Interview with Author Laurie Lucking

I love a good anthology. A single book with a bunch of short stories all with a similar theme, especially a fantasy one?!? Sign me up!

When the opportunity to interview an author of such a short story belonging to such an anthology presented itself, I pounced on it.

Laurie Lucking happens to be on online friend of mine. We both belong to ACFW and Realm Makers, we’re in the same critique group, and we might be working on a top-secret project of our own 😉 She’s also the author of the amazing YA fantasy romance, Common, to boot.

We sat down (virtually, of course) and discussed her short story for the Mythical Doorways blog tour.

Mythical Doorways Blog Tour Banner.jpgJeb: How is writing and publishing this short story different from your experience publishing your novel? 

Laurie: I find writing short stories to be a refreshing break from full-length novels. There are fewer characters and subplots to worry about, and it’s so encouraging to be able to complete a project over the course of a month instead of a year! (Yes, I’m a slow writer.) I also feel like I can be more experimental with my world-building in short stories, because it only has to work over the course of ~10,000 words instead of an entire book or series. The satisfaction of a novel is getting to know the characters and setting so much better, the opportunity to show more character growth, and tying together all the different story threads. So it’s nice to write some of each!

As far as the publishing experience, the anthology has come together so quickly! The editing process wasn’t quite as extensive, and since things like theme and cover design were determined before any stories were even submitted, it made for a much more streamlined process. It’s been fun and interesting to work as a group to tweak the back-cover blurb and make other marketing decisions, and I’m so grateful for H.L. Burke’s leadership and guidance throughout! Working with my publisher on Common gave me more influence in some ways because it incorporated my individual input instead of a whole group, but there my publisher had the final say, where for the anthology we’ve been encouraged to take responsibility for our individual stories. I’ve learned a lot through each process and would be happy to repeat both types of publication in the future!

J: Did it take long to decide on an idea that fit the theme or was it an easy brainstorm? 

I actually hadn’t planned to take part in this anthology because I had too many other projects going, but a story idea came to me anyway so of course I had to write it! It started with an attic door in someone’s closet that was actually a portal to a Neverland kind of fantasy world. The idea for the central conflict of the story came several days later when my husband and I watched the episode of Doctor Who called “Amy’s Choice” (Series 5). In the show, Amy is faced with a decision about which reality she wants—an ordinary existence with her fiancé or continued adventures with the Doctor in his TARDIS. Suddenly I was brainstorming more about my character with the portal in her closet. What if that portal were going to close, and she had to choose where to spend the rest of her life? From there, the themes of growing up and finding a place in the world fell into place pretty easily.

J: Favourite story in this anthology and why, besides yours 😉 

L: Ooh, that’s so hard! I read the entire anthology a few weeks ago and the stories are fabulous! “Everwild” by J.M. Hackman was beautifully written, H.L. Burke’s “Jericho and the Magician’s Daughter” was so fun and creative, and “The Hallway of Three Doors” by D.G. Driver was like a brand-new fairy tale, with a bit of surprise romance thrown in! But I think my favorite was “Idiot’s Graveyard” by Arthur Daigle, though I wasn’t necessarily expecting it based on the title! I loved “Idiot’s Graveyard” because the main characters, Dana and Jayden (a Sorcerer Lord), had such a fun friendship. They clearly cared about each other, but had lots of witty interactions—it reminded me a bit of Doctor Who and his companions (yes, I do realize that’s already my second Doctor Who reference…). And the world-building was very cool, especially the situation at the tower and the way they worked together to stop it.

This anthology has such a great variety of stories that I really think there will be something for everyone!

J: Finish this sentence: If I were an imaginary creature, I would be a…

mermaid-scrapbook-lotus-fantasy

Mermaid! I’ve always loved the water, and swimming would be so much more fun if I didn’t have to worry about coming up for air all the time. What an amazing way to explore the ocean! Plus, my hair is always a disaster after I’ve been swimming, but apparently for mermaids it just floats around and looks pretty, at least according to Disney 🙂 And I love to sing, so I think I’d feel right at home among Ariel and her sisters!

J: Thanks for joining me, Laurie. Can’t wait to read your story!

L: Thank you so much for inviting me to visit, Jebraun! I hope you enjoy the anthology as much as I did!

J: Don’t forget to check out the Facebook party and find a link for the FREE e-book below!

Mythical Doorways
Step through portals and into adventure as the authors of the Fellowship of Fantasy take you on another journey into fantastic worlds. Travel through time, space, and realities to encounter monsters, mechanical foxes, and the Fates themselves. You’ll fly with dragons, save implausible beasts, and perhaps find your true home. Choose your path wisely, for dangers lurk in the lands beyond. 

