Posts Tagged cover reveal

Cover Reveal – DRAGONBOY (HEROES OF HAVENSONG SERIES), by Megan Reyes

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Cover Reveal: DRAGONBOY

It’s cover reveal day at Mixed-Up Files, and we’re thrilled to share the cover for DRAGONBOY, by debut author Megan Reyes, illustrated by Ilse Gort and designed by Sylvia Bi.

Plus, an extra treat: Megan has shared a sneak-peek excerpt JUST for our fabulous MUF readers.

Okay …. here we go …. the cover for DRAGONBOY:

blurred image of a cover illustration with gold and blue highlights

Smile. Okay, this isn’t QUITE the cover. Not yet … but soon!! And I promise it’s AMAZING and worth the wait.  Just a minute or two longer…

When we do a cover reveal here at Mixed-Up Files,  before we show you the art, we love the chance to hear from the wonderful creators who turn an author’s themes and characters into covers that will lure readers to pick up the book. For DRAGONBOY, that illustrator is Ilse Gort.

Meet Ilse Gort

head shot of cover illustrator Ilse Gort, a white woman with long blond hair

MUF: How did you decide which story elements to focus on for this cover?
IG: I was given some suggestions and guidelines for what to put on the cover, such as the thread and the tree which I thought were sensible choices. The author (Megan) had put together a very helpful Pinterest board with example covers that she liked so that I had some idea of the styles and elements she wanted portrayed. The publisher also provided me with the book’s manuscript which I read in full to gain a better understanding of the characters, their emotions and the core of the story. Based on this I wanted to include all of the main characters in such a way that there was no clear hierarchy of importance, since they’re all integral to the story, but I did want to center Blue for the sake of the book’s title (Dragonboy) and also because I felt he is the book’s main sell as a fantasty tale. I also really wanted to try and include the fox character, who caught my eye as an interesting anchor throughout the story and, in my own interpretation, was a representation of sorts of the author herself. Lastly, I was quite set on the cover featuring a sunrise. Knowing that this is the first in a series that seemed like a fitting choice; the dawning of a new adventure.

MUF: Which elements did you enjoy working with the most?
IG:
Honestly, all of them! I very much enjoyed each element in its own right and for its own reasons and I was happy to see them come together so well.

MUF: What is your artistic process for cover art?
IG
: It depends a bit on the client of course, but typically I will start by discussing the basic needs for the cover such as the genre, core elements and layout preferences so that I know what is expected of me and I can make an estimate of the amount of work it will be. Then if all the necessary agreements are made, I begin doing my research. If I have a manuscript or audiobook sample this is typically when I will begin reading or listening. I will gather reference materials and inspiration, then begin sketching. Typically I will provide at least two and up to four sketches for the client to choose from. When they’ve made their choice and given me any necessary feedback I continue with a color mock-up, meaning I roughly paint in the colors so that I can show the client where I intend to take the final illustration. And when that is approved, I move on to actually finishing the piece and implementing any last feedback the client may have.

MUF: What do you enjoy about illustrating cover artwork in general?
IG
: One of the things I enjoy about cover illustration for books is that there is so much depth to it. It’s challenging in a very fun way to think about intruiging narratives, hints at story elements, how to spark curiosity and elicit emotional reactions in (potential) readers. There is so much you can do with a book cover and it’s so important to do it well. I love to read and have much respect for writers, fellow artists in their own trade, and I know how difficult creative work is to do professionally. I also know that the phrase “judging a book by its cover” exists for a reason; people dooften judge books by their covers and authors place a lot of trust in an illustrator’s hands (or a publisher’s) to represent the core of their story, all of that hard work, in a single image. The collaborative nature of book covers make them unique as far as marketing art goes and it’s why it’s one of my favorite things to do.

Stay in Touch:

Website

Twitter: @CaraidArt

The Cover Reveal

And now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for … drum roll …. the real cover for DRAGONBOY, by debut author Megan Reyes.

book cover for DRAGONBOY, a blue dragon is centered on a golden background with two characters on lower third - one brown-skinned girl and one Asian boy

Cover art by Ilse Gort Book design by Sylvia Bi

Isn’t it gorgeous???

About DRAGONBOY

This timeless fantasy debut follows four children–a boy turned dragon, his reluctant dragon rider, a runaway witch,
and a young soldier—bound together by the Fates themselves to save their world—and magic itself—from
being destroyed.

