All the Reviews!

20 Feb

Well, not all the reviews, just the two, really, but they’re so amazing I had to share.

First, if you haven’t seen Harry Markov’s review of Fish yet, definitely check it out. It’s amazing, and a lot of what he says about the theme in general is quite literally how Carrie described the project to me when we began, way back when with the call for submissions.  Just. Well. Here’s a thing:

Carrie Cuinn and K.V. Taylor reveal to you an ecosystem of underwater wonders that’s outrageous, eclectic and beautiful. Theoretically, some might suspect it shouldn’t be able to work as there is nothing at first glance to hold these stories together, but there is so much soul in the project to cement this as the definitive anthology for 2013 – at least in my book.

A lot of the stories are discussed one at a time, and it’s just brilliant to see that it worked exactly how Carrie wanted. So yay!

Also, Liam was a good boy today. Well, as good as he’s capable of being, I reckon, anyhow. Melanie over at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue words gives him a glowing five-star review–but more than that, she totally got the book.

This is not a universe of Rainbow Bright and Unicorns, but a much darker, malevolent place in which humans walk at their peril. I love how even a visit to a night club can turn from a simple night out into one of pain and horror in the hands of this talented author.

… If this is a love story, it is not the one you are probably expecting.  It is a love story  certainly, but it’s participants are monsters and it follows that it’s their definition of love, not a human one.

Yeah. It ain’t pretty. And I am so, so pleased that it’s clear it wasn’t meant to be. Oh also, Melanie breaks the news that the series will follow–basically the pattern on the “characters” page. James, up next. Just about done. Yyyyyeah.

Also, the soundtrack is up, if anyone wants read-along music :D

The Boy Who Talked Through Books

16 Feb

Silly ass emo-post coming. I am so goddamn exhausted it’s a wonder I’m not flooding the world with these right now, but I’ll keep ‘em to a minimum, promise.

Well over a year ago–wait, no it was two!–I did a post about visiting F. Scott Fitzgerald’s grave. There’s a very brief mention there of me leaving him a thank you note, but I don’t think I talked about what I was thanking him for. So this is it:

Liam is the boy who talks through books. He’s introverted and–not a loner, because he has his best friend and his brothers, and that’s all he’s ever needed. He’s bad at feelings, because, you know. He’s 20 and fairly repressed. The way he connects to the world, the easiest way to get him to empathize or understand, is through literary analogy. He does it to himself fairly often.

F. Scott Fitzgerald comes up a lot.

I watched him until he faded into the dark, wondering if this goddamn uncomfortable mixed-up feeling made me the resentful, admiring Nick Carraway to his effortless, romantic Jay Gatsby.

Pretty standard Liamthought, there. After a particularly heady evening:

Jesus, that was the kind of night you read about in books full of champagne and jazz and rich kids with nothing better to do than fuck each other in every way imaginable. My Great Gatsby analogy coming back to haunt me.

That’s what you get for making shit literary references, Liam. Way to go.

And Gianni, being a clever bastard, picks up on this and starts doing it for him.

Gianni went on, “It wasn’t as bad as it sounds. I did very well, in spite of my name.” I didn’t get his meaning, so I made a face. “You don’t see many Italian names in an F. Scott Fitzgerald book, do you? Poor and savage—not precisely Ivy League material. Not that the years have changed things that much.”

My old Gatsby analogy strikes again. I grinned.

“The respectable WASPs—even the rich Irish Catholic boys, few though they were—couldn’t abide us, though we were just as American as their own brats.” His smile suggested the memories weren’t unhappy, for all that. “But I was smart, charming, and most importantly, rich enough that they couldn’t often get away with calling me a dirty little wop in polite society. Not so long as I stayed away from their sisters, daughters, and wives.”

I grinned, imagining that he didn’t generally oblige them on that point.

“I was a bit of a novelty, in a penny dreadful way. Boys fought over who would be my friend.” There, he started to smirk. “I had a lot of fun, when I wasn’t being bored to death.”

