novels


proof!Last week this was announced:

Regular readers of this blog (and those who checked out my fancy Locus interview) will recognize the novel as the formerly titled The Ginger Eaters. Which, cool title, but not as cool as Creatures of Will and Temper, which is gorgeous and resonates much better. The second book of the (ahem) two-book deal is as yet untitled, but it will be a related project. Sort of a sequel, sort of not. Anyway, I couldn’t be happier to be with JJA Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, joining my friend Carrie Vaughn, author of the Golden Age series and the Kitty the Werewolf books, and Hugh Howey of Wool fame.

In other news (somehow there is other news!) I also sold a story to Lightspeed Magazine. “Nine Tenths of the Law” is about Denver International Airport conspiracy theories and the slow death of a marriage. Both my editors described it as “fun,” which concerned me. Well, there is plenty of weird sex along with those aforementioned conspiracy theories!

Speaking of weird sex, Congress launched, and it looks gorgeous. Please check out our four fantastic stories, and our sponsor, Twisted Monk, purveyors of artisanal bondage rope. Not only is it fancy, they’re donating 5% of all sales to a relief fund for victims of the Pulse Nightclub massacre, which means they’re doing more about that awful tragedy than most of the Senate Republicans in this country.

Well, that brought down the tone, so I should probably get back to it!

VermillionFrontCover_030415 copyThe Locus Poll and Survey is upon us, and Vermilion has made their Recommended Reading List in the First Novel category! This is super exciting, I’ve never made one of their lists before, for anything, so having my first novel in there is really wonderful. So yes, you can vote for Lou. (The link takes you right to the poll!) And if you did, well, I’d just really appreciate it.

Here are some interesting things about this, at least to my mind:

  • Anyone can vote in the Locus Poll. (Subscribers’ votes count twice, but anyone can vote.)
  • You must enter your name and valid email address to have your vote counted.
  • You don’t have to vote in all categories.
  • If you see more than one thing you liked in a single category, you put rankings from 1 to 5 in the boxes beside them, in order of your preference.
  • You can write in favorites you don’t see listed, like my publishers Word Horde or Lazy Fascist in Best Publisher. Just, you know, for instance. 

Okay! That’s all!

 

We’re entering the home stretch. The Pleasure Merchant will soon be here, and I’m very excited. It’s gotten some great write-ups and received to killer blurbs, so I figured the time was nigh to actually round them up and promote this beast. Oh, that link goes to the Kindle pre-order, so please do so! Paper won’t be available until November 17th, but feel free to set up an alert in your iCal and order it next month (too).

I’ll write more later about what the book is actually, you know, about, but here’s the back cover copy, in case you don’t follow me on social media and thus aren’t quite sure what the book is about yet:

“Forgive me, but I’m having some difficulty ascertaining exactly where magnetic north lies on your moral compass.”

London, 177—:

Apprentice wig-maker Tom Dawne’s dream is to complete his training, marry his master’s daughter, and set up a shop of his own. Unfortunately for him, when one of his greatest creations is used to play a cruel prank on a powerful gentleman, Tom is dismissed—and forced by fear of poverty and the need to clear his name to serve the very man whom he suspects set him up.

Tom quickly realizes he has bitten off more than he can chew… though as it turns out, it’s not actually more than he desires. As Tom becomes less of a servant and more of a surrogate son, his ambitions change, and so do his pleasures, until it’s no longer easy for Tom to tell if he’s pulling the strings… or trapped in a bizarre web of someone else’s making. Matters become no clearer when Tom meets the mysterious professional libertines who seem to lurk at the center of all his troubles: a man willing to procure anything for anyone, so long as it gives them pleasure, and his obscure assistant, whose past has been irretrievably lost.

Some might even say it was stolen…

Oooh. What could it mean??

Well, the people who know, AKA those who have read it, seem to think it’s pretty cool:

In Tom Dawne, Molly Tanzer gives us what might be the most engagingly ruthless social saboteur since Steerpike brought Castle Gormenghast to rubble… just one of the many dark and bawdy joys to savour in her latest, The Pleasure Merchant. —David Nickle, author of Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism

Note classy Canadian spelling of “savour.” You know it must be good! Also, Eutopia was probably the grossest novel I’ve ever read, and I read it in a day… so yeah I highly recommend it.

