A Visual Peek at the The Story Peddler

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Another blog tour, another fabulous story!

Today I get to spotlight The Story Peddler, the latest release from award-winning author and editor, Lindsay A. Franklin.

She compiled a fantastic visual display of images and text for you and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


Tanwen

Ho, fellow story-lovers! It’s me, Tanwen, but you can call me Tannie. I’m a story peddler by trade, and that’s how I put food on the table since I moved out of Farmer and Ma-Bradwir’s house some years ago. They were kind to take me in, but a girl’s got to find her own way at some point, don’t you think?

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Ah, the Eastern Peninsula of Tir. Our little scrap of farming countryside. This is at the edge of our village, Pembrone. Doesn’t look like much, does it? That’s because it’s not. A burp of a town, my mentor Riwor says. She’s not wrong.

Brac

Aw, Tannie. Come on, now. You make it sound so…ugly. Pokey. Dull. That ain’t fair. Pembrone is the best spot in all Tir! It’s our home, after all.

*sigh* That’s Brac Bo-Bradwir—best friend, constant nuisance…would-be suitor. *double sigh* Brac, this is my tour. Can’t you ever mind your own onions?

All right, I’ll humor Brac and show you my cottage. It may be the only part of Pembrone I don’t despise.

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It was my mother’s family home once. I wish I could have known her, but since that wasn’t in the stars for me, this is second-best. I can sleep in the room where she slept. I can cook in the kitchen where she cooked. Plus, it’s right down the lane from the Bradwir stead. The cottage is getting a little shabby these days, but at least it’s a warm place to return to after a long peddling tour.

Do you want to see the actual best part of Tir? Whatever Brac says, it’s definitely not Pembrone. It’s Urian, the capital city! Now, I’ve never been there myself, but one day I’m going to live here in the palace and serve the king as his Royal Storyteller. I just have to get King Gareth to notice me somehow…

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If I could only make it to Royal Storyteller, I’d finally be someone, you know? I’d no longer be the parentless urchin, fighting for every scrap of food, handing over most of my earnings to Riwor. I’d be Tanwen En-Yestin, faithful servant to the king and honored guest at his court. Imagine—me at court. Brac doesn’t think I’ll make it, but mark me. I’ll show him. I just have to stick to telling the crown-approved stories and keep making those babies crystallize clear as glass, and eventually I’ll get there. Sure, sometimes the storytelling gift is a little…wild. But as long as I practice those crowned stories like Riwor taught me, what could possibly go wrong?

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Want to dive into a new world or in need of a good book?

Enter to win a signed print copy of The Story Peddler, a blue strand book sleeve, custom Story Peddler bookmark, a fluffhopper sticker, and a set of five mini Story Peddler art prints! (US only.)

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There’s also a Facebook party!

Join authors Lindsay A. Franklin and Sara Ella to celebrate the releases of their novels, The Story Peddler and Unbreakable, on May 1st! 

Grab your favorite drink and snack and be prepared for a fun time of chatting with Lindsay and Sara, games, and giveaways.

The party starts at 8 PM EST (7 PM CST and 5 PM PST) and here’s your official invitation. Can’t wait to see you there!


Lindsay A. FranklinLindsay A. Franklin is an award-winning author, award-winning freelance editor, and homeschooling mom of three. She would wear pajama pants all the time if it were socially acceptable. She spends a lot of time in made-up worlds, and she’s passionate about sparking imagination through stories of infinite possibility. Her debut fantasy novel, The Story Peddler, releases in 2018. When she’s not exploring the fantastical, she’s exploring the Bible and encouraging young women through her devotional books (click here for more information on Adored).

Lindsay lives in her native San Diego with her husband (master of the dad joke), their awesomely nerdy kids, two thunder pillows (AKA cats), and a stuffed wombat with his own Instagram following (@therealwombatman). You can find Lindsay on social media, too, if Wombatman hasn’t hijacked all her accounts. She’s @LinzyAFranklin on Instagram and Twitter, and she Facebooks at www.facebook.com/LindsayAFranklin. You can also sign up for her email list.


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 and chocolate in each one!

 

 

Drifting: A Sequel Worth the Wait and a GIVEAWAY

Drifting Blog Tour.pngI never read a mermaid story until I read Sarah Armstrong-Garner’s Sinking a little over a year ago.

