R.S. Hunter

Science Fiction & Fantasy Author

Category: Fantasy (page 2 of 3)

Updated Flowers of the Sky artwork

The other day I posted the awesome artwork done by Westly LaFleur. Today I get to do that again! Let me explain: after I posted the art, Wes contacted me, saying he wasn’t entirely happy with the level of detail in the illustration. He’d spent a few more hours tweaking it and wanted to give me an updated version. I couldn’t say no.

I liked the first image, but this newer version is even better. I have a designer working on the layout for the cover and the interior of the book right now. As soon as that’s done, I’ll put the collection up on Amazon. Stay tuned for more info. But for now, enjoy more of Wes’ artwork. If you’re looking to hire an artist, I highly recommend him.

Flowers of the Sky - Cover Art updated

Artwork for my upcoming short story collection

Daaaamn. That’s all I gotta say. I recently commissioned artist Westly LaFleur to illustrate the cover for my upcoming short story collection, Flowers of the Sky. Oh, that’s right. Guess I should mention that. Since I got the rights back to “Flowers of the Sky: Discoveries,” I decided to pair it with its sequel “Flowers of the Sky: Dreamer’s Gaze” in one ebook short story collection.

I knew if I was serious about self-publishing this mini-collection I’d need an awesome cover. Wes stepped up big time. I can’t be happier with it. I’ll let you know more about Flowers of the Sky as more developments come up. But for now, gaze upon Wes’ art! Gaze! If you’re in the market for some illustrations, especially of the fantasy variety, contact Wes. Here’s some more samples of his art.

Flowers of the Sky - Cover Art

The Exile’s Violin now available from Amazon.com

I used to think the writing was the hardest part of making a book. Well, as Hydra Publications releases The Exile’s Violin into the world today, I’ve found out that this is much more difficult.The Exile's Violin by R.S. Hunter

Before I got to spend time in a world I created with characters I knew and loved. The only people who read my book were my first readers and my editors, people I knew and trusted. Now that the book’s out there, my family’s going to read it, friends are going to read it, and hopefully, people I’ve never met before are going to read it.

Now I’m sitting here, trying to write this post on my lunch break, nervously waiting for the first bits of feedback to come in. It’s incredibly nerve-wracking. Releasing a book, especially as a first-time novelist, is like having a baby and then inviting the world to judge whether or not your baby’s any good. Still, if I had to choose between the nerves of waiting for reviews and not having a book out at all, I’d choose this every single time. It’s probably one of the scariest and most joyous feelings in the world.

I made* The Exile’s Violin, and if you head over to Amazon, I’d love to share it with you.

*This is a slight oversimplification as many other people helped make the book what it is today.

Excerpt from Gladiator by Kate Lynd

Gladiator by Kate LyndToday I have an excerpt from Kate Lynd’s Gladiator, a Mad Max meets Gladiator series that is set to be a trilogy. Here’s a quick blurb before we dive into the excerpt.

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Interview with Fantasy Author Rachel Hunter

Empyreal Fate

This Friday, I’m lucky to have fantasy writer Rachel Hunter, author of Empyreal Fate (A Llathalan Annal), as a guest on my website. Being the busy writer and student that she is, I was only able to get in a quick interview with her.

Let’s learn more about Rachel Hunter!
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Excerpt from Dearly Departed by Rachael Rawlings

Dearly Departed by Rachael RawlingsToday, I have the author of Dearly Departed, Rachael Rawlings, on my site. She’s going to share an excerpt of her book with us. So let’s jump in with both feet and hand things over to Rachael!

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Official Cover Art for Steampunk Novel “The Exile’s Violin”

I teased it and hinted at it over the past couple of days, but now it’s finally here. Here is the official final cover art for my debut steampunk fantasy novel, The Exile’s Violin. I’m incredibly happy with the cover. What do you guys think? Does it capture that steampunk feel?

I love how the cover art features a very steampunk airship/battleship. It’s actually based on one of my very, very rough sketches. I also love how Enggar was able to capture the “look” of main character, Jacquie Renairre. And now for a quick blurb about the novel itself:

Why hire mercenaries to kill an innocent family just to obtain one little key? That question haunts Jacquie Renairre for six years as she hunts down the people responsible for murdering her parents.

