Posts Tagged ‘David Dalglish’

A DANCE OF CLOAKS is out today!

The big day is finally here,  A DANCE OF CLOAKS by David Dalglish releases today! Look for it online and in stores everywhere. And if you haven’t been following along, be sure to check out the art team’s excellent behind-the-scenes look at the development of the Shadowdance covers.

In high school I devoured R. A. Salvatore’s Drizzt books. I loved the sense of adventure, the epic feel to the characters, but as is probably common when you read any author far too much, quirks here and there started to annoy me (a few of which I’m sure aren’t even Salvatore’s fault). The biggest was the sense that things were kept toned down to appeal to a wider audience. The really adult stuff was only hinted at, the darker stuff kept safely in the shadows.

That’s kind of a problem given how much I love villains. Love them. Probably too much, really. This is something the Shadowdance series actually suffers from a bit, because with so many morally gray characters I don’t have too many out and out villains to give the spotlight to (though I’m finally bringing in one such character in book 5, and by god I’m having a ball with him). For as far back as I can remember, I’ve disliked bland, two-dimensional villains. Even worse, though, are villains that aren’t really villains, just men that happen to be on the opposite side of a conflict with the heroes. Don’t mistake me here, I like it when it’s done well…but deep down I crave a villain like the Joker from the Dark Knight. I want a villain who can grab someone’s gun, put it to his head, and growl about how chaos is fair. I want a villain that everyone in the world can see is evil, yet at the same time, cannot deny the pull they have, the sheer charisma that surrounds them. Doing that means treading into the dark waters. Doing that means characters you love might stumble and fall.

While I was still in college I began what would eventually become my very raw and uneven Half-Orc books. I took everything I loved and tried to boil it all down to its very essence. I’ve never been confident in my world-building, my setting up of cities and families. But I knew what I wanted my characters to go through, the story I wanted to tell. I wanted it brutal, with characters that wouldn’t always live up to the standards they desired for themselves (kind of like, you know, real people). I had one main character’s daughter die, and there was no one at fault, and yet everyone’s at the same time. Yet no matter how grand the fights, how ridiculously over the top, I’d do whatever I could to keep the fights personal, and the reader invested.

That is what I do, what I try every time I sit down to write. When the fights begin, whether it be massive armies, assassins, paladins, or mythical creatures, I try to go to the furthest extreme of awesomeness in the conflict…yet when it all calms down, it’s about a man loving his brother, yet also hating him for the choices he’s made and the loved ones he’s hurt. Or a paladin torn over his friendship for a man his god calls for him to execute. Or in A DANCE OF CLOAKS (US | UK | AUS), it’s about a son wishing he could find approval from his father without being the monster his father would have him become.

I guess if asked what sets me apart, what makes me special, I’d say that is it. No pretention. I’ll never try to impress anyone with my vocabulary or research or ability to describe a scene. But I think I can make you care about my characters. I think I can make you hurt when one dies, and cheer when the villains get the crap beat out of them, all while blazing through my book at a breakneck pace. I’ll never treat you like an idiot, nor avoid the issues in their lives that might not have easy answers. In other words: I’ll entertain you. Honestly, if I can do that, I feel like I’ve done my job.

After devouring A DANCE OF CLOAKS, be sure to pre-order A DANCE OF BLADES (US | UK | AUS) and A DANCE OF MIRRORS (US | UK | AUS) – coming in November and December.

The Making of a Cover: Day of Shoot (plus video)

Welcome to the most in-depth, behind-the-scenes, play-by-play account of how a cover is born, from the point of view of the Art Department. We’re charting the conception and birth of the Shadowdance series by David Dalglish.

So far we have talked about the first real step of a book, Acquisitionand then what goes into Cover Briefing. Then we let our minds wander and collect inspiration and form Directions for the cover. Then we agreed on a Photographer and Illustrator. We’ve even found our hero, the Cover Model. And we found a Trampoline for him to do stunt work on safely. We decked him out in book-specific Costume & Props. And now it’s the day of the Photo Shoot!

