5 Fun Facts to Make You Fall in Love with Author Laura L. Zimmerman

I’m thrilled to be the next stop on the Lament tour, the awesome second book to author Laura L. Zimmerman’s banshee trilogy. Laura and I caught up in a cyber-cafe where I asked her all about the story, the writing process, and other tidbits. We had a great chat, and I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I did.

1. Caoine’s character is based on the Celtic folktales about banshees. What new information about banshees did you discover while writing the second book?

I actually discovered a bit of banshee lore that I hadn’t run across while researching Keen. This bit of info fit in perfectly with a plotline that goes through book two and into book three. Because the entire thing hasn’t been revealed yet (you’ll need to get book three!) I can’t say exactly what it is, yet. But this small thread of banshee lore fit in perfectly with what I had already set up for Caoine and her history, and the direction she was already headed. (I thank God for help with that! *woo-hoo*)

2. Keen was a fabulous debut novel. I adored it. What challenges did you face when writing the sequel?

Early on in the revision process, I realized one of the relationships I had created between two of the characters just wasn’t working. I needed them to interact with one another in an entirely different way. This meant going back and changing all the dialogue between the two. It also became evident during revision with my editor that the main plot I had originally intended for Lament wasn’t right for this book. It would work much better as a main thread in book three. I ended up taking a subplot of book two and enhancing it to become the main plot. This took a bit of work but was totally worth it. In the end, these changes made the story 100% better!

3. I’m anxiously awaiting my copy of Lament (eeep!), and I’m looking forward to a new setting, different characters, more of Caoine’s background etc. Give me a sneak peek of one of your favourite scenes and any inspiration behind it.

One of my favorite scenes that I had envisioned early on was the chase scene where Caoine and her partner need to hide inside a tree to escape a monster. I remember having a clear picture of exactly how it would go and I couldn’t wait to get it down on paper. The intensity of the moment of them running from the monster and realising there was no way to lose him; Then finding a large tree to hide inside (which, of course, grows magically smaller, once they’re inside. Because, Faerie!); And the fear Caoine experiences as they wait for the monster to pass. I honestly couldn’t get the TV show Lost out of my head. It reminded me of something that would’ve happened on that mysterious island!

4. I know coffee plays a biggggg role in a writer’s life, especially yours. 😉 If you could develop a signature coffee inspired by Caoine or even another element/character from the book, what would it be?

This has to be my favorite interview question yet! *squeals* I’d say an Iced White Chocolate Macchiato made with coconut milk. Iced to reflect the Winter Realm, white chocolate because chocolate is my favorite but it should be white since the Winter Realm has snow, and coconut milk because I think a macchiato always tastes better with that added flavor! Yum. I believe I might go order one of these the next time I hit the coffee shop!

5. Finally, let’s play a game of kiss, kill, and marry, shall we? Which character from Lament would you kiss, which one would you kill, and which one would you marry and why?

Oooh, fun! I would definitely kiss a new little friend you’re going to meet, named Nym. A kiss on the top of the head, of course, because he’s definitely much more of a child than adult! He’s a sweet faerie that I hope you’ll come to love just as much as I do!

Oh dear, do I have to kill someone? *wink* Okay, I suppose I’ll go with Aibell, simply because she is not the most enjoyable faerie to have around. *hides eyes* I believe at least one other character would agree with me!

And, who to marry? Hmmm…I think I’ll go with Killian because he so closely resembles Legolas from LOTR. Although, he has no sense of humor, so he’d probably drive me nuts!

Thank you so much for having me visit with you and your readers, Jebraun! This interview was a blast! I hope you enjoy reading Lament just as much as I had writing it. *heart*

Thanks so much for sharing the wonderful world of Lament with us, Laura!

Don’t forget to check out the next stop on the Lament Blog Tour!
“Themes of Lament” Laura L. Zimmerman, https://www.lauralzimmerman.com

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 and far-off 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 short story, “The Watertamer’s Sister,” plus I give away good stuff in every one!

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 and far-off 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 short story, “The Watertamer’s Sister,” plus I give away good stuff in every one!

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 and far-off 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.

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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 and far-off 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 short story, “The Watertamer’s Sister,” plus I give away good stuff in every one!

How to Destroy a Dark Lord: Behind the Scenes of Pam Halter’s Fairyeater

Welcome to the blog tour for Pam Halter’s new fantasy, Fairyeater.

