Bordewich Bray Elementary School teacher Kinkade DeJoseph discusses Carson High School senior Edwin Iza's cover design during a presentation in teacher Patricia Ababio's graphic design class at Carson High School.
A second attempt always brings more confidence – and a much fuller plate for Bordewich Bray Elementary School teacher and author Kinkade DeJoseph.
DeJoseph soon will release the second book in his planned six-part fantasy novel series, “The Raven and the Crow: The Gray Throne,” under his pen name Michael K. Falciani after his first book came out last June. The publication again incorporates the illustrations completed by students of Carson High School’s graphic design teacher Patricia Ababio after the initial partnership for his first effort was a success.
“This one continues right where the last one left off,” DeJoseph said of the new story. “It takes time for these things to release. I finished it this past April, and I’ve been working on a third book.”
His first story, “The Raven and the Crow: Dark Storm Rising,” introduced vigilante brothers Kildare and Zedaine who encounter Chameleon, a tribeswoman who demonstrates psychic abilities and holds a riddle that can change the fate of the world. Meanwhile, Macklore, a wizard of Brisbane, is dispatched to the city of Gallanse and winds up marked for death. Macklore must use his wits to survive and fights to keep the demented ruler Dragomir from achieving the throne.
Both plotlines, DeJoseph said, continue on and merge in “The Gray Throne.”
The process has been a creative reprieve outside of teaching, but to give himself a break from the series, DeJoseph began working on an unrelated story last summer, “The Dwarves of Rahm: Omens of War,” which he describes as a “steampunk dwarven universe” aimed at casting his characters with a more humanlike quality. The book is planned for release by this fall, plus he has another short story due at the end of February, he said.
“My publisher is very excited about all of them,” he said.
But for his original “Raven and the Crow” series, DeJoseph was able to manage a little more of the project himself and had an equally difficult time narrowing down the winner for his cover. DeJoseph spent time Zooming with Ababio’s students and in class to determine the concept of the cover art. While he could only choose one winner with a backup, he said ultimately none of the students truly “won” or “lost” in designing the final representation because all their ideas culminated and were reflected as a collaborative effort.
“I’m excited, and once again it was great to work with the kids at the high school,” he said. “Mrs. Ababio was fantastic. She’s wonderful, really professional and great to work with.”
For his winning design on “The Gray Throne,” Carson High senior Edwin Iza, 17, earned a contract with Three Ravens Publishing Co. for DeJoseph’s new installment while senior Morigan Ruffner’s design was selected as a runner-up for later use if needed.
Iza explained it wasn’t easy to create the right look at first, applying his Photoshop skills.
“Trying to make a book cover with everything he wanted was a little challenging because I was initially taking a book and making it look real,” Iza said. “My favorite part about on this on this book cover was seeing the picture slowly come together like a puzzle. … When I got chosen, I was surprised because some of my peers had some great artwork that could have won, but it all came down to how Mr. DeJoseph wanted the book cover to look like.”
Ruffner, who enjoys drawing as a hobby and dedicates her free time to sculpture in the school’s pottery studio, said she enjoyed more of the intricate details of the task at hand, incorporating her typography skills and color studies she picked up from Ababio’s classes.
“There were several suggestions and requests he had when it came to what he wanted for the cover initially as well as an additional round of more personalized suggestions after we sent in our first designs,” Ruffner said. “My favorite part was probably working with the lighting in my piece. I really enjoy working with complex lighting scenarios.”
While the styles from Ababio’s class were creative, varying in artistic choices from anime to comic book in nature, ultimately DeJoseph said he and his publisher knew they would have to require something a little more realistic. They selected the final illustration with a secondary in the event of a future re-release, he said.
“This time, the quality was better,” he said. “(The students had an example) of what we were looking for … and (the samples) were just beautiful. … I was so impressed. It was a fun, heartwrenching process. I hope they keep doing this. There’s definitely a field for this.”
DeJoseph’s editor, who also teaches at Dayton Intermediate School in neighboring Lyon County School District, has used his books in her classroom but also has worked in New York.
“She said, ‘I want these kids to see just because you’re from a tiny little place in Nevada doesn’t mean somebody from there can’t direct a movie or write a book,’” he said.
The new book will be available on Feb. 18 on Kindle, in hard copy and in Audible on Amazon. “The Raven and the Crow: Dark Storm Rising” also remains available.
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