Photo shoot days are stressful and exhausting—there’s always a ton of people to coordinate, and we were doing this shoot in a studio that wasn’t home base for anyone. We had to make sure everything was set up for stunts, and keep Bryce, or ninja, safe while he was flying around. On top of all of that, we were trying to shoot enough material for six covers at once! Never mind we also had a two-man video team taking all the behind-the-scenes footage. Photo shoots always go like this: Over-caffeination high, anxiety, concern that nothing is getting together on time, then you start shooting and it’s not quite there…then everything clicks into place and it’s magic. Watch the awesome video below and you’ll get a feel for how good it feel when everything starts going right:

Art Director Kirk Benshoff on the day of the shoot: (more…)

The Making of a Cover: Costume & Props (plus video)

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAWelcome to the most in-depth, behind-the-scenes, play-by-play account of how a cover is born, from the point of view of the Art Department. We’re charting the conception and birth of the Shadowdance series by David Dalglish.

So far we have talked about the first real step of a book, Acquisitionand then what goes into Cover Briefing. Then we let our minds wander and collect inspiration and form Directions for the cover. Then we agree on a Photographer and Illustrator. We’ve even found our hero, the Cover Model. And we found a Trampoline for him to do stunt work on safely. Now, to outfit him in the proper Costume & Props.

First, we have a fantastic video clip from the day of the photo shoot talking about all the props and costuming…

Our illustrator, Gene Mollica, is an expert when it comes to pulling together the necessary costuming and weapons. He has a great number of artists he works with to either adapt or create custom details, and he really geeks out on it. But first, Art Director Kirk Benshoff had to figure out exactly what these special cloaks were all about…

While I was hunting down a location for the photo shoot and finalizing the logistics with Bryce, I needed to get a costume ready as well. I figured David wasn’t going to be to keen on Haern dressed in an all black sweat suit with a couple inflatable swords for the cover. So I needed to work with our illustrator Gene Mollica to get all the details sorted out on the styling.

But before I go into that, let me tell you a little bit about Gene. Gene is awesome. Gene was that kid who loved fantasy so much as a kid, he never let it go as he got older. You talk to Gene about a project like this and you can feel his enthusiasm over the phone. As an art director, I get even more stoked about the project as I feed off his eagerness.  I gave Gene the details about everything and you can hear his brain running a mile a minute brainstorming about what we can/should/MUST do. Another amazing thing about Gene is he has an arsenal of weapons and props to contribute, either made or modified. I’ve been trying to talk him into letting me use his stuff for Halloween but he been (understandably) hesitant. :)

One of the first things I felt was really important was Haern’s three-piece cloak. Even though there was going to be a lot going on in the pictures, I wanted the cloak to be as accurate as possible. I worked up a few options that I ended up running past David to get his feedback:

Cloak Options
Cloak Options

After talking, David settled on Option #2 which was then sent to Gene and his costume designer.

FinalCloakSketch
Final Cloak Sketch

Gene and I needed to work out other details on the cloak as well. What was the color going to be? What kind of fabric did we want to use? Different fabrics can look very distinct once they’re photographed. Also, how was the fabric going to flow with the floor fans once Bryce started running with the cloak on? We want a strong image as a foundation so we can add drama and badass-ness later.

Over the course of the next few weeks we went back and fourth on changes and edits to the final cloak.

Haern was also going to be rocking armor as well. While the Cloak was being made, Gene was getting the leather chest plate, gauntlets, knives, throwing stars, and swords all made. Each piece meticulously put together by hand in amazing detail!

Once all the pieces to the costume were done, we were ready for the shoot and the biggest challenge of my career… finding an available day in everyone’s calendar to schedule the photo shoot. ;)

 

The Making of a Cover: Trampoline?

Welcome to the most in-depth, behind-the-scenes, play-by-play account of how a cover is born, from the point of view of the Art Department. We’re charting the conception and birth of the Shadowdance series by David Dalglish.

So far we have talked about the first real step of a book, Acquisitionand then what goes into Cover Briefing. Then we let our minds wander and collect inspiration and form Directions for the cover. Then we agreed on a Photographer and Illustrator. We’ve even found our hero, the Cover Model. Now we tackle some new ground for us: Finding a Trampoline to do aerial stunts.

This is when it’s good to be the Creative Director, because you get to delegate! Art Director Kirk Benshoff had been super excited to figure out how to tackle the stunts that the inventive dance-inspired fighting style would require…and I sent him on a hunt to find not only a trampoline, but a safe place to use it!

