Ilyon & Acktar Character Chat #4

Chat#4

You can find the previous chats here: Chat #1, Chat #2, Chat #3.

All of the giveaways at the end of these chats are still open through midnight tonight so make sure you enter if you haven’t already done so!


The Ilyon and Acktar characters gather in the kitchen and parlor of Leith and Renna’s cabin. After three previous character chats, the characters are becoming comfortable with each other.

Renna had baked several trays of maple sugar cookies, and everyone has one or two in their hands as they talk.

Kaden, Brandi, Jamie, and Kayleigh are gathered in the parlor and laughing and chatting loudly. Kyrin sits by the table with Renna and Ranson, and the three of them are talking much more quietly, but even Ranson has relaxed with Kyrin’s gentle manner.

Jaye and I are sitting on the opposite side of the table from Renna and Kyrin. I’m nibbling on my second maple sugar cookie while Jaye has some molasses toffee.

But, as I glance around, I notice Leith, Martyn, and Jace appear to be missing. I’m about to ask Renna where they are, when the door opens and the three of them stroll inside, laughing. Their hair is wet, as if they just rinsed off in the Ondieda River in the canyon nearby. Leith and Jace are grinning, and Martyn seems to be shaking his head at something Jace just said.

“Where have you been?” I ask as Leith snags a maple sugar cookie and slides onto the bench next to Renna.

“Sparring.”

I cross my arms as Jace takes the seat next to Kyrin. “You guys decided to go off and have that practice fight without telling me? The fangirls are going to be so disappointed we missed it.”

“Exactly.” Martyn huffs as he joins Kayleigh.

Leith shakes his head. “It wasn’t a fight to see who would win. We were showing each other different moves and skills with an occasional practice round in between. More like training than an actual fight.”

He says it nonchalantly, but I can tell. Whatever sparring match he and Jace had, it was the best match Leith has had in a while.

I turn to Jaye with a gesture in Jace’s direction. “Sorry if Jace starts showing assassin-y skills in the next book.”

Jaye shrugs. “I’m sure he appreciates picking up some new skills that might help him defend Kyrin should the need arise.” She looks at him. “Don’t you?”

Jace nods. “Of course.”

Now that everyone is here, I finish my last bite of cookie. “All right, everyone! Let’s find seats and get this final chat started.”

Kaden, Brandi, and Jamie find seats on the floor. Ranson squirms out from between Renna and Kyrin to retreat to the corner and find a seat on the floor near Jamie and Brandi.

Kayleigh and Martyn sit next to each other on the hearth.

“Welcome to the last Ilyon and Acktar chat, at least for now. Are you guys relieved or sad?”

Leith shifts and looks away from me. “Relieved.”

“But a little sad.” Brandi leans her chin on her knees. “I’m going to miss all my new Ilyon friends.”

“We’ll miss you too.” Kaden gives her a smile. “You’d make a great dragon rider. And you’d all make great additions to the Resistance.”

Jace and Kyrin agree.

“Jaye and I might have to do this again someday.” I grin at Jaye before turning back to the stack of questions in front of me. “Let’s start with an easy one. Martyn and Kayleigh, do you guys get married in this book?”

“Well, um,” Kayleigh lifts her hand, showing that she and Martyn are holding hands. “Isn’t that one of the spoilers we aren’t supposed to be telling as part of these chats?”

“The book has been out for a couple of days, so I think most people probably know the answer by now, so it is probably fine to spoil it.”

Martyn scowls at me. “Nope. I’m not telling. It is my business when I get married and to whom and all that.”

“All right then.” That was all the answer I would get out of Martyn. I had better ask a few more of the questions for Martyn before he goes fully grumpy on me. “Holly wants to know if you have any objections to fan art of you and Wanderer?”

“Fan art?” Martyn’s expression twists, as if he’s torn between a scowl and a smirk.

Kayleigh pats his shoulder. “I would love to see fan art of Martyn. But I’m rather biased.”

“Of course you are.” I try to suppress my grin. “One more question for you, Martyn. How tall are you?”

“5’10” or 5’11”. Something like that.”

“Taller than Leith, but shorter than Jace.” Looking at Martyn’s grouchy expression, I probably should move on to a question for someone else. “Ranson.”

He jumps and appears like he wants to shrink back into the woodwork.

“Don’t worry. This is a somewhat easy question. if you were stranded in the woods in the middle of the night, without any supplies, in the pouring rain, and you could only have one person with you, who would you choose? Why?”

Ranson looks down at his hands and mumbles.

“Sorry, I know you don’t like to be put in the spotlight, but could you say that loud enough for everyone to hear?”

Ranson sneaks a glance at Martyn and Kayleigh where they are perched on the hearth. “Kayleigh. Because she knows how to make snares and cook and stuff.”

Kayleigh smirks, and Martyn’s expression looks torn between offended and approving. Finally, he shrugs. “No, you’re right. I’d pick Kayleigh too.”

“Just a few more questions, Ranson, then you can relax.” I smile reassuringly. “Olivia wants to know how you met Blane? And how Respen found you and Blane?”

Ranson stares at the floor. “I met Blane on the streets after my Nana Harding died. Respen found the two us on the streets one day and took us both to train as Blades.”

Not the longest answer, but it was all the answer I was probably going to get out of Ranson. Time to move on to someone who wouldn’t mind answering questions. “Kaden, what was your first impression of Jace? Has it changed? Did you win most of the fights you got into at Tarvin Hall?”

Kaden laughs. “Well, I suppose my very first impression of Jace was ‘who’s this guy hanging out with my sister, and why is she spending so much time with him?’ He wasn’t the sort I expected Kyrin to become such close friends with. But once I got to know him, I understood. It helped to know he had such a strong desire to protect her. He’s my brother-in-law now, so my impression of him has obviously changed quite a bit.”

Kyrin gives him a warm smile.

“Now, as for those fights…” Kaden shakes he head. “I actually lost most of them. My opponents usually had backup, so most weren’t even fair.” He smirks. “It never stopped me though.”

“Speaking of fights. Jamie, in your opinion, would Leith or Martyn be scarier to face in a fight?”

“Leith.” Jamie doesn’t hesitate.

When Martyn doesn’t protest, I glance at him. He shrugs. “I fought at Leith’s side when he was a Blade, remember? There were times he scared me.”

