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If you’re in or around Seattle tomorrow, Cat would love to say hello! She’s doing a reading of The Glass Town Game on 9/26 at Secret Garden Books: the event begins at 7 PM, and the store closes at 8 PM. Bring your books, bring your kids, and bring your smiles!

Haven’t gotten The Glass Town Game yet? You’re missing out on the Brontës and their secret world! To tempt you, here’s an exclusive excerpt from the book over at YA Interrogbang. Enjoy!

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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With The Glass Town Game now out and adventuring in the wild, you know what comes next—it’s time for Cat’s latest book tour, possibly coming soon to a city near you! The tour kicks off TOMORROW in Portland, Maine’s very own Print: A Bookstore. Check out the dates and locations of all Cat’s appearances below, in both image and list form:

Click to embiggen.

September 6
Print: A Bookstore
Portland, ME

September 11
Little Shop of Stories
Decatur, GA

September 12
Quail Ridge Books
Raleigh, NC

September 13
Country Bookshop
Southern Pines, NC

September 14
Barnes & Noble
McLean, VA

September 15
Doylestown Bookshop
Doylestown, PA

September 17
Anderson’s Bookshop
Naperville, IL

Many of these tour stops have event pages on Facebook, so find the one nearest you and let these excellent bookstores know you’re coming. And don’t forget to tell your friends! Cat’s looking forward to meeting you all.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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My middle grade fantasy featuring the Brontë children, a talking newspaper stand, twelve wooden soldiers, two sentient suitcases, and Napoleon riding a flaming chicken, is out and in the world today!

You can find a copy at any of the links below. If you want to help my little book go, please RT, share, write reviews on Goodreads or Amazon, and otherwise spread the word!

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this book–it’s been a long journey, and I hope you all enjoy the ride!

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kindle

Audible

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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MuseCon is nearly here and, this year, Cat is their Guest of Honor! This Illinois convention takes place this weekend, August 4-6 at the Westin Chicago Northwest in Itasca. MuseCon is a family-friendly event that invites all muses out to play – it “is a weekend-long convention for artists, musicians, inventors, gadgeteers, makers, tinkerers, and creative people of all ages,” as they say! And it looks like memberships are still available.

Here’s where you can find Cat at MuseCon 7 this weekend:

FRIDAY – AUGUST 4

7:30 PM – Opening Ceremonies & Klingon Pop Warrior
When: 7:30 pm – 8:45 pm
Where: Lakeshore
Description: Welcome to MuseCon 7! We will meet our Guest of Honor Catherynne Valente, special guest Loren Damewood, and find out what’s in store for the weekend.

Immediately after we will be serenaded by the Klingon Pop Warrior – a unique and fun experience for audiences of all ages, featuring the best of today’s popular music is brought to you in the original Klingon. (Andrea Hawkins-Kemper, Catherynne Valente, Loren Damewood, Staff)

SATURDAY – AUGUST 5

10:30 AM – Journeying to Fairyland
When: 10:30 am – 11:45 am
Where: Barrington
Description: The Fairyland series by our Guest of Honor Catherynne Valente began as a book much beloved by a character in another of her books. It wound up becoming a real book – The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. Come hear the amazing tale of September’s Journey. (Catherynne Valente)

1:30 PM – Alternative Funding of Creative Projects
When: 1:30 pm – 2:45 pm
Where: Barrington
Description: Patreon, Kickstarter, subscriptions and pay as you go – the creative artist now has many ways to connect to their audience and help fund their artistic creations. Our panel will discuss some of the ways they’ve used and the pros and cons of each. (Catherynne Valente, Matthew Morrese, Jen Midkiff)

7:30 PM – In the Cities of Coin & Spice
When: 7:30 pm – 8:45 pm
Where: Lakeshore
Description: Join our Guest of Honor Catherynne Valente as she reads from some of her best known works, which in turn inspired wonderful music. (Catherynne Valente)

SUNDAY – AUGUST 6

12:00 PM – Catherynne Valente’s Latest Works
When: 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm
Where: Leighton
Description: Our Guest of Honor Catherynne Valente will read excepts from some of her latest works. (Catherynne Valente)

3:00 PM – Closing Ceremonies & Feedback Session
When: 3:00 pm – 4:15 pm
Where: Lakeshore
Description: It’s been a fun weekend at MuseCon, but now its time to show off what we’ve learned and say good-bye. A feed back session will follow immediately after. Please be polite and constructive in your comments – compliments welcome! (Andrea Hawkins-Kemper, Staff, Catherynne Valente, Loren Damewood, Tanya DePass)

If you’d like to learn more about MuseCon’s programming, click this way.

