Tag Archives: Hammer of Witches

Mapping Columbus’s First Voyage

Our YA novel Hammer of Witches is a historical fantasy that follows young Baltasar Infante as he inadvertently finds himself part of Columbus’s first westward journey. In this post, our intern Andres Oliver looks at some of the places Columbus and Baltasar pass through, then and now.

Baltasar Infante’s quest to find his father carries him along with Columbus from the shores of Spain to the New World. We first meet Baltasar in the Spanish port town of Palos de la Frontera, whose scent of “seaweed and ale…smell of home” to the young protagonist (Hammer of Witches 19). Located in the Andalusian province of Huelva, the present-day Palos may smell different altogether; the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and recent construction of docks to shelter the port of Huelva have brought the town further inland.

Replicas of the Pinta, Niña and Santa Maria docked in Palos de la Frontera, Spain
Replicas of the Pinta, Niña and Santa Maria docked in Palos de la Frontera, Spain

Though the town has moved, visitors will still find many of the vestiges of the historical port city where Columbus began his journey. Attractions include the fifteenth-century church of San Jorge, where Columbus and his crew heard mass before departure, and La Fontanilla, a medieval well where they took on water. Furthermore, the town features a monument to the enterprising Pinzón brothers (who also play a part in Hammer of Witches) and a monolith engraved with the names of the seventy sailors who set sail from Palos is 1492.

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Shana Mlawski’s Blog Tour: Being a writer/reviewer, writing about rape, & more

To celebrate the release of her book Hammer of Witches, author Shana Mlawski is doing a blog tour from today until May 16!

Hammer of Witches cover

For all you Shana groupies out there, her schedule is below. Whether or not you’ve picked up Hammer of Witches yet, stop by the following blogs for some thoughtful conversation:

Tuesday, May 7: The Reading Zone – Shana on Being a Reviewer and Being Reviewed – Read her guest post here.

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Out TODAY: Awakening and Hammer of Witches!

Seems like spring is finally here and what better way to celebrate the warm weather than with new spring releases?

Today is the release day of two new novels from our science fiction and fantasy imprint, Tu Books: Awakening, the highly anticipated second book in Karen Sandler’s Tankborn series, and Hammer of Witches, a historical fantasy adventure featuring magic, monsters, and Columbus’s journey to the New World.

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Cover Design 101: Hammer Of Witches, and the Pros of Illustrated Covers

We’re so excited about the upcoming release of our new YA historical fantasy Hammer of Witches! In this post, Tu Books Editorial Director Stacy Whitman discusses how she and the designer came up with the final cover:

Historical fantasy can be tough to market. You have to show that, despite being steeped in research and history, this is an exciting, awesome book. It should look different from all the contemporary books out there, but not old-fashioned. Because of the fantasy element, a photographic cover just couldn’t do this book justice, but for YA, illustration can be tough because you don’t want the illustration to make the book look like it’s for a younger audience. We needed an illustrator whose art had a more mature look, whose sensibility tended more toward something you’d see in the adult market than the middle grade market—and we found that illustrator in Andrew Maroriginal sketch for Hammer of Witches cover
Because the cover is illustrated, there’s a lot more leeway in terms of what we can pick to show. So we get to see an important moment in the story: a character moment where the main character, Baltasar, meets one of his primary companions throughout the book, Jinni (who is a half-genie). We know there’s magic happening–she’s floating, after all!–and we get to see how the author envisioned these characters rather than having to find a model whose looks fit the character or a stock photo that’s not quite right. We can also see that this is a historical setting from the view out the window, the characters’ clothing, and the items on the table. We even get some nice detailing in Jinni’s dress, and I love the expression on her face compared to Baltasar’s!

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