Author Interview: Kristy Perkins from Fractured Ever After

I’m so pleased to host Kristy Perkins on the blog today to talk about her short story in the anthology Fractured Ever After.

But first, here’s the blurb:

Old classics are fractured into exciting new tales in this international collection of magic, mystery, and adventure.

Some heroes go searching for their happily ever after: a dragon cocoon hunter explores the dangerous woods for his sleeping beauty; a prince forces a perfect romance on an unsuspecting maiden; and when a girl leaves town, she must quickly decide to trust—or be wary of—a new stranger.

Destiny is thrust upon others: a disconnected emperor struggles to retain his title; a frog prince leaves his pond in search of answers; and after Rapunzel is rescued, a new quest is awarded to her savior.

Whether it is destiny or choice, all actions have consequences: sibling rivalry pushes one little piggy to extremes and a princess must choose to follow her heart or step up as future queen.

Prepare for an adventure as these eight fantastic fairy tales transport you to places beyond your imagination.

Jebraun: Hi Kristy! Thanks for joining me. I love that we’ve both got short stories in upcoming anthologies. The blurb sounds great! I’m wondering, what was the inspiration behind your story?

Kristy: I wrote a short story as a Christmas present detailing the holiday misadventures of an older Rapunzel’s family. I’m not sure how much I want to spoil about my story’s ending, so I’ll just say that there were elements of that story that made me curious how things could have ended up that way after the usual events of that fairy tale. So that was my starting point.

Beyond that, I knew that Rapunzel had a secret, so the prince had to be the POV character, and the rest of the story unfolded from there.

Jebraun: Oooh! Rapunzel is a favourite of mine! Did you have any difficulty coming up with a story to fit the theme of the anthology?

Kristy: Oh, no! I love fairy tales, and my real problem was choosing which story idea to go with. Another forerunner was a variation on The Little Mermaid, the version where she ends up as heartbroken seafoam.

Jebraun: Oh, dear! Break my heart! That ending truly makes me sad! What were some of your biggest challenges during the writing/editing process?

Kristy: The prince! Almost everyone who read early and middle drafts noted that he didn’t quite work as the POV character because Rapunzel just felt more like the main character. It was a struggle to bring him forward and make him more active in how he was dealing with Rapunzel and their relationship. Hopefully I succeeded!

Jebraun: I can’t wait to read it and find out! What was your favourite story in the anthology (besides yours, lol) and why.

Kristy: “On the Wrong Foot”! It’s the funniest retelling of Cinderella I think I’ve ever read. I tend to gravitate toward the more humorous stories. Also, “Beauty” gets an honorable mention because dragons are my favorite.

Jebraun: I love Cinderella retellings, too! How do you sustain yourself whilst writing?

Kristy: Sugar. Pure, raw sugar that I consume by the spoonful.

Oof. Forget the joke, that just makes me feel a little nauseous.

I like things like goldfish crackers, chocolate chips, pieces of chicken. Not all together! The main idea is something where I can nibble it a tiny bit at a time. Reward myself after every sentence if the writing is going slowly.

Favorite drink is tea, either pu-erh or a spice tea, depending on my mood. I tend to get involved in writing and forget I made myself a cup so it oversteeps, but that’s how I like it so it works.

Jebraun: Yeah, I was definitely making a face at the idea of spoonfuls of sugar! And I tend to end up with oversteeped tea myself 😉 So, if you could be a fairy tale creature, what would it be?

Kristy: DRAGON!!!! Absolutely I would choose to be a dragon. I could fly, breathe fire, have beautiful shining scales, a massive hoard of treasure, and if I was lucky, I could find the right cave and be as antisocial as I wanted because no one would bother me because DRAGON. I could even still be a writer, with voice-to-text programs.

I’m Jebraun: Dragons are awesome! Thanks so much for answering all my questions and best of luck with the release of your anthology!

Kristy Perkins is a nanny, and a writer whenever she can find the time. Ever since she could write legibly, she has created stories. She writes fantasy and sci-fi stories to satisfy the need for more dragons and spaceships in her life.

“Out of the Tower” started as a simple tale of a boy falling in love with a girl after he rescued her from a witch. But that was too easy, so he had to lose all his memories and then try to avoid the problem. When that also proved too simple, the wonderful Rapunzel gained a secret of her own, which led to the story found here.

Short stories of Kristy’s can be found in other JL Anthologies. Check out Kristy’s blog or follow her on Twitter or Pinterest.

We’ve got a fabulous giveaway going to celebrate the release of both Fractured Ever After and Encircled!

