The Power of Green and Black in Art

‘Cathedrals’

‘Sylvan Eternity’

‘Searching for the Shadowlands’

‘Deep’

‘Falling In’

‘Many Moons’

‘Navi’s Dream’

‘Forever Floating’

‘Furnace of Despair’

‘Goblets of the Ether’

‘Worldheart’

‘Grave Towers’

‘Galactic Gears’

‘Hecatomb’


All paintings 20114-2019 J Edward Neill


The 10 Best Heavy (As in REALLY HEAVY) Metal Albums of All Time

Go ahead.

Talk about your Slipknots and Five-Fingered Death Punches.

Enjoy your Metallicas, Black Sabbaths, and Mercyful Fates.

Nope.

Here are the top ten heavy, heavy metal albums of all time.

…in no particular order.


Slayer – Seasons in the Abyss

Five seconds in, one becomes aware Seasons in the Abyss is no ordinary collection of songs. Beginning with the insanely fast ‘War Ensemble’, Slayer’s (somehow most mainstream) album sets a tone both vicious and unholy…which is, after all, their signature achievement. From thumping ‘Skeletons of Society’ to Ed Gein horror tribute ‘Dead Skin Mask’, lyrically Seasons knows no boundaries. Why should it? This is Slayer we’re talking about, unrivaled in the metal realm. And of course, perhaps no metal album ends on so dark a note as the title track, song number ten, ‘Seasons in the Abyss.’ Go ahead, read the lyrics to your children when you tuck them into bed at night.

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Pantera – Vulgar Display of Power

What happens when you pair guitar god Dimebag Darrell with the guttural roars of Phil Anselmo, mix everything in a big bowl of rage, and punch the planet in the face? Vulgar Display of Power, that’s what. Have you ever listened to ‘F**cking Hostile’ on repeat for an hour? Have you ever chanted, “Re-spect! Walk! What did you say?” Then you understand this album’s power. It takes no breaks until the very end, at which point Pantera shows their dynamic range with the heartbreaking song ‘Hollow.’ If you’re about to get into a fistfight, this is your album.

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Carcass – Heartwork

There are some who say Carcass’s best album is too melodic, too modern, and a betrayal of the band’s grindcore roots. F**k that. There’s melodic, and then’s there’s guitarist Bill Steer, who gallops and solos with the best in the business. Consider the thudding, heart-rattling song ‘Embodiment’ and lightning-fast title track ‘Heartwork.’ Oh sure, there’s lovely guitar work in ‘No Love Lost’ (and in every other song on the album) but the heavy never lets up. One of the last great metal albums to feature (not just include) truly transcendent solos, Heartwork easily ranks up there with the best of the heavy, heavy best.

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Entombed – Clandestine

Well…at least no one will confuse this album with melodic. What Swedish death medal gods Entombed lacked in subtlety, they more than made up for with raw power, chuggy guitars, and a crunchy, deadly sound like no other. No Entombed album demonstrates this better than Clandestine. From ridiculously thumpy ‘Sinners Bleed’ to double bass drum-fest ‘Crawl,’ the fury never lets up. Few metal albums in the history of music have zero ‘meh’ tracks, but this is one. ‘Living Dead’ all the way to ‘Through the Colonnades’ = death metal perfection.

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Type O Negative – October Rust

Ok fine. You want to slow it down a little? I give you October Rust. Sometimes sarcastic, often self-deprecating, and always melancholic Type O Negative delivers their most classic tracklist ever. It never seems to matter that Type O’s songs are far longer in duration than other black/death metal bands. Peter Steele’s vocals and the band’s deep, dark guitars weave in and out of sadness and madness for every one of October Rust’s 14 (well…13 really) songs. Consider anthemic ‘Wolf Moon’ and misery-fest ‘I Love You to Death.’ It’s pretty much an entire album of ‘just got rejected by your lover’ songs.

And it’s f**king perfect.

