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Inedible Sins is Now Available!

28 Apr

Bust out the champagne! (Okay, I’ve got prosecco, but it’s still festive.) Inedible Sins is now available from Dagan Books.

Inedible Sins

Click on through for the info, check out the book’s page here for excerpts, or just head straight to the checkout:

Buy it now! Only $1.99.

DRM-free ePub: click here or DRM-free .mobi (perfect for Kindle): click here

Also available on Amazon: click here

Yes. Yes, I am very excited. It’s true.

The Sinful Soundtrack

25 Apr

Thanks to the wonders of Grooveshark, my obsessive playlist-making can now be conveniently shared with the world!

… I say that like it’s a good thing.

Anyhow! When I was writing Inedible Sins, I was no less obsessive than usual. Since the book is coming on the 28th, I figured I might as well set it up here, in case people are interested. So. Soundtrack!

Here is my TL;DR commentary:

1. “Smash the System”. I don’t belong here in your garden/I should be up there on your throne. Yeah, basically 50% of Jonesy’s personality, right there.
2. “Town Called Malice”. Though decidedly written about a small working-class town in England, it’s safe to say this can apply to DC, especially at this point in time, in many, many ways.
3. “Yourself”. All the self-loathing. All of it.
4. “Sweet and Tender Hooligan”. If we hadn’t been able to decide on Inedible Sins as a title, I really might’ve suggested this…
5. “Gintlemen’s Club”. Again, wrong city, but the posh poser vibe stands.
6. “Get Myself Arrested”. In so very many ways, really.
7. “Broken Boy Soldier”. Did I mention there’s Civil War stuff? There’s Civil War stuff!
8. “The World Was A Mess But His Hair Was Perfect”. If Ashley Evans existed today, this would be his theme song. It would just spontaneously start playing whenever he walked into a room.
9. “My Mistakes Were Made For You”. From Jonesy, to Jude and Emily.
10. “Bad Taste In My Mouth”. Now I’ve got all the things that I wanted/There’s still a bad taste in my mouth. Worse than ever, in fact.
11. “Pace is the Trick”. Jonesy’s issues with the world and himself (and Brother Alfie) in one convenient (and lovely–great song!) package.
12. “Blood Money”. Oh. But blood is so much better than money, by the end.
13. “Evil and a Heathen”. Jonesy and Ashley, for sure.
14. “Handlebars”. The quintessential crash-and-burn delusions-of-grandeur song.
15. “The Butcher”. By the last two chapters, this is basically on repeat in Jonesy’s head. Much to Brother Alfie’s dismay.
16. “Salvation”. For all the irony.
17. “Rebellion (Lies)”. Not just the lyrics, but the music. That keychange punches me in the throat every time, which is precisely the feeling here, yes.
18. “505”. Acedia. As in the final chapter. Over and over.

Inedible Sins

Coming Sunday!

Incoming Sins

23 Apr

This weekend, Inedible Sins is coming to Dagan Books! It’s a novella, the first in what will be an ongoing line at Dagan, available as an eBook everywhere that sort of thing is, ah, usually available! I’ve been posting bits and pieces about it here lately, but now that the wheels are really in motion (oh, that’s punny–nevermind)…

Inedible SinsYou may have heard a rumor that this novella contains a robot. True! A clockwork robot with a very specific function and/or functions.

The ‘history‘ rumor is also accurate, as this cover would imply. You think Washington, DC is a hot mess now, you shoulda seen it right before the Civil War.

Romance, too, if you’ve heard that, and in the most unexpected places. Blurring class lines can be dangerous–but that is the least of their worries.

Though our hero Jonesy covers all of the Seven Deadly Sins quite capably, Lust is one of his favorites. And oh, the trouble sex can cause a boy…

Ah, but let’s not forget the violence, the last of the promised themes. Figuratively and literally, too much sin tends to lead in that direction. Wrath, you see, is Jonesy’s favorite Cardinal Sin.

For a series of informative, short excerpts from Inedible Sins, click on through to its page here on the site. I’ll be back with more later in the week, and the book itself on Sunday. Wee!

