Author Archives: Missy S

About Missy S

Missy Sheldrake is the author/illustrator of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series. She is also a fairy art doll sculptor and a freelance artist working out of Virginia, USA.

Call of Elespen: Excerpt

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Call of Elespen: Excerpt

 

Here’s a fun excerpt from Call of Elespen, book five of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, to whet your appetite! I’m still putting some polish on this epic finale, but I can say with confidence that it will be available by the end of the month! November 29 is the tentative release date. I really can’t wait for you to read it!


After a long day of meetings, planning, and preparing for the Dawn’s next steps, I fall into my bed and bury my face in my pillow. The sweet, familiar lavender and rose fragrance of Mouli’s laundering soap soothes me to sleep almost instantly. I dream of pleasant, fleeting things as I burrow deep into my soft, downy bed.

“Azi,” tiny hands pat the side of my nose and Flitt’s light dances behind my eyelids as she raps on my brow. “Azi,” she whispers again, this time a little more insistently.
I groan and burrow deeper into my bed in protest, and she tugs at the unraveling strands of my braid.

“Azi, wake up!” she squeaks just above a whisper. “It’s urgent!”

My eyes fly open. I bolt upright in my bed. My heart races. Across the room, Mercy jumps in its stand. “What is it?” I gasp, flinging my warm, downy blanket off of me. “Is it the Dusk? Are they attacking?”

One bare foot touches the cold floor as my sword lands in my outstretched hand. I’m halfway to my armor stand before Flitt darts into my face.

“Shh, shh, shh!” she hisses, pressing her surprisingly non-sticky hands to my lips. “It isn’t anything like that! You’re out of sugar cubes again! It’s like Mouli’s forgotten all about me!”

I stare in disbelief at the bright fairy, blinking the sleep from my eyes. Mercy slides from my loosening grasp and floats to set itself in place on its stand. With a groan, I fall back into bed and pull the blankets up over my head.

“You said it was urgent,” I say thickly through a yawn.

“Well, it is. I’m hungry!” Her squeaky voice, muffled by the comforter, drifts closer. I feel her feet on the side of my head and pull the blankets tighter around myself. “I can’t help it if I’ve been up dancing all night while you were being lazy. A fairy has things to do, you know. Important things.”

“Sure, important things,” I yawn again.

“You don’t believe me,” Flitt huffs. I feel her land by my arm. There’s the sound of a scuffle and a tug on the blanket. She manages to get an edge pulled out of my grasp, and she peeks inside. Light bursts from her face, blinding me with sudden, twinkling rainbows. I screw my eyes shut in protest.

“Of course I believe you,” I say, poking my head out into the cold in surrender. “Could you tone it down a little, maybe?”

“Sorry,” she whispers, giggling, and dims her glow. “But you’re awake now! Hurrah!”

“Hurrah,” I mumble, scooting back to prop myself against my pillow. I glance to my shuttered window as I reach for the cup on my bedside table to take a sip of water. The light of the waning moon spills through the slats, competing with Flitt’s colors as it stretches across the floorboards.

I set the mug back on the table and open the drawer, revealing the stash of sugar cubes I’d grabbed earlier on the way back to my room.

“There,” I say, utterly annoyed.

“Yes!” Flitt squeaks. “You’re the best, Azi. Really.” She dives into the drawer and shoves several cubes into her belt pouch. To my surprise, as hungry as she claimed to be, she doesn’t eat any.

“Do you want to know who I was dancing with?” she asks, now that she’s sure I’m fully awake. She keeps her voice much quieter than usual and glances over her shoulder toward the circle hatch. The ribbons of her skirt rise and fall as she sighs dreamily, twirling in place. “Bet you can’t guess.”
My mood shifts. Maybe it’s because I was just dreaming, or maybe it’s because I’m overly anxious over the looming battle, but something about her here in my room, dancing and glowing in the moonlight, makes my heart swell with love for the little fae. My irritation over being woken up in the middle of the night is easily pushed aside by my affection for her.

Just a few short years ago, I never would have imagined a scene like this could be real. If I’d told someone there was a fairy in my bedroom, Uncle most definitely would have had my head examined.

“Hey, Dreamy,” Flitt whispers, diving toward my face. She stops short of my nose and taps it with her finger. “You’re supposed to guess!”

“Oh,” I say. “Um, Twig?”

She shushes me again, clinging to my cheek, and glances toward Rian’s room.

“Not Twig,” she whispers. “And can you keep your voice down?”

“Why?” I ask.

“You can’t answer a question with a question!” she whispers.

“I didn’t know we were play—”

“Shh!”

“For the ever-loving—” I start to growl, and Flitt squeaks and darts to my ear.

