Tag Archives: The Fall

Cover Art – The Maelstrom

Hey there folks!  Today we’re going to show off the last sequel property we’re bringing you through 2018 (not counting whatever sequels will make their way into the Tales of Tellest, Volume Two short story collection).

The cover for The Maelstrom is one of my absolute favorites.  Leo did a fabulous job making not only a beautiful cover, but helping us come up with an awesome new race of creatures.  Let’s dive right in, and see the process.

So, when we started, Leo knew that The Maelstrom would involve “demons.”  There was more to it than that, of course, but we sometimes have translation issues since we’re on different continents.  So the demons that Leo came up with at first were very traditional.  It was my job to steer him away from that.

In this second shot, you can see that things are cleaned up substantially.  Our demons were supposed to be storm demons—you typically see these infernal type beings that hail from fiery realms, but I wanted to switch things up with this book.  As it stands anyway, our demons look kind of like towering mannequins!

At this point, you can see our cover taking even more shape.  Color was adjusted, a pose was picked for our main character, and the demons, a race of otherworldly beings called the Kin Maelar, really come to life here.

We adjusted the position of the invading demons, and threw a weapon in the leader’s hand.  These guys tower over the surviving elves of Shandranar, but Icarus is ready to face them head on.

Here you see the final take on the cover of this upcoming novel.  The two other characters, Icarus’s father and brother, are fleshed out, and the odds are even less in our hero’s favor!

If you recall, Icarus went through a lot of trouble during the event now known in Tellest’s history as the Fall.  You might have thought the worst was over, but these new invaders are sure to make our beleaguered elf wonder if the worst is truly behind him.

Tales of Tellest has Released!

Hello everyone!

I’m proud to announce that one of the last few pieces in our first big push—phase one, I’m calling it—is ready for purchase.  Tales of Tellest went live yesterday, bringing together seventeen different stories and four talented authors.

Tales of Tellest Thumb

Best of all, I think, is the price.  At $4.99, you’re making out like a bandit on the deal.  Since each of the stories are $2.99 (less Mageborn and Awake when they’re free), you’re really being given a decent bang for your buck.  The full book is over 600 pages, and this is just the first course of these wonderful stories that feature characters from the Tellest universe.

Be sure to pick up your copy on Amazon today!

Art – Tales of Tellest Cover by DLeoBlack

I am so very excited to show you the last big component of our Tales of Tellest: Volume one push.  I know it should have been a one year enterprise, but the Tales of Tellest grew a little out of control, and I can honestly say it was probably for the best.  You know when you’re expanding, you get those growing pains.  I think the same happens with a series and a world like Tellest, and the delays here and there made it possible to sort of age with dignity.  It gave us the time to really tackle things with the kind of poise and attention that we needed to give them.

There were a lot of ways that we could have gone at this particular cover, which brings all the stories we’ve created in the last 18 months into one package.  We could have had a series of characters all bunched together into one space, but as of stories that are in this collection, they haven’t actually met each other.  It would be disingenuous to put them all together if they’re introductions wouldn’t be made for several years.  So Leo and I determined that there would have to another thread that tied them all together.

That’s how The Keeper of the Void, the final story I’ve written for this collection, came to be.

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In Tellest, there are some things that are a bit beyond the existential. We’ve seen the Nexus, which connects the waking world with the afterlife, in addition to serving as a means for the gods to travel about the world in short bursts.  What we decided to do was add another layer of impossible to the world.  Whereas the Nexus affects space and mortality, the Void encompasses space and time.

Yes, time travel is a part of Tellest now.  In a lot of ways, it always was.  But we’ll get to that more later.  You can see that draft of the cover up there.  That’s the one we passed on.  We gave Leo the opportunity to create a character from scratch here, and he gave us two versions of a kind of “mad wizard” or “mad crone” to choose from.  We ultimately settled on our crone:

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This is Nyrshia, the eponymous Keeper of the Void.  She’s not really female, but beyond the comprehension of mere mortals.  She (it?) chooses to represent itself the way it does so that she can interact with us on a level that we would understand.

You can also see the orbs in the cover as well.  These are the ways that we’ve bound all our previous stories together.

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Here, you can see that idea beginning to take shape.  Since time is all relative, events sort of float around in the Void, ready to be observed—but rarely manipulated.

In this version of the cover, Nyrshia has been fleshed out a little bit more, and we’ve added the other big character to the story, a lad named Rhys who is a capable soldier that happens upon the Void.

The orbs are filled, as well, with the covers of the stories that we’ve written before.  You’ll see that The Bindings of Fate is in there as well, though it doesn’t fit in the Tales of Tellest collection—if we threw that in there, we’d have to put the other Child of the Stars trilogy books in there, and we’d be looking at around 1,800 pages worth of content, and this collection is supposed to go to paperback!

