Tag Archives: illustrator

It’s my Birthday! Presents for everyone!

Standard
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?

IMG_0958

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!

Cover Reveal, and a Dream Come True

Standard
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!

ASGfEPaperback

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:

A Space Girl From Earth Kindle Cover.jpg

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

 

Prepping for the Last Book

Standard
Prepping for the Last Book

Guess what?! I just finished reading through the entire Keepers of the Wellsprings series and taking notes for Book 5, which will be the last book in the series! 😢 This illustration represents one of my favorite moments in Call of Hywilkin. 💜💙 If you’ve read it, you’ll understand why!

Over the next few days, I plan to read over my notes and finalize a plan, and hopefully by next week I can really get to work writing! Wish me luck!

Call of Hywilkin illustration

Illustration for Call of Hywilkin, Keepers of the Wellsprings Book 4

It’s today!! Call of Hywilkin is here!

Standard
It’s today!! Call of Hywilkin is here!

Author’s Note: This post was written before coffee.

It’s release day! I can’t stand it, I’m so excited!! Call of Hywilkin is finally available for sale on Amazon, and you are definitely in for a treat if you get it! You’re going to meet so many amazing characters and go on such an adventure!

You’ll meet Wyvern:

Call of Hywilkin illustration

“Talk plain to me. You know I don’t like all that frilly talk.”

 

 

And Tulya:

Call of Hywilkin illustration

“I am not porcupine.” 

And Kenrick:

ch_18_kenrick-1

“Mentalism, my dear, is not like other schools of magic.”

And Pippa:

Ch_15_Pippa-(1).jpg

“How can I keep it out when it is all I ever see? Night. Always, night.”

And you’ll travel with old favorites like Azi and Rian:

 

Call of Hywilkin illustration

“A screech from the darkness…a strange glow fills the space like cool, blue moonlight.”

Flitt:

Call of Hywilkin illustration

“Want to play?”

And of course, Tib!

Call of Hywilkin illustration

“I just want to do what I want, and I don’t want to answer to anyone.”

And don’t forget Celli and Quenson!

Ch_19_snow_scene (1).jpg

“What have you done to this girl? What dark magic is this?”

You can order Call of Hywilkin by clicking  here.

All the other books in the series are available for free today only! (March 3, 2017) Click here to download them!

 

Less Than a Week to Go!

Standard
Less Than a Week to Go!

EVERYONE! I am so excited for the week ahead. Call of Hywilkin has its official release this Friday, March 3. To celebrate, I’ll be offering Call of Kythshire, Call of Sunteri, and Call of Brindelier for free for that one day only!

Are you ready to explore Hywilkin? Here’s a desktop wallpaper I made with some of my favorite illustrations from the book. Feel free to download it and use it (personal use only, please)!

Wallpaper.jpg

My website is all ready to go, with a face lift to match the color scheme of the new book. I invite you to read an excerpt from the book (spoiler-free) and check out the illustration gallery (not so spoiler-free).

This week also happens to be #RobotPartyWeek. I’m told it has nothing to do with robots or parties, but anyone following the hashtag on Twitter will find free books from fantastic indie authors! Check it out this week, the week of Feb 26-March 4.

Speaking of #RobotPartyWeek, my friend and fellow indie Christina McMullen has a few things planned over on her Vampires & Robots blog. Says she: “All week long, I’m featuring new releases from a variety of sci-fi and fantasy authors. We’ve got flying cars, snarky adventure seekers, pantsless elves, and an outspoken fairy. Plus, alien robots from outer space run amok and only the book world can save us!”

I’m also working on a fun interview between Flitt and a character created by author Ember Winters which she’ll be posting this Friday, and I’ll have a fun Realm Explorers by Annie Douglass Lima interview going up March 6 telling all about the Known Lands.

With all that to look forward to, it’s going to be a great week! What do you have going on? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Book 4, Draft 2 Finished!

Standard
Book 4, Draft 2 Finished!

I’m excited to announce that I’ve finished my second draft of Call of Hywilkin! That means all that’s left to do is some proofreading, formatting, and making sure my illustrations are spaced through the book in a way that makes sense.

