Category Archives: Book News

Fantasy Friday 2-12-2021

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Fantasy Friday 2-12-2021

Happy Friday! Here’s an excerpt from “His Majesty’s Elite: Elliot” which I’m still writing and hoping to have out by the summer!

The forest surrounding me is familiar but strange. Moss covered tree trunks twist unusually from the forest floor, curling in and around themselves like writhing serpents frozen in time. Obscured by clouds, the moon casts no shadow. The forest itself is shadow. I turn in place, searching to find light to turn toward, and a glint of it shines beneath the brush in the distance. When I reach it, I see that it’s not a light at all, but the reflection of candles stretched across a polished stone path.


I know this path immediately. It leads to the palace.


As soon as I put my soft boot down on it I spin out of control, swirling like I’m caught up in a whirlpool. I try to call out, to reach out and grab something, anything to stop the spinning, and when I can’t, I squeeze my eyes shut and pray to wake up.
Surprisingly, the spinning stops and I land with a thump on something that feels like the seat of a cushioned wooden chair. At first I think it works, that my pleas have woken me, but then I remember I was in my bed at home, and now I’m sitting, and the sounds and smells that close in around me don’t fit with the ones at Amma’s house.


Strange, beautiful music played on instruments I’ve never heard before sounds in my twitching ears, and when I find the courage to open my eyes again, I can’t believe what I see. The vast room could fit Grandymum herself, leaves and all, all the way up to the ceiling. Its stonework, sturdy and expertly carved, seems almost weightless as its pillars and arms push the ceiling to an elegant, glass-paned peak.


I follow the line of the pillars down from the ceiling just as I follow the tree trunks at home with my eyes, listening to laughter and voices as they blend with the music and echo across the vast space. Scattered across the polished marble floor, a crowd of dozens of interestingly dressed people weave about, mingling and dancing, gesturing gracefully with their arms while their silky gowns and velvet capes sway dreamily to the music.


At first I feel far away from it all. All I can do is stare in awe as the salty sea air tickles my nose.


Eventually, I push out of my chair to wander among them. Those at the edge of the room where I appeared stand in small groups, talking and laughing together, drinking from jeweled goblets that flash in the light.


I squint past the light that reminds me of wisps falling from trees into the throngs of dancers who move together, their steps keeping time with the beat of the music. I’ve never seen anyone dance this way before. At home when we dance, it’s wild and chaotic. Here, it’s so controlled it almost seems like they’re bound to each other. Their synchronous movements entrance me. It’s unreal. Beautiful.


I can’t tell if this is a dream or if I’m Scouting. It seems too strange to be real, but I can’t imagine it’s something my mind would have conjured up. The ladies’ gowns and lords’ jackets and hose are the rich colors of summer butterflies, shining beetles, and meadow blooms. The women sparkle with jewels adorning their hair, necks, and wrists. The men wear metal buckles and studs. Their metal sword pommels catch the light like flames.


Dazzled by the scene, I weave through the dancers and the gathered crowds, careful to avoid bumping into or walking through anyone.


“Your Majesty, I must admit this is the most impressive Springswan Ball I can remember,” says a nearby lady.


“Majesty,” I whisper and follow the voice, curious to see a king for the first time. I remember the young prince’s whispers in the night about his father, and that makes me even more curious to put eyes on him.


Ducking through a pair of dancers who gallop past, I’m momentarily distracted by the sheer amount of fabric it must have taken to make the lady dancer’s dress. I reach out for it, just to see what the shimmering skirt feels like, but my hand dips through her skirt just as I knew it would.


“Ah, your flattery is misguided,” an old voice croaks in reply. “I had nothing to do with it, except signing a thing here and there. It was mostly Master Rand’ell, of course.”


“Oh, Majesty,” purrs the lady, “You’re just being gracious as always. Shall we dance?”


