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Archive for September, 2012

Whee! It’s been a great first week for A Pretty Mouth. I’ve heard from a few people that they received their copies, which is awesome. I’ve also seen folks online commenting that they’ve been enjoying the book, which makes me very happy indeed!

It’s gotten some reviews, too! Right now there are four reviews on Amazon, all of which are 5-star (brag brag brag, amiright?). One of those, from Jamie Grefe, is on his blog, too, and it’s as super-cool, stylish a writeup as I have ever seen. Thanks, Jamie!

My friend Jesse interviewed me about A Pretty Mouth, asking some hard-hitting questions like who my dream-date Calipash would be. I answered a double-date with Basil and Rosemary, the original twins, for reasons you can read at the link above. Many thanks, Jesse!

Also, last Sunday I participated in a round-table discussion, hosted by Mike Davis of the Lovecraft eZine. We (meaning Joe Pulver, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Nicole Cushing, W.H. Pugmire, Scott Thomas, and Peter Rawlik) talked about “The Art of Writing,” on google hangouts, which apparently you can record and then put on youtube. I know, right? So, you can watch our discussion here. Sometime later in the discussion we all get weirdly enthusiastic about the potential of Lovecraftian pornography, so if you’re into such things, well, it would behoove you to pour some Dewars (that’s what I was drinking during the discussion, so it’ll be like you’re right there with us) sit back, and watch the magic happen. I mention this in association with news of my book because Mike kindly gave me a chance to talk about A Pretty Mouth, so I awkwardly babbled about it for a few minutes. Thanks, Mike!

So that’s what’s up with A Pretty Mouth. If, after reading the interview and seeing all those stellar reviews, you could buy it from if you were so inclined. I would appreciate that very much. And to everyone who’s already picked up a copy, thank you thank you thank you!

Pho! So good. It’s perfect for hot days or cold, being under the weather or on top of the world. It’s noodle soup with flavors of cilantro, lime, chili, pepper, basil, cinnamon, omg yum.

I can’t vouch for this recipe’s authenticity; the first pho I had was vegetarian, so that’s my frame of reference! But I like this recipe, and others who’ve tried it seem to, as well. It’s compiled from a few different recipes, the main ones linked here, and here. The big difference with mine is that I’m allergic to mushrooms, so those have been excised. I bet adding some dried shiitakes to the broth while it simmers would be delicious, though!

NB: There are lots of “vegetarian” pho recipes online that call for fish sauce for seasoning. Fish sauce, being that it’s made of fish, is not strictly vegetarian. There is vegetarian fish sauce out there, you can make it at home or find it at specialty markets, but most stuff you’ll get at the store is indeed made of fish. There are vegetarians who eat fish, of course, and I’m not going to tell anyone what to call him- or herself because whatever, so all I’ll say on the matter is if you’re making this for vegans or vegetarians, best to make it completely vegetarian—meaning sans fish—or ask to find out your guests’ preferences. <3

Easy Vegetarian Pho

Serves 3-5 people (for larger groups, make more rice noodles)


2 “beef” bouillon cubes (link to my fave brand)

6-10 smashed garlic cloves

1-3 tbs soy sauce (to taste. I like it salty!)

1 tb brown sugar or palm sugar

2 tb rice wine vinegar

1 tsp black peppercorns

2 cinnamon sticks

handful of basil stems (leaves reserved for garnishing soup)

handful of cilantro stems (leaves reserved for garnishing soup)

1 yellow onion, quartered

5-6 thick coins of ginger, smashed w/skins on

4 whole cloves

1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and sliced down the center

4 dried red chiles japones, seeds removed

1 tbs siracha chili sauce

8 c water

My method is, I swear, dump all this in the crock pot … and let it sit for 4-6 hours at a low simmer.

Then, about an hour before serving, strain the broth of all the gross used-up veggies and spices and stuff, and dump in 2 blocks of cubed or triangled tofu and the white trimmed stalks of a head of bok choi (reserve the greens for later). The bok choi will cook beautifully and the tofu will absorb the delicious flavors of the broth, even without being pressed. Traditionally, fried tofu is served, so you could totally do that—or press and bake the tofus after marinating them in a mixture of siracha, rice wine vinegar, and soy sauce—but it’s so much easier to do it this way and I like it almost as much.

While your tofu is poaching, arrange the following prettily on a plate:

1-2 jalepeno peppers (seed if you want less spice), cut into coins

sliced green onions, whites and green parts

whole cilantro leaves

whole basil leaves

lime wedges

fresh bean sprouts

Also, just before serving cook up a package of rice noodles according to package directions, then drain and rinse in cold water.

When ready to serve, get big bowls and put the bok choi leaves in first, then the rice noodles. Then ladle out the hot broth and tofu and bok choi stems on top, making sure everyone gets lots of broth. Then allow your guests to garnish their soup the way they like best!

Holy moly! A Pretty Mouth dropped early—by like, a month!—so it’s up on Amazon and you could buy it if you wanted to. And you know you want to! Because really, the cover alone is worth the price.

