IMPORTANT: This cover will be used for the paperback version, so the image needs to wrap around to the side and the back cover instead of just the front. The main action should take place on the front cover, but the landscape/background needs to continue to the back cover. Please refer to the cover for Book 1, which I included with this brief for guidance. Thanks.
This is a young adult, high/epic fantasy book that focuses on time travel. It is the SECOND installment in a series, so please refer to the images I provided to see what the first cover looks like and to make sure this cover looks similar enough that potential readers can tell it’s part of the same series. Also, most of this book takes place in a virtual world (AKA a computer program), so if you can add a few effects to indicate this, that would be nice, but it’s not necessary.
There are 4 main parts in the book, each one taking place in a different computer simulation.
Part 1: Will (main character) is trapped in the underworld of Greek mythology and battles furies, hydras, a kraken, and Cerberus. Please refer to the “Monsters” section of this description to see how I describe them in my book.
Part 2: Will and Kara (his love interest) are trapped in a superhero-themed simulation. Kara is AquaGirl, a beautiful superhero that can fly and blast water from her hands. Will can replicate other people’s appearance and spends most of this part pretending to be MechaWhale (a supervillain that is super fat and wears a robotic armature suit that makes him super strong). They fight in the Super Championship (a gladiator-like sport where competitors fight each other to the death). There is also an epic battle between Kara and Jonn (Will’s friend and Kara’s father) that takes place in a fancy, but demolished (because of the fight) office. During this battle, Kara is dressed as AquaGirl and Jonn as SmokeScreen. She blasts him with water and he spits fire at her. At one point, Jonn also has Kara trapped in a prison of fire tentacles that shoot from his fingers. Please refer to the “Characters” section of this description to see what the characters look like in each part of the book. Please note that in the superhero simulation, only superheroes and supervillains are in colour. Everything else is in black and white.
Part 3: Will and Jonn are trapped in an alien-invasion-themed simulation. The city is in ruins and koars (deadly alien monsters) are hunting the few remaining humans. Will and Jonn lead an army of survivors into the alien spaceship (a massive shiny black sphere floating above the city) to kill the alien queen and end the alien threat. A beam elevator links the ship to the ground. The inside of the spaceship is organic. Alien slumber in giant bee-like pods. Natural paths lead up the sides of the spherical ship, all the way to the top, where a giant brain hangs from the ceiling. Inside this brain, Will and Jonn find the queen, linked to the brain/ship by glowing veins. Please refer to the “Monsters” section of this description to see how I describe them in my book.
Part 4: The simulations have collapsed and are merging together. Will, Jonn, and Kara hide in a red steam-engine train and travel through the blended simulations to reach the root program and escape their virtual prison. At one point, they train is attacked by hundreds of binary bugs (physical representations of the virus that is corrupting the program). Later, it’s travel across a desert and is attacked by sand creatures (humanoids made entirely of sand). In this same section, they get off the train and are attacked by the sand creatures. They manage to turn them into glass statues, only to get attacked by a sand version of Cerberus. Later, the train travels on an elevated train track and get attacked by giant versions of the furies. They combat them using the turret guns mounted on the train (they shoot bullets of compressed air). After that, a flying ship (with sails) attacks them, shooting the elevated train track with cannons. Later, they end up travelling underwater. The train is attacked by a kraken and hydras. At one point, a hydra gets in and, while the train is flooding with water, Jonn spits fire at it while Will cuts its heads off with a sword. Still later, they travel across a landscape that is devastated by fire and volcanoes. An army of superheroes and supervillains face off as the train speeds past. Later, the train hits a huge charcoal-coloured giant with deformed features and derails the train. After a battle between two giants, they finally reach the root program and manage to escape the computer simulation. Please refer to the “Monsters” section of this description to see how I describe them in my book.
I explained all of this so you can decide which part inspires you most and create a cover using that. Please refer to the following sections to determine what each character/monster looks like, as well as notes about the characters and design of the cover.
-Will: No description, but refer to the cover for the first book to determine what he looks like.
