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I know the USA is a tire fire right now, but I also have a new story up on Lightspeed Magazine. Take a break from the news, just half an hour, and check it out. It’s called “Nine-Tenths of the Law” and it’s about marital problems and Denver International Airport conspiracy theories. And other stuff. It’s a bit racy so maybe read it at work. You can also listen to it!

There’s a little interview with me, too, in which I talk about said conspiracy theories!

Hi all! After a crazy few months of not blogging for different reasons, I’m settling into a new routine of not blogging for my usual reasons, and then doing frantic catch-up posts.

I’m excited to announce that things with Creatures of Will and Temper are moving along. I turned in the finalized manuscript last week, and am now turning my eyes to the as-yet unnamed sequel. Out over a year from now still, the mean time check out this article on the Cercle Saint-André-des-Arts, a fencing club that would have been around (in Paris) when Evadne Gray (my protagonist) would have been fencing in London.

Cool, huh? Just look at that place. It definitely looks like the Westminster Fencing Academy did in my mind.

Next up: Issue 03 of Congress Magazine is out today, delayed by stuff and things, but congres-magazine-oct2016still good. We have stores by Matthew Addison, Carrie Laben, Wendy Wagner, and Jason S. Ridler this issue. Cover by Arielle Croitor. Good stuff! The other news there is that Congress is going on hiatus until next year, probably February. When I began the project, I figured it would be winding down about when the manuscript now known as Creatures of Will and Temper would likely be snapped up; as it stands, I get to write a sort-of-sequel and I need to get into that before I slush a bunch of kinky porn stories. Ah, life!

Finally, I’m going to be at BizarroCon! I don’t have my full schedule, but I’ll be in on the 17th and teaching a workshop on “The Art of Dialogue” on Friday the 18th. That night will also see the launch of the reprint of Rumbullion: An Apostrophe. My publisher has brewed a rum stout to accompany the launch! It’ll be super cool. I’ve never attended BizarroCon, in spite of having actively published in Bizarro since 2012—it’s just never been the right time—so I’m pleased to have the opportunity to go this time.

And, for good measure, here’s the full spread of Rumbullion, for your viewing pleasure. Gorgeous work as always by Matthew Revert!

rumbullion-cover

Swords_v_Cthulhu_DRAFT_COVER_350Swords v Cthulhu is out, and you should get it… seriously. It’s been getting some nice reviews here and there, and features stories by Carrie Vaughn, Jonathan L. Howard, Wendy Wagner, Caleb Wilson, and so many more. Amazon’s a great place to get it, and so is the Stone Skin Press site!

Also, Congress Magazine #2 is live as of today, and we’ve got stories this month from Andrew S. Fuller, Jesse Bullington, and Cecilia Tan. This month also features an interview with Chuck Tingle, who is up for a Hugo this month in Kansas City, where, come to think of it, you can find me, since I’ll be there. My first WorldCon ever!

congress-august-2016But I’m not just working on edits… I’m also doing research for one of my next projects, my co-edited flash fiction and cocktail mixology manual, Mixed Up!, that I’m co-editing with Nick Mamatas. It’ll be out next year, and I’m already excited as I’m the drinks editor. I’m a bit tipsy (you’ll see why soon) and that means I get to wax prosy all about my cocktail opinions. Which, let me tell you, I have cocktail opinions.

Take the mint julep for example.

The mint julep is one of those drinks that gets a weird reputation. Not a bad one, not necessarily, but let’s say it’s a drink that’s easy to mess up. Which is a shame, because when it’s done right, it’s a drink you really want to savor. Mostly because when it’s done right it has four ounces of booze…

Anyway, I don’t want to tell you how to live your life, but if you want to experience pure summer in a cup, you might want to check out this little photo essay on making a peach mint julep.

IMG_2951First, throw four or five of chunks of ripe peach into a nice big glass. Add a bunch of mint. More than you think. Also a sugar cube. Put a bit of water in there, too. Just a splash, and make it cold.

Muddle the heck out of this mixture. Go nuts. Bruise the heck out of the mint and pulverize the peaches.

 

Don’t be shy.

IMG_2952

In the end, it’ll look like this: a slurm of pulp and mint and sugar and oh, it’ll smell like you want to just do a shot of it immediately.

But wait.

Next, you’ll add in the booze. I know this will seem intense, but trust me… pour in 2 oz of cognac, and then 2 oz of rye whisky, or bourbon if that’s what you have. Rye’s better, but bourbon is just fine.

IMG_2953If you happen to be lucky enough to have some Palisades Peach cocktail bitters, use those too.

Okay, now you have a huge mixture of just delicious things. But, it’s not cold, and let’s face it, it’s gotta be cold. So crack some ice. A lot. More than you think you need, trust me. DO NOT USE CUBES. If you have to smash it in a plastic bag, go ‘head. But if you’re smart, you’ll Prime an ice crusher. Why not? You’re worth it.

