The designs should meet requirements for the publication channels which I will be using, including Amazon and Smashwords for the ebook, and Createspace for the print edition.
I have a very specific vision of the basic details for my cover, but there is plenty of room for creativity. I am looking for original art because I don't see how this cover could be properly done with stock imagery, but feel free to try and prove me wrong.
The cover needs to be 13x9 with an image of a young girl filling the front of the cover. She looks about 15-17 in age, but the expression on her face should more closely resemble an older countenance (an old soul). She has somewhat short wild coppery red hair and bright green eyes.
She is climbing a tree to escape the Ravus, immortal undead sent to hunt her by their master. Here's the excerpt from the book that describes the scene I would like you to capture:
She was caught in a ring of three concentric, rapidly shrinking walls of undead fiends. His trembling captain stood at the rear, waiting to bind the trapped starling as the dark cage descended upon her. He did not want to take her this way, but she had been too nimble, too perceptive, and too swift to catch any other way.
He could see her eyes now through the mind of the Ancient, flashes of green distinguishing themselves from the verdant collage around her. Fear burned with rage in the eyes of the dirty child, dressed in ragged clothing. She had stopped her flight and stood waiting. The monsters he had sent to retrieve his prize strained against their bonds, and he fought to contain the wave of greed and desire her dazzling soul inspired. He commanded them to slow, but did not stop their approach. Months of pursuit had taught him not to underestimate what she could do. Too much space and she would slip right through the cracks, no matter how small.
Straining to maintain the balance, the first ring now encircling the child nearly shoulder to shoulder, he gave the command to his oldest and foulest monster.
Send Captain Ramkehr forth to restrain her, and close the gaps as he passes.
His captain, with palpable trepidation began to squeeze through the lines, tightly gripping the physical bonds that were meant for the slippery forest nymph. A grimace lined the young captain’s face, his sorrow written upon them, as his eyes fell upon the frightened and desperate child.
“I am sorry,” he whispered to her as he moved past the final line of the undead minions who served his Master.
“Don’t be,” she spat at him with a mocking grin that suddenly captured her features as she spun around and launched up the trunk of one of the great giants of the Wood. The Captain risked an exultant smile of his own as his eyes traced her impossibly fast ascent up the featureless trunk. The boughs high above trembled as she wove through the maze of countless limbs that cloaked her in green. He shook his head in admiration of her bravery and in pity for the futility of it.
Luckily I happened across a picture of a world famous climber, Chris Sharma climbing a towering redwood. His posture and the perspective perfectly fit the dimensions I'm looking for. I do not have ownership of the photo and therefore let it only serve as inspiration for the final product. I've included it for reference (I cropped it to 13x9 and zoomed it in from the original to give you a sense of what I'm after.
Here's a video link of Chris climbing the trunks. This should give you the sense of the forest my character lives in and the dynamic movement her climbing would look like:
My character should be looking up with a mixture of fear and anger in her face. Let me add, she is strong and determined not a wilting flower, which I hope you got form the excerpt. She has pale skin and a small build and toned athletic physique (nothing too overdone and not big chested). Her face is the critical focal point of interest; it should be hauntingly beautiful, with piercing eyes.
Below I want the ring of undead men clad in black with bare heads circling about the tree in the forest below. I've imagined the skin on their faces to be tight--somewhat skeletal--and of a greyish tint, though not to overly grotesque. I'm looking for intimidating more than ghoulish.
Captain Ramkehr is also down below (at the foot of the tree) looking upward with wide eyes as described in the excerpt. It is important to stress he is a regular human man with dark hair and dark eyes. He is a somewhat sympathetic character and NOT a monster.
I understand that they will all be far below and so these details will not be as distinct as the girl's face. I really want the ring of Ravus around the tree to be distinct.
The forest in the picture is good, and the trunks towering upward gives a great sense of scale. The ground cover should look more untouched (lush and covered in ferns) and not covered in footpaths however.
Also, I particularly like the hands pinch gripping the rough bark, it would be great if that is mimicked (albeit with more diminutive hands).
Finally, this book cover needs effective contrast and eye-catching lighting that will draw the eyes when scaled down to a thumbnail on amazon.
I'm excited to see some beautiful art!! Thanks for you consideration!
I was asked about my female character's clothing, so here is a little additional info:
I would like to add that the era is medieval/dark ages. My character (Myo is her name), lives in the woods alone. She has some access to civilization, but her clothing has taken a beating. She is very active physically, and so I would ask you clothe as you deem appropriate. I picture her in breeches and a tunic, somewhat frayed and worn.