The Power of Story

Here’s a sneak peek from my guest post at International Christian Fiction Writers

I had the privilege of being the speaker at a holiday camp last weekend, though at first I admit I was a little terrified apprehensive at the prospect. While I regularly teach Sunday school, I have, on average, only fifteen kids in my class who I know and whose parents I know. The kids are used to me, and we always have a good time. Plus I keep my pockets stuffed with lollies to bribe them for good behaviour.

But how would a room full of fifty-five 8-12 year olds react to a stranger? That age group is notoriously challenging. Not to mention wriggly and easily distracted. Could I be engaging enough? Funny enough?

And how on earth was I going to fit the whole gospel message (without being too preachy) in two half-hour evening sessions and one breakfast devotion?

It turned out better than I expected in that wonderfully chaotic way only God can orchestrate.

Read the rest of this post here


Jebraun-Clifford-LR-3Jebraun Clifford always wanted to step through a door into an imaginary kingdom, so it’s no surprise she now calls Middle Earth home. Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, she lives in a gorgeous town smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island filled with thermal activity,
stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. Her unpublished YA fantasy, The Two Queens of Kyrie, won both the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2015 First Impressions contest and the 2016 Genesis contest, and her flash fiction ‘The Stone Veil’ is published in the July 2017 issue of Havok. She loves coffee, tree ferns, dark chocolate, and Jesus, and harbours a secret penchant for British spelling.


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3 Reasons Why I Cherish My Wonderful Writing Community

For the most part, writing is a solitary pursuit. Writers think of an idea (alone), madly type away on their computers (alone), and wrestle with themselves to make it better (alone). This task of getting words to paper can be frustrating, heartbreaking, and full of discouragement.

If you’re a writer, you know what I mean.

Sometimes, you open another rejection letter and think, ‘I can’t keep doing this.’ Sometimes, you stare at the words on your screen and wonder how on earth you can come up with a story that’s fresh and original. Especially if you’ve written yourself into a corner! Sometimes, on those rare occasions when you have broken through writer’s block or come up with a great plot twist or have a short story accepted into an anthology, you want someone to celebrate with.

That’s when surrounding yourself with a fabulous writing community becomes essential.

I’ve been blessed to find myself smack-dab in the middle of a supportive group of fellow writers who commemorate and cheer on every achievement (no matter how minor), reassure me when things go woefully pear-shaped, and provide much-needed critiques to keep my writing at its very best.

This didn’t happen by accident…

Check out the rest of this post on Quills & Inkblotts


Jebraun-Clifford-LR-3Jebraun Clifford always wanted to step through a door into an imaginary kingdom, so it’s no surprise she now calls Middle Earth home. Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, she lives in a gorgeous town smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island filled with thermal activity,
stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. Her unpublished YA fantasy, The Two Queens of Kyrie, won both the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2015 First Impressions contest and the 2016 Genesis contest. She loves coffee, tree ferns, dark chocolate, and Jesus, and harbours a secret penchant for British spelling.

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I give away an e-book in each one!

I’m Giving Away a Copy of Bellanok!

I love sharing awesome books I’ve read with other people. And what better way to do that than to give one away!

My latest book-crush is the fantasy Bellanok by Ralene Burke.

Here’s a little blurb to whet your appetite:

A haven for myths and legends . . . until evil discovers a way in.

With evil darkening the mountains to the north, the fairy queen, Fauna, must journey from the island realm of Bellanok to the modern world to find the man the Creator appointed to save their kingdom. A man she has been dreaming of her whole life.

Brian is a down-on-his-luck pastor on the verge of giving up on God. He’s tired and frustrated–a failure. No sooner does he make a decision that jeopardizes his career than an unusual blonde woman shows up and tries to convince him he is some kind of savior.

Fauna must open Brian’s eyes to a different reality, and Brian needs to embrace the haven’s secrets. If neither of them succeeds, Bellanok will succumb to evil and the world will lose all trace of innocence.

Believe me, the storytelling is as good as the premise!

If you’re intrigued and want to be in the draw for a Kindle copy of Bellanok, all ya gotta do is sign-up for my newsletter which goes out TONIGHT (midnight NZ time), and the giveaway (via the awesome and amazing Rafflecopter) will be waiting inside the newsletter for you to enter.

My newsletter goes out every few months, and I find some delicious book to give away in each one. Plus, you get all my writer-ly news about my journey toward publication.

