Category Archives: Fantasy

Finder Just Keeps On Entertaining

I just found this review for Finder, left last December (2015–five years and some since publication,) that I hadn’t seen. I guess I’ve been a bit preoccupied with my romance novels, but a series of events led me to go in and check on my fantasy work, and I this happened:

When I started reading this novel I expected an adventure, and it is there, beautifully portrayed in vivid descriptions and engaging characters. But as the tale progressed I also encountered superb storytelling, where clever clues and loose ends planted throughout two decades of struggle and hope are ultimately woven into a rewarding conclusion. As the author describes in the story, the experience does not just come full-circle, but rather it spirals upward, elevating the reader to a new level of understanding and appreciation.

For me, what set this story apart from other adventure tales is the influence on the characters of the eighteen-year gap that comes in the middle of the story. For the protagonist, Ethen, it highlights his transition from a young man who takes chances and dodges responsibility, primarily because he has gotten away with things in the past, to a mature adult who has suffered the ramifications of poor decisions and has learned to plan wisely. And for Zihariel, his heart’s desire, it highlights the painful maturity that comes too early for those subjected to a devastating childhood. Where Ethen evolved, Zihariel was forced into adulthood at a very young age and that trauma helps her survive the insults and injuries to come.

Add to that a wealth of intriguing personalities, some endearing and others malevolent, and a journey that takes the reader through poor alleys, splendid cites, bawdy taverns, rich homes, deserts and seas, and you have a delightful tale that touches on many of the highs and lows of mankind. The reader is sure to find themselves somewhere within the pages.

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PS–I just realized who left this. A true fan!

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A New Cover for Finder

When Finder was published in 2010, Eric Reynolds of Hadley Rille Books indulged me with my cover art. I said I didn’t want people, I wanted a landscape. After much going back and forth with Jesse Smolover, an extremely talented young man who happened to be longtime friends with my son-in-law, we decided on a gorgeous cityscape as well as a figure–Ethen–looking down on it. This is the result, and I adored it.

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original cover, by Jesse Smolover

 

 

I gave no thought to marketing, to my audience, only to my own aesthetic. What did I know? It was my first book! Eric did try to tell me, but was willing to indulge my vision. Finder sold well–very well for a small press book. It still does pretty well. I’ve gotten many compliments on my cover, even all these years later. But I noticed something–whenever my book as displayed with others from our press, it got passed over. I couldn’t understand why; and then it hit me…

 

The key demographic for our fantasy line is women, from teen to croonehood. Most of our other covers have women on them. Aha! Could that be it? But I loved my cover! A Time Never Lived also has a man on the cover, but the dragon sells it, I think. Then came Beyond the Gate.

Beyond the Gate cover, by Jesse Smolover

There is my beautiful Linhare. A woman. On the cover. And you know what I discovered? The local bookstore that carries my books sells about four Beyond the Gate to every Finder or A Time Never Lived. Egads, indeed.

Eric and I decided to try an experiment. We contracted with our house artist, Tom Vandenberg, to do a new cover for Finder. During the process, Eric had a stroke. My cover kind of got lost in that chaotic shuffle. Running the press for Eric has been fulfilling, frustrating and extremely educational, but now that he’s recovering and able to take back some tasks, my cover came out of the closet. And here it is…

Finder cover art by Thomas Vandenberg

I am over the moon. I love this cover. I love Zihariel’s ferocity, even in chains. I love the “wormhole” view. Best of all, I love that I can keep both covers out in the world. The ebook and trade paperbacks will have the new cover, but my hardcover will keep the original art. Just seems fitting, to me.

At this writing, the new cover is only available on the ebook. There has been a glitch in the works concerning the print copy, but our fabulous cover designer, Heather McDougal, is traipsing about Italy at the moment, so it’s going to be another month or so before it’s available in print.

So–what do you think? I am interested to see if the new cover sparks sales, but mostly, I can’t wait to put both covers on a table at some convention somewhere, and see what happens.

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