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I have not spoken with my own voice in nearly seven years.

Great, just what I need. “Kingspeaker” has acquired a first line. I’ve got the Driftwood story I started at ICFA; I don’t need this pestering me, too. Let’s hope the lack of plot idea keeps this one in check. (I’m deliberately not letting myself write the next line — something about how the priests ritually took her voice away when they gave her the king’s — because that way lies narration, description, things that might turn into plot.)

last scene

With this final installment of the excerpt, I’ve hit the limit of what I’m allowed to post online (which is approximately 10% of the book). You finally get to see Miryo — mostly I alternate evenly between her and Mirage, but the timing of certain plot elements means they each get one instance of two chapters in a row, and Mirage’s happens to be at the beginning of the novel.

So that’s it for the excerpt, but stay tuned; there will be other goodies. Including the Long-Lost Original First Scene, which was the first bit to get written, but which got cut some time ago, for reasons I’ll explain when I post it. And any other tidbits I can think of to put up. (Hmmm. Do I have the self-confidence necessary to post the truly atrocious map I originally drew? I might. We’ll see. I could post The Evolution Of The Map as a cartography essay, I suppose.)

Back to grant-proposal writing.

brief note

Nobody should have to do anything about this except note the change, but I just remedied a dumb error I made when switching journals; this journal’s username is now swan_tower (or swan-tower) instead of theswantower. It’s a little easier to parse. Everything should be changed automatically, so you don’t need to refriend me or anything.

the reviews begin

With Doppelganger starting to make its way out into the world, I took some time today to do what any sane first-time novelist does: I googled myself again. Which let me cross paths with this delightful review by Sue Burke on the website Fresh Fiction (review header — “Brilliant debut fantasy novel with a shocking ending”):

A fully realized new world, Ms. Brennan’s first novel is a brilliant read. The conclusion is a humdinger I never saw coming and literally stopped reading and said “Wow!” when it hit me. With likable characters, good world building and a story arc that keeps you wanting more, everything fits together nicely and comes to a satisfying conclusion for characters and readers alike.

That’s the tail end of the review, following a few paragraphs about the early plot of the novel. In a similar vein, I don’t think I ever actually linked to this other, equally delightful review I found a while back, from a woman named Jenica who read an ARC of the book. Relevant pull-quote:

In sum, the characters are engaging, the concepts of magic, goddesses, souls, and religious history are familiar but never derivative, and the society they live in is an interesting take on high fantasy. A wonderful read with a really satisfying resolution. And, just maybe, there’s more?

So far, so good. Haven’t gotten any trade-publication reviews yet; if those turn out half so well, I’ll be pleased.

return from ICFA; contest results

The only bad part about going to Florida for a weekend in March is coming back to Indiana’s winter weather advisories.

My fourth ICFA was delightful. My paper (on Meredith Ann Pierce’s The Darkangel) went well; Pythia’s paper went better, winning the grad student paper award. Go her! The Bloomington posse is beginning its domination. I also got very publicly promoted by Rick Wilbur of the fomerly-Asimov-now-Dell Award, who, in accepting a different award for his service, talked about the successes of the finalists, and made me stand up and display a copy of Doppelganger to the entire banquet room. I am so very very glad that my author’s copies arrived in time for me to take some south.

And speaking of the novel . . . .

Adam Zolkover wins the contest for spotting Doppelganger in the wild. There will be a character named after him in the urban fantasy sequel I’m working on. Even though the contest is done, though, go ahead and send pictures! Or, if you don’t have easy access to a digital camera, just tell me when and where you see the book appearing. I’d like to track its progress. The local Barnes & Noble has called the people who special-ordered it, so the process has begun.

Time to hide under the bed, I guess.

Unfortunately, I do have an excuse for being hermit-like. Two papers and a grant proposal to write in the next week and a half. Urk. Guess I’d better get to work.


Ladies and gentlemen, my author copies have arrived.

I had pretty much given up on them coming in time for me to take any to ICFA, but here they are. And yes, I am indeed giggling and clutching one to my chest. I had to convince myself to put it down long enough to type.

Remember: first person to send me a picture of copies on the shelves of a bookstore gets a psychic government employee named after them in my next book.

The Production Process

In my busy-ness on Friday, I neglected to make any mention of the fact that I’d posted the next installment of my series of “My First Novel” essays, discussing the production process a book goes through. I’m up to five essays now; I figure there will probably be seven when I’m done (with the last two covering promotion and reviews), and possibly an “epilogue” essay about my second novel.

On a completely frivolous and unrelated note, I like this quiz result:

Your Theme Song:

“The Sound of Silence”, Simon & Garfunkel

‘What is your theme song?’ at

It’s been one of my favorite songs since childhood.

progress report, part two

It’s a miracle. 11 pages, and I’ve said pretty much everything I need to. Of course it needs polishing and refinement and there are no doubt tidbits I’ve missed, and I haven’t read it aloud again to see how long that actually is, but I think that if I compress my overview of the Tale-Type Index and the Motif Index, I’ll probably be okay.

I should do some of that polishing now, but I’m so desperately in need of a nap I can’t stop yawning. Since I have what could legitimately be called a first draft, I think I’m going to accept it as a good day’s work, and leave the next stage for tomorrow or Sunday.

progress report

Jacob H. Grimm on a cracker. (Hmmm, must find some “G” word to use instead of cracker.) I’m less than halfway into my ICFA paper, and it’s seven minutes long. Must cut down. Good-bye, I suspect, to the entire first page (single-spaced), where I do what I thought was a quick overview of other folktale scholarship. Demonstrating my credentials is nice, but since I’m really just talking about all those resources I’m not using (as preface to why I am using Lüthi), it really isn’t contributing much to the paper as a whole.

I’m tempted to keep it in there for the version I turn in to my panel moderator, though, for consideration for publication in the conference volume. I’ve already established that I’m going to turn in a different draft than I’ll be using in the panel, since that one’s meant to be heard, not read.

Break over. Time to go back to work and talk about how folktales let you cut your own heart out without saying “ow.”

February recommendation

Yeah, I know it’s March. Hush. Go find out why you should read The Outlaws of Sherwood, by Robin McKinley.

This puts me back on schedule for recommendations, assuming I manage to put up this month’s before, y’know, the end of the month. That shouldn’t be hard, right?

In other news, I give you the Typo Of The Night: A Swiftly Titling Planet. Discuss.