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Danzig – How the Gods Kill

There are many, many good Danzig albums. But none quite as thunderously good as How the Gods Kill. Dark Elvis magician Glenn Danzig puts on his most forceful vocal performance ever (Heart of the Devil, anyone?) while perfecting ten songs to frighten your neighbors, scare your children, and sing along to (Anything, Dirty Black Summer, Do you Wear the Mark, anyone??) This is Danzig with their best lineup (Christ, Von, Biscuits) and at their most cohesive. Every riff just clicks, resulting in one of the best dark metal albums ever made.

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Morbid Angel – Covenant

Tampa metal gods have changed lineups many times. But in the meantime they released some truly epic albums (Altars of Madness, Gateways to Annihilation.) Among these, one stands out as the cream of the dark crop. Covenant, with its blasphemous, occult-loving lyrics and shreddy guitar work, sits among the pantheon of great metal albums. Even if you can’t understand David Vincent’s vocal work (just google ‘Vengeance is Mine‘ for a sample) or duplicate Trey Azagthoth’s otherworldly ‘Eddie Van Halen of death metal‘ riff work, it matters none. And talk about ending with a bang. ‘God of Emptiness’ goes places and hits beats no other band has achieved.

Bow to me faithfully, indeed…

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Sepultura – Beneath the Remains

Old school death metal.

Fast. Unrelenting.

Easily Sepultura’s best and most brutal offering.

Here, just listen to THIS. 

And go here for a tracklist.

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Deicide – When Satan Lives

Is it cheating to include a compilation album on this list? Maybe.

Is naming a live album really fair? Probably not.

Who cares?

Say what you will about Glen Benton, Deicide’s lead-singer and all-around weird guy, the band on stage has power, presence, speed, and a lust for long, brutal shows. Plenty of compilation albums (and arguably most live albums) miss the mark in one way or another. Not so, ‘When Satan Lives.’ It’s seventeen songs, all terrifyingly fast, sharp, and well-recorded. Standout tracks ‘Children of the Underworld’ and ‘Dead by Dawn’ stand tall, but really every single f**king song is better than good.

This is how you do death metal. And how you do live albums. Listen up, modern bands. Do it like this.

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Slayer – Reign in Blood

Speaking of unfair, it’s probably blasphemous to include not one, but two Slayer albums on this list. Especially when there are so many other crushingly good heavy metal albums out there.

Even so…

I’m just going to link these three songs right here.

And let them prove my point for me.

Angel of Death

Postmortem

Raining in Blood

Short, powerful, and relentless, Reign in Blood can’t not be on this list.


Honorable mentions

I want YOU to fill out this section for me:

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Thanks for stopping by.

J Edward Neill

Author, artist, and metalhead

My Everyday War with Social Media

Let’s just go ahead and get this out there.

hate social media.

There. I said it.

I hate it with a deep and abiding passion.

And yet…

It‘s a lot more complicated.

I mean, a LOT.

As of right this moment, I would consider myself extremely active on social media. Twitter, Facebook, Facebook Business, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest…the list goes on. I’m active on each and every one, and I’m on them almost every single day. Yes, I know what you’re thinking — I literally just said I hate social media.

So why then, all the sites? Why do it if it’s so antithetical to happiness?

Well…

It turns out I’m an author. And an artist. Virtually all my wares appear online in one form or another. And to be honest, I’m not famous enough for these things to sell themselves. Without daily, active, highly-engaged social media marketing, I’d most likely have to give up the dream and go back to working a 9–5 office job. Which, to be fair, is just as terrifying as toiling away on social media. I figure at least when I’m clicking, posting, and responding online, I’m doing so in a tank top and shorts, in my bed, far from the horrors of corporate office life.

So what’s the trouble with social media, aside from the vast time-suck?

For starters, let’s list a few:

