Know the Novel Blog Link-Up

My dear blogging friend, Christine, is starting up a new writing-related blog linkup!!! So of COURSE I had to participate! If I’m writing a blog post ABOUT my WIP, that counts as working on my WIP… right?

Like Beautiful Books, this will be a 3-part linkup series, one for each of these last three months of the year. Each one will feature ten questions you can answer on your own blog (or anywhere else on social media if you’d like!). The questions will be focusing on different parts of the novel/your writing.

1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?

The first idea for this story came way back in 2005, and it actually wasn’t my idea at all. Derek had this idea for a world and a set of characters and he set about creating an origin story for the world, as well as drawing a map. I was teaching full-time, and the dream of publishing my first series was still this somewhat nebulous thing. I had released my first book already (The Dragon’s Eye – which I retitled King’s Warrior and republished 7 years later), and wasn’t entirely certain I was ever going to write anything beyond that first series.

But Derek kept offering me this world he’d built. I kept resisting the idea, worried that if I wrote it differently than he’d pictured it, it would hurt his feelings, or that he would want to change things I’d written (I wasn’t super good at taking criticism or edits back then!) Finally, he assured me that he had no desire to write the story himself, and that I could change whatever I wanted.

Quite a few of the characters he created remain in the story – though their backstory has changed and morphed quite a bit from that original idea. The world map has stayed pretty much the same, as well. And Grayden has not changed, either!

2. Share a blurb!

I don’t have a blurb for the 4th book yet (which is the one I’m working on), but here’s the blurb for book 1: The Orb and the Airship:

The life of an airship pirate is harder than it looks… 

Especially when a member of your crew decides to stab you in the back. Marik just wanted a simple job. Sure, piracy may be a life of glory and riches, but it’s also a life of complications. So when he is hired to steal a lightly defended airship, it seems like a great opportunity to make some easy money.

Or, you know, a trap of some sort.

3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?

The story takes place in the world of Turrim on the largest continent in the world. This continent consists of seven different countries. Each country is quite distinct from the others, the people groups and cultures in each country are distinct and unique from one another, as well.

On one side of the world is the Igyeum: three countries ruled by a tyrannical warlord. He rules by fear and strength, and is planning his conquest of the countries that are not already under his rule.

On the other side of the world is Telmondir: three countries which have formed an alliance and disbanded their monarchies in favor of a Council with leaders from each country working together to represent their people. While the countries are still separate, they share and trade with one another and they are building one military, because they fear the warlord and his army.

In the center of the world is the great forest… a country devoid of any population. Strange things have happened within the forest, and few who have ventured inside have ever come out again.

My favorite thing about this world is how varied it is. The settings are very different from those of Minstrel’s Song, and many different cultures from our own world have been researched and woven into the settings in this world and story to give it a richer, deeper feel. I’m very excited to introduce readers to this realm!

4. Tell us about your protagonist.

Marik is an airship pirate.

Do I need to say more?

Okay, I’ll give you a bit more, but I don’t want to spoil anything. Marik’s past is a bit murky to his crew, but they trust him implicitly. He’s always led them true and taken care of them, bringing them into the crew from their various pasts and sheltering them from their own ghosts, while never revealing his own. All they know is that he harbors a great bitterness towards the Igyeum, and that while his main goal is to provide the essentials for himself and his crew through piracy, a secondary objective of vengeance is always simmering beneath the surface of everything Marik does.

(I have quite a few other protagonists, but we’ll just stick with Marik for now)

5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?

The main antagonist is the man who is the true power behind the Igyeum warlord. Though he has worked in the shadows and kept his true nature and powers secret, his time behind the veil is quickly drawing to a close.

(I have other antagonists, as well… but it’s hard to talk about them without spoilers)

6. What excites you the most about this novel?

Just writing it has been a blast. I think what excites me the most is just how vastly different it is from Minstrel’s Song. (Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Minstrel’s Song and always will!) But it’s always been one of my goals as an author to be like a Timothy Zahn or a Stephen R. Lawhead… an author capable of writing multiple, distinct series that aren’t linked together in any way, and Turrim Archive is just another step on that journey I’ve set for myself. I’m quite pleased it’s turning out so well. I hope readers enjoy it for its differences! (And I hope they notice and appreciate the little similarities, as well)!

