The Celebratory Hugos Parody

Mirrored from Sarah Rees Brennan.

My dear friends and tear suppliers, this is a happy happy time!

IN OTHER LANDS is a finalist for the Award for Best Young Adult book at the Hugo awards! I am overwhelmed by this news, and the reception of this book. I truly did not believe the gay romance and the wings and the four years of sarcastic shenanigans would go over like this, but I’m so proud and so touched.

To celebrate, I am putting up a parody I prepared earlier of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I hope you guys like the parody! It is my gift to you.

I do have more parodies both done and in the works, and for early access to parodies, stories and My Latest Book News, I am going to start actually sending out newsletters! I’m not sure what one does with a newsletter but tell me what you guys would like and I’ll do that. Sign up for my newsletter here!

As well as getting on my newsletter, I have modified and updated my website, so it is shiny. You can behold the shiny, along with my author appearance at the North Texas Teen Book Festival and my brand new author photos, in which I wear a dazzling array of my cancer wigs.

Before we start parody time, let me make one thing clear: I found much of this movie compelling and entertaining, but I don’t really have a ship, space or otherwise. However, I would push literally anyone else in these movies off a space bridge to get to John Boyega.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a girl watched Star Wars without being a mega-fan, so forgive any mistakes. (She even watched the prequels. She didn’t deserve that.)

General Hux, the Nazi Weasley: Blow up this small resistance fleet & especially its roguish pilot. Set phasers to maximum evil.
Poe: Is this General Hugs’s Fast Food Emporium? Can I get extra cheese on that?
Hux: No this is Hux at the evil empire, you must be confused.
Poe: My robot wants the animal fries.
BB 8: beep beep
Hux: Are you mocking me?
Poe: My robot also wants extra cheese.
Hux: Can you stop, the stormtroopers are getting hangry!

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Originally published at Sarah Rees Brennan. You can comment here or there.

Other lands, I am coming to you!

So, IN OTHER LANDS has been out for several moons, but I was still a trifle under the weather and honestly my mother would’ve had a cat and a canary if I had tried to jet off, so I was not able to physically promote it as well as I could have wished. But now, having tested the waters with a lovely con avec the lovelier Seanan McGuire, I am coming to physically promote!

I am doing one event in Canada and one in America and here are the details.


Feb 01, 2018–7:00 p.m.

Location: 1915 Rue Sainte-Catherine O, Montréal, QC H3H 1M3, Canada


Kelly Link, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Cassandra Clare
Feb 05, 2018—7:00 p.m.

Location: 279 Harvard Street Brookline MA 02446-2908 Tel: 617-566-6660 Fax: 617-734-9125

I am super excited about both! I have never done a solo event in Canada before, and I am nervous but excited. Plus, Argo Books is Montreal’s oldest indie bookshop, and I am so looking forward to visiting it! I have only been to Montreal once, ten years ago, but I really liked it. I remember I had a cab driver who drove in zig-zags to avoid alligators but that’s not important.

Brookline Booksmith is an amazing bookshop in Boston that has kindly hosted me before, and I have met such cool people there (the staff of course, a beauteous reporter like Kami but real and cooler, several fanartists of extraordinary talent, kind heroes who even listened to my reading of a first draft!) and am delighted to be going back, especially with two excellent lovely writers.

To all who cannot make it but would like me to sign’n’personalise for you, please contact either bookshop and I will make sure to do it while I am there!

To all those who can make it to either signing, I will (with your permission!) embrace you soon!

To all, pls answer this important question. Should I wear

a) my own hair, which sticks up in interesting permutations?

b) a cool wig? I have them in many COLOURS.


Another Anime Con

Originally published at Sarah Rees Brennan. You can comment here or there.

I have a few messages asking when I might be around in the Americas to sign things and see my lovelies there, and I will have more news about that soon… but I also have news RIGHT NOW for VERY SOON.

I will be in Manchester, New Hampshire, for Another Anime Con on October 13-15, and I will be signing all the things doing panels on magic, folklore and fairytales, and the Importance of urban fantasy… with Seanan McGuire! Who is The Best. I am super looking forward to seeing her and you all, very soon!

Last-Minute Guest Announcement



Originally published at Sarah Rees Brennan. You can comment here or there.

So, IN OTHER LANDS is out today!

The book has received two starred reviews, one from Kirkus and one from Publishers’ Weekly, which is a shedload of starriness! I have already bragged on the Kirkus review on twitter, but please run your eye over this Publisher’s Weekly review!

