Tag Archives: Maximus Xanders

Character Art – Young Maximus

Hey there folks!  We’re back today with another look at one of our characters through the eyes of Hozure.  This time around, we’re looking at a young Maximus Xanders.

When last we saw Maximus done in a specific style, it was Hozure who had done him.  Back then, we were looking at an older Maximus on his clockwork horse.  This time around, we’ve done a nod to that, but in a reserved way.

We were given the opportunity to do this piece with his horse, Charcoal, but we needed to move on from that, in order to let Maximus move on as well.  Plus, we’d already seen Charcoal on the cover of The Tinker’s Tale.  Instead, we chose one of the poses that would have a clockwork mouse in it instead.

Maximus was always the kookiest of the Knights of Virtue, and I think this piece definitely picks up on that.  At the same time though, it shows kind of where his mind’s at, and that he has a vast imagination.  All that in such a small piece—that’s pretty impressive!

Here, you can see that the details have been filled in, and the piece is nearly done.  You can definitely tell how this guy ended up growing up to be the same fellow who made a clockwork horse, awesome weapons for his friends, and precise catapults upon the Lucerion Bridge.

And here you have it.  Our finished piece.  The background and shadow ends up really helping the lighting and details fall even more into place.

I really like Hozure’s interpretation of Maximus, and I’m actually really interested in seeing old/young interpretations of the other knights, especially considering we haven’t seen anyone else beyond a young Richard!

Cover Reveal – Stealing Seramore

Hey folks!

We are on a roll regarding these cover reveals, and we’re hoping to keep it up even more as we go forward.  With that in mind, let’s show you another sequel that’s on the horizon, and the process that we took to get there.

So, Stealing Seramore is the sequel to The Tinker’s Tale, one of our more distant flashback stories.  I’m going to have to really set out to figure out the ages of the Knights of Virtue, but suffice it to say, Richard is our oldest one, and he features prominently in this book.

In any case, the meat of this story takes place back in a time when Maximus and Richard were both somewhat young.  Whereas The Tinker’s Tale was supposed to demonstrate a sort of man vs nature plot, Stealing Seramore embodies an even more distant genre: a heist.


Part of me almost regrets not going with this cover.  It was gorgeous, and probably would have went over really well.  This title doesn’t come out till 2018, so I might get this picture finished and do my first A/B testing with the public… wouldn’t that be nice?


This was the variant of the cover we ultimately went with.  The reason we chose this one was that it added a new character to the back instead of showing the two leads twice.  It also put the focus on Maximus and Richard more than the guard who is patrolling in the room with all the cures to the Carbuncle.


Lickety split, Leo put some glorious touches on the piece that really made it come to life.  In a lot of ways, this is one of the more beautiful works he’s done with us.  The lighting and reflections are stunning, and I love the textures of this temple.


After that, it was only a few things that needed to be tweaked in order to give it that final touch.  Maximus and Salvatore needed beards, and we got a splash of light on the front cover.

And there you have it—the making of another great Leo cover. We’re so grateful to have such a wonderful relationship with him.  Here’s to dozens more covers to show off over the next few years!

Art: Maximus Figurine by Skence

Well now, we’re about to wrap up a segment!  It’s always a little bittersweet when our time with an artist runs out.  On one hand, we managed to get a lot of impressive work out of them.  On the other one, sometimes we don’t know when we’ll have the opportunity to work with them again.  In this case, we already have some cool ideas to run with as it pertains to Skence, but we’ll have to save that for later in the year.

As for now, we’ll finish up this segment with his (in my opinion) most impressive piece for us: Maximus and Equinicus.

Maximus Sketches


Skence started off with some sketches, (including that really funny one right above #5).

Maximus Black and White


After that, we moved on to a black and white sketch of the duo. Rhianna’s painting served as an inspiration for the clockwork steed, and he did a pretty cool job of capturing it.

Maximus Complete


Finally, Skence added some color to it.  Obviously, this Maximus is older, but he preserved a lot of the color from the cover from The Tinker’s Tale that Leo so lovingly crafted.  I was very happy with this final piece.  Skence did an awesome job.  Cross your fingers for more collaborations with him in the future!