Grand Prize (US only): Two Paperbacks (Fractured Ever After and Encircled), book cozy + shoe ornament, 3D-printed bookmark (pick one design), set of four signed illustration prints

First Prize (US only): Two Paperbacks (Fractured Ever After and Encircled), charm bracelet, 3D-printed bookmark (pick one design), set of four signed illustration prints

Second Prize (International): Two Ebooks (Fractured Ever After and Encircled), 3D-printed bookmark (pick one design), set of four signed illustration prints


Third Prize (International): Two Ebooks (Fractured Ever After and Encircled), choice of 3D-printed bookmark (pick one design) OR set of four signed illustration prints.

Enter the giveaway through this magic portal!


Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, Jebraun lives smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island surrounded by thermal activity, stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. She writes about discovering identity, living without fear, and enjoys creating fantastic worlds. Her loves include coffee, tree ferns, dark chocolate, and Jesus, and she harbours a secret penchant for British spelling. You can find her sci-fi short story “Beyond the Stars, Past the Moons” in Encircled, a collection of fairy tale retellings.

Have you signed up for my newsletter yet? You’ll get instant access to my flash fiction story, “The Stone Veil,” plus I give away New Zealand chocolate and an e-book in every newsletter!

3 Reasons You Will Love If Wishes Were Curses

You know those fantastical stories that draw you in from the very first line?

The ones packed with solid world-building, interesting characters, magic, danger, romance, and…a…a…shape-shifting otter?

If Wishes Were Curses by the uber-talented Janeen Ippolito hits all these high points and more.

Before I get into the reasons I loved this story, I’m gonna give you the blurb:

So I accidentally killed a shifter. On purpose.

With genie powers I shouldn’t be able to use, thanks to my curse-mark.

In my defense, the damn grizzly was threatening civilians and might have been a vampire as well. Pittsburgh is safer without him. Only the Fae court doesn’t believe my story, and the shifters are out for blood.

Now I’ve lost my job as a romantic investigator, and I’m on death row. My only hope is an oddly outgoing vegetarian vampire lawyer who seems strangely familiar. Too familiar. 

Almost like we’ve met before, and this whole thing was a set-up to take us both down.

Wishing won’t get us out of this mess.
But my forbidden wish magic just might. 

Whoa! Sounds intense, right?

Okay, here’s what I loved:

1. Non-stop action

Once this story starts, it does not let up. Our heroine, Allis, battles the Fae world (which really have it out for her), her own powers (astronomical), and even destiny to get what she wants. Set in an absolutely magical but absolutely believable Pittsburgh, this imaginative tale sucked me in and took me for a wild ride. I loved the bits and pieces of plot dangled ever so skillfully in front of me that left me hooked as well as all the mythological traditions blended together.

2. A character I could root for

I loved Allis’s snarky comments and absolute flair for wry observations that were so witty, I literally laughed out loud more than once. Allis was handed a raw deal, but instead of feeling sorry for herself, she plucks up her courage, reins in those darker impulses, and sets about making things right. I really admired her streak of justice! And the family dynamic with her brother provided an opportunity to showcase her loyalty.

3. A romantic subplot that hummed beautifully throughout the story

I don’t read ‘romance’ stories. But I still like romance, you know? This story hit the perfect balance. Without giving you any spoilers, let’s just say I really enjoyed the way Allis constantly met and re-met the love of her life. Their chemistry was red-hot without being too in-your-face, and I loved how their devotion to one another got them out of more than one sticky situation.


Buy If Wishes Were Curses on Amazon and don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads list!

Janeen Ippolito

Janeen Ippolito writes steampunk fantasy and urban fantasy, and creates writing resources, including the reference book World Building From the Inside Out and the creative writing guide Irresistible World Building For Unforgettable Stories. She’s an experienced teacher, editor, author coach, marketer, and is the leader of Uncommon Universes Press, a small traditional science fiction and fantasy publishing house. She’s also the cohost of the podcast Indie Book Magic. In her spare time, Janeen enjoys sword-fighting, reading, pyrography, and eating brownie batter. Two of her goals are eating fried tarantulas and traveling to Antarctica.

Connect with Janeen on Facebook Twitter  Instagram or her website.

Thanks for joining me!


Jebraun Clifford's headshot


Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, Jebraun lives smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island surrounded by thermal activity, stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. She writes about discovering identity, living without fear, and enjoys creating fantastic worlds. Her loves include coffee, tree ferns, dark chocolate, and Jesus, and she harbours a secret penchant for British spelling. You can find her sci-fi short story “Beyond the Stars, Past the Moons” in Encircled, a collection of fairy tale retellings.