Inedible Newspaper Sins

25 Mar

Ah, the news. Newspapers, specifically, that 0ld standby of American existence. Wait, you’ll say, but don’t many peoples live and die by the news? Yes. However, back in the early 19th century, visitors from the UK and European continent were constantly commenting on how oddly attached their American cousins were to their papers.* How awfully middle class.

The main players in my upcoming novella, Inedible Sins, are predictably attached to their papers. Ashley Evans regales his sister Iris and our hero Jonesy nightly with the political gossip from the Evening Star, one of Washington City’s premier Democratic papers back in 1856. But it’s not all Congress and Democratic National Conventions and aborted duels–there’s also the odd column inch full of old-timey cleverness.

By which I of course mean misogyny. Oh my.

Evening Star Jul 5 1856


Transcription, since reading a photograph of a microfilm desk from the Library of Congress sucks hard:

-> Young Man, a private word. When you go courting, find out as soon as possible whether your affections are being planted more in a bundle of dry-goods and things generally, than a pulsating heart, hemmed in by warm ribs and all that. Many a fellow has laid himself out for a full made woman, and only found a very extensive assortment of cotton, whalebone and similar delusive institutions. Just look over the goods before going to the parson.

-> One thousand pounds of wafers are used by the United States House of Representatives in a single session.

-> “Charity covereth a multitude of sins”. So does calico.

Okay that last one is kinda funny, but not if you read it in a slut-shamey way. Still, the ridiculous things I found doing research for this book. Some of the most fun I ever had in a library. Which is saying quite a lot.

*The most famous being Fanny Trollope in her hilarious Domestic Manners of the Americans. Check the paragraph that begins with, “In truth, there are many reasons which render a very general diffusion of literature impossible in America. I can scarcely class the universal reading of newspapers as an exception to this remark ; if I could, my Statement  would be exactly the reverse, and I should say that America beat the world in letters.”

And For My Next Trick: Inedible Sins

13 Mar

It is a long-established fact that I am a historical fangirl. My love of ridiculous activities such as combing through two-hundred-year-old newspapers to find out where the most happening parties were, what hotels were all the rage, who was having what picnics where, all the best political scandal, and even the weather on a given day is well-known by now. The last big fact-finding mission I went on was in re Washington, DC just pre American Civil War: the summer of 1856. That one was for a novella working titled “The Inedible Sins of Sebastian Jones”. I once made a post about collating that research to lay out my main character Jonesy’s summer.

This is my idea of a good time! Yes, I know how to party, it’s true.

A year and some change later, I am pleased to be able to say that Jonesy’s story has new life. It will be called Inedible Sins, and will pop up with Dagan Books sometime in the very near future. In celebration, I’m going to start sharing some of the more ridiculous newspaper clippings I collected to inform my view of Jonesy’s world of Georgetown and  Washington City for the next few weeks.

But first, the beginning of the novella, just so you can see what sort of fellow Jonesy really is…

I. Invidia

In which I am dismissed from the seminary and find my new position hateful.

The moment my fist impacted with David Mullen’s face, I knew I was not intended for the priesthood. An explosion of pain in my right knuckles, the crunch of his lip into his teeth, and ruby droplets flew through the air like spilled communion wine. Mullen hit the ground wailing.

Hand still clenched, I said, “Next time you insult a man’s mother, you’ll know what to expect.” And then I turned and strode back down the hall for the Rector’s office, ignoring what fat-lipped abuse he flung after me.

A sense of clarity comes with a fight, a heightening of senses beyond anything else I know. This time, it enabled me to recognize an unexpected sense of relief welling in my breast. Of course, I would be removed from the seminary when the incident became known. I had run up against more than one of the other boys already, and it was clear I was on thin ice. Seminarians did not go around getting into arguments with other seminarians, even if they deserved far more than a few sharp words and a punch in the mouth.

But yes, I was relieved. All that remained was for me to tell the Rector that I would be on my way, no need for a fuss. I knocked on his door, pushed it open, and stared, aghast.

For there, among the crucifixes and paintings of saints and holy books, was our beloved Rector. He faced the desk, back to the door. A pair of stockinged legs wrapped around his midsection, between which he was thrusting zealously.