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Readercon starts tomorrow, and Catherynne M. Valente will be in attendance! Use our handy cheat sheet below to find her on panels and at one game session that promises to be hilarious:

FRIDAY, JULY 14

2:00 PM / BH / In the Heartland.
Chris Gerwel, Marissa Lingen, Natalie Luhrs, Peter Straub, Catherynne M. Valente.
What about the middle of the U.S. makes heartland stories such as Stephen King’s The Stand and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven so powerful? Recognizing that the U.S. is far from perfect, does the baked-in concept of American exceptionalism negatively affect these stories? What do they teach readers who aren’t American about Americans and their values?

5:00 PM / 5 / The Truth of Fiction, the Fiction of Truth.
John Clute, John Crowley, Heath Miller (leader), Miriam Newman, Catherynne M. Valente.
This panel will explore works of fiction in which the author claims not to be the author. In Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell series, the conceit is that King was given the diaries of Mary Russell; more tongue-in-cheek is The Princess Bride, which William Goldman claims is “the good parts version” of a much longer and more boring 4 pm 5 pm Friday 53 work by the fictional S. Morgenstern. How do we construct these agreements between audience and author about what is real, and what reality means in the context of a fictional work? How does an author get the reader to buy in to the idea that the story they are about to read is truth?

7:00 PM / 6 / Race and Historical Accuracy in Cod-Medieval Fantasy Fiction. Shannon Chakraborty, Phenderson Clark, N.S. Dolkart, Tom Greene, Catherynne M. Valente.
Too often, we’ve heard the excuse of “historical accuracy” used to explain the lack of PoC in historical fiction. Yet their presence is profoundly felt throughout European history, including in the medieval era so often used or modified as a fantasy setting: Arabic numbers have been used in Western societies for centuries, philosopher Ibn Rushd preserved and notated the works of Aristotle, the Silk Road brought traders and diplomats from all over Asia, and Moors in Spain were credited with promoting astronomy, medicine, and literacy. This panel will discuss how to populate cod-medieval fantasy novels with characters of color who have dimension, depth, and humanity, while avoiding stereotypes of swarthy villains and uncouth sidekicks.

SATURDAY, JULY 15

2:00 PM / BH / Sidereal Symphonies: Writing Extraterrestrial Art and Performance.
John Clute, Max Gladstone, Alex Shvartsman, Catherynne M. Valente, Caroline M. Yoachim.
Descriptions of art, music, and other creative work are a wonderful way to flesh out an invented world, but when worldbuilding encompasses cultures from places other than Earth, things get can get tricky. This panel of writers, performers, and creative artists will discuss how culture and technology give rise to art, with an eye toward developing alien art from alien worldbuilding, and will also explore ways of creating convincing descriptions of alien art forms that don’t and maybe even can’t exist.

8:00 PM / 5 / A Most Readerconnish Miscellany Presents: Sorry, I Haven’t a Clue.
Chairperson Heath Miller presents an evening of SFnal hilarity featuring contestants Max Gladstone, Mark Oshiro, Sam Schreiber, and Catherynne M. Valente. Come for the funsies, donate your money for the great causes! We promise to leave you laughing. Promise void where prohibited.

Here’s the full Readercon schedule in PDF format if you needed that. Cat will see you there!

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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The Denver Comic Con is this weekend, and Cat will be in attendance! We hope you have your tickets – we hear all the weekend badges are sold out, but there are still some one-day badges available. Head over to their site if you still need membership.

If you hope to catch Cat at the con, here’s her schedule of appearances:

FRIDAY, JUNE 30

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Signing at Tattered Cover Signing Booth 2

2:30 PM – 3:20 PM
Mistakes Were Made in Room 402 – Authors

SATURDAY, JULY 1

12:00 PM – 12:50 PM
The Writing Process of Best Sellers in Room 407 – Authors

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Signing at Tattered Cover Signing Booth 1

3:30 PM – 4:20 PM
Millennials Rising – YA Literature Today in Room 402 – Authors

5:00 PM – 5:50 PM
Start Short, Get Good in Room 407 – Authors

SUNDAY, JULY 2

10:30 AM – 11:20 AM
Is This a Kissing Book? in Room 402 – Authors

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Signing at Author Signing Booth 1

3:00 PM – 3:50 PM
The Best Writing Advice I Was Ever Given in Room 407 – Authors

See you in Denver! Unless we don’t. In which case, have a great weekend!