“I don’t want to wake up Stinky,” she whispers. “When was the last time we had a talk, just you and me, huh? If he comes in here, he’ll stick himself to your face all the way ‘til morning, and I just want to talk to you without him around because you’re mine and I’m yours and just this once I don’t want to share!”

Slowly, I turn my head to face her. She hovers in the air, even with my eyes, her fists clenched at her sides, her cheeks red, her eyes narrowed.

“Flitt,” I whisper, trying hard to keep the bemusement out of my voice, “are you jealous of Rian?”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” she huffs, crossing her arms. She purses her lips. Her nostrils flare out. This close, I can see the beautiful shift of color in her eyes: fuchsia, orange, violet.

“You are,” I say, biting my lip to keep myself from laughing.

“That’s not the point!” she squeaks, then claps her hands over her own mouth.


If you haven’t read the Keepers of the Wellsprings series yet, you should definitely get started before the final book comes out! You can grab your copy of all four books on Amazon.

I’ll be posting some more info and updates as release day nears, so make sure to check back often!

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Call of Elespen Cover Reveal

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Call of Elespen Cover Reveal

The epic conclusion to the Keepers of the Wellsprings series is almost here, and you know what that means: It’s time for a cover reveal!

If you’re familiar with the series so far, you know that I have illustrated designed all of the covers myself. It has always been important to me to make sure each cover is unique enough to be attractive on its own, but consistent enough with the rest of the series that it looks like a series when all of the books are displayed together.

To do this, I  really thought about color, giving each book its own unique palette and tone. I knew Kythshire, for example, would be blue and gold, because those colors appear prominently in the book. They’re the colors of Azi’s guild, and the colors of the golden field she visits in Kythshire.

 

For Call of Sunteri, I chose red for the dye fields Tib escaped, and gold for the wings of a prominent fairy in the book. I won’t say who, just in case you haven’t read it yet!

 

For Call of Brindelier, it had to be purple for the mystery and majesty of the hidden kingdom of Brindelier, and gold, of course. This time, for Azi.

 

For Call of Hywilkin, I knew I wanted flame orange and yellow to represent the fiery mountain of Kerevorna, and the wings of its Keeper had to be very distinct. I also wanted it to feel quite ominous because of the dark, dramatic tone of this book.

Finally, here we are at Elespen! As the final book in the series, I hoped to make this cover really stand out. This book and its cover had to feel like a triumph. I wanted it to feel mysterious and creepy, but also bright and hopeful. I painted the wings to seem like they could be a butterfly in a rain forest jungle, and gave them eyes to make them curious and interesting. It was important that the green felt like a jungle, with all of the wonder and danger that the idea of a jungle invokes. I wanted it to feel ambiguously good and evil, beautiful, and unnerving. My favorite part about this cover is how the area beneath the wings feels like a portal into a strange blue sky or tropical water, which happened accidentally as I was painting it.

Without further delay, here it is, the cover reveal of Call of Elespen!

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books bannerI’m still planning on releasing the book in the later part of November. I promise to keep you updated! In the meantime, you can download Call of Kythshire for free today, in celebration of my cover release! Enjoy!

Cover Reveal Tomorrow!

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Cover Reveal Tomorrow!

The epic conclusion of the Keepers of the Wellsprings is coming soon! To celebrate, tomorrow, I’ll be revealing the cover of Call of Elespen, Keepers of the Wellsprings, Book Five and offering Call of Kythshire, Book One, for free! Keep an eye here for details and news!call_of_elespen_cover_reveal

Call of Elespen is On the Way!

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Call of Elespen is On the Way!

Quick update, and then I’m back to writing!

First, I’m excited to share the cover for my fellow indie author, Christina McMullen’s upcoming book, The Princess Rebellion, which she revealed this week! I had a lot of fun painting it, and I love the text treatment she used. To read more about the cover and her upcoming release on her blog, just click here.

Princess Rebellion Kindle Cover with xach


Call of Elespen is on the way.

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Release day might be the end of November, it might be the beginning of December, but I promise book five is coming. I could tell you all the reasons why it’s not quite ready yet, but I don’t want to bore you with the craziness that is my life, so instead I’ll offer you some fun little tidbits about my process as I get through this draft.

I use Scrivener to write my drafts. I love it because of its organizational capabilities and its high level of customization. I also love that I can easily switch between my PC and iPad to write.  Here’s a screenshot of the beginning of my manuscript. As you can see, I color code my chapters: sky blue for Azi, desert yellow for Tib, and Sorcerous red for Celli.

Elespen Draft

I listen to great music while I’m writing, too. Each of my main characters has an anthem, and there are certain artists who really speak to me when I’m trying to get into someone’s head.

