Release Day!!!!!

Defy releases today!!!!! Eeep! I can’t believe it is here already!

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The blog tour is in full swing. You can check out what has been posted already and upcoming posts here.

Today is the last day of the giveaways on Goodreads for Dare and Deny. Be sure to check them out here and here and enter before it is too late!

One final bit of housekeeping. The Kindle versions of Dare and Deny were both supposed to be on sale this weekend. You may have noticed that the sale on the Kindle version of Deny suddenly cut out. Never try to schedule a sale on one of your Kindle books right when your Kindle Select membership is set to renew. It makes it difficult, just saying. Due to this, the sale won’t go back up until June 2 and will continue to run to June 4. This is only on Deny. The sale for Dare went off without a hitch and will be running through June 3.

Enjoy Defy and the rest of the blog tour! Don’t miss the Facebook party on June 2. It’s going to be a blast!


Posted in Announcements, The Blades of Acktar, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , by with 7 comments.

Samara's Peril Review & Interview

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In case you live in a hole like a hobbit and haven’t gotten the word yet that Samara’s Peril (Ilyon Chronicles book 3) released 6 days ago, it’s here. *fangirl screams go off in the background* I’m so excited! I’ve been waiting for this book for over a year!

Anyway, I probably should tell you a little about it, in case you missed seeing it plastered all over the rest of the blog tour (links for all the posts in the tour can be found here).

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About the Book

When news arrives that Emperor Daican has been in contact with his chief war strategist, it signals potential doom for the country of Samara. Determined to intervene, the resistance in Landale, headed by Lady Anne, embark on a covert mission in hopes of unearthing further information. However, a shocking discovery leads to complications no one could have foreseen.

Armed with their newfound knowledge, they set out for Samara to warn the king. War is inevitable, and they must face two desperate battles—one on the walls of Samara’s great stronghold, and the other on the battlefield of Jace’s heart, where victory might only be achievable through great sacrifice.

 

Available now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks!

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Haven’t discovered the world of Ilyon yet? Find out more at the official Ilyon Chronicles website!

My thoughts

It’s the Ilyon Chronicles! Of course I spent most of this book as a puddle of fangirl mushiness!

The beginning of this book was my favorite. I loved seeing the whole Altair clan together. Minus one important character. *sniff* I still can’t read that part in The King’s Scrolls without bawling. I guessed the big reveal in the beginning of this book before it happened, but that didn’t stop me from squealing and walking around with a dazed grin on my face for hours afterwards.

There are some darker themes in the book, such as abusive marriage, a past rape, and a young man following in the abusive ways of his father. It is all handled very well, and highlights the manner a Christian deals with the consequences of those things rather than focusing too much on the darkness itself.

And just saying, Rothas has to die. Somehow. Once you read the book, you’ll understand.

This is a book that definitely has a switch in plotline and tone partway through. The two halves work together, but I’ll admit, I didn’t love the second half nearly as much as the first. It was still really, really good, and the twist at the end totally caught me off guard.

And one certain romance-y part at the end. *swoony sigh* Yes, I love impulsive kisses in books. Especially when it is two characters that I’ve been waiting forever for them to wake up and realize they liked each other.

This book also brings in the Christian parallels more distinctly than some of the other books. It is written more like Biblical fiction than allegory in some parts. It was handled very well, but it wasn’t my favorite part of the book. Probably because Biblical fiction isn’t my thing. So that is personal preference on my part.

Once again, this book delivers the emotional impact, hug-worthy and awesome characters, and adventure I’ve come to expect when I dive into the Ilyon Chronicles.

When does book 4 release? Please?

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About the Author

Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Etsy.

Jaye will also be joining me during the Facebook party to celebrate Defy‘s release on June 2.

Interview with the Author

Hi, Jaye! Welcome back to my blog! I think this is the third time I’ve interviewed you here. 🙂

  1. Samara’s Peril is such a pivotal book for the series. A lot of things happen both plot-wise and character-wise (Jayrin!). Was it a hard or easy book to write? Edit?

I wouldn’t say any of my books are easy to write, but Samara’s Peril was one of the easier ones. Editing, on the other hand, not so much. It took a lot of time and effort, probably because it is such a pivotal book, and I wanted to get the emotions just right.