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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If you’re a science fiction fan, you’ve probably heard of the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. If you’re not, here’s the cheat sheet straight from the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas:

“The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for the best short science fiction of the year was established in 1987 by James Gunn, Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at KU, and the heirs of Theodore Sturgeon, including his partner Jayne Engelhart Tannehill and Sturgeon’s children, as an appropriate memorial to one of the great short-story writers in a field distinguished by its short fiction.”

The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award is a juried award as well, with this year’s jury including Elizabeth Bear, Andy Duncan, James Gunn, Kij Johnson, and Nöel Sturgeon (one of Sturgeon’s children and trustee of the Theodore Sturgeon Literary Estate).

It’s kind of a big deal for the science fiction field. And Cat Valente is it’s latest recipient.

That’s right: Cat’s short story “The Future is Blue,” published in Drowned Worlds (edited by Jonathan Strahan) took the prize! As you may have already seen on Twitter, Cat is incredibly excited, chuffed, and all-around honored to be awarded the Sturgeon Award.

Learn more about the award and past winners at the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award’s site.

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This weekend, Cat will be at the 2017 Campbell Conference and Awards in Lawrence, KS. We’ll post Cat’s schedule later this week, if possible, so check back here on Wednesday!

In the meantime, we’ve got another exclusive excerpt from The Refrigerator Monologues to share with you! We hope this embarrassment of riches will entice you to pick up a copy, if you haven’t already – and if you aren’t able to get a copy yet, may this keep your appetite whetted.

THE HELL HATH CLUB VS. THE MIGHT OF ATLANTIS

All eyes turn to the lady in green. She swirls a spoon around her coffee cup. It doesn’t make any noise. Thank the tiny baby Jesus, down here in Deadtown we are spared the constant tinkle of silverware against porcelain that plagues the restaurant industry. A long, long red curl slides out of the black pearl comb in her hair and lands on the table like a spurt of blood. It hurts to look at it. Like a camera flashing in your eyes. The sides of her head are shaved down to red fuzz, just the one long horsetail left, running up and over and down her spine like a special-edition collect-them-all punk-rock Barbie doll. . .

You can continue reading this excerpt at Paste. Enjoy!

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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The Refrigerator Monologues has gone live, coming straight at you from the Hell Hath Club down in Deadtown! You should be able to find it wherever books are sold, or at least get your friendly neighborhood librarian (or bookseller) to order it for you. It’s also available in a variety of e-formats, since Deadtown is high tech and modernity-compliant (as is the wonderful Saga Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster and our publisher today).

For your shopping convenience, we offer the links below:

IndieBound | Amazon | Powell’s | Barnes & Noble

Should you need more tempting, the early reviews of The Refrigerator Monologues are in and they are fantastic!

“Bestseller Valente’s dazzling new story cycle creates its own comic book universe, complete with the gorgeously wrought prose pyrotechnics that readers have come to expect from her. She’s well known for her skill at unpacking the hidden truths embedded in fairy tales and archetypes; here she turns that skill on the troubling treatment of women in comic books, a perfect fit between author and subject matter. This is Valente at her sharpest and most pointed, ably assisted by illustrations from comics artist Annie Wu (Black Canary).”

Gwenda Bond, Publishers Weekly

“Valente chooses to eschew the soothing route of ‘saving’ her heroines or even letting them save themselves. Instead, she gives them strong voices and allows them to rage, mourn, and regret. She gives them, and the reader, the chance to be furious at the common use of death and incapacitation of women as lazy plot points and reminds us that other stories are always possible.

A ruthless but absorbing and provocative reshaping of the idea that the girlfriend dies, again.”

Kirkus Reviews

 “While ‘The Refrigerator Monologues’ depends a great deal on an insider’s knowledge of comic book lore for maximum enjoyment, those readers adventurous enough to parachute into unfamiliar literary territory will be rewarded by Valente’s biting wit, outlandish world-building and well-focused sense of outrage.”

