Around Small Beer

Mon 14 Jan 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Just because the government tells you something doesn’t mean you have to believe it.

Tomorrow: Julie Day reads Kij Johnson’s “The Empress Jingu Fishes” on the Small Beer podcast on the tavern with beer and food.

And check out’s Geek Mom interview with Kij. Kij is off to Oxford to give the JRR Tolkien lecture on fantastic fiction and to teach a workshop: lovely!

Ayize Jama-Everett’s The Liminal People was on the Identity Theory Holiday Reading List. Add it to all your comix-and-sf-reading lists!

I just interviewed Karen Lord, whose lovely new novel The Best of All Possible Worlds comes out from Del Rey next month, for BookPage. That should go up at the start of February.

In April it’s last chance to see Under the Poppy in Detroit. Do it!

The Village Voice gives Errantry a stormer of a review:
“With grand feeling and inventiveness, Hand writes of modern life edging just into the impossible. Her ragged modern characters, often lost or stoned or just unfixed in their lives, set out over moors or into hidden parks in search of realities less dispiriting than our own.”

Kelly’s “The Faery Handbag” is this week’s story on the Bookslinger app.

The first review has come in for the new ish of LCRWHere’s Sam Tomaino at SF Revu on LCRW 28:
Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet is the kind of magazine that you want to read slowly. Read a story. Put the magazine down. Absorb what you have just read. Then, after a while, read another story. Repeat. After more than a year’s absence here is issue #28 with more of their very different stories.”

Scottish Television loves Alasdair Gray almost as much as we do. He’s doing another piece of public art in Glasgow—can’t wait to go over next summer and see it all—this time at the Western Baths Club. (Ok, so I may not be able to go see this one). Here’s the video of the unveiling of his previous mural in the Glasgow subway. It’s based on the art from Old Men in Love.

That’s it, out of time.

Saddest email of the week

Fri 26 Oct 2012 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

It’s hard to imagine the disappointment of reader C.H. who ordered the new paperback edition of Under the Poppy and instead, well, read this:

Hi Small Beer Press-

I had ordered a paperback copy of Under the Poppy by Kathe Koja and received notification on October 19 that it had shipped, USPS Tracking #xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.  I received the envelope today, but there the book was not inside the envelope. Instead there is a a booklet and several discs for Microsoft 98. Very confused, and then I noticed on one side of the package there is a USPS Rewrapped/Resealed packing tape. Obviously the package was tampered with some where along the order coming to my address. Is there anything that can be done to rectify this?

Thanks for your time,

Suffice to say we quick smart dropped another copy of the book in the mails. With tracking of course. If there is someone out there looking for the Microsoft 98 discs, I can put you in touch with the person who has them!

Small Beer &c, 2011

Wed 4 Jan 2012 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Bookscan says our bestsellers were:

1) Kathe Koja, Under the Poppy
2) Ted Chiang, Stories of Your Life and Others
3) Kelly Link, Stranger Things Happen
4) Maureen F. McHugh, After the Apocalypse
5) Karen Joy Fowler, What I Didn’t See and Other Stories

I know other things happened this year. We published one issue of LCRW with a lovely cover by Kathleen Jennings:

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 27

A. D. Jameson · Jessy Randall · K. M. Ferebee · Karen Heuler · M. K. Hobson · Carol Emshwiller · David Rowinski · Joan Aiken · Sarah Harris Wallman · Gwenda Bond · David Blair · Sarah Heller · Nicole Kimberling

And here are the books we published.

First Small Beer Press titles:

After the Apocalypse
Maureen F. McHugh

“Incisive, contemporary, and always surprising.”—Publishers WeeklyBest Books 2011: The Top 10

A Slepyng Hound to Wake
Vincent McCaffrey

“Henry is a character cut from Raymond Chandler: a modern knight on a mission to save those, and what, he loves.”—Barbara Peters, The Poisoned Pen

Paradise Tales
Geoff Ryman

* “Often contemplative and subtly ironic, the 16 stories in this outstanding collection work imaginative riffs on a variety of fantasy and SF themes”—Publishers Weekly (*Starred Review*)

The Child Garden
Geoff Ryman

Winner of the John W. Cambell and Arthur C. Clarke Awards.