‘Elliot Schafer is a small-for-his-age 13-year-old who is prone to being bullied—largely due to his personality, which slots somewhere between insufferable know-it-all and sarcastic jackass. When Elliot’s class travels to a “random field in Devon, England” for a supposed scholarship test, he instead winds up in a strange world known as the Borderlands, which are filled with elves, mermaids, and other creatures. So begins Brennan’s hilarious, irreverent, and multilayered coming-of-age fantasy, set over several years. Elliot quickly befriends (and falls for) Serene, a fierce elven warrior, and arranges a reluctant truce with Luke Sunborn, the son of one of the Borderland’s founding families. All three—along with every young person there—are training in war or as councilors, charged with protecting the fragile barrier with the human world. Amid shifting relationships, the threat of war, and substantial growth among the characters, Elliot’s razor-edged wit and general inability to keep his mouth shut make for blissfully entertaining reading. Smart explorations of gender stereotypes, fluid sexuality, and awkward romance only add to the depth and delight of this glittering contemporary fantasy.’

Bullied due to his personality! Inability to keep his mouth shut! I love how the reviews so far have been like: the hero is a terrible pill, but we are willing to buy this pill and take him home.

Also, here is an excerpt of the review in Locus magazine.

‘I have rewritten the first paragraph of this review a half-dozen times, trying to find some way to make clear that Sarah Rees Brennan has created a nearly perfect YA fantasy without gushing. I can’t do it. In Other Lands is brilliantly subversive, assuredly smart, and often laugh-out-loud funny. It combines a magic-world school setting with heaps of snark about everything from teen romance to gender roles, educational systems and serious world diplomacy. The protagonist, Elliot, directs his often peevish analysis and jaded perspective on everyone he meets and everything he sees, but his evolution from bratty 13-year-old to soulful 17-year-old is a thing of beauty to witness. Elliot’s transformation, along with his deepening relationships with friends Serene (Serene-Heart- in-the-Chaos-of-Battle!) and Luke, are the book’s heartbeat. As you can tell from my gushing, the characters are impossible to resist and, combined with the engaging plot, Brennan has worked a miracle with In Other Lands. Mark my words, folks; this author has written what must be considered one of the best books of the year.’

I share this with you because I share it with everyone. I am stitching it on a tapestry to hang on my wall. I note Elliot being called bratty with great delight.

I am humbled and amazed to see a book that was never meant to be a book be received so kindly. I hope not to let down my awesome publishers! I am so thankful to those of you I have heard from, who like the book so far! This is a strange and lovely experience, which I feel books should be.

And for your delectation, dear readers, I have written an essay on Tor (most delightful to have written a piece for Tor!) on wings. On some of my favourite books with winged characters. On wingfic. There’s some discussion of wingfic. Our Winged Brains.



I Have A New Book Out in August! or, HOW THE STORY TURNED

Originally published at Sarah Rees Brennan. You can comment here or there.

I have some news! But first of all, I would like to thank everyone who sent good wishes about my bad news. I owe about a million messages, but I have been bowled over by the kindness of both friends and strangers, and even though sometimes that kindness made me cry, it has also helped me through.

Second of all, my apologies for being so long away without any substantial updates, though I have tried to put up pictures showing I yet live. (As one does in hostage situations! But without holding up newspapers to show the date.) Stuff happened, such as the month-long celebration of the famous holiday, Constantly Throwing Up March. Use of one’s laptop is not advised during Constantly Throwing Up March.

Thirdly, and to widespread relief, one cannot always be talking about bad news and Constantly Throwing Up March. I actually have a different story to tell today.

So, a few years ago, I was feeling super stuck and unhappy about my writing. I was very honoured to be asked to write a short story for the anthology MONSTROUS AFFECTIONS, and I wrote a… slightly long short story about a magical world full of harpies and mermaids, and a boy with wings. (Everyone’s gotta write one story about somebody growing wings.)

I really enjoyed writing the story. And one of the other main characters, a boy from our world who played the role of fish out of water, constantly wandering around and asking the eternal question ‘Excuse me what the HELL is going on?’, caught my eye.

My first fantasy novels were Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books, which feature (among many other things) young people training to be warriors in a magic landscape, and maybe-not-so-monstrous-winged monsters. There are a ton of stories about kids stumbling into magic worlds—from the Narnia books to Philip Pullman’s The Subtle Knife–and learning in magic worlds—Jill Murphy’s Worst Witch series, Eva Ibbotson’s The Secret of Platform 13, Neil Gaiman’s The Books of Magic, those little-known Harry Potter books.

It occurred to me that it might be very easy to lure kids of the generation just waiting for their Hogwarts letter into a magic world. (Stranger in a van with candy… mermaid candy!) And it occurred to me that it would be fun to write a character who was a nerd used to books and comics and movies about superheroes, because I am a nerd. There is a scene in THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE where the magic lion makes one of our heroes pick up a sword and slay a talking wolf (who is admittedly about to eat his sister). There is a special place in my heart for the hero who picks up the sword and goes forth. There is also a place in my heart for the guy who goes, ‘Excuse you, I am twelve! Can we call animal protection services? Can we call child protection services? Show of hands or hooves—does anyone have tranquiliser darts?’ I thought it would be fun to show someone in one of their favourite fantasy worlds, appalled by the reality as well as charmed by the fantasy, revolutionising it by accident.