Portland Press Herald

Don’t forget, you can read Chapter 1 and a chunk of Chapter 2 at Tor.com and Entertainment Weekly respectively.

Share your thoughts on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media streams using our official hashtag: #HellHathClub

Cat will be at Pandemonium Books & Games in Cambridge, MA tonight to launch The Refrigerator Monologues and sign your books! If you’re within driving distance of Boston, come on down and say hello – she’ll be glad to see you.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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Where in the world is Catherynne M. Valente? We invite you to imagine that question sung to the tune of that Carmen Sandiego song; we certainly are. Cat has some serious travel lined up this summer, and may be coming to a city near you! Check out the following dates, which include conventions, conferences, and her book tour appearances for The Refrigerator Monologues.

May 31 – June 3
Book Expo America
New York City, NY

June 6
Pandemonium Books & Games
Cambridge, MA

June 16
Campbell Conference and Awards 2017
Lawrence, KS

June 20
Barnes & Noble – Tribeca
New York City, NY

June 21
KGB Bar
New York City, NY

June 23-25
ALA Annual Chicago
Chicago, IL

June 28
Phoenix Books
Burlington, VT

June 30 – July 2
Denver Comic Con
Denver, CO

July 11
Yankee Bookshop
Woodstock, VT

July 13-16
Readercon 28
Quincy, MA

August 4-6
Guest of Honor
MuseCon 7
Chicago, IL

You can also find these and any updated information on her Appearances page, and we’re always sure to feature her immediately upcoming 3 appearances in the sidebar.

Come on out and see Cat where you can – she’ll be delighted to meet you! You can start with her autograph session today at Table 4 at the Book Expo in New York City – Javits Center, 11:30 AM.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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ONE WEEK TO THE REFRIGERATOR MONOLOGUES! Can you tell we’re excited around here? Oh, the caps gave it away? Well, yes. The Refrigerator Monologues will be released on June 6th, and you’ll be able to find it at a bookstore near you – you can even meet Cat herself and get your book signed if you’re Boston-adjacent! Pandemonium Books & Games in Cambridge, MA, is having a launch party for The Refrigerator Monologues, and Cat will be there.

You probably knew all that already, so let’s get to the real reason for this post: instant gratification. You can start reading The Refrigerator Monologues right now, starting with the dedication (for Heath Miller and Gail Simone) and straight through Chapter 2.

Simply start at Tor.com with Chapter 1: “The Hell Hath Club.” “I’m dead. The deadest girl in Deadtown.”

Continue into Chapter 2: “Paige Embry is Dead” over at Entertainment Weekly: “Trouble is, my story is his story. The story of Kid Mercury crowds out everything else, like Christmas landing on the shops in August while Halloween tries to get a bat in edgewise. It’s not his fault. I’m not even mad.

You don’t get to read all of Chapter 2, but you do get a good chunk of it  – enough to whet your appetite for next Tuesday. Go, read, enjoy! And pick up your copy of The Refrigerator Monologues on June 6th.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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We are excited—and Cat is honored—to announce that The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There have won the 2017 Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire for Roman jeunesse étranger (Foreign Youth Novel)!

The Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire awards were established in France in 1973, alongside a national science fiction convention. The first awards were given in 1974, and the Grand Prix now has the distinguished honor of being the longest-running French prize at 43 years and counting.  It is also a juried award, with the jury often consisting of French speculative fiction authors and other professionals.

Cat won’t be able to attend the award ceremony at the Maison de l’Imaginaire during the Saint-Malo Étonnants Voyageurs since she was just in France for the Les Imaginales in Épinal. However, she sends her delight and thanks for this momentous occasion!

 

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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The Refrigerator Monologues will be published and released into the wild on June 6 – just over two weeks from now! To celebrate, Pandemonium Books & Games in Cambridge, MA (just across the Charles River from Boston) is throwing a launch party that Tuesday. Cat will be there to celebrate right alongside you, and admission is free! The event will be in the store’s downstairs space.

