Author Archives: Missy S

About Missy S

Missy Sheldrake is the author/illustrator of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series. She is also a fairy art doll sculptor and a freelance artist working out of Virginia, USA.

Quick Update

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Quick Update

The more I write, the more excited I am to share the next installment of the Keepers of the Wellsprings with all of you. Call of Elespen is currently up to 79,533 words and counting. I’m about to start chapter 24 this morning, and I thought I’d pop in quickly to say hello and let everyone know I’m still here and I’m definitely still writing!

Here’s my favorite tiny snippet from a recent chapter:

     “Rescue?” she whispers.
For a long stretch of silence, she looks me over. Her halfhearted gaze slowly drifts into the vast space above us. I follow, looking up into the chute as far as I can before the walls are swallowed into shadow. She doesn’t have to say a word. The hopelessness she feels hangs heavy in the air around us.
“Even if you could,” she sighs, “to what end?”

I won’t tell you who’s doing the rescue or who’s getting rescued, but I will share with you this sketch, which will definitely appear in the final version:

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Call of Elespen is the fifth and final book of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, due out this November. I’ll be announcing a release date and cover reveal soon, so keep checking back here for updates.

One last thing! Call of Kythshire, book one of the series, will be free to download on Amazon September 12, so if you want to dive into the series before the last book is released, be sure to grab your copy! See you soon!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #104: Author/Illustrator Missy Sheldrake Returns Part 1 of 2

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #104: Author/Illustrator Missy Sheldrake Returns Part 1 of 2

Recently I had a great podcast interview with author Josh Blum. Read more about it on his blog!

The Thirteenth Hour

Episode #104: Author and Illustrator Missy Sheldrake Interview #2 Part 1 of 2

https://archive.org/download/Podcast104_201708/Podcast%20104.mp3

In this week’s episode, fantasy author Missy Sheldrake comes back to the show to catch us up on all the things she’s been up to this past year (find her first interview here).  We spend much of this episode talking about the creative process, how writing takes on a life of its own, illustrating books, and what a shame it is that books for former children tend not to have pictures anymore.

Here are some screenshots from Missy’s Instagram gallery, where she posts pictures of works in process:

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This progression is of her character Tib, who was introduced in Call of Sunteri.

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This guild portrait is the one we’re referring to in the podcast (the one that took 59 hours).  Click on the picture above to go to the actual post on IG.

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Win a Print and a Signed Book!

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Win a Print and a Signed Book!

I had so much fun with the last contest, I decided to offer another one! Enter to win a signed paperback copy of Call of Kythshire (or another book in the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, if you already have that one), AND a print of your choice. I have 8.5″ x 12″ prints of either Flitt, or Tib’s ship up for grabs. These are matted in a 12″ x 16″ white mat.

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AND THIS:

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***UPDATE***

I’ve added more options to enter! Participants can visit me on Facebook or Instagram, send a tweet, or make a comment on the blog post linked in the contest! Good luck!

Click here to visit Rafflecopter and enter!
The contest ends Friday, August 4th at midnight. One lucky winner will be announced the following Monday, August 7. Good luck!

***Continental US only, no purchase necessary.

Call of Elespen Update: New Illustrations!

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Call of Elespen Update: New Illustrations!

I know I’ve been quiet here in blog land, but I have a great excuse. I’ve been busy writing and illustrating Call of Elespen! I’m up to Chapter 13 now, with a total word count of 41,069.

I’m not going to tell you anything at all about the following illustrations, posted in no particular order. I’ll let you wonder what’s happening based on what you see. You can click on each pic to see a larger version.

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Which one do you like the most, and why? Let me know in the comments! Feel free to ask a question if you have one. I’ll answer anything that’s not a spoiler. 😉

All images are Copyright 2017 Missy Sheldrake, so please don’t share without crediting me. 

Win a Print and a Signed Book!

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Win a Print and a Signed Book!

I decided it was high time I had a contest, so here ya go! You can enter to win one print of your choice (out of the two shown above), AND a signed paperback copy of Call of Kythshire! No purchase necessary, but you do have to live in the continental US.  Just click here to visit the contest on rafflecopter to enter!