The world once known as Haven has been torn apart over centuries of conflict, with humans taught to fear all things magical, dragons driven to near extinction, and magic under attack. Now its future rests with four children from four different lands, destined to restore balance to their fractured world—as the song foretells.

Blue, River, Wren, and Shenli all grew up on different sides of a war they didn’t start, and each will be called forward
for what will become pivotal roles in the battle to restore the balance between humans, dragons, and magic. They
will face shocking secrets and terrifying dangers and discover surprising strengths as they begin to forge a
friendship across barriers put in place long ago.

Read on for an excerpt of DRAGONBOY just after our interview with Megan!

Meet Megan Reyes

MUF: Tell us about the characters we see in this beautiful cover art.

MR: Yay, I’m so happy to introduce you to them! My story has four main characters, each with their own POV chapters, and I’m so thrilled they all made it onto the cover.

Blue is a stable boy who is later transformed into a dragon in order to save the world.

River is a (very reluctant!) dragon rider, who happens to be super afraid of heights. River is incredibly clever, confident, and tends to take things a bit too seriously.

Wren is kind, curious, and… a little clumsy sometimes. She’s a magic human who is supposed to be bound to her Magic companion (note the little purple cloud of light on the cover), but she forgets the words to the binding spell, and her Magic runs away!

Shenli is a Mainlander (a direct enemy of Wren’s people) who is taught to hate all things magic and dragons. He’s 50% charming, 50% cranky, and his family seems to be saddled with never-ending bad luck.

MUF: This is such a lovely cover – did you get to weigh in on any of these details?

MR: I know, isn’t it stunning? Ilse did such a beautiful job and I am in love with it! And, yes, I had quite a bit of input, which was wonderful. My design team asked for ideas, and the first thing I said was that it was important to me that all 4 of my characters made it on the cover. I received 3 different cover sketches then it was whittled down to the favorite. I gave a lot of input into how the characters look and what other things might be included from the story (like the fox, tree, and golden thread). There were several rounds of revisions before the final and I got to see–and weigh in on–each one. It was such an incredible process. I’m lucky to have such a fantastic, supportive team at Random House.

MUF: Is there one element of this illustration that stands out in particular for you as the author or that resonates with favorite parts of your story?

MR: Heroes of Havensong is a series and book 1 is called Dragonboy, so I love how predominantly Blue the dragon is featured. There is a scene from the book where Blue and River are flying for the first time and River spots this strange golden thread floating through the sky. She reaches up to grab it, and… well, you’ll have to read to find out what happens! 🙂 I also love how Wren and Shenli are side by side. They are natural-born enemies who are forced to work together. I think the cover shows a bit of their “we’ll-work-together-but-we-don’t-trust-each-other” relationship. Lastly, there is a fox character who narrates things throughout the book (you meet him right away in chapter 1). He’s one of my favorite characters and I’m so thrilled he made it on the cover!

MUF: Thanks so much for sharing your cover reveal with us!

And now, MUF is thrilled to share our exclusive chance to sample just a bit of what lies behind this gorgeous cover.

Excerpt from DRAGONBOY:

Every twenty-five years, the king of Gerbera is eaten by a dragon.

It is tradition.

What’s that, young one? No, I imagine it isn’t very pleasant, but what else is the human king to do? He has his honor to uphold, after all. And a deal’s a deal. One king every quarter century, and in exchange, the dragons leave the villages of Gerbera well enough alone.

That’s the way it’s always been. For nearly a thousand years.

No, I am not that old. You mind your tongue, kit. Before I toss you to the shadow bears for breakfast.

Of course I’m joking.

Your mother would be furious with me.

Why do the dragons want kings? How should I know? Maybe they taste better than ordinary humans. Leave it to dragons to be so particular. And, no, I don’t know why they wait twenty-five years. Maybe that’s when a human is ripe? I don’t care to think about it too much, if you don’t mind. Now hold still while I get this twig untangled from your fur.

Ah, well, the humans have no choice, you see. They must keep the peace with the fire beasts. They’ve nowhere else to go. Beyond their forest is Dragon Mountain, and that’s where the world ends.

Everyone knows that.

Besides, humans are not as clever as foxes, dear. But don’t hold that against them. They do their best. Oof, stop squirming about, would you? I’ve almost got the blasted twig free.