In the third anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy, eleven authors promise you journeys into fairy lands hidden within the modern world, futuristic universities, and lands of ancient myth. So what are you waiting for? Cross through our Doorways for the adventure of a lifetime!

Purchase Link

Download the e-book (free to download starting March 27th) at your favorite digital store!

Mythical Doorways Authors

Katy Huth Jones
D. G. Driver
Lauren Lynch
H.L. Burke
Savannah Jezowski
A. J. Bakke
Laurie Lucking
Jenelle Schmidt
Arthur Daigle
Bokerah Bromley
J.M. Hackman

(Click the author to learn more about them and their books!)

The Fellowship of Fantasy and Deep Magic E-Zine have joined together to offer you an awesome paperback giveaway! Dive into eleven new worlds by entering to win a paperback of Mythical Doorways! (US only.)

About Deep Magic E-Zine: The name Deep Magic pays homage to C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia. Deep Magic is a quarterly e-zine dedicated to creating a safe place for minds to wander in the worlds and universe of SFF. We want all who visit to feel welcome and confident that they will encounter professionally written fiction of the highest quality that is safe for all to read.

Mythical Doorways FB Party Banner.jpg

Facebook Party Information

Fellowship of Fantasy is celebrating their third short story anthology release, Mythical Doorways with a Facebook Party!

Whether they open onto new worlds or just new opportunities, doorways allow us to step through and uncover great adventures, discoveries, and risks.

Where will these Mythical Doorways take you?

Grab your favorite drink and snack on March 29th at 8 PM EST (7 PM CST and 5 PM PST) and be prepared for a fun time of chatting with multiple authors, games, and giveaways!


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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 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.

Sign up for my newsletter. I give away an e-book in every one!

What Do You Think of my Website’s Awesome Makeover? (and do you want some chocolate?)

A year ago I did an overhaul of my website. Got my own domain name and decided it was time to devote the site entirely to my writing.

I had fun playing around with a theme and coming up with the tagline dream.write.repeat.

I continued to share about my writing journey, featured new releases and debut authors, and threw myself into social media. I started a newsletter. Published some flash fiction.

But something still didn’t feel…right.

A tagline should give readers an idea of what they can expect from my stories. And while dream.write.repeat. sounds kinda cool, it’s what I do, not what I write.

So I hired a professional.

Some of you may remember reading my post about goals for 2018 that I wrote earlier this year over at Quills & Inkblotts. In it, I mentioned I worked with Janeen Ippolito from Creative Breakthroughs in Speculative Fiction and Beyond to develop a new tagline.

Jebraun Clifford and Janeen Ippolito

We brainstormed for thirty minutes (and had entirely too much fun!), and she asked me all kinds of questions about why I wrote and what I wrote. Then she read some of her ideas back to me. As soon as I heard the right one…I knew it was me!

I changed up my website header, played around on Canva.com, and voilà!

Fearless Words in Fantasy Worlds jebraunclifford.com

Fearless Words in Fantasy Worlds. 

I love the alliteration. I love the concepts. I love the imagination.

This is me! This is what I write!

I also added a page for the stories I write, tidied some links, and even started formulating a plan for my street team.

To celebrate my gawgeous new look, I’m giving away chocolate. That’s right. New Zealand has the best chocolate ever (totally my opinion, feel free to disagree, and be wrong 😉 ).

And I’ve got two bars of Whittaker’s chocolate to give away to anyone in the world. All you have to do is go to my Rafflecopter page (link below) and tell me if you prefer dark or white chocolate (or either, who are we kidding!), and you’ll be in the draw to win a Whittaker’s Marlborough Sea Salt and Caramel Brittle with Saffron in dark chocolate OR Whittaker’s West Coast Buttermilk Caramelised white chocolate with Gingerbread Biscuit.

Stop drooling and enter by clicking the photo below!

A chocolate giveaway

BONUS: you’ll get 5 extra entries if you sign up for my quarterly newsletter.

And for those of you who already are on my newsletter list, you will be having your own chance to win some chocolate and a fabulous e-book (by a certain author whose initials are Mary Weber) in the middle of next month.

Thanks for sharing the adventure with me!

come say hi at jebraunclifford.com

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 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, enjoys and 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.

Sign up for my newsletter. I give away an e-book in every one!

 

Common’s Blog Tour: Book Review and a Giveaway!

One of the perks of participating in blog tours is the books I get to read ahead of the rest of the world. I love getting a sneak peek at the latest fun stories.

So when the opportunity came to be a part of Laurie Lucking’s blog tour for her YA fantasy, Common (and, ahem, an ARC of said YA fantasy), of course I said YESSS!

I mean, who doesn’t love diving into a brand new story full of memorable characters, a fascinating new kingdom, and a slow-burn romance?