I’m hoping to have a release date for you soon, and I expect that date to be in early March.

Book Four was a real challenge for me to write.  There were many stops and starts which made me worry that the plot was stilted and choppy. I was so relieved during my read-through to find the opposite to be true. There is so much action and emotion in this book. It’s packed full of all of the characters you’ve grown close to, and a few new ones you’re sure to love. I truly can’t wait to share it with the world!

Here’s a preview illustration of Flitt, who’s as cheeky as ever in this book.  If you like the image, I have a whole line of products available for sale on redbubble.

img_0764

Finally, I have a favor to ask. If you’ve read any of the books in this series and haven’t written a review yet, please consider reviewing them on Amazon. I’m especially grateful for reviews of Call of Brindelier, book three in the series. Thanks so much, and check back for more news coming soon!

 

Up for Air

Standard
Up for Air

Wow! Happy 2017, everyone! I can’t believe another year has gone by! I have great news that I’m so excited to share. On the first day of this  year, I wrote the last chapter of Book 4: Call of Hywilkin. I feel like I was in an author-induced cocoon for months, and I have finally broken out of The Known Lands and back into Real Life again! I’m up for air for a week, and then it’s time to get to editing.

I’m really excited about this book. In this installment of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, Azi and Rian set out to Hywilkin to search for missing members of the Elite, and meet with much more than they bargain for. In the meantime, Tib spends some time with the elves of Ceras’lain before heading to Brindelier to look into strange dealings there. Of course, both parties encounter the darkest of the dark: Sorcerers bent on claiming the power of the Wellsprings for themselves and plunging the world into darkness.

I can’t wait to share more of the story with you! So much happens in this book that’s impossible for me to hint at since I don’t want to ruin the previous books for those who haven’t caught up!

I’m hoping to release Call of Hywilkin in March, possibly on Kythshire’s birthday which strangely happens to be St. Patrick’s day, too. Keep an eye here for a cover reveal!

In other news, I’m planning a free promo of books 1&2 for next weekend. Call of Kythshire will be free Friday, January 13 and Saturday, January 14, and Call of Sunteri will be free Saturday, January 14 and Sunday, January 15.

Just for fun, here’s a sneak peek illustration and excerpt from Call of Hywilkin:

img_0616

The Gilt Cage

https://missyflits.wordpress.com/2016/11/

Don’t forget, you can get Snowberry Blossom for free every day on Amazon!

image

The Keepers of the Wellsprings series is available on Amazon.com, and it’s free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited!

 

The Gilt Cage: An Excerpt

Standard
The Gilt Cage: An Excerpt

An excerpt and illustration from Book Four of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, coming February 2017:

img_0616

Kenrick casts his spell, and the sparkling pillars of the cavern shift. In their place, rough-hewn walls of gray stone surround us on all sides. Saesa and I jump to our feet. As our surroundings settle into place, the first thing I notice are the cages. Masterfully wrought in iron and plated with gold, they are stunning works of art in themselves. What they hold, though, is heartbreaking.

I recognize many of the prisoners held within from Tulya’s paintings: A man with a hawk’s beak and splendid feathers, and a girl with quills like Tulya’s own. Another man, much older, sits cramped in his cage, his long spotted tail lashing weakly as his matted ears twitch. There are a dozen or more here, all caged, chain-bound and rail-thin. The scene passes by us at a walking pace, even though here in the cavern we haven’t moved.

“Hali,” Tulya cries in anguish as the older man’s cage drifts past. Rian shifts closer to me and takes my hand, gazing at the scene with a mix of wonder at the Mage’s spell and distaste at the endless rows of cages on display.

We pause at one gilt cage holding a woman in plate mail armor. The braid at her shoulder is unraveled and frayed. Her face is cast down, her hands clasped at her chest in a meditative pose. A beautifully engraved sign at her feet reads:

Rare Cerion Specimen. Paladin. Emotion control. Ally to fae-kin. Dangerous. Do not speak to exhibit.”

“Mum,” I whisper in horrified disbelief.

