Lamb Cake: A Prison Story

Some authors find their books on banned books lists and feel a strange giddyness, a tremor in the weirder, sillier parts of their brains, tickled that someone would take offense at their little words.

Me? I get emails from CORRECTIONS INSTITUTES.

That’s right. They’re taking me away. CUFF ME.

Kidding. Mostly.

Red Adept, the publisher of Sacrificial Lamb Cake, received an email from Arizona State Corrections, offering the chance to APPEAL a decision on disallowing the book in the prison.

Here’s a snippet of the email:

To Whom It May Concern:

The Arizona Department of Corrections has determined that your publication described below contains Unauthorized Content as defined in Department Order 914.07 and, as a result, may be released in part or excluded in whole for the specific reason(s) given below.

Publication Title: Sacrificial Lamb Cake

ISBN: 9781940215426 Volume/Number: Publication Date: 2015

Reason: DO 914.07 – 1.2.2.4 Masturbation, Lewd Exhibition
DO 914.07 – 1.2.2.5 Incestuous Sexual Activity
DO 914.07 – 1.2.15 Cipher/Code

You and/or the inmate subscriber may appeal the decision by notifying us via email or U.S. Mail within 30 calendar days after you receive this notice. By appealing, you consent to allowing OPR to redact any Unauthorized Content within the parameters set forth in Department Order 914.06 § 1.13. Your consent is strictly limited to authorizing ADC to alter by redaction your publication. It does not constitute consent to the substance of the actual redaction(s) subject to this Notice.

Lewd exhibition? Guilty.

Incestuous sexual activity? Uh… no?

Cipher/Code? FALSE. LIES. IT’S ALL LIES. (For real, though. No ciphers. No “Get out of Jail Free” cards slipped between the pages.

So it seems Lamb Cake will not be seeing the inside of an Arizona prison anytime soon. I have to wonder, though… HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? I didn’t send them a copy. Red Adept didn’t send them anything. Did a prisoner somehow order it? Was it gifted to someone with a hastily scribbled cipher for dismantling the whole prison system in the margins?

We may never know, and that, friends, is a goddamned tragedy.

FIN.

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WE WROTE A THING (A Giveaway!)

We wrote a thing.

It’s a little thing, but that doesn’t mean it can’t get the job done.

wink

For those of you not in the know (and really, where have you been?), Deviant Dolls Publications is a group of speculative fiction writers, but we use the term “speculative” broadly. In our new anthology, Echoes & Bones, you’ll find a mish-mash of horror, bizarro, humor, and a little bit of heart—there’s something for everyone in here (even you erotica lovers. That’s right. Get you some).

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In addition to some great stories centered around a single theme (a psychic and a teacup), most of the dolls have contributed bonus content, including excerpts of novels and entire short stories. Flip to the end and you’ll find a brand new story in the Liquid Innovations universe in which a call center employee falls down the rabbit hole in search of the answer to the question that must never be asked: What do we actually do here?

Get your copy TODAY for $2.99, or throw in a couple extra dollars and get a shiny, new paperback to display at a place of honor on your shelves.

OR IF YOU’RE CHEAP LIKE ME, share this post and tag me for a chance to win an e-copy of ECHOES & BONES and ALL DARLING CHILDREN. Winners will be chosen on Halloween. Muahahahahaha.

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It’s October. Get your creep on.

Shut Up. I’ve Been Reading.

Over the last year I decided to keep track of all the books I read in a journal. The process had its good points and its bad. On the one hand, it was nice to be able to go back and find the name of “that one book with the bear” without having to autopsy a vague list of Google results. On the other, I’m HIGHLY competitive, even with myself. A lot of the time, I found myself buzzing through books just to get them on The List without actually losing myself in the story. That sucked. On the other, OTHER, hand, I get to make this cool list. It all evens out. I’ve included the cover art and buy links for my favorites of the year.

 

AUGUST 2016

 

The Three by Sarah Lotz

Swamplandia by Karen Russell

Swamplandia

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link

Magic foe

Just Like Beauty by Lisa Lerner

 

SEPTEMBER 2016

 

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

Geek Love

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine

Kingfisher

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making by Catherynne M Valente

Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain

Coconut Cowboy by Tim Dorsey

Stormy Weather by Carl Hiassen

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Razor Girl by Carl Hiassen

Story Genius by Lisa Cron

 

OCTOBER 2016

 

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

darkest secret

We’re All Damaged by Matthew Norman

damaged

The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti

vanishing

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

rivers of

Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

Broken Piano for President by Patrick Wensink

Red Queen by Christina Henry

 

NOVEMBER 2016

 

Mile Marker Zero by William McKeen

Leisel and Po by Lauren Oliver

Radiance by Catherynne M Valente

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Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch

Shrill by Lindy West

Eric by Terry Prachett

Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

Moscow but Dreaming by Ekaterina Sedia

moscow but

Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch (His Peter Grant series is addicting, obvs.)

