Visual Post of Common

Today, we welcome fellow author Laurie Lucking. Her debut novel, Common, releases on February 14! Make sure you pick it up –I’ve already read it (and endorsed it) and it’s phenomenal! Want to know more? Okay, here’s what the back cover says.

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?

Doesn’t that sound like such a great story?  Anyway, sit back and enjoy Laurie’s visual sneak peek into the world of Common!

 

 

Since my main character, Leah, is a chambermaid, most of her daily interactions are with fellow servants. But her brushes with royalty are when things really get interesting! Leah learns too late that heeding her ma’s warnings to steer clear of the royal family would’ve been the safer way to go, but her friendship with Prince Raphael is so worth it 🙂

 

Crown: The King and Queen of Imperia are proud of their royal status, and don’t want anyone to forget it! As long as they’re in charge, they plan to keep a distinct separation of rank between nobility and the serving class.

 

 

King Frederick: Old-fashioned and verbose, King Frederick is the eldest of a set of brothers known for their indifference toward servants. Although he’s the one who makes the speeches and royal pronouncements, much of the content is dictated by his wife.

 

 

Queen Beatrice: Cold, haughty Queen Beatrice likes to exert ultimate control over not only her servants, but also her husband and son. She prizes lineage and nobility above all else, so it frustrates her to no end that she can’t convince Prince Raphael to do the same.

 

 

Prince Raphael: Prince Raphael, or Rafe, detests formal banquets and parties and would much rather be outdoors than studying with his tutor. Although he doesn’t fully comprehend servant life, he treats Leah as an equal and hopes to better the condition of the serving class when he becomes king.

 

Princess Penelope: Princess Penelope of Trellich is beautiful and accomplished, everything King Frederick and Queen Beatrice are looking for in a match for their son. But there is more to the princess than meets the eye, and her secrets might prove disastrous for the entire kingdom.

 

 

Throne: The throne room is the perfect place for the king and queen to display their wealth and power. When Rafe suggests that Leah should meet with them there to disclose information about the princess, her hesitation turns out to be more than justified.

 

The royalty of Imperia and Trellich lead lives just as varied and complex as the lower classes, just with more pomp and circumstance and fancier clothes 🙂 In fact, one of these characters intrigued my publisher so much she asked me to consider making her the protagonist of my next book, and I think it just might happen…stay tuned!

Thank you so much for inviting me to visit today!

Thanks so much, Laurie, for giving us this visual tour! Mark your calendars because Common goes on sale February 14th. Stop by the Facebook party on Thursday, February 15th, and check out the other blog tour stops listed below to learn more about this romantic tale.

 

The Inspiration Behind Disowned: A guest blog post by Sarah Addison-Fox

Today, I’m pleased to welcome author Sarah Addison-Fox to Jilligan’s Island. Sarah has recently released her book, Disowned, and I thought everyone would like to know the inspiration behind it.

Read on to find out!


What Inspired the Story?

Yikes! Answering this question is really hard! Because I’m a ‘Panster’ and I really create what I write on the fly, Disowned really just sort of happened. I kid you not. I had an opening scene, two names, and a question I wanted to answer….

 

What would happen if a slave girl tossed away was shown a different life?

 

As soon as I asked this question, Celeste’s journey began with her introduction to a family willing to hide her even though harboring a slave would bring them trouble.

I wanted to show the differences between the two countries both with very different religious structures, one country that values human life, and another which traps slaves in an inescapable system.

So, I guess if I had to pin my inspiration down to one thing, it would be wanting to write about Celeste’s struggle for freedom, emotionally, spiritually and physically. For me Celeste represents so many girls who have been tossed aside, stepped on or mistreated. Celeste’s story is only beginning in Disowned, like so many she is searching for her place, and desperately trying to find value and purpose to her life.

Over the course of the Allegiance series, there will many trials as Celeste battles to find the freedom found only in God’s love.

Want to know more about disowned?
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?
Sarah 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.

Sarah Addison’s Official Website: http://www.sarahaddisonfox.com/

Social Media Links:
Instagram: sarahaddisonfox/
Twitter: @Saddisonfox
To Read more about Disowned, check out the Full blog Tour schedule!