What’s that? Where do they get the new king? Perhaps they grow kings like carrots. My whiskers, you ask so many questions. You are giving me a headache.

Fine. Fine. You may ask one more. If you must.

What would happen if a king didn’t present himself to the dragons?

Whiskers of mercy! I pale to think of it. Our forest stretches to the base of Dragon Mountain, after all. The fury of the dragonfire would surely be the end of everyone.

No, youngling. Do not fret. You have nothing to fear. Don’t you see? The human king always comes, just as he should. It has forever been thus.

He gives his life to save us all.

Now sleep, little one. If you’re quiet enough, you can hear the moon rise.

Preorder DRAGONBOY:

Preorder a SIGNED copy with fun book swag from A Seat at the Table Books: https://aseatatthetablebooks.org/item/ymASTSSKIbYnzxuyJGXC-Q

OR

Preorder wherever books are sold : https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/695558/heroes-of-havensong-dragonboy-by-megan-reyes/

⭐️ NetGalley requests: https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/book/261717

⭐️ Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60111451-dragonboy

 

head shot of author, a amiling white woman wearing brown frame glasses, with long brown hair.

Megan Reyes is the author of the Heroes of Havensong series for young readers. Megan lives in Northern California with her husband, four sons, two dogs, and an ever-growing collection of dragon and fox figurines. When she’s not writing, she’s probably drawing, painting, going on walks, or getting lost in a new book.

Stay in Touch

Twitter and Instagram: @MReyesWrites

Cover Reveal: GOOD DIFFERENT, by Meg Eden Kuyatt

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MUF cover reveal logo

Cover Reveal: GOOD DIFFERENT

It’s cover reveal day at Mixed-Up Files, and we’re so excited! Today we get to reveal the cover for Meg Eden Kuyatt’s middle-grade debut: GOOD DIFFERENT.

Here it is!

graphic of elements of the cover but they're all mixed up - doesn't show the full cover yet.

Okay, okay, I’m just playing. That’s not exactly it …. and I PROMISE I really will show you in just a moment. t’s AMAZING and I’m chomping at the bit to share …. in just a minute or two.

When we do a cover reveal here at Mixed-Up Files,  before we show you the art, we love the chance to hear from the wonderful creators who turn an author’s themes and characters into covers that will lure readers to pick up the book. For GOOD DIFFERENT, that artist was Luna Valentine.

Meet Illustrator Luna Valentine

head shot of illustrator who is a white woman with pale purple hair, dark lipstick, and bright red and blue eye shadow

 

MUF: How did you decide which story elements to focus on for this cover?

LV: I’ve had a lot of input and help from an incredible design team. We’ve explored a lot of different ideas and in the end had a wide variety of ideas to choose from. I think early on the phrase “be a dragon” stood out to me personally and I tried to incorporate it as a design element in every idea we worked on. It’s really empowering to be a dragon.

MUF: Which elements did you enjoy working with the most?

LV: My absolute favourite part was the character design. I feel like you can connect to a story on a whole new level if you connect with the protagonist, and from the moment I got the character description of Selah I could just picture her so clearly in my head. Now getting her to look exactly like she did in my head was a challenge but it was so much fun.

MUF: What is your artistic process for cover art?

LV: Usually I start with super rough, teeny tiny sketches straight away after reading the brief, just to get my initial ideas down on paper. Then I’ll do an in depth character design, usually with a bunch of different hair styles, clothing choices, maybe even a couple of different expressions. I draw the character in a lot of different poses. The first sketches are always so stiff and lifeless, but when you get into it, and allow yourself the time to experiment with different ideas, different designs and even make some mistakes, your sketches will finally start looking the way you want them to. I think the key is not to spend too much time on artwork at first and then go back and refine it over days, even weeks until it starts looking the way you want it to.

MUF:  What do you enjoy about illustrating cover artwork in general?

LV: Honestly my favourite part is seeing it in print, on a shelf in a book shop or on my doorstep. I love the feeling of a new book. And knowing I helped to create it is so satisfying.

About Luna:

Luna is a Polish children’s book illustrator, living in Nottingham, UK.