The crime writer who made me want to write a crime novel also weighed in…

The Pleasure Merchant is a hilarious, sensuous, and ultimately ferocious quasihistorical novel about that most crucial of periods: the dawn of the modern era. The merchant class flexed its muscles, scientists turned their attentions to the workings of the human mind, sexual mores were challenged in public and in secret, and in every corner of society the unseen hand of the marketplace dominated all. Tanzer’s clever slicing of the era reveals every social stratum of her world—their conflicts, their compromises, and their kinks. Read this book to learn what you’ve been soaking in your whole life.” —Nick Mamatas, author of Love is the Law and I Am Providence

Ferocious! Clever. Like a border collie! Who uh writes novels. Grr! Also, please note the second link is also a pre-order link. I was lucky to read the ARC of I Am Providence and it’s really good, so I’d advise anyone who likes crime, Lovecraft, or murder mysteries to pick it up.

The Monitor really liked it:

Covering the course of a single year, this fascinating novel subverts Pygmalion, rags-to-riches and boy-meets-girl tropes to memorable effect, turning Tom into a tragic figure whose increasing rage against people on the margins of respectable society turns against him in the end. The narrative style is a delightful pastiche of Georgian and Victorian suffused with striking sensuality and modern sensibilities, as if Charles Dickens and Jane Austen had a child together and raised her on shojo and yaoi manga. The voice of the Pleasure Merchant’s apprentice will stay with you for days.

It’s stayed with me for over a year, so one would hope so!

The website Horror Novel Reviews also had some lovely things to say:

Tanzer’s thematic fundamentals are consistent to one degree or another throughout her entire oeuvre – the malleable nature of gender identity, both natural and forced; class stratification and the difficulty of social mobility; and pervasive eroticism and sexuality expressed in a wide variety of… er, shapes, sizes and methods. But some readers may be surprised to find that The Pleasure Merchant eschews overt genre components in favor of a more traditional Georgian morality play. Given that style and structure, the author’s voice is pitch perfect, particularly with dialog. Her characters are driven by impetuosity, false assumptions, and inflated egos. With The Pleasure Merchant, Molly Tanzer continues to cast a wide net over scattered genre tropes, and appears to be doing a damn fine job.

A damn fine job! I’ll take it.

Finally (for now!) the site The Novel Commentary was also down with the weirdness:

Above all, I was impressed with the mystery. Again, I can’t help but compare it to Jane Eyre or a Charles Dickens novel. The mystery builds slowly, against a backdrop of … upper class manners and fringe science theories.

At times funny, at times creepy, and in the end, profoundly touching, this book is definitely worth picking up.

The Novel Commentary also called me “the modern Brontë sister” so, you know… depending on how you feel about Villette, you might like?

I’m really excited that people like this weird little book so much so far. It’s probably the most personal thing I’ve ever written, so the impending release is a little nerve-wracking. Keep your eyes here for more updates!

This weekend I’ll be in Atlanta at the World Horror Convention. Vermilion and A Pretty Mouth will both be for sale; Vermilion, at the con bookseller, Eagle Eye Books, and A Pretty Mouth at the Eraserhead/Lazy Fascist/Deadite Press table. I’ll be a part of the mass signing event on Friday night, dressed as Herbert West: Re-Animator, so if you would like a copy of Vermilion signed in the option of reagent-green pen, please come by. Rufus will be there, as well, and he just loves being petted, I assure you.

Here’s my full schedule:

Friday, 3-4 PM: TERRIFYING TROPES: H.P. Lovecraft in the 21st Century: The Problematic Legacy of the Great Old One of Horror and the Weird – SARNATH

Howard Phillips Lovecraft’s legacy in modern horror fiction has been cemented for more than half a century in his Cthulhu Mythos and exploration of cosmic, existential horror. More recently, the tentacles of Lovecraft’s more troubling legacy – as a voice for some of the last century’s most vile expressions of racism and xenophobia – have found their way into the center of the discussion of his work. Is it possible to untangle the two sides of Lovecraft’s work? Should we?

Moderator: David Nickle. Panelists: Jesse Bullington, Leslie Klinger, Usman T. Malik, Charles Rutledge, Molly Tanzer

Friday, 6-8 PM: MASS SIGNING – THE BARRENS

Saturday, 10 AM: DEAD IN THE MORNING (Room 710 unless you hear otherwise): If you would like to attend this event, I suggest you follow the Facebook Group for announcements. This is an unofficial/guerilla reading featuring myself, J.T. Glover, Selena Chambers, Orrin Grey, and Jesse Bullington. I will be reading from my forthcoming novel, The Pleasure Merchant.

