A Day in the Life of Ralene Burke

I am so excited to have Ralene Burke with me today! Author of Bellanok: The Reluctant Savior, Ralene is a powerhouse, helping organize Realm Makers, volunteering at ACFW’s national conference, and leading her state chapter of ACFW.

How does she manage it all? I’m so glad you asked!

Here is a peek into a day in the life of Ralene Burke:

I’m an author. I’m also an editor and a social media manager. I also homeschool my three kids. And volunteer. And on rare occasions when there’s a blood moon, I enjoy reading or cooking or cuddling with my husband.

People often ask me how I do it all. I have a confession to make. I don’t. Ever.

Now, that’s not to say things don’t ever get done. Obviously, since I managed to self-publish an entire fantasy serial and then turn it into a whole book. And my kids can read. And do math. Most of the time.

I am one of those people who totally believes there’s no such thing as balance, something always falls to the wayside. But there is such thing as good time management when you make use of priorities.

I typically get up about 6:00 in the morning. I’ve tried to get up earlier than that in the past, but my body just refuses to believe that life can be sustained before 6:00. I try to kick off each day with some Bible study and quiet time. This often gives my mind time to wake up and focus, plus lets me fill my cup, so to speak. The days always seem to be easier if I start by giving it to God.

Then the family starts waking up, and we all get around to breakfast and morning chores.

School starts around 8:30. From then until about 3:00 p.m., it’s a mix of cleaning and school. We do a lot of reading and projects together. My kids have individualized programs for reading, spelling, and math; but the rest we do together. On different days, we also have homeschool co-op, therapy, gymnastics, and Tae Kwon Do.

If all goes well and we’re done by 3:00, then I have time to do some writing before dinner. I feel so much better when I get to write during this time, instead of feeling crunched later.

Dinner is often a family affair, including the making of and the cleaning up afterward. We can be so hurried throughout the day, whether to our various activities or just in homeschooling, it’s nice to sit down and catch up.

After dinner, I’m off to work. Granted “going to work” means my little office two feet from the kitchen, a room without a door. But still, it’s all mine. On good nights, I hide out in there until 10:00 at night. But sometimes I’m tired and it only lasts till 8:30 or 9:00. Here, I often jump between freelance editing and social media work. Then if there’s time, I add some words to my own WIP.

Then it’s reading time! I put on my PJs (assuming I changed out of them in the first place), snuggle up under the covers, and pull out a good book (okay, sometimes it’s a TV show instead). I try to keep my reading time to about 30 minutes with lights out around 11:00. Or 12:00. 1:00? Which is why 5:30 a.m. does not exist in my world.

Now, this is an ideal day. On any given day, I can wake up to any number of things that throws wrenches into my best laid plans. And I have to be okay with that. I have to be flexible and go with the flow, rearrange my expectations, adapt. In the end, I can only do my best and give the rest to God. He is the only one who is ever really in control.

On a side note, I am really excited about the release of Bellanok. This is the culmination of many years of work. You can find out more about Bellanok on my website, including the fabulous video Amy Brock McNew at Amaeris Designs Productions created, as well as the many amazing posts on the rest of this blog tour and my Rafflecopter giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much, Ralene!

Now, a little more about her delicious book, Bellanok.

A haven for myths and legends…until evil discovers a way in.

With evil darkening the mountains to the north, the fairy queen, Fauna, must journey from the island realm of Bellanok to the modern world to find the man the Creator appointed to save their kingdom. A man she has been dreaming of her whole life.

Brian is a down-on-his-luck pastor on the verge of giving up on God. He’s tired and frustrated–a failure. No sooner does he make a decision that jeopardizes his career than an unusual blonde woman shows up and tries to convince him he is some kind of savior.

Fauna must open Brian’s eyes to a different reality, and Brian needs to embrace the haven’s secrets. If neither of them succeeds, Bellanok will succumb to evil and the world will lose all trace of innocence.

Isn’t that cover beautiful? And I absolutely love the range of mythical creatures Ralene includes in her story world.