7. Is this going to be a series? Standalone? Something else?

Turrim Archive is slated to be a 5-book series.

8. Are you plotting? Pantsing? Plansting?

I’m a pretty steadfast Plantser. This story is getting plotted quite a bit, but I always like to leave room for the characters to roam about freely and change direction on me if they need to. The unexpected is what makes the writing journey fun, and I would hate to ever lose that element of the process.

9. Name a few things that makes this story unique.

Airship pirates + automatons + wizards + high fantasy elements + genetic manipulation

10. Share a fun “extra” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!).

Here is the original map that started this entire endeavor!

Aelon Ere

The shape of the map has not changed since its initial creation, but I’ve filled in a lot of the details. The names on the map are NOT the names of the seven countries… they are names of the people who founded each of those countries. I can’t say more because: spoilers!

I also recently created my very first character-aesthetic board! (They’re all the rage, right now, so I figured I should try it out) – I present to you: MARIK!

Marik Aesthetic

I know I focused on Marik in this post… but two of my other extremely important characters are Grayden and Wynn. I thought I’d finish up by sharing a snippet of one of their conversations for you to enjoy….

1Line Wed - Found

~ jenelle

Interview With a Cat-Dragon

Faithless Blog Tour Banner

Today, I am pleased to have the great privilege of participating in a blog tour — hosted by Laura A. Grace of Unicorn Quester and Uncommon Universes Press — for Janeen Ippolito’s new release, FAITHLESS: Book 2 of the Ironfire Legacy. In a moment, I will be interviewing a snarky cat-dragon, whom I recently met in a delightful short story that is part of the Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales anthology that came out yesterday and is a cross-over story to the world of the Ironfire Legacy books.

But first, a bit about this release:

FaithlessCoverSmall One wild night, Shance Windkeeper discovers he’s married to a death unicorn.

But that’s the least of his troubles.

As an agent for the Lawless, Shance is working with dragonshifters Kesia Ironfire and Zephryn Nightstalker, trying to end the dragon-human war and the organization that masterminded it. While on a mission in the Scepter of Knowledge, the Lawless is hit with a devastating death unicorn attack.

Out of the wreckage new allies emerge: Lirome Ukerys, and his twin sister Maira, the death unicorn queen – Shance’s long-lost wife.

Recently freed from captivity, Maira is fighting to regain control of her herd. Lurien Alistil, a rogue death unicorn, has bespelled the Scepter of Knowledge and taken Maira’s son. When Kesia unexpectedly challenges Lurien to a public debate over the fate of the city, the Lawless has a chance to break the usurper’s hold. To obtain vital information they must infiltrate her lair – and as the husband of the death unicorn queen, Shance Windkeeper is the perfect prize to go in.

But Lurien’s power is stronger and more insidious than they realize. And if the final pieces of her plan fall into place, not even Shance’s newfound Talents and knowledge will be enough to stop her.

A steampunk fantasy adventure with much intrigue, unexpected romance, sudden tragedy, and a snarky cat-dragon.

Purchase your copy today and take advantage of these fabulous pre-order deals!

Ironfire Legacy Autographed Pre-Order Bundle

Priceless and Lawless Pre-Order Bundle

Purchase Faithless Online

AmazonBarnes & NobleKoboiBooksSigned Paperback

And don’t forget to add the book to your Goodreads Shelf!


My InterFiction badge blinks at me and I rush to finish pinning up my hair. I snatch a glance in the mirror as the world fades and hope I look the part. Victorian clothing and hairstyles can be bothersome, and I’m not sure I followed the Youtube tutorial on my hairstyle correctly, but it’s too late to fix it now.

When my surroundings solidify, I find myself standing outside the door of a small pub. I glance about, taking in my new location. Buildings of various heights rise up around me on either side of the paved street, making me nostalgic for the times when I visited England a few years ago in my own realm. Red-brick and panels of a creamy white wood — Pinwood, I remember the author telling me — cover the faces of the buildings. The colors create a striking view. There is a damp chill to the air, and I am suddenly glad of my multiple layers — in spite of the difficulty I had lacing up the corset under my high-collared blouse. A slight breeze ruffles my long skirt and carries a wafting scent of sea-salt. I inhale deeply. I like this world!

