Tag Archives: Clean fantasy

Call of Hywilkin: The Paperback Cover Reveal

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Call of Hywilkin: The Paperback Cover Reveal

As an artist and a visual person, it’s really difficult sometimes to just leave things be, visually. Because of that, the covers of my books have undergone a few changes since the series began. Admittedly, there were more changes than there probably should have been.

It’s because of this that my paperback covers vary slightly from my ebook covers. When I first designed the cover for Call of Kythshire, I fell in love with the curly Respective font, which reminded me of Mage Mark:

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Since I first published my paperbacks with this cursive font, I have felt the need to keep it consistent throughout the series whenever I release a new paperback, even though later versions of my ebook covers look like this:

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I changed the title font of this cover so it reads better in a thumbnail on a webpage like Amazon. I’d love to change my paperback titles to this font as well, but I understand that my readers prefer consistency across all of their copies. For that reason, the Call of Hywilkin paperback cover looks like this:

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Tada! Isn’t it pretty?! I’m so excited about this book, I’m going to tell you a little secret. It’s available now for pre-order! Click here to grab it!

March 3 is the official release date for Book 4, and I’m planning a big promo for that day. Check back here for details, coming soon!

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!

The Gilt Cage: An Excerpt

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The Gilt Cage: An Excerpt

An excerpt and illustration from Book Four of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, coming February 2017:

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Kenrick casts his spell, and the sparkling pillars of the cavern shift. In their place, rough-hewn walls of gray stone surround us on all sides. Saesa and I jump to our feet. As our surroundings settle into place, the first thing I notice are the cages. Masterfully wrought in iron and plated with gold, they are stunning works of art in themselves. What they hold, though, is heartbreaking.

I recognize many of the prisoners held within from Tulya’s paintings: A man with a hawk’s beak and splendid feathers, and a girl with quills like Tulya’s own. Another man, much older, sits cramped in his cage, his long spotted tail lashing weakly as his matted ears twitch. There are a dozen or more here, all caged, chain-bound and rail-thin. The scene passes by us at a walking pace, even though here in the cavern we haven’t moved.

“Hali,” Tulya cries in anguish as the older man’s cage drifts past. Rian shifts closer to me and takes my hand, gazing at the scene with a mix of wonder at the Mage’s spell and distaste at the endless rows of cages on display.

We pause at one gilt cage holding a woman in plate mail armor. The braid at her shoulder is unraveled and frayed. Her face is cast down, her hands clasped at her chest in a meditative pose. A beautifully engraved sign at her feet reads:

Rare Cerion Specimen. Paladin. Emotion control. Ally to fae-kin. Dangerous. Do not speak to exhibit.”

“Mum,” I whisper in horrified disbelief.

***

Prepare yourself for the coming adventure! Meet Azi, her foes, and her allies in the Keepers of the Wellsprings Books 1-3 available on Amazon Kindle. Click here for more information.

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The images and excerpts posted in this blog are copyright 2016 author/illustrator Missy Sheldrake and cannot be reproduced without the express permission of the artist/author.

 

Treat Yourself to Short Stories!

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If you like free and discount reads and short stories, you’ll love this guest post from author C.L. Wells!

We’re all commitment-phobes about something at least once or twice in our lives. Sometimes, this includes our love of reading. Life gets so hectic and busy, the thought of committing to a five hundred page novel causes us to choke up and miss that precious getaway only a good book can provide.

To remedy this little problem, I thought I’d provide you with a list of low-cost and free (yes, FREE) short stories to get you through the holiday season. With a plethora of genres to choose from, you’ll find a little romance, mystery, fantasy, and even something for the kiddos. Read during your lunch break, while you’re waiting in line, or while the holiday pastries are in the oven baking.

So, what’re you waiting for? Start downloading!

Oh! *brings voice to a whisper* In case you didn’t know, an author giggles and dances every time you leave a review, so be sure to drop a line or two on all of your favorite short stories.

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99¢: A Zombie Love Story: A Parody Novella by Rachel John
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Scarlett Eighty-One is The Foundation’s perfect citizen and she’d never think of breaking a rule. She’s too smart for that. But everything changes when the hunky guy in her Geometry class turns his sunken, lifeless eyes on her.

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99¢: That’s How She Rolls by C.L. Wells
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Tessa, a self-conscious introvert, attempts to avoid a party and everything goes wrong. When a handsome stranger offers to lend a helping hand, she isn’t sure things will ever be right again. This is a short story that is also included in the anthology titled, Where the Light May Lead (Reflections of Faith Book 1).

