Tag Archives: Call of Sunteri

It’s today!! Call of Hywilkin is here!

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It’s today!! Call of Hywilkin is here!

Author’s Note: This post was written before coffee.

It’s release day! I can’t stand it, I’m so excited!! Call of Hywilkin is finally available for sale on Amazon, and you are definitely in for a treat if you get it! You’re going to meet so many amazing characters and go on such an adventure!

You’ll meet Wyvern:

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“Talk plain to me. You know I don’t like all that frilly talk.”

 

 

And Tulya:

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“I am not porcupine.” 

And Kenrick:

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“Mentalism, my dear, is not like other schools of magic.”

And Pippa:

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“How can I keep it out when it is all I ever see? Night. Always, night.”

And you’ll travel with old favorites like Azi and Rian:

 

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“A screech from the darkness…a strange glow fills the space like cool, blue moonlight.”

Flitt:

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“Want to play?”

And of course, Tib!

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“I just want to do what I want, and I don’t want to answer to anyone.”

And don’t forget Celli and Quenson!

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“What have you done to this girl? What dark magic is this?”

You can order Call of Hywilkin by clicking  here.

All the other books in the series are available for free today only! (March 3, 2017) Click here to download them!

 

Cover Reveal – Call of Hywilkin

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Cover Reveal – Call of Hywilkin

With my draft in the hands of my beta readers and my Apple Pencil on fire from illustrating, I’ve decided it’s time to reveal the cover of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, Book Four: Call of Hywilkin!

The story takes place in Hywilkin, a treacherous frozen country where the use of magic is forbidden upon penalty of death. Its Wellspring, which lies deep in the center of a towering mountain, has been sealed off from the world for decades.

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Here it is with the rest of the books in the series:

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When I designed the cover, I wanted to be sure it kept with the theme of previous covers while also conveying the dark, dangerous themes of the book. Rian must learn his worth without magic, Azi struggles to maintain balance between her own powers and her duties as a Knight, and Tib delves into the shadowed mysteries of the floating city of Brindelier. As always, their fairy companions guide them on their way, providing advice and encouragement as they work to bolster the Dawn and snuff out the Dusk.

Click here to read more about the Keepers of the Wellsprings series!

Call of Hywilkin will be available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited March 2017! Check here for details coming soon!

Happy Birthday, Sunteri!

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Happy Birthday, Sunteri!

A year ago today, Call of Sunteri, Keepers of the Wellsprings – Book Two, was published. To wish it a happy birthday, I’m offering the ebook for FREE on Kindle all weekend! That’s right, from November 18-20, it’s time to celebrate!

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Even though it’s book two, don’t be shy. Reviewers have said it stands alone well:

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And those who have read the first one love this one even more:

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If that’s not enough to convince you to pick up  your free copy, here’s an excerpt from Call of Sunteri, Keepers of the Wellsprings – Book Two in which Azi, now dubbed a knight, is summoned by a bored Prince Eron for a duel. The prince, who has always had a strange obsession with Azi, is being escorted by her family’s guild to a castle in the north along with his pregnant wife, to shield him from accusations of treason while the princess gives birth to their son. This takes place at a tavern where they’ve stopped to rest.

The courtyard is open to the sky, but closed in on all sides. It’s clean, but run down. The ground is packed dirt and the fountain in the center is cracked and empty. Several royal guards line the peeling stone walls, and two lords Eron’s age lounge in an alcove to one side. The lords are his cousins, Fresi and Kris. They met up with us in the last village, right on schedule.

The prince himself is waiting for me across the yard. He makes a show of his footwork as I approach, demonstrating a fancy combination that seems a little too flowery to have any practical use in battle. I try to look impressed anyway, just to cover up my nerves. The lords call out to Eron, telling him how formidable he looks, applauding his sword dance. When they see me, one of them whistles low.

I bend my knee and bow my head as the prince turns to face me. He lets the tip of his sword drag in the dirt as he comes to stand over me. I curse my heart, which is thumping so loudly that I’m sure he can hear it. He stays there awhile, as if he’s making sure I’m well aware of my place: in the dirt, kneeling to him. Finally, he addresses me.