“But?”

“Such a ridiculous little world. I hated it.”

“No Long Island girls and Harvard boys?”

“Not even lazy, good-looking, aristocratic Princeton could tempt me.”

His tone spoke of quotation, so I asked, “What’s that from?”

This Side of Paradise.” More smirking, a little more smug.

I loved when he did that to me. I was never sure if that was because it fed my ego that he went out of his way to speak my language, or if it was just that his brain was generally sexy.

Probably a little of both. I gave him his point, anyhow: “Haven’t read that one.”

“You had better. I think it’s about you in a past life.”

There are a lot of other occurrences of this kind of thing, but the FSF thread continues all the way to the end. (That bit right there is about in the middle.) It’s perfect common ground, since Gianni is a product of the Jazz Age himself. The Gatsby analogies were in early drafts, but the thread stopped there; only with those last few did it make it all the way through to This Side of Paradise and tie it up for me.

Or maybe it tied them up, since this scene is probably the first where they come to a real understanding.

So the note I left at the grave that first time said thank you for the awesome books, of course. And then I said thank you for tying up mine, because I couldn’t do it on my own. I tried for ten years, believe me.

I don’t know, but the first place I sent Liam after that was Belfire. And. Wahey. It’s a thing. So FSF is the unofficial patron saint, and I don’t care how fucking silly it is, because I like it. (And so does Liam. Hell, even G approves, and he is not a fan of saints, god knows.)

So today while I was in Rockville I stopped by to visit again. I didn’t write another note. Like dude has time for my notes–if there’s an afterlife he’s sitting in a hot tub drinking Dom Perignon from a coupe glass and fighting eternally with Zelda. But you know. Had to be done.

F. Scott Fitzgerald's grave, St. Mary's, Rockville

Liam for Sale

14 Feb

Hey there. Do you like vampires?

Liam

If yes: You should totally try my new book! It’s the start of a new series with fabulous vampire science/alchemy, ridiculous telepathic blowjobs/bloody sex, random references to sci fi and F. Scott Fitzgerald, lots of murder, setting things on fire, and a dairy farm.

… it makes more sense in context, I promise.

If no: Well, it’s still worth a try, because at least half of my beta readers declared their intention to forever hate on vampires to me before reading it and still curse the day they met this fucker Liam. (Cuz, you know. Now they don’t hate them.) Plus, the eBook is super cheap right now:

Smashwords and use coupon code KC42D until 2-21-13

And there’s a hefty discount on the lovely print edition too:

CreateSpace Code F4QCW9Q2 for 20% off until 2-21-13

More editions are coming soon to Amazon, B&N, Kobo, etc. etc., but this is a pretty sweet deal, so you know…

Require more convincing? Okay cool, check this out:

http://fiorenzafamily.com/

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!

Gone

8 Nov

It’s time for another trip to India, yay! This time, we’re going a little earlier than usual so we can hang out for Diwali. There will, of course, be random pictures.

In the meantime, I think I can arrange a vampire movie review while I’m away. There were supposed to be two. I re-watched the first few eps of The Vampire Diaries thinking that could be amusing for them.

Now I realize why I didn’t actually recall thinking of them when I first watched it. Basically they decided they’d rather be reading “something interesting”, but, “let us know when Damon kills someone, though. That’s fun.”

… welp. I thought G would at least like the mindfuck aspect.

Okay, then. Screw you, vampire brats. think it’s a fun show!

And I will finally, finally catch up with it. Possibly while recovering from the epic jet lag that’s about to ensue. Back before Thanksgiving!

Yum

30 Oct

Liam and G by Astro

I’m…

I’m just gonna leave that there, actually. It speaks for itself.

Check the excerpts page, though. Fuckin’ shiny, right?

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!

