A few months ago, I put out a request for artists for the upcoming 2017 edition of Ages of Aenya,…

A few months ago, I put out a request for artists for the upcoming 2017 edition of Ages of Aenya, and after a bit of vetting, in which we produced the Avian and Horde (below), I settled on the talented Zhengyi Yu.

Horde by Filip Bazarewski

Horde by Filip Bazarewski

Avian

Avian

I chose Zhengyi because of his painterly style, which I feel is better for the cover of a novel than some of the equally talented artists I work with, who tend toward more cartoony styles. Mr. Yu impressed me with his fantasy landscapes. When I see a book with some impossible, otherworldly cityscape, it draws me in, igniting my imagination, and I hope to capture readers in the same way. More importantly, Zhengyi has been wonderful to work with, being attentive to my needs and more than willing to brainstorm and make changes. If you’re looking for a talented illustrator, look no further! Also, be sure to check out his awesome gallery at Zhengyi Yu

aoa2017cover

Thelana overlooking Hedonia

Here we find Thelana overlooking Hedonia. The massive pyramid temple of Sargonus eclipses the background. Depicting our heroine in her natural attire (naked) without triggering any censors was a challenge. I wanted her in a normal looking pose, not too sexy or bashful, and without any comically placed leaves in the way. And she had to be dynamic, to show her power and fearlessness. She’s naked in a city of thousands and yet she does not feel vulnerable! That being said, Zhengyi and I are working on an alternate cover, where Thelana will be draped in her trademark jade cloak (hey, she gets cold sometimes). That way, you can read the adventures of the Ilmar on the subway without any weird looks!

OK, you may be thinking, all this is fine and good, but when can I read this? Glad you asked! As the old adage says, you can’t judge a book by its cover, and while I don’t believe this to be 100% true, story remains the most important thing, seconded by the quality of the writing. Without those things in place, you can’t hope to sell a million copies, unless of course you’re writing bondage porn.

I’ve spent more than a decade building this world, its history and geography; fleshing out its races and its characters. Nine years alone I spent editing, as I ran a restaurant and helped my wife raise our two kids, but even the best writers need another set of eyes. If I could give myself amnesia, I could do it all myself. But it’s impossible to judge yourself objectively, to judge any story really—which is inherently subjective—in a non-biased way. Nobody can. But finding an editor you can trust isn’t easy. An author’s story is his baby. I have to wonder, will the editor tear it up for the sake of tearing it up? Will they maintain my voice? Will they avoid putting in their own biases? This is a legitimate concern for me, as I’ve had professors try to “correct” my work in the most inane ways. One of my teachers actually suggested that the nun in my short story, Anna and the Devil, masturbate. After all, Satan can’t touch you so long as you abstain from carnal thoughts. His PHd, not surprisingly, was in religious studies.

Then I met Ava Coibion. Ava offered me a free sample edit, of my prologue, and we talked over the phone about our favorite writers, literary styles, and the best way to edit without encroaching on the author’s art. I found her to be intelligent and sensitive. And also, she had this to say,

Nick,

There are a thousand praises I could sing here, and with your permission, I’d love to at least give my friend Frank Beddor a sample of your novel to review, or perhaps put you in touch directly with him. But for now, here is the edit for Book One. I was determined to complete the work before Thanksgiving, in hope that you might have a little down time to review my suggested changes. In truth, I devoted this last week and a half solely to the completion of the edit, not because we are on a deadline, as I know you aren’t concerned with a timeline on this, but because I simply couldn’t stop! The prose is intelligent, poetic but often nicely spare/concise, and full of emotion. A true pleasure, and even if you don’t take me on for Books 2 and 3, I will read forward on my own because I simply must know what happens next …

Let me know what you think of my comments. I do think the final chapter could be split up into 2 or even 3 separate chapters.

All best,

Ava

I know I know, flattery. And I might be thinking the same thing, if it weren’t for the fact that, all of my beta readers have given me a similar response. Still, it’s great to get this from a professional, who no doubt has to trudge through literary swamps of poor storytelling.

So now, dear reader, you may be itching to get your hands on this thing. Well, the next step is working with Ava through the 170+k words, about 500 pages, until every word is perfect. Then I get to slap Zhengyi’s contribution on the face of it, and finally, go to the printers.

Ages of Aenya should be available sometime in 2017. In the meantime, my wife will be querying my latest effort, The Princess of Aenya, and I will be dutifully pursue The Children of Aenya, the third book in the Aenya series, partly based on the Dungeons & Dragons campaign I have been playing with my friends and family these past two years. If you’d like to learn more about The Children of Aenya, and the game we are playing, feel free to join on Facebook at The Hub of All Worlds.

 

Aenya News Update: 11/29/16
A few months ago, I put out a request for artists for the upcoming 2017 edition of 

from http://nudistwriter.tumblr.com/post/153838464719

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