Tag Archives: novellas

State of Tellest, March 2016 (Quickie)

Hey all.  Just wanted to give you a quick one today.  There’s nothing so imperative that I want to bother anybody, but I thought it would be nice if someone knew what I was doing.  I’ve been relatively quiet lately, with the exception of the Newsletter and the promos we’ve been doing for other storytellers of the Otherworld.

Of course, we have also had a few short stories thrown into the mix lately, and we hope to keep that up for the near future.  But there’s a little bit more going on that might spark your interest.


Short Stories

As I said above, we’ve been trying to make sure that there are weekly short stories available for you to read.  Now, these shorts are typically broken up into multiple parts, and that’s not unlikely to stop anytime soon.  You can get them all in one place—and early—if you’re supporting us on Patreon.  Sometimes, even if you’re not!

We started courting two more authors lately, and we’re hoping that we’ll be able to bring you some of their stories sooner rather than later.  And 2016 will also see Kevin Gallagher step back into the spotlight, as he begins to release more of his own material.  He’s come a long way, and the quality of his writing is very indicative of this.  With luck, and his help, we’ll have handfuls of stories for you throughout the first half of this year.

There’s also one other thing I want to let you know about.  Members of our newsletter were treated to an exclusive story today that features two brand new characters, each with interesting new abilities.  If you’re interested in being a member of our team, all you have to do is sign up.  You’ll get a slew of bonuses over a few weeks, including that short story (as well as a full copy of Awake, one of our Tales of Tellest that we released with your help in 2014).


Tellest Phase II and Longer Form Stories

Speaking of what happened in 2014, I think we’re officially calling that our opening move for Tellest.  That’s Phase I, and it’s been a very nice experience for us.  We’re on the hind end of fulfilling our rewards for all the great people who funded our Kickstarter, and paperbacks are going out this week!

With the more administrative stuff out of the way (finally), we’re looking ahead at the future.  And while we’re not quite launching specifics on the site yet, we aren’t afraid to tell you that things are moving into place a lot quicker than they did the last time around. We’re not coming forward until a substantial amount of the work is done (we weren’t happy with making people wait last time), but the pace has definitely increased.  Michael is working on four stories simultaneously, and despite that awesome feat for our slowpoke creator, he’s actually right on schedule.  With luck, we’ll be able to drop the first official details in just over two months.  By the end of May, we hope to give you a deeper look at what’s coming.  We’ll just leave you with one word, in the meantime: Sequels.


Super Secret Side Project

A bunch of you that follow us know that we’ve been working on side projects for years.  We’ve had Heart of the Forest up on the menu there for much longer than we care to admit, but we’re actually making a lot of progress on a related project.  In fact, we’ve recently begun collaborating with another sprite artist who we hope can help us get our vision across even better.  You’ll get some looks at his work in the first week of May.  And hopefully soon we’ll be ready to divulge more information on this project, but we hope you understand our secrecy for the moment.



In any case, we hope that you’ve enjoyed what we’ve brought to the table so far, and that you’re looking forward to more from the world of Tellest.  We’re so excited for the next big things that are on the horizon.  Thank you for helping us reach that path!

Art: Awake Cover

Hello everyone!  With Awake about to release next week, I thought that there would be no better time than today to present to you the full cover of the novella and the process that we took to get to our great final piece.

As we are known to do, we relied on Leo for his expertise and great eye, and he did not disappoint us in this regard.  Awake was interesting in that it was a very confident, strong leading lady, who didn’t really have to stand in the background and sling spells to really get her point across.  Venathryn is an in-your face kind of heroine, even though she does prefer to use a bow and arrow.  With that in mind, we wanted to really put her into the thick of it.  Surrounded by enemies, sorely outnumbered – it’s just the way she would truly operate.  As always, Leo lined us up some sketches.


Rough Sketch 3


This one could have been perfect.  It would have brought a lot of focus to Venathryn and I know it would have really popped, but we weren’t sure we liked this best when we saw the other ones that followed.


Rough Sketch 1


Now this one was more our style.  Though Venathryn is more ranger than rogue, she’s not averse to hiding in the shadows and dealing out the damage covertly.


Rough Sketch 2

Very similar to that second sketch, this one seemed to evoke more of a “we know she’s here” vibe.  It almost carries a sense that she’s already done a bit of damage to the goblins, and that they are doing whatever is in their power not to be set upon.  With our choice made, we moved onto the next phase.