Not even accepting an assignment to investigate a conspiracy that aims to start a war can keep her from searching for the key. Armed with her father’s guns and socialite Clay Baneport, she continues her quest for answers abroad.

With the world edging closer to disaster, Jacquie is running out of time to figure out how the war, the key, and ancient legend are intertwined. The fate of the world hinges on her ability to unravel both mysteries before it’s too late.

Look for The Exile’s Violin on Amazon in ebook and trade paperback later next month. For now, check back here for more details and be sure to stop by Hydra Publications and check out all their great titles.

The Exile's Violin

The Exile’s Violin Cover Art

As part of Steampunk Sundays (a thing I just invented), I’m sharing the cover art for my debut novel, The Exile’s Violin. The font for the title and stuff hasn’t been decided, but the artwork is done. I think it looks great! It really captures the steampunk nature of the book, and I think Enggar did a great job with the two main characters.

What do you guys think? Is it steamy and punky enough? Expect more info about The Exile’s Violin soon. The book will be released in September from Hydra Publications.

The Exile's Violin

The Exile’s Violin Cover Art Teaser

If you like steampunk, then here’s a little bit of a treat: a rough draft version of the cover art for my upcoming novel The Exile’s Violin. The talented Enggar Adirasa is handling the art for this one. You might recognize his work from Gwen Perkins’ The Universal Mirror. That’s where I first saw Enggar’s art, and I knew the style would be perfect for my book.

So far I’m really happy with how this is turning out. The only big change that’s going to happen between this draft and the final copy is that Jacquie (my main character) is going to turn around and “face the camera.” She’s a standout character, and I think the reader will benefit from getting to see her face. So what do you guys think? Is this steampunk enough? Would it catch your eye on a Barnes & Noble shelf? The Exile’s Violin will be published by Hydra Publications this September.

The Exile's Violin cover draft

Creating the Right Voice in Fantasy Novels

I think we’re all a little sick of feudal, semi-medieval fantasy settings based loosely on Western Europe, right? I am. But I’m also on a big sword and sorcery kick right now, so I’ll read almost anything in the genre, even if it has a semi-medieval standard fantasy setting.

Alex Bledsoe’s Eddie LaCThe Sword-Edged Blonde cover artrosse novels came highly recommended, so I gave the first one, The Sword-Edged Blonde, a try. I’m about a third of the way through the book, and already the book is both entertaining me and rubbing me the wrong way.

I can’t get around the very modern, very anachronistic voice in this book. The book is billed as a mash up of a hard-boiled detective story and a fantasy universe. Sounds cool so far. But then I see characters called Mike and King Phil and little warning signs start to go up in my mind. Then I read a sentence where the main character mentions that he “didn’t have time to comparison shop.” I almost stopped reading there. (But I didn’t!)

In a blog post about keeping a series fresh, Bledsoe specifically mentions the LaCrosse novels’ anachronistic tone as being a staple of the series. So obviously the things that are bothering me about the tone and voice in The Sword-Edged Blonde are intentional.

So that means this comes down to a matter of taste–something that is completely subjective. I find the modern slang and terms incongruous with a sword and sorcery fantasy setting, but others might really enjoy them. I can’t fault Bledsoe for his language choices though. This is a made up fantasy world. There’s no reason for the characters to speak like they’re in Medieval Britain or something because they’re not there. I recognize that, but at the same time, if this is a feudal society then based on the socio-economic model of the land, would terms like “comparison shop” even exist? I have to think that might be stretch, no matter how fictional the setting might be.

Steampunk watch

Something similar happened when I was subbing my steampunk novel, The Exile’s Violin. It’s set in the made up world of Tethys that doesn’t correspond to Victorian England. In my mind, if I had characters that didn’t necessarily speak like they belonged in the late 19th Century then it didn’t matter. They weren’t part of that century. It’s all a matter of taste. One publisher told me that they liked my submission but it wasn’t “steampunk” enough because the language and tone were too modern for them. They had similar quibbles with my book that I’m having with The Sword-Edged Blonde. It’s all very subjective stuff.

I guess the lesson is: if you have a made up setting, write it how you want. There’s no reason to cling to “historical accuracy” if the setting isn’t based real history. Some people might like your word choice and the slang your characters use, others might not. Don’t let that stop you from creating though.

PS: Aside from the modern tone, I’m enjoying Bledsoe’s book! It definitely feels like a noir fantasy mash up.

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