After having more than my share of ER visits over the course of my life, I now heed the advice my mom gave me as child to not run in the house with sharp objects. Sometimes it takes a few walks into a wall before you go through the door, and now, I’ve learned that when one “must” run inside with sharp objects; taking the time to find the best place possible is in everyone’s best interest.

In the beginning of planning the Dalglish project, I had three things that were an absolute must: a trampoline, crash mat, and open space. From there I was not going to get persnickety. Getting each individual thing was not necessarily hard, but getting everything together was the challenge. I found a place that rents crash mats, but didn’t deliver and pick-up. I had studio spaces I used in the past, but none had the equipment. I could buy a trampoline, but what do you do with it living in Brooklyn. For the record Lauren TOTALLY wanted me to buy the trampoline and keep it in the office. But I reiterate the various ER visits in my life… so that option was out.

Eventually, I stumbled across a studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn called Hollywood Stunts NYC. These guys had everything we needed in one location. The stunt studio is located by the East River in Greenpoint inside the old shipping warehouses. Once I walked in I knew this was the place for the photo shoot.

In all seriousness, Gene Mollica usually brings an arsenal of weapons and armor, so he needed space to spread out. Michael Frost needs space for his camera, lights, and backdrops. And we were going have Bryce running with swords and stage blades. Bryce was going to need room to run and having more than one crash mat is never a bad thing. The owner of Hollywood Stunts NYC Bob Cotter was beyond accommodating. And he and his staff you could tell were really into the whole concept of the shoot. After Bryce and I checked the space out, and Bryce nerded out with Bob about stunt work, I knew this was where we were going to have the final shoot. So after a lot of coordination emails, we set the date…

 

The Making of a Cover: Cover Model

Welcome to the most in-depth, behind-the-scenes, play-by-play account of how a cover is born, from the point of view of the Art Department. We’re charting the conception and birth of the Shadowdance series by David Dalglish.

So far we have talked about the first real step of a book, Acquisitionand then what goes into Cover Briefing. Then we let our minds wander and collected inspiration and formed Directions for the cover. Then we agreed on a Photographer and Illustrator. Now we need to find the star of the show, the Cover Model.

I’m going to let Kirk Benshoff tell you all about it, since he’s the one who found our star, and then we’ll hear from Bryce Bermingham, our favorite ninja, who also gave us an in-depth writeup below…

This shoot centered around having a martial artist. I needed someone who could rock a trampoline and execute some back flips, all the while not hurting themselves doing it. I can easily find models; finding a martial artist isn’t as easy as you would think. There aren’t any sites on the interwebs that focus on people who do martial arts for modeling.

I ended up finding someone in the New York City area who does fighting for film and stage, but his specialty was more European sword fighting and I needed someone who knew Eastern fighting styles for jumps/kicks and sword play. I was eventually given the name of Bryce Bermingham, a fight coordinator, stunt coordinator, actor, singer, and dancer who performs martial arts for film and stage.

It was funny — one of the first emails I received from Bryce had a picture of him doing a high kick that would have had me bed bound for a month. That picture alone gave me a good sense that this guy knew the fundamentals.

Ultimately Bryce knew exactly what I wanted. He understood the need for theatrics in order to have the “wow” factor in the final illustration. We had a great time going over the project, speaking at length about what I had in mind and what he could bring to the table. Bryce was eager to get into character, too, by reading the books, going with me to check out studios, and offering ideas.

Bryce came up with a “shot list” which is a list of moves we were aiming to capture on film by the end of the shoot day. For a photo shoot that has a lot of parts and potential for things to go wrong, Bryce really gave me a sense of comfort, knowing we were going in with goals. In the end he learned exactly what we wanted and how to do it.

8508043_orig

Now let’s hear from the star of the ninja show himself, Bryce! (more…)

The Making of a Cover: Photographer & Illustrator

Welcome to the most in-depth, behind-the-scenes, play-by-play account of how a cover is born, from the point of view of the Art Department. We’re charting the conception and birth of the Shadowdance series by David Dalglish.

So far we have talked about the first real step of a book, Acquisitionand then what goes into Cover Briefing. Then we let our minds wander and collect inspiration and form Directions for the cover. After a period of brainstorming, it’s time to pick how the art is going to be made, and contact a Photographer and/or Illustrator.