And I could. Not. Put. It. Down.

The prose was beautiful, the story enticing, the characters endearing…I didn’t read it, I devoured it!

And then I had to wait for the sequel. 

Forever, it seemed.

In the interim, I found my mind returning again and again to the story. What was going to happen to Jocelyn? Would she return safely to the sea? What about hunky sea captain Aidan? I don’t want to give too much away in case you haven’t read this epic story…but I was itching to get back to it.

(And…by the way…I’ve got a giveaway of BOTH titles at the end of this post!! 😉 )

Finally. Finally. Finally.

The sequel is here! And I read it! And I love it!

But first…the cover and blurb:

Jocelyn plunges into the ocean near Calcutta, India, thrown overboard by a man claiming it’s the only way to save her life. As she sinks, the transformation begins, and the ocean welcomes her back into its embrace.

Aidan Boyd thought the only way to save Jocelyn was to give her back to the ocean, but now he’s not so sure. Aidan doesn’t believe in mermaids, but he can’t explain the way she changed. Will he see Jocelyn again? Or has he condemned her to a watery grave?

Jocelyn drifts in a world she’d forgotten only to find she’s hunted by a deadly force from the ancient city of Thessa, the reason she was hidden in the world above. But she cannot get Aidan out of her head. Was what they shared real? Or was it a fantasy brought on by her unconscious need to seduce a human?

Both Aidan and Jocelyn begin a desperate and dangerous journey to discover the truth . . . and hopefully each other. But will their love be enough?


Happy sigh. Isn’t that cover gorgeous?!?

Drifting starts exactly where Sinking left off. Which is good. Because I was on the edge of my seat by the end of Sinking. And, let’s face it, distraught at the cliffhanger ending.

Right away we get introduced to some new characters. Merfolk to be exact. As Jocelyn rediscovers her mermaid origins, we get to travel under the sea with her to a strange and fascinating new world.

I’ve heard the author talk about her love of writing screenplays, and let me tell you, she packs a lot of visual description into her narrative. As a very visual person, I loved imagining the intricate scenes she sets, the facial expressions, the flick of a tail, and especially the underwater mining city of Ommo.

Then there’s Jocelyn’s captivity and…ooops! Again…I don’t want to spoil the story for you.

Okay. On to the romantic aspect of Drifting.

Two men vie for Jocelyn’s affection. Benlar, the noble merman, and Aidan, the hunky sea captain I mentioned earlier. I’m definitely Team Aidan, and I cheered him on as he struggles to regain control of his ship and then desperately searches the world for his beloved.

Throw in the mystery of why Jocelyn is a hunted mermaid, and this story covers all the bases: fantasy, romance, adventure, and suspense.

I savoured every word!

So run, swim, commandeer a ship, whatever it takes to get a hold of these beautifully written stories!


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Don’t forget to go to the launch party. L2L2 Publishing seriously throws some of the best parties around with lots of prizes. RSVP here!


Sarah Armstrong-Garner lives in Northern California with her husband and three children, and get this: not only is she an author, screenwriter, and photographer, she also shoots indie films with her husband. You can visit www.SarahArmstrongGarner.com to learn more about her and her upcoming releases.

Connect with Sarah

Website: http://www.saraharmstronggarner.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SarahArmstrongGarner
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/SarahTwyla
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/saraharmstronggarner
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/33156298-sarah-armstrong-garner
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sarahtwyla

Purchase Link (L2L2 Publishing’s Website):
http://www.love2readlove2writepublishing.com/books/drifting

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If you want to read Sinking and Drifting for yourself, enter my giveaway! One lucky participant will win an e-book of both of these beautiful books. You have until May 5 to enter.


Thanks for joining me. If you’ve read these books, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

cropped-jebraun-clifford-lr-3.jpgJebraun 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!

 

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…

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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.

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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!


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 an e-book in every one!

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.

Cover Reveal for “Common”

Don’t think I can contain my excitement!

 

I may actually faint.

 

Because I get to share with you…

 

Something really spectacular!

 

That’s right. It’s the cover for Laurie Lucking’s debut YA fantasy, Common!

So without further ado…

 

Here it is!

 

Is it amazing or what?!?

