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May 21, 2011 — 387 words

Three Weeks Later

By Kit Iwasaki

Only one more week of Party Like It's 1889 left.

Clearly my week has been the best so far.

You've had interviews, guest posts, giveaways, a sneak peek at my next book, and even something no other author offered -- a short story!

Not to mention all the free medical advice I've been giving out. Let's face it: MCM and Greg X Graves didn't stand a chance.

In case you missed out on any of this week's awesome, here's a recap:

This Week’s Prescription

Today is the last day to enter the giveaway for a $10 Amazon voucher and an 1889 Labs paperback — so get your entries in before midnight tonight!

1. Go to the intro post and tell us what type of transhuman you’d choose to be for an instant entry into the giveaway.

2. Comment on my gues posts on What Book Is That? and my interview on Two Ends of the Pen for even more chances to win!

3. Check out the Slash and Burn teasers, and tell me how annoying my cliffhangers are.

4. Comment on my first ever Vampire General short story, The Simple Truth!

5. Tweet about the contest using the hashtag #1889party and get your friends involved!

6. For TEN extra entries, post a photo on the 1889 Labs Facebook wall of you, your cat, or whatever/whoever you want, reading an 1889 book (either print or ebook).

The giveaway closes TODAY, Saturday May 21, at 11:59 EDT, with winners announced tomorrow.

because it is!Remember, all your entries to this week’s giveaway also count as entries to the Kindle grand prize giveaway. Check out this post for more details.

May 20, 2011 — 407 words

The Return of Vampire General

By Kit Iwasaki

In about a month, the second book of Vampire General will be published.

It's called Slash and Burn and it will pick up where Intern With The Vampire left off.

What's Vampire General, you ask? Where have you been this week?!

Vampire General is my debut series. It's Gray's Anatomy with a paranormal twist. Think hospitals. Think vampires. Think medical drama and dramatic medicine. Think True Blood meets Scrubs.

Actually, enough with the thinking. Go grab Intern With The Vampire in the series from Smashwords. I'll even give you a 50% off coupon (expires tomorrow!): YE35S.

Run along. I'll wait here.

Okay, got it? Good.

So now that you're properly angry with me for that nail-biting cliff-hanger at the end of Intern With The Vampire, here's a couple teasers of what's to come in Slash and Burn:

1. Tournament Prospects Ruined
The latest admittance in Vampire General is a tournament-hopeful who's now on death's door. Sources say his cousin is "deeply concerned" by the injury.

2. Unrequited Love Rears Its Head!
What's medical drama without a love triangle to keep things confusing? And is unrequited love strong enough to tear a friendship apart?

3. Blast From The Past
Aline is contacted by someone she never expected to hear from again, and is forced to confront the life she's left behind.

4. A Furry Little Problem
Waxing won't solve this patient's problem, but without a cure, more than one life is at stake.

5. Burn, Baby, Burn
Physical burns take a long time to heal, but there are also other ways to burn: from shame, from embarrassment, and most of all from jealousy....

Nope, I'm not going to give you any more details. You'll have to wait till June to find out what happens next!

because it is!An advance copy of Slash and Burn could be YOURS! This month we’re giving away a Kindle, advance copies of every book we publish this year, and more! Enter to win by commenting below. More details available here.

May 19, 2011 — 566 words

Your Monthly Check-Up

By Kit Iwasaki

Have you been putting off that visit to the doctor? Ignoring that toothache?

Shame on you!

But never fear! I'm almost a doctor. Or at least, I'm the closest thing 1889 Labs has to a doctor, so if you want to make sure you're healthy, you should listen to me.

Now, I can't give you advice on that toothache, but I AM licensed to give you advice on finding happiness. In particular, happiness in the shape of lots of exciting prizes like ebooks, paperbacks, Amazon vouchers, Kindles, and more.

You got it. I'm talking about Party Like It's 1889.

This week on your prescription is my book, Intern With The Vampire. You can get it from Smashwords. You can even get 50% off using coupon code YE35S!

Be Healthy!

There's MORE you can do to increase your chances of winning overall health.

You know what they say: a comment a day keeps the doctor away.

Over at What Book Is That? is my first ever guest post, The Anatomy of a Writer. This is a historic moment! I've written such things as how a doctor ends up magically turning into a writer. (Clue: with blood.)