Jan 2nd: Book Review – Unicorn Quester – https://unicornquester.com/blog/
Jan 3rd: Post Written by Host Blogger – SKG Fun – http://www.southkakalakigirl.com/the-blog/
Jan 4th: Guest Post from Author, Sarah Addison Fox – Teens n Tiaras – https://teensntiaras.weebly.com/blog
Jan 5th: Book Review – Ashley Bogner – http://www.ashleybogner.com/
Jan 6th: Author Interview – Karyssa – http://gottahavecoffee.blogspot.com/
Jan 7th: Post Written by Host Blogger – Anna –http://www.cupofthoughts.blog/
Jan 8th: Book Review Abigail – http://novelsdragonsandwardrobedoors.blogspot.com/
Jan 9th: Post Written by Host Blogger – Abi- https://theleft-handedtypist.blogspot.com
Jan 10th: Giveaway – Annie – http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com
Jan 11th: Giveaway – Jaye – http://www.jayelknight.blogspot.com
Jan 12th: Book Review – Angel – www.purelyunorthodox.com
Jan 13th: Post Written by Host Blogger –  Anna – https://jumbledthoughtsofawriter.wordpress.com
Jan 14th: Book Review – Hannah – www.thedifferentgirl.com
Jan 15th: Interview – Kate –  https://onceuponanordinary.wordpress.com/  –
Jan 16th: Guest Post from Author – New Authors -https://newauthors.wordpress.com/
Jan 17th: Book Review – Audrey- http://audreycaylin.com/
Jan 18th: Book Review – Kellyn – https://reveriesreviews.wordpress.com/
Jan 19th: Guest Post from Author – Liv – http://livkfisher.blogspot.com/
Jan 20th: Author Interview – Medomfo –  https://writingsfromagodgirl.wordpress.com/
Jan 21st: Book Review – Victoria – https://rufflesandgrace.com/
Jan 22nd: Post Written by Host Blogger – Jebraun – https://jebraunclifford.com
Jan 23rd: Review – Chloe – https://purelybyfaithreviews.wordpress.com/
Jan 24th: Review – Kiara -kiarasbookends.wordpress.com
Jan 25th: Author Guest Post – J.M. Hackman – www.jmhackman.com
Jan 26th: Book Review – Lelia – http://www.leilatualla.com/leilasbookshelf
Jan 27th: Author Interview – Riley – rileyalinewrites.wordpress.com
Jan 28th: Review – Sarah – www.smylinggirl.blogspot.com
Jan 29th: Review – Shay –  www.elvenpadawan.com
Review – Jessi – https://theartfulauthor.wordpress.com/
Jan 30th: Guest Post from Author – Lands Uncharted- www.landsuncharted.com
Jan 31st: Spotlight Post – Raechel – https://godspeculiartreasurerae.wordpress.com/

Cover Reveal for Common by Laurie Lucking

Happy Friday! It’s a great day, not only because it’s the start of a weekend (I always start relaxing on Friday afternoon), but also because my friend and fellow author Laurie Lucking just released her beautiful cover for Common!

I can’t even begin to tell you how great this story is — and unfortunately, you have to wait a couple months to get it. But we can revel in its gorgeous cover.

Which we will.

In a minute.

First, let me share with you the back cover copy:

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 to 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?

 

 

So exciting! Thank you for being patient. So without any further fuss, here’s the cover for Common!

Sara Helwe did the art for this, and it’s breathtaking.

Here’s a little about the about the author Laurie Lucking.

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.

 

Black Friday-Cyber Monday Sale!

For those of you who are diehard Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday shoppers, there is a promotional going on! Over 20+ authors are offering their books, many at fantastic sale prices — and the books are perfect for many of the readers on your Christmas list.

Check out the covers below — have you ever seen such beautiful books?

         

So, don’t delay — go check out these amazing stories! Buy one (or several!) for the special people on your list.

