In Which an Old Tale Shall Shine Like New

Once upon a time, an author wrote of a smile in the dark.

Taking her father’s great hand in her tiny fingers, Laraspur led him to her bed and urgently bade him lay his head on her pillow. […] “Now look!” she said, pointing toward her bedroom window. “Do you see it, Papa? The scary smiling thing? What is it?”

“That?” Edgwyn aimed his gaze as directed and had to quiet a laugh. “Dear heart, that’s only the moon!”

‘Twas but the beginning of a novella-length tale of a large-hearted girl and her quest for the sky, and inspired a number of related art projects from the author – including various drawings, a pretty little song and, one day very recently, an idea for a picture book.

Princess and the Moon, fan art triptych

Mind you, as far as the picture book the author envisioned, her own illustration skills left much to be desired. Thus did she turn to an old Renaissance Faire friend whose fine drawings had paired with other of the author’s works before, inviting her to collaborate on a new masterpiece.

Sun's Rival Cover, full spread udpateAnd that author – *solemn nods* – was me.

That inspirational novella was the fifth of the Wilderhark Tales, “The Sun’s Rival”.

That friend was artist and illustrator Hannah Vale.

And the picture book in the works as we speak is to be called “The Princess and the Moon”.

This is my first-ever effort to make an honest-to-goodness, for-real-and-for-sale picture book (though Hannah has some experience in the area), and I am VERY MUCH EXCITED!

Behold, the back-cover book description:

When a young girl is startled awake by a singular light in the sky, her father spins her a tale made of sunbeams and stardust – the tale of a remarkable princess and the two opposite hearts that loved her. Adapted from “The Sun’s Rival”, Book Five of The Wilderhark Tales novellas by author Danielle E. Shipley, and illustrated by artist Hannah Vale (“The Tale of the Two Royal Sisters”), “The Princess and the Moon” is sure to charm readers young and old, both by day and by night.

Promo Sketch, w text 02

Behold also, the GoFundMe I’ve started to help cover the project’s expenses. (Because quality illustrations cost quantity cash, amigos!)

– Donors of any amount will receive a special thank-you illustration by Hannah Vale.

– Donors of $10 or more will receive one (1) copy of the finished picture book, to have and to hold, to read and to cherish.

– Donors of $30 or more will receive a copy of the book autographed by yours truly.

– Donors of $50 or more will receive book + autograph + a limited edition “The Princess and the Moon” promotional bookmark.

– Donors of $100 or more will receive book + autograph + bookmark + an “I See You” sticker from my Society6 shop (because see you, I do!).

So donate and follow along on the GoFundMe to stay updated on what your dollars are helping to bring into the world! Spread the word to all your picture-book-lovingest friends! And I, for one, shall strive not to bust from anticipation before I’m able to read “The Princess and the Moon” to my beloved baby nephew. ^o^

Excited to see the heart of “The Sun’s Rival” in an all-new format? Have any favorite childhood story book memories to share? Think any other bits from Deshipley canon would make a worthy picture book? Tell all in the comments!

How the Moon Turned Blue

You may or may not have noticed, but on the night of July 31st, we had ourselves a blue moon!

“A blue moon,” Ionquin repeated. “The second full moon in the same month?”

“Just so, Highness.”

— “The Sun’s Rival”

Sun's Rival Cover, front

And as I should very much hope my fans will have noticed, the concept of a blue moon played a vital part in Book Five of my Wilderhark Tales novellas. Although, as I observed in that selfsame book’s limited-edition, special prize of a character commentary…

Sadly, not even a Wilderhark blue moon is actually blue. *grumbles about disappointing misnomers*

“Why not?” Ionquin asks. “It’s your story. Your world. You could have made it blue.”

Could have, yes. But how would I justify it? Why should the moon’s light shine blue just because it’s the second full moon in a month? Just for coolness’ sake? That’s not Lumónd’s style. He’s not showy. Nor is he Gant-o’-the-Lute, whom I could totally see as a moon shining blue just because, 1) he could, and 2) blue.

“What about when the moon shines golden or red?” Laraspur asks. “What’s the reasoning behind that?”

Red could be him in a hideous temper over something. As for golden… perhaps he’s particularly pleased.

“So why not have him shine blue when he’s particularly sad?” says Ionquin.

Which just happens to be every time there’s a second full moon in a month?

“Maybe being full twice in a month makes him sad. Maybe he feels fat.”

Laraspur rolls her eyes. “Because goodness knows I shine blue whenever I feel fat. And anyway, the full of the month is when he’s at his most powerful. He’d hardly be at his saddest then.”

“Well then, maybe whenever he decides to don a particularly blue coat. You know the old saying, ‘The clothes make the moon.’”

“That saying is two seconds old and already past its prime.”

“Fine.” Ionquin throws up his hands in surrender. “No literally blue moons, sad but true.”

So glad I’ve got your consent.

All of which raises the question: Why in Wilderhark do they call it a “blue moon”??

In all honesty, until the recent night I went out to see our own world’s blue moon, I never wondered enough to figure it out. (How my brain manages to world-build at all is an utter mystery to me.) But once I did give the matter a few minutes’ concentrated thought – and a little light research led me to this possible reasoning behind our moon’s rare title of “blue” – the answer plunked into my lap like a fallen star.

First, some necessary backstory, as provided in a bit of Wilderhark flash fiction I wrote I-forget-how-long ago (and which almost made it into “The Sky-Child and Other Stories”, but then didn’t, ‘cause reasons). I may one day get around to sharing the full story, but for today’s purpose, all you need is the opening.

Once, not long after the world’s awakening, the Wind of the West asked a boon of the Moon.

“Your Majesty,” she said, with a bow that became a merry somersault ere its end. “The fruit of the steorrow trees in your grove enchant me. Might I have the pleasure of a single seed?”

In mild surprise, the night king of the Sky asked, “And what would a wind do with the seed of a star?”