The Monkey’s Wedding and Other Stories
Joan Aiken

* “Wildly inventive, darkly lyrical, and always surprising . . . a literary treasure.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Solitaire: a novel
Kelley Eskridge
A New York Times Notable Book, Borders Original Voices selection, and Nebula, Endeavour, and Spectrum Award finalist.

And one Big Mouth House title:

The Freedom Maze
Delia Sherman

“Adroit, sympathetic, both clever and smart, The Freedom Maze will entrap young readers and deliver them, at the story’s end, that little bit older and wiser.”
—Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and Out of Oz

Under the Poppy wins the Gaylactic Spectrum Award!

Mon 28 Nov 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Under the Poppy cover - click to view full sizePossibly the best news we’ll get this week? We are delighted to see that Kathe Koja’s novel Under the Poppy is the recipient of the 2011 Best Novel Gaylactic Spectrum Award!

Note: the ebook is 50% off until Dec. 1.

Here’s the Gaylactic Spectrum Award 2011 handout with the shortlist and what the judges had to say about the book:

If Charles Dickens had written an alternate reality novel about war, love, sex, death and very strange puppets you would have this year’s Gaylactic Spectrum Award winner, Under the Poppy, an amazing novel by Kathe Koja. The novel offers a rich, evocative alternate reality that is close but not quite our world, an exploration of the demimonde of the theatre and the brothel, and the tale of two lovers, Rupert and Istvan, and their tortured relationship.

Decca and Rupert own The Poppy, a brothel with a reputation for the unique and sometimes bizarre. At the core of the story is a love triangle: Decca loves Rupert but Rupert is deeply in love with Decca’s brother Istvan, a puppeteer whose marionettes know more than a thing or two about decadence. The story is set against the backdrop of war and turmoil in one of the Victorian era’s most sophisticated cities. Rupert and Istvan try to escape from the seedy underworld into high society only to find themselves embroiled in another complicated relationship. Like actors in a play or marionettes, their fate seems to be determined by others who hold the power and strings.

Under the Poppy breaks a lot of rules: point-of-view shifts, convoluted mysterious plots full of violence and decadence, relationships that run the gamut from accepted to beyond forbidden, and witty graphic language. In Koja’s skillful hands, the novel engages the reader from the start, provides a way to taste and smell the world through brilliantly-crafted prose, and presents a heart-wrenching romance. A mature love story that doesn’t flinch from revealing the truth about life in the demi-monde, Under the Poppy is well worth the read

Victorian opulence

Mon 28 Nov 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

A Guest Post from Kathe Koja:

An evening of Victorian opulence with an air of genteel decay: it was Under the Poppy‘s natural terrain, and we staged the second of our on-the-road performances at District VII Detroit last Saturday evening. “Love Is a Puppet” finds Istvan closer to his destination if no closer to his goal, and in desirous company, with a young man who calls himself “Gabriel the Angel.” Our audience watched from the curtained, secluded “backroom,” they watched from the stairway above . . .

Writing these shows and their scripts—episodes not found in the novel itself, but not hard to imagine: how many nights must Istvan have spent alone, on the long road back to Rupert?—and extending the story that way, is a new way of seeing that story, as well as a great pleasure for me as a writer. And then engaging in the ongoing act of collaboration, planning the show with my co-producer, Julanne Jacobs, watching the actors give gesture and breadth—and breath!—to the words, embody them, literally—watching the audience react, laugh, flinch and gasp—oh BOY, that is fun. The intersection of the fictional and the real becomes so vivid and acute, you can practically smell the lamp oil and brandy, the reek of the mud outside . . . And aided, on this night, by the raw brick of the warehouse, the scent of the river, the very old streets just past the doors; Detroit is a city that dates to the 1700s, after all. And with our audience dressed in Victorian finery, too, it was as if the story was doubled, and the event doubly theatrical. And amazing.

So the road continues; the journey continues, on the page as on the stage. THE MERCURY WALTZ, sequel to UNDER THE POPPY, will be published in 2013, wherein Istvan and Rupert operate their own theatre, the Mercury, a nucleus of subtle insurrections and the passions and rivalries that play-acting always seems to arouse, aided by two very different acolytes, Haden St.-Mary and Frédéric Blum, and a remarkably ferocious young lady named Tilde. And our next Poppy performance will take place early in 2012, in a venue that might seem surprising . . . The puppets lead, the story goes on, and we make our own fun in the dark.