 

 

Interview with T.J. Akers, Author of The Final Paladin

Welcome to Jilligan’s Island! Today we’re interviewing T.J. Akers, who stopped by on his blog tour  to talk about  The Final Paladin, which releases on November 14th. At the end of this interview, I’ll include the book blurb and some interesting information about T.J., as well as the Facebook party link. You’ll want to get your hands on this story. I started reading it last night and was immediately intrigued!

Hi, T.J.!  We’re so excited to find out more about your new release, The Final Paladin. So, let’s jump right into the questions! Why do you write fiction?

TJ: I love creating stories, always have. My son was eight and an avid reader, and he should be, because I read to him every day until he turned seven. Then I read with him. He was losing interest in reading, and it concerned me. He complained about not having anything fun to read, so I got active in helping him find things. I introduced him to audio books and started pointing him to the good stuff. Then for his eighth birthday, I wrote him a novel. Of course, I also got him some cool presents, too. That was when I rediscovered writing, story creation, and everything else that goes with it. So I write because I love it. I also write so my readers will have fun, and in doing so, learn to love reading. If a reader did not have fun reading any fiction I wrote, I’ve failed.

JI: The Final Paladin starts in late 19th century, New York City. Why did you pick that time and place?

TJ: I’m a serious history geek, and as much as I enjoy science fiction and fantasy, I love history even more. Anyone that loves a good story understands the biggest and juiciest stories happened in real life. So why not incorporate the things I love the most in my stories? My favorite period of U.S. History takes place from the Civil War to the early twentieth century. Five Points, New York, is one of the most intriguing places to me in that time.

JI: Your book also incorporates urban fantasy and medieval lore. Do you love those things, too?

TJ: The short answer is yes, but there’s more to it. I went back to college in my 40s and discovered early British Literature. Thanks to a couple of very fine instructors, I discovered resources that went into greater detail about that period, the myths, and the tension of a quickly growing Catholic church and the existing pagan beliefs. Those tensions show up in the early literature (stories) of that time. I’ve read modern authors that use the same trope, but they’re inappropriate for younger readers. After reading Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin and Jim Butcher’s Dresden series, I thought it was a shame that younger readers couldn’t have something fun along those same lines of urban fantasy.

JI: So you use the Paladin legend for your story. Why not King Arthur, or Templars, or Teutonic Knights?

TJ: I only use the legend as the basis, I don’t really use the original chivalric code because no one wrote it down in Charlemagne’s time. Historically, Charlemagne has the most evidence of the foundation of the concept of Chivalry and the Knightly Ideal. Again, the closest this got to being written is a story called The Song of Roland. Historically, chivalry is a French word from the 11th century, and it originally meant horsemanship. The church promoted chivalry as code because armed thugs rode around the country, killing people. The Catholic Church promoted the concept to try to bring peace and preserve human life. Chivalry, as we understand it, is technically a Christian ideal. So rather than use Templars, Teutons, or Arthur, I went back to the earliest of the European knights, Paladins.

JI: All that said, why even make it a part of The Final Paladin?

TJ: Originally, I wanted to start the series in ninth century Europe in Charlemagne’s empire with my character Godfrey, a Saxon whose village was swallowed up by Charlemagne’s conquests. I did my research, but I also wanted to enter the story in a contest offered by the American Christian Fiction Writers. Most of the judges are women and not speculative fiction fans. So in order to do better in the contest, I chose a female character and events that happened later in history.

JI: You wrote The Final Paladin to win a contest where the judges were predominantly female and probably non-speculative readers?

TJ: That’s essentially correct.

JI: Did your strategy pay off?

TJ: Yes and no, but what’s really cool is I got my fair share of male judges, and they scored my entry high. My manuscript made it to the final three, so it worked to a point.

JI: You didn’t win?

TJ: No.

JI: Well, we’re glad L2L2 picked it up! The story begins in Five Points, New York. But it doesn’t stay in New York City, does it?

TJ: That would be boring at this point, so the story goes to a place called Fairy, or the land of Fairies, elves, trolls, pixies, the White Stag, and everything else. I go back to all the legends and myths of western and central Europe, or at least the ones I could fit in.

JI: Is it a fairy tale retelling?

