Rejected Book Covers for the Dark and Otherworldly Omnibus

Last week I posted the cover reveal for the Dark and Otherworldly omnibus, and I’m super happy with how the cover turned out. But designing it was a process, and I made a few less-than-stellar book covers along the way. Here’s a glimpse at some that didn’t make the cut.

Book Cover Attempt 1

This is my first attempt, and you can tell I was thinking of glowing blue flowers from the beginning (taking inspiration from the scene with the star blossoms in Book 1). I think this is a perfectly respectable book cover, but it’s not anything special. I wanted something with more of a wow factor.

Book cover attempt 2

I looked into using a raven on the cover because it’s the animal Dredarion shifts into. I like how this image came out, but it looks more like the cover for a dark epic fantasy than the urban fantasy/paranormal romance that is the Dark and Otherworldly series.

Book cover attempt 3

I was trying for a more paranormal romance vibe with this one but felt pretty “meh” about the results. Poor Dredarion never made it onto any of the covers for this series despite being one of the viewpoint characters. 😆

Book Cover Attempt 4

And here I’m getting close to the final product. I liked the mood and atmosphere but wasn’t happy with the overall arrangement of the elements, so I played around with it until I got the cover I revealed last week:

So that’s my book cover journey! I didn’t show all my failed attempts because some of them are just too ugly to post online, but hopefully this gave you some insight into my process.

You can preorder the Dark and Otherworldly omnibus now, and it’ll be available in ebook and paperback form on September 30th.

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Cover Reveal: The Dark and Otherworldly Omnibus

Time to unveil something I’ve been working on for a while now: The Dark and Otherworldly Omnibus Edition! Three books; one massive volume. It will be available in both ebook and paperback on September 30th.

In the meantime, check out the cover.

Continue reading “Cover Reveal: The Dark and Otherworldly Omnibus”

The Art of Otherworld

I’ve been playing around with Photoshop a lot lately, my goal to eventually create my own book covers. For practice, I’ve made a few pieces of art from the Dark & Otherworldly series that I felt like sharing.

So step into Otherworld with me.

Woman entering magical portal

You’ll find enchanted forests.

Woman in enchanted forest

Some interesting flora and fauna.

Glowing mushroom

And you might meet some shapeshifters along the way.

Raven flying near tower

And that’s all for now. Thanks for coming along with me.

But I can’t help you get out of Otherworld, sorry. You’ll have to escape on your own. 😉

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New Superhero Fiction (2021 pt. 2)

We are halfway through 2021, so it’s time once again to spotlight some new superhero fiction. We’ve got a few collections and next-in-series books this time, and I hope you can find something that catches your eye.

As usual, I haven’t read all these books personally, so please check out the reviews and samples before reading.

*This post contains affiliate links.

The Horror of Supervillainy (The Supervillainy Saga Book 7)

by C.T. Phipps

The Horror of Supervillainy Cover

Gary Karkofsky a.k.a Merciless: The Supervillain without MercyTM has decided to give up supervillainy and embrace the path of righteousness. Unfortunately, he’s terrible at it and no one wants him to be their superheroic protector. That all changes when a talking raven arrives with the perfect quest to make his mark: rescue the President’s daughter from Dracula.

Unfortunately, Gary is being led into a trap. The location of Dracula’s castle is in Satan Swamp, which is where Gary suffered one of the few defeats of his life. There’s also a camp full of superpowered children, the return of alternate reality allies, a pair of psycho killers in love, and an old enemy returned.

Enjoy the latest installment of the Supervillainy Saga!

Amazon | Kobo | Apple Books | Barnes & Noble | Google Play

Nemesis (League of Independent Operatives Book 4)

by Kate Sheeran Swed

Nemesis Cover

Mary O’Sullivan’s world is on the brink of collapse.

The Enhanced Abilities Enforcement Association is persecuting humans with powers, forcing them to register their talents with the government. With LIO no longer sanctioned, agents swarm the streets in search of the entrance to the league’s hidden HQ.

When Mary helps an enhanced teenager to escape across the border, she uncovers a huge community of people trapped in hiding. With even greater threats lurking among the stars, she must usher them to safety before the EAEA finds them first…

Amazon | Kobo | Apple Books | Barnes & Noble | Google Play

Continue reading “New Superhero Fiction (2021 pt. 2)”

Introducing The Shadow Journals Ezine

You may have noticed that it’s been a little quiet around here lately, and that’s because I’ve been working on a new project.

It’s still in the early stages, but you can check it out at TheShadowJournals.com–especially if you’re an urban fantasy fan, as I plan to post short fiction, book news, and articles about the genre there.

Why a new website? You’ve heard me talk about my upcoming urban fantasy book series, The Shadow Journals, before. This new website is a form of content marketing for it. My personal blog here at KristenBrand.com is a bit scattered and random, and I’m planning a more targeted approach at TheShadowJournals.com for urban fantasy fans.