“It isn’t something to be proud of.” Leith shakes his head.

“This is a question for all the characters. What would be your go-to passage(s) of Scripture (or King’s Scrolls in Ilyon) for when you are feeling discouraged?”

“Psalm 27 is my favorite.” Renna shrugs. “Though I think everyone already knew that.”

“I like Romans 8. And Psalm 46. And, well, a lot of passages.” Brandi grins. “And most of the book of Daniel, of course.”

“Daniel 3 is a favorite, of course.” Leith traces one of the twisting wood grains on the table. “But I haven’t really picked a favorite yet. It’s still all so new. Large chunks of the Bible I’ve only read once.”

“I like Isaiah 55:8-9,” Kyrin says. “It reminds me that God is in control and has a plan even when we can’t see what it is. I’ve had to rely on that a lot.”

Jace shrugs. “Like Leith, I haven’t had a chance to read the Scrolls as much as I would have liked since we don’t have many copies, but from what I have read, my favorite is probably Psalms 22:24.”

Kaden thinks about it for a moment. “I don’t really have a particular favorite, but I like Psalms 9:9-10. It’s definitely a passage to keep in mind with everything going on in Ilyon.”

“Here’s a random question also for everyone: have you ever eaten raccoon? The reader who asked this question has herself, so she was wondering if any of you had.” I glance over at Jace, Kyrin, and Kaden. “Are there raccoons in Ilyon?”

“There are, but I can’t say I’ve ever eaten one,” Jace says.

Kyrin and Kaden shake their heads.

Kayleigh nods. “I’ve eaten raccoon.”

Martyn’s eyes widen. “Wait. Does that mean I’ve had it?”

“Meat is meat.” Kayleigh huffs. “And raccoons are rather plentiful.”

Martyn starts looking a little green.

Leith glances at Renna. Renna shakes her head. “As lady of Stetterly, most of our meat comes from the town’s cattle herd. So no raccoon. So unless Respen fed you guys raccoon, I don’t think you’ve eaten it.”

“I wouldn’t put it past him. Raccoons were a nuisance in Blathe.” Leith grimaces.

“All right then. Jamie.” I glance over at where him and Ranson are doing their best to be invisible in the corner. “What is the most important thing in the world to you?”

“My Bible is very important to me.” Jamie has his head down, but I don’t miss the quick glance he shoots in Brandi’s direction, the tips of his ears going a tad pink.

I try to hide my grin. “The next question is kind of for me, but I guess, Brandi, you can give your opinion on the answer. Ava wants to know if there will be any romance for Brandi.”

Jamie’s ears turn even redder, and he shrinks farther into his corner.

Brandi’s nose crinkles as she grimaces. “Romance?”

“What, don’t you want romance?” I raise my eyes at her.

“Maybe. Eventually. But I don’t know anyone I like that way.” Brandi shrugs. “All the boys I know are like brothers to me.”

I’d better leave it at that and let the fangirls read into the interview what they want for hints about Brandi and Jamie in books 6 and 7. Instead, I grin. “After the earlier chats, someone mentioned they shipped you and Kaden.”

Kaden snorts.

Brandi rolls her eyes. “Seriously? He’s like a big brother.”

Leith puts on an exaggerated hurt expression. “And here I thought I was your big brother.”

“Your my favorite big brother and always will be.” Brandi leans forward from her seat on the floor so she can pat Leith’s shoulder. “But Kaden has a dragon so I’m adopting him for a brother.”

Kaden grins now. “Happy to be adopted.”

“Since we are talking about adopting brothers…Leith, you seem to have a habit of collecting brothers and family. Why do you think that is?”

Leith shrugs. “I was an only child and my family wasn’t…healthy. I would think most people who grow up in a situation like that would long for a real, good family. Maybe I take it a little far, but no one seems to mind. Most of them also need a family.” Leith glances at Jace. “Do you have a habit of adopting brothers or adopting your own sort of family?”

Kyrin leans into Jace’s shoulder. “He has a habit of adopting animals.”

Jace shrugs. “They’re kind of family. Animals were all I had growing up. But I’m more likely to be the one adopted–first with Rayad, Kalli, and Aldor, and now with the Altairs.”

“Kaden, Holly wants to know if you’d prefer fan art of you in a fist fight or riding Exisis?”

“Uh,” Kaden rubs his chin, “probably riding Exsis. Like I said, I lost most of my fist fights.”

“Also, which is faster? Exsis or Storm?”

“Storm. Female dragons are generally a bit faster since they’re smaller.”

“This question is for Renna, but I think I’ll ask it of both Renna and Kyrin. Who do you consider to be your hero/heroine?”

Renna glances at Kyrin, and they both seem to be looking to the other to answer first. Renna looks back to me. “Aunt Mara. I look back at how much she did for us, and it makes me miss her all the more. And, of course, my mother. She faced down First Blade Vane to buy us time to escape.”

“Definitely my father,” Kyrin said quietly. “He sacrificed everything for his faith.”

I swallow back a lump at my throat thinking about Kyrin’s father. I don’t cry often over books, but I cried then. I clear my throat. “I have a number of questions for both Leith and Martyn. How many knives does a Blade carry, and where? Did all the Blades wear black even when they weren’t on a mission? Are all a Blade’s knives the same size and style?”

Leith grimaces, as if he doesn’t like talking about his past in the Blades. “All of our knives were the same shape and style, though Vane carried a few extra that were better for throwing. Yes, we wore black all the time, except for times when we wore tan to blend in to the prairie on spying missions. I think Respen liked the intimidation of having us dressed in black. A Blade was immediately recognizable, and thus feared.”

“Even if black isn’t the most practical for sneaking around. The dark green and dark grays we tend to wear now as Blade Marshals are better.” Martyn pats the knife belted at his waist. “I have…” he pauses a moment to count in his head. “I’m wearing five knives. Two in my boots, two belted to my waist, and one hidden knife.”

“Hidden knife?” I cock my head at him. “We’ve talked about this. You need to give specific answers.”

Martyn glares back. “I’m not blurting out for the whole world where my hidden knife is. That defeats the point.”

Kayleigh taps his back between his shoulder blades. “It’s here. Though he doesn’t wear it all the time since it itches.”

