Teresa Frohock just told me about Storify! Hurrah!

That title kind of covered everything.

15 days until Tainted Blood is published. 27 days until Book 4 manuscript is due.

*typidy typidy typidy*

Tainted Blood

Soon, precious. Sooon.

Soon, precious. Sooon.

Forty-three days until Tainted Blood hits bookshelves, and it just got a fabulous review from Publishers Weekly! Go check it out!

Notable quotes include:

Rapid-fire prose and intimate characterization infuse stock mythic figures with pertinence and attitude. Fortitude is an enthralling good boy going bad, struggling to merge monstrous powers with humility and wisdom.


Self-referential comedy and operatic tragedy make sexy bedmates, enhanced by lush atmosphere and sharp dialogue. Brennan’s smart, sassy, and seductive vampire mythos injects fresh blood into a lethargic subgenre.

Oh, and for those of you who frequent Amazon, the pre-order price on TB is $5.78 for paperback, $5.99 for ebook! How can you resist that?

You can no more resist those low prices than you can resist the adorable golden snub nose monkey!

You can no more resist those low prices than you can resist the adorable golden snub nose monkey!

Friday Fun on Twitter

Annandale Captures Gold

Sometimes all the stars align on your Twitter feed and something awesome appears. And, even rarer than that, you take a screenshot of it as it happens.

Let’s all thank David Annandale for having the presence of mind to take that screenshot when @shaunduke, Stephen Blackmoore, and I inadvertently converged to create something magical:

It does not get better than this. It simply does not.

It does not get better than this. It simply does not.

Friday Fun on Twitter

Good Things!

Want to talk about something that will put a perk in your step and make the next few thousand words a little easier to type? Check this out:

Woo! Oh, and if you are interested in winning a signed copy of Iron Night, one is being given away over at The Speculative Book Review! http://speculativebookreview.blogspot.com/2014/08/giveaway-iron-night-by-m-l-brennan.html

In other great news — if you’re looking for a good book this holiday weekend, why not check out Teresa Frohock’s Miserere? Frohock is one of those writers who takes fantasy tropes that I normally loathe, and MAKES THEM WORK. She is an evil mastermind.

End of August

Okay, so that was a long period of not much posting from me. The reason for that is because I’ve spent the summer plugging away at Book Four and doing periodic work on Tainted Blood (out in November — agh!).

My deadline for Book 4 is in October, so this lack of posting from me isn’t going to change anytime soon. But there’s been some pretty fun focus on Iron Night lately, so how about awesome links?

I did an interview with the fantastic Nick Sharps over at SF Signal — some great questions and fun answers — don’t you want to know whether Suzume would get along with Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy (hint — of course she would!)?

New review of Iron Night from Notes From A Readerholic — it was part of their Book Bingo challenge.

Wendy from The Bibliosanctum did a livetweeting of Generation V that is simply not to be missed — how we got on the subject of Batman, I’m not certain, but it’s GREAT. She also followed up with a pretty great review, which you should also check out.

I also did an interview at the lovely site Between Dreams And Reality — which should definitely be on your reading list, if only because it is presented in both English and French! It’s bilingual, baby!

Finally, the Tainted Blood cover made it onto the All Things Urban Fantasy Cover Art Coverage – and I’m delighted to say that it was very well received! Hopefully this is a start of a trend for my covers!

I’ll try to swing back with some actual content a little later down the line — but I definitely have my hands full with Book 4. But I leave you with this disturbing thought:


That Escalated Fast. Like, Really FAST.

This isn't your mother's dinotopia.

This isn’t your mother’s dinotopia.

It’s possible that Stephen Blackmoore and I are bad influences on each other. Poor Justin.

Catcalls Aren’t Compliments

It took me about three-quarters of Doree Lewak’s New York Post article before I realized that it wasn’t a satire. At first it really seemed like an Onion-style satire. Then I was really really hoping that it was a satire. Then it really hit me that Lewak was serious.

Here’s the problem with Lewak’s article “Hey Ladies – Catcalls Are Flattering! Deal With It” – she’s equivalating street harassment with the desire to both give and receive compliments. Is it a natural thing to enjoy receiving compliments? Sure. Is it a natural thing to enjoy giving compliments? Absolutely. Do these things make it a good idea to scream your opinion at a total stranger and expect them to be grateful. No. So very no.

Lewak fondly remembers the first time two guys on the street yelled, “You’re hot!” to her and high-fived. She presents it as a very innocent situation – she was wearing a “tightly molded pink tank top and black capris” and two men gave her the ego boost she was craving. But what weirds me out about Lewak’s article (okay, one of the things) is the extent to which she seems to be presenting her wardrobe choices as an invitation and consent for catcalling. She dressed in a tight tanktop, therefore she must be okay with random strangers shouting compliments at her (she does request toward the end of the article that those strangers not comment specifically on features of her anatomy – specifically her nipples). If that is the case for Lewak, maybe she should invest in some kind of large placard to carry (“PLEASE DO shout compliments at me about my general appearance! Just keep it clean, please!”) because I think that a good chunk of the women who are wearing tank tops in the summer aren’t doing it out of a desire for strangers to scream at them.