Well, I think you succeeded! All of your books tend to have such emotional impact!

  1. Portraying Christ in fiction is a tricky thing to do, and not everyone agrees on the approach. How did you go about writing Elon in Samara’s Peril?

Definitely tricky. It’s never something I’ve set out wanting to do. More like called to do. It’s hard to feel qualified to attempt such a thing. Basically I went about it with a lot of prayer. The one thing I always focus on when attempting to portray Christ is Jesus’s love. That was an especially big part of this story. I know some readers will wish I had added more scenes with Elon, but everything major in this book is approached from Jace’s point of view. Jace longs for a relationship with Elon, but is afraid. One of the biggest questions I asked myself was how we would feel if we found ourselves in Jesus’s presence and were as keenly aware of our sins and shortcomings as Jace is. Questions like that are what shaped how I wrote Samara’s Peril.

That makes sense! I’m glad you didn’t add more scenes with Elon. I liked the way it was handled.

  1. You now have 12 books out between your two pennames. Twelve! What is the biggest thing you learned through writing and publishing all those books? Any things you’ve learned about writing recently?

I think the biggest thing is just the growth in the actual writing. The books I wrote as Molly Evangeline really needed more work. However, I had to start somewhere, and publishing those books taught me so much about the publishing process that I was able to use when starting over as Jaye L. Knight. I can’t think of anything specific just recently except that I really should give myself more time to get things ready before I publish. 😉 My schedule got kind of crazy this time and there was a little panic involved before this release. More so than usual.

*sigh* Don’t we all struggle with that? The panic before publication? And there’s never enough time. Never.

  1. Are there any specific places that influenced the setting of Ilyon?

I pick little bits of inspiration from a variety of places. Usually it’s a picture here and a picture there that I come across. Nowhere that I’ve been to or wanted to visit personally. Probably the biggest influence for a setting in Ilyon is Ancient Rome. That is really what I based the country of Arcacia on even though it has more of a medieval feel to it.

I love the mix of Ancient Rome and medieval in Ilyon! And the other cultures like the cretes.

  1. Your characters do a lot of travelling. Do you like to travel? What is your favorite trip you’ve ever taken or favorite place you’ve ever visited?

I do love to travel. I have so many places I would love to visit (the Rocky Mountains, the East Coast, England, the Caribbean), but, unfortunately, I can’t afford those kinds of trips on my author income. Someday I hope to though. I think my favorite trip memories are from day trips with my family. We did a lot of fun day trips when I was young, and now my brother and I do a lot of that as well. One of these days, we’re going to plan a more exciting and adventurous road trip.

What? Michigan’s not on that list? 😛

Thanks for stopping by once again! Can’t wait to chat with you again at Defy‘s Facebook party in a couple of weeks!

Giveaway

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Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Samara’s Peril, a John 3:16 necklace by FaithWearDesigns, and a green wire dragon bookmark by Wirelings! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 


Posted in Book Recommendations, YA Authors and tagged , , , , , , , , by with 12 comments.

Defy Blog Tour Sign up

*Edited: Thanks to everyone’s enthusiastic response, all spots are now full. Thanks!*

It’s that time again! Defy releases in a little bit over a month and a half. Eeek! My cover designer is furiously working on the cover, so I should have that by the time I send out the blog tour information in the first week of May.

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I have two sign ups this time around. One is the standard blog tour sign up. The other is for those who don’t have a blog and would like to review Defy on Amazon and other places.

Thanks in advance for your willingness to help out once again! I know this is a crazy couple of months with lots of releases, so I definitely appreciate it!


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Character Interviews #2

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After Leith, Renna, and Brandi file into Lord Alistair’s study, I stroll over to the window, bolt it shut, and jam a bobby pin into the lock. Crossing the room, I turn the key in the door’s lock and drop the key into my pocket.

When I turn, Leith is staring at me, a hand on the hilt of one of his knives. He had reason to worry. I’d locked the door and window to keep him from bolting once I started asking this next round of questions.

I settle into the huge leather chair behind the desk. My feet dangle several inches above the ground. Seriously, if I’m going to keep doing these character interviews, I was going to have to write a footstool into the room.