A terrible screeching sound yanks me out of my enjoyment of the moment and an electro-carriage whizzes by, so close to the curb I can feel the wind of it. I stumble backward and into the pub, my heart racing and adrenaline surging throughout my being.

“Ah, so you’ve finally arrived. Took you long enough.” A wry voice from a nearby table reaches my ears.

I glance at the speaker, then take a moment to compose myself before sitting down. The character I am here to interview would be hard to miss!

“Good afternoon,” I say, still a little breathless from my close encounter with the electro-carriage. “Freckles, I presume?”

The creature sniffs imperiously. “If I am to be published in this little journal of yours, I would prefer to go by my true name, Ademis.”

“Oh!” I flip open my notebook and cross out “Freckles” penning in this correction. “Forgive me, I wasn’t told.”

His tail flicks slightly. “Of course not. I couldn’t make the decision to trust you with my true name until I had met you.”

“Of course, of course.”

“You had some questions?” Ademis licks a paw.

“Um, yes.” I’m feeling a bit flustered and out of sorts, but I scan my notebook. “So, you’re a cat-dragon, which I can see quite well. But for my readers who cannot see you, can you describe what you look like for them?”

Ademis raises his head imperiously. “I am a marvelous compilation of cat and dragon, with orange fur, golden scales sprinkled in, a golden scaled tail with a pointy end, and very sharp teeth. Oh, and I have glorious wings.  But, occasionally, I can shift into a skin form and appear just like you humans, more or less. And I look equally good in that form. It lets me get into different places and protect my person. But I only use it about 15% of the time, because it simply is inferior to my cat-dragon form.

Although I am always a cat-dragon, no matter the form.”

“And a marvelous specimen of cat-dragon you are, to be sure,” I assure him, starting to get my feet under me again. “Are cat-dragons a naturally occurring species in your world, or are you unique?”

Ademis sighs. “I am the only one there ever is and ever shall be. I was created in a laboratory by terrible scientists, and when I was but a kitten-dragon, they ensured I would never be able to procreate. And they never made another cat-dragon. Apparently I was far too incorrigible. Beastly humans.”

I resist the urge to reach across the table and pet him. Instead, I ask my next question: “What sorts of abilities do you have as a cat-dragon?”

Ademis cocks his head to one side, considering me. “I can fly, I can breathe fire from my mouth, and I can dazzle others with my magnificent visage. My purr is very useful in calming others.”

I stifle my grin at his mention of his “magnificent visage,” and turn the conversation to the larger matters of his world. “I understand that your world in a bit of turmoil right now, including a dragon-human war and Death Unicorns? Can you tell us a little bit about your role in all of that?”

If a cat-dragon could roll his eyes, this one would. “Oh, all those people and their wars. Stupid people trying to experiment on others. All of it is so bothersome. But I do play a key role, because I had the great insight to adopt the death unicorn queen when she was but a child. Maira Ukerys. She’s my death unicorn, and I try to make sure she stays alive. Even though she says I can’t call her a child now that she’s eighty years old. Death unicorns live quite a bit longer, you know. And the dear girl is wrong. But regardless, she is trying to stop the evil actions of rogue death unicorns, and I will be by her side to make sure she survives the process. As for the rest of the war? Meh.” His wings flutter a bit in the equivalent of a shrug.

“Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. One final question… if you could talk to your author and get her to change one thing about your story, what would it be and why?”

He takes his time considering the question. “

I would rather like not being the only cat-dragon. But that’s impossible for many reasons. The dragonshifter Kesia Ironfire can shift into a form similar to mine, because she can shift into all animal forms. But she is still a dragon. It isn’t the same. And anyway, she’s awful about teasing me. Doesn’t respect me as she should for a cat-dragon of my years.

But sometimes, I do feel alone.

And then I go and destroy something mechanical and hunt some rodents. And then life is better.”

“Ah,” I nod. “I see. That makes sense. Well, thank you again.” My badge begins to glow and Ademis’ eyes latch onto it with a focused curiosity that makes me nervous. I can’t imagine what he would do if he could travel between the realms… I excuse myself and beat a hasty retreat back out onto the street, catching a final glimpse of the majestic city before it fades from view and I return to my own reality.

