So, here we are at the last day of August. The feel of autumn is in the air (even as summer refuses to relent with mid-90s temps in Colorado this week). Pumpkin spice everything is starting to show up everywhere. And Costco has both Halloween and Christmas decorations in store. We're heading downhill into my favorite season. What better time to release a new book?
Nashira is book three of the Galactic Explorers series, telling the story of Noa and Skylar's history and relationship and how they escape the peril in which they naturally find themselves. Even though there's no first-meeting dramatics this time, since Noa and Skylar's friendship is well established before the book even begins, there's still plenty of angst to chew on. There are also some pretty difficult topics broached, including homophobia, abuse, and mental trauma, so it's not all rainbows and butterflies (but then, when are any of my stories harmless and fluffy?). I truly hope no one thinks I torment my characters just for the sake of drama. As with pretty much everything living in my imagination, personalities and back stories pop in there with little intervention from me. I try my best to do right by everyone. It just takes a longer, more perilous journey for some to get there.
I've decided to share some more artwork along with my new releases because, let's face it, I'm already creating the art anyway. For all of my books, and certainly with the latest ones, I've taken the opportunity to create different cover images for the print versions. This is the one for Nashira, evoking the setting of the ship and the moon out the window. I quite like the green and yellow color scheme and think it contrasts nicely with the colors of books one and two. One difference with this one is that it was rendered all together, with the lights of the ship highlighting the characters in one cohesive image. All the rest of my covers have been composited together. Nothing wrong with that, but I'm going to try to do covers this way as much as I can. Sometimes, the processing power of my computer decides that for me.
From one of the flashback scenes in the book, this is Noa and Skylar on the night of their graduation. Certain things happened that night which I'll let the story describe, but I love the sense of peace and hope depicted here. While Skylar obliviously contemplates his future among the stars, the completely apparent adoration in Noa's eyes speaks to the years he's spent loving his best friend. Sigh... I love these two. I'm so happy I got to write their story.
All the cute, heart-eyed emojis go here. I just finished this one last night. Aren't they just so damn adorable?! Ethan, Ren, Noa, and Skylar at the beginning of their fifth year/fifth grade at the Mars immersion academy, working on their banners for the family open house. This was before Noa and Skylar dyed their hair, when Skylar was first adopted by the group of friends that became his family. Yes, Skylar is naturally blond; it's just much yellower in its colored state. I'm completely smitten with how everyone's personality shines so brightly here. Bringing these characters to life just makes me so happy. I have ideas for other images I'd like to create (the ideas are endless, really), but I need certain digital assets to complete them, so I'll have to share them at a later date.
For now, though, it's full steam ahead on upcoming projects. These covers may not be final, but I think they are. As I've said before, though, nothing's ever really final. Summit is done. It's the Christmas story I didn't quite get finished in time to release last year, so that's the next one in line. Coming in November. I need to do some more art for that one. Hinode is the Japan trip story I teased in my last post. I'm almost done writing it (had to take a break to get Nashira ready to release), and it will probably be ready to go early next year. More Ethan hijinks. Love it. Hell, Hinode is written entirely from Ethan's POV. Playing favorites all day long. After these, Galactic Explorers book four should be ready.
And speaking of book four... I have what I think is the title for it. I even have a tentative cover. I'm not sharing that one yet, though. I need to understand the story better first. After I'm done writing Hinode, I'll focus on this one. After that, I'm getting ideas for another story that will likely be another standalone novel, along with a possible book five. We'll have to see on that one. I'm not completely sold on it yet.
Okay. That was a lot of words and a lot of show and tell. Check out the Nashira page for all the vendor links and I hope you enjoy the story! Until next time, thanks so much for reading!
Leah Ross is a writer and graphic designer with a penchant for loud music and sappy love stories. She believes that love should be both unconventional and unconditional, rules are negotiable, and age is nothing but a number.