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Jenn Lyons

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Bullet Journaling as a Fantasy Writer

Have you ever heard of bullet journaling? Its basic concept is simple: instead of using a day planner with formally assigned pre-printed pages, a bullet journal starts out completely blank. You assign pages in the front to be an index, and then write down important information and to-do lists as you go. Any time you want to dedicate space to a special subject (say ‘Plot Notes’) you can do so while just jotting down the page numbers of that topic back in the index. Its primary power lies in its versatility. It’s not just a day planner: it’s a to-list combined with a day planner plus a journal with a healthy dollop of idea book mixed together with…well…honestly anything you might want to write or draw.

There are, to misquote one of my favorite pirates, no rules with bullet journals, only guidelines.

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Five Books About Ridiculously Powerful Wizards

When I was a child, I remember being distinctly disappointed with the power-levels of the average wizard in fiction. It’s possible that’s because the first memory I have of a story where someone lobbed around spells and curses was Maleficent from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. If wizards weren’t changing themselves into dragons, well really, what good were they?

Even most of the villainous wizards were usually hamstrung in some manner to explain why they didn’t automatically win against the heroes. (I mean seriously, Saruman was clearly breaking the rules binding the Istari and yet his greatest power was the Industrial Revolution.) The good wizards? Instead of being forces of nature, most of them were advisers whose main job was to cajole, point, or trick the hero into going on the quest (looking at you, Merlin, Gandalf, and Dumbledore). This inevitably resulted in nine-year-old me jumping up and down while screaming, “Really, Glinda? Dorothy had the power to go home THIS WHOLE TIME? Whose side are you ON?”

So, this list isn’t going to include those books.

No, instead I’m going to talk about my five favorite books (or series) with wizards, witches, and sorcerers who were not at all squeamish about opening a magical can of ungodly power on their enemies, deities, and the whole world, not necessarily in that order.

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Series: Five Books About…

Read The Ruin of Kings, the Start of a New Epic Fantasy Series

Tor Books is very excited to reveal the first two chapters of The Ruin of Kings, the start of a new epic fantasy series by debut author Jenn Lyons, coming February 5th, 2019. To see the full cover, visit the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog.

The author’s journey to seeing her fantasy novel on shelves has already been remarkably unique. In her words:

Let me tell you a secret. When I was a teenager, after my mother discovered she had terminal breast cancer, she sat me down and told me an uncomfortable truth: she had lied to me my entire life. I wasn’t an only child. I was in fact the youngest of many, the only one she’d been able to rescue when she had fled my father, who had been abusive and alcoholic, and also, as it happens, worked for the CIA. To this day, I don’t know if she was awarded custody of me in the divorce, or if I was stolen.

What I’m trying to say is that when I decided to write The Ruin of Kings, a story about an orphan whose dream of being a lost prince turns into a nightmare when he discovers his real family is vile, I was following that age-old advice to ‘write what you know.’

In a way, it was an inevitable that I would write this book as it is that its hero will discover that it’s his destiny to destroy the world he thought he was saving. I’ve been planning it my whole life, filling it with all of my love of fantasy and magic, wizards and dragons, gods, demons, and secrets.

So many secrets.

I grew up in the harbor of bookstores, and let the pages of Tolkien, Herbert, Le Guin and so many other masters shelter me. I aimed for the stars and looked to Patrick Rothfuss, Robert Jordan, and Brandon Sanderson for inspiration. Under the guidance of these heroes, I have built a world of my own and blessed it with my hopes and dreams. It’s not always a pretty world, but then worlds which feel true seldom are.

[Presenting: The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons]

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