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wonderland book award! and a request...

Aug. 8th, 2013 | 09:48 am

Tuesday, I was very pleased to hear that A Pretty Mouth has made it on to the final ballot for the Wonderland Book Award! I'm up against some stiff competition, including my own publisher Cameron Pierce's collection, and another put out by my cover designer, Matthew Revert. Whew! It's great: I'll be happy pretty much no matter who wins!

I know it's the standard line, but with this Wonderland Book Award nod and with the earlier news of my British Fantasy Award nomination, it really is an honor just to be on the list. Really, I can't express how thrilled I am that A Pretty Mouth has received so much positive attention. Thank you to everyone who voted for me for both awards; your enthusiasm is appreciated!

That said, A Pretty Mouth could use some fresh reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. If you've read it, I'd love if you could take the time to say something about it, whether you enjoyed it, were meh on it, or even hated it. (I'm a writer---I thrive on any kind of attention.) I'd especially like to have a few more review over on Amazon.co.uk. Thanks so much!

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books and booze

Jul. 22nd, 2013 | 11:46 am

It's a more thematic title than you might imagine! Oooh, intriguing, right? Maybe.

Two things! First, last week I was on the Books and Booze podcast. It was a lot of fun! Renee, Dakota, and Jessica are awesome people who do this podcast thing weekly, where they interview emerging authors, musical artists, and talk about cocktails. You can listen at the link above, if you wish! We talk about all sorts of things---there are links in the show-notes---and I reveal the title of my forthcoming collection for Egaeus Press.

But, lest you have better things to do with your time than listen to me babble for over an hour about drinking, Victorian pornography, and Hong Kong cinema---you know, the usual for me---I'm announcing the title here on my blog! It'll be called Rumbullion and Other Liminal Libations. I posted the likely ToC in an earlier post, so you can scroll back a little if you didn't catch that, but it'll be my best stories, plus a new Lovecraftian cosmic horror piece, plus plus a novella that's been retitled "Rumbullion" because my publisher and I, being the kind of people we are, discovered that "rum deal" was bootlegger slang, rather than something more period appropriate. Anyways, "Rumbullion" is an archaic name for rum, and also meant a brawl or altercation even before that. So... yeah. It's basically "Rashomon" meets "The Queen of Spades," whatever that means.

As the collection will not only contain stories, but thematic cocktail recipes, you can see how the theme of the week is... never mind. You figured it out already, I'm sure!

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some updates of awesome

Jul. 10th, 2013 | 11:39 am

It's hot. Really hot. A week ago today, I got back from a two-week stay in Florida, and I don't think it was this hot down South. More humid, sure, and therefore grosser ... but ugh, it's hot.

I've been feeling a little drained, perhaps due to the heat, and likely in part due to some sort of mystery-problem with my right hand that has me wearing a brace for a few weeks. And yet, I have a lot of things to be excited about/working on, so I type, with this brace, an update to this blog:

I have a new story coming out! The fine people at Pornokitsch/Jurassic London are putting out a mummies anthology, called The Book of the Dead. It sounds awesome!

The Book of the Dead will be published in collaboration with the Egypt Exploration Society, the UK’s oldest independent funder of archaeological fieldwork and research in Egypt, dedicated to the promotion and understanding of ancient Egyptian history and culture.

Full ToC here. My story is called "Mysterium Tremendum" and is sort-of about Tesla, maybe, and definitely about why you shouldn't trust cute boys.

Next, my forthcoming Egaeus Press collection doesn't have a title yet, but I'm hard at work on the all-new novella. Here's the unofficial ToC for that, in no particular order:

Herbert West in Love
Go, Go, Go, Said the Byakhee
In Sheep's Clothing
Damnatio Memoriae
Tubby McMungus, Fat From Fungus
The Middle Passage (some all-new cosmic horror!)
How John Wilmot Contracted Syphilis
The Poison-Well
Rhum Deal (the aforementioned new novella!)

