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Entries tagged with “books

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…

With one thing and another, I’ve been neglecting this space. So, here’s what’s up:

I guest-edited this month’s issue of The Big Click. It’s a themed Bizarro/Crime mashup issue, featuring work from Cameron Pierce, Stephen Graham Jones, and J David Osborne. I’d really appreciate it if you picked up an issue or linked to it if you enjoy what you read for free online. This is my first solo editorial project and your support means a lot to me, and to us as a magazine!

I’ve published two more in my series about reading Roald Dahl since I last blogged. Here’s one on The Gremlins, a children’s book that was a failed Disney project. The next is also about Gremlins, but it’s on Dahl’s first novel for adults, Sometime Never. Spoiler: it kind of sucks. Another spoiler: I get to debunk a theory that Snozzberries are dicks. Anyways!

CoOL-639x1024I have a story in The Children of Old Leech, a Laird Barron tribute anthology. It’s beautiful (Matthew Revert, who did my cover for A Pretty Mouth) and full of lots of cool people, homies if you will. My story has gotten some good buzz, including this writeup from Publishers Weekly, which specifically mentions “Good Lord, Show Me The Way.” I think this might be the first time my name has appeared in PW, which is pretty exciting!

Hm, what else? I signed up for a sprint triathlon, so I’ve been training for that. Running still sucks, but at least this is giving me a good excuse to swim. And bike more!

This space is going to have some exciting news soon (what could it be??) so maybe it would behoove me to blog more. I’ll try to be more enthralling in future.

Oh, who am I kidding? Hahaha. I’m never enthralling.



Whee! Today, Alan M. Clark and I are doing a blog-exchange to co-promote our new titles, both out through LFP! Alan’s here, and I’m over on his blog, “The Imagination Fully Dilated.” Pop on over there afterwards, why don’t you?


I met Molly Tanzer online after she read and commented on my historical fiction novel, Of Thimble and Threat: The Life of a Jack the Ripper Victim. This year Molly and I discovered that we were both writing within historical settings, and we agreed to serve as readers for each others’ developing work. Both Molly’s book, A Pretty Mouth, and my novel, A Parliament of Crows, are historical fiction, both inspired by real events within history. Both books tell dark, disturbing tales, hers an erotic horror, mine a southern gothic. A Pretty Mouth is sort of a novel in short and long fiction set in England during several different periods, much of it in the 1600s, and A Parliament of Crows is set in various locations within the United States between the time of the American Civil War and the end of the first decade of the twentieth century.

The fun of writing within historical settings is that it’s a bit like time travel. The period a writer chooses for a story will define the characters in it to some extent. Obviously, some experiences we have today are not possible for characters set within a time, say, 100 or 500 years ago. This can present real limitations unless the writer is willing to learn about the period and really open up the character’s world, discover the possibilities, and share that with the reading audience. That’s the time travel I’m talking about. No matter the period, the emotional characteristics of human beings are just as subtle and complex as those of human beings today. The everyday realities and events that shape their feelings and motivations can be very different, however. In creating characters, I try to take advantage of the similarities and the differences, setting up parallels and contrasts with what we know today to express something about human experience. If done right, a reader gets to time-travel too, experiencing a long lost world through the eyes of a character they can understand emotionally, even if the character’s feelings and outlook are shaped by a different time.

A Pretty Mouth was so well realized that it sent me back in time, and allowed me to view a bizarre and terrifying world through the eyes of fascinating, very human characters.

Another thing Molly and I discovered about our writing this year was that both of us were writing about twins.  A Pretty Mouth has a supernatural genetic line of evil twins. My novel, A Parliament of Crows, has one set of evil twins whose connection to one another has a supernatural aspect. I thought my twins could use a hint of long, dark genetic history, and suggested to Molly that we might create a connection. Adding more evil twins to her character’s lineage was desirable to her, so she agreed to creating a tiny link between the projects with one or two sentences in each. To get there, we traded messages via facebook “chat,” looking for a solution that was both minimal, but undeniable. I had fun, and I think she did as well. [I did indeed! –Molly] I could almost hear her laughing in her messages. The lines we added had to be of a sort that would not confuse and would not distract a reader from the story at hand, but would be an Easter egg for those who read both books. I’m curious to see who will be the first to notice.

—Alan M. Clark