I dodge around another pair of dancers and finally arrive at the talking pair. The woman, incredibly beautiful for a human, wears her raven-black hair arranged in intricate braids on top of her head, which sparkle with golden jeweled pins. Her dress is as red as a woodpecker’s crown, and so tight at the waist it seemed to push the rest of her out of it at the top. When she leans nearer to the king, I follow her gaze and step closer, fascinated by the contrast between the two humans.


The king is the oldest looking man I have ever seen. Older even than Feren, the grove’s eldest druid who has recently celebrated his hundred and eighty-seventh birthday. Dressed in a purple tunic that looks as soft as spring moss, his shoulders draped in the fur of white rabbits, he seems to compress under the weight of the crown on his head, a golden circlet that shines like midday sun in the lamplight.


“Now, now, my dear,” the king chuckles, patting the lady’s hand, “these old feet would make a fool of me. Sir Josten!” he calls to a man passing by, who pauses and bows to the king. His broad shoulders and strong fighter’s stance remind me of Father, and a pang of guilt charges through me. Don’t wander, he’d said, yet here I find myself again in the palace of Cerion.


“Majesty,” the man says with a genuine smile. “I was looking for my daughter. Have you seen her?”


“Not since we dined,” answers the king, patting the arm of the black-haired woman. “Here,” he lifts her hand gently in the knight’s direction, and she eyes Sir Josten with hint distaste. “Ciri would like to dance.”


“Of course, Majesty,” says the knight dutifully, even though he looks just as reluctant as Ciri to follow through with it. Still, she accepts his offered hand and they fall into step with the rest of the dancing crowd.


“Another cup, good page,” the king calls to a boy my age dressed in the same purple color as the king himself, who runs off eagerly to fetch it.


I follow, interested where he’ll go, but end up losing him in the crowd. Sir Josten and Ciri sweep past me and I wonder why the king would ask them to dance together when it’s so obvious they hate one another.


A breeze drifts past carrying the scent of sea salt, and I follow my nose to a grand balcony overlooking the ocean. The sun is just beginning to set in the sky, splashing pinks and oranges across the water. I’ve never seen a sunset over so much water before, so I stand watching it for a long time until a ripple of laughter steals my attention.


It’s a familiar laugh. One I have heard before.


“Only you.”


I recognize it immediately as the prince whose bedroom I ended up in the last time I followed the polished path. Tirnon.
“What?” asks a second voice, which I’m sure it’s the girl I saw earlier in the marketplace. Lisabella.


“Are you sure you wouldn’t rather dance? You aren’t dressed for a spar,” the prince chuckles.


I creep closer and find a narrow ledge leading to a second, smaller terrace with a column I can peek around to watch them.
“I might need to fight in a dress at some point.” Lisabella faces the prince, holding a wooden training sword out to him. “You never know.”


“Lisabella,” Tirnon laughs, “where did you get a training sword?”


“A lady never tells her secrets,” she replies with a dainty curtsy. Their eyes dance with a warm familiarity that makes me think of Hana. With a mischievous smile, Lisabella shakes out her skirt and jiggles her foot, and a second wooden sword clatters to the stone floor.


The prince’s laughter echoes across the terrace. He holds his stomach, and I can’t help but laugh along with him. His amusement infects Lisabella, too, until they’re both hugging their stomachs, doubled over. The idea of a girl dressed so splendidly smuggling wooden swords into an elegant dance like this is ridiculous, even to me with no knowledge of this land’s customs.


I stop laughing, though, when the prince turns to look straight at me.


“Did you see? Did you see that?” he asks, still laughing.


I take a step back, certain he’s seen me but unsure how he ever could, until from beside me, a third person I hadn’t noticed clears his throat disapprovingly. Relieved the prince didn’t spot me after all, I relax a little and lean forward to look. Hidden on the other side of the pillar, the throat-clearing man holds the side of his fist to his lips, clearly trying hard not to join in laughing. It only takes a moment for me to realize he’s a warrior, too. A guardian of some kind, I gather, from the way he glances around to watch for threats.


“Leave Finn out of it.” Lisabella says. She collects herself, holding up her sword in a salute. “Wait, maybe you’d rather go in and dance?”


