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Dead on Arrival On Sale


DEAD ON ARRIVAL ON SALE!


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My e-book Dead on Arrival goes on sale today!

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The only thing worse than Max’s death is his new living arrangement.

Max is dead.  He’s stuck haunting his old apartment, waking up every
day reliving his embarrassing death-by-shaving-accident.  To make
matters worse, he’s got a new flatmate: Charlie, the too-serious
student.  There’s no light or heavenly music waiting for Max, just a
monotonous afterlife with a girl who can see ghosts and hates it.

As bored as Max is, though, he isn’t ready to move on.  He wasted his
whole life and now that it is behind him, he doesn’t want to be erased.
But if he’s going to maintain his hold on his existence, Max is going
to have to learn how to live with Charlie.  And maybe along the way he
can teach her how to live with seeing the dead.



BUY DEAD ON ARRIVAL HERE:

Amazon
Barnes & Nobel
Eggplant
Kobo
OmniLit

DON’T HAVE AN E-READER?

Not a problem. Dead on Arrival is only available as an ebook, but that doesn’t mean you can’t read it. Just head over here first and download the free e-pub app for Firefox.

When you buy the book, download it like you would any other file. Then head over to your new e-pub app, hit File, then Open File and select Dead on Arrival from its save location on your computer. Ta da! You just jury-rigged yourself an e-reader.

I HOPE YOU LOVE THIS BOOK. It’s all the things I love, and I really want you all to love it, too. If you do love it, please visit the Goodreads page over here! Tell everyone!

Twenty Thousand Dollars Later

So, I went to college. Twenty thousand dollars later and 144 days from now, I will have a BA in English. And now, I finally, finally know what I want to do with my life. Today, I discovered my dream job.

I want to be a mushroom picker.

I almost wish I were kidding. In Pittsburgh, there is an old coal mine converted into a mushroom farm. So every day, some people put lights on their head and go down into the pit of the world, to methodically fill cardboard boxes with little white mushrooms. Then, they climb back into the world and go home.

I covet that job. And I want the night shift. I don't sleep well anymore. I'm stressed and I'm tired. More than anything in the world, I want a job where I climb into the ground and stay there all night doing something helpful and simple until the sun comes back up. Then, when the sun is back, so am I, and the job stays in the hole in the ground where I left it.

On the one hand, I wish I hadn't spent 20k figuring this out. On the other hand, that 20k helped my writing, and if I hadn't spent it, I probably would never have figured it out. College would have been the great white whale that bit off my penis. Or something. I don't know. All I remember from Moby Dick is Dr. Lenz rereading the part where "the whale unmanned him" a lot, complete with some wink-wink-nudge-nudging. The (very, very wrong) mental image of a giant white whale taking great care to ever so gingerly bite off Captain Ahabs's penis has never left me.

In any case, when my 144 days are up, I'm going to contact the mushroom people and see if they have a position open. I'm hoping the novelty of a 22 year old writer girl asking if she can please have her dream job of digging up mushrooms will at least get me an interview. I mean, how many other people email them to say, "I'm done writing papers now. Can I come in your hole and harvest your fungus?"

I may be a freak.

I start my final semester on January 4th. On that day, it will be 147 days until I graduate. I am so, so looking forward to that. I feel like I'll be a whole new person when school ends. Granted, I will be a whole new person in crushing debt, but these are the little things you have to learn to ignore in life, right?

In any case, I made the same New Year resolution I always make, which is to "Submit more! HO!" Expecting this, many publishers (very wisely, I might add) don't open for submissions until February. I can't blame them at all. I slush-read for awhile and I hated it. I'd hate it even more if I'd lasted at it long enough to reach the I'M GOING TO BE AN AUTHOR THIS YEAR submission wave. Ugh. That must be really awful for them.

For me, it means I've got a whole month of icky, icky college with little to look forward to. I guess I'll survive. Though, at this point, I would love to build a time-machine, just so I can pay Future!Me or Past!Me to write this goddamned tutorial for me. Just twelve more pages, but it's twelve more pages I have no inclination to write.
Here's the thing. I've got this character, Hanarai. I've used the name Hanarai before for an Oblivion story and fell in love with it. The name just evokes Strong Woman Character for me now. This is a different Hanarai. For one thing, she's about 15 and doesn't go around seducing men to get her way.

Instead, she's a wild child, living in an America so post-apocalyptic, it doesn't even know the apocalypse happened. People are back to running around in tribes, without so much as a way to forge metal. She's spent most of her life in this settlement over here, but she's been passed from family to family within it for her whole life. Her mother was a wanderer who died not too long after birth and this tribe wouldn't abandon a baby, but neither would any family take full responsibility for a kid that isn't their blood. She was raised communially, which as it turns out, isn't really the best way to raise a child. 