Orb Legend

We took a step back to our monochrome cover just so that we could indicate which stories should have gone where.  We kept our most popular stories in the biggest bubbles, and eagerly awaited the unfolding of Leo’s own brand of magic.

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This was the finished version of the cover, sans filled orbs.  Nyrshia is a bit more imposing in her finished form.  Leo captured the look of this character so exquisitely as someone who could be so disarmingly fragile but so powerful to behold at the same time. Rhys, meanwhile, looks a bit more brooding.

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Now this is some beautiful work.  The orbs are being used in their entirety here to great effects.  And the stories inside them? Magnifique.  You can also see that Leo did some redraws of some of Kimirra’s older story covers for The Littlest Kobold and Remembered in Gold.  We thought that they didn’t quite stand up to the rest of the thumbnails on this cover, and asked Leo to spruce them up a bit.

Funny enough, we still have some times translating between Leo and I from time to time.  It’s very far and few between and he does some quick turnarounds, but you can see here that we accidentally used As Darkness Falls instead of The Fall.  You can tell that I have too many opportunities to use that word, especially when you consider that another short story in this very collection is called Fallen.

Tales of Tellest Complete

And here you have it.  The final version of our final 2014-2015 project.  Obviously we have to slap the title and back matter on there, and are working with Paul Davies to do so, but this is the Tales of Tellest in all its glory.  We hope you liked it, and we’ll come back at you with more great content in the weeks and months to come!

The Fall Released!

It’s a proud day here at Tellest.  With the release of The Fall, we’re one step closer to fulfilling the promise that we made two years ago: to deliver great content, entertaining stories, and a growing literary universe.  I cannot tell you just how great it feels to get this story on virtual shelves.

I would be delighted if you’d give this final novella in the first volume of Tales of Tellest a gander.  This particular story was most definitely a labor of love, and I think it shows… it may just be your favorite Tellest book yet.

 

Icarus must intervene before a wicked ritual is completed, or humanity will be banished from the world of Tellest forevermore. But his people, the elves, have determined that humans are too dangerous to share the realm. How can he protect the friends that he has made without betraying his race?

Samael is a man scorned, whose only desire is to enact vengeance on those who have wronged him. However, his involvement is the deciding factor in the call to banish humanity. For the sake of all the races of Tellest, he must work with Icarus to put a halt to the foul dealings.

 

The Fall is now available on Amazon!

Art: Icarus Figurine

It feels like it’s been forever since we’ve seen anything from Skence, but we’re rectifying that now.  With the upcoming release of The Fall, we thought it would be a good time to see more images of Icarus.

As is typically the case we the art we commission, we started off with some sketches of the character that would lead us to the final vision.

 

 

Icarus Sketches

 

After that, Skence took us all the way to the end, showing us our angel-winged hero in an awesome light.  We also have a good look at his twin swords here.  Icarus is a force to be reckoned with, and Skence did a great job capturing that.

Icarus

 

We’ll be back with one final look at one of the heroes of the Tales of Tellest through Skence’s eyes.  Stay tuned!

State of Tellest, May 2015

Hello lords and ladies, and welcome to another edition of State of Tellest.  As always, I try to let you know what’s planned for our future, while keeping you up to date on what’s happening right now.

 

Tellest Art

First, some “bad” news, just to get it out of the way.  Over the past year and some change, we’ve been doing an awesome job of getting character and concept art in front of interested fans.  For a little indie publication, this is an incredibly huge feat.  You don’t often get the little unknown guy making a big splash with that kind of thing – it’s the people who have already gained popularity, and fans pour their hearts into art for their favorite new series.

As it stands, we have art that’s going to run for about three more months before we’re all tapped out.  See, that’s part of the plan right now.  Because of where I’m hoping to take Tellest in the future, as well as other life events (Rhianna and I are getting married this year… yay!), I need to be a little more frugal with finances, and invest properly.  That’s not to say that the art will be completely cut off.  I’m going to have certain needs for art that will require my attention (like cover art), and I have certain talented people who are both affordable and dependable, so I will lean on them whenever they are available.  Also, it’s completely possible that Tellest breaks out in the next few months.  When it happened in 2011 (albeit for only a few months) it was a complete surprise, so I’m not discounting the possibility.  But, in the case that it doesn’t play out like that, we’ll still be getting more pieces, just not at the same pace we’re getting them now.  As I said before, it’s ludicrously lucky that I’ve been able to do this as long as I have!  As for some of those other investments…

 

Side Projects

Part of what I love about Tellest is how accessible it is to other mediums.  This is a written universe about medieval superheroes. How awesome is that?  It would be a wasted opportunity not to try and see where else Tellest could go, and in a lot of ways, we’ve already scratched the surface with ideas (see Heart of the Forest – not dead, just sleeping).  Part of the reason that these have just been scratched, and not really followed to their truest potential is the aforementioned lack of capital.  And one of these ideas has potential financiers, which is an awesome thing to say the least.

