Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Resisters, Not Rebels

“You may not like it, but unless they lead you to do something you know is wrong, He even desires for you to serve and follow the authority of the instructors here at Tarvin Hall as well as the emperor.” – Sam (Resistance, Chapter 6)

It may not be immediately clear in the series, but the difference between resisting and rebelling is something I began to consider about halfway through writing Resistance. Actually, the original title for the book was Rebellion. (I was sort of disappointed and stubborn about changing it because I thought ‘Rebellion’ looked cooler on the cover, but I’ve since gotten over it.) It hit me one day that, from a biblical standpoint, ‘Rebellion’ didn’t sit right with me. Now, I believe there’s a place for revolutions. After all, we wouldn’t be the USA if we hadn’t rebelled against the rule of England, however, that place wasn’t in Ilyon Chronicles. Instead, I felt God calling me to take into consideration Romans 13:1, Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. (NASB)

It has been a key point in the overall storyline of the series. Aside from a few who have a more rebellious streak (they are human, after all), it is never the goal of any of my good characters to overthrow the rightfully ruling authorities. Though the antagonists may see them as rebels, my characters are not out to start a rebellion, but rather resist that which would involve denying their faith, as well as fighting to protect each other when their resistance threatens their lives. In fact, some of my characters work very hard to show the proper respect to their authorities, even when their beliefs are entirely different. It may not be in our nature to want to respect and obey our authorities when we don’t agree with them, but it is clearly something God intends for us to take seriously, and I think it’s pretty cool that it was one of the many difficult areas of life that He called me to explore in this series. It has been incredible to see how He has worked the story around it.

So for anyone used to a stories of rebellion and oppressed people rising up to overthrow their oppressors, Ilyon Chronicles is a bit different. It’s about resisting evil, but still honoring the authority God has established and trusting it to be part of His overall plan. And when you eventually come to the end of the series, looking back, you’ll see there was definitely a plan in place. That is one of the most thrilling parts of writing for God. Though fiction, it can open your eyes to the fact that He works in our lives and in our world exactly the same way.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Evolution of a Cover

Friday was the official reveal of the cover for Resistance. It was something I’d been looking forward to for about the last two years. I’m the kind of person who starts putting a cover together very shortly after starting a book. It’s kind of motivation for me to see how it will look when it’s finished. Resistance was no different. I thought it would be fun to go through the transformation from original idea to finished cover.

It all started with this background image. I can’t remember exactly when I stumbled across it. It was before I ever had the idea for Ilyon Chronicles. I spend a lot of time on stock photo websites, so when I saw this image, immediately my mind said book cover, and I tucked it away for future use. That future use ended up being Resistance. As you can see from this blog and on the main website (as well as my author website and blog), I’ve utilized it for more than just the cover. It’s kind of become the main image of the whole series. It fits the story perfectly because much of it takes place in the forest. 

Then came my next idea, to add a sword to the cover. And, as you can see, Resistance wasn’t always the title. It started out as Rebellion. It’s kind of a long story, but a few months into writing, I realized that title didn’t fit. (I have a blog post started on how that happened that I’ll post on Wednesday.) I was a little stubborn about it at first because I thought Rebellion looked cooler than Resistance, but it had to be changed. You can also see this was before my new pen name came into being. One of the things I wanted for the covers of this series was for them to be simple, but bold. This was the first time I didn’t purchase a decorative font to use. I just loved this simple, all caps look from the beginning and it never changed.

As much as I liked the dark simplicity of the previous cover with just the black, green, and white with the sword, as I worked on the other covers in the series, I knew I needed something to tie them all together. So I added the torn paper. It seemed appropriate for a fantasy series and really did give them that one aspect that connects them all.

For the next transformation, the cover gained a different sword image because I was never quite satisfied with the previous one. I particularly liked this one because of it’s black and gold colors, which play a major part in the series. I also started playing around with the font effects, adding a bevel to it. I was more or less satisfied with this design for a long time, but I like to fiddle which led to…

The final design. As you can see, I did something completely different than the white I had used for the title all along, and I love it so much better. I also added the frame in the background, which is another piece that will show up on all six covers and tie the series together. Now I’m far more than satisfied, I’m thrilled. It’s definitely my favorite of all my covers so far, and was so much fun to put together. The colors and everything about it just came together so well and fit the story of this book perfectly. And the cover creation of a book is much more than just the front. Below you can see the full paperback cover layout.

One of my favorite aspects of the full layout is the shield for the book number on the spine. Again, there’s the black and gold that is so prevalent in the series. And I behind the text is the forest image from the front. All six books will have the same background on the back cover with the color tweaked to match whichever image is on the front. I like it as sort of a reminder of where it all started. It’s pretty cool as a cover designer to go from a single image to a full cover design like this.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Resistance Cover Reveal + Giveaway

Today is a moment I’ve been anxiously awaiting for probably the last two years or so—the reveal of the cover for Resistance! Seriously, it really has been that long. I started putting the cover together very shortly after I started writing the book almost three years ago. I was always very excited about it, and now I can finally show everyone!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00026]

This is personally my favorite cover I’ve ever put together so far. Between the forest background and the gold and black sword, it fits the story so perfectly. I certainly had fun tweaking it over the last couple of years. I have a post coming up in a couple of days showing the transformation from the first test cover to the finished version. And I’m quite excited about how it looks with the rest of the series. Yes, I do have all six covers put together, at least in temporary form, and I desperately wish I could share them all! Sadly, that will have to wait. But I can tell you that all six books will have the same torn paper at the top as well as the swirly border in the background to tie each of the six books together.