“Now you’re just taunting me,” answers the prince, still grinning as he returns her salute with his wooden weapon. “There’s far too much red in there for my taste.”


Red, I think to myself. Too much red.

Excerpt from “His Majesty’s Elite: Elliot” a “Keepers of the Wellsprings” prequel.
Copyright 2021 Missy Sheldrake


Have you read Mya yet?

When she discovers her screams can bring men to their knees, will one young woman stay silent or give voice to righteousness?

Find out! Get your copy today!

Writing Wednesday 2-3-2021

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Writing Wednesday 2-3-2021

Happy Writing Wednesday! I’m spending today writing chapter 17 of Elliot, which is a nice, juicy chapter involving a midnight hunt and a wicked Sorcerer who went too far.

While I write, why not enjoy a free short story? I recently released The Princess’s New Poppet to my newsletter subscribers in ebook form AND in audiobook format, narrated by the incomparable Penny Scott-Andrews! Sign up and get yours here!

Penny and her husband Andy are currently working their way through narrating the entire Keepers of the Wellsprings series for Audible, and I’m thrilled with how it’s turning out! I can’t wait to share it with you!

You can listen to Call of Kythshire here!

Sunday Sketch 1-24-2021

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Sunday Sketch 1-24-2021

Today’s sketches were inspired by “Elliot,” the novel I’m writing now. Elliot is the second prequel to the Keepers of the Wellsprings series after “Mya.” It’s about a boy who can shapeshift into a fox and travel through the Dreaming to places all over the world.

Amma sleeping…lost in the Dreaming.
Hana and Elliot

Elliot is coming later this year! Make sure to sign up for my mailing list to find out when!

Saturday Smiles 1-23-2021

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Saturday Smiles 1-23-2021

In honor of yesterday’s Brian Froud post, I thought I’d share some Labyrinth memes today! I hope they make you smile!

Carly Rae Jareth | Call Me Maybe | Know Your Meme
Very Demotivational - labyrinth - Very Demotivational Posters - Start Your  Day Wrong - Demotivational Posters | Very Demotivational | Funny Pictures |  Funny Posters | Funny Meme - Cheezburger
Labyrinth Meme | Kappit
Didn’t I say that?!
Who me? Naahh I'm just a worm. - Labyrinth Worm | Meme Generator
Yes #babyyoda #labyrinth | Yoda meme, Star wars humor, Star wars memes

Okay, that’s all from me! I have a movie to go watch! Happy Saturday, everyone!

Throwback Thursday 1-7-2021

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Throwback Thursday 1-7-2021

Slide the slider to see Call of Kythshire’s old cover compared to the new version! Did you know the Keepers of the Wellsprings series was originally called the Half-Realm Saga? I chose the original swirly cursive font because it reminded me of Mage Mark. But I love the newer version so much more, with Azi’s silhouette on the cover and the actual Mage Mark vines ominously curling into the brighter areas. Which do you like better?

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Mya: A Half-Siren Coming-of-Age Fantasy wins Book of the Year!

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Mya: A Half-Siren Coming-of-Age Fantasy wins Book of the Year!

From Book Squirrel:

“In an entirely different category, rather than competing with those in other categories, Book Squirrel wanted to recognise the book that he enjoyed reading the most. For its combination of original story line, characterisation, relevance to the 21st century and and excellent writing, the award for BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020 goes to…‘Mya’ by Missy Sheldrake”

Read the full review here.

To celebrate, Mya is free today on Amazon!

2021-2022 Fairies Calendar

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2021-2022 Fairies Calendar

Do you love looking at beautiful, bright artwork of fairies? Would you like to look at fairies for 18 whole months? If so, you should get my brand new 2021-2022 18 month FAIRIES Art Wall Calendar!

Oh, and by the way, Call of Kythshire, the first book of my epic, award-winning Keepers of the Wellsprings series is FREE today only! Saturday, 12-12-2020!

