Welcome!

Hi. I’m speculative fiction author Kristen Brand. If you’re looking for a good book in the sci-fi/fantasy genre, then you’re in the right place. My novels all have fast-paced action, witty banter, and at least a hint of romance. I’m a huge nerd, which comes through in my writing, and I love reading and talking about books, comics, and short stories.

Check out my books page for a full list of all my novels. Or look at my web fiction for links to free stories you can read online.

Thanks for stopping by!

Turn Back the Pages: Girl Genius

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Girl Genius Volume 1 Cover

Adventure! Romance! Mad Science!

That’s the tagline of Girl Genius, and the comic doesn’t fail to deliver. Read it, and you’ll get heroine Agatha Heterodyne’s adventures through a strange and dangerous alternate version of Europe where steampunk technology has run wild. She encounters a cast of quirky, memorable characters (half of whom are mad scientists or creations of mad scientists, and most of whom want to kill and/or use her) and finds romance along the way, though all of her relationships are “complicated,” to say the least.

By Phil and Kaja Foglio, Girl Genius describes itself as a gaslamp fantasy, but I’m pretty sure that’s just because it’s been around since before steampunk was a thing. You don’t get more steampunk than this. It’s got everything from clockwork ladies…

Clockwork Lady Image

To airship cities… Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Girl Genius

Clockmaker Sneak Peak

Two weeks until Clockmaker drops! Are you excited? I’m excited. As we count down to release day, here’s a sneak peak at the first chapter. I really enjoyed writing from Melek’s point of view, and I hope you like this little teaser.

Chapter 1

Clockmaker CoverI read the telegram one last time before crumpling the paper into a ball and tossing it to the floor. My stomach clenched, and I leaned back in my chair and stared at my desk—or rather the papers showing the airship’s accounts, which I had spread across the surface. The math wouldn’t change no matter how many times I checked it. Too many expenses and too little income; that was the hard, uncaring truth.

Despite being the captain’s quarters, my room was as small and cramped as the rest of the ship. The Sultana had been built to fly fast and strike hard, not indulge passengers with luxury. High shelves stuffed with records, books, and maps encroached menacingly on my desk. They lined every wall except the one I’d had constructed to separate my office from my bedchambers. That one displayed ornamental sabers and some beautiful blue İznik pottery that had belonged to my mother (strapped very securely to the shelf). If all else failed, I supposed I could sell the pottery for some extra funds. Turkish ceramics would fetch a decent price here in France.

Two sharp knocks at the door announced Emin, and I told him to enter.

“I beg your pardon, Captain.” My first mate, Emin, was a giant of a man with a thick mustache on a face that fell naturally into a gloomy glower. He wore an old Ottoman military coat over baggy navy pants, and a red fez topped his head at an angle. His thick belts held a sword, two pistols, and a knife, but those were only his visible weapons. He stepped on the crumpled telegram and glanced down. “Bad news from Monsieur Courtemanche?” Continue reading Clockmaker Sneak Peak

Last Week in Superhero Fiction (2/15/18)

Superhero Fiction News GraphicThe Pen and Cape Society’s superhero fiction podcast, Throwing the Gun, came out with a new episode earlier this month discussing the endings of some major superhero fiction series.

Toren Chenault has been talking about his upcoming superhero novel, Mystic Man, on Twitter, and it sounds awesome. Read his tweets and get hyped.

Karen Diem posted a cool cut scene from Power, the third book in her Arca series, on her blog. But if you haven’t read the series yet, you should start with the first chapter of book 1 here. It has one of the best first lines I’ve seen in a while.

If you’re looking for some transmedia superhero fiction, Project Indigo sounds fun and original. It follows “disgraced former superhero Margo ‘Indigo’ Mason’s efforts to rehabilitate her terrible public image via the Internet after her roommate accidentally blows her cover.” You can check out the website or watch the story unfold on social media like Margo’s Twitter account.

If you’ve been thinking of reading Renegades by Marissa Meyer, Emily Talks About Books just posted a review.

Any news I missed? What superhero books have you been reading lately? Let me know in the comment!

 

A Reading List of Superhero Romance

Ah, superhero romance. Back in the old days, it meant a man in a cape rescuing a distressed damsel and going to great lengths to hide his secret identity from the woman he supposedly loves. And you’ll still see that sometimes, but for the most part, romance in the genre has gotten a bit more complex over the years.

Pretty much every superhero movie and TV show has a romantic subplot and love interest these day. Some of them are great. Some of them are… let’s just say they’re not very well developed.

Doctors Strange and Palmer Gif
Remember this touching romance? Yeah, me neither.

But for those of you who want a little more love with your crime-fighting exploits, there’s a whole subgenre of superhero romance novels. Granted, there’s not a lot of them. You won’t find a shelf dedicated to it at your local library, and most online retailers don’t have a category for it, but if you’re willing to search a bit, you can find some good ones.

So get ready to save the world and fall in love (or at least read about it). Here’s a short list of superhero romance novels I’ve read and enjoyed. Continue reading A Reading List of Superhero Romance

Turn Back the Pages: Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Lady Sabre Image

When was the last time you read some good old-fashioned swashbuckling adventure? It’s probably been too long, right? Well, brush up on your sword-fighting skills, because today we’re diving into Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether.

Here are just a few things you’ll find in the pages of Lady Sabre: airship pirates, steampunk robots, stone-cold cowboys, and tons of sword duels. Now, just because you throw a bunch of cool things into a comic, that doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to have a good story. But Lady Sabre combines these elements into an epic steampunk adventure. And it does it with style.

