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Where the hell have you been?

13 Feb

Anyone who only sees this blog will be asking that question about now, I reckon. Where the hell have I been?

The short version is that I have been rather losing my mind. Between life upheavals (one that caused me to put the Red Penny Papers on hiatus this winter–sadness!–but don’t worry it’ll be right back) and publishing emergencies, I haven’t been much of a person at all. Most of my blogging has been via tumblr, mainly because of its queue function and the ability to not have a single original thought, simply reblogging things I find pretty.

Here is a quick rundown of Important News:

1. FISH is a thing, and it is lovely. Click here to read Carrie Cuinn’s introduction and find out what this beautiful book is all about. And scope out Galen Dara’s gorgeous artwork:

FISH from Dagan Books

I know, right? Guh.

2. LOSING BETTER is a thing. Not KV Taylor, but still me. For anyone not in the loop, Katey Hawthorne is my romance novel penname. The books tend to be way less disturbing and prouldy fluffy-and-chock-full-o-sex-and-superpowers. This one is a bit less fluffy, as it has a quite serious central theme, but it’s still pretty fun. If you don’t mind a main character who’s a pretentious ass.

He does enjoy saying, “FBI, motherfucker!” though, and that’s worth a lot of style points.

This book is responsible for much of my absence from cyberspace, as right before the holidays things went a bit wild with production issues, and I ceased to be a functional human being until it got sorted, oh, last week. Ish. I will spare you the gory details. But I am super proud of it, so if you’re into that kind of thing, check it out.

3. LIAM is about to be a thing. As in tomorrow. Yes, it’s a Valentine’s Day release for monsterlove. True, it is a bit of a romance novel, but it’s so, so ugly, seriously. It begins with a headfuck, which is never a good foundation on which to build a relationship. Along the way there’s lots of murder and mayhem and setting things on fire–

But I’ll let that part be a surprise. It’s the first in my vampire series, about a tiny family of vampires and their incredible piles of issues. Good times. Good times. And check this cover out, seriously, because Courtney Bernard is my hero:

The Family: Liam

Yes, I win at getting awesome cover artists, if that’s a thing, I know. I’ll have a little offer for you up here (free stuff!), and Belfire is offering massive discounts during the first week, plus the chance to be entered into a drawing for a fun gift. But I’ll be back with more about that later.

Oh yeah, and the vampire reviews will start up again next month, probably in the middle. Once I get settled, because looks like B and I are gonna pack up and leave DC here pretty soon. Sadness! But also happiness (depending on where we land)!

Airplane Crud

29 Nov

In our business, people know all about the infamous Con Crud. It is an inevitable fact of being a working writer: you go to conventions, you meet up with friends and colleagues (in some cases, frolleagues–okay that’s not a thing, but it should be), you drink too much, you get involved in several million projects, you enjoy the local food and drink (did I already say drink?), you stay up til stupid o’clock, you make wild promises of delivering epic awesome to your favorite presses, and you fly home hungover. Which inevitably leads to  Con Crud the week after, a creeping illness that is part and parcel of the whole glamorous working writer experience. And totally worth it.

Not dissimilar is general Airplane Crud. While it is rare (but hardly unthinkable, as I know some Aussies who come to ReaderCon–HARDCORE) to spend more than 12 hours on a single flight for the sake of a convention, it is less rare for other reasons. As in flying to India to visit in-laws. If you have in-laws in India. Which, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, I totally do.

We got home two days before Thanksgiving, which left just enough time to retrieve the cat and go to Whole Foods to buy ALL THE FOOD. Yes, we had a prepared cheater Thanksgiving, but oh man, I do not trust myself in the kitchen on good days, sometimes, let alone when I’m surviving that level of epic jet lag. I somehow managed to survive the live culture experiment that is the airplane on the flight from Italy earlier this year, so I had it coming, but holy fuckballs, am I sick and miserable right now.

But seeing as I went to both Italy and India this year, I really don’t feel like I’m allowed to complain. So here’s a picture of me in my Diwali sari, because this is what happens when my in-laws dress me up for holidays. I am very proud because I managed to successfully keep this one on, which is more than I can say for the ridiculously formal silk one I wore to my BiL’s wedding six years ago.

