Spoke with the cover artist yesterday; he has asked for another week to mock up a couple of options. I imagine it will take at least another week, if not two, once I've chosen a cover design, for him to complete it. I feel nervous about the possibility that I might not even make an August 1 publication date, but I really want this cover artist so am trying to calm down and roll with the punches.
In the meantime, here is another brief excerpt from Awakening:
To someone who had not grown up surrounded by money, power and fashion, the opera house might have been overwhelming. There was enough wealth represented in the gold balustrades and crystal chandeliers, not to mention the original paintings and sculpture, to have fed a small country for a year. Add to that the cost of the designer gowns, often embellished with precious stones and dyed in rich, deep colors, and you could throw in a motorbike for every person in said hypothetical country.
But Lilly had been raised amongst such people and places. To her it was not overwhelming. It was not even beautiful or opulent or fascinating. At best it was boring. At worst, disgusting. It represented to her all that was wrong with the world: the selfishness, the thoughtlessness, the hording and exposition of wealth that the few controlled while the many went hungry or homeless or unclothed. The wealthy accumulated wealth in order to accumulate power, which they used to get more wealth, and on and on. A snake eating its own tail. A gilded, glittering, brightly-colored snake, but a snake nonetheless.
For a moment, as she sipped her glass of Dom Pérignon, Lilly let herself imagine that the lobby of the opera house was the mouth of such a snake. The dark red walls and drapes helped along the impression. The chandeliers would be the snake’s teeth. The grand staircase in the middle of the room, perhaps its tongue, though forked at the back of the mouth instead of the front. The silk-clad figures standing in small clusters around the room…spots? Pieces of the snake’s last meal, more like. And standing at the base of the tongue, beckoning to her, was Torren Frisk.