Who are the Brazen Hussies?



We're three award-winning writers of fantasy and science fiction. In an effort to acquaint more readers with our work, we're overcoming our natural tendency to be modest and have decided to promote our work shamelessly like the brazen hussies we truly want to be.

"We want more people to read our work," says Pat Murphy, author of The Falling Woman, Nadya, and There and Back Again, and winner of Nebula Awards for both novel and novelette. "We created the Brazen Hussies so that we could have fun hanging out together — and at the same time let people know about the great stuff we're writing."

"We're calling ourselves Brazen Hussies, in part to give ourselves the nerve to go through with all this," says Lisa Goldstein, author of Dark Cities Underground and Traveling the Labyrinth, whose first novel, The Red Magician, won the prestigious American Book Award. Lisa admits she's still working on being brazen.

"We tried being well-behaved, shy, and retiring and letting our work speak for itself," says Michaela Roessner, whose first novel, Walkabout Woman, won the Crawford Award and the John W. Campbell Award. "But that just didn't cut it. It was time to take action." Michaela's current books, The Stars Dispose and The Stars Compel, are the first two volumes of her STARS Trilogy.

We have a mission!

In addition to promoting our own work, the Brazen Hussies have an educational mission. We've all heard the same story when we tell people we write science fiction. "I used to read science fiction and fantasy — back when I was a kid," people say.

Hey! Why does growing up mean that you have to lose your imagination? We want to let people know that today's science fiction and fantasy isn't just for kids. We want to get out the word that sophisticated, subtle, fascinating, compelling, and topical literature for adults is being published as science fiction. (That literature includes our own novels, of course!)

Speculative fiction (also know as SF, science fiction, fantasy, and sci-fi) is more than just elves and dwarves, robots and space ships — much more. If you read science fiction and fantasy when you were a kid, come back and revisit the amazing worlds you used to love. If you've never read science fiction, give it a try.

And here's some more about us....

For those unfamiliar with today's SF, we thought we'd provide a few examples of some contemporary work that may fall outside your definition of science fiction. Since we know our own work better than we know anyone else's (and since we really are working on brazen self-promotion), what better source of examples than our own novels.

About Lisa Goldstein's work

"Fantasy is a form of story-telling where literally anything is possible," says Lisa Goldstein. "So why is so much fantasy about crumbly castles and six-hundred-year-old political systems? Not that I don't like some of these novels; I just think there are other places the imagination can take you."

For example? Well, Lisa's newest novel, Dark Cities Underground, is a secret history of the world that ranges from ancient Egypt to Victorian London to present day Oakland, and shows the hidden connections that exist among subway systems, classic children's books, Egyptian mythology and Victorian grave-robbers. Along the way it answers such questions as "Who killed King Tutankhamun?" and "Why does the Bay Area Rapid Transit system end in Colma, a city almost entirely made up of cemeteries?"

Diana Wynne Jones said of Dark Cities Underground, "Lisa Goldstein is the perfect, born storyteller. Her story pulls you in and wraps you round and it is hard to think of anything else until it is over." The San Francisco Chronicle recommended Dark Cities Underground as one of the year's best and said, "The connections she finds between children's literature and the history of underground mass transit are especially elegant and wonderful. Dark Cities Underground gives new, chilling meaning to the BART operator's announcement 'Your final destination is Colma.'"

About Pat Murphy's work

Some science fiction readers have told Pat Murphy that they use her second novel, The Falling Woman, to introduce friends to SF. The main character of this contemporary psychological fantasy, archaeologist Elizabeth Butler, has a special gift — she can see ghosts of the past. At an archaeological dig on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, her interactions with an ancient Mayan priestess draw her close to madness and tragedy. (By the way, if this doesn't sound like science fiction to you, you'll have to argue with the Science Fiction Writers of America, who awarded The Falling Woman the Nebula Award for best science fiction novel.)

Pat's other work has proven equally difficult to categorize. Her fourth novel is Nadya — The Wolf Chronicles, which Pat calls "an historic, feminist, werewolf novel. Publisher's Weekly called it a "deeply absorbing dark fantasy," then noted that the novel would appeal to a variety of readers. "With its strong heroines and passionate storyline, filled with romance, adventure, and dangers both physical and moral, this novel will appeal to a wide array of readers, not just those who shiver with delight when the moon is full...."

About Michaela Roessner's work

Like the other two members of the Brazen Hussies trinity, Michaela Roessner is a multiple-switch hitter, whose works range from science fiction to fantasy to magic realism to slipstream. Her most recent books, The Stars Dispose and The Stars Compel (the first two volumes of "The Stars" trilogy) lie well within the tradition of historical fantasy. But historical fantasy with a twist, for she posits a world (our own world!) where food and cooking comprise one of the most powerful systems of magic. The story revolves around the life of young Caterina de' Medici, and is told mainly from the point of view of two families of cooks: The Befaninis, who have served the Medici dynasty for generations, and the Aristas, master carvers and chefs to the astrologers/physicians family of the Ruggieros, and especially through the eyes of Tommaso Arista, who is the offspring of a union between the two culinary clans.

Publishers Weekly gave both books starred reviews, stating, "Rarely has Renaissance Florence seemed more vibrant that in this delectable historical fantasy... Studded with nuggets of period lore and arcane magic, the book is a lode of rich historical detail... Roessner has done an exquisite job of preparing a feast for the literary palate," and "Most satisfying of all of this hearty novel's mingled flavors is the sprezzatura, or easy grace of the loving master, with which Roessner concocts her luscious Italian settings, replete with recipes that even on the page breathe the seductive scents of Tuscany: Bellissima."

Watch out!

The Brazen Hussies may be coming soon to a bookstore near you. You can hear us on radio-show interviews, read about us in reviews and articles, talk with us in on-line chats, and meet us in the flesh at bookstore readings and signings.


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Update: Tuesday February 01 2005