Many moon cycles ago (alright, over a year ago), I took the plunge and created a page on Patreon. I was not hoping for much, perhaps an added tendril to pry through the murk of the internet and expose my writing to new eyes. A writer is always hoping for new readers, even when we tell ourselves that we write mainly for our own amusement. Sharing something that may bring a smile or some kind of entertainment or enjoyment to others is at the heart of it. Well, inspired by other artists, I dove into those murky internet waters.
I am posting to call attention to, and to thank, my first two patrons!
My first was my spirit sister and long time best friend, Khanada Taylor. She has helped me in so many ways throughout my life. She inspires me to keep going and keep writing. She reads anything I give her and offers feedback and support. Even when my words are sadly lacking or confusing. Her art has graced the covers and the pages of my stories for years, and I am truly grateful for all that she does.
My newest patron is Jennifer Proctor Hollar! For many years, and still in my heart, she’s my actual sister (in-law). I do not get to speak with her often now, except on social media, but we keep up with each other’s lives in that same method. The internet can be a blessing sometimes. She is an avid reader. I remember seeing her with a book always in hand. We shared a love of fantasy stories and often were joined in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. I certainly hope that I can bring some new amusement to her with my musings and chapters. Thank you for extending a hand and a vote of confidence that I might actually finish these adventures.
I am grateful to have such wonderful sisters beside me on this journey.
Somewhere, beyond sight but not beyond imagination, even now lie worlds so like our own in shape and character. It’s possible. In a universe made up of infinite possibilities, anything could be out there just past our fingertips…waiting for us to find it.
Close your eyes…hear the symphony of space…open the door…and step through your consciousness into a world that breathes. Where Dragons sleep, the forests are dark and guarded, and toadstool rings are something to be avoided if you value your life. A world propelled by the Majiks that flow from one being to the next…through one planet to another. It is a link in the Great Web of Life that connects us all.
Let the music call you, let the sounds translate to words…
Come, my friends, to JORTHUS.
This is a tale that will give a peek inside the world of Jorthus. It follows the paths of a reclusive spellsinger named Lylith, and a young faery being (called a Faerlin) named Keinigan.
They, along with others they meet on the way, find themselves on a quest of an illicit nature that could be construed by some as a rescue mission.
A mystical gemstone, called the Dawnstone, is crying for help and only those in tune with the Majiks that flow through Jorthus can hear it. Lylith is drawn by it, though she is unaware of the true reason she can hear it when others cannot.
Lylith is fascinated by learning and with each new encounter outside her lonely tower, she discovers more and more about the world around her. The good and the bad of it.
Having grown up using the Majiks in her everyday life, she takes them for granted and is bewildered at the fact that not everyone uses them, or even believes in them. Spellsongs are as natural as breathing to her.
To Keinigan, stealing is as natural as breathing. He is placed on his path to the Dawnstone by a different means. His life has taken a downward spiral and he finds himself having to cooperate with people who he would ordinarily have avoided, and facing many discomforts that he wishes to avoid.
But, through it they find common bonds and friendships, and for Lylith, a new desire.
Almost a year has passed since Lylith sought the Dawnstone and many emotions are still too fresh for her to govern. So, she takes solace in the only thing that she truly understands…her study of the Majiks.
As she opens her home to a new friend, a mage named Master Calbraum, she learns of secrets and powers hidden in her own home. A Door sits in her tower, unused, forgotten. It opens pathways to other places, other worlds, and even other dimensions.
Her natural curiosity cannot be stifled. She uses the creation to learn about creatures in other places. Her new ambition to chronicle the myriad planes of space has one draw back…an open door is an invitation to those seeking a way into her world of Jorthus. And not all are welcome.
In his own corner of life, Keinigan finds that his troubles aren’t over still. An old friend comes to inform him that the man who sent him to get the Dawnstone still expects him to deliver it. Or else…
As Lylith and Keinigan’s paths are merged once more, they discover strange occurrences happening around them in the lands of Myretrae, seemingly by happenstance. Devastating attacks by unknown creatures are terrifying the villages and driving desperate people to congregate in a place of certain safety: the Great Caulderon. A flux in the Majiks creates its own river of fear in the spellsingers of Jorthus as her sister-worlds, Gerellus and Quorrelles, draw close.
An alignment of planets is approaching. What that will mean for the Majiks and the future of Jorthus, no one truly knows.
Jorthus is in danger from without and from within. No soul is safe, and a tepid alliance is formed to save the lands from a vicious enemy bent on destruction as earthquakes increase to alert the heroes of troubles unseen.
Celestial orbits are causing havoc, disrupting the flow of Jorthus’ energies. The Queen of Atollis issues conditions for her cooperation in the battle against the bloodthirsty creatures ravaging the countryside. Lylith and her new companions must find the source and the cause of this army to eliminate them.
Things are not always what they seem, she discovers, as the need to travel to the sister-world becomes inevitable.
The races of Jorthus place their hopes of survival in the hands of the most unlikely of heroes…
And Lylith must face her most disruptive opponent– her unrelenting attraction to her former lover.
Now, a race against time begins as the shattering shadow of death flows from one city to the next, ripping the ground apart and slaughtering people from the skies. The ancient enemies of the faerlins may have survived on another planet, but their very presence on Jorthus threatens everything.