“Sir Azaeli,” his tone is merry, but his words are slightly slurred. I can smell the drink on him. “Armed and ready, I see.”

“Yes, Your Highness.” I keep my head bowed. I can almost feel his sneer.

“Stand up, then, and show me your skills. I wish to spar with the legend,” he laughs, and the lords in the alcove echo him.

“If it pleases Your Highness,” I say, mustering my patience as I stand up and take my sword from the sheath on my back. One of the lords makes a crude remark, but I ignore it. I’ve trained for this. Thanks to Dacva and his crew, I know how to keep a level head even when my opponent is spitting venom and insults and doing everything he can to rattle me.

I try not to think of how ungrateful Eron has been since Rian and I lifted Viala’s enchantments on him. I try not to let it bother me that he treats me this way, despite all we’ve done and all we continue to do to ensure his comfort and clear his name. He’s my prince. The heir of Cerion. The son of my liege. It’s my duty to respect and obey him, even if he doesn’t return that respect.

We face each other and raise our blades in salute. He eyes me with a hunger that makes me uncomfortable, but I try to ignore it and concentrate on the bout instead. I’m growing used to my new sword, which Da forged for me in the weeks after the battle at Kythshire. It’s lighter than my old one, but the grip is still too new. I miss the one I lost. It was a good friend to me. Still, this one is well made, with a broad blade and a long, slender handle that requires two hands, like my last one.

Lord Kris calls out to start the spar, and Eron advances immediately. His sword is two-handed as well. It’s similar to mine, but richly encrusted with deep red jewels that glisten like fresh blood. Our bout starts smoothly. We’re evenly matched as we swing and parry against each other.

We go on for a while, easily driving one another back and forth across the yard. His style is much showier than mine. I ease up, since he obviously feels like he has something to prove to his cousins. He performs the dance again and arcs the blade in a quick and complicated combination that drives me backwards across the courtyard.

“I’m disappointed,” he announces loudly. “All that talk about your skill, and I’ve got you backed into a corner already.” I raise my sword to block his, and our blades meet at my chest. He presses closer, and I shove him back with all of my strength to gain some ground. He stumbles a little but quickly regains his footing. We clash together again, driving each other back and forth across the space while the young lords call out to Eron, congratulating him for every small advantage he gains over me. Finally, right beside the alcove, I pin him against the wall with my sword.

“You’re as good as they say,” he says through clenched teeth. “Would you be so skilled with my sword?” He thrusts his hips lewdly. Lord Kris laughs at the prince’s banter. Lord Fresi gives a halfhearted chuckle. Eron keeps his sword up and reaches with one hand to grope my chest plate. I dodge his hand and skip backwards and he comes at me with a new fury that leaves me breathless in my defense. I gain some advantage again and touch him with my blade once, twice, three times. Every time I do, his rage grows. The lords go silent as the spar grows more furious, more dangerous. Eron doesn’t hold back, and neither do I. The clash of our swords rings out loud and fierce over the courtyard. A storm cloud drifts overhead, casting a shadow over us.

My mood shifts. I don’t care if he’s my prince, I want to see him bleed. I want him to hurt. I want him to know that he can’t do what he does anymore. Not to me. Not to anyone. Not with his wife suffering in her room, heavy with his child. This isn’t a game. This is life. His cruelty, his unseemly behavior needs to stop.

He advances and I drive him back with an elbow to his nose. Slash at him with fury, with rage. I know I’m screaming battle cries. I don’t care. I don’t even see his face anymore, I only see the enemy. He has to learn, and I’ll be the one to teach him. My sword is swift and true. It meets its mark again and again. One touch after another, and at first the lords stay silent. The prince stumbles backwards, and when I don’t let up, the guards close in on me, shouting. I drop my sword and start punching. I don’t stop until a heavy hand clamps over my shoulder and drags me back. I blink back to my senses to see Eron kneeling in the dirt, cowering.

When he realizes that I’ve stopped he jumps to his feet, adjusts his chest plate, and raises his chin dubiously. His lip is bleeding and he taps it with his fingertip and looks at the blood with anger.

“I’m bored of dueling,” he says petulantly. “Let’s go for a hunt. My horse!”

He storms off with the lords and the guards trailing after him. The lords look over their shoulders at me as they go with a mixture of awe and fear. The hand on my shoulder loosens a little.

