Read the Prologue to Our First Graphic Novel!

We are so excited (and maybe a little nervous) to share this prologue with you from the first book in our new graphic novel series, Charting Stars. This series will be a set of illustrated graphic style novels with an educational twist. One page will be in a full graphic novel format where readers can see the illustrated panels and read the word bubbles however, the corresponding pages will be printed in a regular novel format. The reader will understand the gist of the plot from the graphic section but if they want to learn more about the story, the setting or the characters they will need to read the corresponding text to delve more deeply. We are hopeful that this style of book will encourage intermediate readers to take the plunge and read more. 🙂

Scroll on down to catch your first glimpse!

 

0001

Hushed, but not completely silent. The heavy rush of air beating against wings broke the stillness of the early morning, the stars above being the only source of light before the dawn. The ocean below made hardly a sound save for that of the water’s soft rhythmic splash against the wall of rock lining the coast for miles in both directions.

A single figure made itself known to the swaddling darkness. A woman, taller than most men and equally strong, alighted to the edge of the cliff as she folded her prominent wings. The angelic creature glowed of her own accord, her ivory skin radiant beneath the silvery white of her cropped hair, the color shining like starlight to match the snow-white wings at her back. The light from her presence shone gentle and pure, undisturbed by any shadow as she waited for something to come to her from the dark.

0002

For a long while, nothing stirred, not even the woman as she stood like a beacon shining from the rock’s treacherous edge. Hours passed, but there, someone had come to meet her.

She did not need the use of her eyes to recognize the newcomer, her lips softly moving to smile as she let her voice go forth like the mellow ring of a cathedral bell, rich and soothing. “Welcome, Maren. You are earlier than anticipated. I expected you with the dawn. Allow me to assume this is a sign of success?”

“Indeed it is, Jora.”

Another figure joined the angelic creature on the cliff, the young woman being a good two heads shorter than the one called Jora, but matching her in a warrior’s physique. Maren pulled the edge of her crimson hood away from her face to reveal the dark and exotic features beneath, her fiery red hair secured behind her.

0003

The woman’s voice was low like Jora’s, but she spoke in tones more hushed, the mark of a warrior accustomed to keeping her presence a secret. She habitually crossed her arms as she gave her observations, a foreign accent hinting at the edge of each word. “Something is stirring. A new star has formed not but two days ago, yet no one can account for its origin. None of your kind have passed on?”

Jora’s hair swished gently around her face as she shook her head, giving answer without a word as she thought for a few moments in silence before making her careful reply. “No, it is unlike anything we have previously observed. Both earth and sky are restless, but in anticipation of what, we cannot be certain. It is a mystery, one we must unravel, but not yet. There is a reason for all things. We will have our answer in due time.”

Turning to face her companion, Maren’s voice faltered with uncertainty, hinting at her differing opinion. “Are you suggesting that we simply wait?”

0004

Jora’s gaze did not waver, her sights set on a distant star, its glow a foreign presence in the heavens. “I ask that we remain patient for the time being. To do so will ensure that we recognize the proper moment to act. We know too little at present. For now, I must inform the Council of your discoveries. They will find this of great interest.”

Jora raised her wings to their fullest height, the icy blue of her eyes turning their attention to her companion as she dipped her head in a respectful gesture, giving closure to their meeting. “Until tomorrow, Maren. May your path remain clear in dark times.”

Taking a few steps back to allow her winged companion more space, Maren replaced her hood letting the darkness of the early morning obscure her face once more. “Fly safely, Jora.”0005

All copyright remains with © Whimsical Publishing 2017.

Charting Stars Update and MORE ART!

Our first book in the Charting Stars series is completed, back from the editor and now I am drawing, drawing, drawing and DRAWING some more. ;P (Actually it’s my favourite thing to do so it’s not so bad – ha ha. :D) The prologue is nearly all drawn and we’ll be sharing it here with you soon – can’t wait to show you!!! In the mean time attached is some newer drawings and concept art that I hope you’ll enjoy. If you’d like to see more daily posts be sure to follow Whimsical on Instagram or on Facebook!

