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Author Interview: Elizabeth Lavender

Check out this author spotlight for Elizabeth Lavender!

You can find all her links furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out her books!

1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!  

I’m the author of the Sunspear series. The first book in the sci-fi series is called The Spinning of Deception, the second book is Deception’s Hold, and the third book is Shadowed Bonds. Originally from the Alabama coast, I currently live in the Dallas area with my husband, Jeff, and my two children. I have a Master’s degree in counseling, a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and a minor in English. I enjoy science fiction and fantasy, and hope to bring some of that same enjoyment to others. I also enjoy suspense novels. However, as long as the storyline is intriguing, I’ll give other genres a try. My reading spans from Les Miserables to Shakespeare to the Percy Jackson series to anything written by Ted Dekker or Frank Peretti. I work full-time and have been at the same company for over twenty years happily. I’m a huge football fan and have a decent throwing arm, despite what my oldest son says when he practices throwing the football with me. Although I enjoy Texas, I love going home to Alabama to visit. Besides visiting family and friends, it’s nice to be back near the water again and enjoy the amazing seafood.

2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!

Winter, spring, summer or autumn?
Summer for sure, because I was born on the Alabama coast, so summer holds the best memories.

Tea or coffee?
No coffee.  Something in it triggers my migraines.  Tea definitely, but I prefer a glass of sweet tea.  That’s what I grew up on in Alabama.  Honestly if I’m going for a hot drink, it’s going to be hot chocolate.  LOL.

Morning or evening?
Not a morning person at any point and shall never be one. I get up because I must for work and to take my kids to school. I love the evening. I’m a night owl through and through.  The evening is the best inspiration for so many things, including writing between the hours of 9:00 PM -3:00 AM and beyond.  Saturday is made for sleeping in and I will never believe differently.

Mountains or beaches?
The beach always.  I lived on the Alabama coast for my childhood and there’s no comparison.  You haven’t truly seen a sunset, until you’re seen one over the water and the evening sky surrounding it.  Then there’s something about the water.  No matter what troubles you, there’s calm from it.  There’s just something about being near it.  

Plotter or pantser?  
I would be called a pantser as it’s defined.  However, I do know how things will end for my characters and know there are certain events that have to happen to get there.  There’s definitely no outline or strict plotting that happens.  Many times I don’t even feel like I’m doing the writing anymore.  I’ve been with my characters so long, it seems like they do more directing than I do. 

Standalone or series? 
Series.  I think it’s more due to the genre I normally find myself reading in, rather than preference.  I tend to read quite a bit of fantasy or closely related subgenres, like sci-fi/fantasy (like I write in) and find they naturally tend towards series, rathe than standalone.  It seems to need a series set up to tell the whole story and put your characters through their entire torturous journey, so they emerge refined.  However, my reading is pretty broad, so I enjoy psychological thrillers too, and a lot of times those are standalones.   Honestly, if you can get me wrapped up in the story, I’m there.  

Hero or anti-hero? 
I love the hero.  I love watching them struggling, fighting, beaten, almost killed, and then somehow making it alive at the last second.   I like to delve into their emotions and their minds as they struggle with whatever they get thrown.  I think too we can identify in real life with the hero, the challenges they face, and how they struggle with them   So, heroes are my favorite, as I think they inspire us to see that no matter how hard it gets or imperfect we are in our struggle, we can emerge victorious.  We may have our body battered, our heart broken, and our face streaming with tears, but we come through. We need our heroes.  

3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?

The epic battle between good vs evil; darkness vs. light.  That trope encompasses so many types of stories too, from the fantasy to space opera to mythology tales to suspense thrillers. There’s always a hero, someone who is willing to stand up against the darkness and inspire others to do the same, in order to save the world.  Sometimes that means defeating their own demons first.  The heroes look a little different, as do their worlds, in each story.  Some have to sacrifice more than others too. Still, it’s the same epic battle seen through a different view.

4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings! 

I write a sci-fi/fantasy series, the Sunspear Series.  I am told it has more of a YA adult feel.  However, my readers are not contained to that group.  There are currently three books in the series, which include The Spinning of Deception, Deception’s Hold, and Shadowed Bonds.   I am literally just starting on the 4th book in the series; I’ve written under 1,000 words on it.  That’s because the 3rd book, Shadowed Bonds, just released a couple of weeks ago.    However, the series starts with The Spinning of Deception.  We meet our two main characters, our two spearbearers who will be the inspiration to stand against the Dark Lord’s army that means to crush countless galaxies, one colony at a time, in a bloodbath.   Dante stands on one side, determined to stop the threat, even as his father commands the Dark Lord’s army.  Across the galaxy, a mysterious young girl, trained in secret, fights against the threat as well.  Her gift of visions reveals the truth of a tragedy of the past, and it could be the key to stopping the Dark Lord. 