Saturday, 3-4 PM: DEADLY DEFINITIONS: When the Weird Go Pro: Exploring the Parameters and Considering the Directions of a Literary Renaissance – SARNATH

Some would call it a Renaissance. Not your daddy’s Lovecraft mythos pastiche, the Weird in the hands of today’s writers owes as much or more to literary titans such as Melville, Borges, McCarthy and Carter. Others talk about the New Weird and consider it a global movement. What is Weird fiction? Does defining the Weird focus or limit its growth? Why now, why is this literary movement so exciting, and what does the future hold for the Weird?

Moderator: Anya Martin. Panelists: Nathan Ballingrud, Lois Gresh, Scott Nicolay, Molly Tanzer, Michael Wehunt

Saturday, 4-4:30 PM: Reading in INNSMOUTH (Vermilion)

So that’s where I’ll definitely be. I will probably put in an appearance at the Costume Ball (also as Herbert West, natch), and it’s a good bet that I’ll be in the bar at some point. Those of you who have met me in the past, my hair is a giant curly mop now, so don’t look for a Phryne Fisher bob or that bleach blonde buzz cut I was rocking for a while. Those of you who haven’t met me, I’d love for you to say hi!

npr booksMy cat woke me up at 5 AM this morning, for no reason whatsoever, and while I was feeling pretty groggy and annoyed at him and life in general, because what the hell, man, I clicked over to Twitter… and wow! Maybe my cat knew that I’d discover some really amazing news!

I couldn’t be more excited to tell you that Vermilion was reviewed on NPR. And holy mackerel, what a review it is:

Lou is one of the most delightful and charismatic fictional creations in recent memory. Her compelling blend of world-weary wryness and wide-eyed vulnerability makes for some firecracker dialogue, but it also reflects Tanzer’s kaleidoscopic view of the Old West, a place that’s far more dazzling and diverse than most history books have led us to believe. There’s lace with this leather, and there’s grace with this grit. … Vermilion is a unique, hearty, thought-provoking romp that rewrites history with a vivacious flourish.

I am truly humbled and excited by the enthusiasm Vermilion has been garnering from critics and readers. On one hand, it’s a bit bizarre, seeing how quickly people are reading it and writing about it—I’m experiencing a sort of Thanksgiving Dinner syndrome. The dang thing took me 5 years to write, and people are just tearing ass through it! But of course, on the other hand, I wrote it because I wanted to write something that would give people joy, so achieving that is wonderful and cathartic. The excitement is making me excited about the book all over again, and that feels amazing.

If you’ve yet to pick up Vermilion, you can now do so via Weightless Books, either in .mobi (Kindle), .epub (Nook, iPads, maybe Kobo?) and .pdf (???). If you prefer physical books, as Vermilion is distributed and returnable it would be delightful if you requested your local Barnes & Noble or indie bookstore get in, and bought it that way. Libraries can also get it—I know a few have done so already, but the more the merrier! You can also enter the Goodreads Giveaway; Word Horde is giving away three copies.

Finally, if you’ve enjoyed Vermilion, please consider reviewing it on Goodreads or on Amazon, and tell your friends!

 

It’s been a wild week. Vermilion was reviewed nicely on Fantasy Literature, where they also ran an interview with me (comment and you might win a free copy!). Then Chuck Wendig gave me the chance to write about Five Things I Learned While Writing Vermilion over at his blog, Terrible Minds. People seemed to be enjoying it, which is lovely! Oh, and my publisher kindly set up a Goodreads Giveaway for the book—sign up before May 1 and you might win one of 3 copies!

Then yesterday, I got word that Vermilion not only has a *starred* review in Library Journal, but it’s also their SF/F Debut of the Month!

That’s two stars for Vermilion, and I gotta say, it feels wonderful to know that reviewers are enjoying what I’ve done. I’m sure the spectacular cover by Dalton Rose, designed by Osiel Gomez, isn’t hurting the book’s chances of getting noticed. And early Goodreads and Amazon reviews indicate that readers are also enjoying the book, which feels even better!