All the inhabitants of Jorthus, scaled, furred, skinned, and otherwise must band together against the ancient enemies to stop them.
Lylith must gather the Majiks into the Dawnstone for one urgent attempt at salvation: A spell of Oblivion that will connect all three worlds.
The only problem is whom she needs to call together in order to cast the spellsong.
Years after the Oblivion spell, Lylith hears a new song of despair. Very weak, almost inaudible through the Dawnstone. The voice of the smallest sister-world, Gerellus, is fading. Soon, it will be no more.
The flows of Majik from Jorthus have been erratic and weak as she mourns her sisters. The precious life-line communication between planets will be lost. If their world is to regain its glory, Lylith, Keinigan, and their companions must follow a bloodlink to a new and strange planet of tall buildings and technology. A world far unlike their own.
There lies the answer to the survival of Gerellus and Jorthus both. And a new threat: The Institution.
More at rldavishays.webs.com/
For independent novelists, getting the things that we need to produce the best book is vital. Getting the best things that we need for little to no money is, of course, desirable. I had begun to think that I would never be able to get a photo-like cover that I liked unless I took the photo myself because of the very fact that I had no money to spend on a professional photographer, models, or even most stock photo sites. My son takes photos that I have used in the past, but they entail a great deal of photoshop to make them not look like the places around my house.
Now, the photos on there are varied. There are some that are very similar to ones I’ve seen on other sites. Many lovely stock images of buildings, landscapes, skies, animals, and people. I combed through their library over many tedious hours and found a few that sparked my interest. The site says that the photos are for use for free and no credit to the photographer or contact with them is necessary, but I feel that giving credit where credit is due is important.
I picked several photos where I like certain elements and tried to keep the names of the artists with them in my computer. Granted, I altered the ones that I used. Heavily altered in some cases. But, I am writing this blog to share with you the possibilities that are available on Unsplash or Pixabay, with a little help from photoshop.
Here are the original photos that I selected and downloaded for free on Pixabay and the altered finished cover for THE DAWNSTONE TALE.
This first one is an image offered by Pixabay contributor Thisismyurl aka. Christopher Ross.
I liked the lonely, resolute quality of the model’s pose, the fact that she was barefoot (which Lylith always is) and the red hair.
The Tower of Sunrise had to be typical enough not to be recognizable as a specific place on Earth, but strange enough that it would fit the way I saw it in my mind. I chose an image by Pixabay graphic artist Mysticartdesign.
Dissecting this ruin picture for the pieces that I needed, I then turned to a colorful background that would help give a sense of Jorthus. I choose a rather popular shot of space (the Milky Way) that was available from Pexels on Pixabay. And flipped it!
For the second book in the series, I had a very Conan-style art cover for the first edition, but this time around I wanted to emphasize another of the central characters, Rachel, and keep the photo-e
sque look of the artwork. I came across a rather serene and striking photo on Unsplash by a contributor named Tomas Malik. It was simple yet seemed to say a lot about Rachel’s journey in this book.
The color of the lake really caught my eye. The lone figure, her bag beside her, and the cloud covered mountain all rang true to a feeling that I was relaying in Rachel’s arrival on Jorthus. So, I altered it!
In fact, if you look closely at the castle on the mountainside, you may recognize other parts of the ruins from Mysticartdesign. The planet looming in the sky, Jorthus’ sister-world of Quorrelles, was a pure product of photoshop.
The third book cover in the series, THE EXCURSION, is the result of my son’s photo safari in a construction zone near our house.
He even graciously posed for me with one of his many swords.
Again, I wanted to keep a single main figure as a brand or style for the covers.
Since this is a blog about the fabulous convenience of image sharing sites like Unsplash and Pixabay, I will mention that the silhouetted horses were plucked and altered from several images on Unsplash and are varied and vast.
Not that I couldn’t have used pictures of my own horses that I took in high school, but those would have entailed scanning and rotoscope on a large scale and I just didn’t have time or energy for that. So (again) after many days on photoshop, I had an image that I think not only relayed a feeling of the journey described in the story, but matched the look and feel of the other two.
In conclusion, I found the selection and quality of pictures available on Pixabay and Unsplash excellent and highly recommend checking them out! – R.L.
Find out more about Jorthus or the books by R L Davis Hays at www.rldavishays.webs.com.
#photos #art #Pixabay #Unsplash #Jorthus
Meet Harriet Duncan, a local Florida artist and photographer. I have the pleasure of working with her each week at our mutual part-time gig, but if you are the adventurous type and love scenic, nostalgia fueled trips then visit her photo journal. She takes us to various places in Florida, highlighting the photos with her road stories.
If you are in central Florida and like a quick getaway, you can find Harriet at both the Winter Park Farmers’ Market and the Orlando Farmers’ Market at Lake Eola on the weekends. Her prints are displayed and sold on the sun-dappled walkways of Lake Eola amid a variety of jewelers and craft-workers. It is a relaxing way to spend an afternoon and you might even walk away with some unique pieces that speak to the bohemian spirit inside you!
Born in Bavaria, Harriet lived in both Germany and the US Midwest as a child. In 1965, her parents took over the family farm in New Jersey where she and her sister helped them grow vegetables and flowers. She moved to Central Florida in 1985; her studio is in College Park, Orlando. You can also catch up on her work and whereabouts on Facebook.