Apple-Obsessed Author Fella

Author: terribleminds (page 3 of 450)

WORDMONKEY

Hold Still, I Have Three Very Cool Things To Announce

Don’t run! I have cool stuff to talk about! Do not make me use the tranq darts again, please. You know how how you get when you’re full of the sleepytime juice. “Oh, I’m so hungover-feeling.” BOO-HOO.

Here, let me speak of cool things.

Thing the First:

Yep, that’s a brand spankin’ new cover for the (ahem) Bram Stoker Award nominated BLACK RIVER ORCHARD — particularly, for the trade paperback edition, which is coming out…

*blows the horn*

6/25/24!

(Here, actually, is the whole spread, front cover to spine to back:)

Cover designed by Regina Flath, who rules.

Anyway! You can preorder the paperback now —

If you want a signed, personalized edition, order from Doylestown Bookshop, and make sure to let them know in the notes you want me to deface your book with my ink.

Otherwise, you can get from anywhere books are sold — your own local bookstore, Bookshop.org, B&N, Amazon, and so forth.

ALSO, if you have read the book, please be so kind as to leave a review somewhere. Every review you leave gives you 3% more sex appeal. It’s true. It’s just science. I wouldn’t ever lie to you about science.

Thing the Second:

After some minor digital obstacles, Canines & Cocktails is now out both in e-book format and in print-on-demand! You can get novellas from Kevin Hearne, Delilah S. Dawson, and yours truly. Mine is called Whiskey Sour, and is set after the events of Wayward, and mayyyyyyy very well feature a Very Good Boy named Gumball. So I do hope you’ll check that out.

You can nab it on Amazon, Kobo, B&N, Apple Books, and so forth.

Cover by the inimitable Galen Dara!

NO CREEPY AI SHIT HERE, BUCKO.

Book description:

Oberon the Irish wolfhound and his Boston terrier buddy, Starbuck, not only witness humans waste perfectly good sausage, but also a sneaky murder committed right before their eyes in THE CHARTREUSE CHANTEUSE by Kevin Hearne. Justice demands that someone pay for both crimes, and together with their Druid, Atticus O’Sullivan, and D.I. Rose Badgely of the Launceston police, they’ll show the dastardly villain they messed with the wrong good dogs.

THE BARTENDER AND THE BEAST introduces the enchanting world of Arcadia Falls, the setting for Delilah S. Dawson’s return to Paranormal Romance. When no-nonsense bartender Cassia King returns to her sleepy hometown in the Georgia mountains to help her sister, she can’t help falling for well-dressed wildlife rehabilitator Riley. But as Cash learns, Arcadia Falls has a secret, and so does the bar’s rescue pit bull, Peach Pit…

In WHISKEY SOUR by Chuck Wendig, It was the end of the world and Harry Campbell wanted a drink. He’s one of the few who remained in Ouray, Colorado, after everything went to hell — and has decided to willfully fall off the wagon and find a way to make a cocktail he once loved, the whiskey sour. His quest to make a drink will take him beyond the borders of Ouray and into the world fallen under the shadow of the now-gone White Mask disease. But, he won’t do it alone — Shepherd Marcy Reyes lends him the courage and pluck of the golden retriever known as Gumball to help him stay alive and stay sane in the process. But Harry’s journey holds a greater, more secret purpose — he has questions that remain unanswered about what the rogue AI called Black Swan did to them all, and he intends to have those answers, even if they change him, and perhaps the world, forever.

(The audio is forthcoming!)

Thing the Thirdth:

Welcome to NEW DEMONS, an anthology on Kickstarter edited by Joe and Keith Lansdale (!) and Patrick McDonough — featuring stories from such holy shit authors like Robin Hobb, Joe Hill, Owen King, SA Cosby, Grady Hendrix, Christopher Golden, Alma Katsu, Brian Keene, Josh Malerman, Linda Addison, Cherie Priest, Gabino Iglesias, Chuck Palahniuk, some other stupid Chuck guy named oh I don’t know, CHUCK WENDIG, which I think is me? And goddamnit, that’s just silly that they let me in with such a fine crowd of people. Is there no bouncer at the door? (The authors listed above is only a taste, by the way. There are so many more authors. Click the link to see who else is in this thing, because your jaw won’t merely drop, it’ll dangle from your face like a porch swing.)