I evolved, in my fevered brain, a Cunning Plan. I would write a prequel for the short story and put it on my blog! It would promote the anthology! And it would be a gift for my beautiful readers, whom I love for reading my stories when there are many funny cat videos on youtube!

What a good plan!

I liked writing the story so much that once I lied to my friends that I was on deadline, and wrote on a picnic bench in a pub garden, half laughing at a table with my friends, half in a magic land, and altogether happy.

Quite a long time later, I was on a writing retreat in Cornwall, making excessively cheese sandwiches and chatting with my friend Holly Black, who is wise like a genius owl and looks like Goth Snow White.

“So, why are you writing a book on your blog?” Holly asked.

“I’m not…” I spluttered. “The very idea! How dare! I would never do something so!”

It was true that the short story had ended up split into different parts because of length constraints, but that was not my fault.

“Oh, okay, let me rephrase,” said Holly. “Why is the short story on your blog a hundred thousand words long?”

IMPORTANT MEMO: A pretty standard YA novel is typically ninety thousand words long.

IMPORTANT MEMO #2: The only time I have managed to write a typical length novel was when writing from the point of view of a demon who was really not great with words.

IMPORTANT MEMO #3: Stop me before I kill again.

“It is not,” I riposted wittily. “That would be ridiculous, and I don’t do ridiculous things!”

“It is,” said Holly. “I copy and pasted all the parts into a word document.”

“Why would you do that?” I demanded. “Why would you do something so HURTFUL and UNNECESSARY?”

“So I could read it comfortably,” said Holly.

“No!” I said. “You mustn’t read it!”

“But you put it on the world wide web,” Holly pointed out.

I could not argue with her logic.

“Besides,” said Holly. “I enjoy it.”

I collapsed with blushes amid the cheese.

After giving the matter some thought, I realised that I had done this ridiculous thing. Now, writing is my joy, and I was very happy writing this book, but writing is also meant to pay my electricity bill.

A book up on the internet did not seem likely to do that. Also, a book in which the main characters went from very-innocent thirteen to not-so-innocent seventeen was tricky. Also, a book in which the protagonist wandered around being in unrequited love with elven warrior maidens, rocker boys, and mermaids might be a hard sell. Moreover, because… this is how the internet works… a few people had shown up on my blog and were being pretty unpleasant about the story, insulting me for not being a real writer or demanding various things. I finished the book and told myself that I should learn from this experience.

But then a funny thing happened.

People kept writing to me about the book. Readers would come to me and tell me it was how they discovered me, and tell me that they would really love more. Artists of enormous skill drew me gorgeous fanart. Other writers who I respected would tell me they’d read and enjoyed it. The book did not seem to fade from the minds and hearts of people, and because of how they felt, I began to feel different as well: I got back to the feeling of writing in a summer garden, half in this world and half in another.

And I found myself wanting to write more: the book had what I thought of as a Personal Resolution but not a Romantic Resolution, as the romantic resolution was in the short story. Except that was from a different character’s point of view! People wanted to see the hero’s side of the story, and what happened next! But I told myself sternly that it could not be.

Some time later, two of my friends were going on a road trip through the South (of the Americas). I couldn’t go on the road trip but we arranged to meet for the weekend in Savannah.

When I arrived in Savannah, I checked my email. There was an email from Kelly ‘Pulitzer Finalist’ Link and Gavin Grant, proprietors of Small Beer Press, asking if they could publish my internet novel for real. I went and sat down in the airport Starbucks and stared at it for a long time.

A few days later, Holly Black called me.

HOLLY: You haven’t answered your email.
SARAH: How do you know about my email?!
HOLLY: I know everything.
SARAH: I have to work out the best way to say no.
HOLLY: Oh… do you not want to do it?
SARAH: Well of COURSE I want to do it.
SARAH: But I can’t let Kelly and Gavin do this to themselves!
HOLLY: Are you seriously being Spiderman right now?
SARAH: I am quite quippy.
HOLLY: Are you for real breaking up with your girlfriend—or publisher—for their own good?
HOLLY: I think they offered because they WANT to do it.
SARAH: … Really?

And so it came to pass that I accepted the offer, and Kelly sent me wonderful editorial notes, and I edited. And I wrote a good bit more. I wrote a Romantic Resolution. I wrote a Friendship Resolution. I went back in time and wrote more of the hero in our world, making no friends. I went back and wrote the hero in the magic world, trying to make new friends and making friends he didn’t expect. I wrote fifty thousand words more.

