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.


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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.

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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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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
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Goodreads
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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

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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.

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