Armor of Aletheia: Interview with Ralene Burke

I’m excited to host author Ralene Burke today as part of the blog tour for her new fantasy novel, Armor of Aletheia.

Ralene and I caught up, and I got to pelt her with questions about life, writing, and everything in between.

Jebraun: Yay! I’m so happy you’re here. First of all, the cover is stunning. The gate! The mountains! The purple!!

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Now. I want to hear about your journey with this new story. There are so many steps to writing (and publishing!) a novel from the thrill of the first draft to the joy of seeing your book on a bookshop shelf. What are some highlights from a few of the steps of Armor of Aletheia?

Ralene: Armor of Aletheia was a long project for me. We had a lot of personal things going on throughout the writing/editing process, so it took a long time. So finishing each step was a huge accomplishment, a reason for celebration. It was also the story that snagged both my agent and my first publisher. Woot! Which then turned this into my first traditionally published novel. The best part so far has been the reader’s reactions. It has been such a blessing to me to see how the readers are relating to the characters, to their situations, and that the story is staying with them. That’s all I want with these stories that live in my heart.

J: That has to be so satisfying for you. Let’s dig into the story. Any settings or characters based on real places or people?

R: No, not really. Well, except Karina, the main character, is a lot like me and her journey echoes mine. I wanted people to know my journey, to see my discoveries, and maybe that would help them in their own lives, with their own journey.

J: I love this! This is why we write, isn’t it? So good to hear that your story is touching those who read it. What about some of the deeper points about Armor of Aletheia. What themes really resonate in this story?

R: Embracing who you are. We were all created for a purpose, something that only we can fulfill. But oftentimes, we resist that calling for one reason or another. Maybe we’re scared, maybe we don’t feel worthy, maybe there’s something standing in our way like finances, education, obligations, etc. But it’s important that we find and embrace who we were meant to be. That’s when and where we will shine the brightest!

Ralene Burke Armor of Aletheia

J: Yes! So good. Learning lessons like these are challenging though it’s satisfying to pass them on. Obviously, this knowledge has been hard-earned. But you managed to capture it and put it down on paper. I’d like to hear about what inspires you. What feeds your soul? How do you refresh yourself creatively?

R: Reading good books, watching great TV shows/movies, listening to amazing music. I’m really influenced by other people’s art. It inspires me.

J: I’m right there with you. What about sustenance for your body, haha. What’s your favourite snacks or drinks whilst writing?

R: Dark chocolate M&Ms and a big glass of iced tea. That’s how I accomplish those crazy 10k days!

J: Mmmm. Sounds perfect. To end here, do you have any wise words of advice for a newbie writer?

R: It’s important that you learn your craft. Be sure to study the art of writing from many sources. But don’t forget to write, write, write. And then write some more.

J: Thanks for joining me today, Ralene. Godspeed and best of luck as your story  gets out there in the world!

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You’re invited to celebrate with Ralene at her book launch for Armor of Aletheia on Facebook. Chat with her and other authors, and there will be prizes! RSVP here.

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Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a social media wand, or a freelance editor’s sword, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to help everyone SHINE BEYOND their circumstances! Her novels, Bellanok and Armor of Aletheia are available on Amazon.

When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . .

Connect with Ralene on FacebookInstagramTwitter, or at her website.


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 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?
I give away an e-book and fabulous New Zealand chocolate in every one.

Looking for the clue? Here it is!

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The Awesome Adventure of Kill the Beast ~ and a giveaway!

You know those stories that keep you up late at night reading? The ones with fantastic heroines, lush descriptions, and exciting adventures?

If you’re in the mood for such a story, look no further.

Michele Israel Harper has done it again!

In Kill the Beast, an imaginative retelling of familiar fairy tales, Michele weaves a wonderful world of monsters, mademoiselles, castles, and crossbows.

Set in a long-ago France, this book captures some of the best elements of Beauty and the Beast (the enchantment! The food! The rose!) as well as manages to turn Little Red Riding Hood into a kick-butt heroine who is anything but a damsel in distress.

Want more? Of course you do!

