Friday, September 13, 2013

creation: The Regency Storybook - ebook release!

The Regency Storybook - ebook edition!
Today is release day for the ebook edition of The Regency Storybook -- twelve historical fiction short stories by Lesley-Anne McLeod, with twelve historical fashion illustrations by yours truly. Check it out:

The paperback edition remains available via Amazon Createspace and/or my etsy shop--where there are prints of the illustrations, too ♥

Monday, May 20, 2013

creation: The Regency Storybook (& colouring book)

(Quick PSA: I'm a terrifically terrible blogkeeper. No posts in the entirety of 2012? Uh, whoops? My only excuse is that tumblr has eaten my soul and I've done nothing to fight back.)

So, hey, all Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer and otherwise early-19th-century fans: Regency author Lesley-Anne McLeod and I have released a new book, The Regency Storybook. It's a collection of twelve Regency-era short stories by Lesley-Anne, accompanied by twelve full-colour Regency costume illustrations by me. (I also designed the book.)

The Regency Storybook by Lesley-Anne McLeod, with illustrations by Shakoriel
Twelve people. Twelve historical events. Twelve stories...

England in the early nineteenth century: a place of extraordinary happenings. War on the continent and political upheavals at home buffeted the lives of ordinary people, while arts and literature flourished under the Prince Regent and a glittering group of aristocrats led high society. It was a period of tumultuous change.

The twelve short stories in this book follow fictional Regency characters facing the challenges of everyday life while brushing up against momentous historical events. Young Miss Phoebe Churcham is unwittingly caught up in the assassination of the prime minister. The publication of a literary classic causes problems for Sir Aubrey Granthorpe. Imogen Rush, Dowager Marchioness of Lavington, visits with an old friend--the Regent's mistress. The tragic death of a princess touches the Newick family as it does the entire nation. And one day, foppish Postumus Enderby is inspired to take radical steps after reading the morning news. These stories and others will draw you into the private lives and wider world of Regency England.

Charming costume illustrations by Shakoriel bring colour to these heroes and heroines, embellishing all twelve of Lesley-Anne McLeod's stories. THE REGENCY STORYBOOK is a collection of lives, loves, and histories--of a time two hundred years ago, but as vivid as yesterday.

The paperback gift book (7.5" square, 114 full-colour pages) is available for purchase via Amazon CreateSpace here, or directly through hereThe Regency Storybook will also be released as an ebook through Uncial Press late this summer.

There's also a special edition of the paperback book, signed, and accompanied by a set of 12 mini art prints of the illustrations, which is available in my etsy shop here. (You can also buy individual 8.5" x 11" prints.)

The Regency Storybook - Special Signed Edition with 12 Mini Art Prints

And, should you wish to colour my fashion illustrations yourself, you can also purchase our Fashions of Regency England colouring book, which contains my twelve line drawings, plus detailed historical notes on each costume by Lesley-Anne. It's also available in my etsy shop. ♥

Fashions of Regency England Colouring Book - 12 Line Drawings

Saturday, December 31, 2011

inspiration: the music of 2011 - my top 10 albums

Spoiler! #1 is Leaves' Eyes - Meredead
I don't really exist without music. So for an end of the year post, a little homage to the sounds that kept me together: my top ten albums released in 2011.

And I listen to a whole lot of everything, so I won't attempt to give this list any more of a theme than "I really liked these, you guys."

So... I really liked these, you guys.

Honourable Mention: Britney Spears - Femme Fatale (dance pop). Fave song: Criminal.
Sometimes (often) I need a little Britney. This album is totally my favourite of hers yet. Dance-pop bliss beginning to end.

10. Lovex - Watch Out! (glam rock). Fave song: Queen of the Night.
I liked their previous two albums more for reasons I can't really figure out--they were darker? Less brash? More sincere? I liked the gothy styling better than the new disco flavour? But Watch Out! is still a lot of fun with several awesome songs. Yay, sparkly glam.

9. Evanescence - Evanescence (alt rock). Fave song: Secret Door.
Long time no see, Amy Lee. (My high school self says hi!) This eponymous album feels, appropriately, really true to form, all emotionally fraught. It's much of a sameness, but a good sameness with some standout earworm moments, especially in the slow songs. And I just really like fraught. And Amy's voice. Being fraught.

8. Lady Gaga - Born This Way (dance pop). Fave song: Heavy Metal Lover.
I wish it had been a bit more like The Fame Monster, which remains my favourite Gaga, but BTW grew on me. There's super good stuff mixed in with the pretty good stuff (and the bit of facepalmingly unsubtle stuff). The variety of sounds she mashes together into one album is great, but I wish there'd been more songs like Heavy Metal Lover, because damn that's fabulous and makes the whole thing for me.

7. Elane - Arcane (dark folk). Fave song: Arcane Ride.
Each of Elane's albums have been such a lovely mix of ethereal, gothic, medieval and folk, and Arcane is no exception. It's a little less unified/more varied than usual, and a little more daring and adventurous too. Their songs are so beautifully vivid and feed the imagination like crazy.

6. Florence + the Machine - Ceremonials (alt pop). Fave song: Shake It Out.
Bit of a latecomer to the list. Took me a while to realize this had come out at the end of October. Nevertheless, though I haven't worn holes in it just yet like most of the others on the list, it's well on its way. It's the good parts from 2009's Lungs exploded into awesome layeredness and richness. Resonant organ and pounding drums and echoing choir and tinkly bits and of course Florence's voice swamping you all at once.