IMG_2954So, pour in a lot of ice, but pause to layer in mint, and ice, and mint, and ice, until you have just a lot of booze, ice, and peach-mint slurm. Put in a sprig of mint, and then…

Yeah. That’s right. Look at that thing. Garden mint, tree-ripened peaches, ice, liquor, peach bitters… sip it over the course of an hour or so, if not more. I’m usually a fan of slamming a cocktail—they’re supposed to be cold!—but a julep like this is a sipping drink. Take it slow. Relax.

Anyway, happy drinking! And happy reading. In fact, why not combine the two? I can’t imagine anything better than a drink like this paired with an afternoon or evening with eldritch tales of derring-do or sultry sexy times.

 

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!

locusThis month’s Locus has a familiar name on the cover…

Yeah, what? I dunno! At ICFA, back in March, Locus asked if they could interview me. I had a lovely time chatting with Liza Groen Trombi, who was so fun and interesting it was very hard to stay on topic, and then we goofed around taking ridiculous glamour shots of me for a while. Anyway, the result of that pleasantness is an interview entitled “Ghosts ‘n’ Shit,” which is apparently one of if not the cuss-heaviest interview they’ve run, according to another editor.

In it I talk about Vermilion, The Pleasure Merchant, and the novel I just turned in to my agent, The Ginger Eaters, along with some other stuff… like the journal I used to keep as a kid where I’d go about my day surrounded by invisible snarky dragons. You can legit buy this at like Barnes & Noble. It’s on the news stand! So cool. Many thanks to the Locus crew for the fun time, the I’m sure brutal process of editing my interview into something coherent, and the gorgeous design and layout.

congress-june-2016Additionally, here’s the cover for Congress for our debut issue next month:

Stories by Livia Llewellyn, Robert Levy, Matthew Addison, and David Nickle. I’m really stoked about this. Not only does it look gorgeous (just wait until you see the site! Jeremy is a wizard) but the stories are all top-notch smut, this time all with a speculative bent. Not all issues will be so fantastical (or science fictional) but I’m excited it has a bit of genre flair.

I’m reading for the next issue already. If you have a pitch, query me. If you have a story with me, hold up I’mma gettin there.

Swords v Cthulhu is coming out this year, official cover release will be soon I hope, plus pre-ordering and such. Look for it soon! It’s pretty, and I’m so proud of the work our authors put into this book.

Otherwise… woof, I dunno. I’m working on the first short story I’ve written for myself, not for an anthology, in literally years, and it’s giving me back a bit of my joy over short form writing. This isn’t to say I’m not thrilled to have had two short stories accepted into anthologies already this year: “Cognac, Communism, and Cocaine,” co-authored with Nick Mamatas for Through a Mythos Darkly, ed. Glynn Owen Barass and Brian Sammons, and “That Nature Which Peers Out In Sleep,” for The Madness of Dr. Caligari, ed. Joe Pulver. It’s just that as someone who isn’t a particularly prolific short writer, having every single one I write be for a specific purpose, and for anthologies with lots of vision but a limited audience, has burned me out a little.

Perhaps I will muse on that more later. For now, I’m excited to finish this story—for love!—and begin the thrilling process of submitting to magazines again.

 

pleasure merchantWell, today is the day. The Pleasure Merchant is released into the world.

It’s weird. I’m not sure what to say other than that I really love this novel. It’s my most personal work to date; it is absolutely one of those “yep, this is the movie that’s playing in my mind, all day every day, so now you know what I’m thinking about all the time” novels, as well as being the least speculative thing I’ve written. It’s also my first attempt at crime fiction, and playing with those conventions and tropes was super fun.

I’ve already posted reviews and blurbs, I’ve quipped about the apparent bawdiness level, and I dunno, I’m not sure what more there is to say except I hope it is read, and I hope that it is enjoyed.

If you would like to purchase The Pleasure Merchant, you can of course order it through your local bookshop or Barnes & Noble, but the easiest way is probably the Internet, seeing as it’s an indie release:

Amazon

Amazon Kindle

Barnes & Noble

There will be a Nook edition forthcoming, I’ll announce when that’s available.

Anyway, this is probably super obvious but I really did write this one because I wanted to share it with you. I knew when I wrote the first line that it would come out through a small press; I knew it would be odd, I knew it would be sad and sexy and way too revealing. But I had it inside me, and I wanted to show it to everyone, for better or for worse. I mean, literally the first line of the novel is:

I have a story to tell you.

So… I did. And it was worth it, at least to my mind.

I hope you feel the same.

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!

Vermilion is continuing to receive absolutely delightful reviews. I’m so very pleased readers and critics are enjoying it; it means the world to me.