IMPORTANT MEMO: See important memo 1 about the typical length of books. I wrote another half of a novel. I must be stopped.

Last year in Mexico (I am a wanderer who carries her home on her back, or at least on wheels beside her) Kelly Link and Holly Black ganged up on me in a swimming pool.

KELLY: It’s a different book now, and I think it needs a different title. Do you have any ideas?
SARAH: Solidly, no.
KELLY: I have an idea.
HOLLY: You need to fix this sex scene. And write a lot more of it.

Holly and I were sharing a room that retreat. Holly is an excellent Editorial Guilt Alarm Clock.

SARAH: Goodnight, m’dear!
HOLLY: Night… Tomorrow, are you going to fix the sex scene?
SARAH: *murder attempt with pillow*

So it came to pass that there would be a book. And not long after that, I realised that I was sick, and the only way to get better was to get a whole lot sicker, and I was even happier that there was going to be a book in 2017.

The internet version of the story will be taken down in two weeks. I do not want to rush you guys and I hope this is fair warning! The book would not exist without the help and sympathy and love of my friends and my strangers.

The new book, with new fights and new friendships, with unicorns and mermaids, and the charm and danger of magic, and a cranky stone-cold pacifist hero in magic warrior land, is called IN OTHER LANDS. It features gorgeous interior illustrations and cover art by the super talented Carolyn Nowak.


In Other Lands comes out August 15. (This is a shameless buy link.)

I am nervous and excited about it, and I hope you guys will be excited too!



Originally published at Sarah Rees Brennan. You can comment here or there.

At the beginning of this year, my best friend and I drove down the Great Ocean Road. We went around a curve in the road and I drew in my breath because the forests were laid out before me in a startling contrast of gold lace against shadow. The next moment I realised, with another quieter shock, that the shining woods were burned land and the bright leaves were ashes.

It was my first time in Australia, and I loved it so much that I planned to go back this winter. But for a while before that, I was enjoying being in Ireland with Loved Ones, etc.

MUM: So you’re getting ready for Australia.
SARAH: Yep, I bought ankle boots!
MUM: Cool priorities. You might want to see the doctor before you go, just for a check-up about being so worn down and that cough.

I went in for a quick check-up. I wasn’t all that concerned. Writers are just sick a lot: we have an awesome job, but we also have a weird job where you often overwork and keep odd hours and do not take care of yourself. A guy I know worked so hard he got shingles and lost his hair. One of my close writer friends got pneumonia and broke her rib coughing. I got pneumonia from overwork four years ago, and since then have had recurring bouts of bronchitis or pneumonia, depending on my luck! So I went to the doctor and was like ‘Check me out, not to brag but I haven’t had bronchitis since February and it is September, but if you could do something about the persistent cough that would be great.’

Away I went. A few days later it was my birthday, and my phone rang. I was asleep, due to being a lazy toad who regularly wakes up at I’m-too-ashamed-to-tell-you o’clock. I flailed about in my bedsheets and seized the phone, assuming muzzily it was a Loved One with birthday wishes.

SARAH: Hey, sweetie!
DOCTOR: Er, hello… this is your G.P…
SARAH: Hey, er… doctor sweetie… I just feel very close to you since the thermometer incident… No. Uh, why are you calling?
DOCTOR: So your haemoglobin is half the haemoglobin of a normal person’s.
DOCTOR: I would never have thought you were as sick as you are when I saw you!
SARAH: I cannot say you have a soothing bedphoneside manner, doctor.
DOCTOR: Go to the hospital. Soon.
SARAH: Okay, I promise I will. Soon!

And I did, though not that day, because it was my birthday and I had business calls. I was not very worried. Just a bad beginning to my birthday, thought I.

Then came the news there was a ‘shadow’ on the chest scan I’d done, and I hopped to the hospital. Best to get this sorted out, I thought!

SARAH: Hello hospital. Please examine and heal me.
EMERGENCY ROOM DOCTOR: We must keep you overnight! But we have no beds. Sleep on this shelf.
SARAH: Can I have a pillow?
EMERGENCY ROOM DOCTOR: *gentle laughter* She wants pillows. Oh child you dream of wild luxuries. Pillows are the first thing to go around here.


Pictured: The Maiden’s Non-Pillow Book

DOCTORS: In the morning, we come to take your blood and give you a pillow.
SARAH: I’m comfortable with this blood/pillow trade.

The hospital was not too bad a place to be. I was given a bed. They constantly took my blood, which led me to suspect they were secret vampires, but they were all very cheery vampires and I trusted them. I did scans. In one scan I was hooked up to a long curly straw, which made me feel like a funky milkshake. Student doctors came by and asked to do tests on me and I chatted with them because I was bored.

