Okay, so, I sent the story to the very first of first readers, which is (a) exciting! and (b) a bit nerve-wracking. Hopefully it will essentially work for them. Then I will fiddle with it, then a couple more of you will see it.
No rush, because I will probably aim for, say, January of next year to bring this out. That’s ample time. However, I can ask the artist to start working on the cover art any time. Except — hmm.
Tuyo — a white tiger
Ryo mentioned white tigers and occasionally someone or other referred to white tigers and white tigers are spectacular and eye-catching, so this was easy.
Nikoles — a wolf
No wolves appeared in the story, but after all, tension with the Ugaro was the main problem, and Ugaro, wolves, it seemed reasonable.
Tarashana — a white eagle
I actually wrote the eagle into the story after asking for the cover to include a white falcon or golden eagle or something of the sort. Then I adjusted the story to make the white eagle more important after the cover was finalized.
Keraunai — what?
Well, what should it be? No animals are referred to in the story. After I decide on the cover image, I may go back and add a couple references to whatever animal. In fact, that’s quite likely. As the story is basically a romance, I’m thinking two animals. But what would suit a story from Esau’s point of view? You’ve all met Esau, though you’ll get to know him a lot better in this novel. Still, since you’ve met him, does anything come to mind?
So far I’m musing upon: two crows, or perhaps two foxes. Not red foxes. The summer country is not as much like Europe as people may have guessed from what we saw in Tuyo. The borderlands are relatively cool and get a good deal of rain, but as you move farther south, that is not the case. I don’t want to use an animal that is obviously European or American. I’d rather use a much less familiar fox species. Swift foxes and kit foxes don’t look at all like wolves and don’t look a lot like coyotes, so perhaps those. But either could be mistaken for a jackal, and I was thinking of a jackal for Tasmakat, for obvious reasons. But I could use a fox or even a jackal for Keraunani and then might use something else for that one; perhaps a cheetah. If I decided to do that, I could put cheetahs into the story, which might be fun.
Or perhaps something else. Crows, foxes, and jackals are all clever, but none of them are, you know, brawlers. But then what? The only thing that actually comes to mind is a molosser breed of dog, such as a cane corso. Which I could put into the story. Not by that name, obviously. But there could perfectly well be unexaggerated mastiff types of dogs all over the place as guard dogs and I just haven’t mentioned them before because they’re more common farther south in the summer country, or something.
If anybody has any ideas about the cover animal for Keraunani, I’d love to hear it.