Not the final cover

Okay! Always exciting to get the draft of a cover!

This won’t be the final version, but here, take a look:

Why not the final version? Because (a) there shouldn’t be trees; this is essentially tundra; (b) I would prefer the pony to be galloping. This is the first time I have asked for more action rather than less! I have constantly been saying, “The tiger isn’t snarling or attacking; he’s just there.” But this time, there should be a sense of urgency, so the horse — pony, excuse me — should be galloping.

Good start though, and I’ll try to remember to always ask for an eagle in the background of every book where Tano is the point of view protagonist.

Question! Because of the way the Ugaro refer to colors — the snow-colored stallion, for example — I have referred to Tano’s pony as “mouse-colored” several times in this book. What is the color of a mouse? What does “mouse-colored” make you think of?

Here is a deer mouse:

Here is a house mouse:

They are not that different in color, but the house mouse is a bit more on the gray side, the deer mouse a bit more on the brown side. The horse on the TANO cover draft falls enough in this color family that “mouse-colored” works for ME, but what about other people? Would a pony with this kind of color work for you if the description says “mouse colored?”

This is of course easy to change. What is another word for this pale dun or pale wheaten type of color?

You know what colors Chesapeake Bay Retrievers come in? Brown, light brown, deadgrass, light deadgrass, sedge, and ash.

Public Service Message: Chessies are not a great breed for the casual pet owner. They are not Labradors with funny coats and emphatically not Goldens with funny coats. They’re too much dog for most people — too intense, too much working drive, too stubborn, too hard-headed, too liable to dislike being touched by strangers. They are absolutely ideal for hunting geese in Canada, but they are absolutely not ideal for lounging in the house to give a home a comfortable doggy ambiance.

I really like those color names, though. Not that I would call a pony “deadgrass color” because that definitely sounds distracting and wrong in the context of a novel. Maybe I might say “ash-colored.” I will think about that if you all vote against “mouse-colored.” Also, I’m waiting to see the color of the pony on the final version of the cover before deciding for sure how to describe that pony. “Dun” is a color name the Ugaro use.

ALSO: Yes, the cover for TASMAKAT has now been updated to say Book Seven. If that isn’t showing on Amazon yet, it will soon. Otherwise I bet that would have been pretty confusing, two books both saying Book Six! I’m glad to say that it was no trouble at all to re-order the books in the series.

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16 thoughts on “Not the final cover”

  1. Yesss I loved that pony, excellent cover model!!

    I definitely imagined the color of that grayer mouse, and “mouse colored” was an excellent word for that. I like it better than ash because it conveys that sense of “I’m not really sure whether to call it gray or brown, and also it’s a little shiny”, while I imagine “ash” as more firmly gray and definitely dull (“ashy brown” goes back to the gray-brown mix). Given the stylized blue lighting on rest of the image, I think that particular pony is acceptably mouse-colored.

    The Chesapeake Bay Retriever color names are fun! I like “light deadgrass”, that’s a charmingly weird color name. I was looking up Finnish Lapphund colors the other day and they are much less fun (cream, brown, black…)

  2. Chinese Cresteds have a lot of fun color names, including Palomino, which is exactly what you’d expect. They’ve got tons of colors in that breed, almost as many different possibilities as Poodles.

  3. When I think of an Eagle, I think of golden light, even though it’s in the Moon’s country, so I think a shaft of light on the eagle would accent it a little more, and if the horse had the deer mouse color, that would complement the eagle and make them both stand out in the snowy world. Although maybe whiter makes more sense.

  4. That’s a good idea, Alison, I’ll suggest that.

    I think the way the artist paled the color of the setting around the horse works pretty well for that part.

  5. Agree with Elise, mouse-colored makes me picture something closer to the house mouse color, a sort of indeterminate light gray-brown. Ash-colored summons a more gray color to mind, like a grulla. I think the current cover pony meets the “mouse-colored” category perfectly well.

    The Chesapeake Bay Retriever color names are just great. Deadgrass–I can immediately, vividly picture the shades it’s describing!