  • You don’t know most of the people to whom you’re talking. They could be anyone, and they could be anywhere. What’s in a profile pic these days? Not much. Unless you’ve actually met the flesh and blood human on the other end of your latest tweet, you don’t know them. At all. More importantly, you don’t know what they want. And in many cases, you don’t even know whether or not they’re real. The person who just followed you might not be a person at all. Think about it…
  • The endless cycle of reciprocation. While not as much of a problem on Facebook, when one uses Twitter and Instagram to pitch art and books, one must be prepared to give far more than one receives. These days, I spend as much time retweeting and liking fellow artists’ posts as I do creating my own, whether or not I like approve of what these people are saying. If I didn’t do this, the reciprocation cycle would end and my audience would shrink. This is how it works. It’s a shark tank out there, and if you don’t feed the sharks, they’ll turn right around and eat you
  • Creepers, stalkers, and people who think every social media site is for dating. Yes, I’m a guy. And yes, I’m fully aware I don’t suffer nearly the amount of harassment as the ladies. Even so…every day, every week, every month, I deal with followers who aren’t at all interested in my paintings or my books. These ladies are after validation, compliments, idle flirting, and romance. An innocuous like on one of my posts becomes a “Hey, nice painting” in my inbox. And then the “Hey, nice painting” becomes something entirely unsettling. And then it becomes a dance between me not wanting to be rude to a fellow human and me having to say “Please go away and look for love from someone else.
  • The personal toll. This one is the hardest. In building a social media empire, one must be very, very careful to keep internet life and real life separate. So far, I’ve done well, but likely not well enough. Even though in my heart I know my goals on social media are highly specific and definitely have an endgame, it’s not always an easy sell to the people I care about in real life. “Why are you online so often?” “Who was that woman you were friendly with on Twitter?” “Are you suuuure you’re only there to market?” — these are some pretty typical questions I’ve been asked. And no matter my answers, I have many times seen the doubt in the eyes of those close to me. It’s at times like these I wonder, “Is this really worth it? Am I selling out? Am I really shrugging off compliments, flirty women, and questionable content…and staying humble?”

Well? Am I?

At the end of each day, is being on social media purely as an artist, author, and purveyor of the occasional off-color meme worthwhile? Yes. Mostly. For every weirdo, creeper, latch-on lady, or inappropriate person, there are hundreds of legitimately cool people out there. Fantastic artists lie around every corner of Instagram. On Twitter exists a thriving culture of authors, philosophers, poets, and curators of excellent content. And on Facebook, well…there’s always cat videos.

But the dark side is real.

It’s expensive, not in terms of money, but in terms of personal welfare and the welfare of those closest to me.

And every day I wage a small war in my heart against it.

In a six-year career on social media, I’ve experienced some truly great things. Great personalities. Hilarious jokes. Wonderful ideas to expand and open the mind.

And of course, epic-level books sales (the whole point of it all.)

But I’ve also dealt with…

  • Writers who claim to be best-selling authors, but who become furious when it’s pointed out they’ve published one brief book with no sales (and which contains giant grammatical chasms.) In other words, liars
  • Social justice warriors invading my benevolent feed to loudly state the half-boob in one of my paintings makes me nothing more than a ‘sexist, chauvinist pig.) Does it? Asking for a friend…
  • Woman posing as art collectors who buy no art, but who gradually increase the flirt level until I’m forced to block or ignore them
  • Prostitutes
  • Bots
  • Exes posing as other people
  • People who think everything is a platform for their politics
  • And the one author who tried to get me to support his book (which spoke of the ‘many virtues of pedophilia.’) Gross, dude. Get help

And so the battle inside me rages on. It’s sometimes small, sometimes massive, and yet I take some heart knowing I’m not the only one. I’m betting there are silent legions of fellow humans out there who feel the same, who struggle with wanting to look their friends in the eyes (as opposed to through a monitor) and who feel the pressure and desire to escape social media and never, ever come back.

I know you’re out there.

We’re not meant to be these distant creatures who create mere avatars for our real lives, and who so often toil alone behind our screens.

The image we present online — it’s false. We must never forget this. Even if we’re utterly honest while posting, we are not collections of memes, profile pictures, and likes. We’re still human behind it all.

At least, I hope we are.

More importantly, I hope you’re human, too…and not another latch-on creeper.

As I close out this collection of thoughts, one last bit of irony hits me. As soon as this is published, I’ll share it across every single one of my social media accounts.

Funny, right?

…or maybe not.


J Edward Neill

Come see me here.

Tyrants of the Dead – Three Epic Novels in One Monstrous Ebook

In a far and ancient land, Emperor Chakran dreams of conquest. His desire to resurrect the evil, world-ending Ur casts a dark shadow across an unsuspecting world.