Best State Ever by Dave Berry

Palimpsest by Catherynne M Valente

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

hidden bodies

Under the Big Top by Bruce Feiler

The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

 

DECEMBER 2016

 

Speak Easy by Catherynne M Valente

speak easy

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

lie tree

New Yorked by Rob Hart

How to Ruin Everything by George Watsky

Still Life With Tornado by A.S. King

Blood Red, Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick

The Resurrectionist by E.B. Hudspeth

The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan

grace keepers

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

bone gap

 

JANUARY 2017

 

From the Forest by Sara Maitland

Little Nothing by Marisa Silver

little nothing

City of Rose by Rob Hart

Walk Through Walls by Marina Abromovic

The First Book of Calamity Leek by Paula Lichtarowicz

calamity

Girl Bomb by Janice Erlbaum

The Good, the Bad, and the Smug by Tom Holt

The Morning They Came for Us by Janine di Giovanni

The Clay Girl by Heather Tucker

clay girl

The Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund

The Apartment by S. L. Grey

Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra

The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch

 

FEBRUARY 2017

 

Behind her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

behind

The Last Place You’d Look by Carole Moore

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

bear and

Crime Beat by Michael Connolley

The End of Everything by Megan Abbott

The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer

The Song is You by Megan Abbott

song is

Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

 

MARCH 2017

 

The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp

jack sparks

Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link

Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman

girls on fire

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healy

elizabeth

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Tell Me Exactly What Happened by Caroline Burau

tell me

The Collector by John Fowles

Hag Seed by Margaret Atwood

hag seed

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

 

APRIL 2017

 

Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century by Peter Graham

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

Day Four by Sarah Lotz

Faithful Place by Tana French

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

The Secret Place by Tana French

secret

The Next Queen of Heaven by Gregory Maguire

Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield

 

MAY 2017

 

Burntown by Jennifer McMahon

Rooms by Lauren Oliver

rooms

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

station

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? By Maria Semple

bernadette

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

This One is Mine by Maria Semple

Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge

In the Woods by Tana French

Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

 

JUNE 2017

 

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

darker shade

Before This is Over by Amanda Hickie

The Facts of Life and Death by Brenda Bauer

Danger to Self by Paul Linde

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

The Transcriptionist by Amy Rowland

I Crawl Through It by A.S. King

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

down among

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Amp’d by Ken Pisani

ampd

 

JULY 2017

 

Party of One by Dave Holmes

The Good Daughter by Alexandra Burt

good daughter

Lucky You by Erika Carter

Abroad by Katie Crouch

Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon

The Rathbones by Janice Clark

Publishers Weekly called me Fascinating!

Well, not me exactly, but my book, which is ALMOST the same thing.

They had this to say about ALL DARLING CHILDREN: “Monroe’s fascinating reimagining brings out all the creepy undertones of never wanting to grow up.”

Waltz on over to Amazon and find out what the hell they’re talking about.

all-darling-children-hi-res

Ain’t she GORGEOUS?

Guest Post! Starring Kelley Kaye

I have no idea what day it is, I just know it’s time for a post. Continuing our chat on the importance of reading (not just to my livelihood, but to your brains!), I’ve strapped Kelley Kaye down and insisted she give us a lesson-on-demand. Take it away, Kelley.

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Although my parents read books to me since birth (my father owned a used bookstore), I have also maintained that one big way I learned to read was by watching The Electric Company circa 1972. Do you remember that show? I loved the shadows talking to each other on the screen: BR.  EAK. Break. S. ING. Sing. Loved it!

So this is how the story goes. I’m three years old, and grandma has got me a book! I tear excitedly across the floor to my mother and say LOOK, grandma’s got me a book! Will you read me this book? And mom says, well, why don’t YOU read it to ME? So I do. And this is not a See Spot Run kind of book, I hear (I don’t remember, because I was three), but a legit story book. Mom was surprised. Did gramma already read you this book? she asks. Did Daddy? No, Mommy, I say. You asked me to read it to you, so I did!

And that was the beginning. My life since then has been a plethora, a myriad, a glut, multitude, overabundance, gross, nee a compendium of massive book love. I read books, sometimes (often) to the detriment of other things I should be doing (like homework, work, parenting, sleeping. Breathing), and my career(s) have always had something to do with books. Twenty years of teaching English, for example, and now I am living from both ends of the wire, and writing books.