Very exciting! I wanted this collection to be a best-of-my-best, and so far I'm more than happy with how it's shaping up. The new novella is causing me to tear my hair out at the moment, but that's okay. I think it'll all work out. Any troubles I'm having I lay at the feet of Nick Mamatas, who I heard one too many times mocking stories where "people do too much with their eyes, like raising their eyebrow while looking at someone over a glass of wine." So here I am, writing about an 18th century dinner party full of fops, avoiding that. But how does one write about white-people angst without eyebrow-raising? I guess you'll have to read it to find out.

Also, I don't think I mentioned it here, but I was nominated for the British Fantasy Award, in the Best Newcomer Category (the Sydney J. Bounds Award), for A Pretty Mouth. Holy shit! The fact that I spaced on blogging has everything to do with the nomination coming two days before my Florida trip, because I am so stoked to be nominated for this. I decided to make good on that membership I bought to WFC in Brighton and go, because damn. So, see you in October, Brighton!

Oh, and speaking of A Pretty Mouth, there might be a hardcover edition at some point. Woah!

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films of high adventure! really!

May. 29th, 2013 | 01:12 pm

Yep, we (Jesse/mr_earbrass) did one on Masters of the Universe. Cross posting is annoying when I try with posts with lots of links and whatever, so read it here.

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project increase ankle/calf flexibility

May. 15th, 2013 | 04:23 pm

I have super-tight Achilles tendons and calf muscles. Basically this means my knees won't move past my toes if I try to drop into a squat without assistance. (On a Smith machine or with TRX bands I can get into a deep squat, but only if I distribute my weight in an unusual fashion.) In the past, this has never been a big problem for me, because I can run, hike, lift weights, whatever, I just tend to be up on my toes a lot when active. Even in yoga it's never mattered so very much---in down-dog, my heels are off the ground, but so what. It's not pretty, but I've never been graceful so no surprises there.

Unfortunately for me, my current athletic endeavors focus on the ankle and calf quite a bit. Squatting is important, as is keeping my heels planted on the ground at all times. I figured over time my ankles and calves would loosen naturally through practice, but this hasn't proven to be the case. Thus: Project Increase Ankle/Calf Flexibility. I know this isn't the most fascinating blog topic, but it's taken me a while to assemble a good routine to treat this issue, and only from consulting several sources including physical and massage therapists. So yeah, I figured I'd consolidate what I've learned here in case anyone (like me) googles ankle/calf flexibility and finds the same old stuff (stuff that hasn't been particularly effective for me).

This is now what my daily routine looks like:

In the morning before getting up for the first time, I sit on the edge of the bed and do 20 ankle circles in both directions, then 20 repetitions of pointing my toes and then flexing my feet. Then I trace the alphabet with my toes. This warms up my ankles nicely.

Later in the day, after I've walked around/warmed up a bit, I do two calf stretches: this one, and then this bent-knee calf stretch. I hold both for at least a minute. Then I do a few sun salutations, focusing on downward dog. I "walk the dog" and do one-legged down-dog, focusing on stretching my weight-bearing heel downward toward the mat. Then I squeeze one ankle between the big and second toes of the other foot, and try to physically use my non-weight-bearing foot to drag down my weight-bearing ankle. I think that makes sense, how I've typed it.

Next I face a wall, placing my toes a few inches from the baseboard. I try to then touch my knee to the wall, slowly pulsing back and forth. I do this 10 times per leg, holding the last one (wherever I'm at that particular day) for a minute.

Because sometimes tightness in the calf can lead to shin pain, I then walk around on my heels with my toes as up in the air as I can manage to balance all the calf stretching. Then I round out the routine with some super-skaters, to strengthen the muscles around the ankle and calf, and work on my balance. (The demo starts at 0:50, there's an annoying long intro.)

At night, I repeat the circles, flexing/pointing, and alphabet routine. Then I ice my ankles.

That's it. It doesn't take too long, and my ankles definitely feel stretched at the end of the day, but not overly so. I feel like I've made some slight gains already, and hope to make more steady progress. I've also followed up on the recommendation of sleeping in a night splint (yesterday I finally ordered one). It's super-sexy bedwear, as you can see. The purpose of this is to keep my foot in a neutral position for the time I'm sleeping. (My ankles/calves are so tight that when sleeping my toes point forward like a ballerina's.) Given the price I just got one, and am going to alternate feet every night. Typically these are used to treat plantar fasciitis but now a physical and massage therapist have independently told me they'll help my ankles, so here's hoping.