And ANOTHER first. My first interview! On Two Ends of the Pen I've revealed for the first time where the idea for the Vampire General series came from. #yepreally

So how does this affect your health?

By leaving a comment on What Book Is That? or Two Ends of the Pen, you not only enter their giveaway for a copy of Intern... you ALSO get more chances to win our Kindle giveaway!

The more likely you are to win, the higher your happiness levels, the better your health! Simple!

Besides, typing is good excercise for your fingers. And reading is good eye-excercise.

So my official* advice as 1889 Labs' doctor is:

*advice may or may not be very official.

because it is!I'm giving away a $10 Amazon voucher & a paperback of your choosing this week (open worldwide)! Enter to win by commenting below & on the posts linked above. Each comment also counts as an entry to the grand prize giveaway! More details and ways to win available here.

May 17, 2011 — 1,950 words

The Simple Truth

By Kit Iwasaki

Exclusive to Party like it's 1889 -- a brand new, never-seen-before story set shortly before the events in Intern With The Vampire.

It was only the beginning of her shift, but Arlington already wanted to go home. She stood on one side of the hospital corridor, flipping through her patient’s charts with feigned concentration, intensely aware that every single other doctor in the area had positioned themselves as far away from her as possible. Even after seven years here, they didn’t trust her. She supposed they never would: it came with the territory of being a black widow.

She bowed her head, lifted her clipboard slightly higher so that no one could see her close her eyes. Just one minute of respite, that’s all she asked for.

“Dr Arlington? Can I consult you on my case?”

Arlington lowered her clipboard, irritated by the interruption. She looked around slowly, watched every nurse and intern in the vicinity scuttle out of the way, all of a sudden far too busy to meet her gaze. Dr Niall alone remained beside her, the little half-smile on his face too familiar, too obvious.

She put on her best scowl, but he didn’t flinch. “I’d rather you didn’t.”

Niall ignored the warning in her voice, even dared to wink conspiratorially. “Please?” he said, oblivious to the other nurses, to the scene he was making. “I’d like your advice.”

“Dr Wolls is your supervisor,” she replied flatly. “I recommend you speak to him instead.”

“But I would like an external opinion,” Niall replied as he took half a step closer, invading her personal space and sending her pulse racing

Arlington forced down the stirrings of hunger, looked away so that Niall wouldn’t see the reddening tint of her irises. The other nurses were beginning to point and stare; soon the hospital gossip mill would be alive with excitement and the staff would place bets on how long the relationship would last.

She straightened, swept a vicious gaze around the corridor that made everyone look away. Then Arlington put away the clipboard and eyed Niall with growing irritation, feeling her animal urges rise to the fore, hungry for his blood. He only smiled, still standing too close for comfort, as if he wasn’t afraid of her. How stupid of him.

“Follow me,” she snapped. Arlington didn’t wait, simply marched off down the corridor, past the long row of hospital beds, the screaming patients and harried doctors, her heels clacking firmly against the tiled floor. A path cleared before her without her even having to say ‘excuse me’ once; being a black widow had its benefits, she supposed.

She cut straight across the lobby, to the main entrance of the hospital: two large automatic doors with blackened-out windows to keep out the sun. The doors slid open and she stepped through into the cool evening air, striding over to the far end of the emergency bay, Niall hurrying after her. The ground here was littered with crushed cigarette butts, the concrete smeared with black ash like smudged kisses on the pavement.

Arlington turned to face the main doors, back stiff, alert for eavesdroppers, but the emergency bay was, for once, empty.

Now that she was out here.... Arlington took a packet of cigarettes out from her lab coat pocket, ignored Niall’s huff of disapproval as she put a cigarette between her lips and lit the end. A long draw, the smoke released slowly through her nose. The rush of nicotine helped dampen her urges.

“Well?” she said, when it became clear Niall would not break the silence. “What case did you want to speak to me about?”

Niall lounged back against the building wall, arms crossed in a vain attempt at manliness. Oh, he thought he was manly, but he was too young to pull it off, too clean-cut with his short, dark curly hair and baby-blue eyes. “You shouldn’t tie your hair back so tightly,” he said. “You look better with it down.”

It figured he’d like the dumb blonde look. Arlington took another drag, exhaled the smoke out of her nose. “You have until I’m finished my cigarette to talk to me about your case. Then I’m going back inside.”

“Not a case. Us. I wanted to talk about us.”

She froze, looked at him. He was earnest, serious.

“There is no us.”