–> –> Yes, please! Sign me up! <– <–


Jebraun-Clifford-LR-3Jebraun Clifford always wanted to step through a door into an imaginary kingdom, so it’s no surprise she now calls Middle Earth home. Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, she lives in a gorgeous town smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island filled with thermal activity,
stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. Her unpublished YA fantasy, The Two Queens of Kyrie, won both the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2015 First Impressions contest and the 2016 Genesis contest. She loves coffee, tree ferns, dark chocolate, and Jesus, and harbours a secret penchant for British spelling.

Stories of the Stars: Sci-Fi & Fantasy Flash Fiction Contest

Whether it’s reading or writing it, I adore a finely-crafted flash fiction story. What do I love about them? Every word counts. There’s no room for flowery descriptions, unnecessary dialogue, or extraneous characters. And flash fiction that’s speculative in nature? I only wish there was more of it out there.

So what better way to promote flash fiction than to host a contest?

I’ve joined forces with fellow spec-fic writer and blogger, Sheri Yutzy, to organise Stories of the Stars Sci-fi and Fantasy Flash Fiction Contest.

We’ve got some great prizes lined up:

1st place:

Havok July

2nd place:

Submission instructions:

Deadline: Friday, October 20, 2017

Submit to: sheri.yutzy@sheriyutzy.com

Length: 700-1000 words

Genre: Speculative fiction

Theme: Stars—your story must mention stars in some way.

Submit your story as a separate document. Please include the title of your piece, your name, and contact information in the heading of your document. If your story does not fall within the speculative fiction genre, it will be disqualified.

  • No excessive violence or language
  • No erotica

Winners will be announced November 3rd

What are you waiting for?

Get writing!


Jebraun-Clifford-LR-3

Jebraun Clifford always wanted to step through a door into an imaginary kingdom, so it’s no surprise she now calls Middle Earth home. Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, she lives in a gorgeous town smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island filled with thermal activity, stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. Her unpublished YA fantasy, The Two Queens of Kyrie, won both the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2015 First Impressions contest and the 2016 Genesis contest. She loves coffee, tree ferns, dark chocolate, and Jesus, and harbours a secret penchant for British spelling.

Have you signed up for my newsletter? I give away an e-book in every one!

 

 

Alara’s Call: Royal Palace Inspirations

It’s blog tour time again!

I’m part of the team introducing the world to Kristen Stieffel’s debut fantasy Alara’s Call.

Pardon me if I hyperventilate a little because have you seen the cover?!?

Rhetorical question, of course, because I revealed it on this very blog a few weeks ago.

So.

Have you seen the updated cover?

No? Well…here you go. And you’re welcome.

Alara’s Call

Only a little tweak, but instantly it’s waaaay more fantasy-ish. Dontcha love it?!?

I got to chat with Kristen (who made it through Hurricane Irma just fine, thank you very much), and she asked if she could share six pictures of the palaces that inspired the settings in Alara’s Call. 

And I said, please do! I love behind the scenes sneak-peeks, so without further ado, take it away, Kristen:


The story world of The Prophet’s Chronicle is loosely based on nineteenth-century Europe: lots of small countries with interrelated noble families and cultural conflicts.

The heroine, Alara, is a young clergywoman who is called to prophesy to world leaders about how the people of her faith are to be governed. At first she doesn’t understand why she should be given such an immense task. But her father is the prime minister of their country, Glynrell. Through her mother she’s related to the royal family of the neighboring country of Redíque. So she is already at the upper echelons of society.

The story ranges across three countries and visits several noble homes. I looked to the real world for a lot of inspiration about these places.

The story begins in the Glynrellan capital, Ayenni, where Alara’s family has their ancient estate, Ravendyn. It is very loosely modeled on Arlington House at the national cemetery. What struck me about the house is its position atop a hill. According to the National Park Service, the house “was purposefully set in a prominent position overlooking the growing capital city.” Ravendyn is much larger, but occupies a similar overlook.

Arlington House
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, 2007, courtesy of the National Parks Service, npa.gov

The villains’ home base is the royal palace in Tarvag, the capital city of Makut, a country to the east of Glynrell and their historic enemy. It’s described as being over five stories, surrounded by a high wall. It has two wings enclosing a courtyard, kind of like the Palais de l’Élysée photo below, only bigger. Cross the Élysée with Burg Hohenzollern, a castle in central Germany, and drop it in the middle of a city instead of the forest, and it comes pretty close.

Burg_Hohenzollern_SW.jpg
Aerial view of Hohenzollern castle in Bisingen-Zimmern, view from the southwest. © MFSG / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0.

