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Guest Post & Giveaway – Tia Nevitt on her Pajama Party Blog Tour

Today, Tia Nevitt joins us on day three of her blog tour. She is the author of The Sevenfold Spell, scheduled for released September 27 from Carina Press. She’ll be available to answer questions this evening and will be giving away an e-book late tonight. Find out more about Tia on her website and blog.

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Tia Nevitt, Debut AuthorThank you, Charlie, for indulging me in my trip back in time. For previous installments of this blog tour, and to read all the excerpts from The Sevenfold Spell in order, pop over to Jenny Schwartz’s Acquiring Magic blog (you might have to scroll down) and hop along. Here is the complete schedule.

In my early 20s, I started my first truly original novel. It was a story about a minstrel who helps a young noblewoman rescue her true love, except the minstrel was in love with the girl, and the girl’s love was actually a pretty evil dude. So it was really a love story about the minstrel and the girl. It was called Oath of the Songsmith. I tried to break some tropes with this novel. Elves were diminutive and incapable of learning any science—otherwise they’d risk losing their magic. Ogres were mute only because they were telepathic. Goblins, dwarves and trolls were pretty much according to all the tropes, except dwarves were technological and had even invented the railroad. The villain (besides the lost love) was a witch who had sworn her soul to darkness.

It was a novel out of its time. Had I been able to finish it and get it polished up by about 1987 or so, it might have had a chance. But it was the late 90s instead, it was a mess, and elves were passé. I sent it to one agent, read that one rejection, and set it aside forever.

But, I learned a lot about writing a novel. I learned focus – that you can’t make every character a major character. I learned organization. I learned that you can’t include scenes in a book just because you think they are cool.

Here’s the opening from that book. I’ll dump it in here as-is (I haven’t looked at it in years) and I’ll pick it apart.

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Chapter One – To Catch an Elf

Kate paused outside the house of the crone.  It looked forbidding enough.  The overgrown yard was suitably dark and shadowy, with looming trees and hooting owls.  A convincingly ominous scent hung over the place, a combination of damp, rotting earth and cloying, fragrant herbs.  The two visible windows of the squat house glowed a dull yellow through their oilcloth coverings, like two leering eyes (NEED A BETTER METAPHOR).

Yet somehow, the yard and house lied.  Yes, it was true that a witch was supposed to live here.  And to the uneducated eye, it looked like a witch might live here.  But Kate had dealt with a real witch, and she quickly came to the conclusion that a real witch, with access to real power, would not be content to live in such squalor a squalid manner.

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Enough of that. Tomorrow, we’ll move away from talking about me and my writing. I’ll begin by discussing fairy tales over at Talina Perkins’s Bookin’ It. Until then, here’s the next excerpt from The Sevenfold Spell:

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The Sevenfold Spell Cover“You will be well-paid,” the constable said, “as soon as it’s destroyed.”

“What about Willard?” I asked my mother, hoping to salvage my injured pride. Willard wasn’t much to look at, but there was no question he was mine.

“Willard!” She snorted in disgust. “I’ll believe he’s willing to marry you when I see you march down the aisle.”

They brought out the spinning wheel and flung it into the back of the wagon. Mama and I both winced as it crashed atop the heap of spinning wheel parts. I had no love for the contraption but had spent many hours dusting the spokes, polishing the surfaces and greasing the axle. The constable’s men, however, had no regard for its fragile structure, its delicate beauty. They had no care that our lives depended upon the simple wooden structure.

The fairy darted out of our shop and hovered near us. She aimed her wand at our spinning wheel and a burst of colors flew out. The colors hit the wheel and buzzed around it like angry bees. When they dissipated, the spinning wheel collapsed into all its various parts, no longer distinguishable from the wreckage surrounding it. I blinked away tears I’d never expected to shed and thought of my fellow spinsters scattered all over the city, mourning, as we did, the loss of our livelihood.

My mother raised her arm to swat the fairy. I grabbed her and hissed. “Remember Widow Harla!” Widow Harla had attacked the fairy with her broom, and she had received the fairy’s vengeful spell. She was still unable to speak.

I felt the tension in Mama’s arm relax. The fairy turned, glared at us and buzzed out of our reach.

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I’d love to hear from you! At the end of the day (just before I shut down for the night), I’ll pick a random commenter for a free ecopy of The Sevenfold Spell.

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40 thoughts on “Guest Post & Giveaway – Tia Nevitt on her Pajama Party Blog Tour

  1. Thanks for inviting me to stop here, Charlie! I gotta go to work now, but I’ll try to pop in during lunch (using my ancient smartphone) and I’ll be back ready to chit-chat at the end of the business day. Do you enjoy writing, or are you strictly a reader?

