An Embarrassing Admission and a Video

As much as it pains me to say it, I’m very bad with time.

Which is not the same as being irresponsible or late for appointments. No, I’m quite punctual and at least marginally capable of sticking to a schedule. However, despite all that, I have an appallingly bad sense of how much time is actually passing. I mean, it is shocking.

For instance, if you ask me about some bygone event (nothing fancy—it can be just about anything), I will almost certainly tell you that it happened “last week.” Even if the event in question happened yesterday or last month or a year ago.

And this phenomenon is not limited to the past. I never know how soon anything is, so everything is always sneaking up on me and taking me by surprise. Sometimes quite aggressively.

Which is why, even though I had tons of lead time and advance notice and I knew it was going to happen, I completely failed to tell you that the paperback edition of The Replacement came out last Tuesday. Because I totally thought it didn’t come out for another month.

But also.

Also—and this is where things get bad—in addition to the other forgetting, I also forgot to tell you that Penguin included the first two chapters of The Space Between as a teaser at the back.

Which means that people could technically be reading those first two chapters right now. Had I alerted people to their availability.

So, in light of this pretty egregious oversight, I made you a video. Because I’m excited and celebratory and deeply sorry for my lack of planning and I want you to at least hear the first page, and I don’t even care that my webcam makes me look like a ghost.*

*And also, I appear to be missing selective portions of my eyebrows.

My Query Letter for The Replacement

Over on Twitter just now, I’ve been discussing queries with and it occurred to me that it might be helpful if I shared my own query. For clarity/continuity/etc., I should point out that back before The Replacement was . . . well, The Replacement, I was calling it FE. Which I felt was an excellent title. Later, I was forced to admit that if you always have to explain the joke, it’s probably not a very good one.*

Without further ado, here is my query:

Dear Wonderful Agent

Mackie Doyle is the dirty secret that no one in his family talks about. All he wants is to pass for normal—and maybe get a date—but he’s running out of convincing explanations for why his eyes turn black in dim light and why the smell of stainless steel makes him sick. To top it off, his allergy to iron is getting worse and despite his sister’s best attempts to come up with a miracle cure, the prognosis isn’t good.

When he encounters a tribe of grisly-looking faeries living under the local slag heap, he doesn’t want anything to do with them. However, when they offer a concoction that will restore his health on the condition that he put in a few hours a week as their courier, it seems like a small price to pay. The job isn’t quite as easy as it looks, though, and soon Mackie finds himself caught between a pair of powerful rivals. Now there are two clans vying for his loyalty, two sides to every story, and with the lives of his friends and family at stake, no way to stay out of the skirmish. Either alliance means honoring an age-old sacrifice, and the simplest solution is to pay out some blood. The problem is, he didn’t think to ask how much.**

A contemporary YA fantasy, complete at 70,000 words, Fe will appeal to fans of Holly Black and M.T. Anderson.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Update: I feel like I should expand on this and add tips and tricks and all that, but Maggie does an excellent job of breaking down the query letter here on her blog and I would just wind up saying the same things she does, only not as well, so instead, I’ll suggest that you visit her handy list.

*Sometimes, I’m not nearly as funny as I think I am. There. I said it.

**You might notice that this part sounds a little different from how it all goes down in the actual book. Due to a mysterious process known as editing, the various words used in The Replacement are often different words than the ones included in the manuscript version, FE.

The Second Thing


Well . . .

Well, it’s been quite awhile since I sat down and wrote a good solid blog post. What was the hold-up, you might ask?

Here is the short version: I turned in the latest revision of Book 2, then fell into a sleep resembling something out of a fairy tale only my hair didn’t look as good and I was wearing mismatched socks. After a week or so, I woke back up, made the bed, did the laundry, and now things are starting to return to normal.