It’s a Kickstarter, so it needs your backing, and I hope you’ll consider doing so. Again, you can check it out riiiiiiight here.

Thing The Fourth (Be With You):

Sorry, did I say three things?

Four things.

Four things.

You, me, April 6th, 2pm, Exeter Library here in Berks County, PA.

I’ll be there, talking, signing books, and maybe doing a jig or two. No promises on the jigs. Unless you get me drunk. Then a jig is guaranteed.

OKAY THANK YOU BYE

I Am Now officially Ride Or Die For Premee Mohamed

I recently finished this book — the one pictured above, hovering slightly over a single Hellraiser Lament Configuration pillow. It is The Butcher of the Forest, by Premee Mohamed. It is easily one of my most favorite things I’ve read this year. And of last year. And of the years prior. It is excellent. Then I also recall that another of her novellas, The Annual Migration of Clouds, is also excellent, and one of my favorite things. (And it has a followup coming??) And I also read her novel, Beneath the Rising, which was also really fucking good, and I think it is at this point I must declare my allegiance to Premee Mohamed. I am ride or die for her.

I note this because I also want you to be ride or die for her, not simply because I want her to be able to write more books that I selfishly get to read, but also because, hey, I like you. You deserve good things. And her books are good things, ipso facto, you deserve her books. Am I using ipso facto right? I have no idea. And I’m not going to check.

Now, understand, I have not read everything she’s written. I failed to finish her series through no fault of hers but rather because I am a slow reader and have a lot of books to read, and reading a series just sucker-punches the time right out of me. She has a new novel out, Siege of Burning Grass, that I have not read but unsurprisingly everyone says it is truly great, and then there’s And What Can We Offer You Tonight, which also sounds amazing, and — I mean, what I’m saying is, I still have more to read, and I have ordered these books posthaste. Because I deserve good things, too.

And you may want me to convince you further, and I know I’m going to have to use my words to do so, and yet, I’m having a hard time doing that without it just being just a bunch of bleats of delight accompanied by various frantic gesticulations — still, hey, lemme try.

It is rare to find an author who operates in a near-perfect balance. Storytelling and writing requires a lot of balancing, and very few of us get it all right. And that’s okay! Stories do not require perfect balance and can in fact be purposefully out of balance in a way that is really successful. Still, just the same, when you find it, when you find a story that just feels like it’s really operating at that level, it’s a thing of wonder. And here she’s done it more than once, somehow, like a weird miracle.

What does balanced mean? Well, for one, she knows how to tell small, personal, intimate stories amid big, complex worlds and ideas without losing the impact of either. The prose, too, runs an exquisite thread of poetry through the needle eye of clarity — poetic writing can kind of drift into estoterica, and clarity can sometimes hit like a brick, but again, rare is the writer that does both at the exact same time, and I find that’s what she’s doing. Her work is also a little bit funny, a lot sad, considerably tragic, yet also, somehow hopeful at the same time, and reads both like a warm hug and a cold kick to the face. There’s tension and adventure and she knows how to worldbuild like a champion, gently folding it all into the text like the most delicate of egg-whites — none of the airyness or detail lost, no rough club-like beats here. Nothing is overmixed and overexplained. Nothing is underbaked and underexplained. This is Goldilocks-level storytelling. Everything feels just right.