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99¢: Word and Deed by Rachel Rossano
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Death or an arranged marriage, Verity refuses to accept the choices. Verity Favian’s father dies unexpectedly. Her half-brother, Verdon, lays claim to all their father left behind: title, castle, and her. Verdon cannot touch the land set aside for her dowry so he offers her hand for sale to the highest bidder. . .

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99¢: Exchange by Rachel Rossano
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Isolated on a distant planet, she is incarcerated for a crime she doesn’t recall. She has no name, no idea where she came from, or why she is injected with drugs daily to hold these vital facts from her grasp. Despite small rebellions, she wastes away, worn and losing hope of ever being whole again.

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FREE: No Good Deed by Morgan Smith
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Maybe it isn’t such a good idea to walk in another man’s shoes.

Morgan Smith has been a goatherd, an artist, a landscaper, a weaver, a bookstore owner, a travel writer and an archaeologist, and she will drop everything to go anywhere, on the flimsiest of pretexts. Writing is something she has been doing all her life, though, one way or another, and now she thinks she might actually have something to say.

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99¢: The Secret Meadow by Judith Wells
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Billy Clark had spent the last two years learning to depend on no one but himself. When he’s kidnapped, he doubts his parents will even care. Now, whatever future he has is in the hands of a stranger. Even Billy isn’t prepared for what the man has in mind.

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99¢: The More The Merrier, Seasons of Love Series (Book 1) by Liwen Ho
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Fed up with a string of bad blind dates, health blogger Alyssa Wu wants to drown her sorrows in ice cream. But there’s one more evening she must endure–a fake date with her best friend Barry Chang. They must convince her family they’re in love, an act which may (or may not) be easy to pull off, thanks to the magic of some mistletoe.

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99¢: A Spoonful Of Spice, Seasons of Love Series (Book 2) by Liwen Ho
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Josh Pepper has one goal: to become the next manager in the IT department. But his career plan gets sidelined when the first woman, bubbly Cin Thomas, joins his team. He now needs to keep everyone from being distracted by her presence, a task that appears easy to accomplish … until her piercing green eyes start invading his dreams.

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FREE: The Empress’ New Gowns by Gita V. Reddy
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The empress was in high glee. For years her illustrous husband had disparaged her female pea-sized brain, never letting her complete a sentence or do anything without his consent. After he was literally ripped off by the two wily tailors, the empress sets out to prove she is smarter than him.
This is a spin-off of the popular folk tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes.

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99¢: Never Ever by Gita V. Reddy
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After thirteen years of marriage, Raj utters the D-Word, and it reverberates between him and his wife, Divya, who is deaf. Never Ever is a story about love, marriage, divorce, and commitment.

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99¢: I Love Thee: a Hymns of the West Novella

(Hymns of the West Novellas Book 1) by Faith Blum

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Confirmed bachelor, Cole Baxter, finds himself raising his sister’s four young children. After one week of leaving his ranch in the hands of his foreman to take care of the grieving, needy children, he has to admit the task is beyond him and he needs help. But hired help won’t suffice: those children need a mother’s hand. Cole needs a wife.

This novella is a supplementary short story which has slight connections to Amazing Grace (Hymns of the West, #3)

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99¢: Pass Me Not: Hymns of the West Novella

(Hymns of the West Novellas Book 2) by Faith Blum

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Let me at Thy throne of mercy/Find a sweet relief/Kneeling there in deep contrition/Help my unbelief.

Timothy is at his wit’s end. His twelve-year-old half-sister has run off five housekeepers in almost a year. Since their parents died, she has grown wilder than ever. What can he do? As he looks for a new housekeeper, his eye catches sight of a mail order bride advertisement. One young lady has a younger sister and sounds like a God-fearing woman. Could this be the answer to his dilemma or will Louise run her off, too?

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99¢: Redeemed by Faith Blum
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Alexander Granger is tired of his father’s lectures and sermons. It’s time for payback. His plan is to pretend to marry a woman and scandalize his father when he finds out they aren’t really married. Will Mona accept his offer? Can Alex get away with his plan?

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99¢: Faith is the Victory by Faith Blum
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I don’t like change. I know most people get used to it, but I have never been able to. When Dad announced their move and I couldn’t go with them, I didn’t handle it well. Would I ever find the faith to be victorious?

Content warning: A character does attempt suicide, so please read with caution.