Diwali Sari Time!

… okay so maybe it took some getting used to, but I even managed to light fireworks in it and not set myself or anyone else on fire, so clearly I took to it pretty fast.

Fireworks!

 And yes, that is a lot of fireworks carnage, I know. That was Diwali morning, and we had been very, very busy the night before, too. Chennai sounded like a war zone for a good 48 hours. It was awesome.

So yes. Worth the Airplane Crud. But holy Jesus SIIIIIIIIIIIIICK.

In oddly related news, In Situ, the Dagan Books anthology of alien archaeology stories, got a couple of really nice reviews while I was lighting fireworks and dragging my family on day trips to random temples. Related, because, of course, my story within is called “Chennai 5″–which is the name of the new planet my main characters are colonizing. Named after the biggest city in their home state of Tamil Nadu, of course. This one is by James Aquilone at SF Signal, and declares that the book contains “no clunkers”, which I always love to hear. (He’s not damning with faint praise, I just like that phrase a lot. It’s a great review.) This one from A Fantastical Librarian goes really in-depth to look at favorites and less-than-favorites. “Chennai 5″ got a shout out with the former, so I of course have the most ridiculous grin on my face right now.

In Situ  is out from Dagan now, as a friendly reminder. Check it out here, if it sounds like your speed, and here’s a little interview I did about “Chennai 5″ and what inspired it.

If the above discussion of hanging out with the in-laws didn’t already answer that. Ha!

Second Anniversary Issue

27 Oct

Time out to say: gee golly, I’m so proud! RPP has made it to its second anniversary, and oh man. MAN. It’s just. So. Pretty.

(Also, still free, as ever. Check it out!)

The Red Penny Papers, Fall 2012, cover by C Bernard

Cover by the wonderful C. Bernard, who has done so many beautiful things for us over the past two years, based on Cat Rambo’s story. Also features work by Jamie Mason, Alan Baxter, M. Bennardo, and Katy Gunn. I cannot even describe the beautiful mix of concept, styles, and general pulpy goodness this time around. Just… you won’t regret it!

In Situ

10 Jul

In Situ cover by Oliver Wetter

An anthology of alien archaeology, hidden mysteries, and things that are better off left buried.

I am so ridiculously excited about this. When Dagan Books put out the call for submissions last year, I had one of those crushing moments of, “But I’ve tried to write sci fi and I can’t!” But I read so much of it, how can that be? And–archaeology! I totally did that in school, come onnnn I can’t say no.

I talked to Balaji about my idea for a future story in which all the colonists were descended from his home state in India, Tamil Nadu. He named my characters–in particular Kannagi, who is a total badass. We discussed the artifact. We discussed cultural relevance. We discussed totally destroying shit, sci-fi style. And yeah, I totally couldn’t say no, as suspected. (Lucky for me, though I’m sure Carrie could’ve said no, she did not.)

And now here it is, in this collection full of amazing authors, with a shiny cover by Oliver Wetter. It’s out today in all kinds of formats, so check it out if you like this alien idea. It’s gorgeous! Click to buy — or if you’re low on cash, enter the GR giveaway to win one of two copies. Happy birthday, In Situ.

31 Days of Secrets… with Carole Lanham

3 May

And now, a lovely little tease from one of my absolute favorite short story collections ever…

The Whisper Jar by Carole Lanham

To gear up for the latest print release from Morrigan Books, author Carole Lanham is sharing 31 secrets in 31 days from her collection of award-winning stories, The Whisper Jar.  On May 31, 2012, The Whisper Jar will be available for purchase in paperback, and this is one secret that both Carole and Morrigan Books hope you’ll whisper far and wide.  In the meantime, if you’d like to read the book before the end of the month, please pick up your copy of the ebook today at Amazon.