There’s still work to do, of course. Next will be line-edits and copyedits, and hopefully a cover reveal pretty soon here, but things are definitely moving along. Also, I put this on the calendar weeks ago and then when it actually rolled around, I completely spaced it—but The Replacement came out in the UK yesterday! It has a British book-birthday! I’d somehow gotten used to the idea that it would be released there in the future and then failed to grasp that the future is now the present. This is an example of how I am very bad with time.

Here is another: literally months ago, I said I was going to talk about how I stopped being completely passive—specifically these three defining things that happened in close succession. I’m going to talk about the second thing now, but since it turns out that the posts themselves are not remotely in close succession, you have to imagine these events taking place within days of each other.

The second thing that happened did not happen to me. (Not that Dweezil getting yelled at happened to me—it just happened near me. But, you know.)

First though, to set the stage for my next mini-revelation, we have to go back in time.

A few weeks before the second thing, the Hobgoblin pulled me out of the lunch line one day and told me he was worried about me. I assumed that he must be confused, misled by my timid demeanor or my silence or the fact that I was standing in the lunch line alone waiting to buy two slices of terrible pizza—all of which could be construed as very worrying things. I hastened to assure him that I was fine. I was spectacular. I was fan-freaking-tastic. Really.

He regarded me gravely, then told me that I needed to stop hanging out with Irish.

I was immediately gripped by crushing despair. Or, what passes for it in Adolescent-Brenna World. So, moderate perturbation.

Continue reading

Two and One Half Things

Well, I’m still pretty frazzled (incredulous, giddy, ecstatic), and there’s just no way I can thank you guys enough. It’s true that I wrote a book (with invaluable insight from the editorial staff at Razorbill), but I certainly did not walk out there into the world and put it on the NYT list! I feel like I’m not expressing myself well at all, but seriously . . . you guys are amazing!

Today, I have this incredible urge to paint my toenails and make serious! old-fashioned candy! with a thermometer! and ignore my laundry and basically be a complete vegetable, but I do actually have a couple things I want to say first. (You may notice that I am much better at staying on task than I am at expressing sentiment.)

First, remember this still shot of Mackie?

Mackie (from the Breathless Reads commercial)

Well, I promised a link to the Breathless Reads commercial, and now I have it! You can go here to check out the commercial. (And in case you missed them earlier, here are the stills for the other Breathless Books—Nightshade, Matched, The Eternal Ones, and Sapphique.)

Also, the song playing in the background is called “Breathless.” It’s by Miggs, and if you like it, you can download it for free on Breathless Reads. (I downloaded it on Wednesday and have been listening to it . . . an embarrassing lot.)

Secondly, next week I’ll be featuring Andrea Cremer on the blog. I’ll have an interview with her and talk a little bit about her upcoming debut Nightshade (here’s a teaser: fun, sexy, kickass). I’ll also have a guest post from her, and I’m probably going to do another comment-based giveaway like I did for The Eternal Ones.

After that, I’ve got a high school post I’ve been working on and if all goes well, I just might finally get it finished and posted in the next couple weeks!

And that is the state of things.

In Which I Get a Little (tiny bit) Neurotic

Okay, so remember how I posted the other day and I was all blasé and placid and oh, yes, I have a book out now, but I’m totally self-contained and just puttering along at my normal emotional speed, blah blah blah? Well, I think we’ve just found my freakout threshold.

Let me tell you about it. And yes, it has a lot to do with this very cinematic banner.

Mackie (from the Breathless Reads commercial)

What it is: I just found out yesterday that there is a Breathless Reads commercial. And on Friday, it will be debuting on MTV’s Hollywood Crush blog. Like, MTV that we are all aware of and know about from childhood. Which kind of makes my head feel very weird and like it might explode a little. This picture of Mackie is an actual still from the commercial, and once I have a link to the real thing, I will definitely (definitely) be posting it here.

Not to mention, the other Breathless Reads authors have also been given stills of their characters, so if you want to see some more graphic representations, I present to you:

The Eternal Ones

Now, I will most likely be over in a corner somewhere, waiting for Friday and trying to keep my head from exploding.