Have you signed up for my newsletter yet? You’ll get instant access to my flash fiction story, “The Stone Veil,” plus I give away New Zealand chocolate and an e-book in every newsletter!

What’s the Difference: Living in the US vs. New Zealand

I made another YouTube video!

I’m gaining a bit of confidence (though I still smack my lips waaaay too often, lol), and I’m having fun with iMovie. YouTube might just be my second favourite social media–after Instagram, of course.

I also got some great advice from a friend who told me I should fix the proportions of my next video so my eyes are in the top 1/3 of the screen instead of halfway like this one. Oops.

As for the topic? It was suggested to me by one of my newsletter subscribers. I might do another one because there are so many differences between the US and NZ.

If you have an idea, let me know!

Hope you enjoy watching me scrambling around the grocery store trying to find skinny carrots 😉

Until next time,

Stay fearless,

jebraunclifford.com blog signature (1)

Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, Jebraun lives smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island in a town filled with thermal activity, stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. She writes about discovering identity, living without fear, and enjoys creating fantastic worlds. Her unpublished YA fantasy, The Two Queens of Kyrie, won both the American Christian Fiction Writers’ 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 yet?
You’ll receive a free flash fiction story, and I give away New Zealand chocolate and an e-book in every one!

What Do You Do to Overcome Fear?

Start a YouTube channel, of course!

My writing mentor recently challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and think about posting some videos. Of me. Talking.

Eeep! That’s a little scary! I don’t mind talking in front of people. But the idea of making a video and sharing it with…I don’t know…THE WORLD…kinda freaked me out.

But I did it anyways.

Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that fears are there to be conquered. And life’s a bigger adventure when we do the things we’re scared to do.

So without further ado, here’s my first foray into the world of YouTube!

What are some of YOUR fears? Share them with me in the comments or on my video.

Until next time,

Stay fearless,

jebraunclifford.com blog signature (1)

Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, Jebraun lives smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island in a town filled with thermal activity, stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. She writes about discovering identity, living without fear, and enjoys creating fantastic worlds. Her unpublished YA fantasy, The Two Queens of Kyrie, won both the American Christian Fiction Writers’ 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 yet?
I give away New Zealand chocolate and an e-book in every one!

 

How to Destroy a Dark Lord: Behind the Scenes of Pam Halter’s Fairyeater

Welcome to the blog tour for Pam Halter’s new fantasy, Fairyeater.

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I got a sneak behind-the-scenes peek at the central conflict of this fabulous tale from the author herself.

Take it away, Pam!

Figuring out how to destroy Riss’aird was difficult. I didn’t want to be cheesy. I didn’t want my readers to think I had copied from another story. I wanted to be original.

As a Christian, I believe praise to the Living God drives away many unwanted things, including the enemy, so I wondered how I could use that in Fairyeater. How could I utilize the elements? What if there were something fairies need to remain healthy in their faith and their magic?

I came up with Fountains ~ one for each element. And they each have fairies who come to them each sunrise to offer praise to Celtar (God) and to bless them.

Earth fountain is a fountain of swirling sand.

Water fountain is a fountain of water.

Fire fountain is a fountain of fire.

Air fountain is invisible. It moves from place to place, therefore, making it hardest to find.

There is a map showing the location of each Fountain except for the Air Fountain. It is this map Tzmet gets her hands on. She is determined to poison each Fountain. When Tzmet uses the cape of fairywings to poison the earth fountain, it becomes tainted and the earth fairies are unknowingly sowing evil into the ground which allows Riss’aird to regenerate.

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How do the Fountains destroy Riss’aird?

When the four pieces of the Fairystone are complete and joined with the Guardian, the Fountains come together and form the Fairysong – pure praise to Celtar from not only the very the elements, but also from every soul that loves Him. When the Fairysong is formed, it creates the wave of praise, capable of destroying the evil it is called up for.

Here’s a piece of the story where Akeela brings forth the Fairysong. I had goosebumps writing it.

The moons drifted away from the sun and the sunlight struck the Fairystone in Akeela’s hand. Her body jerked and became taut. The far off song she heard swelled and grew louder. Then the Fairystone came to life. All the auras Akeela could see grew as bright as the sun. She could hear every heartbeat of every fairy pounding in her ears. The song became recognizable; a song of praise to Celtar, ringing from the souls of every fairy and person who believed. A startling, fresh joy Akeela never experienced before pulsed through her and she could feel her soul joining in song with the others.

Fairyeater by Pam Halter.png

And what happens next?

