Wren’s World

Lhind the Thief; Book View Cafe, Summer 2013

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Lhind has been on the run all her life.

Stealing what she needs, using magic for disguise, she never stays anywhere long. Lhind even has secrets from herself, for she has few memories, and those are troubling.

But life is good until she gets caught by Rajanas the warrior-prince, Thianra the bard, and Hlanan the scribe. And that’s when adventure begins, because someone very powerful wants them all dead.

As they evade pursuit and work to uncover their enemies, Lhind struggles with the invisible bonds of friendship and trust, while Hlanan begins uncovering her secrets one by one.

Then she finds that he has secrets, too.

This fantasy with a dash of romance takes place in the same world as A Posse of Princesses and the Wren series.

Lhind the Spy; June 2015

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In this sequel to Lhind the Thief, Lhind has gone from castoffs to silks, back alleys to palace halls—and is not having an easy time of it. That’s before she’s snatched by an angry prince she’d robbed twice, who is determined to turn her over to the enemy who frightens her most, the sinister Emperor Jardis Dhes-Andis.

When her own dear Hlanan comes to rescue her, it’s Lhind who has to do the rescuing, setting off a wild chase to fend off mercenaries and then to confront an entire army intent on invasion.

Lhind and Hlanan try to negotiate the perilous waters of a relationship while on the run—straight into a trap.

Just when Lhind is beginning to figure out where she might fit into the world, she finds herself alone again, surrounded by enemies, in one of the most dangerous courts in the world.

And she begins to find out who she really is.

Lhind the Spy; paperback November 2016


A Posse of Princesses; second edition, e-book, 2010

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Rhis is sixteen, romantic, a princess of the tiny kingdom of Nym.

Nothing ever happens in Nym, until she receives an invitation to a celebration for Prince Lios of Vesarja, the largest kingdom around.

Lios is as handsome as Rhis hoped, and she falls instantly in love, just like in her favorite songs. But life isn’t like the songs–none of her friends are happy, and then there is the Perfect Princess, Iardith, who keeps occupying Lios’s time.

Rhis does her best to fix things for her friends, as she pursues her romantic ideal . . . and then the Perfect Princess is abducted.

Of course Rhis must go to the rescue . . . the princes right behind.

Barefoot Pirate

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With two bossy older sisters, Joe doesn’t like girls. Nan doesn’t have any friends.They reach for the same odd little book on a shelf in their favorite part of the library, the adventure stories, and agree to share it . . . and discover not just a story, but a promise that magic is real, and that someone from another world is needed to break a spell. Do they want to join Blackeye’s gang of pirate kids, who are determined to rescue an enchanted prince? Nan is so desperate to escape an unhappy life that she lies to her new-found friends, claiming to be a princess. Joe loves the idea of adventure. Pirates-orphan gangs-magic-castles-and spies abound as Nan and Joe discover magic and adventure . . . and who they really are.

Wren to the Rescue; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, March 1990

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All her life Wren has hoped for an adventure. Now she has one—with a kidnapped princess, a handsome prince, and a magician. What does it matter if the princess is only Tess, her best friend from the orphanage; if the prince is a youngest son with no chance of becoming king; and the magician is an apprentice? Wren leads the other three over mountains and past killing spells, fighting battles along the way. But then she finds herself up against some shape-changing magic that may end her life as a human forever!

Older editions: hardcover| Firebird Books, May 2004 paperback

Wren’s Quest; Jane Yolen Books, April 1993

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Wren thought she was an orphan. After discovering that she might have family, she spends her first vacation from Cantirmoor’s Magic School trying to find them. But her quest turns into a dangerous adventure, with robbers, guardsmen, and an angry sorcerer after her. And when her friend, young prince Connor Shaltar, begins to meddle with magic as well, things get entirely out of hand.

Meanwhile, back in Cantirmoor, Wren’s best friend, Princess Teressa, is trying to get used to courtly life. Not so easy, especially when someone is causing trouble in Cantirmoor- not only between courtiers, but magical trouble. And Tyron, her friend, is involved.

It takes all four friends to solve this mystery.

