Sunwielder Gets a Makeover

EBOOK low res

As part of my conversion to indie publishing, my books are getting new covers. Once again, Jennifer Munswami of Rising Horse Creations has done her magic. This was a much more difficult cover because finding an image of Gryff as I pictured him in my head was impossible. Isn’t that funny? Writing and reading is so visual, and we become hopelessly attached to the pictures in our heads!

Now, what kind of author would I be if I didn’t try to hook you?

Prolog

The warrior rode in silence. Black oaks and silvergreen, dark with summer leaves, swathed the trail in shifting shadow. Shafts of sunlight speared the forest floor, altered only by the graceful sway of branches in the heated wind. She directed the mare with her knees, an arrow nocked in the recurve bow, a full quiver hanging from her pommel. A short sword with a breath of a curve rested in its scabbard at her belt, the ornate guard and curling quillon studded with moonstones.

Even this far from the battlefield, the land of Aldykar was riddled with brigands, deserters, and the soldiers hunting them. Yet she wore no armor, only the leathers of her homeland, tawny jerkin and breeches, soft-soled boots laced to the knee. Her hair, the red of old blood, flared in the filtered light, brushing her cheeks. Slanted gray eyes, pale as winter clouds, scanned the dark recesses of rock and fern in the hollows beneath the trees. The meeting place lay in a foreign wilderness, a place not unknown to her for she’d traveled the roadways and trails between Edriis and Mastrelle before, as maiden and warrior. Why the old woman chose the woods of Casbonny caused her wonder and filled her with wariness.

An owl’s solemn voice hooted in the moving shadows. The clearing lay ahead through columns of black bark, the round glade sunbathed and thick with fine grass. A young silvergreen grew in its center, branches filigreed steel in the pool of light. Her grandmother stood before the tree, arms at her side, gray hair plaited at her back. An odd expression imprinted her smooth face, a blend of relief, hope, and terrible resignation. “I am alone, Estriilde,” she said.

Songbirds quipped and called in the trees, offering no warning of predators. Estriilde relaxed her bowstring and slipped the arrow into her quiver. A long leg swung over the saddle, and she landed lightly at the shadow’s edge. “We live today, Grandmother,” she said in greeting.

“We live today.” Again the sorrow.

“Why all the trouble to meet at this place?” She tethered Morning Dove to a branch at the glade’s rim. “I ride to Angefell in eight days.”

That she’d received her grandmother’s missive at all seemed a toss left to chance, though she knew better. The old one glimpsed the endless arrays of time, how each moment unfolded like a fan with infinite future possibilities. She traveled them, followed their paths, tracked the splintering of lives, chose and chose through the moments to see where they wended and died.

“You know I bear a vision, my little one.”

Little one? Estriilde smiled. They were Edriisan, statuesque compared to the women of Aldykar, and she stood a hand taller than her grandmother. “This place is part of a path?”

Clasping her hand, the woman drew her into the glade’s light. “Every moment is a path. Yet this is the only one that will save you. The only one I could find. You have died a thousand times.”

Estriilde sighed. “Only today exists.”

“Only now exists, Estriilde. Only now, but I cannot help seeing what I see.”

“What will happen here?” She withdrew from her grandmother’s grasp and walked the edge of the grass in a slow circle, her right hand fingering the hilt of her sword.

The old one’s reply laced the air with ice, “The stranger will come when he hears you scream.”

“Am I to die today?” Estriilde slid the blade free, sunlight glinting on watery steel.

“It is the only way,” the gray woman whispered.

“You invite me to my death, Grandmother.” Estriilde gazed at the forlorn eyes, so like her own. “I will not die easily.”

“You will scream.”

Eyes closed, Estriilde raised her face to the cloudless sky. “Will you stay to see me fall?”

“I cannot, my child. But I will sing for you when you’re dead.”

The birds stilled, their calls frozen in the thick air. The debris of the forest floor rustled and snapped beneath the soft thud of approaching hooves.

“It comes now?” She cast a sideways glance through a wisp of blood red hair to find her grandmother gone.

Bearing weapons of war, the riders reined their mounts at the rim of the glade and slid from their saddles.

Then the screaming began.

Thanks for reading!

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90 thoughts on “Sunwielder Gets a Makeover

  1. Erik says:

    I’m just starting to allow myself to think about my August vacation (FOUR WHOLE WEEKS!). And part of that will be lots of books. I think I’ll tuck some of yours in with me (how many are there now?).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oooh. Well, I’m redoing four of them now, so those would be better to wait for. You might like Sunwielder, Erik, and I’d be very curious as to what you think of some of the ideas presented in it. Four weeks sounds wonderful. Going anywhere?

      Like

  2. The new cover is awesome! I just bought the book on Kindle – can’t wait to read it!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I love the new cover! Jennifer is really talented – you’re lucky to have found her 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Nicholas. She d0es a great job. I think the covers are much more in line with the genre and reader expectations than the old ones. 🙂 They’ve had a positive impact on sales without any effort on my part.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Sacha Black says:

    Awesome new cover I love it

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Now that’s a cover that will sell books! #JellyOfSomeArtistsSkills

    Liked by 3 people

  6. dgkaye says:

    Love the cover Diana. I know how as writers, we envision what our characters should look like, but on the bright side, it’s our readers who get to form a visual of a character by whatever is chosen to put on the cover.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. YAY for new covers. It looks great and I love the premise! A new cover gives your book new life.