“Kayleigh.” Martyn growls and swings his glare to her.

She doesn’t appear at all phased by his glare and instead cocks her head and gives him a look.

For a moment, his mouth twitches, like he is fighting to hold his scowl, until finally he sighs and looks away. “Fine. But Leith needs to answer too.”

Leith sighs. “Six. Two in my boots, two at my waist, and two across my chest. But I’m experimenting with hiding a few more knives since all of mine are currently visible.”

“Well, there’s mine.” Renna pats her leg where she has a knife hidden beneath her skirt.

“Yes, there is yours.” Leith gives her a smile that softens his eyes. “No one ever expects you to be armed.”

Leith and Renna and their mushy moments. I turn to Jace. “Jace, this isn’t actually a reader question, but I’m going to ask it because I’m curious. How many weapons do you normally carry?”

“Just two, normally. My sword and a hunting knife. If I think I’ll need it, I also carry a bow.”

“Leith and Jace, what was/is the greatest struggle of your life?”

Leith stares at the table top as he thinks. “A lot of my life has been a struggle, but for much of it I gave in instead of fighting to do what was right. And, now, my hardest struggle are the nights when the past seems too close, and I have to remind myself that I’ve been redeemed from it.”

Renna slips her hand into his and leans closer.

“Wondering if I had a soul was my greatest struggle. After all, it nearly killed me.” Jace shakes his head as if thinking back to his time in Samara and the dungeon. “My greatest struggle now is probably my fear of losing Kyrin. We’ve all lost so much, and it’s always so sudden. It’s difficult to balance knowing that I could lose Kyrin or someone else I love just as suddenly and trusting Elom.”

Kyrin squeezes his hand.

Time for a lighter question. I glance up at Martyn and grin. He huffs out a breath, already shaking his head as if that will stop me from asking. “Martyn, if you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be?”

“Stubborn.” Kayleigh says at the same moment Brandi blurts, “Grumpy.”

Martyn shoots both of them an annoyed look, then shrugs. “What they said.”

“All right. Last question. Holly really, really wants Kaden and Martyn to arm wrestle.”

Kaden eyes Martyn. “Something tells me that’s not a good idea.”

Martyn crosses his arms. “Not that I don’t think I’d win, but wasn’t the whole fight with Leetra thing from the first chat bad enough?”

I laugh. “Probably.” I glance over at Jaye. “We actually had Kaden planned for the poll question today, but we didn’t pair him with you. We actually paired him with Kayleigh.”

“Me?” Kayleigh rests a hand on her sword, assessing Kaden.

“You’re both trained in sword fighting, and we figured, since Kaden spars with Kyrin, that he would have less of a problem fighting a girl.” I shrug.

Kaden laughs like he’s a bit nervous. “I wouldn’t turn down a friendly sparring session, but I’m not sure it would be fair.”

Jaye raises a brow at him. “You don’t think Kayleigh has a chance?”

“Oh, no, that’s not what I’m saying.” Kaden pauses and shoots another glance at Martyn. “I just think, if I did win, I might have another opponent to face, so I’d probably throw the fight.”

Martyn smirks and pats his knife while meeting Kaden’s gaze. He doesn’t say anything, but with the way Kaden shifts, Martyn doesn’t have to.

Kayleigh glares first at Martyn, then at Kaden. “Don’t you dare throw the fight. I’ll keep Martyn in line.”

“Will you?” Martyn’s smirk turns a bit gushy.

“Yes.” Kayleigh moves as if to lightly elbow him in the ribs, but he squirms out of elbow reach and avoids it.

I shake my head. Those two.


That’s the last of our character chats! Thanks so much for reading these, everyone! And don’t forget to comment on this post or answer the poll of whether you think Kayleigh or Kaden would win in a fight to be entered to win an Acktar-themed t-shirt.

Giveaway!

AcktarShirtGiveaway

Use the Rafflecopter link below to enter to win an Acktar-themed t-shirt! Giveaway is open to US only.

Here is the Rafflecopter link to enter:a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ilyon & Acktar Character Chat #2

Chat#2

I finish arranging the chairs around one of the large, oak tables in Nalgar Castle’s Great Hall and straighten all the name tags by the seats. Jaye did such a great job hosting all the characters in Ilyon. I want to do just as good a job here in Acktar. Never mind the fact that I’m trying to contain my inner fangirl. Jace is going to be here. In Acktar.

The door to the Great Hall opens, and the Acktar characters file in first. Brandi skips inside, grinning as she locates her name tag by her seat. Leith and Renna enter the room next, holding hands. Leith glances at me, a wary look in his eyes. He’s probably remembering past character chats.

Martyn and Kayleigh come in next, and they are also holding hands. I shake my head. That’s what I get for having so many happy couples. Shad follows them, looking a bit lost without Jolene at his side.

Keevan strolls in last, followed by his brothers-in-law and bodyguards Frank and Patrick.

I point at the bodyguards. “They aren’t necessary for this chat, and I don’t recall inviting them.”

Keevan shrugs. “They wouldn’t listen to me.”

Frank crosses his arms. “We don’t know these other characters you are bringing here, and we aren’t going to leave Keevan unguarded.”

I open my mouth to argue but shake my head. I could remind them that they had to listen to me. I am the author. But…that hasn’t stopped them before. I doubt they’ll listen to me this time either. “Fine. They can stay. Besides, I like Frank and Patrick.”

Patrick grins. “We know. Oh, and Mama said to tell you she has apple pie ready in the kitchen for after this chat. She’s also working on a wheat-free apple dessert for Jaye.”

“I’ll have to thank her for the extra effort.” It’s a good thing King Keevan’s mother-in-law is an excellent cook in her own right with several good cooks working for her. I may need to use the pie as a bribe to get the characters to cooperate.

The doors to the Great Hall open and Jaye L. Knight steps inside, followed by Jace, Kyrin Kaden, Prince Daniel, and Trask. All of the characters are looking around, though Trask and Prince Daniel especially have a glint in their eyes as if accessing the castle’s strengths and weaknesses. Habit, probably.

I run to give Jaye a hug, then I hug Jace. It’s a little awkward, considering he’s fairly tall and I’m so short I don’t even reach his shoulder. He’s probably over a foot taller than me. And the fact that he’s got a longsuffering look on his face that says he’s doing his best to tolerate this hug.