Click the pic to get your copy!

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2021 is Gonna be GREAT!

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2021 is Gonna be GREAT!

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Mya: His Majesty’s Elite

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Mya: His Majesty’s Elite

I’m so excited to announce that my latest book is coming out in less than a month! Mya is a minor character in the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, but, like all of my characters, I knew her story went far deeper than I could venture within the tale of that series. Little did I know, she would bring me on a journey I never could have anticipated! Here’s a little taste of her story, and my upcoming book: Mya.

Her voice is her power.

As the daughter of a vagabond scoundrel, aspiring minstrel Mya has spent her childhood wary of her magical voice while traipsing through dangerous jungles in pursuit of her father’s dream—fortune and glory.

She never imagined Pa’s latest scheme would have her tangling with thieves, sailing across the world on a ship full of pirates, kissing a prince, meeting the foxy elf of her dreams (literally), and dodging the grasp of the most dangerous Sorcerer in Cerion, all the while wondering: Where is Pa?

A mysterious note promising he’ll meet her soon pushes Mya toward options she never considered before. She could go on living at the mercy of her father’s endless plots, or create the home she’s longed for in Cerion, and finally embrace the power of her own voice.

Coming October 12 to Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Nook, and book retailers everywhere.

This exciting prequel to the Keepers of the Wellsprings series focuses on young Mya as she journeys to Cerion for the first time.

 

 

Mya will be available in paperback through Amazon, and special edition hardcover through Ingram.

I’m proud to share my Author’s Sketchbook with you in this very special hardcover edition of Mya: His Majesty’s Elite! Available exclusively in the hardcover edition, the Author’s Sketchbook includes over 20 original sketches I drew during my writing process. Sketching keeps my creativity flowing and helps me sort out characters and places in my mind. Here are a couple of example sketches included in this exciting edition:

 

In this epic fantasy adventure, you’ll be taken on a whirlwind journey across a world unlike any other. Are you ready to meet Mya, one of His Majesty’s Elite?

 

An excerpt from Mya: His Majesty’s Elite

Dear Pa,

Did you know you sent me to Cerion aboard a pirate ship? I’ve never seen greed like this, or danger. But I’m learning how to handle it.

At first, as usual, the men on board were afraid of me. They kept me confined to my cabin and didn’t allow me out. That was fine with me, because you instilled a fear of the sea into me that I still appreciate. But the tides changed about halfway through the voyage (that was an intentional pun—I know how you like them), and they came to see how valuable I could be aboard their ship. I took to singing to heal, Pa, and it worked well, and they kept me on that duty for a while.

But pirates are greedy. You know that as well as I do. Once their fear of me was gone, they tried to command me. The captain called me to the helm, ordering me to sing at their enemies and keep them in pain. He wanted me screaming like I did to save the ship from nearly being lost— I’ll tell you about that later. I talked him out of it, though. After the first attack, I had to coax him each time to let me go to my cabin in peace. But I still had to listen to it. I still heard talk later as the crew bragged and boasted of their victories.

Nine ships, Pa, and countless men brutalized by their swords and their Mage.

I won’t talk about it to you. Not right away. Maybe in time. I fear the anger in my voice would hurt you.

I’m not proud that I hid in my room through most of it. Every time it happened, I couldn’t help but think maybe I could have talked them out of attacking, just like I talked them into leaving me out of it. I could have convinced them to sail away and leave those innocents to their own journeys. I was afraid, though, that I’d fail to convince them, that they’d see through my efforts to control, that I’d end up being the one run through with a blade and cast into the sea. Cort said that was likely. That I had to think of myself and keep myself safe. That no amount of talking would change a lifetime of habits, not even with my ability.

If it wasn’t for him, for Cort, I think I might have lost my mind on this ship. You owe him a great debt, Pa. He kept my spirits up and watched over me, far more than Paewyn did.

Paewyn. She’s another story altogether. You’ve got to watch her if you want to keep her. Her eyes wander too far, she goes way too deep into her cups. She’s gotten better as we get closer to the journey’s end, but for most of the trip, she was totally unhinged.