“Why, plant it, of course,” the wind laughed, “and see what grows!”

The Moon knew the West Wind could mean no harm, for there was not a breath of malice in her essence. And so, as he had steorrow seeds to spare, he granted the gift, to the West Wind’s delight.

She promptly swallowed the diamond-like seed, planting it inside her own self; for so changeable was the form of a wind that it could spawn new life with any living thing. And in hardly any time at all, the West Wind bore her first child: A tree.

The silver sapling grew tall and translucent, like the Moon’s steorrows, and buds appeared all along its spreading branches. But instead of clusters of shining stars, the buds bloomed into flowers as sweet as their mother’s air. And from each blossom sprang a new creature, invisible to all eyes but a wind’s or the Moon’s.

To those few eyes that could see, the creatures were somewhat like in form to a being of Sky, but far smaller – tiny enough to fit in the palm of a hand, and slender as twigs. They flew as a wind flew, eyes shining like starlight, their voices like laughter, or air blowing through chimes.

“What are you, my little ones?” the West Wind asked her litter.

“We are the faer blewn,” they answered, the new name a breath as soft as a summer night breeze.

“And what does that mean?” she asked them.

They looked at one another and answered, “We’re not sure.”

So the wind went to the Moon for his insight on the matter; for, as the keeper of the steorrows and their fruit, he was likely to know better than she.

“They are star sprites,” he told her, upon hearing their name. “Givers of fortune.”

Our fortune?” the wind asked.

“Heavens, no,” said the Moon. “The fate of the Sky was set the day we rose. These sprites are lesser beings, their influence for beings even lesser than they. Their gift, I think,” he said, glancing downward toward the earth, “is for humanity.”

“How lovely!” said the wind, and blew kisses to all the tiny lives new born. “Then fly, little faery whatsits – do your work. And may the world for it better be!”

There. That Welken word: blewn.

I’m uncertain of the exact translation, but the Moon said it’s to do with fortune. And harken back to Book Five, where quoth a certain character, “I have also heard it said … that a night under the light of a blue moon will restore one afflicted with Moon Madness to their rightful senses.

A special moon said to cure Lunacy. I’d call that a fortunate thing, wouldn’t you? Enough so that the night Sky’s king might, in his native tongue, name his rare, healing second fullness in a month a “blewn Lumónd”. And somewhere along the line – the same somewhere in which that world’s humans developed the inaccurate habit of calling the heavens “sky” and the great forest “Wilderhark” – “blewn” came to be misspoken as a word more commonly understood by non-Welken speakers: “blue”.

Voila. One secret of the Moon down, while the rest of him remains the same beautiful enigma he’s ever been. ❤

#ISeeYou
#ISeeYou

IF WILL SCARLET … Took Me Out

A continuation of “If Will Scarlet Were a Super-Powered Plane-Hopper

“You really just stay inside all day, don’t you?” Will would say, everything about his face, tone, and posture inclining toward critical.

“When I can,” I’d say from the comfortable (term used loosely) office space that is my bed. It used to drive me crazy when kids, upon learning that I was homeschooled, would almost invariably ask, “So do you get to go to school in your pajamas?” I’d wonder what the hell was wrong with the world that it was so obsessed with pajamas. I have since come to view the question through a different lens. It’s not about the pajamas. It’s about having to freakin’ get dressed.

“Well, you can’t today,” he’d say. “Get up. We’re going out.”

“Out where?” I’d ask, so I could calculate just how strenuously I’d want to protest.

The exclamatory firework would reply, “The mall!”

All right. Nothing I need too strenuously protest, then. But just as a matter of protocol, I’d have to put up a token resistance. “I’ve got stuff to do.”

“What stuff?” he’d demand specifics.

If the day were like today [meaning when I wrote this, back in November], I would have a blog post to share around Twitter and Facebook – my stop on Aly Grauer’s On the Isle of Sound and Wonder tour. I’d also have e-mails to field, having just sent out a request to three dozen online acquaintances, asking if they’d be game to help me spread the love around during Sun’s Rival Launch Week. (I’ve gotten a few replies already, all of them “yes”-es!) On a related note, I’d have to get the promotional images together so I could get them back to those willing assistors, and who knows how long that could take…

“Yeah,” Will Scarlet would interrupt, “we’re hitting the mall. All this stuff will keep, girl. And besides, I’ve already reblogged you, retweeted you, and shared your Facebook link. Plus I posted a thing on Instagram. Shoot, forgot to cross-post it to my Tumblr, though…”

Because Will Scarlet would be a social media maven. He’d have been on for maybe a week and already have followers in their thousands on any given account. He’s the kind of person I would hate from a distance, if we weren’t the kind of close we are. And besides, one of the top reasons he wants such a huge online presence is so he can more effectively promote me. …and himself, obviously, but that’s one of his reasons behind just about everything.

I would smile my gratitude. “Thanks, Will. You’re—”

“Gorgeous? I know. Now let’s get you dressed. What’ll you wear today? I’m thinking red.”

So shock. Many surprise. Such out of character. Wow.

Outside Will

He would drive, of course. I hate driving, and he enjoys the experience, harkening back as it does to his first big, post-modern adventure in his story world. There’d be singing on the way – the loud, obnoxious kind that driving with friends will sometimes demand, no minstrels around to shame us for the musical butchery.

“Which mall?” I’d eventually think to ask in between laughing fits. “Hawthorne? The Mills?”

“Not the Mills,” he’d say snobbishly. “We could do Hawthorne, though.” He’d flash a grin. “It’s got your Barnes & Noble.”

“Boo-oo-ooks?!” I’d squeal in delight.

“You bet, babe! We’ll get you all nicely buttered up in books, and then we’ll do the real shopping. Hot Topic. Disney store. Food court and Build-a-Bear. The works!”

Sometimes it pays to get dressed.