Vampire Movie Night: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

19 Oct

Welcome to a not-so-newish segment where we allow Liam Corchoran and Gianni Fiorenza, the so-called heroes of my upcoming vampire series, The Family, to regale us with their unnecessary opinions on various and sundry vampire films. Got a rec for the boys? Hit em up!

Tonight is 1992’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (As in, before the TV show, there was…)


Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
Director: Fran Rubel Kuzui
Writer: Joss Whedon
Stars: Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland, and Paul Reubens

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

L: Holy shit, how have I never seen this movie before?
G: I have no idea; it seems like the kind of thing you would watch.
L: What’s that mean?
G: You’re easily amused?
L: You thought the old Fright Night was funny, but not this?
G: It has its moments. Didn’t you watch the TV show?
L: No, actually. I’m more of a Firefly guy.
G: What the hell is Firefly?
L: Why are we even friends, again?
G: Because I’m incredibly charming, well-read, and quick-witted? Because I have a weakness for farm boys and I always get what I want? Because–
L: I get it. But still. Jesus, man.

Kristy Swanson as Buffy

Excuse much. Rude or anything?

G: I do like Buffy. She’s my kind of girl. I’d want to kiss her, not destroy her… though she would make an excellent vampire.
L: Thing is, she wants to destroy you.
G: Any human who doesn’t has earned their Darwin Award fairly.
L: True that. She is the reason this movie’s awesome, though. The original valley-girl bad-ass. The best is when that dude grabs her ass in the hall and she busts out vampire-killing moves on him and just body-slams the fucker.
G: You would think that was hot.
L: Yeah, yeah, my type, we’ve established this. Pretty fucking resourceful too. Girl can make anything into a stake.
G: I like that even she doesn’t realize how wonderful she is. And it’s not so much that this creepy old man shows her, but that he…
L: Gives her a kick in the pants so she can figure it out?
G: Yes. Aren’t you going to complain about him stalking cheerleaders in locker rooms and at the gym?
L: Yeah, that ain’t right. Oh also, go Luke Perry. Get it, buddy.

David Arquette as Obligatory Cracked Out Vampire Friend, Benny

David Arquette as Obligatory Cracked Out Vampire Friend, Benny

L: The vampires were hokey, but in an awesome way. I enjoyed the obligatory cracked out vamped-friend, this time around.
G: I am a little confused about this “chosen one business”, though. I understand the basics–
L: One dies, another one is born who looks just like her, including a mole-thing so creepy Merrick guy, who is apparently always born in the same unfortunate Donald Sutherland body, can recognize and train her.
G: But I don’t understand her link with these ugly vampires. The… vampire… lord… creature…
L: Thing. Lothos.
G: Yes, him. He says they’re bound to each other. And then he’s about to eat her, maybe halfway through the movie, but he stops because “She’s not ready.”
L: Yeah, what was that? Is there some recipe? Like she needs to bake longer in the slayer oven to taste right, or join him or something? Brine longer in the slayer barrel? Hang in the slayer cella–?
G: Yes, all right, thank you.
L: Maybe the show explains it. We should watch the show.
G: Gah.

Lothos

They share a bond. We don’t know what kind. We’re not sure we want to. She sets him on fire with hairspray. Who cares. That’s awesome.

L: In closing, I just want to say that I hope when I die, I go out like that Amilyn guy, because that was hilarious.
G: You had better not die, brat. In closing, I would just like to say that when you end up dead in a high school gym after a dance, you are officially a failure as a vampire.
L: Oh yeah, and if you watch this movie–which you should, totally stick around for the news reports after.
G: If you must.

Vampire Movie Night: Fright Night (2011)

4 Oct

Welcome to a not-so-newish segment where we allow Liam Corchoran and Gianni Fiorenza, the so-called heroes of my upcoming vampire series, The Family, to regale us with their unnecessary opinions on various and sundry vampire films. Got a rec for the boys? Hit em up!

Tonight is the second of our two-part Fright Night extravaganza. 