“I know you want to keep it secret, but—”

“There is no us,” she repeated.

He pushed off the wall, angry now. “What was last night then?”

“I thought it was self-evident. Sex.” She threw her cigarette away even though it wasn’t finished, ground the stub under her heel.

But Niall wasn’t done yet. “And the night before? And last week? Are you really going to deny what we have?” His pupils dilated, his eyes darkening, and Arlington felt her own body rush to respond, excited by the hunt, the proximity of her prey. She edged closer, torn between the desire to kiss and to kill.

“I love you,” Niall said, completely shattering the moment.

The words were a punch to her gut. The declaration was so illogical, so impossible, that Arlington could only laugh. Nobody fell in love with a black widow. Nobody. And Niall was about to learn why.

Sometimes when Arlington thought of all the men she’d torn to pieces over the years, the men she’d chewed up and spat out and trampled all over, she felt a dull, hollow ache in the place her heart was supposed to be.

Other times she felt a savage, animalistic triumph. This was one of those times.

She stepped right up to Niall and placed her fingertips against his chest, over his heart, her nails digging into his skin through the thin material of his shirt. Her adrenaline spiked, and it was so very hard not to give in to impulse and tear into his flesh.

“You’re nothing to me,” she said, low and fierce. “You’re just prey.”

But Niall was shaking his head. “You want everyone to think that, but I know better! You’re not a monster, Arly—”

She pushed him, hard, kept pushing until his back was flat against the wall and he was pinned in place by her fingers against his chest. With her high heels on he was a little bit shorter than her, and she looked down at him, letting him take in the burning red of her irises.

“I killed a man once,” she finally said. “I cracked open his ribcage and ripped out his heart. The last thing he saw was my face, coated in his blood.” She let the words sink in, leaning closer as he trembled against the wall. He was scared, now: good. “Want to know what the worst thing was? I didn’t even feel sorry about it. I ate his raw heart and it felt good. It felt right.”

Even now, watching Niall’s terrified expression, a part of Arlington—the part that didn’t care about medicine, or curing people and healing pain—was filled with vicious satisfaction. This was why she had been born, what her genes were programmed to do: lure men in to their death.

“Love cannot exist between predator and prey,” she said, softly now, almost gently, moving closer so that only a breath of air stood between their bodies. “Never has. Never will.”

Niall could not look away, entirely under the sway of her pheromones now. “Y-Y-You’re hurting me,” he stuttered, slightly breathless, but he offered no resistance.

Arlington glanced down, horrified to discover that her nails had broken his skin. The front of his shirt was stained, five red fingerprints against the whiteness. The blood excited her. She had him trapped, and it would be so easy to dig her nails in just that little bit more, to drag him somewhere secluded and finish the job.

But she was a doctor first, and a black widow second, so she jerked her hand away, stepped back, moving downwind of Niall to clear the air of her pheromones. He blinked, blinked again, his hand raising up slowly to touch his chest as his senses returned.

“You....” He studied the blood on his fingertips in disbelief. “You almost—”

“I never want to see you again.” Her voice came out far calmer than Arlington had expected. She’d nearly slipped up, nearly ruined everything. If anyone in the hospital found out how close she’d come to killing him, her career was over.

“But—”

“You disgust me,” she interrupted. “Whatever we had is over. You’re weak and emotional, and have no discretion whatsoever.” And then she said the words she knew from personal experience would completely crush him: “You’ll never make it as a doctor. You should quit while you’re ahead.”

He crumpled, like she’d known he would, his shoulders sagging, every ounce of fight gone. It was almost too easy. He was six years her junior and far, far too naive, still unaware that life was one long struggle. She’d found that innocence charming at first, tempting, but now it only made her feel sick. He should have known better than to get close.

“Leave,” she said flatly. “Just get out of my sight.”

“I... I....” He clenched his jaw, nodded, and walked away, toward the hospital entrance.

Arlington stood still, watched his back until the main door slid shut behind him. Then she reached into her lab coat, fumbling for another cigarette. Her hands were shaking and she wasn’t sure why.

“That wasn’t very nice,” a voice said from behind her.

She turned around slowly to find Dr Rocque walking up the street towards the hospital. Her eyes travelled up his lean, lithe body to rest on his face. He was smiling faintly, but when it came to Rocque that meant nothing.

