The First Space Between Contest

What I have:


A whole stack of shiny red ARCs, and this week, I will be giving away two. Two ARCs of The Space Between! And yes, because this is an ARC contest, sadly it is US only.*

In the past, the (rare) contests I’ve done have always been very easy—easy for you, easy for me. I’m going to keep it that way, but I have to warn you, I’m slowly becoming more ambitious so today we’re going to try something a little different.

What I’m thinking:

Daphne, the main character in The Space Between is a very earnest, very whimsical girl who just happens to come from a dark, complicated place. Which, let’s be honest, makes for some excellent theme song fodder.

Today, Daphne’s theme song is “Four Winds” by Bright Eyes, which features sincerity, a lot of Yeats-ian imagery, and an ominously upbeat fiddle. (Also, the drummer in the official video could totally be one of Daphne’s sisters. Just so you know.)

Now, what I want you to do:

  1. On your blog/Facebook/Twitter, tell me what YOUR theme song would be. Your answer can be silly. It can be shocking or heartfelt or painfully obvious. It doesn’t matter if no one agrees or everyone agrees, or if they will agree just as soon as you explain yourself. It does not matter if your theme song will probably change next week. This will be as easy or as complicated as you make it.
  2. When sharing your song, include a link back to the contest so that other people can get in on the fun.
  3. Comment on this post and tell me where I can see your answer. Make this easy on me, people. If you link to your Facebook account and I can’t see it, your name is not going in the randomizer, okay?**
  4. Do this before midnight Eastern time on Sunday the 28th. (That gives you almost a week.)

I’ll announce winners next Monday, and I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

*Sorry, international friends. I’m told that ARCs are really supposed to stay in the country where that edition of the book is going to be sold. However, it will be a different story once I get finished copies. Those can go to anyone!

**I sound so . . . draconian. But I do really mean it—please be helpful. Please.

Sapphique Winners

Everyone, thank you so much for stopping by and making Catherine feel welcome! (As usual, I broke my comment policy and left the entry comments unanswered.)

I drew two names awhile back, then got totally bogged down with all the holiday stuff I wasn’t doing while I was busy racing around to hit my Book 2 deadline, so apologies for the delay! The winners of the finished copies are:

Elizabeth Mize


You’ll both be hearing from me shortly so I can get your mailing addresses.

To everyone, thanks for making the final Breathless Reads week a big success, and happy holidays!

Guest Post by Catherine Fisher (Plus Giveaway*)

It all might have been so different.

Writing a novel is a strange process. It’s a sort of self-induced hypnotism- getting your mind into a daydream state where you can tap into all those ideas and images we all have already stored up somewhere in there. I usually start at the beginning of the story and work through it, but events can  change radically as I go along, so I often have to go back and revamp  earlier sections. The worst dilemmas occur at places in the story where  several equally interesting but different things might happen. Only one can be chosen, and so the other options are  ghosts of stories. Echoes and shadows. As I  go on they fade away, and the book becomes slowly more solid. The whole process of writing and rewriting and editing takes about a year. By the end, I’ve forgotten all the doubts and vagueness of the beginning, and most of the indecisions and worry. Like the reader, I tend to think this is how it was always going to happen.

So it’s fascinating to be reminded how far changes can go. The other day I came across one of my notebooks (I have lots!) with early notes on what would eventually become Incarceron. I had thought the Prison’s name was there from the start, but no, here was a list of scribbled titles. /Captivia? Incarcerax?/ Lots of irritated variations on/ jail/, and /wing/, and /chain/.

Then, who was the prisoner? My notes suggest things. /Girl inside/ boy outside?/ I do remember that was my first idea, that the one trying to escape would be a girl, and the one Outside, the privileged one, would be the boy. Obviously it didn’t work, because a few pages later there’s a sentence in large underlined letters.  SHE IS THE WARDENS DAUGHTER!! That was a big decision, and totally changed the shape of the book.

Finn was sometimes called Giles. Claudia was always called Claudia. Her tutor, Jared, also always had that name, but he was meant to be a very minor character. That soon changed. And the Warden, Claudia’s father, became, as soon as he stepped out of his carriage, far more interesting and challenging than I had expected.

I suppose my point is that stories are not fixed until the last word is written. They are not inexorable. There might have been, very easily, a novel called Incarcerax about an imprisoned girl which would have turned out wholly differently.

Maybe better, maybe worse.

Maybe somewhere, in some other dimension, you are reading it.

*Brenna here—Thanks for the wonderful post, Catherine! I relate to this so much. I have countless notebooks full of directions that stories never went in—but could have!

