#Blogmas | #FantasyForChristmas blog series concludes for a 3rd Year on Jorie Loves A Story!

Posted Saturday, 19 December, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

#blogmas badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

You might be familiar with my passion for FANTASY – considering I’m one of the co-creators and founders of @WyrdAndWonder – whilst my blog is heavily focused on Fantasy every May (for the past three years!) and how my socially bookish feeds on Twitter are equally passionate about focusing on Fantasy during #WyrdAndWonder as well. By co-hosting the event, I’ve had the chance to seek out new voices in Fantasy through Indie publishers and press as well as highlight some Self Published authors who are truly writing convicting stories which are an uplift of joy to be reading!

This year’s #WyrdAndWonder was quite special as I had the chance to interview several Independently  published Fantasy authors as I read a few of their stories, too! This year’s #FantasyForChristmas20 is my way of focusing on Fantasy as the year starts to wink out of sight and a New Year is rising on the horizon. 2020 was a very adversely difficult year for me as a reader – as I struggled more this year to soak into the stories I wanted to read than any other year – where even if I had a book in my hands, I couldn’t always focus on its content, consume its heart or even find a way to blog about what I had found inside it. A lot of stories naturally have shifted into #mustreads for 2021 – with a few lingering on my shelf to be read before the end of 2020.

I love Fantasy and I love being able to blog, chat and share my readerly explorations into Fantasy every year. Being a Speculative Fiction reader, it is wonderful we’re all on the brink of finding our next beloved reads together wherein we can socially stay bookish and approachable to each other and to the writers themselves – seeking our #nextreads and sharing the journey we’ve undertaken into Fantasy as a collective whole who are leaving behind notes for others to find and discover their own path into a genre we’re mutually loving ourselves.

This December and throughout the coming New Year, I am happy to continue to be a book blogger whose championing Fantasy and the worlds of the fantastical!

Brew a favourite cuppa and prepare to take some notes!

Likewise, don’t miss my finale post from #FantasyForChristmas 2019!

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I am happy to announce the Fantasy novelists I have enjoyed featuring during the early days of #blogmas for my 3rd Year hosting the #FantasyForChristmas blog series on Jorie Loves A Story are the following:

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Fantasy for Christmas Grand Finale graphic provided by Prism Book Tours and is used with permission.

I love finding #newtomeauthors of Speculative Fiction and this year, SWIFT kicked off my celebrations of continuing to seek out new voices in Fantasy whom are creating the kinds of fantastical stories I dearly want to be #amreading!

In regards to creatures in Fantasy, I haven’t truly had the chance to explore much outside of the regular inclusions of fantastical creatures overall in a Fantasy story or series outside of my personal pursuit of ‘dragons’ and #dragonfiction. Towards that end, I haven’t had the chance to seek out which stories about gryphons I prefer or which other animal centric stories of Fantasy would be a wicked good fit for me a reader. This is why this particular series stood out to me as I am constantly trying to take my readings of Fantasy further than where they have been all along – the same way I try to uncover new routes into Science Fiction as Speculative Literature is a very strong hold on my readerly pursuits every year.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Fantasy for Christmas Grand Finale graphic provided by Prism Book Tours and is used with permission.

When it comes to choosing which stories within Fantasy I am most likely to feel as if I’ve gone back ‘home’ are the kinds of Epic Fantasy stories which have not just convicting backstories & histories but have a firmly built world behind the journey of the characters. This is duly important across all genres I regularly read but with Fantasy, if the world-building isn’t ironed out and adds a layer of credible believability I am not always able to suspend myself inside the world for as long as I would prefer. This is why I like seeking out worlds of Fantasy like this one – which talks about being an ‘island world’ and thereby expanding the kinds of worlds I have explored in Speculative Fiction!

For whichever reason, the opening paragraph reminded me of how I felt watching “Moana”! The spirit of adventure, the soulful reach of a spirit within a heart to go further than what was readily known and to have the courage to believe in the path they were predestined to take-on. There is something about *that!* kind of powerful insight a character can experience and it felt to me as if this person like Moana had a greater calling than even they realised.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Fantasy for Christmas Grand Finale graphic provided by Prism Book Tours and is used with permission.

Imagine my SURPRISE in finding “Oath of the Brotherhood” is being re-released and updated for a new audience through a new publisher!? I truly hope I can make this one of the series I can read by or before #WyrdAndWonder in May, 2020!

