Earth’s End Cover Reveal by Elise Kova


Hello readers,

I’ve been really excited to share the cover of Earth’s End by Elise Kova although there will be many of us sharing this from all over the world. I have recently just found out about this series, have the first book ready to read and the second book on order. This is going to be a long post including Q&A’s with Elise Kova & Merilliza Chan, giveaway, cover reveal and lots more.


About the Author

View More: Kova has always had a passion for storytelling. She wrote her first novella, a high-fantasy, in sixth grade. Over the years she’s honed her love of literature with everything from fantasy to romance, science fiction to mystery, and whatever else catches her eye.
Elise lives in Saint Petersburg, Florida, where she’s currently working on the next installment in her debut YA fantasy series: Air Awakens. She enjoys video games, anime, table-top role playing games, and many other forms of “geekdom.” She loves talking with fans on Twitter (@EliseKova) and Facebook. Visit her website,, for news and extras about her books!


Earth’s End Synopsis 

A woman awoken in air, a soldier forged by fire, a weapon risen from blood.

Vhalla Yarl has made it to the warfront in the North. Forged by blood and fire, she has steeled her heart for the final battle of the Solaris Empire’s conquest. The choices before Vhalla are no longer servitude or freedom, they are servitude or death. The stakes have never been higher as the Emperor maintains his iron grip on her fate, holding everything Vhalla still has left to lose in the balance.



I will be raffling off an Air Awakens Swag Bag! This will include:

  • Air Awakens “Shatter the Sky” Canvas Bag
  • Silver Wing Earrings
  • Signed Paperback of Air Awakens OR Fire Falling
  • Signed Air Awakens Postcard
  • Signed Air Awakens, Fire Falling, and Earth’s End Bookmark Set



Are we all excited for the cover well scroll down and have a look at that beauty


And my reaction

Cover Reveal Exclusive: Making of the Air Awakens Covers

Meril’s Q&A:

What program do you use to create your artwork?

I use various tools to create artwork. When starting out with ideas I prefer making them on my sketchbook first, not minding specific details and just having fun with idea generation and doodling. This is the stage we call ‘thumbnails’. The next step I usually use the digital media to finalize the thumbnails, but sometimes I go straight out and sketch my favorite thumbnail to turn into a finished linesketch. As such, all my finished artworks are painted and done in Adobe Photoshop (CC 2014, currently), along with my old and trusted Wacom Intuos 4.

What’s your background? Did you study art in school?

I finished university in 2014 with a degree of Bachelor of Finearts, Major in Advertising Arts. My Alma Mater is the University of Santo Tomas here in Manila, Philippines. The course I took focused on graphic design, branding and marketing for agencies, which is a very good background to have in any art industry. During our 3rd year to 4th year we had special classes we called ‘Electives’, which are basically specialized classes, this was the time I decided on focusing more on digital painting and illustration, rather than going into graphic designing, so I took electives related to my chosen field. By the time I got to the thesis phase, which is the final requirement before finishing the course, I decided to take on Book Illustration. I’ve learnt many things from my background that if it weren’t for it I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do the same things I’m doing right now.

What attracted you to doing the covers for the AIR AWAKENS series?

The AIR AWAKENS series was my very first book cover series. I’m not going to lie that I first took interest on the project because it was an opportunity for me to finally work on the book industry. Any artist starting out would be uncontrollably excited when offered a project as such. And THEN I read the story, read about the characters, got to know an amazing client and author, a friend, and so there lies my true answer. It was the perfect project for me, I loved the world, I loved the characters and I loved the idea behind it all. And so I wanted to make sure that I make it very special.

What is your favorite cover so far?

That’s hard to say. I loved all of it so far! (Or I’m being extremely biased, because well, I worked hard on all of them! haha) But if I’m being asked as an artist I would probably say the first cover. It was simple, straight to the point, saying, ‘Hey, this is Vhalla, the Heroine for this amazing world/story’. I like covers that has that iconic, unique feeling to it and so I would say that the first cover definitely did it for this series.

(Without any spoilers) What did you like about the third book in the AIR AWAKENS series: Earth’s End?

Earth’s End is my favorite of the 3 books so far and my main reason is that it felt like everything was coming down together, finally! Especially for Vhalla. I loved the Vhalla in this book. The character has developed into something much more and although she’s still probably transitioning, she’s finally getting there. In general what I liked about Earth’s End is that there’s more action, more storyline focused on Vhalla and her world, there were more things learned about the other characters too such as Baldair, among many others. Elise has outdone herself with this one.