She was never a well socalized child. She ran away a lot and no one particularly noticed because individually, she wasn't anyone's responsibility. Eventually, she runs away permanently and sets up shop in the wreckage of a city with a pack of what are essentially dogs (they like her; she trains them), and now, when she gets irratated, she'll sometimes punch or bite people. But she's very smart, and she picks and chooses the conventions of the tribe she grew up with as things worthy of being upheld. 

The foremost being that she must bury the heart and eat the liver of her slain, worthy adversaries. Which works pretty well usually, seeing as her only worthy adversary to this date was a bear. But now she just killed a human.

The man was a slaver, and a real peice of shit. But he knew how to fight and fought well, making him a worthy adversary.

Hanarai's culture says she needs to eat his liver and bury his heart. And if she's going to start cutting him up anyway, her own practicality says she wouldn't waste meat.

Now, it's possible her old tribe wouldn't eat people, worthy or not, but since they haven't seen conflict in many generations, nobody would have thought to tell her whether or not eating people is copasheshy.

Even if they had, Hanarai is living on her own in the middle of a wilderness now. It's winter. Food is scarce. She has no scruples that would tell her not to eat a person.

I am at an impasse. Because I know making her a cannibal is crossing a line. Yet, this is a line she would cross without even noticing the line existed.

So now, here's the thing. If Hanarai eats his bits, she is a cannibal. If I don't make her a cannibal, then the next best thing her culture would give her to honor him would be to make a coat from his skin... which, as it turns out, creeps me out even more than accidental cannibalism. 

Personally, I don't have a real problem with her eating some dude's liver. I think, given the bounds her culture set down, that's a very polite thing for her to do to a person she fought and killed. And I know that Hanarai would absolutely stick to her culture. So unless I bend the rules with a "she didn't think the slaver actually was a worthy adversary", Hanarai would be eating people.

Only, I don't think you can write a young-adult novel in which the MC eats people, even if it is to honor them.

Hmm...

Is this what real authors deal with?

On September 29th, Drollerie finally (after two and a half years) published Iodine.

And then, I kid you not, on October 21, Drollerie closed.

I've got my rights back, and I'm supposed to be getting the money from it within the next couple of months. (Hahah. Yeah. I'm not holding my breath. These people couldn't even track down my editor.) But the thing is, no matter what they do, I've still lost my first publication rights. I can never sell this story again for the first time.

And honestly, while it feels like abandoning a child to admit this, I think it's out of date. It's just not relevant and new anymore. Even if another place (and I did send a tentative tentacle back out into the scary publishing world) jumps on it within the next month, they won't have a spot for it for another year. Is anyone in 2012 still going to want to read a Little Red Riding Reboot? Because I wrote this story in 2008, but since then, fairytale retellings have exploded. I was accidentally the forefront to a trend and I didn't move near fast enough because, frankly, I was a noob. I should have ditched this place at Ominous Sign One, but I didn't. And then it got to a point where yeah, shit kept happening, but I'd already invested so much time into this place that I just... gave up. Went with the flow.

Well, the flow got me fucked, so let's not do that again, shall we? 

A learning experience, I guess. At least I've got my rights back, at any rate.
In high school, I used to write novels all the time. Granted, they weren't very good, but that's what I spent my day doing. I carried a notebook with me everywhere and any spare time I got, I'd hunch over and start writing. Ah, those were the days.

But then I got to college and I guess I took it seriously or something, because I stopped writing novels. For awhile, I stopped writing, period. But when I finally picked it up again, I wrote short stories.

Which, fantastic. I enjoy short stories.

Only I notice, as my stress goes up, so does my intended scope-of-project. I didn't want to write a novel practically back-to-back with the last one I did, but this idea came up--during a Pokemon game, no less--and bellowed, "FEED ME, SEYMORE." So here I am. Writing another novel. Which, because of the way my brain circles when I'm stressed, is ranked as Most Important on my Internal Priorities Meter.

Obviously, writing is a coping mechanism. I just didn't think I'd be so damn obvious about it. I mean, come on. Things are kind of massively shitty right now, I grant you, but creating elaborate new worlds and cultures seems a bit extreme to me.  

Heh. And now that I think about it, I obsessed over outlining that last novel throughout the last half of Fall '10 semester and all the way to the end of Spring '11. Then, when summer vacation hit, I wrote 10k a day for eight days and finished the whole thing. Boom, done. Spent the rest of the summer playing Pokemon, watching Black Books and reading fanfiction. All of these things, I might point out, precipitate Total System Failure.

I really, really just want left alone for awhile. University is riding me right now. On the one hand, they say, "You're an adult; we should be able to trust you to handle this without micromanaging you."

And in the same damn breath they follow that up with, "Now I'll need to see your proposal, your outline, your sources and your first fifteen pages of close textual analysis--oh, and don't forget you still have to write two ten page papers for the mandatory class on "Globalization" we gave you, though it's really just 'Who Pissed Off The Middle East: Yesterday and Today!'--and by the way, I'll want a list of sources for that before you even start writing. Also, come in special on Thursdays just to watch movies in languages you don't understand and write a two page paper on each. Two hour bus ride each way, you say? Oh, well you probably should have paid through the nose and moved to campus to share a dorm with four other girls who all hate each other. You know how we like to make unreasonable demands--and oh, while I'm thinking of it, and you're still chained to your laptop, why don't you just read through these really crappy short stories and tell your classmates what you liked."