TJ: No, not exactly. I just mixed my mythologies: history and fairies. I also borrowed from the book of Revelation. There’s mention of a character named Apollyon, or in Hebrew, Abaddon, The Angel of Death. So I mixed in some Bible, knightly legends, and fairies and got a modern-day story in the tradition of Gawain and the Green Knight, or Beowulf.

JI: Is your novel written for adults?

TJ: I like to write for Young Adults and Middle Graders, but I’ve written for New Adults, too. I like those groups because you can still reclaim them as readers. I really write for speculative audiences. The one quality I love about speculative fiction readers is they’re reading for the story. You can make the protagonist eight, twenty, or ninety, and if the story is interesting, the reader won’t usually care.

JI: Are you planning on a whole series?

TJ: Yes. Michele Harper, my publisher wouldn’t have published me if I weren’t. I have in mind at least ten in the series, and that doesn’t even include the three or four prequels about Godfrey and how we even got to the 1870s with things in the state they are. All of that is going to depend on the novel’s popularity.

JI: Wow, that’s a big series!

TJ: Yeah, I have an overactive imagination.

JI: That’s a good thing for a writer to have. Do you write anything other than speculative fiction?

TJ: I have a contemporary YA novel that’s completed and edited. I nearly managed to get it published by Zondervan back in 2014. I also have ideas for historical fiction, too. There are four completed novel manuscripts on my computer: two are science fiction fantasy, a thriller, and a contemporary comedy. All that could easily be turned into a series. I have no shortage of stories tell.

JI: Is L2L2 interested in those?

TJ: Sure, but I have to run them by my publisher. They have to be good stories or she won’t publish them. I’m excited because my science fiction projects have male protagonists, and no one really publishes for boys anymore.

JI: Anything you want to add?

TJ: I’ve learned a lot since I started writing in 2004. Now I can go back to all the projects I’ve kept very shiny.

JI: Thanks so much, T.J., for joining us on the island!

Here’s a little more about The Final Paladin:

Life for Peg Bowman is rough in the infamous slums of Five Points, New York, but her brother’s murder changes everything.

Thrust into incredible worlds beyond any story she’s ever heard, Peg meets Sir Godfrey, an eleven-hundred-year-old knight from Charlemagne’s court, trainer of Paladins. He reveals to Peg her family’s ancient obligation to protect the Key of Apollyon, a relic of immense power. She is the last descendant of the Paladins and his only hope for keeping it safe.

When Godfrey confides her brother was murdered because of the Key, Peg rejects her calling and demands revenge, a luxury she can ill afford as otherworldly creatures seek her death to claim the Key’s power for themselves.

Can Godfrey and his faithful retinue—Chim the Hobgoblin, Rebecca the Jewish Maven and healer, and Jack the sometimes human and sometimes seven-foot Black Dog—keep her safe and convince her that her calling is worth pursuing? Or will she succumb to the Key’s lure and wield it for revenge?

And here’s a little more about T.J. :

T.J. Akers desires to be a multimillionaire when he grows up and give his wealth to his favorite causes: churches, schools, and animal shelters. Since the millions have been slow in coming, he’s settled for working as a computer technician for a state university and volunteering at his church and local animal shelter. Whenever possible, he indulges his love of writing stories to entertain people, especially younger readers.

Akers holds a Masters of English from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and can often be found roaming the university’s library, especially the children’s and young adult sections. Librarians have always been his heroes.

He lives with his beloved wife of thirty years, his dog, and two cats. The dog is an excellent writing companion, but the cats have proven to be rather critical. Learn more at www.tjakers.com

You can find him at the following social media sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tj.akers.35

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TJAkers1

Google+: https://plus.google.com/101156763458205540263

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/16679486-tj-akers

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/akers0778/boards/

Don’t forget to stop by the Facebook Party on November 16!

 

A Beautiful New Cover

As some of you may know, I love to participate in book cover reveals. There’s a new book called The Final Paladin being released on November 14 of this year and the cover…well, you guys, it’s awesome.  Before I show you the awesomeness, here’s a little more information.

THe Final Paladin

Life for Peg Bowman is rough in the infamous slums of Five Points, New York, but her brother’s murder changes everything.

