Review: Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey

Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey by Valerie Estelle Frankel
McFarland and Co., 2012
More info at:
Rating: 3.5 stars

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is/was one of my favorite TV shows. I’ll admit, the movie was very cheesy and turned me off from even wanting to view the series. But then, one night while bored and needing something to escape into, I ended up watching one of the season 2 episodes. From that moment on, I was hooked. I devoured the series faithfully from season 1 to season 5. As my life grew more complicated (as Buffy’s did), the seasons became harder for me to watch due to appointments and meetings. I haven’t even read Season 8.

I was at PantheaCon in 2012 when I met Valerie Estelle Frankel, the author of this book. She and I were talking tarot and she mentioned to me that she had written this book. I got so excited that I asked her for an electric copy, because I really wanted to read it and review it. Although it has taken me two years (in a way, following my own heroine’s journey through my tarot and writing lives), here’s my thoughts.

Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey takes the reader on a adventure through the Buffyverse as it relates to the heroine’s journey. This book examines how Buffy, Willow, Xander and everyone else, and the plot fits into the concept of a heroine’s journey. Frankel also compares and contrasts all of this to that of the hero’s journey. She pulls from source material across the original movie, the entire TV series, and the “season 8” comics. I’ve tried my hardest to be spoiler free (as I’ve never read the comics yet). Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey is as entertaining as it is instructive.

The hero’s journey has a special place in my heart as a writer and a scholar. I have read a lot about it. In school, they don’t talk a lot about the Heroine’s Journey. While each has some parallels— it feels like the hero has an easier time and is more linear, while the heroine goes through this long, convoluted process that isn’t always easy or happy. In fact, you could say that it’s very complex, just like us women! Frankel does a great job framing the information of both Buffy (from the movie to the comic season 8) and the idea of a Heroine’s journey in such a way that makes both accessible as an introduction and to seasoned pros.

Re-reading about Buffy brought many of the episodes and more memorable scenes back into my head. I want to watch the whole series over again, now that I have been enlightened with this perspective. There were many things that confused me about Buffy back when I watched it. Things and scenes that made me uncomfortable. Things that paralleled with my own life, and Frankel’s book helped show me why these things had to happen. It made me grateful and I can now say, “ah, I understand it now when this happens in the series.”

I’m impressed, Frankel did her research. It oozes from the text. I thought I was a fan girl who spoke to others on end about aspects of this series. Frankel really dove into the mythology, the subtext, and made an amazing book. However, there are bits in this book that are confusing and a bit too scholarly. There were many times where I had to re-read sections over to grok what she was getting at. Sometimes, reading the book felt like reading a college text book and it was hard to push forward. I am glad I did because this is an important book.

Bottom Line:
Scholars and fans of Buffy will want to read Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey. Heck, anyone interested in learning more about why Joss Whedon is the best at what he does needs to read this book. To end with Frankel’s own words, “Buffy, a modern classic like Harry Potter or Star Wars, will surely last. It will be repackaged, rereleased, and most of all rewatched by long-time and new fans the world over. Because like Harry Potter and Star Wars, it’s the classic Chosen One story complete with humor and real characters the audience loves. But it’s also something special and far too rare on television—the classic quest of the heroine.” (Excerpt From: Valerie Estelle Frankel. “Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey.” ePub version iBooks.)

Shout out to NaNoWriMo

I wanted to welcome the new visitors from the NaNoWriMo site. The Office of Letters and Light asked me to write a Portland-themed article for their blog tour this year and today they launched my post “Roadtrip to NaNo: Keep Your Novel Weird” today.

I’ve been a huge proponent of NaNo ever since I started. It’s a great way for people who want to challenge themselves to write a first draft of a novel, to actually do it, and do it with others who are attempting the same thing. I’ve done it 11 years in a row now and am currently seeking a home for one of those drafts (my non-fiction Tarot manuscript).

This site contains inspiration, stories, and real life struggles of a 30-something author trying to find her home in the writing world. Thanks for stopping by and if you have questions, drop me a line at innowen at I’m always willing to cheerlead those on to victory.

Good luck Wrimos, you can do it!

Runes Book Tour Stop

Runes Official Tour StopSo, a few months ago I received an ARC for a YA series called Runes by author Ednah Walters. I was blown away by the series, set in my home state of Oregon. A week later, I was asked to join the book tour. And here we are! Today’s the last stop, so I recommend that you visit the others on this tour to read their reviews, more sneak peeks at the second book, IMMORTALS (due out August 2013!), and sign up for the fabulous giveaway.

