11 Awesome Characters and Creatures: a Visual Post from Burn

I’m thrilled to turn my blog over to author J.M. Hackman who’s celebrating the conclusion to her fabulous Firebrand Chronicles with YA portal fantasy Burn.

She’s sharing today about the imaginative characters and creatures that populate this series.

Take it away, Jill!


Many of Burn’s characters have been with the series since Spark. We still have the lovable main characters, Brenna, Baldwin, and Arvandus. But allow me to introduce a few new characters.

1. and 2. Gari (Baldwin’s ex) and Taurin Trennen (Rune’s henchman)

These two have been with the Firebrand Chronicles since the beginning, but I never shared the pictures. Here they are, in their different levels of “evil.”

3. and 4. Dr. Winward and Ahmik

Both these men work in the Syeiran infirmary. Syeiran men shave their head when they turn eighteen, hence the prevalent baldness.

5. Camlo Sorsha

Baldwin and Brenna (or should we call her “Bob?”) meet the Camlo Sorsha at Undertown Valley. More than what she seems, Sorsha becomes significantly instrumental in a plan they develop to help the residents.

Sorsha

6. Skeleton King

A person called the Skeleton King arrives in Burn, intent on repression, destruction, and death. Is he working with Rune? And how can he be stopped?

Skeleton King

7. Life Shades

Life Shades are shells of the people they used to be. With no will, no memories, and completely at Rune’s disposal, he uses them to augment his army. They’re pale like vampires but move like zombies. The good news? They aren’t interested in either blood or brains. The bad news? They’re intent on capturing their prey and turning the individual over to their ruthless, evil leader.

Baldwin as a Night Shade

Part of the fun in writing fantasy is adding mythical creatures or crafting completely made-up beasts. Old favorites and brand new beasts show up in Burn.

1. Griffins:

No Firebrand Chronicles story would be complete without Arvandus, Brenna’s trusty sidekick (although never call him that in his presence. He thinks the stories are all about him.) While most griffins are half lion/half eagle, Arvandus is a mutant—a black panther whose silver-tipped black wings throw sparks when he’s upset or angry.

2. Light wolves (AKA foslykos):

Light wolves look much like either regular or white wolves, but both have an aurora borealis affect in their fur. While these creatures showed up briefly in Flare, they play a bigger role in Burn. Brenna gets to meet Luna, a regular light wolf who has pups.

3. Mermaids (from Mermaid Cove):

While I wasn’t sure whether mermaids could be classified as beasts or not, I put them here due to their predatory nature. While Brenna would love to avoid interacting with them at all, she’ll have to if she plans to find the Caelestis Key before Rune does.

4. Phoenixes:

Along with centaurs, fauns, and mermaids, did you know phoenixes exist in the Jasper Territory as well? When the entire territory is threatened, will they help or escape while they can?

Phoenix

Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Burn’s cast of characters and creatures!


You can pre-order Burn on L2L2’s website and don’t forget to join us for the Facebook release party!

J. M. Hackman loves thunderstorms, bookstores, and happy endings. She’s never met a reading nook she didn’t like and prefers soul talk to small talk. When she’s not writing, she spends time with her two munchkins and her handsome husband who supports her in this crazy profession. Her days are filled with writing stories, consuming massive quantities of dark chocolate, and looking for portals to other worlds. You can find her on her website,
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Goodreads.


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!

6 Fun Facts You Need to Know About Laura L. Zimmerman

I’m excited to be part of the blog tour for Keen, a YA banshee novel by Laura L. Zimmerman and published by L2L2 Publishing that’s coming out July 9th.

Here’s a sneak peek:

You must walk the darkness to find the light. Half-faerie Caoine has no control over the banshee lament she sings each night, predicting the death of others. A senior in a brand new high school, she expects the same response she’s received at every other school: judgment from fellow students over her unusual eyes and unnaturally white skin and hair. However, when Caoine arrives at West Lincoln High, for the first time in her life she finds friends. Real friends.

But being a teenager is never easy, especially when the star soccer player, Oliver, sets his sights on her. Allowing him to get close means revealing her curse to the human world. She can’t let that happen. Life spins further out of control when her lament comes out during the day, those whose death she predicts die right in front of her, and a dark faerie known only as the Unseelie prince blames Caoine by leaving her the creepiest notes ever. Her curse is not supposed to work like that.