“All right, you three. This round of questions is to satisfy the curiosity of the Goodreads fangirls.”

“Fangirls?” Brandi’s forehead scrunches. “What are fangirls?”

“A fan girl is a girl who obsesses over something or, more often, someone with a whole lot of overexcited squealing. They sound a lot like Brandi would if she were given a whole stable of horses for her very own.”

Leith’s knees bounce like he is debating jumping from his chair and making a run for it. Renna scoots down lower as if to make herself invisible.

Brandi cocks her head. “They sound like girls I’d like to meet. Whose fangirls are they?”

“Leith’s, mostly.”

Leith’s grip tightens on his knife. “I’m not going to like these questions, am I?”

“Nope. Sorry, that’s the price you pay for having fangirls, especially ones who are excessively shipping you and Renna.”

“Shipping?” Leith’s forehead wrinkles.

“Believe me, you don’t want to know.” I pick up the first notecard. Considering the line of questioning on these, he’d figure out soon enough. “Just a reminder, you all have to be completely honest. Don’t worry, you’ll forget this conversation as soon as the story launches.”

By this point, Renna’s face has taken on a decidedly green color while Leith keeps glancing at the door. Brandi still bounces in her seat.

“Let’s start with an easy one. Leith, when you’re free, what will be the first thing you’ll want to do?”

“When? Don’t you mean if?” Leith shakes his head. “It’s highly unlikely I’ll ever be free.”

“We were over this last time. Assuming you don’t die and don’t stay bound to Respen forever, what would you want to do?” I grit my teeth. If he was stalling already, then the rest of the questions were going to be like pulling teeth. With a monkey wrench. In the mountains with no painkiller.

“I’m not sure.” He meets my gaze. “Honest. I’ve been a Blade for half my life. I don’t really know a whole lot about being someone else.”

“Okay, that is a valid answer, I guess. Though, I doubt your fangirls are going to like how vague it is.” I let a little bit of my grin to show on my face. “Leith, when you’re free, do you intend to marry?”

“What?” He shoots to his feet, the tips of his ears going red. His eyes flick towards Renna before going back to me.

Renna squeaks and slides lower in her chair. Brandi presses her hand over her mouth, but even that does nothing to hide her grin and giggles.

“Like I said, you have fangirls.” I point my stack of notecards at him. “Now answer the question.”

“I don’t know? Maybe. No. I don’t think so. I mean, I’m a Blade. Who’d want to marry me?” His shoulders sag. “I watched my father destroy my mother’s heart bit by bit. I don’t want to do that to anyone.”

“You’re not your father.” I heave a sigh. It always comes back to that with him. “But let’s assume you did decide to marry. If you did have a wedding, who would be your best man?”

Leith looks relieved that I’d asked him that question instead of who he would marry if he could. Then he frowns. “Shad, I guess. I’d ask Martyn to stand with me too, but if I were free, then Martyn…”

“Martyn might not be your friend anymore.” I finish for him. “Wish I could tell you what happens with that, but that’d be a spoiler. Last question before we move on to the others: have you had a crush on any girl besides Renna?”

His ears go red again, but he answers quickly. “No.”

“All right. Renna.” When I turn to her, she hunches her shoulders as if to make herself smaller. “Your turn for questions. What’s your opinion of Leith?”

She swallows, glances at Leith, then stares down at her lap. “I don’t know. He’s safe, I guess.”

I decide it isn’t worth it to push her farther on that subject. Getting information from her is worse than from Leith, and that is saying something. “If you were to have a wedding, who would be your maid of honor?”

“Brandi.” She glances at her sister and smiles.

Brandi grins back.

“Okay, now for the most important, burning fangirl question of them all.” I pause, and both Leith and Renna tense. Brandi leans forward. My grin widens. “Brandi, would you like to see Leith and Renna get together as a couple?”

Renna makes a choking sound in the back of her throat and stares at Brandi. Leith crosses his arms, but his foot makes scuffing motions against the rug.

Brandi grins and rolls her eyes. “Duh. Of course. Leith is already like my brother, but it’d be nice if it were official.”

