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Look at this crazy thing! The amazing Liv Rainey-Smith, she of the wood-cuttery and print-makery, sent me this doll by the astonishing Christine Morgan, writer and doll-maker extraordinaire! Lou Merriwether has never looked so real, or so genuinely intimidating.

 

I’ll be at ICFA in Orlando from March 22-26.

My schedule:

Thursday, March 23: 8:30-10 AM, Vista A. Reading, with K. Tempest Bradford and Jennifer Stevenson

Friday, March 24: 8:30-10 AM, Vista A. Reading (host), with Maurice Broaddus, Chesya Burke, Usman Malik

Friday, March 24, 2:30-4 PM, Oak, Panel: Weird Sisters: Women Writing Horror/Weird Fiction. Moderator: Sean Moreland, with Bernadette Bosky, Anya Heise-von der Lippe, Helen Marshall, Gina Wisker, and me

Hope to see you there!

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.

I’ll be at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival this weekend, in Portland, OR. So, if you’re in the area, come by and catch a movie, see a panel, or just wander around the Hollwood district and I’m sure we’ll run into one another!

If you are attending, and are interested in seeing me be awkward on panels, here’s my schedule:

  • Thursday night, VIP reception(s)
  • Friday, 9-10 PM, EOD Main, “The Re-Mythology of Lovecraft” (me, Hite, Stross, Lockhart, Hoade)
  • Saturday, 4-5 PM, EOD Main, “Cthulhu and ____” (me, Stross, Goodfellow, Koch, Glancy)
  • Saturday, 8-9 PM, Classroom, I’ll be reading, along with Wendy Wagner and Andrew Fuller. Not sure if I’ll read from The Pleasure Merchant or something else.
  • Saturday, 10-11 PM, EOD Main, “R’leyhan Roulette” (me, Goodfellow, Hite, Kessler, Glancy)

That’s all the information I have at this time. I’ll be at the various receptions and probably at some of the after parties, too. Feel free to say hello!

 

Struggling with work right now, so I’ll keep it short—

Tonight, at the Alamo, I’ll be co-hosting a screening of Big Trouble in Little China along with NPR and the A.V. Club’s Jason Heller, and Frank Romero, one of the co-founders of Denver Comic Con and fellow WWE fan. We’ll be giving away a few copies of Vermilion, and I’ll be wearing a cool vest. Also my husband will be dressed as Jack Burton. Why wouldn’t you come and see that?

vermilion coverVermilion is an audiobook. It’ll be out in a month. There’s new cover art and the audio preview sounds great.

I have some stories coming out soon. More on that when it gets closer, but two anthologies debuting at NecronomiCon will have me in them!

Ok gotta run. See ya!

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Ready for our journey!

I’ve had my car since the fall of 1999. My family lived out in the boonies and my senior year, my high school stopped bussing me, so my father and I went car shopping. He was a big Consumer Reports guy, watched Motorweek every weekend, and was up on which cars were good and which cars were garbage. Well, he picked a good one, when he suggested we test drive the Mazda Protege, because that car has proven to be amazing. In 16 years, it has had exactly one major thing go wrong with it—it slipped the timing chain, which is supposed to destroy the engine. It didn’t. My car survived, and it’s still great.

I noticed my car was approaching 100,000 miles and wanted to do something fun to celebrate. So, last Sunday my husband and I took it on a nice drive in the mountains. We went up the canyon to Nederland and then IMG_0559drove across Peak to Peak Highway until we reached Golden Gate Canyon State Park, which is outside of Golden. That’s when things got interesting.

“You should drive,” said John, and pulled us over.

“Okay…” I had wanted to drive my car over 100,000, but we were still several miles out at this point, and at elevation—we still had to come down through the canyon. “Now?”

“Sure, why not?” said John.

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The tension builds

I don’t dislike driving through the mountains, but I confess I’m usually a passenger. Thus began our fascinating descent where I noticed nothing but the road, and downshifting. There could have been a herd of jackalopes on the side of the road. I wouldn’t have noticed. But, I got us down, and I learned what overdrive is, and how to use it. It was pretty terrifying.

Anyways, we didn’t quite make it over 100,000 coming down, so we decided to cruise into Golden, a far less scary prospect. Eventually we hit 100,00 coming over a hill and beholding one of the lovelier areas IMG_0567outside of Golden, close to the welcome center for Dinosaur Ridge. I have always wanted to go, so we pulled over. It was closed. Ah well, it was not for dinosaurs that we came, but to celebrate my car’s turning over into the triple digits!

