Tag Archives: kindle

Friday Fantasy 1-22-2021

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Friday Fantasy 1-22-2021

This week’s Friday Fantasy focuses on one of my most favorite influences: Brian Froud, who was behind the design of my favorite movie growing up, Labyrinth. Except I was always annoyed that the one appearance of fairies in that movie was so short! And Hoggle was fumigating them! If you’ve seen Labyrinth, did you ever notice that Jareth mistakenly calls Hoggle Hogwart at one point? This was way before Harry Potter came out.

CRAFT: Hoggle's Sprayer and Captured Fairy in a Jar (Jim Henson's  Labyrinth) – KOMakesThings

His were the first illustrations that really inspired me to start drawing fairies, too. I loved how real and earthy the fae in his drawings seemed. The first book I got of his was his paperback “Faeries” way back in the 1990s. I loved that book forever, until it finally gave out and pages started falling out of it. Then I got the 25th anniversary edition, but I still kept the old, tattered one. I still look through it often, and every time I do notice new, glorious details mixed in with the familiar ones.

Faeries by Brian Froud; Alan Lee - 1st  Edition - 1978 - from Jero Books and Templet Co. (SKU: 031536)

This month I’ve been reviewing chapters of my upcoming Call of Sunteri audiobook, and there’s a scene during Penny‘s narration where I couldn’t help but think of this Froud illustration:

Brian Froud “Faery Queen” from the Good Faeries/Bad Faeries book

Azi is trapped in the dreaming in the darkness, and she stumbles on a mysterious group of drained, fallen fae who are desperate for her help.

Excerpt from Call of Sunteri

Hearing this narrated with all the different voices gave me such a thrill! I can’t wait for you to listen to the audio book, which is coming this spring! In the meantime, you can read Call of Sunteri here, and listen to the Call of Kythshire audiobook here!

Writing Wednesday 1-13-2021

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Writing Wednesday 1-13-2021

Recently, while my brilliant narrator Penny was working on the audiobook for Call of Kythshire, I read through the entire kindle version of the Keepers of the Wellsprings again just to refresh my memory. While I was reading, I discovered something interesting. Kindle has a function that allows readers to see which passages have been highlighted by others! How cool!

I thought it might be fun to take a look at what people have highlighted and put in my two cents as to why, since as far as I know you can’t see others’ notes, just highlights. Here’s the first passage that was highlighted five times in Call of Kythshire:

“People should be allowed to feel their own true emotions. Forcing calmness on anyone for too long or to further your own agenda is an abuse of power.”

-Azi, Call of Kythshire

I absolutely love that this quote was highlighted so many times, because it’s basically the theme of the entire series. The fight for the Wellsprings is all about the battle for conservation, restraint, discipline, and empathy. While our virtuous heroes are diligent about practicing self-control, the villains of the story, the Sorcerers, are the exact opposite. They don’t care at all about how their destructive thirst for magic affects others. They’re too consumed by the arcane to even notice the cost.

It was so much fun while writing this series to play with this give and take of self-control versus utter abandon. Even in the very first scene of the book, Azi shows restraint by only defending herself from Dacva’s shocking and ruthless attack not by swinging to kill, but by choosing to strike him with the flat of her blade and crack his ribs instead. Mya, the guild’s leader, shows restraint by never using her magical voice to influence people, even though she could have the entire kingdom on their knees before her if she chose to. Rian struggles to keep himself under control when he enters the realm of the fairies, knowing he could easily harness the power of their Wellspring and destroy them if he let the magic entice him.

On the flip side we have Prince Eron, who rarely feels the need to keep himself under control, instead doing whatever he likes whenever he pleases, and Viala, who has lost herself to the drug-like lure of magic and become addicted to its power. In the big picture, there are the Sorcerers from Sunteri who have ruined their entire kingdom from their reckless abandon and thirst for more.

Lisabella’s notion that just because you have a power doesn’t mean you should use it, that people should have a choice to feel the way they feel and act of their own will, is a portent of things to come not just in Call of Kythshire, but throughout the entire Keepers of the Wellsprings series.

In real life, too. Sage advice, Lisabella. Thanks! ❤

A Forgotten Treasure

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A Forgotten Treasure

I don’t know about you guys, but I am so ready for Christmas this year! With the Keepers of the Wellsprings series finished, it’s my first holiday in a while that hasn’t had me partly distracted by Azi, Tib, or Celli. In fact, the group is so far from my mind that I nearly forgot about Snowberry Blossom!