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99¢: Belonging: A Sweet and Clean Mail Order Bride Story by Annie Boone
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Bianca Hawkins is an orphan. She’s lived the last few years trying to repay those who have helped her. She owns nothing, but still feels thankful and joyful. When she finds out there are no funds available for her to stay in the church she dutifully serves, where will she go?

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99¢: Coming Home: A Very Short Story by Steven F. Freeman

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Following the abrupt departure of his fiancé, Josh Gibson falls into a spiral of loneliness and quiet desperation. Will the arrival of a mysterious package with a cryptic message send his life in a new direction?

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99¢: The Jilted Earl (Regency Romance) by Kelly Anne Bruce
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Isabella was entering her third season and was growing more than tired of the process. It wasn’t that she didn’t want a husband, she just hated the crowds and false joy of the parties. And then when she finally met a man she knew she could love, he was quickly taken by another. She knew she was unremarkable compared to the other young women in society, but she still managed some hope that she would marry for love.

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99¢: Secret Angel by Cherry Christensen
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Doctoral student Hannah Wagganer entertains dreams of teaching at a large university and leaving her hometown of Glen Arbor behind. That is until Jasper Morgan, the new mail carrier, arrives in town. Not only does he set Hannah’s heart a flutter, but he has an instant bond with her cat, Jingles.

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99¢: The Wrong Path: A Texas Hill Country Romance by Pamela Humphrey
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Becca makes a rash choice, but the weekend road trip doesn’t go as planned.

You can get this story free on Instafreebie by subscribing to Pamela’s newsletter.

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99¢: Kitsune-Tsuki (Kitsune Tales Book 1) by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
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The onmyouji Tsurugu no Kiyomori, a practitioner of the mystic arts, has been engaged to protect the warlord’s new bride from the fox spirit rumored to be near. Tsurugu and the shadow-warrior Shishio Hitoshi face an impossible challenge in teasing out a kitsune shapeshifter from the samurai and servants –- if such a creature is even present at all.

The handsome mute twin servants belonging to Lady Kaede are certainly suspicious, but it is the beautiful and strong-willed lady herself who draws Shishio’s mistrust. Tsurugu and Shishio must move carefully, for accusing the warlord’s bride falsely would be death. But failing to identify the kitsune to the warlord is equally perilous, and there is more to discover. For an onmyouji knows secrets even the shadows do not….

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99¢: Smoke and Fears, a Gaslight Fantasy by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
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Marsden cannot remember his real name, nor how he came to be a valet for the schoolboy son of a powerful magician. Phantom wisps of incense and narrow glimpses of memory are all he has, until he chances upon a family secret which only compounds intrigue. What might his young master Abel know of his amnesia? What binds him to the Wensleys? And why does he, a simple valet, know fragments of magic?

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2.99: Circles & Crossroads: Two Robin Archer Tales by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
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These are the first and second stories of Robin Archer, the half-Fae charged by the Fairy Queen to protect human children from human predators. With some snark, a gun, and a touch of magic, Robin works just barely outside human law to save kids.

AND ONLY THE EYES OF CHILDREN: When a child is abducted, the police can’t act fast enough to save her. Robin Archer can. (This Pushcart Prize-nominated story was originally published in FAE.)

ORPHAN HEIRS & SHADES OF NIGHT: A Halloween tale! When children start disappearing from a Halloween festival, Robin recognizes crimes from another time.

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99¢: Bait by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
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When Tomás Torres agrees to consult on an unsuccessful breeding program for a rare species, he finds his new patients are fish with oddly humanoid face and torso — merfolk. . .

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99¢: The Lonely Frost, a Kitsune Tales story by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
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Tsurugu no Kiyomori has been called to engage his supernatural skills once again. In a terrified mountainside village, tradesmen and goods are vanishing into chill air. Tsurugu must determine whether the disappearances are the work of human thieves or supernatural youkai. But even an experienced onmyouji like Tsurugu is not prepared for what he will find.

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FREE: The Butcher of Scarlet Hollow by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
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A young woman, butcher by trade, is suspicious of the murders in her town, supposedly culling werewolves. She investigates the killings (and her past) with an itinerant woodcutter.
Genre: A little fairy tale, a little paranormal, a little horror

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FREE: Snowberry Blossom: A Snowy Short Story (Keepers of the Wellsprings Book 0) by Missy Sheldrake
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Follow the knight Azaeli and her best friend Rian the Mage on a quick adventure to seek the Snowberry Blossom, a bloom that holds magic only if picked at midnight on Midwinter’s Eve.

Grab a cup of cider and sit back to read this tale of romance, adventure, and fantasy told Mya, Bard of His Majesty’s Elite of Cerion.