Here’s what Pandemonium has to say:

“Catherynne M. Valente’s new collection of connected novellas, The Refrigerator Monologues, with illustrations by Annie Wu, is releasing on June 6! Join the Hell Hath Club, a group of ‘fridged’ (killed off to further the storylines of male superheroes) superheroines, supervillainesses, and superhero girlfriends. Six of them share stories of their deaths, their lives, and their relationships with the male superheroes for whom they were killed.

You don’t have to be a comic book fan to enjoy this book, but comic book fans will pick up on fantastic Easter Eggs as well as connect the characters that Valente has created with their DC and Marvel counterparts.

Join us and help us launch The Refrigerator Monologues into the world! Event is free and open to the public and will be located in our downstairs space.”

If you live around Boston (or are within acceptable driving distance), put The Refrigerator Monologues Launch Party on your calendar! Come on out to Pandemonium Books & Games at 7 PM to meet Cat in person and get your book autographed. She can’t wait to share this book’s release with friends and fans!

Pandemonium has set up a Facebook event page for the launch, where you can indicate your interest and rest assured Facebook will keep you reminded of the date.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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Cat is currently in France, where she’s enjoying fine French carbohydrates and participating in local Eurovision excitement! While fine perks indeed, that’s not why she’s there – she’s attending Les Imaginales in Épinal, France as a Guest of Honor from May 18th – 21st.

She looks forward to meeting friends, fans, and colleagues from France and beyond during the festival! Here’s her official schedule and where you might most easily find her:

THURSDAY, MAY 18

Coup d’envoi des Imaginales (Kickoff)
Magic Mirrors 1 | 10:00 – 11:00

Les personnages d’abord ! (Characters First)
Magic Mirrors 1 | 14:00 – 15:00
comment faire vivre une histoire ?
(How to make a story live?)

FRIDAY, MAY 19

Déjeuner avec Catherynne M. Valente  (Lunch with CMV)
Déjeuner 2 | 12:30
By reservation only.

Entretien avec … Catherynne M. Valente (Interview with CMV)
Magic Mirrors 2 | 15:00 – 16:00

SATURDAY, MAY 20

Auteurs et romans atypiques… (Authors and Atypical Novels)
Magic Mirrors 3 | 18:00-19:00
Ah, les belles découvertes ! (Ah, the beautiful discoveries!)

SUNDAY, MAY 21

Créateurs de mondes… (Creators of Worlds)
Magic Mirrors 1 | 17:00 – 18:00
Monde de créateurs ! (World of creators!)

You can also find a PDF of the full schedule here.

(If there are any mistakes in the English translations, the Lab’s Intermittent Technospirit begs you pardon her French. She did her best!)

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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Today is International Women’s Day. Today, we commemorate the movement for women’s rights and bring awareness to the ongoing struggle for those rights – globally, nationally, personally.

Cat is honored to raise her voice as a part of Tor.com’s Nevertheless She Persisted anthology, an online series of flashfiction written by some of the best writers today in SF/F. Here’s what Tor.com had to say:

“Nevertheless She Persisted” has become a galvanizing cry for people of all genders in recognition of the struggles that women have faced throughout history.

This sci-fi/fantasy flash fiction collection features sharing unique visions of women inventing, playing, loving, surviving, and – of course – dreaming of themselves beyond their circumstances.

In this amazing collection, you will find “The Ordinary Woman and the Unquiet Emperor” by Catherynne M. Valente – and maybe too much reality for comfort. Discomfort is okay. Discomfort reminds us to fight.

Read it now, and then read all the other marvelous tales from Seanan McGuire, Alyssa Wong, Amal El-Mohtar, Nisi Shawl, and more.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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We’re excited to announce that Cat is now a Patreon creator, offering you exclusive content and goodies via Patreon’s flexible crowdfunding platform!

As our resident Mad Fiction Scientist puts it on her landing page, “… I want to put more fiction into the world. And I don’t just mean my own fiction. I want to help you guys write awesome books and stunning stories!”

Cat’s doing this by offering professional writing advice every month – in the form of comedic essays on the craft and business of writing. You’ll learn about characterization, dialogue, how to get a writing agent, and so much more. Beyond signing up to receive these exclusive Cat Valente essays, there are plenty of additional fantastic benefits you can score: sneak peeks at Cat’s works-in-progress, personal Skype calls, virtual writing dates, Tuckerizations, acknowledgements, and – well, see for yourself:

To get involved with Cat’s latest project and to support her work directly, just head over to Patreon: you can sign up for recurring donations, get access to the patron-only stream, interact with the Mad Fiction Scientist herself, and edit your pledge at any time. And remember: your support means the world to Cat, especially in these trying times. You get huge thanks from everyone at the lab, and we promise it’s pathogen-free. (Probably.)