In the interest of being transparent, I have about 10-15 ideas for games stirring around in the back of my head (including card and board games and video games).  I really want to be able to set my sights on things like those.  But there’s also plenty of opportunities for Tellest to evolve into the realm of comics as well.  Kev and I have been talking about that for years, and the nature of this universe fits that kind of thing perfectly.  But again, to do that, we need capital, which brings me to my next point.

 

What’s Next for the Tellest Written Universe?

I might as well get this out of the way first.  The Fall, the final book in this most recent endeavor, is nearly done.  To give you an idea of when I think that will actually be the case, I believe you’ll see me on Twitter next week telling you “the dragon is slain.”  It’s been an amazingly long process – something that somehow wasn’t as daunting for the other four novellas in the Tales of Tellest collection, and I hope that the care and patience I gave to it comes across well to all who read it.  Still, finishing that initial draft is only the first phase of the writing process – Nace and I still have to go through about three waves of editing before it goes to the Tellest street team (don’t forget to sign up for that and our newsletter over on the sidebar – free books are never a bad deal).  I’ll let them mull over it for a few weeks and we’ll try to have it out in time for my birthday in the middle of July.

And here’s the big reveal.  I don’t think that I’m done with the Tales of Tellest.  I really don’t.  It wasn’t done intentionally for this reason, but there were always threads that I lay out a little loosely in each of these stories.  There were ideas that I’d come back to them eventually, but I didn’t think that I’d have the itch this soon.  In fact, I was even ready to pass along the torch for Mageborn to Rhianna, who had a lot to do with the original story.  After some consideration though, I think we’re going to co-write the sequel to that, and I’m going to work on follow-ups to each of the other stories in the quintet, with the ultimate goal being a set of five trilogies (at least). Now, this is by no means a formal reveal of this goal – anything can change, but I’m very interested in continuing these stories.

Now here’s the rub: I’m still committed to continuing the story that was unlocked at the end of The Enemy Within.  There are still things that haven’t been explained.  How did Steel Tip end up in a tower in Blacklehn?  Why was Eltan Mane held captive in Viscosa?  How was Bolt able to use the ring of amplification?  These are all things that need to be told.  And on top of that, there are other novellas that I want to write, too!  I have 11 other novellas with various bits of pre-production done on them, and I don’t want them sitting down on the back burner for too long.  So what’s a nerd like me to do?  I really need to sit down and put my nose to the grindstone.  Last year, I was working on Tellest for at least 2 hours a day.  I’d like to resume that pace and eventually eclipse it – after all, some day I would like to make this a full time job.  There’s no better time to practice than now.

 

Grand Announcement

If you’ve been clamoring for some nice summer reading, we released our first bundle on Amazon.  The Child of the Stars Trilogy, books 1-3 are available now for the low price of 2.99.  Three books for the price of one isn’t a bad deal!

Tellest_Bundle_Update2

 

So be on the lookout for The Fall in the next few weeks.  When that comes out, I do hope you enjoy it.  I spent a lot of time on it, and I really hope that it shows.  In the meantime, I hope you’re picking out a bunch of other fantasy books for your summer reads, and that none of them disappoint you.

Until next time!

State of Tellest, March 2015

Daylight Savings is here, and that means the winter blues are just about over.  While I don’t really get into any kind of physiological funk, I certainly won’t tell you that my work doesn’t suffer at least a little bit in the winter.  With the days being brighter just a little bit longer, I often find my determination extended quite a bit too.

Things have been somewhat quiet here for a little while.  We’ve had plenty of great authors featured in our book promos, and of course we haven’t gone a week without missing an awesome art update.  We even had a new short story that ran over the past month or so.  But there’s still more to come, and I wanted to pull back the curtain a little bit so that you could see what to expect.

 

Tales of Tellest: Volume One

While we’re working on the final novella, The Fall, we’re also trying to figure out where we’re at with the rest of the stories that are supposed to comprise this first bargain set of Tellest stories.  First off, let’s just talk about that fifth novella for a moment.  It’s a stubborn itch to be sure, and I’m not sure exactly when it is going to be done, but I can tell you that I work on it every day.  I probably should have expected as such from it – it’s such a crucial element in the overall Tellest story that I should have never been taken as off guard as I was with it.  And even fleshing it out as much as I am, I still feel like it is moving so quickly.  That said, we are nearing the end here.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and at that point, we’re really just putting all the pieces together.  After a quick stop at the editor, the final component will be in place.