“Kaden!” Brandi runs to give him a hug. I groan. Uh, oh. Brandi really bonded with Talas and Kaden last time. I think she’s claimed two more brothers. And I was worried about Leith’s habit of adopting brothers.

While Jaye catches up with the Acktar characters, I hug Kyrin, Kaden, and Prince Daniel. Prince Daniel eyes me like he’s not sure why he’s getting fangirled over.

By the time I finish, I notice Kyrin, Renna, Leith, and Jace are all chatting in a group. That makes me grin. By the time these chats were over, they’d be good friends.

After I give them all a few more minutes to chat, I call everyone to their seats. The Ilyon characters sit on one side of the table, the Acktar characters the other.

As the host, it’s my job to make introductions and ask the questions. “I believe most of you met at the last character chat over in Ilyon. Shad, Kayleigh, Keevan, this is Jace, Kyrin, Kaden, Trask, and Prince Daniel. Ilyon characters, this is Kayleigh, Martyn’s girlfriend, Shad Alistair, and King Keevan of Acktar.”

Kayleigh smiles at the Ilyon characters while Keevan gives them each a nod. Across the table from Keevan, Prince Daniel of Ilyon eyes Keevan’s bodyguards.

Keevan gestures over his shoulder at Frank and Patrick. “Never hire your brothers-in-law as your bodyguards. They tend to be rather overprotective.”

Daniel darts a glance at Jace.

“Hey, what was that?” Jaye demands.

Daniel looks at her innocently. “What?”

Kaden and Trask smirk and look toward the ceiling.

“That’s exactly the sort of thing that gets the fangirls talking.” Jaye shakes her head. “Sorry, Tricia, go on.”

“All right then. Let’s get started with the questions.” I pull out a paper with a long list of questions. “Let’s start with a question that several readers have been eager to know: Jace and Leith, do you think the two of you would be friends if you lived in the same world?”

Leith glances across the table at Jace, shrugs, then turns to me. “Probably.”

I glare at him. “That’s not much of an answer.”

Leith sighs. “We already kind of answered this on the last chat, but fine. Our pasts are similar, and we could teach each other a few fighting techniques. Yes, we’d probably be friends.”

“Better.” I smile at Jace. “Jace, do you have anything to add?”

“I agree. I think we’d understand each other the way Holden and I do.”

“Good answers. How about another easy one. Janice wants to know how much taller Jace is than Leith.”

Leith glances across the table at Jace. “A lot.”

“Well, you’re five foot nine or so.” I turn to Jaye. “How tall is Jace?”

“Jace is six foot three.”

“There you have it. Jace is six inches taller than Leith.” I grin as I reach the next question. “Leith, Addyson wants to know: how does it feel to know you’ll only ever be second best to the sweetest cinnamon roll ever aka Jace?”

“Fine by me. Fangirls are scary. He can have them.” Leith shakes his head, and Renna squeezes his hand as if he needs reassurance.

Jace looks embarrassed. “I still don’t understand fangirls.”

I laugh. “Well, Jace, Addyson did say to tell you sorry, but you’re well loved.”

He shrugs. “According to Jaye, that’s a good thing.”

“Time for a question for someone else for a change.” I look down the table toward where Brandi sits at the end of the Acktar side. “Brandi, what do you think of Jace? You haven’t had much of a chance to get to know him, and you spent most of the last chat talking with Talas and Kaden, but I know you. You form opinions of people pretty quickly.”

Brandi grins. “Well, he has a gorgeous black horse and a black wolf for a pet. Of course I like him. Now the real question is whether he can tolerate me or if he thinks I’m annoying and talk too much.”

Jace sends her a quick smile. “I think we’d be all right now. I might not have tolerated you well a couple of years ago, but I’ve grown a lot since then.”

“I would’ve won you over eventually. I always do.” Brandi glares at Martyn. “Even if some people are too grumpy to appreciate it.”

Martyn huffs and mutters something under his breath. Kayleigh lightly smacks his arm.

“Well, we’d always be glad to have you at the Altair table.” Kaden grins at Brandi. “I’ll make a dragon rider out of you yet.”

Letting Brandi meet Talas and Kaden at the last chat might not have been such a good thing. I can only imagine how much trouble she would get into with a dragon. “Brandi, I have a couple more questions for you. What do you think are your weaknesses? And who is your best friend?”

“Weakness?” Brandi grins. “I’m reckless.”

Renna shakes her head. Leith huffs. Kaden grins at her like she’s a kindred spirit.

“As for my best friend, that would be Jamie, though he is more of a brother than a friend.” Brandi shrugs. “I am also close to Shad’s sister Abigail, though I don’t get to see her as much as I would like.”

Considering Brandi is friends with everyone, at least she kept her list short.

“Keevan, I have quite a few questions for you.” I shuffle my papers. I almost don’t want to ask him the next questions. “The first two are kind of…tough. I’m sorry. Leah. S. wants to know why were you such a coward hiding at Eagle Heights? You let your cousins take your burden. And Addyson calls you nasty stinking Keevan and says that she gets that Leith tried to murder you and all, and that’s hard to get over, but Leith is amazing so why can’t you just get over it and be friends with him?”

The room gets an awkward, tense silence to it. Keevan’s arms are crossed, his knuckles white as he clenches his fists. But his face is almost too carefully blank. Leith is staring at the table, looking like he wants to bolt from the room. Renna’s gaze is also focused on the table as she grips Leith’s hand. Martyn and Kayleigh are taking the opposite approach and studying the ceiling as if they really don’t want to be asked to respond.

Brandi snorts. “The fangirls tell it like it is, don’t they?”

Keevan shakes his head and waves from Prince Daniel to Jace. When he speaks, his rasp scratches through his voice. “Let this be a lesson to you, Prince Daniel. Don’t ever throw the fan favorite–Jace–in prison or in any other way hurt him. The readers will never forgive you.”

Daniel raises his hands. “I wouldn’t dream of it.”

I sigh. “Keevan, I hate to force you to answer this one, but you’re avoiding it.”

