The Final Battle


Blackbirds is in the Ranting Dragon Cover Battle 2012! Round after round it fought —

And now?

It has reached the final round.

*crash of thunder*

*timpani boom*

*a distant wolf howls*

It is up against the mighty cover of Seanan McGuire’s equally mighty Discount Armageddon — Seanan is, of course, my spirit animal and the profane yin to my vulgar yang, and she is a damn fine writer (sweet Sid and Marty Krofft, have you read her Feed series under the name Mira Grant? Do yourself the favor and read, read, read).

So, were Blackbirds to lose this battle — it would be a glorious loss.


When I saw Joey Hi-Fi‘s cover for Blackbirds (and the follow-up, Mockingbird), I about fell over, dizzy. I’d won the cover lottery. It is a truly incredible cover, a cover that sells the book far better than my own writing ever could — I cannot tell you how many people told me they picked the book up to check it out by dint of that cover. It is a single image that contains myriad images: dozens of little scenes and snippets from the book.

So, I beseech you here today — pleading eyes searching, sweaty palms turned heavenward, manly tears streaking my gore-caked beard. I ask you to go and place your vote for your favorite cover of the year. If that cover is Blackbirds, then I shall high-five you when we both arrive in Valhalla. If it’s not, then so be it. I mean, I might drive over you with my car if I see you crossing the road, but that’s the way it goes. No harm no foul, right?

The vote is close! Split down the middle! Hurry! Hurry!

Congrats, of course, to Seanan and her cover artist, Aly Fell!

(The contest is open until December 30th.)


  • I haven’t read the novel yet, but the cover art is really great. It definately did inspire me when laying out ideas for Signs of the Assassin’s cover. And so far, it’s looking awesome. Although I strangely like the back cover more than the front… Thank you.

  • I have read neither of these books, though I plan on picking Blackbirds up when I have some spare cash (I plan on picking up a lot of books when I have some spare cash…) But the Blackbirds cover appeals to me in a way that the Discount Armageddon cover does and so it gets my vote. That title on Discount Armageddon appeals to me, too, though, so I suppose it also goes on my “when I have money” list.

  • Voted. The cover is just so striking! Good luck and thanks for letting us know! The news of the contest hadn’t percolated under my rock.

  • Voted for your totally bad-ass cover. Hats off to the artist. It’s compelling and memorable for a number of reasons: 1) people notice high contrast images, 2) red, white, and black are a power trio, 3) red is one of two colors human beings pick up on before the rest (the other is yellow), 4) has a sexy font well placed, 5) uncluttered treatment (less is more), 5) dynamic cropping, 6) truly masterful rendering of captivating, swirly shapes that dovetail so as to trap the eye on the page. Those features in no particular order but as an overall effect combine to evoke a sense of mystery and intrigue. If I saw the book in a store I would zoom in like a moth to flame. Would make a great poster.

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