"A lot goes into the creation of art and design of the images used for book covers. I have been fortunate to work with some amazing and talented artists over the years to help bring my characters and world to life visually. For this section I am going to show some of the original drafts and evolution of the covers and add some comments along the way for those interested in learning more about the artwork itself."


- Clifford B. Bowyer

Fall of the Imperium Trilogy


Title: The Impending Storm

Series: The Imperium Saga: Fall of the Imperium Trilogy, Book 1

Cover Art Team: Logan Lubera (pencils), Norman Lee (inks), Lisa Lubera (colors)

Creating the original cover for the Imperium Saga series, I wanted to really bring out the characters and the adventure that the title contained. I also wanted to focus on the characters Braksis, Solara, Kai, Thamar, and Tiot, but in book 1 there was only one sequence when they were together. So it made deciding what the cover would be relatively easy.


In this chapter, the heroes meet for the first time and swap tales one stormy night. In the morning they are attacked by Dartian Hunters under the influence of Zoldex. The artists were given the profiles, some concept ideas, and the chapter when the hunters attacked.



The artists did a great job with the cover, but there were a couple of things that needed tweaking. First was Kai. While the image above is relatively small, she is wearing the koxlen hide of "Lucky." There were only two issues here: first, she had not yet had the encounter with the koxlen; and second, the head of the koxlen was supposed to be on her chest, not her head. When looking back, I never described Kai before she had her koxlen hide, so the first introduction of her was going to be how people saw her drawn. To keep it simple, I had them go with a sleeveless leather vest and pants.


The second tweak was with the sword of Warlord Braksis. I thought the sword drawn looked amazing, but the description of the Phoenix was very clear in print. The sword and the emblem on Braksis's chest plate were very symbolic of the character himself, and required a revision.



The artist nailed the sword of Braksis in this one, but Kai still looked wrong to me. Since the koxlen "hat" was removed, the pencils just gave Kai hair that extended out straight ahead. This just seemed wrong to me and not very elf-like for her character. So I asked for an additional tweak, resulting in the final image below.


Title: The Changing Tides

Series: The Imperium Saga: Fall of the Imperium Trilogy, Book 2

Cover Art Team: Tom McWeeney (pencils & inks), Jeromy Cox (colors)

A new art team was brought in for the remainder of the trilogy. I always wanted the series to have the same "look and feel," but by sticking with the comic-style art, I hoped that it would be close enough. Just like with the first team I provided an overview of what I wanted, profiles, and a sample chapter with the scene. The heroes in this book all wound up in the same place at the end of the book in an epic battle with the criminal organization The Hidden Empire. This was the perfect set for the cover illustration.


Title: The Siege of Zoldex

Series: The Imperium Saga: Fall of the Imperium Trilogy, Book 3

Cover Art Team: Tom McWeeney (pencils & inks), Jeromy Cox (colors)

As with the prior covers I prepared my materials, but this time Tom (artist) said that he enjoyed the last cover, but that instead of giving him the concept ideas that I should just let him have fun with it. I said to go for it, providing character and creature profiles to assist him. He then "had fun" and created the image that most often receives rave reviews from those who see it and read the book.


The Adventures of Kyria


Title: The Child of Prophecy

Series: The Imperium Saga: The Adventures of Kyria, Book 1

Cover Art Team: June Brigman (pencils & inks), Roy Richardson (colors)

When I was ready to start looking at the art for the Kyria series, I agonized over the look for the books. I loved the artwork from the original trilogy, but the Kyria series was featuring a 12 year old girl. I wanted the art to be softer, less mature, and appropriate for younger readers. I met with and spoke to a gentlemen who used to work directly with artists in the early days of Image Comics, and we went through nearly 20 artists and the pros and cons of each. In the end I was drawn to the artist who worked on Power Pack for Marvel Comics in the 80's - a series about children superheroes. I loved her work and thought that she was the perfect choice for the Adventures of Kyria. And she was!


For the first cover, I wanted to emphasize the Madrew prophecy, that was the tie in to this book, the entire focus of the Kyria character and her importance in my world, and to the original Impending Storm title that this is a spin-off of. Kyria here is a vision, an ethereal image summoned by the Madrew elders as the child who is destined to save the world. And with that, the series is launched.