Thrust into  incredible worlds beyond any story she’s ever heard, Peg meets Sir Godfrey, an eleven-hundred-year-old knight from Charlemagne’s court, trainer of Paladins. He reveals to Peg her family’s ancient obligation to protect the Key of Apollyon, a relic of immense power. She is the last descendant of the Paladins and his only hope for keeping it safe.

When Godfrey confides her brother was murdered because of the Key, Peg rejects her calling and demands revenge, a luxury she can ill afford as otherworldly creatures seek her death to claim the Key’s power for themselves.

Can Godfrey and his faithful retinue–Chim the Hobgoblin, Rebecca the Jewish Maven and healer, and Jack the sometimes human and sometimes seven-foot Black Dog–keep her safe and convince her that her calling is worth pursuing? Or will she succumb to the Key’s lure and wield it for revenge?

So without further ado, here’s the gorgeous cover!

So amazing! Looks like I have another book to add to my TBR pile *(furiously scribbles another title on her list)*

In case you want to know more, here’s a little more about the author, T.J. Akers.

T.J. Akers desires to be a multimillionaire when he grows up and give his wealth to his favorite causes: churches, schools, and animal shelters. Since the millions have been slow in coming, he’s settled for working as a computer technician for a state university and volunteering at his church and local animal shelter. Whenever possible, he indulges his love of writing stories to entertain people, especially younger readers.

Akers holds a Masters of English from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and can often be found roaming the university’s library, especially the children’s and young adult sections. Librarians have always been his heroes.

He lives with his beloved wife of thirty years, his dog, and his two cats. The dog is an excellent writing companion, but the cats have proven to be rather critical. Learn more at www.tjackers.com.

 

Back to School Giveaway!

The weather will be turning cold soon (if it hasn’t already where you are). Cold weather always makes me want to cuddle up with a fuzzy throw, my hot beverage of choice, and a great book.  I can’t think of anything I like more than great books (except for maybe dark chocolate — just sayin’.) So, I’m excited to share this giveaway with you. And it’s really easy to enter!

The Back to School Book Giveaway runs from Sept 26 – October 15 and has FIVE winners! Each winner will receive 10 YA fantasy  novels each — Spark will be in one of those bundles.  Click the Rafflecopter link below, and then follow the link to sign up for my newsletter, True North Tales (I’m number 38 on the list.) That’s it!

If you want more chances to win you can Like some other authors on Facebook or sign up for their newsletters, as well.  Good luck!

Enter here!

 

 

Interview with Kristen Stieffel

Today on Jilligan’s Island, we (that’s the royal “we”) are interviewing author Kristen Stieffel. We’re talking writing and books, but most specifically her novel, Alara’s Call which releases this Tuesday (the 19th). It’s a fantastic read.

JI: Welcome, Kristen! I really enjoyed Alara’s Call. Where did you get the idea for it?

KS: Years ago—longer than I care to admit—I had a sort of vision of soldiers and flags, and I started writing to figure out why they were there and what they were doing. The soldiers and flags are still in the story, but no longer in the same scene.

JI: What’s the theme of this story? Why did you choose it?

KS: The theme of this book is from 1 Peter 4:10—“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (NIV). That plays out in multiple ways, but primarily in Alara receiving the gift of prophecy and pursuing it despite opposition.

JI: I loved reading about Alara’s struggle as she learns to use her gift. What did you edit out of this book?

KS: A looooong interlude in the first third of the book that I convinced myself was necessary to the character development and to establish the romantic subplot. Jeff Gerke was my book doctor, and he was brutally honest about how much it slowed the story down and told me to take it out. So I did. But … bwa ha ha … I have plans to repurpose it. So we’ll see how that goes.

JI: Good for you for saving that scene! So, what’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned while writing this story?

KS: That the heroine’s fatal flaws—pride and performance anxiety—are my own. Who knew?

JI: It’s amazing how those issues show up in our writing. What was the hardest scene to write?

KS: The fight scene in which those soldiers capture Alara. Sorry, that’s kind of a spoiler, but it’s early in the book, so maybe not too much of one? In the version of the book Jeff read, this scene was like half a page. I skimmed over it. He said “that’s not acceptable” and told me to rewrite it, blow by blow. I did. It took a whole day and several pots of tea, but I did it.