But as his army butchers its way across the realm, leaving only a vast, storm-riddled graveyard in its wake, a small band of warriors rises up to oppose him…

Tyrants of the Dead

The Complete Collection

 

Con Life: On the Road Again

February has come and nearly gone! Almost every day this month has been filled with convention preparation and art making. That’s typical for February. Besides ChattaCon in January, March is when the convention season really begins to ramp up all over the country. Unlike last year, I have two conventions coming up, back to back! I’m currently prepping canvas prints and originals in my actual studio. In my extended studio, I’m working on the display for behind my table, bagging and boarding prints, and boxing up playmats, books and other merch.

My display and inventory has tripled in size over the last three years. That means I’m bringing more to each show, but it also means I’m less worried about not having enough inventory. I will have a dealer table at my next three events. It’s going to be a busy spring!

Vendor Tips

Here are a few of my vending tips for artists.

  1. Have a bottle of water handy – When you’re talking to attendees all day long your throat will get dry. It’s not uncommon for artists to lose their voice after a long a weekend.
  2. Bring a backup battery – For your phone or tablet. Chances are you’ll be using one of these to run credit cards sales.
  3. Be prepared for anything – That might be easier said than done, but do it. Example: You’re vending at a smaller event. You might be thinking, I don’t need to bring as much inventory to this convention, do I? I don’t really need to bring my big display, do I? I say, whatever the size of the event, you should always be at your best and you never know–that small event could be your best show of the month.
  4. Bring pens for signing stuff – Sometimes it’s the little things that are the easiest to forget!
  5. Stock your own kitchen – I usually bring food for breakfast, snacks if I don’t have time for lunch, extra coffee for the room, etc. You save a money this way if you’re only going out to eat once a day.

Convention Schedule

March

March 9th and 10th – Atlanta SciFi & Fantasy Expo – Decatur, GA

March 15th-17th – MidSouthCon 37 – Memphis, TN

April

April 26th – 28th – JordanCon – Atlanta, GA

Convention Updates

LibertyCon ran into a serious issue with their hotel. They’ve had to not only change hotels for this year’s convention, but also change dates. The con will now be held June 28-30th at the Marriott and Chattanooga Convention Center.

I’ll return with an update in late March!

Thursday Art Assault – Nether Kingdom

Nether Kingdom

Fall of the Dark Moon

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At the world’s edge, all dreams come to nothing…

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Read J Edward Neill’s terrifying new fantasy novel today…

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Oceanic Art – Dark Ships on Dark Seas

Black Oars – J Edward Neill – 2019

Spectral Seas – J Edward Neill – 2018

‘The Last Voyage’ – J Edward Neill – 2019

Forever Floating – J Edward Neill  – 2018

Red Skies at Night – J Edward Neill – 2019

Unfathomable – J Edward Neill – 2018

Dark Vessel – J Edward Neill – 2017

Maelstrom – J Edward Neill – 2018

Sailing for Solitude – J Edward Neill – 2019


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For more art like this, visit 

Con Life: ChattaCon and The Read House

I’ve only been home from ChattaCon a few days. Those first two days were spent catching up on emails and sleep. I’m still working my way through my inbox but I’m nearly caught up. One of the challenges of attending conventions is keeping up with obligations that don’t go away just because you’re out of town. As many artists do, I have numerous responsibilities I juggle beyond my own art. Wednesday was posting day for the Bird Whisperer Project. I had to create the banner for the next Changeling Artist Collective auction and begin enticing our artists to participate. Plus, I’m running a Kickstarter for a limited edition enamel pin! Now, I’m taking a moment to look back at what was a fantastic start to the new year.

Last weekend was the 44th ChattaCon in Chattanooga, TN. My friend, artist Charles Urbach was the Artist Guest of Honor, alongside Timothy Zahn, the Author Guest of Honor. Can you guess the theme of this year’s con? That was no moon in the skies over Chattanooga last weekend!

The Read House

Wow… The 1926 building recently underwent extensive restoration (parts are still unfinished). Staying here is an experience whether you’re attending a convention or just getting away for the weekend.