My main vision for the covers of this series was to have them be simple, but bold. That seems to be a trend with a lot of popular mainstream fantasy novels these days, and I thought it would work well with Ilyon Chronicles.

Below, as an added bonus, I’m sharing a short excerpt from the book. Also, be sure to enter the giveaway for one of two of my handmade sword bookmarks inspired by the cover! And check out what others are saying on the blogs listed here.

The Kindle version of Resistance will release on May 20th. I will do my best to have the paperback ready at the same time, though it may get delayed depending on how the first proof copy turns out. (Cover colors can be tough to get to print just right.) To celebrate the release, there will be a week long blog tour May 20-27. It will include reviews, interviews, a giveaway, and more! Mark your calendars, and check the blog tour page in May for more information. Hope to see you there!


    Just when he lowered his guard enough to relax, a grating voice sent tension knotting across his shoulders.
    “Look what the excitement dragged into town.”
    Jace ground his teeth together and turned. He should never have stopped watching his back. Wrong move on his part.
    Flanked by two of his smug-faced friends, a red-haired young man smirked at him, his eyes harboring all sorts of ill will. Jace barely bit back a sharp retort, but the other man’s smirk only grew at his silence. He peered around Jace.
    “Rebekah, what are you doing with this . . .” He glanced back to Jace and turned up his wide nose. “. . . half-blood?”
    Jace balled his fists. Warmth seeped down his arms and into his muscles, pulsing with the preparation for a fight, but he fought to still it.
    Rebekah came to his side, her face set in a frown that looked entirely out of place. “Stop it, Morden.”
    He gave her a condescending little grin. “Why don’t you run along? We’ve got business here.” The grin stretched wider. “I’ll gladly come find you later.”
    Rebekah put her hands on her hips, glaring at him, and opened her mouth to speak, but Jace beat her to it.
    “A gentleman would treat a lady with more consideration.”
    Morden snorted. “And what would you know about that?”
    A blaze erupted inside that Jace struggled to contain. He breathed in hard, cursing the impulses he had to battle so often. He couldn’t let it take control of him. Not again.
    “Come on, Jace, we still have to find something for Kalli.” Rebekah’s soft voice quieted his growing agitation, and she tugged lightly on his stiff arm.
    His blood still burned hot in his veins, calling him to action, and was almost too strong to resist. He thought of Rayad who told him time and again to go to Elôm when he struggled like this. He forced himself to turn away from Morden and whispered silently, “Elôm, I need help.”
    But Morden, who must have caught the movement of his lips just before he turned completely, let out an incredulous laugh. “Are you praying?”
    Jace froze. His heart thundered.
    “Who could you be praying to? Don’t you know? Animals like you have no soul.”
    An evil pang of doubt knifed through Jace’s heart, colder and more painful than the steel of any dagger, and robbed the breath from his lungs. His eyes settled on Rebekah’s face, but it was her pitying expression that caused the weak grip on his emotions to fail. Heat flared in his muscles. He spun around and smashed his fist into the side of Morden’s jaw, sending the man reeling. Regret followed, but it was too late. Morden’s friends caught him by the arms and steadied him as he shook his head to clear his vision.
    Jace dragged deep breaths into his tightened lungs and waited for Morden’s next move. Just walk away. The silent plea went out in desperation. If only it would just end here. But satisfaction lit Morden’s eyes, and his lip curled in a malicious sneer.

Copyright © 2014 by Jaye L. Knight

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Finished Editing Resistance!

And no, this is not an April Fool’s Day joke. ;) Sunday afternoon I finished my final read-through of Resistance, and yesterday I send it to my editor, Amber Stokes, for the final proofread. This means the intense editing stage I’ve been going through for close to a year is finally over. It has been crazy. The last week was insane. I felt like I’d been through a war by the end of it. My mom too. We were both reading through it simultaneously with my deadline looming. We managed, but it was brutal. Now, however, I can barely stop smiling. For one thing, I’ve never put this much work into a book . . . ever. I didn’t even know this much work could go into a book. But I’ve also never been so satisfied with a book. I am just thrilled with how it came together. Both my mom and my beta readers deserve a lot of credit for helping me get it to this point.

So now that I’ve survived this, perhaps I can relax a little bit until I get the corrections back from Amber and need to start formatting the book. I have to say I’m looking forward to the formatting. I do love to see the pages come together, though I’m sure about ten chapters in I’ll be ripping my hair out. That’s usually how it goes. But, between then and now, I have the excitement of the cover reveal which will be on April 11th. I can hardly wait to share the cover. It’s my favorite I’ve done so far, so stay tuned for that. And if you have a blog and would like to participate, go here and email Amber.

Also, now that I made my editing deadline, I can finally announce Resistance’s release date: May 20th! That will be the Kindle release day, anyway. I’m hoping the paperback too, but it may take a few extra days depending on how the proof copy turns out. Sometimes the cover colors are hard to get printed just right. That day can’t come soon enough for me. Holding this book in my hands will be more meaningful to me than any I’ve done previously. Plus Amber is putting together a blog tour for the week of the release, my first ever, so this should be all kinds of fun. I look forward to sharing more!