 

And if you think the cover is beautiful, wait until you read what it’s about:

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. Unexpected feelings for Rafe surface just as his parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess. Then she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. Her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason.

Harbored by a mysterious 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?

An 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 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.


Now comes the challenge…waiting for its release!

Jebraun-Clifford-LR-3Jebraun 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 each one!

 

Getting to Know Author Kimberly McNeil

Interviewing authors is always fun. You get a behind-the-scenes peek at a creative brain at work.

I sat down (virtually, of course. Oh, the Internet. Bless) with Amy Williams, who writes under the pen name Kimberly McNeil, about her Young Adult Fantasy, Meg Mitchell & the Secret of the Journal, for a leg of her blog tour celebrating this new release.

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Jebraun: Hi Amy…erm…Kimberly…erm…

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Kimberly: People usually give me really funny looks when I promote Meg Mitchell & The Secret of the Journal. They look at the cover and then at me and say, “But your name isn’t Kimberly McNeil!” No, it’s not. But Kimberly McNeil is the name I use for writing the Lightkeepers series.

J: Then I’ll stick with Kimberly, okay? Let’s jump right in, shall we? What’s your favourite though often under-appreciated novel?

K: I love Ishmael by Barbara Hambly. It’s an old original-series Star Trek novel where Spock travels back in time and forgets who he is, and he has to fit in with humans in 1800s era Seattle. It’s absolutely brilliant storytelling, but it’s often sidelined because it’s just “a Star Trek” book. But those kinds of genre stories are what first introduced me to writing and made me love the art of storytelling.

J: I love it! I remember as a teenager devouring a novel based on the screenplay of The Empire Strikes Back, and I was thoroughly entertained.

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A good story is a good story, amiright? You’re a storyteller. What’s the best thing you’ve found to overcome writer’s block?

K: Taking a walk and talking to myself. Well, technically, I’m taking a walk and talking to my characters. Whenever I hit a wall in my writing, generally it’s because I’m trying to force my characters to do something they don’t want to do. So I step away from my work and ask them why they’re behaving like stubborn children, and most of the them I get an answer back. Then, I redesign the scene or—this just happened recently—completely start over and let them tell me what they want to do. I know that sounds insane, but that’s my process.

J: No, actually it makes a lot of sense. Our characters sure can have a mind of their own. So, if you could visit any imaginary literary world, which one would it be?

K: Maybe I should pick someone else’s literary world (like Hogwarts or Camp Half-Blood), but if I had to choose an imaginary world to visit, I’d absolutely want to visit my own. The Andarian Dimension from the Lightkeepers series is the one place I’m not sure I’d ever want to leave. The pure natural beauty, the quirky cultures who live there, the ancient history and ruins? Golly, it would be the most awesome adventure ever, as long as you stay away from the Centaurs.

J: Ooooh…ruins are always adventurous to explore. I like your loyalty to your world. And I’ll keep your warning about Centaurs in mind as I read. You’ve got quite the cast of characters which can be tricky to give them all unique personalities. Any real-life quirky habits or traits (yours or someone you know) that you’ve given a character?

K: I started writing the Legend of the Lightkeepers series when I was 11 years old, and without really meaning to, I actually wrote in characters based on people I knew. It wasn’t intentional. I think as a child I just saw qualities and characteristics in the people around me that I liked, and I used those things when I created some of my favorite characters.

The best example is probably Jim Taylor, the brilliant nerdy teenage detective who can’t walk three steps without tripping over his own feet. He’s scary smart, super clumsy, and really protective of his big sister Barb, even though he really can’t do anything to protect her. Without really meaning to, I based Jim on my little brother Andy. A friend actually had to point it out to me because I didn’t even realize it, but Andy and Jim are basically the same person. So whenever I am at a loss for what Jim would do in a scene, I just think about how my brother would act or what my brother would do. It’s really handy.

J: Eleven year old? Wow! So this has been a dream for a long time. And now it’s out in print. Very exciting. Every author would love to see their story on the big screen. Who’s your ‘dream cast’ for a few of your characters from Meg Mitchell & the Secret of the Journal if it were made into a movie?

K: Oh my goodness, there are so many. The trouble, though, with choosing a dream cast for a series that’s this old? Well, most of the original people I picked to represent my characters are now way too old for the roles, so I’ve had to go back and pick some new ones.

