Category Archives: Illustrations

Mya: His Majesty’s Elite

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Mya: His Majesty’s Elite

I’m so excited to announce that my latest book is coming out in less than a month! Mya is a minor character in the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, but, like all of my characters, I knew her story went far deeper than I could venture within the tale of that series. Little did I know, she would bring me on a journey I never could have anticipated! Here’s a little taste of her story, and my upcoming book: Mya.

Her voice is her power.

As the daughter of a vagabond scoundrel, aspiring minstrel Mya has spent her childhood wary of her magical voice while traipsing through dangerous jungles in pursuit of her father’s dream—fortune and glory.

She never imagined Pa’s latest scheme would have her tangling with thieves, sailing across the world on a ship full of pirates, kissing a prince, meeting the foxy elf of her dreams (literally), and dodging the grasp of the most dangerous Sorcerer in Cerion, all the while wondering: Where is Pa?

A mysterious note promising he’ll meet her soon pushes Mya toward options she never considered before. She could go on living at the mercy of her father’s endless plots, or create the home she’s longed for in Cerion, and finally embrace the power of her own voice.

Coming October 12 to Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Nook, and book retailers everywhere.

This exciting prequel to the Keepers of the Wellsprings series focuses on young Mya as she journeys to Cerion for the first time.

 

 

Mya will be available in paperback through Amazon, and special edition hardcover through Ingram.

I’m proud to share my Author’s Sketchbook with you in this very special hardcover edition of Mya: His Majesty’s Elite! Available exclusively in the hardcover edition, the Author’s Sketchbook includes over 20 original sketches I drew during my writing process. Sketching keeps my creativity flowing and helps me sort out characters and places in my mind. Here are a couple of example sketches included in this exciting edition:

 

In this epic fantasy adventure, you’ll be taken on a whirlwind journey across a world unlike any other. Are you ready to meet Mya, one of His Majesty’s Elite?

 

An excerpt from Mya: His Majesty’s Elite

Dear Pa,

Did you know you sent me to Cerion aboard a pirate ship? I’ve never seen greed like this, or danger. But I’m learning how to handle it.

At first, as usual, the men on board were afraid of me. They kept me confined to my cabin and didn’t allow me out. That was fine with me, because you instilled a fear of the sea into me that I still appreciate. But the tides changed about halfway through the voyage (that was an intentional pun—I know how you like them), and they came to see how valuable I could be aboard their ship. I took to singing to heal, Pa, and it worked well, and they kept me on that duty for a while.

But pirates are greedy. You know that as well as I do. Once their fear of me was gone, they tried to command me. The captain called me to the helm, ordering me to sing at their enemies and keep them in pain. He wanted me screaming like I did to save the ship from nearly being lost— I’ll tell you about that later. I talked him out of it, though. After the first attack, I had to coax him each time to let me go to my cabin in peace. But I still had to listen to it. I still heard talk later as the crew bragged and boasted of their victories.

Nine ships, Pa, and countless men brutalized by their swords and their Mage.

I won’t talk about it to you. Not right away. Maybe in time. I fear the anger in my voice would hurt you.

I’m not proud that I hid in my room through most of it. Every time it happened, I couldn’t help but think maybe I could have talked them out of attacking, just like I talked them into leaving me out of it. I could have convinced them to sail away and leave those innocents to their own journeys. I was afraid, though, that I’d fail to convince them, that they’d see through my efforts to control, that I’d end up being the one run through with a blade and cast into the sea. Cort said that was likely. That I had to think of myself and keep myself safe. That no amount of talking would change a lifetime of habits, not even with my ability.

If it wasn’t for him, for Cort, I think I might have lost my mind on this ship. You owe him a great debt, Pa. He kept my spirits up and watched over me, far more than Paewyn did.

Paewyn. She’s another story altogether. You’ve got to watch her if you want to keep her. Her eyes wander too far, she goes way too deep into her cups. She’s gotten better as we get closer to the journey’s end, but for most of the trip, she was totally unhinged.

I think partly she was jealous. The crew admires me, and I let them, mostly to keep myself safe until we see Cerion’s shores. Did you know pirates are excellent tailors? Cort says it’s because they loot so much fine fabric. That’s why they dress so bright and rich. They’ve made me such lovely dresses, Pa. I hope you’ll let me keep at least one. I’ve never owned anything so exquisite, that fit me so well. They’d suit me well for my performances in Cerion, I think.