Title: The Awakening

Series: The Imperium Saga: The Adventures of Kyria, Book 2

Cover Art Team: June Brigman (pencils & inks), Roy Richardson (colors)

The second book is more about Kyria's defenders than it is about her. She has been swept up in a series of events that she cannot possibly fathom, and only those around her are helping her cope and get through it all. Yet this is also the book where she comes to understand what her fate is, and Kai is helping guide her to that end. The title has far more adventure and danger than the first book, and featuring Kai and Grazlin helps bring that out with them focusing on danger in the background.


The sword for Kyria was wrong though. Kyria's sword is magical and comes to her when she needs it. She doesn't understand how this happens yet, or how to control it, but she needed something more than a traditional sword. June (artist) came up with the swirling hilt and shimmering blade that has become the symbol of the Kyria series. Also, Grazlin looked great with the axe, but he did not have one in the text, so that was removed in the final cover.


Title: The Mage's Council

Series: The Imperium Saga: The Adventures of Kyria, Book 3

Cover Art Team: June Brigman (pencils & inks), Roy Richardson (colors)

While this is a simple cover, it remains my favorite of the entire Kyria series! This is when Kyria is brought to the Mage's Council for the first time. She has lost her defenders (Kai and Grazlin), and is trapped in a world of magic and school and rules that nothing could have prepared her for. This is also where she will essentially remain for the remainder of the series, so this book was crucial to really bring out the Mage's Council and what it means for Kyria and to be a Mage.


One aspect of being a Mage is the garments that they wear. All garments are white, but as one grows more powerful magically, gold images magically appear on their garments to represent their station in the Order. In the background we see who will ultimately become Kyria's best friends (Mica and Sartir) dressed in all white, but as Kyria puts on her robes for the first time, they magically turn almost entirely gold, setting her apart from all of her Academy classmates. The swirl of magic around the robes I have always loved and thought that this cover was brilliant!


Title: The Shard of Time

Series: The Imperium Saga: The Adventures of Kyria, Book 4

Cover Art Team: June Brigman (pencils & inks), Roy Richardson (colors)

In a class Kyria learns about a mystical artifact known as the Shard of Time. Wanting to know more about Zoldex and the threat that she is destined to face, she is determined to steal it and go back in time to see him for herself. The cover emphasizes the shard and her friends.


Title: Trapped in Time

Series: The Imperium Saga: The Adventures of Kyria, Book 5

Cover Art Team: June Brigman (pencils & inks), Roy Richardson (colors)

Although Kyria was convinced going back in time was a good idea, things did not go according to plan! Kyria and her friends find themselves trapped in the past, leading to the cover of them locked in a cage. The image has double meaning both for them being trapped in a different era where they do not belong, but also when they are captured in the book itself.


Title: Quest for the Shard

Series: The Imperium Saga: The Adventures of Kyria, Book 6

Cover Art Team: June Brigman (pencils & inks), Roy Richardson (colors)

Determined to get home, the heroes follow Sartir to the Mourning Mountains. The mountains originally gained their name because when the dragons (who used to protect the realm along with their mystral companions) left the land, people wept for the loss of the age of peace and innocence. Yet Kyria and her friends come across a dragon that had not gone very far! Would the dragon be vituous like the ones of legend, or a threat keeping the kids from their goal?


Title: The Spread of Darkness

Series: The Imperium Saga: The Adventures of Kyria, Book 7

Cover Art Team: June Brigman (pencils & inks), Roy Richardson (colors)

This cover was brilliant! Kyria and her friends are back in the Academy, but strange and sinister events are transpiring, leading to a lot of turmoil and questioning everything we know or think we know. Kyria knows that the influence of Zoldex has breached the walls of the Mage's Council, and this cover shows her and her friends being engulfed by a dark ooze to symbolize the spread of Zoldex's influence and corruption.


Title: The Apprentice of Zoldex

Series: The Imperium Saga: The Adventures of Kyria, Book 8

Cover Art Team: June Brigman (pencils & inks), Roy Richardson (colors)

In the Fall of the Imperium trilogy readers are introduced to Shadow Mages. These are the original followers of Zoldex who had lost their physical forms, but their spirits remain bound to him. Those spirits are his most powerful allies as they take over the bodies of virtually anyone, twisting and changing them until they look like skeletal beasts with the remains of their former selves. Extremely powerful magically, one Shadow Mage could decimate an entire army. In this cover, we both see one illustrated for the first time, and also have Kyria and her friends (now joined by the dwarf Tyrene) encounter one.