The contest ends July 8 at midnight EST. One lucky winner will be announced on my Facebook page Monday, June 10. Good luck!

Missy Sheldrake-Call of Kythshire

Inspiration for Elespen…

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Inspiration for Elespen…

If you’ve read my books, you know each title refers to the place where the book is set. The series starts with Call of Kythshire, which focuses mainly on Kythshire and the wide variety of fairies who live in its enchanted glens, forests, and mountains. From there we have traveled to Sunteri, Brindelier, and Hywilkin.

The Known Lands, as I call the world of the Keepers of the Wellsprings, are as vast and varied as our own. Like ours, so are its people, geography, and creatures. Look at the map above, and you’ll notice one continent which has been largely ignored in the series up until now: Elespen.

I’m not sure I’ve made an official announcement yet, and so I’ll take this opportunity to do it. The fifth and final book in the Keepers of the Wellsprings series will be titled Call of Elespen!

Elespen is a land of jungles and deserts, geographically inspired by areas of Africa and India.  I love the idea of long forgotten ruins, overgrown with lush jungle plants and inhabited by stealthy, mysterious magic.

You can see a few more inspiring images on my Elespen Pinterest board.

Elespen has been mentioned a few times in my previous books. Mya was born there, and Tib sailed down its Jairun River on his way to Cerion in Call of Sunteri:

(AUTHOR’S NOTE! Don’t be afraid! The following excerpt is spoiler-free!)

We sail into the mouth of the river they call Jairun. I don’t like it. We move slower here through the center of Elespen. The jungle creeps into the water on both sides of us. Days more of this. Days of watching jungle become village and jungle again, and then sand and only sand as far as I can see. An ocean of sand. Too much like Sunteri. Too much like the home I never wanted to see again. I feel the panic rise in me. I don’t want to be in the desert.

“Sleep.”

Yes, sleep. I curl up in the safety of the fore nest, and when I wake the stars stretch out endlessly above me. Noise. Lapping and chatting. Laughing and shouting. Bargaining. Unloading. The thud of the hull against the pier as they tie it up.

“Boy!” Cap shouts. I slip down the ratlines and drop to his side. The deck is deserted except for the pair of watch guards at the gangway. I stand straight and look Cap in the eye, as he has told me to do. It keeps a man honest, he says, to meet his crew’s eyes.

“Sir!” I shout. He taught me to do that, too.

He tells me I’m a hard worker. I have earned five copper, which he jingles in a pouch. I like the sound of it. I have never held coin before. It has more weight than I expected. He tells me I can go ashore if I want to, and then he goes back below. I peer out at the city. Cresten. Capital of Elespen. It’s different from Zhaghen. Cleaner. Brighter, even in the starlight. Noisy, but the noise is happier. They don’t have towers here to watch and rule over them. Just a castle, low and sprawling. Music drifts merrily from the taverns into the street. People in beautiful colors dance in the glow of torchlight. Others toss coin at them. Even in the night, merchants in booths cook and sell. The aroma is exotic and flavorful. My mouth waters.

I hope you’re as excited as I am to finally get to Elespen, where tribes of elephant riders lurk in the dense jungle, and even the vegetation itself can’t be trusted. I won’t say any more here, you’ll just have to wait until the end of the year when Call of Elespen is released, and read for yourself!

Check back soon for more updates, and be sure to click here and join my mailing list for upcoming contests and promotions!

It’s my Birthday! Presents for everyone!

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It’s my Birthday! Presents for everyone!

That’s right! Today is my birthday and I’m offering Call of Kythshire for free on Kindle!

Missy Sheldrake-Call of Kythshire

It’s the first book in my Keepers of the Wellsprings series, and if you haven’t read it yet, you’re missing out! Follow knight-in-training Azaeli Hammerfel, squire of His Majesty’s Elite, on an adventure to uncover the root of the mysterious curse that has befallen her family. Are fairies to blame for her father’s mysterious madness and her mother’s disappearance, or is something far more sinister to blame?