Like, right now, if I had to tell you my top five novellas, Butcher of the Forest and Annual Migration of Clouds would be in that list. (Other recent novellas from other authors that might go in that list: Bloom by Delilah Dawson, When Among Crows by Veronica Roth, and jeez, just spin the wheel and pick any one of Eric LaRocca’s. Wait, is P. Djeli Clark’s Ring Shout a novella, too? Shit this list is getting hard. Whatever, there are no rules, that’s also an amazing one, so go get it. God, novellas are really having a moment, aren’t they? Also just got ML Rio’s Graveyard Shift on deck and am excited as hell for that. I will shut up now.) Point is, I just think you need to go out and get these books and trust me when I say, they are excellent in a way that stories rarely are, and somehow she just keeps getting better, which honestly isn’t even fair. I mean, what are the rest of us supposed to do? Also get better?

(Ugh, fine, we’ll try.)

I tell you all this because it’s sometimes important to share THE BOOK LOVE and I’m quite certain I don’t do it often enough. So I’m doing it now. Go to your bookstore, or online book merchant, or library, and seek all the work of Premee Mohamed immediately ASAFP please and thank you.

HURRY

Links to purchase (from bookshop dot org)

Butcher of the Forest

Annual Migration of Clouds

Siege of Burning Grass

Beneath the Rising

All her other books because jfc just buy all of ’em

Kevin Hearne: The Sirens Were Never Your Sex Fish

And now, a guest post from awesome pal and excellent author Kevin Hearne —

Those of you who are already familiar with my work know that I really enjoy digging into mythologies and extrapolating how the figures from a given tradition might behave today. And you also know that, wherever possible, I like to depict them as “first editions”—the oldest known imagery, which often changes throughout the centuries. For example, when I wrote “The Naughtiest Cherub” (which you can find in First Dangle and Other Stories), I giggled at depicting Lucifer as a Biblically accurate cherub: a sphere made of eyes and wings. None of that horns-and-hooves business—those depictions were largely dreamt up by fervid European fanatics in the medieval period. The original Lucifer probably smelled like burnt feathers instead of sulfur.

So that’s why I was so tickled to have a crack at giving the sirens back their wings in Candle & Crow, my forthcoming release that you can preorder now. They’re on the cover and I wanna talk about it! Let’s take a look at the cover and blurb copy and give you a preorder link, then I’ll gush about the sirens below:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Druid Chronicles comes the final book in the “action-packed, enchantingly fun” (Booklist) Ink & Sigil series, as an ink-slinging wizard pursues the answer to a very personal mystery: Who cast a pair of curses on his head?

Al MacBharrais has a most unusual job: He’s a practitioner of ink-and-sigil magic, tasked with keeping order among the gods and monsters that dwell hidden in the human world. But there’s one supernatural mystery he’s never been able to solve: Years ago, someone cast twin curses on him that killed off his apprentices and drove away loved ones who heard him speak, leaving him bereft and isolated. 

But he’s not quite alone: As Al works to solve this mystery, his friends draw him into their own eccentric dramas. Buck Foi the hobgoblin has been pondering his own legacy—and has a plan for a daring shenanigan that will make him the most celebrated hobgoblin of all. Nadia, goth queen and battle seer, is creating her own cult around a god who loves whisky and cheese. 

And the Morrigan, a former Irish death goddess, has decided she wants not only to live as an ordinary woman but also to face the most perilous challenge of the mortal world: online dating. 

Meanwhile, Al crosses paths with old friends and new—including some beloved Druids and their very good dogs—in his globe-trotting quest to solve the mystery of his curses. But he’s pulled in so many different directions by his colleagues, a suspicious detective, and the whims of destructive gods that Al begins to wonder: Will he ever find time to write his own happy ending?

Preorder Candle & Crow

So! The sirens. There are two major versions of them, and the latter-day depiction of them as something akin to mermaids has taken hold in popular imagination, much like the depiction of Lucifer as a humanoid with pointy parts won over his original form as a ball of feathers and eyes. There was a TV show called Siren from 2018-2020 that was all about mermaids with Rad Scream Powers. There are innumerable other modern references that treat the sirens like sexy fish women flipping their tails and other assets at passing sailors. But the original sirens were bird women, as attested by many vases and sculptures from ancient Greece, and as attested by none other than scholar Emily Wilson, translator of The Odyssey and The Iliad, who speaks of their origins in this nifty article here, which includes some nice images. One of those images in particular is how I first encountered the sirens as a wee lad: The painting by John William Waterhouse, Odysseus and the Sirens, illustrating his harrowing episode with the sirens while tied to the mast and his crew had their ears stuffed up.