Um.

No one.

And I’m giving YOU get a chance to own your own Kindle copy…

But first…my review!

First of all. Can I say how much I loved Leah? She is sweet and spunky. Fun and fearless. And while she may be a servant, she possesses a fine character many of the royals would do well to emulate.

A sweet fairy-tale romance with a handsome prince, a cunning villain, and a plucky heroine who saves the day.

I enjoyed her friendship with Rafe, the prince. It felt natural and not forced. She’s such a lovely young lady, I don’t blame Rafe for seeking out her company and caring what her opinions are.

Her loyalty to Rafe is what gets her into trouble, but I admired her for the courage she displayed.

There was just enough gorgeous descriptions to transport me to Imperia, the dialogue gave me a real sense of everyone with distinct voices for each character, and I loved Leah’s adventures as she deals with the fallout of her from her decisions.

Get ready for nuns who I’m sure have the most interesting back story ever (rumour has it that one of them may feature in the next Tales of the Mystics), some court intrigue, and enough adventure and romance to keep you turning the pages.

* I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and all thoughts and opinions are my own. And I loved the book so much, I pre-ordered it too ❤


Only one person knows of the plot against the royal family and cares enough to try to stop it—the servant girl they banished. Leah spends her days scrubbing floors, polishing silver, and meekly curtsying to nobility. Nothing distinguishes her from the other commoners serving at the palace, except her red hair.

And her secret friendship with Rafe, the Crown Prince of Imperia.

But Leah’s safe, ordinary world begins to splinter. Rafe’s parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess, and she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. When she reports it without proof, her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason. Harbored by an unusual group of nuns, Leah must secure Rafe’s safety before it’s too late.

But her quest reveals a villain far more sinister than an ambitious nobleman with his eye on the throne.

Can a common maidservant summon the courage to fight for her dearest friend?


Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, textDon’t forget to go to Common’s Facebook party. That’s right! On Thursday, February 15 at 8pm Central, you have an opportunity to chat with author Laurie Lucking along with Laura Pol, Michele Israel Harper, and yours truly, as well as have a chance to win some fabulous prizes.

RSVP right here –> –> here


Laurie Lucking Author HeadshotAn avid reader since birth (her parents claim she often kept them up late begging to hear just one more story), Laurie Lucking discovered her passion for writing after leaving her career as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom. She writes young adult fantasy with a strong thread of romance, and her debut novel, Common, releases in 2018 from Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing. Laurie is the secretary of her local ACFW chapter and a co-founder of http://www.landsuncharted.com, a blog for fans of clean young adult speculative fiction. A Midwestern girl through and through, she currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and two young sons. Find out more about Laurie and her writing by visiting www.laurielucking.com.

Connect with Laurie!
Facebook
Twitter
Google+
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest
You can also purchase Common here!


I love this story SOOOOO much (have I said that yet?!?), that I’m giving you a chance to win a Kindle copy of it. All ya gotta do is enter my giveaway via this portal to the magical kingdom of Imperia (jk…it’s a link to Rafflecopter) and follow the instructions. I’m drawing the winner in ONE WEEK so hurry!
Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favour 😉

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.

 

 

Finding Worth: The Allegiance Blog Tour

It’s blog tour time again! This time, I get to help introduce the world to Sarah Addison-Fox’s debut fantasy, Disowned, which is book one in the Allegiance series.

First of all, the cover is gorgeously pink and purple and lovely!

Second of all, the author also lives in New Zealand! Woohoo! Of course, we’re on different islands (she’s at the bottom of the South and I’m in the middle of the North), but one day we might have an opportunity to connect!

Third of all, when I signed up for this tour, I was given a choice of topics like an author interview or a book review. But one topic caught my attention.

Finding your worth.

Intriguing!

It’s a major theme of this story, and I thought it would be fun to briefly touch on it since it’s something that many of us struggle with.

I don’t know about you, but I find it really easy to fall into the comparison trap–especially on social media–where I see a friend’s life and wonder why mine doesn’t look as exciting, glamorous, or successful.

The next thing I know, I can begin to have a poor view of my own worth because I’m basing it on someone other than who I’m supposed to be.

But the truth is, we are each a unique person who is passionately loved by the Creator of the world. We bring talents and gifts that are exclusive to our personality into our sphere of influence. And then it’s the Christ in us that sets these gifts on fire and gives us the power to  walk in the lifetime of good things that he’s set before us.

That’s where our worth comes from! When we embrace the person God has made us to be, when we’re aware and accepting of his unstoppable love for us, and when we use our own particular gifts to love those around us.

So get out there, believing these truths, and knowing that you are a precious person of inestimable worth.