About the Author

Janeen IppolitoJaneen Ippolito believes words transform worlds. She creates writing resources and writes steampunk fantasy. She’s also an experienced teacher, editor, author coach, and the editor in chief of Uncommon Universes Press. In her spare time, she enjoys sword-fighting, reading, food, and making brownie batter. Two of her goals are eating fried tarantulas and traveling to Antarctica. This extroverted writer loves getting connected, so find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and at her website:

Follow Janeen Ippolito to find out more about her books and upcoming releases:

Website— FacebookTwitter— Instagram

But wait! The fun doesn’t end with the blog tour! You are invited to attend a FACEBOOK PARTY to celebrate the launch of Faithless!

Celebrate the launch of Faithless: The Ironfire Legacy Book 2 with featured author Janeen Ippolito and guest authors Angelique Anderson and R.J. Metcalf! Get your fill of steampunk, dragons, adventures, and more (re: death unicorns and a cat-dragon) with this fun-filled evening that includes giveaways, games, and an exclusive reveal or two. 

~ jenelle

Adventures and Episodes of September

Adventures& Episodes

September flew by in rather a blur here… anyone else? Lately, I seem to be in a constant state of wondering where all the time went. And yet, there are many days when I’m not sure I’m gonna make it to supper-time… “the days are long but the years are short.” Who said that? Hmmm, I was feeling like perhaps I was too lazy to look it up, but then I thought, “Hey, if I had said it or written it, I’d want people to attribute it… and I should probably set a good example or something,” so I looked it up, and I’m glad I did… because it turns out she’s a fellow author named Gretchen Rubin. I’ve never read her book, and it sounds very self-helpy… which is pretty much my least favorite kind… but this quote is very true. The days ARE long… sometimes VERY long. But the rest of time flies past at an alarming rate!

Anyway, September…. ah September! One of my favorite months. It heralds the end of summer and the beginning of my favorite season, Autumn.

Autumn Poem

But on with the adventures and episodes!


This was a month in which a lot of life-things happened. We started a new school year! So far, things are trucking along pretty well. We have stayed on top of the school work, in spite of choir and art being a lot longer of a time commitment this year, and I’m counting it as a colossal win that we’re five weeks into the school year and we’re not behind schedule on anything yet!

All the other things that start up in September are now underway: Sunday School, our church’s new mid-week children’s program (using The Gospel Project curriculum… so far, I quite like it), the girls have choir and art classes, L is doing archery club again and loving it!

The house project continues marching on. Looks like we’ll be taking over the finishing aspects of the project very soon – so that’s about to take over our lives completely! No move-in date yet, but we are excited that everything seems to be moving forward well so far. We have electricity now, so that’s been the super exciting thing, meaning that we won’t have to be out there painting and laying tile while attempting not to freeze to death!

Brant turned FOUR! What even? How did that happen?

We had a fun, family birthday with him. Everything was PJ Masks-themed, because that’s his favorite thing right now. Derek made a Cat-Boy cake, and Brant was so excited about it! (I posted pictures on my Instagram of the process and finished product: @JenelleLSchmidt)

I got to go to a Gordon Lightfoot concert on Sept. 30th!!!!! My friends, I don’t even know how to express how excited I was about that! Yes, Gordon Lightfoot is turning 80 this year. No, his voice is not the beautiful baritone it once was. But still… I got to see Gordon Lightfoot LIVE IN CONCERT!!!! And while his voice has lost a little of its vigor, his music is as beautiful as ever, and his lyrics are the same, gorgeous, poetic, picture-painting lyrics they’ve always been. I even have a couple of new songs to look up that I was unaware of!!!

Gordon Lightfoot is one of my all-time favorite singer/songwriters, and his music has influenced my own writing so much. His vivid imagery, his sweeping ballads, the way he strings words together all had a part in the crafting and honing of my own writing style. Without his music, I wouldn’t be the writer I am today. Getting to see him in person was a big item checked off my “bucket list.”

So epic!

Beyond that, more specifically, without his song “The Minstrel of the Dawn,” Kiernan Kane would not exist… think about that for a minute.