Most recently, The Arkham Digest and Foreword Reviews discussed it, and both of them had very nice things to say.

The Arkham Digest:

The world building is excellent, and Molly has created a gritty Western world in which the supernatural exists alongside the normal. Bears talk and have their own civilization, co-existing with man despite tensions. Spiritual and undead threats are handled by professional psychopomps like Lou, while monsters are dealt with by licensed monster hunters. … Fans of fantastic adventure books and readers looking for something fun and different shouldn’t hesitate to pick this one up, as it’s already one of the best books of 2015.

As for Foreword Reviews:

A well-wrought character, she dresses androgynously and often passes as a man; and as an Asian American, she handles Old West racism with humor and grit. Molly Tanzer’s steampunk world layers the rough Old West of gold-rush San Francisco with the influx of Chinese immigrants and the Victorian propriety and technology attendant with the genre. The dialogue in Vermilion is vibrant and playful, with a hard edge, and offers a strong rooting of place somewhere between Victorian English and rough-and-tumble western American dialects. … Sentence for sentence, Tanzer demonstrates a strong sense of language and place, and as a whole, the world is a place which definitely demonstrates influences (anthropomorphic bears call to mind The Golden Compass; Lou’s duster and shotgun, Pretty Deadly), but is wholly unique and pleasurable to become enveloped by.

I’ll take any review that compares my stuff to The Golden Compass. Dang.

I also did an interview, over at the delightful Angela Slatter’s blog:

1. What do readers need to know about Molly Tanzer?

As my mother would say, “need is such a slippery word!” I’d certainly like readers to know that I’m a writer of short stories and novels, and that said fictions are available online and for purchase via various retailer and e-tailers—and that I think they will please anyone who like things such as historical fantasy, picaresque, Lovecraftiana (sometimes), gender-bending, genre-bending, and sexy times.

I’d also like them to know that I mix a killer cocktail.

And if that wasn’t exciting enough, my publisher/editor Cameron Pierce released a preview cover for Thetpm Pleasure Merchant, which is forthcoming this November from Lazy Fascist. Isn’t it gorgeous? I love how it fits with A Pretty Mouth but is entirely its own thing.

The Pleasure Merchant; or, The Modern Pygmalion is the first of two books I’ll be putting out with Lazy Fascist over the next year. The second will be a reprint of the novella “Rumbullion: An Apostrophe” that debuted in my collection Rumbullion and Other Liminal Libations. This is great news, as I know the cost of the original collection was prohibitive to many, and the print run was obviously limited. I’m excited Cameron’s giving me the opportunity to present “Rumbullion: An Apostrophe” to a larger audience at a more affordable price, so watch this space for further news!

Photo on 4-9-15 at 9.37 AM #2It’s here!

I guess this means I can’t do another revision.

The cover is deliciously matte and silky smooth, the paper feels good on the fingers. It’s nice and heavy. It is beautiful and my name is on the cover because I wrote it. So basically what I’m trying to say is… it’s my first novel!

The early reviews are good. I’ve noted the (starred, ahem) Publishers Weekly review, and The Monitor’s high praise. Another site, Crows n’Bones, said:

“Every time I thought I had the book pegged as a specific thing, it would swerve into some wholly new and entertaining territory: Chinese mythology- flavoured occult yarn, picaresque western, opulent vampire chronicle, etc., etc. There are dragon fossils, inept monster slayers, pansexual brothels, snake oil salesmen in possession of the elixir of life, jackalopes, tobacco- obsessed talking bears and a general penchant for gender- bending. I totally approve.”

My Bookish Ways liked it as well, and their thoughtful review made me smile, especially this part:

Ultimately Vermilion calls to mind Joe Lansdale’s The Magic Wagon and Ricky Lau’s slapstick horror film Mr. Vampire along with Cherie Priest’s recent works. Fans of grittier Steampunk novels, urban fantasy, and weird westerns will likely find themselves very comfortable here and enjoy the ride.

Photo on 4-9-15 at 9.41 AMThe Magic Wagon was one of the best novels I read when researching the genre of the weird western, so I’m very excited to have Vermilion compared to such a fantastic expression of the genre!

Anyways, Vermilion is a book, and it’s beautiful, and I’m very, very happy.

Critically, the book is doing well, which is very exciting. That said, if you’ve read it and liked it, or if you want to read it, you can help Vermilion do well commercially, too! Ask your local independent booksellers to carry it (heck, tell your local Barnes & Noble about it, and while you’re being a chum, maybe mention to any bookstore you talk to that yes, the book is distributed/returnable by Ingram). Tell your local library about it, add it to your to-read pile on Goodreads (and any other lists you care to), tell your friends.

Anyways! Ebooks have gone out to pre-orderers, and physical copies should be arriving soon. I hope you all enjoy it! And stay tuned for more news…

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!

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