Tag Archives: Ya Fantasy

My Favorite Part of Common by Laurie Lucking

Well, okay, let’s be honest here: I can’t tell you my favorite favorite part, because it’s at the end, and I don’t do spoilers.

(It’s sooooo good, you guys.)

But my second favorite part is near the beginning of the book, when Rafe, or Prince Raphael, and Leah are beginning to realize their feelings for each other.

You see, Leah is about to reach her Maturity–her sixteenth birthday–and Rafe makes it unforgettable by giving her a special present…well, why don’t I just show you? ;)

An excerpt from Common by Laurie Lucking:

My breath caught when I spied the glimmer of a candle in the window of Rafe’s chambers that evening. Though I’d tried to tell myself a servant’s birthday was of no consequence to a prince, I couldn’t help wishing he might remember. I struggled to keep my steps measured as I made my way to our closet. Did Rafe have something planned?
I pulled open the door.
Rafe jumped to his feet and produced a small box from his pocket. Approaching where I stood just inside the door, he presented it to me with a gallant bow. “I’ve been waiting all day to see you. Happy birthday.”
Gooseflesh crawled up my arms, and my pulse quickened. This was just the warm reception I’d hoped for, but now the reality of accepting a gift from Rafe made me want to turn and escape back down the hall. “You’re sweet, but this really isn’t necessary.”
He took a step closer. “Of course it is. Even if it’s only marked by your mother and myself, I think your reaching your Maturity is of the highest importance.”
My fingertips brushed his as I took the box from his hand. The brief touch produced a rush of warmth in my cheeks. Keeping my head down, I gently lifted the lid. The sight of an emerald pendant strung on a delicate silver chain propelled a rush of air from my lungs.
“Rafe! I…” I gulped. If anything, I’d expected a pastry or ribbon. Nothing like this. Few of the courtiers around the palace possessed a jewel so exquisite, and he was giving it to me? “I’m not sure I can accept this.”
His mouth fell open. “What’s the matter? You don’t like it?”
How could I explain my reservations without hurting his feelings? “It’s beautiful. Stunning. But it’s too much.”
A trace of his smile returned. “When I saw it in the marketplace last week, it reminded me so strongly of the color of your eyes, I knew you had to have it.”
That Rafe had been thinking of me in the middle of the marketplace—reflecting on my eyes, no less—sent a new surge of heat into my face. “But you must’ve had to barter something substantial for it.”
“I’m the prince, remember?” He leaned on the wall next to him, propped up by his hand. “I’m not required to barter.”
I backed against the door. “You mean you took this from the vendor without giving him anything in exchange?”
Rafe’s brows knit. “That’s always how it’s done in the royal family. We provide food, shelter, and protection for our citizens, and in turn, they offer their services without expecting any additional reward.”
Though it didn’t seem right, it should’ve come as no surprise. The queen never offered anything for Ma’s work on her gowns. “But even if it didn’t cost you anything…when would I wear it? None of the other maids own anything half as fine.”
“I guess I hadn’t thought of that.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “But still, you must keep it. Surely someday an opportunity will arise for you to wear it. In the meantime, you can hide it here and simply enjoy viewing it once in a while.”
He knew me too well. In spite of my protests, I was having trouble tearing my gaze away from the rich emerald as its various facets caught the moonlight. I steeled myself to argue further.
He put out a hand to stop me. “It’s yours. I’ll make it an official order if I have to. I can’t return it without causing the jeweler offense, and what would I do with a necklace? If it makes you feel better, I promise I’ll recommend him to every noblewoman in the kingdom so that his business ought to thrive. Please, just accept it. As a token of my friendship.”
I shook my head, my smile refusing to hide. “Thank you, Rafe. You will be happy to know this is the most momentous birthday I’ve ever had.”
His deep gray eyes brightened with pleasure. “Good, that’s exactly what I was hoping for. And you’re welcome.”
I crossed the room to sit on one of the barrels, still clutching the open box.
Rafe took a seat on an adjoining barrel. “Even if you won’t be able to wear it out there anytime soon, would you like to try it on?”
“I would, but…” Embarrassment clenched my stomach. “I don’t even know how to unfasten the clasp.”
He chuckled, taking the box from my hands. “Who would’ve guessed I’d end up teaching a young lady about jewelry?” He lifted the pendant off its small satin pillow, letting it dangle as he took the clasp between each thumb and index finger. “Here, it’s really quite simple.”
My mind still reeled from the enormity of the gift, making it impossible to concentrate as he demonstrated the workings of the catch mechanism.
He paused and held the ends apart. “Now turn around and lift your hair.”
I obeyed, holding my breath as he brought the pendant to lie at the base of my throat. His warm fingers grazed my neck as he secured the clasp, sending a tingle through my shoulders. Thank the new moon he couldn’t read my expression.
Rafe cleared his throat. “There.”
I lowered my braid to rest on my back once more and turned toward him. Reluctant to meet his eye, I glanced down at the gleaming jewel that produced such a stark contrast to the patched, faded bodice of my dress.
His gaze flitted to the pendant before returning to my face. “Perfect.”