Snowberry Blossom is a short story which takes place in between books 2&3, on Midwinter’s Eve. I wrote it as an introduction to the characters and world they live in. It’s always free, and it’s available wide, including iBooks, Nook, Kindle, Kobo, and other platforms: https://www.books2read.com/u/4X9XNb 

Author V.M. Sawh had this to say about the story:

This little story by Missy Sheldrake is the literary equivalent of having a warm cup of Spiced Apple Tea in front of a fireplace while watching the Neverending Story on a snowy winter’s afternoon.
Got that?
Good. Now go pick up this short story. It’s gorgeous new cover art is Christmas-decoration-pretty and the writing is rich and inviting with clear descriptions, surprisingly well-rendered characters (for such a short length) and an engaging little story.

Snowberry-Blossom

 

It’s Finally Here! Release Day!

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It’s Finally Here! Release Day!

I’m so excited to announce that Call of Elespen, the fifth and final book of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, is now available on Amazon!

All of your favorites are back in the epic conclusion of the series, including:

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Flitt

 

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Azi and Rian

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Tib

 

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Celli

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Margy and more!

Check out all the illustrations from Call of Elespen here.

Today only, November 29, 2017, in celebration of the completion of the series, I’m offering books 1-4 for free!

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Click the pic to visit the series page on Amazon

When I wrote this series, my hope was to capture a world that would enchant my readers and bring them to a place they’ve never been before. To me, the joy of reading is the escape of it. Growing up, I had few friends. I imagined them in the forests where I wandered, as fairies, and I imagined them in the pages of books.

In the Keepers of the Wellsprings, my hope was to create friends that would capture my readers’ hearts, just as those in the books I’ve read have done for me. Finishing the series has been bittersweet. I’m relieved to have been able to tie up to so many strands of the story so neatly, but it’s sad to say goodbye to these characters who seem so real now.

Rest assured, though, I don’t think I’m finished with these folks just yet. I intend to take a break, but there are so many stories to write, yet, from the world of the Wellsprings.

Blog Tour

Special thanks to my friends who have agreed to participate in my blog tour! Please swing by and check out these fabulous authors:

Daniel Layfield, author of The Spellstone Legacy series
https://youlookconfused.blogspot.com/2017/11/call-of-elespen-epic-conclusion-to.html

Owen R. O’Neill, co-author of the Loralynn Kennakris Series
http://www.loralynnkennakris.com/keepers-of-the-wellsprings-new-release/

Joshua Blum, author of The Thirteenth Hour: A Retro 1980s Illustrated Fairytale Fantasy Novel
https://13thhr.wordpress.com/2017/11/27/the-thirteenth-hour-podcast-120/

Meg Welch Dendler, author of the Cats in the Mirror series and more
https://megdendler.blogspot.com

Jenelle Schmidt, author of The Minstrel’s Song series
http://jenelleschmidt.com

Joanne Van Leerdam, poet of The Passing of the Night
https://bookssquirrel.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/announcing-the-epic-conclusion-to-the-keepers-of-the-wellsprings-series/

Joshua Robertson, author of the Thrice Nine Legends Saga
https://robertsonwrites.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/featuring-keepers-of-the-wellsprings-call-of-elespen/

M. Ray Holloway, author of Let No Word Be Spoken

https://mrayhollowayjr.blogspot.com

I’ll be adding even more posts to the list as they go  up, so please make sure to check back!

 

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. 

Inspiration for Elespen…

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Inspiration for Elespen…

If you’ve read my books, you know each title refers to the place where the book is set. The series starts with Call of Kythshire, which focuses mainly on Kythshire and the wide variety of fairies who live in its enchanted glens, forests, and mountains. From there we have traveled to Sunteri, Brindelier, and Hywilkin.

The Known Lands, as I call the world of the Keepers of the Wellsprings, are as vast and varied as our own. Like ours, so are its people, geography, and creatures. Look at the map above, and you’ll notice one continent which has been largely ignored in the series up until now: Elespen.

I’m not sure I’ve made an official announcement yet, and so I’ll take this opportunity to do it. The fifth and final book in the Keepers of the Wellsprings series will be titled Call of Elespen!

Elespen is a land of jungles and deserts, geographically inspired by areas of Africa and India.  I love the idea of long forgotten ruins, overgrown with lush jungle plants and inhabited by stealthy, mysterious magic.

You can see a few more inspiring images on my Elespen Pinterest board.

Elespen has been mentioned a few times in my previous books. Mya was born there, and Tib sailed down its Jairun River on his way to Cerion in Call of Sunteri:

(AUTHOR’S NOTE! Don’t be afraid! The following excerpt is spoiler-free!)

We sail into the mouth of the river they call Jairun. I don’t like it. We move slower here through the center of Elespen. The jungle creeps into the water on both sides of us. Days more of this. Days of watching jungle become village and jungle again, and then sand and only sand as far as I can see. An ocean of sand. Too much like Sunteri. Too much like the home I never wanted to see again. I feel the panic rise in me. I don’t want to be in the desert.

“Sleep.”