Waterhouse did a fantastic job in every particular except the number of sirens. In the ancient stories about them, there are usually only two or three of them, and they’re not breeding lil’ bebe sirens. Homer—the earliest source around 750 BCE—listed two. There’s a nice breakdown of the numbers of sirens and their names in old stories on the Wikipedia page. The seven sirens Waterhouse has in his painting certainly do wonders in terms of composition and sheer tension, but that number is an outlier.

Homer’s story makes it pretty clear that they’re offering Odysseus knowledge of the past and perhaps the future—that’s the super tempting thing that makes him want to hear more. And based on that, the sirens in my series are infallible prophets. In the Iron Druid Chronicles, they correctly (if somewhat cryptically) predict the onset of Ragnarok. And since Candle & Crow is part of the Iron Druid universe, the sirens remain close to omniscient regarding certain events, but they’re absolutely disinclined to help anybody out with their knowledge. That bit about wishing men to die is all too real.

So we have this fantastic cover art by Sarah J. Coleman (@Inkymole on social media) who depicts two sirens with the torsos of women but the lower bodies of untidy turkeys—a phrase I used in my art wish list. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the sirens are absolutely pivotal to the plot of Candle & Crow, and they’re just one of the fantastic figures from mythology that appear. The candle in question is related to Sumerian myth, and the crow, of course, is one folks will recognize from pagan Irish tradition. (Some gnarly dudes from pagan Scottish myth appear too, and they’re uniquely Scottish and so far as I know have no parallels in the other mythologies of the world.)

Delighted also to see Al’s cane at the bottom of the cover (underneath the crow’s wings) and if you look at the runic figures sketched inside the letters that form CROW, those are taken directly from a sarcophagus found in the Glasgow necropolis. It’s a cover that rewards a nice close look and I hope you’ll have fun exploring it up close as I did.

This book not only wraps things up for Al, Buck, and Nadia, but also for Atticus, Granuaile, and  Owen from the Iron Druid Chronicles. I will continue shorter stories in the world—in fact, I’m writing a new Oberon short story every month this year for paid subscribers to my newsletter—but this will be the last novel in the universe. So please preorder if you’re already on board, and if not, the Iron Druid Chronicles begins with Hounded and Ink & Sigil begins with the eponymous Ink & Sigil. It’s all full of fantastic creatures from myth and ornery gods and very good dogs. Happy reading!

Black River Orchard A Stoker Nominee??

I am, as the kids say, chuffed to learn that Black River Orchard is a Bram Stoker Award nominee. (Do the kids say chuffed? Maybe it’s the Brits. Do the Brits say it? Do British children say it? Shit, I have no idea.) Point is, the book is amid some serious holy-shit company — Tananarive Due! Stephen Graham Jones! Victor LaValle! Grady Hendrix! — and so please believe me that it is an honor to be nominated amongst such rock stars. So, I’m geeked by this, and thanks to all of you out there who supported the book and helped make it… well, grow some deep roots and bear its weird fruit.

If you haven’t checked it out — well, hope you do so soon, and if you have checked it out, let me remind you that reviews are a vital necessity for any and all books and authors, so I’d sure appreciate it.

And read all the books nominated, willya? It’s a good batch in all the categories. A lucky, lucky year for horror.

EVIL APPLES FOR YOU ALL.

Invasive, For Mere Pennies, And More

So, it looks like Invasive is $1.99 for your various e-reader doohickeys, if you’re so inclined. You get a creepy thriller with sinister billionaires and scary ants and, as Kirkus put it in a starred review, “Will Graham and Clarice Starling rolled into one and pitched on the knife’s edge of a scenario that makes Jurassic Park look like a carnival ride.”

