More Never Heroes News

Never Heroes, my fantasy novel continues to near completion as the days go on, and as the days go on my excitement for this book grows more and more.

Yesterday I completed a tedious pre-final edit to send to my partner in crime, my book editor. I was concerned about chapters 18 and 19 since they amount to one giant fight scene between my hero and the main villain. My new edits were aimed at keeping the action fresh and filled with variety so it doesn’t get repetitive. I’m pretty happy with it so far, and my editor will only help it improve more.

Just as exciting is the progress made on our cover. Our talented illustrator, Joseph Buehrer, completed one of our prominent supporting characters, the elven wizard Hunter ‘Sparks’ Nightshadow. Though this character was of some concern to us when he first started the illustration, we’re both pretty well pleased with the result.


The background on which the characters will be composited together was started today, a mountain range on sunset with our city of Ganbury and the five moons, visible in the upper left hand corner of the picture. Though the necessary details have not been added just yet, this does capture the general feel the final picture will have, from its rich colors to the spectacular landscape.


This picture will not only take up the front cover, but also the back cover. The left side will remain untouched, while the right side will have the individual images of the characters added in for the final Drew Struzan style collage. In its own, it already promises to be spectacular enough. It will be a shame to cover up this image. We’ll try to keep plenty of it visible.

Now all we need is the image of our leading man, or rather our leading dragon. Creature creator David Spada sent in these sample doodles on which our hero could be modeled after. We decided to go with the highlighted one. He’s already looking pretty hansom in these early stages.

Zhyx Cover Tests

I have no doubt in my mind that this cover will be glorious when it’s finished. I’ll keep you posted as more work comes in.

Thanks for reading.


Joseph Buehrer Character Artwork

A lot of work has gone into this, but the page detailing my illustrator, Joseph Buehrer’s concept sketches for some of the leading characters of Never Heroes is at last up to date. Now featuring new text and artwork, this article features all of Joseph’s hard work with characters ranging from orphans to soldiers, from elves to orcs, all created in loving detail. These concept sketches have come in handy for our more detailed illustrations.

Please swing by and check out this article if you have the time. It is a real feast for the eyes.

Joseph Buehrer Character Designs

Unexpected Surprise From My Illustrator

Sometimes the little things in life bring you so much pleasure.

My illustrator Joseph Buehrer is an artist of high standards. He always strives for the absolute best when it comes to his work, even after it is supposedly finished.

The illustration for chapter 1 of the Never Heroes fantasy/adventure series he is helping on was one of the biggest moments in the history of this project so far. Finished last year, it became a favorite piece of ours to show off, and putting it on here greatly aided in the site’s traffic.

I was satisfied with it. Joe wasn’t quite finished.

A few days ago he sent me a message, saying he wasn’t satisfied with the image given how much the quality the illustrations has increased, especially since last December. So, he tweaked the image until it was more up to the standards of the current work and sent me the update. Here it is.

Never Heroes Chapter 1

I must say, the updates were most thrilling to see, the most obvious being the new scale pattern in our dragon protagonist’s neck and chest, and the added detail and color to his great horned crown. I don’t have the HD version of this picture just yet, but will add it to the Chapter 1 Illustration page once it becomes available. In the meantime, I hope this SD version will satisfy your dragon needs.

Updates on the book cover coming soon. Thanks for reading.

Why I Didn’t Read Fantasy While Preparing to Write Fantasy


Watching the cover for my first book slowly take shape has been very exciting. The three characters shown here, (left to right, River the Flatlander, Major Celice and Professor Blondie) appear more lifelike as the days go by. Once they and their fourth companion are finished, it is on to putting in the leading character, creating the background, and add ing whatever other elements are needed. After organizing them into an appropriate collage, that will capture the essence of Never Heroes.

I find it quite interesting that this most precious work of mine is a fantasy story, as fantasy was not a genre that interested me initially. Even when the Lord of the Rings movies first hit theaters, my reaction was one of general boredom. Fantasy never held that great an influence over me prior to high school, where a friend introduced me to Dungeons & Dragons and the rest is history.

I suppose that is one of the more interesting things about this particular pipe dream. Never Heroes was influenced by just about everything but fantasy. As you can read in the Inspirations and Influences article, this series was inspired by everything from the Indiana Jones movies, to Godzilla, to the Cthulhu Mythos, to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Of classic fantasy literature however, with the works of Tolkien, Rowling and Martin, their influence over the adventures in Haiden is relatively small.

This is partially to blame on the media I consumed as a kid. The genres that had the biggest influence on me as an adolescent boy were action movies, science fiction movies, and horror stories. You take all of those in, you start getting certain ideas about how stories work and what they should be. But I could have done research into the genre once I took this project seriously. That was a conscious decision on my part.

I attended a Q & A one of my old professors was in whilst in college. When asked about the originality of stories, said that “The audience expects not only convention, but innovation. You follow certain genre conventions, but also try and do something fresh with it to make your story stand on its own. Everything has been done, but not in every way.”

Convention and innovation. I had once thought the two were mutually exclusive. The idea of using them both in unison was a new and challenging idea, one I decided to test when writing Never Heroes.

I haven’t read all of the Harry Potter books, only read a few lines of the Middle Earth Saga, and have never laid a finger upon the covers of A Song of Ice and Fire or Dragonlance. It is tragic loss that will be corrected in due time, but only after I am sure this story has found a voice of its own.

While it is fun to be compared to artists you admire, art really is about self expression. I didn’t want to write something that seemed like it was trying to be Tolkien or Rowling. I wanted the world of Tygan to be a world all its own, that took inspiration from just about the last places anyone would expect for a fantasy story. It is a move that will hopefully set it apart from the rest of the genre, and create something that is unmistakably me.

Isn’t that what every story is meant to be?