Yes, sleep. I curl up in the safety of the fore nest, and when I wake the stars stretch out endlessly above me. Noise. Lapping and chatting. Laughing and shouting. Bargaining. Unloading. The thud of the hull against the pier as they tie it up.

“Boy!” Cap shouts. I slip down the ratlines and drop to his side. The deck is deserted except for the pair of watch guards at the gangway. I stand straight and look Cap in the eye, as he has told me to do. It keeps a man honest, he says, to meet his crew’s eyes.

“Sir!” I shout. He taught me to do that, too.

He tells me I’m a hard worker. I have earned five copper, which he jingles in a pouch. I like the sound of it. I have never held coin before. It has more weight than I expected. He tells me I can go ashore if I want to, and then he goes back below. I peer out at the city. Cresten. Capital of Elespen. It’s different from Zhaghen. Cleaner. Brighter, even in the starlight. Noisy, but the noise is happier. They don’t have towers here to watch and rule over them. Just a castle, low and sprawling. Music drifts merrily from the taverns into the street. People in beautiful colors dance in the glow of torchlight. Others toss coin at them. Even in the night, merchants in booths cook and sell. The aroma is exotic and flavorful. My mouth waters.

I hope you’re as excited as I am to finally get to Elespen, where tribes of elephant riders lurk in the dense jungle, and even the vegetation itself can’t be trusted. I won’t say any more here, you’ll just have to wait until the end of the year when Call of Elespen is released, and read for yourself!

Check back soon for more updates, and be sure to click here and join my mailing list for upcoming contests and promotions!

Why You Should Read Indies–Or, Hey, Look! Free Books! #SIAFBB

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Why You Should Read Indies–Or, Hey, Look! Free Books! #SIAFBB

Listen, life is stressful. Sometimes we need an escape, and reading will give that you. Who needs a vacation when you can read a book and travel into worlds you never imagined? That’s the reason why I love books so much. They’re a journey into someone else’s life. An escape, just for a little while.

Some may turn up their noses at independently published books. I understand why. We’ve been conditioned to swarm to all the things everyone else likes. What’s the most popular laundry detergent? That’s the one I’m going to buy, then! Traditionally published books are the same. Publishers choose stories based on what they think will be the most popular plot. Whatever will sell best, that’s what they choose to publish. That’s why so many of the books you pick up in your bookstore seem so familiar.

Indie books are different. There’s no filter. No one is deciding for you what you think you’ll like. Indie authors write passionately about subjects close to their hearts. They write because they have stories to tell. They write things you might never have realized you wanted to read until you start, and you get swept up into their beautiful, detailed, intriguing, fast-paced, adventurous, wonderful stories.

Here are a few of my favorite examples of unconventional plots told by indie authors:

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GG Atcheson’s The Legacy Series
This series is one I’m partial to, not just because I had a hand in making the cover. The author masterfully blends aliens and vampires into a fast-paced, compelling plot filled with unpredictable twists and turns. Yes, I did say aliens and vampires. Yes, it’s strange. Yes, it’s incredible. Book Three in the series is 99 cents until April 2. Get it!

 

 

 

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VM’s Sawh’s Hontas (Good Tales for Bad Dreams Series)
V.M. is a wordsmith. His imagery is vivid and compelling. He takes fairy tales and legends we all know and love, and he twists them and spins them until they’re clever, gritty, and more real than our childhood stories could ever portray. My favorite of his was GR3T3L, a tale of two robots stranded on an unfamiliar planet. Hontas is free through the first, and I just added it to my Kindle.

 

 

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Christina McMullen’s Dissonant (Eyes of the Sun Series)
Okay, admittedly I haven’t read the Eyes of the Sun Series (yet). But I have read Christina’s superhero parody A Shot at the Bigtime, and her YA mashup Kind of Like Life is probably my favorite indie book so far. Her writing is cleverly conceived, combining so many plot twists, familiar tropes, and such a tongue-in-cheek approach to storytelling that I fell quickly in love with this author’s style. Dissonant is free March 31. It involves vampires and genetics. I’m dying to read it!

 

Why do indies offer their books for free? To get you hooked. To get eyes on their titles, and draw you in. It isn’t because they’re inferior to traditionally published books. On the contrary, indie books will draw you in like no other books will! I hope I’ve convinced you to explore this world for yourself. If so, it’s perfect timing! Support for Indie Authors is running a free and discount promo this weekend, where you can download over a hundred other titles for free or 99 cents! Click the image below for details, and check out the trailers beneath it for even more exciting titles!

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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:

Call of Hywilkin illustration

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

 

 

And Tulya:

Call of Hywilkin illustration

“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:

Call of Hywilkin illustration

“Want to play?”

And of course, Tib!

Call of Hywilkin illustration

“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!

 

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!