Once again, I have two finished copies of Sapphique to give away. All you have to do is comment (make sure to include an email address if you don’t have an lj account) and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Sapphique. You’ll also have a chance on Friday, when I post my interview with Catherine, so stop by and comment on Friday too, if you want to increase your odds!

Matched Winners

First, a big-thank you to everyone for making Ally feel welcome! (As before, I’m breaking my comment policy by leaving the contest-entry comments unanswered.)

I just drew two names, and the winners of the finished copies are:


(You’ll both be hearing from me shortly re: mailing addresses.)

To everyone else, thanks for making this yet another great Breathless Reads week, and stay tuned next month when Catherine Fisher—author of Incarceron and Sapphique—stops by!

Nightshade Winners

First, I want to thank to everyone for such a great response! (Like last time, I didn’t answer comments individually.)

I drew two names this morning, and the winners of the signed, finished copies are:

Amanda of the email address


Samantha Bledsoe

(I’ll be contacting both of you shortly to get your mailing addresses.)

To everyone else, thanks for showing Andrea some Nightshade-love, and be sure visit next month when I host Ally Condie, author of Matched!

Interview With Andrea Cremer

Now for my favorite part of every Breathless Reads week—the interview portion! Today I have Andrea Cremer, who gives excellent answers to nosy questions and even outguesses me in several places.

First, a quick contest side-note: I’m running things just like last time. All you have to do comment here and you’ll be entered to win a signed, finished copy of Nightshade. On Sunday, after 8:00pm Eastern, I’ll draw two names—one from the comments on this post, and one from Wednesday’s post—and announce the winners next week. If you don’t have a livejournal, be sure to include a name and your email address in your comment. Also, apologies to the international people—I’ve officially had it confirmed that the contest is US-only, so I’ll have to come up with something for you guys soon.

And now, Andrea Cremer! (Just a warning—I went kind of overboard with questions about political theory because I love it, and Nightshade has plenty!)

1) First, I am so jealous of Calla’s Big Ideas class. Not only does it sound like a lot of fun, but you’ve made the philosophy discussions totally accessible and it adds a great layer of metaphor to what’s going on outside of school. I was wondering, what made you decide to use social contract theory as a trope for the craziness that is Calla’s life?

My ‘day job’ is being a history professor and I specialize in the early modern period (1500-1800) which is when all those social contract ideologies were being tossed around, so I spend a lot of my days thinking about that stuff. I’m fascinated by competing theories about why societies form and how they can be managed.

2) Here is an age-old question, because I am nosy and never get tired of asking it: who is your favorite character in the Nightshade world?

It’s hard to pick a favorite character because I love them all so much. I’d say the character I feel closest to is Calla’s younger brother, Ansel. Of all the characters in Nightshade he’s the only one who was inspired by a person from my own life – my little brother, Garth. He’s not so little any more, but we’ve always been very close and that definitely played a part in Calla and Ansel’s relationship.

3) In your other life, you’re a history teacher. (Get ready for a totally leading question.) Do you think your history background has anything to do with the very political relationship that exists between the Guardians and the Keepers, and even within the packs themselves?

Uhhhh, what? Just kidding! Of course. As I said earlier I specialize in the early modern era, and more specifically I research the intersection of religion, gender, and violence. The ways that ideology and sexual politics shape culture and are used to enforce hierarchies was always in my mind as I wrote Nightshade.

4) You mention on your site that you have a younger brother. Was your relationship with him in any way an inspiration for the relationship between Calla and Ansel, or is that completely made-up?

Uh-oh – I keep scooping your questions. Hee, hee. In case you missed it earlier, yes, my brother Garth inspired Ansel.

5) As a writer, what word would you personally never, ever use?

Pulchritude. I hate that word. Also sanguine – but that’s because I love the word sanguinary (bloody) and sanguine means pleasant. What’s up with that? I have an entire blog post devoted to words I can’t stand. I am fussy about words.

6) You and Calla both really like Watership Down. As it happens, I also really like Watership Down—meaning, I think it is one of the best books ever written—and I was wondering if it inspired you at all when writing Nightshade. (I swear I can see threads of it, but I was an English major, so I can see threads of anything anywhere.)

Ahhhhh!! You love Watership Down too?? It IS one of the best books ever written! You saw threads of it in Nightshade??? I love you! Okay, I’ve calmed down now. I’m so flattered and I think the resonance between the books is a reflection of what I loved about Watership Down – the complex relationships that exist in the natural world and the creation of an original mythology to accompany that world. Also, brutality. Life is hard. Life requires a lot of surviving in addition to creating and thriving.