“Great guts, Azi, what’s gotten into you?” I turn to see Bryse looking down at me, his stony gray brow deeply furrowed with concern.

“You really laid into him,” Cort says from behind him.

“I just…I guess I got carried away,” I retrieve my sword and slide it into its sheath with a little trouble, my hands are shaking so hard. I flex my fingers. My knuckles ache.

“Serves him right,” Bryse mutters, “maybe he’ll keep his eyes to himself from now on.”

“Mya won’t like it,” Cort says. “We’re supposed to be protecting him, not killing him in the sparring pitch.”

“I wasn’t trying to kill him,” I say, scowling.

“You sure looked like you were,” Flitt says at the same time Bryse speaks.

“Come on, let’s have a drink. Forget about it for now. No harm done.”

I know as an author I’m supposed to love all of my children equally, but to be honest, Call of Sunteri is my favorite book in the series. I could tell you why, but I don’t want to spoil it. I will admit it’s partly due to a new character named Tib, and his interactions with a mysterious character with ambiguous goals.

Want to read more? Get it free today! Click here!

The Keepers of the Wellsprings series is available on Amazon.com and free to read for members of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program.

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For more details about this series or to sign up for my mailing list, visit my website: www.missysheldrake.com

 

 

Summertime Switch

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Summertime Switch

There’s a bit of a theme going on between my author friends and myself. Some call it Summertime Slump. Our brains seem to turn to mush in the summer, and the ideas and stories just don’t flow. I’m right on that bandwagon, but this morning I’ve decided to change my perspective and call it the Summertime Switch.  Read the rest of this entry

New Release Gratitude

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New Release Gratitude

As you know if you follow my blog, I am in the midst of  my new release weekend for Call of Brindelier, book three of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series.

For this release, I did something I’ve never done before. I arranged a blog tour, or at least I think it was a blog tour! So many of my friends and fellow authors agreed to post about my release, and I’m so grateful to each and every one of them for doing so. The indie author scene is as talented as it is generous and supportive, and I’m so proud to be a part of it.

Please take a moment to read through this list of amazingly talented, hard-working authors. I hope you find a book or two you’d like to read! Read the rest of this entry

All the Little Things

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All the Little Things

Getting ready to launch book three, which is set to release this Friday, June 10, I’m spending this week fixing up all of the little things that have been shelved in favor of writing, illustrating, and editing. One of those things was my website, which was in dire need of an update.

Now, without further ado, I’m excited to share the newly updated missysheldrake.com with you! There, you can browse the illustration galleries for Call of Kythshire and Call of Sunteri, read excerpts from all three books, tiptoe through my fairy art doll gallery, download my new Marketing Kit, and even send me a message! I hope you do. I love hearing feedback. So, go on over and take a peek!

www.missysheldrake.com

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Call of Brindelier is Coming!

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Call of Brindelier is Coming!

Okay, I am going to try to keep this short. I’ve been so hard at work getting Book Three ready for all of you that I’ve otherwise been a Very Bad Author and haven’t been updating my blog! I hope you can forgive me.

June is promising to be an exciting start to an even more exciting summer as I delve into a new writing project that I hope to share with you very soon. Don’t fret, though, I’ll still be working on the Keepers of the Wellsprings in the meantime!

Call of Brindelier is the third full book in the series, and I’ve decided there will be at least two more books to round the series out after this one. Azi and Rian have a lot of adventures left to face, along with Tib and a new character who’s introduced in Book Three: Celli! Celli is a scrappy street fighter with a penchant for pick-pocketing, who gets caught with the wrong crowd in a major way. She’s sort of like Tib, but with fewer morals.

Here she is sneering at Dub, an assassin who you might remember from Call of Sunteri. Dub plays a much bigger part in this book. I’ve grown pretty fond of that guy.