I look forward to many more years of trouble-free driving with my car. This is just fine by me. I like things that last, and while there are certainly newer and shinier cars out there, my car… is mine. Sure, I enjoy driving our Land Rover when it’s snowy. Sure, my husband and his colleagues IMG_0570at his automotive program marveled at my devotion to this vehicle (as well as the vehicle’s continuing excellence). Sure, the paint is peeling off the top, and the interior is shabby, the floor mats are all cracked, and from day one the seal around the windshield has made a strange oooooooooooeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee noise whenever it’s driving on a highway and the wind is hitting it right. Who cares? Things don’t have to be pretty to be useful, nor do they need to be elegant to be dependable.

Congrats, little silver car, on hitting a major milestone. You’re the best. I hope I drive you for 100,000 more miles!

I’m only just back from WHC, as I detoured to Tallahassee after the con, and already I’m gearing up for my next (and final, for the time being) appearance at a convention. I’ve done four already this year, and while I find the con experience rewarding—in some regards—with many notable exceptions—promoting Vermilion has taken a toll on me, emotionally, creatively, and socially.

IMG_1397That said, WHC was a blast. I’m not really a con writeup kind of gal, but I was pleased to see old friends and make new ones. I also picked up a killer haul of books, as you can see. I’ve already read Eutopia and very much enjoyed it; next up I’m reading something I did not acquire at WHC but after that I’ll probably pick up another score. (I picked up The Visible Filth before the con, but got it signed by Mr. Ballingrud, so it counts.)

Next up: DCC! Denver Comic Con is always entertaining for people watching, and my panel list is pretty cool. Come say hi, I’ll sign your copies of Vermilion, and if you felt like picking one up—to have and to hold, or as an extra, in case you need a holiday or birthday present for a friend—the fewer books the Barnes & Noble table sends back, the better I look to that not insubstantial bookselling company, and my publisher. HINT HINT.

Where I’ll definitely be:

Saturday, 10:35-11:25: The Foundations of a Freelance Writing Career. I don’t currently have a description of what exactly this will be, but I assume it’s pretty self-explanatory. With Josh Vogt, Kronda Siebert, Jessica Brawner, Vivian Trask, and Peter J. Wacks.

Saturday, 3:15-4:05: Strong Women in Film and Fiction. I’m moderating this one, so I’m going to try to mix it up a bit from the usual “Let’s all argue about Daenerys Targaryen!” I know the conversation will inevitably turn to Black Widow, which is great since I won’t have seen Age of Ultron by Saturday, and I’m not up on Game of Thrones and the apparent Rape of the Sansine Women that happened yesterday, but I’m going to try to direct the discussion to the issue of well-rounded female characters in fiction and film, and see what happens. With Kristi Helvig, Betsy Dornbusch, Sherry Ficklin, Stant Litore, Amalie Howard.

Saturday, 4:25-5:15: Steampunk in the Past, Present, and Future: Another self-explanatory one. Like Steampunk? Come on then! With Sherry Ficklin, Jessica Brawner, Tyler Jolley, Mario Acevedo, and David Boop.

Sunday, 2:30-3:20: That’s a Laugh! Writing Speculative Genre Humor: What’s it take to bring real humor into fantasy, science fiction, and even horror stories? With Josh Vogt, Jessica Brawner, Betsy Dornbush, Lou Berger, and Jim Butcher. Yes, that Jim Butcher!

Sunday, 4:50-5:40: Writing the Other. i.e. I’ve never been a female dwarven barbarian… so how could I possibly write about one? With Betsy Dornbush, Mario Acevedo, Kronda Siebert, Van Aaron Hughes, and Vivian Trask.

We’re less than two weeks out from the official drop date for Vermilion, so before I become ultra-annoying about the book, I figured I’d acknowledge that my debut novel isn’t the only thing in my life.

The latest installment of Pygmalia is up, on Henry James’ Watch and Ward. Verdict: Stinky. But interesting.

I had a story accepted to Ross Lockhart’s latest Lovecraftian anthology, Cthulhu Fhtagn!. Yes, the exclamation point is part of the title, hence the double punctuation. The story, “The Curse of the Old Ones,” was co-authored by myself and Jesse Bullington, and it’s about Ingrid Pitt and Peter Cushing trying to keep their sanity on the set of a doomed Hammer Horror production called… you guessed it. Behold: the full ToC.