[To be continued…]

As Seen by Chelsea (SUN’S RIVAL Launch Week Finale)

Book Banner, Sun's Rival

Once upon a time, not many weeks ago, an author was having a chat with one of her staunchest fans and dearest friends, and broached a topic which had been on her mind for, oh, hours at least.

“So, heeey,” she said. “Y’know that one blog post I did, a while back, where I interviewed a reader about their feelings re: ‘Inspired’? I was thinking about doing that again. But for ‘Sun’s Rival’. And possibly with you. I don’t suppose you’d be interested?”

And that author… *solemn nods* …was me.

And that fan/friend was the inimitable Chelsea de la Cruz, who declared herself “UBER HONORED” to take part in such a venture.

And just like that, I had a grand finale post for “Sun’s Rival” Launch Week. ^.^

Chelsea’s lifelong passion for reading prepared her well for this day. “I can’t remember not being addicted to stories and the printed page,” she reveals. “I blame my parents and the bookcase in my bedroom they kept stuffed with books from the time I was a baby until I was old enough to do it myself. The worst punishment I remember receiving growing up was one time when my mom grounded me from reading, and took my books away. One time. I made sure it never happened again.”

Of her favorite genres, authors, and titles, she declares herself, “…a Fantasy and Science Fiction junkie! My favorite story of all time is The Lord of the Rings and its companion volumes. Some other top favorites include The Belgariad and The Malloreon by David Eddings, the Dune Saga by Frank and Brian (mostly Brian) Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, Watership Down by Richard Adams, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, and just about ANYthing by Brandon Sanderson! I also have a great fondness for children’s stories. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, the Redwall Saga by Brian Jacques and The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster are just a few of my favorites.”

For years, Chelsea’s top fairytale pick was M.M. Kaye’s The Ordinary Princess. “My mom read it to me and it was our special story,” she recalls fondly. “I consider it the perfect fairytale. I learned much from Princess Amy and Perry.” The Wilderhark Tales debut had a lot to live up to, especially as its author had little to fall back on in the way of friendly bias. “Danielle is a dear friend of mine now, but we were newer Facebook friends back then, through a mutual friend. When she posted the first announcements for The Swan Prince, I knew I had to get my hands on it ASAP, and the rest is history! The characters, the setting, the sense of humor… What could keep me away? (*spoiler*: nothing, that’s what!)”

Chelsea’s superfandom over the course of the series has been a staggering joy to behold. Her reviews shine bright on Goodreads and Amazon, her Facebook timeline boasts photographic evidence of her Wilderhark-infested bookshelf, and, c’mon – she surprise-gifted me with custom clay figurines!

Chelsea and figures

To offer her an e-ARC of Book Five was my great pleasure – and, happily, hers as well. “Several [favorite quotes/moments from the series] come from The Sun’s Rival,” she gushes. “One quote that really resonated with me is Lumónd’s ‘Thank you for seeing me.’ I always felt like a wallflower (especially where guys were concerned; I was always ‘just a friend’)  in high school, and that first moment when you feel like someone really sees you as something special in and of yourself is deeply profound and kind of takes your breath away. My heart went out to Lumónd in that moment.”

Which isn’t to say Lumónd hadn’t already caught her inner eye. “Based purely on shallow physical appearance,” she said, when asked which of the Welken kings courting Laraspur’s hand she’d be likely to favor at first glance, “I’d have to say Lumónd. The whole dark, mysterious, edgy thing causes my head to spin and the rest of me to swoon. And I can’t resist a man wearing blue.” (A statement which incited starkly divergent reactions from minstrel in blue Gant-o’-the-Lute and outspokenly pro-red Will Scarlet.)

Chelsea’s Sun’s Rival praise continues, “I really enjoyed the highlighting of family and sibling relationships, both healthy and not healthy. It added depth to some characters I knew already and helped me get to know others better. Having two brothers, it made me laugh and think to see aspects of our relationship reflected in those of the characters.” Speaking of the story’s siblings, and looking forward to the series’ future volumes, she adds, “I’m definitely hoping to see more of the brother kings! … In fact, a spin-off Welken series would not go far amiss, in my opinion…”

While she was in an opinion-offering mood, I asked who she could see playing whom if The Wilderhark Tales were hypothetically adapted for the screen. Chelsea answered with enthusiasm. “Oooh! Head-casting is one of my favorite hobbies! I’ve actually put a lot of thought into this.”

Chelsea’s picks:

Sula = Jennifer Lawrence / Villem Deere = Jude Law

J-Law and J. Law: A match made in Wilderhark.
J-Law and J. Law: A match made in Wilderhark.

Sigmund = Skandar Keynes

…At my suggestion; we’ve agreed upon its perfection.
…At my suggestion; we’ve agreed upon its practical perfection.

Rosalba = Lily Collins / Edgwyn Wyle = Sean Astin

SAM!!! <3
SAM!!! ❤

Wilhelmina (at Edgwyn’s special request) = This horse

“Thank you,” Edgwyn says happily.
“Thank you,” Edgwyn says happily.

Gant-o’-the-Lute = Lee Pace

Someone hand this Elven king a lute.
Someone hand this Elven king a lute.

Viralei = Emmy Rossum

Most importantly, she can sing soprano!
Most importantly, she can sing soprano!

Benedeck = Sam Clafin / Emmelea = Lucy Griffiths

A chance for her to redeem herself after the [Maid] Marian debacle. <.<
A chance for her to redeem herself after the [Maid] Marian debacle. <.<
Laraspur = Eleanor Tomlinson / Ionquin Wyle = Logan Lerman

Based on the previous picks for their parents and grandparents, I can see the family resemblance. ^^
Based on the previous picks for their parents and grandparents, I can see the family resemblance. ^^

Raeóryn = Aaron Eckhart / Lumónd = Benedict Cumberbatch (“THIS PICTURE!!!” Chelsea specifically insists)

Dude, this film series gets Jennifer Lawrence, Lee Pace, AND Cumberbatch?! It’s a Christmas miracle!
Dude, this film series gets Jennifer Lawrence, Lee Pace, AND Cumberbatch?! It’s a Christmas miracle!