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Celli and Dub had a fun first meeting.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter One of Call of Brindelier:

     This room is strange. It’s dark, and the floor is covered with gold tiles in the shape of a sunburst that starts in the center and goes out toward the walls. Each point of the sunburst creeps up to an alcove in the wall, and each alcove holds an empty pedestal. I think about going to look at one closer, but before I can move, Quenson appears in the doorway.
He’s flanked by two guards: a woman and a man both wearing heavy chain mail. They post themselves just inside and eye me with caution while the Sorcerer approaches me. I don’t let them intimidate me. With him standing as close to me now as we were in the alley, they don’t matter, anyway. He’s even more handsome than I remembered.
“Sybel has outdone herself,” he says as he circles around me, looking me over.
His tone makes my cheeks go hot. He’s dangerous, I know, but that excites me. All I want is his approval. I want him to admire me. I want to always be close to him. I want to show him that I can do anything for him. Whatever he needs me to do. I watch him come around to face me again, where he stands and looks at me without a word. He’s not wearing his veil here. His face seems older than it did in the street, wiser and more impressive. With his eyes on me, suddenly I feel like a child about to be scolded.
“I’m sorry,” I blurt out. “I won’t fail you again.”
“I believe you,” he says. “You will begin by never speaking unless spoken to.”
I nod my agreement and he smiles at me. I want him to keep smiling. I want to be his favorite. I never want to make him scowl.
“This is Dub,” he says after a long pause. It takes me a moment to realize there’s someone else here. He’s been lurking against the wall all this time. He steps out of the shadows as Quenson introduces him.
He’s in his twenties, maybe, lean and strong, and dressed all in leathers like me, except they’re black. His face is coarse with whiskers, and one eye is covered with a patch. The most remarkable thing about him, though, are all the knives. I can count at least a dozen strapped to his torso, his belt, his arms, and his legs. I wonder how many others he’s concealing.
His one good eye looks me over like Quenson did. Except when he does it, it makes me uncomfortable. I square my shoulders and cross my arms and raise my chin, trying to seem bigger. Tougher. He smirks, but doesn’t say a word.
“Go.” Quenson says.
Before I have time to think, Dub leaps at me, his knives flashing. He swings and I duck and roll away. He throws a blade, and I somersault and narrowly dodge the attack. His knife clatters and skids across the floor. I tumble to grab it and another one of his blades slices my sleeve as it whizzes past. I don’t know why, but this guy is serious. He means to kill me.
With Dub’s knife tight in my grip, I charge him. He’s nearly twice my size but I don’t care. If he wants to kill me, I’m going to make it difficult. He’s ready for my attack though. As I swing to stab him, he sheaths a knife and grabs my arm, twisting it painfully behind my back. He’s strong, but I’m a fighter. I elbow him hard in the ribs and kick him between the legs until he doubles over. That makes him loosen his grip on my arm, so I spin and punch him hard in the face. His nose cracks and he curses.
Quenson’s laughter somewhere to the side of the room is a musical sound that echoes up to the high-domed ceiling and back down again. It reminds me of how much I want to please him. It makes me fight harder.

If you like what you’ve read, you can click here to preorder Call of Brindelier! Thanks!

 

 

 

Title Reveal and Update on Book 3!

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Title Reveal and Update on Book 3!

I have been busily typing away at the next installment of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series. Book three is well underway, and I’m confident enough to be able to announce the title: Call of Brindelier!

Here’s the current status of my work in progress:
Draft: 1
Words: 140,425
Chapters: 41
Percent complete: 90%

Pending release date: May, 2016

Not only have I broken through my writer’s block, I’m also busy with illustrations. Here’s a taste of some of the images you’ll see gracing Call of Brindelier’s pages:

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And just for fun, here’s an excerpt from Chapter 3: The Satchel (Tib)

A brush of cobwebs against my skin. I step into the unseen. Into the shadows. Mevyn’s gift. Valenor’s lesson. A gift is not a trick. They taught me that. Sometimes, a gift is necessary. Sometimes it’s the last hope for something better. This time, it’s for something nobody else has dreamed up yet. I adjust the blade strapped to my back. It’s longer. It stretches up over my head farther than I can reach. Flatter, too. Twisted. Perfectly worked by Sir Benen.