Check out the book trailer by Amaeris Designs Productions!

Isn’t that gorgeous?

Thank you so much for joining me today. I’m so excited about this new book!

In Him,

Michele

Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a freelance editor’s sword, or a social media wand, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to make it SHINE! She has worked for a variety of groups, including Realm Makers, The Christian PEN, Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and as an editor for several freelance clients. Her first novel, Bellanok, is available on Amazon!

When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time…

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, or her website.

Cover Reveal for Kill the Beast

Kill the Beast: Book One of the Beast Hunters

Ro remembers the castle before. Before the gates closed. Before silence overtook the kingdom. Before the castle disappeared. Now it shimmers to life one night a year, seen by her alone.

Once a lady, now a huntress, Ro does what it takes to survive—just like the rest of the kingdom plunged into despair never before known.

But a beast has overtaken the castle. A beast that killed the prince and holds the castle and kingdom captive in his cruel power. A beast Ro has been hired to kill.

Thankful the mystery of the prince’s disappearance has been solved, furious the magical creature has killed her hero, Ro eagerly accepts the job to end him.

But things are not as they seem.

Trapped in the castle, a prisoner alongside the beast, Ro wonders what she should fear most: the beast, the magic that holds them both captive, or the one who hired her to kill the beast.

A Beauty and the Beast retelling.

Isn’t that incredible? Ahh! I’m screaming over here!

I cannot wait until you are able to read my brand-new story.

Thank you so much for sharing this fantastic day with me!

In Him,

Michele

Michele Israel Harper is an addict. To books, to writing—if it includes ink and paper, she’s all over it. When she discovered she could write books instead of simply read them…well, let’s just say she’s rarely been seen outside of her office since. She adores leading her writers’ group, the Heartland Christian Writers, and has no idea what she would do without the American Christian Fiction Writers. Being voted treasurer for her local Indiana Chapter of ACFW just about sent her into a happy coma. Which, you know, she’s very much familiar with since that happens at the end of every good book she reads.

Author of Wisdom & Folly: Sisters, Zombie Takeover, and the soon-to-be-released Kill the Beast, Michele prays her involvement in writing, editing, and publishing will touch many lives in the years to come.

Scarlet Moon by S.D. Grimm

Oh, I love books. So much. And I am dying to read this book especially.

And isn’t that cover incredible? In. Love.

Today I have the lovely S.D. Grimm as my guest, telling us about her main character, Jayden, who stars in Scarlet Moon.

(By the way, there’s a giveaway for a signed copy of Scarlet Moon waaaaay down at the bottom of this post. So excited!)

Let’s get to it!

Hello, S.D. Grimm! I’m so pleased to have you on my blog today. Welcome!

Hey! S.D. Grimm here. I am really excited for this guest blog post today. Not only do I get to talk about my novel Scarlet Moon, but I also get to do something really fun, and that is talk about my main character: Jayden Jorah.

A little bit about Jayden’s appearance first.

Eyes: Blue

Hair: Medium brown with some red highlights.

Height: 5’ 3”

Distinguishing features: A birthmark that looks just like the moon only it’s blood red.

Now there is more than one main character in the Children of the Blood Moon series (of which Scarlet Moon is the first book), but Jayden’s story really takes the lead in this book for a number of reasons. I wanted a really awesome heroine, but I also wanted someone real. Someone relatable.

Jayden is those things. She has honest fears and doubts, and overcoming them is a big part of her story.

What Jayden likes most about herself: Her ability to spar with daggers and a sword and to throw knives. I’m not going to lie; she’s really good at it.

What she likes least about herself: Her emotional side. She’s an empath, and sometimes feeling all those emotions get in the way. Also, she has a big problem with fear. She fears stepping out of her comfort zone and leaving what she knows.

I have some questions for you about Jayden. What does she want to do with her life?

Become a wise woman and eventually a doctor.

What’s her biggest fear?

Moving away from her home and family and the things that she believes define her.

Who are the people she’s closest to?