Ro remembers the castle before. Before the gates closed. Before silence overtook the kingdom. Before the castle disappeared. Now it shimmers to life one night a year, seen by her alone.

Once a lady, now a huntress, Ro does what it takes to survive—just like the rest of the kingdom plunged into despair never before known. But a beast has overtaken the castle. A beast that killed the prince and holds the castle and kingdom captive in his cruel power. A beast Ro has been hired to kill. Thankful the mystery of the prince’s disappearance has been solved, furious the magical creature has killed her hero, Ro eagerly accepts the job to end him. But things are not as they seem.

Trapped in the castle, a prisoner alongside the beast, Ro wonders what she should fear most: the beast, the magic that holds them both captive, or the one who hired her to kill the beast.

Doesn’t that sound intriguing? Now check out this cover:

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What I liked about this tale was the smattering of French phrases scattered here and there to lend authenticity, the mouth-watering descriptions of the food, the detailed world-building which made me picture the Beast’s castle and surrounding countryside, the backstory that left me begging for more, and the unexpected twist at the end.

But most of all, I loved the heroine, Ro. She is feisty and fierce yet somehow vulnerable at the same time. I loved her loyalty to her family, especially her sister, and how she would do anything to protect her.

I enjoyed it soooo much, I’ve giving you a chance to own your very own copy! I’ve got a prize pack for one lucky reader including a paperback version of Kill the Beast, some yummy chocolate all the way from New Zealand, and a book cozy featuring a forest scene complete with foxes, hedgehogs, and rabbits.

*Giveaway Closed*

Go through the magic portal to enter (erm, actually, it’s a link to Rafflecopter).

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You’ve got a week to enter. Sorry, only open to residents in the United States.

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You also don’t want to miss the Facebook party on Thursday, September 27, 2018 8-10pm EST.

Michele-Israel-Harper-HeadshotMichele Israel Harper spends her days as a work-at-home mom and her nights typing away furiously on her laptop. Sleep? Sometimes… She has her Bachelor of Arts in history, is slightly obsessed with all things French—including Jeanne d’Arc and La Belle et la Bête and loves curling up with a good book more than just about anything else. Author of Wisdom & Folly: Sisters, Zombie Takeover, Beast Hunter, and Kill the Beast, Michele prays her involvement in writing, editing, and publishing will touch many lives in the years to come.

Connect with Michele on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or her website.

You can also purchase Kill the Beast on L2L2 Publishing’s website!

Thanks for joining me!

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 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 chocolate and an e-book in every one!
For even more exclusive content, join my street team, Jeb’s Fearless Fans

 

Do You Love Flash Fiction? Enter Our Contest!

Yes! It’s that time of the year again.

Fellow speculative fiction fan, Sheri Yutzy, and I are hosting a flash fiction contest and this time Laura L. Zimmerman is joining us!

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We’re so excited to see the amazing flash fiction work YOU come up with.

We’ve got some great prizes lined up to feed your flash fiction soul.

1st place:

2nd place:

3rd place:

Submission instructions:

Deadline: Friday, October 5, 2018

Submit to: storiesofthestarscontest@gmail.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 October 19, 2018. So what are you waiting for? Get writing! And if you need any help or advice about writing flash fiction, check out this great ‘how to’ post by Laura over on Quills & Inkblotts. You can also check out last year’s winning entry and the second-place story for inspiration.

Good luck!

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 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? I give away an e-book and chocolate in every one!

The Amazing Aesthetics of Renegade Skyfarer

Today author RJ Metcalf celebrates the release of her brand new book, Renegade Skyfarer.

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She’s got a heap of beautiful aesthetics for us to ogle, so let’s jump in, shall we? Take it away RJ!