And on that note, it’s about time to call this Launch Week a wrap! Big thanks, of course, to Chelsea, and to the second batch of awesome bloggers who’ve hosted a stop on my tour: Laney McMann, Terri Rochenski, Tirzah Duncan, Mere Joyce, Rie Sheridan Rose, and Nicholas Boardman. (Also Mara Jacob and Tyler-Rose Counts ‘n’ Susan Francino, whose posts may or may not have gone live by this one has.) Rock on, you guys!

Everyone’s still got the rest of today to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway, so if you haven’t yet, now’s the time! As for the winners of Giveaway #2, let’s have a round of congratulatory cheers for:

Kim Matura!

Chelsea de la Cruz!

Rewan Tremethick!

Abrea Hensley!

You guys have won a signed “Sun’s Rival” bookmark set, and your choice of one of the four Wilderhark Tales “READ” postcards seen here! (Let me know which one you want!) And the winner of all four postcards, the bookmarks, plus a print of the “Sun’s Rival” storyboard art featured here is…

Aisazia!

Way to go, y’all! And gratitude-a-go-go to everyone who has in any way shown their support for my latest Wilderhark Tale.

I see you.

Sun's Rival Launch Week Tour, Novella

Sun's Rival Launch Week Tour, Availability

AmazonCreateSpace / KindleNook

The Down-Low on Her Highness (Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell)

“From the stage that brought you Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre,” Allyn-a-Dale proclaims before the curtain, “here’s Ever On Word’s original talk show, Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell.”

Danielle whipped up a logo for me, because she is awesome first class.

The curtain rises, the studio audience applauds, and Will Scarlet himself walks smiling and waving onto the bright, cozy set.

“Hullo, everyone! Let’s jump right into it, shall we?” Leading by example, he hops into his armchair. “Allyn, who is our guest character today?”

As the guest enters from the other side of the stage, Allyn says, “Author Danielle E. Shipley— Wait. That’s our author.”

“Launch Week,” says Will. “You know how Wilderhark events have a way of seeping into my Saturdays. ‘Swan Prince: The Musical’, anyone? Things will be back to normal next time. ‘Til then, you were saying?…”

“Um, right. Danielle describes Laraspur thus:

The third-born child of Edgwyn and Rosalba Wyle of Denebdeor, Princess Laraspur spent her early years getting into all kinds of questionable shenanigans off-page with her best friend of a big brother. Now aged fifteen, she finds herself doing much the same thing, but in the story’s spotlight and with much higher stakes.

“Welcome, Your Highness!” Will greets the girl now seated in the chair across from his own. “So glad you could join me. First things first – who are you wearing?”

Laraspur beams. “An Edgwyn Wyle original, of course. You don’t think Father could bear to sit by and let me go on an international talk show without his sewing up a brand new gown for the occasion?”

“Not the tailor I know,” Will chuckles. “Well, just so you know, you look gorgeous. And it would seem I’m not the only fellow who thinks so. What’s this I hear about your receiving two courtship proposals in a single day?”

“Oh, goodness, I was stunned! A pair of suitors – and both of them kings, no less – from right out of the blue! I mean, I’d never even heard of them before the day they arrived at the castle; I’m surprised they took any notice of me.” Her dark brows lower a bit, her gaze gone faraway. “I hadn’t supposed anyone had.”

“Well, from what I’ve seen of these kings, you’ll have your work cut out for you, trying to choose between them. Perhaps I can help you solidify an opinion. What is it that you look for in a man?”

“About the same thing I’d look for in anyone, I expect,” she says. “A good heart. A clever mind. A way about them that draws you in. Engaging conversation. And, well, if he should just happen to have a gaze that makes me melt…” She shifts in her seat, cheeks going a bit pink and eyes bright with some reminiscence. “I’d call that a point in his favor.”

“Hmm. Sounds like some talk show hosts I could name,” Will says casually. “Just saying. Now, this novella of yours has you off on adventure to some potentially dangerous locales. And as a certain minstrel in blue was heard to say in the tale preceding yours, ‘the best adventures are faced with friends.’ Tell us about your quest companion?”

“My brother Ionquin, of course. There’s no one I’d rather run into possible peril with.” She pulls a face. “Even if he likes to amuse himself by saying vexing things. He doesn’t always seem to take things too seriously, but I know he’d never let me down. He’s far too much his father’s child for that.”

“Brothers are good for that,” says Will, nodding approval. “Or, y’know, in a pinch, outlaw bandmates. In any case, I doubt you’re in the dark about my final question for you. Tell me, Princess, now when did you last let your heart decide?”

From off-camera, Allyn’s voice says, with some exasperation, “That’s not your final question. That’s a lyric from Aladdin’s ‘A Whole New World’.”

Will waves a half-apologetic hand. “Sorry, sorry. Got as far as ‘Tell me, Princess’, and I just couldn’t resist. In seriousness, Laraspur: What is our author’s biggest, deepest, darkest, most mortifying and/or hilarious secret?” He tries for his most melting smile. “Or would you rather kiss me?”

“I doubt there’s anything I could tell you about Danielle that you don’t already know,” says Laraspur, “given all the time you two spend together. It rather seems that I must kiss you by default.” She raises her brows in teasing innocence. “Would you like to pretend to be asleep, or shall I simply kiss you now?”

“Ha!” says Will, catching the allusion to a previous Wilderhark Tale.

Captain_America_I_Understood_That_Reference

“Well, whyever not? I love a bit of roleplay,” he says, and slumps over in his chair.

Shaking her head with a smile, Laraspur rises, crosses the space between them, and plants a peck on his lips. “Rise and shine, fair princess.”

Will “awakens” with a grin. “True love’s magic does it again! Hey, Allyn, how ‘bout a quick word from our sponsor?”