Keevan runs his thumb along the scar tracing down his cheek and neck. “I lost my entire family in a single night. I was nearly killed myself and spent months unable to speak. I was driven from my home and spent over five months essentially imprisoned in a single room in Walden Manor to stay hidden. Those older and wiser than me were telling me going into hiding and leaving Renna and Brandi at Stetterly was the best plan, and at that point, who was I to question their wisdom? If that makes me a coward, then so be it. I’m human. Maybe that isn’t a good excuse, and maybe there was something I could have done. But I wasn’t able to see another option at the time.”

“You didn’t have much of a choice.” Renna raises her head, her back straightening. “We may have been in just as much danger if you’d brought us to Eagle Heights and by that action caused Respen to realize there was a secret hideaway he needed to find. Besides I might never have met Leith if I’d been hiding away in Eagle Heights with you.”

Renna and Leith share one of their looks and smiles.

Kaden shakes his head. “You two are as lovey-dovey during these chats as Jace and Kyrin.”

Keevan turns away from them, still rubbing at his scar. “As for the other question. I’m trying. That’s the best I can do at the moment.”

“Fair enough, I guess.” I flip notecards to the next question. “How about an easier one, then? Keevan, what do you think of Jace?”

“I don’t have an issue with him, if that’s what they’re asking. My problem with Leith is personal. It doesn’t affect how I feel about all former killers and assassins.” Keevan glances at Jace across the table. “He’s a good warrior, and someone I’d be honored to have in my army if he lived in Acktar.”

Jace nods in thanks.

Good answer. At least Keevan wouldn’t dig himself into a deeper hole with the fangirls.

Time to pick on someone else for a little while. “Renna, Leah wants to know how you will deal with Leith being gone all the time?”

Renna smiles at Leith before she faces me. “It will be tough, but God will still be with me. Besides, I survived being left alone at Nalgar Castle with Respen. I think I’ll be able to handle a few weeks when I’m in my own cabin with Brandi, Jamie, Ranson, and Kayleigh for company.”

“In other words, we shouldn’t worry about you.” I look down the table at Martyn, and he glares back. “Martyn. How will you deal with leaving Kayleigh and your brother behind when you go on missions with Leith and Shad?”

“Wait. Let me get this straight. The fangirls want to know how Renna will handle waiting for Leith when he’s gone, yet they think I’m the one who’s going to be helplessly pining after Kayleigh? What about Kayleigh? Shouldn’t she be the one pining away at home?”

Shad hides a chuckle behind his hand.

“You wish.” Kayleigh lightly swats his shoulder. “You know I can’t handle having you underfoot all the time. I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself.”

“I know you are, but…” Martyn crosses his arms. “This question is ridiculous. I’m fine. Kayleigh’s fine. Leith and Renna are obviously fine.”

Kaden smirks.

Time to move on to another question before Martyn starts insulting people. “Keevan, Karis wants to know how do you feel that Addie strengthened your faith early on in your relationship?”

A warm smile sneaks across Keevan’s face. “Addie is sensible. She doesn’t waste time on self-pity, and she kept me from completely wallowing in self-pity those first few months. She and her whole family taught me a lot about what it means to give selflessly, and that strengthened my faith in a lot of ways.”

“Thank you, Keevan.” I glance around at all the characters sitting along the table. “This question is for everyone. Sorry, it is another uncomfortable one. Who do you think has killed the most out of all of you here? Apparently leading people into battle counts.”

The characters start whispering to each other and shifting uncomfortably. It’s not a question any of them really wants to answer. Killing the most people isn’t something any of them want to brag about. Maybe if we had Vane, Davira, and Respen sitting at this table, one of them would’ve gladly stepped forward. They probably would’ve fought over who was the most evil.

But these characters sitting before me? They don’t see kills as something to glory in.

Surprisingly, Jace speaks up first. “None of us from Ilyon have led anyone into battle, but of the four of us, the answer would be me. I can’t speak for anyone from Acktar.”

Keevan lets out a long breath. “Probably me. I have led men into battle, into a battle against fellow countrymen. The lives lost on both sides aren’t something I take lightly.”

Of course he didn’t. Keevan was the type of king who knew the casualty figures from both sides of the battles he fought to regain his throne, and he saw those casualties as more than numbers, but as a weight of individual lives and losses.

Leith shakes his head. “It’s not the same. Not like the way I killed. And in that case, then it’s probably me. And I don’t want to know if I’ve killed more than Jace or not. It doesn’t matter. The answer is still too much for both of us, and we both are deeply thankful that there is redemption for someone like us.”

Jace nods, as if Leith said exactly what he was thinking.

Time to change the subject and lighten the mood. “Keevan, I think it’s time we served the apple pie and other desserts?”

Kaden rubs his hands together and shoots a grin at Brandi.

Keevan gestures, and in a few minutes, servants enter the Great Hall with trays of food and place a plate by everyone’s seat.

After giving everyone a few minutes to dig in, I turn to the Acktar characters. “Shad. I haven’t asked any questions of you yet.”

He swallows a bite of his apple pie and sits straighter. “Yes?” He braces himself as if expecting some difficult question.

“Relax. The fangirls went easy on you. Holly wants to know if you would like to visit Ilyon?”

“Of course. It sounds like a fascinating place.” Shad crosses his arms. “And I didn’t get to visit with some of the others last time.”

“No, you didn’t. Sorry about that. Two more questions: Just how good of an archer are you? And, can Jolene out-shoot you?”

Shad rubs at the back of his neck. “I’m a good archer. Jace, here, could probably out-shoot me. I don’t really know. I’ve never shot as part of a competition before. And can Jolene out-shoot me? Yep.”

I raise my eyebrows at him. “Are you saying that because she actually can out-shoot you or you don’t actually know who is the better shot or you don’t dare say anything else?”

Shad grins. “Yes.”

Trask laughs heartily. “Wise man.”

“Trask, the last question is for you. What were you thinking after you kissed Anne, she pushed you off your horse, and you watched her gallop away?”

“That I couldn’t wait to marry her one day.” He smiles happily. “Now I’m just glad the wait is over.”

“So are all of us fangirls. The wait was excruciating. That’s all for today’s chat. Thanks so much for coming and cooperating.” I smile and nod to all the characters. “As the last part of today’s chat, we have set up a poll for the readers where they can vote whether they think Shad or Trask would win in a fight.”

Shad and Trask glance at each other.

Shad raises his eyebrows, grins, and pats his sword hilt. “That could be interesting, considering we are both noble sons raised to use a sword.”