Leith and Renna gape at her. It is probably a good thing they are all going to forget this conversation otherwise Brandi might be in for a stern talking to from Renna.

 

 


Posted in Sequels, The Blades of Acktar and tagged , , , , by with 5 comments.

Character Interviews #1

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I settle into the large, leather chair behind Lord Alistair’s desk in Walden Manor. I tap my pile of questions into a neat stack. On the other side of the desk, Renna, Brandi, Uncle Abel and Aunt Mara sit in the chairs Lord Alistair helpfully provided for this interview. Shad leans against the book cases to my right while Leith paces behind the chairs.

“All right, everyone. Let’s get this interview started. I know a few of you want to get it over with.” I hold up my stack of notecards. “We’re going to do this in several sessions over the next little bit. I have a lot of questions from some of the people who’ve read your story so far. You have to answer honestly, but without spoilers. We’re going to start with questions that relate to the first part of your story, called Dare.” I make a note to warn everyone who would read this interview that the below questions and answers might contain a few spoilers for Dare.

Renna laces her fingers together. Brandi bounces on her seat. Leith shoots a worried glance in my direction. Then again, he has good reason to be worried.

“Brandi, let’s start with you.” I pick up my first notecard. “Hannah wants to know what made you choose the story of Daniel to tell to Leith?”

She cocks her head. “I guess I’ve always loved those stories. They all have happy endings. It’s why it’s my favorite book in the Bible, well up until the confusing prophecy stuff at the end.”

“Renna, what’s your favorite book of the Bible?”

Renna doesn’t even raise her head. “Psalms.”

“I’ve got a question for Shad this time.” I meet his gaze. He raises his eyebrows at me. “What was your first thought when you caught Leith reading the Bible the first time?”

Leith’s head jerks up and he glances between me and Shad. The corners of Shad’s mouth quirk like he is trying to hide a grin. “I didn’t see what he was reading at first, so my first thought was that I had an opportunity to sneak up on him. Probably not the wisest thing to do with a Blade, but I wanted to see how he’d react. When I saw what he was reading, I wasn’t too surprised. He’d gone to all the trouble to steal the Bible, and Father had let him borrow it. It wasn’t until later than I realized he was reading for more reasons than just curiosity.”

“While we’re on the topic of how you and Leith became friends, I’ve got a question for Leith from Claire.” I suppress a grin of my own as his eyes widen. “When did you decide you could trust Shad?”

Leith rests a hand on one of the knives strapped across his chest. “I guess I knew I could trust him when he let me keep my weapons. If he trusted me that much, then surely I could trust him too. Turned out to be a wise choice.”

“Yes. The two of you make a great team.” I shuffle the notecards to the next question. “While we’re on the topic of trust, Abel and Mara Lachlan, how did you know you could trust Leith? How did you feel about Leith recovering at Stetterly Manor?”

Abel and Mara share a look before Abel turns to me. “We didn’t. Not entirely. But his general politeness helped ease some of our fears. And there’s a certain…history that also swayed our opinion.”

Renna, Brandi, and Leith all stare at the Lachlans.

Mara pats Abel’s arm. “I’m afraid we can’t say any more than that without spoilers.”

“Nope, you can’t. You’ll all figure out why in Deny.” I tap the notecards on the desk to claim everyone’s attention again. “Brandi, the last three questions are for you. How were you so optimistic about having a Blade recovering at Stetterly? Everyone else was worried.”

Brandi shrugs. “I don’t know. His horse was nice, so I guess I figured he had to be nice too.”

“What’s your favorite thing about Walden Manor?”

Brandi rolls her eyes. “The stables, duh. At Stetterly, we only had Stubborn, our mule. Walden has a whole stable full of horses.”

That’s your typical, horse-crazy thirteen-year old girl. I grin. “Final question: when is your birthday, Brandi?”

“That’s kind of a spoiler, isn’t it?” Brandi wrinkles her nose. “So I guess everyone will just have to read the story and find out, won’t they?”

“Yep.” I make a note on the next notecard. “That’s all for today. Thanks to everyone for coming.”

 


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Blog Tour Begins & Sneak Peak

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The blog tour for my upcoming release Deny starts today! Yay!

