Some opening thoughts on The Lady Mephistopheles…

…and the next Terra Drake novel

While working on the second Terra Drake novel, Terra’s Sabbath (working title as of now), I have realized that Terra is such a force that a third and final book may be necessary. I don’t know yet. What I do know is that she truly is living addiction. She is the hell we all face each day with any demon we fight. While she represents lust more than anything else, like any king or queen demonic figure, she’s easily able to move into the extremes of alcoholism, robbery, betrayal, murder. All of it with sinister glee.

The first book’s original title was C19. For Covid, of course. And as much as I tried to be subtle with the title’s ominous pitch, my publisher made the spot-on point: everyone is sick to death of Covid. Truth! And we are still sick to death of it as it seems to just linger on and on. So, The Lady Mephistopheles was chosen.

As much as I can go on and on about the creation of the book and its many characters – each one a different piece of horror itself – I will end this entry with the story of the book’s cover model. A Russian model of all things, who lives in Moscow. Her name is Alfiia, and she is the embodiment of Terra Drake. Visually that is.

As the book was nearing its final editing stages back and forth with the publisher, Terry Wright, every image we found never hit the mark of what the demon woman should look like. Out of desperation, I ended up asking my wife for help. Within the hour she sent me a link of the image that became the cover. But I had to get permission to use it. As easy as my wife found her, I had to keep digging for permission. I started with Facebook, and no luck there. Then followed some Instagram links with no luck. Nothing on Twitter. Nothing on any social media site until I found Russia’s equivalent of Facebook, VK (Vkontakte).

It took no time to find Alfiia’s husband on VK so I sent a message to him asking if it would be possible to use his wife’s photography. He messaged me back within a few hours and told me what an honor it was for such a request. He talked to Alfiia, who immediately gave permission for not only the cover shot, but every image that is now on my website.

The rest is history.

Until the next entry, stay frightened!


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