Title: The Darkness Within

Series: The Imperium Saga: The Adventures of Kyria, Book 9

Cover Art Team: June Brigman (pencils & inks), Roy Richardson (colors)

Another cover of symbolism that was brilliant! Kyria did not escape the influence of Zoldex unscathed. Something happened to her and she can feel sinister and evil instincts growing within her. No matter how hard she fights she is terrified that her inner demons will win and she will lose everything she values and holds dear. On this cover, we see an angelic Kyria fighting a demonic version of herself, to signify the inner conflict.


Title: The Rescue of Nezbith

Series: The Imperium Saga: The Adventures of Kyria, Book 10

Cover Art Team: June Brigman (pencils & inks), Roy Richardson (colors)

In the very first book of the series Kyria had a best friend (Nezbith). She learns that he is in danger and is desperate to do everything she can to save him. With her new friends by her side, Kyria will venture forth without any thought of her own wellbeing. On this cover though we start to see Kyria and her friends growing older and more mature. Sartir especially is beginning to look more and more like a warrior.


Title: The Responsibility of Arifos

Series: The Imperium Saga: The Adventures of Kyria, Book 11

Cover Art Team: June Brigman (pencils & inks), Roy Richardson (colors)

From the pages of the Fall of the Imperium Trilogy and the opening prologue of The Adventures of Kyria comes a moment in Kyria's life that was long awaited. It was not just Kai sent to find and guide Kyria toward her fate, but a Triad of Madrew elves, which included Arifos - the greatest Madrew warrior who ever lived. Along with his companions from The Changing Tides, Arifos kidnaps Kyria so that he can bring her someplace safe and make sure she stays that way. The cover shows her with her Madrew guardian.


Title: Full Circle

Series: The Imperium Saga: The Adventures of Kyria, Book 12

Cover Art Team: June Brigman (pencils & inks), Roy Richardson (colors)

The end of the series ties right into the beginning. In a moment of clarity, Kyria had opened a portal to save Kai and Grazlin, but then was captured and brought to the Mage's Council before she could go through to safety with them. Well where did the portal go? What happened to Kai and Grazlin?


For Mages, teleportation magic is extremely rare. Yet even when she did not know what she was doing Kyria found a way to open a portal not just through space, but time, sending her protectors into the future. Realizing this, a more mature Kyria and her friends return to where she had last seen Kai and Grazlin and welcomed them as they came through the other side of the portal, bringing the series "full circle," and to a close with the end of the book.


Title: Transitions

Series: The Imperium Saga: The Adventures of Kyria, Special Edition

Cover Art Team: Vince Sunico

The original plan with the Kyria Special Edition was to "transition" Kyria and her friends from the original Young Adult series into the next stage of their lives. The original plan was for Kyria and Mica to have a sequel series, and to have Sartir break off with his own young adult trilogy, each with a different mission. However, I decided to scrap the original plan and "transition" the characters from the young adult series right into the mainstream core Imperium Saga novels. Of the 6 books of the Survivors of the Siege series, 3 of them feature the characters from The Adventures of Kyria. So Transitions, rather than moving from young adult to young adult, brought Kyria and her friends back to the main series, and this book serves both as a finale to The Adventures of Kyria series, as well as the first introductory book to Survivors of the Siege.


This was Vince's first "Kyria" cover for me. He had done a great job with the Warlord Trilogy, the Tales of the Council of Elders book, and even created an amazing holiday card with my characters for me. Since he was signed on for the Survivors of the Siege series, I had him get a crack at the Kyria characters, and the cover itself was a nice tribute to everything that had come before (Adventures of Kyria readers might recognize Kyria, Mica, Sartir, Tyrene, Pookie, Kai, Grazlin, Pirifany, the Shard of Time, the Vorstad dwarves from Kyria's art project that she brought to life, an Avarian Wind Glider, and Zoldex looming in the background).





The Warlord Trilogy


Title: Falestia

Series: The Imperium Saga: The Warlord Trilogy, Book 1

Cover Art Team: Vince Sunico

While writing the original trilogy (Fall of the Imperium Trilogy), I was focusing on the story of Zoldex coming to the land and gradually spreading his influence and taking over. The heroes who resisted ultimately moved North into Falestia. While writing it though, I had profiles and design notes that made Falestia one of the most intricate Kingdoms in the Imperium. I knew it was crucial to the future, but I felt as if introducing it in the original trilogy that it would be overwhelming and detract from the story being told. So I saved most of the Falestia materials for The Warlord Trilogy. My idea was that if I did the prequel to really bring out Falestia, then when I wrote the books beyond The Siege of Zoldex, my readers and fans would have a better understanding of where the heroes were and what was happening. Besides, ever since my first convention I had been hearing about how people loved the character Braksis and wanted more of him. So bringing out the story of how Braksis BECAME Braksis I felt was both worthwhile and rewarding.