Ffffffff.

Make up your damn mind, Chatham, or I will LOSE MY SHIT.

Tumblr

I finally made a tumblr!

http://cyprith.tumblr.com/

I don't know yet. I think I might like it better than LJ for blogging.

I think I might just like it better than LJ period. LJ's been doing some weird crap every time I try to post lately. Like, watch, this will probably have crazy spacing or words stuck together or something. Urgh.

The Commuter Locker Saga

Chatham makes everything more difficult than it needs to be.

So there are these lockers in the student lounge for commuter students. Everyone knows this. But the lockers had no numbers, so it's been pretty much "Put A Lock On A Locker And It Is Yours" for as long as I've been here. I've kept a locker for 3 years now.

Only, apparently the system needs TOTALLY REVAMPED. They've got numbers now and you have to go sign up. Once you sign up, they give you a number. Then you put your stuff in that locker. Except, the locker's probably already occupied, being that it's been a self-policing system for the last bazillion years. So now, the commuters (who the lockers are for) have to walk a quarter mile down to Carriage House to sign up for a locker, to march all the way back up in 80% humidity, to find it already occupied.

I have had my locker (# 6, now, apparently) for three years and would like to keep it. When I went down there, the lady signed me up for #48. Only, there's a lock on it. I do not want to make the janitor come up and hack the lock off of #48, because I know that girl is using it. And also, because I don't want someone to come and hack the lock off of #6 because I'm using it.

Why did they have to be all hyper manage-y? Jesus...

Irishman

So I've almost muddled through my first week of classes. Granted, my schedule is such that I only go in MWF, but I'm still a giant stressed out whiner baby about it since my tutorial's freaking me out. I hate having things due hanging over my head and having a 60 page paper dangle over me for the last two years has been an exercise in cruelty. I'd like to finish as soon as possible. In fact, I already have 30 pages on Loki As Nature, Not An Evil Bastard. Apparently, this means I'm too far ahead? I'm only supposed to have one chapter written by the end of this semester. I don't even know with these people.

ANYWAY. Creative Writing with the Wretched One. Monday was the first class. It went as expected. Towards the end, she gave us a writing prompt and told us to write for the last 15 minutes of class, then polish up the piece and bring it in to read on Friday. I have decided to spite her and everything her sensible, nonfiction little heart stands for. I know she hates the things I write. Science fiction? Fantasy? She called them fads in class, acknowledging their worth as a passing fancy of the market. Never mind that Fantasy's been around since the dawn of man.

I digress. My point is, I know she hates these things. And I adore these things. So, in the tradition of Lovers of Things everywhere, I will proceed to make every conversation revolve around what I love.

The writing prompt she gave us on Monday was "Irishman". Which, immediately, I knew the kind of story she wanted. Girl travels to Ireland, meets cliché.

Fuck that.

I have no business writing clichés about real people who are not 2D representations of their culture. So instead, I wrote about an dive-bar in space, called "Irishman" to give it that exotic old Earth zing. Really, I didn't even write about the bar. The story starts when a bumbling private eye walks into the bar, harasses the tarantula mixing drinks with his severed arm, and escapes out the back where he meets the love of his life. She works in the Cyborg Chip-Chop Shop.

The professor will hate every second of this story. But, because Science Fiction is "the fad" now, she will have to admit my work is relevant and sellable.

Also, there's a new professor on the staff who encourages Science Fiction/Fantasy as being just as legitimate as any other work -- that genre fiction is only "genre" when it fails to show off some aspect of the human character

I think the Wretched One just got a big, "Suck it!" from the Universe.


IODINE now on sale!



IODINE now on Sale!

BUY IT HERE

---

Red’s a real bitch to find.

Wolf would know. He’s been tracking her ever since she shot him in the back and disappeared into the labyrinth of fallout shelters and old tunnels the world became after the war. But he’s getting old these days—mutations bubbling up on each other like bloat—and when he looks in the mirror, he doesn’t recognize the man he’s become.

So Wolf goes hunting, determined to put an end to this war of theirs. And it’s a real shame it’s not as easy as following a trail of breadcrumbs, but when the fallout rained down, it turned them both into monsters and Red’s better at it than he is.

She tortures him with his own mind, leaving hints and old memories like bodies in her wake, dredging up every nightmare of Wolf’s past. He’s not the only hunter anymore. She’s hunting him. This broken corkscrew horror story spiraling between them is crashing to its end.

To put this story to bed, Wolf will have to track Red to the ends of the earth—into the old world and his past. And this time…

This time he won’t miss.

 ---

P.S. If anyone wants to review this for me, there's a free copy in it for you. :D

Edit 10/28/11: Apparently Drollerie Press is now closed. Never mind.