Airship Image
Pictured: Style

I’d say there are two main characters despite only one being mentioned in the title. The first, of course, is the lady herself, and to quote her own introduction:

“Name’s Sabre, Lady Seneca Sabre… Fourteenth Marchioness of Cascadia, Captain of Pegasus, muse of Darent Found, and a host of other titles that would probably bore you to tears if I recite them, which I shan’t, as I’ve recited enough.” Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether

The Evolution of a Novel

Hero StatusHero Status sprang from my mind, fully formed, like Athena from the head of Zeus.

Lol, no. It was actually a painfully long first draft, followed by countless rewrites, beta feedback, and even more rewrites. Scenes were added, the structure tweaked, and the writing ironed out before it became the version you now read. But that’s pretty standard for most novels.

I’d almost forgotten about the bonkers early version I abandoned before going back and restarting the whole thing from scratch years later.

Way back in 2008, I started writing my first piece of superhero fiction for National Novel Writing Month in November. This was the precursor to Hero Status, though it’s pretty much unrecognizable. It starred not Dave but Elisa–or at least the character who would eventually become Elisa. She had a different name in this and a different origin, being an experiment of Dr. Sweet’s whom Dave rescued and adopted. The book was about her going off to college and dealing with Dr. Sweet’s attempts to recapture and brainwash her.

Looking back at the file, I made it about 24,000 words in before giving up. I moved on to other books, but something about the concept and characters of that old untitled novel kept calling to me. I began outlining a new version, changing Elisa’s character to being Dave and Val’s biological child and having her torn between her parents’ heroic and villainous legacies.

But I didn’t like that either.

Eventually it dawned on me: the daughter character wasn’t what made this idea interesting. It was her parents, the retired superhero and former supervillain, and the question of how two people with such conflicting morals and personalities could have such a stable, happy relationship.

Once I focused on Dave and Val, the idea for the plot followed, and Hero Status was born. But I still find that old version morbidly fascinating and thought you might, too. So here, in its unedited and awful glory, is the first chapter of the story that sparked The White Knight and Black Valentine Series: Continue reading The Evolution of a Novel

New Superhero Fiction Releases (January 2018)

It’s a new year, so time for new superhero books. We’ve got a lot of sequels this month, some some brand new series, and no shortage of nice-looking covers. As always, I haven’t read all these books personally, so make sure to view the samples and reviews before purchasing. And if you’ve read any of them, share your thoughts in the comments!

DUO – The One and Only

by Michael Pauly

Duo Cover

1981

The Cold War. A world on the brink of annihilation.

The CIA and KGB fight a global shadow-war to claim every child who manifests a superpower in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse. The supernatural stockpile more important than nuclear weapons.

Alex Dwyer sits in a high-school cafeteria talking with a pretty girl. Hits the lunch-table with an involuntary twitch of embarrassment.

Explodes the table into a million pieces.

Alex Dwyer brings the world one step closer to armageddon…

Amazon

Wayward: A Cadence Phoenix Novel

by Skye Knizley

Wayward Cover

Cadence Phoenix. A girl with a rose tattoo, a body full of scars and an old guitar she plays like an angel. Two years ago she woke up in the trunk of a car with no memory, no clothes and no identification. She’s on the run, but she doesn’t know why. All she knows is everyone she gets close to, everyone that tries to help her, ends up dead. Someone doesn’t want her to remember and will kill to keep their secret.
But who is it, and why? CJ doesn’t know. But she’s going to find out.

Wayward: A Hero Will Rise

Amazon

Villains Don’t Save Heroes!

by Mia Archer

Villains Dont' Save Heroes Cover

Sequel to Villains Don’t Date Heroes!

Night Terror, the greatest villain Starlight City has ever known, finally had it all. A beautiful girl she couldn’t get enough of. The city finally sort of liked her after she saved it from a giant robot attack. Now it was time to live happily ever after, right?

Yeah, right.

It turns out saving the city and getting the girl was only the beginning of more trouble. She wanted to be Starlight City’s villainous overlord, not the city’s heroic savior. The girl she can’t get enough of is also the world’s greatest hero, which made for a relationship that takes “it’s complicated” to a whole new level.

Oh, and there’s a new villain in town looking to take a shot at the queen. Night Terror’s old nemesis Dr. Lana makes a hell of a villainous debut using tech she stole from Night Terror to rob Fialux of her powers! Now Night Terror has to deal with a new challenger and a hero who’s still trying to save the world despite her dangerous lack of the flight, strength, and invulnerability that used to keep her in one piece.

Villains aren’t supposed to save heroes, but that’s just what she’ll have to do if she’s going to get the girl, save the day, and defeat her new archnemesis.

It’s all in a day’s work for the world’s greatest villain!

Amazon

Tag Team (The Supervillain’s Kids Book 2)

by Lucas Flint

Tag Team Cover

After defeating their supervillain father, Bait and Switch are now seen as heroes rather than potential supervillains. Their classmates finally accept them and even most of their teachers have gotten over their distrust of the two. Life seems to be getting better and better.

But things take a turn for the worse when a superhuman terrorist organization targets the Academy. Their target: A mysterious new student whose power they want to use to throw the superhero community into utter chaos.

Now Bait and Switch must defend this student from the terrorists, but that’s easier said than done, because the leader of the terrorists has infiltrated the Academy with the intent to destroy it–and Bait and Switch–from within.

Amazon

Continue reading New Superhero Fiction Releases (January 2018)