swan_tower: (*writing)

If you’ve ever wished you could have a matched set of all four Onyx Court novels, now you can!


Midnight Never Come, In Ashes Lie, A Star Shall Fall, and With Fate Conspire are all out now in the UK, in a lovely set of matching trade paperbacks. They’ve also had a few errors cleaned up, the dates reformatted to British style, and the spelling Anglicized, so on the whole, I feel comfortable in calling this the author’s preferred edition. 🙂 Get ’em now, while the getting is good!

UK covers of all four Onyx Court novels

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)

It’s out!


For centuries a faerie court has lain hidden beneath London: a place of shadows and intrigue, where the city’s immortal inhabitants can watch and manipulate the mortals above. Through two royal dynasties, through rebellions and plots, through war and plague and fire, the Onyx Court endures.

Now the court’s first two centuries are collected in a single book. This omnibus contains the novels Midnight Never Come and In Ashes Lie, as well as the novella Deeds of Men, the novelette “And Blow Them at the Moon,” and the short story “Two Pretenders.”

You can buy this from fine e-tailers all over the internet, chief among them Book View Cafe, but also Amazon US or UK, Barnes and Noble/Nook, Google Play, iTunes, Kobo, or (for the Canadians among you) Indigo.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (*writing)


For centuries a faerie court has lain hidden beneath London: a place of shadows and intrigue, where the city’s immortal inhabitants can watch and manipulate the mortals above. Through two royal dynasties, through rebellions and plots, through war and plague and fire, the Onyx Court endures.

Now the court’s first two centuries are collected in a single book. This omnibus contains the novels Midnight Never Come and In Ashes Lie, as well as the novella Deeds of Men, the novelette “And Blow Them at the Moon,” and the short story “Two Pretenders.”

This is my latest (or rather, next) project with Book View Cafe: an omnibus of the first half of the Onyx Court series, short fiction as well as long. It will be out next Tuesday, at which point you’ll be able to obtain it from BVC or Barnes and Noble; right now you can pre-order it from Amazon (or Amazon UK), Google Play, iTunes, or Kobo.

And I have to be smug for just a moment . . . because that cover image? That’s a photo I took, when I was in Switzerland earlier this year. So hey, this particular hobby has a practical side!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)


It’s out!

PLEASE NOTE: this is a novella. Which is shorter than a novel. I already anticipate there will be reviews to the effect of “I thought I was getting a whole book but I wasn’t” — novellas are making a comeback, but they’re not yet so widespread that the occasional reader won’t be blindsided by the shorter length.

But if you want a whole novel’s worth of stuff, I got you covered there, too!


That’s right — at long last, A Star Shall Fall is out in the UK! Unlike the previous two Onyx Court books, this one has never been published in that country before. Only one more to go, and you can collect a full matched set . . .

(And if you think this is a big day, wait until April 25th of next year, when you’ll get Within the Sanctuary of Wings [Memoirs of Lady Trent #5] and Lightning in the Blood [Varekai #2] on the same day!)

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (*writing)

I have survived our housewarming party, and with that in my tail-lights, let me catch up on a few things. And by a few, I mean a lot.

Like my newest Onyx Court story! “To Rise No More” is the tale of Ada Lovelace’s childhood friendship with faeries, and also her ambition to build herself a pair of wings to fly with. No seriously, I didn’t even make that part up. (The wings, not the faeries. But she did also refer to herself as “Babbage’s fairy helper,” so, y’know. Maybe not that part, either.) It went up at Beneath Ceaseless Skies on my birthday, which I found to be excellent timing.

Shifting gears to a different series, the Barnes and Noble blog has just revealed the cover to Lightning in the Blood, which is the upcoming sequel to the still-upcoming-but-will-be-out-next-Tuesday Cold-Forged Flame. As I said on Twitter, I didn’t know until I saw it that one of my life goals was to get a Giant Hunting Cat onto a book cover, but I can check that off my list now!

And while I’m at it, I’ve finally gotten an excerpt from Cold-Forged Flame posted to my site. One week — one week and it will finally be out . . . .