I have lots of fun author interviews, book reviews, and several chats with the characters lined up. It’s going to be a pretty crazy, fun-filled three weeks!

Here are the posts I have lined up:

Blog Tour Schedule

November 16

November 17

November 18

November 19

November 20

November 21

November 23

November 24

November 25

November 27

November 30

  • Release Day!

December 1

December 2

December 3

December 4

Doesn’t it look like fun?

To make things more exciting, here’s a sneak peak at the first two chapters of Deny: Deny (The Blades of Acktar #2) First Two Chapters Sneak Peek

If that link doesn’t work, try this link instead: Deny (The Blades of Acktar #2) First Two Chapters Sneak Peek. It will route you to a page on my website instead of pull up a PDF.

If that isn’t exciting enough, I’m also giving away a set of signed copies of Dare and Deny. You’ll be able to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway at any of the blog tour stops.

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Enjoy!


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Half Blood Blog Tour

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I have been beyond excited the moment I heard Jaye L. Knight was going to be releasing a prequel novella to the Ilyon Chronicles. When she called for participants for a blog tour, I just about tripped over my laptop in my rush to sign up. After all, I was going to go all fan-girl over this book anyways, so I might as well do it as part of the official blog tour, right? 😉

The day has finally arrived, and Half Blood has been out for three whole days already! *squeal*

My Recommendation

Read the book. Seriously. Though, if you’ve already read Resistance and The King’s Scrolls, then you were probably sitting on your porch waiting for UPS to deliver your copy long before this blog post was written (or you got really impatient and went straight to the kindle version!). If you haven’t read any of the Ilyon Chronicles yet, then go do it. Right now. I’ll wait until you get back.

Half Blood has more violence and more intense scenes than Resistance and The King’s Scrolls, though even the tear-jerking scene in this book can’t compare with the heart-destroying scene in The King’s Scrolls. The violence is not gratuitous, and Jaye dwells more on its effects on Jace than on what is physically happening. While reading it, I sometimes got the sense that Jace didn’t want to dwell on or see what was happening or what he was doing, and thus the reader didn’t either. It was a technique that worked really well for showing how Jace clung to his humanity even when everyone else was doing their best to strip him of it.

The hardest part in this book is when Jace fears they may succeed.

Since this is a novella, the book is much, much shorter than Resistance or The King’s Scrolls. While I probably would’ve kept reading had this novella been a tome, I think the shorter length worked for this book. Too much more details of the violence would’ve been overwhelming, and too much of the hope and happiness at the end would’ve dragged and taken away from the beginning of Resistance.

I’d recommend reading this book after reading Resistance. Half Blood is a book written to satisfy the curiosity of fans and deepen their knowledge of one of the characters, and doesn’t serve as the sweeping introduction to the world of Ilyon the way that Resistance does.

*I was given an ARC copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review*

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About the Book

The gasps and murmuring grew. Though some were hardly more than whispers, clear words reached Jace’s ears—dangerous, monster, animal, soulless. He tried to back away from their accusing eyes, but the collar pulled hard against his throat and held him in place.

For all his years as a slave, Jace has known nothing but the hatred people hold for his mixed blood—one half human, the other half the blood of a race considered monsters. Always, he is the outsider and quickly learns it is better to keep to himself. But, when his volatile ryrik blood leads him to do the unthinkable, he is thrown into a world of violence and bloodshed.

Forced to become a gladiator, Jace finds more and more of his heart dying as his master works to break down his will not to become the monster everyone believes he is. When a stranger interferes with his master’s harsh punishment, Jace’s world is upended yet again. But with it comes the possibility of hope that has long since died. Could the man possibly hold the key to escaping the hopeless darkness that is Jace’s life? Is there such a thing as life beyond the cruelty of slavery?

See where Jace’s story all began . . .

Available on Amazon!

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 Discover Ilyon in Resistance and The King’s Scrolls (if you haven’t already joined the awesomeness!)

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About the Author

Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Etsy, and on her new fiction forum where you can interact with other readers of the series.