As soon as I started reading this extract, I realised by having read The Gifted and the Cursed book series by Marcus Lee this year (save the conclusion which arrives in 2021! Stay tuned!) – I have a better foundation in which to enter into this book series!! Isn’t that smashing? I oft notice that if I hadn’t read one book ahead of another, the book next in line might not have made as much sense to me if I hadn’t had the original experience with the other story. And, in this instance, I have a feeling I’ll be able to shift into this world rather easily as compared to if I had tried to read it *before!* I read Lee’s series this 2020.

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And, the one author I missed showcasing,…

I succumbed to the stomach flu twice and had a moderate migraine in the early hours of December which offset my planned schedules for #blogmas quite a bit. I had to pull some of the content I wanted to share for Fantasy for Christmas in order to keep on track with the Clean Romances for Christmas showcases as much as my health issues were making blogging a bit more complicated as the month first started.

The one author I was looking forward to sharing this year was Ms Silverwood – as she’s updated her debut novel “STAY” – a novel I had the chance to read and which I reviewed. I consider Ms Silverwood a friend of mine through our continued contact over the years, talking about being writers, our passion for reading and in the convos we’ve shared during @SatBookChat!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Fantasy for Christmas Grand Finale graphic provided by Prism Book Tours and is used with permission.

Rona believes love is nothing more than a myth, a tale for little girls. Until the immortal ruler of the seas appears from thin air and she is swept into a dark and dangerous affair. What was formerly myth soon becomes part of the everyday. And Rona believes when Seid tells her they will be together forever. But forever is a long time and after she betrays him, what was supposed to be an eternity in paradise becomes an eternity in hell. Now she is cursed, unable to feel emotions except through the couples she is led to test and save.

Two thousand years is an awfully long time to live alone. And the business of love saving isn’t what it used to be. By the twenty-first century, Rona’s ready to give up. Until the night she is seen by a human. Deep in the underbelly of the city that never sleeps, she recognizes him instantly. He may dress differently and have gained a few new scars, but she would recognize the face of her former lover in any lifetime. Trouble is, he seems to have no memory of her and he and his ex-girlfriend are the ones whose true love she’s meant to save. But when he starts to fall for her, she is forced to learn what it means to be human all over again.

***New 2020 Edition has been revised and edited***

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Enjoy reading this Extract from “STAY”:

The city was beautiful and wicked, but it was a false beauty compared to the things I had seen. When he cursed me I could feel everything, from contentment to sorrow, but never love. Seid had given me the ability to see it in others and destroy it when it was false or save it if true. Yet the only thing that managed to stir me these days was the memory of my death. Only my memories kept me going. Vengefully I often wished he still knew my every thought and suffered the recall of our every moment together.

Thinking of Seid made my cloak slip enough to expose an outline of my features. I never would have noticed my mistake if the boy coming my way hadn’t pointed and began to shout a stream of curses to his friends. Other people were turning and beginning to take notice, the old couple clutching onto each other to ward away the winter chill, the little girl picking their pocket for loose change, Black Market vendors dealing on the side.

Breathing in deeply, an ancient but unnecessary habit now, I drew the fabric tighter and focused on my mission. For several minutes I ran faster than their eyes could follow, beating myself on the inside for my carelessness.

“You must never be seen by anyone,” his words echoed in my memories, settled deep in my bones and made me shiver. I couldn’t think about Seid now, not when I needed to focus.

My new mission was close. When I turned the colors in my eyes just right I could see his aura through the chaos of buildings and people. And the closer I drifted the faster I was, until I was no longer walking but floating, flying through every obstacle in my path.

Looking up at the buildings I noticed the flashing lights had been mercifully left behind. Once his building was in sight my pulse began to sputter, to race and soar. I could feel the budding newness of his affection for her in my chest and savored it. This is the closest I came to feeling human emotions these days.

My vision cleared once I stood outside the window before them. All sound ceased to exist, save their words and breaths. The café was dimly lit, a very old nightclub from the looks of it. Wordless music crooned up from below, horns and the strokes of piano keys. Feet shuffled in rhythm to the soft beat of a drum.

That was when I heard their voices for the first time.

“You look so perfect tonight Lissa…” he practically growled in her ear.

She giggled and answered in a sultry tone, “Good enough to eat?”

Chuckling low he kissed her on the lips, “That’s right, baby.”

I frowned as the brick wall kept blocking my vision and realized too late I wasn’t peering through a window. I would have to go inside to better see. Walking through walls used to scare me senseless until I grew accustomed. Now I brushed the feeling aside as I squeezed past the gritty matter. The front room was built to disguise the underground world beneath it. Worn down like the rest of this city, no one would ever believe the cultural haven it sheltered.