But book 1 sees Braksis born, so the story is about more than just him. But it still needed a character worthy of Braksis, of the man Braksis would become, and that led to special treatment of his father, King Worren. Worren is a generous and understanding King who is fighting in the midst of the Troll Wars, desperate to save his people. To get his character right, Vince (artist) drew a profile picture. Though not intended when originally written, I had lost my father shortly before the illustrations were completed, and Vince took a picture of my father for the basis of the King.



Every hero needs a villain who defines them, and for King Worren it is Matriarch Kovag. The Troll Wars had lasted for generations, but it wasn't until the time of Kovag when the Falestians and King Worren were at their darkest hour. Instead of rogue tribes of trolls, Kovag united them all and had organized and brutal attacks against the Falestians. She found man to be an "infestation" that needed to be cleansed, and she left none alive in her wake. A villain like that needed special treatment as well, and Vince created a profile picture to get a general feel for the character (though she looks far more terrifying in the final image, doesn't she?).



Putting it all together, we have King Worren fighting against Matriarch Kovag on the front cover, with his companions fighting through the hordes of trolls in the background to come to the aid of their King. To capture this scene, I gave Vince very detailed profiles, a conceptual image, and the chapter. When he created the characters, there were no tweaks needed. He thoroughly poured through the materials and captured the essence of the characters perfectly.


Title: Falestian Heir

Series: The Imperium Saga: The Warlord Trilogy, Book 2

Cover Art Team: Vince Sunico

From the original Fall of the Imperium Trilogy, people are well aware of what Braksis looks like - his armor, his sword, his flowing red cloak. But here in the prequel we get to capture a younger Braksis fighting against the man who stole the Falestian throne (his cousin - who also has been illustrated before on both The Changing Tides and The Siege of Zoldex covers). Braksis is not yet the hero that people will meet in The Impending Storm, but stilla  young boy seeking to right the wrongs done to his family. With childhood friends, allies of his father, and companions he has gathered during his own journey, this cover captures Braksis for the first time (technically).


Title: Falestian Legend

Series: The Imperium Saga: The Warlord Trilogy, Book 3

Cover Art Team: Vince Sunico

One can't have a prequel without the bloodthirsty tyrant Warlord Durgin who brought Braksis and Solara together on a fateful day by the waterfalls of her home. Durgin in the Fall of the Imperium Trilogy is a shell of his former self, and that fact bothers him a great deal. But even then, we see his madness, his ruthlessness, and how dangerous he is. There was a reason that Zoldex found Durgin and sent him after Braksis! So readers were anxious to see how it all began and what really happened as the trilogy brings events closer to The Impending Storm. But first, Vince (artist) needed to create the ruthless tyrant and capture him properly, resulting in the following profile picture.



The scene itself featured the waterfall home of Solara and the battle with Durgin. In the background are Braksis's companions coming to his aid, seeing the climactic battle with Warlord Durgin. I love the brilliant colors of the waterfall and how even a beautiful and bright setting can still bring about so much pain and tragedy.


Additional Imperium Saga Titles


Title: Ilfanti and the Orb of Prophecy

Series: The Imperium Saga

Cover Art Team: David Michael Beck

When The Impending Storm first came out, I did a lot of conventions, book signings, festivals, and speaking events. Being my first novel, I had a lot of learning to do, especially when it came to people saying "no." While The Impending Storm did great, allowing all of the other titles of The Imperium Saga to be written, there were still people who said no. Those no's usually came with a reason. The two I heard most frequently were that "it looked too childish" with the comic-style art, and that people did not want to try a new world that was a "trilogy." Fair enough, I listened and decided to write a stand alone Imperium Saga novel, featuring one of my favorite characters from the Mage's Council - Ilfanti. In all the books he has been in, he has been the ultimate storyteller (200 years of adventuring, seeking lost treasures, hidden cities, and whatever excitement he could stumble across would do that), one of the most respected Mages in the Mage's Council, and an inspirational character. So my mind was made up....a stand alone book featuring Ilfanti (in an almost "Indiana Jones" type of an adventure), and I would stray from my comic style art and go for a more traditional fantasy look.Did it work? Well.... by the time the Ilfanti book came out, I was no longer hearing those no's because of the artwork or trilogy, but compliments on the art, questions about whether I ever considered posters, and when will more books be out? Either way, I met an amazing artist in David Michael Beck who created a brilliant cover.