Also, I’ve been busy with the Roundtable Podcast, hosted by Dave Robison and Marie Bilodeau. And I do mean busy, as I’m in not one but two episodes. The first is part of their “Twenty Minutes With” series . . . which, with the introduction and everything else, wound up being more like Fifty Minutes With. But dear god, the introduction alone is worth it: Dave Robison has a habit of describing his guests in epic terms. I have never heard my own life sound so much like a superhero origin story.

So that’s the first episode; the second is part of their “Workshop” series, wherein a writer (or in this case, a writing pair) describe a project they’re working on and then get feedback from the assembled hosts. We dug into an urban fantasy premise for this one, a setting where a new drug is causing people to develop magical powers, and had lots of thinky thoughts on both the way the drug fits into the world and how to write the “psycho ex-girlfriend” trope in a sympathetic and complex manner.

And finally, I’ve got myself a brand-new setup on Imzy. Where by “brand-new,” I mean “there’s basically nothing there yet” — but I figured I should mention, for those who are busy exploring this new site. Then, having done that, I decided to spend my other community-creation slot on putting together one called Dice Tales, which is a spin-off of the blog posts I’ve been doing at Book View Cafe. Speaking of which: the most recent installments there are “Keeping Up with the Joneses,” on power escalation over the course of a campaign; “With Great Power,” on the GM’s ability to screw players over and responsibility to use that wisely; “GNS,” on Ron Edwards’ old Gamism-Narrativism-Simulationism framework; and then a two-parter that consists of “Game Planning I – Arcs, Acts, and Chapters” and “Game Planning II – Sessions and Scenes,” which are pretty much what it says on the tin. But the Imzy community is not just a place to reblog those posts; I’m hoping it will become a great discussion of storytelling in RPGs more broadly. So if you’re on Imzy and you find that kind of thing interesting, come on over!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (*writing)

I’m delighted to announce that Titan Books, publishers of the Memoirs of Lady Trent in the UK, will also be bringing the Onyx Court to its homeland!

Long-time readers may recall that the first two books of the series were published there by Orbit UK back in the day, but the mid-series publisher shift meant the latter two never saw UK shelves. Titan have picked up the entire series and, as you can see from the above, are reissuing them with splendid new covers — not to mention UK spelling and date formatting, like God and the Queen intended. ;-) My understanding is that they’ll be coming out in rapid succession, on a three-month cycle, so by early 2017 you’ll have the whole set. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to hold ’em in my hands!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (natural history)

The Kirkus review is online now. I expect some portion of this is going to end up on a book cover eventually:

This, the second of Isabella’s retrospective memoirs, is as uncompromisingly honest and forthright as the first, narrated in Brennan’s usual crisp, vivid style, with a heroine at once admirable, formidable and captivating. Reader, lose no time in making Isabella’s acquaintance.

(Though my actual favorite part of it is the bit where they say “And during her adventures in the Green Hell—the book’s finest section—Isabella will find sociology as important as natural history…” Because yes: the anthropological side of things is indeed just as important as the biological side. Dragons cannot be separated from the way human beings view and interact with them.)

Two shiny bits of news regarding A Natural History of Dragons, to go along with the run-up to Serpents: it’s made both Booklist‘s Notable Books Reading List, and the American Library Association’s 2014 Reading List (via their Reference and User Services Association arm). I’m in company with V.E. Schwab’s Vicious in both those places, which makes me think I really ought to check that one out.

Also, this slipped out during the holiday season, and I only just noticed it now: the audiobook of Deeds of Men is on sale. (I’ve gone from no audiobooks to three of ‘em in the space of a few months. Heh.)

I think that’s it for now . . . .

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Fizzgig)
Okay, I exaggerate -- but only a little.

Did you get an e-reader for Christmas? Or a little extra cash to blow where you please? Or are you just hungry for new things to read? Book View Cafe is having an ENORMOUS sale from now through January 6th. No, seriously: there are five pages of things on sale right now, in genres ranging from fantasy to science fiction to romance to mystery to nonfiction.

Including three titles of my own! Lies and Prophecy, Deeds of Men, and Writing Fight Scenes are all half-off right now -- that's half off the price listed on those pages, as the way we're handling the back end of the sale is just to apply the discount at checkout, rather than changing every book page.

