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Cover art contest

Do you like to draw? Do you like slash/yaoi? Do you like fantasy? What about slash and fantasy in the one book?

Would you like to try your hand at a book cover for my new novel, The Chosen?

There are two main characters, who become lovers during the course of the book:

Severin is the Prince of Arcathia. He has long white/silvery hair and icy blue eyes.
Havyn is an ex-slave, now a wizard. He is shorter than Severin and he has black wavy/curly hair and deep violet eyes.

I would like the cover to show both of them, either standing close together with Severin standing behind Havyn, with his hand on Havyn's shoulder or perhaps embracing, looking into each other's eyes. Something romantic, ethereal, dreamy.

You can browse my favourites at Deviantart for the sort of art I like:

For the cover I'd prefer a realistic looking drawing rather than cartoony.

The winner will have their picture used on the cover of the book and get 5 free copies of the book to show their friends (if they want to, LOL!) and a nominal fee of £100 UK. They will also be credited for the artwork both on my webage, the book itself and anywhere else I can think of to add :)


*Pictures must be at least 300dpi to be used for a book cover. (You can just draw an illustration, you don't need to add the book's title or anything like that.)

*Pictures must be in colour.

*Pictures must include both Havyn and Severin, anything else you want to add is up to you.

*Drawings or illustrations only, not photographs

*Portrait orientation for the picture preferred, but I will accept landscape too.

*Deadline 31 July 2008

Send completed pictures to me at annette.gisby@which.net (or if that one gets filled up) annette_20_2000@yahoo.co.uk

There is no fee to enter this contest, just draw and send :)

I will post the submissions, with the artists' permission at Deviantart so they can get feedback even if they don't win the contest. If you would prefer your work not to be made public like that, please just let me know by email. Any other questions, please ask :)

take care,


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 16th, 2008 12:59 pm (UTC)
a timeframe or deadline would be helpful!
Apr. 16th, 2008 01:28 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry, it would, wouldn't it? I'd forgotten to add that to the post, I've edited it now. 31 July :)

take care,
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 17th, 2008 07:49 am (UTC)
So it is, I hadn't even thought of that, LOL!

take care,
Apr. 17th, 2008 04:22 am (UTC)
did you finish the story???

Apr. 17th, 2008 07:47 am (UTC)
I did indeed, it was my Nano novel and I got the first draft finished in November. It's being edited now :)

take care,

(Deleted comment)
Apr. 17th, 2008 02:49 pm (UTC)
I have been looking at various publishers for this one, but in the end I decided to self-publish it using Lulu as the printer/distributor.

Why did I decide for that method rather than a publishing contract? A few things mainly.

My book doesn't quite fit into a particular publishers niche (it's a slashy fantasy for starters, not many of those, LOL) I've been through their submission pages and basically my book either doesn't have enough sex or too much, LOL! There was one small press that it might have fitted in at, but they've gone out of business.

There are a few ebpublishers who will accept slashy romance books, but some of them want print rights too, but don't bother with getting the book printed anywhere!

For my first novel a few years back I did have a traditional contract with two different publishers. The first one went bust and the second one was a disaster as soon as I signed on the dotted line - they took control of everything from cover art to where the book would be distributed. They made this horrible, horrible tacky cover, that looked like a five year old had done and I really, really hated it. I asked them could I submit different ideas for it they said yes, so John and I spent a weekend coming up with six different ideas and then photographing them. The publisher turned all of them down and insisted on using their tacky cover. Eventually it transpired that they were not going to market the books in the UK (where I am) so I asked to be released from my contract with them, which they did. Thank goodness that cover never saw the light of day, LOL! They've since gone bust too, maybe I'm jinxed? ;)

Anyway, I know to some people that it's considered a cop-out to self-publish, "Oh, you aren't a real writer, then, are you?" and other words to that effect. I've heard them all, numerous times and you know what? Life is too short to try and fit into a publisher's mould. I write the books and stories I want to read. I'm making them available for sale if other people might like to read them too. I don't expect to get rich or famous but I've
been burned too many times by traditional publishers to go down that road again. My health is not the best at the moment, which makes your prioties change quite a bit, I don't have the patience or the time to sort through which publisher/agent *might* like your book, find out their guidelines and then discover your book was rejected because you submitted your MS in Times New Roman instead of Courier or something as silly as that!

The cost of getting the book distributed through Lulu is a lot less than the amount I've spent over the years on paper, ink and postage to agents and publishers, LOL!

An in answer to your question, the book will be available worldwide :)

take care,
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 18th, 2008 07:40 am (UTC)
It probably wouldn't be on the shelf in bookstores as it were, but it might be available to order from one. Any book with a valid ISBN should normally be available to order. Most Print on Demand books (POD) are non-returnable, so bookstores won't want to stock them. (Bookstores usually get the books on credit from main publishers and if they don't sell, they just send them back to the publisher, so the author can lose out that way.)