Author Interview

In reading through the blog tour so far, I’ve realized everyone asked you this question, but here it is again: Half Blood is a tough book to read (though I enjoyed it. I might have a strange fascination with reading about main characters suffering). Was it tough to write? What was the hardest part?

I wouldn’t say it was overly tough to write. Perhaps that’s because I’ve known all along what kind life Jace lived, so it wasn’t new to me. The hardest part was probably making sure it all fit together and that the timeline of the story was accurate. I started this story at so many different points, and just kept going back further and further into Jace’s life, so in the end, I had to sort of connect the dots. I got a bit confusing at times, but I sorted it out. Suffering really shapes and defines characters, so while it’s a tough story, I’m glad to be able to share what shaped Jace to be who he is in the series.

I can imagine how difficult it must have been to fit it in with all the pieces of Jace’s backstory you’d already mentioned, and the ones you have planned for Samara’s Peril.

What’s your favorite part of the writing/publishing process? Drafting? Editing? Designing the cover (which turned out gorgeous, by the way)?

I have things I like about the entire process, but I’d have to say editing is my favorite part. On days where my imagination is really flowing, I LOVE writing, but most of the time editing and perfecting the story is easier and more enjoyable for me. I like knowing I have the whole story down on the computer. Blank pages and giant word goals are far too intimidating sometimes. I also do love designing covers, though I think with future books after Ilyon Chronicles, I will hand those reins over to someone else.

Writing and editing are tons of fun…when they are working right!

Now for my favorite question: If you could trade places with one of your characters for a day, which character and what day would you pick?

I think I’d probably trade places with Kyrin on one of the fun hunting days with Jace. After all, I’d love to hang out with him and meet the others out at camp. 🙂

That’s the same day and same person I’d pick to trade places with if I could hang out in Ilyon for a day! Though, I’d hate to think what poor Kyrin would think having to be me for a day, stuck in an office at a computer instead of traipsing around the forest with Jace. I’d definitely be getting the better end of that deal! 😉

Thanks so much for the interview, Jace, and best wishes on the release of Half Blood!

Giveaway

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Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Half-Blood, a blue feather bookmark hand crafted by Jaye, a bronze sword pendant, and a $5 Amazon gift card! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)
Please click this link to enter the giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more about Half Blood and more interviews with Jaye, check out the rest of the blog tour for Half Blood:

Schedule

Tuesday, July 14

Wednesday, July 15

Thursday, July 16

Friday, July 17 

Saturday, July 18 

Sunday, July 19 

Monday, July 20 

Tuesday, July 21 

Wednesday, July 22 


Posted in Book Recommendations, Fiction Friday, YA Authors and tagged , , , , , by with 3 comments.

Dare Blog Tour Wrap Up

Wow, this has been a crazy week! A lot of fun, but crazy.

I’ve realized that a blog tour is a little bit like being Cinderella at the ball. You’re the center of attention, and your head is buzzing with all the excitement and adrenaline, but you’re also overwhelmed because you’ve never been the center of attention like this before, and you’re stammering and hoping you’re saying the right things to all the people coming up to say nice things to you.

I’m beyond thankful to all the authors and bloggers who participated in the blog tour. It was like having a whole group of fairy godmothers!

And of course all the readers who have contacted me on my blog or Facebook to say they are excited to read the book, and especially those who went out and bought the book, read it, and then reached out to let me know they loved it.

A special thanks to Kim Moss who came up with this snappy line in her review and gave me permission to use it. This new header is already up on Facebook, and I love how it looks!

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But the fun isn’t over quite yet! The Facebook party is tonight, and it is going to be a blast! I hope you all can make it, even for a few minutes!

In case you missed any of the stops, the full list of the blog tour can be found here.

Today is also your last chance to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway if you haven’t already. The winner will be announced at the Facebook party tonight! I can’t wait to chat with all of you there!


Posted in The Blades of Acktar and tagged , , , , , by with 4 comments.

Character Chat #2

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I regain my seat behind Lord Alistair’s large, oak desk. The three people sitting across from me don’t seem any more comfortable after our break than they did before. Leith rubs the hilt of one of his knives. Renna grips her skirt like she wants to bolt. Brandi just bounces in her seat as if eager.