Much of the story takes place in Redíque, where Alara’s family has two royal residences. Dorváir is in the capital city, and it’s sort of a cross between Buckingham Palace in London and Palais de l’Élysée (the French president’s residence) in Paris.

buckingham-palace.jpg
Buckingham Palace. Photo courtesy royal.uk
Palais de l'Élysée.jpg
The Palais de l’Élysée is the official residence of the French president. Photo courtesy elysee.fr

 

The courtyard in the background of the cover of Alara’s Call is basically the courtyard at Dorváir. Just so you know.

The final chapters of the book take place at Shandór, a palace in the Redíquan countryside, and there was only ever one model for this location.

Chambord_Castle_Northwest_facade.jpg
Northwest façade of Chambord castle. Photo by Benh Lieu Song / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0.

 

The Château de Chambord is a sixteenth-century palace in the Loire Valley. Legend has it that Leonardo da Vinci contributed to its design.

I confess I may be exaggerating when I say Chambord is the only inspiration for Shandór—although that’s certainly where it gets its name. Those who’ve read the book will catch the detail that Shandór’s roofs are conical and blue. So yes, there is of course one more inspiration.

Cinderella_Castle_at_Magic_Kingdom_Walt_Disney_World.jpg
Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World. Photo by Ivan Curra / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0.

I am an Orlandoan, you know.


Ooooh wow! Thanks so much, Kristen. What a gorgeous selection of castles. Now I’m going to be dreaming all day about which one I’d like to live in.

 

If these photos have inspired you to dive into the world of Alara’s Call, I’ve got you covered. There’s a great preorder sale going on right now, so grab your copy of this fantastical read to enjoy when it releases September 19.

–> preorder here <–

Also, as I’ve mentioned before, L2L2 Publishing knows how to throw a party. There are great prizes to be won, and anyone can join in. The best part is we get to party in our pajamas!

 

You can RSVP here

Image may contain: text

 

Connect with Kristen. I know she’d love to hear from you.

WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | GoodreadsPinterest

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour!


Jebraun-Clifford-LR-3

Jebraun Clifford always wanted to step through a door into an imaginary kingdom, so it’s no surprise she now calls Middle Earth home. Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, she lives in a gorgeous town smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island filled with thermal activity, stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. Her unpublished YA fantasy, The Two Queens of Kyrie, won both the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2015 First Impressions contest and the 2016 Genesis contest. She loves coffee, tree ferns, dark chocolate, and Jesus, and harbours a secret penchant for British spelling.

 

 

Have you signed up for my newsletter? I give away an e-book in every one!

5 Fantastic Reasons to Love Realm Makers

It’s hard to believe it’s been six weeks since the Realm Makers writers’ conference.

After it was over, I spent almost a month visiting friends and family in sunny California. I’m finally back in New Zealand (with spring right around the corner), and I’ve had some time to reflect and collect my thoughts about the experience.

And what a wonderful experience it was! For starters, check out the beautiful graphic designed by Kurt DouPonce from Dog Eared Design.

Realm Makers conference

Is that mermaid gorgeous, or what? As soon as I saw her, my expectations were raised. And I wasn’t disappointed.

I don’t know how to fit it all in without rambling on for pages(not to mention exhausting the world’s supply of superlatives),so I’ll confine myself to a countdown of 5 fantastic reasons why I loved Realm Makers–with a heaaaaaap of pictures 😉

Head over to Quills & Inkblotts to read the rest of this post


Jebraun-Clifford-LR-3Jebraun Clifford always wanted to step through a door into an imaginary kingdom, so it’s no surprise she now calls Middle Earth home. Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, she lives in a gorgeous town smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island filled with thermal activity,
stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. Her unpublished YA fantasy, The Two Queens of Kyrie, won both the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2015 First Impressions contest and the 2016 Genesis contest. She loves coffee, tree ferns, dark chocolate, and Jesus, and harbours a secret penchant for British spelling.

Have you signed up for my newsletter? I give away an e-book in each one!

Who’s a Reader And a Writer?

I’ve been participating in a great blog-hop.

Bloggers from all over have asked and answered questions about my favourite topic:

BOOKS!!

Is there anything better than a good book-

We’ve been visiting all back and forth on one another’s blog and asking everything under the sun about books and more books.

Now it’s my turn to ask the question: how many of my fellow bloggers are readers and writers?

To answer for myself…I definitely do both. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to read and write. Books on every topic captured my fancy, and I enjoyed writing as well. I recently discovered writing after a very long hiatus (which I talk about here). And while I’ve only had a short story published in a speculative fiction magazine so far, I’m pleased to report I’ve got an agent interested in my current WIP (work-in-progress). Fingers crossed that something comes of it.

