Strings of Chance by Jeff Pryor – COVER REVEAL
It began in the summer of 2017. I was juggling multiple writing projects and finishing none of them. The last thing I needed was another story to take on. Along came Edson Pye.
He was full of swagger when he arrived in my head, demanding that I write his story. I was amused, but told him to piss off and get in line behind all the others taking up space in my brain. Never one to take no for an answer, Edson hid in a dark corner and started making noise. I tried to quiet him, but he was persistent. Finally, I decided to write the story just to shut him up.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t even a story. It was a jumbled mess of misadventures, most of which were likely exaggerated or even made up completely (yes, I know this was happening in my head and was all “made up”). I tried to get Edson to cooperate and give me some sort of coherent tale to focus on, but he refused. I wrote him into a jail cell and put the whole project aside. That finally shut him up.
Some time later, I was cataloging my many stories and came across my notes and progress on what I was then calling ‘The Minstrel’s Coin’. It was still a mess, but I couldn’t help but laugh at some of Edson’s experiences. I put it aside again, but it had gotten into my head enough for Edson to escape from his literary cell. He was more careful this time, and found a place in my head that I hadn’t visited in years: my own dreams of being a rock star.
This brought me back to days in garages and basements, and some of the friendships I formed through music. From that hiding spot, Edson continuously pestered me. He insisted that he had a story this time and that I would want to write it. Reluctantly, I listened. Rather than rambling, he began spinning a tale I never expected.
I eagerly began plotting and writing. About halfway through, Edson dropped a bomb on me that made me quickly realize that ‘Edson Pye Doesn’t Want to Die’, which is what I was then calling the story, wasn’t going to wrap up in one book. I plotted and planned out the whole story, which would now be a trilogy. The final name, ‘Strings of Chance’, came to me then. I just had to name the series. Bards and Bastards was the easy part, as both are central to the plot and theme of the story. It became a Ballad because it just felt right. So we have ‘The Ballad of Bards and Bastards’, with ‘Strings of Chance’ as Act One.
In this story, I’m striving to combine my own passion for music with my love of fantasy tales. I wanted to blend the fantasy bards slightly with the rock stars of my youth. Throughout the story, the reader should never forget that this is a bard’s story.
On to the outstanding cover created by the extremely talented M Wayne Miller.
My vision from the start was to do a sort of jab at the growing tradition of fantasy books with a sword or other weapon as the focus and another image in the background. I would have instruments as my weapons, beginning with a citole, which is Edson’s favorite instrument.
My search for an artist didn’t go far. Since a quality picture of a citole isn’t really available, I would need an illustrator. M Wayne Miller did the cover of my debut novel, ‘Chosen of Trees and of Talons’, and was great to work with. I reached out to him and told him my idea. We worked out the numbers so that he will be doing the whole series for me.
When the time came for him to give me concept sketches, he delivered on my vision perfectly:
He also threw in another option though, with the citole instead strapped to Edson’s back.
I fell in love with it and decided that would be the cover. For each of the three covers, an instrument will be the focus point.
A few days later, he sent over a more detailed drawing for my approval. I quickly gave the okay and anxiously awaited the colorized, final version.
I had loved the black and white version, but it came to life in color. We tried a few lettering styles before finally finding a fit. The end result surpassed anything I had imagined. I’m so glad that I locked up M Wayne Miller for the entire trilogy, because his talent is going to put him in high demand! You can see more of his work on his web page: www.mwaynemiller.com.
The hardest part has been waiting to share this.
Life is a song, sing it well!
Edson Pye is the greatest bard in all of Elraon. Unfortunately, nobody else has figured this out yet. An annual competition in the city of Vonst provides an opportunity to validate his claims, while a chance encounter springs him toward the fame he so desperately covets…though at what cost?
Wanting only wine, women, and an audience for his music, Edson instead finds himself drawn into an increasingly tangled web of schemes centered around a mysterious murder. His growing fame, coupled with an aggressive manager, puts him in front of crowds larger than he ever imagined…can he live up to his own hype?
Edson’s trio of desires continuously spark misadventures, compelling him to confront his own flaws and decide what kind of person he wants to be, all while moving on an unavoidable path toward a confrontation with his greatest rival.
STRINGS OF CHANCE launches May 7th 2019, and will be available for pre-order soon.