“Dr Rocque,” she nodded warily. Her eyes were still burning red—she could feel them—but it could’ve been anything: anger, excitement, happiness, or any emotion strong enough to get the adrenaline pumping. How much had he seen? Enough to get her fired?

He smoothed his already-pristine lab coat, rubbed his chin thoughtfully as he looked around the empty emergency bay. “Nice evening tonight, hm?”

“Quite.” Her eyes narrowed. What game was he playing at? The man was an enigma, always playing to his own agenda. She managed to light her cigarette, took a slow drag, trying to act casual.

Rocque walked past her, paused, looked back. “Dr Wolls isn’t going to be happy. You’ve lost him his intern.”

“Give him mine.”

“Excellent suggestion. Although we’re still short-staffed.”

Arlington looked up at Grace General, all harsh concrete edges and narrow windows. “When are we not short-staffed?”

“True. I suppose I’ll have to find another intern,” Rocque said idly. He glanced at her, his eyes crinkling into a smile. “A female one, preferably.”

because it is!Leave a comment below for a chance to win a $10 Amazon voucher & an 1889 Labs paperback! Every comment also counts as an entry to the grand prize giveaway for a Kindle, VIP tickets, etc! More details and ways to win available here.

May 16, 2011 — 607 words

Bite Me! It’s A Party!

By A.M. Harte

Vampirification is NOT a victimless crime!

That little kiss with Mr Cullen will give you hema deficiency, a severe garlic allergy, and a strong aversion to sunlight. And you thought HUMAN medicine was hard?

Vampirism isn't curable, but I know a girl who can treat you for it.

Introducing our third author on Party Like It’s 1889: Kit Iwasaki, also known as Dr Kick-ass Kit!

Kit’s the newest face on the 1889 Labs roster, but watch out, because this noob’s bite is worse than her bark! In fact, she’s so determined to come first in our comments battle that she’s braved sunlight, garlic, and silver crosses to take part in the tour.

So what’s Kitty got lined up for us this week?

Wait -- what DOESN'T she have lined up?

Her ‘True Blood meets Scrubs’ paranormal drama Intern With The Vampire is on sale this week only!

You heard right: she's offering 50% off this entertaining, fast-paced novella. Just fly over to Smashwords and use coupon code YE35S before Sunday May 22.

But wait! There’s more!

She's not letting Greg and MCM out-do her! This week Kit's giving away a $10 Amazon voucher AND a paperback from the 1889 Labs library (open worldwide).

To enter, just leave comments on her posts this week. #easypeasy

Winners are chosen at random from the comments she gets, so the more you write, the higher your chances of winning!

Hunting for Blood Prizes!

Cure those vampire urges by following this prescription:

1. Leave a comment on this very post right now telling us what type of transhuman you’d choose to be for an instant entry into the giveaway.

2. Get your friends involved! Tweet about the contest using the hashtag #1889party -- each tweet is worth one entry!

3. Invent a transhuman disease and post it on Kit's Facebook page!

4. Check out this week's recap for a handy list of all the party posts to comment on!

5. For TEN extra entries, post a photo on the 1889 Labs facebook wall of you, your stethoscope, or your werewolf stuffed toy, reading Intern With The Vampire on your ereader or laptop.

The giveaway closes Saturday May 21 at 11:59 EDT, and Kit'll announce winners on Sunday!

Need more bang for your buck? Don’t forget that every comment and photo counts towards the grand prize giveaway for a Kindle and VIP tickets -- get your hands on our 2011 releases before anyone else, free!

because it is!Over ten prizes! Dozens of ways to win! All of May, we're throwing a huge party -- join in on the fun for a chance to become one of our lucky winners! More details here.

May 15, 2011 — 462 words

Are you a winner? Let’s find out…

By MCM

It's Sunday people! Sunday! You know what that means, right?

PANCAKES.

Wait, no. Well, maybe. But no. What it means is it's time to announce some more winners in the Party Like It's 1889 extravaganza! Are you excited? I'm excited, and I can't even win!

So let's start by recapping the winner already announced. If we check over at Violin in a Void, we can see that Mcchots from South Africa has won a copy of Greg X Graves' excellent Bears, Recycling and Confusing Time Paradoxes! Congrats Mcchots!

And once again we come to the announcement you've all been waiting for. The $10 Amazon voucher. Can you feel the tension in the air? Well try. Reach out and grab it. Go on.

That wasn't the air you grabbed.

Oh my.