The Company We Keep – Under the Poppy takes to the road

Thu 8 Sep 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

A Guest Post from Kathe Koja:

An industrial art festival, throngs of hipsters, and bands, and Sailor Jerry rum…. And upstairs there was a Victorian townhouse, lovingly designed and painstakingly painted, hung about with deep red curtains, decorated with lavish lace and plump floor pillows and risque art. There was wine, and chocolates; there were flowers. There were curious glances as the curious audience—whose knowledge of Under the Poppy ranged from multiple devoted readings to “What’s this all about?”—made its way past the Poppy booth into the playing space.  And then the door closed behind them, and the show began.

“The company we keep
May keep us from our sleep
And keep us toss-and-turning till the morning …” Read more

Steampunk weekend, book, various readings, &c.

Mon 9 May 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Dropped by the International Steampunk City yesterday and really enjoyed wandering around seeing hundreds of people dressed to kill (or at least to adventure). There were blacksmiths smithing (and explaining the meaning of “eldritch” to someone as we walked by), drummers drumming and belly dancers dancing, bootmakers, jewellers, a mummers parade, people riding penny farthings—and a ton of other things, most of which we missed as we were only there Sunday afternoon. We caught up with Riv from purpleshiny who we met at Boskone—she made a lovely thing (involving a watch and a piece of metal hammered on the ground to pick up the texture of Waltham!) while we watched. Makers making: excellent.

Read more

What list has

Mon 4 Apr 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Kathe Koja, Emma Straub, Paolo Bacigalupi, Grace Krilanovich, Jenny Erpenbeck all in one place?

Melville House has announced the longlist of finalists for the first Independent Booksellers Choice Awards.

Congratulations to Kathe Koja and all the other authors! The short list goes out on May 1st, but everyone knows: it’s an honor to be nominated. So thank you, indie booksellers. We loves ya!

Under the Poppy (and more) on the radio

Tue 14 Dec 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | 3 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

We’re trying something new this holiday season: radio ads! If you live in (or listen to radio from) Detroit, Boston, (WNYC never returned our calls . . .), Minneapolis, and maybe a few more places you might hear something along the lines of

“WDET is supported by Small Beer Press…presenting Under the Poppy…from a brothel at the center of Victorian wartime intrigue to the high society of 1870’s Brussels…a novel of love triangles, tricksters, and reluctant spies. Available at small beer press dot com and fine bookstores”

We looked at lots of shows (and we’re always open to suggestions . . . ) and have enjoyed working with the people at the stations—I think the people at WGBH were big fans of the Under the Poppy video. Some of our fave shows such as “This American Life” are out of our reach (for now!) but we’re doing campaigns that range from 7 – 14 days with spots in the morning and afternoon.

It’s interesting to look at radio demographics and compare them to the mythic readership profile of our books. Our readers range from 10 – 90 years old and seem to be of all genders and races. So when we’re asked who we’re looking for, it seems a hard question to answer.

Anyway, we figured that now, with two big books out and piled high in the stores, (and a hot reprint which will soon need reprinting!), is the time to try this. Heck, we listen to the radio a fair bit. Will be curious if we (or anyone we know) will hear the ads.

Kathe on the radio

Tue 14 Dec 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin in Wednesday morning at 11:30 Detroit time to hear Kathe Koja on the Craig Fahle show on WDET. And you can download MP3s of the shows, too, if you miss it!

Playing Favorites by Kathe Koja

Mon 13 Dec 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Playing Favorites by Kathe Koja

Some of the keenest pleasures in fiction come from meeting the characters who seem to be moving sideways between the world constructed for them on the page by the writer and the more lasting, more ephemeral world of the readers’ continued imagination. And so many times—for me, anyway—these are the mercurial ones, the tricksters, the hotheads, the ones who seem to maintain their balance by keeping others off-balance all the time, grounded like the stars in their own heaven of being; they’re the ones for whom the mask is a natural habitat, and they wear it so very well.