We’ve also put together a “final” list of all the stories that are going to comprise this first set of Tellest stories.  Brought to you by a handful of authors, this is going to be one of the coolest things that I’ve ever done, and I can’t wait to actually be able to bring it to you.  Below, you’ll see the list as it stands right now.  Things are always subject to change, as we have a couple other writers who are considering things too, so a reshuffle is always on the table.

Tales of Tellest: Volume One:

  • Mageborn
  • Son of the Storm
  • The Tinker’s Tale
  • Awake
  • The Fall
  • Becoming a Man
  • The Bubbles
  • Cloudrider
  • Dragonland
  • Dream No More
  • Fallen
  • The Littlest Kobold
  • “Masquerade”
  • The Night Before Nadeus
  • Practical Warrior
  • Remembered in Gold
  • “Untitled”

 

Tales of Tellest: Volume Two?

What’s that you say?  Volume Two?  Yes, it’s always been in the works, from the moment I started the Kickstarter for the original five.  When you have a mind that flows as much as mine does, it can get a little out of control, but I’m usually able to reign things in enough to get a cognizant idea of what direction I’m trying to go in.  And while I’m not sure of the details of other stories, I do know at least the five novellas that are going to make up this set.  By title alone, see what you can divulge from this:

  • Alura Une
  • The Crimson Veil
  • Escape from the Nexus
  • Ghosts of the Highlands
  • King of the Forest

We’re still a long way away from the second volume, mind you.  These stories are going to be secondary to the return to the feature length novels.  Kaos, Steel Tip, Christopher and all the rest of the heroes from the Child of the Stars trilogy have many more stories to tell, and it’s possible that the scope of the world is going to grow that much wider because of it.

 

The Enemy Within Rerelease

Part of the Kickstarter deal that I made was getting new art for the original set of books.  We’ve had one that’s been kind of holding out for a while now, but we finally have it in place.  Leo is working on the cover for The Enemy Within, and even without full color, it is a sight to behold.  It really is a great way to end the commitment that was made, and I can’t wait to finally show everyone.  I’m also hoping it revitalizes sales on Amazon and Smashwords, but that’s yet to be seen.

The good news is, after that’s all put together, there’s just the matter of cleaning up The Bindings of Fate a slight bit in an effort to bring it up to the same quality that you’ve come to expect from the novellas.  Four or five years makes a heck of a lot of a difference in the quality of a writer’s work, and I want my readers to be comfortable across the board.  So stay tuned for that!

 

That’s not all that we’ve been working on.  As always, we’re on the lookout for new talent, new opportunities, and new adventures.  We’re in talks with a few close contractors that you might have seen us work with before, and, behind closed doors there’s a super secret project that we’re beginning preproduction on.  Once some steps have been taken to protect our interests, we’ll announce that.

In the meantime, thank you for being a loyal reader.  We’re going to make sure you never regret putting your faith in Tellest.

 

Cheers,

Mike

Art: The Fall Cover

It’s been a long time since we showed you the cover of one of the longer stories.  And while we’re not actually done with the tale just yet, I think it’s time to share the final piece of the novellas that we set out to release last year.

We knew that we needed to get Leo to finish up the fifth cover, so we reached out to him, and told him the gist of the story, that The Fall was essentially a fantasy retelling of the myth of Icarus.  There were some incongruities between the old legend, and what is written in Tellest lore (AKA the truth).

So Leo gave us two versions of the cover to work with at first.

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This one would show our protagonist’s back, and the foe that he would face.  We’ve got a lot of these so far, so we decided to switch it up, and go with the second option.

 

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I think this version made things look a lot more heroic.  We decided to show Icarus approaching the enemy, doing everything he can to stop the cataclysmic event of the story.

 

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Things changed a tiny little bit, and we also added some background materials.  The floating islands in the background help to lead us to the idea of where exactly we are in our fantasy realm, and the crystal is a nice touch too.  It’s imperative to the actual story.

 

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I’m showing this one because it is a fun little addition – you rarely get to see the interim stages of art where certain components aren’t in place yet.  In this instance, our poor antagonist doesn’t have his head!  You can also see a couple more minor changes.

 

fin

 

 

And here’s the final piece we arrived at.  I hope you like it.  Leo did an excellent job on all five novellas, and I think this was a great way to wrap up the Tales of Tellest.  Stay tuned in the next few weeks for the conclusion of The Fall!