The song grew and became a wave. It emanated from Akeela and rushed toward Riss’aird. He shrieked and turned, but it crashed over him, enveloping him. Without warning, he disintegrated. His ashes floated for a moment before the air fairies whirled around them, sending them up and away.

I wish I could show you the picture in my mind when I wrote this. With all the amazing special effects today, I imagine this scene in vivid color whenever I read it. I also imagine the future, where all believers will be together forever, praising God. It gives my heart a little leap.

All fifteen-year-old Akeela has ever wanted is an ordinary family who will love her. But the only mother she has ever known is the old hag, Krezma, who berates her night and day. Why did the old woman even take her in?

But Krezma knows her charge is no ordinary child. She can see the auras surrounding living things and can communicate with fairies. And the birthmark on her palm reveals a secret Krezma must hold close for the child’s safety.

A secret that the witch, Tzmet, hunts for night and day, drying and eating fairies for the power they contain. When Akeela discovers her fate lies in being the next Fairy Guardian, all hope for an ordinary life dissipates like the dreams they were. She must protect the fairies from the witch—and an even darker power that threatens them all. Akeela is unwillingly thrust into an adventure that will not end until she decides to accept her fate and give up on her dream.

Maybe even her life.


Wow! Thanks, Pam. This sounds amazing. Can’t wait to read it!

Don’t forget to attend the Facebook party celebrating the release of Fairyeater. There will be a heap of giveaways and a chance to learn more about this fabulous author!

Fairyeater FB party.jpg

Pam-HalterPam Halter has been a children’s book author since 1995. The first book in her Willoughby and Friends series, Willoughby and the Terribly Itchy Itch, won the 2018 Realm Award in the children’s category, and she also received a Reader’s Choice Award in 2015 for her short story, “Tick Tock,” in Realmscapes. Fairyeater is her first fantasy novel. She lives in South Jersey, deep in farmland, and enjoys long walks on country roads where she discovers fairy homes, emerging dragons, and trees eating wood gnomes.

Connect with Pam on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Amazon, or on her website

And you can follow purchase links to Fairyeater here!

Thanks for joining me 🙂

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Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, Jebraun lives smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island in a town filled with thermal activity, stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. She writes about discovering identity, living without fear, and enjoys creating fantastic worlds. 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 yet?
I give away New Zealand chocolate and an e-book in every one!

Who are the Winners of the Stories of the Stars Contest?

Talk about intense competition! So many awesome tales for fellow judges Sheri Yutzy, Laura L. Zimmerman, and I to choose from. Narrowing them down was difficult.

The top three spots were hotly contested, but we finally selected the winning entries for our flash fiction contest.

First Place: Sam Graber, with Starfinder’s Sacrifice

Somehow, I missed this entry the first time I read through the stories. As soon as I read it, however, I knew I’d found my first choice. The quick action and high stakes grabbed my attention right away. And the ending!

Favourite line? Starlight thrums through my veins.

Second Place: Maggie Graber, with A Million Heartbeats

This narrative shows off a perfect YA voice. Not to mention quirky details (how’d she fit so much characterization in such a short story?!?), a dynamic brother/sister relationship, and hints of trauma and isolation. Plus, it has all the feels!

Favourite line? Above me stretches the ceiling of heaven itself, a vast canopy of inky, fathomless darkness pierced by thousands and thousands of pure white lights.

Third Place: Catherine Hinkle, with Bones of Cobalt Blue

I loved the imagery in this story. Such a strong setting that swept me into the moment! The themes of love and loss are palpable. I feel like there’s so much more that could explored with the two characters, and I was sad to finish reading!

Favourite line? Unfurling her wings, she soared high in the currents, where stars whispered of hope. 

We were thrilled with the response to this contest and appreciated each story we received. Some amazing talent out there. We hope you keep reaching for the stars!

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Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, Jebraun lives smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island in a town filled with thermal activity, stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. She writes about discovering your identity, living without fear, and enjoys creating fantastic worlds. 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 yet?
I give away New Zealand chocolate and an e-book in every one!

Starfinder’s Sacrifice by Sam Graber

Stories of the Stars contest first prize winner:

No one knows what the stars are. Only that they are far away, and they give us our power.

And now they are winking out.

“Danar?” Charis steps beside me and slips her hand in mine. Starlight gives a silver sheen to her ebony hair. If the stars die, I will never see her like this again.

“Where is he?”

Charis closes her eyes and points to the south. That much starlight would be like a beacon to her.