You can read more about the history here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Read_House_Hotel

Every inch of the hotel was stunning, a work of art on its own. Sunday they did have a small hiccup with the elevators, but this only added to the experience. I ended up needing to take stairs down from the hotel room and ended up in an unfinished part of the hotel. It was tempting to explore, but I needed to get to a panel.

I also may or may not have seen a supernatural occurrence…

The Art Show

I won 2 awards this year!! Forest Scouts won 3rd Place for Professional Fantasy and Remnants won 2nd Place for Professional Science Fiction.

Ironically, I wasn’t originally planning to bring Remnants to the Art Show. It ended up being a backup piece when another sold. At the time, I was disappointed. Now? Not so much! If I could have done anything different with this show, it would have been to bring more art. I was caught a bit off guard this winter when I realized how much I’d sold at my last two shows (IlluxCon and DragonCon). Sometimes that’s unavoidable. Selling art is a good thing! I sold a few more pieces at this show, so I have my work cut out for me in February.

Next month I’ll be preparing for two March events. Maybe I’ll share a few photos from the chaos of con prep. I’ll also share some of my personal tips for running a vendor table at a convention, which is what I’ll be doing at both events.

Atlanta SciFi & Fantasy Expo – Decatur, GA

MidSouthCon 37 – Memphis, TN

Convention Schedule Updates

I’ve added two new events since I last posted. I’ll be returning to the IlluxCon Showcase in Reading, PA (October 25th & 26th). Brand new to my calendar is Conjuration, November 15th-17th in Atlanta, GA. I’ll be sharing more on these in the future.

 

Till next time…

Kickass Kickstarter – 47 Furious Tails

47 FURIOUS TAILS, ISSUE ONE live on KickStarter


January 23rd, 2019 – Writer W.S. Quinton and artist Alexia Veldhuisen brought their vision of the samurai epic to KickStarter in a bold way. This new comic book, 47 Furious Tails Issue One, is the first in a twelve-issue limited series that tells the classic story of the 47 Ronin in brilliantly-illustrated comic book pages.

In issue one, readers are introduced to key actors in this historic legend as Asano Naganori prepares to leave Ako for his fateful, final trip to Edo.
Based on historic and literary accounts, 47 Furious Tails portrays the characters from this classic tale as anthropomorphic animals, making each character beautifully unique.

Issue one immerses the reader in the lives of these famous samurai as they carry on with their lives before the coming of events that would transform them into legends. Witness as Asano Naganori meets with his loyal Oishi Yoshio, and behold the prowess of the elder samurai Horibe Yahei and the young Oishi Chikara as they defend Ako from fierce bandits.

Fantastic art, devotion to duty and fierce samurai action await the reader, in 47 Furious Tails.

Discover 47 Furious Tails, Issue One right here: KickStarter: http://kck.st/2RchurL

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Sinopa Publishing LLC is incorporated in the Commonwealth of Kentucky
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47 Furious Tails is a trademark of Sinopa Publishing and is Copyright © 2017 by W.S. Quinton
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All rights reserved

Five Artists You Absolutely NEED to Follow

Tessera Guild Artist Spotlight Presents:

 

Five Artists You Absolutely NEED to Follow


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Rachel Quinlan


Rachel Quinlan is an award-winning fantasy artist based in Saint Clair Shores, Michigan. She graduated from Michigan State University in 2001 with a B.F.A. in Studio Art.  Working primarily in ink and watercolor, she attempts to emulate techniques that were commonly used by illustrators of the Golden Age.  Inspired by nature, folk tales, and mythology, she hopes to create images that are magical, immersive and mysterious.

Some of Rachel’s gorgeous art, including her pieces ‘Wise One’ ‘Tiny Hoard’ ‘Fisherman’ ‘Cailleach’ and ‘Ascend.’

All images – copyright Rachel Quinlan

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Rachel will display her wondrous art at several shows in 2019, including:

Motor City Comic Con

May 17 – May 19
Novi, MI
https://www.motorcitycomiccon.com/

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Illuxcon

October 23 – 27
Reading, PA
http://www.illuxcon.com/

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You NEED to check out more of Rachel’s work right here: www.rachelquinlan.com

And make sure to follow her at Twitter (@RachelQuinlan) Instagram (rachelquinlanart) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/rachelquinlanart)


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Anthony Ojeda


Anthony Ojeda is an illustrator and storyboard artist. He’s originally from New Jersey, but is currently based out of Los Angeles. (He says the winters are brutal in L.A., but we at Tessera Guild don’t quite believe him.)