As a teacher, I had a motto for which I became known: If You Don’t Like to Read, You Just Haven’t Found the Right Book Yet. I had a library in my classroom comprised of books from my dad’s store in every genre, every reading level, available for students to check out. I love nothing more than searching the psyche of my students to find out their interests. I listen, then twinkle my fingers over the collection, and voila! A book, often the perfect book, finds its way into the hands of my reluctant reader, and soon reluctance gives way to curiosity, experimentation, and finally, salivation. Salvation, too. Another human for whom getting lost in a book is better than sex. Okay, better than chocolate. Okay, okaaay. Better than almost anything else.

My favorite book story concerns a student from my first year of teaching: Elijah. I started my teaching career in Lake Tahoe, California, where the population was teeming with skiers. Skier kids (okay, usually snowboarder kids) are kinda like skater kids in any other town—they board to the beat of their own drum. Elijah was small and skinny, with very blonde hair that reached down to his shoulders and stuck out of a baseball cap that was always pulled clear down to his nose. He wore bellbottom jeans that were way too long, so the ends dragged along behind him in the dirt; they were his signature.

One of my classroom requirements was outside reading, anywhere from 300 to 800 pages of books of the student’s choosing. I let them pick for themselves because let’s face it: students often feel that the required reading for English is less than thrilling. When I shared my OR Requirement with Elijah’s class, along with my motto, Elijah confided in me that he’d never finished a whole book, and he was a freshman in high school!

So we talked for a while about his interests (snowboards, girls, animals) and why he didn’t like to read (books were too slow, books were boring) and after maybe ONE SECOND of thought, I gave him a book by Dean Koontz called The Watcher, a thriller about a boy and his dog. I told him to bring it back if he didn’t like it and we’d try another.

He brought it back a week later—I was disappointed that it hadn’t worked—usually Koontz is a sure-fire winner for bored readers. That’s not it! he said. I’m finished! Give me another! That year he read three Dean Koontz novels, way in excess of the 500 pages I had assigned his class. I went back to Tahoe during Elijah’s senior year and discovered he had read like 25 Koontz novels and was on to other thrillers.

I don’t know if he ever discovered a love for Jane Austen, but who cares? A reader is a reader is a reader. Once you’ve got the bug, it’s better than (almost) anything else. And if you don’t quite believe me, give me a call, because the only problem is you haven’t found the right books yet!

Kelley’s brains and books are available for you to stalk at the links below.

Death by Diploma on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Death-Diploma-Chalkboard-Outlines-Book-ebook/dp/B01BLUB9CK/

Death by Diploma Book Trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAMXkR3kA-8

Kelley and Kat on The Rack http://www.darkcomedyprods.com/kkaye.html

Kelley Kaye’s Kozy Korner: https://www.facebook.com/authorkelleykaye/

Kelley Kaye on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kelkay1202

Kelley’s Website: http://www.kelleykaybowles.com/

***Death by Diploma will soon be out on AUDIOBOOK!

I Read a Thing; Now My Brain is on Fire

We talk all the time about words burning themselves in our minds…

No. That’s a bad start. Forgive me. My brain is on fire.

There are a few things on my list of “Never Do’s”:

I never cry after reading a book, no matter how touching the subject matter.

I never highlight directly in the book, or make notes–instead, I copy things in journals in frantic, barely legible handwriting.

I never wander the apartment with a lost look on my face after finishing a book.

Then I read Catherynne M. Valente’s RADIANCE and all that went to hell.

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This book wasn’t particularly sad. In fact, without giving anything away, you could say the end is one of the more uplifting ones I’ve read of late. But seconds after I closed the book, tears started falling. Fuck, they’re still there. That’s because this prose–this fucking prose–gets inside your head and your heart and you don’t realize it’s messing you up until it’s done the damage. You’re drunk on prose and it’s only minutes until the cirrhosis hits.

The worst part is you’re thankful for it. Praise be the callowhale.

It’s a book about movies and making movies and the visuals are so striking, so intricate, that I found myself going back over descriptions–over and over–to suck every last drop of it out. ‘…a hat brim so sharp it’ll cut the night’ — ‘…rough garnet chips that do not glitter so much as burn against her childish waist.’

In all its space opera/alternate universe sci-fi flair, RADIANCE snuck up on me with its real factor–that’s a thing I don’t think I could ever forgive an author for. But god dammit if I’m not going to turn over and ask for another.

‘We live in a universe of lenses. We watch and watch. We all share one eye between us, the big black camera iris. We wait our turn to see what someone else saw on a screen. And then we pass it on.’

You’ll forgive me if I don’t turn on the television for a while.