To erase that moment from both our memories, let's talk about next week, when the innumerable Kit Iwasaki will be taking over the Party line to talk about her book, Intern with the Vampire. I would say you can safely ignore her and let me win the little internal-to-1889 wager we've got going on as to who is the most commented author, but honestly, I doubt you can ignore her. Vampires are feisty, and feistiness attracts attention. Stupid vampires.

Check back tomorrow for some exciting vampiric feistiness, I guess.

Okay, well, it's been a great second week, and I hope you all enjoyed it, and I'm going to ahahahahahaha I fooled you didn't I? Or not? No? Okay, fine. Be that way.

The winners of the contest! The random number generator has been doing its thing and has turned out two names:

The winner of this week's $10 Amazon voucher is kdnewton!

The winner of this week's 1889 paperback of his choice is ebonwumon!

If you two can drop me a line at mcm@1889.ca, I'll get your prizes off to you ASAP.

So that's it! That's the end of the Bears, Recycling and Confusing Time Paradoxes week, and I would just like to thank you all for making it so much fun. Please be nice to Kit next week, and buy tomatoes to throw at Anna the week after.

because it is!Remember, all your entries to any week's giveaway also count as entries to the Kindle grand prize giveaway. Check out this post for more details.

 

May 14, 2011 — 461 words

Has it been two weeks already?

By MCM

Holy crap I feel old. I feel as old as Greg is crazy. So that's pretty old.

In the second week of Party Like It’s 1889,  Greg has shown us all how loony lunacy can be. I mean, I thought I was nuts, but man, anyone who can talk about balls in zero gravity with a straight face has got to be the nuttiest nut in the room. The proverbial room. Which may or may not be square.

We've had giveaways, guest posts, interviews that make very little sense, and even a sneak peek at Codex Nekromantia, Greg's next book! If this week were a few days longer, you'd even get to see him bungee jumping off the Statue of Liberty! But alas, we only get seven days, and the harness and helmet are on backorder, so you'll just have to imagine what that would look like. Keep it clean, people.

So just in case you missed something in the last few days, let's do an instant recap!

This Week’s Missions

Today is the last day to enter this week’s giveaway for a $10 Amazon voucher and an 1889 Labs paperback — so get your entries in before midnight tonight!

1. Go to the intro post and tell us what bears and cheese have in common for an instant entry into the giveaway.

2. Comment on Greg's guest posts on Violin in a Void and Nicki J Markus' site for even more chances to win!

3. Check out Greg's Codex Nekromantia preview, and leave a comment explaining what the image at the top makes you crave (similarly, keep it clean, people).

4. Tweet about the contest using the hashtag #1889party and get your friends involved!

5. For TEN extra entries, post a photo on the 1889 Labs Facebook wall of you, your cat, or whatever/whoever you want, reading an 1889 book (either print or ebook).

The giveaway closes TODAY, Saturday May 14, at 11:59 EDT, with winners announced tomorrow.

because it is!Remember, all your entries to this week’s giveaway also count as entries to the Kindle grand prize giveaway. Check out this post for more details.

 

May 13, 2011 — 645 words

Zombies, broken hearts and hangovers

By Greg X. Graves

I've been getting down and partying like it's 1889! The cleaners returned my spats earlier today, after which I went marching around the neighborhood to John Philip Sousa's latest.

I feel quite exhilarated; so exhilarated that I wanted to tell all you other party-goers about my upcoming book, coming out this September. Why? Because if you comment on this (or any other Party Like It's 1889 post) and you're as lucky as Benjamin Harrison, you could win my book as part of the grand prize giveaway of VIP tickets!

The book itself is about zombies.

They're pretty rad.

If you don't know about them, they're a bunch of dead folks who love your brains, but not in the way communicated by those terrible candy hearts with phrases like "love is not love which alters when it alteration finds" or "U + ME". And not courtly love, either. Zombies love your brains the way some people love pork chops.

The book's titled Codex Nekromantia and it's got zombies in it. A whole lot of zombies. They've overrun an entire city. Of course, it's not technically overrun when the population has stayed the same but changed demographics from alive to dead.

(Overrun is when a bunch of foreigners invade. For example, London is going to be overrun with tourists when the Olympics rolls around, though with significantly less shambling than if an army of undead with fragile ankle bones had descended upon it. Hopefully.)