Fairyeater Blog Tour Mock-Up.jpg

I got a sneak behind-the-scenes peek at the central conflict of this fabulous tale from the author herself.

Take it away, Pam!

Figuring out how to destroy Riss’aird was difficult. I didn’t want to be cheesy. I didn’t want my readers to think I had copied from another story. I wanted to be original.

As a Christian, I believe praise to the Living God drives away many unwanted things, including the enemy, so I wondered how I could use that in Fairyeater. How could I utilize the elements? What if there were something fairies need to remain healthy in their faith and their magic?

I came up with Fountains ~ one for each element. And they each have fairies who come to them each sunrise to offer praise to Celtar (God) and to bless them.

Earth fountain is a fountain of swirling sand.

Water fountain is a fountain of water.

Fire fountain is a fountain of fire.

Air fountain is invisible. It moves from place to place, therefore, making it hardest to find.

There is a map showing the location of each Fountain except for the Air Fountain. It is this map Tzmet gets her hands on. She is determined to poison each Fountain. When Tzmet uses the cape of fairywings to poison the earth fountain, it becomes tainted and the earth fairies are unknowingly sowing evil into the ground which allows Riss’aird to regenerate.

Map of Broem and area.jpg
How do the Fountains destroy Riss’aird?

When the four pieces of the Fairystone are complete and joined with the Guardian, the Fountains come together and form the Fairysong – pure praise to Celtar from not only the very the elements, but also from every soul that loves Him. When the Fairysong is formed, it creates the wave of praise, capable of destroying the evil it is called up for.

Here’s a piece of the story where Akeela brings forth the Fairysong. I had goosebumps writing it.

The moons drifted away from the sun and the sunlight struck the Fairystone in Akeela’s hand. Her body jerked and became taut. The far off song she heard swelled and grew louder. Then the Fairystone came to life. All the auras Akeela could see grew as bright as the sun. She could hear every heartbeat of every fairy pounding in her ears. The song became recognizable; a song of praise to Celtar, ringing from the souls of every fairy and person who believed. A startling, fresh joy Akeela never experienced before pulsed through her and she could feel her soul joining in song with the others.

Fairyeater by Pam Halter.png

And what happens next?

The song grew and became a wave. It emanated from Akeela and rushed toward Riss’aird. He shrieked and turned, but it crashed over him, enveloping him. Without warning, he disintegrated. His ashes floated for a moment before the air fairies whirled around them, sending them up and away.

I wish I could show you the picture in my mind when I wrote this. With all the amazing special effects today, I imagine this scene in vivid color whenever I read it. I also imagine the future, where all believers will be together forever, praising God. It gives my heart a little leap.

All fifteen-year-old Akeela has ever wanted is an ordinary family who will love her. But the only mother she has ever known is the old hag, Krezma, who berates her night and day. Why did the old woman even take her in?

But Krezma knows her charge is no ordinary child. She can see the auras surrounding living things and can communicate with fairies. And the birthmark on her palm reveals a secret Krezma must hold close for the child’s safety.

A secret that the witch, Tzmet, hunts for night and day, drying and eating fairies for the power they contain. When Akeela discovers her fate lies in being the next Fairy Guardian, all hope for an ordinary life dissipates like the dreams they were. She must protect the fairies from the witch—and an even darker power that threatens them all. Akeela is unwillingly thrust into an adventure that will not end until she decides to accept her fate and give up on her dream.

Maybe even her life.


Wow! Thanks, Pam. This sounds amazing. Can’t wait to read it!

Don’t forget to attend the Facebook party celebrating the release of Fairyeater. There will be a heap of giveaways and a chance to learn more about this fabulous author!

Fairyeater FB party.jpg

Pam-HalterPam Halter has been a children’s book author since 1995. The first book in her Willoughby and Friends series, Willoughby and the Terribly Itchy Itch, won the 2018 Realm Award in the children’s category, and she also received a Reader’s Choice Award in 2015 for her short story, “Tick Tock,” in Realmscapes. Fairyeater is her first fantasy novel. She lives in South Jersey, deep in farmland, and enjoys long walks on country roads where she discovers fairy homes, emerging dragons, and trees eating wood gnomes.

Connect with Pam on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Amazon, or on her website

And you can follow purchase links to Fairyeater here!

Thanks for joining me 🙂

jebraunclifford.com blog signature (1)

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