Art: The Tinker’s Tale Cover

Now that we’re getting ready to shut the book on The Tinker’s Tale, I thought it would be a good opportunity to look back at the cover one more time ahead of its release on Amazon.

Sometimes, when you’re working with an artist, everything just works right from the start.  I’ve been working with Leo, and while every time he delivers a stunning product, there have been a few times where it seems he just knows exactly what’s in my mind, and puts it right to page.  I think that’s one of the tough things about being a writer with no real artistic talent.  It can be difficult to have this impression of something in your mind and not be able to get it out properly without conveying it to people in words.

When I told Leo what I wanted to see for the cover of The Tinker’s Tale, this was almost exactly what I expected:

over 4
Leo is also getting used to the layout of the Tellest logos, titles and authors – For Son of the Storm, we had to get a little creative.


And despite how cool it could have been, I had to say no to this version:

over 4_dragon
The Tinker’s Tale of avoiding flying death.


Sometimes you just have to say no to dragons, even in fantasy.  If Maximus had come up against them, you can be sure I would have allowed them to share cover space with him.

Around this time, we decided that Seramore was a very important part of the story.  Though the countryside aspect had some impact, especially early on in the tale, it wasn’t as integral as this massive city that Maximus would be discovering.  So we came up with this:

General Seramore concept
I can’t even watercolor 1/10th this good.


It was a big improvement on the message that the story conveyed. There’s something about the urgency here that you didn’t really get when you were in the woods.  You can also see that our protagonist is progressively getting less scruffy here.

Once Leo knew how pleased I was with this concept, we moved on to the final piece.  Again, I can’t begin to express how easy this cover was to work on.  Leo did an amazing job.

General Seramore concept_3
This just pops.


At the end of the process, we had something that was so simple, yet so evocative.  The turn around time was ridiculous, too.  I think Leo managed to get this to me in less than a week after the original sketch.

After that, we just had to put together our final touches, including the logo, title and author, courtesy of Paul Davies.


And, voila!


It really could not have been easier.  I’m very pleased with the final product, and I’m hoping that when it releases on Amazon next week, its potential readers find it expressive and attractive enough to agree with me!

Museum of Wonders

General description


The Museum of Wonders is located in the city of Atalatha.  It stands adjacent to the Great Cathedral and the Great Library.  It is one of the northernmost buildings.



When Atalatha was conceived, and the Knights of Virtue were given a chance to forge their destiny, Maximus Xanders knew exactly what he wanted to leave in his name.  The Museum of Wonders was a place for all the antiquities and oddities that he had acquired or built throughout his life.

Rather than safely tuck the relics of great importance away, he decided to put them on display for all to see.  The Museum allows a great deal of coin to flow through the city, as out-of-towners will often flock to the building while on holiday.

Maximus has living quarters within the edifice, as well as a workshop where he tinkers with some of his more queer items.


Physical Description

The Museum of Wonders is a building that stretches fairly deep.  The entrance is styled almost like a temple, with marble steps and pillars that seem to hold up an effigy of the god, Mathias.  His eyes seem to follow passersby, enticing people inside.

Within, a large, lifelike statue of the dragon Batrura greets people, its legs opening toward the rest of the museum.  Each room within the place houses many of the items that Maximus has collected, the rooms open wide enough to fit several houses inside.

Each antique is typically held beneath thick glass or attached to the walls to deter thieves.  Some of the larger items are housed inside clear boxes in the center of each area.


Notable Items Within

Maximus has collected dozens, if not hundreds of antiques over the years.  Sometimes things are gifted to him, and occasionally, he visits far off lands to come back with souvenirs.

Among many of his presentations are busts of long lost leaders.  Several of them line the halls that lead one room to the next.  Full statues of other legends, including the dragon in the foyer, can also be found.

He is also an avid collector of weaponry.  The knife of Jasmine Byrne, which delivered the final blow to Roark, is situated not far from his workshop.

Maximus is also well known through the city for his personal ingenuity.  Several of the items that he’s tinkered with are on display as well, including everything from an underwater breathing apparatus to small windup toys.