I’m reading a great deal of theatrical stuff these days, novels and plays and scripts, as I continue to work on bringing Under the Poppy to the stage (and things are going very well in that venture, thank you to everyone who’s asked; more details on the actual booked dates when I can share them!), and the ones who lure me in and keep me happy are the ones like Gaveston in “Edward II”; Mercutio in—well, you know where Mercutio hails from; “Twelfth Night”‘s Feste; Prior Walter in “Angels in America”; wordplay as swordplay, a kind of high cunning of the heart; Prior is the hero of the two joined plays in which he appears, but the others no, or not defined as such, but they’re the ones we remember, and the ones we miss when, like Mercutio and Gaveston, they pass from the playing space before the show ends; they pretty much take the party with them when they go.

The character of Istvan in Under the Poppy seems to emanate from that same tribe and anteroom: I saw him as that kind of man, even as a boy, sprung fully-formed onto the road he savors, his trajectory his own, his face a handsome, mobile, mocking mask, behind which all sorts of pains, passions, grudges and joys bloom and roil … I have no favorite among the Under the Poppy characters; like our mothers always told us, they love us all the same, and if I really don’t love all of the people in the book (several of them are amazingly hard to take, even on their best behavior), I do try to understand each one and feel for them all; otherwise I’d run the risk of making out of authorial calculation (i.e., dead cardboard) what should be real live fictional bones and flesh. But I do admit to being pleased that Istvan’s is the last voice we hear—in a very characteristic mode!—as the story comes to an end, and I hope other readers will feel the same.


The Fragments of Desire
That Corset

A week of upcoming fun

Mon 13 Dec 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Holly Black’s giving away copies of The Poison Eaters every day this week.

Aaaaand, we have lovely new posts coming from these fine folks:

Karen Lord:

The word exotic is merely a way to measure the distance from home to the unknown, and it is my opinion that such a word has no place in the lexicon of the speculative fiction writer

Vincent McCaffrey:

I paid special attention to ‘trashy’ novels.

Kathe Koja:

Some of the keenest pleasures in fiction come from meeting the characters who seem to be moving sideways between the world constructed for them on the page by the writer and the more lasting, more ephemeral world of the readers’ continued imagination.

and Karen Joy Fowler:

This same wild world used to be a source of great comfort to me in times of need. I thought it was eternal, that my place in it (and therefore my troubles) was small and inconsequential. Now I walk along the ocean and I know that I’m looking at a system in peril.

and, at least for this week we have craaaazy sale prices! Git your prezzies here!

The Fragments of Desire by Kathe Koja

Tue 23 Nov 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

The Fragments of Desire by Kathe Koja

All my work is done on little scraps of paper—you can see them here on the New Yorker Book Blog if you like, some of the notes that eventually became Under the Poppy.

They were written on blow-in cards, on random sticky notes, on ripped corners of ruled blue-lined notebook paper; they come from wherever such fragments originate, which is to say the ether, which is to say no one knows; or I don’t, anyway. When they come, I write them down—I try never to be without something to write on and with—and I tuck them away, and there they stay, accumulating, breathing in and out, becoming or not-becoming; not every scrap is used, not every idea comes to fruition, not every really juicy gorgeous line that pops into the mind can, alas, ever make it to the page. (Sometimes whole novels are written that never see the light of day, but that’s another story altogether, and besides, the wench is dead.)

This is not a method of creation I ever consciously adopted: like the ideas themselves, the notes, it just came out of that ether and I found that it worked, so I kept on doing it. My writing process is mostly uninvestigated by me; the unexamined life sometimes is worth living, especially if you’re worried that you might really screw something up by peeking once too often under the hood. So much of what I do when I work is done by instinct, by feeling my way through the dark, the way your hand gropes in that kitchen junk drawer for the sideways screwdriver or antique spool of thread or whatever-it-is you’re hunting: your fingers know it when they feel it, you don’t need your eyes to see.

The mighty stream of creational consciousness floats many a fictional boat, and my own little castaway raft is happy riding the tides, crashing into this and that, plucking some things rich and strange and some things intriguing but unusable and some things abandoned over the side again, with regret or without. Every book I’ve ever written has its discard file, and Under the Poppy‘s got a whopper, but many of those discards have offshoots that are usable, and others, though not germane, are still reflections of what in the end became essential. Like the life it hopes to mirror, so much of what matters in fiction is invisible, just sitting there off to the side, tucked sideways into a folder, the curled-up end of an unsticky sticky note on which is written a name, a line of dialogue, a fragment of sober research, something that lives in unbodied desire until a reader and a writer together make it real.