Zeze walks in front. Gets people to jump away or risk tripping over her. Some of them kick at her. I make a mental note of them for later. We travel this way for a while. Slinking on foot. Sticking to shadows. Out of the tucked-away street where Azi’s guild keeps their hall, past the castle, through the market. Past the lifts to the docks. I pause here. Watch the Mage at the wall as he raises his arms. Bulky muscled men crank the cranks. The lift creaks and squeals and bumps along the cliff face. Crates jostle and threaten to fall, but the Mage keeps them safe. His spell is a powerful one. It makes the load lighter. It keeps it protected. It’s necessary. Even the Princess thinks so.

This goes on all day into the dusk. Mage spells. Crates. Boxes. People. Animals. Up and down, never stopping. Workers working. Ships loaded and unloaded. Cargo in. Cargo out. In the summer, the Mages keep things light and safe. They protect from wind and rain and sea salt. In the winter, they melt the ice. Every spell drains a drop from Kythshire’s Wellspring. A drop, a stream, it doesn’t matter to them. The port gets busier. Their work needs to be done. Nobody thinks of the fairies. Why should they? To them, the fae don’t exist. Legends. Stories. Mention them and they call you a simpleton. A liar. A tall tale-teller.

I slip away from the port. When I’m done, they won’t need magic anymore for that task. My way will be better. My way will preserve the Wellsprings. Kythshire’s and Sunteri’s, too. I’ll sell my machine to them, then I’ll find another need to fill. Rian says we’ll always have a need for magic. He says the arts are getting more popular by the season. It’s harder to get into the school now. The Academy. They’re very careful about who’s allowed to learn its secrets. I’m glad. Magic is selfish and dangerous. It ruins people. It destroys things too easily. They shouldn’t trust just anyone with it.
Zeze knows the way to Redstone. I follow her without thinking past the bright white walls of the Academy. Past the dorms and the stables and the rows of merchants in the main square. Through to the poorer places. The places you don’t really notice when you first come to Cerion. The places you walk by without looking too hard. The places you try to avoid. When I first came to Cerion, I didn’t think anyone here was poor. In Zhaghen, they’re everywhere. Spread out through the city, right in the open. Begging. Coughing. Crying.

It’s different here. They have their place, neatly tucked away. Dark, stinking rows of red-brick houses. Houses so old and ignored that they might crumble to dust with one careless bump of a cart. Redstone Row. It used to be a small part of the city, but now it’s growing. The king is too distracted to pay his people the attention they need right now. Everyone’s talking about it. They say he doesn’t care. He doesn’t see them like he used to. The people aren’t important anymore. He’s too focused on his son. On the trials.

Whispers that Cerion’s age of peace is coming to an end echo from the shadows here. As I trudge through the filth of these forgotten streets I understand why. I slip from the shadows. Stop in the usual places. Unload my pockets slowly into outstretched hands. Coins. Rolls. Fruit. Trade them for smiles, for thanks. For information. Dreiya talks to me with a baby on each hip. Her husband is at a meeting. A secret rally. He’s a master stone carver. Worked for the Royal builders. They stopped working last year. Nothing left to build, they said. No orders from His Majesty for new construction.
Lots on this row are in the same boat. No work because Cerion is fading. It’s happening slowly, just like it did in Zhaghen. Just like there, the poor are the first to see it. Just like there, powerful men sit in their towers, too caught up in their own problems to care. While things are getting worse in Cerion, in Sunteri things are getting better. The new princess is helping her prince. They’re working to rebuild the kingdom. Their first step was to make strong rules against magic. Guiding the royal treasury away from the Mage scholars and into the hands of the poor.

Maybe Princess Sarabel should come back. Maybe she’d see what’s happening. Tell her father. Snap him out of his selfish misery. Show him how skinny everyone’s getting down here.

I turn the corner, straight into a gang of boys. Their backs are turned to me. Some older than I am, some younger. All dirty. Scrappy. Grouped around something. Their arms are linked together to keep whatever’s inside from getting out. I step closer and peer in. A fray. A fistfight. A girl dressed in tatters fighting a dark-skinned boy in fine clothes. He doesn’t know how to fight. He’s grabbing at her hair. Kicking. Thrashing a lot and missing. She’s better at it. She lands a punch to his gut. A kick to his hip.