“Today’s Kiss & Tell segment,” says Allyn, “was brought to you by Danielle E. Shipley’s newly released novella, ‘The Sun’s Rival (Book Five of The Wilderhark Tales’.

Sun's Rival Launch Week Tour, Novella

“Furthermore,” Allyn continues, “the first reader to comment with the title of the book Laraspur quoted gets an extra point in ‘Sun’s Rival’ Launch Week Giveaway #2, winners to be drawn Monday. All the other modes of entry are listed here, and you can enter the blog tour-wide Rafflecopter giveaway here. Don’t forget to show your support for our author by ordering your copies of ‘The Sun’s Rival’ via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or CreateSpace, and leaving reviews at your earliest opportunity!”

“Thank you, Allyn,” says Will. “Thanks to you as well, Laraspur. And thank you, my beautiful audience. Remember, authors – if your characters would like to appear on the show, simply follow the guidelines provided in this post, and we’ll get them on the schedule. ‘Til next time, lovelies: Scarlet out!”

SUN’S RIVAL Storyboard

Launch Week for “The Sun’s Rival (Book Five of The Wilderhark Tales)” continues today with a special treat.

Some of you may know, while others may be surprised to learn, that I’ve long harbored the dream of becoming an animator. Blame it on a lifetime love of Disney classics. While, alas, there’s little chance of me going out to develop those skills anytime soon (writing and publishing being my full-time gig, for the foreseeable future), I have taken a stab at one small piece of the animation process: Storyboarding*.

*Storyboard. Noun. A panel or series of panels on which a set of sketches is arranged depicting consecutively the important changes of a scene and action in a series of shots (as for a film, television show, or commercial).**

**Sing hey for the insertion of dictionary definitions! Talk about an Ever On Word throwback!

So here now, for your visual pleasure, is my best attempt to capture a tiny snippet from my newest novella. Enjoy, and then stick around for further Launch Week announcements. ^_^

Sun's Rival Storyboard, Dancing 01

Sun's Rival Storyboard, Dancing 02

Sun's Rival Storyboard, Dancing 03

Sun's Rival Storyboard, Dancing 04

Sun's Rival Storyboard, Dancing 05

Sun's Rival Storyboard, Dancing, end page

Thanks, Your Highnessness Laraspur and Ionquin, for posing for me. X3

In other business, let’s give a big hand to Emma Michaels, Elena “Eve” Jacob, Rewan Tremethick, Michelle Proulx, Kendra Conine, and Anna “Emaginette” Simpson for hosting me on the “Sun’s Rival” Launch Week Blog Tour! (More tour stops to come; stay tuned!) The tour-wide Rafflecopter giveaway is still running, with 5 lovely prizes awaiting 5 lucky winners.

And let’s not forget about Giveaway #2, the full details of which can be found here. …well, not the full details. As I’ve said before, there’s still the Secret Prize to announce. And that prize is… a print of the sketchbook page containing the artwork of the “Sun’s Rival” storyboard above!

So, what are you waiting for? Enter away! And if you haven’t yet, be sure to order your own copy of “The Sun’s Rival (Book Five of The Wilderhark Tales)!”

Sun's Rival Launch Week Tour, Novella

Sun's Rival Launch Week Tour, Availability

AmazonCreateSpace / KindleNook

Shine On, SUN’S RIVAL!

Ladies and gentlemen, the day of “The Sun’s Rival” has dawned! It’s up in paperback (Amazon, CreateSpace) and/or e-book (Kindle, Nook)! Let the wild rumpus commence!

Sun's Rival Launch Week Tour, Novella

And by “wild rumpus”, I mean this blog tour-wide Rafflecopter giveaway in which there are such goodies to be won as sun and moon heart pendants, selected chapters with author and character commentary, a complete set of signed bookmarks, and an e-copy of the book.

As brought to you by the PendantLab
As brought to you by the PendantLab Etsy shop

“Hold on a moment,” says Laraspur. “Did you say ‘blog tour’?”

That I did! For some jolly good friends of mine, all of whom ROCK, have volunteered to spread the “Sun’s Rival” love on their blogs during Launch Week. ^_^ Watch this space (and my Twitter feed, and quite probably my Facebook author page) for links as the posts go live!

“This Rafflecopter business, though,” inserts Ionquin Wyle. “That’s a bit of a departure for you, isn’t it? Don’t your Wilderhark releases usually come with some little hand-drawn raffle?”

Indeed they do. And I’m a sucker for tradition. So for this release, I’m running TWO giveaways!

“Lunacy!” cries Edgwyn Wyle.

If generosity counts as madness, Edg, the white coats would lock you up long before me. ;D Now, here’s how to earn entries for Giveaway #2:

Post about “The Sun’s Rival” giveaway on Facebook+1 (there is no limit on how many times you can do this; each new share/original post earns you another point)

Share a selfie of you with your Wilderhark swag = +3 (pose with a paperback, your e-reader, any prizes you’ve won in past Wilderhark Tales giveaways… I’d just love to see how they make you smile!)

Become a fan of the Wilderhark Tales on Pubslush.com = +3 per title (“Swan Prince“, “Stone Kingdom“, “Seventh Spell“, “Song Caster“, “Sun’s Rival“)

Buy a copy (e-book or paperback) of “The Sun’s Rival” via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or CreateSpace+10 (incidentally, an Amazon paperback purchase comes with a free Kindle e-version. Juuust so you know. ^.^)

Leave a review on Amazon and/or B&N and/or Goodreads of any available Wilderhark Tales title = +10 points for each (and yes, copy/pasting the same review to all sites is totally legit! …Reviewing without having actually read the books first? Not so much. Maybe don’t do that)

Buy a copy (e-book or paperback) ofLegends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions” = +7 (plus the warm glow that comes of knowing you’ll be supporting not only me, but all the other awesome authors in the collection!)