That Corset

That Corset by Kathe Koja

Mon 15 Nov 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

That Corset by Kathe Koja

People—readers—always like to know about the research that goes into a novel, and especially, I’m finding, a historical novel. Gaslight, weevils, laudanum—the appetite is brisk for details, which makes perfect sense, as one of the reasons we read of another time is to experience it for ourselves. Throw some puppets into the mix, rude and bawdy and (somewhat-) anatomically correct puppets, and the questions become more saucy, but the main one usually boils down to “ARE there such creatures in what we like to call the real world?” Well, given the human race’s ingenuity and reputation for making everything into a sex toy (cf the Internet), the answer would have to be Yes. For one of the odder examples I found, check this out.

Read more

Today: Karen Joy Fowler and Kathe Koja

Mon 15 Nov 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

As promised the other day, we’re going to be featuring quite a few of writers here on ye olde website over the next couple of weeks. We’re not starting with a schedule—although maybe we’ll end up with one if we have to. Monday: Writer A! Tuesday: Writer B! Wednesday: where the heck has writer C gone? Eek!

We’ll post as we receive stuff (although if Howard is going to write us letters which we have to retype we might be a little slower with that) which might mean 4 posts on one day and nothing for a couple more days but it should keep things lively.

Things off today with a post each from Kathe Koja (who’ll be reading at KGB Bar in New York City this week) and Karen Joy Fowler on puppets, corsets, and seeing the world!

We’ll send you a book if

Thu 11 Nov 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 4 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

you post a pic of Under the Poppy in a Borders bookstore!

Reading, listen to Kathe, go see Karen

Wed 3 Nov 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

What up? Many things. Visitors, busyness, to and froings in the oncoming weeks. The permanence of change. Catch up, link dump, tab closer, recent reads and more:

A few books are appearing which you may enjoy: Ray Vukcevich‘s new collection Boarding Instructions is just out. Go get from Powells.

Also to get: Sarah Smith‘s first YA novel which is out this week: The Other Side of Dark. It’s about ghosts, treasure, and two teenagers and life, art, madness, love, and more and it’s set it this here fair city of Boston.

One of our great local-ish bookshops, Food for Thought in Amherst—one of those places that just makes you happy to walk into—is in a moneycrunch. If you did you next book buy here, it would be much appreciated. Biased suggestions for starting places: Under the Poppy, Stories of Your Life, What I Didn’t See, The Poison Eaters, Meeks. And, as of this writing, these books are all in stock: what an awesome place!

Another non-local fave bookshop is Subterranean in St. Louis and there’s a lovely little piece in the local student paper about it. They have signed copies in stock of a certain 1,000 page McSweeney’s brick as well as excellent Africa-supporting lit-shirts. It’s a lovely shop from which we walked away with a nice bagful of books. (via)

Really enjoyed the current issue of the Harvard Review. Got it because Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud has a story in it but there were a couple of excellent stories and essays as well as a good range of poetry in it.

Jay Baron Nicorvo has an excellent essay about re-roofing the family house with his two teenage brothers on Guernica.

Apex just published a special Arab/Muslim themed edition.

Chocolate: want. (Difficult to acquire as $$$ and in the UK.) Next time we do have $$$ to burn, maybe we will play fill-a-box-o-chocs here.

How does a book signed by Betty Ann Hull, Fred Pohl, and Gene Wolfe sound? Sounds good!

Thanks to Susan for this. Go read, but not while eating cake.

And Congratulations to Susan and to Niall: we love Strange Horizons and are both selfishly sad and very happy to hear about the transition.

Awards: John Kessel‘s story “The Invisible Empire” received an Ignotus Award, “Spain’s equivalent to the Hugo.” (via)

More on the World Fantasy Awards at some point soon. Mostly: yay!

Reviews. What?

Belletrista looks at What I Didn’t See and likes what they see, “Fowler’s stories are gripping and surprising, with multiple pleasures awaiting the reader.” The San Francisco Chronicle also published a good review: “Fowler understands how disappearances heighten suspense. And she’s equally skilled at weaving mystery from the unknown.”

Karen’s final reading of her mini-California tour is this Friday at 7 PM at Vroman’s in Pasadena.