What about everyone else? I got some lovely answers to the question. Here they are:

Leslie ConzattiLeslie Conzatti www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com

I am proud to say that I am currently an author! I have one novella released, titled Princess of Undersea  and it is a fantasy retelling of “The Little Mermaid.” While I had not planned for it to be a series, I am not opposed to writing a sequel (should interest prove high enough) but in the meantime, I’m participating in a couple anthologies potentially to be released later this year, and I’m working on deciding which of my long list of other projects will become my next published work!

TabithaCaplingerTabitha Caplinger www.tabithacaplinger.com

While I still feel weird calling myself an author I am indeed published. I have written a YA urban fantasy/paranormal trilogy complete with demons, girls with swords, sassiness, and a love of pie!  The first two books of The Chronicle of the Three Trilogy have been released and the third will hopefully be coming soon. (www.tabithacaplinger.com/mybooks)

 

Jordan 300dpiJust B. Jordan www.JustBJordan.com

The writing came long after the reading, but yes! I am the author of fantasy novel Never To Live (Enclave Publishing), and I have had several short stories published in magazines.

 

 

 

Jo LinsdellJo Linsdell www.JoLinsdell.com

Yes. I am a multi genre author, and have published poetry, non-fiction, and children’s books. I’ve also illustrated numerous books for other authors, and also work as a book cover designer. My most recently published works are from my serial fiction KOSMOS. The first book in the series came out in February this year, with a new episode being released on the first of every month since then. There will be a total of 12 books in the series. I also have several novels in progress including, YA, thrillers, and romance.

BelindaBekkersBelinda Bekkers www.belindabekkers.com

I have published one book under a pseudonym. I am currently planning out all my writing projects (which is a lot!) to start publishing more frequently. Earning a living from my creative endeavours is the only way I can see spending my future.

 

 

Laurie Lucking Author Headshot

Laurie Lucking www.landsuncharted.com

I do! Though I thought I wasn’t good at creative writing when I was younger, so it came as a surprise later in life 🙂 I write young adult fantasy with some fairy tale romance, and my debut novel, Common, will release from Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing in early 2018!

 

 

 

vljauthorpicV.L. Jennings www.virginialorijennings.com

Sure! I’ve already had two books published. I have a sequel to one of the books that I’m working on and another coffee table humor book in the works as well. Most of what I write is science fiction though I am dabbling a little into the fantasy genre. I love to write- it was my love of reading that inspired me to write. My publisher closed the 15th of this month though so I am currently trying to find a new home for my previously published books. In the meantime I release short stories on my blog for the fun of it.

SkyeHegyesSkye Hegyes www.skyehegyes.com

This is a confusing answer for me because, yes, I am technically a published author, but by the end of this month, my publisher will be reverting the rights of my two novels back to me, and I will be looking at becoming an indie author next year. So, yes, I’m still an author, but I plan on making a better comeback when I re-release my novels sometime (no timeline yet) next year.

 

Thanks for participating everyone! Looking forward to following the rest of the blog hop!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Book Lover’s Blog hop below:

1st August www.JoLinsdell.com
2nd August www.skyehegyes.com
3rd August www.katherineapisana.com 
4th August www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com
5th August https://bookenthusiast2016.wordpress.com
6th August www.BelindaBekkers.com
7th August www.brandypotterbooks.com
8th August www.BelindaBekkers.com
9th August www.casiaschreyer.wordpress.com
10th August www.katherineapisana.com
11th August www.virginialorijennings.com
12th August www.virginialorijennings.com
13th August http://www.cjbrightley.com
14th August www.JustBJordan.com
15th August www.saderena.com/blog
16th August http://www.angelaguidolinauthor.co.uk/blog
17th August www.tabithacaplinger.com
18th August www.skyehegyes.com
19th August www.landsuncharted.com
20th August kmcarrollblog.wordpress.com
21st August www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com
22nd August www.JoLinsdell.com
23rd August www.belindabekkers.com
24th August www.fabianspace.com
25th August http://theliteraryapothecary.blogspot.com
26th August www.JustBJordan.com
27th August www.jebraunclifford.com
28th August www.brandypotterbooks.com
29th August www.skyehegyes.com
30th August www.brandypotterbooks.com
31st August www.landsuncharted.com


Jebraun-Clifford-LR-3

Jebraun Clifford always wanted to step through a door into an imaginary kingdom, so it’s no surprise she now calls Middle Earth home. Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, she lives in a gorgeous town smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island filled with thermal activity, stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. Her unpublished YA fantasy, The Two Queens of Kyrie, won both the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2015 First Impressions contest and the 2016 Genesis contest. She loves coffee, tree ferns, dark chocolate, and Jesus, and harbours a secret penchant for British spelling.


Have you signed up for my newsletter? I give away an e-book in each one!