Now…on to Disowned!


Disowned: Allegiance series #1 by [Addison-Fox, Sarah]

Two countries, two choices, one life. When Kyraenean slave Celeste risks her life to reach the free nation of Etraea, a country filled with technology and wealth, she unknowingly sets off a chain of events that will change her life forever.

After escaping her new owner, Celeste awakens in the home of an Etraean soldier, sworn to protect the fragile peace. For Corporal Mick Haynes, life is simple. Follow the rules, do your job and work your way up the ranks. Getting shot and finding a wanted slave at his family’s farm wasn’t part of the plan.

When a Kyraenean bounty hunter locates Celeste, Mick’s loyalty will be stretched to the limit. With war on the horizon, Celeste faces two impossible choices. Both securing her freedom, but both at a cost she could never have imagined. Will Etraea provide the freedom she’s longed for or shackle her to an entirely new master?

Buy Disowned: Allegiance series #1 here!

Sarah Addison-Fox's Profile Photo, Image may contain: 1 person, smilingSarah Addison-Fox is a New Zealand-born home-schooling mother of two who loves action-packed, clean, fantasy with strong heroines. She has an astonishing amount of nail polish, has all her creative writing credentials shoved in a drawer somewhere, and has a husband who, after 27 years, can still make her blush. When she’s not working on both her YA fantasy series’ she can be found fangirling on Goodreads or sending GIFs on Twitter.

Connect with Sarah

Instagram|Facebook|Website|Twitter|Goodreads

LivyLynnBlogTours


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.

Sign up for my newsletter! I give away an e-book in every one.

5 Wonderful Writer-ly Things to Accomplish This Year

Ah, yes. The obligatory New Year resolution post.

Cos it’s 2018. A new year. A fresh start.

While I’m generally a ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants’ kind of person, there is something exhilarating about making resolutions at the beginning of the year.

For the last few years, I chose a word instead of making resolutions (which always seem to fly out the window after a few days or weeks). Thrive. Expect. Joy. Those were fun, and I liked watching God work through those words, often in ways I didn’t foresee.

But I decided this year to set some goals to push me further in my writing. I’ve felt the need to be more intentional, and while I’m sure I will add to this list, I’ve got five writer-ly things I want to see done and dusted by the time 2019 rolls around…

Visit Quills & Inkblotts to read the rest of this post.


Jebraun-Clifford

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!

Cover Reveal for The Chronicle of the Three: Eden Sword by Tabitha Caplinger

I got a sneak peek of the cover of Tabitha Caplinger’s final book in The Chronicle of the Three trilogy just before Christmas.

Then I had to sit on it.

For.

Two.

Whole.

Weeks.

Now I can FINALLY share.

 

.

.

.

Here it is!

edensword coffee

Isn’t it it awesome?!?

Here’s what it’s about:

The final showdown is fast approaching, and a grief-stricken Zoe is forced to count the cost of her destiny. As the losses mount, her strength wanes.

Even if the Chosen find the Eden Sword in time, will Zoe be strong enough to wield it? Will she be able to stand against the darkness as the promised Daughter of the ancient prophecy? Or will she be consumed by the fear of her nightmares becoming real?

Fear or faith?

Even the Chosen must choose.

In this final installment of The Chronicle of the Three, light and darkness collide as Zoe discovers there is more than one battlefield in this war.

Eeep! That sounds so exciting! To make it even better, the author is hosting a giveaway featuring the first two books in the trilogy, some book swag and Amazon gift cards, so follow the link to enter.4.jpg

You can also go to her website and subscribe to her newsletter to get a free sample of book 1, Bloodline, as well as be among the first to find out more Eden Sword release news and updates. And if you want to purchase the first two books or contact Tabitha about a speaking engagement, that’s the place to go, too.


Image may contain: 8 people, people smiling, indoor

Tabitha Caplinger is a wife, mom, youth pastor and professed TV addict. It’s seriously a problem but she doesn’t plan on getting help anytime soon. Mostly because she loves the stories. She can’t help but get lost in the worlds created and invested in the lives of the characters. She brings that same passion for the story to her own writing. Aside from writing and watching TV, Tabitha can be found singing off key and dancing in the kitchen or car with her two adorably sassy daughters and awesome husband who she thinks is kind of cute.

Connect with her on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter


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!

Do You Want a $10 Amazon Gift Card?

My last newsletter of the year will go out Christmas Day, and I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky subscriber.

Who doesn’t want some extra $$$ to throw around at the after-Christmas sales?

This is just my way of saying thank you to everyone who has walked along with me so far on my writing journey.

If you haven’t signed up, please do.

—> right here! <—

2018 looks like it will be a banner year!


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.