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  • Guest Post and Giveaway: My Three-Year-Old is a Barbarian and Other Parenting Problems by Aaron Frale

Today I am so pleased to welcome Aaron Frale to Joyfully Jay. Aaron has come to talk to us about My Three-Year-Old is a Barbarian and Other Parenting Problems. Aaron has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving a big welcome!

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How Magic Works in Carnt

Let’s talk about magic. Often, fantasy writers, especially in the world building ones, spend a great deal of time figuring out how magic works in their realm. In the Wheel of Time series there is an entire near religious institution of Aes Sedai who rule politics and shape the world. Magic is gendered with a male half and a female half, and the spell casters channel. While I think gender is being more thoroughly explored in other fantasy novels than in Jordan’s books, the rules of magic are clear, consistent, and an integral to the storytelling.

In RPGs, like DnD, the spell casters either gain their knowledge from books, use inherit power from within like channeling, or are granted the abilities as a divine boon. There are fantasy novels where people master elements like Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. No matter how magic manifests, it’s important to the story.

That’s why I needed a magical system in my books that was integral to the storyline, fit the fantasy/comedy tone of the book, and had clear and consistent rules. That’s why I invented shanneling. Spell casters in the Misfits series needed to be able to sing. I decided pretty early on that the words were not as important as the intent of the spell caster. This allowed me some leeway in the sense that I can do one of my favorite things in comedy of using inappropriate songs to fit the moment. Thus, why Jewel plays a climatic role at the end of the first book.

To give the readers consistency in spellcasting, I decided that each spell was created via intent of the magic user, popularity of the song (which can give it a boost), and performance ability. If Carnt had made it to our world with reality TV shows. I could easily picture American Idol or Eurovision song contest being the wizarding events much like Harry Potter’s Quidditch. In fact, I have one in mind for book 3.

Not only did singing as a requirement for spellcasting fit perfectly in the comedic tone of the series, but it’s perfect for high school as glee club stories are timeless when it comes to that age group. In a way, singers are like spellcasters. Whenever I hear Adelle’s “Hello.” I think of someone missing a dead person so powerfully that they want to break the impassible barrier between the living and the dead. I know that’s not what the song is about but that’s what it evokes for me.

I think most people interact with music in that way. It evokes a powerful emotional response that may or may not be intended by the songwriter. For some people, music takes them back to a time or place. Sometimes, it reminds them of a person important to them. Others, it simply gives them that “feeling.” Imagine being able to harness that connection with a song to use magic. That’s what I wanted to do with the series.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.


three year old is a barbarian coverNecromantic rituals, murderous ogres, battle-scarred rangers: not a typical Saturday detention for unsuspecting teaching assistant, Petra, and her delinquent teen charges.

The Beaverton High School Breakfast Club show up for what they thought would be cleaning the locker room with a toothbrush when the morning goes horribly wrong, and they fall victim to a deadly, dark spell.

Some jerkwad moon mage shoves the consciousness of Petra’s three-year-old into the body of a musclebound barbarian, and she is transformed into a halfling. The kids get stuck as a cleric, fire mage, and other stalwarts of your typical fantasy gaming party.

Now they must quest through a land of pissed-off warriors, angry giants, a pompous vampire, and a necromancer out to kill Petra and her child.

Despite being in a world where everything threatens to shuffle off her mortal coil, the hardest part is convincing a hulked-out man that the battle axe is not a toy, the undead are not cuddly, and he should use the potty.


aaron frale author photoGood times and hope for a better future. Maybe some fun time travel adventures or interdimensional travelers. A toddler stuck in a barbarian and his mom in a halfling. “Comedy and” is my jam. When not writing, I can be found teaching, podcasting Aaron’s Horror Show, and screaming while playing guitar for the band Spiral. Life has brought my wife, myself, and my son to Montana, where we reside at the moment.



Aaron is giving away a $20 Amazon Gift Card with this tour:

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