Do the Gods Hear Our Prayers?

After thousands of years of fighting, peace between the light and dark elves is within sight.  Ordered by the Overlord to settle their differences, the gods from both sides meet to hammer out a treaty, until the unthinkable happens.

 

Pawns of the gods above, the human kingdom of Kentar and the last elven kingdom of Armena are thrown into war by the conniving genius of the world’s most powerful thieves guild.  Nations rise and fall as pieces move around the board in this high stakes match for domination of the world, and the heavens themselves.

 

Two elven brothers and a thief are the mortal foot soldiers in this war.  The brothers try to right the most grievous of wrongs, not knowing that their true destiny is to save their race, or die trying.  The thief is in it for the power, but is the cost too high, or is he willing to make the sacrifice for his own selfish ends?  This is a novel of combat, politics, and religion played out on a three-tier stage where mortals try to win the favor of the divine, wondering all the while if the gods hear their prayers.

Insights Behind Book #1 of A Prayer for Peace

The idea for A Prayer for Peace came to me slowly over the course of two years.  The first chapter in my archives is dated 2/15/2007.  It took me three months to finish this first chapter, and it was only two pages long.  It is interesting to note that the first three sentences of Chapter 9 are the same now as they were then.  The idea, of course, is based on Dungeons and Dragons, which I played off and on in graduate school.  We would play various adventures, and they were such fun, with such spirit, but it is tough to get it all correct in the flow of the moment.  So I would steal an idea here and there, say to myself, what if this or that had happened, or what if this person had done this instead.  That would have taken it in a radically different direction. 

 

I had always wanted to try my hand at writing, basically to see if I could do it.  One day I sat down and started an outline and wrote the first chapter.  Initially, Book #1 was supposed to open with what is now Chapter 9:  The Peace Process.  Ultimately, I was convinced by my friends, since I was too cheap to have editors, that the chapter was too complicated, with too many characters.  They were right, of course, so I moved the chapter deeper into the book so the main characters would be introduced to the reader first.

Some parts of the series have been clear from the beginning, while other parts have remained fluid throughout the process.  How the series would end, the unique voice of the major characters, and the layout of Tellus were clear in my mind.  On the other hand, how many books would be required to tell the story, the character arc of many minor characters, and all the nuances of authoring a book remained unknown until well into the process.

 

Similarly, the cover art for Book #1 was hard to envision.  How do you convey a complex plot with so many levels and characters, while at the same time producing a cover that would interest a reader?  I am not an artist, but like most people, I know good cover art when I see it.  I've always felt the cover of Book #1 does an excellent job of conveying that this is a multi-tier story that involves gods as well as mortals on the ground.  The god aspect is shown with the castle in the clouds, and the mortals on the ground are, of course, Evisar and Jefon.

The title of Book #1 was fairly firm in my mind as I finished draft one of Do the Gods Hear Our Prayers?  Such a small thing, with such a big impact.  What is the first thing people see?  They see your cover, followed by the title.  If you are lucky, they read the back cover.  If you are even more lucky, they buy your book, read it, and post a positive review, as well as buy book two.  The title may be a bit long, but I have always loved it.

Original Author Image for Books 1 and 2

A New Look for a Great Story

For many years, I loved the cover to Book #1, but several of my readers said it looked like amateur hour.  That it didn't match the quality of my story.  The kicker probably came when my oldest daughter looked at the printed cover and said, "Why does the castle in the background look so blurry."  Since I am not an artist and since new covers cost money, I was hesitant.

The end result is a new cover that I couldn't be happier with.  Now my older daughter walks by a copy of my book and says, "Now that's a cool cover, dad."  What higher praise can you ask for.