Anyways, if you've had this problem, and feel like sharing stuff that's worked for you, that would be awesome! I'm amenable to adding in more stuff.

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fun times at the h.p. lovecraft film festival

May. 7th, 2013 | 05:05 pm

I cannot for the life of me get LJ picture formatting to work, so if you only follow me on LJ you can read my full run-down here, if you so desire! Tl;dr version: I had a great time!

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pickles (and yes, i know about that portlandia sketch) and the HPL film fest

Apr. 29th, 2013 | 11:39 am

Refrigerator pickling! I'm super-into it these days. I've been eating a lot more veggies this way, as they're already prepped and ready in my fridge. I've been a little busier than normal, which means I get tempted to give up nutrition for convenience. But my mom's been on a healthy eating kick and I've been inspired to make sure I don't fall into unhealthy habits just because I'm strapped for time.

photoHere's what I made yesterday. From left to right, there's do chua (pickled carrots and daikons, like you'd get on a banh mi), dubujangajji (pickled tofu and onions), and mediterranean pickled beets and turnips. It all took about two hours, including cleanup. And now I have plenty of fresh veggies for the week, plus a weeknight meal (the dubujangajji can be thrown over noodles with some of the kimchi I have fermenting in my fridge. But kimchi is its own post!).

Not that this is news to those who are always super-domestic/into heritage kinds of activities, but I have discovered that it is kind of awesome spending just a few bucks on whatever's cheap at the grocery store and ensuring it doesn't rot in my fridge if I get lazy some night during the week. Vinegar, salt, and sugar are all cheap, and Ball jars are a one-time purchase (the two shown cost me not four bucks). So anyways, I figured I'd share because these pickles have all turned out awesome. Frankly, I'm not all that into cucumber/dill pickles, but a pickled daikon, or green bean, or cauliflower, that's good stuff right there. Plus yeah, if cauliflower is cheap, but I don't feel like cauliflower that week, I can preserve it so that it's around even after the price has gone up. Pretty tight! Who knew? Except everyone who already does this, I guess.

I need to do a kimchi post because I found THE RECIPE, but that's fermenting, so maybe next week.

This weekend, I should mention, I'll be at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, in Portland. Here's the schedule! The only thing I'm doing, I think, is a reading on Sunday ("Reading 4") and otherwise I'll be trotting around to the various films (stoked about Night Breed and Beyond Re-Animator), hanging out, and going around eating myself sick. Should be a good time, and plenty of cool people are attending/participating! If you're in the area, you should come.

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boycott eden foods!

Apr. 18th, 2013 | 10:48 am

Eden Foods makes that soymilk you see everywhere, the one with the pastoral landscape on it:

(Credit: Photo treatment by Salon) (Credit: Photo treatment by Salon)

They also make a ton of other natural foods products, like beans and oil and vinegar and flour and cereal and all kinds of shit. Anyways, they are suing the Obama administration because they don't want to cover birth control for their employees.

Fuck them. Fuck that shit!

Here's the Salon.com article where I initially found out about Eden Foods' conservative agenda. It's awful:

Eden Foods ... says in its filing that the company believes of birth control that “these procedures almost always involve immoral and unnatural practices.” The complaint also says that “Plaintiffs believe that Plan B and ‘ella’ can cause the death of the embryo, which is a person.” (Studies show that neither Plan B nor Ella interfere with fertilization, which is the Catholic definition of the beginning of life, if not the medical one. In other words, not the death of an embryo. Also, at that stage, it’s a zygote, not an embryo — let alone a “person.”) The filing also said that “Plaintiff Eden Foods’ products, methods, and accomplishments are described by critics as: tasteful, nutritious, wholesome, principled, unrivaled, nurturing, pure.”

As if the above wasn't awful enough, Eden Foods' CEO is just so goddamn enthusiastic about their taking a wholesome, principled, nurturing stand against women's health that he called Salon to respond to their article! And comes off as a fundamentalist asshole!

I floated by him the fact that contraceptive coverage is cheaper to pay for than, say, maternity coverage.