Besides creating awesome art, Anthony loves to cook, travel, and enjoy fancy whiskey.

Check out these kickass creations by Anthony:

All images copyright Anthony Ojeda

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What you NEED to do right now is click HERE to go to Anthony’s friggin’ awesome website, especially to view his portfolio.
And then follow Anthony on Instagram: _Tonyojeda
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Some of Anthony’s latest projects include:
– Death Comes to Glenfallow w/ Sinopa Publishing
– Various Storyboard positions w/ GoDaddy, FreenJoy, and JunctionProductions
  – Production work- stage design, concept art, etc.

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Alexia Veldhuisen


 

Alexia Veldhuisen was born and raised in Amsterdam. For many years she worked at Gojoker Strips & Comics, a well-known comic shop.
Pursuing her lifelong dream of becoming a comic book artist, Alexia moved to the US, where she graduated from world-renowned comic book program, The Kubert School. Alexia was awarded the Dave Simons Memorial Scholarship for her achievements in inking.

Next to comic art, traditional painting, and digital art, she enjoys coffee, video games and “normal” books.
She dreams of telling her own stories and secretly being a master samurai.

Some of Alexia’s art, including several pieces illustrated for Sinopa Publishing:

All images copyright Alexia Veldhuisen

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Presently Alexia is the artist illustrating, coloring, and lettering the comic book ’47 Furious Tails.’ She is also contracted as the editor for the 2019 ‘Sinopa Assemble!’ project, a creator-owned comic book anthology.  Alexia has previously contributed art to the RPG adventure book, “Tarot Adventures, Book Two: Comet over Echo Rock” in which she produced truly stunning work.

 

You NEED to follow Alexia on Facebook HERE.
…and at ArtStation.com, right HERE.

And definitely at her epic Instagram.


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Laura Potter


Laura Potter is an abstract artist who paints from pure emotion. 

She began painting 10 years ago to help express emotions, and found it to be the perfect way to do that. 

When doing commissions, she listens to her clients’ needs carefully to be sure to capture the right image and colors. 

Most recently she collaborated with a musician to produce a CD cover for a winter-themed album.

Take in a few of Laura’s amazing and colorful abstract creations:

All images copyright Laura Potter

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You NEED to chase Laura down at Facebook LinkedIn AND Twitter 
And ABSOLUTELY at her website, right HERE.

 



Corey Carter is the designer and owner of Ocean Inspired Design. Her love for shelling and art led her to open a coastal-themed Etsy shop where fellow ocean lovers can find handcrafted seashell home decor and unique gifts.

When Corey isn’t gluing seashells on everything she can get her hands on, she enjoys writing, reading, wine, imagination, music, and terrible dancing.

Check out Corey’s crazy-awesome shelltastic designs:

All images copyright Corey Schultz Carter

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What’s new for Corey in 2019?

She’s going BIG with mirrors! Many of her clients inquire about custom seashell mirrors, and so she’ll be making larger designs than ever before. Seashell mirrors require a lot of time and attention, but the end result is stunning!

Cover your house in shells by visiting OceanInspiredDesign on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/OceanInspiredDesign

And you have simply got to follow Corey’s latest creations on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oceaninspireddesign/


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Are you an artist?

Do you know any awesome artists?

Invite them to take part in Tessera Guild’s next artist spotlight! Simply go here! 

 

Deadly New Cover Art – Lys & the Heart Stopper

Imprisoned as a little girl, Lys awakens in the world’s lowest prison. She’s to become a concubine to a faceless noble in a land far from her native home.

But when fate intervenes, she seizes her only chance at freedom. To save her long lost caretaker, she means to cross the wasteland of Vhur, in which the diseased Iritul have hunted humanity near to extinction.

No distance is too great.

She’ll do anything to rescue her friend.

Even if it means a confrontation with the deadliest human alive – The Heart Stopper.