Meet Me (and Tess, and Maggie) in NYC!

Yes, today was originally supposed to be a high-school post day, but then things went and got hectic and disorganized and I had to drive to the airport, which is far away, and also I really really want to use this one specific picture, because I think the post will be stupid without it, but I can’t find the picture, but I think I know where it is, so just give me some time and I will track it down!

In lieu of that post, I have a fun thing: an announcement for all you bloggers headed to BEA in June!

(Also, my announcement presupposes that the bloggers I’m addressing are interested in what I write, or what Maggie Stiefvater writes or what Tessa Gratton writes, or a combination. But then, you’re here, so it’s probably safe to assume that you are, at the very least, aware that I write books.)

Now, the announcement—Carolrhoda Lab, who’s the publisher of our upcoming anthology The Curiosities, is going to be hosting a blogger breakfast, and right now, they’re holding a contest over on Facebook where you can enter to win an invitation!

If your name is picked, you’ll come eat breakfast with me and Tess and Maggie and a few other Carolrhoda authors, and ask us questions and participate in general merriment, and I will try so, so hard not to spill anything on myself.

(Which is something I do sometimes.)

(It’s problematic.)

Anyway, if you’re a blogger who’s going to BEA and hanging out with us sounds like a fun time, go and get entered, and hopefully I’ll see you at breakfast!

Introducing THE CURIOSITIES!

This is not a book report. But. It is about a book.

So. Wow. Okay.

I feel like I’ve already been talking about this for a long time. No, seriously. For like a really long time .

But now, we’ve officially moved beyond the Realm of Vague Talk. We’ve entered the Land of Imminent Book, and I can finally (finally) give you a look at what’s been going on behind the scenes for months (years!).

As you may or may not be aware, Tess, Maggie , and I have been critique partners for a very long time. So long that when I post about something we’re doing, I often forget to give you any sort of context. So long that it’s hard to conceive of a time when we were not critique partners. My writing career has literally not existed in any significant form separate from the three of us knowing each other.*

Okay, let’s back up. Right away, from the beginning, before everything—before books on shelves—we started doing this thing.

At first, it was just a little thing.

It was a fiction blog shared between the three of us, and we’d write short stories really fast and post them the same day and egg each other on and get tons of practice at narrative structure and economic character development and not procrastinating.

And then, so slowly it was kind of hard to pinpoint, it stopped being a little thing and started being a big, awesome thing, and that wasn’t us—that was you guys, and the way you showed up every week and got involved and talked to us and talked to each other and made it less like three writers shouting stories into the internet, and more like a community.

And now, after four pretty incredible years, the Merry Sisters of Fate has grown into this:

the curiosities

For real.

The simple version is, here is a book that’s an anthology of our stories. And the complicated version is that it’s also way more than an anthology. It’s a retrospective and a conversation and a scrapbook and a diary, and it’s coming this fall from Carolrhoda Lab and we are so, so happy with how it turned out! And to celebrate our happiness, we’re giving away three shiny brand-new ARCs and the contest is very, very easy, so go enter!

Now, because it’s kind of hard to describe exactly how The Curiosities happened, here’s a video about our motivations, where we look neat and brushed and are wearing makeup.

Also, because it’s kind of hard to describe exactly how The Curiosities happened, here is a video about the behind-the-scenes. In this one, we’re wearing pajamas and making a huge mess and very little sense.

It probably goes without saying, but the finished product is kind of a synthesis for these two videos.

(But the manically-productive pajama part more.)

*Except for a few times when I sold some short fiction to horror markets, but I was totally flailing back then and really, really didn’t know if I was even pointed in the right direction.

Sh*t Writers Say (also, I am a bad blogger)

First things first, I am a bad blogger.

Things that have contributed to blog-silence, in order of occurrence, 75% work-related:

  1. Final stages of Merry Fates anthology madness
  2. Knee surgery
  3. Edit letter
  4. Writing retreat

With that in mind, I’d like to take this moment to assure anyone who might be wondering that—you know the drill—I’m not dead, and things will be returning to normal very shortly. At least, shortly when considered in the grand scheme of things (continents drifting, stars colliding).