Hurry on over! The Mad Fiction Laboratory awaits!

And, please – do hit the share buttons and spread the Patreon page on Twitter, Facebook, and your other social media platforms of choice. The Laboratory Denizens appreciate all you do!

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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In case you missed it, we’re excited to announce CMV’s forthcoming book, The Refrigerator Monologues. Cat wrote an introductory meditation on the project over at The Mary Sue, which you should absolutely check out for insight into this fierce takedown and ruthless interrogation of the point and place of women in superhero comics:

It all started because The Amazing Spider-Man 2 pissed me off.

Oh, I know it pissed everyone off for one reason or another. But when something pisses me off badly enough, I throw art in its face. And after Spider-Man, I walked out of the theater in actual, real life tears, and not the single tear flowing down a single cheek in mourning for the passing of the elegance of the world or something—big sobs like a big baby.

Let me explain.

Click this link to keep reading “The Refrigerator Strikes Back: The Refrigerator Monologues” at The Mary Sue.

The Refrigerator Monologues owes a particular debt to Gail Simone, who coined the termWomen in Refrigerators.” The book is dedicated to her.

Caught your interest yet? Read on for Saga Press’s description:

The lives of six female superheroes and the girlfriends of superheroes. A ferocious riff on women in superhero comics.

From the New York Times bestselling author Catherynne Valente comes a series of linked stories from the points of view of the wives and girlfriends of superheroes, female heroes, and anyone who’s ever been “refrigerated”: comic book women who are killed, raped, brainwashed, driven mad, disabled, or had their powers taken so that a male superhero’s storyline will progress.

In an entirely new and original superhero universe, Valente subversively explores these ideas and themes in the superhero genre, treating them with the same love, gravity, and humor as her fairy tales. After all, superheroes are our new fairy tales and these six women have their own stories to share.

The Refrigerator Monologues will be released on June 6, 2017. Pre-order it now from your favorite retailer! 

IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Powell’s

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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Happy New Year, all, and welcome to Awards Season! It’s that time when every author should share what they’ve written that’s eligible for any of the SFF genre’s awards – there are so many great stories being shared every year, and it can be hard to remember them all. These eligibility posts are welcome reminders, and don’t let anyone tell you differently.

For those in the SFWA, Nebula Awards nominations are open until February 15th. The Hugo Award nominations should open soon, any you can nominate if you were or are a member of the 2016, 2017, or 2018 Worldcons. The rules for nominating for the World Fantasy Award should be similar, but you might want to check with the World Fantasy Convention.

Here’s what I wrote that’s eligible this year:

NOVEL

The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home (Feiwel and Friends)

NOVELETTE

The Future Is Blue (in Drowned Worlds: Tales from the Anthropocene and Beyond)

The Limitless Perspective of Master Peek, or, the Luminescence of Debauchery (in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issue 200)

Snow Day (in Uncanny Magazine, Issue 11)

SHORT STORY

Badgirl, the Deadman, and the Wheel of Fortune (in The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales)

The Beasts Who Fought for Fairyland Until the Very End and Further Still

Thanks for your consideration! Remember: nominate early, vote often, and read always.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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Ever since the election, people have been telling me to shut up and go back to Fairyland. Be silent. Be good. Accept. Submit. Stop talking about politics. Stick to fairy tales. (As if fairy tales have ever not been about politics.) Go back to Fairyland. Go back to Fairyland.

So I did.

I have struggled since November 8th with everything I thought I understood about the world, and with what I could possibly do to help anyone. I certainly can’t stop talking. I can never do that. But for once, the Internet trolls had the answer.

I have written a new Fairyland short story. It does what fairy tales do, I hope. Explain the awful to the young. Explain the awful to the old. Explain the awful to myself. After all, once you know you’re in a fairy tale, you know how to get out, how to survive, how to stand tall and even dance at the end of it all.

This story may be read, reprinted, excerpted, exchanged, and otherwise disseminated for free, forever.