{Get your own copy of Common right here!}

Happy sigh.

Isn’t that incredible?

And the best part?

Author Laurie Lucking is giving away an emerald necklace at her Facebook Launch party tonight, in honor of this breathtaking scene from her book!

Anyone is welcome to come (in fact, you can RSVP right here), and anyone in the U.S. can enter to win this beauty by showing up and commenting on the post.

Will I see you there?

And just because I love you, here are a few sneak peeks of other giveaways this evening.

See you in just a few hours!

In Him,


Want to know more about Common or perhaps order your own copy?

Check out the book description and order here!

Want to learn more behind-the-scenes facts about Common?

Check out the rest of the blog tour here!

And do not miss the Facebook Release Party tonight! It will be awesome!

About the Author:

An avid reader since birth (her parents claim she often kept them up late begging to hear just one more story), Laurie Lucking discovered her passion for writing after leaving her career as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom. She writes young adult fantasy with a strong thread of romance, and her debut novel, Common, releases in 2018 from Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing. Laurie is the secretary of her local ACFW chapter and a co-founder of www.landsuncharted.com, a blog for fans of clean young adult speculative fiction. A Midwestern girl through and through, she currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and two young sons. Find out more about Laurie and her writing by visiting www.laurielucking.com.

A Celebration of The Final Paladin

I am so excited to be chatting about this book today.

But first, let’s get the most important order of business out of the way.

Tonight, on Facebook, there is this party. The party. You should be there.

Not only did I just get 28 giveaways ready to be mailed in preparation, I happen to know there are quite a few more. (I’ve been working on it for ages; I should know.) ;)

And get this: The author is giving away a Mac Mini. A Mac Mini! Wow!!!

So, um, you should be there. Really.

Here is the link to join me tonight. (Or just click on the picture below.) RSVP away! I’ll wait.

Did you do it? Will I see you there! Yay! :)

Okay, so let’s talk more about this book we’re celebrating.

From the back cover:

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

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

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

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

Um, wow! Good, right? Even better than good? I thought so!

This books takes a plethora of myths and legends and fairy tales and tangles them all together into this mass of literary goodness.

I was captivated from the first page, and I’m certain you will be as well.

So join me tonight to celebrate! And tell me what you think of the book.

See you there!

In Him,


P.S. Before I go, let me introduce you to the author of this incredible book.

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

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

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

You can buy his new release right here! :)

Five Reasons Why I Love Linneah: An Editor’s Perspective

I can’t even tell you how excited I am to be a part of J.M. Hackman’s blog tour for her new release, Spark!

(And I must say, it’s such fun to put down the pen of being an editor and simply bask in reading a story I love! It’s so good, you guys. So good.)

When Spark first crossed my desk, I knew we had to publish that book. It was incredible. Vivid characters, beautiful imagery, a fun and light read…Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing needed that book in our line-up.

And I was never so thrilled when J.M. Hackman agreed!

Then came the months of editing, working with formatters and cover designers, marketers and publicists.

And then we had a finished product. And I got to sit back and simply enjoy the story.

Brenna is just a normal teen. Going to school, hanging out with friends, shooting fire from her bare hands…um, what? When her mother disappears, Brenna will do anything to find her. Even travel through a portal. But life on the other side involves intimidating griffins, cryptic prophecies, and elusive enemies. Brenna must choose wisely whom to trust or lose everything.

I love it so much! And here’s why.

Five Reasons Why I Love Linneah

  • Because starting fire with your bare hands (without getting burned) or pulling down a tornado from a cloud above is considered perfectly normal

I mean, Come. On. How cool is that? I’m ready to jump through a portal right now! (Okay, okay, I’m not exactly Linnean, which apparently I’d need to be in order to have those powers, but still.)