(It’s already got a slightly revised version of The Memory of Ghosts, which I serialized here last October. Thank you again to NeriSiren for the feedback on that story, which I’ve incorporated!)

Am I abandoning this blog? Absolutely not. You can still expect posts about comic book stuff, books I’m reading, and extras from my novels. But I’ll be moving to a biweekly rather than weekly schedule for the foreseeable future.

And that’s all for now. Keep an eye on The Shadow Journals for fun stuff coming soon!

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It’s National Donut Day. Here are all my main characters as donuts.

A silly little post that’s exactly what the title says. Happy National Donut Day, everybody. 🥳🍩

David Del Toro: Old-Fashioned Donut

It’s not hip and new. With cracks on the surface, it may not look particularly impressive either. But the old-fashioned donut can compete with those trendy new desserts any day of the week. Underestimate it at your peril.

Continue reading “It’s National Donut Day. Here are all my main characters as donuts.”

This or That Book Tag

I saw this tag on Chonky Books and thought it looked fun. Who wants to share their own answers?

Read on the bed or the couch?

On the couch. I have the most comfortable couch, you guys. It’s huge, soft, and has the perfect corner to curl up in and read a good book.

Read at night or in the morning?

I read in the evenings on weekdays. I used to wind down after work by scrolling through social media but made the decision a while ago to cut that out and read more books instead. (Best decisions ever.)

On weekends, though, I’ll sometimes read in the morning.

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10 Great Urban Fantasy Book Quotes

I love a good book quote. I love urban fantasy. It’s not hard to figure out where the idea for this post came from. 😉

From funny first-person monologues to surprisingly deep insights gained between monster battles, urban fantasy has a lot of great lines. Here are a few of my favorites.

Spider's Bite Quote

I’ve talked before about how much I love Gin, the protagonist of the Elemental Assassin series. She does not play around.

Freyja's Daughter Quote

A good motivational quote from the heroine of Freyja’s Daughter.

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Short Story: Confessions of a Former Chosen One

This one’s funny but dark. Content warning for mentions of torture and attempted suicide.


I was thirteen when the wizard took me. Opened a portal right under my feet. I fell through the fabric of the universe, screaming my throat raw, and landed in an ice-cold lake. Thank God my parents had paid for swimming lessons when I was five. Once I dragged myself ashore, coughing, shivering, and scared out of my mind, the wizard was there.

You know what he looks like. Wild gray beard, pointy hat, billowing robe of patchwork colors—the whole shebang. He told me I was in another world, and that I’d been chosen to save it. I believed him, of course. The massive snowy mountains in the distance were about as far from rural Arkansas as I could imagine, and that was even without the glowing fairies darting around the lake.

And I desperately wanted to believe him. Chosen to save the world? Me? Any dweeby, lonely little boy would eat that shit up with a spoon, and I was no exception. I did everything the wizard asked, worked harder than I ever had in my life. And really, it wasn’t much of a chore when I was learning magic—real magic! I remember the first time I made a seed sprout and grow into a giant tree before my eyes, the first time I conjured flames in my bare hands. It was freaking incredible. Even now, I can still feel the wonder in my bitter, black heart.

But the wizard wasn’t teaching me for the sake of spreading the joy of magic. No, I was expected to put those skills to use to defeat the Deathly King—an evil son of a bitch no thirteen-year-old kid had any business fighting. I made trees grow through the walls of enemy fortresses, flung fireballs at trolls, and fought my way through dark caves of shrieking, many-armed creatures. I was a goddamn child soldier, and I had the stab wounds, head injuries, and emotional trauma to prove it.

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Meet the Cast of Wardrobe

All 5 episodes of Wardrobe have been released on Tales! If you like superhero stories or are looking for something fun to play on your phone, you can download the app Tales: Choose Your Own Story on iOS.

I talked a bit about the plot and gameplay during my last post about Wardrobe. Today I want to introduce you to the characters.

Character Bio: Clair

Clair is the protagonist, a fashion designer who makes costumes for the supervillain Death Diva on the side.

One challenge I had when writing interactive fiction was characterization. How do you offer the reader choices for the character’s actions but still give that character a consistent personality?

For me, the answer was to offer choices that are “in-character.” Clair has a big dilemma in the story, caught between her loyalty to her boss and her sense of right and wrong, and I can see her making several different choices in the heat of the moment. But none of those choices betray who she is as a character.

She doesn’t like superheroes, so even if you choose to help the heroes, she’s going to do so grudgingly and snark at them the whole time. She has lines she won’t cross, so if you take a more “villainous” path, there’s never going to be a choice that says “Kill him” or anything like that.

And she’ll never do anything that has even the slightest chance of hurting Eric.

Continue reading “Meet the Cast of Wardrobe”