One of our fave bloggers, The Rejectionist, read Under the Poppy and calls it a winner at

You can see Kathe read in Ann Arbor next Wednesday night at the Blackbird Theatre where there will be delightful and scary sexy puppets. Thanks to Scott Edelman (having more than either of us right now) you can also see her reading on the youtubes. More on those readings TK.

Great review also in the Ann Arbor Chronicle—and Kathe’s on WCBN Ann Arbor radio today at 4:30 PM—listen here.


A couple of readers discover Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Life and Others for the first time. The sound of their heads exploding echoes through the intertubes. 1) Ed Park @ the LA Times [“patient but ruthless fascination with the limits of knowledge.”] 2) Dreams & Speculations 3) Stefan @ Fantasy Literature.

Things to do. Things that happened.

Tue 19 Oct 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

The Boston Book Fair was a ton of fun—thanks to everyone who stopped by. Most of whom, of course, didn’t know us. At some point we really must publish a small book on beer. The hit of the day was definitely the Working Writer’s Daily Planner which made me think maybe I should just set up at stalls at writerly conferences and fairs all over the country and forget about these book things. But happily there were enough readers that we sold some books, too. And that’s despite the high winds. At one point I was attacked by a mini-twister that blew everything on The Common‘s side of the booth all over the place. The Common is a new journal for everyone to subscribe to. Go on, might as well! They’re into the fictions, the poetries, and the images—aha, something different!—and their editorial angle is “a sense of place.” I didn’t get to Kelly’s panel (and neither did some others as it was full!) but reports are that it went well. With luck we’ll be back next year.

Ok, so: if you’re in the Santa Cruz area tonight, there’s only one thing to do: go see Karen Joy Fowler. She will also be in Danville on Thursday (1o/21). Those in LA have to wait until 11/5 when she will be at Vroman’s.

You can (and should, it’s great) listen to Rick Kleffel and Karen’s lovely conversation on the Agony Column. (links to MP3). Rick also reviews the book:

That rare writer who can match the power of her novels with the power of her short stories. She works in the world of myth with great ease. We feel, reading her stories, that we are in our world, but some portion of it that connects vitally with everything else. What happens here is gripping, important, compelling, and often terrifying. Her new collection of stories, ‘What I Didn’t See’ offers readers perfect renderings of a New American Mythos.

Yesterday Cory Doctorow BoingBoinged the heck out of Under the Poppy:

This book made me drunk. Koja’s language is at its poetic best, and the epic drama had me digging my nails into my palms. It’s like a Tom Waits hurdy-gurdy loser’s lament come to life, as sinister as a dark circus.

The multi-format ebook version is available now. The book has arrived from the printer and it is so heavy! We compared it to another recent hardcover and it was about twice as heavy. Maybe we should use lighter paper?

Talking of ebooks, Weightless continues apace: we added a single-title publisher: Sator Press! Plus, Featherproof titles are onsale. And so on.

If you’re in the Boston area, tonight Kelly will be at the Literary Death Match! (Me, I’ll be babysitting.)

The World SF Blog introduces you to Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud.

And, we have copies of Meeks in stock in the office. Everywhere else will be getting new stock in soon. Turns out if you publish a lovely book with French flaps, then it will take a little more time for the reprint to get done.

That’s most of what’s going on. Time, methinks, to go back to sleep!

On the dark and lurid side

Wed 22 Sep 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Thomson-Shore emailed us to say that Kathe Koja’s novel Under the Poppy should ship out in a couple of weeks which will get it into stores just about on publication date of October 19.B&N and Borders (who will have it stacked up—not kidding here!) will have it a week or two later. In the meantime, Library Journal really gets it:

“Despite all the trappings of puppets, sex shows, stabbings, and drawing-room treachery, this is a love story about how, sometimes despite themselves, Rupert, Istvan, and their friends have created a family. . . . she creates an atmospheric tale for those who like their historical fiction on the dark and lurid side. Those readers who enjoyed Emma Donoghue’s Slammerkin or Sarah Water’s Fingersmith will find similar themes.”
Library Journal

Dark! Lurid! Sexy puppets! A love story. Yep. The call outs to Sarah Waters and Emma Donoghue seem right on the money.