JI: That scene was intense!  Speaking of the fight scene, how did you get in touch with your “inner villain” to write the antagonist ?

KS: I’m a firm believer that the best villains think they’re the good guys. Given the culture I’d created for the villains, I put myself in the place of the lead villain and tried to make him a “good soldier,” at least as his culture would define those terms.

JI: You did a great job with the villain — I hated him! Have you always liked to write? When did you start writing?

KS: I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. My mother tells me my cousin and I used to make up stories together when we were 3-4 years old.

JI: Aw, that’s cute. 🙂 What are you reading now?

KS: Oh, man. I don’t want to name names. But I picked up a historical romance because it was on a Kindle promo and I tell you—the characters are charming, but the book is so loaded with typos it’s hard to read. It pains me, because there’s nothing wrong with this book that a copyeditor couldn’t fix. But the author clearly didn’t take the time and expense to hire one, at least not one who knew what she was doing. So this lovely story is marred by all these easily fixable mistakes. It’s a shame.

JI: I bet your inner editor was going nuts! Aside from “keep writing,” what’s your best advice for aspiring writers?

KS: Focus on the big-picture things first. Character. Plot. Structure. If you write a great story with engaging characters, a copyeditor can fix your grammar. But if the story’s lacking, it won’t matter how elegant your sentences are. Needless to say, I learned this lesson the hard way.

JI: You did a great job with the characters in Alara’s Call — they pulled me right in. What does your writing space look like?

KS: Here’s a picture, since you caught me before I dismantled the computer to put it away for Hurricane Irma.

JI: Much neater than my writing area! Do you do any other creative activities other than writing?

KS: I’m a knitter. My ex used to give me grief about this because we live in Florida, but seriously, most of our sweaters are worn indoors because the air conditioning is so cold!

JI: Too funny! Does writing energize you or exhaust you?

KS: It energizes me! Once I get going, I can go—and have gone—all night long. My counselor recently gave me “permission” to work until three in the morning if that’s when I’m at my best. So I often do!

JI: Wow — I’m usually asleep after midnight. So, what’s your favorite part of writing?

KS: Reading something I forgot I wrote and saying “That’s really good!”

JI: Lol –that’s always a nice surprise when that happens. If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?

KS: Focus on the big-picture things first. Character. Plot. Structure.

JI: Thanks so much for stopping by Jilligan’s Island, Kristen!

 

Want more information on Alara’s Call: The Prophet’s Chronicle, One?

Tales are often told of heroes who fulfill ancient prophecies. Alara’s Call is the tale of a woman who gives new ones.

Alara sees visions of other’s futures, but never her own. A young clergywoman with a fiery passion for her Telshan faith, she has been assigned to a mission abroad but longs to lead a congregation in her homeland. Her father, the prime minister, jeopardizes her dream and her safety when he coerces her into what he calls a diplomatic mission.
But it’s a ruse.
The trip is meant to end with her marriage to the crown prince of a foreign nation, where members of Alara’s faith are persecuted and women oppressed. All for a trade agreement her father is desperate to enact.
But her mentor intervenes and takes Alara to Dorrel, the suitor she left behind. They believe they are safe, but foreign soldiers are under orders to bring Alara to the king’s
palace…by any means necessary.

 So who is Kristen Stieffel?

Kristen Stieffel is a freelance editor and writer who specializes in speculative fiction.
Although she edits projects in varied genres for both the general market and the Christian submarket, she is a novelist at heart. Member of the Editorial Freelancers Association and Christian Editor Connection, mentor with Word Weavers International, and on the planning committee for Realm Makers, Kristen stays busy doing what she loves most. She is also the associate editor of Havok, a flash-fiction magazine focused on science fiction and fantasy. Visit www.KristenStieffel.com to learn more about this many-faceted author.

Still can’t wait? (Sorry, you’ll have to — just a few more days.)