, you are officially getting your emotional response!

Checking in

In brief, this has been a very good week. On Monday, I turned in a big set of revisions for Book 2. The Replacement came out on Tuesday (!!!), and since then I’ve been very busy staring blankly at the TV and melting into the furniture a little.

Then last night, I signed books at the Mountains and Plains author reception (my first-ever signing of anything). It was a blast and I got to meet some really amazing booksellers from Colorado and its adjacent states!

Leading up to the book launch, a lot of great bloggers invited me to do interviews with them and now the interviews are starting to go up. Some especially fun ones are this one I did for Myra McEntire’s Friday in the Fort feature, this one at YA Highway, and this one over at Forever YA, where I talk about high school crushes, how I met D, and being the owner of the Worst Car Ever.

Seven Days . . . Is Not a Long Time

It’s exactly one week before The Replacement officially ventures out into the world and I’m already hearing reports of sightings in the wild!

So, in honor of this being the craziest, weirdest, most surreal feeling ever, I’m posting some of the music I listened to while writing The Replacement. This playlist is representative, but not comprehensive. (If you want to know what Carlina sounds like when she sings, you have to go find Jennifer Charles—preferably some of the stuff she’s done with Firewater—but alas, didn’t have any)

Also, this list is dominated by male vocalists. It doesn’t mean anything. Except that I apparently listen to male vocalists when I write boy-books.

Another Disjointed List

August is shaping up to be a pretty crazy month—a month filled with Various Things. Here are some of them:

1. We are finally allowed to talk about the Merry Fates anthology! It’s been a big fat gleeful secret for months, and now that I’m finally allowed to talk about it, I find that I have absolutely nothing to say except that I’m reallyreallyreally excited! Which lacks a certain element of human drama.

2. Speaking of human drama, I have my first official edit letter for Book 2! It is an excellent letter, and long, and it makes me ridiculously happy. (There’s just nothing quite like a really good edit letter. I can’t explain it. It’s like Christmas. Only with less wrapping paper to pick up, and more rending of hair and garments. What?—Writers are masochists. Everyone already knows that.)

2a. Why it is nice to have an edit letter: nothing keeps you from obsessing over the fact that you have a book coming out in a month like . . . working on a different book!

3. Speaking of the book that’s coming out in a month: You can now read the entire first chapter of THE REPLACEMENT here. Which makes it real. But I’m not going to think about that.

3a. (which wraps neatly back around to 2a.) Instead, I will focus on demons and moral ambiguity and kissing. If anyone needs me, I will be holed up in a coffee shop somewhere, revising aggressively and listening to this song 983 times:

Friday Five (ish)*

1) I am ridiculously fortunate. While I usually feel that way in a very broad sense, today I mean it specifically—The Replacement has been included in a pretty major endeavor on the part of Penguin, called Breathless Books (which officially has its own website)!

The advance reading copies are being given out as a package deal, sort of like a little book-basketball-team. See the pretty slipcase?

Penguin Five Slipcase

So, from time to time, I’ll be putting up reviews, guest posts, and interviews with my fellow Breathless Books authors. Stop by next week to see what Kirsten Miller, author of The Eternal Ones has to say about music, hot beverages, and dress-making!

2) You may have already heard this, since the news—it is big! But I see absolutely no harm in saying it again. Over and over. Forever.**

Linger (the much-awaited sequel to Maggie Stiefvater’s hot novel of angst, Rilke, and werewolf nookie, Shiver) debuted at #1 on the NYT list! (!!!!!!!!!!)

Go here for the full story, some pretty glorious piano, and an ungroomed Maggie.

3) This month’s Tessa Does Shakespeare is up and features tears—real ones—and a chance to win Tess’s ARC of The Replacement just by commenting. I suggest that you watch it, because DUDE! Tess is crying. Did that just sound totally dysfunctional?

*Well, three. But that doesn’t have nearly the same ring to it.

**Oh, see what I did there?