I have a vivid memory of sitting at my computer that summer when I was writing the rough draft of King’s Warrior. I had the radio turned on, and suddenly “Minstrel of the Dawn” started playing. I kinda closed my eyes, leaned back in my chair, and listened to it, singing along. When the song ended, the lyrics kept swirling around in my mind. As I looked at my computer screen, I suddenly had the thought, “This story needs a minstrel. Someone kind of gangly and awkward… but with the ghosts of all the stories he’s ever told hiding behind his eyes. He may not seem like much at first, but he’s going to be important.” And that was when Yole and Kamarie got split up in the woods, and Kiernan Kane was born.

And at the concert… he played “Minstrel of the Dawn”!!!!

He was playing a song I hadn’t recognized, but was really enjoying, called “Painter Passing Through” (I had to look it up later to catch all the lyrics, and it’s a new favorite). As he finished it up, I thought to myself, “Wow! Minstrel of the Dawn would be a PERFECT song to follow that one with.” And I kind of whispered under my breath, “Please play Minstrel.”

The next chord he strummed was achingly familiar, and he began singing “The Minstrel of the Dawn is here to make you laugh and bend your ear…”

Well, I just about jumped out of my seat, I was so excited!!!!

Nothing could have made it a more perfect evening.

Well, I suppose he could have played “Canadian Railroad Trilogy” and “Pony Man” instead of Sundown and Baby Step Back… but whatevs. It was near-perfect.

What’s more, in a poetically sweet full-circle… there is a song in my book, Minstrel’s Call. My sister, Brittany Jean, wrote music to it and is currently in Nashville, TN recording that song as part of her next album!!! Inspiration from a beautiful song, which inspired a book, which resulted in a poem, that has now become a beautiful song of its own…. it makes me smile just thinking about it.

He didn’t sing “Too Late for Prayin” at the concert, but it’s a recent favorite I’ve discovered thanks to my sister telling me about it. Such a beautiful song.


I finished reading He Whistles for the Cricket with my kids and husband. First time through the book for them, nth time through for me. Still gets me choked up in practically every chapter. Love that book so much. It’s an especially great read for Autumn, and as we head into the Christmas season. (It’s also perma-free on amazon, nook, kobo, and iTunes… and the paperbacks are under $5… if you’re looking for a beautiful, heartwarming, “curl up with a blanket and a mug of something hot to drink” book, I cannot recommend this one highly enough!

I also read Spicebringer by H.L. Burke and was absolutely blown away! I’ve read five other books by this author, and really liked all of them, but this is definitely my favorite. The depth of the characters’ arcs, the high stakes, the adventure, the fantasy elements, and the sweet romance is all simply beautifully woven together. I intend to do a full review soon, but don’t wait for that! I highly recommend this one.

For school we are revisiting some books we read about three years ago. The School Story by Andrew Clements – which was just as wonderful the second time through, and made me cry a lot, and Red Sails to Capri by Ann Weil, which is a fun read as well.

We also read The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman – a favorite of mine from when I was in grade school. It was fun to introduce the kids to it, and it’s a fun one to read aloud, as there are tons of opportunities to do different voices!

We’re also working our way through the Little House on the Prairie books and nearly finished On the Banks of Plum Creek. Just a couple more chapters left in that one.


We finished Star Trek: TNG with the kids, and decided to springboard right into Star Trek: Voyager. Voyager was my first Star Trek, which I didn’t watch until the first year Derek and I were married, so while I enjoy TNG, Voyager is bringing back ALL the nostalgia and “feelz” and it’s awesome. Leiana is hilarious, because she’s pretty bothered by the fact that it’s not the same characters as TNG, and she fiercely maintains that while she thinks Jayneway is “ok” “Captain Picard is BETTER!” Nathalie, on the other hand, appears to enjoy Voyager more.

We’ve also been watching Road to Avonlea season 2, which I got for Christmas, and has been super fun.

Continuing to work our way through the Little House on the Prairie seasons with the kids.

Let’s see, we blitzed through the newest season of Blue Bloods and enjoyed that immensely, as always.

