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Beneath a Brass Sky Spotlight: Caravansaries

  In  Beneath a Brass Sky , near the edge of the Brasslands, Ulfric and the wayfarers seek shelter in a holdover - a caravansary. There, they meet a guide that promises to see them over the Splitspines. To me, reaching the caravansary is an important moment in the story, because it represents Ulfric triumphing over the harshness of the Brasslands. Up to this point, arguably, the antagonist is the environment itself. But that's another post. Today, I want to talk about caravansaries. A caravansary is a roadside inn where travelers (caravaners) could rest and recover from a journey. They supported the flow of both commerce and information across the trade routes the sprawled across Asia, MENA, and SE Europe - especially the Silk Road, according to Wikipedia . When you arrive, expect to find markets, and farriers or smiths, and alehouses and cookshops, and perhaps gambling dens and other means of separating a traveler from their coins.  In short, Caravansaries were the fortified roads
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Beneath a Brass Sky, Cover Evolution - 4

We didn't change much in this iteration of the cover for Beneath a Brass Sky. Michal ( really breathed life into the storm that's battering the high crag that the Wayfarers are driving towards. I like the addition of the birds, too. It's a minor detail, but vultures and other winged things have recurring roles in the story.  I look into that maw in the storm - where the dust is swirling, and the wind is howling, and the waning light of a dying sun is breaking through the grit - and feel the dread that Ulfric must feel as he gazes into the unknown. 

Beneath a Brass Sky, Cover Evolution - 3

  In this revision to the cover of Beneath a Brass Sky, Michal (@kvacm - twitter) began to add color and more detail. I love the dust storm (maybe the outer bands of a wilding?) swirling around the sandstone sentinel. All through the scene is a feeling of grit, and suffering, and dread. And yet, Ulfric and Spero are drawn ever east, and the remainder of the Wayfarers with them. What lies beyond that distant peak? A hollow country, no doubt. One that swallows men up. 

Beneath a Brass Sky, Cover Evolution - 2

  The above was the second draft for the cover for Beneath a Brass Sky. In this iteration, we narrowed up for the ebook ratio (1.6:1) and turned the Wayfarers so that they were aimed towards the horizon rather than across it (East. Always East . . .) In the foreground is Ulfric, reined up with the brindle. In this shot, the tail of his shemagh is flapping in the wind, but it looked a bit too much like a ponytail, so we nixed that detail.  To me, this scene is so evocative of the story. I can taste the pinch of lusk in Ulfric's lip. Feel the chafe of the sand on his skin. Smell the acrid air of the wastescape. The brindle's caught a whiff of something on the air, too. Is it a hint of carrion rot? Are they being tailed?  And what waits beyond that smoking summit?  From here, we began to add color and detail.

Beneath a Brass Sky (Fantasy Fiction) - Is Out!

Beneath a Brass Sky (BaBS), my new fantasy novel, is now on Amazon for 99 cents! Link: First, the Blurb: Ulfric Halehorn is a sellsword that believes in the sanctity of the contract. He’s also rekindled an old grudge, incited a riot, and landed himself in jail on enough counts to see himself hung twice. In the midst of this, he somehow managed to win a lucrative contract to transport a mysterious crate across the Brasslands to Kush.  He’d be better off if he hadn’t. Days into the journey, Ulfric learns that the job is more than it seems, and that he carries with him the spark that may touch off a revolution that could burn across a city, and perhaps an entire region. Knowing this, Ulfric sees a chance to atone for breaking another contract nearly a decade ago — one that cost another city its freedom and its people their lives; an act that still haunts him to this day. But the Brasslands is a vast land, filled with fugitives, and wild beasts, and na

Beneath a Brass Sky, Cover Evolution - 1

  I 'm a big fan of KVACM's art (, so I'm delighted to have worked with him on the cover of Beneath a Brass Sky. Cost was $120 - $60 upon agreement of sketch (B&W images) and $60 upon completion.  The above illustration was his first-draft concept of the Wayfarers crossing the Brasslands. Conceptually, I though he did a great job capturing the desolace of the environment. From here, we began to narrow in on the ratio (1.6:1 for an ebook cover). In Part 2, I'll share the next round of revisions.

Wednesday Art - Medieval Interlude, N. Bouvier