Previous: Dark Deeds, Part One

 

Hazel’s breath quickened, echoing through her chest and ears as if she had been hollowed out like a harvest-time gourd. Alone, alone, dead and alone. The thought echoed in her mind along with her breath, and she grabbed hold of her head and bent over in an effort to quiet them.

Silence. No, a heart beat, fluttering and florid. Like a butterfly trapped in a jar, wings singed by searing sun. When had she become like sand, dissolved by wind and whisked away by the rapids of a rushing river? She opened her eyes, looking for an anchor, letting the pale wispiness of the world wash over her like shimmering sunlit water.


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In part one we went over the evolution of the cover art for A Shadowed Spirit in black and white, created by the talented Ferdinand D. Ladera. Now, in part two, we’ll go over the color variations of the final black and white image. I have to say, this was the most challenging aspect. I think it was because I had particular demands for the coloring of the tree, and it was difficult finding a way to accommodate that as well producing a visually appealing image.


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Previous: Dark Decisions

 

The wooden stairs creaked as Hazel made her way downwards. She kept a hand to the wall, trying not to dwell on what made the rough stones feel slick underneath her fingers. Behind her, Hemlock followed, but Hazel kept her gaze ahead. The moth flickered and flitted through the darkness, like a wayward star lost in a vast night sky.

They came to a landing before the stairs continued down at an adjacent angle. Once on the landing, Hazel looked back at Hemlock. He was frowning, but when he saw her looking at him, he gave her a crooked smile. Hazel tried to smile back, but the effort felt beyond her and her expression probably looked more pained than she intended. She continued on.


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Previous: Finding Forgiveness

 

Hazel lay awake in bed as Holly slept next to her. The inn was booked up and hadn’t had any extra rooms for Hazel and Hemlock, so they had to share with their siblings. Hazel stared at the shadowed silhouette of the bone as it rested on the end table near her head. It was dark in the room, but the bone looked darker still, as if light refused to touch it.

Hazel couldn’t rest with that thing so close to her, nagging at the back of her mind of what she needed to do. She had told Holly they’d think of something and had felt a momentary pang of guilt for the lie, but she didn’t know what else to do. It was the only way. Holly would never understand. She didn’t want Holly to understand. Hazel wanted her sister to retain her naive optimism. Something the darkness couldn’t touch.


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Well, it’s been a really long road, but all the formatting and cover art business for A Shadowed Spirit is finally coming to an end. Normally it wouldn’t have taken so long, but along with getting A Shadowed Spirit ready for publication, we’ve also been reformatting The Thirteenth Tower due to changing printers. We’ve also made some adjustments to the back portion of the cover to help keep it a bit closer to A Shadowed Spirit. It literally created twice as much work, and I’ve been in a “I just need to get this done” haze for the past two months.

Anyway, did I say it’s almost done? Please excuse me while I go laugh/cry hysterically in the corner while petting my hair as I recover from it all. As hard as writing can be sometimes, compared to publishing, writing is like rocketing yourself out of a cannon while coated in baby oil. And on that image…


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