IT’S HERE! Architects of the Flesh is available for sale!

Do you like your socialism angry, your body horror Lamarckian, your alternate histories brutal and convoluted and your protagonists greyer than a London sky?

You’d better, because that’s what’s on offer, just in time for Christmas if you hurry!

(Unless you’re buying an ebook version, which case you can pretty much just buy it on Christmas day and hide in a corner devouring the misery, vengeance, and weirdness without listening to your family!)

If you don’t do Christmas, this book also serves brilliant as a Generic Winter Experience.

There is basically no reason not to buy, on Kindle (all regions, link goes to UK), iBooks, Nook, Barnes & Noble online, or in print and ebook at Lulu.com. You can also request it at many major bookshops!

the book cover for Architect of the Flesh shows the title, author attribution, and an image of a sketched medusa head on one piece of paper being menaced by a diagram of a surgeon's knife on another piece of paper: the background is Charles Booth's London Poverty Map

COMING SOON: ARCHITECTS OF THE FLESH

Coming soon from House of D Publications! A chunky and compelling novel full of strife, fantastical features, surgery, and really horrible phone calls! The birth and probably death of the genre Lamarckian Horror, by the author who brought you Saxonpunk.

the book cover for Architect of the Flesh shows the title, author attribution, and an image of a sketched medusa head on one piece of paper being menaced by a diagram of a surgeon's knife on another piece of paper: the background is Charles Booth's London Poverty Map

What?

That’s right! Before the close of the year, available in print and approximately a million (small exaggeration) e-reader formats including Kindle .mobi, .epub, .pdf etc, and available on iBooks, Kobi, Amazon, etc: ARCHITECTS OF THE FLESH is London as you’ve never seen it and hopefully will never see it, in a world where Lamarckian inheritance works, and just about every other science lags behind xenotransplant surgery.

Wait, back up. Lamarckian?

You may remember Darwin. At least, I hope you do. Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection turned out to be right: the idea that organisms develop physical (and indeed behavioural) traits over time as those individuals who display them fare better in whichever environment they’re in than those who don’t, and so have more babies.

Well, in the heady days of the 19th century, when everyone was still trying to figure out what the absolute hell was going on with a world they’d previously assumed was static and unchanging after the Oh Shit discovery of fossils, he was far from the only thinker trying to work out how we’d got from dinosaurs to chickens and whether those things had happened at the same time.

Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, chevalier de Lamarck (or just Lamarck)’s idea of how environment enacted biological change was that changes to individual organisms during the course of their lifetime were then demonstrated in their offspring: so if you cut the tail off a mouse, it would have tail-less offspring. If a giraffe stretched and stretched for leaves, it would have offspring with younger necks.

Now… that does seem pretty easy to test via empirical if somewhat cruel methods. Mice are not hard to get hold of and were pretty abundant in the 19th century too. And it certainly hasn’t withstood such a simple test as obviously your surgically mutilated mouse does not beget mice without tails (mice with human ears and mice with green fur are the result of genetic tampering, and are outside the scope of this novel).

Yes but: “xenotransplant”?

In the 1790s, eminent surgeon and co-author of Anatomy of the Human Gravid Uterus, William Hunter grafted human teeth onto a rooster’s head and said rooster grew a coxcomb of tooth enamel. You can see the results at the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London (or you can in 2021, when the museum re-opens).

See that? More of that.

So much more of that. Animal husbandry meets 18th century attitudes where theology of predestination props up chattel slavery. Human rights? Never heard of her. Animal rights? Don’t make me laugh. Technology without overriding morality? Wealth without conscience? People with fashion transplants? You got it.

Grab yourself a copy and see how bad things can get–but also just how hard it is to prevent people from trying to make things better.

Book Release: Saint Grimbald’s Men

After the fashion of Hannah Matchmaker’s New Skates, I’m letting this little story go on the Kindle for a pittance. At some point when I’ve amassed enough of these little stories I’ll put them together in a print collection, like I did with Tiny Fictions, so if you’re all about the dead tree format (and I don’t blame you, there is great satisfaction in being able to throw a book you don’t like across the room, and deleting something from your Kindle just isn’t the same!) don’t worry, it will eventually come to pass in a throwable, self-fillable format as well.