You can find it at Kobo, B&N, Amazon, etc.

Curiously, this book was really the one that lead to Wanderers — and was literally connected to it, once upon a time!

Also, at some point, when enough time has elapsed, I will share with you the absolutely batshit story of when this book got optioned for TV and what happened to the project after that. (It is no longer under option, but hopefully someone out there sees the potential in Hannah Stander as a killer character to form a TV show around.)

I’d love to write Hannah again some day, too, so fingers crossed.

Anyway. So that’s out there.

You’ll also find that my cornpunk trilogy (YA Star Wars by way of John Steinbeck, featuring sinister corn, rich people living in sky cities, class warfare, weird plant-to-human illnesses, etc.) is also on sale, every book at Amazon for $1.99. Only there, at Amazon.

Also, Canines & Cocktails is out, though Amazon has totally borked some stuff and all we have up there right now is the POD paperback — other sites have e-books and will have audio. I’ll send up a signal flare when it’s all available and looking good.

Defying God, I Drank The Doritos Juice

It was maybe a few months ago where Empirical announced they were making and releasing DORITOS HOOCH, which is to say, alcoholic Dorito juice. I said at the time, this is the booze of bad decisions. Nobody’s out there drinking the Dorito Juice and feeding orphans. Nobody drinks the Dorito Liquor and rescues a puppy from a river. Doritos Hooch isn’t saving your marriage. No, you drink this stuff, you end up under an overpass, underwear on your face, your body burned from the heap of Hot Pockets you orgied upon last night with the other Dorito Juice drinkers, all of whom now probably communicate via a hive-mind telepathy of cackles and screams.

Needless to say, I wanted some.

I wanted some not because I was hoping to have one of those nights where you get drunk and fight a police horse, but rather, because I am weirdly susceptible to foods that maybe shouldn’t taste good. It was just prior to the pandemic when I kinda made the news trying a mac-and-cheese ice cream from one of our local ice cream joints. (This was in February 2020, thus marking February as perhaps a month of culinary disaster foods.) And I recently tried the Kraft mac-and-cheese collab with Van Leeuwen ice cream. (The local stuff was gross, because they froze the noodles in there, and they were hard angry teeth-cracking pasta boulders. But the Van Leeuwen stuff was actually pretty legit if you can find it.)

It’s not that I want the gag gift foods. “Oh, we made Kale chewing gum lol.” That’s there just to fuck with people. I want the stuff that… shouldn’t work, but also might work?

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, I bought the Liquid Doritos.

When it was announced, it was not available for purchase by like, normal humans, and honestly I expected it never would be. But I put my name on the list anyway, and then I received an email that said “psst hey kid, I hear you like making mistakes,” and then gave me a link to buy the Dorito Juice.

I clicked that shit so fast I cracked my trackpad in half.

How could you not? Doritos* is the ultimate snack. It’s like the UR-SNACK, the snack of Ancient Hyperborea, a zesty salt beast from before the advent of time itself, when it was just Triangle Doritos and Circular Oreos floating in the pre-creation void.

So, yeah, I ordered it.

And then I played the waiting game.

Two days ago, Fed-Ex came to my door in a hazmat suit, and deposited a mysteriously trembling package on my front step with very long metal tongs, and in that box was:

Dorito Juice.

Okay, fine. It isn’t called that.

It’s just, Doritos X Empirical, I think?

Whatever.

Point is, I drank that shit.

You can, if you want to go along on the adventure, see that happen here, on Instagram, where I posted a reel of me drinking the Dorito Juice.

My now-blogged thoughts on the DRUNKEN DORITO MILK, then:

It is a clear spirit with no identified provenance. The ingredients, as you’ll see here, say nothing more than BASE SPIRIT, which for all I know, means the box it came in is a ghost trap, and they trapped a ghost in there and force-fed it Dorito powder until it pissed zesty ectoplasm into a bottle.