5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!

https://books2read.com/ShadowedBonds

My most recent release is Shadowed Bonds, the third book in my Sunspear Series.  It was released on October 23, 2021.  Victory is buried under the trail of Black Dragon destruction. Can two spear-bearers’ unshakeable connection reignite the flame against Black Dragon?

As the long-anticipated meeting between Dante and the Girl finally arrives, it’s bittersweet.

It’s overshadowed by a shared grief and the anguish that their sacrifice was for nothing as the Black Dragon continues to silently march forth with its ultimatum. Serve them or die. Then comes the terrifying realization that the Black Dragon now possesses the means to make such bondage reality. The two spear-bearers must see beyond the ashes left behind and move forward to face the Black Dragon again.

Yet another battlefield rages, one nearer to their hearts. Dante and the Girl promised their bond would not be broken, that it would see them through whatever lies ahead. However, the Girl is forced to keep her world hidden from Dante, and her tortured past threatens to overwhelm her. Those bindings entice her like never before, dragging her closer to the edge of a black abyss determined to make her its own. Dante, though, is equally relentless in his pursuit to keep his beautiful sunspear-bearer safe from the shadows that threaten to take her.

In the end, will she succumb to the tendrils of Darkness coiling around her, or will Dante’s bond be the stronger claim? Or does it only mark the beginning of the Black Dragon’s galactic conquest turning from a mere shadow to a deadly certainty?

6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!  

I love Star Wars, specifically the original trilogy (New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Return of the Jedi).  On the fantasy side, Tolkien has to be one of my favorites, with the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  Also, there’s the Narnia series by CS Lewis.   I enjoy the suspense/thriller element that explores the more unseen, but equally powerful battleground, which is why I’m a big fan of anything from Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker.  Also, one of my favorite fictional characters is Jean Valjean from Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. I think I’ve seen it done on stage about three times now, and it still brings me to tears.  One of my other all time favorite books is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, and I always loved the main character Edmond Dantes from it. 

7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!  

If only I had a nice organized one.  LOL.  I work fulltime, so everything with the books is done in the evenings after work or on the weekends.  So that includes writing, revising, marketing, etc.   Generally, when I’m in the writing stage of the book, I just write.  I don’t try to revise or edit or stop for spelling or anything like that.  I can work with multiple distractions when I’m in the writing phase because I’m in a zone with my characters when I’m in that part of the process.  Once I actually get the entire book written, then I start the editing/revising process.  I need to get a first draft down and generally my first drafts are good starting points for me.  I don’t feel the need to burn them like I’ve heard from some authors.

8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to becoming an author, what would it be?  

I wish I had been more prepared for the other hats I would be wearing, the editor, marketing specialist, graphic artist…  So, I believe I would have taken steps to learn the business part of being an author as well as the writing part. I think it would make things easier and less frustrating at times. 

 9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!   

https://elizabethlavender.net

https://twitter.com/Elavenderauthor

https://facebook.com/elizabethlavender.author

https://instagram.com/elizabethlavender.author

https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Lavender/e/B07ZLS4G93

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/elizabeth-lavender

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19685019.Elizabeth_Lavender

Favourite reads of 2021!

❄️ QOTD: Did you list your favourite reads from 2021?

❄️ I sure did!! 😍🙏

❄️ By the end of 2021, I managed to get to a total of 90 read books on Goodreads. I didn’t make it to that golden 100, but I think 90 is pretty decent 😂 Sure, I’ve got a couple of my own books added as read in 2021 and then some boxsets, but it’s by far the largest number of books I’ve ever read in a year. Plus, they are ALL indie 😍👌

❄️ So which ones were my favourites then? Well, here’s the list, written in no particular order because I will not get into the habit of comparing apples to oranges 😂 So, without further ado…

❄️ The Ashen Levels (series) and I Shall Return With Winter (standalone) by @c.f.welburn
❄️ The Lost Boy (comic) by Joshua Grant @diabolic_shrimp
❄️ The Whiskey Eternal by @michaelevan2818 & JMD Reid
❄️ Marked in Roll by @authorstephaniebwhit
❄️ Eye of Obscurance (Fate of Wizardoms series) by @jeffreylkohanek
❄️ Bound in Death by @ angelhaze7
❄️ Housewife by @ karencrawfordmysteries
❄️ Virgin’s Curse by @ j.c.seal
❄️ A Vampire for Christmas (standalone) and A Little Slice of Heaven (standalone) by @ tirzaschaefer
❄️ No Limits (Closer Than Blood series) by @ ladyjaguarwrites

❄️ So many awesome reads 2021!! Go check them out! 😍 I’ve got just as many lined up for this year. We’ll see how many I can get through in the end 🥰❤️

Author Interview: Stephen Christiansen

Check out this author spotlight for Stephen Christiansen!