Kathe has a couple of readings coming up—more maybe TBA. If you’re a booksellery person in the Great Lakes area you can meet her at the GLIBA Author Reception on Oct. 8th. Everyone else should dress up to the 9s and go to see her here:

Wed, Nov. 10, 7pm – 9pm
Common Language Bookstore 317 Braun Ct. Ann Arbor MI 48014
Launch event for Under the Poppy at the Blackbird Theatre sponsored by Common Language—the theatre is right across the courtyard. Dramatic reading with puppets and signing of Under the Poppy.

Thu, Nov. 11, 2010
Five15, 515 Washington Avenue, Royal Oak, MI
Kathe Koja reads from and signs her new novel Under the Poppy.

Wed, Nov. 17, 7pm – 9pm
KGB Bar, 85 East 4th Street (just off 2nd Ave) New York, NY 10003
Kathe Koja reads from her new novel Under the Poppy as part of Ellen Datlow and Matt Kressel’s Fantastic Fiction @ KGB Series.

Kathe should also be taping an appearance with Jim Freund and the Hour of the Wolf in NYC and with luck will be on the radio in Detroit, too. It’s a heck of a book. Can’t wait to see it out there.

Scribd crazy

Mon 6 Sep 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | 3 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Ok, so, went a bit Scribd crazy the other night. Had to do something while watching the bairn sleep.

First I put up an excerpt from A Working Writer’s Daily Planner 2011. Last year I put up March, this year I decided to make it simple and put up January. Last year’s sample was very popular, hope this one is too. Then I added the ebook to Weightless—only $4.99!

Then I put up excerpts for two of our upcoming books:

Karen Joy Fowler, What I Didn’t See and Other Stories
—which is shipping, baby, shipping! And we’re still adding (mostly California) events to Karen’s schedule.

Kathe Koja, Under The Poppy
—and this one is at the printer and ships out in October. Events—KGB Bar, Ann Arbor, Detroit, WFC—being added here, too.

And! I added a handful of LCRWs to their ebook store—we sell much more at Weightless or or Fictionwise than we have at Scribd, but still, it’s a good and easy place for people—there are tons of international readers who use it—to check things out. Besides, adding stuff was easy!

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 21 ebook

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 20 ebook

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 19 ebook

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 18 ebook

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 16 ebook

& now the first review for Under the Poppy

Mon 30 Aug 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Publishers Weekly is again first off the blocks with their take on Kathe Koja’s huge sexy historical novel, Under the Poppy:

“The latest from Koja (Skin) is a page turner with riveting language and
close attention to sensory detail. Set in late 19th-century Brussels, the
story follows the adventures of puppeteer Istvan and brothel owner Rupert
who bond as friends and lovers. The first half of the novel is set at
Rupert’s brothel, Under the Poppy, a haven for bawdy puppet shows and loose
women. With war in the air, the brothel is forced to house soldiers led by a
corrupt general. A mysterious assault on Rupert leads to more violence and
an exodus of prostitutes from the establishment. Istvan and Rupert, with one
of the former working girls, who morphs into a theater owner and puppeteer,
leave as well and arrive in a new town, where they cavort with a family of
aristocrats that includes Isobel, who falls for Rupert (as does her young
brother, Benjamin, the family heir). Koja’s style is unconventional,
resulting in a melodrama with deep insights into character and a murky plot
balanced with prose as theatrical as the world it portrays.(Oct.)”

Meeks today, more tomorrow

Tue 20 Jul 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Today is publication day for Julia Holmes’s excellent debut novel Meeks! If you’re in NYC or environs, there’s an awesome launch party happening at WORD tonight. Do not say we did not warn you! Julia’s reading all over the place (Portland, OR! Boston, MA! More!) and you should attend in your bachelor suit.

Other updates: Kathe Koja and Holly Black are reading in South Carolina this week.

You can now preorder our fall books direct from us! We ship preorders out asap. Those books include Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Life and Others (just got an amazing blurb for that!), Kathe Koja’s Under the Poppy, A Working Writer’s Daily Planner, and the book that we are just about to send to the printer: Karen Joy Fowler’s stunner of a collection, What I Didn’t See and Other Stories. Ouch, that’s a good one.

We have one more title, a November book, which we haven’t announced yet even though it is getting really damn close but the contract, it could not be agreed upon. But, news should come on that soon, so: yay. And: phew.