But what about inside said cover? Well, I’m super-proud of the contents, which I can actually take credit for. If you pick up my book you’ll be getting a short novel and four short stories about the Calipash family, first featured in my “The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins” which people seemed to like well enough. The stories are all set in different time periods so it’s like, sort of Blackadderish, but with lots of incest and necromancy and you know what, my friend and colleague John Langan said it way better than me here:

“The stories and short novel in Molly Tanzer’s impressive debut collection move steadily backwards through English history, from an Edwardian resort to a Roman encampment, stopping on the way for the nineteenth, eighteenth, and seventeenth centuries, all in the interest of tracing the main trunk of the notorious Calipash family tree all the way to its roots. It’s a family linemarked by its excesses of sensuality, cruelty, and sorcery, and in excerpting the exploits of its storied members, Tanzer demonstrates her facility with a variety of voices and styles, from Wodehousian farce to Victorian erotica to Restoration class comedy. Each of the narratives collected here stands and succeeds on its own terms, but taken together, they add to a whole greater than the sum of its parts, in which the recurrence of key motifs in a diversity of settings creates the sense of a family living out its doom generation after generation. Tanzer is an ambitious writer, and she is talented enough for her ambition to matter.” —JOHN LANGAN, author of The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies

See that? An actual college professor claims my book has “key motifs!” Fuck yeah, that’s pretty much everything I ever wanted right there. But in case that’s not enough to convince you that your $11.95 will be well spent on my book, you can scroll down on the Amazon page and see that such people as Caitlin R. Kiernan, Laird Barron, Stephen Graham Jones (who also has a book out today through LFP, so get ’em both and maybe you’ll get super-saver  shipping?), John Hornor Jacobs, W.H. Pugmire, and Nick Mamatas all thought it was pretty okay, too.

Anyways! Many thanks to Amazon for saving me the trouble of doing a bunch of pre-promotion, because I suck at it. Just go buy it! Please? Thank you!

Whee! Last week I remarked that I, at long last, had completed a piece of fiction. Well, huzzah, for I have now sold that piece of fiction! I’m super-happy to announce that my short story, “Ho Pais Kalos” will be appearing in Geek Love: An Anthology of Full Frontal Nerdery, edited by Shanna Germain and Janine Ashbless. I’m really honored to be a part of this project, along with Wendy Wagner, Camille Alexa, James Sutter, John Nakamura Remy, and other fine folks. Many thanks to the editors, staff, and everyone else associated with this project.

The other exciting thing I saw late last week was my final-final cover for A Pretty Mouth! I can’t believe it, but the book went to the printer last Friday. The final cover, which you can see below, has some new fonts going on (which I adore), and also added sparkly stuff in the form of blurbs from Laird Barron and Caitlín R. Kiernan. I’m starting to get butterflies over the imminent release, in a good way. I think. But it’s too late to change anything now, so that means the time for worrying about whatever is past!


I love it! And many thanks to Laird, Caitlín, and everyone else who blurbed/edited/helped/read/everything-elsed with this project. Also, just a reminder, but I will send a .pdf to those interested in reviewing the book on their blog, on a review site, or on Amazon (when the page goes up).

Speaking of Calipashian goodness, one of the stories in A Pretty Mouth is now available for purchase! The Book of Cthulhu II is now shipping from Amazon and has also been spotted in bookstores. So, if you’re desperate to read “The Hour of the Tortoise,” get it now! You’ll also be getting stories by Neil Gaiman, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Livia Llewellyn, W.H. Pugmire, Laird Barron, Orrin Grey , and many more.

Finally, Coming Together: Arm in Arm in Arm is out! The kindle price is only $3.99, and that goes to Oceanea, a charity devoted to helping the oceans. Go buy it! I have porn in there, it’s Lovecraftian, it’s weird, I dunno. I also have a .pdf, so if you’d like to review the book, please email me and I will send it to you if you’re one of the first five people to email me.

My mom’s in town, and we’re about to get some lunch, so that’s all for now!

Things have been both slow and hectic in my life of late. I’ve finally—finally—completed a piece of fiction, a short story around 5k words. It’s the first I’ve managed to write since Dad passed away. Not sure if my lack of writerly vim and vigor is related to his passing or to some anxieties regarding such heady, nebulous things as My Future that I’ve been feeling of late, but hopefully the worst of the drought has passed.

In more exciting news, last week I turned in my final proofreading pass on A Pretty Mouth, and I came away feeling very confident and enthusiastic about the project’s imminent publication. I still love the title novel as much as ever—maybe even more than when I wrote it, now that I have some distance from typing The End. Not sure about the hard date it will be available, but it will be mid-Octoberish, and I’ll definitely have copies to give away at MileHiCon. I’ll also be doing a few readings in Boulder and Denver, which I’m excited about. I really enjoy readings.

As I’ve been battling writer’s block (barf!) and proofreading A Pretty Mouth, other people have been doing cool, less navel-gazey stuff. Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles of Innsmouth Free Press are trying to fund a new anthology, Sword and Mythos which … well, the title should tell you everything about the theme you need to know. I think this is an amazing idea, selfishly (I write S&S and Lovecraftiana, and would love to see a market open up for that combination), and also more in a general sense of What The Community Needs.

Why? Well, because Silvia and Paula are two editors who really care about not just including, but featuring alternative takes on established genres in their anthologies. That means it’s awesome they’re attempting this project, because if you like S&S, but desire fresh, new entries into that genre, it can be challenging to get your fix. Not impossible, by any means, but definitely challenging. And when you throw in the monkey wrench of S&S plus Mythos fiction … yeah.

I think that’s why Silvia, in particular, seems incredibly passionate about, in particular, the S&S aspect of this project. Over at her blog, as a way of drumming up excitement for Sword and Mythos, she’s been writing essays about why fresh new takes on S&S/mythos fiction are important. So far she’s talked about people of color in S&S (and did a separate piece on racism in the genre), the prevalence of beef/cheesecake in S&S, princesses and regular ladies in S&S, and a few more.

So yeah! Read Silvia’s stuff; consider throwing them some cash if you can spare it. I know those dollars will be well-spent. Plus, you can get cool rewards for donating, like free e-books/paperbacks, a hardcover copy of Fungi, the forthcoming all-fungus release from Innsmouth, a coffee mug, and lots of other treats.