First the Crown Duel books

A Stranger to Command

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Vidanric Renselaeus, Marquis of Shevraeth, is a courtly, well-mannered teen coached in the noble art of dueling. Growing up in a court that on the surface seems civilized under an increasingly despotic king, he is sent by his father to the infamous military academy in Marloven Hess. He expects to be reading theories about statecraft, but finds that he is going to learn about military command from the inside–and finally, what it really means to be king.

In this prequel to Crown Duel, the reader learns what made the elegant Vidanric into the enigmatic Marquis of Shevraeth.


Crown Duel

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Meliara and her brother promised their dying father to free Remalna from a bad king’s oppressive rule and to preserve the vital Covenant with Remalna’s aloof, unhuman Hill People. Meliara, the stubborn barefoot countess, is determined to win or die fighting. But she not only has the evil king to contend with, there’s the elegant Marquis of Shevraeth, who always seems to be one step ahead . . .Brought to court by a mysterious letter, young Countess Meliara finds herself the subject of courtly intrigue, both sinister and romantic, on the part of the deposed king’s sister, the enigmatic Marquis of Shevraeth, and a secret suitor. Meliara has to contend with the mysteries of politics and the mysteries of romance. Is risking your life less dangerous than risking your heart?

The ebook also has a short story, “Vidanric’s Birthday Surprise,” plus several scenes from Vidanric’s point of view added at the end.

Nominated for ALA/YASLA Best Books for Young Adults, on the ALA/YASLA Quick Pick List for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, and named one of NY Public Library Best Books for Teens, 1998 list. Finalist, Soaring Eagle Award (Kids 12-18 voting, Wyoming Library System)


Trade paper edition

This is a trade paperback edition of the re-edited ebook edition of Crown Duel. In addition to the edited text and the inclusion of “Vidanric’s Birthday Surprise,” at the end are a series of outtakes from Vidanric’s point of view. (For more about this book, see the entry on Crown Duel‘s e-book edition below, under Sartorias-deles, modern stories.)


Remalna’s Children: “Beauty” and “Court Ship”

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The Crown Duel generation: Two novelettes about Mel’s and Vidanric’s older two offspring, Prince Alaraec (“Court Ship”) and Elestra (“Beauty”). In the latter, the middle child, who thinks of herself as the plain one of the three Renselaeus siblings, goes into the throne room to look at a tree, and meets a beautiful villain. Thus begins a duel of wits with unexpected results.

In “Court Ship” Prince Raec and his best friend, Nadav, heir to the duchy of Savona, go on a mission to court a princess. Both boys get distracted . . . but the princess is determined to keep them on task. A dance of diplomacy and romance ensues.


Here is a map of Remalna, the tiny country where Crown Duel takes place.

Crown Duel; Harcourt Children’s Books, April 1997

Old edition, set in Wren’s world


Court Duel; Harcourt Children’s Books, April 1998

Old edition, set in Wren’s world


The Early Stories

I have been writing about S-d since I was a kid, so there are a lot of stories. In the modern timeline, so far, most are middle grade or YA, because I was young and writing from the kid’s eye view.

The Spy Princess; Viking Juvenile, August 2012

Amazon | B&N

Finalist for the 2012 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Childrens Literature

Lilah is bursting with questions–why are the local kids outside the palace so ragged? Why do they hate the sight of her? Why does her older brother Peitar write so many letters, and why, WHY won’t anyone tell her what’s going on? She invents a disguise so she can find out for herself. For the first time she makes friends, and meets the heroic young revolutionary leader, Derek.

Just when life has become interesting, she and her family are ordered to the capital by him, her broody, scary Uncle Darian, the king. So that Lilah can be betrothed.

But revolution breaks out first.

Lilah and her new friends become spies and disguised thieves in order to help Peitar and Derek, who have been swept into the middle of unrest and danger. And that’s when adventure and danger find them.


Sartor, Book View Cafe, August 2012

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In this sequel to The Spy Princess, Lilah, newly made a princess, teams up with Atan, the hidden princess of the oldest country in the world, Sartor, to free the kingdom from a century of enchantment.

Capture, escape, a forest beyond time, ancient beings, civilizations secreted in caves, and a deadly enemy await the girls. Atan knows that if she survives, the challenges facing a fifteen-year-old queen are only beginning.


Senrid

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The kids on the good side are united in one thing: regarding Senrid as a villain. So what do you do when you’re fifteen, supposedly king of one of the most powerful kingdoms in the world, but all you have on your side are wit, will, and maybe a few skills? And what if the people you like best are your enemies, and your powerful uncle, the regent, want to see you dead?