Then we have new books which are coming next year all of which will be world-bestriding green-energy fueled juggernauts. Or, at least, great books. Because why do anything else?

Bachelor Suits at 7:30!

Yesterday, we shipped!

Thu 1 Jul 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

We have good news: we have copies of Redemption in Indigo and Meeks! Which means that soon enough your local bookstore (and maybe some other retail outlets) will have them, too. Pre-orders (for which: thanks!—and more TK soon about that for Kathe Koja’s book…!) and more review copies have been shipped from the office. Consortium ship out books to stores, soooon. Of course, you can see both authors in New York (and other places!) over the next couple of months. Keep an eye out here (ouch) or see the handy dandy events thingy.

And, also, Ladies and Gents! All this week! Karen Lord has been blogging at one of the biggest bookshops in the universe: Powell’s Books in Portland, OR. Listening to stories. Making a book trailer. Cake! And today: Authenticity.

Ok, another tab to be opened: Edward Gauvin is at Kepler’s Books’s Well-Read Donkey this week writing about talking to himself and then getting to talk to everyone else about G.-O.C. now that A Life on Paper has been published and ways of reading Châteaureynaud.

Lastly, Kathe Koja on writing what you have to at Ramblings of a Tattooed Head.

Next: tea time and wondering if the tea lady will have any of those nice gingery biscuits left by the time she reaches this part of the office.

Tom Canty art, signed books by Kelly, more more more

Thu 20 May 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Here is a tiny note to ignore. In fact, skip this para and go right to the next one. If you do read this, please don’t go bid against us for the Thomas Canty-illustrated copy of Water Logic—which is part of the auction to raise money for Laurie J. Marks’s wife, Deb Mensinger’s liver transplant.

Ok, so you skipped that paragraph. Thank you! But before you read on to find out what exciting things are happening here (alchemy! we turn art into commerce!) how about bidding on this copy of Water Logic customized with an original drawing by Thomas Canty ? Yay!


And, they just posted this offer: all of Kelly’s collections either signed or personalized to you. You know we’re not going anywhere for a while so if you’d like a signed copy, this is your best chance for, what, a year at least?

Today’s featured (starred!) review on Booklist is Karen Lord’s Redemption in Indigo! That cover is not the actual cover, everyone will be relieved to know. The final cover is almost done, the interior is done (sorry, not being printed in indigo ink), so off to the printer it will go. This is the first novel you’re going to love and you will be so happy to be one of the readers who can say I was there when . . .

New Zealanders—this one is for you! “Next week (May 24 – 28) ‘Good Morning‘ book reviewer Laura Kroetsch is looking at Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link (Text, 9781921656361)” + 2 other books! (Thanks Renee!)

Edward Gauvin is fighting a valiant battle against those who think Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud is a Kurt Vonnegut literary game.

The strenuousness of these assertions–mine and publisher Small Beer’s–should not, I repeat, decidedly not be construed as protest, or evidence of insincerity. That is all.

In the meantime, A Life on Paper has shipped from the printer and will be hitting stores in a week or two—reviews should then pile in. Who isn’t going to review a major French author’s first work in English? Here’s a story from the book, “The Excursion,” in (the fantastically named) Joyland.

Over there in October (since all time exists at all times if you look sideways from here you can see October) we’re in the middle of publishing Kathe Koja’s Under the Poppy—and part of the fun is the stage show which will debut next February (look a bit more to the side, there it is! Phew, sexy!). Kathe’s joined Kickstarter to raise some knicker money (so that the knickers can later be dropped? There’s a vaudeville joke in there somewhere) for the girls Under the Poppy, which is, natch, a Victorian brothel.

Inside baseball time: we just presented our autumn and winter titles to our sales reps and it was fun to see the reactions from the sales reps so yay for that. We’re lucky in that we have a team of sales reps (Consortium’s) who read a ton (some of them had already read some of these books from early ebook versions we’d sent ahead) and like the slightly weird stuff we give them.

Also: how many times a book is sold:

  1. By the author to the agent
  2. agent to editor
  3. editor to publisher and sales team and whoever else
  4. sales team to sales reps
    1. publicist to reviewers/editors
    2. reviewer to editor (or vice versa)
  5. sales reps to the booksellers (or to the bookstore chain buyers)
  6. bookseller to you

There are probably a few more steps in there!