Book Three of the EarthCycles trilogy is nearing publication, and it’s time to show you the awesome cover! I’m hoping to have the book available for purchase before the end of March. Meanwhile, here’s the cover blurb:
They thought Melfar and Mundani were the only people left on Earth.
They were wrong.
The hopeful joy wrought by the dedication of the Book of All Time, with its heady celebration of Meridia as both Melfar Calumet and Mundani Prophet is shattered when a ship with expansive white wings drops anchor off Selbourne. The ship and its occupants depart as swiftly as they came, taking with them a mirror and two Melfar—including one of Meridia’s infant twins. They leave behind only mystery: Who are these people? And where did they come from?
Meridia and her partner Damon must fight through their personal grief to recover their missing daughter and her caregiver Yuli. But how to begin? They have no ships. Perhaps an answer lies in the nearly forgotten Melfar Song of the Sea or in deciphering the original purpose of the stolen mirror, discovered long ago in the perilous ruins of Swarthpol, where Meridia’s father was once imprisoned.
Perhaps there are ways of reaching Yuli and the baby that do not require ships.
I know you’ve heard over and over that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. It’s a way of telling us not to judge people or situations on appearance. But with respect to actual books, people judge them by their covers every single day! The cover is how an author begins to tell their story, instantly setting up the reader to expect romance, thriller, cozy mystery, science fiction, fantasy, etc. The cover is a promise to the reader.
I reached the painful conclusion that the original cover for Song of All Songspromised too much “fantasy” and not enough “science fiction.” So I’ve changed it—commissioned a new cover that more faithfully promises what the story can fulfill.
Sometimes an author doesn’t fully understand what genre they’re writing until they’ve finished the story. This is especially problematic for anything within the category often termed “SFF”—science fiction/fantasy. When the author is an anthropologist, it gets even more fraught!
In many nonwestern cultures, there is neither “science” nor “magic,” and neither of those terms is especially relevant to the cultures I write in my EarthCycles books. There’s only what is. What works. When you write a story set in such a world, what genre does it belong to?
As I delved more deeply into the question of genres and sub-genres, I realized that all of my favorite books and writers can be encompassed within one (or both) of the sub-genres called “soft science fiction” or “science fantasy”—1984, The Handmaid’s Tale, N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, almost everything Ursula LeGuin wrote, and my latest favorite—Remnant Population by Elizabeth Moon.
I’m hopeful that my new cover—and in fact the entire set of covers for the EarthCycles trilogy—will more faithfully communicate to readers what kind of story they can expect to find inside.
It’s not pure fantasy (as the original cover may have signaled), although it checks many of the boxes of what constitutes fantasy literature. The story’s setting in Earth’s far, far future is a critical departure from most fantasy tales, which tend to take place in the distant past. Most importantly—there’s no magic! There’s more than a touch of mysticism, but those who engage in it don’t call it magic. Of course…all of this depends on how you define magic.
The story is also not classic science fiction—there are no spaceships or extraterrestrials, no super-duper technology. The story is firmly grounded on a post-apocalyptic planet Earth, where much of our familiar 21st-century technology has been lost. The fact that some of the operational principles aren’t what purists might classify as science makes no difference—within the context of the story, these things are facts of life. Reality. Not magic. The focus on social evolution and social relations places the story in the sub-genre of “soft science fiction,” so called because of its reliance on the “soft sciences” such as psychology, sociology, political science…and anthropology? Well, there’s another conundrum: Anthropology studies culture, society, political systems, language, religion, but also genetics and evolution and technology. You did know I have a PhD in anthropology, right?
I hope you love the new covers as much as I do. If you want a sneak peek at the cover for book two—Book of All Time—click HERE. It’s coming in August!
And just in case you haven’t read Song of All Songsyet (what are you waiting for??) watch Goodreads for a special giveaway, going on the entire month of June!