  6. Granted, Kristi, but if I wind up with a sleeker looking pony, I will probably call it artistic license. I did suggest a fjord horse, which this isn’t, and if I’m not okay with the pony on the next draft, I will suggest that again, and mention the winter coat as well.

  7. I love the cover even as is, but the amendments sound good. When someone has “mousy” hair, I picture a dull light brownish color.

    I’ll never forget the day a Chinese Crested pranced into my local dog park. All the dogs stopped playing and just stared. “… what…. what IS that????”

  8. IMO Chinese Cresteds are adorable, but the skin care for the hairless variety is a big deal and of course they practically freeze to death at normal room temperatures. The puffs are more practical and almost as elfin and cute.

  9. I was thinking Yakutian horses. They are also extra stocky and fuzzy.

    A couple of years ago there was a mice infestation in my house. They had really lovely shiny light brown coats.

  10. I like the cover, but hadn’t made the connection.
    Mouse-gray means the house-mouse color to me.
    To my eye/color sense, the horse on the cover is a bit too light and too blonde for that, I’d call him dun or even palomino, like this Icelandic stallion
    Also, it’s too much of a summer horse, not shaggy, or stocky like a pony.
    My sister has two Icelandic horses, and in summer they can be fairly sleek, but just coming out of winter they still look like fuzzy teddybears, like this one–183240278558537027/
    I don’t really care that it looks like a horse, rather than a pony, but it doesn’t look like a winter country horse – I hadn’t even immediately linked it in my mind to Tano’s mouse-grey pony, which I’d mentally pictured more like this

    I remember this from my drawing class long ago, that those Icelanders are called horses, not ponies, even though they are small enough not to reach the usual height where that denomination switches, because they have a horse’s shape, where the legs are long enough that you can draw them (except the neck & head), standing square, inside a square. Pony’s have shorter legs, so you draw those as a rectangle, instead of a square – the length of the back is longer than the length of the legs from the hooves to the spine. Maybe in deeper snow they need the longer legs?
    But looking at pictures on the Internet, as well as my sister’s horses, the Icelandic horses are most often of pony build, with shorter legs…

  11. Yep, there it is, thank you Hanneke, so I trashed the pointer-comment.

    The pictured horse on the cover is definitely, definitely not palomino, which has a very clear meaning to me, eg, the yellow dilute on top of chestnut base color via the extension locus.

    I’m getting a 404 for your fist link, but Icelandic horses have one zillion extremely cool colors including the silver dapple dilute creates a lot of fantastic browns with white manes and tail. I think the one you point to as mouse colored is a blue roan, with something else going on to lighten the color of the mane and tail. Coloring like that would be fantastic.

    Now, this pictured horse could actually be something odd, such as a champagne dilute, given its mane color. I agree I would prefer a shaggier-looking ponier-looking pony. I guess I’ll go ahead and send a message to the artist saying a shaggier winter coat would be nice if they can do it.

  12. Now I’m curious! What breed is the cover pony based on? He looks quite a lot like a Norwegian Fjord I knew once. (Not in color, that guy was a regular dun; I figured cover pony was some variety of red dun or maybe dilute + dun, plus odd lighting.)

  13. The detail I remember most about Ugaro ponies actually comes from an early scene in Tuyo, before we have ever seen one. Ryo is riding with the Lao soldiers towards the river, and they have to stop and wrap the horses’ ankles to protect them from the crisp snow, since they don’t have feathering like the ponies do. When I first saw the horse on this cover, I immediately looked for ankle feathering, when I didn’t see it I thought: That can’t be an Ugaro pony, I wonder what it’s supposed to be?

    Otherwise I think it’s an appealing cover. I think there could be varieties of mice that colour, but a bit darker would be fine as well. I’m really looking forward to this book, glad everything is coming together.

  14. I forgot about the feathering! Shoot. I wonder if the artist can find a pony model like a vanner, with not quite as much feathering.

  15. I picture a more gray color for “mouse-colored.” too.

    And yes, this horse is lovely, but not “rugged” enough. I agree Icelandic horses would be great, and yes about the feathering.

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