INFO ON THE NEW PHOTOS ADDED
1. Daenarys: Lynx has a similar face to Daenarys from Game of Thrones.
2. Ben Barnes (two photos) He is the inspiration for Lukan. Add a diamond next to his right eye, silver and black steampunk dress (nothing militaristic and no weapon) and he will be spot on.
3. Unknown hot guy. This is what I imagine Axel looking like. Very strong face, piecing eyes, oozing confidence. Take that look and turn it on Lynx. He is looking at her with ownership but admiration. He never expected to fall in love— woman loved him, not the other way round. That is the expression.
4. Steampunk architecture (mainly for wwinn69) This is just one example. There are many on the web to draw inspiration from.
Initially, I am looking for one cover design for a book called: Rebel's Honor (book one in the Crown of Blood series)
Because this is a series, I want common design elements to link all the books. Depending on the outcome of this contest, I will hope to use the same designer for the whole series.
Rebel's Honor is set on an alternative planet similar to Earth, except it has two moons.
The setting can be described as steampunk meets medieval.
World building is an important part of the books.
Four hundred years before, the nations of this world fought a nuclear war, which left the planet devastated. The survivors of the Burning, as the war was called, agree to destroy all advanced weapons, books, and leaning. They effectively plunged the world back into a time comparable to the middle ages (dress, life style, and weapons) but with steampunk elements. (trains, steam carriages and airships)
There are two primary cultures featured in the first book:
1. The evil empire "Chenaya", which stretches across two-thirds of the planet. The Avanov family have controlled Chenaya since the Burning. They live in a vast palace protected by a moat filled with wolves. The palace is like a gilded cage for the nobles who are forced to live there. Unbeknown to anyone else, the Avanovs have access to the old, forbidden technology. They use ice crystals —a beautiful stone that can be programmed like a microchip—to control their subjects. Different coloured ice crystals are embedded next to their subjects' right eyes.
For the nobles, these green or blue stones are used as trackers. For the elite military, the stones program loyalty to the crown, remove fear, and give super human powers. For the priestesses, the stones give the ability to shoot lightening from their fingers to control dissidents.
The Chenayans worship a god-like Dragon. Represented as an icon, the dragon is black, red and gold. I envisage this being used as a motif on the covers.
Just after the Burning, the Avanovs broke the peace treaty by invading a country called Norin. As punishment, they were cursed. Every Chenayan crown prince would be forced to marry a Norin princess, one of whom would give birth to a son who destroy his father and overthrow the empire. Those events are now about to unfold.
Two of the main protagonists are Chenayans—Lukan, the crown prince, and Axel, a general in the military.
Twenty-four-year-old Lukan is incredibly handsome, brooding and intense. Shoulder length dark-hair, dark eyed, angular jaw, he has a diamond next to his right eye. he always dresses in black and silver velvet and silk—doublet, breeches tucked into boots. He wears a crown shaped like the dragon.
Axel, also twenty-four, is nowhere near as handsome as Lukan, but he has a strong military presence. He exudes arrogance and total confidence . Also dark-haired, he has a strong face, a mocking smile, and brown coloured eyes. His gemstone is a ruby. He dresses in a black leather brigandine, blazed with a red and gold dragon emblem, back leather trousers and black boots.
2. The second major culture are the Norin. Norin is a vassal state of nomadic warriors who herd ostriches across the desert steppes. They have waged a low key war against Chenaya for centuries. They are a blond haired, blue eyed people, who braid their hair with ostrich feathers and beads.
Lynx, a twenty-year-old warrior/princess, is the main female protagonist. Tall and rangy, she dresses in a black leather steampunk corset and black leather trousers. She wears two machetes strapped to her back. Her eyes are icy blue and her long hair, silvery blond. the front locks are braided with black ostrich feathers. She has been forced by the curse to marry Lukan, but she is in love with Axel. Axel loves her too.
The following is a rough version of the book blurb;
Lynx of Norin, princess and warrior, never imagined any future but taking over leadership of her father's Raiders, but one leer from Chenayan Crown Prince Lukan Avanov has derailed her life forever.
Since the desolation of the Burning, the Empire of Chenaya has brutally suppressed the Norin, who roam the plains as ostrich herders. The Norin have weathered Chenaya's abuse for centuries, withstanding attacks by the brutal Imperial Guardsmen and surrendering Norin brides to Chenayan crown princes. And so they must do now.
Her people threatened lest she comply, Lynx sacrifices her dreams to instead leave for Cian, both to marry the Chenayan crown prince and to use her hated new position to learn what gives the Imperial Guardsmen their unnatural strength.
But Lukan proves himself erratic at best and absent at worst, the palace is full of attentive eyes and ears, and eerie ghosts of the dead haunt its halls. And the emperor has commanded Lynx to conceive his grandson within three months and, should she fail, has vowed to kill her parents.
But Lukan's shrewd cousin, the brilliant General Axel Avanov, the power behind Chenaya's military strength, desires Lynx in no uncertain terms. And worse, she might desire him, too. He claims to be a friend, but can he be trusted?
Trapped between honor and love, rebellion and submission, truth and deception, Lynx must navigate the treacherous among the Avanovs to keep her oath—and to save her people.
So, with that background, what do I want the design to look like?
1. All three characters—Lynx, Axel, and Lukan need to be on the cover. I had envisaged Lynx between the two guys. As Lynx is the heroine, I suggest she should look at the reader. Lukan is brooding and intense. I imagined the Dragon in the background, and perhaps the palace.
2. Because the book will be marketed as a both dystopian science fiction and a steampunk romance, I would like some design elements which express that.
3. I do like illustrations, but would consider stock photos (depending on price) combined with illustration.