Fourteen-year-old Angel Cerillos is stuck living with foster parents at a second-rate desert motel while his mother is in the hospital. Despite threats from a local rancher and his greedy foster father, Angel is determined to scour the harsh desert for turquoise nuggets that could pay for his mom’s care. Without them, all he has of value is a carved, two-headed turquoise serpent, left to him by his mysterious father. It’s a hard life. But the desert spirits are awakening, and the mythic power of his dragon talisman spins Angel into terrifying danger.
For Dragons of Desert and Dust, the author wanted a cover to tie in with a companion title, Dragons of Frost and Fire, using the brown tones of the New Mexico deserts and the turquoise of Angel's dragon talisman.
We began with a photograph of the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, darkening it to provide a more mysterious atmosphere, and enhancing the blue-green tones of the stalagmites in the background.
Next we took a photograph of a lizard's eye, consistent with the companion novel Dragons of Frost and Fire, and colored it turquoise. We then placed this over an arch in the cave and blended it into the cave wall to give the appearance of a dragon, its mouth open, the stalactites and stalagmites forming the dragon's teeth.