Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day 16 - Secret Artist Revealed

In my first entry, I said I had a really amazing artist who has agreed to do the cover for my book. I didn’t want to say who it was until I had a couple of things worked out. One of these was getting my website up, which I have. Now, by up I mean, barely up, but it is up, and it is up totally by my own hand, my singular willingness to learn how, and to fight the Romulans in their own space with their own technologies. But, I have triumphed (I’ll put a link at the bottom of this blog entry). The other thing was to make sure the artist really was going to do it for me, because, frankly, her art is so amazing that I still can’t really believe she is willing to work my project in. But, sometimes fate shines on us, so yesterday I got confirmation that she doesn’t mind me making a big gushing fit about her awesomeness on my blog, so, well, that’s what I’m about to do.

The secret artist is….   Cris Ortega  (

Here’s one of my favorites of her work, At the threshold of oblivion:  
Image © Cris Ortega

She’s got tons of these, and if you haven’t seen her work before, and you don’t mind having your mind blown by awesomeness, then go have a look at her page. Her attention to detail is breathtaking. Just look at the fabric, the soft, incredible folds, the tactile quality of what you see; look at the reflections and shadows and textures in the cloth, the picture frames, the wallpaper, the glass… this is godly work. Her art is reminiscent of old masters like Rembrandt and Vermeer, and of modern fantasy icons like the Brothers Hildebrandt and Boris Vallejo. And that’s just the stuff that ISN’T the gorgeous figure of the beautiful woman with the radiant skin and the aspect of both quiet strength and enticing vulnerability.  

Here’s another that inspires what I’m hoping she will do for my story as far as composition for the front cover. Imagine the girl as my heroine, the robot as my young sorcerer, and the background as space (you'll see if you check at my website later). This one is called Ex Machina:
Image © Cris Ortega

Again, look at the absolute mastery. The figures are alive, the light play is bright where it should be, but she's not afraid of the dark either. The woman is rendered suggestively but with class, the setting is wonderful and anyone that enjoys spending time exploring a work of art can easily drop a lot of time into this visual paradise.

Cris Ortega has a series of books called Forgotten, and she puts out calendars that would be grace incarnate upon any wall. I hope you will do her and me the honor of having a look on her site (I've also included Amazon links below). If you enjoy gorgeous images wonderfully wrought, then you have nothing to lose by looking.

The fact that she has deigned to grace my novel with artistry of this magnitude is such an auspicious thing for my project. They say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but let’s be real. People do. We all do. Sure, we go for familiar authors, intriguing titles, but every single one of us has, over and over again, walked by a book with a kick-ass cover, paused, and picked it up to see what it is about. Yes, they frequently don’t sound as good as they look, but we looked. That’s huge.

I have faith in my story if people pick it up. But my name carries no weight. I am not a brand like R.A. Salvatore, Terry Brooks, or Steven King. Heck, the only semi-brand I have as a writer is the Shadesbreath thing on HubPages, which is cool, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not going to get my book picked up by anyone as they pass by… especially since that ain’t the name that will be on the spine.

So the cover art matters. And I’m banking—literally and figuratively---on the cover appeal of amazing art to help me out. Cris Ortega’s figures, particularly her female figures, are gorgeous. They are sumptuous without being cliché. They are sexual without being gross. They are youthful, mysterious and alive.

The genre my novel is in relies on a target audience that is predominantly male. The heart of the age range is ages 15 to 25, though many (like myself) found it much earlier and will probably read it until the day they die. You do not need a degree in human psychology to understand how highlighting the heroine of my story in luminous hues and lifelike beauty can only help me get people to pick up my book or get them to click on an icon and at least see what it is about. From there, my summary, my first pages, and perhaps equally, the reviews about it on Amazon and other sites will have to close the sale. (I’m hoping to recruit some of you to do those Amazon reviews, by the way.)

So, there you have it, my secret artist is finally revealed. It’s Cris Ortega. She’s amazing and I can’t wait. She expects to start on my project mid month, so I’m working on sketches and stuff to send her, so she can start helping me develop the idea. Speaking of which, I have one of the concept ideas up on my new (and totally under construction) website. If you’d like to have a look, go for it. Look at my drawing and then imagine what Cris Ortega could make out of it. I can hardly wait!

My website is at (and don't laugh... it's my first one ever. How many websites have YOU made totally from scratch? Besides, I just got it up; I have professionals taking over from here.)

You can get Cris Ortega's books on Amazon too:


  1. Wow. THAT is amazing stuff! Count your blessings!

  2. I know, I am counting. She's amazing.