Anyways, I believe Vermilion will be in the Dealer Room at HorrorFest, so if you’re there this weekend, you could procure your very own copy. And if you’d like to say hi, here’s where I’ll be:

Saturday, April 18th

10 AM: Signing with Carrie Vaughn and Mario Acevedo (Extras Room?)

2 PM: Rebooting Horror Franchies: Is it Possible to Reboot a Horror Franchise? Which Would You Like To See Re-Imagined? (Panels Room)

4 PM: Best Moments in Horror Books and Films: What Are the Moments from Horror Books and Films that Stayed With You? (Panels Room)

Sunday, April 19th

11 AM: Signing with Mario Acevedo (Also in “Extras Room”)

1 PM: From Page to Screen: What Horror Stories Would You Like To See Adapted? (Panels Room)

3 PM: Plumbing the Darkness: Why Do We Write Horror? (Panels Room)

cupcakeTax Day (in the U.S.) seems like the ideal release date for my novel about… death. I mean, I hear both are the only things we can be certain of, right?

Anyways, Vermilion is officially… official. It’s available on B&N.com, Amazon.com, and maybe even some stores (though the chances of you finding one in your favorite local bookseller are increased if you ask nicely!).

I’m excited. I feel kind of weird, actually… I began this book so long ago, and knowing it’s out there in the world is wonderful. But it’s also a sad moment for me. My father passed away when Vermilion was just a draft, before I even had an agent, before a single editor had looked at the manuscript. But my father believed in my writing, and was always so proud of my successes; I know one of his biggest regrets was that he would not live to see it published. I suppose these are weird, macabre thoughts to be having on the official launch date of my first novel, but at the same time, while I would not claim Vermilion is autobiographical, my grief helped me write about grief, and my loss helped me write about loss, and those are… I think writers call them “motifs” in the novel. Fancy.

But, grief is but one aspect of Vermilion. When I look out my window, I can see the Rocky Mountains, whose majestic beauty I tried to do justice to in the novel. The sight of them chills and enthralls me every single day, even though I’ve lived at their base for years now. The aspens are still ghostly and bare, as they are in Vermilion, but they’re putting out the weird little vegetative caterpillars that announce their imminent leaves. And this weekend I’ll be celebrating the release at StarFest/HorrorFest down in Denver, which should be a hoot—I’ll see people like Carrie Vaughn, Stephen Graham Jones, Mario Acevedo, and other authors whose determination and spirit inspired me to keep going throughout the process of writing and editing and shopping and whatever else.

Before I go, I’d like to thank again those whom I mentioned in Vermilion’s acknowledgements… but I’d also like to thank my readers. For those of you who pre-ordered, thank you very much for your support. For those of you who have ordered via an online retailer, I am really and truly forever grateful. Anyone who’s put it on their Goodreads list, entered the giveaway, or is just planning on reading it at some point when they have time/space/funds/whatever, your enthusiasm is much appreciated.

Okay… I’m off. But, thank you again, everyone! And yay, book release day!

VermillionFrontCover_030415Wow, last week was a whirlwind when it came to my weird little debut novel!

I finally put Vermilion in the bag (good thing, too–as it’s out next month!). I have confidence it’s as good as I can make it, which is a wonderful feeling, moving forward with the project.

Also, the cover was revealed… and what a cover it is! Gaze upon the glory. The majesty. The font! I’ve seen a draft of the back, and it’s astonishing as well. That’s still being worked on, however. I’m really grateful to the time and attention put into this fabulous piece of art by Dalton Rose, the artist, and Osiel Gomez, the designer.

Finally… okay, I’m still kind of jittery and excitable about this… but Vermilion got a STARRED review in Publishers Weekly!

Tanzer’s first novel is a splendid page-turner of a Weird West adventure. Elouise Merriwether is a psychopomp, tasked with escorting newly deceased souls to the afterlife. Half Chinese and half English, with a bizarre job that few people understand, she struggles to find a place for herself in 1870s San Francisco, often vacillating between pluck and self-effacement. When her mother asks her to investigate why young Chinese men are going missing after being offered jobs in Colorado, Lou agrees to turn detective, but she’s bitten off way more than she can chew, especially once she runs up against the mysterious Dr. Panacea and his possibly fraudulent Elixir of Life. This hugely entertaining mixture of American steampunk and ghost story is a wonderful yarn with some of the best dialogue around.

Vermilion has been a long time coming, but I’m very proud of it, and I’m really glad the first review in the world is so enthusiastic. It seems like the reviewer “got” Lou and the project itself, which is wonderful, and hearing that the novel is a “page-turner” ain’t bad.

So! Vermilion is off to a pretty good start, I think it’s safe to say. If you’re interested in helping keep things going that way, consider pre-ordering. Pre-orders count towards crucial first week sales, so it’s a lovely way to show your enthusiasm for an author and his/her work. Plus, the bundle via Word Horde includes a signed copy, and an ebook in the format of your choice! You can keep one for yourself and give one as a gift!