Book info from

Seventeen-year-old Raine Cooper has enough on her plate dealing with her father’s disappearance, her mother’s erratic behavior and the possibility of her boyfriend relocating. The last thing she needs is Torin St. James, a mysterious new neighbor with a wicked smile and uncanny way of reading her. Raine is drawn to Torin’s dark sexiness against her better judgment, until he saves her life with weird marks and she realizes he is different. But by healing her, Torin changes something inside Raine. Now she can’t stop thinking about him. Half the time, she’s not sure whether to fall into his arms or run. Scared, she sets out to find out what Torin is. But the closer she gets to the truth the more she uncovers something sinister about him. What Torin is goes back to an ancient mythology and Raine is somehow part of it. Not only is she and her friends in danger, she must choose a side, but the wrong choice will cost Raine her life.

My review:

I must say that it was very enjoyable. The characters felt more real than most YA books. These kids had well rounded lives that involved equal measures of school, modern day internets, and high school participation. The story felt a bit rushed but it was a good opener for a promising series. The supernatural bits kept me guessing and I can say that I look forward to learning more about the world that Walters has created. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, I loved that this book was set in Portland, Oregon’s backyard. I also enjoyed how Walters used runes in her story. I don’t read runes but I love divination types and seeing that the runes were made into a magical system, that also doubled as a type of tattoo, got me really excited. I can’t wait to see how this system develops and morphs later in the series. If you want a good, fun and fast read, then Runes is that book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As for the giveaway, 5 lucky winners will win one of each item shown below:

One copy of the Book
One copy of the Book
A goodie pack
Pens, Mouse Pads, T-shirts

A Keychain

As a bonus, here’s two excerpts from Runes as written by the love interest Torin:
Continue reading Runes Book Tour Stop

Tarot Inspired Life

Tarot Inspired Life was written in 2011 as my first non-fiction (nano rebel) entry for NaNoWriMo. I am currently editing this book for publication. Usually I attempt to keep posts of my adventures through the month but as you can see, this was the first month I was a NaNoWriMo ML, which meant that I wrangled the cats during this month. Writing a novel, helping 100 Wrimos, and trying to keep up with everything isn’t an easy task.

Download inspirational NaNoWriMo Macbook Air Desktop (featuring artwork from the Steampunk Tarot)

Spirit Guides, Inc.

Spirit Guides, Inc was written in 2010 as my NaNoWriMo entry. I used to publish the entire drafts of my works to the site but as I’m editing to get them published, I’ve pulled the stories down. Instead I am offering downloads of the first drafts as ebooks. Once I edit them for publication, you can return here to download and Purchase the finished volume.

Download the first, unedited draft here

Purchase a copy of the book here

Download the desktop image here

Title: Spirit Guides Inc.
Genre: paranormal, young adult

One Line: The adventures of Julien as he learns how to become a spirit guide for Tracy Springer.
Tagline: Turn to them when you need help

Expanded Plot:
Where do our spirit guides come from? How are they assigned to people?

Welcome the world of Spirit Guides, Inc. (a clouded company) that handles spirit guide counseling between the spirits of our ancestors, animals, and other creatures, and their corporeal Earthbound companions.

This novel follows the adventures of Julien as he learns the ropes of becoming a licensed Spirit Guide. His first assignment, to protect Tracy Springer who’s soul is slowly being destroyed by a member of the rouge organization called The Shadow Group.

New Renaissance Review of Fire from the Cauldron

The latest issue of New Renaissance’s newsletter features Shon Clark’s Fire from the Cauldron. I’m excited about this book because it’s the first book I edited for Megalithica Books/Immanion Press.

In this review, I gave some tidbits about what makes this book so important and special. Click here to go read it online. Thanks Erin Donley for allowing me to lend my voice to the review.

Gotham Writers’ Workshop Contest Winners Announced

Last November I entered TOUCHED into the Gotham Writers’ Workshop YA Novel Discovery contest. They announced the winners today. I was not one of them.

However, they had about 1,700 submitted entries which is pretty impressive. I’m not bummed, I know that when the time is right TOUCHED will enter the scene with force. Which means, I need to get off my butt and work on revisions.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Attending PantheaCon

At the end of this week, I’ll be driving down to San Jose to attend PantheaCon. More specifically, I’ll be promoting my work in Women’s Voices in Magic and the writing/editing I do with Immanion Press/Megalithica. This is my first time attending this convention and I’m looking forward to meeting people and promoting my spirituality. If you’re attending PantheaCon, look me up. I’d love to chat and get together.

Click the Read More button to view the date/time/locations of the two panels I’m on.

Continue reading Attending PantheaCon

DIYP Article Up: Review of I’d Rather Be in the Studio

This week I write an apology and review a wonderful marketing book catered to artists who want to turn their artistic passions into a full time career. Go read the article to find out why I had to apologize to the author of I’d Rather Be in the Studio.