I’ve also had strangers scream “You’re hot!” to me. The last time it happened was on a bus. I guess I’m no Lewak – I didn’t get an ego boost out of it. What I did get was twenty minutes on a bus where “You’re hot” was followed by, “Hey, I just said that you’re hot!” followed by, “Hey bitch, didn’t you hear me call you hot?” and then a series of “Turn around and look at me, bitch!”-style comments. The cherry on the whole encounter was one that I think a few women can probably recognize, which was the frantic weighing of my options – should I get out at my stop, which would get me home fast but also potentially allow this screaming stranger to follow me to my apartment building if he got off as well, or get out at the stop before mine, which would hopefully allow me to hide my normal route and home territory but also leave me further away from home and in an area I didn’t know well, which could work against me if he followed me off and I had to run for it.

Flattering. Really, really flattering.

Articles like Lewak’s muddy the waters. Because an actual compliment isn’t a catcall. Let me give an example:

A guy wearing a great pair of skinny jeans is walking to work.

Situation A: While standing in line to get coffee, the guy next to him leans over and says politely (while staying well outside personal space), “Nice pants, man.”

That’s a compliment.

Situation B: While walking down the sidewalk, the guy wearing the great skinny jeans hears a guy about ten feet behind him yell, “Nice pants, man!”

That’s not a compliment. That’s a catcall. And it’s kind of creepy.

Situation C: A car slows down beside the guy wearing the skinny jeans, and a man leans out the passenger side window and yells, “Nice pants, man!” while the driver honks his horn.

That’s not a compliment. That’s a catcall. And it’s creepy.

Situation D: As he reaches the building he works in, the guy passes a man walking in the other direction. The other man stops, turns, and yells, “Nice pants, man!” followed by, “Hey, can’t you take a compliment?” then “You dumb prick, I’m just trying to give you a compliment!” then “Can’t you even smile at me, prick?”

Also not a compliment. That’s a catcall. It’s aggressive, scary, and it’s street harassment. And what makes it frightening when it’s happening is that the person it’s directed against has no idea how far it’s going to escalate.

The guy wearing the skinny jeans didn’t give consent to all of this just by wearing his skinny jeans. Similarly, a woman wearing a tight tank top wouldn’t have given consent either (despite what Lewak seems to believe).

Trying to bring attention to street harassment and hopefully even stop it is presented in articles like Lewak’s as trying to stop all compliments. That’s certainly not the case. Compliments can absolutely be given – and can be given to strangers. Lewak gets a thrill when random strangers scream to her about how hot she is – and has decided that it’s self-empowering. Well, every duck has its pond, I guess. There will always be outliers. But just as I wouldn’t use PonyPlay enthusiasts (thank you, Rob Thurman, for that information that is now seared into my brain) as an example of median sexual expression, I also wouldn’t use Lewak’s article as proof that what women really, truly want is to have total strangers scream at them about how hot they are.

Top Ten Books 2014, January – June

Good news on the writing front! Tainted Blood copy edits came back, and I went through them line by line. If you happen to follow my Twitter feed, believe me, that involved a whole lot of profanity. Plus some appeals to the Twitter hive mind, and the ever-popular “too gross?” checks. (those have left me with the following conclusion: there are two kinds of people in the world. Those who find poop jokes hilarious, and those who lack all sense of humor. Just a warning – there are poop jokes in Tainted Blood. AWESOME poop jokes.) Now the manuscript passes to the typesetter, and the next time I see it will be when I get the page proofs. So it’s making steady progress toward that November release date!

I’m in the process of re-organizing my office space. I’ve finally decided that I have outgrown the Walmart special desk (that is actually not a joke – I bought it when I was in grad school, and the budget was TIGHT back then) that I wrote the first three Fort Scott books on, and I’m upgrading to an L-desk that will offer about 2/3rds more room. Best of all, there will be room to not only type at the keyboard, but also slide my chair over and work longhand. While I’m at it, I’m also painting the office and finally putting up some pictures. Once this is done, I’ll start breaking ground on Fort Scott #4, which I am now officially contracted for. (the contract arrived yesterday with all the signatures! There is now no escape possible for Roc! Mwa ha ha ha!)

On to actual content.

According to my Goodreads account (which, can I just say how much I love that thing? Statistics make me happy – it’s why when I’m working on a book, I keep track of my daily wordcount), I’ve read 47 books so far this year. Let me tell you – it’s been a lot of fun. But as I stand here (or, rather, sit here) at the midpoint of the year, I have to admit – some of those books stunk, a lot were fantastic, but a few were ABSOLUTELY FUCKING AWESOME AND YOU SHOULD READ THEM NOW.

Shadow Throne 1. The Shadow Throne by Django Wexler

This comes out July 1, but I got an ARC from Django. You might be asking yourself – wait, she got an ARC from the author, who she is also referring to by first name? Is this a case of that rampant authorial nepotism that I hear about?

