Book V Cover Update

June 29, 2011

"The Temple of the Exploding Head" by Carol Phillips

The Book V cover is coming along and artist Carol Phillips is ready to start painting which is always fun!

We had a number of challenges to address with this particular cover. First of all–how do we convey the sheer size of the place?? The Temple is a mile long and half a mile wide–that’s a rather large area to say the least. It’s also a thousand feet high and filled with over 100,000 bad guys: the Vatican has nothing on the Temple as far as size goes. To tackle this problem, Carol opted to give the place a slightly more confined, penned-in feel while giving clear indications that there is a lot more Temple than what can be seen at a glance. Also, there’s a constant thunderstorm raging inside the temple, which Carol has boiling up in the heights (I always remember my mother saying to come in from the rain where it’s safe–where no harm can come to you. I wanted it storming on the inside of the Temple as if to say: “It’s NOT safe in here!)

More Designs (Carol Phillips)

I entreated Carol to go over the top on this cover–this is the Temple after all we’ve waited two whole books to get to it and I wanted it to be unabashed in its evil.

Pillar detail (Carol Phillips)

There’s certainly nothing subtle about the Temple. I wanted skulls and leering faces and raging mouths everywhere.

As Carahil has been a usual fixture of the past books, he’s present here in this one as well: can you see him???

I’ve always had a love for the work of Keith Parkinson going way back to my unprincipled D&D days in college and I wanted the cover to be as beautifully creepy as his works used to be (Keith Parkinson’s passing was a great loss for us all)

And then there’s Kay hiding behind a pillar, a fly in this evil ointment. Sort of like when the criminologist comes on in Rocky Horror Picture Show and everybody boos, his presence indicates that the party’s over.

copyright 2011 Ren Garcia and Carol Phillips

Book V Cover Update

June 22, 2011

Carol Phillips is plugging away at the cover for Book V: The Temple of the Exploding Head and it’s coming along nicely.

"The Temple of the Exploding Head" by Carol Phillips

She has the main interior laid out, complete with central dais, pillars, Berserkacide statues and skulls. I’m hoping to convince her to make the back wall nothing but skulls. I was concerned a bit about the width–the Temple is a half-mile wide, however, the composition gives the impression of a rather narrow space, like a cathedral. There is clearly more Temple beyond the pillars and arches, so I can live with the more narrow central area. I love the impression of lofty heights that Carol gives the Temple–too bad most of that will be covered up with dark clouds. It rains inside the Temple.

"The Horned God" by Carol Phillips

There are quite a few missing elements which Carol is adding:

Kay is missing
Sam is also missing
Monama victims in cages swinging from chains
Carahil in chains (Carahil is a constant feature of all five covers so far.)
The gods
Dead bodies everywhere
Killanjo having a rave
Lots of Phallic Symbols
More Phallic Symbols
And, last but not least, the Horned God Himself.

Oh, I can’t wait for this cover–it should make for a memorable conclusion to the TOTEH trilogy.

Copyright 2011, Ren Garcia and Carol Phillips

Book V Update

June 13, 2011

Book V, the exciting conclusion to the Temple of the Exploding Head saga is due to be published in November, and, even though Book IV still hasn’t been released, things are starting to happen!

The manuscript is off at Loconeal for editing. It’s the largest of the three books, topping out at about 120,000 words, it also contains the largest single fight scene I’ve ever written with over 11,000 combatants!!

Concept for the Cover of Book V, by Carol Phillips

Carol Phillips has begun work roughing out concepts for the cover. We usually hash out a number of scenes from the book and pick which one is best, but, in this case, a scene inside the Temple of the Exploding Head is a must. We just need to get the sense of scale right. The Temple is a mile long and half a mile wide with the ceiling about a thousand feet up. It’s so large inside the Temple, it often clouds up and rains (I got that idea when visiting the Astrodome as a boy. I was told the climate had to be carefully controlled otherwise it would rain inside the Astrodome).

As it is the Horned God’s temple, all sorts of horrible things are going on inside, and we’ll have to temper it down a little for the cover. Certainly we’ll have the Horned God himself in the background, along with several Priestesses and a number of sacrificial Monama victims. There will also be a number of captive gods in the scene ready to be handed over to the Horned God’s servants, the Kestrals. I’m debating as to whether or not Sam will be on the cover.

Will Kay be able to put a stop to all this foulness?? We shall see…

Banner and table cable for Book V (art by Fantasio)

I’m also ready to begin pumping out promotional material, banners, table cards, and so on. I should have most of this stuff ready by the Book IV launch Party at Fandomfest in late July.

It all should make for a busy summer.

copyright 2011, Ren Garcia, Carol Phillips and Fantasio

TOTEH: The Temple

April 2, 2011

"The Horned God" by Fantasio

THE TEMPLE OF THE EXPLODING HEAD is a place of mystery and lore on Kana. It is virtually unknown in League learned circles and is wholly disregarded by the Sisterhood of Light, who believe it to be nothing more than pagan nonsense.

The Monama peoples of the south of Kana know of the temple, have hinted at in their ancient writings and whispered of it in their most private moments. They claim it is a place of bluestone deep in the ground where the Horned God lives. They say all of the demons and haunt their nightmares come from the temple. They say it is a nexus of many places given life by the Horned God who is repaid with fire and blood. The Monamas claim his angels have been engaged in bloody worship and sacrifice in the cavernous belly of the temple continuously, without pause or breath, for thousands of years.

The Temple is a deadly place for both the victims dragged there in chains to be sacrificed, and for the worshippers as well, for death can strike anyone at any given moment.

Of all Elder folk on Kana, the men of Calvert know most of the temple, having heard of it from the Monamas, whom they often hire as seers and prostitutes. Whenever space and sea-faring mariners from Calvert come to harm the old salts by the docks shake their head and proclaim: “Another one for the Horned God.”

The great professor from the Calvert University of Dee, Grand Dame Hannah-Ben Shurlamp, EvoR, conducted a seminar on the Temple of the Exploding Head before a gathering of her peers in St. Edmonds, however, she treated the temple as a purely allegorical reference using it to highlight the evils and dangers of sin and unbridled lust. At no time, did the EvoR proclaim the temple as an actual place.

The great Remnath hero, Atrajak of Want, sought out the temple at the behest of his dying wife, Tiverlan of Nebulon, who was a Monama princess. She said all the woe Kana had ever known came from the bloody environs of the temple and she begged him to locate and destroy it. Atrajak searched the whole of Remnath, finding nothing but ghosts and rumors. Eventually, Atrajak came to grips with the Sisterhood of Light at their stronghold of Twilight 4, where he was killed in a terrible battle. His search was the last real effort to locate the temple and discover what is done there.

The Temple of the Exploding Head and the Horned God remain objects of whisper and speculation.

copyright 2011, Ren Garcia and Fantasio