Updated: Jan 11, 2021
The news is out: Spellfall Academy finally gets to be read by Real Life People. It seems thematically appropriate to follow this with an eyerolly "...Third time's the charm?!"
This book took quite a bit more time than anyone (least of all me) could have anticipated. At 140k-ish words, it's truly a beast. It's also the beginning of something very special to me—a whole world of magic, belief, identity, and Paris! It may have taken me a million and a half false finishes, but I'm glad I gave Mika & Sabbath's story the time it needed to bake, because the world expanded to meet me in the moments when I found stillness during the process... you know, instead of chasing self-imposed deadlines as I am prone to do. This world of Spellfall is sprawling, unrelenting, and imagination-prodding. And I'm in it for the long haul now!
But possibly the most intriguing part of this post is not that Spellfall has—finally—arrived, but how it is arriving. It'll be coming at ya in weekly chapters right here on my site. You can check out the first three chapters here. After that, there will be a secret password (how fancy and magical!) for chapters four and beyond, and you'll have to subscribe to my mailing list to get it 💟
"You cray, Jessa. Why would you post a book on your blog for free instead of on a retailer for $?"
It's a terrific question, savvy reader. Aside from having generally lost my mind, I also decided share this story in an unconventional way because it's been an unconventional year. 2020 was a dumpster fire for many of us, but it also put much into perspective for me. I write because I have to, and I write with the hope that maybe the words in my head can one day mean something to someone else, too. I'd rather that *one right person* read my story and it mean a lot, than send this tale off into the world meaning very little. So for now, anyone who wants to follow along is welcome to... regardless of your book budget ✨
I hope this opens up the doors to more people, even if it's a slow going process at first ;) After all, community is what makes YA readers & writers (and life in general, if you ask me) so incredibly powerful and significant. More community in more ways in 2021, please!
The story follows spunky witch Mika Carrow as she attempts to find her way back to the world of the living after an accidental brush with death. It features necromancy, potions, a magical coffeeshop, a free range unicorn, lots of squad goals and (obviously) brooding. Plus, it boasts a magical Parisian backdrop, because the francophile is strong in me. 🇨🇵
It checks off all my basic fantasy needs as a boring and reluctant human:
✅ Misfit witches
✅ Bubbling brews
✅ Demon Birds
✅ Total squad ...ghouls...
But if this doesn't convince you, I've popped the full blurb down below.
"Pandora Carrow isn't my mother, she's a villain in a story told to hundreds of children at night."
All Hallows' Eve begins with a séance... and ends with a cold, limp body.
(Mine, in case you are wondering.)
I'm Michlynn Carrow, and I'm a basic witch who’s definitely not prepared to be this level of undead. My hair has turned a deathly shade of grandma, baguettes fall through my hands as if I'm on some really uncool no-carb diet, and now there are these sinister spirit people lurking in the corners of the school—who only I can see.
Clearly, my seventh year at Spellfall Academy has more in store for me than Brewing & Stewing 101 and Practical Magic For the Modern Alchemist… all because I tried to ask my mother’s ghost why she went on that killing spree a decade ago.
Enter Soren Cain, the brooding and emotionally detached transfer student from my mother’s alma mater. He claims he has the answers to my little undead problem, but he’s only handing them out if I help him rally a team of witches to pull off some super shady soul magic. But the thing about Soren is that he has secrets of his own—secrets that bind us together.
Secrets that could send me down the same destructive path as my mother.
I'm thrilled to start off 2021 with a big dream and a few small steps forward. Let's cheer on our imaginations, spur each other to goodness, and love better than we did last year.