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    • I’m off to work this morning, too, but I’ll try to check in through the day. I’ll definetly be back in for PJ time. You are so brave to show your trunk novel! I think I shredded mine.

      Great question on who is reading and/or writing. For me, writing is part of who I am. I gave it up for a couple of years and was miserable. I’d love to know more about ALL the smart girls and guys out there, so please chime in, everyone!

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      • I had to give up writing while I went to school. Sad times! I also gave up my violin, pretty much permanently, although I keep it in tune and try to play it every now and then. Nice thing about writing is you don’t really lose it like you do music!

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      • It’s still on the top of my piano, where I know I will at least keep it dust-free. We home school our daughter (long story) and my time for music has all but vanished–for now.

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  2. Hi Tia. 🙂 I had a lot of fun reading your snippets past and present (and someday I’ll learn to spell exerpt so I can stop calling everything a snippet.) I’m glad you showed your edits at the time, too. Only problem is, now I’m thinking about how amazing telepathic ogres would be and thinking `dang, there aren’t enough steampunk/fantasies with minstrels out there.’ Your work is so much more polished now, though, than when you started, that I can see why the trunk novel remains in the trunk. (Even though minstrels are awesome.)

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  3. Hey, everyone! I’m finally off work and ready to chit-chat.

    Maggie, I wanted my fairies to be fierce! Mama gets her revenge in the end, though.

    Thanks everyone. I do love my cover.

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  4. Back from work. I’m not wearing PJs just yet, but I did put on the sweat pants and Thumber (from Bambi) t-shirt.

    Tia – I know you have other fairytale novellas in the works and you’ve got me thinking more about fairytales in general. Remember the fractured fairytales from Saturday morning cartoons? Any inspiration there?

    So, if you had to live through a classic fairytale, which one would you choose and why?

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    • Um … I think I must predate you because I don’t remember any fractured fairy tales in the 70s. But we did have Shazaam and Isis, along with the Justice League and let us not forget School House Rock. And the Cosby Kids!

      To answer your question (cool! An impromptu interview!) Sleeping Beauty is tempting because I’d sleep through all the bad parts. But I think living through Beauty and the Beast would be the most interesting.

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      • I lived the Disney movie, but the “real” version was much more interesting, with all the servants turned invisible. We had a beautifully illustrated fairy tale book and that was my favorite. I also think that Beauty was the most mature of all the heroines of the fairy tales. She was actually the heroic one, since she saved the Beast from his curse.

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  5. Loved the excerpt, Tia. I remember sending off my very first book and sitting back to wait for the acceptance letter and a big check. I chuckle about that now because the writing was BAD. Luckily, I’ve learned a bit since then. 😉

    I think they’ve done an awesome job with your cover. It’s gorgeous.

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  6. Hey release day buddy! Joining in the blogging action as a take a break from writing my own for the upcoming release week. It has been a whirlwind.

    Good luck with your release and The Sevenfold Spell. BTW, i do remember the Fractured Fairy Tales.

    Kathy

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  7. Yikes, my reply to Shelly meant to be to Kathy. I’m all confusaled. Thank you, Shelly. My first story was pretty awful, too. I’m glad it hasn’t survived the years.

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  8. Ok, I’m sort of getting used to the contest thing as I go along. To give more time to any west-coast readers, or readers elsewhere in the world, I’m going to leave this contest open until tomorrow. It will close at 6:00 AM, Eastern time. I will post a winner sometime after that.

    Till then, good night!

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  9. Tia – I’ve been interested in reading this ever since I saw an excerpt (no silent p here) on your blog awhile back. Good for you that it’s finally almost out. I’m not a writer, but I love to edit. Whenever I read a rough draft or someone’s first effort that never saw the light of day, I’m always then a bit surprised to see the finished product. Somehow, I always picture these works springing full grown from Zeus’s head as opposed to being born normally and growing slowly.

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    • Wow, you must be talking about my writing blog. Thanks for following me here! Yeah, growing slowly is the perfect description. Over many iterations. I kinda dread having deadlines one day.

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  10. Hi Tia

    I always come in late with my comments because of the time difference. I want to read “Oath of the Songsmith”! Sounds wonderful.

    Hi Charlie

    I remember “Fractured Fairytales”. Loved them.

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  11. Thanks, Ciara!

    Janni, for that reason, I’m letting the giveaways run at least 24 hours before closing them. I’m learning this stuff as I go. I appreciate what you said about Oath of the Songsmith but really–it’s a mess. I rewrote the opening last–which is pretty typical for me–so it is much better than the rest of the book. One day I might do something with it aimed at the middle grade audience, but no time in the foreseeable future.

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