You can also keep the enthusiasm in the air by adding the book to your “want to read” pile on Goodreads (and reviewing it there, and on Amazon of course, once it’s out).

So! I’m off to do weekend things. Starred review means I get to treat myself to breakfast at Dot’s Diner. Mushroom gravy slathered breakfast burrito… here I come!

Mr VampireYikes! I wasn’t expecting this so soon in 2015, but Vermilion is… imminent here in ARC form,out in the world, digital and hard copy.

If you are a book reviewer, and would like to receive an uncorrected ARC for review, please contact Ross Lockhart at publicity[at]wordhorde.com. ARC!Also, if you know any book reviewers into some or all of the following, maybe send them this way, or at least spread the word: gender fluidity, weird westerns, steampunk-y things, sickness, death, and dying, sea lions, vampires, San Francisco, hiking, the Rocky Mountains, trains, bears, the Mr. Vampire franchise from the 1980s, ghosts, punching things, Big Trouble in Little China, friendship, sanatorium culture a la The Road to Wellville, hysteria, adventures, snow, mountains, sexual tension, mysteries, and… uh… I guess that’s enough to go on.

Thanks, and happy reading!

The end of the year is fast approaching, and as usual it has inspired me to make a fruitcake and do fruitcake 2a little housekeeping, taking stock of what this year has meant for me as a writer, a reader, and just a person, too.

I confess that 2014 has been a difficult year for me. Sort of like Longfellow’s little girl with a curl right in the center of her forehead, when this year was good, it was very good indeed, and when it was bad it was horrid.

I struggled with personal relationships this year, with both friends and with my family, but I also reconnected with several old friends, and was privileged to witness a truly amazing event in my immediate family—my uncle surviving a bone marrow transplant from my mother.

After enjoying performing lion dance over Chinese New Year I decided to take a leave of absence from my kung fu studio for personal reasons both physical and mental. And while I felt less fit overall this year since 2011 (the year I committed myself to taking time for fitness) I ran my first triathlon and achieved the times I wanted.

I wrote a novel that is a total mess, that I may trunk forever, but I also wrote one that I believe may be my best yet.

As is apparent from that last point, I struggled with my writing this year, aesthetically and emotionally, but I also sold a handful more short stories than usual, ones that I like more than usual, even, and I also sold my first novel, my second novel, and a novella.

Though I struggled with feelings of career stagnation, I achieved some other firsts this year. I edited my first ever magazine edition (in spite of being Managing Editor/Assistant Editor of several magazines over the years, I was never invited to take part in actual fiction-selection), and was invited to edit two more projects, an issue of another magazine, due out next year, and another project which has not yet been announced.

Though I did not have a book come out this year, I saw seven short stories published, one of which earned me my first-ever mention in Publishers Weekly, and I sold seven more. I also began (and completed, more impressively for me) a blog series for Pornokitsch, where I am now a regular contributor.

For the first time since 2009 I did not attend a single con, but I was invited to be a guest—an actual guest, not just a participant—at a con next year, a first for me. I turned down cons for good and bad reasons this year, a learning experience, but I also traveled to Japan, which was an amazing experience.

I read more this year than I have in many, many years, in part due to a concerted effort to do so. I kept track of my adventures on Goodreads, which was enlightening. After beginning the year at a good clip I had hoped to read 75 books this year. I’m currently at 65 and I’m not sure I’ll be able to squeeze in ten before the new year, but I’ll try–and whatever I achieve will be extremely rewarding, I’m sure.

I also played video games for the first time in years—Dragon Age 2, and I just started Dragon Age: Origins. As this was also a rewarding experience, I hope to play more games in future, as I am woefully ignorant of the state of gaming, having never owned a video game system that wasn’t Nintendo. Onward to Skyrim, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Mass Effect, and more!

2015 should be an exiting year. Having my first novel come out, and my second, is already a thrilling but intimidating prospect. I’ll be doing two other blog series for Pornokitch, which I hope to complete with the same or greater level of success as the last. I’m enthusiastic to do more races, to have new adventures (didn’t get to my annual 14er this year), and to begin new writing projects with more confidence and self-assuredness in what I do best, rather in what I wished I did better.

I hope you all had wonderful years, and if you didn’t I hope your 2015 is better. Cheers!

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