#Norsevember – Cover Credentials: Joshua Gillingham and Jordan Loyal Short

Following on from the past two Cover Credentials, today we have Joshua Gillingham, whose latest book, The Everspring was just released, along with the audiobook version of the first book in this series, The Gatewatch – which is a fantastic story with riddles (gotta love riddles) – and Jordan Loyal Short whose third book is due out in 2022 (the first two are waiting patiently on my kindle). Vikings in space?? Can’t wait to get to those.

Joshua Gillingham: The Gatewatch and The Everspring

The Cover Design Process

I will begin by saying that I am ecstatic about the cover for The Everspring, Book 2 in my fantasy trilogy titled The Saga of Torin Ten-Trees. This is a most enviable position as most writers have little to no say in the design of their covers and many of my writer friends strongly dislike the covers assigned to their books by the publisher. For this, I have to thank both Crowsnest Books and Helena Rosova, the brilliant artist who designed and created this hand-painted cover. 

As with The Gatewatch, I had a chance to sit down with Hela and go through Torin’s adventure in The Everspring. I sent her sections of the manuscript as well as reference images as this tale draws heavily on imagery from both Beowulf and Sigurd the Dragonslayer. Hela has an incredibly deep understanding of the Norse myths and her own personal work in depicting such famous scenes as Thor’s wedding was what drew my attention to her painting in the first place. Our video chats over Skype were certainly some of the ‘top highlight’ moments of the development of this book. 

Helena Rosaova

Hela hand painted the cover and designed a custom runic font for the series that helps The Saga of Torin Ten-Trees stand out on reader’s shelves and in book shops. She graciously explored a new colour palette (particularly the blue and the white) which falls outside of her traditional colour palette that she derived from studying ancient Scandinavian pieces during her time at the University of Oslo. Hela’s insights as an artist, as a student of the Norse myths, and as a Viking reenactor lended spectacular depth to the final image. If you admire this cover half as much as I do, I highly recommend visiting her DeviantArt gallery to lose yourself in her highly irreverent and very hilarious depictions of our favorite figures from the Norse myths.

The Everspring by Joshua Gillingham

Torin Ten-Tree’s debt of service as a troll hunter in Gatewatch has been paid. Now he must decide whether to return home to take up his father’s seat in Ten-Tree Hall or to become a Greycloak along with Grimsa and Wyla. Torin grapples with an unexpected revelation, the long-hidden identity of his mother, just as a foreign delegation brings urgent news of King Araldof Greyraven’s grave and sudden illness. The last desperate hope to keep the realm of Noros from wreck and ruin is the legend of a powerful source of healing known only as the Everspring. Yet, greater questions and graver answers await Torin and his company on the road north through the land of the immortal giants…

The Everspring is a Norse fantasy adventure flavoured with hints of such heroic sagas as Beowulf, Sigurd the Dragonslayer, and Angantyr the Berserker. It is the second book in The Saga of Torin Ten-Trees and the sequel to The Gatewatch.

Amazon | goodreads

The Gatewatch by Joshua Gillingham

Torin Ten-Trees and his closest companions, Bryn and Grimsa, set out to join The Gatewatch and become trollhunters. When a troupe of meddling dwarves throws them off course they are captured by trolls and taken as prisoners to a secret gathering deep underground. There they learn that an ancient giant has crowned himself king of the trolls and plans to utterly destroy The Gatewatch. Their perilous journey back to the land of sun and stars will stretch their strength to the limit, strain their wits, and demand an unspeakable sacrifice. But will it be enough to defeat the Troll King?

The Gatewatch is an epic troll-hunting adventure inspired by the Norse Myths and the Icelandic Sagas.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | goodreads | Audible | My Review

About the Author

Joshua Gillingham is an author, game designer, and editor from Vancouver Island, Canada. His fantasy trilogy The Saga of Torin Ten-Trees (Crowsnest Books) is a rollicking, riddling, troll-hunting adventure inspired by the Norse myths and the Icelandic Sagas. He is also the co-author of Old Norse for Modern Times alongside Ian Stuart Sharpe (Vikingverse Books & Comics) and Dr. Arngrimur Vidalin (University of Iceland).

In partnership with Outland Entertainment, Joshua is the founding Worldsmith of the trans-media Outland ‘Althingi’ World set in Viking Age Iceland, featuring his original card game Althingi: One Will Rise and the groundbreaking anthology Althingi: The Crescent & the Northern Star, co-edited with Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad (A Mosque Among the Stars) which explores the under-examined historical connections between Vikings and Muslims.

Joshua’s next book, The Lost Island will launch his new epic pirate fantasy trilogy Liberati, a renegade’s tale rife with patriarchy-smashing piracy, political upending, and swash-buckling heroinism. Follow Joshua on Twitter for updates on its publication!