First though was to agree upon the look of two characters who were fan favorites in the Fall of the Imperium Trilogy, but had never been illustrated before. The namesake of the book is Ilfanti, the beardless dwarven adventurer, who was up first. David created a profile picture that was extremely detailed and worth of being a finished product. But he didn't quite ring true as Ilfanti. He looked like he was in awe of the Orb of Prophecy, not laughing in the face of danger and enjoying the moment. He also looked a tad stubby (even for a dwarf), whereas Ilfanti was an adventurer who would leap off of a mountain, soar through the air, and come splashing down in a lake below. I also wanted to get rid of the cloak. Mages all wear cloaks, but when Ilfanti is off on one of his adventures, he has his own distinctive wardrobe.



The other main character was one who never was supposed to exist! In the Changing Tides there was a "break out" scene in the beginning. The heroes fought against hired thugs and were supposed to make quick work of them. Yet as I was writing, one duel was growing in intensity, and the foe began to take on a personality of his own. The wise-cracking, enchantment-loving, anti-hero was then born. I went through all of my original book notes and created "amendments" where Kabilian could fit into the story, and from a mere thug, he became a pivotal character. One who kept appearing again and again and again (he's my world's "Where's Waldo?" I bet you can find him in Fall of the Imperium Trilogy, the Adventures of Kyria, this Ilfanti book, and even in The Warlord Trilogy prequel! ). I enjoyed Kabilian's character so much that the "Ilfanti" book truly became an "Ilfanti and Kabilian" book. Obviously he needed to be well taken care of artistically, and who better than David to do so?



This was the first stab at putting it together. Ilfanti and Kabilian are both after the same thing for different reasons. The image has a modified Ilfanti (still some tweaks required) and Kabilian (who now has a Xylona Honor Blade fastened to his belt). A few more tweaks to go. Ilfanti still needs to lose his cloak, and both need to be less "in awe" and more "Oh Yeah!" when finding their prize. It's more fitting to their personalities and characters.



Here is the more polished draft, filling in more detail of the temple and capturing the two characters better.



Title: Tales of the Council of Elders

Series: The Imperium Saga

Cover Art Team: Vince Sunico (pencils & colors), J.E. Lozano (inks)

For years there was a project in the works where a collection of short stories would be written about the Council of Elders (the ruling body of the Mage's Council). At my very first convention when I only had a single book (The Impending Storm), my editor came to visit us and we had a chat about the books. I mentioned how the Council of Elders were some of the most highly developed (and powerful and influential) characters in my world, but in the book they were little more than background characters. She suggested an anthology to captures the background stories of the characters. This then morphed into a Silver Leaf Books project where each tale was written by a different author to capture my fan base and introduce other authors and writing styles to them while still reading the Imperium Saga storyline that they were looking for. The project had a lot of ups and downs, a lot of changes here or there, but it captures stories from five published Silver Leaf Books authors, two members of the design team for the role playing game based on my world, one other author, and myself. We all collaborated together, and all of the authors did a great job with characters that were near and dear to my heart.


From an art perspective, to this point Kyria and her friends (The Adventures of Kyria series) were the only Mages illustrated (other than Ilfanti, but he was not in Mage attire in Ilfanti and the Orb of Prophecy). All Mages were bound by the premise that they wore white and as their magic grew more potent their garments took on golden hues. The books describe images and patterns that were formed based on the desires and thoughts of the individual Mage, making each garment unique to the Mage themselves. But doing the art for the Council of Elders, I wanted to bring out the personality of each character with subtle variations to their garments. Tales of the Council of Elders was the first cover that Vince (artist) worked on with me, and together we went through the character profiles, personality descriptions, and tendencies to create images for each of the Mages.


First up (alphabetically) is Master Ariness. He is an aquatican (underwater race) who is strongly grounded in logic and propriety. His garments are more symbolic of a sea Captain than a traditional Mage, capturing his seafaring heritage, and then a more formal look to match his personality.