“Thanks for returning, everyone.” Since Brandi looks so eager, I decide I’d better start with her. “Brandi, Sierra wants to know what your favorite food is?”

“Aunt Mara’s maple sugar cookies.” Brandi closes her eyes and rubs her stomach. “Especially when they are warm and goey and the sugar on top is still melting into them.” She opens her eyes and cocks an eyebrow at Leith. “Aunt Mara never made them while you were visiting. Too bad.” She crosses her arm and turns her attention to me. “That will change in the next book, right?”

“I’ll…see what I can do.” I shouldn’t have been surprised. Brandi did tend to get her way when she set her mind on something. “Moving on. Leith, Claire wants to know if there is any skill you wish you had?”

“Throwing knives.” His eyes narrow at me. “I don’t have the hand-eye coordination.”

“Sorry. It’d make things too easy.” I clear my throat. “Renna.”

She squeaks and snaps her head up when I call her name. I think she was secretly hoping I’d forget about her if she made herself silent and small enough. I lower my voice a little bit. “Do you have any friends in Stetterly?”

She shrugs and picks at her skirt. “Not really. Before my parents died, I was the future lady of Stetterly. I didn’t exactly make friends with the local girls. Afterwards, it was safer not to leave Stetterly Manor all that much. And I wouldn’t want to put anyone in danger by being friend’s with them.”

I could hear the hint of loneliness in her voice. “But you do have a few friends.”

“Well, Lydia Alistair was nice enough when we were little. And her brother was…a friend.” Renna swallows and looks away.

“Yes, we’ll have to let the readers figure out the rest from there.” I can’t help but grin as I turn back to Leith. “Leith, Sierra wants to know if you think you’ll ever have a family in the future?”

His jaw drops. “What? You can’t seriously expect me to answer that question.”

“Yep. Don’t worry, none of you will remember this conversation when I leave the book-world, so you can be completely honest.”

He crosses his arms and glares at me.

I cross my arms and glare back. I’d played this whole silent game with him before. If I waited long enough, I’d get an answer out of him.

His shoulders sag. His eyes flick towards Renna for the briefest of moments. “I haven’t really thought about it.”

“Yes, you have.” I swallow my sigh of frustration. Sometimes he could be so stubborn he’d keep things from himself.

“It’s not like I’m ever going to have a future. King Respen is probably going to kill me long before that happens.”

“But if you did survive and you didn’t get killed and you were able to settle down, would you want to have a family?”

“You’re not going to drop this, are you?” His hand clenches on his knife. Renna flinches, but I don’t. I know it’s only a reflex. He wouldn’t actually draw it on me.

“Nope, I’m not. So just answer the question.”

“Fine.” He scowls. “Yes, I would like a family.”

Renna gapes at him. Brandi grins so broadly that I shoot her a warning look. I’d better distract her before she started meddling. Or spouting spoilers. “Brandi, if you could be anything or anyone, who would you be?”

She blinks at me for several moments. Finally, a question she doesn’t have an immediate answer for. She goes strangely still and stares at the floor. Renna cocks her head at Brandi, as if she was seeing a side of her sister she didn’t realize existed.

“I’m not sure.” Brandi shrugs. “I want to do something great. Something big. Like something from a story.”

I smile at her. “Don’t worry. You will. Eventually.”

Her face brightens with the return of her grin. “In that case, I’m happy just being me. That’s a good thing, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is.” I pick up my stack of papers. “Thank you all for coming and putting up with me.”

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Character Chat #1

I open a door in a long hallway and step into a room paneled with dark wood. The floor is covered with dark green rugs and bookshelves line most of the walls.

Two girls jump to their feet. Seventeen-year-old Renna wrings her hands while thirteen-year-old Brandi grins. I smile back and walk to the large, leather chair set behind an oak desk. “Make yourselves comfortable. Lord Alistair has graciously loaned us his study for this interview.”

Renna perches on the edge of her seat as if she wants to run. Brandi plops into her seat. I settle into the leather arm chair. Ah, yes. I could see why Lord Alistair likes this chair so much. I steeple my fingers and lean back in the chair feeling quite pleased with myself…until I realize that my feet are swinging freely several inches above the floor.