STUDENT DOCTOR 1: This is cool, when we tap against your stomach we get a different sound than with an older patient’s.
SARAH: When I start a band, I will be the drum.
STUDENT DOCTOR 2: Oh yeah! I’ve never had this result from a living subject before.
SARAH: A—a living—doctors, please let me maintain my beautiful suspension of disbelief about where your hands have been.

Then a glamorous lady doctor came in. She had such an air, and her surname was Kelly, that I kept calling her Doctor Grace. Her name was not Grace.

Doctor Not Grace sat down my bed, and said in an intently sympathetic voice that they would have to do a biopsy, because this could be an infection or it could—just possibly—be cancer.

When I went to Australia, I went snorkeling off the Great Barrier Reef.

Being submerged in a whole other element is funny because your mind keeps trying to compare everything to your own element: phosphorence in the water is like a whirl of cinders carried to you from fire by the wind and the tiny bright fish are like flickers of electricity. The coral becomes a dressmakers’ shelf full of ruched bronze satin and green lace and scarlet net. And when real-life comparison fails, you fall back on stories and you think you are looking at the White Witch’s garden: stone creatures, stone toadstools, stone ferns, stone lace, until a fern gives way to a scarlet ripple or a rock opens like a stone fist and an octopus unfurls to flee.

As the doctor spoke, I felt myself tip a little into another world, where things were not quite what they seemed and stories were slightly too real.

But I turned my face resolutely away and went ‘Hopefully it’s an infection! Yes indeed, biopsy away! Let’s get this done!’

In the theatre of surgicality, the doctor asked first—who had put the bands on my wrist and ankle, they looked ridiculous.

The trainee nurse still beside me had put on the bands. I reassured her with my eyes that I would never betray her secret.

Next he asked me to sign a form to say I consented to him doing the biopsy.

SARAH (knowledgably): Yep, I consent to you making a small incision under my arm to get the materials you need to test!
THEATRE DOCTOR: And if we can’t get what we need there, you consent to us going under the other arm.
SARAH: Sure!
THEATRE DOCTOR: And if not there, incision one side of the collarbone.
SARAH: Less sure but okay!
THEATRE DOCTOR: And if not there, incision on the other side of the collarbone.
SARAH: You do what you have to.
THEARE DOCTOR: And if not there, the neck.
SARAH: … When I wake up, will I be more sieve than woman?

As they were putting me under, I heard the doctor ask why I had nail polish on, and they explained they were gel nails.

DOCTOR: And why is one fingernail a different colour from the others?

I woke up. I only had one incision. This felt like a big win.

Hopefully, in a week, we would get the biopsy results back and I would learn I just had an infection!

I called my parents when Doctor Not Grace said it might be cancer.

SARAH: It might be lymphoma, Mum.
MUM: Oh great!
SARAH: Excuse me?
MUM: They’ll just pop it right out.
SARAH: With the… chemotherapy?
MUM: Oh.
SARAH: Yeah.
MUM: I misheard you before.
SARAH: Right.
MUM: Oh it’s not cancer. No. Not that.

I told my brother about it. Now, I have two brothers and one sister, all younger than me, all taller and blonder and altogether delightfuller, the apples of my eye. The oldest is my brother Rory, who has always helped me out—he kindly makes writing look like a safe responsible job in comparison to being a pro poker player.

The other two were out of the country.

My brother Saul had very recently moved to Bristol for his first job out of college. He was only just starting. He and I had shopped for business clothing weeks before and become bewildered and distressed among the bow ties.


Pictured: Baby’s First Suit!

Then there was my sister Genevieve, who works in television but, even though she is a dazzling blonde, behind the scenes. She was in Costa Rica. She’d been saving up years for her dream to quit her job and go around the world. She’d only left a few days before.


Pictured: She Is Not Wearing Make-Up, Thus Will Be Mad I Shared This, But Look How Stunning!

I told Rory it might be cancer, and I saw him look scared, and I felt my world try to tip away into that other, stranger world, and we told each other firmly that it was probably just an infection.

And then I told him we couldn’t tell the younger ones. They were so far away. It would freak them out. It was probably just an infection.

There was, of course, a small voice at the back of my head saying doctors don’t go around saying ‘cancer’ unless there’s a good chance that’s what it is. Doctors are a serious folk. They do not say these things to add a spice of excitement to the day.

I had been doing a lot of research on cancer, because my newest book (the treasure of my heart, which I am currently editing into shape because the treasure of my heart is super long!) has a cancer subplot: the heroine’s sister has cancer.

FRIEND: Do you feel like you maybe wrote this into existence, in a vaguely Stephen King flavoured manner?
SARAH: I’m not saying I have eldritch writing powers but soon I plan to write a short story about someone winning ten million dollars, just in case.

The research meant I knew more than I really wanted to.

And there had been warning signs.