Lelas and Cyprus – A Historical Tale From the Nine Realms

Have you heard of those who reside in the sea? No? Well, then I’ll tell you.

WeaverofTales_SmallThere live in the oceans a wondrous people, the Erilene, mysterious and beautiful. Often mistaken for glistening sunlight against the waves, they live out their days beneath its swell, their numbers far greater than any of us would believe. With legs like me and you, they have the choice to walk on land or swim in the deep, but none save one have ever dared to live as we do. Her name was Lelas.

Most of her kind prefer to reside farther down than you or I could ever swim, but Lelas was one of a few who loved the surface. It was said that she met many beautiful men in her wanderings over the coast, each hoping to charm her out of the water’s hold, but none could capture her heart, or so she thought.Lelas_SmallEight of the Guardians we know today were of the original nine. Only one has ever left his post for good. A Guardian named Cyprus was set to watch over the Daar Mountains, the stronghold we make our way to now. Often called back to the isle of his birth to meet with the Council of Ursa, he was no stranger to seeing the Eriline in his flight above the ocean’s waves, but there was one who gave him pause. Cyprus found Lelas walking in the shallows off the coast of Vela, her carefree spirit and unassuming beauty leaving the Guardian with an emptiness he never knew he needed to fill.Cypus_Small It was said to be a fated meeting, if you believe in such things, Lelas’s heart longing for Cyprus as much as he was for her. He used no coercion, no bribe or trickery of fanciful words to win the Eriline. She came to him willingly, wanting to live her life at his side. Taking her first steps from the safety of the sea, Lelas knew no fear as Cyprus took her up in his arms, carrying her back over the Realms to the mountains of the north. For a time, they were happy.Lelas&Cyprus_SmallMany years they lived in peace and deepening love for one another, returning to visit the waves as often as Cyprus could spare the time. But there came a day when all that ended, the happiness that Cyprus and Lelas had shared shattered in the course of a single moment. A terrible creature with ice on its back and fire in its belly fell upon the lovers in their flight toward the sea. Narrowly escaping with his life, the Eriline clutched in the Guardian’s arms was not so lucky. For days upon nights Cyprus wept for Lelas, mourning the beautiful life that had been taken too soon from his side. There was nothing left for him there, the lonely mountains only serving as a daily reminder of the love he had lost.C&LReturning to Ursa with the heaviest of hearts, Cyprus announced before the Council the permanent resignation of his Guardianship. Although the Elders begged him to reconsider his decision, Cyprus could not be swayed. If he could not be with Lelas in life, he would forever remain on Ursa to keep vigil with the stars. It may seem a strange thing to you that a man once a Guardian would leave it all to keep his gaze to the sky, but it was with hope that Cyprus did so. It is said that in the rarest of occasions, the stars have the power to grant life back to a soul who is worthy. No one truly knows what makes the death of a loved one worthy of renewed life, but some believe it to be reserved for those who gave into death to save the life of another. So Cyprus watches and waits, living out each moment with the hope of one day being reunited with his love.CyprusStars_SmallBy Micheline Ryckman and Erin Kleveland. All copyright remains with © Whimsical Publishing 2017.

News and More Charting Stars Concept Art

Morning friends! Excited to let you know our first book comes back from the editor today!!! That means that the graphic novel art sections now begin! Just to whet your appetite we plan to share the prologue with you for free as soon as it’s completed! Which should be fairly soon!!!
Attached are a few more concept illustrations of the Nine Realms characters – we hope you enjoy! 😀 If you’d like to see more art on a daily basis follow Whimsical on Instagram!

Charting Stars, Easter Story Special

EasterSpecial_01_Small“Jarrett, where are we going?”

“Shh! No questions!” Readjusting his gentle hold on Talia’s hand, Jarrett turned with a brilliant smile, excitement gleaming in his eyes as he led the young woman through the underbrush and dense clusters of trees. “We’re almost there.”