The best actress I have ever found to represent Meg Mitchell is Ayla Kell. She has the look and face shape and the general bearing I’ve always seen for Meg.

AylaKell-MegMitchell

The best choice in my mind for Barb Taylor is Katherine McNamara. Again, she’s got the face shape and attitude I’ve always attributed to Barb.

KatherineMcNamara-BarbTaylor(1)

That being said, the original actress I used to represent Barb was Annie Wersching, and to this day, I still think she’s the best choice. So maybe in future books, I could use her as an adult Barb?

AnnieWersching-BarbTaylor(2) (1)

And, just because he’s so important, the actor I have always seen playing Ronnie Akkard is a guy named Thomas Dekker. Obviously, he doesn’t have blue hair and silver eyes like Ronnie does, but he’s got the punk feel down.

ThomasDekker-RonnieAkkard

I have tons of others. Folders and folders and folders full of reference images. Someday soon I’ll be doing character profiles on my website, and I’ll put them all up for people to see.

J: I love your choices. It’s fun to see who you think your characters look like! Okay, time to move away from the novel and ask a really personal question. Fill in the blank: I could eat *favourite food* every day.

K: Here’s the deal. I love food. The only food item I don’t love is turnips. I could eat pizza every day. I could eat tacos every day. I could eat Indian food every day. Sushi too. And ice cream. And chocolate. I love ethnic cuisine and love trying new things. So as long as it doesn’t have turnips in it, I’m game. (Just kidding. I’ll even try turnips again. Maybe. If you pay me.)

J: Okay. Now I’m hungry! Think I’ll grab a snack before we finish this up…

giphy (16).gif

And I don’t think I’ve ever eaten turnips. They are a funny looking vegetable, aren’t they? Thanks so much, Kimberly, for chatting with me. Best of luck with your new book!

If your interest is piqued, here’s a little blurb about Meg Mitchell & the Secret of the Journal. Plus an intriguing cover that reminds me how much I love the Golden Gate Bridge.

Stories never end. They just get bigger.

You only have to turn the page.

MegMitchell_Journal

Meg Mitchell lives in a castle, but she’s no wilting princess. Raised in an alien world by adoptive parents, she spends her time fighting Centaurs, training as an Andai warrior, and chilling in her favorite willow tree.

But when Meg uncovers her birth father’s journal, she discovers a cousin she didn’t know existed. Meg and her little brother and sister travel through an inter-dimensional rip to San Francisco to search for their cousin, setting off a chain of events no one could have foreseen.

When her sister is kidnapped, Meg enlists the help of teenage detective Barb Taylor and her genius little brother Jim. Following clues dropped by a mysterious benefactor, they embark on a cross-country adventure to rescue her sister and find Meg’s cousin.

Family is everything to Meg, but not all is as it seems. In her quest to reunite her family, she may lose more than she ever imagined.


You can find Meg Mitchell & the Secret of the Journal at:

AmazonBarnes & Noble, or at Crosshair Press

Check out the reviews on Goodreads.


A.C. WilliamsAmy Williams is a novelist, freelance writer, founding member of Crosshair Press LLC, and professional nerd. You can find most of her work under the name A.C. Williams, but she also writes young adult fantasy (The Legend of the Lightkeepers) under the pen name Kimberly McNeil. Amy is single and lives in her family’s 100-year-old farmhouse on five acres in the middle of the Kansas prairie. She loves cats and drinks far too much coffee.

Connect with Amy!

Website |Facebook |Twitter|Instagram|Google Plus

Want to dive into a new world? Enter to win an e-copy of Kimberly McNeil’s Meg Mitchell & The Secret of the Journal as well as get a preview of her upcoming short story Stan Hawthorne & The Broken Sword. (Open internationally.

Don’t miss the rest of the blog tour!

Wednesday, November 1st   

Thursday, November 2nd  

Friday, November 3rd  

Saturday, November 4th  

Monday, November 6th  

Tuesday, November 7th    

Wednesday, November 8th

Thursday, November 9th

Friday, November 10th


Jebraun-Clifford-LR-3Jebraun 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!

Alara’s Call: Royal Palace Inspirations

It’s blog tour time again!

