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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
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:
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! ❤
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:
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!
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
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
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!
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.
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!
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:
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:
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!
That’s right, my first novel is one year old! I can’t believe it! It has been a fun year filled with growth for me. I’ve made so many friends in the indie publishing community and learned so much along the way.
To celebrate, I’m offering Call of Kythshire for free today on Amazon. Click here to get your copy.
Not only that, I’m inviting you to post your book link here to celebrate the amazing accomplishments of Indie authors everywhere!
It doesn’t have to be discounted or free, I only ask that you please only post one book per person. Thanks, and congrats to you, too, Indie Author!