(I also like that the front of the bottle just says the word UNCATEGORIZED, which actually feels pretty accurate to how you would describe this to anyone in any direction.)

That said, the closest spirit I get from it is tequila.

I don’t think it is tequila.

But it kinda vibes tequila.

In the parlance of the youth, it is giving tequila.

It smells that way. Like tequila and corn chips. On the nose there’s no Doritos zest. It’s just corn chips. Like you took a waterproof duffel bag full of tequila, emptied a bag of tortilla chips into it, and let that all come together for a week or three before filtering the tequila — now redolent with corn chip miasma — through. It’s not unpleasant. It is, however, distinct.

Drinking it, I honestly expected a very bad experience. I first assumed that the sip would be like battery acid and that it would hurt my face and throat and very possibly some part of my soul, perhaps even irrevocably, the damage so complete that no afterlife would have me. It just has that sense about it. Like, if you told me “Taco Bell makes wine,” I would assume that wine would taste like the inside of a vigorously-used prison toilet, and here, I figured Dorito booze would be a real rough rider, a spicy mix of vinegar, kerosene, cigarettes, and infinite regret.

But that initial taste, and subsequent tastes, were mild — pleasantly mild but with flavor, not just liquid cardboard. And boy does it bring the Doritoness.

This is liquid Doritos.

Boozy liquid Doritos.

It is very, very savory.

Not salty savory.

But umami savory.

Doritos have MSG. This juice has to have MSG. I use MSG in my cooking when called for, and the taste is absolutely present here. It’s that, plus all the zesty Dorito flavor — the nacho business, the spirit of the snack chips distilled into a, well, a spirit. It’s almost magic.

And the aftertaste, as I note in the video, is long. It grips your mouth like the hug of a once-lost child. It lives upon the tongue, on your gums. It puts up shelves, it hangs up pictures of its family, it pays a year’s rent in advance. You are the landlord of the taste after just one sip.

So, the thing is, this all sounds weird and maybe horrible but I gotta tell you, it… isn’t? It’s actually… not bad? Again, I bought this bottle, nobody gave it to me, this is not coerced via some sponsor deal or at gunpoint. I have the bottle and I am sure I will drink it all. (Er, not in one go. I still think this might be a bottle of Liquid Mistakes if you do it right. Right, meaning, wrong.) Given the tequila whiff, I figured —

Hey, margarita.

So I made one.

I give you, the Doritorita.

Or, umm, the margorito? The margadorita? The dormagaritota?

I dunno. Shut up.

It is:

  • 1.5 oz DORITO JUICE
  • 1 oz Combier orange liqueur
  • juice of half a lime
  • half oz simple syrup
  • glass rimmed with a mix of: chili powder, salt, coconut sugar, and MSG.

It was pretty legit.

I figure, if you need a good way to break your DRY JANUARY, why not with a margarita formed of Dorito Juice?

One must only hope they do not make a Cool Ranch Juice. I mean, I’ll buy it but there’s no way that doesn’t end me up in some special singular Hell. Or at least the hospital. Probably the hospital.

Anyway.

Cheers.

Drink your Distilled Dorito Broth responsibly.

Buy my books so I can afford more dubious food collabs.

* I note here, for the sake of completeness, that at the very fore of the pandemic I did an, um, deep dive on the history of Doritos that began with the phrase, “Buckle up, butterdicks, it’s time to talk about Doritos.” It has since been assumed I, a cringe-fed goon, actually talk like this in my daily life, as if I show up to Home Depot and find a worker there and say “Hey, chucklefucker, where’re your wall anchors at, you herky-jerky cheese dick?” but it was supposed to be a riff on the whole “buckle up let’s talk about Triscuits” thing. Anyway it was a fucking joke about Satanic snack chips and some people take shit way too seriously here on Al Gore’s Internet.