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Archive for August, 2014

John Langan, that illustrious author of quiet horror, was so good as to nominate me to be part of a Writing Process Blog Tour. I goofed and did not get to it in within a week, and as it’s sort of a chain letter, I guess I’ll be cursed or something. But, hey, first-hand curse experience isn’t such a bad thing in my field, I guess?

1) What are you working on?

Currently I’m working on a short novel. It’s been sold but not announced, so I don’t feel comfortable revealing the title yet. I will say it’s a period piece, and one with a limited speculative element. I hop it will please anyone who enjoyed the title novellas in A Pretty Mouth and Rumbullion.

2) How is your work different from others’ work in the same genre?

I tend to be a lot goofier, I guess. And I often write in historical settings. Horror/Weird/Lovecraftiana these days is very often Very Serious, or quiet and meditative, and largely modern. (I’m not dismissing any of the above; I love quite a bit of that stuff, most recently this story by Simon Strantzas, but you asked how I was different!) My most popular works, by contrast, tend to be ridiculous, and set in the past. For example, the first chapter of A Pretty Mouth (the novella), which is set just barely before the Restoration, involves a pudgy loser writing a poem honoring a schoolmate, not realizing it’s full of homoerotic entendre, getting shamed for it in front of his class, tripping, farting loudly, and then getting kicked in the ass by his professor. Not really deep, serious stuff. “The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins” got a lot of attention because it has twincest and… okay, probably because of the twincest. And “Herbert West in Love,” another story that has been reprinted and will be reprinted again (announcement when I can!) is just ridiculous.

3) Why do you write what you do?

I write stories I’d like to read.

4) How does your writing process work?

With short fiction, sometimes a title comes first; sometimes an anthology has a theme that calls to me. Most often these days, someone asks me to write something for a project, and I try to produce something that I think will be different from everything else they’ll get, and that (again) I’d like to read if I picked up that anthology. I write so slowly it’s been a long time since I’ve just written a story “because.” I’m not bragging; I hope once I clear my plate of my current obligations I can write some short fiction just for fun, but I came up with an exciting new idea for a novel a few weeks back so I’ll probably go down that hole once I’m a bit more free.

I don’t know if I have a writing process, when it comes to getting words on paper. I sometimes just blart out things and then go over them, revising and reworking until the story I want takes shape. Sometimes, especially with longer projects, I’ll use Scrivener to organize myself. I wrote the first draft of Vermilion, my forthcoming novel, in Scrivener. But I wrote A Pretty Mouth in Word, so, who knows?

As most of what I write is historical, I tend to make a trip to the library to research before I put down a single word. Like with what I’m working on, I grabbed such books as Developments in the History of Sexualities, Disorderly Women in 18th Century London, and How to Create the Perfect Wife. (So that’s a clue as to what I’m working on!)

Then I just spit on my hands, pray to Dionysios, and hope for the best. Sometimes it works; sometimes not. I junk a lot of biz.

Okay! Thanks again to John Langan, whose trust I squandered. I think I’ll tag… Simon Strantzas, as I mentioned him above, and Ross Lockhart, who is a writer as well as an editor. Huzzah!


Anyways, updating to say that (yay) I’ll be a guest—a real, actual guest—of AnomalyCon in Denver next spring. Heyyyy, aren’t I publishing a sorta-kinda steampunk-ish novel around that time? Fancy! Maybe I’ll have an ARC or something to give away?

Come see me! And Selena Chambers, who will also be there!


I’m really excited to announce that Vermilion, my first novel, has been acquired by Ross word hordeLockhart of Word Horde. It’s scheduled to come out sometime in Spring, 2015. Hey, that’s next year!

Vermilion (which for those of you who read this blog/know me, yes, it used to have a different title) is the story of Elouise, more commonly known as Lou Merriwether, a gunslinging, chain smoking, cross-dressing Taoist psychopomp who keeps San Francisco safe from ghosts, shades, and geung si. It’s an important job, but most folks consider it damn spooky. Some have accused Lou of being more comfortable with the dead than the living, and, well… they’re not wrong. Not entirely, at any rate. Then again, it’s not like Lou gets less guff from those what haven’t yet been buried. But when Lou finds out that a bunch of Chinatown boys have gone missing somewhere deep in the Colorado Rockies she decides to saddle up and head into the wilderness to investigate… even though she fears her particular talents make her better suited to help placate their sprits than ensure they get home alive.

Many, many thanks Ross Lockhart for taking an interest in the project, and to my agent, Cameron McClure, for representing it. I couldn’t be happier—Ross and I have worked together since he shocked and surprised me in the best way possible by picking up “The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins” for Book of Cthulhu. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, and it just keeps getting better.