It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and a dear friend of mine recently got me into the whole aesthetics thing, and I’m afraid to say, I am hooked. So, it may be considered cheating to some, but I’m going to share a bit of my characters via aesthetics, because, really now, who doesn’t love them? And with that, I must also note that I am not skilled in such gorgeous graphics, and these were all made by the lovely LoriAnn Weldon of Magpie Designs, Ltd. ^_^

Ben

Meet Ben Dubray, an amnesiac who gets rescued by the crew of the airship, the Sapphire. He can’t remember anything beyond his name that’s listed on his metal necklace, but throughout Renegade Skyfarer, bits and pieces of memory will flash into mind, and he’ll start piecing the puzzle together. During all that, the Sapphire mechanic and daughter of the airship captain, Jade Stohner, befriends him and does what she can to encourage him in this strange new world.

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Spunky and passionate about life, Jade doesn’t know that life is about to drastically change once her father reveals a secret he’s been keeping all her life. Caught between her own plans for her life and her father’s ideas for her life, she’s going to have to find a dark corner of the Sapphire to figure out what she’s going to do. But what she and her childhood best friend, Krista, plan, may not match up to what Jade’s father, Slate, wants.

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Slate, the captain that carries the world on his shoulders. Burdened by choices he made in his youth, burdened with secrets, burdened with the knowledge that if he fails in his quest to restore the barrier, all he holds dear could die, Slate is a man on a mission. He doesn’t always handle the stress well–in fact, he often doesn’t–but he owes up to what he needs to do, and he’s the man to see it done. Whether it be pompous lords, bandits, or even a crazed berserker, Slate will give it everything he’s got to right his wrongs.

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Not all appearances are as they seem when it comes to a berserker. Blade has his own mission and his own goals, and he will do all he can to bring Slate’s world crashing around him, in flames and blood and death, as only Slate deserves.

The adventure won’t end until at least one person fulfills their goal–while the other worlds burn.


And how about a little teaser to give us a better idea of the storyline?

The airship crew saved Ben’s life from a dragon, of all things.

When Ben wakes up, he has no memory of his family, his home, or how he got to this strange world. All he knows is what his new crew members tell him: the magical Barrier that protects their land is weakening. Unless they find the artifact that can repair it, all of Terrene will be destroyed and enslaved by the enemies beyond.

But when Ben suspects that danger may lurk closer than dragons or sky pirates, he has to decide: stay and fight with the airship crew, or focus on regaining his lost memory? If he leaves, he risks losing his newfound friends–but if he stays, he might never return home.

Welcome to Terrene–where dragons exist, the past haunts, and magic is no myth.

Welcome aboard the Sapphire.

Renegade Skyfarer FB Party Banner

Calling all book readers! Join author RJ Metcalf as we chat about her fantasy novel RENEGADE SKYFARER on July 6th from 8 PM to 10 PM EST (7 PM CST and 5 PM PST).

Grab your favorite drink and snack and be prepared for a fun time of chatting with RJ, games, and giveaways. Special guests S D Grimm and Jamie Foley, Author will also be sharing their books and joining in the fun. RSVP here.

Giveaway!

Want to dive into a new world or in need of a good book? Enter to win a signed print copy of Renegade Skyfarer, a Stones of Terrene notepad and pen, Notebook of Writing, and bracelet! (US only.)

About the author:

RJ Metcalf

During the day, Becky is a stay at home mom of two active little boys. When she has ‘free time’, she enjoys reading, writing, baking and sewing. After many years of creative writing classes, writing fanfiction drabbles and daydreaming, it was high time to start writing her husband Mike’s story. She dove into the world of Terrene and hasn’t looked back—except for when she runs out of dark chocolate. Any free time not spent in Terrene is typically expended on hosting dinner and game nights, running amok with the two little monkeys or watching nerdy movies with Mike.

Connect with Becky

Website | FacebookTwitterInstagramAmazon Author Page


Thanks for joining me!

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 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 chocolate and e-books in every one!

Want a Closer Look? Resilience

Visual posts are my favourite type of posts to do for blog tours. I just love taking a behind-the-scenes peek at pictures that inspired the story or give me a hint at what’s inside.

Resilience Blog Tour

Today, I’m featuring Amy Brock McNew’s third book in the Reluctant Warrior Chronicles, Resilience.

First, a close-up of that stunning cover.

And some back cover copy to get you excited about the story:

The fiercest warriors emerge from the most brutal storms.