I’m part of the team introducing the world to Kristen Stieffel’s debut fantasy Alara’s Call.

Pardon me if I hyperventilate a little because have you seen the cover?!?

Rhetorical question, of course, because I revealed it on this very blog a few weeks ago.

So.

Have you seen the updated cover?

No? Well…here you go. And you’re welcome.

Alara’s Call

Only a little tweak, but instantly it’s waaaay more fantasy-ish. Dontcha love it?!?

I got to chat with Kristen (who made it through Hurricane Irma just fine, thank you very much), and she asked if she could share six pictures of the palaces that inspired the settings in Alara’s Call. 

And I said, please do! I love behind the scenes sneak-peeks, so without further ado, take it away, Kristen:


The story world of The Prophet’s Chronicle is loosely based on nineteenth-century Europe: lots of small countries with interrelated noble families and cultural conflicts.

The heroine, Alara, is a young clergywoman who is called to prophesy to world leaders about how the people of her faith are to be governed. At first she doesn’t understand why she should be given such an immense task. But her father is the prime minister of their country, Glynrell. Through her mother she’s related to the royal family of the neighboring country of Redíque. So she is already at the upper echelons of society.

The story ranges across three countries and visits several noble homes. I looked to the real world for a lot of inspiration about these places.

The story begins in the Glynrellan capital, Ayenni, where Alara’s family has their ancient estate, Ravendyn. It is very loosely modeled on Arlington House at the national cemetery. What struck me about the house is its position atop a hill. According to the National Park Service, the house “was purposefully set in a prominent position overlooking the growing capital city.” Ravendyn is much larger, but occupies a similar overlook.

Arlington House
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, 2007, courtesy of the National Parks Service, npa.gov

The villains’ home base is the royal palace in Tarvag, the capital city of Makut, a country to the east of Glynrell and their historic enemy. It’s described as being over five stories, surrounded by a high wall. It has two wings enclosing a courtyard, kind of like the Palais de l’Élysée photo below, only bigger. Cross the Élysée with Burg Hohenzollern, a castle in central Germany, and drop it in the middle of a city instead of the forest, and it comes pretty close.

Burg_Hohenzollern_SW.jpg
Aerial view of Hohenzollern castle in Bisingen-Zimmern, view from the southwest. © MFSG / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0.

Much of the story takes place in Redíque, where Alara’s family has two royal residences. Dorváir is in the capital city, and it’s sort of a cross between Buckingham Palace in London and Palais de l’Élysée (the French president’s residence) in Paris.

buckingham-palace.jpg
Buckingham Palace. Photo courtesy royal.uk
Palais de l'Élysée.jpg
The Palais de l’Élysée is the official residence of the French president. Photo courtesy elysee.fr

 

The courtyard in the background of the cover of Alara’s Call is basically the courtyard at Dorváir. Just so you know.

The final chapters of the book take place at Shandór, a palace in the Redíquan countryside, and there was only ever one model for this location.

Chambord_Castle_Northwest_facade.jpg
Northwest façade of Chambord castle. Photo by Benh Lieu Song / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0.

 

The Château de Chambord is a sixteenth-century palace in the Loire Valley. Legend has it that Leonardo da Vinci contributed to its design.

I confess I may be exaggerating when I say Chambord is the only inspiration for Shandór—although that’s certainly where it gets its name. Those who’ve read the book will catch the detail that Shandór’s roofs are conical and blue. So yes, there is of course one more inspiration.

Cinderella_Castle_at_Magic_Kingdom_Walt_Disney_World.jpg
Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World. Photo by Ivan Curra / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0.

I am an Orlandoan, you know.


Ooooh wow! Thanks so much, Kristen. What a gorgeous selection of castles. Now I’m going to be dreaming all day about which one I’d like to live in.

 

If these photos have inspired you to dive into the world of Alara’s Call, I’ve got you covered. There’s a great preorder sale going on right now, so grab your copy of this fantastical read to enjoy when it releases September 19.

–> preorder here <–

Also, as I’ve mentioned before, L2L2 Publishing knows how to throw a party. There are great prizes to be won, and anyone can join in. The best part is we get to party in our pajamas!

 

You can RSVP here

Image may contain: text

 

Connect with Kristen. I know she’d love to hear from you.

WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | GoodreadsPinterest

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour!


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!