Follow-up Sketch


At this point, we started marrying ideas from both of the second sketches.  She’s a little more discreet, but she’s still ready to pop out at the last second and inflict a little pain on her pursuers.  And of course, by now, we saw just how formidable her foes were.



There we go.  Now we really had something.  The cover for Awake was nearly completed, and everything came together wonderfully.  When this goes to virtual print on Amazon, it’s really going to gather up attention.  There was just one last change we had to make.




Venathryn is a brunette!  It probably wouldn’t have been too jarring, but we wanted to make sure Venathryn wouldn’t be confused with her cousin Narallyndra, the other big female presence of the story.  With her hair dyed, we finally had our cover completed, with the exception of the titling, with Paul did an amazing job on.  Check out the book on Amazon next Tuesday!



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!

The State of Tellest, December 2013

Hello readers!  It’s been a while since a real blog post has dropped, as we here at Tellest have been focusing on delivering content within the series universe itself.  Whether it’s the weekly encyclopedia entry or the monthly short stories that have been releasing since November, we sure have been busy!

Besides that, we’ve shown you who makes Tellest possible in the last month or so.  Whether they’re writers, audio producers, consultants or trusty readers, there are tons of roles to fill here.

We also started a new feature in November.  From now on, every month around the 15th we’ll be posting a writing contest for fans of Tellest or the genre in general.  We’ll offer prizes for the best of the best, and offer you the chance to become a part of the overall Tellest tapestry.

What I’m most excited to talk to you about is what’s coming up for us in the oncoming months.

In 2014, Tellest is moving forward full-force.  While we released some short stories in the last few months of this year, we’ll be putting out a quintet of novellas in the next twelve months called the Tales of Tellest (Volume One).  These stories will focus on characters before we saw them in the Child of the Stars Trilogy, and it will help us to understand how they became who they are, while expanding the world of Tellest.  It will introduce us to new people and varied locations.  It will reveal some of the long forgotten secrets of the world.

We’re going to be presenting these stories in a serialized format.  Each week, another chapter of one of the tales will be released on our website.  You’ll be able to see these for free up until the week after the entire story is uploaded.  After that point, we’ll release them in eBook format, and start the next story.  This will take us through to December, where we’ll start to see two more big stories that will explore a couple of our richer characters more deeply.

With the new team members that we’ve acquired, we’ll be able to get more products and web updates to you as well.  These may be new covers for old books, concept art pieces or an upcoming audiobook release.

Tellest is also committed to aiding other fantasy authors who are in the early stages of their creations.  We’ll have some more news regarding that in the very near future.

Be on the lookout for some big announcements over the next few weeks.  In the meantime, have a safe and happy holiday, from all of us here at Tellest!

Level Up!

I love equating everything I do to an RPG.

In this case, I’m talking specifically about the series of five shorter stories I’m going to be telling over the next few months.  I’ve been saying for the longest time that this quintet was going to be a collection of novelettes – that is, they were going to be significantly shorter than I expected they’ve become.  As I push forward, however, it seems that each of them is developing a littler further than I intended. 

I’m a firm believer in allowing a story to tell itself.  When each of these first three that I’ve been working on have exceeded the planned six chapter arcs that I anticipated, I wasn’t dissapointed.  It seems to me like the magic number is eight, but, as you can tell, I’ve been surprised before.

Therefore, the novelettes are hereby being upgraded to novellas.  There will be much rejoicing.

Because of this change, I’m going to adjust my plans of releasing them somewhat.  Originally, it was my intent to throw them up on the Tellest site in little two-bite increments.  The second week, you’d be able to see the first two chapters, the following week, I’d remove the first chapter, and instead add the third chapter.  That’s all very confusing, especially when you add two more chapters to the back end.  So instead, the game plan is to keep each chapter up for the featured novella.  You’ll have eight weeks of content, back to back, probably on Tuesdays (we’ll call them, Tale Tuesdays).  They won’t be removed from the site until the ninth week, when they get published to kindle.

As of right now, I’m committed to a late December or early January release for the beginning of this journey.  That would lead us to a Tuesday, March 4th publication of the first story.

It always boggles my mind how excited I get for this thing that just once upon a time started as a little speck of ingenuity in my brain.  I can’t wait to share it with you!