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rumbullion


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

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!

Lots of news for Vermilion of late, but that will have to wait, because this weekend I’ll be a guest (!) at AnomalyCon, down in Denver. AnomalyCon is historically a Steampunk-focused convention, and many of the panels reflect that. If you’d like to come say hi, please do! Day passes range between $15-20, and you get a lot of bang for your buck. The programming is extensive, you can check out a full schedule at the link, but here’s where you’ll find me, with descriptions of what stuff is:

Friday, 5 PM. The Future of Steampunk. “Steampunk isn’t dead, or even plateauing. New fiction, exciting ideas and where the genre is going beyond the world of written words.”

Friday, 6 PM. Sexuality and Gender Identity in Fiction. “A discussion of the good and bad ways that mainstream fiction is exploring gender identity and sexuality, and how we can do better.”

Saturday, 12 PM. The Science of Steampunk. “Steampunk might be considered “fantasy” to some hardcore scientists today, but the science of Steampunk looks a lot like hard science when examined through a Victorian lens.”

Saturday, 1 PM: Author Free for All. “Don’t miss this wild answer to every question you never thought to ask your favorite authors! Twitter meets steroids.”

Saturday, 5 PM: Steampunk World Interview with S.J. Chambers and Molly Tanzer. “Beyond the Tropes talks Steampunk with S.J. Chambers and Molly Tanzer.”

Saturday, 9 PM. Pornography and Underground Sexuality in the Victorian Era. “Later generations would have you believe the Victorians were prudes, but the truth is something much stranger. Examine the progression of the world’s favorite pastime (sex) from the perspective of the Victorians.”

Sunday, 2 PM: Beyond the 19th Century. “Steampunk Fiction is often categorized as analyzing the future by looking to the past. Explore works that go beyond this past concept and apply Steampunk ideals to other timelines.”

Sunday, 3 PM: New Fiction Now. “Writers Reading Cool Stuff that just came out.” (I’ll be reading from Vermilion, spoiler alert!)

I’ll also be checking out the dealer room, which should be full of fun treats, and seeing what libations the con bar has to offer. My books will also be in the dealer room—A Pretty Mouth, and maybe an extra-special copy of Rumbullion, but not Vermilion, sadly. I will, however, have some fun little promotional giveaways, including physical ARCs! So, come on over and say hi if you like, and make sure to check out the rest of the programming. There will be a lot of great guests, and fun stuff to do and see!

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!

2013 was a strange year. I didn’t expect to have a book come out; instead, after being contacted by Egaeus Press, I wrote a weighty novella (“Rumbullion”) and subsequently held Rumbullion and Other Liminal Libations in my hands this last October.

I thought I hadn’t published much, but looking back over this year, I had a story in the Magazine of Bizarro Fiction, a porny piece in Geek Love, a great, raunchy anthology that seemed to go largely unnoticed for various unfortunate/silly reasons, a zombie story in Zombies: Shambling Through the Ages, a mummy story in the beautiful anthology The Book of the Dead, and a tale of Chinese vampires and illegal betting in Schemers, which is (apparently) out. Also, “Herbert West in Love” was reprinted in the last ever volume of Icarus. I already have a few pieces scheduled to come out next year, so all in all, I’m pleased.

I also began and have subsequently written a substantial chunk of a new novel, something I have not done since 2010. Over the last three years I wrote and published plenty of short stories, and two novellas around 45k (“A Pretty Mouth” in A Pretty Mouth, and “Rumbullion” in Rumbullion). But the last time I set out to write anything weightier was a long time ago. I’m very happy with it so far, and hope to continue to be so…

In terms of things I read, which is also something (writerly) I finally read Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law trilogy, and the subsequent volumes. Damn. So good! I think The Heroes was my favorite, but it’s difficult to pick. The First Law books were so smartly constructed, they really blew me away. In terms of other books I enjoyed, standouts ambling through a lot of Wodehouse, Astoria by S.P. Miskowski, both books out from Lemony Snicket’s latest series All The Wrong Questions, Diary of a Young Girl (which I’d never read), Showdown in Oakland, and the comics from Avatar: The Last Airbender, which were by and large better-paced and written than most of the third season. Oh, and  a friend got me American-Born Chinese by the same author (Gene Luen Yang) for Christmas, I devoured that already. It’s hard to remember everything I read… I need to get better about keeping track of such things. But I won’t.

Overall, I’d have to say that 2013 was a good year!

My two weeks in England were both exciting and exhausting. I think I’m over the worst of the jet lag and thus reality seems a bit clearer.

my mom stands on london bridge, across from tower bridge.

my mom stands on london bridge, across from tower bridge.

My first week abroad I spent with my mom, in London, doing like… everything touristy in London. It was wonderful. I hadn’t done a lot of the big deal, famous stuff to do the last time I was in town, being on more of a budget. But this time, mom and I decided to do the whole London Pass thing. Man, we used it! Some, but not all of our adventures involved the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, the Aspley House, All Hallows at the Tower, The Soanes and British Museums (I went twice to the British—once with mom, and once during my last day in England, as there was an amazing exhibition of shunga that’s well worth the £7, imo), Windsor Castle and Eton, the Royal Mews… awesome. I have some pictures on Facebook, but there are far too many to put here. Also I’m not much of a photographer.