Trask nods. “Sounds like we should set up a little friendly competition sometime.”

I shake my head. So much friendlier of a reaction than the Leetra and Martyn fight.

Giveaway!

AcktarGiveaway

I’m giving away a signed copy of Decree along with a full set of Acktar character cards with art by H.S.J. Williams. Giveaway is open only to the US due to cost of shipping. 

If you want to vote on the Shad/Trask fight (and enter the giveaway), make sure you vote and enter using the Rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ilyon & Acktar Blog Tour

Ilyon and Acktar Blog Tour Header

Today launches the Ilyon & Acktar blog tour! Jaye and I are excited to share this tour and these books with you!

Below is the blog tour schedule with links to all the posts. Take special note of the 4 character chats. These are the combined character chats Jaye and I put together based on reader questions for both the Ilyon and Acktar characters. Not only are these chats hilariously fun, but they also have 4 additional giveaways on top of the main tour giveaway (at the end of this post).

The first chat and giveaway start today over on Ilyonchronicles.com!

Tour Schedule

Friday – December 14 – Release Day for Bitter Winter & Lacy!

Saturday – December 15

Monday – December 17

Tuesday – December 18 – Release Day for Decree!

Wednesday – December 19

 Thursday – December 20

Friday – December 21

Saturday – December 22

Jaye L. Knight’s newest novel, Bitter Winter, and companion novella Lacy released today! I am so excited for Jaye and for these books!

The Ilyon Chronicles

Bitter Winter

About Bitter Winter

Already struggling with a harsh winter and the threat of food shortage, a catastrophic event leaves those in the Landale camps reeling. Just when things couldn’t get much worse, camp members fall ill with the same devastating sickness that’s sweeping across the country.

Determined to gain the cure, Jace sets off to Valcré. However, there are only two sources—the queen, or a powerful gang of smugglers who have made the dangerous city their home. When Jace gains audience with the gang leader, he finds the price of the cure is steeper than any of them imagined, forcing him to make an impossible choice—betray his conscience or let those he loves die.

Available now on Amazon!

goodreads
My Review of Bitter Winter
This book is so amazing! As all of Jaye’s books are. This one especially brings the reader through a whole range of emotions. It starts out with plenty of awwww moments, then turns heart-wrenching, then tense and nail-biting. Yet the ending makes all the tension worth it with plenty for fangirls to squeal over! I loved the ending so much, though I’m bracing myself for what is going to happen to my poor, favorite characters in the next book!

Lacy

About Lacy

The last thing Aaron ever envisioned was falling for a prostitute. Everything about it spells trouble. However, he can’t help noticing the way her smile lights up when she sees him and how much brokenness she hides behind it. Neither can he ignore how desperately she needs rescue and protection.

When Lacy shares a life or death secret with him, Aaron is willing to risk everything to help her and to show her Elôm’s love. Yet, such a choice could destroy his reputation and maybe even cost him his freedom.

An Ilyon Chronicles Novella

Available now on Amazon!

goodreads
My Review of Lacy
This book as an unexpected surprise. I’ve always loved Aaron, but this book made me love him all the more. He is such a sweet and strong character, and that really comes through in this book! Although Jace (*cough* my favorite character *cough*) isn’t in this one, I still really enjoyed it.
I would recommend this book for older readers since it does deal with prostitution, but the topic is handled really well, as I would expect from Jaye L. Knight.

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

About the Author

JayeLKnight Author PhotoJaye 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, Twitter, and Etsy.

 

Giveaway!

PaperbackGiveaway

Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a full signed set of the Ilyon Chronicles and The Blades of Acktar!  (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.) Click on this link to enter.

Don’t forget to stop by each of the character chats for additional giveaways throughout the tour!

Ilyon and Acktar Blog Tour Sign Up

I’m going to keep this short and sweet. The sign up for reviewers and the blog tour for Decree (by me) and Bitter Winter and Lacy (by Jaye L. Knight) is now open! You only have until November 23 to sign up for the blog tour, so don’t wait!

45986860_650421432018446_3068078637715554304_n

A few other reminders first:

  • All of the books are available for Kindle Preorder! You can preorder here: Decree, Bitter Winter, Lacy.
  • Also, as part of the blog tour, Jaye L. Knight and I are going to be holding character Q&A chats with the combined cast of Ilyon and Acktar on our blogs. If you have a question you’d like to submit for that, you can go here to do so.
  • Finally, all of The Blades of Acktar books are going to be on sale on Kindle for Black Friday and I’ll be running a sale on the paperback books on my website, so please make sure you stop back here on Black Friday or Cyber Monday if you’re interested in those deals.

Now on to the blog tour sign up sheet!

Please use this form if you want to be reviewer or part of the blog tour. Reviewers do not need to have a blog.

Thanks so much in advance for your willingness to post about our books and to spread the word on the Internet! It means so much to see your excitement!

More Release Announcements

If you follow my blog, then you already know that Decree (The Blades of Acktar #5) releases in less than two months!

*cue me panic screaming*

Twitter Header Decree

In all seriousness, it has been coming along well and the feedback I’ve been getting from beta-readers is positive, so that’s exciting!

I’m working on putting together some sort of giveaway for those who preorder Decree or buy it on the release date (since Amazon still won’t let indie authors set up a preorder for paperbacks) so keep a look out for that.

Preorder Decree

In the meantime, keep a look out for more release announcements. They are going to be coming fast and furious over the next month or so.

But Wait There's More Billy May

Many of you are also fans of Jaye L. Knight, and she just announced today that her next books Bitter Winter (The Ilyon Chronicles book #5) and Lacy (a companion novella) are going to be releasing December 14. That is four days before Decree releases!

Since we also happen to be good friends, we decided it would be awesome to do one massively epic co-release! As part of the blog tour, we’re going to be doing Q&A chats with both the characters from Ilyon and Acktar. TOGETHER. Able to talk to each other. In one virtual “room.”

Did I mention this blog tour is going to be epic?

But we need your help. Please submit your burning questions in the form below for the Ilyon and Acktar characters.

There will be more information and the sign up form for the actual blog tour and book reviewers in the next few weeks, so please watch for that.

Thanks so much for being such amazing, loyal fans!