Buy a copy (e-book or paperback) ofOne More Day” = +7 (in honor of my anthology publication from last year sharing a release day with “Sun’s Rival” ^_^)

Tra-la. Tons of points, easily earned. Just be sure to let me know when you’ve fulfilled a task (comment on this post, tag/mention me on Facebook/Twitter, whatever), and into the raffle your points go.

Five winners will receive a signed bookmark set, and their choice of one of four Wilderhark Tales “READ” postcards (featuring the ridiculously adorable clay art of fan/friend Chelsea de la Cruz) displayed below!

"Swan Prince" desgin, with Sula and Villem
“Swan Prince” design, with Sula and Villem
"Stone Kingdom" design, with Edgwyn and Rosalba
“Stone Kingdom” design, with Edgwyn and Rosalba
"Seventh Spell" design, with Villem, Gant-o'-the-Lute, Edgwyn, Sula, and Rosalba
“Seventh Spell” design, with Villem, Gant-o’-the-Lute, Edgwyn, Sula, and Rosalba
"Song Caster" design, with Gant-o'-the-Lute
“Song Caster” design, with Gant-o’-the-Lute

Additionally, one of those five winners will get the bonus of **all four postcards** and a Secret Prize to be announced at the end of Thursday’s post. Stay tuned!

Moonlight Reflections (“Sun’s Rival” Tease & Giveaway)

With a week and a day ‘til the December 2nd release of the “The Sun’s Rival (Book Five of The Wilderhark Tales)” – (although, BIG HONKING NEWS, the Kindle e-book is now available for pre-order, whee-ha!) – here’s a peek at what’s coming in the novella – as well as a chance to win one of Wilderhark artist Yana Naumova’s gorgeous bookmarks!

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“Enjoy the clear skies while you can,” the voice he despised above all others spoke from behind him. “It won’t last forever.”

“Nothing does,” said Lumónd – in a considerable act of self-will, keeping the sudden tension in his jaw out of his voice. He cast a cool glance over his shoulder. “You’re up late, brother. Is it for no reason other than to follow me?”

His brother advanced ‘til they stood side by side, then took just one step more. Lumónd couldn’t even be certain whether the show of dominance was done deliberately, or if it was simply Raeóryn being Raeóryn.

“I expect we’re both here with the same motive,” said the golden king. “Room to breathe.”

Then you ought to have stayed inside, Lumónd thought frostily. For the two of them together, there was never room enough.

If Raeóryn felt the same way, he refused to show it – only inhaled long and deep, then released the air in a satisfied ahhh. “The day went well,” he observed.

Lumónd nodded, conceding the statement’s truth. The princess and her parents had responded favorably, as of course no one had ever doubted they would; not with his dazzlingly charming brother doing most of the talking. On occasion, the conversation drew onto the verge of turning in a precarious direction. Raeóryn’s aforementioned dazzle had deflected most of it. When necessary, Lumónd had discreetly taken care of the rest – particularly during dinner, at about which time he could see his brother’s naturally persuasive energy begin to fade.

If all went as hoped, everything would be made known soon enough, with no more need for secrets. Until then, best to keep quiet certain… irrelevancies. For now, Princess Laraspur would remain in the dark.

Lumónd, art gallery size

Laraspur. Lumónd closed his eyes, his mind’s eye gazing upon the sleeping princess. Her hair tumbled across her pillow, framing the pale circle of her peaceful face in the moonlight. His heart trembled at the very sight of her.

“Stop that.”

Raeóryn delivered the command like a backhand. Lumónd held unflinching.

“Why?” He slid his eyes around to point at his brother behind lashes raised only partway. His mouth’s corners curled upward, defiant. “Just because you can’t?”

“Because,” said Raeóryn, his gaze hot enough to blister, “she is not yours.”

“Nor is she yours.”

A dismissive sniff of a breath. “Don’t let’s play games, little brother. We both know there is no question—”

“Oh, none at all,” Lumónd said bitterly. “There never is, with you. Everything in your world is so perfectly ordered. Dawn in the east and dusk in the west. Spring follows winter, and summer, spring. And given a choice between you and me, certainly no young woman in possession of her senses would choose me.”

“And we will assume,” said Raeóryn, in patronizing tones, “that Princess Laraspur is in possession of her senses and shall remain so, will we not?”

Lumónd refused to dignify that with a response.

Raeóryn tipped his head back, contemplative gaze on the patterns of stars overheard. “I do wonder,” he mused, “why you even bothered to come here.”

With a shake of the head like a shrug, he turned on his heel and departed, leaving Lumónd alone with the empty night.

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I dunno, guys – looking at that utterly stunning Lumónd bookmark, there might be someone out there willing to choose him over their senses. (*coughs* *volunteers as tribute* *coughs*) And as of now, that author-signed bookmark is up for grabs. I’ll tell you how to win it, after a quick word from an advance reader on why they love “The Sun’s Rival”, as quoted from Goodreads*:

“I adore how [Shipley combines] fantasy, adventure and romance into a story I can’t put down. I have read all the Wilderhawk Tales and each one is better than the last.” – Kim Matura

*Speaking of Goodreads, I’ve got another giveaway going on over there. (Does my mad generosity have no end?!) From here ‘til Release Day, enter to win one of five beautiful paperbacks of “The Sun’s Rival”! …or order it now. Either’s awesome. ^_^

And now, the question of the day: What choice(s) have you made in spite of sense, and how’d that work out for you? ^^

Answer below, and one commenter (chosen at random one week from today) shall win the prize. Good luck to all entrants, and here’s counting down the days until “Sun’s Rival”s release!

Time-Honored Traditions (“Sun’s Rival” Tease & Giveaway)

With one month ‘til the December 2nd release of the “The Sun’s Rival (Book Five of The Wilderhark Tales)”, here’s a peek at what’s coming in the novella – as well as a chance to win one of Wilderhark artist Yana Naumova’s gorgeous bookmarks!

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“A tradition of strange adventures, you say?” Raeóryn tipped his head in interest. “And what was the nature of your adventure, Princess?”