Liz and Ryland Vaughn have fought hard to survive every threat that’s risen against them. But nothing they’ve faced compares to the battle to come.

As they settle in to married life, all seems perfect and quiet. Too quiet. Being a warrior doesn’t allow for peace.

Then one vicious moment throws their world into upheaval and rips their hearts to shreds.

Wanting to get away from it all, they accept a mission to New Orleans to assist fellow warriors. Ryland hopes the time away will repair the rift between them, but the chasm only widens as they face an enemy so subtly horrific, they don’t even know they’re falling.

As they descend into darkness, Liz’s past once again rears its ugly head.

This time, it takes Ryland along for the ride.

Can Liz and Ryland undo the damage to their marriage and hang on to their faith while completing their mission? Or will they fall to temptation and lose everything they’ve fought so hard for?

Now…for the main event! Here are some images just for you!

Every story needs its hero.

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And it’s villain.

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This one is as old as time.

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How about a little conflict?

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A little more temptation…

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Any guesses on the setting?

Resilience FB Profile

Read them all!

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And there’s an epic Facebook Release party that you’re invited to! Heaps of special guests, chances to win some prizes, and chat with various authors.

June 14, 2018 from 8 – 10 pm EST. See you there!

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, text

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Amy Brock McNew doesn’t just write speculative fiction, she lives and breathes it. Exploring the strange, the supernatural, and the wonderfully weird, Amy pours her guts onto the pages she writes, honestly and brutally revealing herself in the process. Nothing is off-limits. Her favorite question is “what if?” and she believes fiction can be truer than our sheltered and controlled realities. Visit www.AmyBrockMcNew.com to learn more about this intriguing author.

Thanks for joining us, Amy. Can’t wait to read this one!

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 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.

If you love free e-books and chocolate, sign up for my newsletter or join my street team. I have loads of giveaways! 😉

 

 

 

The Irresistible World Blog Hop

It is with great excitement that I get to share about a fabulous writing resource. Usually, the blog tours I participate in are about fiction stories with amazing worlds and fantastic characters.

Well. This book  is about HOW to get those amazing worlds that leap off the page and delight the reader with their uniqueness.

Blog Hop Banner

The author, Janeen Ippolito, created this guide to help writers get into their worlds and understand them from the inside out. When she asked for writers to use the book for their own stories and then write about the process, you can bet I put my hand up quickly.

I adore writing speculative stories–fantasy, science fiction, anything imaginary–and the project I used to show off Irresistible World Building is my short story, a science fiction piece called “Past the Stars, Beyond the Moons.”

Janeen sent me a list of questions, and I’m going to answer them using my short story:

Name your spec fic subgenre!

This is a science fiction story. But it’s not heavy with scientific details and explanations, so I suppose the proper subgenre is space opera.

Why this subgenre? What makes it awesome?

I love exploring characters’ relationships. In space. Haha, seriously, there’s something about being out in the stars or on another planet that grips my excitement. I’m definitely dating myself, but Star Wars (the original one!) was one of the first movies I saw in the theatres so it’s made a HUUUUGE impact on me.

What are your favorite books in your subgenre?

I love Ursula Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness. I took a science fiction lit class in college and remember reading some obscure, out-of-print book called The Stars My Destination which was fascinating. I really must find a copy of it somehow.

What universal feelings do you explore in your world building—and why?

I explore the longing for connection that we all have. Because it’s a universal experience!

What are the three coolest things about your world building?

I love that it mostly takes place on a derelict moon base. I didn’t want to have a host of characters, so the isolation really makes Astrid and Milos forced to rely on one another. I also like that there’s an initial connection between the two of them that goes beyond verbal communication. Milos ‘calls’ to her as he’s trapped there, and she ‘hears’ him. Finally, I love that a gift that Astrid’s father gave her, a knife made with a freshum crystal, helps Astrid when she’s really stuck.

What about your world building messes up your main character’s life?

Well. When the evil sorceress wakes up, the world literally starts to fall apart. So there’s that.

Irresistible Quote 3

What was the first thing that inspired your world building?