We also did some fun shopping around town, including a semi-traumatizing trip to Harrod’s (so busy! so snooty!) and a lovely walk around the Borough Market, which was just as fun as I remembered, having done that with John when we went six years ago.

book of the dead launchMy birthday occurred during the trip, and that night I got to do something very special: attend the book release party for The Book of the Dead, the anthology of mummy stories where my piece, “Mysterium Tremendum” appears alongside work by such authors as Will Hill, Den Patrick, Louis Greenberg, David Thomas Moore, Glen Mehn, and Jenni Hill—all of whom I met that night (and was lucky enough to spend more time with at the con down in Brighton). They are all extremely awesomely nice, as are Jared Shurin, the project’s editor, and Anne Perry, his partner and editor in her own right. And I’m sure the other contributors are fabulous too; having briefly met Gail Carriger once, and knowing Jesse Bullington well, it seems more than likely. Also: I wore a ridiculous dress, which you can almost see in this picture—sparkly and one-shouldered! I know, right? I figure turning 32 means I should spend more time wearing prom dresses intended for 16 year olds, not less. Anyways, pick up your copy of The Book of the Dead in ebook or paperback at Amazon or Spacewitch! It’s worth it! You’re worth it. 

553143_10201372579891100_274126655_nThe next day was equally exciting, as I got to see my second book! Yes, I held Rumbullion and Other Liminal Libations in my hands for the first time. That was a serious thrill. This book… the texture of it! It feels like parchment under the fingers, the black letters shine like wet ink, the paper is creamy and smooth. And I like to think what’s inside matches the outside. Um, meaning the prose is pretty, too. Anyways! You can order your copies either via Amazon or through Egaeus Press. (Also, check out our bordello-like hotel room in the background.)

I confess that after all the excitement of London, I was a bit apprehensive about heading to World Fantasy Convention in Brighton. I’d met a few attendees at the release of The Book of the Dead, of course, and knew others from the internet, but it was, on the whole, an intimidating prospect.

I needn’t have worried. Everyone I met was completely lovely. Things started off well when I was both delighted and terrified upon seeing Jonathan Howard had come to my reading (Jonathan is the author of the Johannes Cabal books which I adore). For some reason I was already feeling like I might faint… that didn’t help. So weird—I do readings all the time, and usually I’m totally cool about them, but that one threw me for a loop. Thankfully, everyone who attended was willing to make eye contact/talk to me after I gave what was undoubtedly the worst reading of my entire career—including Damien Walter, the chap who gave me that review in The Guardian that I squeed all over the place about earlier this year.

After I regained most of my color, Damien was kind enough to enquire if I wanted/needed a drink and dinner. Which I did. This chirked me up immensely, and began what proved to be extremely fun weekend at a con where I got to (among other things) discuss whiskey and matters sartorial with Mark Newton, eat the worst dinner I’ve ever eaten seated between Glen Mehn and David Moore, meet Nathan Long, and… uh fangirl out over Joe Abercrombie this one time. These are just a few highlights among many, many exciting moments.

Sometimes… to be honest, many cons have the effect on me where during and afterwards I want to /ragequit writing. Forever. This WFC, however, left me feeling enthusiastic about being part of a vibrant community of interesting people whom I like and respect. I won’t name everyone here who contributed to this sense of well-being, as I’d surely leave out someone, but I hope you know who you are. Many are already named above. Seriously though, damn. I won’t list all my theories as to why this was a better con for me. Suffice it to say that it was, and I feel like a changed, happier person in the wake of WFC ’13.

Oh! Oh! And if all that wasn’t enough, I totally took myself to Perfect Nonsense, the Jeeves and Wooster play now at The Duke of York’s, in London, on my last night in town. It ruled! I mean, there was little dramatic tension, as anyone who knows their Jeeves knows the storyline from The Code of the Woosters, but the clever staging of the production makes it more than worthwhile.

As I said, whew! 

Now I’m back. And writing.

Hello all,

Rumbullion and Other Liminal Libations is now available for purchase from Egaeus Press. For those of you who pre-ordered, they’re already shipping! Anyways, I’ll have very few copies for sale at World Fantasy—like, maybe one—so your best bet will be to order through the Egaeus site even if you’re planning on coming to see me read Thursday the 31st. (Which you should still totally do.) That said, if you’d like a signed copy, let me know… I will have flyers for the book that I can sign, and then you can paste into your copy or tuck between the pages later.

I’m behind on blog updates/posts, as I leave for England in a few hours. But, I very much appreciate all the wonderful attention the book has already received from friends, readers, and admirers of Egaeus Press’s beautiful editions.

Thank you again, and please, order your copies sooner rather than later if you want one! There are only 250 in the world…

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