“Give it back!” The rich boy huffs, grabbing at a bag slung across the girl’s chest. It doesn’t match the rest of her. It’s finer. Cleaner. Something’s inside that I can feel, but not see. Something magical. Powerful. Dangerous. Definitely not hers. The boy lunges at her and she swings up with bloodied knuckles. Uppercut to his jaw. He’s thrown back. She laughs. The circle of boys cheers. To them it’s a game. To the boy, that bag is important. He wipes blood from his lip onto his yellow silk sleeve. Pushes himself up. The rest of the boys charge him. Push him down. Kick. The girl joins in.

He doesn’t give in. He keeps trying to get up, even when the flash of a blade catches the sun. That’s when I step in. Zeze goes first. Saunters up to them. The boys in the back of the pack freeze when they see her. They tug at the others. Point. The fight dies down as nudges travel through them into the center. One of the boys tugs the girl’s arm. She shoves him away but Zeze catches her eye. She turns. Lowers the knife.

Cowered against the wall, the rich boy peeks around his upraised arms. Glances at all of them, standing with their backs to him. Staring at me. Waiting.

“What’s the word, Celli?” I ask. Casual. Like I didn’t just interrupt her almost murdering someone. She shrugs. Rolls her eyes a little. She’s my age. Fourteen, maybe fifteen. Cold eyes. Thin mouth. Broad shoulders. The look of someone who’s been fighting for a long time. The other boys step back a little. Watch between us.

“What’s that?” she points to the iron slung to my back.

“Later,” I say. “What’s that?” I point to the bag. She shrugs again.

“It’s my lord’s bag, and she stole it right out of his hands!” the rich boy cries. His accent is thick. He starts to get up, but Celli turns a fist to him and he cowers away.

“That true?” I ask her.

“Nope. This stupid clod left it lying on a stool,” Celli sneers. “So it walked. What’s in here that’s so important?” she asks. Folds open the flap. Reaches a hand inside. The rich boy jumps up. Grabs at it. She shoves him away.

“Give it back!” he shouts. “Don’t touch it!”

“Celli, no!” I try to warn her.

She doesn’t listen. She touches whatever is in there. When she does, she screams. Pulls her hand out. It’s red. Bright red, like the petals of the flowers I used to pick. The color creeps up along her arm, swirling and curling like Mage Mark. She scrambles with the bag. Yanks it from her shoulder. Throws it at the rich boy. The curls don’t stop. They stretch over the skin of her chest, sizzling. She screams. Claws at it.

Get ready for release day by reading the Keepers of the Wellsprings Book One: Call of Kythshire and Keepers of the Wellsprings Book Two: Call of Sunteri!

Azaeli Hammerfel

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Azaeli Hammerfel

imageAzaeli, or Azi, is the main character of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series.  She is the only main character in Call of Kythshire, but she shares the role with Tib in Call of Sunteri and the upcoming third book in the series: Call of Brindelier.

Azi grew up in the guild hall of his Majesty’s Elite. Her parents are Knights. Her caretaker is the guild’s cook, Mouli. Her best friend is Rian, the son of the guild leader, who is also her next door neighbor. Because she’s a girl and most of those she trained with were boys, Azi never had many friends growing up. Her parents and her guild have provided her with a sense of purpose she has never doubted.

She is loyal to King and country, and her dream is to become a Knight like her parents so she can one day stand beside them to protect the peace that Cerion is so well known for.

In Book 3, Call of Brindelier, Azaeli has come into her own.  She’s now a celebrated Knight and a full-fledged member of the Elite, but her allegiance is torn between her beloved country and that of Kythshire.  Her alliance with the fairies there has placed her in a precarious position, and the magic she has earned by helping them is a source of suspicion in Cerion.

Read all about Azi and her adventures in Call of Kythshire, Book One of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, available on Amazon.com

Alternatives to “Say”

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Alternatives to “Say”

I’ve had a few of these charts floating around in my bookmarks for a while, but none of them were organized in a way I would have liked, and all of them listed the words in past tense.

In an effort to maintain my sanity, I decided to compile them into one big list and categorize them according to the mood they set.

I’m offering this reference to my fellow writers who are looking for a different way to say “says” or “said.” You can download it in either .jpg form or a printable .pdf that you can print. Use it and share it freely, but please don’t offer it for sale.

Enjoy!

Alternatives-to-Say

Alternatives to ‘Says’ – Sheet1 (4)