I knew I wanted to retell the Norwegian folk tale of “East of the Sun and West of the Moon” and I knew I wanted to set it in space. I suddenly pictured a young woman drifting through the stars in an escape pod (there’s that Star Wars influence!) and the rest of the story fell into place.

What is your favorite made-up creature from your world?

This was honestly my favourite part! I was having so much fun with this one! I made up a little critter called a hundar. Her name is Spark and she’s a little like a dog but she has needle-like retractable teeth and a feathery tail. Her intuition drives my main character, Astrid, to some important decision making.

Share a short excerpt from your story that shows off really cool world building

I would love to!!

I peer through the window again, cupping my hands around my face to block out the interior lights. We’ve floated closer to the pock-marked moon. I catch a glimpse of a structure tucked into a crater—a vast prismed dome, its panels reflecting the two primary stars in this system.

“I was right! That’s a base.” What’s left of one—it looks a bit battered. And familiar. Have I been here before?

The pod shudders and moves toward the moon.

My triumph evaporates. I grab the closest handhold. “What’s happening?”

And finally, I’ll give you a little graphic I put together to inspire me as I wrote this story.

Beyond the Stars, Past the Moon

If you’d like to stay in the loop about this story or the others I’m writing, find my Facebook page, subscribe to my newsletter, or join my Facebook group/street team for more updates from my writing journey. I host regular giveaways and love connecting with other readers and writers. 😀

I found this resource to be invaluable and am looking forward to referring to it for my next stories. So if you want your world to be thorough and imaginative and irresistible, pick up a copy of Janeen Ippolito’s Irresistible World Building for Unforgettable Stories.

Irresistible World Building Cover

You can find it on Amazon or read other reviews on Goodreads

Author Photo

Janeen Ippolito is two authors for the price of one! She creates writing resources and writes urban fantasy and steampunk. She’s also an experienced teacher, editor, author coach, and the editor in chief of Uncommon Universes Press. In her spare time, she enjoys sword-fighting, reading, food, and making brownie batter. She believes that words transform worlds and that everyone has the ability to tell their story. Two of her goals are eating fried tarantulas and traveling to Antarctica. This extroverted writer loves getting connected, so find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and at her website: janeenippolito.com where you can sign up for her newsletter.


Thanks for joining me!

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 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? I give away an e-book in each one!

 

 

Cover Reveal: Resilience by Amy Brock McNew

Eeep! The next cover for Amy Brock McNew’s Reluctant Warrior Chronicles is here!

Okay…happy dance aside, here’s the back cover blurb for book three, Resilience:

The fiercest warriors emerge from the most brutal storms.

Liz and Ryland Vaughn have fought hard to survive every threat that’s risen against them. But nothing they’ve faced compares to the battle to come.

As they settle in to married life, all seems perfect and quiet. Too quiet. Being a warrior doesn’t allow for peace.

Then one vicious moment throws their world into upheaval and rips their hearts to shreds.

Wanting to get away from it all, they accept a mission to New Orleans to assist fellow warriors. Ryland hopes the time away will repair the rift between them, but the chasm only widens as they face an enemy so subtly horrific, they don’t even know they’re falling.

As they descend into darkness, Liz’s past once again rears its ugly head.

This time, it takes Ryland along for the ride.

Can Liz and Ryland undo the damage to their marriage and hang on to their faith while completing their mission? Or will they fall to temptation and lose everything they’ve fought so hard for?

And now…

 

 

Are you ready?

 

 

The gorgeous cover…

 

 

Isn’t it great?!? Now to wait until the release date, June 14, 2018.

Author-Head-Shot-Amy-copyAmy Brock McNew doesn’t just write speculative fiction, she lives and breathes it. Exploring the strange, the supernatural, and the wonderfully weird, Amy pours her guts onto the pages she writes, honestly and brutally revealing herself in the process. Nothing is off-limits. Her favorite question is “what if?” and she believes fiction can be truer than our sheltered and controlled realities. Visit http://www.AmyBrockMcNew.com to learn more about this intriguing author.