I’m going to let Kirk Benshoff, who was also working on the Art Direction, and would ultimately do the Cover Design, to take it from here:

As I was reading over the cover briefing form in the launch meeting and listing to Devi talk about the Shadowdance series, my mind immediately went to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I had this image of the covers showing a martial artist, in mid-move, getting the beauty of the fighting style and in postproduction introducing the brutal and badass.  I felt these books needed to be photographs to give a connection to Haern that illustration wouldn’t have. I want Haern to be alive. I want to see people dressed like him at Comic Con.

dalglish-covermath-webI did do some research looking for illustrators as well, to show different directions. And even though I had some amazing talent on the docket, I still had the photo shoot on the forefront of my brain. I knew the photo option would be the most badass direction and I also knew it would be an enormous amount more work and expense to pull it all together as well as I could imagine it in my head.

Game on! ;) (more…)

The Making of a Cover: Directions for the Shadowdance Series

Welcome to the most in-depth, behind-the-scenes, play-by-play account of how a cover is born, from the point of view of the Art Department. We’re charting the conception and birth of the Shadowdance series by David Dalglish.

Sorry for a bit of a delay, there, folks. Here in the Art Department we love taking you behind the scenes to see how all he Orbit art comes together, but sometimes we get crazy swamped finishing a season! Time to get caught up! So far we have talked about the first real step of a book, Acquisition, and then what goes into Cover Briefing. Now comes the research part, Directions. When last we left you, Editorial had filled out the Cover Briefing form, and we had all gotten together in a Launch Meeting to talk about what our expectations and plans were for the cover. Now it’s the Art Department’s turn to let it digest in our minds for a little while.

In the meeting we talked about the influence of Brent Weeks’s Night Angel Trilogy, but that’s not enough inspiration. Part of my job at Orbit is keeping tabs on everything going on in the geek world, and art world, that could be used to influence or inspire what goes into our covers. I make sure to know what’s going on with other authors and publishing houses and their new covers. I also keep an eye on “geek” culture at large—movies, television, comics, pop culture. On top of all that it is a major part of my job to keep up on artists and trends happening not only in the SFF world, but also in many genres of illustration, design, photography, even prop-making. Once I get a project like this I let it sit and kind of germinate in the back of my mind for a little while, almost like a lint ball under your bed, gathering mass that might seem random and unrelated, but grows into something little by little. As Creative Director, it’s my job to assign who works on what. I knew this was going to be a huge project, so at this point I approached Art Director Kirk Benshoff about being the Designer for the covers, but also assisting with the idea generation, and then taking point on the Art Direction, whether it ended up being a photo shoot or an illustration. So he started brainstorming as well.

And this random mess below, is kind of a window into what was inspiring us: ninjas, samurai, dramatic dance photography, billowing fabric, brush & ink illustrations, other book covers in the field that had the same kind of drama and energy we were after, beautiful wirework fighting scenes. 

dalglish-inspiration-web

 

So Kirk and I let this all just come together, and ferment a bit in our minds, never seeing something that exactly fit, just a lot of elements and inspirations…

First Looks: Spring/Summer 2014 US Covers

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Another summer has come and gone, and here at Orbit, we’re already hard at work on next year’s exciting line-up! Here are some of the jackets we have ready so far with more to follow over the next few months.

Click on the images below to see a larger version and appreciate each cover in its full glory.  Pin, tweet, and comment away with reckless abandon. Let us know which books have already piqued your interest!

Martin_ReignofAsh-TP   œF�   Dalglish_ADanceOfShadows_TP  Carey_GirlWithAllTheGifts-HC   Corey_CibolaBurn_HC   Sapkowski_BaptismofFire-TP   Miller_PathToPower_HC   Irvine_Justice-TP   Weeks-BrokenEye-HC   Saintcrow_RipperAffair-TP   Wells_CursedMoon-TP   Jemisin_FifthSeason-TP   Abraham_WidowsHouse_TP

