17 May, 2012

Guest Post & Giveaway: Sedition Series by A.J. Maguire


War was coming. Years of conspiring with his brother, of hunting for his lost mother, and war was finally coming. With options and allies depleting, Nelek finds that his newest and brashest bodyguard, Trenna Croften, could be the key to everything he’s been fighting for.



He’d promised to unite the land, to bring Eldur and Human together in peace, but Nelek Dyngannon never expected that peace to come at the cost of his wife. Together, Trenna and Nelek must battle past the demons of Trenna’s past, in order to forge a peaceful future.



Girls Who Kick Butt - A.J Maguire

One of the most frequent comments I get is that people love the character of Trenna Silvanus.  She’s the star of the Sedition series, which currently includes both Sedition and Saboteur, with a third book in the works.  Trenna is brash, gritty, and has a sense of humor that tends to carry the books.  What really makes her work as a character – for me, anyway – is that she’s all of these things without having to defend those traits. 

Too often I’ve seen fiction that defines a strong female protagonist by the way men react to them. “How dare you speak without being spoken to, woman!” To which the female replies; “Oh, I dare! En guard!” And then the woman thrashes the ignorant male about somehow.

Granted, in the opening scene of Sedition we get to see Trenna whoop-up on an ignorant man, but in that case the idiot actually groped her. And you don’t touch Trenna without her permission.

Another issue I’ve seen too much of is when a strong female protagonist is somehow vastly different from the other females around.  You can’t just put all the other girls in skirts to make your protagonist stand out, she has to be exemplary even among the men around her.  If she can’t be as strong as her male counterparts, then give her something equally deadly to contend with.  Physiologically speaking, Trenna is short and spry and she has to rely on her speed and resilience to even the playing field for her.

But perhaps the most grievous infraction I’ve seen from modern fiction writers is that these strong, capable women have a strange proclivity toward inaction.  They react to things rather than making things happen.  They are plagued by an indecisive nature, too frightened of making the wrong move, and are thereby controlled by outside forces rather than their own sense of self.  They are, essentially, forever rolling with the punches that the plot delivers instead of wrangling the plot to their own will.

Outside forces do have their part to play.  Take Leeloo from The Fifth Element (and yes, that’s how you spell it according to the IMDb).  Leeloo is pretty much dragged along by circumstances outside of her control for that whole story.  But we still love her because she makes the decision to confront big ugly aliens in a hotel room. 

Even Trenna faces circumstances beyond her control when she finds herself knighted, but when push comes to shove, she takes action.

Personally, I can forgive many things of the female protagonists I read.  I can forgive the cliché of a tomboy, unkempt and disorderly – mainly because I am one myself.  I can forgive when a woman swears and shocks all the men in a room – if the author has sufficiently painted a male dominated society.  I can even forgive a female warrior throwing a table over in a fit of rage – mostly.

But I cannot forgive wishy-washy resolve.  A strong female character isn’t just there to look good in tight pants or knock out men who leer at them.  They must also have the confidence to make decisions, and the courage to face whatever consequences come with it. 


Fun Facts about A.J Maguire

The last movie you watched
Marvel Avengers! Oh, yeah! I am a super-geek and I loved every second of that movie.  Coincidentally, so did my son.

The last book that you couldn’t finish (for whatever reason)
Patrick Rothfuss’ “The Wise Man’s Fear”

Least favorite subject in school
Art.  Everyone always says; “But that was an easy A!”  For me, however, I would have preferred to fail in private, rather than have my failures on display.  The only thing I can draw with a modicum of talent is a stick figure.

Your greatest fear
Murky water.  I read a book in grade school called “What Until Helen Comes” about a ghost that lured people into a lake where they would get tangled in the kelp and drown.  It’s sorta stuck with me.

Morning person or night owl?    
After a cup of coffee I’m a morning person.  I’m crashed in bed by 10 P.M. on most nights.

What inspires you?
Symphonies. Or soundtracks with no words.  In particular, the soundtrack to Band of Brothers, or The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, or Thor.  In fact, almost all of Saboteur was written to the soundtrack of Thor. 

Favorite Dessert
Brownies. Plain fudge brownies, no fancy double chocolate in them and no marshmallows.  When my son figures out that he can bribe me with brownies, he might just rule the world.  (He’s 4, though, so we have some time.)

Beach or Hills?  
Mountains.  I live twenty minutes away from the mountains and I take advantage of that in the summer.  I even have a pretty vista view just outside my window of a mountain range.  I can’t wait until my son is able to really climb them.

The best vacation you've ever taken
A trip to Alaska when I was a teenager.  My Aunt and cousins were living up there at the time and they took us around the Kenai Peninsula.  We ran into a bear cub (in the car, we were safe – no, we didn’t hit the cub, it just ran across the road) and a school of orca (in a boat, we were safe there, too) and even braved swimming at the beach (we were relatively safe there, but an otter decided it needed to play too and started splashing up a storm just a few feet away.) 

One cause you're passionate about
Feeding the hungry.  All of them.  Not just in my home town, but across states and borders as well.  There is no reason any person, child or elderly or in between, should ever go hungry.  There is more than enough to go around, we just need to take the responsibility and see to it that food reaches the people who need it. 

