Meet Sunshield's sequel: FLOODPATH.
From the outset, I envisioned The Outlaw Road as a two-part story---book one, where I set up and then broke apart my protagonists, and book two, where they have to figure out how to rebuild themselves. Despite Sunshield releasing in the early chaos of COVID-19, its sequel is in its final stages of editing and is on track to release in March of next year. This is your first look!
As a reminder, here is the cover of Sunshield:
We have Lark's buckler, shining with sunlight, set over a panorama of the desert below. So how did the design team take this cover to the next level?
Check it out! The fracturing shield! The breaking glass! The spattered water! The atriums of Tolukum Palace rising from the trees! I love what the design team did here to tie into the symbolism of broken identities and growing crises.
Want a peek into those crises? Here's the back cover summary:
The epic fantasy adventure begun in Sunshield races to its thrilling conclusion in this imaginative finale in which the fate of four extraordinary young people—and their nations—will be decided.
When their hopes for ending Moquoia’s brutal system of bondage are crushed, unlikely allies Lark and Veran are forced to flee into the harsh desert. With no weapons or horses, they must make their way to safety across the 50-mile expanse of waterless plains known as the water scrape. It is an odyssey filled with unexpected dangers that challenge even a skilled outlaw like Lark—though the farther they travel, the more she wonders if she even fits the fearsome title of the Sunshield Bandit anymore.
Injured in the coup to overthrow the Moquoian monarchy, Tamsin, accompanied by Iano, retreat to a safe house, where they await the return of Lark and Veran. Determined to uncover the traitor in the court, they devise a plan to confront the new palace ashoki, Kimela.
Imperiled by wilderness and their own tenuous alliances, Lark, Tamsin, and Veran each face massive risks to uncover the truth. But even if they find it, will their combined forces be strong enough to stop the evil infecting their beautiful land . . . and transform it into a fairer society for all?
Floodpath comes out March 23, 2021. You can pre-order it here or through your favorite book retailer. In the meantime, pick up Sunshield from your local bookseller or library (order it through Turning Page Bookshop to support an independent Black-owned bookstore in my state!). And if you're looking for signed copies---and maybe a free bookmark, if they're still in stock---try one of these indie sellers:
July Art Roundup
Rose, Tamsin, and Veran speedpaints, plus a lot of mermaid paintings I can't show you yet.
What I'm Reading:
Emily B. Martin
Author and Illustrator