This is actually three novelettes and a novella, forming an arc with Senrid at the center, written just after I turned fifteen.


Fleeing Peace

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Siamis said, “Your young friend Liere is not going to enjoy the trap she’s walking into, I fear. But you figured that out, did you not? Why didn’t she listen to you?”

“To snap her fingers under your nose,” Senrid retorted.

“Irresistible.” Siamis smiled gently. “But it’s going to cost.”

Fifteen-year-old Senrid is newly king of the difficult warrior kingdom Marloven Hess . . . just in time to lose it, and find himself running for his life. When Senrid is captured he overhears a secret–one he can use against the enemy, a charismatic, handsome man named Siamis who can read minds, and who enchants people just by talking to them.

Liere has always known she was special, which just increased her loneliness and sense of isolation. She can hear others’ thoughts, and she senses the real emotions that people try to hide. When a golden-haired man named Siamis comes to her village and enchants the entire town around her, she finds herself on the run.

Liere and Senrid couldn’t be more different, but their goal is the same, to locate the powerful magic that will unravel Siamis’s world enchantment. Chased by powerful enemies, Liere and Senrid are tested to the max as they form an alliance of kids to aid them, and gain magical support from surprising sources. Neither ever expected to discover something even more powerful than magic: friendship.

First written when I was almost sixteen, this is the story of how Senrid and Liere first met.


The CJ Notebooks

CJ’s First Notebook: Over the Sea

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When Sherwood Smith was eight years old, she had dreams about a girl queen who traveled between worlds, looking for girls who loved adventure. Clair came to Earth, where she found CJ, and adopted her as her princess best friend. One of her jobs was to serve as leader for Clair’s gang of girls, as they encountered villains who thought it would be easy to take a kingdom away from a mere kid. From the shadowy Kwenz, a powerful mage with a very wicked past, to the usurper Glotulae and her son Prince Jonnicake, who in their ridiculous way were just as determined to boot Clair out, there were plenty of chances for adventure. And mystery, like why did kids from other times and worlds show up every now and then? These are the early stories, how Clair found her gang of girls, and how “the M girls” developed the fine art of the Duel to the Pie.

Older edition with print errors: paperback, 2007


CJ’s Second Notebook: Mearsies Heili Bounces Back

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“I am Princess Cherene Jennet Sherwood of Mearsies Heili, hater of evil, foe to all villains, and wielder of the prune pie of justice!”

That’s how CJ Sherwood introduces herself when she lands into her craziest adventure yet. In this, the second volume of CJ’s records, she and her gang of friends gathered around the thirteen year old queen, Clair Sherwood, find themselves beset by magical spells and various villains. They still manage to have fun in the underground hideout in the middle of Mearsies Heili’s woodland.

CJ loves life with ‘the M girls’—so she is completely unprepared to be taken away and put in a silken prison in order to forget being a princess. AS CJ uses her brains and imagination to get out of trouble, she has to think about what being a princess really means.

She also discovers that there are things even tougher to deal with than terrible enchantments, sinister shadows, and lurking villains: teenage boys.

older edition with print errors: paperback


CJ’s Third Notebook (still in process of being typed up)

CJ’s Fourth Notebook: Poor World!

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CJ and the gang of girls like their adventures fun, and their villains defeatable by a well-thrown prune pie. As for stories about heroes getting stuck with saving the world, they laugh . . . until they are captured by a crazy young man who might actually have a chance at world-conquering. No heroes seem to be stepping up, so it’s up to the M girls!


There are a couple more notebooks here which may or may not be typed up. CJ and the gang get involved more in world politics, because of the foregoing.

Hunt Across Worlds

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CJ wrote up this adventure for her journal, though the M girls only come in at the end. It begins with two kids from Earth who discover a boy from another world being kept hostage. When they rescue him, they end up having to cross the USA before being blasted by magic to Mearsies Heili, where they meet a sailor girl who’s been stuck in charge of a Mysterious Magical Object.

CJ and the gang try to come to the rescue, discovering that being on the edge of big events can lead to bigger questions . . . leading straight to the troubles chronicled in Fleeing Peace.

Like all the CJ Notebooks, these were first written when I was a teen.


Some have asked me about fan language.

Links to Fan Sites

Lots of information garnered from questions posed on the Yahoo discussion group of Crown Duel, Colorwoods.

Remalna-City links other sites.