I will neither confirm nor deny this.

BUT, seriously, I love this series to death. The first book was one of my favorites last year, and I was really looking forward to the sequel. It’s pretty fabulous – imagine a Victor Hugo novel (yes, THAT one – with the musical), but flintlock-fantasy style. Oh, and for those of you who are looking for a fantasy book with a great range of female characters – look no further. It’s here.







Three Parts Dead 2. Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

I was at VeriCon this year with Max Gladstone, and here’s the thing about being on multiple panels with other authors – you hear the elevator pitch for their novel about 50,000 times. (Max could probably mention all the bullet-point selling items for Generation V from memory) Now, if you’re highly susceptible to advertising, like I am, this usually means that you have to buy the damn thing. However, I’m really glad that I did this, because this book is INCREDIBLE. It’s actually as good as the cover – how often does that happen?

I also read the sequel, which equally rocked my world (book moral: bros before hos, fathers, bosses, and gods), but I made the executive decision that there would be no double entries.









3. Dust by Elizabeth Bear


Angels, a generation ship, a basilisk named Gavin who is also a laser-cutter, medievalism meeting high tech, and copious incest. Very, very cool.








vicious 4. Vicious by V. E. Schwab

Every superhero/supervillain trope ever is beautifully and mind-blowingly subverted in this book. Great characterization and a great out-of-order construction that gives this a great puzzle feeling. Fabulous payoff, too. I picked this up because everyone on my Twitter feed was going crazy over it, and THEY WERE RIGHT.









fun home



5. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

The textbook I was using for one of my classes in the spring semester had a really neat section on the graphic novel, and while I didn’t quite figure out a way to shoe-horn it into the official syllabus I did read an excerpt from FUN HOME, and I had to immediately order the whole book. It’s a fascinating and beautifully presented memoir of the author’s childhood and family, really considering the ideas of identity and sexuality. So worth checking out if you haven’t read it yet.






murder of crows



6. Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

Sequels are tough when you really loved the original. Hopes get really high, and it’s unlikely for the sequel to live up to it. I’m really enjoying Anne Bishop’s foray into alternate-world urban fantasy, and the sequel really worked for me. I’ve had a pretty good six months with sequels, actually. Obviously, there’s my own sequel (REQUISITE PLUG AND SELF-BRAG), but I read a bunch that I really liked. I think the only one that just didn’t really do much for me was Sharon Shinn’s Royal Airs – though I still think that the first in that series, Troubled Waters, was utterly perfect.






tenant of wildfell hall7. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

No, seriously.

I’ve done my time in the English Department gulag, so I thought that I’d really had my fill of Brontes. I mean, not that I don’t like them. Wuthering Heights is pretty delightfully fucked up, and Jane Eyre is basically requisite reading given how often writers feel compelled to either rip it off or give it an homage (fact: best Jane Eyre homage EVER is Jenna Starborn by Sharon Shinn – it’s not just a copy & paste of basic story elements, but actually pays attention to the goddamn themes). But I didn’t really feel the need to complete my Bronte trifecta, feeling that I’d pretty much gotten the idea.

I was wrong. Anne is the badass Bronte sister. She’s all gritty realism! Feminism! Belief in redemption! I mean, her sister Charlotte outright refused to let Tenant of Wildfell Hall be republished during her lifetime because of how controversial her sister’s book is. Yes, the book is told in epistolary form, which normally makes me shudder, but it’s worth it.

Okay, and I also watched the BBC film version before I read it, which got my interest going. But – worth it!


radiant seas8. The Radiant Seas by Catherine Asaro

Plus the other 12 books in this series that I read since January. I really love this series, and now I’m suffering withdrawal – the bummer of tearing through a series in three months that have taken the author just under twenty years to write. Plus side, according to Asaro’s website, she’s got Plans.

Most of the books in the series can be read individually – there is only one cliffhangered book, and that one is pretty overtly labeled Part One. If you read them in publication order there’s also this neat thing where Asaro skips all around in her own timeline. In some books they’ll refer to this big war that occurred years ago, and in later books the setting IS that war.

Now, I read the series in publication order, which begins with Primary Inversion. But if you’re interested in reading it in chronological order, start with Skyfall. What I’d love to be able to do is dump my memories of this series and try it in chronological order, then get my other memories back and compare.


dead things




9. Dead Things by Stephen Blackmoore

LA noir with necromancy. It’s pretty awesome. The sequel comes out in August, too, so you won’t have to wait too long to find out what’s next for Eric Carter.








beggars in spain10. Beggars In Spain by Nancy Kress

This is one of those sci-fi books that utterly blows you away with the setup, the payout, and the insight into humanity. It’s also one of those books that will leave you completely depressed because of its insights – but it’s so good that you have to read more. Kress reminds me of Sherri S. Tepper in that way. Well worth checking out.




So that’s my Top Ten since January. What’s yours?


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