Master Cala, an elf, has a deep rooted history of betrayal, self-doubt, but also of recovery and triumph. She had been the apprentice of Ilfanti, and as he so often does, he swept her up in his tales of adventure. Trying to live up to his reputation and to make him proud, she went on a quest that left half of her body burned and scarred. But rather than revert back to the despair of her youth, she displays her scars with pride for knowing that she had taken a chance and persevered through it. To capture this, she wears fewer garments than most Mages, allowing more of her scars to be displayed. She is confident in who she is and is not ashamed or embarrassed of her scars, refusing to hide them.



Master Cinzia, a photon, is the youngest of the Council of Elders members and the least powerful magically. Her garments have less gold as a result. But she's also a free spirit, a former warrior who fought alongside of Warlord Braksis to reclaim his Kingdom, and someone who stands by her principles. Her illustration focused on her free spirit nature, with a care free outfit befitting of her nature.



Master Hergzenbarung is one of my personal favorites. He's a lupan, a race of feral beasts that are nightmares to all who encounter them. Yet he was raised a Mage (nature v. nurture) and is a big, sweet, cuddly teddy bear (not really, but he has a kind heart, is deeply loyal, and always seeks to do the right thing). While most of his kind would be terrifying, he is illustrated to be smiling and happy. His garments show off his strength of character. Simple, yet fitting.



Ilfanti, a dwarf, had already been illustrated by David Michael Beck for Ilfanti and the Orb of Prophecy. Since his tale was from his adventure years, he took on a similar look to his character as that which had already been done.



Master Jeffa, a human, had been allured by the call of the man who would unite the Seven Kingdoms (Emperor Conrad) and end the Great Wars. He fought alongside of them and was severely injured, losing his site and badly scarring his head. Yet, Jeffa found a way to see through the eyes of animals as part of his magical gifts. The illustration for Jeffa focused around his golden helm. The symbol of the animals he depends on are upon it, but there are just gold orbs where eye-slits would normally be (since he can't see anyway). His outfit is reminiscent of what he would have worn when fighting alongside of Conrad, the garments of an adventurer or soldier.  The animal on his shoulder (a klatia) stays with him and serves as his eyes through normal events.



Master Pierce, an eternal, was the one responsible for forming the Mage's Council originally. He is the opposite side of the coin of Zoldex - good and evil, right and wrong. He has strong opinions and convictions, and is perfectly willing to use intimidation to force others to see and do things his way. He has a vision for Mages and only his vision is the right one. For the illustration, Pierce had to be formal, commanding, decisive, and intimidating. This is the guy who single handedly banished Zoldex. In other words, he's not someone you want to trifle with!



Master Promethisus, a centaur, is always full of anger and hostility. For generations the humans of the Imperium have looked down upon the other races and forced them into seclusion. As a Mage, Promethisus had never been exposed to this during his youth, but saw it first hand when he was older and it scarred him for life. He is the contrarian, the one who refuses to help just because others failed to help his fellow centaurs in the past. Every decision is made with a chip on his shoulder, and he's not afraid to show it. His illustration was all about bringing out that anger with hardened and chiseled features. His facial features are set in a permanent scowl. His garments are those of one always ready for anything and expecting to be stabbed in the back.



Master Senix, an avarian, is the flamboyant playboy of the group. His looks define who he is, and he embraces his sexuality and fervor for seducing members of the opposite sex. He is the poster-child heartthrob of the Mage's Council, and flaunts his looks and allure. For his illustration we went more with a Greek look, or the typical toga, which much of his physique on display.



After creating the profiles for all of the characters, Vince took a look at the individual tales and tried to capture key elements. Ilfanti the adventurer. Senix and Cala having an affair in their youth. Hergzenbarung's father devouring a Mage. Cinzia ready for battle. Pierce looking over them all in judgment. He then did a great job of blending those tidbits and capturing all of the characters in one front-cover montage. It looked great to me, so a rough draft quickly got the green light and was finalized.