The Beasts Who Fought for Fairyland Until the Very End and Further Still.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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The mind is a strange thing. I cannot even say if it’s the mind of a writer that I mean, or the mind of a human. I have always had the mind I have; it is impossible to say whether my habits conform to those of any group–writers, women, those of an age neither Generation X nor Millennial, Americans, artists, and so on–or whether it is just the strange little music box of a brain I carry around in the cage of my bones.

When I am writing a story or a book or even a poem, I see the environment I render in words completely, as though on a movie screen. I change what I see internally until it feels right, then describe it on the page. But there is always a Version 1.0, a ground zero, a basic template for various objects and geographies. Often I fight against that entry-level image. Contort it into something better, different, more unusual, more striking. But I find it fascinating what set-pieces are so fully-formed in my mind that I must always consciously jettison them, or else ever house I write would be the same, every road, every forest, every school, every shop.

The example I started writing about on Twitter before deciding that it was absurd to try to say all this in a series of 140 character confetti-cannons is the Kitchen of My Mind.

When I think of a kitchen–and by that I mean any kitchen, simply the idea of “kitchen,” if I require a kitchen as a set for any scene–the image that comes instantly into my head, fully-realized, in Technicolor and 3-D sensory surround, is the kitchen of a house my mother briefly rented in Seattle around (by my math) 1985. The tiles are white with small black diamonds between the squares. The walls are white with black window frames. There is a small kitchen table in the corner where my infant brother and I have breakfast on the weekends when I stay with her instead of my dad. The corner has a bench built into one side where I always sit and is dominated by tall windows with cross-hatch sashes on both sides of the seam. Next to the corner on the rear wall is the back door leading into the yard. In this kitchen Ray Lynch’s album Deep Breakfast is always playing. My mother loved it and loved playing it at the thematically-appropriate time of the day.

Why the kitchen in this house, quickly rented and quickly moved out of, and not the one on Queen Anne Hill where my father and my stepmother and I lived until I was 7? Or the one in the house in Woodinville where I spent almost every morning of my adolescence? Or the one in Davis, California, where I cooked after-school snacks with my brother every day through junior high and high school? Of course I remember these places, but when I think of the pure, ontologically complete idea of a kitchen, it is always this one I return to.

But it gets stranger than that.

I cannot picture the rest of that house. Or even the rest of that kitchen. I see the table, the windows, the back door, the colors; I hear the music. I am there. But if I turn around to glance into the kitchen or the hall, where an oven and a refrigerator and a mother presumably is, the house I see is absolutely not the one that belongs to the cross-hatch windows and the built-in bench and Deep Breakfast. This kitchen does not go with this house. I know it isn’t, because I know that house, and it’s not even my house! It’s the house of my childhood best friend, Jessamyn, where I used to visit and sleep over all the time when we lived on the same street on Queen Anne Hill. I sit in the corner with the black and white cross-hatched windows and turn my head and I look down another narrow kitchen where a woman is standing at the stove who is not my mother but my best friend’s, with her strange German name and so utterly apart from the plain short suburban names of my family, with short slick bobbed hair nothing like my actual mother’s long, long black mop, into the living room to the front door with the chestnut tree growing outside, whose spiky nuts we used to collect for spells and fairy money in case we ever got whisked away like the girls in books.

I can walk through Jessamyn’s house like a virtual reality environment. I know all the nooks and crannies–because it was a great house, full of nooks and crannies and hiding places and dark, dark old wood that was so different than the bright houses both sets of my parents always lived in–in fact, at the time, the only hardwood floors I’d ever seen, since everyone in the mid-eighties was mad for carpet. That house that always seemed magic to me because it had a cellar and an attic, because Jessamyn’s stepfather let us watch tons of horror movies and always asked me a riddle when I first arrived and told me I had to have the answer by the next sleepover, and because Jessamyn’s mother was a professional harpist with the Seattle Orchestra who had told me the first time I came over that she kept her non-concert harps in a storage area under the floors. I used to creep around on tiptoe so as not to disturb the harps. I’m sure there were only one or two spares and they were in some kind of special temperature-safe space in the basement, but in my head, they were right under the floorboards, hundreds of them, each one with carved elaborate golden shoulders like the ones in paintings, crowded up an inch under my toes, sleeping, waiting, dreaming.