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99¢: Life After Life: Three Paranormal Short Stories by April Brown
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Three short stories:

Molly’s Second Chance

Soul Bubbles

Till Death Do Us Join

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2.99 Dust Blowing and Other Stories by Margaret Skea
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A varied collection spanning four continents and three centuries, the characters include an aid worker in Afghanistan, a mother in WW1 Germany, a girl who defies the Taliban, a father seeking to support his family in Kenya, an elderly lady facing eviction, and a young woman discovering her unknown past.

In these stories, the majority of which have won or been placed in international competitions, secrets are uncovered, actions have consequences, moral dilemmas are faced and heart-rending choices made. Together they provide a mix of despair and determination, sadness, and also hope.

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99¢: A Distant Echo (A Chris Echo Mystery) by Tara Meyers
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Criminal profiler, Chris Echo, has worked hard to become one of the elite members of Seattle’s police department. Nothing, not even her personal life, gets in the way of her pursuits to track down ruthless killers. With a serial murderer on the loose, Chris struggles to find the connections necessary to close in on a suspect. While taking risks to force the answers, she unexpectedly places herself in the path of her worst nightmare.

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Reader’s Favorite! 5 Stars!

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Reader’s Favorite! 5 Stars!

I would love to write an eloquent blog post about how thrilled I am to have been reviewed by the prestigious Reader’s Favorite editorial team, but it’s very difficult to do so while I’m bouncing up and down from excitement. So I’ll just put this right here:

“In Call of Kythshire, the first book in the Keepers of the Wellsprings series by Missy Sheldrake, Azaeli Hammerfel is a young girl training to become a Squire and join His Majesty’s Elite. After a hard fight to earn the honor, she is shocked to discover that her name is left out of those going on the King’s Quest. Her parents and the rest of her guild are going, even a rival she soundly managed to beat has been bestowed the honor. Despite the slight, she doesn’t get a chance to dwell on the injustice long, as tragedy befalls the party. Her mother is missing and her father is gravely injured, raving about mysterious creatures. Determined to find out what happened, Azaeli enlists the help of her best friend Rian. Together they discover the existence of fairies as well as the plot to wipe out the mysterious creatures and steal their magic. Now, Azaeli must not only find out what has happened to her mother but save the kingdom whose fate lies in the balance.

Call of Kythshire by Missy Sheldrake is an engaging young adult fantasy novel. The text is enhanced by bright and lively illustrations that detail many key scenes and characters. Sheldrake unfolds the plot at just the right pace, doling out mystery and intrigue in such a way that Call of Kythshire is nearly impossible to put down. The romance is light and sweet, as most of the focus is on Azaeli’s personal growth as opposed to romance. Still, Rian and Azaeli work well together, sacrificing and helping each other achieve their goal which is a big theme in Call of Kythshire. An enjoyable read for fans of young adult fantasy.”

-Kayti Nika Raet for Readers’ Favorite

About Reader’s Favorite (quoted from their website)
Readers’ Favorite is the fastest growing book review and award contest site on the Internet. We have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, and have received the Best Websites for Authors and Honoring Excellence awards from the Association of Independent Authors.
Check out the whole setup here: https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/call-of-kythshire
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Look how pretty the cover looks all dressed up! Eeee!
Buy your copy here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UVLQWGY

Everything but Writing

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Everything but Writing

I spent my morning doing everything but writing. I have no excuse, but I do have a pretty graphic with an excerpt from Call of Kythshire to show for it, so I’m going to just leave that right here:

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In this excerpt, Princess Margary is reading to her from an old storybook. This scene is the catalyst for the climax of the book. This is the point where my readers have told me they couldn’t put it down. I hope you liked it. If you did, you can Click here to buy a copy for your Kindle. Thanks for reading! ❤

Opening Lines

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Opening Lines

After a long summertime hiatus, I’m finally hard at work on Keepers of the Wellsprings, Book Four: Call of Hywilkin! Yay! I just started writing Chapter 5, with the working title “Inside the Wall.” Any idea what it could mean? I’ll give you a hint with the opening line of the book:

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If you’re a reader, you know how important a book’s opening line is. For authors, it’s something some of us really agonize over. It needs to set the tone for the entire book, and pull the reader in with enough information to tell what’s happening and leave you wanting more.

If you’re an author, I’d love for you to share your first line here, with a link to your book or website! If you’re a reader, sit back, enjoy the comments, and maybe you’ll open the door to your next big adventure!

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!