It’s here, the cover for my upcoming novel, book two in the Chronicles of Chaos: the House of Prophecy.
If you’ve been following closely, you’ll notice that the title of the novel changed from The Curse of Chaos (and then briefly to the House of Chaos) to the House of Prophecy. That’s because I had to write up a summary to include in the published version of the Game of War when THIS book was in its relative infancy. Even though I had outlined the entire novel–much like game design–writing a story like this involves a lot of discovery. I realized that the core of the book wasn’t so much a Curse (which sounded too generic anyway) but the House.
The cover not only tracks with the brand I’ve established for the Chronicles, but each element is loaded with meaning, from Lorre’s hand, to the streams of glowing magic embers, to the house itself. I’m really happy with where we ended up, but like my previous cover posts, I’d love to show you the journey to get here.
We started with a completely different concept: Lorre tearing through a curtain of reality in order to reveal another world behind. Here, I’m showing you the various incarnations of this approach.
These sketches were not only missing the mark visually, but also conceptually. Even though they followed the approach of “hand + something magic and cool”, they didn’t seem to fit with the brand. And finally, when my friend Jordan Barnes said one word, I realized I couldn’t move forward with it.
The word was “shifter”.
The last cover, indeed, looked exactly like a werewolf book. Once he said it, I couldn’t unsee it.
So I decided to brainstorm another approach. The tear wasn’t working, but I did want to feature the house. I decided to experiment with a crystal sphere, kind of like a snow globe filled with magic.
I liked how the hand could interact with this globe in a position of mastery and we could see the house inside, contained by the glass. However, the image inside the globe kind of looked like a portal to somewhere else (made more evident by the trees in the foreground). Also, the first couple inspired a “sweet” response. It wasn’t as edgy as my previous two covers. In order to make the image a little more dynamic, we tried the streams escaping the globe, bursting through in three different places.
I loved the bursting glass. It gave me the edge I was looking for. But the overall image still didn’t resonate. The streams weren’t understandable, and the connection between the hand and the magic wasn’t clear.
After thinking about this for a while, I came up with an image in my head that I thought might tie it all together. I’d move the hand to the bottom, where the connection with the sand/magic would be obvious. Then we could show the streams traveling up and eventually escape with the cool breaking glass. I drew a rough sketch and sent it over.
The designer ran with it and produced the following image, which only needed slight changes to arrive at the final.
This version was wonderful. In fact, when I received it, I immediately forwarded to many friends, family, and fellow authors. I was almost there. It was interesting, it was magical, it told a story but maintained a fair amount of mystery. I loved it.
It needed just a few final tweaks. First, I wanted the exits larger, forcing the streams further out of the globe. Also, I wanted some depth to the trails inside. And, as soon as I saw this image and thought “Xmas tree”, I had to change the background from green.
Which led directly to the final image, which is amazing.
Finally, I’d like to mention that Miblart, my cover studio, is based in Ukraine. While this cover was almost completely finished before Russia invaded, from what I understand, they continue to work. The people I’ve been in contact have escaped to another country, but they have loved ones who stayed behind to fight.
I wish them strength and safety, I hope this resolves soon, and I encourage everyone to support Ukraine as much as possible.