Her brothers and her best friend/betrothed Ryan. She’s kind of a tomboy and doesn’t have that many close female friends.

I can relate! What is her deepest secret?

Children of the Blood Moon like Jayden have special talents and abilities given to them—they’re all marked by the Blood Moon birthmark. Jayden’s biggest secret is some of her talents. No one knows she can actually feel other people’s emotions and make them her own.

Has she ever been in love?

Well, she loves Ryan, her betrothed, but she’s not ready to marry him. Some of it is the fear of leaving her comfort zone—that includes her friendship with him. She’s not sure how much things will change when she moves from friend to wife. And she’s not sure she’s ready.

Tell us more fun facts about Jayden!

Favorite color: Green. Specifically the green the sky gets right before a storm.

Myers Briggs Personality Type: ISFJ

Theme song: “Shatter Me” by Lindsey Stirling

Hobbies: Sparring, horseback riding, cooking, and archery.

Favorite animal: Horse. She wears a necklace that used to be her mother’s, and the white, wooden charm is a horse.

I hope you have as much fun getting to know Jayden as I had writing her story!

Oh, most definitely! Thank you, S.D.! I have adored getting to know you and your character better!

In Him,

Michele

S. D. Grimm’s first love in writing is young adult speculative fiction. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency and her debut novel, Scarlet Moon, is slated to be published in October 2016. When she’s not writing or editing, Sarah enjoys reading (of course!), making clay dragons for her Grimmlies store on Etsy, practicing kickboxing and Brazilian jiu jitsu, training dogs, and doing anything outdoorsy with the family. Her office is anywhere she can curl up with her laptop and at least one large-sized dog.

Don’t forget to visit S.D. Grimm’s website, sign up for her newsletter, and enjoy her fun social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

And most definitely order Scarlet Moon on Amazon!

Oh, yes! And what you’ve been waiting for … enter the RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY for one signed copy of Scarlet Moon! (Can I enter? Can I?) I’m so excited about this book! (Giveaway starts today and ends November 2nd.)

Comment below and let me know if you entered!

Realm Makers, Gen Con, and ACFW, Oh My!

Let’s just say I’ve been busy. Extremely busy.

So busy, in fact, I’ve been sick for about three months straight.

I know! Not cool, right?

But the conferences, book signings, conventions, editing jobs, book releases, etc. etc. etc. have all been so wonderful, I couldn’t resist!

(And now I’m being forced by my body to slow it down and take care of me…then I’ll be off and running again!) :)

So now a little about my time at Realm Makers:

And Gen Con:

And ACFW:

Isn’t that incredible? Tosca Lee, Ted Dekker, and being able to dress up in a Star Trek uniform! (Though I would say meeting both authors was a tad more exciting than dressing up…) ;)

There’s more–so much more–and I will do my best to share a plethora of my favorite pictures I took from all three of these events at a later time.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. Have you read any incredible books lately?

I haven’t had time for personal reading lately, and I find I’m desperate for a few good recommendations.

What have you read and loved?

In Him,

Michele

Hodgepodge Cover Reveal

The second anthology by the Heartland Christian Writers is here! (Well, almost…the cover is here!) :)

This beauty releases in November of 2016, and I am so excited to be a part of this anthology.

But first! Back cover copy:

Hodgepodge: An Anthology by the Heartland Christian Writers

A collection of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and prose, this book is truly what the title suggests: a hodgepodge of literary delight.

Heartland Christian Writers began in 2006 when Janet Hommel Mangas decided to lead a Bible study for writers based upon Marlene Bagnull’s book, Write His Answer. Joyce Long agreed to co-lead after the study ended, and this writing group has been going strong ever since. A place of refuge for writers from all walks of life, the Heartland Christian Writers’ group embraces writers at any level who wish to learn more of their craft and advance their skill.

L2L2 Publishing is pleased to bring you this anthology.

Isn’t that wonderful?

I hope you love it–the cover and everything in between.

Until next time!

In Him,

Michele

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