I raise a hand toward the nearest star and it begins to dim, light flowing easily to me until the star resists. With time the star will regain its brightness if it isn’t completely drained. Fully depleting a star is a thing no Starlighter would dare do.

Except Murdock. For this transgression he’ll be branded Starkiller.

Charis puts her hand on my forearm. “I’m coming with you.”

“No, Charis. I can’t protect you from him, and you’re too important. If I fail, you’ll need to bring other Starlighters to deal with him.”

Charis shakes her head. “By the time others reach him, Murdock will have purged. He will be invisible to me.”

So it falls to me to stop him. I start to pull my arm away.

Her grip tightens. “Murdock is my responsibility. I won’t have you dying for me.”

Death and darkness. “You can’t possibly blame yourself for all the death he’s caused.”

Starlight thrums through my veins. I need to shift soon or it will overwhelm me.

I close my fingers into a fist, preparing to jerk out of her grip.

Charis takes my chin with her opposite hand and turns me to face her.

“Danar, I’m not your child to coddle. You will take me to Murdock Starfire, now.”

Her eyes glow with the starlight inside her. How can she hold it constantly without it burning her up? I have never seen Charis Starfinder without the glow of starlight.

I look away. I can’t argue with her.

Stars forgive me.

I open my fist and release a burst of starlight. My vision blurs as we shift through space. When we materialize again, we’re standing in the middle of a Starlighter habitation. My arm aches from the strain of drawing Charis across a hundred miles in the span of a second.

Charis grabs me and pulls me down beside a picket fence. A whoosh is followed by screams. Murdock is here.

Anger boils up in my chest. I risk a peek over the fence. Murdock blazes like the light of a full moon. Around him is death and carnage. Houses engulfed in white flames. Lifeless shapes on the streets.

There are women and children here. I won’t let him kill everyone he wishes.

I jerk my hand out of Charis’ and shift to the street directly behind the killer.

“Murdock! Stop this madness and face me!”

He turns and hurls a brilliant white fireball at me. I shift three steps to the left. Heat blisters my skin as it streaks by.

“Why, Murdock? Are you so calloused that you would kill even women and children?”

Murdock chuckles, his voice resonating with starlight. “You want to know why? Ask your Lady Starfinder. Did she tell you what happened between us?”

My gaze flickers to where I left her by the fence. Murdock and Charis? Fury pulses with the starlight in my blood.

I shift in front of Murdock and punch him in the face. His head snaps back and pain sears my fist. I shift back a few paces.

Murdock raises a hand to his cheek. “It seems I’ve struck a nerve. Are you going to tell him what really happened, Charis? Or should I burn him to ash?”

Charis steps out onto the street behind him. Tears make glowing streaks down her face. I’ve never seen her cry.

“Don’t do this, Murdock. Please.”

Murdock turns to face her. I shift between them to shield Charis.

Murdock smirks. “You’re not going to tell him how much we meant to each other? How you told me we could spend the rest of our lives together?”

My vision flashes. I clench both fists, ignoring the throbbing in my burned hand. “You lie!”

Charis puts a hand on my shoulder and steps past me. “I loved you, Murdock, but I never promised you anything.”

I press a hand to my chest. This isn’t real. “Charis, what are you saying?”

Her hand moves to my cheek and she glances at me. “What I should have told you weeks ago. Please forgive me?”

“Forgive?” Murdock laughs darkly. “You never gave me that choice. You walked away without ever looking back.”

Charis takes her hand away. I sway as if it was the only thing keeping me upright.

“Because I saw you for what you were, Murdock. You never loved me, only how I made you feel.”

“That’s not true!” Murdock roars.

“If you truly cared about me, you would let me go. You would stop this killing.”

I raise a hand to Charis’ shoulder. “I wish you had told me first,” I whisper.

I make eye contact with Murdock. He glances away.

How would it feel to lose someone you care so much about? Murdock is willing to kill to mask his pain. But me?

I would sooner die.

I draw the last of my starlight into my fist and step forward. Charis pushes me aside and steps in front. She places both hands on Murdock’s face.

No!

Starlight flares around them both. Their outline burns into my eyes. Then there is only darkness, and Charis swaying in front of me. I step forward to catch her.

Above, I feel another star pulsing in the night sky. Murdock has gone to take the place of those he consumed.

Charis is limp in my arms. I have never seen her so frail and lightless. I don’t need my star sense to know that she’ll never be able to hold starlight again.


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Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, Jebraun lives smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island in a town filled with thermal activity, stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. She writes about discovering identity, living without fear, and enjoys creating fantastic worlds. 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 yet?
I give away New Zealand chocolate and an e-book in every one!