Over the past weeks, Talia had become proficient at holding Drew with one arm, this unusual skill allowing her to hold both the cat and Jarrett’s hand whenever they walked together.

Mindful of her steps, Talia’s feet paused as Jarrett moved to stand directly in front of her, the squirrel perched on his shoulder anxiously skittering from one side to the other.

“Alright Talia, close your eyes please. I promise I won’t let you trip. You trust me, right?”

“Of course I do.” The young woman gave a small chuckle as she obeyed Jarrett’s request, making certain that the cat dangling from her arm wouldn’t slip as she waited in eager anticipation. “They’re closed. Now what?”

Jarrett waved a hand in front of the girl’s eyes to make certain that she couldn’t see. “Not much farther, just keep walking”

The first change Talia noticed was the warmth of sunlight against her cheeks, the low chatter of birds replaced by the gentle rustling of grass as it tickled her legs.

“A few more steps, Talia. There we are. You can look on the count of three. Ready? One…Two…Three!”

It took Talia’s eyes a moment to adjust as she squinted in the bright afternoon light, a gasp escaping her parted lips as she struggled to believe what she saw. Wildflowers of every imaginable shade and form billowed over the open field she now stood in, the kaleidoscope of colors stretching from the forest’s edge to the base of the mountains far to the east. The gentle breeze made the plain ripple and roll like ocean waves, the low babble of a nearby brook distinguishable above the whispering grass.

“Oh Jarrett, it’s absolutely beautiful.”

Enjoying her reactions, the young man dipped his head in thanks as he pulled a hand up to distractedly pet over QB’s tail. “Pretty, isn’t it? Maren found it last night before we made camp. Thought you might enjoy it.”

“It’s wonderful. I’ve never been very good with painting landscapes, but I think even I would try it with a place like this.”

“And I bet you’d do a great job. Come on. I have a place we can sit.”

The grass made a soft crunching sound from beneath Jarrett’s blanket as Talia sat, carefully placing Drew on her lap as she watched the young man move to settle down beside her.

Acting rather unimpressed, the cat was content to stay curled up in the folds of Talia’s skirt, the girl’s gentle touch urging a low purr from Drew as she slipped back into light sleep.

Recognizing his moment to act, QB carefully moved down Jarrett’s arm to sit atop the blanket, keeping a wary eye on the slumbering cat before scurrying off toward the tranquil brook flowing just out of reach.

Talia’s hand methodically felt over the thick white fur of Drew’s slender back as she and Jarrett talked, their conversation taking them in every direction as they sat in the warm sunshine. A simplistic idea soon pushed its way into the young woman’s thoughts, her hands deftly picking through the flowers that surrounded them as she began to weave them together.

Unaware of what Talia was doing, Jarrett continued to casually talk on, having since moved to lay beside her as he watched the wisps of clouds lazily roll above them. “I don’t know why Bash still insists that we’d be better off going through the pass instead of around the-hey!”

Giggling freely as she threw the flower crown over the boy’s eyes, Talia adjusted the way it laid as he slowly sat up to face her. “There we go. Probably the best I’ve ever made.”EasterSpecial_02_Small

Even QB returned to see what was so amusing, the squirrel’s high pitched chattering receiving a quizzical glance from his companion as the small creature moved to perch himself upon the young man’s knee.

A smile hinted at the corners of Jarrett’s lips, unable to contain the urge to laugh along with Talia and QB as he carefully removed the array of flowers in order to admire the girl’s handiwork. “Well, color me impressed. How…How did you do this?”

Tilting her head as her quiet laughter subsided, Talia’s gaze remained fixed on Jarrett even as Drew shifted and stirred in her sleep. “You want me to teach you?”

“Can you?”

“Well, sure. Here, you see how these stems are all sort of braided together? This is how you start.”

Talia was just as much a patient teacher as Jarrett was a persistent student, neither noticing the late afternoon sun as it began to make its daily descent toward the forest.

“Hey! I think I did it!” Jarrett eagerly held his completed crown aloft, his smile almost like that of a child as he quickly turned to face Talia, his excitement holding despite the few flowers which tumbled away from the others now adorning the young woman’s head.