Fright Night (2011)
Director: Craig Gillespie
Writers: Marti Noxon (screenplay), Tom Holland (story)
Stars: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, David Tennant, and Imogen Poots

L: Vampires in Vegas! Okay, seriously, first impressions were: one–Wow, much better beginning and two–Holy shit, is that Chekov?
G: It’s like Six Degrees of Science Fiction with you every. single. night.
L: Shut up, I like Chekov. And, I mean, Hero-boy Charley’s vaguely creepy in this one, too, but not in a date rapey way. Just a general asshole teenager way. He’s a dick to his friends…
G: Don’t beat yourself up, darling. I actually like the friend, in this version.
L: Yeah, Ed is the man. I mean, he makes fun of the fact that the big bad vampire is called Jerry.
G: And he actually serves a plot purpose instead of just being the obligatory coked-up 80s loser-buddy.
L: Also has the best line in the whole movie: “He’s not brooding or lovesick or noble; he’s the fucking shark from Jaws.”
G: “And seriously I am so angry that you think I read Twilight.”
L: I thought Twilight was kinda fun.
G: And you wonder why I question your taste.

L: Let’s just pause for a second to appreciate Jerry in this movie. He’s so much more badass than in the 80s one. And smarter. That gasline thing was classic
G: He’s completely absurd and trying to get himself killed. Plus, he’s lost all the old-timey cinema charm that made the 80s version funny.
L: Except it wasn’t funny, so that’s actually a good thing. Colin Ferrell is all dirty and scary and hot. And he has that Dexter-like kill room–I mean a whole hall of them. That’s fucking genius.
G: He left a victim alive up there, went downstairs–went out of the house when he knew his neighbor was watching him. If you’re trying to pitch this as a more realistic vampire film–
L: Well, yeah, okay, but they at least tried to explain it. All the characters have motivations and personalities instead of just being caricatures–
G: You’re ridiculous. This is horrible.
L: If watching that guy drink blood didn’t give you a huge vampire boner, you should just set yourself on fire right now. You are already dead. Again.
G: … well, there is that, I suppose. But it’s still horrible.

L: They did keep the Jerry-eating-apples thing from the old version.
G: They added a fucking car chase and lost everything that was charming. The Renfield character, for example. Who admittedly had none of the awesome of Renfield, but–
L: No. You want Thirty Days of Night for awesome Renfield-like characters.
G: Liam, pay attention. You like what they kept from the 80s version, but you’re ignoring that that version was a nod to Dracula and its ilk. This film is like… reading a translation of a translation.
L: And yet it’s better. How funny was David Tennant as Peter Vincent? Losing the washed up Van Helsing shtick for a fucked up Criss Angel, Vampire Hunter–
G: Who drinks Midori constantly. Ugh.
L: That’s why it’s funny. And the bit where he’s bitching about the leather pants. I lost my shit.
G: You just like him because he was the Doctor.
L: Nine was the best.
G: I give up.

L: Another awesome difference: the ladies didn’t have to suck the whole time. Mom got to be a badass during the–
G: –hideously gratuitous–
L: –car chase bit. And Amy, who was basically just The Girlfriend Who Won’t Put Out and Gets Into Trouble in the old version, got to kick some ass wandering around Vincent’s awesome stockpile of eBay vampire-hunting paraphernalia.
G: I will admit that the bit where Jerry abducts her from the club and turns her into his “bride” was far less unfortunate in this version, as well. Not just because there was nary a Cosby sweater in sight. Anyhow, she’s your type.
L: I don’t have a type.
G: Girls who boss you around, make you feel like you don’t deserve them, and can mentally kick your ass.
L: Oh. Yeah, okay. She is kinda my type.

G: I suppose the movie wouldn’t have been so terrible if it hadn’t devolved completely into a spiral of action movie stupidity.
L: At least it looked cool, unlike the last movie.
G: Give it a decade and see how it holds up, sweetheart.