What’s one thing that you think would surprise people about the process of creating the AIR AWAKENS covers? Or, one thing people may not know?

Elise has always told me that she and her author friends never expect their artist to read the whole manuscript. And I read the whole thing because well, I just couldn’t help it. I have become very attached! She says I make the most ‘official-est’ fanart ever and I agree.

Elise’s Q&A:

How did you come to work with zwxArt (Meril Chan)?

Well, when I decided to self-publish I knew the cover art would be one of the most important things about my book, and I also knew I wanted drawn artwork over photography. I, personally, feel like it’s “iconic high-fantasy” to have a painted cover and so that’s what I began searching for. Also, as an indie author, I wanted to work with someone else who wasn’t a big cover art company and perhaps was just getting their start also. So I was thumbing through DeviantArt for illustrators I liked and I found Meril.

It was the image below that made me know I needed to work with her. It was like she’d already created something that I thought captured the essence of Air Awakens, even if the visuals I wanted were completely different.

Can you explain the process from the author’s perspective? How are covers made?

Well, I can only explain in my limited experience. It’s my understanding that traditional authors get little to no control over what their covers look like. For me, I started by sending Meril what had been my query letter and a handful of scenes I pulled out from the story. I also sent her the draft manuscript in case she wanted to find how a particular scene I’d chosen to pull out fit in. I’d been told that cover artists are too busy to read their client’s work in its entirety, so I wasn’t offended by the notion of just handing her some scenes.

To my surprise, Meril read it all. Talk about knowing you made the right choice as an author! I seriously count my blessings every day for this.

So, Meril reads my draft manuscripts (she’s usually among the very first to read them before my editor) and then she begins drafting thumbnails. These are very rough, quick sketches to give me an idea of the layout. She explains a bit of each, what she sees as the inspiration and story for each cover. From there we tweak them.

Tweaking can be everything from, “What if she’s holding…” to “I like the third and fifth sketch, can you try to merge them?”

This process can take anywhere from two days to a week, depending on how long I need to stare at them and how many changes are being made.

Following that, Meril moves onto the final sketch with a bit more detail. Once we’re certain we’re on the same page with the final direction she starts rendering. As an author this stage of the process is basically magic to me. Because she transforms (granted, an already amazing rough) into an even more amazing final illustration.

When she’s close to the final she sends it to me (by this point I’ve already poked her for updates because I’m way too excited not to) and we do any last-minute editing like color changes, softening lines, or adding small details.

Once all that is done she sends me the final illustration and I do the text layout on it. And, that’s how the Air Awakens covers come to life!

What’s your favorite cover so far?

I like them all… They each have something that I think is perfect for the book they’re representing about them… I suppose, it’s a toss-up between Earth’s End and Fire Falling. Earth’s End just wows me with the background Meril created, it’s going to be a gorgeous hardcover book. There’s also a lot of teasers in there. But, Fire Falling has Aldrik on the cover, and that’s never a bad thing!

Earth’s End Book Illustration: An In-depth Process

By Merilliza Chan


Hello reader! Welcome to my first blog post.

On today’s topic, I’ll be showing you my journey on how I made the illustration for Elise Kova’s 3rd installment of the Air Awakens series; Earth’s End.

I’ll be covering the initial stages in depth, from thumbnails, artistic insights to design problems and finally to the finished painting.

Are you excited? Me too! Let’s get to it!


Idea Generation

2The one thing we all dread at times is how to come up with ideas. Where do we even begin? I suppose to most artists this part is usually not a problem since creativity tends to just start flowing once we start and get really into it. With Elise’s series it was much easier because the story was already laid out in the open for me to interpret (Elise sends initial manuscript and excerpts for me to read and interpret as I go). But for the most part, sometimes we just get stuck and don’t know what direction to go for. With that said, the initial problem I encountered with this project was proper visualization and relevance.

There are questions that roam my mind during idea generation stage. How do I make sure the cover stays relevant to the story without giving away too much content, along with random ones and others like; what easter eggs should I put in that the readers could go back to notice and enjoy in the cover? What is the mood I’m going to portray? Do I pick out specific scenes or do I go with the abstract route? Etc.  These type of questions usually guide me into conceptual thinking.


