History (Literal History) of a Book Cover

So as many of you are already aware, the illustrious Mark Gardner has roped me into publishing the re-release of his historical fantasy novel Champion Standing. And I’m excited about the project, because it is a great story and being his publisher affords me the opportunity to shove a foot up his backside to get to work on the sequel. (Yeah, yeah. I know. Says the woman that goes HOW many years between books, right?)

So we started work on the new book cover, and got some great character art from our very own Samantha Payne. And I sent the character art to Mark to review and he loved it. So I started playing around with cover concepts and sent him a few to look at.

Now I am the first to admit that I know just enough about cover design to be slightly dangerous…mostly to myself. So Mark asked if he could take a stab at it. And I said, “Sure!” Because, his book. He needs to be happy with the final cover.

So using Samantha’s character image, this is what he sends me.

WOW! Right? Mark wanted to keep the branding consistent with his novelette, Nala’s Story. (Note: We will be publishing Nala’s Story along with Champion Standing in the print edition, but Mark has retained the digital rights to the novelette.). Of course, you all know me. I’m all about dotting my i’s and such. So my first question is about image rights for the background.

The answer he gives me is a damn history lesson of the state of Arizona.

The red background is a five-piece rubbing layered from the following sources:
Acrosanti marker pedestal
The boulder that the historic Buckey O’Neill rests upon in the Yavapai County Courthouse (dug up when that was the capital of the Arizona Territory in 1888.)
The marker for the tenth annual “gathering of the Pai” (Supai, Yavapai, Maripai, and a few others) from 1978.
A wall at Montezuma Castle. Taken in 1997.
An iron farm implement at the Smoki Museum, circa 1860s.

Just take a moment to truly appreciate the level of awesome that went into that background.

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