That is your plan, isn’t it? For me to sing at the competitions? Paewyn has said so. Whenever she’s sober, she keeps me practicing my lute and writing as many songs as I can think to write. I can’t wait to play for you and show you how much I’ve learned.

Thankfully, the voyage is nearly over. I hope in all my life I will never step foot on a ship again. The fear of being cast off it is too much to bear. The vastness of the sea, just like you said, is dreadful.

That reminds me…I’d like to know how you made the voyage to Cerion. I can’t imagine with your fear of water that you’d manage the journey this way. Why did you decide we shouldn’t go together, and why did you send Paewyn with me instead? Did you pay for a Mages’ portal? That would make sense. I know they’re very expensive and even with all of our things sold, you wouldn’t have been able to pay for me, too.

That’s all I can think of these last few days. That, and how much I’m looking forward to seeing you. I know you had your reasons, and I did learn some things, Pa. I’m trying to be reasonable and be grateful, like Paewyn says I should be, but I’ve missed you so much and I really need to understand why you left me for so long. I’m not angry—well, maybe I am, but only a little. Truthfully, I can’t wait to have my feet on solid ground again, and to hug you. I’ve missed you since the Millers. Two months and more is a long time to be apart.

See you in Cerion.
Your Songbird,
Mya

 

Presenting the Art of the Keepers of the Wellsprings 2019 Calendar!

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Presenting the Art of the Keepers of the Wellsprings 2019 Calendar!

Featuring hand-selected, full color, high-resolution illustrations…

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I’m beyond excited to offer this collection of illustrations to my readers, which is the first time they have ever been printed in FULL COLOR, the way I intended them! Whether you enjoyed my series via paperback or Kindle, these are scenes from the books like you have never seen them before.

The lulu site has a great reputation for excellent customer service, but their calendar preview requires flash, which I know is a problem for IOS users. Don’t worry! I have created a gallery on my website that allows everyone to browse through all of the enchanting images featured in the calendar. Click here to view the preview on my website.

Discover the rich world of Author/Illustrator Missy Sheldrake’s Keepers of the Wellsprings series. This stunning spiral-bound wall calendar will capture your imagination and whisk you into the epic story readers are calling “a high-fantasy Harry Potter.”

Best of all, it’s on sale now at a special introductory price of 30% off list: just $17.49! (plus shipping and tax where required)

Get Your Calendar Here!


In other news…

Mya

Introducing young Mya! I’ve been hard at work writing her story, and let me tell you, she is not at all what I expected she’d be at 13 (going on 14) years old. This future leader of His Majesty’s Elite is quite a handful!

I’m still in the early stages of my draft, so I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to estimate a release date for a while. I promise it’s going to be amazing, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

If you’d like some sneak peeks and more regular updates, I invite you to follow me on Facebook  and Instagram. Come on over and see what I’ve been up to. See you soon!

Local Missy Sightings

Before I say goodbye for now, I have one last bit of exciting news. I’ll be setting up a booth at the 2018 Clifton Day Festival here in Northern Virginia on October 7. I plan on signing books and calendars, and offering lots of paintings from my studio! I might even have a fairy or two there with me. If you’re local to the area and plan to attend Clifton Day, I’d love it if you stopped by and said hello.

Thanks for reading all the way to the end! Fairy wishes for great adventures until I see you again. ❤

(This message was originally sent to my mailing list on September 16. If you’d like to sign up for email updates, click here. Thanks!)

I’m Still Writing!

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I just wanted to write a quick note to let everyone know I’m still here, and I’m still writing! The conclusion of the Keepers of the Wellsprings is taking up every bit of my time and energy, leaving little time for blog posts.

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The majority of the book is already in the hands of my trusted beta readers, and is so far very well received. This ending is going to be EPIC, and I’m really excited to get it out to the rest of you.

I’m still hoping to release in November. Keep an eye here for news, and as always, I’d love to hear from you. Post a comment here to say hello or ask a question, or send me an email if you’d like! See you soon!!

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!

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.

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

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!

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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