You can find all his links furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out his books!

1.  Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!

Born in Henderson, Nevada, Stephen was born to a long line of military personnel.  His travels from base to base helped inspire a young and imaginative mind.  As he grew he continued his world travels and has visited ancient cultural ruins, rain forests, volcanoes, and exotic locations.  With these in mind, he is able to weave epic stories of wondrous places and extraordinary people.

Stephen now lives in Roseburg, Oregon with his wife and daughter.  Today, he inspires to share with the rest of the world some of the fantastic real-life inspired places and events that have shaped his life. When not writing he enjoys spending time with his family, going on long drives, or just working on the forested acreage of black oak in the backyard.

2.  To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!

Winter, spring, summer or autumn?
I will have to go with autumn on this one. I thoroughly enjoy watching the leaves change color from green to yellow and then orange and red. I stood in my black oak forest the other day and watched as the golden leaves fell like snowflakes all around me and it was just joyous. I love going to the farms during this time and picking out autumn fruits and vegetables or walking through a corn maze or picking out a pumpkin. There’s just something cool and crisp in the air before everything gets too cold during the winter.

Cat or dog?
I’ll go with cat. We have a cat, or at least our daughter does. Bastet, our cat, will follow me while I move about the forest and then disappear for a while. I’ll find her hunting some vole or small bird or lizard. Her graceful form is sleek as she becomes ready to pounce. When not hunting, she’s trying to find my lap (which becomes rather annoying while I’m trying to write). But still, annoying or not, she’s part of our family, or perhaps better to say that we are part of hers.

Morning or evening?
Ugg. I am not a morning person. Not at all. If I have one superpower then it’s the ability to hit the snooze button. Some people can embrace the morning; I am not one of those people. However, I perk up by evening and seem to be more alive than any other time of the day. I enjoy walking through downtown with all of their lights on or looking at the stars as they come out one by one. Sometimes it’s the shadows that play with my imagination or the glow of the moon that catches my eye. I am an evening person all the way.

Standalone or series?
I love a good series. I want to follow my heroes over a course of time and watch them grow and develop. I want to watch the characters deepen through experience. I want to be able to have references to the older books so I can bring them out and have to reread them. There’s nothing like collecting a whole series and watching a greater story arc encompassing them all.

Book or ebook?
Call me old school, but I enjoy the feel and the scent of a book. I love the texture of paper and the sound it makes as I turn a page. I like being able to carry it around with me like a trophy or a badge of honor and show off the title to everyone while reading it in public. There’s just something about reading a book over staring at the computer. I stare at the computer for work. I stare at the computer when I write. I want to read my book on paper. I want to sit in a window seal, looking out over the autumn leaves and sip my hot chocolate while flipping my pages. I want to lie in a hammock on a beach and listen to the waves lap the shore while holding my book in my hands. Give me a book any day.

3.  When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?

I tend to gravitate to books that either have unlikely heroes or plots that take interesting and unexpected twists. In the first group, I enjoy rooting for the underdog, hoping that the character can turn his/her life around while overcoming the greatest odds. I enjoy watching our protagonist just barely win but only because of character development or some quick thinking. I’m not looking for “chosen one” or “fate destined”. The second type of story is something with plot twists. I don’t like a story that I can already guess who is going to live or die, or a plot that I can see a mile away. Give me the unexpected.

4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!

I mostly write high fantasy fiction. My biggest series centers on a group of dark elves, but there are also offshoots that focus on other characters as well. In these books you’ll read about dragons, wizards, pirates, trolls, undead, and much more. There’s a lot of traveling and world building and then multi-layers of various outer planes.

I do have a Star Wars fan fiction going. The first book takes place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Although there isn’t any mention of our favorite and beloved original characters, they are sometimes referenced. The Emperor has felt a tremor in the dark side that needs to be dealt with as he completes the second Death Star and sends a small contingent to explore. Things quickly spiral out of hand. The last book that hasn’t been written yet, will take place just after Return of the Jedi. A lot of people have enjoyed the initial two and I’m looking forward to finishing the trilogy.

There is also a modern day/time travel thriller/horror story. It will be part of a series. A family is plagued by ghosts while going on vacation, but when their daughter goes missing the real nightmare begins.

There’s a sci-fi two book series (I might make it into three). It’s a dystopian future with aliens, government conspiracy, time travel, and a whole lot more. I loved how these two books turned out.

Finally there’s the spy/thriller novel. Our FBI agent gets called into a investigate the deaths at a Prudhoe research center only to find that she’s uncovered a shadow government conspiracy that threatens the whole world. I’m currently working on this one and hope to release it early 2022

5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!