Potter replied, “One’s got a little more warmth and fuzziness to it than the other, for crying out loud.”

For crying out loud!

...he opposes “using abortion as birth control, definitely.” But the mandate doesn’t cover abortion, I reminded him, only contraception, and emergency contraception is not abortion.

“It’s a morass,” Potter said. “I’m not an expert in anything. I’m not the pope. I’m in the food business. I’m qualified to have opinions about that and not issues that are purely women’s issues. I am qualified to have an opinion about what health insurance I pay for.”

Morass indeed. Read the whole thing here.

So, yeah, fuck them! Don't buy their shit, and even more importantly, write them a letter or go say something on their FB page or something.

Obviously lots of natural foods companies are owned by parent corporations that suck, or are shitty in some way, but when they sue to make this country even more goddamn backwards, and then come right out and enthuse about their fundamentalist, religious, conservative ideologies, well. As I said: Fuck them.

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....the guardian liked my book, what

Apr. 3rd, 2013 | 03:51 pm

As I snoozed in bed this morning I heard my phone beeping at me, but I ignored it because I've had an internet phone for four months now so I have learned to disregard any kind of sound it makes before 8 AM. Eventually, however, the ruckus became so serious that I got up to see what the heck everybody was push-notifying me of. It was important! Go figure. Thus, Lessons were Learned about always keeping my internet phone right by my bed forever and ever and ever because (inhale!):

The Guardian! (I know, what?) One of their columnists, a gentleman by the name of Mr. Damian Walter, held a contest of sorts, the point of which was to find out if indie authors/publishers had, amongst their numbers, "[a] book to rival the magnitude and sheer storytelling bravado of George RR Martin's A Game of Thrones."

Cool! Well, what happened?!

 "The brutal truth is that nothing I saw came close."

Honestly ... no surprises there. I have recently gotten in to A Song of Ice and Fire, and it's the best thing ever. Who knew, except for everybody except me? Since 1996? Anyways, the good news is that Mr. Walters went through 800 or so indie books and thought mine (mine!) was pretty good! Maybe more than pretty good, if I'm honest:

"My favourite novel among these five, however, is A Pretty Mouth by Molly Tanzer. Imagine a history of 19th-century literature where the eldritch weirdness of Poe and Lovecraft had infected the mainstream drawing-room novels of the era ... Molly Tanzer is a tremendously clever writer, with a remarkable knack for fusing the grotesque and the comedic. A Pretty Mouth manages the thing that becomes ever harder as the novel grows older. It does something new."

Uh? Yay! What? OMG!

So, thank you to Damien and congrats to everyone else on the list, you can read the whole thing at the link above. And seriously? I am still kind of in awe. (My face! In The Guardian! And for a great reason!) I'd gibber some more about how awesome this all is, but I gotta go do stuff to my most recent batch of kimchi. Writerly life is glamorous, what can I say?

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three things about a pretty mouth make a post that may or may not interest you

Feb. 14th, 2013 | 09:16 am

I've been slack on blogging, so I have a few A Pretty Mouth-related things to note here!

First: Tomorrow (2/15) begins a two-week Goodreads discussion about A Pretty Mouth, hosted by The Next Best Book Blog, those kind folks who liked my book and for whom I concocted the Infernal! cocktail. They hosted a giveaway about a month ago, and the participants have (allegedly) been reading my book and coming up with questions for me about the text. You, dear reader, may also participate by signing up for the group and asking your own questions. I can only imagine.

Second: Just look at this crazy thing, courtesy Sam McCanna at Scurvy Ink:


Yes, that is a t-shirt of my book cover! Holy moly. I haven't seen one in the flesh (cotton jersey?) yet but I'm sure they are going to be awesome. Go buy one and simultaneously support an independent shirt-maker and also rep my book!

Third, and finally: The Arkham Digest, a fine site indeed for those into horror, weird, and interesting media, was kind enough to review A Pretty Mouth, glowingly, and then interview me! The questions were very fun to answer. So, go check it out, and check out the whole site, too. Justin reviews super-interesting books and video games and movies and all that stuff, so it's worthwhile to put it into your RSS feed.

All right all right. Enough! I must flee. Happy Year of the Snake to you all/Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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