Eastercon was a blast. Conventions are still a little strange to me, but I think that people meeting and bonding over and yelling about fantasy books is one of the coolest ideas of our time. I trot around conventions looking like a slightly backward but friendly deer - wide-eyed, might flee at any moment, but happy and interested as anything. I like to pluck people's sleeves and say earnestly, 'Look, Neil Gaiman! Look, a Klingon! Look, a cheese mayonnaise sandwich! Amazing!'
I met piles of fabulous people, among whom were Alice and Sidney, whom I met on a bridge over water that had glass fish in it and who told me they liked my stories. I felt famous! And I saw many excellent panels, in which writers and other specially selected folk talk about things like how to deal with the apocalypse, and the growing darkness in children's literature.
At a convention this summer, I am going to be on panels, and talk about vampires, demons and fairies, among other things. That'll be special. 'And what do you think, Sarah?' 'Could we make them breed and have an army of demonic vampire fairies?' '... Yes - well. Thank you for your input...'
Then Holly, Cassie and I went to a writing retreat in darkest Ireland. There was a dog named Dog. There were megalithic cairns a brisk six miles' walk away. There was a ruined castle across from the gas station.
There was much, much writing. It was like being in a writers' office. It was fabulous to sit and type and talk out plot points. Sometimes I would look over and see Holly smiling fondly at her screen, and that would make me smile too. Sometimes I got up and danced to the country music mix that Cassie had made just for me, and I presume that made them both very sad about my supreme lameness.
Speaking of my supreme lameness, I was naturally an invaluable cog in the writers' office machine.
CASSIE: So I'm stuck on a scene. Say we have-
SARAH: Don't worry. I know what to do.
CASSIE: But I haven't told you what-
SARAH: I know what to do whenever you're stuck. Add a make-out scene!
SARAH: It never fails. Disgusting, romantic, life-threatening - doesn't matter how it plays out, it's always interesting. I love a make-out scene.
CASSIE: ... What if the scene is between a werewolf-
CASSIE: And a giant eyeball.
SARAH: ... I'm not saying that would be one of the romantic ones. But it could be done!
On one of our country rambles, we came upon a great grey manor for sale, with a beautiful pony frolicking outside it. We approached cheerfully, taking pictures as we went that were mainly of my chin. (The others are petite beauties. Me not so much.)
Then we became aware of the terrible stench.
I was the first one to see what was in the moat. Then Cassie saw. Then Holly demanded to know what we were shuddering about and despite our advice, she looked too.
The moat was full to the brim with nothing but (obviously unwashed) tins of cat food. It was all the same type of cat food.
We stared with growing concern at the crazy house.
Then as we backed away, a little car came around the crazy house and started slowly driving down the country lane towards us.
My nerve broke. I went running down that lane with my arms waving wildly as if I was a scarecrow in a gale. I know it was wrong to leave the others, but... I could see my death in those tins of cat food.
Despite everything, we got masses of work done. I was going to celebrate this triumph, but then - on Friday, I got my editorial letter. That will be another post.
For now, I leave you with the news I have been promising to tell you all! Today my press release went out.
What's a press release, you may ask. (I did!) It's an awesome thing and I am really lucky to have one. It's information about my book that gets sent out to reviewers, publishing journalists, booksellers and so on. And it tells them what the books are about and who I am and my publishers say nice things about me and never mention how concerned they grow about my failing mind at all.
I am so happy to have one that I have to share a little bit with you all. So you can see!
UK Press Release: Ingrid Selberg, Publishing Director, comments “Sarah Rees Brennan is an amazing new talent and we are thrilled to add her to our list of stunning début authors. The Demon’s Lexicon is a compelling tale, full of mystery, passion and danger, set in the dark shadows of contemporary London. Fans of Stephenie Meyer, Holly Black and Cassandra Clare will welcome this new voice.”
US Press Release: “Sarah Rees Brennan’s seductive first novel draws readers into a mysterious, dangerous world that is both tantalizing and terrifying,” said Karen Wojtyla, who will be editing the books. “McElderry Books is thrilled to add Sarah’s name to our distinguished list of literary teen fantasy writers including Annette Curtis Klause, Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.”
Set in London, the hero of the story is 16-year-old Nick, whose family has been on the run from magicians his whole life because his mother has stolen a powerful charm from them. With his father dead and his mother insane, Nick's only comfort is his older brother, who protects him. But when his older brother gets marked with a demon sign that means death, it means they must kill a magician to erase the sign. What ensues is a deadly cat and mouse game with the magicians, and in fighting them with both swords and the dark arts, Nick uncovers the lies his world is based on and discovers the terrible secret hidden in his family's past.
“My torrid love affair with fantasy began as an eight-year-old when I was let loose for the first time in my local library, so publishing a fantasy trilogy is my favorite dream incredibly come true, and I cannot imagine a better home for my books than with the fantastic team at McElderry Books and Simon & Schuster,” said Sarah Rees Brennan. “In The Demon's Lexicon, I'm hoping that readers will not only take away a fun fantasy read but also an exploration of family bonds and tensions, a study in how very different family members can be, and a reminder that love can survive, even through betrayal or death.”
I love press releases and writing retreats and conventions. And I love editorial letters - but they are very, very scary.
Maybe scarier than cat food tin moats.