I would like an eBook cover designed for this first story in this fantasy setting. I am flexible with most aspects of the design as long it has a sense of adventure to it, so I will provide some key elements and a basic idea I have.
The world in which the story is set is a mash up of all the things I love--retro sci-fi, sword & sorcery, steam punk, Three Musketeers, comic books, etc.--although this is not necessarily fully realized in this story. The closest approximation would be the John Carter novels, mixing super heroic elements and sword play with advanced technology thrown into the mix. Any styles that fit those genres will most likely work for this story.
The basic plot of the story is as follows. A young soldier is lost in a jungle and is captured by minotaur bandits. He is taken underground where he finds himself in a village in a massive cavern divided by a river and inhabited by the elderly. All the people have been imprisoned by a man who has found a thousand year old technology that allows him to syphon off the youth, vitality, and magical abilities of his prisoners thus allowing him to live forever as long as he remains near the machinery. The initial process occurs in a white machine resembling a sarcophagus with a glass face where the individual is aged 40 years in a matter of minutes. The soldier is aged and then returned the cavern which is basically a prison. Refusing to accept his fate, the soldier scales a sheer wall on the opposite side of the river to a balcony the antagonist uses to look out over his "realm." The soldier makes the climb, destroys the machine not knowing if the process can be reversed then escapes. After a chase through the tunnels he finds a way to the surface and realizes his youth has returned. There is a final battle on a hill top that over looks the jungle and following his victory he returns below ground to free the others.
The idea I had for a cover was the hero looking out over the cavern. The hero is small to capture the vastness of the cavern which disappears in the darkness. The cavern is lit by blue phosphorescent moss and the fires the village's inhabitants have lit. The cottages are made of stones from the cavern, but have no roofs. They are scattered between the stalactites and natural columns of stone. The river is dark and also vanishes into the distance. The attached cover of Destiny's Road is similar to the scope and scale I was thinking of. I have also attached a photo of the Lauray Caverns.
The only must for any cover design is that if the protagonist is used then he is not the main focal point of the image. Hide him in shadows make him small (again Destiny's Road). I do not overly describe him in the story on purpose so the reader can draw his or her own picture. He is built like an NFL linebacker (6'3"/240-ish) with curly black hair and a Mediterranean appearance. Clothes: boots, pants, shirt.
The layout should emphasize the title and not my name.
Title: Into the Valley
Sub-title: A Triton Tale
Author: E. David Anderson
Because this is an eBook, the image should stand out as a thumb nail. The protagonist can turn his skin to steel so if a gray or silver color works with the font that would be good. I am not locked down to a realistic look to the whole thing. An image resembling watercolors could look cool like the Hawkmoon covers I have attached or even something abstract. I also like all the fonts on the Hawkmoon covers. Definitely no photos incorporated.