Thumbnails in general is a fun part for me. It’s like juggling with the many possibilities and scenarios in the story and envisioning them through very simple drawings where I don’t need to worry too much about technicalities and problem solving.

(Earth’s End initial thumbnails. There’s usually huge blocks of texts below each thumbnail to help my client understand the idea, but for this post I removed it because they indicate a lot of spoilers for the book.)

My thumbnails are usually way messier than this. The type that only I could make sense of what’s actually going on. They normally involve a lot of circle and square shapes. I usually make plenty of the initial scribbles on a scratch of paper (ones that look quite disposable) and then choose the few ones that I liked and transfer them digitally, just to make them a little more readable. There are times I go straight digital when a pen and paper isn’t in sight.

(Click here to see the old thumbnails for Book 1 and 2, Air Awakens and Fire Falling)

So with every cover that I’ve done for Elise, as well as any illustration in general, I always start with thumbnails to get the initial ideas set out, while still trying to keep in mind the many questions I’ve mentioned above.  It’s important to note that in this process I don’t really pay attention to how pretty and well done any of the elements are, just that thought of wanting to put everything down on paper before it gets lost in the abyss of my mind. Though I do make sure that the main elements are somewhat readable, since well, a client is going to look through them.

Preliminary Painting Studies and Reference Gathering

Before I go venturing into the unknown, I want to make sure I’m prepared for the journey. So I did some studies to warm up that artsy area of my brain in the hopes of increasing my chances of actually not screwing up. That, and basically trying to understand trees and forest scenery.

While I waited for Elise to choose a suitable idea, I went and gathered a lot of other forest references. As well as illustrations from various artists I deeply admire. Inspiring illustrations that I think will be relevant to how I’ll go about with this piece. I also have a reference board to help me organize and put everything in place. (I use the program refBoard sampled below).

Final Sketch

Unlike the previous 2 book covers…

Click here to continue reading on Merilliza Chan’s website with even more pictures!


air fallingfire fallingEarths-End-Cover-Only

August 27th 2015                     November 19th 2015                February 11th 2016


Air Awakens Buy Links:

Fire Falling Pre-Order Links:

Thankyou for stopping by, hope you enjoyed it and look out for Fire Falling coming out this week, how exciting I better get my skates on and start reading Air Awakes. Also keep your eyes out for Earth’s End coming in Feb 2016.


Something Strange & Deadly Part Two Discussion Questions

My fellow Waterwitch, Stephanie is conducting a readalong running from OCT 10 – JAN 4. We want people to come together to read or reread Susan Dennard series Something Strange and Deadly to celebrate her fabulous writing. Feel free to join up and there will be giveaways as well.


Q: Were you surprised at who was behind the sudden zombie uprising?

A: OMG yes, should have seen it coming when her brother left that letter in her bedroom or maybe I didn’t want to think it was him after all.

Q: What would you do if you were in the same situation as Elanora and her brother?

A: I don’t have any brothers, only a little sister. We believe there is dark and good magic out there although I wouldn’t go out there and try it because you don’t know what you could conjure up.

Q: What do you think about Daniel’s answer to Eleanor’s question? Do you think he was being honest?

A: Of course not, he is in love with her, their passion kiss told us all but looking at the high class Eleanor isn’t apposed to be with a man who is lower class or in fact a murderer. I hoping they will see each other again and who cares what people say or spread around, if two people love each other so be it. Get over it :).

Q: What was your first impression of Jie?

A: Jie is a woman, I did not see that but it was pretty funny to find out she wasn’t a man after all. I love the scene where she wiped Daniel ass in a card game or more or less she cheated. She a character I love to hang around with although people might get the wrong impression cause she not a man but a women. She fierce, hopeful that Eleanor will return one day, properly cause hanging around men each day and she needs a women to talk to about girlie things with.

Q: Which character were you the most sorry to meet their end?

A: I hate when writers come up with character that are obnoxious, annoying and they get under your skin. But Clarence didn’t deserve the ending he got although I just wished he left town and started a new life. Finding out Elijah was the necromancer and he needed to die for the cruel revenge he plotted on others and trying to make his father proud of him. I did shed a tear for him when he died but even through his body was taken over by Marcus, I am hoping that he still in there able to communicate. Love to learn more about his journey around the world and where he went crazy.

Q: What was the biggest twist in the story for you?

A: When I found out who was the necromancer. I always had in my mind that Clarence had something to do with the zombie uprise and he was being over the top, wanting more protection and wanted to save his sorry ass.