It will probably be available to order online from most of the majors, bn.com, amazon, booksamillion etc.

I like print on demand from a greenie point of view too, books are only printed as they are ordered, no hundreds of copies taking up warehouse space (and trees) that might not sell. The downside is that to print one book at a time costs more so you might lose out on sales as people might not be willing to pay X price for an unknown book/writer. If you want to go the POD/ self-published route, don't expect to get rich, LOL!

take care,
Apr. 17th, 2008 04:24 am (UTC)
I'm giggling hysterically over the names you picked for the main characters. I can't wait until we get to read your book!!!
Apr. 17th, 2008 07:49 am (UTC)
LOL, I had Havyn as a name for a long time and then I found the name Severin on one of the baby name sites, they just seemed to go together ;)

I'll post on my journal when the book's out of course.

take care,
Jul. 8th, 2008 06:44 pm (UTC)
Chara sheets please?
Why do the names remind me faintly *cough* of some other people you frequently write about? ^_~ Seriously, I do have a bit of free time and would be interested to try my hand again. Wanted to start drawing again anyway...

BUT you definitely need to make up a character sheet for those heroes of yours! And describe your fictional world a bit for hints of background.

Otherwise there's bound to be disappointment and wasted energy on all sides and that'd be a shame: your own fiction is something very personal. So I bet you have other, very clear, pictures about how those people you spend so much time with in your head and in front of your monitor look beyond their hair and eye colours!
Do they have other discerning features? Strong noses, stubborn chins, scars, tattoos, embellishments showing their respective statures as prince or slave/wizard (like collars, headbands, staffs etc.)? What's their skin tones, pale, tanned, normal?
You need to tell the artists about those and ideally about their characters. What's their personality? Are they broody, formal, outgoing, optimistic, shy, arrogant?

- shorter than Severin: how tall is Severin? IS he tall? Are we talking 6' (1,83m) to 5'10" (1,78m) difference, or something like 6'4" (1,93m) to Havyn's 5'4" (1,64m)? With the poses you have in mind that's important! It's not as if they're going to sit each on a horse away from each other.... Is Severin thin, lean, muscular? Is the shorter ex-slave much thinner than his master, perhaps slender? I.e. if they stood behind one another would Severin tower over Havyn, dwarf him - or just be a bit taller?

- ages: I'm sure I know who's older and who's younger ^_^ But in what age range are we: is Severin (physically in human terms, since in Fantasy they could all live to be 3000 and mature at 300 years or something) 21 and Havyn 16? Or is Severin perhaps significantly older and it's a 20 year gap? Are they both adults?

- hair: that black wavy/curly hair, is it supposed to be shorter or long? Is it messy or groomed to perfection? If long, are we talking shoulder or waist length? And Severin too - does he wear his silver mane open, is he pulling it back?

- clothing: with a portrait like you prefer there HAS to be some emphasis on what they wear. Unless of course they stand around naked, ready to get it on ^_^
Fantasy clothes can have a huge range of looks. Is Havyn skimpily clad or poor due to being (ex)property, do wizards wear certain styles? Is Severin wearing robes, armor, something formal to show his rank in that world? Are we talking classic high fantasy, eastern influences (the incomparable Heise from DA-Favorites), something else completely? Has Severin a fetish for black and stark lines or does he flounce around in flowing lavenders? How do YOU envision them? I bet you'll describe their general style at some point in your book: tell the artists too.

- related to the world they live in: high fantasy castles and European pseudo-medieval settings? Or Chinese, Japanese palaces and temples? Is Severin's kingdom or the place where the tale happens an eternally icy mountain realm? A hot desert oasis? A green forrest realm? A fiery Mordor-variant?

I know it sounds like a lot. (Though probably not after successfully writing a whole book! ^_^ And I'm sure you have notes on the characters from the writing process anyway.)
But if you worked through the physical stats, a few sentences on them each should be enough to give the prospective artists a clearer picture. Age, height, physical characteristics, defining personality traits... Add some words on your crafted universe and you're done.
If you want to really give a feel for your creations showcase a few short scenes you think are typical for your boys from the book, so they'll become alive for the artists too...

Remember, the more you give drawing folks to work with - even if not everything is incorporated - the closer their artwork gets to the "real" persons you created with words!
A beautifully done cover that doesn't really fit with the things and persons the reader experiences on the inside is weird for them and a minus for you. You want the best possible cover for YOUR tale after all, not a generic one fits all!
Jul. 9th, 2008 08:51 am (UTC)
Re: Chara sheets please?
The names remind you of someone else? Really? ;) LOL! I had Severin for the name of the prince for a long time and I needed a name for the ex-slave, Havyn just seemed to fit him very well.