Secret # 3

It all begins and ends with a leather book, twenty-five significant pages asmudge with jelly thumbprints, pasted valentines, and knee blood. Childhood, if you will, saved on wrinkled paper. You know the stuff: the feathers you collected, the cigar ring the neighbor kid slid on your finger behind the snowball bush, that snotty smear that was once a frog’s heart… KEEPSAKES. That’s what the front of the leather book says, written in curly gold letters more flowery than flowers. Real gold letters, probably, and worth a small fortune each. Be it a shoebox, a hope chest, or a dresser drawer, one should always have a place to keep what must be kept.

The Turnbull brothers had a leather book…

~ Keepity Keep

Carole Lanham is made entirely out of awesome. The Whisper Jar is packed to the lid with dark magic and whimsy, while bearing an ominously old-fashioned touch that might make Edward Gorey feel right at home. It deserves to be ranked as a modern classic.

Brian Hodge, author of Mad Dogs and Picking The Bones

Belfire Sale!

6 Mar

There’s a sale at Smashwords this week for Read an eBook Week, and Belfire’s catalogue is discounted, weee! Yes, Scripped, too — 25% off an already awesome $2.99 with code  REW25 at checkout. That makes it $2.25 for your very own freaky, kidnapping, skin-stealing, cold-kissing fae. Might I also recommend the fabulous Ante Mortem, if your bent runs to short fiction — I have a mean little story in there called “The Dubious Magic of Elliot Prince” — it’s 50% off with the code REW50 at checkout. Which means it’s $1.50. I know.

I mean, really. Belfire’s whole catalogue. So much goodness.

(Does it make it sound better or worse if I say I based that Ante Mortem story on The Smiths’ “Cemetry Gates”? Okay, nevermind…)

I’m run a little ragged over here, since I’ve got a little less than a week before the next Katey Hawthorne book drops (the cover! So cute!) and I’m working on getting The Red Penny Papers set up as a proper LLC in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Which I already did, technically, but now I’m extricating its finances from my own while preparing the fast-onrushing Spring Quarterly and working out some more awesome eBook stuff.

So everything is good, but I’m all over the place this week, is all I mean. I’d say it’ll slow down after Nobody’s Hero drops on the 13th, but honestly, that’s when the fun is just beginning. March is going to be absurd. And rad. But absurd.

Vacation in Lovely Mirador City!

1 Mar

Okay, so Mirador City is sort of a wretched hive of scum and villainy — at least, the Silver Quarter is. But home is home, right?

I’m really excited that Niteblade Fantasy and Horror Magazine — which I have wanted to be in since, like, forever — published my story of two exploited teenagers kicking some ass in the March 2012 issue. Meet Elanzah and Nieva in “The Silver Quarter”. Yay! Rhonda Parrish is fabulous to work with, so thank you, Niteblade.

(Can read the first half for free, but then the rest is in the pdf/ebook version, which is all value-priced. I think they end up free eventually, though, once the issue is paid off through people kind enough to purchase.)

The story takes place in one small corner of the larger world I created for the novel I’m currently trying to beat into submission shape, Plaguebringer. Another story that takes place in this world, “The Runner”, can be found in Beauty Has Her Way, edited by Jennifer Brozek.

Bonus content: I am such a nerd that I even have maps! Here’s the country in which “The Silver Quarter” takes place. It’s called Navaquin (it’s Nav-ah-KEEN — I’m sure everyone would lose sleep at night not knowing that. God, I am such a nerd…). That city down south, where all the rivers dump into the sea? That’s the place. Click it to make it bigger and pretty and stuff!

Navaquin
Warning: “The Silver Quarter”, though I’d say it’s a fun story, deals with some heavy shit. The characters are young and subject to different forms of sexual exploitation, one of them in a long-term way. I didn’t want to flinch from that — would’ve defeated the purpose — but I didn’t show any of it on the page. It could still be triggery, though, so I wanted to give fair warning.

And in closing, I’ve been a crap blogger, but my brain got hijacked this weekend. Just now getting it back after puking up a novelette. Sorry!

Writer Love

15 Feb

So I probably shouldn’t tell this story, but I’m going to anyhow. (Why yes, yes it does make me look as weird and sick as I actually am, now you mention it.)

