this post by Labyrinth of Flame cover artist Dave Palumbo discussing his sketch process. It's a fascinating read for anyone who enjoys SFF art - and midway down, Dave shares the original three sketches for The Labyrinth of Flame. Each potential cover sketch is aimed at a different component of the story: the first one emphasizes the journey/landscape, the second is more about magic/mystery, and the third about the partnership between Dev and Kiran. I chose the 2nd sketch for reasons I can't discuss without spoilers...maybe I'll do a more detailed post about it after Labyrinth of Flame has been released!
I'm thinking of attending the Sirens conference for the first time this year, since it's right here in Denver and people say the quality of discussion is excellent. Sirens focuses on women in fantasy (both women and men are welcome to attend). One of the guests of honor this year is veteran fantasy author Kate Elliott, and Sirens has posted a wonderfully extensive interview with her that discusses how the genre has changed over the course of her career, her research process, her experience in both adult and YA markets, and includes her recommendations for five excellent epic fantasy series by women.
Speaking of awesome fantasy series by women, r/Fantasy is running a thread this week where you can vote for your top five favorite fantasy novels by women by listing your choices. (What were my choices? Go and look. It was really, really hard for me to choose just five!)
I know some people roll their eyes whenever women-authored fantasy is discussed separately from fantasy in general. Women authors should just be considered authors, they say. In an ideal world, I'd agree. But given the hurdles women authors of non-romantic fantasy face in getting the word out about their books (misleading covers and cover copy, assumptions that women only write romance, etc), I'm eager for any opportunity to highlight excellent books that don't get nearly enough readership. Also, anything that helps disprove the frustratingly stubborn misconception that "women don't write epic fantasy", or the related "women didn't write epic fantasy until recently."
On that note, check out the cover reveal for Helen Lowe's upcoming Daughter of Blood, third in her excellent Wall of Night series, which is epic fantasy with a cool sf-nal twist. I thought the first book, Heir of Night, was good, and the 2nd one, The Gathering of the Lost, absolutely terrific, so I'm really eager to see where Helen takes the story next.
Last but not least, if you enjoy adventure fantasy with a buddy duo as protagonists, check out Michael Sullivan's Kickstarter for the latest in his Riyria books, The Death of Dulgath. Michael and his wife Robin consistently bend over backward to help other authors, generously sharing experience and support - without their advice and help, The Labyrinth of Flame Kickstarter wouldn't have gone half so well! So if any Kickstarter deserves your attention, it's theirs. The KS only has a few hours left to go, so if you're interested, pledge soon.