Unlike Hannah Matchmaker’s New Skates, this is also available as a PDF, without fussing about with Amazon’s interface (and profit margin); just pop me an email at [myname] at gmail dot com and ask about Paypal (it’ll be the same price as it’s listed on Amazon).

A grim tale.
A grim tale.

Unlike the roller derby story, this is very much not a sweet tale about overcoming the odds and learning to believe in yourself; instead it’s about the terrible consequences of repression, as expressed by body horror in a monastery. Or at least, I decided it was about the terrible consequences of repression: it’s actually about two monks who fall in love.

The Kindle edition is available from here ( .com instead of .co.uk if you’re not in the UK, obviously) , for a cover price of $0.99 USD or whatever that is in your local currency (in mine it usually works out at about 77p). For a sample of some of my fiction that you don’t have to pay for (besides the free previews on Lulu etc), there’s this.

And if you enjoyed the cover photograph, it is the work of one J. Reilly, and you can find more of her photography here.

Kindle Books Summary

Kindle Direct Publishing have done a thing with their payment systems that conceivably leads to me actually getting the money I’ve earned from them, so I thought now might be as good a time as any to talk everyone through the works of mine that are available via the Kindle store (most of the publications, in fact).

As Delilah Des Anges

click on image for listing

The Other Daughter is a revenge tragedy with comedic elements. It’s set in a fictional Midwest town in the United States and begins with a female soldier returning from a (fictional) second US war against Korea – in this case North Korea. It involves magic, bloodshed, and a heroine whose motivation is highly questionable and whose moral compass has been somewhat distorted both my the events she’s come to avenge herself over and by the events which have led her back home. I wrote the mainstay of this book in 2006 and I think it’s probably the darkest of my novels. And it’s $1.99 on the Kindle Store. [Price given in dollars because that’s the constant: the link goes to the UK store, but the US store has it too, as do the German, French, Italian, etc.]. I made a more fulsome post about this one when I launched it.

click on image for listing

Protect Me From What I Want, written in 2010, uses the 2008 Haut de la Garenne case on Jersey as a jumping-off point for a first-person reported narrative which is less about police work than it is about the detective in question failing to notice that he’s having a breakdown. I’d wanted to write this story for a while, in part because there are thorny questions of morality involved: what makes something unacceptable and something else acceptable? Since writing this there has been the catastrofuck that is the unfolding Jimmy Savile case (if you’re not from the UK and haven’t heard about this I don’t advise Googling as it was pretty grim), the central questions of consent and morality have become retroactively even more complicated. It’s also $1.99 on the Kindle Store, and despite the subject matter is probably a little less dark than The Other Daughter.

click on image for listing

How Not To Write By Someone Who Doesn’t is the most popular thing I have put on the Kindle Store under my own name. I’d like to say that it’s because it’s a vital and accessible work dealing with the realities of writing but I’m pretty sure the fact that it’s cheap and reasonably no-nonsense probably has more to do with it. It’s a selection of essays and exercises filtering everything I was taught at university while studying creative writing and everything I’ve learnt since into some bossy directions on, mostly, sitting the fuck down and writing. If that’s the kind of writing advice you think you or someone in your life needs, do get it, because I’m fantastic at motivating people to work by, uh, yelling at them until they do. Also it’s cheap: $0.99 USD on the Kindle Store, and the Kindle version has a couple of pieces which aren’t in the print version so you’re getting more bang for less buck.

click on image for listing

Year of the Ghost: Collect Poems 2011 is as it says on the cover, a year’s worth of poetry. It covers a lot of topics, and a lot of death, because 2011 was a year of prominent deaths and upheavals, which means it’s less something you’d want to read for light and uplifting amusement (although there are some uplifting poems within), and more something for expressing bigger emotions. I posted at greater length about this when it was launched last year. It’s available only for eReaders (as an ePub and for the Kindle), and on the Kindle Store cost the princely sum of $1.55 USD.