I’d come up with excuses that seemed reasonable at the time, like ‘Must be low blood sugar,’ ‘am recovering from pneumonia’ and ‘am incredibly lazy, like a sloth and a tortoise had a little slotortoise baby.’

DOCTOR: You must have often felt like you could not move from the couch or do anything but read.
SARAH: Sure. Ah… Tuesdays.

I’d get out of breath faster than my friends, but I put that down to the lungs being in bad shape.

SARAH: Also wow it has just been too long since I did yoga.
BFF: It has been several years.
SARAH: Exactly!

And when I came back from Australia, I’d lost some weight. Now, I am a lady of plumpitude, due I imagine to the fact I love sofas and cheese and run only when chased or late for appointments and planes. I was surprised it had happened, but mildly pleased because people complimented me about it and I enjoy a compliment!

SARAH: I guess it’s sunny and beautiful here, I walk more, I eat better…
SARAH: I’m proud of me for living a healthier lifestyle!
SARAH: I’m going to repress all those memories of eating noodles at midnight…

Nobody’s fault, but this is a sad world in which weight loss is automatically seen as a good thing, especially if you are a lady of plumpitude. But friends, I was not walking that much. I was eating the midnight noodle.

I also had cold hands for years, but instead of worrying about those, I just put them on the backs of my friends’ necks and whispered ‘The touch of the grave!’ in their ears. I know they enjoyed this as much as I did.

I had some dizzy spells, and once I admit I fainted in a supermarket in Australia. I sat up, acquired a Lilt and a chocolate bar (which I paid for! Eventually!) and decided to take iron pills. I told my Australian cousins what had happened, and was puzzled when they seemed distressed.

SARAH: Ah yes, I looked a right idiot.
AUSTRALIAN COUSINS: You should have called us!
SARAH: Oh no. Oh that would have been silly! I was fine.
AUSTRALIAN COUSINS: You could have been hurt.
SARAH: Oh no, my fall was totally broken by the frozen broccolini. Lucky, right?
AUSTRALIAN COUSINS: … We love Irish Cousin Sarah, but we fear she is simple.

And I was cranky, and slow at work, but I put this down to being a lazy wretch with a black and twisted heart.

I put all the little worrying things down to a variety of small causes, easily solvable.

SARAH: Oh but your body just goes to hell in your thirties, right?
FRIEND: Sarah I am a decade older than you and you flag after a walk around the shops. Might be low blood sugar.
SARAH: Right. I’m going to start carrying a Snickers bar in my purse. But you know what will happen then.
FRIEND: You’ll feel weird and open the purse…
SARAH (nodding): And I will have definitely eaten the Snickers bar in a fit of greed several hours earlier.
FRIEND: Maybe you should carry nuts in your purse.
SARAH: But you know what will happen then.
FRIEND: You’ll feel weird and open the purse and be mad the nuts are not a Snickers bar.
SARAH (sadly): This is a painful dilemma.

All the little signs could have been just little things. Or all of it might be adding up to a big picture.

I told some of my close friends. My best friend came and visited with me all the time, in the week we waited after the biopsy. Only near the very end, gently and lovingly, did she suggest that I should maybe consider showering.

My friends who were far from me were also angels. Maureen Johnson, writer extraordinaire and now fancy pundit, sent me a massive box of brownies and iced lemon cakes.

RORY: I’ve come to visit the sick and I brought you a brownie—
RORY: I see I’ve made a bad call.
RORY: I also brought a banana because they are very healthy.
SARAH (coldly): I reject the banana and will not have it in my home. I will accept your brownie because it is an offering of love.
RORY: So now you have… a million and one brownies?
SARAH: That’s love, baby.

image (1).jpeg

Pictured: Let ‘Em Eat Cake

Later, I was told Rory must be very worried about me, because he hardly ate his turkey burger and broccoli. I reflected back on Rory the last time I had seen him, with one glorious brownie and one tremendous lemon cake in either hand.

‘Or perhaps,’ I said, ‘some mysteries are never meant to be solved.’

The day before the diagnosis, a beautiful hamper arrived. It smelled of lavender and fanciness. It had a robe and slippers and French soaps within. It was from all my writer friends I had told: Maureen, Holly ‘Beautiful Soul’ Black, Pulitzer finalist of my heart Kelly Link, redheaded queen of fancy loveliness Cassie Clare and the wise and wonderful Robin Wasserman. Even though I was far away from them, they wanted to make sure I felt looked after.


Pictured: Woman Gloating With Hamper

And I did. And it was all going to be fine, really. Though I was slightly concerned as the week passed that my mother, a wonderful lady in many respects but a sharer with all the world, was telling a lot of people the news. The maybe-news.

I was really worried that my little sister or brother would get word of it, and freak out. I didn’t want them to fret. After all, everything was fine. Probably. Hopefully. Maybe.

I went in for my appointment with the doctor, Glamorous Not Grace Kelly. She was wearing a stunning dress. My parents were sitting on either side of me.