For Azi, it’s Aurora:

For Tib, it’s usually Black Keys:

For Celli, it’s Sia:

Actually, that video is so Celli it gives me chills every time!

I have the cover for Call of Elespen ready to go, but I’m holding onto it so I can announce the release date and reveal the cover at the same time. I’m chomping at the bit, though, and as excited to share this conclusion with you as I hope you are to read it. It’s going to be epic! Check back for updates in the next week or so, or subscribe to my email list for all the latest news, and maybe a sneak peek! 

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I’m Still Writing!

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I just wanted to write a quick note to let everyone know I’m still here, and I’m still writing! The conclusion of the Keepers of the Wellsprings is taking up every bit of my time and energy, leaving little time for blog posts.

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The majority of the book is already in the hands of my trusted beta readers, and is so far very well received. This ending is going to be EPIC, and I’m really excited to get it out to the rest of you.

I’m still hoping to release in November. Keep an eye here for news, and as always, I’d love to hear from you. Post a comment here to say hello or ask a question, or send me an email if you’d like! See you soon!!

Quick Update

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Quick Update

The more I write, the more excited I am to share the next installment of the Keepers of the Wellsprings with all of you. Call of Elespen is currently up to 79,533 words and counting. I’m about to start chapter 24 this morning, and I thought I’d pop in quickly to say hello and let everyone know I’m still here and I’m definitely still writing!

Here’s my favorite tiny snippet from a recent chapter:

     “Rescue?” she whispers.
For a long stretch of silence, she looks me over. Her halfhearted gaze slowly drifts into the vast space above us. I follow, looking up into the chute as far as I can before the walls are swallowed into shadow. She doesn’t have to say a word. The hopelessness she feels hangs heavy in the air around us.
“Even if you could,” she sighs, “to what end?”

I won’t tell you who’s doing the rescue or who’s getting rescued, but I will share with you this sketch, which will definitely appear in the final version:

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Call of Elespen is the fifth and final book of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, due out this November. I’ll be announcing a release date and cover reveal soon, so keep checking back here for updates.

One last thing! Call of Kythshire, book one of the series, will be free to download on Amazon September 12, so if you want to dive into the series before the last book is released, be sure to grab your copy! See you soon!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #104: Author/Illustrator Missy Sheldrake Returns Part 1 of 2

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #104: Author/Illustrator Missy Sheldrake Returns Part 1 of 2

Recently I had a great podcast interview with author Josh Blum. Read more about it on his blog!

The Thirteenth Hour

Episode #104: Author and Illustrator Missy Sheldrake Interview #2 Part 1 of 2

https://archive.org/download/Podcast104_201708/Podcast%20104.mp3

In this week’s episode, fantasy author Missy Sheldrake comes back to the show to catch us up on all the things she’s been up to this past year (find her first interview here).  We spend much of this episode talking about the creative process, how writing takes on a life of its own, illustrating books, and what a shame it is that books for former children tend not to have pictures anymore.

Here are some screenshots from Missy’s Instagram gallery, where she posts pictures of works in process:

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This progression is of her character Tib, who was introduced in Call of Sunteri.

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This guild portrait is the one we’re referring to in the podcast (the one that took 59 hours).  Click on the picture above to go to the actual post on IG.

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Win a Print and a Signed Book!

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Win a Print and a Signed Book!

I had so much fun with the last contest, I decided to offer another one! Enter to win a signed paperback copy of Call of Kythshire (or another book in the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, if you already have that one), AND a print of your choice. I have 8.5″ x 12″ prints of either Flitt, or Tib’s ship up for grabs. These are matted in a 12″ x 16″ white mat.

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AND THIS:

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***UPDATE***

I’ve added more options to enter! Participants can visit me on Facebook or Instagram, send a tweet, or make a comment on the blog post linked in the contest! Good luck!

Click here to visit Rafflecopter and enter!
The contest ends Friday, August 4th at midnight. One lucky winner will be announced the following Monday, August 7. Good luck!

***Continental US only, no purchase necessary.

Call of Elespen Update: New Illustrations!

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Call of Elespen Update: New Illustrations!

I know I’ve been quiet here in blog land, but I have a great excuse. I’ve been busy writing and illustrating Call of Elespen! I’m up to Chapter 13 now, with a total word count of 41,069.

I’m not going to tell you anything at all about the following illustrations, posted in no particular order. I’ll let you wonder what’s happening based on what you see. You can click on each pic to see a larger version.

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Which one do you like the most, and why? Let me know in the comments! Feel free to ask a question if you have one. I’ll answer anything that’s not a spoiler. 😉

All images are Copyright 2017 Missy Sheldrake, so please don’t share without crediting me.