NY Library Best Books for The Teen Age List

Older editions: hardcover| Firebird Books, May 2004 (paperback)

Wren’s War; Jane Yolen Books, March 1995

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When the evil Andreus’s hunger for power leads to war, Wren and her friends are thrust into the middle of the struggle. Teressa is heir to the throne, Tyron her chief magicmaker, and Prince Connor a reluctant warrior. As allies die and others disappear, they must put aside their feelings for one another if they are to defeat the sorcerous Andreus. They know they need magic to save them. Can they turn the bloody tide?

NY Public Library Best Books for Teen Age List) Russia, 1995; Finalist for Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature, 1995. Anne Spencer Lindbergh Honor Book, 1996.

hardcover | Firebird Books, May 2004 paperback

Wren Journeymage

Book View Café, Oct. 2010 | Kindle | Nook | Audio book

The first summer of peace brings Wren on her weekly visit to the young Queen Teressa, where she encounters the mocking, sinister Hawk Rhiscarlan riding in! Wren races to warn Teressa, to discover he was invited. This causes the girls’ first argument.

Tyron gives Wren a chance to leave Meldreth by sending her on a new journeymage project, to find Connor on his wanderings. When Wren vanishes, her scry stone abandoned, Teressa veers between regret over the argument, worry about Wren, and the conflict between challenge and attraction as Hawk skillfully upsets her court.

Wren has just made friends with some young sailors when they are captured and forced on board a shady smuggler, where Wren learns all about the sea. When pirates attack, Wren does magic, which leads her straight to another confrontation with the villain she hates most, aided by the boy she . . . what do you call these feelings?

Once again the four-Wren, Teressa, Connor, and Tyron-find themselves deep in adventure, not only magical and courtly, but the dangerous adventure of romance.

Here is the map for A Posse of Princesses.

Explanation about Wren’s World

A few people have asked whether or not the Wren books and Crown/Court Duel take place on the same world. The answer is typical for me: no, yes, um.

The Crown Duel story, which I wrote in my early twenties, is part of the Sartorias-deles mega-arc. When my agent liked it, only the Wren books had been published, so I changed some of the outlying details to make it seem to belong to Wren’s world. The Firebird and the e-book editions, with the two parts back together, and the Flauvic scene restored, are back where they should be, on S-D. (The e-book also has Vidanric scenes added.)

Here’s the long version, which includes the history of Wren’s world.

When I was seventeen, a friend said to me, “I wish all the heroines weren’t blond with blue eyes.” So I told another friend that I was going to write about a brown skinned, brown haired, brown eyed heroine, but that friend got quite angry, saying that I ought not dare to write about minorities as I was a WASP and didn’t know how minorities suffered. (We were in high school at the time.) I got the idea for Wren, and began writing it, trying to find a way between the wishes of the two friends.

The first line was: “The phone rang.” The title, which I thought so cool at age seventeen, was Tess’s Mess. I decided I would make a world, not discover one, like S-d. It would be fun, and it also would not break the “rules” I perceived in children’s literature at the time. I also wouldn’t commit the error of presuming to write about a minority; I might mention Wren’s brown skin, but she would have blue eyes, and the brown and blond striped hair, so she’d be in between.

See, in those days, you didn’t have fantasy stories for kids in which kids from this world could go Over There and stay. They always had to come back, grow up, etc. Or, the ending I loathed with intense passion, they were enchanted to forget all their wonderful adventures, or to think “it was all just a dream.”

To get around that, I got rid of the Earth part of the story and Wren was an orphan. For the world, I made a Sartorias-deles lite: kept the mage council, the Twelve Towers guild for gathering and disseminating books and knowledge, and changed one of the indigenous races to the Iyon Dayin.

When I write an S-d story, it “feels” like I’m a watcher at the window. I can’t change anything that happened any more than I can willfully make myself younger or change our bank account from debt into wealth. It just is, and all I can change is how I write about the events. I wanted to try my hand at a world where I could change things, and the story wouldn’t all fall to pieces. S-d is a complicaed crystal structure I am still trying to understand. Wren’s world was meant to be like building Legos.

Sooo anyway, I sent Wren out, it almost sold, thank goodness it didn’t, I put it away, tried it again in my mid-thirties. Jane Yolen bought Wren, taught me how to revise, and took out the brown skin, saying it didn’t really belong. That was 1990. The stripey hair stayed.

When Firebird bought Crown Duel I restored the story to S-d. The Wren books, in being polished for ebook publication, had the brown skin quietly restored.