Art Credits: Reign of Ash: Illustration by Larry Rostant; Heaven’s Queen: Design by Kirk Benshoff; Dance of Shadows: Photo Illustration by Gene Mollica & Michael Frost, Design by Kirk Benshoff; The Girl With All The Gifts: Design by Duncan Spilling; Cibola Burn: Illustration by Daniel Dociu, Design by Kirk Benshoff; Baptism of Fire: Illustration by BARTŁOMIEJ GAWEŁ, PAWEŁ MIELNICZUK, MARCIN BŁASZCZAK, ARKADIUSZ MATYSZEWSKI,MARIAN CHOMIAK , Design by Lauren Panepinto; Path to Power: Illustration by Raphael Lacoste, Design by Kirk Benshoff; Justice: Design by Wendy Chan; Broken Eye: Photo by Shirley Green, Illustration by Silas Manhood, Design by Lauren Panepinto; The Ripper Affair: Photo by Shirley Green, Illustration by Craig White, Design by Lauren Panepinto; Cursed Moon: Photo by Shirley Green, Illustration by Don Sipley, Design by Lauren Panepinto; The Fifth Season: Design by Lauren Panepinto; The Widow’s House: Design by Kirk Benshoff

Cover Preview UK: Spring – Summer 2014

covers_all_UK1

As Summer comes to an end, here at Orbit we’re already looking forward to the amazing selection of books that next Spring brings. We’re very  pleased to present a selection of covers for some of our exciting releases in the first half of 2014. It promises to be a very good year.

Click on each of the covers to see a larger version, and let us know your favourites.

9780356502731

Miller_PathToPower_HC

Book cover for the First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

Weeks-BrokenEye-HC

justice_ian_irvine

The Lascar's Dagger

Dalglish_ADanceOfShadows_TP

The Ripper Affair

9781841499161

Corey_CibolaBurn_HC

9780356502373

Cursed Moon

Abraham_WidowsHouse_TP

DESCENT-ken-macleod

Art Credits: Reign of Ash: Illustration by Larry Rostant; Heaven’s Queen: Design by Kirk Benshoff; Dance of Shadows: Photo Illustration by Gene Mollica & Michael Frost, Design by Kirk Benshoff; The Girl With All The Gifts: Design by Duncan Spilling; Cibola Burn: Illustration by Daniel Dociu, Design by Kirk Benshoff; Path to Power: Illustration by Raphael Lacoste, Design by Kirk Benshoff; Justice: Design by Wendy Chan; Broken Eye: Photo by Shirley Green, Illustration by Silas Manhood, Design by Lauren Panepinto; The Ripper Affair: Photo by Shirley Green, Illustration by Craig White, Design by Lauren Panepinto; Cursed Moon: Photo by Shirley Green, Illustration by Don Sipley, Design by Lauren Panepinto; The Fifth Season: Design by Lauren Panepinto; The Widow’s House: Design by Kirk Benshoff

Read an excerpt from A DANCE OF CLOAKS by David Dalglish

OctoberAssassin or protector; every choice has its consequences.

For the rogues and fantasy readers out there, Orbit’s Fall line-up is an exciting one, and it includes the Shadowdance series by David Dalglish! Starting in October, we’re publishing the first three books back-to-back. Here’s an excerpt from the first book, A DANCE OF CLOAKS (US | UK | AUS)

For the past two weeks the simple building had been his safe house, but now Thren Felhorn distrusted its protection as he limped through the door. He clutched his right arm to his body, fighting to halt its trembling. Blood ran from his shoulder to his elbow, the arm cut by a poisoned blade.

“Damn you, Leon,” he said as he staggered across the wood floor, through a sparsely decorated room, and up to a wall made of plaster and oak. Even with his blurred vision he located the slight groove with his fingers. He pressed down, detaching an iron lock on the other side of the wall. A small door swung inward.

The master of the Spider Guild collapsed in a chair and removed his gray hood and cloak. He sat in a much larger room painted silver and decorated with pictures of mountains and fields. Removing his shirt, he gritted his teeth while pulling it over his wounded arm. The toxin had been meant to paralyze him, not kill him, but the fact was little comfort. Most likely Leon Connington had wanted him alive so he could sit in his padded chair and watch his “gentle touchers” bleed Thren drop by drop. The fat man’s treacherous words from their meeting ignited a fire in his gut that refused to die.

Continue reading.

Become a fan of the official Facebook fanpage for the latest updates and connect with other fans of the series.

Praise for A DANCE OF CLOAKS

“A gritty book with intriguing characters and has a plot which will keep you hooked till the end’ Fantasy Book Critic

“Fast, furious, and fabulous.” – Michael J. Sullivan, author of THEFT OF SWORDS (US | UK | AUS)

“Dalglish concocts a heady cocktail of energy, breakneck pace and excitement that a reader could get drunk on.” – Sam Sykes, author of Tome of the Undergates

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