Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 124 – Yarrr, Here There Be Dragons: Cris Ortega’s Latest Addition

Original "Here there be dragons" type map.
No self-respecting fantasy story doesn’t have a dragon in it, right? Well, because my story respects the crap out of itself, of course there is a dragon. And, since fantasy readers love their dragons as much as they love their sorcerers and their hot chicks, guess what my book cover has on it?

Wow, you are good at this game. That’s right, a dragon.

So, this post is about my dragon and the latest update I just got from Cris Ortega that has the dragon from my novel cover on it. WOOT.

But first, to add drama, and to add some fluff to this because I know you all don’t want to just SEE the dragon that fast, you want some dragony foreplay before the main dragon event, I’ll prep your experience with a tiny bit of back story.

First, my dragon’s name is Taot. I pronounce it “Tay-awt” in my head. Well, and when I say it out loud too, actually, but how often do I do that, really?  When I originally wrote the Taot character in a short story some twenty years ago, he was, as he is now, the wingéd mount of a young sorcerer (whose name I no longer recall, which is funny, because he also had a pet raven named Spiff, which I do recall. I wonder what that says). I always liked the name, so I brought it back, since that short story never got finished anyway.

Well, there’s your back story. For more details about Taot’s abilities, size, temperament, intelligence and other cool stuff, you’ll just have to read the book when it comes out (which is taking painfully long… I honestly thought I was being generous when I said end of July three months or so ago, but clearly that ain’t going to happen. Sigh).

Okay, before I post the picture, I want to show you my personal favorite dragon picture of all time. This is the kind of thing I had in mind when I commissioned Cris Ortega to do this work for me. This image I am about to show caught my attention as a kid and no other dragon done by anyone has ever reached this level of perfection (feel free to post links to dragons you think compare… but you’ll have a hard time swaying me). It’s by the Brothers Hildebrandt, and it was done for a Tolkien calendar way back in the late 70s. Look at the detail (hopefully you can see it; this is a telephone capture from the poster on my wall--yes, I'm that much of a geek).

Brothers Hildebrandt "Smaug" (from my poster)

As you can see, that’s amazing stuff, the muscle and light play is awesome. The Hildebrandt brothers did the covers for Terry Brook’s Shannara series of books too, and those are also breathtakingly vivid (good books too). Not everything they do is this tightly rendered, but a lot is. And keep in mind, they did this without computers. Pretty hardcore, eh?

Anyway, now that you know what I am shooting for, you will see why I am so happy with the Dragon Cris Ortega has created for me. Look how much detail she has put in its big scary face!!! Oh, and ignore the ragged edges, because that's my fault for cutting it out of the main picture in MS Paint (lol). So, without further adieu, meet Taot:

Taot - from The Galactic Mage

Alright, there’s not much else I can say. That dragon is bad ass. I’m totally stoked. Cris is working on the main character, Altin Meade, now, so, we’ll see how that goes. I’m sure it will be fantastic. I imagine a few of you might want to know where the finished product of Orli is, but, you don’t get to see her. She’s too hawt, like, uber hawt, and you have to wait to see that kind of awesomeness until it’s done. So, there you go. Bye for now.


  1. I know. It just needs to get done now, before I die of exhaustion.

  2. Fabulous...really. How in hell did you stumble upon Cris? She's a genius, seriously! Hope you can afford to keep her around. ;-)

  3. Yeah, me too. I think she may have said she'd keep it reasonable for me for the trilogy, so hopefully it will work out. She is going to blow up. Everything she does gets her one step closer to totally dominating the fantasy/sci-fi cover business IMO. There's some other really amazing people out there too, but it will be fun and interesting to follow her success. Definitely destined to be a major player.