Book Signing

This week is Realm Makers week!!!! Yay!

For those who don’t know, Realm Makers is a Christian speculative fiction writers’ conference, and just about the most fun thing ever. It’s like getting together with 300 of your best friends to chat about all things fandom and writing related.

This year, you all can drop by if you want! For free! All you have to do is get to the St. Louis area by Saturday night. You’ll be able to attend an open to the public book signing where you can meet all the 300 plus authors attending Realm Makers if you want.

On Saturday, July 21st, Realm Makers is having its first official book festival, which will be open to the public. Hundreds of authors will be there, including Wayne Thomas Batson, Nadine Brandes, Mary Weber, Jaye L. Knight, and me. 🙂 If you live anywhere near St. Louis, MO, I highly recommend you to check it out.


Besides preparing for Realm Makers, I’ve been busy being a reader fangirling over books. So many writers I know have been releasing books, releasing titles, releasing covers, it’s been crazy lately! So here’s a quick summary of a few of them! Click on the cover to link to Goodreads to learn more about the books.

Jaye L. Knight revealed covers for both book 5 and a companion novella to the Ilyon Chronicles. I’m so excited for these books! They look amazing!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00028]

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00017]

Aren’t they so pretty! They’re going to be amazing!

Sarah Addison-Fox revealed the cover for the final book in the Allegiance series. I can’t wait to read the ending to this series!

40543384
Nadine Brandes released her newest book Fawkes a little over a week ago. Yes, I’ve read it already, and, yes, it is amazing. You can read my review here.
36576048

 

Not to mention, just LOOK at that cover. Even though I knew I’d probably read it as audiobook (which I did, and the audiobook is amazing!), I still bought the hardcover because I knew I wanted this book gracing my shelves. It’s even more stunning in person.

This week, Nadine also revealed the title for her next book, which is going to be Romanov, a historical fantasy about Anastasia! *cue the incessant urge to re-watch the Anastasia movie for the 1000th time* You can read the full blurb about Romanov here on Goodreads. Doesn’t it just give you tingles?

What upcoming books are you excited for? Will I be seeing you in St. Louis on Saturday?

Samara’s Peril Review & Interview

BlogTour-SPBanner

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).

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00028]

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!

Add to Goodreads

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?

JayeAuthorPhoto

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

SPGiveawayBanner

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

 

Contest Results & Book Signing Memories

I could be mean and wait until the end of this post to announce the winners of the Name That Character contest. But, I’m not.

You all came up with such great names! It was sooooo hard to choose! 33 different people submitted names! Wow!

General GENERALS NAME shall henceforth be known as General Uriah Stewart. 

Congratulations to Emily Drown for the name Uriah and Addyson Huneke for the name Stewart.

Honorable mentions are Chloe L. for the names Tavish and McLain, and C.B. Cook for the name McGowan.

HE WHO MUST BE NAMED shall henceforth be known as Ian McCrae. 

Congratulations to Amy K. for the name Ian (she also came up with the name Tavish) and to Valerie S. for the name McCrae.

Honorable mentions are Jesseca Wheaton for the name Dunn and Josie Ophoff and Sierra Faith, who both came up with the name Jotham.

Congrats to all the honorable mentions and winners! And thank you everyone who entered! I’m definitely keeping this list of names, so you never know when I might use it again.


 

This past Saturday, I went to Indiana for a book signing, meet & greet, and book talk. About 20 people, both kids and adults, showed up. I had a great time chatting with everyone. I even managed to sound somewhat intelligent while answering questions. I doubt any of the kids getting their books signed realized that I was just as terrified to talk to them as they were to talk to me.

One of the questions I was asked was what books to I recommend. I should’ve been prepared, but I wasn’t completely. So here’s a better list:

My top 7 recommended Christian YA books

  • The Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L. Knight. So far, 2 books and a novella are out, and book 3 releases in May. I already had the chance to beta-read it, and it’s amazing. 🙂
    • Genre: fantasy
    • Magic: None
    • Spiritual Content: Very well done and doctrinal sound. The Christian aspects are not so much allegory as a mirror of our own world.
    • Sexual Content: None besides a few hints at what men can do to vulnerable young girls. It is tastefully dealt with.
    • Violence: Some fight scenes. A few executions. Mild torture. Nothing above PG13 level violence.
  • The Makilien Trilogy by Molly Evangeline. This is actually the earlier pen name of Jaye L. Knight. This trilogy has more of an allegorical, basic good vs. evil feel to it.
    • Genre: fantasy
    • Magic: None
    • Spiritual Content: Well done. Mostly focuses on belief in God and trusting God through hard times.
    • Sexual Content: None
    • Violence: Some fight scenes and large scale battles. Mild torture. Nothing about PG13 level, though most of it isn’t above PG.
  • Out of Time series by Nadine Brandes. The first two books are out and the third book releases in October. I can’t wait. 🙂
    • Genre: dystopian
    • Magic: none
    • Spiritual Content: Well done. Focuses on pursuing God with the time you’ve been given and finding peace in God.
    • Sexual Content: Nothing besides a kiss, some mentions of attraction between a girl and boy, and one childbirth scene (tastefully dealt with).
    • Violence: This is a very intense book. The author recommends 14 and up, depending on the maturity of the reader. There are some maiming, deaths, intense action scenes, explosions, etc. Still, nothing is too graphic and sticks in the PG14 level.
  • Follower of the Word series by Morgan Busse.
    • Genre: fantasy
    • Magic: Yes
    • Spiritual Content: Pretty well done. The spiritual aspect is very much an allegory. I might not agree with everything, but the allegory really helped me think about the nature of Christ’s sacrifice.
    • Sexual Content: a clean PG13 level. One character is sold as a female slave and given to a guest for “entertainment” (but nothing happens). Past, impure actions are mentioned. It is all tastefully done.
    • Violence: PG13 level violence. Some battle scenes and violence like that.
  • The Bailey Baxter series by Kim Moss. A sweet, contemporary series that deals with the problems of a young girl growing up in a small town.
    • Genre: contemporary
    • Spiritual Content: pretty well done. There isn’t much spiritual aspect in the first book, but as the main character grows in her faith, the spiritual content of the books grow as well.
    • Sexual Content: some kissing. The fourth book has a few more mature themes since the main character is now graduating high school, but it is still clean and very tastefully done.
    • Violence: Very little.
  • Legends of the Woodlands by Angie Brashear. An allegorical fantasy series.
    • Genre: fantasy
    • Magic: Yes
    • Spiritual Content: fairly well done. It is very allegorical, so sometimes the spiritual part can be difficult to detect in the story part, and I don’t always agree with all the spiritual aspect part, but it is still a very encouraging and uplifting series.
    • Sexual Content: Clean. Some kissing. A lot of attraction between characters. This series is heavy on the romance part, though the romance is clean.
    • Violence: PG13. Some battles scenes and executions.
  • Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. A very dense, old-style fantasy-allegory.
    • Genre: fantasy
    • Magic: Yes
    • Spiritual Content: Well done. It is the type of series where each time I read it, I get more out of it. It is allegorical, so sometimes the the spiritual part can be hard to detect from the fantasy part.
    • Sexual Content: None
    • Violence: Some violence, but not much.