I’ll be at Starfest/Horrorfest the weekend of my book release, just Saturday/Sunday, but I’ll be there!

And now, here’s a little something for you, dear reader: two muffin recipes! Both are really delicious. Sorry I don’t have pictures, I didn’t even think about it! But, I came across these recipes when searching for something else yesterday, and I wanted to share.

These muffins are built off a similar base base that includes yogurt in the batter, which makes them fluffy if a bit delicate. Just be gentle when generously spreading with Earth Balance. Trust me on this, though… the carrot tahini, while maybe a little wild-sounding, is absolutely delicious and unique! And the apple pie muffin is like apple pie for breakfast…

Apple Pie Crumb Muffins

  • 2 c. flour
  • ½ c. sugar
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ c. unsweetened coconut yogurt
  • ½ c. unsweetened nondairy milk
  • ½ c. oil
  • ½ c. finely chopped apple
  • ½ c. grated apple

For the Crumb: 

  • ¼ c. flour
  • ¼ c. brown sugar
  • a handful of oats
  • a pinch of salt
  • oil

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a muffin tin with spray oil.

Sift dry together. Stir wet together.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Mix gently until batter is not quite combined, and fold in chopped and shredded apple. Divide evenly among 12 muffin tins.

Mix together the dry ingredients for the crumb and then rub in the oil until it’s crumbly. Spoon over tops of muffins and press in gently.

Bake for 26-30 minutes. Test with a toothpick for doneness. Let sit in muffin tins for a bit before removing—the crumb is a bit delicate.

Carrot Tahini Muffins

  • 2 c. flour
  • ½ c. sugar + 2 tbs
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ c. unsweetened coconut yogurt
  • ½ c. orange juice
  • ½ c tahini
  • 1 tbs. vanilla
  • 1 tsp orange flower water (if you have it)
  • ¾ c. diced carrot
  • ¾ c. grated carrot

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a muffin tin with spray oil.

Sift dry together. Mix wet vigorously. The tahini may cause the mixture to seize; if that’s the case, add a little water until it loosens up.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Mix gently until batter is not quite combined, and fold in diced and shredded carrots. If a little dry, add a bit of water, but the carrots when they cook will make up a lot of moisture.

Bake for 26-30 minutes. Test with a toothpick for doneness. Let sit in muffin tins for a bit before removing—the crumb is a bit delicate.

I’m happy to announce that Films of High Adventure is back! That’s right, remember when Jesse and I used to watch turkeys like The Craft and then write up our thoughts and feelings in a vaguely amusing fashion? Or think we were in for a turkey, and then praise films that withstood the test of time? Like… I dunno, those were pretty few and far between actually.

Anywho, we’re back on it, doing it once a month for Pornokitch. The first installment is up: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Most enthralling, dude.

Next Thursday, keep your eyes peeled for the first in my new series, Pygmalia. I’ll deconstruct The Bride and rant about the patriarchy.

I have now officially completed and turned in the manuscripts for the two novels that will be coming out this year: my debut, Vermilion (in April), and The Pleasure Merchant (in November). But before that time, I’d really like to get A Pretty Mouth up to 25 reviews on Amazon. I learned last year that good things happen with Amazon’s algorithms when you have 25 reviews for a book, and as A Pretty Mouth is already at 18, I feel like this is… achievable.

If you’ve read A Pretty Mouth, whether you kinda liked it, or totally bazonkers loved it, I’d so appreciate it if you took a few minutes to put a review up on Amazon. (I assume if you hated it, you’re not reading this—but if you did hate it, and are reading this, go ‘head and review, I can take it.)

I am truly grateful for all the attention A Pretty Mouth has received since its publication back in 2012—new readers still seem to be reading and enjoying it, which is wonderful! I know books have an excitement life of six months to a year, so the fact that people are still discovering A Pretty Mouth is astounding to me. But, the sad truth is that while it’s always exciting and touching to hear personally from someone who enjoyed your work… it’s generally more helpful (if you’d like to see more from that author) if that praise is put into review form.

Anyways, I’ll keep this hat-in-hand begging short and sweet. Thanks in advance, no worries if you’re too busy or can’t even remember what A Pretty Mouth was about. Happy New Year, and watch this space for news about forthcoming projects!

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