Survivors of the Siege


Title: Corruption

Series: The Imperium Saga: Survivors of the Siege, Book 1

Cover Art Team: Vince Sunico

When I made the decision to nix the follow-up Kyria series, and instead bringing her into the mainstream storyline, I decided to merge the first book that was intended for the Kyria series (Mage Apprentice) and the mainstream series. The first book of Survivors of the Siege always intended to be a look through the eyes of Zoldex, the main bad guy in my series. Up to this point, Kyria has managed to put together pieces of the puzzle to know who he is, but readers don't really know why he is doing what he is doing. This book was intended to be a big reveal to his motivations, schemes, and his desperation for survival, foreshadowing a threat even greater than he has been. But by merging in the second Kyria books, too, I was able to do more with Zoldex, and show a mission Kyria embarked upon behind enemy lines, and how outmatched she and her companions were against the full might of Zoldex.


Beyond seeing things through the eyes of the villains in the series, this book also introduced some survivors. An unlikely team thrust together following the events of The Siege of Zoldex who were fleeing as fast as they could to the north and what they hoped was safety. Some new characters, some background characters getting new parts, it was fun going beyond the core heroes of the realm and delving into other characters.





Title: Uneasy Alliance

Series: The Imperium Saga: Survivors of the Siege, Book 2

Cover Art Team: Vince Sunico

Throughout the books, I plant seeds. Little carrots so that somewhere down the road, when I make a big reveal, I wanted readers to be able to look back and think: "He planned that from the very beginning!" This book takes some of those little threads that were introduced in both the Warlord Trilogy and the Fall of the Imperium Trilogy, plus some major plot points from the Adventures of Kyria series, and finally brings out some answers. But while this is a crucial book for plot development and tying things together, it also brought together some amazingly developed characters in Arifos, Kai, Kabilian, and Rawthorne. They, and their companions, thrust together for a common goal, is a very apt theme and title for Uneasy Alliance.






Title: Resurrection

Series: The Imperium Saga: Survivors of the Siege, Book 3

Cover Art Team: Vince Sunico

When I discussed the cover of Corruption, I mentioned how Kyria's best friend, Sartir, was supposed to be the lead in his own young adult trilogy before I decided to just bring the kids into the mainstream storyline. He and those classmates selected by their teacher were to be specially trained to become Renegade Mage Hunters, known as Drannin, and they would be the ones going after the most dangerous Mages aligned with Zoldex. With the trilogy nixed, I had plenty of plot development to call upon to include in this book, bringing out some of the subplots and storylines I intended, while also capturing some key tie-ins to The Warlord Trilogy and laying the foundation for the finale. In the end, the book didn't feel rushed, and the key points I wanted to cover in the young adult trilogy were all captured, so mission accomplished!


For Vince, this was a nice return to some of his earlier Imperium Saga work from The Warlord Trilogy, paired with Sartir, front and center, with a whole new look in line with his new mission of hunting Mages.









Title: Gen-Ops

Series: Gen-Ops, Book 1

Cover Art Team: Joe Benitez  (pencils & inks), Beth Sotelo (colors)

Even though Gen-Ops came out in February 2013 (after Continuing the Passion, Beyond Belief, and Snapped), it was written long before any of those books. However, I enjoyed it so much, I was afraid that I would keep writing subsequent books without ever finishing the Fall of the Imperium Trilogy. So Gen-Ops got tabled and seemed to stay there longer than it should have. But when it was finally ready to go, finding the right artist was a huge undertaking.


The Imperium Saga books all had a very distinctive look to them. Since Gen-Ops was a new series, and a Science Fiction (Military / Espionage) series to boot, it gave me the opportunity to explore other options. I dabbled with a few ideas to see what would work, but in the end I ultimately decided to stick with the comic-style look that I loved so much for the Imperium Saga (though with a different artist). I saw a comic series called Wraithborn with phenomenal art by Joe Benitez and reached out, figuring that it was worth a try. A few emails later and Joe signed on for Gen-Ops.


Gen-Ops begins at a point in time, and then the entire series is 20-years later. That said, the characters from that initial incident go on to be the core characters for the series, and that event was the defining moment that led to everything that ultimately would happen. So the cover would feature a scene from then, with those characters 20-years younger than they will be in the book following that. To get a better feel, the characters were illustrated in a profile lineup.



Once the profiles were done, Joe got to the cover with an action sequence of Shadow Recon (the team portrayed on the cover) coming into a hostile environment. The only difference from the profiles was to the main character, Logan Stone. Just as with King Worren on the cover of Falestia, my father (who had been in the military and helped me with the research for this book), did not live long enough to see it come out in print. Joe changed the image of Stone to reflect that of my father (a picture I gave him of when my father was younger and in the military during World War II).




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