Q: Who is your favourite character in the first book and why?

A: Jie is my favourite character throughout the novel, we heard a little of her past, where she is from but I reckon there more about her. We know about Daniel’s and Joseph’s past but not much on her. I can’t wait till we met her again in future novels.

Q: How would you convince your friends to read this book?

A: Read this novel if you love suspense, surprises and twists and turns. It doesn’t have a lot of zombies if your not overly a fan of zombies. Give this book a try and who knows you may love it or hate it.


I didn’t get the book at the start but I gave this book a chance, it flowed beautifully and enjoyed it very much. I want to thank Stephanie for coming up with is readalong, you are amazing and can’t wait for book 2 question for A Darkness Strange and Lovely readalong. If you haven’t signed up, you can signed up here:

A Darkness Strange and Lovely Part One questions

coming soon


Something Strange & Deadly Part One Discussion Questions

My fellow Waterwitch, Stephanie is conducting a readalong running from OCT 10 – JAN 4. We want people to come together to read or reread Susan Dennard series Something Strange and Deadly to celebrate her fabulous writing. Feel free to join up and there will be giveaways as well.


Q: How do you think you would react to the dead walking around in your city?

A: I freak out over the smallest thing and make a big drama over nothing although zombies are a BIG thing, I’ll have everything in the house barricaded, find anything that I can use as a weapon. Reading has the power to teach you to learn how to defend and fight for survival.

Q: What do you think about the dead? Are you glad it isn’t too Zombie-ish, or were you hoping for a more Zobie-esque theme?

A: To be honest I didn’t know this was a zombie book until my clan was having a discussion one day but to be honest I really didn’t care, books can surprise you in many ways. I love the mix Susan had brought to this first half of the novel a bit of zombies here and there, the gadgets, ghost/spirit and all.

Q: How do you feel about Eleanor as a character?

A: I like Eleanor, she describes me as well, she is very down to earth, she is very curious and wants to get to the truth even if it gets you into trouble at the end of the day. Never good to keep secrets but sometimes you have to protect the ones you love.

Q: What was your first impression of Daniel Sheridan? Joseph Boyer?

A: I love Daniel and Joseph they have something different about them but as a team it works well. Daniel had this cocky rudeness about him but you ignore it and warm up to him. Joseph is sweet, kind, gentle and is a person you look up to.

Q: What was your favourite part of the first half of the book and why?

A: When we met the spirit hunters, everything that was happening with the zombies, séance, the spirit, started to make sense, I started to understand what this book is about.

Q: If you haven’t read this before (or already finished it), what are your theories for the second half of the book OR even the rest of the series?

A: I think Eleanor and spirit hunter will get to the bottom of the truth but I don’t think they will get the ending they wish for. Being a trilogy it’s got to be the beginning of something strange to come. Clarence is hiding something that I can’t put my finger to it yet, can’t wait to find out what he is hiding and her brother Elijah is hiding a dark secret, don’t think he is a zombie but he might be putting the family in danger.

As for the rest of series, I don’t think the zombies aren’t over yet or something more dangerous than zombies will get Eleanor and the spirit hunters thinking.

Q: Bonus: Share with us some of your favourite quotes!

  • “Dead! a women screamed It’s the Dead!”
  •  “My daughter’s biggest vices are curiosity and a fondness for buttered toast.”
  • ‘In an instant I understood Elijah’s favourite line from Macbeth: “There’s daggers in men’s smile.”
  • “Why are you talkin’ like that?” “Like what?” “Like you’re a kitten.” “I thought it mite calm you.” “I don’t need calming,” he snapped.
  •  “Miss Fitt, you know curiosity gets met killed.” I grinned. “Then I daresay it’s good I’m a woman.”
  • I might have to trust Daniel Sheridan, but I didn’t have to like him.
  • Life still needed living even if there was something strange and deadly going on in Philadelphia.
  • Curiosity is a strong fire, and once ignited, it is not easily put out.
  • Grimoires, spirit power, and voodoo. It was more horrifying and fantastic than I’d ever imagined
  • “Do you have a death wish?” “Or do you visit such deadly places by accident?”
  • “Can’t say I’m surprised you were here. You have the curiosity of cat and the common sense of a goldfish.”


So far I’m loving this book and I want to thank Stephanie for coming up with is readalong, you are amazing and can’t wait for the next questions. If you haven’t signed up, you can signed up here:

Part Two coming soon