Friday, January 22, 2016

Nightspore Update

We take a break from our series of rambling Robert E. Howard posts to bring you an update on my novel.

The working title is The King of Nightspore's Crown, though this may change for practical reasons. I do think it's cool-sounding. These days I'm working on revising the manuscript, which I completed in December. Here's a draft of the elevator pitch / back description:
The last scion of an extinct tribe, Keftu thought he had found a place among the misfits of Enoch's underworld. But the veiled warlock Zilla plots to revive the city's semi-divine oversoul, and all those who refuse assimilation will be destroyed. A homeless outcast, Keftu must single-handedly thwart Zilla's plans and wrest control of the sea-beast Gorgantiphon. With the aid of perilous alliances, he cuts a swath through a world of paleozoic darkness and daemonic splendor, from the dunes of the Fireglass to the decayed heart of Nightspore, in a desperate bid to steal the Star of Morning and confront the secrets of his own past.
I'm also at work on the book cover. As before, the finished product will feature a wrap-around cover in the style of mass-market paperbacks from the seventies. Here's my initial sketch:

The style owes to Samuel Palmer, Henri Rousseau, and certain book covers that I happen to like, among other things. I've transferred the image to my watercolor block and started painting. Here's what I've got so far:

I'm liking it pretty well at this point, so hopefully this doesn't jinx me! As far as fidelity to the text goes, it's more evocative than illustrative. But here at least is a case in which the cover artist has actually read the book all the way through. I'm still at work on the painted portion. I paint extremely slowly, with a size 0000 brush. On the whole, the painting is going to be quite dark, with the right-hand-side a glowing nocturnal scene. That's what I've got in my head, anyway.

I'm not certain yet which side would be best as the front of the cover. I could see it either way, depending on how the colors develop. For instance, something along the following seems rather nice to me:
The lettering's probably too light for the finished product but you get the idea. Then again, the marketing department would probably rather see a pair of guys hacking at each other on the front cover than a carnivorous placoderm fish. So we'll see how things develop.

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