Derek and I also watched the new Amazon Prime show “Jack Ryan” and found it to be extremely good. It is NOT clean, there is a lot of swearing – including frequent use of the “F” word (especially in the first episode). There are several “scenes” that involve nudity and one attempted assault. So this is NOT kid-friendly. However, in spite of that, the show itself is well-written and if you are older and can handle those kinds of mature themes, I would actually recommend it. There were a lot of great discussions Derek and I had around it, and while he is a big fan of the Tom Clancy books and was a little perturbed by a couple of inconsistencies the show took with certain characters, he thought it was a pretty good show “based on” the character of Jack Ryan.

Derek and I started watching Peter Capaldi’s last season of Doctor Who… but we don’t like the new companion, and the show has been so over the top with its agenda that we haven’t gotten very far. I do want to see how Capaldi ends his role as the Doctor… but I’m not sure we’re going to make it. I think… though I’m sad to say it… I think I’m done with Doctor Who. I loved Doctors 10, 11, and 9 (in that order) and really enjoyed the first season of 12, but this series is really annoying and not very good in the “story writing” realm.

Lately, when we’ve had a chance to watch anything, we’ve been opting for reruns of Psych over watching the unwatched episodes of Doctor Who. Which in one sense isn’t saying much, because Psych is hysterical and great for just chilling with and we love it. But on the other hand, we’re choosing a show we’ve already watched all the way through new episodes we haven’t seen of a show we used to love, and that’s saying a lot.


Writing counts have been abysmal, if I’m honest. I wrote a grand total of 7,060 words on Turrim Archive book #4 in the month of September.

However, I also wrote 6,293 words in my September blog posts, so I guess that’s where all my creative-writing brain power went.

Which leads me to…


The Silmaril Awards came around for the third year in a row and was a huge success once again. The day that nominations opened was my second-highest number of views in a single day (only missing breaking my record by 34 views!) I was a little concerned that September might be a little too busy of a month and that the Silmaril Awards would suffer, but it was a fantastic turnout. The nominations poured in and we had over 200 votes on the form, which was almost a 50% increase from the previous two years. So thank you, dear Reader, for making this the most successful Silmaril Awards so far! Can’t wait to see what next year holds!

Future Plans

I would like to get Turrim 4 to 30,000 words by the end of October. I believe this is doable, if I can break through the writer’s block that’s been clouding my brain lately. The other night, I finally figured out a way past it, so I’m excited to get going on that again.

We have a family reunion in a couple of weeks, which I’m THRILLED about. It’s been far too long.

Other than that, it’s just working on the house and enjoying each new day the Lord blesses us with.

How about you, dear Reader? Any special memories from September you’d like to share? Anything in October you’re looking forward to? I’d love to hear from you!

~ jenelle

Ink Blotted Beka Blog Tour

INk blotted beka

“A wizard is never late, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.”

Sadly, I am not a wizard. At least, not this time. I was supposed to be a part of this blog tour for my friend, Beka, on Tuesday… but guess who totally dropped the ball? Or rather, forgot there even was a ball!  Yep. Got it in one.

However, she has graciously allowed me to post today instead, and I am so pleased she did because, as you will see, this lady’s artwork is just incredible!

I had the privilege of meeting Beka last summer, I think it was, and she is such a delight. She also holds the distinction of being the first person ever to draw fan art for one of my stories, which I got permission to share with you, in addition to some of these other images from her portfolio!

Beka hails from the Great White North (aka Canada), where she reads, dreams, and doodles away. She loves bringing characters from the written page to the visual eye, and dabbles in pencil and coloured pencil and the occasional watercolor. Her dream is to one day get into digital art and save some trees.

And the most exciting part of this news is that she is NOW OPEN FOR COMMISSIONS! 

$10/character black and white
$15/character full-color

You can contact Beka for commission through her FB page: Facebook

See more of Beka’s artwork on her Instagram

Here are a few samples of her artwork:

Mother, Father, Child

Mother, Father, Child

I love the tenderness in this piece.


Bellenya, Ritter, Karyna, and Barend – Stone Curse

Karyna from Stone Curse

Karyna from Stone Curse

"You were never a beast." ~ Stone Curse

“You were never a beast.” ~ Stone Curse

I absolutely adore the way she captured the characters of Stone Curse!

The Mirror

The Mirror

And I love the intricacy of this one!

Beka is giving away a free character drawing! So make sure you enter that!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

~ jenelle