Writing Witch Hunt

How is your November going? This has been one of my best ones yet! If you know anything about NaNoWriMo, then you know that today is the halfway mark of…

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Lady Warrior: Alanna of Trebond

-alanna-first-adventure-tamora-pierceOne of the first lady warriors that I was introduced to as a child was Alanna of Trebond, from the Song of the Lioness Quartet and other Tortall stories by Tamora Pierce. Alanna lives in the fantasy kingdom of Tortall, where only men are allowed to become knights. She swaps places with her twin brother, Thom, and disguises herself as the boy “Alan” so she can train as a knight. Although her true identity is eventually discovered, she manages to become one of the king’s most decorated knights and actually changes the laws of the kingdom so that other women can become knights as well.

Since we see Alanna grow from a young girl into a woman, we get to watch her overcome a lot of her flaws. She struggles to accept herself as a woman and as a wielder of magic, and eventually embraces all of her gifts, not just her talent for fighting. She also has to learn how to control her temper and her stubbornness. Along the way, she learns about friendship and love. (more…)

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Secrets of Writing Small Town Witch

Tomorrow and Monday, Small Town Witch is available on Amazon as a free Kindle download! If you’ve been waiting to check out the story, now is your chance!

I’ve talked about the characters, how I wrote the story, and even shared a deleted scene from the novel. But what else is there to learn about this story? These are the top five secrets behind Small Town Witch. (more…)

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Author Interview with Jimena Novaro

I asked some questions of fantasy author Jimena Novaro about her approach to writing, life, and more. She had some surprising responses. Read on to find out what she said!
1. What inspired you to write your first book?

In some corner of my mind I always knew I would be a writer. I started
writing stories as soon as I could write; they just seemed to come out of
me. At first I only wrote to entertain myself, because what can be more
fun than opening up a window to another world and watching characters go
around doing whatever I told them to?

I wrote my first “book” when I was nine for the pure pleasure of pouring
words onto a page. That novel was so incoherent that the protagonists
defeated the villain with pancakes, but every day I sat down and wrote
another few pages in awful handwriting until I finished it. This made me
realize that I could write novels. Tons of them. So for the rest of my
life, I’ve never stopped, even though I never even considered publication
seriously until about three years ago. (more…)

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Character Sheets and Sexual Orientation

If you have looked at my new website for Small Town Witch, you may have already read the character sheets I posted about the main characters. These include a lot of interesting facts about the characters to help you familiarize yourself with them. Reading them is not necessary for understanding the story, but they may add to the experience.They contain some of the information that I keep for myself to remind me about the characters.

Well, the things that I included on the website were deliberate–and so were the things that I left off. For example, you may notice that I included a “race” designation for all of the characters (referring to which type of magikin they are) but no “ethnic” details. This was left off because it’s not important to the characters or the story, for the most part. The story is not about ethnic tensions or racism in the sense that humans are judged for their skin color. (There is tension between humans and magikin, so those details are explicit.) From the names of many characters, ethnic diversity even in the small rural town can be implied. As far as I am concerned, they’re Californian.

In the same vein, I have not noted any characters’ sexual orientation. This is a little more relevant to the story because sexual orientation is discussed a little bit. But I absolutely did not want to make this an important point in my characters. I want to have diversity in my stories, because there is diversity in the people that I know, but I do not want them to be defined by their sexuality. This is not a LGBTQ story or a time to preach about LGBTQ issues. This is a story that happens to have some non-straight characters. (more…)

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My Top Ten YA Books (When I Was a Teen)

One of the biggest buzzes in the book world right now is NPR’s latest top-100 list of books. They are compiling a list of the best-ever teen/YA novels, and asking everyone to vote for their favorites. There are 235 finalists, and your challenge is to pick only 10 of them. (To make it a little easier, an entire series like Harry Potter or The Song of the Lioness count as only one vote.)

While I was struggling to get through the list, which has a lot of awesome books on it, I had to think about not only which books I was going to choose, but also why. Which books did I read again and again? Which books changed the way that I saw the world or inspired me to be a different person? Which books are still sitting on my bookshelf, a little worn with time and love, because I dragged them with me through numerous moves and clutter purges? (Some of my books are still in boxes, because a house full of book-lovers will never have enough shelves to support all of our reading habits.)

All of these books were ones that I read as a young teen (maybe a little younger; by the time I was fourteen, I was reading mostly adult stories). There are some YA novels that I’ve read and loved as a grown-up, because I’ve never stopped reading YA, but those don’t make the list. Not all of these are ones that I could vote for on NPR’s list, either. This list is also going to show my age a little (since books like The Hunger Games did not exist when I was a teen), especially since most of them are older books. (I got books from the library, not the New Releases at the bookstore.) (more…)

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