Superheroes, Dinosaurs, and Subverting Social Scripts: an interview with Brenna Raney

April 2023

In this month’s newsletter, scroll down to find:

  • Upcoming Event: School Journal
  • Author Spotlight with Brenna Raney
  • Travel Log: Butterbeer and Spring Flowers
  • Review Corner

Upcoming Event: SLJ Day of Dialog

This year I’ve been asked to speak at the SLJ DAY of DIALOG on the Compelling Series in YA panel. I’m so excited to chat all things Frean! It is a free virtual event that you just need to register for, so if you’re interested, click the image above (or here) and register!
10:00 to 10:40 EST
See you there!

Author Spotlight with Brenna Raney

Holy Velociraptors, Batman!
We’re talking all things absurd with Brenna Raney, author of her debut novel: The Meister of Decimen City. So pull on your super suit and verse yourself in the do’s and don’ts of Dino wrangling as we strap in to discuss writing superheroes, villains, and how their heavily scripted genre leaves room to subvert some scripted norms.

The Meister of Decimen City

No one cares that you cured cancer if you also cloned a horde of dinosaurs and let them rampage down the street.

Supergenius and quasi-villain Rex normally can’t go a week without accidentally endangering Decimen City with her science shenanigans. It’s been two weeks since her genetically engineered dinosaurs rampaged through town—a good streak for her—but the peace is broken when actual villain Last Dance sets his sights on Decimen. And he wants Rex’s help. Before Rex can say “I didn’t do it,” superheroes who’ve dragged her to jail on her worst days are crowding her lab to conscript her into quasi-herodom.

Rex would rather stay out of it and deal with the dinosaurs that keep calling her Mom, but she can’t ignore that she was somewhat responsible for Last Dance’s villainy. She’d kept a very disorganized lab. And he was such a nosy brother. She failed to help him back then, but maybe if she stops him now—and keeps the heroes fooled—she can finally set things right.

Instagram: @brennaraney

Travel Log: Butterbeer and Spring Flowers

Short story long,

I have taken a sabbatical from my day job as a Speech Language Pathologist to live in the UK and finish the Frean Chronicles Trilogy!

  1. Contest of Queens: completed!
  2. Queen’s Catacombs: comes out March 14th 2023! (order here)
  3. Mysteriously Titled Finale: in progress!

If you’re interested in following along on my travel journey, I recommend following me on Instagram: @jordanhbartlett

Let the Butterbeer Flow

As many of you have likely deduced, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. What is so beautiful about the world Rowling created is that it has taken root in our world in so many incredible ways. Working at the Harry Potter shop in Edinburgh meant that I shared “first wand” moments with children and adults (and believe me when I say I couldn’t tell you which age group were more excited). Scattered around the UK are a number of magical shops that draw heavily from Rowling’s world and add their own little sparkle and I was lucky enough to visit one such shop recently. The Lonely Broomstick. This shop is such a love letter to magic, whimsy, and the butterflies you feel while awaiting your Hogwarts letter. Also, as I have sampled my fair share of butterbeer this past year, their brew currently ranks number 1.

Although I will say, the best presentation has to be from the Department of Magic Potions Room in Edinburgh.


Flowers in my hair makes me wish that you were near…

They say April showers bring May flowers, but it’s been raining all March so I suppose the flowers have jumped ahead of schedule. In Contest and Catacombs Lena is in love with her family’s florist, Anya. One of my favourite things about these characters is they both have a connection to flowers and so I get to go wild with my flower imagery and descriptions. There’s something so indescribably pure and sweet about a love expressed through flowers. Hopefully that shines through in my novels.

Review Corner

Reviews are so helpful in getting word of Contest of Queens and Queen’s Catacombs out there. If you have time, and if you’ve read the book, I would be eternally grateful if you could leave a star rating and/or a written review on Goodreads or Amazon.

Thank you to all the wonderful people who have left a star rating or review! Here are some lovely reviews from this past month:

x live magically