7) Lastly and of critical importance: do you like cupcakes? If so, what is your favorite flavor? If not . . . well, then I will be sad that you just don’t find the same unadulterated joy in them that I do.

I think you must come to visit me because 1) you are cool and 2) there is a café not 4 blocks from my house called Cupcake. They don’t sell cupcakes, but…ha! OF COURSE they sell cupcakes! My favorite is a tie between red velvet and carrot cake cupcakes. As you can likely surmise I have a liking for cream cheese frosting. In fact, now that it’s October I’m wondering if a cupcake exists that is pumpkin with cheesecake frosting. Someone find me that cupcake!

Thanks so much for having me, Brenna. Now you know how weird I am.

Thanks for stopping by, Andrea! Also, weird is good. I realize it’s not a contest, but I feel that we’re probably pretty fairly matched in our weirdness :)

Guest Post by Andrea Cremer (Plus Giveaway*)

Love Fear, Fear Love

Brenna, I’m so delighted to make a guest appearance on your blog. Congrats on The Replacement hitting the New York Times bestseller list! You and Mackie deserve much adulation and success!!

I adored The Replacement for a lot of reasons, but one of them was that this book scared the hell out of me in a profound way. There a different types of fear. Being startled or shocked can leave you shivering, but often that sensation devolves into grins and laughter. A more subtle, powerful fear is the kind the slides under your skin and leaves you cold, sad, and full of questions about the way the world works and what your place in it could possibly be.

Fear is a primary motivator in real life and in books. One of Nightshade’s main characters, Ren Laroche a male alpha who is Calla’s rival and intended mate, admits that there is one thing he fears most in life – but he won’t tell Calla what it is. In fact, you won’t discover his single fear until the final book of the trilogy. But that fear remains the catalyst for most of Ren’s decisions throughout the series. The same rule applies to all of Nightshade’s inhabitants – what they love and what they fear shapes and re-shapes their thoughts and deeds.

Fear and love go hand in hand. As I mentioned earlier, giddy, shocking scares derive from an adrenaline rush, but our deep fears exist because they are tied to those things closest to our hearts: our secrets, our hopes, our attachments. When hunting down our hearts’ desires, fear sets traps that slow us down and might even stop us altogether. Giving into to fear is an ultimate form of defeat because it is surrender not to a super villain or dastardly deed, it is giving up on one’s self.

The adage love conquers all wouldn’t mean anything without the presence of fear. It’s only the reality of fear, and its potential to undermine all we hope for in life, that makes love’s ability to conquer this most insidious of enemies so powerful.

*Brenna here—Thanks for the great post, Andrea! (It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that I love talking about fear.)

Once again, I have two signed, finished books to give away! All you have to do is comment (make sure to include an email address if you don’t have an lj account) and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Nightshade. You’ll also have another chance on Friday, when I post my interview with Andrea, so stop by and comment on Friday too, if you want to increase your odds!

ETA: I just checked with my book-source, and the contest is US only. Sorry about that, everyone. I know it’s disappointing, so in the future I’ll have to come up with something international for you guys!

Contest Winners

Hi, everyone! Thanks for the awesome turn-out last week—I didn’t wind up responding to comments individually (I could, but I think it would mostly be you’re entered!), but it was great to see so many people eager for a shot at The Eternal Ones!

This morning, I drew names randomly from each of the two contest posts, so without further ado, the winners of the signed, finished copies are:

Jessica, of the email address JessRing84


(I’ll be contacting you both to get your mailing info.)

To everyone else, thanks for participating, and keep an eye out for my upcoming Breathless Reads posts, because I can guarantee that this will not be the last chance to win fabulous prizes!

A Quick Reminder Before I Go

Over at Merry Fates, we are having a CONTEST EXTRAVAGANZA in honor of New Orleans!

The prizes are good, and entering is easy–all you have to do is choose your favorite Merry Fates story (or three), let the internet know you like it, let us know where you posted it, and you’re entered to win something cool that the Merry Fates will pick out together while we’re there. What the prize will be is a mystery–all we know is that we plan to personalize/customize it in some way, and it will probably be bizarre.

Runner-up prizes include: a copy of SHIVER, a copy of BALLAD, and an ARC of THE REPLACEMENT. Books will be signed by the author and drawn-on/otherwise made unique by the rest of us.

We’ll draw names Monday–possibly, with Jackson’s () help, in the form of a video blog–so check out the link for details on how to enter.

Also, expect Shakespeare hijinks.