When I think about places where I spent time as a child, I remember, as clearly as the colors of the wood and the patterns of the wallpaper, the things I imagined, (quietly, to myself, without telling anyone) the things I believed, about those places while I was there. It’s a kind of synesthesia, which I have in many ways. For me, numbers and letters and months and days and even smells have colors, but places have ideas.

Belief has an architecture.

Dark hardwood floors have harps underneath them. Thin, tall curtains have ghosts (because I used to keep my button collection pinned to my tall, thin bedroom curtains, and my stepmother would add new ones while I was at school without saying anything, so I logically thought ghosts were giving me buttons. One day one appeared that said DON’T PANIC and I knew they were just trying to tell me not to be afraid). Split level houses have hungry bears hiding on their bottom floors (because my aunt had a split-level and in the downstairs living room she had a bearskin rug with teeth and claws and it scared me so bad I thought it was alive and freezing in place to fool me, and everywhere I went upstairs it was crawling along the downstairs ceiling and sniffling for me, lying in wait.)

These imaginings come instantly to mind, sewn into the simpler memories of furniture and house layouts and all those endless spaces of childhood. For my brain, they are inseparable, the way the smell of a turkey roasting is inseparable from the roasting turkey itself. And when I remember them, it’s so strong that, for a moment, the total belief that they were true flares up again before guttering away.

So this is what I see when I imagine a simply, archetypal kitchen: that table, those windows in a house my mother probably doesn’t even remember, attached to another house I never lived in, with another girl’s mother in it, a house of ancient wood and riddles and a tree full of fairy money hundreds upon hundreds of sentient sleeping harps snuggled up underneath it. Where the music my mother loved is always playing. Where my brother is always a baby sitting in a high chair next to me but my childhood friend is not. My brain has made a house that never existed out of remembered houses I only sometimes stayed in, and that, that is what it uses to represent the notion of any kitchen, anywhere.

This can’t be normal.

Do I even remember that kitchen accurately? I have reason to think I do–I have an extraordinarily good memory, and I remember events and places and phrases from my childhood so well it often startles and unsettles people who were adults then. But I can’t know. There is a flaw already embedded–the Two Houses Problem. Maybe the kitchen I think of when I think of kitchens never existed. Maybe the diamonds in the tile were blue. Maybe there were three windows, not two. But it’s scratched in iron in my head and I imagine that, if I somehow went to that house we rented again, and saw that it was different, that I had it wrong, in a day or two I wouldn’t remember the real kitchen anymore. It would go back to this image my brain loves and needs, clearly.

This sort of thing has happened before. I misremember the ending of The Purple Rose of Cairo so profoundly that I recall, and have quoted in company, full scenes of dialogue that do not exist in the film and never did. And every time I watch the real ending, my brain refuses to accept it, re-writes it again, and if you asked me how it ended right now, I could only give you my ending, even though I know it’s wrong.

I don’t know what the purpose of this surgery of associative memory is. I don’t know if anyone else thinks and remembers and imagines this way. I don’t even know the purpose of this little mini-memoir. I only sat down to work on a scene that takes place in a kitchen and the same ancient geography unfolded in my head. That kitchen always wants to be real again, even though it was never real in the first place.

Sometimes I think all of those beloved post-modernist tricks and flares and perhaps even all of non-realist fiction simply tells the factual truth of memory: it is unknowable, it is iterative, it is non-linear, it lies, it skips and jumps, it over-writes and re-writes itself, it has gaps and holes and unexplainable gulfs, it insists upon its own reality even when confronted with contradictory evidence, it lines the drawers of adult action with the magical thinking of childhood beliefs, all the beliefs we have, not because children are more innocent or marvelous, but because we simply did not know what was or was not possible yet in this world, it cobbles itself out of whatever it finds lying around in a vain attempt to create a cohesive narrative which can only ever be fully true to the rememberer, and perhaps not even then, and it strives, at all costs and against all odds, to make themes and motifs and sense and order and logic and certainty out of the utter howling void.

In that void, there is a kitchen. It is always the same kitchen. I am always there, and even though it’s only a story I told myself and remembering it serves no purpose, confers no meaning, and has nothing at all to do with kitchens in the first damn place, I am always going to be eating eggs at that table and waiting for the harps to wake up.

How strange and bright are the things brains do in their dark nests, with all the chestnuts falling.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

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