Imagine a nightmare scenario: your city, town, village, hamlet or oil derrick is overrun with tourists. They move slowly, they stop right in your path. And they're hungry for brains. Now imagine that scenario in the city of Constantinople, Illinois. It's a metropolis of comparable size and population to its northern neighbor Chicago, except that the leadership of Constantinople has continually antagonized the cartographers' guild for the two hundred and fifty years since the founding of the city.

Don't piss off cartographers or they'll make sure to make sure that maps show the location of your world-class city as an uninhabitable swamp.

Constantinople has a trio of necromancers in its midst, led by the great and terrible Lord Arkephalous. He's horrifying, he wears a belt made out of childrens' skulls, and was summoned from his prison by a pair of amateur necromancers. And now he's trying to get revenge on the wizards that locked him up. To do that, he needs an army.

Now Arkephalous has used his necromancy to make sure that everybody in the city is a friggin' zombie.

Almost everybody. Some people across the city have survived. The biggest group of them is holed up in the Constantinople Museum of Natural History, and among the survivors is Casimir Bishop. Luckily for Constantinople, he has the pedigree of a hero: he fearlessly slung sandwiches for a living and had a girlfriend. Heroic stuff. Until yesterday, when all of the citizens wanted the brains out of his skull instead of salami on wheat. Then his girlfriend dumped him. And to top it all off, a zombie tore a chunk out of his hand, ending his sandwich-making career in a non-heartbeat.

What's the only thing worse than waking up in a city full of zombies and a chest full of the shards of a broken heart?

Zombies, a broken heart and a splitting hangover waiting for him when he wakes up.

because it is!An advance copy of Codex Nekromantia could be YOURS! This month we’re giving away a Kindle, advance copies of every book we publish this year, and more! Enter to win by commenting below. More details available here.

May 12, 2011 — 592 words

Greg’s Guide to Insanity

By MCM

Have you read Bears, Recycling and Confusing Time Paradoxes yet? If so, you win a prize. If not, visit this link and rectify the situation immediately. I will wait.

This is me waiting.

Wait wait wait.

Okay, you should be done now. Let's proceed.

Did you know that Greg X Graves, the author of the aforementioned book, has performed acts of guestpostery? Why yes, yes he has! And without a net! In some countries, that would result in stiff fines or even jail time, but here in 1889 land, we reward him with biscuits.

Over at Violin in a Void, Greg has guest posted things such as:

The main character has to think about how the baguette he’s buying is the same shape as the rifle that his grandfather used back in the war to shoot all six of his brothers right in their faces after they’d joined the enemy army.

Whereas at Nicki J Markus' site, he has been quoted as saying the truly shameful:

I hope that readers get a smile, chuckle, or chortle.  Or, if they're really humorless bastards, that they scowl more lightly for a few moments.

Silliness, I'm afraid. True silliness.

You may also be pleased to know that by leaving a comment on the Violin in a Void or Nicki J Markus posts makes you much more likely to win a prize in their 1889 giveaway... but also to win a Kindle in our giveaway as well! Yes, you heard me correctly! Put down the cone from your ear, I'm not even really speaking to you! Hurrah!

Now let me be serious for a moment. You're asking yourself: "I am intimidated by the high level of discourse surrounding Greg's book." And to that I say: first of all, that's not a question. Second of all, there is no high level of discourse when it comes to Greg, only base discourse in high discourse's clothing. And high discourse wants its clothing back, dammit. It can't go to the opera naked, now can it? Well, maybe it can, but SHOULD it? Well, maybe in Amsterdam, but never mind that now!

Let's sum up, for those of you who prefer bullet points:

* this item subject to availability, meaning it's entirely out of your hands whether or not you actually accomplish the full list. That said, you should still feel bad for leaving the job half-done. Shame on you.

because it is!Greg’s giving away a $10 Amazon voucher & a paperback of your choosing this week (open worldwide)! Enter to win by commenting below. Each comment also counts as an entry to the grand prize giveaway! More details and ways to win available here

 

May 10, 2011 — 1,157 words

Brain Surgery with Greg X. Graves

By MCM

Greg X. Graves is a world-renowned psychopath. He has mutilated more people with sardine cans than....

Wait, hold on, wrong biography. How embarrassing. Greg never uses sardine cans.

In fact, Greg is the author of the fantastic book called [PICTOGRAM], which is SO good my wife has actually asked me if I can be more like Greg. Several times. Also, she changed the locks and left my laundry out by the trash cans, but I'm sure that's unrelated.