I have to stand up to drag the chair closer to the desk. I probably look ridiculous: a girl perched in the lord of Walden’s chair with her feet stretched to tiptoes to touch the floor.

“So, are you going to ask us questions or what?” Brandi bounces in her seat, her grin still playing across her face.

“In a minute. We’re still missing one person.” I stare at the curtains that separate a small windowseat from the rest of the room. “Leith Torren, stop hiding on that windowseat and come out here.”

An eighteen-year-old young man dressed all in black eases around the curtains. The lamplight winks on the hilts of the knives strapped to his waist and across his chest. Renna cranes her neck around. Her eyes widen, and she presses her hands to the armrests of the chair as if intending to push herself to her feet.

“It’s all right. Stay right there, Renna. You’re safe.” I wave at her to return to her seat. I point at the third seat I’d dragged into the room in preparation for this interview. “Leith, if you would please take your seat, we’ll finally get this interview started.”

He tiptoes across the room and slips into the chair next to Brandi. Her grin is so wide I’m almost her face will split in two. Leith stares at me with shadowed, green eyes. Wary. His hands twitch toward his knives.

I lean my elbows on the desk. “You haven’t forgiven me yet for using you as my escort to Jaye L. Knight’s Facebook Ball a few weeks ago, have you?”

He shakes his head, but the wary expression doesn’t relax.

I sigh and tug on my hair. “You talked with her character, Jace, didn’t you? He warned you about these interviews.”

Leith nods. I grimace. “I knew I shouldn’t have let you wander off at that Facebook Ball. Don’t worry. This won’t be nearly as intense as what Jaye put Jace through. Your story hasn’t been out long enough to gather too many fangirls yet.”

Brandi’s grin widens, and I’m suddenly glad I didn’t take her along. I could only imagine the kind of trouble she would’ve gotten into at a virtual ball. “Anyways, let’s go over a few ground rules. I’ve tried to word the questions so they won’t give anything away, but try to make sure you don’t say too many spoilers in your answers.”

Brandi rolls her eyes. “You’ve already given away loads of stuff.”

“What, really? What have I given away?” I glance from my notes to the three people sitting across the desk from me. “No, don’t tell me.” I straighten my notes. “First question: Renna, when did you first become interested in healing? Isn’t that a little unusual for a lady?”

Renna jumps at my question and stares at me for several minutes. I wait her out. She’ll answer if I give her enough time. She picks at her skirt. “I was eight when Uncle Abel and Aunt Mara moved to Stetterly. It was only a few weeks later that Brandi cut her finger, and Aunt Mara stitched it up. Watching her, I knew then that I wanted to learn to help people like Aunt Mara. My father and mother let me learn. My mother figured it would be a useful skill.”

“She was right.” I tap at my papers again. “Brandi, I think I already know the answer to this, but what is your favorite animal?”

“Horse, duh.” She crosses her arms. “And you totally did know the answer to that one. Actually, you know all our answers already.”

“Not always. Some of you are very good at hiding things from you.” I point at Leith. “For example, he didn’t think to share his father issues with me until most of the way through the first draft.”

Leith shrugs. “It’s not something I just tell people. I was forced into it.”

Renna huddles lowers in her chair. I scowl at her. “And you, young lady, didn’t think to tell me some of your issues until the fourth major revision.”

“I was scared.” She ducks even lower.

I resist the urge to bang my head on the desk. I’d done enough of that while writing. Why did I have to write a book with characters even more introverted than I am? 

Banging your head on the desk isn’t going to help anything.” Brandi’s smile is a bit too smug. “At least I never gave you any trouble.”

“Not that kind of trouble.” I tap my sheet. “Well, it looks like you all have managed to distract me from actually asking questions. Looks like all I have is time for one more question. Leith, what are you afraid of besides death and failure?”

He glances at Renna and Brandi before answering. “Snakes. I hate snakes. I once had a small grass snake crawl into my boot while I was sleeping. In the morning, it slithered out as I was pulling the boot on.” He shudders. “I always check my boots now before I put them on.”

I shudder as well. “I agree. I hate snakes.” I stand up. “That will be all for now. Let’s take a break before I ask you the next round of questions.”

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