For a brief moment, I recalled brilliant jewels and brassy music, short dresses lined with tassels of an era gone by and women’s laughter over the chink of forbidden liquid.

The present incarnation pulled me back to the present. I had passed through the secret door, walked down a short flight of stairs and now watched from inside the smoky club. Here women still dressed to please and men of a higher class sought their nightly trophies. On stage, the jazz band played and at the center of the dance floor, my newest assignment drank their fill of each other.

When the tempo began to drag into a slower tune, she tilted her head back to expose her neck. Her long brown locks trailed to her red-clad hips. He tightened his hold on her waist as he kissed her neck. And I could feel the thrill in her heart temporarily mask a quiet sorrow.

Yet there was nothing from the man.

I frowned and turned my eyes to the rest of the establishment. Where was the budding newness of his affection I so strongly felt outside?

“Excuse me?” A deep, rough voice came from behind me, over my shoulder and I froze.

He cannot see me.

Convinced that he was speaking to another patron I nearly walked on. Perhaps I was not close enough to them to feel the man’s love for this girl?

“Come back to my place…” I clearly heard the man whisper into the woman’s ear. Her emerald eyes sparkled as she batted her lashes and pulled back her full lips in a saucy grin.

I shook my head. Sex was never the key to a man’s unwavering devotion. Yet she was considering it, hoping it would give him reason enough to keep her around longer, this time. I paused and shut my eyes as a flurry of images and sensations flashed past my closed lids. It took some time, depending on the difficulty of my mission, to grow accustomed to their emotions. I paused and shut my eyes as a flurry of images and sensations flashed past my closed lids. It took some time, depending on the difficulty of my mission, to grow accustomed to their emotions. Rather than simple feeling, human emotions often carried scattered memories and impressions. I pushed the usual discomfort aside.

I took another step and gasped when a hard hand clasped my shoulder and spun me firmly round.


No one touched me, had not in two thousand years.

Yet his hand remained planted on my shoulder in its firm grip and I followed the shape of his muscled arm to the chest attached to it. His black shirt was a tight fit and in the dim blue and red lights seemed to flash several colors. He bent down so his eyes met my line of sight.

My mouth dropped the moment I breathed in his scent.

He smelled like the skies before it rained and the sea air as it wafts into the harbor…

My vision blackened and suddenly broke through in brilliant flashes of light around his face. I could feel the colors growing, shifting and glowing in my eyes, beneath my skin. I clenched my fists as I fought for control, convinced I had lost it for the first time. Had I wanted him so badly in my memories that they came to life?

Reaching up to clutch my waist he kept me from falling down the short flight of stairs. A frown creased his brow as he said, “Whoa there, take it easy. I didn’t mean to scare you. It’s just my job to check everyone before they come in. You got any I.D?”

I shook my head slowly and watched as those eyes, his eyes, shifted from the dance floor and back to me a few times. Holding up a couple of fingers he nodded to someone over my shoulder and returned his attention to me. Something flickered in those dark blue orbs akin to recognition. Clenching his firm jaw he sighed and then nodded to himself.

“Look miss,” he began, “I’m really sorry but you can’t stay here without any I.D. Any chance you can find your way back up?”

I was trembling. Just hearing his voice again set every forgotten nerve in my body on edge. My flesh was on fire beneath my cloak where his fingers touched. Still, I had forgotten my voice for too long and could not remember how to speak.

My cloak.

How could he see me when I had refastened my cloak once again? It was such a thin, flimsy thing, like a second skin I wore it so often I forgot. But no human had ever seen me beneath it before.

It has to be him.

His frown deepened, voice dropping to a softer unused tone. “You’re shaking all over… You okay?”

No one else has the power to see.

My mouth opened but no sound came out. I was forbidden to speak to the humans. And even though he had Seid’s face, the curse commanded my attention. Oddly enough, I could feel what he felt.

He feels nothing toward me.

He did not recognize me.

His eyes flickered up as two pairs of feet approached us from behind. Immediately his arm curled me closer to his chest and his eyes darkened.

Lissa and her date were speaking in hushed tones, but I heard them clear as the true light.

“—so hard you’ll see stars,” the man was saying.

Lissa giggled and playfully swatted him with her clutch. “Derek!”

They paused on our level at the head of the stair. Another girl brought their jackets to them. As Derek helped Lissa into her fur jacket her gaze locked on to the man holding me.

That was when the truth settled over me with horrifying clarity. The aura I had followed across a country, across a city, was burning brightly between them. Invisible to them, the golden strands were weak now, but the link between them unmistakable. It linked this man, the man who wore his face, to her, Lissa.

The man holding me tensed and clutched me tighter to him again, his words stuck on the roof of his mouth.

Instead the other girl who handed out and hung cloaks offered, “Good job tonight. See you tomorrow Lissa,” as Derek and Lissa walked through the secret door.

And to my horror I watched the threads stretch and fade that linked them to me.

Excerpted from Stay by Jennifer Silverwood.
Copyright © Jennifer Silverwood. Published by SilverWoodSketches.

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Silverwood truly honed in on Orona’s internal strife and anguish, which stemmed from the very real reasons why this story was inspired into being created*. This writer to character connection was deepened by this bond she shared with Orona and through her I think Silverwood (and Orona) became stronger for the journey they took together. This was an observation I had made even before I reached the final chapter(s) of Stay as there is so much of Silverwood’s heart and soul inked out through Orona’s search for redemption, self-acceptance and the truest form of healing: love itself.

Silverwood created Orona’s immortality in such a way you can definitely see how Orona is a step ‘out of time’ and how she doesn’t always find herself able to make the transition; which is highly plausible and real! Silverwood did so well showing those differences; making them very subtle and strongly influencing our impression about Orona. I also felt throughout the novel, Orona truly missed having the permanency of her romance in her life – this disconnection and isolation she suffered through due to how her life was fated to play out after she met Seid truly took the lifeblood and energy out of Orona. It sought to destroy parts of herself she almost had forgotten to remember she once embraced whilst giving her ample time to self-study humanity and the ways in which couples draw themselves together. It was at first a rather cruel hand to be dealt – she had to power through those moments where she realised she was less than her past self (not just in shape and form) and find a reason to continue to move forward.

I know Stay is generally credited as being #PNR but there were overtures of Orona’s journey and the process she was going through to heal which felt more #WomensFic to me which is why I started to label it as such and decided to broach this during @SatBookChat. I picked up on the ‘journey’ component immediately & that echoed this genre in particular for me instantly as Women’s Fiction has the tendency of threading us directly through the heart of a woman’s journey. By writing Stay as a genrebender, Silverwood really tucked us closer to Orona’s journey & the differences between her POV and Cain’s; it also deepened the suspense of her actual origins & her place in the world; it wouldn’t have worked otherwise if Silverwood had written it differently.

-quoted from my review for Stay

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Before I wrap-up this post,….

Each December for three years in a row now – I’ve happily had the pleasure of being one of the book bloggers whose hosted this delightful event spearheaded by the women behind #WeWriteFantasy – and the joyful heart of Jennifer Silverwood (an author I consider a good friend of mine) who loves to share her bookish life with everyone who has a readerly interest in wicked good stories of Speculative Fiction & Romance.

As I move into 2021 – I am hoping I can gather and read most of the books I’ve been showcasing on Jorie Loves A Story during 2018-2020 for these lovely Fantasy for Christmas blog tours as it was my intention all along to see if I could read them through my local and regional libraries – or find them available to borrow via inter-library loan. Ideally, I would like to add a few to my personal library as well – however, as my book buying budget is quite a humbled one every year, I rely on my libraries to seek out the new authors across genres I desire to be reading every year. Above and beyond the audiobooks I can find on Scribd.

I might have hosted an abridged event this year, similar to how I had to amend how I approached #SciFiMonth, however, I’m just thankful I could participate and blog about these lovely Fantasy stories, their authors and the reasons why their stories are ones I want to read. Here’s to a wondrous 2021 full of the fantastical!

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This blog tour is courtesy of: Prism Book Tours

Prism Book Tours

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#FantasyForChristmas banner provided by Prism Book Tours and is used with permission.Click through via the badge to find out what else awaits you!

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#blogmas 2020 badge created by Jorie in Canva.

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NOTE: Similar to blog tours wherein I feature book reviews, book spotlights (with or without extracts), book announcements (or Cover Reveals) – I may elect to feature an author, editor, narrator, publisher or other creative person connected to the book, audiobook, Indie film project or otherwise creative publishing medium being featured wherein the supplemental content on my blog is never compensated monetarily nor am I ever obligated to feature this kind of content. I provide (98.5%) of all questions and guest topics regularly featured on Jorie Loves A Story. I receive direct responses back to those enquiries by publicists, literary agents, authors, blog tour companies, etc of whom I am working with to bring these supplemental features and showcases to my blog. I am naturally curious about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of stories and the writers who pen them: I have a heap of joy bringing this content to my readers. Whenever there is a conflict of connection I do disclose those connections per post and disclose the connection as it applies.

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{SOURCES: All the Grand Finale banners for #FantasyForChristmas 2020 authors/stories/series, the synopsis and extract for “Stay” as well as the blog tour banner and The Prism Book Tours badge were all provided by Prism Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #blogmas 2020 badges and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2020.

I’m a social reader | I tweet my reading life

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 19 December, 2020 by jorielov in #blogmas, Blog Tour Host, Fantasy Fiction, Prism Book Tours

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2 responses to “#Blogmas | #FantasyForChristmas blog series concludes for a 3rd Year on Jorie Loves A Story!

  1. Jennifer Silverwood

    Jorie, thank you so much for sharing our #fantasyforchristmas20 event! I had my eye out for your post, as I know you usually like to pop in ;) But I wasn’t expecting all the love you gave to me and to Stay, and wanted to give you great big virtual hugs! I loved revisiting the story and plan on sending you a print copy of the updated version once I check my proofs. :D This year has been such a challenge for all of us, and I’m looking forward to more bookish fun in 21, and hopefully, to be able to finally share more books with y’all! <3 Happy Holidays!

    • *waves!*

      Hallo, Hallo Ms Silverwood,

      It was such a keen SURPRISE seeing you on my blog!! (big smiles) We’ve fallen a bit out of sync and touch with each other this year,… I’m quite thankful its Christmas Eve and we’re in the ending chapter of 2020… such a renewing time of any year and this one especially feels as if its been overly long compared to most. I am sure most would claim the same, too!! I dearly wanted to feature more of your lovely Fantasy for Christmas authors this year but I could only do as much as I did – I cut short a few of the Romance authors, too – as I just released the retrospective for the Sweet Christmas blog tour, too. Now, I have shifted into my #yearendreads + the Christmas Reads I’ve picked out to occupy myself in cosy comforts of joyfulness Christmas Eve through New Year’s Eve!! I have a special block of reviews Christmas Eve (night) through Sunday, the 27th – whilst each day til NYD I’ll be happily blogging myself into a New Year with a lighter load on my shoulders as I finally reconciled I didn’t quite have the readerly kind of year I’m used to having.

      Sometimes I know I can be seriously guilt-ridden about what I can’t read or what I couldn’t finish but this year, despite the high level of spotlights and/or preview posts or partial reviews,.. I was just thankful I could stay anchoured into my blog and get through a very adversely challenging year. I even learnt a new skill set last night – my tablet *does!* accept the LibroFM app now!! Mum and Dad surprised me with a tablet to shift all my audioreads and music streaming off my main computer as it was struggling to keep up with me whilst I was blogging – this is round Spring, when I celebrated my 7th Blogoversary in March. I was *seriously!* AMAZED. Hence this TWEET.

      I can FINALLY start listening to my #LibroFM audiobooks and make some proper headway as an influencer for them and book blogger. I had a lot of starts/stops but not sorting out how to stream the stories themselves was frustrating. Plus, I skipped some months from sorting out the list of choices and ducked in for others as I had a heap of guilt not figuring this all out sooner. I’ve heard snippets here/there of the stories *but!* I’m starting over this late December (and on into January,..) as my first year with them is coming up in February, 2021. I’d like to say I sorted my ducks before then! lol

      I wasn’t sure if you were going to resend STAY to me — I just wanted to re-share my thoughts and hopefully inspire new readers to picking it up for themselves. I was so wicked happy you re-released it and re-defined the cover, etc. It was one of my top favourites re-released stories to be announced for the year, too. “Oath of the Brotherhood” was a close second but with STAY, since I had history with the story, I was truly cheering from you behind the scenes!! (big smiles)

      Thank you for thinking of me… I know I’ve fallen short off/on keeping in touch with everyone this year. I’ve had some harder months than most in the past seven I’ve been blogging and somehow, its December *already!* As we move towards 2021 I was dearly thankful for your note and your lovely smiles — I hope we can continue to reconnect in the New Year and I treasure following your bookish career as you know how much I care about your stories and characters. Seeing you put yourself out there and find readers who love your stories always fuells my courage to reach towards that goal myself. On that note, I’m picking up a writing challenge – nothing major – as the #BlackwellSisters authors and a few other authors helped me resolve its just not the right time for me right now to write full-time on my stories – however, a nice Wintry prompt challenge appeals to me which has a Halloweeny theme. (double smirks)

      I hope you and your family are having a Happy Christmas and a very blessed chase up into New Year’s!!

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