Jordan Loyal Short: The Skald’s Black Verse and The Weeping Sigil

The Cover Design Process

Like every other author, I wanted a cover that would grab a potential reader’s attention and draw them in. The trick was figuring out precisely how to do that. I started by taking stock of some of my favorite fantasy covers and analyzing what it was about them that I liked so much. I browsed through an insane number of fantasy covers, genuinely more than was healthy, and noted those that caught my eye, which also seemed to match the tone of the novel. It’s a dark book, with gritty and traumatic elements, so anything too light, I tossed out. Eventually, I made a sort of collage of the covers I liked that were in the ballpark.

From there I selected my cover designer. After a similarly laborious process of shopping around, and browsing a gajillionty covers, I found Deranged Doctor Designs. They fit both my price range and had a selection of stylized covers that more closely matched the aesthetic I was looking for. From there, Deranged Doctor’s process took over. They have a cover brief form that asks questions about the book itself and the proposed cover. Who or what is the central figure? What color palettes do you want? What is in the background etc?

After filling out their questionnaire they sent me a proposed cover. To be honest, it didn’t really match what I had proposed. They used a photorealistic model instead of a silhouette and I didn’t like the result. But, I pointed out how it didn’t match what I had requested and they sent me a new version, which I really loved. It was honestly so much better than what I had envisioned. From there, we went back and forth a few times on minor tweaks to get the font and type placement just so. I have subsequently worked with Deranged Doctor on two more covers and I whole-heartedly endorse them. They are super professional, and they produce great work. I am grateful I stumbled on to them.

The Skald’s Black Verse (Dreadbound Ode 1) by Jordan Loyal Short

An ancient evil has come to collect its sacrifice.

When a soldier’s grisly murder sparks unrest in the tiny hamlet of Skolja, Brohr’s past marks him as the prime suspect. On the run from the Tyrianite Legion, he uncovers an unthinkable secret about the raging spirit that haunts him, and the pact his grandfather struck long ago.

While the brutal occupation of his village devolves into bloodshed, Brohr must unlock the secret magic in his blood and lead the Norn in a last-ditch rebellion.

Behind it all an ancient horror pulls the strings of conqueror and conquered alike. Can Brohr untangle the hidden plot and unite his people before disaster rains down from the sky above?

Cover designers: https://www.derangeddoctordesign.com/

Amazon US | Amazon UK | goodreads

The Weeping Sigil (Dreadbound Ode 2) by Jordan Loyal Short

Adrift in the void, Henrik’s rescue is only a prelude to slavery.

But his new life on Tyria is not at all what he expected. When the illustrious House of Quoll purchases him, Henrik finds himself living in the home of his old enemy, Prefect Brasca Quoll. Desperate to hide the truth of his last days on Heimir, Henrik dives into the murderous game of Tyrianite politics. Devastated by the catastrophe on the Norn homeworld, the Federation teeters on the brink of civil war.

While the Shining Ones maneuver their champions for the final confrontation, Henrik’s fevered visions unveil the scope of Moriigo’s nightmarish rebellion.

Aboard a stolen voidcraft, Brohr and Lyssa hurtle into the depths of the starry abyss, on a desperate exodus in search of safe haven. But the outer reaches of the system are full of strange worlds, haunted ruins, and bizarre cults.

As anarchy grips the streets of Tyria, Henrik vows to reveal the true peril facing the Federation: Moriigo’s return! While rival electors, assassins, and federal inquisitors plot the downfall of House Quoll, Henrik must bind himself to the future of his onetime enemies, lest the horrors of his prophetic visions come to pass!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | goodreads

Travels in the Dark (Dreadbound Ode 3) by Jordan Loyal Short

Lyssa is going to the Dead Place and everyone she killed will be waiting.

As the Hidden One’s twisted plan to resurrect the Deep Gods unfolds, the only way to stop him is a secret buried in the land of death.

But Lyssa has not given up. If the Deep Gods can return, so can she.

Can Lyssa find a way back? Can she delve into hell’s darkest corners and emerge with the lore to stop the Deep Gods’ rise? Or will she become a lost soul, like so many of those she loved in life?

Ancient horrors will wake. Skalds will sing. And a blind seer will see the shadows gather.

Lyssa Pedersten has tasted poison, and hell had best beware.

Goodreads | Buy Now

About the Author

Jordan Loyal Short is an author of epic fantasy and a small business owner. He has worked in a variety of industries, as a waiter, bartender, copywriter and more. He lives in Washington state with his wife where he is currently daydreaming about the end of the world.
You can visit his webpage at www.jordanloyalshort.com

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