She works digitally, finding inspiration in folk tales, video games, cute Japanese food, under her bed and other places nobody thinks to look. Her art has been described as humorous, quirky and colorful. At Nottingham Trent University she studied Graphic Design and went on to receive her Masters in Illustration. Luna has worked with a variety of clients including Paper Rose, Paperchase and Arteza. When Luna is not drawing, you can find her traveling the world to find the perfect cup of coffee.

Stay In Touch:

Wesbite

Instagram: @lunavaltineart

Twitch: 

The Cover Reveal

And now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for … drum roll …. the real thing! Here’s the cover for GOOD DIFFERENT, by Meg Eden Kuyatt.

cover art for GOOD DIFFERENT features a white girl with brown hair and the image of dragon wings sprouting from her shoulders

 

About GOOD DIFFERENT

A extraordinary novel-in-verse for fans of Starfish and A Kind of Spark about a neurodivergent girl who comes to understand and celebrate her difference.

Selah knows her rules for being normal.

She always, always sticks to them. This means keeping her feelings locked tightly inside, despite the way they build up inside her as each school day goes on, so that she has to run to the bathroom and hide in the stall until she can calm down. So that she has to tear off her normal-person mask the second she gets home from school, and listen to her favorite pop song on repeat, trying to recharge. Selah feels like a dragon stuck in a world of humans, but she knows how to hide it.

Until the day she explodes and hits a fellow student.

Selah’s friends pull away from her, her school threatens expulsion, and her comfortable, familiar world starts to crumble.

But as Selah starts to figure out more about who she is, she comes to understand that different doesn’t mean damaged. Can she get her school to understand that, too, before it’s too late?

Meet Author Meg Eden Kuyatt

MUF: Did you get to weigh in on any of these details in this cover art?

MEK: I gave a description of Selah (the protagonist) and some ideas of what I was envisioning, as well as styles I liked. My main comment was that I really wanted a dragon integrated into the cover—and I LOVE how Luna did this!

MUF: Is there one element of this illustration that stands out in particular for you as the author or that resonates with favorite parts of your story?

MEK: My favorite parts are Selah’s dragon wings. I love how they’re built out of all these things Selah learns in the novel, like the sensory tools she discovers (like earplugs and sunglasses), or how she rethinks words she’s grown up hearing, like “weird.” I really love how it shows that the tools Selah learns about empower her, like dragon wings! I can’t imagine a better image that captures the heart of this story!

MUF: Anything else you would like to tell us about your cover and why it is special to you?

MEK: I really didn’t have ideas for the cover, or a specific way I envisioned it, but it was really important to me that it would pull in kids who, like Selah, may also have a special interest in dragons. So I was incredibly happy to see this cover, which captured what I wanted, even though I didn’t know how to express it! It gives a magical touch (because writing is magic!) but still tells us this is a contemporary story, that you can find those little glimmers of magic in the real world. I’m in love with my cover!

MUF: Congratulations, and we’re so excited to read GOOD DIFFERENT!

 

About Meg

photo of author Meg Eden Kuyatt, a white woman with long brown hair standing in front of water with a bridge in the background

Meg Eden Kuyatt is a 2020 Pitch Wars mentee, and teaches creative writing at Anne Arundel Community College. She is the author of the 2021 Towson Prize for Literature winning poetry collection “Drowning in the Floating World” (Press 53, 2020) and children’s novels, most recently “Good Different” (Scholastic, 2023).

Stay In Touch and Preorder

Website

https://linktr.ee/medenauthor

Twitter: @ConfusedNarwhal

Instagram: @meden_author

Facebook: Meg Eden Writes Poems

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/buwBXX

GOOD DIFFERENT comes out in March 2023. Preorder now from Bookshop.com!

Cover Reveal: THE TILTERSMITH by Amy Herrick

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Drumroll please…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ViZqQkddCc

I am so excited for this chance to present a cover reveal and preview of Amy Herrick’s upcoming book, The Tiltersmith, which promises supernatural overtones that allude to the works of Susan Cooper and Madeleine L’Engle.

Spring is late coming to Brooklyn, NY, and while climate change might have something to do with the chaotic weather patterns bringing late snow and even a tornado to the city, there may be supernatural elements at work, too. A curious character named the Tiltersmith —Superintendent Tiltersmith, he claims — shows up at the kids’ school, in search of the tools that will bring Spring to life. But the Tiltersmith is trying to collect them himself and use them to keep the Lady of spring underground and in his power. Unbeknownst to Edward, Feenix, Danton, and Brigit, the tools have been entrusted to them, but competing forces are working to lead and mis-lead them. If the quartet can protect and use the tools properly, spring will arrive. But if the Tiltersmith has his way, as the underworld teems with life, our world will be trapped in an eternal winter.