-Kara: Kara is 16. She looks like a living, breathing Barbie doll, with long blonde hair, blue eyes and the curvy figure to match. But she's also a badass. In Part 2, she wears a cape and a skintight suit made of sparkling blue scales. Her long blue hair (it turns blue when she becomes a superhero) floats through the air like in water. She also wears a cape that floats through the air and an eye mask that matches her suit. Also, her lips are blue. She can blast powerful columns of water from her palms and control water at will. She can also "swim" through the air. Kara isn’t in Part 1 or Part 3.
-Jonn: Jonn is in his late forties. He's the typical badass soldier, with bulging muscles and a crew cut. He has salt and pepper hair (black and white) and always has a large hunting knife (in a sheath) strapped to his leg. He wears standard military boots, cargo pants and a t-shirt that's way too tight for him, but shows off his muscles. He has severe burns on his most of his right arm. In Part 2, he is a supervillain named SmokeScreen. He wears a fancy tuxedo that is a little burned and parts of it are on fire and can spit fire from his mouth (like a dragon). He can also create and control fire tentacles that shoot from his fingers and move through the air. His skin is a little flaky (like ash). In Part 3, he’s skinnier, but still muscular, and his hair is longer and tied in a ponytail. He also wears an old, dark cloak. In this part, he fights with katanas (Japanese sword used by samurai warriors) and assault riffles. Jonn isn’t in Part 1.
-Furies: Half women, half bat. They have the bodies of women, but the leathery skin of bats. Their ears are veiny flaps of skin. They have no noses, and their eyes are a mess of scar tissue. Their lipless mouths are filled with sharp teeth capable of ripping through flesh and bone. Their breasts, like most of their bodies, are mutilated beyond recognition. Their legs stand halfway between human and bat, causing each one of their movements to induce a slight waddle. Their arms are mostly human, yet each finger is tipped by a razor-sharp claw. Leathery, hole-ridden wings jut from their backs. The final detail I notice are the whips hanging from their hips.
-Hydra: It’s big. No. Massive. Its body is that of a Komodo dragon, while its heads—all nine of them—would be more befitting of a snake. They possess the flat, intimidating necks of a cobra and the general appearance of a horned viper. Their eyes are mere slits of crimson and black. Their fangs are both long and sharp, and they scan spit acid.
-Kraken: Similar to an octopus, it once had twelve tentacles but only ten remain. Half-healed stumps stand where the other two should be. It has bulging, blood-shot eyes. A gaping, sphincter-like maw filled with row upon row of razor-sharp teeth.
-Cerberus: Its body is that of a normal canine, yet it’s the size of an elephant. The beast’s three heads also belong to a dog, but they’re the size of my balled-up body.
-Koars (Alien Monsters): The beast is massive. Far larger than I originally assumed. Its body is the size of an adult rhinoceros and bears the same hard, ashy dermis. Rippling muscles riddle its frame. Powerful legs tipped with razor-sharp claws stand beneath it. Behind, a whip-like tail slices through the air, producing a high-pitched whistle. What I initially mistook for dreadlocks are, in fact, tentacles. They protrude from the creature’s neck, wriggling and twisting through the air as though trying to determine the right course to take. I find this puzzling until I focus on the alien’s head and realize it has no eyes. It’s blind.
-Binary Bugs: It’s a bug. Sort of. Made entirely of glowing green dots, the creature is half human, half insect. It has the general shape and size of a human, but possesses six legs instead of two and has mandibles instead of jaws. As we grow closer, I realize the dots that make up the creature’s body are, in fact, numbers. An endless series of “0” and “1” make up the being’s frame, giving it an ethereal feel. These bugs vary in appearance. Some have four limbs. Some have sit. Some fly. Some don’t. Just let your imagination run wild.
-The colours should be vibrant and catch the eye even when in thumbnail size. It must also convey the Young Adult Fantasy theme of the book.
-The style of the cover should be similar to the cover for Book 1 so it’s obvious to readers it’s part of the same series.
-The lettering should be the same as the first book.
-The main character has an hourglass symbol (see images) on the inside of his left wrist and a ring on his left index finger.
-The book is written in first person and I purposefully don’t describe the main character so the reader can put themselves in his shoes. If you can keep us from seeing his face on the cover, that would be best, but if that’s not possible, it’s not such a big deal. Just make the best cover possible.