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His Majesty’s Elite 

If you have read it, tell your friends! Call of Kythshire is free today only! Thanks for helping me celebrate my birthday! Here’s to fairy wishes for great adventures!

Writing and Musical Inspiration: Celli

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Writing and Musical Inspiration: Celli

Celli is one of my more tragic characters. Lured in by Sorcerers and twisted to their ways, she quickly became a thrall and plaything for Quenson, who proved to be a powerful and cruel master. Celli’s tale is deep and moving, and I’ll leave it at that because I really want you to read it for yourself.

Sometimes, I find a piece of music which captures a character perfectly. This piece, called Il bell’Antonio, Tema III is the most perfect soundtrack for Celli’s fall into darkness, especially around 4:54 when the notes start to get scratchy and uncomfortable. I hope you listen to it through until the end, and it inspires you as much as it did me.

 

Cover Reveal, and a Dream Come True

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Cover Reveal, and a Dream Come True

When Christina McMullen, one of my favorite indie authors and a good friend, approached me to work on the cover for her book, I admit I was a bit nervous. I mean, I’ve done commissioned artwork for years, so I’m accustomed to doing artwork for others. And I’ve even done book covers, but they were always for my own books, so it was mostly easy to know what to do.

Still, I’d read an early beta copy of the first few chapters of A Space Girl from Earth, and I was hooked. Ellie was a heroine I could really stand behind, and her story is filled with delicious sci-fi, edge-of-your-seat adventure, and heart-string-pulling romance. Admittedly, I haven’t had a chance yet to read through the final version, but it’s next on my list and I’m itching to get to it.

So, with a just a little trepidation because I felt this was a character who deserved a great portrayal, and because I wasn’t sure I was the one to make that happen, I agreed to paint Ellie for Christina. The result, to my delight, is exactly as I (and Christina, thankfully) pictured her. I’m so excited to finally be able to share the final result with you. Here’s Ellie!

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Click the cover to preorder A Space Girl From Earth

Christina was so happy with all of the details I added to Ellie, that she created a separate cover for the Kindle edition of the book with a close-up:

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Click the cover to visit Christina’s blog and read more!

 

I had so much fun working on all of the little details, like the doodles on Ellie’s shoes, and her blue nail polish, and of course her glowing spots!

You can read more about the book, which is now available for preorder, on Christina’s blog. Christina also has some preview chapters up for grabs, so make sure you visit her blog for more info!

Now, as for the second part of the title of this post… a dream come true. Last night when I was reflecting on the anticipation of today and this exciting cover reveal, something occurred to me. Back in my college days, I studied under a sci-fi cover artist named Abe Echevarria. He was my mentor, and he encouraged me to focus on Illustration as a career. Here are a couple of examples of his work:

At the time, I worked hard to hone my skills and emulate his style. I dreamed that one day I could be a freelance illustrator and have my artwork on fantasy book covers. This was back in a time before digital art, when covers were hand-painted with oils or acrylics and canvases were rolled up and shipped to the publisher to be processed for printing. I romanticized what the life of a freelancer would be like, and imagined myself one day in my own studio, negotiating contracts with publishers and seeing my artwork on store shelves. But abstract painting lured me away, and my focus on illustration faded. I spent my graduate studies in the fine art painting studio, and left illustration behind.

How amazing that the faded dream just ended up falling into place, and here I am twenty years later, with my artwork on the cover of someone else’s novel!. And it’s a trilogy, so I’m really looking forward to painting more covers for Christina soon!

Finally, I’d love to share a fun little video of my process. I do all of my artwork on the Procreate app on my iPad Pro, which records time-lapse videos as I work. If you watch closely, you can see all of my reference images popping in and out of the canvas, along with Christina’s suggestions and comments on some of the images. You’ll notice that I sometimes sketch over the reference images to make sure I get proportions and certain features right. This was one of the techniques Mr. Echevarria taught me, though back in college we used vellum, light tables, and projectors for the same process. I really love technology!

If you’d like to discuss cover art or other commissioned pieces, please feel free to contact me through my website: http://www.missysheldrake.com