Alara’s Call (ISBN: 978-1-943788-19-4) will be available on September 19 at http://www.love2readlove2writepublishing.com/books/alaras-call/
Stop by the Facebook Launch Party on September 21, 2017, for fun, laughter, and some cool prizes! (https://www.facebook.com/events/1045774898890338/)

A Late Bloomer

I’ve been away from my blog for too long. So, I felt perhaps this post might be a good way to say hello, and to tell you what I’ve been doing lately.

I went for a walk today. The warm sun, the cool breeze, puffy clouds in the sky which brought rain later on—it was the perfect fall morning. We don’t see too many of them like that here in central Pennsylvania.

On my way back home, I cut through a wooded area. It’s been cleaned up, so there’s no underbrush, just spongy moss, some early fallen leaves, and wild chicory underfoot. A flash of white caught my eye. It was a daisy, petal perfect with a sunny yellow center. It was alone among the toadstools that show up every fall. I couldn’t resist picking it, then looking for its brothers or sisters. Finally, I saw a handful clustered around a big tree. These few daisies were late bloomers. Like me.

Usually, the term “late bloomer” refers to puberty, but I’m referring to my “blooming” in another area — the publishing arena. I began writing in 1995, right after I married my husband. The following years produced three Christian romance novels (unpublished), two children, and one jewelry design business. After my last child was born, I began to write more widely—poems, essays, and a YA portal fantasy. When I tally up my writing time, it took seventeen years to become a published novelist. I don’t regret any part of my journey because God put me where I needed to be, when I needed to be there.

So if you’re struggling and wondering if you should give it all up, ask yourself a few important questions:

  • How much do you enjoy your writing? Could you stop at any time and be happy? Because if you could, you probably should. This profession is difficult, and you have to love it.
  • Are you writing to become rich and famous? If that’s your goal, you need to rethink your career path. Most writers don’t get paid much. J.K. Rowling and Rick Riordan are the exception, rather than the rule.
  • How long are you willing to work at your craft? If you feel you should be published a year or two after starting, you’ll be disappointed. You can never stop learning, and it takes time to learn the rules. Most of us have “paid our dues,” a period of time which may last for years. There’s no room for entitlement in this career.

Those questions didn’t scare you off? You’re still here? Great! I pray God blesses your journey. Early, mid-, or late bloomers, we all have a story to tell. I can’t wait to read yours.

Cover Reveal for Alara’s Call by Kristen Stieffel

Cover reveals are so much fun! I love seeing the beautiful book covers and learning about the books that are soon to be published. Alara’s Call by Kristen Stieffel is no different.  But before I drop the gorgeousness all over this post, let me share the back cover blurb with you.

 

Tales are often told of heroes who fulfill ancient prophecies. Alara’s Call is the tale of a woman who gives new ones.

Alara sees visions of other’s futures, but never her own.

A young clergywoman with a fiery passion for her Telshan faith, she has been assigned to a mission abroad but longs to lead a congregation in her homeland. Her father, the prime minister, jeopardizes her dream and her safety when he coerces her into what he calls a diplomatic mission.

But it’s a ruse.

The trip is meant to end with her marriage to the crown prince of a foreign nation, where members of Alara’s faith are persecuted and women oppressed. All for a trade agreement her father is desperate to enact.

But her mentor intervenes and takes Alara to Dorrel, the suitor she left behind. They believe they are safe, but foreign soldiers are under orders to bring Alara to the king’s palace…by any means necessary.

 

Doesn’t that sound fantastic?

Kristen Stieffel is a freelance editor and writer who specializes in speculative fiction. Although she edits projects in varied genres for both the general market and the Christian submarket, she is a novelist at heart. A member of the Editorial Freelancers Association and Christian Editor Connection, mentor with Word Weavers International, and on the planning committee for Realm Makers, Kristen stays busy doing what she loves most. She is also the associate editor of Havok, a flash fiction magazine focused on science fiction and fantasy. Visit www.KristenStieffel.com to learn more about this many-faceted author.

So now that you know about the author, are you ready for the beautiful cover?
It’s so pretty….
Okay, let me just put this right here.

 

 

I can’t wait to read this book and learn more about it! So mark your calendars because the Facebook party will be Thursday, September 21, 2017.