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Winners of the Contest of Various Unspecified Stuff!

Okay, so I poured all the entries in the randomizer, and I will shortly be contacting the following people for mailing addresses:

  • Kristina Y. Zavala
  • brookea_2006
  • Andrea
  • Meagan L
  • Meghan (@meghan805)
  • Aik
  • Marisa
  • Leigh Smith

After which, they will receive mailings of my choice. (I assure you, whatever I send will be tidy, well-packaged, and tasteful. But of questionable usefulness.)

And now to everyone, thank you so much for sharing your goals with me! It’s really wonderful to see what you all have in store this year—so go forth and accomplish! ♥

Happy-Happy

Just really quick, I’m stopping in a day early to say hello. Also, that I like you guys! (And even though I’m still on crutches, I’m not even cranky anymore—it’s a miracle!)

Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I won’t be around to do a high school post. Instead, I’m going to bake a lot of pies and then go see my parents and my sister and my cousins and all my aunts and uncles (subtext: my family is really, really tremendous, both in terms of wonderfulness and sheer numbers).

High school posts will return next Thursday, and I’m thinking that for this coming Monday, I’ll even put together an actual writing-related post (What? Brenna, doing something organized and educational and possibly even prescriptive? I know!), where I talk about revision and how to gut a story and keep the good parts.

(We’ll see how it goes.)

Until then, I hope you all have a great week, and even if you’ve got nothing fun planned, just … do something fun anyway—do something that you love!

One Good, One Bad, One SHINY!

The Good

Hey, remember that time I made a heart out of red velvet cake and cream cheese and lots and lots of delicious cherry-based gore?

Also, remember how it was a contest?

Well! I am deeply honored to have Won a Prize, which recently arrived in the mail, and which I have posed with some lemon sandwich cookies for best effect:

IMG_0018

Many million thanks to all my fellow Creepy Cake N Bakers—and special thanks to Dawn Metcalf and Stacey Jay , for not only organizing the whole thing, but for presenting me with this delightful Bride of Frankenstein trophy!

The Bad

Okay, I’ll be the first to say that this past week has had way more than its fair share of awesome (like, oh, The Space Between hitting shelves). However, I immediately (sadly) complicated it/screwed it all up by blowing out my ACL. Which explains both my spotty internet presence and the fact that I have been uncommonly cranky—sorry, friends and family! (And Most Especially D.)

Right now, some of you may be saying, “Really, Brenna? Again? You managed to break yourself yet again? Aren’t you getting too old for these kind of hijinks? Also, you are a writer and your whole entire job revolves around sitting at a computer, which is markedly not-dangerous. Okay, you know what? Fine, whatever, I’ll humor you. How exactly did this happen?”*

To which I will reply that much like every injury I’ve ever sustained, it was purely the result of me being entirely too optimistic about my own physical capabilities. Also, soccer.

So, I’m currently the proud owner of two crutches and one full-leg brace.

Here is me looking askance at them.

askance

I plan to defeat them with my stoic-yet-plaintive stare. Also, being rigorous about my physical therapy.

The SHINY

Now for something much, much happier! As you may or may not know,** The Space Between is officially titled Smoulder in the UK, and here is definitive and sparkly proof:

smoulder

Smoulder is scheduled to come out next month, and even though it has a different name, in all important ways, it’s the very same book as The Space Between. (Except that characters will sometimes walk on pavements instead of sidewalks. Pavements? Is that the plural? Or is it all just one big pavement?)

And that’s the story of my post-TSB week!

*Only, I don’t actually think you sound aggressive or judgmental. I’m really just channeling myself. As you can see, myself is cranky.

**If you don’t know, it’s my fault. Because I never told you.

Guess What Day it Is!

Actually, that’s kind of ridiculous—I won’t make you guess.

So, for anyone who has not been listening to me yammer on incessantly for months, it is Space Between Day!

SpaceBetween

And to celebrate, I went out this morning and signed some books at my favorite local bookstore, the Tattered Cover . (Colfax location, for anyone who’s in the area and interested in snagging a copy.)