The Editrix (Domineditrix? Ravenabler?) RT’d a link on twitter today to this How to Date a Writer article. I would like to take a moment to linger on point #7:

Don’t interrupt them at their work. If you find them in the kitchen dressed in underwear leafing through the a book of photographs while butting out a cigarette in a bowl of ice cream, you must treat this scene with the utmost respect. As if you had just walked in on a surgeon in the middle of open heart surgery.

Because — well of course that’s true, you shouldn’t interrupt. But the more important point, I think, is that you will in fact walk in on some weird shit, living with a writer, and if you’re easily freaked out, you’re in trouble.

In truth, B is pretty easily freaked out. (Sorry, dear, but you know it’s true.) He’s extremely animated and his reactions are often very dramatic. However, he is not freaked out by me, which is pretty amazing when you consider.

So here’s the story I probably shouldn’t tell:

My first ever story commission came from Mark Deniz,  long before I was more involved at Morrigan. Mark needed a pinch hitter for the international version of Scenes from the Second Storey, and Amanda Pillar — who had worked with me on both Voices and Grants Pass — said she thought I might do. Massive leap of faith, but Mark gave me a try. He told me which song I’d be writing for (“She Said”) and let me go.

There’s a reference to painting (the sky!) in the song, and when I think of painters, I naturally think of Aldo. See poster boy up there. He’s a rather wounded little art student type, and my official muse. So I decided to write an alternate reality version of him and his best friend (who is, you guessed it, Liam — coming this year to a bookshelf near you!), posing one simple question: what would’ve happened to Aldo if Liam had died young?

Yes, it’s a seriously dark story. And it involves painting. With blood.

So here I am, writing this story, and I’m thinking, Fuck, man, how well does that actually work? Can you really paint with blood? How would it keep, how dark could you get it, what kind of pigment control is going on there? What does it look like after a month? A year?

… you see where I’m going with this. Turn back now, if you’re scared, because  yeah, it’s about to get weird as fuck up in here.

So B comes back from his daily run and finds me on the bathroom floor painting a smiley face on watercolor paper with some weird red stuff. He said, “What the hell did you do?”

And I said, “Oh, I wondered how it’d look if you tried to paint with blood, so I had to get some.”

“Did you cut yourself?”

“I tried but I’m a chicken. I just remembered how much I bleed when I nick the back of my ankle shaving* in the shower, sooooo… I did that.”

And his reaction was priceless. He didn’t scream in terror. He didn’t run away and call a doctor. He didn’t send me to a shrink. He just said, “Well, you didn’t have to do that; I would’ve given you some blood.”

I’m not sure if it’s more creepy or sweet, but yeah. Bit Billy Bob and Angelina, really. You want to date a writer? Prepare for some weird shit.

Also, when I say blood, sweat, and tears went into writing “She Said”, you now know I mean this literally. I’d say that’s why it’s my favorite, but that’s not even true. It’s my favorite cuz of Aldo. (Who, in this universe, is called Tory. But still. Same guy, different world.)

I so shouldn’t hit “publish” on this one. But I’m gonna anyhow.

*Seriously, what’s up with that? You’d think it was a major artery…

Short Fiction – I Have It!

13 Dec

Yes, it is a thing, and though it’s been a long time since I had any news about it (uh, I wrote a lot of books this year, as it turns out…), I have some now. My epic fantasy-style adventure/coming of age/whatever “The Silver Quarter” is going to be in the March issue of one of my longtime favorite mags: Niteblade. I’m really looking forward to working with the wonderful Rhonda Parrish on it.

“The Silver Quarter” takes place in the same world as a big long epic fantasy novel I have in the first draft stages. I think I wrote it last year, so maybe some of y’all remember me posting WiP Wednesday stuff about it or ranting about drawing maps– it’s called Plaguebringer. My story in Beauty Has Her Way, “The Runner”, takes place there too. They’re both backstories of main characters from Plaguebringer. “The Runner” is about Cami and her escape from her home clan, and a country run by swampy drug lords. (She grows up to be an awesome city planner and civil engineer in Plaguebringer. I wouldn’t want to meet her in a dark alley, either, just for the record.)

“The Silver Quarter” is about Elanzah, a once-upon-a-time city street rat and tavern boy, and his best friend Nieva, a clever-but-clueless country girl being held captive by some, um, unsavory types. It’s how they met at the age of 15. And saved each other.