Race: Human
Age: 21
Height: 6 foot
Eye colour: icy blue
Hair: silvery/white, waist length, usually tied back, but sometimes loose, well-groomed.
Frame: lightly muscular, broad chest
Face shape: high cheekbones, thin lips, sharp nose, angular jaw
Clothes: formal, dark colours, medieval style tunics, with gold or silver trims, leather trousers/breeches, boots.
I envision something similar to this outfit:
but definitely in black for Severin ;)

Personality traits: Severin has been at odds with his father, the King of Arcathia, because he wants Severin to marry and Severin likes men, not women. He's guilt-ridden because of it and finally agrees to marry, despite his feelings for Havyn. That doesn't stop him from trying to seek out Havyn for trysts though, making him feel even more guilty.

Race: part human, part Aldari
Age: 16
Height: 5"4
Eye colour: violet
Hair: shoulder length, black, wavy/curly, messy
Frame: very slender and elfin looking, not musuclar
Face shape: slightly rounded, button nose, full lips, dimpled chin.
Clothes: loose shirts, leather breeches, boots etc. when riding, but studying with Ildar and formal occasions, loose flowing robes in dark jewel jones (jade, ruby, or sapphire, shades like that)
I see Havyn as very delilcate or elfin looking (similar to Frodo from the LOTR films) but ears are normal :)
Havyn has a lot of scars on his body from past abuses while he was a slave, but not on his face.

Personality traits: Havyn is very in awe of Severin, seeing him as his rescuer when Severin bought him. He's a bit naive, but he knows when people are lying or if they are hiding things. He's never been in love before and feels guilty about falling in love with Severin. Ildar, his mentor, is of the opinion that all wizards should remain chaste in order to keep their powers intact and Havyn wonders if such a sacrifice is worth becoming a wizard.

The world they inhabit is a combination of styles. Mostly pseudo-medieval, with a bit of ancient Rome or Greece as well. Castles are plentiful, but more of the dirty and realistic variety, rather than Disney style ;) Arcathia has temperate climate similar to England/Ireland with all four seasons, heavily forested and with coastal towns, farms are inland or near the rivers. Oscia is more of a hot/desert type landscape.

will continue in next post, it wouldn't let me post it all, LOL!
Jul. 9th, 2008 08:51 am (UTC)
Re: Chara sheets please?
Some extracts from the book itself:

"Severin pulled his hood closer around him. The heat was stifling, but he knew that he had to keep himself disguised at all costs. His icy blue eyes and silvery hair would mark him out as a stranger among the swarthy-skinned and dark haired native population of Oscia and the Oscians did not take kindly to strangers."

"The youth was around sixteen or seventeen summers, no older and he barely reached Severin's shoulder. Hair as dark as a raven's wing curled about a face so pale it was like looking at the moon. Violet eyes stared dully at Severin and it was almost as if he was unaware of what was going on around him."

"Havyn had never seen hair such a shade before. Severin's hair was so pale it was like looking at a cloud. It was long, almost to his waist and tied back at the nape of his neck with a black velvet ribbon. Severin's clothes were fancy too; a black tunic with gold trim around the cuffs and hem and a pair of leather trousers and knee length brown boots."

"Havyn had never seen anything like Arcathia's capital city in all his life. The streets were broad and lined with pretty whitewashed houses with red tiled roofs. In the gardens profusions of colourful flowers nestled side by side with vegetables. Some of the houses were hidden behind marble walls, but Havyn could hear the trickle of water from behind them and guessed there might be fountains or ponds. It was a luxury unheard of in Oscia as water was so scarce that it had never been used for anything as decorative as a fountain."

"Havyn stood and gaped at the vision before him. The palace was as large as a city by itself! There were turrets with pennants flying, white with the image of a black raven on them as well as red ones with a golden sword. There were other flags as well, but Havyn couldn't make out the devices on them. Every inch of it seemed to be made of white marble, but as they got closer, Havyn could see the palest trace of grey veins running through it."

Hopefully that will help :)

take care,

Jul. 10th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Chara sheets please?
Hi Annette,

yeah, that definitely helps. Much more substance to work with.

I think I'll try my hand at producing a cover for you. The muse is already flowing! ^_^ I just hope I'll be able to make the deadline since I have this pesky habit of getting lost in details when drawing. >_< (Note to self: don't even think about elaborate backgrounds!) Shame I saw this post so late, but I only stumbled over it after reading your newest - very intriguing - WIP...

btw: You might keep this kind of template/set up in mind if you ever commission artwork for one of your stories (though it's of course much easier for fanfic where everyone has roughly the same idea just who the established characters are and what they look like ^_^) or a future book from someone. This way you'll minimize expensive misunderstandings on all sides.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )