Djen in the House

Today’s post is dedicated to my friends and critique partners, Lisa Fender and Toni Burns, who have recently released their debut novel, Fable, Book 1 of the Lorn Prophecy. These sisters are taking a weekend for themselves and their families at beautiful Buena Vista, Colorado. However, they will be checking in regularly (probably from the hot springs) to reply to any questions or comments you post.

I’ve had the distinct and unique pleasure of seeing this book through to its fruition and of working with these wonderful ladies. Yet, while that only came about two years ago, I know the story of their four year journey (first Lisa on her own, and then Toni joining her for the revisions).

Fable, is a true labor of love in that, Lisa and Toni are sisters and this collaboration has brought them much closer together. Toni spoke to this at their recent launch party even after Lisa told her not to make her cry. They were joined by their cover artist, Mike Kloepfer, and the event was a great Fable Launch 078success.

Enough of the heartstrings and more about the book. I’ll let it speak for itself:

Stevie Barrett lives an ordinary life in Golden, Colorado, where nothing remarkable ever happens. That is until right before her high school graduation, when Stevie’s life takes a bizarre turn. Her best friends, Jack and Alyssa, want to be supportive, but are confused by the events plaguing Stevie.

 Stevie’s mom is attacked by men with glowing gold eyes. A strange being spies on Stevie, hidden in shadow. She has waking visions of a people called the Djen and their archaic world. And when her and her BFFs don’t think it can get any weirder, Stevie heals a stranger with a touch. The abilities build until they are a tidal wave awakening within her and threaten her sense of reality.

 Her efforts to understand what is happening lead her and her friends to discover a group known as the Rebellion. These warriors from another dimension are hunting her. Their leader is a man bent on destroying Stevie and possessing her legacy. In order to stop him and save everyone she loves, Stevie and her friends must embark on a quest to find and return Tecton, one of the five Orbs—relics—of the other plane she comes to know as Djenrye. The journey will alter everything she believes, propelling her into another world and another life.

Now, let’s hear from the authors.

RG How hard is it to maintain the ‘voice’ of the characters when you as co-authors and sisters have such distinctive voices yourselves?

Lisa: It is very hard, sometimes we have to meditate on it for a few moments to find a voice of a character. Toni is much better at it than I am. I think Colton’s voice is her masterpiece!

Toni: Now that’s funny, because I think of Colton and Stevie as having come from inside Lisa’s head. The twisted antagonist (Torren) I think was more me – only because of my love for horror and serial killer documentaries. Those tend to freak my sis out.

RG – Lol! I think I’m going to agree with Toni on that one. So ladies, how does critique play a role in helping to keep that voice and the consistency of the story?

Lisa: You and Janet are great at helping us keep that voice. I think sometimes though, you have one way of how the character should be and we have another, hence Torren, but once we explain what we’re doing you both grab the concept and keep us consistent. We appreciate your critiques and can’t see writing our books without both you and Janet involved. I guess what I’m saying is your stuck with us for the long haul!

Toni: I have to heartily second that! And, Robin, you’re twisted imagination helps us remain consistent with the creepier characters’ voices and actions.

RG –  Torren’s tough because he’s young/hurt/bitter in the novella, and older/colder/nastier in the novel. And, thanks for the compliment, Toni ;). This next question is more for Lisa although, Toni, you can chime in if you want. What prompted you to write this particular story.

Lisa: Actually, I sat down one day by myself and thought what kind of world I wanted to make. I knew I didn’t want to write about the usual Urban fantasy characters, like Vampires and Werewolves, I wanted to do something different. That’s when I came up with a take-off of the genie, or Djinni as it were. Then I wrote down everything about them I happened to look up about  Djinni lore and was amazed that some of my story was part of the lore of the Djinn. I had no idea! Anyway, the name Djenrye came from Toni. She had come over to visit one night. I told her my idea and asked how I should spell Djenrye, with a “G” or a “J” and she said why not Dj, like the Djinn. I decided to call them the Djen, instead to match the world’s name.

Toni: Robin, I ask that question all the time. I am happy to help put meat on the bones of the story, but I have to say I don’t know how my sis not only comes up with these great story lines, but keeps them straight in her head! I am in awe.

RG – Well, I think it’s Djenious!  Okay, we’ve been critiquing the novella, which continues your world building and provides some history of Djenrye. I know you’re readers are going to be extremely intrigued by Djenrye and its inhabitants the Djen, Adrone Elves, Faugns, Magi, and others. What one thing about Djenrye and/or the Djen is most fascinating to you? (BTW, there is an excerpt of the novella on Lisa’ blog of 6.14.13, see link below)

Lisa: Well, the one you didn’t mention—the Gods and Goddesses. Although, my favorite right now are the Djen. They are the main characters of the Djenrye world. The Gods won’t really come into play until the second novel.

Toni: The one thing I find the most fascinating is less with the characters, but how they came into existence. But… that won’t come to light until a later book (we have a secret – said in sing-song).

RG – Sorry, easy to skip them as they are so in the background right now. As I watched your grandchildren/great niece/nephew at the launch party, a thought occurred  to me.  You’re leaving a legacy for them. What would you say to them and your children about their dreams and aspirations?

Lisa: I say Go For It! No matter what they are, you can reach your goals if you work hard and dream big. I wish I would have started my novel writing years ago, but I guess this was the time it was supposed to happen. I hope they always remember that I did what I always dreamed of doing and they can too!

Toni: Ditto squared! I have always told my kids to do what they love and I am thrilled to be helping my sis follow that advice… now to just get me on board.

RG – I heartily agree! Here’s a question for your cover artist. Mike, what vision do you have for the upcoming novella and the second book in the series?

Lisa: Even though Mike isn’t here to answer this, (he doesn’t have access to the internet on a regular bases) I can answer this because they are my visions too . Mike puts into art the images in my head. The novella will be the sigil of Phraile Highlae, one of the cities in my world. It’s a saber-toothed tiger with a crown on its head. The crown represents the 5 Orbs, or Ortehlae in the Djen language. Each orb has a particular color, which relates to its representation.

The second novel, Lore – Book 2 of the Lorn Prophecy, is the city of Phraile Highlae, as if you were looking at it from the cliff on the opposite side of the canyon.

RG – That’s the way Stevie Barrett sees it in her visions. Perfect! Lisa and Toni, is there anything else you would like the readers to know?

Lisa: I will let Toni decide what to add here, but as for me, I’m married to a wonderful man who is completely supportive of my writing. I have two grown children, Brandie and Travis, and Brandie has given me two beautiful grandchildren, Madison and Carson. They are all the loves of my life! I am a sci-fi/fantasy nut and have never been one for chick flicks or sit-com’s on TV, although I did like MASH. I do read other genres though, such as mysteries and historical fiction. My favorite books are the Game of Thrones series, Harry Potter series, and of course, Lord of the Rings trilogy. I am a big fan of Dan Brown, Steve Barry, and John Sandford. I do not, however, like books that have become more commercial writing though, like James Patterson or Lisa Jackson. I want a book that takes me into the fiction world and into the characters minds.  I love reading, but I also love hiking and feel blessed to live in such a wonderful state as Colorado. We want to retire in the mountains.

Toni: A secret that’s not really a secret, my family calls me “Tanya”, my friends call me “Toni” and my sister gets to call me either one because she is my sis and my friend.

Front Cover for FableRG – Can I call you both too? You don’t have to answer that. Thank you, Lisa and Toni for making my blog a stop on your tour. Definitely leave comments and/or ask the authors questions. They will be checking throughout the day to reply.

You can purchase Fable in e-book or paperback, by clicking this link, at Amazon.com.

You can connect with the girls at:

Lisa’s Djen Den – http://www.lisafender.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/LisaFender1 and https://twitter.com/ToniBurnsMe

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/FableBookI

See you all in Djenrye! ~ RG

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10 Comments

  1. Toni Burnd said,

    June 15, 2013 at 14:09

    Robin, as you know Lisa and I are enjoying a well-deserved relaxing weekend in Buena Vista as a family celebration of Fable’s launch. Thanks so much for having is on your blog today. If we don’t respond to comments right away its either because the signal is weak or we’re soaking in the hot springs. Its a tough life! :^)

    • RGCalkins said,

      June 15, 2013 at 14:13

      Yes, I’m sure you’re suffering for your art. 🙂 Check in when you can.

  2. June 17, 2013 at 05:40

    Great interview, Robin. Congrats on your release, Lisa & Toni! Look forward to reading Fable.

    • RGCalkins said,

      June 17, 2013 at 06:37

      Thanks Lizzie! Going to have to get you on here soon 🙂

  3. lisafender said,

    June 17, 2013 at 13:47

    Thanks Lizzie! And thanks for commenting.

  4. June 21, 2013 at 16:26

    Robin, great interview! I think you helped Lisa and Toni bring out their vision of Fable and give your readers a feel for it. While reading it the first time, I knew it was unique but didn’t know quite how to describe it. The quote you elicited from Lisa, “I didn’t want to write about the usual Urban fantasy characters, like Vampires and Werewolves, I wanted to do something different. That’s when I came up with a take-off of the genie, or Djinni as it were. Then I wrote down everything about them I happened to look up about Djinni lore and was amazed that some of my story was part of the lore of the Djinn.” embodies it perfectly.

    Lisa and Toni have definitely created something special in the Lorn Prophecy and I hope it goes go on for quite a while! I also hope that as the climax in the world of the Djenn is reached that we again see some interaction with the mundane world: it’ll be tricky to carry off well, but I think this pair can do it and it will stand pretty much alone in its genre in that way.

    Btw Robin, I took a look at the first Anthology: heh, you pack quite a bloody little pscyhopunch in your horror, don’t you?

    :>
    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains” (No, neither fantasy nor horror… much more mundane.)

    • RGCalkins said,

      June 22, 2013 at 10:58

      Thank you for commenting Michael. I agree that the ladies have a unique position in the fantasy genre, as this is a new twist on the ‘genie’ lore. I feel privileged to see this series grow in our weekly critique group.

      Also, thank you for taking a look at the anthology. I am looking for that ‘psychopunch,’ and really like that word BTW. Did you read both stories? I have two in the second anthology as well, more on the dark humor side, and four poems in the just released Darker Times Collection (flash fiction & poetry).

      Hmm, I’m sure your book is not as mundane as you let on. 🙂

      Robin

      • lisafender said,

        June 24, 2013 at 07:47

        Michael is an excellent writer, but his work is non-fiction. He is an avid smoking ban hater and writes about the bull that created them. I do have his first book if your ever interested! ;-). Thanks again Robin for having us on your blog! It was a great interview, but both the people that commented have already received a free book. I don’t know what to do. Maybe I will at least do a drawing for a free Amazon card or Starbucks. What do you think?

      • RGCalkins said,

        June 24, 2013 at 10:31

        I think either would be fine. It’s up to you. And, yes, I’d like to put Michaels book on my TBR list. 🙂

      • June 24, 2013 at 11:16

        Getting your fictional work known beyond your immediate circles is trickier than getting a nonfictional work known. People see me posting (hopefully) fairly intelligent insights and information on news stories about smoking bans and the Threat-Du-Jour (I believe today’s biggie is that going into a house where George Washington not only slept but smoked a pipe will turn your children into science-fiction mutant-monsters!)

        But there just aren’t any big news stories about fantasy worlds interacting with our own. :/

        Lisa, what about fantasy “groups” that have meetings and conventions? Have you had any interactions with such?

        😕
        Michael (Who’s planning to hit Chapter 9 later on today with a bit o’ luck! Crazy weekend here…)


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