Small wonder that my presence went unnoticed until I said, “Good God!”

The lady, who seemed to have been reclining on two hands, sat up and looked around the Rector’s wide back. She was a pretty creature, with a high forehead and aristocratic nose, very well made up. But it was her mouth that was most familiar to me, long and wide, very much like the one I had burst only moments previous. The shock of recognition was the worst yet: she was David Mullen’s mother.

God has an appalling sense of humor sometimes, doesn’t he? What a way to shatter a boy’s illusions about his faith, his chosen profession, and the men to whom he’s confessed the darkest secrets of his heart since childhood.

At least it explained how that idiot Mullen was admitted to seminary.

Ah yes, Jonesy’s life just gets stranger from there. From the whirling society scandals of Lafayette Square to clockwork confessors in his Georgetown workshop. Because, oh yeah. Did I mention there’s a clockwork confessor involved? Sometimes, he’ll even eat your sins for you.


30 Apr

I really like an unreliable narrator. I know it’s hard to pull of. Believe me, I know. But when you’re raised on Poe, what can you do? Anyhow, there are shades of gray–I’m not talking about an outright liar of a narrator, just talking about when the reader knows there’s more going on, sees developments that the MC doesn’t. Confusion or stubbornness or a touch of–dare I say it–madness. Can happen for all kinds of reasons.

I also love first person narratives. People freak out about it: oh, how does your narrator remember all that stuff? So we’re getting a word for word account of the story? I can’t suspend my disbelief! I get it, it’s not for everyone. But seriously, I tell stories all the time, and it sounds pretty much like it sounds when I write it. Maybe I’m just from a family who likes to do impressions of people. (Oh wait, I am.) But it feels like a natural mode of storytelling to me, and I’m more concerned with the story than its absolute veracity when I’m reading. I mean… it’s a story. I’m pretty sure it’s not true anyhow.

When it comes to Poe, one hopes.

Again, not saying these things should be universally accepted. Just saying it makes me cry to see people throw down absolutes. Obviously, they must be well executed, and for a very specific reason. And obviously, they aren’t always. That’s no different than any other storytelling toolbox selection.

I’m not sure why I wanted to say that, except that I was listening to my Jonesy soundtrack (uh, he is a first person somewhat unreliable narrator, actually, but–) and came to Flobots’ “Handlebars” and I was thinking what a great, if super blunt example it is. So even if you don’t like hip hop type stuff in general, try this one on. It’s actually better without the video the first time, but that’s pretty cool too:

I’m out of town for the weekend, so see you Monday!

No WIP = No Love

27 Apr

Oh man.

I thought I’d take a week or so and not look at Jonesy. You know. Time, space, distance. But then Megh came along with a brilliant beta read and bam, everything made sense. (Or everything that I was afraid didn’t make sense did, anyhow. I’m sure there’s much more that didn’t make sense.) Done!

So now I’m in this weird middle space where I’m done with that–till it gets shot back with rewrites and such again, of course–and I’ve promised myself I won’t start draft 3 of The Resurrectionists until May. Yeah. I’m trying to talk myself into behaving in a rational, healthy manner.  I’m starting to suspect I’m a workaholic, I just never noticed cuz I have so many other, more immediately debilitating addictions :/

Anyhow, I’m super listless, as is natural in downtime for me. I’ll be fine in a day or two when I come down off the finish line high and settle into the reading and gaming thing properly. In the mean time, here’s some random nonsense from Jonesy and his best friend Emily:

“Still, you don’t like sharing him.”

I flushed. “I said nothing of the kind. I share you, why not him?”

She said, “You must share me, for I live and work among women, and always will. Your great fault, Jonesy, is that you’re not a woman. Or so it would seem.”

She knew damned well I was not a woman, having seen me with my kit off in several childhood fits of curiosity–and had declared me quite ridiculous for it, too.

And though he doesn’t get a chance to pay her back until a few days later, but he jumps on it:

“What happened at the seminary?”

I told her about the arguments.

“No, I mean, what happened to you?”

I feigned confusion.

She was not fooled. “You used to tell me everything.”