The cover features a tight grouping of four young heroes surrounded by a maelstrom of colors. Lightning bolts strike leaves from the trees, hinting at the story’s chaotic weather themes. The kids are layered in brightly colored outerwear, arms akimbo, with hair and jewelry chains flying as if we’ve caught them in the middle of a dance.

And you’ll see it soon.

But first, an excerpt…

Edward Finds a Cocoon

Edward was dreaming. He was trying to pick something up with a spoon. The thing, which was going to lead him to a brilliant scientific discovery, kept sliding away like a piece of spaghetti. Then, just as he thought he’d finally got it, there was a tremendous kaboooooom! and he woke up.

He found himself in the deep middle of the night. A thunderbolt lit the sky outside his window, and in its brief flash of light, he saw that it was snowing again. Seriously? It was March 21. Enough already with the snow.

He lay there counting. Ten seconds and kaboooooom! This meant, he knew, that the storm was about two miles away. He waited for the next flash of lightning, which came quickly. It tore out of the clouds and shot down behind the houses beyond Ninth Street. Snow swirled madly through the air. This time the kaboooooom! came only five seconds later.

The storm was headed right this way.

Edward forced himself out of bed with his blanket around his shoulders. He stood in front of the window, scanning the sky. He wanted to see another bolt up close.

Perhaps thirty seconds later, the next strike happened, right up the street. This time the lightning appeared to burst out of the ground like an enormous electrified finger. It was met almost simultaneously by a bolt from the sky, followed by an enormous concussive baaadoooooom! The whole house shook, and the windows rattled. Peering into the darkness and the snow, Edward saw a round metal disk go flying through the air. It landed with a great crumpling noise on top of a nearby car. The roof of the car folded upward like a piece of origami paper. The disk then slid off the car and came to a stop balanced against its side.

A manhole cover! That was what it had to be. He’d read all about how these things happened. Between the flammable gases that could build up underground and the old and frayed electrical wiring down there, sometimes all it took was a little spark to cause an explosion and—boooom!—a manhole cover would go flying off.

His theory was confirmed when a long tongue of fire shot up from what he could see was an open hole in the middle of the street. All the streetlamps went out like the candles on a birthday cake as the tongue of flame reached higher and higher and slowly died back. He was surprised at what a short time it took before the fire department and then Con Edison began to arrive.

A few minutes later, Edward’s aunt Kit knocked on the door and came in without waiting for an invitation. She was barefoot and wearing her flannel pajamas. The storm had already begun to move slowly off. She joined him at the window. “Well, did you see it?” she asked.

“Did I see what? Could you be a little more specific?” Her vagueness often drove him crazy.

“The part where the lightning shot up out of the ground.”

“Well, yes, I did. That was pretty cool. But it’s common, you know. There’s a positive electrical charge on the ground, and it shoots upward to meet the negative electrical charge coming from the clouds. Happens all the time.”

“Does it, now? Well, that’s an interesting explanation.” “Isn’t it?” he said and hoped she wasn’t going to give him one of her crazy alternative theories.

She didn’t. Instead, she said, “Well, in any case, the timing is amazing, isn’t it?”

He didn’t like to encourage her, but he couldn’t help asking her what this meant.

“I mean with tomorrow being what it is.” “What’s tomorrow?”

“Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten. Well, you’ll remember in the morning. We’d better get to bed. We’re going to need our sleep.”


Science and supernatural weirdness in a middle-grade novel that starts on a dark and stormy night… If you liked A Wrinkle in Time, this book will hook you for sure.

And now, the big reveal


The Tiltersmith by Amy Herrick

The Tiltersmith releases on April 5, 2022 from Algonquin Young Readers.

About Amy Herrick:

Amy Herrick grew up in Queens, New York, and attended SUNY Binghamton and the University of Iowa. She lives in Brooklyn, where she has raised two sons, taught pre-K and grade school, written books, and kept company with her husband and numerous pets. A retired teacher, she loves traveling, learning Spanish, and above all reducing her carbon footprint.