I have recently released the 17th book of my dark elf series. It’s called “Resolution” and brings the whole dark elf series to its final conclusion.

“The time has come. With the pieces in play, the Spider Queen makes her final move.

War has come upon the lands once again. Again, it pits gods against each other and shakes the very foundation of the heavens. However, this time the scheme of the Spider Queen is revealed. Her prize is within her grasp. Everything is at stake. It is a race against time and the cost will be high. Sacrifices will be made. Nothing will be the same

Follow the epic conclusion of intrigue that has spanned throughout time itself. Follow the scheme of the Spider Queen to its…Resolution.” 

I think that the readers who have been following along throughout the series will be pleasantly surprised by the various plot twists in this book.  It was fun to write. You can get it here: Amazon.com: Resolution (Orbbelgguren Book 17) eBook : Christiansen, Stephen, Smith, Randy: Kindle Store , although I recommend starting with the prequel to the series first: Amazon.com: Eclavarda: Promise of the Spider Queen (Orbbelgguren) eBook : Christiansen, Stephen , Christiansen, Stephen, Smith, Randy: Kindle Store

6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!

Wow, there’s a lot to cover here. First, I grew up watching Twilight Zone (old black and white version), The Outer Limits, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and others like this. Later I got into the X Files. I loved the odd, bizarre, and twisted tales that can keep me guessing and then hits me with a plot line that I never saw coming. I would read Stephen King and my favorite author is Edgar Alan Poe.

I had become fascinated with spiders and watching them spin their webs. I would research different types of spiders and they way they lived and hunted. Add to this an absolute appeal to different mushrooms and you can probably guess how excited I got when I read my first Salvatore dark elf book. The War of the Spider Queen series had a huge influence on me and I wanted to write my own dark elf series right after reading it.

To add to my influences, I’ve been to so many places around the world. I’ve been to rain forests, beaches, deserts, cultural ruins, volcanoes, mountains, and so much more. I’ve been through earthquakes and typhoons and snow storms. There are so much of my life experiences that I can and have pulled from and I do my best to weave these in and out of my stories.

I try to add a bit of all of these things to my writing and hope that I can bring out something intriguing and relatable.

7.  What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!

I try to write every day, right after work. I sit in front of the computer and put on the radio turned down low. I used to have this great geek tavern where I could write while listening to the background of gamers and would love to find another tavern just like it around here. But without one I just write at home. I then call up my document and reread a little before moving on, getting me into character or remembering the plot. I make sure that I have something to drink and a snack. It takes a little to get into the rhythm but once I do the words just flow from me as if the book is writing itself and my fingers are just following along.

8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to becoming an author, what would it be?

“Don’t give up; believe in yourself, you will do fine. Keep reading. Keep writing.”

I had a lot of discouragement when I was younger about reading and writing and there was a long period of time that I had put both aside. I won’t go into detail, but it had a huge negative impact on me. It took a while to start back up again with both. If I had started earlier and kept at it then I would have published sooner. Two of the best advices that I can give anyone who wants to be an author: read and write.

9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!

Here is a website that showcases all of my novels: https://maldev2002.wixsite.com/orbbelgguren and you can buy them on Amazon here: Amazon.com: Stephen Christiansen: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

Preorder The Thousand Year Divide now!!

🔥 UPCOMING RELEASE!!! 🔥

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🖤 It’s the 6th and final book of The Light of Darkness, a series perfect for readers who enjoy visceral, gripping high & epic fantasy tales with dark undertones and romance! 🖤

A king betrayed. A deadly powder in the hands of a merciless enemy. A ruthless mercenary Queen with an agenda of her own and an army ready to march upon the Midlands.

Alongside the Priesthood, demons are a formidable force. Still, not everyone wants to be affiliated with the terrifying creatures of Darkness. The allied tribes might be the final affront, sparking a war in the Midlands. Yet, demon tribes do not even offer mercy to each other.

The Obsidian Trials provide a unique opportunity for Anaya to earn the support of the Panther Tribe, but not all demons are willing to align their fate with a human priestess… unless she can prove she’s worthy of their trust.

The stakes are higher than ever. Anaya and Samael must stand strong, bring the Trials to a successful end, and prove themselves to the Demonic Council. All the while, they cling to a frail hope that their efforts have not been in vain.

With time fading and treachery lurking at every corner, prophecies unravel, and the lines between enemy and ally blur as never before. Priesthood, demons, and humans alike must trust one another or they will fail. Centuries of prejudice and strife are not so easy to set aside.

In a time when the Light needs the Darkness like never before, can humans and demons bridge the divide between them?

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Romance Reads for Charity Sale

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