In a race against time, Caoine must uncover the Unseelie prince’s identity and stop a spell before it unleashes hell on earth, all while trying to control her banshee song and finding a place among her peers.

Senior year just got real.


I cornered Laura in a coffee shop (where she was innocently sipping on coffee with a splash of skim milk) and was rewarded with some surprising and fun facts about this talented author.

1. She has eclectic tastes

Jebraun: you mentioned that the TV series Teen Wolf gave you some inspiration for Keen. What are some other TV shows/series/movies you enjoy?

Laura: I’ll watch some shows, like Teen Wolf or Pretty Little Liars, because it’s a good chance for me to connect with my teenagers. But if left solely to my own discretion, I’ll binge watch Friends, The Office or Parks and Rec, Psych…I’m currently rewatching Downton Abbey with my girls (for the third time!) But my favorite TV show is Supernatural! My oldest daughter and I never miss an episode!! Movies almost always center around the Marvel Universe, Star Wars, or a kids movie, since my youngest is just eight. Although, my teens have roped me into watching a few horror with them recently! (Against my will. *hides eyes. literally*)

2. She yearns for the simple life

Jebraun: This sounds similar to what I like to watch. Except the horror, lol. I’m with you on that one! Suppose you were a character from Lord of the Rings. Who would you be and why?

Laura: I’m not sure which specific character, but I think I’d like to be a hobbit! They lead such simple lives in the beautiful countryside, and they love to celebrate! *heart* Their relationships revolve around good food and good conversation. It’s so opposite of Western culture. I swoon every time Gandalf’s cart rolls into the Shire at the beginning of the movie.

3. She also dreams big

Jebraun: the Shire is certainly inspiring. And speaking of inspiration, where would you go on a writing retreat? Would you bring anyone with you? Give me all the details!

Laura: Dream retreat, you say? *little bubble forms overhead* An open coffee bar that never closes with a barista who knows ALL the drinks, all my favorite writing community friends would be there, it would be in Ireland (naturally because we would totally all be able to afford to go there and stay a whole week), our families would function perfectly without us and there would be no problems with any flights. *bubble pops* But in reality…if I can ever connect with any of my writing friends, no matter where, I’ll be there!

4. She loves to read

Jebraun: Sounds heavenly! What about reading. Any favourite authors?Mine would be CJ Redwine. I LOVE her Ravenspire series!

Laura: Oh wow. I think anything written by Kristen Ciccarelli. *swoon* Her writing is gorgeous, I adore her world building and the way she weaves her plots is amazing!

5. She’s up for an adventure

Jebraun: Let’s step outside of fiction for a moment. You have the chance to go colonize the moon. It’s perfectly safe. You can bring your family if you wish. Would you go? Why or why not?

Laura: YES. I’m always on-board for an adventure. I mean, yeah, I’d be terrified for that flight, but the view would be crazy beautiful! I’d bring my whole family and would love every minute getting to experience something new and exciting! Besides, how fun would it be to get to walk on the moon?

6. She’s practical when it comes to sustenance

Jebraun: What favorite snack food would you bring along on your mission to the moon?

Laura: Chocolate. And Kind bars. Or nuts. Okay, let’s be honest, if I’m in a coffee shop, it’s basically any carb-loaded yumminess they have to offer!!

Jebraun: Thank you soooo much for sharing your thoughts with me! I seriously can’t wait for KEEN!!


Laura L. Zimmerman lives in a suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, three daughters, and three furbaby felines. Besides writing, she’s passionate about loving Jesus, anything Star Wars, and singing loudly. She takes her coffee black and spends her days pretending to do yoga. Keen is her debut novel.

Connect with Laura on Facebook Twitter Instagram Goodreads Pinterest or her website.

You can purchase Keen at L2L2 Publishing.

And don’t forget to join the fun at the Keen Facebook party on Thursday, July 11th.


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 access to my free flash fiction story, The Stone Veil, and I give away New Zealand chocolate and an e-book in every newsletter!

Processing…
Success! You’re on the list.

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!

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!!

RGB_Armor of Aletheia _ R. Burke_DB_073118

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!

armor of aletheia fb party.jpg

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.

ralene-HR-4

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!

her uncle.png

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.