There are many more, but perhaps I’ll have to save those for another blog post. 🙂

A Look Back

I realized today that I haven’t blogged at all since Deny released. Not a good way to go about keeping up my social media presence.

At the beginning of December, my carpal tunnel syndrome started acting up again in my right wrist. I’m still not sure what set it off. You’d think spending 11 to 12 hours a day on the computer to get Deny out into the world would’ve caused problems, but it didn’t. But when I cut back my time on the computer to give myself a break, then it got bad again. So I cut out even more computer time (including blogging) until my wrist no longer hurt. Thankfully, the pain is gone now, so I’m back. 🙂

A New Year 2016

It’s the day after New Year’s, so it’s as good a time as any to look back and reflect. God did so many amazing things in my life this year, I’m still blown away. Especially once I started making a list.

This time last year, I had just finished writing three manuscripts for what I had called The Blades of Acktar. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them or what publishing route God wanted me to pursue. I was waiting for my first professional edit to come back on Dare from Nadine Brandes, an editor I was just beginning to get to know. I’d just connected with Angie Brashear online and began pestering her with questions on indie publishing. And I’d just heard of Jaye L. Knight. I’d only had a blog for a few months, and I wasn’t even on Goodreads yet, much less most of the other social media sites.

Crazy, when I think about it. Now I have so many writing friends online I’m blown away. I connected with the wonderful Kim Moss through a book launch team we were on together. Angie Brashear became a prayer warrior who helped pray Deny into existence. I don’t know what I’d do without Nadine as a friend and mentor. And Jaye’s encouragement has been amazing. All the other bloggers and fellow authors who volunteered for my launch team: Claire, Shantelle, Hope, Alyssa, Abigail, Jessica, Gabriela. Sierra, my amazing critique partner who helped so much. All the fans who have contacted me or written reviews or simply interacted in some way on line. I can’t believe that a year ago, I didn’t really know any of you.

I now have two published book and a third in the process of publication. My three book series turned into four. Dare hit #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list for Christian Fantasy (sharing the list with such estimable writers as Jill Williamson, Jaye L. Knight, and Patrick Carr. Seriously never thought I’d see my books anywhere near theirs on a bestseller list!). Deny hit the #1 Hot Newest Release in Christian Fantasy for the first month after its release, and both Dare and Deny are still bouncing around in the top 20 on the Christian Fantasy bestseller list. I am so blown away by the response to these books.

I’m excited to see what God does with 2016.

Fun Fiction Friday – Makilien Trilogy

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these Fun Fiction Friday pieces. Not that I haven’t been reading good books. Summer vacations and working on Deny keep taking precedence.

Speaking of vacations, this is a scheduled post since I’m gone this weekend. I’ll reply to any comments when I return.

I’m a late comer to The Ilyon Chronicles fandom. I didn’t read Resistance until a few months before The King’s Scrolls released. Recently, I made time to read Jaye L. Knight’s earlier works that she wrote under the pen name Molly Evangeline.

The Makilien Trilogy – Molly Evangeline

PicturePicturePicture

The Makilien Trilogy follows the adventures of a girl named Makilien and her band of friends. This series shows the influence of The Lord of the Rings even more than The Ilyon Chronicles do. I could tell these books were written earlier. The characters are less-fleshed out. The writing less experienced.

Did that make the books less epic? No way! I absolutely adored them!

I had a big deadline in editing Deny that I had to hit, and I was busy preparing for a weeklong vacation. I still ended up reading the entire series in a week (I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep).

Overall, I’d definitely recommend these books to anyone looking for action-packed Christian fantasy.

My thoughts on the individual books:

Book 1 – Truth

PictureI was drawn into the storyline almost immediately. I felt for Makilien as she tried to discover the truth in a city determined to hide it. I love how Makilien grows throughout the book, and her decision at the end.

The elves? Need I say more? These are everything you think of about elves: tall, graceful, live in the woods. But with a sense of humor. Lots of humor.

I enjoyed the adventure of this book. It’s a straight forward good-vs-evil, epic battle, adventure story with Christian themes weaved into it.

Book 2 – Courage

PictureSome of this book follows the same pattern as book one. It starts in the same town. Moves through the same places, and ends with a big battle in the same place as before.

Still, I enjoyed how this book took the same battles of book one and went one step deeper. In Truth, Makilien faced the final battle with the innocence of one who has never fought before. This time, she fights with the knowledge of just how scary and horrible war is. It makes for an interesting parallel that I couldn’t put down.

And the ending? Let’s just say, you’d better just buy books 2 and 3 together because you will be starting book 3 mere seconds after finishing book 2.

Book 3 – Trust

Picture   Of the three, this book was my favorite. It has a different storyline than the first two and kept me guessing. While the battle might be smaller, the challenges are tougher for the main characters.

And Sirion? *sigh* I’d already loved him in the earlier books, but I absolutely adored him in this one.

A few of the character storylines might have wrapped up a little too neatly, but I honestly didn’t care while I was reading. I wanted everyone to get their happy ending, and the ending of this book definitely delivers. 🙂

Short Story – Captivated

PictureThis short story was totally worth it to get a final glimpse of my favorite characters one last time, especially the elf Elmorhirian. I couldn’t stop laughing the entire way through this story, and I read it twice in as many days because I loved it so much.

Have you read the Makilien Trilogy yet? Thoughts?