5. Faun - Eden (pagan folk). Fave song: Hymn to Pan.
I adore Faun. I didn't even realize they had a new album coming out this year because I've been so in love with their 2010 acoustic album (Buch der Balladen - Book of Ballads). Eden is just as amazing as ever, true to their sound yet still endlessly creative. And it's really long, which is awesome. Over an hour of being transported into a world of dark magic and wonder, where we dance all night and sleep all day.

4. VNV Nation - Automatic (synth pop). Fave song: Nova.
This is right up there with the hallowed Futureperfect as my all-time favourite VNV Nation albums. Their sound has always morphed from robotic to melodic from album to album, but I love them most when they get out the catchy hooks and really dig them in, like they do here. There's a very warm, cozy tone to the album overall. It's the Star Wars: A New Hope of dieselpunky futurepop.

3. Nemesea - The Quiet Resistance (symphonic rock). Fave song: High Enough.
The dark horse! Nemesea's album In Control from 2007 was solid and enjoyable, but it didn't grab me terribly hard. This one did. The band shines now, especially in the beautiful contrast of Manda Ophuis' fragile voice with the heavy guitars. Also, the cover art is in the Eowyn-style battle-maiden-with-sword vein. So, yeah, obviously, recommended.

2. Within Temptation - The Unforgiving (symphonic metal). Fave song: Faster.
Within Temptation has evolved from progressive/power metal to gothic metal to symphonic metal to The Unforgiving, which is... well, it's always been hard for me to pinpoint their sound. While The Silent Force era will probably always be my favourite, I really like the alt-rock stylistic turn of The Unforgiving; Sharon van Adel's voice is as wonderful on the poppier side as it is on the operatic side. I am just a big WT fan no matter what they do, and I love The Unforgiving from beginning to end.

1. Leaves' Eyes - Meredead (folk metal). Fave song: To France.
Not only my favourite album of the year but really damn close to favourite album of ever. I've loved Leaves' Eyes more and more as they've eased off on the growling and emphasized the gorgeousness of Liv Kristine's voice and medieval instruments. Their music is just as epic as ever on Meredead, but with the ratio of harshness to melody almost completely in melody's favour, it's also incredibly moving and lovely. Being thoroughly descended from various Vikings, Celts and Germanic types, I may be genetically predisposed to Leaves' Eyes, but whatever the reason, this is a very special album.

There's 2011's favourites. Can't wait to hear 2012. Especially as it's going to start with new Nightwish! ::reattaches headphones for the next 365 days::

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

creation: Love, Loss and Other Oddities: Tales from Saskatchewan

Introducing... What I've been working on these past few months! An anthology of twenty all-new stories of love, loss, and strange happenings on the prairie from seventeen Saskatchewan authors. Includes an urban fantasy story by yours truly!

Back for a weekend in the city where it all went wrong, Emma has reservations about everything, especially him.

A trip to her childhood home offers a Cree woman a chance to settle more than her late father’s estate.

When Sam appears in human form, Litha must decide between dying to be with him and living without him.

Love and loss aren’t the only things happening every day on the prairie: Saskatchewan is full of the unexpected. Seventeen regional authors explore just how strange and wonderful this province can be in these twenty stories. From historical fiction to paranormal romance, with stops along the way for contemporary adventures, suspense, and urban fantasy, this anthology is the one Saskatchewan road that won’t take you on a straightforward journey.

Nurturing local writers of popular fiction for twenty-five years, Saskatchewan Romance Writers is proud to present this collection of outstanding short stories. Come take a trip through the extraordinary prairie!

“The title is a perfectly accurate one… there is something here to suit all tastes. I have read all the stories and have been well entertained.” -- Mary Balogh, New York Times bestselling author

Ebook $4.99

Paperback $14.95

More information, including the table of contents and story previews, can be found here. ♥

Thursday, December 1, 2011

creation: new Victorian Poetry Prints - Emily Brontë, P. B. Shelley, A. C. Swinburne, W. B. Yeats

I've been busy these past two months with a big writing project--which I'll be posting about really soon--but I've still managed to make four new Victorian poetry prints! (And then my computer died, but all is well again with no files lost. There was some panic at the time, though.)

As always, prints are available in my etsy shop. The four new ones feature poems by Emily Brontë, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Algernon Charles Swinburne, and William Butler Yeats.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

creation: Victorian Poetry Prints (+ etsy shop)

Long time, no blog! I've been busy this past month with a new adventure: creating prints featuring 19th-century illustrations and poetry.

Byron - "She Walks in Beauty" - Victorian Poetry Print

These are Victorian pictorial engravings, line art that once illustrated mid-19th-century books, long out of copyright and in the public domain. I'm remixing them, giving them a modern touch by digitally hand-colouring them. Each painting takes me about eight hours. I really love breathing new life into what are already lovely works of art. I hope the original artists and engravers would be pleased to see these 21st-century adaptations of their creations.

Keats - "Bright Star" - Victorian Poetry Print

Each illustration is paired with a few lines of 19th-century poetry, mostly the Romantic poets (but my definition of 'Romantic poet' is pretty broad and non-canonical). I try to choose poems that fit the mood of the artwork, so that the one complements and illuminates the other. I wonder if the poets would be happy with the prints, too... I imagine some would think them too sentimental (Byron, I'm looking at you!)

Blake - "To See a World in a Grain of Sand" - Victorian Poetry Print

I originally began making these for myself, then thought they'd look wonderful in a neo-Victorian parlor, or a romantic boudoir, or a steampunk study. They're high quality borderless inkjet prints, 8.5" x 11", on heavy cardstock. You can find them here in my etsy shop. I'll be adding a new print every week or so. ♥