  • Because bonding with a griffin is now a new life goal of mine

They fly, they communicate without saying a word, and they’re handy in combat. I definitely want one of these on my side!

  • Because portals

I really don’t think anything else needs to be said here…

  • Because as terrifying as the Silvastamen forest is, it’s still freaking cool

Blade pines, Dragon Demons, Blood Spinners–on second thought, maybe I’ll just stay at the castle…

  • Because I’d get to meet Anna the shapeshifter

She’s wicked awesome, her slang is endearing, and she has a heart of gold. Plus, getting to see her change into wind? Where is this portal again?

From Spark:

Talus stepped forward, but I held up a hand. “Please don’t ask me who I think I am. I’m Brenna the Firebrand, fulfiller of the First Prophecy.” I drew a deep breath, praying for oxygen mixed with courage. “For better or for worse.”

There are so many more reasons why I love this story, but I need to go get ready for the Facebook Launch Party now.

I’ve got ebook codes to send, prizes to mail, and posts to get ready to go. So much fun!

But before I go, be sure to check out yesterday’s blog post, a lovely review of Spark by The Story Sanctuary.

Tomorrow’s post will be a behind-the-scenes peek on www.KatHeckenbach.com about Spark’s magical world.

And you can get your very own copy here! (I hear the ebook is $2.99 instead of $4.99 for this week only!)

And do not miss the Facebook Launch Party today! So many prizes, so much fun–I cannot wait.

Click this link to come to the party!

(Psst. Below is a sneak peek of one of the giveaways. Also a book I adore! There are many, many more prizes!)

See you there!

In Him,


About the author:

J.M. Hackman has held many positions: assistant librarian, office assistant, office manager, substitute teacher, writer, wife, and mother. She still holds the last three. And loves it. She received a degree in Elementary Education from Pennsylvania State University and now spends her days writing stories, consuming massive quantities of chocolate, and looking for portals to other worlds. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, or at www.JMHackman.com.

Spark’s Gorgeous Cover!

Hurray! I’m so excited I get to be a part of J.M. Hackman’s cover reveal for Spark!

This is the first book in the Firebrand Chronicles, a series that follows Brenna James, a normal teen who discovers she can shoot fire from her bare hands. And freaks out just the teeniest tiniest bit.

(I mean, come on. Wouldn’t you?)

It’s so good!

Here is the back cover copy:

Brenna James wants three things for her sixteenth birthday: to find her history notes before the test, to have her mother return from her business trip, and to stop creating fire with her bare hands.

Yeah, that’s so not happening. Unfortunately.

When Brenna learns her mother is missing in an alternate reality called Linneah, she travels through a portal to find her. Against her will. Who knew portals even existed? But Brenna’s arrival in Linneah begins the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy, including a royal murder and the theft of Linneah’s most powerful relic: the Sacred Veil.

Hold up. Can everything just slow down for a sec?

Unwilling yet left with no other choice, Brenna and her new friend Baldwin (Um, hello, Hottie!) pursue the thief into the dangerous woods of Silvastamen and beyond. Exactly what Brenna wanted to do for her sixteenth birthday. Exactly. When they spy an army marching toward Linneah, Brenna is horrified. Can she find the veil, save her mother, and warn Linneah in time?

And more importantly, why on earth doesn’t this alternity have Belgian waffles?

And just to drag out this sweet torture just a smidgeon more, here is a little about the author herself. (Are you dying to see the cover? I’m dying to show it to you! But seriously, you’ve got to get to know J.M. Hackman first.)

J.M. Hackman has held many positions: assistant librarian, office assistant, office manager, substitute teacher, writer, wife, and mother. She still holds the last three. And loves it. She received a degree in Elementary Education from Pennsylvania State University and now spends her days writing stories, consuming massive quantities of chocolate, and looking for portals to other worlds. You can find her at www.JMHackman.com.

And now for the main event.




It’s coming.




I promise.




Are you as excited as I am? Squeal!





Take a deep breath. Stare at it some more. Maybe drool a little…

In. Love.

Sara Helwe from Sara Helwe Digital Arts creates magic with her art and with her covers!

This incredible book releases May 16th, and the preorder link will be available soon. (Check out www.L2L2Publishing.com to stay updated on all that jazz.)

Hip, hip, hurray!

In Him,


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