I think partly she was jealous. The crew admires me, and I let them, mostly to keep myself safe until we see Cerion’s shores. Did you know pirates are excellent tailors? Cort says it’s because they loot so much fine fabric. That’s why they dress so bright and rich. They’ve made me such lovely dresses, Pa. I hope you’ll let me keep at least one. I’ve never owned anything so exquisite, that fit me so well. They’d suit me well for my performances in Cerion, I think.

That is your plan, isn’t it? For me to sing at the competitions? Paewyn has said so. Whenever she’s sober, she keeps me practicing my lute and writing as many songs as I can think to write. I can’t wait to play for you and show you how much I’ve learned.

Thankfully, the voyage is nearly over. I hope in all my life I will never step foot on a ship again. The fear of being cast off it is too much to bear. The vastness of the sea, just like you said, is dreadful.

That reminds me…I’d like to know how you made the voyage to Cerion. I can’t imagine with your fear of water that you’d manage the journey this way. Why did you decide we shouldn’t go together, and why did you send Paewyn with me instead? Did you pay for a Mages’ portal? That would make sense. I know they’re very expensive and even with all of our things sold, you wouldn’t have been able to pay for me, too.

That’s all I can think of these last few days. That, and how much I’m looking forward to seeing you. I know you had your reasons, and I did learn some things, Pa. I’m trying to be reasonable and be grateful, like Paewyn says I should be, but I’ve missed you so much and I really need to understand why you left me for so long. I’m not angry—well, maybe I am, but only a little. Truthfully, I can’t wait to have my feet on solid ground again, and to hug you. I’ve missed you since the Millers. Two months and more is a long time to be apart.

See you in Cerion.
Your Songbird,
Mya

 

Presenting the Art of the Keepers of the Wellsprings 2019 Calendar!

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Presenting the Art of the Keepers of the Wellsprings 2019 Calendar!

Featuring hand-selected, full color, high-resolution illustrations…

Calendar Promo Image

I’m beyond excited to offer this collection of illustrations to my readers, which is the first time they have ever been printed in FULL COLOR, the way I intended them! Whether you enjoyed my series via paperback or Kindle, these are scenes from the books like you have never seen them before.

The lulu site has a great reputation for excellent customer service, but their calendar preview requires flash, which I know is a problem for IOS users. Don’t worry! I have created a gallery on my website that allows everyone to browse through all of the enchanting images featured in the calendar. Click here to view the preview on my website.

Discover the rich world of Author/Illustrator Missy Sheldrake’s Keepers of the Wellsprings series. This stunning spiral-bound wall calendar will capture your imagination and whisk you into the epic story readers are calling “a high-fantasy Harry Potter.”

Best of all, it’s on sale now at a special introductory price of 30% off list: just $17.49! (plus shipping and tax where required)

Get Your Calendar Here!


In other news…

Mya

Introducing young Mya! I’ve been hard at work writing her story, and let me tell you, she is not at all what I expected she’d be at 13 (going on 14) years old. This future leader of His Majesty’s Elite is quite a handful!

I’m still in the early stages of my draft, so I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to estimate a release date for a while. I promise it’s going to be amazing, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

If you’d like some sneak peeks and more regular updates, I invite you to follow me on Facebook  and Instagram. Come on over and see what I’ve been up to. See you soon!

Local Missy Sightings

Before I say goodbye for now, I have one last bit of exciting news. I’ll be setting up a booth at the 2018 Clifton Day Festival here in Northern Virginia on October 7. I plan on signing books and calendars, and offering lots of paintings from my studio! I might even have a fairy or two there with me. If you’re local to the area and plan to attend Clifton Day, I’d love it if you stopped by and said hello.

Thanks for reading all the way to the end! Fairy wishes for great adventures until I see you again. ❤

(This message was originally sent to my mailing list on September 16. If you’d like to sign up for email updates, click here. Thanks!)