Yes, she said, it was cancer. Hodgkin’s lymphoma, very treatable. Definitely the cancer to pick, if you were going through a cancer catalogue. I would have an appointment with my oncologist on Monday, and did I have any questions?

The world tilted decisively, into that strange world where things I did not quite believe were nevertheless true.

‘Well…’ I said. ‘I would like to know where you got your dress.’

Dr Not Grace laughed and said I was something else. She did not tell me where she got her dress. I was only partly joking, Dr Not Grace!

My mother was crying. Dr Not Grace gave her tissues.

When we drove home, Rory met us at the gates. I went right to him, and he said ‘Well?’ With my usual smooth wordsmithing, I said, ‘Well, uh, yeah.’ Then I glanced up at him, and I said, very quickly: ‘Yes, it’s cancer.’ My brother’s a big guy, and strong in a lot of ways. He made a noise as if he’d been hit. I reached up and put my arms around his neck and my head down on his shoulder, and I believed I had cancer, and we were terrified.

I thought: I have to tell the younger ones now. I don’t know how I’m going to tell them.

I wanted to write this up, to explain why I might be out of commission at times, disappearing offline for stretches: to make sure it didn’t seem like I was just disappearing. I’d love it if people shared this post, to make sure word gets to everyone who might want to know, since I am low energy often and unable to tell all the people I’d have liked to tell individually. And I want to go on to talk about what happened and what will happen next, if people are interested: to have the experience be seen and shared and real. I never do quite believe in stories until they’re shared.

This is how I found out, and this is how I’m telling you.


So I’m Finally Doing An Event in Ireland

Originally published at Sarah Rees Brennan. You can comment here or there.

… home of my birth, place where I keep my stuff!

I’m very honoured to be launching the fabulous R.F. Long’s latest fabulous novel. I will do my best not to shame Ruth, and also bring some giveaways! (Warning: I might shame Ruth.)

Venue: The Gutter Bookshop, Cow’s Lane
Date: Monday 12th September – 6.30pm until 8pm
We are delighted to welcome Ruth Frances Long back to the Gutter Bookshop for the launch of her third Dubh Linn book, ‘A Darkness at the End’. Author Sarah Rees Brennan will be launching the book.

(I keep MEANING to do a post whereby I tell you all the things, or maybe just do some book recommendations or parody some TV, but for the Irish among you, I’ll do that in person on Monday. ;))



Originally published at Sarah Rees Brennan. You can comment here or there.


Transgression: Writing On the Edge of the Acceptable

From YA to fantasy to romance, six bestselling authors explore what it means to push boundaries within genres, and to tackle taboo topics in their fields. What happens when writers foray into the forbidden? What does it mean to ‘transgress’ in a novel, and how do writers deal with it—and make their readers like it? Join Eloisa James, Ellen Kushner, C.S. Pacat, Sarah Rees Brennan, Marie Rutkoski and Damon Suede for a discussion that breaks all the rules.

Date: Monday 16th May
Time: Panel at 7pm, signing to follow
Venue: Book Culture 536 W 112th St
New York


Okay a) Have you ever seen a more fun panel topic in your life. What do readers find acceptable and unacceptable? What are the limitations of different genres? Are we talking about weird stuff? Is it okay to talk about weird stuff? DO YOU LIKE WEIRD STUFF? Come see us!

b) Have you ever seen such a great line-up? In case you are unfamiliar I have things to tell you!

Eloisa James is one of my personal favourite go-to romance authors. She created the Duke of Villiers, who is fastidious and spectacular in his dress and fond of sexy chess. Her latest book explores the historical significance of pineapples. Ellen Kushner wrote SWORDSPOINT and PRIVILEGE OF THE SWORD, one the ultimate fantasy of manners in which everyone is in love with Richard or Alec (me: Richard, master swordsman!), and one the best reluctant-to-enthusiastic hero tale of a lady forced into swordplay until she makes the choice to duel for another lady’s honour! C.S. Pacat is a beauteous Australian lady (so this is one of your only chances to see her) and wrote the CAPTIVE PRINCE series, a friend of mine recommended it to me one night and the next day I woke up at 5pm because I’d been up all that night reading the CAPTIVE PRINCE series goddammit: the Prince of Not-Really-Sparta has been betrayed and sold to the Prince of Decadent-Not-Quite-France and he is such a jerk (or is he. OR IS HE.). Sarah Rees Brennan, I don’t know about her, honestly I hear weird things. Marie Rutkoski, bona fide genius and professor (as is Eloisa James! professin my devotion to professors), ponderer of ethical problems such as ‘lady buys gentleman to save him from darker fate’ and ‘how far is it okay to lie about the revolution?’ also inventor of a fictional game that unlike all others actually works and is interesting. Damon Suede, whose tale of firefighters who go from friends to lovers was one of Goodreads’ Top 100 Romance Novels of All Time (which is a big deal!), and whose latest features a Latino bodyguard falling for his shady billionaire boss (I have bought it right now and have it in my possession).