Contact the Author

Now, onto the Giveaway. Ms.Maguire has kindly agreed to giveway print copies of her books - Sedition and Saboteur to 1 US/Canada winner &  e-copies 1 International winner

  1. Do not leave out / forget to enter the "Which country are you from?" task. IT IS MANDATORY as without it I will not know which prize you qualify for. If you do not answer then your other entries will automatically be DISQUALIFIED.
  2. The remaining entries are entirely optional, you can choose to do one or do all. But they could mean the difference between you winning, or someone else taking the prize.
  3. Open Internationally.
  4. When I email the winner, they will have 48 hours to reply to the email with confirmation.
  5. Please don't leave your email address anywhere in the comments on the blog. I am using  rafflecopter to keep your details safe, so please take advantage of that!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

28 comments:

  1. A strong but hilarious personality.

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    1. I might have blushed a little when I read this comment. Does that make me less strong? Or just a bit more funny?

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    2. Since your inspired by The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, have you ever read Walking through the Wardrobe - a devotional quest into The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe? I'm in the midst of it right now and was very surprised to learn of the symbolism within the writing.

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    3. I had not heard of that devotional. I'll certainly look into it. My son and I are currently going through the whole Narnia series.

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  2. Oh, I read Wait Until Helen Comes. It scared the heck out of me. Thanks for bringing that memory to the surface.

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    1. I know, right! Shudder-me-gross terrifying ... at least for a kid in the 6th grade. I'm too scared to try and re-read it to see if it has the same effect.

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  3. Brave fun and strong!

    Thank you for inviting me to your giveaway. : )

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    1. You know, I think the word "fun" needs to be put in there for strong female protagonists, too. I mean, a lot of people manage the broody, I-have-a-shady-past-and-now-I-hate-everyone, sort of strong female and they do it very well but ... yeah ... sometimes we all just want to laugh. And being able to laugh at ourselves is a sign of strength.

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  4. I would have to agree, brave and strong, whether she be strong physically, emotionally or both.

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    1. Do you know ... the person I thought of when I read your comment was Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series. I'm sure everyone cheered when she socked Malfoy in the jaw, but throughout the series she was a strong, capable character.

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  5. Kick ass,smart and smart mouthed! Thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. Thank you for participating! I love the sassy comment.

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  6. She has to be strong but have some weakness that she has to overcome in the storyline. Passionate, as well understanding of others. Confident but not arrogant. Selfless but not naive. She also needs to have someone who she can rely on when tough decisions has to made. Thanks for the invite to this giveaway!

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  7. sarcastic humor, integrity, confidence

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  8. Ultimately, I look for a well-developed and human character. While I like swashbuckling ladies, I also don't mind female leads who are not physically imposing. Like you I loathe wishy-washy characters(and people). While I don't mind if the female protagonist struggles with a decision I think it's important that the reasons she's struggling with said decision are to further her character development and not just to add drama to the story. I also really admire intelligent female leads. Becuase is a well-developed lady lead too much to ask for?

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    1. No, a well-developed lady is most certainly *not* too much to ask for. I think Jennifer Crusie does a good job of letting her female characters be just as complicated and messy as we are in real life. (And she's funny. That's why I read her. She makes me laugh.)

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  9. Brave, kick-butt and funny.

    Your guest post was great, thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. I'm glad you liked the post! I certainly had fun with it. Thank you for participating.

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  10. These are some great points, A.J.
    Whenever you read books nowadays you get a female protagonist that's bad-ass but hasn't earned it.

    A strong female protagonist definitely has to earn her title by having done something in a real moment of crisis with quick decisive action. In making a decision.

    Great guest post.

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    1. I'm glad you liked the post! Yes, strong females need to earn their titles. I think the real challenge that authors have when writing a strong female is finding the balance between that strength and the normal femininity that we have. I mean ... they're strong, yes, and they might nail you to a wall if you do something that ticks them off ... but there are emotions to be thought of too.

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  11. These books sound wonderful! What a great post & Q&A! I really enjoy getting to know authors better. Best of luck AJ. And best of luck to you Debdatta (another great promo)!

    Paul R Hewlett

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    1. Thank you for the well-wishes! I wish you the best of luck in the raffle, too.

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  12. Oops, didn't read the directions:( I look for strength. It doesn't matter to me if the character is quiet and withdrawn or confident and outgoing. The characteristic of being unbreakable and strong (which I find most women are, they're much stronger than men) is what I look for.

    Paul R Hewlett

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    1. I find it amusing that we're called the "weaker sex." Strength isn't measured just in how long you can run or how many pounds you can lift. (Granted, I highly respect people who can lift twice their body weight. That's just crazy cool.)

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  13. I look for someone who is either fierce from the start or starts of weaker but grows stronger as the book progresses. Someone who doesn't conform to the rules

    Emmanuelle Gaucher

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    1. Non-conformers are totally fun to read. I've noticed -- in my reading anyway -- that most of them all start with the simple question; "Why?"

      Things seem to spiral out of control from there.

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