Anyway, I caught up with Greg the other day to ask him some important questions about being writerly and psychopathological all at the same time.

MCM: First of all, I need to know where you put the peanut butter. It's not where it's meant to be.

GXG: I think that your traditional concepts of "cupboards" and "jars" are outdated concepts that have absolutely no place in a modern lifestyle. I keep my peanut butter smeared across my windows.

MCM: You have a new book out called [PICTOGRAM]. Why call it [PICTOGRAM]? That makes absolutely no sense at all. Are you trying to corrupt the youth of our nation?

GXG: I value simplicity and clear speech, so let me explain: The youth of our nation are stuck in traditional concepts of words needing to not be pictures, and pictures not being words, and that's because they can't handle pictograms being words embedded in pictures and not represented visually.

MCM: So the book is a collection of stories, all ending in a moral which illuminates the reader as to the finer points of modern living. Why do you feel the need to do that? Can't you just have explosions like everyone else?

GXG: Each of the stories ends with a moral, it's true, but you can safely ignore those. They're usually advanced techniques, anyhow. What's important is to consider the whole of the Guide to Moral Living in Examples: a collection of stories whose goal is to be fun. There are plenty of authors who have their Serious Pants on and hitched up to the nipple. I wear the low-rise bootcut Fun Pants of an author who can spend his writing time giggling like a fiend with a helium balloon.

MCM: What is one of your favourite stories in the book? I like the one with barbarians, but that is because I am barbaric.

GXG: I'm glad that you noticed. Ever since I met you, each Moral has been a confidential message, from me to you, criticizing your lifestyle. Before that I had to focus on criticizing the lifestyle of the jackass in the mirror that always made faces at me. And that got old after he started crying all the time.

I like the concept expressed in Cake: "when they're activated, we'll either all be full of cake or dead". That really represents my attitude towards life. Keep yourself full of cake or be some sort of lame-ass who doesn't eat cake.

On the other hand, Hank Rockjaw will always hold a special spot in my heart because it is autobiographical. Only the names have been changed.

Okay, I lied. Only my name was changed.

MCM: What is your writing process? How many pints of blood does it take to fill your pen?

GXG: How many pints of blood does it take for you to write your questions that put me in a box and file me into one of your square cubes?

I do my best work when I'm panicking, and I only panic when I've procrastinated on a deadline. The problem was that I couldn't reliably work myself up into a good, sweaty panic without having somebody to let down when I broke a deadline. Now that I have the fine folks at 1889 Labs to let down, I’ve been able to panic to most of the day. My output is way up!

MCM: If you were forced to become an inanimate object for a week, what would you be, and why?

GXG: One of your vehicles of oppression, because those obsidian spikes sticking out of the wheel rim that are specially designed to shred hopes and dreams into a nightmare confetti look pretty badass.

MCM: Do you have any other projects in the works? Anything you can't say much about but can tease your fans with mercilessly as you stroke a fluffy white cat?

GXG: I'm writing a tell-all book about you. That's all the teasing that you'll get. The rest is pure spoiler: at the end, you're completely unrepentant about being a square.

The novel that I'm serializing, Codex Nekromantia, is the first of a series. Not all of them will be so heavily focused on zombies, which is either great news or terrible news, depending on how the reader feels about how much I'm departing from Brooksian zombie canon.

And one of the main characters in Codex dies. He or she dies so hard.

Hank Rockjaw will also make a return.

MCM: All right, that's enough out of you. Rodrigo here will take you back to your cell. Any last words?

GXG: I'll bet that cell is pretty square.

MCM: No, different last words.

GXG: What I'm saying is, it'd be better if you went in there. It's more efficient to keep a square in a square space. And I'll bet that you're all about efficiency. See, I'm a circle. Do you have any spherical holding areas?

MCM: Argh, okay, you know what? I revoke your right to last words. No more speaking. That's it. I'm serious.

GXG: Because you can't contain me. I'll just roll away. And while you're chasing me, I'll be picking up speed and you'll be tumbling down the hill after me, slowing down while your edges get worn away. And you know what? You'll wake up in the hospital. And you won't be a square, anymore, but you'll be a circle. And I'll have won.

Wait, what's this? You didn't say that I was being transferred into an orbital jail. I can't roll in space!

MCM: Oh, well in that case, I will take three last words please.

GXG: Screw zero gravity.

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