Hi. I’m speculative fiction author Kristen Brand. If you like fantasy or sci-fi, then you’re in the right place. Read one of my ebooks, and chances are you’ll find A) fire-forged friends, B) explosive action scenes, and C) kissing. I’m a huge nerd, which is pretty obvious in my writing, and my blog will give you recommendations and ramblings about novels, comics, short stories, and more.
Check out my Books page for a full list of my novels.
Being a writer is weird. It’s April, and I haven’t put out any new books yet this year, which makes me feel unproductive. But I’ve been working so hard!
So I figured I’d post an author update to prove to myself that I’ve accomplished things.
First off, let’s talk about The Shadow Journals. This is my new urban fantasy project that I mentioned in my post of goals for 2021, and I’m happy to report that I’ve finished the first draft of four novella-length stories in the series.
The fifth story is turning out to be way longer than the others. I’m considering bundling the first four stories into one volume and putting it out for free as a reader magnet. Then the rest of the books would be novel-length.
Can you believe we’re already a fourth of the way through the year? It seems like just the other week I was writing how I planned to move to a quarterly schedule for my new superhero fiction posts in 2021.
2021 has been not so great in many ways, but it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to new superhero fiction. Check out a few that caught my eye below.
As usual, I haven’t read all of these books personally, so please read the descriptions and reviews before purchasing.
*This post contains affiliate links.
We Could Be Heroes
by Mike Chen
An extraordinary and emotional adventure about unlikely friends and the power of choosing who you want to be.
Jamie woke up in an empty apartment with no memory and only a few clues to his identity, but with the ability to read and erase other people’s memories—a power he uses to hold up banks to buy coffee, cat food and books.
Zoe is also searching for her past, and using her abilities of speed and strength…to deliver fast food. And she’ll occasionally put on a cool suit and beat up bad guys, if she feels like it.
When the archrivals meet in a memory-loss support group, they realize the only way to reveal their hidden pasts might be through each other. As they uncover an ongoing threat, suddenly much more is at stake than their fragile friendship. With countless people at risk, Zoe and Jamie will have to recognize that sometimes being a hero starts with trusting someone else—and yourself.
Obviously authors should get paid for their work. If we can’t afford a computer or are stressing about how to pay rent, we’re not going to be able to write. But giving away the first book in a series for free, either as a limited-time sale or a permanent promotion, is a tried-and-true method of finding new readers.
For readers, it’s a great risk-free way to try out new authors. Read the first book for free and then buy the rest of the series if you’re hooked or move on to something else if not. But where can you find free books?
All over the place if you know where to look.
Directly on Storefronts
Kobo has a dedicated free ebook page that updates regularly, and both Apple Books and Amazon have free lists in bestselling genres. It’s definitely worth searching wherever you buy ebooks from—clicking that download button is extra easy when you don’t have to worry about cost.
I tend to download free ebooks in batches. I’ll browse through the lists, stock up on about ten or so for my ereader, and then read through those at my leisure. Then a few months later I’ll repeat the cycle.
This week’s topic is “What are some of your favorite female characters?” Talking about awesome female characters is my jam, so I had to jump on board.
This is going to be one of those lists that should rightfully be about fifty characters long, but I’ll probably get tired of writing at around five or so and wrap it up. 😅
Cassandra Cain from DC Comics
I’ve talked about Cass a couple timeson the blog before. She’s not only my favorite Batgirl but also one of my favorite characters.
Raised by her father to be the perfect assassin, Cass chooses to be a hero instead, and her journey is all about learning how to live in the real world and make friendships after a lifetime of only fighting. She’s awesome because she’s an adorable sweetheart who’s amazed by everyday things that we take for granted, but when the time comes to fight crime and save the day, she’s a total badass.
Seriously. She’s arguably better at hand-to-hand combat than Batman.
It seems like an easy question. Pointy hat. Black cat. Casts spells. Might have warts. You know—a witch.
But is “witch” just a catch-all term for female magic users? What’s the difference between a witch and a sorceress or a mage? Is the flying broom absolutely necessary?
Lots of superheroes have magic-based powers. Many of them get called witches, but I’m going to nitpick that definition and argue that most of them actually aren’t. Let’s see who makes the cut.
I know she’s pretty much the top magic-user in the DC Universe, but I don’t think “witch” is the right word to describe her. “Magician” seems more accurate given the top hat and tuxedo, and I’d also accept “sorceress.” Though if you want to be technical about it, she’s a member of the magical species “Homo Magi.”
I love book aesthetics so much. I’ve posted a lot of them for the Dark and Otherworldly series on Twitter and Pinterest, but unless you’re stalking me on those platforms, chances are you’ve missed out on seeing at least some of them. So here’s a handy roundup!
This one was basically an exercise in finding images with colors that complimented the book cover while still having something to do with the story.
I had a lot of fun with the colors in this one too. It basically represents Leigh’s goal to completely decimate Otherworld in Book 1 of the series.
I haven’t done a tag in a while and saw this one over at One Book More. It seemed like a good chance to examine my TBR pile, which–like the universe–is large and always expanding.
A Book That a Certain Friend is Always Telling You to Read
Well, NeriSiren does mention the October Daye series a lot… 😛 I can’t blame this one solely on another person, though, because I’ve known about the series for years and have always meant to get around to it. I just haven’t yet.
A Book That’s Been on Your TBR Forever and Yet You Still Haven’t Read It
I first mentioned No Man of Woman Born on this blog back in September. This post is a good reminder to myself that I haven’t purchased it yet and need to get on that.
If you told me that I could only read or write about one supernatural creature for the rest of my life, I would choose the fae. This isn’t me trying to trash talk werewolves or demons or anything. It’s just that the fae can fill their role just as well. They’re like the jack of all trades of urban fantasy.
Let’s take vampires. They’re alluring, dangerous creatures who drain their victims of blood. Kind of like the Leanan-Sidhe, a beautiful but deadly fae who inspires poets and artists but drains their life in the process.
Or do you like werewolves and shifters? Let me introduce the púca, a fairy who can transform into a horse, cat, hare, and other animals.