosters an adversarial relationship that will clash with key characters beyond the Elf Wars and into the Triloriad™ itself. There are still MANY important Elvish Trioriad™ characters.

Dark Elves have been a part of ancient mythology since Norse Mythology. J. R.R. Tolkien used the term to represent Elves that were somehow tainted by tolerating the shadows of Melkor. We’ve always been fans of the original Drow, who live in subterranean cities and were wholly evil, but we wanted to do something different. We decided putting our Dark Elves on the surface put them more in conflict with Elves who traditionally live in breathtaking forest kingdoms.

Our Elves live in Jui-Rae, a majestic golden wood with glowing Sunfire Trees, gold grasses and fiery flowers that steal the breath away. They have tall sunstone palace cities and quaint tranquil forest villages. Their borders are guarded by silent and patient rangers who perch in the trees, arrows ready, using flares to expose Unseen crossing enemy lines from Jui-Sae. Their nights light up with that sporadic flashing of flare arrows like bursts of lightning.

Jui-Rae’s beauty is legendary all over Covent. Humans and other light races come from all over the world just for a glimpse of the legendary Elvish kingdom. It is beautiful everywhere except for the south in the Ashwood, burned out long ago into both Jui-Rae and Jui-Sae, but you’ll have to read the story to find out how the Ashwood came to be…

The Dark Elves as result, needed a befitting forest kingdom which borders and is in a constant state of war with Jui-Rae. And so we first envisioned the frightening black forests of Jui-Sae, a dark wood of black-leaved and black-barked trees. A dark and mysterious border guarded by the Unseen, of a similar order to Shade, assassins who could go invisible and who lay in constant wait, ready to cut down any trespasser.

I’ve received quite a few compliments from fans on this little excerpt from Shade I: Waiting Game.  A lot of readers who from this tiny blip alone want to visit Jui-Sae, and so this book is your first chance. To quoteth Shade I, chapter three, “A hedge of fear surrounded Jui-Sae, fear of its Unseen Guardians and the grisly testament of its bone-littered landscape sent men running from its borders. But Shade knew the shadowy murders were nothing but a grim warning to keep other races out of Jui-Sae, for his people sheltered many secrets. In truth Jui-Sae was a land of dark and inviting beauty, a land of rich black trees lit up by fields of midnight flowers and starlit glades…a breathtaking night kingdom where magnificent moonstone cities glowed majestically in the moonlight.”

In addition we liked the idea of Dark Elves not having to be wholly evil. Yes, they keep to themselves and don’t like outsiders, but does that mean they’re kidnapping other races for evil human sacrifices and deranged human experiments like Drow? Certainly, they can give off that evil impression, but this is also an oppressed race. A race who is used to being burned at the stake due to the color of their skin. It seems only natural that they would fight fiercely to keep their borders safe, only to protect a surprisingly civil midnight kingdom.

Overall, the Last Field of Honor is a bitter tragedy. It takes places near the end of the two thousand year old conflict, a time when two of the most honorable generals in history battle on the last field of honor. A time when dark plots hatch in the shadows of both kingdoms escalating the bloodshed and driving honor off the battlefield. A time of finger-pointing, accusation and a war spiraling out of control. A time when the two nations, tearing at each other’s throats, take a tumble of a cliff together and come to the brink of utter ruin…

Don’t miss the Chronicles of Covent updates on the official homepage revolving around the Elf Wars Trilogy that are live now! We have added updates to Characters, Races and Creatures. I’m still working on Factions and Places, but stay tuned. You may explore the new characters on the official CoC homepage here. Some of my favorites include General Ka-ling, General Sien, Shade’s old master Sadora (see left…bad Sadora, bad!), Altaar, Kamelin, Ogred the Ogre King, Savorax, Captain Anosh, Duke Qitaar and his loyal wolf Gurlik, and any member of the Bloodburners (Danzig, Winnapeg, Dennithul, Bulgarath and Murkeg, yes, I know they should be locked up).

For those of you wondering about Shade III: The Weeping Grounds, the draft is 85% complete and is Shade’s most earth-moving adventure yet. I’m taking extra time on this book because it is extra special to me, but our readers group is already ranting and raving about it. I’m going to do some more Elf Wars blogs, but we have major announcement we will unveil regarding the cover art for Shade III: The Weeping Grounds as its launch grows closer. I’m hoping to also release Shade III in mid to late 2014.

A special thanks to everyone who has shown interest and support in our insanely overgrown project so far!!!

 

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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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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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