“There are many things that we could do as children that we cannot do now. And I don’t refer to stealing kisses when Father Martin’s back is turned.”

She pursed her lips. “That’s really why you won’t tell me?”

“Yes.” I leaned forward. “Your greatest fault, Emily, is that you are not a man. I’m sure that hasn’t changed since last we compared.”

Ah, the joy of friends who knew you when you were an idiotic child. Even if you still are.

(Er, I refer to Jonesy. Not me. Of course. Naturally. Right.)

There is actually a plot to this story, involving much clockwork and Cardinal Sin, though I keep pulling out seeming inanities to share here. I’ll get to that eventually–but for now it’s put to bed. Until the next revision, anyhow!

Now playing: Gomez – Get Myself Arrested
via FoxyTunes

WIP Wednesday and Draft 2

20 Apr

Right, all my labors over newspaper and calendar last week were rewarded very late last night/early this morning, when I put the final touches on Jonesy’s draft 2. The story does have a title, but since the project is of a special nature, I’m waiting until everything’s settled. Dunno if you remember me coughing up this first draft in a few days last month, but this one was a little easier on me. Except I still have that “Oh god, why is it so quiet in my head” empty post draft feeling. And that same depressing, “Why did I break them?!” thing. Luckily I have enough other shit to do work on right now that it shouldn’t last.

I tend to think of draft 2 as the one where I throw my hands up. Yes, I might’ve been able to clarify a few things my 1st one was unclear on. I might’ve been able to come up with a new way to show something, or how to fix some awkward dialogue, or shorten a draggy scene. But the overall effect, the emotional arc for each character–there’s no way I can tell. Boring parts? I don’t know, it’s all boring when you’ve been staring at it for a month or two, isn’t it? And so I send it off to someone I trust to tell me, “Hey, smarty pants, that thing you were trying to say? Yeah, not on the page. At all.”

Just the sending is a relief. Keeps me from picking uselessly at the poor thing. All the gods bless the beta readers.

Right, a sample. How about the first lines?

The moment my fist impacted with David Mullen’s face, I knew I was not intended for the priesthood. An explosion of pain in my right knuckles, the crunch of his lip into his teeth, and ruby droplets flew through the air like spilled communion wine. Mullen hit the ground wailing.

Hand still clenched, I said, “Next time you insult a man’s mother, you’ll know what to expect.”

Soon after, Jonesy admits to us, “I have no mother to insult, of course.” But that’s not the point.

Now playing: The Beatles – Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
via FoxyTunes

Yes, there is a down side to writing historically oriented fiction…

17 Apr

I won’t admit that often, but it’s 3am and so I’ve officially spent 10 hours of my day collating my last week of newspaper research and a few sundry details I found here and there with the draft of the novella–which already had the early research incorporated, luckily, or it would’ve been even uglier than it is right now:

June-Aug, 1856. Busy, busy boy.

That’s June-August in the life of my Jonesy. Also, Washington City, Georgetown, and sundry other places of note at the time such as California, Texas, the Carolinas, and perhaps most importantly, Kansas. The backs of each page are scribbled with the evolution of attitudes towards events in those particular places and anecdotes/gossip that may or may not prove relevant.

My madness. Let me show you it.

Unfortunately, Jonesy didn't have access to Google Calendars.

You’d think this would make me feel super accomplished and responsible and stuff. But instead, I’m sat here going, “Fuck, is this story even good enough to be WORTH this kind of organizational effort?” Which is what we all do, I know, when we get tired.

The answer, as usual, is that it’s not like I have a choice in the matter, because clearly I’m totally caught up in it. So I’d better just go ahead and keep on full steam and trust that someone will read it and tell me to knock it off if it’s terrible. (Before, you know, the intended publisher sees it and has to do it.) See, it’s not drive and commitment that keeps us going, is it? It’s more like despair. That’s not even a complaint, really. When you just give in and go along for the ride, sometimes it’s pretty fun.

And look at it, it’s like art! Thank god for that multi-colored Smithsonian pen Jen bought me last year at Air & Space…

Also, that’s an awesome run-on sentence in the beginning of this post. To bed with me. Hope your weekends are going well!