As mentioned before, this lasts through January 6th, so you have plenty of time to browse the whole slate. (Nice thing about ebooks is, we don't run out of stock.) There are things to cater to many tastes in there; you might find more things to enjoy.
swan_tower: (*writing)
Some of you may recall that years ago, just before In Ashes Lie came out, I released a novella called Deeds of Men, which took place before that novel and after Midnight Never Come. It was originally a promotional freebie, but after a while I took down the free version and put it on sale at Amazon, mostly as a random experiment -- I knew zip about ebooks at the time. Despite that ignorance (which included things like me not bothering to give it a proper cover), it's sold some copies over the years, though not a huge number.

Now that I'm a member of Book View Cafe, I decided to do it over again, this time the right way. It has a spiffy-looking cover, courtesy of Chris Rawlins and Leah Cutter, and some revisions (most of them minor; one correcting a narrative choice I've regretted ever since I released the novella), and this time it got formatted by somebody who knows what he's doing (the inestimable Chris Dolley). That link will take you to the BVC site, where you can buy it in epub and mobi formats, good for most e-reading devices, Kindle included. It's also up on Amazon, and should be live on the B&N and Kobo sites in the next day or so.

A special note about Kindles: if you already bought the novella from Amazon, I think, though I'm not certain, that you should be able to download the new version as an update, without having to pay for it again. I'd love to have that confirmed, so if you're in that camp, please let me know.

For those who are wondering, the story does contain some spoilers for Midnight Never Come, though only of an aftermath-y sort -- it doesn't say what happened, just shows the characters where they are as a result. Otherwise it's only really full of spoilers for early seventeenth-century European politics. :-P

And stay tuned for more news in the next few days, about what I'm doing next with BVC . . . .


Apr. 28th, 2013 01:33 am
swan_tower: (*writing)
It took me substantially longer than expected (the last scene was an absolute bear to write), but I just finished "To Rise No More."

Needs revision, of course, but right now, that doesn't matter. What matters is that I've managed to write a short story! And not even one that was spoken for before I wrote it. The last seven things I wrote sold on their first trip out the door, because they were either solicited by editors or very nearly so, i.e. I knew that if I wrote them, then so-and-so was extremely likely to buy the result. Which isn't a bad position to be in, of course -- but it's less good when you have to use that as a motivation to actually get the thing done. This one, I wrote because I wanted to.

Hopefully somebody will buy the result. :-)
swan_tower: The Long Room library at Trinity College, Dublin (Long Room)
I don't suppose anybody can tell me the location of the party on the fifth of June, 1833, at which Ada Byron first met Charles Babbage? Passages doesn't say, nor does The Enchantress of Numbers, but I'd like to know so I can properly set this scene. I know Babbage invited her to see the Difference Engine a few weeks later, and that was at his house, but I doubt that's where they met.

Edit: Looks like it was at Mary Somerville's house in Chelsea -- but if anybody can tell me where in Chelsea, that would be fantastic.
swan_tower: (*writing)
I'm only one scene away from the end of "To Rise No More" (because I wrote the other remaining one last night, after I posted), so what do I do tonight? Do I settle in and finish that one?

No, of course not. I write two thousand words of the punk Tam Lin story instead.

Seriously, I don't even know. I just work here, man. Now I have two half-finished short stories instead of one finished one and one barely-started one. Well, one is three-quarters done. Maybe if I go re-read the relevant period in Ada Lovelace's letters, I can crank out that final bit tonight? It would be nice to be able to put paid to one of these things.
swan_tower: (*writing)
The revised draft of The Tropic of Serpents is off to my editor. Now, I just want to fall over . . . but no, I should try to ride that wave of inspiration that was attempting to distract me from the work I needed to be doing. In other words, I should work on a short story.

