“I looked across the bar and saw her standing there, glass of wine in hand and her head thrown back in a laugh. At that moment, I could tell: she had a great personality.”
You might live to be one hundred years old and never hear that sentence, partially because no one will say it and you’ll be too busy arguing about expired coupons and the Good Old Days with the staff at Denny’s. I know because I’m *this* close to my senior discount and am already hearing the siren’s call of Early Bird Specials and Double Coupon Tuesday. I’m also a writer, and when I was in college the first time, (ahem), I was an artist. I understand that we’re visual creatures, and for those of us who love books, cover art matter. A lot.
Without a great cover, you’ll probably pass over the book. It’s a simple, brutal truth that there are good (and even great) books with terrible covers. A cover should tell– but not over tell– the story. It can be simple, or complex, or an image. It can be a person, character, or object that’s critical to the feel and arc of the book, but under no circumstances can it be of poor quality.
Book covers should transport us in much the same way that words do– but in the blink of an eye. I use concept art to express wonder, mystery– even fear and danger. Here are the covers for Heartborn and its sequel, Moonborn. In the details, there are constellations that have meaning, giving the reader something to search for as they go further down the path to my world.
With Moonborn, I want the sense of wonder, awe, and wide open skies, but with the added danger of a world tinged red by uncertainty. Is it blood? We’re trained to fear red. What does the red sky tell you?
I love color and motion, which is obvious with these covers. With that being said, I don’t only write YA, which led me to one of the more unusual cover decisions I had to make. I’d written a short story that was– for lack of a better term– zombie smut– but thoughtful, and intended to ask some uncomfortable questions about human sexuality. Whether or not I’ve succeeded is left to the reader, but the cover captured exactly what I wanted (Thanks, Staci!).
Once again, you might not know what it’s about, but it’s colorful, there’s an element of mystery, and it’s crisp. I tell other writers every time they ask me for advice– spend money on your editor, and spend money on your cover. If you don’t, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Moonborn will be available in three weeks, although the Grand Opening, so to say, will be at Utopiacon in Nashville. I’ll have plenty of copies, book candles, and swag. I highly recommend this event, check it out here: http://www.utopiacon.com/
Hope to see you there, and send me your favorite covers. What draws you to them? What turns you off? Let me know.
Livvy Foster has a new heart, home, and a place in the powerful halls of House Windhook. The fall of Sliver was only the beginning of a civil war that sees angels from across the sky challenge each other to lead a world in which the past and the future are connected by a storm crafted from time, ambition, and power.
When House Selinus attempts to bend the light of days in order to become the supreme power in an apocalyptic future, they confront a goddess who is older than time itself– and she’ll stop at nothing to get the one soul who escaped her through the years: Livvy.
With deceit, war and love swirling in the clouds above a shattered world that was once Livvy’s home, she’ll be asked to do something a girl with a broken heart never thought possible.
Fight for Windhook. Fight for her world.
Take wing with Livvy, one heartbeat at a time.
Being a queen means not belonging to yourself, I think. After studying royalty for years, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a job one should consider carefully before taking the crown.
Crowns are heavy, and they have a way of leaving the body with the head still attached. History is filled with the vain, stupid, greedy, and lustful regents who found themselves at the end of a sword. The wrong end.
But history is also filled with good, just, intelligent royals who also found themselves relegated to the past by violent means, often in a spectacular, horrid fashion.
I write this because I’ve been giving a lot of consideration to where Livvy, from my novel Heartborn, will go in the future.
It’s true that writers use our characters as voodoo dolls, making them endure the very worst that our imagination has to offer.
I really like Livvy, and for seventeen years she struggled from breath to breath with a defective heart. I don’t want the rest of of her life to be a mockery of that, but I also want her to ascend to the heights she’s meant to be at when the world comes calling– and make no mistake, Livvy has greater concerns than she can imagine. Or, she will have, but that’s an issue for book two and three in the trilogy.
I think the question of whether Livvy is meant to be a queen is out of her hands, and in a sense, mine. The story goes where it will, especially when characters show the kind of steel that Livvy has within her. Still, in her own words, “Weapons were meant to be used.”
I think that royalty is a weapon, but for Livvy, I want to believe she’s the one holding the sword.
Introducing the cover for Heartborn, available September 1st. Design and art by the amazing Staci Hart. Advance proofs are available for #booktubers, #bookstagrammars, and #bloggers. Ask, and it’s yours.
This one’s going to get you right in the feels. Share with a friend or three!
Annnnnnd– the blurb:
Her guardian angel was pushed.
Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where violence and deceit are just around every corner.
His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival.
Until Keiron arrives.
In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will risk everything for Livvy, because a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice.
Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love someone who will give their very life to save you.
I’d like to introduce you to Livvy Foster, the heroine from Heartborn, which will arrive on your Kindles and in stores this September.
I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be working with Lauren Flatt, who captures the mood, beauty, and strength I wanted to portray.
The cover will be shot by Chattanooga photographer Adrienne McNellis (see her work here ). She captures the fantasy and wonder that I’m looking for, and we’ll be in the beautiful hills of East Tennessee to boot. Here’s the first look at Heartborn:
Her guardian angel didn’t fall. He was pushed.
Livvy Foster has survived for seventeen years as the only girl in the world with half a heart. She bears the scars of surgery, and cruelty, and the daily battle for every single breath. But life won’t wait for her new heart, so she decides to try something new. Something different.
When she begins her new job at the library, little does she know that high above, a war will rage among the most powerful beings of the sky. House Windhook is a powerful family who refuse to kneel before the Crescent Council, but the council’s hunger for control means that House Windhook must be bought under control of the seat of power, a city among the clouds known as Sliver.
Saiinov and Vasa are lord and lady of Windhook, and only they understand that the threat of losing their House is tied to the disappearance of their youngest son, Keiron. They decide to fight, taking on the ruling class of Sliver in a contest of magic and skill that will see their abilities pushed to the limits.
As to their son—nothing is too much to give for his cause. He will find Livvy, and House Windhook will see him through his journey, no matter what the cost.
Keiron, the youngest member of Windhook, is determined to pierce the light of days and find Livvy, where only he can save her life. For Keiron is no ordinary angel—he is Heartborn, a rare being of true goodness in a place where war and intrigue are waiting at every sunrise. Along with his talent and will comes the need to reach through time and space itself to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand.
In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will give attempt to save her in a way that only he can, for the Heartborn life can only end in one way: Sacrifice.
Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love with someone who will give their very life to save you.
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That’s it for now. Hope to see you at an event this year, too– check my calendar at http://www.terrymaggert.com/ for a signing near you! Cheers, Terry