    Stephanie
    http://stephie5741.blogspot.com

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Ali Isaac says:

    Omg! This new cover is AMAZING! I read this book ages ago when it still had the old cover, which to me seemed at odds with the story. This one is fabulous! And as much as people say never to judge a book by its cover, we all do. This is really going to help sell your book, I’m sure. And I heartily recommend it!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks so much, Ali. The last cover had knights of the crusades on it (?) which of course has nothing to do with the book. I’m really happy with this new one, and I’ll agree that covers are essential for attracting readers. Thanks so much for the recommendation too 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Well-done cover – conveys a lot with color and imagination. I usually avoid showing a ‘face’ on a cover (and avoid reading books that do so) because, as you say, the authors’ and readers’ imaginations can make their own facial interpretations. That said, this cover is fabulous. (But, I admit, The Sorcerer’s Garden is my favorite cover – of all of this year’s books I’ve read!)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Pam. An interesting comment. I’ve read (can’t remember where) that most readers like people on the covers, but I don’t know if that was specific to certain genres. It definitely is an adjustment after the fact when we have such a vivid pictures in our heads. That happens with movies made from books too. My husband and I sit there are say, “That’s not what he looks like!” I’m glad you like the cover, and I’m really glad you like The Sorcerer’s Garden cover. I did that one and it’s the only one I’m going to leave as is. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      • Erik says:

        “Specific genres” makes me think of romance novels. Built guy, shirt open (or torn). Buxom girl, skirt hiked and/or shoulder down (or torn).

        Liked by 1 person

        • Naked male chests seems to the clue that a book is a romance, Erik, though not limited to that, of course. I tried to remember where I heard about using faces on covers, but no such luck. Most blogs that discuss it don’t make a definitive statement. So, once again, it’s up to the author and cover designer 😀 Creativity rules!

          Like

  10. adeleulnais says:

    Reblogged this on firefly465 and commented:
    from mythsofthemirror.com

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I love all your new covers. You’ve found your soulmate cover designer it seems!

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Bernadette says:

    Handsome cover that catches your eye but nothing compared to the reading which captured my imagination.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. inesephoto says:

    The cover is very impressive 🙂 Best of luck with the new launch!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Reblogged this on Kate McClelland and commented:
    Nice!

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Kev says:

    Reblogged this on Raves & Reviews and commented:
    Rave!

    Liked by 3 people

  16. I loved ‘Sunwielder’ – and I love the new cover. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks so much for the lovely comment, Linda. I’m still getting used to the face on the cover but he’s growing on me. And it certainly screams “fantasy,” which is exactly what I needed it to do. Happy editing!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. A wonderful prologue, setting the magical atmosphere and introducing the female character. Eloquent descriptions, hooks and a great page turner. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Sebnem. Except for the prolog and epilog, the whole book is in Gryff’s pov, though Estriilde plays a major role (despite dying at the end of the prolog) 😀 I’m glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the kind comment!

      Liked by 2 people

  18. Sue Vincent says:

    Reblogged this on Sue Vincent – Daily Echo and commented:
    D. Wallace Peach… and Sunwielder’s new cover!

    Liked by 3 people

  19. noelleg44 says:

    Great read, Diana, and equally good cover!

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Great read–thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  21. balroop2013 says:

    I agree with you Diana, writing and reading are indeed visual and a good author is the one who can create those images with their words!
    This cover conveys a lot! The best thing about Gryff is the expression on his face!
    All the best for the new launch! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • I mentioned in another comment, Balroop, that my vision of him is a lot hairier. lol. But I’m getting used to this look. The cover is much more “fantasy” than the last. Thanks for the visit and comment 😀

      Like

  22. Dang, you’re a good writer. And that’s one fine cover.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. reocochran says:

    The cover is gorgeous, in many ways, Diana. I also enjoyed the scary thought of dying to live again. This young red headed lass with her grandmother encouraging her on, was fascinating but frightening, too. Especially as you left her screaming! Thank you for piquing my interest.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I almost put the first paragraph of the next chapter at the end, Robin, as things calm down for little awhile. Sometimes I scare myself! Thanks for the comment on the cover too. It’s an improvement, for sure 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Elisabet says:

    Fabulous! Loved the reading.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks so much for visiting and reading, Elisabet. My brain is turning to mush from revisiting all these books, but the new covers have been great fun. Have a great day and happy writing 🙂

      Like

  25. C.E.Robinson says:

    Diana, the cover is eye-popping good! Also love the Prologue’s vivid description! It like I’m there! 💛 Elizabeth

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Nice cover! Very eye catching 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  27. Very well done. Cover pic reminds me of an Indian TV actor.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. Great cover! You have a wonderful way with words, Diana. 👍

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Mary. I think fantasy allows a bit more leeway when it comes to language. My one “present day” book was great fun for a change, but I like this stylistic writing; except when I start talking this way in real life. 🙂 Happy Writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Wow, Diana. These new covers have some great-looking men on them. I love your descriptions of nature. Here’s hoping the relaunch increases sales in a big way. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 3 people

  30. Carrie Rubin says:

    Wonderful. Best of luck with the new launch!

    Liked by 3 people

  31. I’m hooked! And I agree, it is a fabulous cover.

    Liked by 3 people

  32. Diane Tibert says:

    Love the cover. It certainly grabs the eye. And love ‘hair, colour of old blood’. It paints the picture and adds depth.

    Liked by 3 people

  33. Al Lane says:

    Consider me hooked! Great new cover too 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  34. Great cover, Diana! Even better–the prolog! Another addition to my TBR list (doggone thing keeps getting longer 😀 )

    Liked by 3 people

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