***

Prepare yourself for the coming adventure! Meet Azi, her foes, and her allies in the Keepers of the Wellsprings Books 1-3 available on Amazon Kindle. Click here for more information.

Books-Banner

The images and excerpts posted in this blog are copyright 2016 author/illustrator Missy Sheldrake and cannot be reproduced without the express permission of the artist/author.

 

Happy Birthday, Sunteri!

Standard
Happy Birthday, Sunteri!

A year ago today, Call of Sunteri, Keepers of the Wellsprings – Book Two, was published. To wish it a happy birthday, I’m offering the ebook for FREE on Kindle all weekend! That’s right, from November 18-20, it’s time to celebrate!

04-the-ride

Even though it’s book two, don’t be shy. Reviewers have said it stands alone well:

sunteri-review1

And those who have read the first one love this one even more:

sunteri-review-2

If that’s not enough to convince you to pick up  your free copy, here’s an excerpt from Call of Sunteri, Keepers of the Wellsprings – Book Two in which Azi, now dubbed a knight, is summoned by a bored Prince Eron for a duel. The prince, who has always had a strange obsession with Azi, is being escorted by her family’s guild to a castle in the north along with his pregnant wife, to shield him from accusations of treason while the princess gives birth to their son. This takes place at a tavern where they’ve stopped to rest.

The courtyard is open to the sky, but closed in on all sides. It’s clean, but run down. The ground is packed dirt and the fountain in the center is cracked and empty. Several royal guards line the peeling stone walls, and two lords Eron’s age lounge in an alcove to one side. The lords are his cousins, Fresi and Kris. They met up with us in the last village, right on schedule.

The prince himself is waiting for me across the yard. He makes a show of his footwork as I approach, demonstrating a fancy combination that seems a little too flowery to have any practical use in battle. I try to look impressed anyway, just to cover up my nerves. The lords call out to Eron, telling him how formidable he looks, applauding his sword dance. When they see me, one of them whistles low.

I bend my knee and bow my head as the prince turns to face me. He lets the tip of his sword drag in the dirt as he comes to stand over me. I curse my heart, which is thumping so loudly that I’m sure he can hear it. He stays there awhile, as if he’s making sure I’m well aware of my place: in the dirt, kneeling to him. Finally, he addresses me.

“Sir Azaeli,” his tone is merry, but his words are slightly slurred. I can smell the drink on him. “Armed and ready, I see.”

“Yes, Your Highness.” I keep my head bowed. I can almost feel his sneer.

“Stand up, then, and show me your skills. I wish to spar with the legend,” he laughs, and the lords in the alcove echo him.

“If it pleases Your Highness,” I say, mustering my patience as I stand up and take my sword from the sheath on my back. One of the lords makes a crude remark, but I ignore it. I’ve trained for this. Thanks to Dacva and his crew, I know how to keep a level head even when my opponent is spitting venom and insults and doing everything he can to rattle me.

I try not to think of how ungrateful Eron has been since Rian and I lifted Viala’s enchantments on him. I try not to let it bother me that he treats me this way, despite all we’ve done and all we continue to do to ensure his comfort and clear his name. He’s my prince. The heir of Cerion. The son of my liege. It’s my duty to respect and obey him, even if he doesn’t return that respect.

We face each other and raise our blades in salute. He eyes me with a hunger that makes me uncomfortable, but I try to ignore it and concentrate on the bout instead. I’m growing used to my new sword, which Da forged for me in the weeks after the battle at Kythshire. It’s lighter than my old one, but the grip is still too new. I miss the one I lost. It was a good friend to me. Still, this one is well made, with a broad blade and a long, slender handle that requires two hands, like my last one.

Lord Kris calls out to start the spar, and Eron advances immediately. His sword is two-handed as well. It’s similar to mine, but richly encrusted with deep red jewels that glisten like fresh blood. Our bout starts smoothly. We’re evenly matched as we swing and parry against each other.

We go on for a while, easily driving one another back and forth across the yard. His style is much showier than mine. I ease up, since he obviously feels like he has something to prove to his cousins. He performs the dance again and arcs the blade in a quick and complicated combination that drives me backwards across the courtyard.