The candidates which have recently been trying to distract me are, in no particular order:

  • "To Rise No More" -- the Ada Lovelace Onyx Court story, explaining why she was involved in the creation of the Ephemeral Engine. (Status: started.)
  • the sequel to "Love, Cayce," provisionally titled "Advice to a Young Lady on Her Way to Hell." (Status: a paragraph or so.)
  • "The Unquiet Grave," based on the folksong of the same name. Do I have any idea what I'm doing with this story? No. But I keep getting the song stuck in my head, and it makes me want to write something. (Status: nothing.)
  • Edward Thorne's Onyx Court story, about how he came to be a valet to faeries . . . aka "the Peregrin/Segrain Buddy Cop Tale." (Status: not even a title.)
  • "This Living Hand," which is the Onyx Court Romantic poets story, except I'd have to do a lot of research for that one. (Status: a title, but nto much more.)
  • "An Enquiry Into the Causes," ditto, except I'd have to research the Bow Street Runners. (Status: I know who I want to have show up in it?)
  • Another Xochitlicacan story, a la "A Mask of Flesh," with a jaguar-woman and a temple that hasn't been decommissioned properly. (Status: uh, nothing.)
  • "A River Flowing Nowhere," which is a new Driftwood story. (Status: vague plot outline.)
  • A modern sort of punk-ish Tam Lin retelling. (Status: a paragraph or so.)
  • [personal profile] alecaustin, I haven't forgotten that I owe you a story about the sacking of Enryaku-ji. (Status: I need to get that biography of Nobunaga out of the library again.)

. . . yeah, my brain wanted to do anything other than revise. I can't do a poll in DW, since I'm not a paid user, but tell me in the comments which one you most want to see!

1560 words

Apr. 13th, 2013 12:38 am
swan_tower: (*writing)
I've apparently figured out how to get myself to write short stories again: they just have to be the guilty pleasure I sneak in when I'm almost done with something that's on a deadline, when I really shouldn't spare the time and mental energy but dammit I feel like writing something new.

In related news, the Ada Lovelace Onyx Court story now has a title ("To Rise No More") and 1641 words, all but 81 of which were written tonight.
swan_tower: (*writing)
[personal profile] mrissa has posted her Minicon schedule, with a panel on which comes first: the story or the setting. To quote the description,
Which Came First

The chicken or the egg? The story or the world? Does the story you want to tell determine the setting, or does your chosen setting demand a certain kind of story to be told in it? Are there some types of stories that simply cannot be told in a particular setting? How do creators balance these seemingly opposing forces in imagining their tales?

Which has gotten me reflecting on that question and how I would answer it. Off the cuff, I thought I probably start more with the setting -- hi, anthropology, yeah. But does that hold up when I actually look at the data?

(For simplicity's sake, I'm going to keep this to novels, but I will include unpublished novels in the list. It's probably a different ballgame if I look at short stories; that, however, would require more time than I want to devote to this right now, and a refresher course as to what the heck I've written.)

Cut for length; I have more novels than you guys know about. )

Final tally: seven for setting, seven-ish for story, two for character, and three that don't classify easily (two that were both setting and story as a package, and one that was a thematic argument). It's noteworthy that four of the seven counted as story-first are later books in a series. In one sense you would think sequels would be setting first, since the milieu is already fixed; but I'd argue they're more likely to be story first, since the books I counted that way are born not from their world, but from me having another plot I wanted to explore. For contrast, I can offer up one I forgot to include in the list, namely the second of Isabella's memoirs: that one came about via "okay, now I want her to go to a West African kind of place," with the plot built around it. It's a distinctly different trajectory for me than when the setting is just lying there, and I think up a plot.

Unsurprisingly, the prime failure mode for my projects appears to be when there's a big lag time between those two components -- one shows up without the other close behind. The end-of-the-world thing has a plot, but only vague sketches of a setting; ditto the epic fantasy one. The dream piece and the pirate one have cool settings, but I'm not quite sure where the story is going. All of those have been sitting around for years, going nowhere. Of the other unfinished projects -- the lady knights and the Japanese one -- both of those are just waiting for their moment, i.e. me to get a contract. I could write either in a heartbeat.

As for the novels that got written, but not well, I don't think there's a clear pattern, except that their disparate elements never came together like they should. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with their starting points.

<looks at the last two questions in the panel description> Nah, not gonna touch those. The answer to the first is "yes," and the latter presupposes one agrees that setting and story are "opposing forces." Ah, panel blurbs -- you say the silliest things, even for good topics.
swan_tower: (Default)
I'm going to take care of two problems here today:

1) I would like to raise funds for the American Red Cross in the wake of Hurricane Sandy,

2) I have way too many author copies around the house, that I'd like to get rid of.