From what? Well, yeah. The story deals with some pretty intense shit, to be honest. We’re talking a couple of kids who are being used and exploited by every single grown up around them, effectively. But take heart: In Plaguebringer, Elan ends up a badass swordmaster, and Nieva a space-cadet of a brilliant academic. So you know it can’t have ended too badly for them when they were little scrappers, after all.

In other news, I’ve been really quiet lately because:

1. I’ve been finalizing edits on the winter issue of RPP, which is going to be amazing, of course!

and

2. That book I started writing RIGHT after Nano? Yeah, it’s called Reentry Burn, and is 65k right now. Almost done. Trying to finish banging it out today, so it’ll leave me alone for a few. It would’ve been done sooner, but I read a bunch of books about “How to Survive in Prison” and “How to Make it Through Your Parole Without Being Thrown Back In”, and so spent a few days in a downward spiral of despair at how fucked up society is. (Malory the MC = ex-offender. And trying to stay that way.) Good god.

Of course, thinking about Cami, Nieva, and Elanzah, I now want to go back to Plaguebringer and edit it. But that mother is about 180k, and needs to be about 120, and frankly, I think I want a few days of quiet…

But I always say that, don’t I?

This Post is Exploding With Awesome (Releases and Giveaways!)

14 Nov

Okay, you’ve been warned. Here’s the awesome:

Scripped is going live on Friday, November 18. Of course I am hesitant to say no disaster could keep it from getting there now, but we all know if I say that, something really horrible will happen. Let’s just say: YAY!

Get your copy here!

I’ll post the finished cover and stuff soon, but for now, I have other pretty pictures for you, as I’ve seen two other incredible releases just this weekend and want to share them:

Scenes From the Second Storey: International

This is Amanda Pillar’s gorgeous cover for Scenes From the Second Storey from Morrigan Books. Click the cover to go to the book’s MB page, or just stay here and listen to me squee for a sec.

This book has been a long time in the making — so long that I was asked to pinch-hit in the line-up… I think it was just after Grants Pass, actually. Long before I was on the Morrigan editor roster (obviously), long before I knew Mark and Amanda so well.

This lineup is beyond stellar. My usual ToC buddy Pete Kempshall, my dear friend Mike Stone, Carole Johnstone, Shannon Page — okay, I have to stop, but really, it’s brilliant. You don’t need to know the album after which it was named/around which it’s framed to enjoy it — but it’s a damn good album, too.

My story, “She Said”… I kind of hesitate to say it’s my favorite of mine. I suspect I feel that way just because it’s an AU version of Aldo (site mascot boy up there), who’s been my little museling since I was 13. But yes, it’s a cool book.

IshtarAnd this, of course, is Ishtar – another gorgeous Amanda Pillar cover. We were co-editors on this project for Morrigan’s little sister, Gilgamesh Press. It is a beautiful collection of three novellas by Kaaron Warren, Deborah Biancotti, and Cat Sparks about the goddess Ishtar, past, present, and future.

There are some wonderful background posts from both the authors and Amanda at the Gilgamesh site that are totally worth checking out. That said, no prior knowledge is necessary to “get” these stories. Anyone who enjoys a badass goddess can dig on these.

Ishtar loves, hates, wars, fucks, fights, cries, laughs. (Also, there are zombies. Not your usual zombies, either — this is waaaaay out there.) I am really proud that I got to be a part of this, to work with these awesome women, and to see this thing come to life. I think people are going to dig it.

Wait, I said there was a giveaway, didn’t I?

Okay, so here’s the deal. If you link to this post and give a shout-out to Scripped‘s upcoming release, I’ll enter you into a drawing to win one of these two gorgeous new ebooks from Morrigan — your choice. Tweet, blog, tumblr, facebook, whatever you like to spread the word — just make sure I know about it (email, comment, use @taylorkv, whatever works!) and your name goes in the hat. I’ll draw two out on Sunday night at midnight!

(PS – I’ve got one of the Liberty Tree books claimed already, but that means there are still four. If you buy, be sure and email to let me know!)