“I’m disappointed,” he announces loudly. “All that talk about your skill, and I’ve got you backed into a corner already.” I raise my sword to block his, and our blades meet at my chest. He presses closer, and I shove him back with all of my strength to gain some ground. He stumbles a little but quickly regains his footing. We clash together again, driving each other back and forth across the space while the young lords call out to Eron, congratulating him for every small advantage he gains over me. Finally, right beside the alcove, I pin him against the wall with my sword.

“You’re as good as they say,” he says through clenched teeth. “Would you be so skilled with my sword?” He thrusts his hips lewdly. Lord Kris laughs at the prince’s banter. Lord Fresi gives a halfhearted chuckle. Eron keeps his sword up and reaches with one hand to grope my chest plate. I dodge his hand and skip backwards and he comes at me with a new fury that leaves me breathless in my defense. I gain some advantage again and touch him with my blade once, twice, three times. Every time I do, his rage grows. The lords go silent as the spar grows more furious, more dangerous. Eron doesn’t hold back, and neither do I. The clash of our swords rings out loud and fierce over the courtyard. A storm cloud drifts overhead, casting a shadow over us.

My mood shifts. I don’t care if he’s my prince, I want to see him bleed. I want him to hurt. I want him to know that he can’t do what he does anymore. Not to me. Not to anyone. Not with his wife suffering in her room, heavy with his child. This isn’t a game. This is life. His cruelty, his unseemly behavior needs to stop.

He advances and I drive him back with an elbow to his nose. Slash at him with fury, with rage. I know I’m screaming battle cries. I don’t care. I don’t even see his face anymore, I only see the enemy. He has to learn, and I’ll be the one to teach him. My sword is swift and true. It meets its mark again and again. One touch after another, and at first the lords stay silent. The prince stumbles backwards, and when I don’t let up, the guards close in on me, shouting. I drop my sword and start punching. I don’t stop until a heavy hand clamps over my shoulder and drags me back. I blink back to my senses to see Eron kneeling in the dirt, cowering.

When he realizes that I’ve stopped he jumps to his feet, adjusts his chest plate, and raises his chin dubiously. His lip is bleeding and he taps it with his fingertip and looks at the blood with anger.

“I’m bored of dueling,” he says petulantly. “Let’s go for a hunt. My horse!”

He storms off with the lords and the guards trailing after him. The lords look over their shoulders at me as they go with a mixture of awe and fear. The hand on my shoulder loosens a little.

“Great guts, Azi, what’s gotten into you?” I turn to see Bryse looking down at me, his stony gray brow deeply furrowed with concern.

“You really laid into him,” Cort says from behind him.

“I just…I guess I got carried away,” I retrieve my sword and slide it into its sheath with a little trouble, my hands are shaking so hard. I flex my fingers. My knuckles ache.

“Serves him right,” Bryse mutters, “maybe he’ll keep his eyes to himself from now on.”

“Mya won’t like it,” Cort says. “We’re supposed to be protecting him, not killing him in the sparring pitch.”

“I wasn’t trying to kill him,” I say, scowling.

“You sure looked like you were,” Flitt says at the same time Bryse speaks.

“Come on, let’s have a drink. Forget about it for now. No harm done.”

I know as an author I’m supposed to love all of my children equally, but to be honest, Call of Sunteri is my favorite book in the series. I could tell you why, but I don’t want to spoil it. I will admit it’s partly due to a new character named Tib, and his interactions with a mysterious character with ambiguous goals.

Want to read more? Get it free today! Click here!

The Keepers of the Wellsprings series is available on Amazon.com and free to read for members of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program.

Books-Banner

For more details about this series or to sign up for my mailing list, visit my website: www.missysheldrake.com

 

 

Call of Kythshire is Free Today!

Standard
Call of Kythshire is Free Today!

Call of Kythshire is free today as part of the #SIAFBB (Support Indie Authors Free and Bargain Books) event! Download your copy and visit events.supportindieauthors.com for more details!

kythshire-free-banner

SIAFBB.jpg

Do you have a free or discounted book today? If so, post in the comments!