So we're having a book sale here at Swan Tower. Comment on this post, or e-mail me at marie{dot}brennan{at}gmail{dot}com, and I will sell you the following books at the following prices, including autographs and (if you request it) personalization to you or another person of your choice.

Note that the prices are a bit higher than they might otherwise be, to ensure that packaging and shipping doesn't take too big a bite out of the Red Cross donation total. (I will send books overseas, too, but since this is for charity, I will probably ask you to kick in a few bucks extra to cover the increased cost of shipping.)

Please spread the word wherever you think people would be interested. I'll try to keep this list updated in a timely manner, so that you'll know how many books are left of each type. ETA: Total raised thus far = $245

The sale will run for one week (so, through next Thursday morning, the 8th of November).
swan_tower: (With Fate Conspire)
While rooting around in my archives looking for something else, I discovered I never put up an open book thread for With Fate Conspire!

So consider this an invitation to make any comments or ask any questions you might have about that book. (Needless to say, this will result in spoilers. Read the thread at your own risk.) I, er, can't promise I'll be able to answer everything with perfect clarity; at this point my head is full of Isabella instead of the Onyx Court, so I may be a tad fuzzy on some of the details. But I'll do my best!

And if you have a question about a previous novel, the other open book threads are still open. Though I don't have one for the doppelganger series, now that I think about it. Well, if you have a question about one of those, let me know; I can make a new thread if there's need.

Note: As an experiment, I have closed this thread until the beginning of 2013, in an attempt to convince spammers to stop spamming it. If you have a question, feel free to ask it elsewhere, or come back in January.
swan_tower: (Elizabeth)
1) I should have written Irrith's letter after Delphia's. She's a terrible influence on my attempts at nice handwriting. :-)

2) Re-reading bits of the books to get myself back in the heads of the characters . . . and you know what? I still like them. Quite a lot.

3) Certain songs from the book soundtracks still get me right in the gut. (Particularly "The Monument," from A Star Shall Fall. But others, too.)

4) I really, really need to write that short story about Edward Thorne. Though I should decide which I want more: for it to be from his point of view, or for it to be the Sir Peregrin and Dame Segraine Buddy-Cop Extravaganza. (The two are, alas, mutually exclusive.)

5) Ditto "This Living Hand," aka the Story About the Willow Tree What Killed All the Romantic Poets.

6) Although I do love my new series, and my new protagonist . . . I miss the Onyx Court.
swan_tower: (Elizabeth)
February is nearly over, and with it, the Month of Letters! You have a few days yet in which to write a letter to the Onyx Court; I promise to answer anything mailed to me before the end of the week (to give a few days' grace period).

And then we'll have the fun of seeing how long it takes the inkstains to fade from my fingers. :-) (No really, that trope of bookish types in fantasy having stained fingers? It's totally true. I just wonder if there's some trick I'm missing for not leaving little inky fingerprints on other parts of the page, because nobody every mentions that bit.)
swan_tower: (victorian)
One week (plus a leap day) left to get a letter from the Onyx Court! (I'm slightly behind on answering a few letters I've received, but vow not to let "slightly" become "a lot.")

A while ago I mentioned the Spencerian System of Practical Penmanship, which [livejournal.com profile] kniedzw had bought a while ago -- a reproduction of an 1864 course in penmanship. I struggled with the conflicting impulses to doooooo iiiiiiiit and to run far, far away, and ended up falling partial victim to the former. Being a grown adult with fine motor control and experience in writing, I decided I didn't need to fill out every workbook in its entirety . . . but it wouldn't hurt me to do the first line of each page.

(This was mostly true. Hand cramps were, however, a genuine factor.)

So if you would like to follow me on my odyssey through the nineteenth century -- including many illustrative photos -- come behind the cut . . . .

In which the system is both too fascist, and not fascist enough. )

. . . and if you get an Onyx Court letter with some really awkward-looking capitals, you'll know to blame P.R. Spencer. :-)


swan_tower: (Default)

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