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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Short Excerpt Sunday: The Faeriekin Party

From my upcoming novel, Small Town Witch, Chapter 5, "The Faeriekin Party": I pointed to a pond filled with water lilies and floating candles. “That’s the dance floor.” Heather stared in…

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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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