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Local self-published author harnesses power of brick and mortar

After six years of writing, Balagna navigated the journey of self-publishing the novel
Jenny Balagna, a local coffee slinger, wrote "Noryn's Legend," a story of a princess's journey to become the rightful heir of Noryn.

When coffee slinger Jenny Balagna took another whack at writing "Noryn’s Legend," the story had amassed its elemental powers since the turn of the century.

“I have three younger siblings, two brothers, and a sister. We would play war and find fun games, and we had our characters and all of this,” Balagna said. “I eventually took the characters that we had created and started placing them in these little stories here and there.”

Steeping in her brain since youth, with the overwhelming need to draw Noryn’s Legend from her head, she decided to pull this force of nature out onto the page. After college, Balagna moved across the country for internships in various places and lived in other people's basements, which made her feel more comfortable spending time in coffee shops.

“The first drafts that turned into the book were started when I moved out here (to Longmont). I wrote it at places like La Vita Bella,” Balagna said.

After six years of writing, Balagna navigated the journey of self-publishing the novel — editing, formatting, and even designing the cover to look like a professional book from a bookstore. Getting the word out on the book was also a challenge and she has found support from brick-and-mortar storefronts in Longmont.

Balagna did a signing at 300 Suns Brewing last summer. She also reached out to Jake Hollingsworth at Longmont Books a few months ago to set up an event. They had planned on a signing on March 13, but the event will be rescheduled for a later date due to unforeseen circumstances.

“When I first was putting the book out, Jennifer Ferguson over at Bricks, she reached out to me and said, ‘I'm starting up a shop that has all these Longmont locals and I'd like to put your book in there,’” Balagna said. “My goal has been to reach out to more places now and get it out there.”

Noryn’s Legend tells the story of Princess Corinne Kinroth's journey to become the rightful heir to the throne of Noryn. Facing many challenges as a young woman in a patriarchal society, she must fight against the expectations of those around her. With her country at war, she embarks on a journey to find ancient magic where the forces of nature can be harnessed to fight against the enemy.

Filled with intrigue, danger and unexpected twists and turns, this story will appeal to fans of epic fantasy, warfare and political intrigue. With its strong female protagonist and unique magical system, Elemental Wielding, it is sure to capture the imaginations of those who crack open the book.

“There is a scene where two characters are planning to meet up. And the guy is like, ‘Meet me on the corner of 12th and Francis,’ and that's actually where I used to live,” Balagna said. “I wanted some cool fun little things to bring up that people would know, so Longmont gets that kind of reference.”

With plans for three books in the Birthrights series, Balagna has merely set foot on the beginning of a magical adventure and is diligently writing the second book with her sights set on finishing it later this year.