Also, D documented the event for posterity, so here I am signing copies with a vague, slightly worried look that has nothing to do with my feelings (elated) and everything to do with my Thinking Face looking kind of similar to other people’s Oh, Is it Monday Already? Face.

Signing TSB stock

TSB stock 2

See? It is proven! The Space Between has gone out into the world. And now, I am here on my couch, just smiling, smiling, smiling!

My Book Is Fancy!

By which I mean, this trailer is fancy:

And lush and moody and perfect!

And reminds me that The Space Between comes out one week from today.

Which is kind of terrifying.

I did not mean this to be the shortest post ever. But it is. However, if you’re in the mood for something longer, I did just write a brand new Merry Fates story. It’s about vampires. Yes, really.

Here Is Where I Get Caught Up

As you may or may not have noticed (I won’t be sad if you didn’t notice—I promise), I have not been on the internet at all since Thursday. So, wow.

The reason for this is, I just spent the weekend in Minneapolis. Which is not to imply that they don’t have internet in Minneapolis, because they do.

I just didn’t avail myself of it, because some of the trip meant being busy with AASL, and the rest of it meant being holed up in a hotel room with Tess and Maggie, working feverishly on our upcoming Merry Sisters of Fate anthology. It was a lengthy and manic process, involving caffeine, sticky notes, stupid drawings, smart drawings, and lots and lots of markers. It was excellent.

But now I’m home, and trundling around trying to get everything in my life back where it belongs.

First, here are the things you need to know:

  1. There IS a contest this week, but it’s over at Merry Fates, and The Space Between is not the only thing up for grabs! You also have the opportunity to win a copy of Blood Magic, a copy of The Scorpio Races, and a box-set of the Shiver trilogy!

    And the rules are fun, too—all you have to do is go over there and tell us in the comments what made-up title you’d give to a Merry Fates story of your choosing, if you could give it any title at all.*

  2. The very next thing I’m going to do in my list of Doing Things is respond to the comments on Thursday’s high school post. Because I haven’t done that yet, and I really want to, and I like them!

Next, here are the things I just want to tell you because I want to:

  1. The Space Between comes out in fourteen days. Which is two weeks. Which is scaring me, because I thought it was never in a million years actually going to be November, and now it is!
  2. There’s been some really exciting critical reaction, like a starred review in Publishers Weekly!

    The Space Between is also an ALAN pick for the month of October, and I’m sharing the link here because I absolutely love what they have to say about it.

    This book is my favorite thing I’ve written, and it makes me stupid-happy when people read it and want to talk about the parts that matter most to me. (Scroll down to see the ALAN take on it.)

  3. Also, thank you for reading my blog. I’ve only been away since Thursday, and already I was missing it, and missing you.

    So, thank you.

*Only, probably not a dirty title. Not that.

Brenna Gets a New Blog and Makes a Thank-You Pie

Today is the day—that day where I have officially moved blogs!

Thanks to my trusty web wrangler/husband, the new blog is up, running, and looks almost exactly like my old blog. It took a lot of work and some mental gymnastics (him) and some cursing (me), but all my old entries live here now, and I’ve even been able to import the Livejournal comments, although some of them are strangely out of order.

In light of the time and effort D spent helping* me move everything, I felt that at the very least, I owed him baked goods. And I also owed this blog an inaugural entry. And then I thought, why don’t I kill two birds with one post? So, in a flurry of efficient metaphorical bird-killing . . . here we are.

Over the years, I’ve talked a lot about pie pastry, and enough of you have emailed asking for tips that I’ve even included my particular recipe in the FAQ on my site.

Today, I’m going one step farther. Today, I’m providing a handy illustrated guide.

First, what you will need:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shortening (I like the kind that comes pre-measured in stick-form, like butter—one stick = one cup.)
  • 6 tablespoons cold water

pie supplies brighter

Whisk the flour and salt together in a big bowl, then cut the shortening into the flour mixture using a pair of butter knives (you just drag them through the bowl in opposite directions, cutting the shortening into smaller and smaller pieces and letting it get caked with flour). Cutting the dough like this takes a little longer, but the finished texture is super-flaky because the flour doesn’t get over-mixed.

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