Ah, 2021. Or is it Aaaah! 2021?

Another year of changes, of ups, of downs. And the illustration “The Huckup,” seems an apt one. But here’s to looking for silver linings in the darkest of storm clouds. To my readers, thank you, and may you find your ‘inner Darin,’ regardless of what life throws at you.

One of the changes you may have noticed is my works is visual. Both Hazelhearth Hires Heroes, and Love, Death, or Mermaid? have quite a different style to their cover artwork, than Tales of Arvia. Why the change? I have a new artist. I wish my former artist, Love-or-Death all the best with a new challenge in her life, which regrettably prevents her from creating further covers. She has become a mother, and the task of protecting her new son from the various mythic monsters is a daunting one indeed!

Following a long search, I was happy to find Papaya-Style, to take Arvian artwork in a new direction. Her blend of creepy and cute was an excellent fit for Arvia, and I was delighted to find she shares my love of non-human characters, and vision for future Arvia works. Take a look at her gallery here, or on instagram!

In addition to covers and interior illustrations, I’m also happy to announce something new: Arvia merch! Yes, you too can show off your inner harpy with tees, hoodies, and beverage-holding devices. Regrettably, I don’t yet offer truly useful logoed products like canteens, survival knives, emergency fire starters, magic flares to distract mythic monsters, or the like. But a nice hoodie will keep you warm while you wait for that basilisk to lose interest and let you get away.

For those who may be wondering about the Tales of Arvia 3 that was announced at the beginning of the year… it’s still a thing. In fact, it’s even more of a thing than it was back then. Specifically, it’s now two things. To make a long story short… well, to make a long story short, one must be an author capable of making long stories short. Which apparently I am not. As I drafted the tale, it quickly became apparent that it was really two stories I was trying to tell. Not to mention the fact that there were so many interesting themes and subplots, that it fit better into two novels. And in contrast to prior books that could be read in any order, books 3 and 4 should really be read sequentially. Since I don’t like the idea of releasing a story with a part II until part II is pretty much ready to go, I’m going to wait—Tales of Arvia 3 will be released when book 4 is substantially completed, so you won’t have to wait years to find out if that creepy subterranean threat really is gone.

What else can I say about it? Tremors rock the world of Arvia, releasing wild magic and subterranean horrors to the surface world. There will be plenty of adventures and wild encounters, but it’s the personal challenges Darin and Rinloh face that really set this one apart from earlier works: it will be the most emotional novel I’ve yet crafted.

But don’t worry, it won’t be all serious. Expect a generous dose of witty banter as well.

Here’s a little snippet, in which our heroes explore an ancient elven structure:

“Ahhh, Darin, is this a problem?” said Lidia.

I stepped down to the lower platform she was peering over.

“Oh! I’m gonna go out on a limb and say yes.”

“Hey, what are you guys looking—oooh!” Nicolai joined us.

From the platform, the lowest portion of the structure was visible. It was smooth, curved, displaying typical elven workmanship. Except for a slight crack, through which seawater sloshed. And the term ‘slight crack’ was used in the sense of ‘the Titanic suffered a slight crack following a disagreement with an iceberg.’

“On the plus side, we now know exactly where sea level is,” I said.


Happy holidays all!

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