I just think this is going to be VERY GREAT, is what I’m saying.


Holyoke B&N Event with Kelly Link, Holly Black and Sarah Rees Brennan

June 11,


Barnes and Noble, 7 Holyoke Street, Holyoke, MA 01040

Kelly Link is a Pulitzer finalist! I tell everybody. Also, Holly Black is the one perfect person in an imperfect world, also perfect at writing and public speaking. So that will probably be fun.



Originally published at Sarah Rees Brennan. You can comment here or there.


Beautimous picture by Virginie Carquin.

So I have lots of news–for one thing, THERE IS A TRAILER FOR TELL THE WIND AND FIRE UP ON EW.COM!

But my main news for this post is as follows: I am touring for TELL THE WIND AND FIRE, a tale about magic, a young lady who intentionally became a celebrity and accidentally became a symbol for revolution, and her boyfriend… and his soulless double whose presence may portend his death!

It’s super exciting. I’m going to all these festivals with amazing authors, and I hope I am going to see you guys! It’s been ages since I had a book out, and I am very nervous!

Also my publisher has been super great and arranged a thing.

SARAH: So Cassandra Clare has a big bus with bunk-beds in it and I’m going to sleep in it.

PUBLISHER: do you have a home? where should we send boxes of books to? IS YOUR HOME UNDER THE SEA?

SARAH: That’s not important at this time. Anyway the bus will stop at bookshops so could Tell the Wind and Fire be sold in them?

PUBLISHER: It’s before your release date though.

SARAH: But I think people might like to have the new book! And be FANCY EARLY SPECIAL.

PUBLISHER: Okay with the heroic aid of bookstores we will do this thing. Now could you give us some sort of address?

SARAH: *mysterious ocean noises*

So, a pre-release tour! With the book there early for people, yay! And then a launch event in LA on April 6, with the terrifyingly awesome Leigh Bardugo and Gretchen McNeil, in which we talk about re-tellings and myths and cool stuff in stories, and then a cascade of excellence!

And I prefaced this with a pretty picture hoping people would reblog, but I promise to give you all presents on tour whether you do or not! I will shower you with gifts and love.

… So without further ado… come find me!


Pre-release, with special copies of Tell the Wind and Fire available!

Saturday 12 March, 2 PM

Boulder Public Library
with the Boulder Bookstore
at First United Methodist Church
1421 Spence St, Boulder, CO 80302

People can call 303-447-2074 for more information.

Sunday 13 March, 2 PM

Omaha Public Library
with the Bookworm
at Westside Community Centre
3534 South 108th St, Omaha, NE 68144

Call to see if ticketed: 402-392-2877

Tuesday 15 March, 6:30 PM

Kansas City Public Library
with Rainy Day Books
at Plaza Branch, Truman Forum
4801 Main St, Kansas City, MO 64112

Call to see if ticketed: 913 384 3126

Wednesday 16 March, 7 PM

Austin, Texas
Book People
at St Edward’s University, Mabee Ballroom
3001 South Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

Call to see if ticketed: 512 472 5050



Once Upon a Time
April 6th at 7 PM

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
Young Adult Fiction: Fantasy & World Building
Sunday | 4/10/2016 | 3:00:00 PM in Town & Gown

Sarah Enni

Ransom Riggs
Victoria Aveyard
Sarah Rees Brennan
Marie Lu

April 9th and 10th – http://events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks/

Brookline Booksmith
April 14th at 7 PM
Event with Holly Black

Odyssey Bookshop
Saturday, April 16th at 4 PM
Event with Holly Black: http://www.odysseybks.com/events-0

The Hudson Valley YA Society at Oblong Books & Music
Sunday, April 17th at 4 PM
Event with Heidi Heilig & Heather Demetrios

North Texas Teen Book Festival
April 22nd and 23rd

Rochester Teen Book Festival
Saturday, May 14th


New Tell the Wind and Fire Snippet!

Originally published at Sarah Rees Brennan. You can comment here or there.

Oh, my galactical jam tarts, it has been long since we had a snippet of any sort, I know and I’m sorry!

But this snippet is fancily hosted the Dickens Blog, because TELL THE WIND AND FIRE is a retelling of A TALE OF TWO CITIES with magic rings and New York and doppelgangers and Ladies Doing A Crapton of Stuff like swordfighting and giving television interviews.


Okay it’s here. We see way more of Lucie and Carwyn, two of the main characters, and get more of a sense of them, and… I hope you like them.

And it has a lot about cupcakes in it.


I hope you like it, lightning muffins.