Guest Post: New Stakes in a Book Series

With Ms. Danielle Shipley’s release of The Wilderhark Tales Book Three, The Seventh Spell, I’ve invited her over to share about writing a series.  She’s talking about amping up the stakes in the series!  Congratulations on your new release and welcome, Danielle!

When I set out to write the sequels for the first Wilderhark Tale, one of the first steps for each new book was to ask myself a vital question: What sort of trouble would the characters have to face this time?

Yes, I needed to know which characters would feature in the spotlight, and which sets of fairy tales would get my creative spin; all of that was important from Book One. But when it comes to a Book Two – and to a Book Three, Four, and beyond until a series’ end – the author’s chief task is to figure out how to keep the overarching story stretching longer without sagging in the middle. To keep things new in the face of familiarity, and exciting even after the readers have seen much of what’s there already in the preceding volumes. For that to happen, the characters need new chances for great gain, or new risks of great loss. In other words, stakes.

Think of your favorite series in books, television, or movies. Oftentimes, the heroes will save the day, the world, or the entire universe by the end of the first big chunk of story – and that could, possibly, hold up as a quite satisfying end. But then the defeated villain comes back for more, or a new bad guy rises in the old one’s place, or maybe everything the heroes thought they’d fixed turned out to make things ten times worse, and now they’ve got to fight for their futures all over again, with more hanging in the balance than ever before.

Sometimes the stakes build and escalate. Other times they start fresh on a different tack entirely. They can be as big as the fate of all mankind, or as personal as the ordinary highs and lows of a loved one. It’s not the size that matters; it’s the novelty of each additional crisis that keeps a series lively.

So while I say, “I’m so sorry,” to my Wilderhark cast for everything I put them through in Book Three, The Seventh Spell, to my readers I say, “Hold onto your hats, kids. The stakes just soared sky-high.”

Review: 5 0f 5 stars

The Seventh Spell is probably my favorite Wilderhark Tale thus far. Because if you think that in the previous two books that the characters had it bad, wait until you read this one! Ursula, our dearest Sula, has to call in the Anarchanwitch in order to, well cast a spell for reasons I won’t spoil, and of course, there are always repercussions.

The spell that the Anarchanwitch casts is her seventh spell, and it messes up everything! All six spells that she has cast previously comes unraveling, and they all mesh together, making Edgwyn, Rosalba, Ursula, and Villem fight to right the spell before they’re stuck in the past and in their ways before the previous curses were lifted.

I love that we have at least three different journeys happening at once in The Seventh Spell. Each character has to come face to face with their pasts and trying to find the ones that they each love. It’s an epic journey of overcoming curses, spells, and love being the answer to them all! And, like with book 2, Edgwyn is my absolute favorite character, but I have to say, I really loved Gant o’ the Lute, and I hope that he will show up in more of Ms. Shipley’s works!

If you love fairy tales, it’d be a shame if you missed the Wilderhark series by Danielle Shipley, especially The Seventh Spell. My only complaint is that this book wasn’t long enough!

About the Book: 


A witch’s attempt to cast one spell too many

casts everyone touched by her previous spells into chaos.

Scattered throughout each other’s pasts, Sula and Edgwyn, Villem and Rosalba,

and the rest of magic’s affected have a single chance to break this last enchantment

before their “happily-ever-after”-s cease to have ever been.


The Seventh SpellSeventh Spell Cover, front

Book Three of The Wilderhark Tales

<> ~ <> ~ <>

An enchantress’s curse turns a spoiled royal into a beast;

A princess’s pricked finger places her under a hundred-year spell;

Bales of straw are spun as golden as the singing harp whisked down a giant beanstalk –

All within sight of Wilderhark, the forest that’s seen it all.


You’ve heard the stories –

of young men scaling rope-like braids to assist the tower-bound damsel;

of gorgeous gowns appearing just in time for a midnight ball;

of frog princes, and swan princes,

and princes saved from drowning by maidens of the sea.

Tales of magic. Tales of adventure. Most of all, tales of true love.


Once upon a time, you knew them as fairytales. Know them now as Wilderhark’s.


Book Details:

Full Title: “The Seventh Spell (Book Three of The Wilderhark Tales)

ISBN: 978-0-9891846-2-5

Genre: Young Adult Fairytale

Length: Novella (219 pages)

Release DateFebruary 5th, 2014 (TODAY!)

Availability: Paperback ( and eBook ( and

Add “The Seventh Spell” to your Goodreads shelf today!

Author Photo, Danielle E. ShipleyAbout Danielle:

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 at



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