“I think you did!” Jarrett’s eagerness and excitement was truly what made Talia’s smile brighten, placing her own flower crown back onto him as she gave a small laugh in satisfaction. “Now we match.”

“We do indeed. Look, even QB learned a thing or two.”

The squirrel’s every step was quiet and careful as he slowly approached Talia, a collection of tiny flowers knotted together clutched in his little paws. With one swift motion, QB tossed the miniature crown over Drew’s head, the chain sliding to dangle from one of her twitching ears as he scurried back to the safety of Jarrett’s shoulder.

The cat lazily opened a single eye, looking between the flower crown and the squirrel before shaking the flowers from her head as she tried to go back to sleep.

“Oh, come now, Drew. QB made a very nice crown for you. There, much better. It looks very pretty.”

The cat’s glance was unamused to say the least, but she made no move to rid herself of the flowers a second time.

It wasn’t until the last rays of golden light faded from view that the two reluctantly moved to stand, Talia repositioning Drew in her arms as she leaned up to leave a light kiss against the boy’s cheek.

Jarrett’s face grew visibly more red at the gesture, fighting to regain his composure as he quietly laughed away his momentary surprise. “What was that for?”

“It’s a thank you. I had a wonderful time, Jarrett. Thanks for taking the time to bring me here.”

The young man began to distractedly rub at the back of his neck as his smile grew a little wider. “You’re very welcome. I’m glad you enjoyed it so much. I did too.”

As they made the long trek back toward their camp, Jarrett couldn’t seem to stop smiling, able to ignore even Drew’s threatening glances as he walked hand in hand with Talia through the darkened woods. The day had gone better than he had hoped, but it was more than just a good day, it was the very best kind. It had been a day spent with Talia.

 

 

Educational Premise for Charting Stars

Once a homeschool Mom – always a homeschool Mom! My kids have been schooled at home all the way through, my daughter just graduated last year and my son is due to graduate next year. Education has been a daily focus in our home for nearly two decades! Our mission as a small family owned company is to produce engaging, thoughtful, quality books to enhance the lives of children. Part of enhancing their lives includes offering educational opportunities and in this series we’d like to focus on encouraging intermediate kids to read more.

How will we do this?

By using art and illustration to encourage the process. Kids love visuals – even older kids.

Charting Stars will be a graphic novel series but we are actually splitting it down the middle. That is, one page will be a full graphic novel format where kids can see the comic style panels, read the word bubbles and get the gist of the story. However, the corresponding page will be printed in regular novel format. The kids will get the gist of the story from the graphic section but if they want to learn more about the story, setting and characters they will need to read the corresponding text to do so. We are hopeful that this style of book will encourage those intermediate readers to take the plunge and delve more deeply.

we are so incredibly excited about this project and we can’t wait until you have the story in your hands – fall 2017 can’t quite come fast enough!

More Charting Stars

All the things promised in our last post; short stories, free colouring pages and more are still in the works and coming your way but here’s a bit more illustrated character visuals to keep you excited while you wait!

If you’d like to keep up with the Charting Stars’ character developments on a more daily basis be sure to follow Whimsical on Instagram –> @whimsicalillustration

Charting Stars Book Cover Idea and Concept Art

Guess what!? First book is written and headed to the editor! YES!!! Then after that it’s draw, draw, and draw some more! Thought you all might enjoy seeing the edited version of our 1st book cover idea (not set in stone thought – this cover may certainly change), also attached are a few more concept illustrations. In the near future we are also going to share the prologue of our first book, some related short stories set within Charting Star’s Nine Realms and even some free Charting Stars colouring pages! So stick with us!!!

Charting Stars Grows

Charting Stars, our new graphic novel series, is developing well and we are looking forward with joy to our release date this year! Ideas are generating, new supporting characters are being created, our world is taking form and so much more fun! Attached are more concept illustrations and explorations for you to take a peek at. If you’d like to see more daily updates make sure you join Whimsical on Instagram!