“Oh, I haven’t had any.”

“…Yet,” Raeóryn suggested.

Laraspur’s brows drew together in a pensive frown. “I’m not altogether sure I want one. I wouldn’t mind traveling to far-off places, as I daresay that much would be all very exciting. But whenever my parents talk about it – or, rather, don’t talk about it – just for a moment, their eyes turn so weary and sad, it makes me wonder at adventure’s cost. I think… I think they must have come very close to losing each other.”

“And the thought of losing someone you love frightens you?”

“Of course,” said Laraspur, brows now rearranged in an expression of confusion. “Does it not frighten you?”

“Frighten? No.”

“If that does not frighten you,” Laraspur said slowly, “then either you have never known fear, or you have never known love.” She stared him full in his molten eyes, though it almost hurt her own eyes to do so. “Which is it?”

Raeóryn, art gallery sizeRaeóryn gazed back at her intently. “I have never known fear,” he said. “And I have never known love, until the moment I saw you.”

Laraspur’s heart fluttered wildly. Until the moment I saw you… It was almost enough to wipe her mind of every other thought.

Almost.

“What of Lumónd?” she managed to ask. “Do you not love him?” Perhaps one could not expect everyone to feel as close to their brother as Laraspur did to Ionquin, but surely Raeóryn and Lumónd must feel some love for each other.

For the briefest of moments, fast as her parents’ weary sorrow, she saw something flare behind the king’s eyes. “I will not speak ill of my brother to you,” he said. “It would not be seemly, given that we both seek your hand. But I will tell you there is no love lost between us. There is a reason it is customary for a kingdom to have only one king.”

“Is there a reason yours has two?”

Raeóryn turned to face the east once more, his eyes tightening ever so little. “Welken is a very large place. Larger than you might imagine. It was determined long ago that so great a realm ought not to be ruled by one king alone, and so it has always had two. I, personally, do not see the sense of this. I would be fully capable of managing all of Welken on my own; though, of course,” he added, the resentment leaving his face in an instant as he smiled down at Laraspur, “I should be very glad to have a queen at my side.”

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Phew, is it just me, or does gazing at that super-hot Raeóryn bookmark kind of raise the temperature around here? ;D And as of now, that author-signed bookmark is up for grabs. I’ll tell you how to win it, after a quick word from an advance reader on why they love “The Sun’s Rival” (as quoted from Goodreads*, where you can totally add this upcoming Wilderhark Tales to your “want to read” shelf):

“Beautifully written, The Sun’s Rival lives up to the series’ reputation! It brings a delightful mix of old, familiar characters and introduces intriguing new ones who leap off the page right into the mind’s eye! In a nice change of pace we get to spend a bit of time with some of our favorite characters relaxed in their normal (for fairytale royalty) lives. This story brings wonderful depth to the family dynamic, highlighting sibling relationships in particular, both healthy and unhealthy. … The Sun’s Rival does not disappoint!” – Chelsea

*Speaking of Goodreads, I’ve got another giveaway going on over there. (Does my mad generosity have no end?!) From here ‘til Release Day, enter to win one of five beautiful paperbacks of “The Sun’s Rival”!

And now, the question of the day: What’s an adventure, great or small, that you would love to have?

Answer below, and one commenter (chosen at random one week from today) shall win the prize. Good luck to all entrants, and here’s counting down the days until “Sun’s Rival”s release!

Rewan Tremethick’s Halloween Prize Draw

My archnemesis—

The dreaded Technology Fiend?!

No, no, not that fell creature from the pit. I’m referring to my friend, fellow author, and Best Nemesis Forever, Rewan Tremethick.

“Phew, okay. What about him?”

He’s organized an opportunity for you to win books, that’s what! Check out all the authors who’ve come onboard and brought a free title along with ‘em. (Including an advance copy of a certain Wilderhark Tale…)

Rewan Tremethick Halloween Giveaway

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Fallen on Good Times

Rewan Tremethick – “Fallen on Good Times” (paranormal detective Noir set in 1920s America)

Fairy tales are warnings. Legend is history. Monsters are real.

America, 1920. The city of Pilgrim’s Wane. The people on the street can be dangerous, the ones in the shadows even more so. Private Detective Laslo Kane is giving up. But then a brutal murder drives a terrified investor to offer Laslo a life-changing sum of money to solve the case.

The fee could set Laslo up for the rest of his life, assuming he still has one when he’s finished going up against the most dangerous crime family in the city.

Can Laslo survive and claim his fee, or will earning a living be the death of him?

Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

About the Author:

Rewan (not pronounced ‘Rowan’) Tremethick is a British author who was named after a saint. St Ruan was invulnerable to wolves; Rewan isn’t. Rewan is a fan of clever plots, strong women who don’t have to be described using words like ‘feisty’, and epic music. He has dabbled in stand-up comedy, radio presenting, and writing sentences without trying to make a joke. He balances his desire to write something meaningful by wearing extremely tight jeans.

Website: www.rewantremethick.com/fallen-on-good-times-novel

Facebook: www.facebook.com/rewantremethickauthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/rewantremethick

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dEaDINBURGH

Mark Wilson – “dEaDINBURGH” (dystopian zombie horror)

Edinburgh, 1645:

The bubonic plague rages. In a desperate attempt to quarantine the infected, the city leaders seal the residents of Mary King’s Close in their underground homes.

2015:

Mary King’s Close is reopened, unleashing a mutated plague upon the city residents.

The UK government seals the entire city. Declaring it a dead zone they seal the survivors inside alongside the infected. dEaDINBURGH is declared a no man’s land, its residents left for dead and to the dead.

2050:

Joseph MacLeod, born onto the cobbles of the Royal Mile and stolen from the clutches of the infected is determined to escape the quarantined city. Under the guidance of former –marine Padre Jock, he leaves the confines of the city centre and hones his archery and free-running skills.

