Tag Archives: Indie Authors

It’s Finally Here! Release Day!

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It’s Finally Here! Release Day!

I’m so excited to announce that Call of Elespen, the fifth and final book of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, is now available on Amazon!

All of your favorites are back in the epic conclusion of the series, including:

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Azi and Rian

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Tib

 

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Celli

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Margy and more!

Check out all the illustrations from Call of Elespen here.

Today only, November 29, 2017, in celebration of the completion of the series, I’m offering books 1-4 for free!

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Click the pic to visit the series page on Amazon

When I wrote this series, my hope was to capture a world that would enchant my readers and bring them to a place they’ve never been before. To me, the joy of reading is the escape of it. Growing up, I had few friends. I imagined them in the forests where I wandered, as fairies, and I imagined them in the pages of books.

In the Keepers of the Wellsprings, my hope was to create friends that would capture my readers’ hearts, just as those in the books I’ve read have done for me. Finishing the series has been bittersweet. I’m relieved to have been able to tie up to so many strands of the story so neatly, but it’s sad to say goodbye to these characters who seem so real now.

Rest assured, though, I don’t think I’m finished with these folks just yet. I intend to take a break, but there are so many stories to write, yet, from the world of the Wellsprings.

Blog Tour

Special thanks to my friends who have agreed to participate in my blog tour! Please swing by and check out these fabulous authors:

Daniel Layfield, author of The Spellstone Legacy series
https://youlookconfused.blogspot.com/2017/11/call-of-elespen-epic-conclusion-to.html

Owen R. O’Neill, co-author of the Loralynn Kennakris Series
http://www.loralynnkennakris.com/keepers-of-the-wellsprings-new-release/

Joshua Blum, author of The Thirteenth Hour: A Retro 1980s Illustrated Fairytale Fantasy Novel
https://13thhr.wordpress.com/2017/11/27/the-thirteenth-hour-podcast-120/

Meg Welch Dendler, author of the Cats in the Mirror series and more
https://megdendler.blogspot.com

Jenelle Schmidt, author of The Minstrel’s Song series
http://jenelleschmidt.com

Joanne Van Leerdam, poet of The Passing of the Night
https://bookssquirrel.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/announcing-the-epic-conclusion-to-the-keepers-of-the-wellsprings-series/

Joshua Robertson, author of the Thrice Nine Legends Saga
https://robertsonwrites.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/featuring-keepers-of-the-wellsprings-call-of-elespen/

M. Ray Holloway, author of Let No Word Be Spoken

https://mrayhollowayjr.blogspot.com

I’ll be adding even more posts to the list as they go  up, so please make sure to check back!

 

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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

 

Why You Should Read Indies–Or, Hey, Look! Free Books! #SIAFBB

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Why You Should Read Indies–Or, Hey, Look! Free Books! #SIAFBB

Listen, life is stressful. Sometimes we need an escape, and reading will give that you. Who needs a vacation when you can read a book and travel into worlds you never imagined? That’s the reason why I love books so much. They’re a journey into someone else’s life. An escape, just for a little while.

Some may turn up their noses at independently published books. I understand why. We’ve been conditioned to swarm to all the things everyone else likes. What’s the most popular laundry detergent? That’s the one I’m going to buy, then! Traditionally published books are the same. Publishers choose stories based on what they think will be the most popular plot. Whatever will sell best, that’s what they choose to publish. That’s why so many of the books you pick up in your bookstore seem so familiar.

Indie books are different. There’s no filter. No one is deciding for you what you think you’ll like. Indie authors write passionately about subjects close to their hearts. They write because they have stories to tell. They write things you might never have realized you wanted to read until you start, and you get swept up into their beautiful, detailed, intriguing, fast-paced, adventurous, wonderful stories.

Here are a few of my favorite examples of unconventional plots told by indie authors:

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GG Atcheson’s The Legacy Series
This series is one I’m partial to, not just because I had a hand in making the cover. The author masterfully blends aliens and vampires into a fast-paced, compelling plot filled with unpredictable twists and turns. Yes, I did say aliens and vampires. Yes, it’s strange. Yes, it’s incredible. Book Three in the series is 99 cents until April 2. Get it!

 

 

 

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VM’s Sawh’s Hontas (Good Tales for Bad Dreams Series)
V.M. is a wordsmith. His imagery is vivid and compelling. He takes fairy tales and legends we all know and love, and he twists them and spins them until they’re clever, gritty, and more real than our childhood stories could ever portray. My favorite of his was GR3T3L, a tale of two robots stranded on an unfamiliar planet. Hontas is free through the first, and I just added it to my Kindle.

 

 

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Christina McMullen’s Dissonant (Eyes of the Sun Series)
Okay, admittedly I haven’t read the Eyes of the Sun Series (yet). But I have read Christina’s superhero parody A Shot at the Bigtime, and her YA mashup Kind of Like Life is probably my favorite indie book so far. Her writing is cleverly conceived, combining so many plot twists, familiar tropes, and such a tongue-in-cheek approach to storytelling that I fell quickly in love with this author’s style. Dissonant is free March 31. It involves vampires and genetics. I’m dying to read it!

 

Why do indies offer their books for free? To get you hooked. To get eyes on their titles, and draw you in. It isn’t because they’re inferior to traditionally published books. On the contrary, indie books will draw you in like no other books will! I hope I’ve convinced you to explore this world for yourself. If so, it’s perfect timing! Support for Indie Authors is running a free and discount promo this weekend, where you can download over a hundred other titles for free or 99 cents! Click the image below for details, and check out the trailers beneath it for even more exciting titles!

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The Gilt Cage: An Excerpt

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The Gilt Cage: An Excerpt

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

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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.

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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.

 

Call of Kythshire is Free Today!

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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!

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

It’s Almost Time!

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It’s Almost Time!

It’s Halloween, that spooky time of year when we’re assaulted by all things scary whether we like it or not. Maybe you’re into the creepy, supernatural side of the holiday, like me, or perhaps you prefer the blood and gore of severed limbs sprinkled across your lawn. Either is fine with me. I don’t judge. I will judge you, though, if you don’t take advantage of the super spooky Monster Weekend book sale event being held by my friends over at SIA this weekend!

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Support for Indie Authors is offering over 70 books starting on October 28, either for free or 99 cents. We hope you’ll take some time between romps with ghosts and ghouls to browse the offerings from these talented indie authors! The sale starts Friday and goes until Monday. You have to be spry, though, because some books are tricky and will only appear for one or two days before they vanish from the event in a puff of creepy mist.

Click here to preview the authors participating in the event.

Click here starting on Friday to browse over 70 free or discounted ebooks.

We hope to see you this weekend! Have a safe and spooky Halloween, and save me some Snickers!

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SIA Free and Bargain Book Event!

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SIA Free and Bargain Book Event!

This is my first time participating in a book promo with my friends over at Support Indie Authors, and I’m excited to share this post with you!

It’s time once again for a Support Indie Authors Free & Bargain Book event, previously known as the Book Blast. After a fantastic 2015, we’re looking forward to an even better 2016. Our first event of the year will be this Friday, April 1st and no, we are not fooling. We are offering more than 65 free and 99 cent books by more than forty talented authors. This year, you can find the books at events.supportindieauthors.com

Mark your calendars and save the pranks for later!

As is our tradition, we have asked each of the authors to participate in a short interview so you can better get to know them. Below are just some of the featured authors as well as links to read the rest of the interviews. As always, thank you for continuing to #SupportIndieAuthors!

Read the rest of this entry