Hi there! Last month one of the readers of the Broken Horn, a fine gentleman named Joseph Vernon, was inspired to write a music score to capture the essence of the book. I couldn’t be more honored, not to mention I love the result!
The track begins with ominous notes to set the stark nature of the desert and the underlying tone of the novel. It is followed by sounds of hope and triumph. If you’re into movie soundtracks and want to check it out, you can listen on his Soundcloud account.
I can’t express enough how inspiring this was for me personally. Thank you Joseph!
The weekend after Thanksgiving, I will be signing books at the Geek the Halls fair in Portland, Oregon.
Here’s what they have to say on their website:
Geek the Halls is the original Portland nerdy craft fair, created in 2010. 60+ amazing crafter artists to find the perfect gift for the nerds in your life (or yourself). FREE Admission!
I’ll be there with The Broken Horn, The Sandrunner, and chocolates. If you feel like geeking out, come say hi!
I’m thrilled to announce The Sandrunner, the second book in The Story of Rain trilogy! Thousands of hours went into this endeavor and I hope you love it as much as I loved writing it.
Having escaped the edani, Djeodi and the Survivors of Shah find themselves at Anubi’s gates, their final refuge. But for Djeodi to gain entry, he must undertake a perilous mission to a remote town only to discover the enemy has returned, stronger than ever.
Meanwhile, Roan’s past catches up as an old adversary captures her for a settled bounty. Learning of orphan Talarain’s dire situation at the Temple, she breaks free with assistance from an unexpected ally. Will she escape Anubi to save herself, or risk all for Talarain’s freedom?
Alliances are tested, debts are tallied, and old enemies rise again. The Sandrunner is a heart-pumping tale of refugees and renegades bound by fate, racing to save themselves and their world.
So… as of yesterday I submitted the soon-to-be final draft of the Sandrunner to my line editor. This is a huge step! It’s the stage in the game where the editor looks through every sentence, every metaphor, every character voice, and lots more, in an effort to polish things up. It’s a large undertaking (for the editor!) and the final step before submitting the book to proofreaders.
In other words, the book will launch on October 23rd—on time!
The Sandrunner Cover Design
I began work with the cover designer for the Sandrunner this week! The process is a really fun collaboration that pulls from both my art and marketing backgrounds. I work with a stellar artist named Jeff Brown to first develop the concept, and then move toward the final piece.
To come up with ideas, Jeff and I hopped on zoom to discuss the book. We looked for scenes within the story with strong visuals and drama, then discussed how best they could be displayed.
We settled on a few requirements:
- The cover must stylistically match book one, The Broken Horn.
- It must feature a different character: Roan! (By the way, based on a recent informal poll, something like 65% of readers are more invested in Roan than Djeodi. How about you??)
- It should pull the viewer in with intrigue, while capturing the otherworldly nature of Nan’kadur.
- It must imply the story without giving away too many clues.
Of course there were other things as well, like it has to be book-sized, done in color, no nudity or swearing, etc. Nudity is for the other Don Elliott…
What is concept art?
The concept art is a rough sketch depicting what a cover could look like. Jeff is a badass, so we worked this out in about 2 hours. I’m going to show you the artwork here first, then keep scrolling to see the concept art and final design for The Broken Horn. It will give you an idea of how the process goes.
I was recently a guest on the Revision Wizards Podcast, where I had the pleasure of discussing my writing process, my approach to world building, and some behind-the-scenes insights into my creative journey. 🌍✍️
It’s about 40 minutes if you listen at a chill 1x speed.
I’d love to hear your feedback!
In addition to the podcast, I recently received a wonderful foreword from none other than author/publisher J Thorn!
J Thorn is a versatile, best-selling author with over 20 years of experience in education and genres such as horror, thriller, and post-apocalyptic fiction. As a mentor to aspiring writers, he generously shares his expertise through blogs, workshops, and podcasts. He’s a major influencer in the indie-author community, and has been a staunch supporter of mine from the beginning.
From J. Thorn
One of the biggest challenges in writing an epic fantasy is the world building. This is no easy task for a seasoned author and practically impossible for a new author to master. But I can’t say I’m surprised.
I first met Don Elliott several years ago when he hired me to do a diagnostic on “A Nameless Town,” a short story about Roan before she went to Anubi.
Even then, I could tell Don had the “writer gene,” that undeniable yet undefinable trait that keeps readers turning pages. His imagery struck me as vivid yet specific:
“She roused them and soon they were criss-crossing dunes like the wrinkles of an old giant.”
That line from the manuscript stuck in my mind, and I kept returning to the visual throughout my day.
I met Monty before you did, and even though I didn’t know what a “petra” was, Don showed me what a petra did, and that was enough to hook me.
Fast forward several years, and I’ve just finished reading The Broken Horn. And now I want to become a sandrunner. In Elliott’s desert wasteland, I’m fascinated by Djeodi’s redemption arc and Roan’s reluctant hero’s journey.
I won’t spoil the story for you, but let’s just say you’ll love Monty even more by the time you get to the story’s climactic scene.
It always warms my heart to watch a person become an author, and I’m hard pressed to recall a debut novel as charming, captivating, and rich as The Broken Horn.
Ears here. Turn the page and start your adventure. Don’t dusting miss it!
I was pretty dang happy about that. Thanks J!
That’s all for now. It’s time I get back to working on book two. I’m officially 83% through with the developmental edit, which means I’m finally catching up on my timeline! It will be ready for BETA readers by the end of the month.
Have a great weekend!