I've also been brushing up on my Photoshop skills and learning new techniques. This is harder for me than writing as I don't have a design background, and I'm having to follow a lot of tutorials, which takes time, but I'm edging closer to more professional results. The latest effort that I'm pleased to present is a cover for The Rider And The Tower, a free story on Wattpad that I'm working on in my spare time when I need a break from my main writing.
It's a weird fantasy featuring an enigmatic hero in a world of demons, swords and motorcycles. Yes, you read that right. It's a project I've been wanting to do for a while, based on a series of sketches I made many years ago when I was recovering from a bad motorcycle accident. It's not my normal style at all and I'm writing it as a way of stretching my talents, so it's not intended as a commercial project.
I'm not sure whether I'd read Stephen King's Dark Tower series when I sketched my ideas back then, but I can see a similarity now in the concept of an unusual fantasy setting that blends the ancient and modern in a non-traditional way. I loved the way King replaced Tolkein's European myths with American myths, and he didn't care that it was out of step with most fantasy. In fact, it still is. The success of Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings movies shows that people still hunger for the European sword and sorcery style. But the idea of Roland Deschain with his six-guns, magical lore and his quest across the desert was, for me, a stroke of genius.
King always regarded his Dark Tower novels as an intensely personal project, and he wrote them intermittently between his more successful novels, but it was clear that, even if they hadn't been successful themselves (by King's standards, anyway), he'd have still written them for himself. The Rider and The Tower is, for me, that kind of project. It's a chance to blow off some steam and try something different for a while. Because I get stale, otherwise.