Alys Shephard, born into an all-women farming community believes a cure lies in the south of the quarantined zone. The finest combatant in the dead city, Alys burns with anger. The anger of an abandoned child.

Something much worse than the infected waits for them in the south, in the form of a religious cult led by a madman named Somna who collects gruesome trophies and worships the dead body of a former celebrity. Added to this, the enigmatic Bracha, a supreme survivalist and sadistic former-Royal with his own agenda stalks the teenagers.

A self-contained story, dEaDINBURGH is a character-driven Dystopian/Horror novel, exploring the human capacity for good, evil and for survival. Inspired by George A Romero’s ‘Dawn of the Dead’, the works of Robert Kirkman and Jonahan Maberry’s ‘Rot and Ruin’ series.

Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

About the Author:

Mark Wilson is married father of two, born in Bellshill, Lanarkshire and currently living in Edinburgh with his wife, their son, Patrick and baby daughter, Cara.

Mark left Bellshill Academy in 1991, qualification-free. And worked his way through a huge number of jobs including, window-cleaner, delivery driver, Levi’s salesman, microbiologist and cinema usher.
Mark returned to full time education nine years later, earning his Highers and a degree in micro-biology before entering teaching.

Mark currently teaches Biology in a Fife secondary school and is founder of Paddy’s Daddy Publishing, a company he set up to assist Scottish authors. He writes in his spare time, in lieu of sleep.

As well as his autobiography, Paddy’s Daddy, Mark is the author of four fiction novels. Bobby’s Boy, Head Boy, the bestselling Naebody’s Hero and dEaDINBURGH. His novels have been well received and feature Scottish characters. Mark has several other books in progress. Somebody’s Hero (sequel to Naebody’s Hero), Prophets (an irreverent look at the return of Moses and Jesus), ML4 (a YA time-travel novel), a follow-up to dEaDINBURGH and the thriller, The Man Who Sold His Son.

Mark is also co-founder of Paddy’s Daddy Publishing

Website:  markwilsonbooks.com

Facebook:  facebook.com/markwilsonbooks

twitter: @markwilsonbooks

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Undead at Heart

Calum Kerr – “Undead at Heart” (Zombie/Alien invasion)

It is a sunny afternoon in the heart of England and all seems normal. But when a burning truck flies through the air and lands in the middle of the road, it changes Nicola and Tony’s lives for ever and sends them on a breathless journey into darkness. In the company of other refugees, on the run from aliens and zombies, this is the story of their desperate attempt to find safety in the midst of chaos.

‘War of the Worlds’ meets ‘The Walking Dead’ in this novel from Calum Kerr, author of ’31’ and ‘Braking Distance’.

This book also includes a bonus extra – the short-story ‘Judith’.

Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

About the Author:

Calum Kerr is a writer and lecturer in Creative Writing. He is director of the UK’s National Flash-Fiction Day and has published two collections of flash-fictions with more on their way. He lives in Southampton with his wife, step-son, two cats and a dog.

Website: www.calumkerr.co.uk

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/calumkerrwriter

Twitter: www.twitter.com/calumkerr

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The Memory Game

Sharon Sant – “The Memory Game” (YA ghost story)

If there is a hell, I think maybe this is it.

Weeks after fifteen-year-old David is killed by a speeding driver, he’s still hanging around and he doesn’t know why. The only person who can see and hear him is the girl he spent his schooldays bullying.

Bethany is the most hated girl at school. She hides away, alone with her secrets until, one day, the ghost of a boy killed in a hit-and-run starts to haunt her.

Together, they find that the end is only the beginning…

The Memory Game is a ghost story like none you’ve seen before.

An Amazon bestselling eBook

Amazon UK / Goodreads

About the Author:

Sharon Sant was born in Dorset but now lives in Stoke-on-Trent. Aged eight she wrote a poem about ET, which received the ultimate praise of being pinned onto the classroom wall, and from that moment on she knew she’d never stop writing. She graduated from Staffordshire University in 2009 with a degree in English and creative writing. She currently works part time as a freelance editor and continues to write her own stories. An avid reader with eclectic tastes across many genres, when not busy trying in vain to be a domestic goddess, she can often be found lurking in local coffee shops with her head in a book. Sometimes she pretends to be clever but really loves nothing more than watching geeky TV and eating Pringles. Young adult novels Sky Song, The Young Moon and Not of Our Sky (the Sky Song trilogy) and Runners were all released in 2013 to glowing reviews. The Memory Game is her sixth novel. She is currently working on a series of Runners prequel stories, the first of which is scheduled for release early 2014. To find out more you can follow her on Twitter where she’s always happy to chat.

Website: www.sharonsant.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sharonjsant

Twitter: @sharonsant

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Sun's Rival Cover, front

Danielle E. Shipley – “The Sun’s Rival” (Wilderhark Book 5, YA Fairytale)

Next to the uncommon beauty of her sisters, Princess Laraspur feels invisible, until she learns the two most powerful kings in the world have their eyes fixed upon her. But the ensuing double-courtship goes horribly awry, requiring Laraspur to brave the secret perils of earth, sea, and sky, on a quest that will try the very essence of her being.

Coming December 2, 2014 / Goodreads

About the Author:

Danielle E. Shipley’s first novelettes told the everyday misadventures of wacky kids like herself.

…Or so she thought. Unbeknownst to them all, half of her characters were actually closeted elves, dwarves, fairies, or some combination thereof. When it all came to light, Danielle did the sensible thing: Packed up and moved to Fantasy Land, where daily rent is the low, low price of her heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, firstborn child, sanity, and words; lots of them.

She’s also been known to spend short bursts of time in the real-life Chicago area with the parents who home schooled her and the two little sisters who keep her humble. When she’s not living the highs and lows of writing young adult novels, she’s probably blogging about it.

Website: www.deshipley.com

Blog: You are here!

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Danielle.E.Shipley.Author

Twitter: www.twitter.com/DEShipley

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Winner takes all on Halloween, so add your name to the raffle today!