click on image for listing

Hannah Matchmaker’s New Skates, a short fable on on the importance of achieving things under your own steam without taking any shortcuts, is also about rollerderby, which means it is at least nine times more awesome than it would otherwise be. More here. This little tidbit of fiction is also a Kindle exclusive, which means if you’re an Amazon prime member and don’t fancy paying $0.99 like everyone else, you can borrow it for free.

click on image for listing

Pass the Parcel, set in alternate London and dealing with a complex and interlocking selection of lives linked by the passage of a small blue statue, took about eight years from first idea to final draft, maybe slightly longer. It’s a labour of love and of tendinitis, filled with enough different and striking characters that you’re almost certain to find one you like, and failing that if you don’t fall in love with this version of London I have failed in my mission. Print costs for something this long are exorbitant, so by buying it for the Kindle at $1.99 you are saving a lot of money.

click on image for listing

Tiny Fictions 2011 is the combined might of four miniature books of short stories, which despite the title have come from across the reaches of writerly time and not just 2011 (the original instalments were all published in 2011, hence the title). There is an infinite of variety of genres, characters, endings, and matter in these stories, from romance to crime to horror to fairytales to fantasy to lurid dreamscapes: some of the stories are so short you can devour them in a minute or two, and some are long enough to last a whole train journey. This galaxy of variable stars costs $1.99 on the Kindle Store and enriches your life.

click on image for listing

Know Your Words, the first book I published, is an anthology of poetry by three writers. Myself, House to Astonish‘s very own Al Kennedy, and Bostonian burlesque queen and performance poet Amy. We have different, complementary styles: Al’s is conversational, friendly, and often upbeat, riven with good humour; Amy’s is incisive, personal, and cutting, drawing comparisons with Denise Duhamel; mine is rambling and broad, taking in a number of styles and subjects, including SCIENCE. This sweet collection is also only $1.99 on the Kindle Store.

As Melissa Snowdon

Why a separate name for these books? Branding, pure and simple. Don’t screw your face up in disgust: it’s just a convenient way of putting the fluffy romance/erotica books in a different category to the more serious work. If you see Melissa Snowdon on the cover you know you’re getting something different to what you’re getting if you pick up a Delilah Des Anges book. They’re generally a lot less heavy on the plot and a lot more heavy on the gentlemen having sexy funtimes with other gentlemen, for one, and can usually be relied upon for a happy ending.

click on image for listing

The Breaking of M is a first-person meandering erotica/romance novel set in the 1600s and spanning the world from Venice to Mexico in the age of colonialism. It follows some of the fortunes of inveterate liar, former pirate and current spy, dandy, and hedonistic bisexual Matimeo Calvisia: Matimeo meets his match in arrogant, bossy and youthful Padre Vito Alessandro Bonifatigo, and finds himself at the mercy of an altogether more frightening prospect in the New World. This story contains lashings of BDSM and ridiculous happenstance, and is best suited for scratching very specific itches. A Kindle exclusive, it’s $1.99 or free if you’re an Amazon Prime member: there’s a slightly longer post about it here.

click on image for listing

The Curious Case of the Firecrotch: This is why we don’t write our memoirs while drunk, Wil is a cheesy, tongue-in cheek tribute to and pastiche of both the traditional noir detective and 70s trash pulp gay erotica. It’s also my first collaboration with a deeply irreverent friend, who is writing under the name Dionysia Hill because she doesn’t take this “writing” business very seriously (a salutatory lesson for us all). It’s the story of perpetually broke and perpetually drunk private eye Wil Kemp and his reluctantly-taken caseload, trying to pay his rent, avoid being shot for poking his nose in where it doesn’t belong, and find the missing boyfriend of a cute redhead that he’d rather be sleeping with himself. Ms Hill’s contribution to this work is that it’s snappy, sharp, and has a genuinely heart-warming ending. Also, at a wallet-bendingly low price of $0.99 USD it’s probably a worthwhile investment: more details on the launch post.

If you don’t have a Kindle

Never fear: the majority of these are available in print too. In fact there are a few titles (For the Love of a CityKissing Carrion #1, and Shots in the Dark) which are only available in print/PDF format.

Kindle Launch: The Other Daughter

Polly Mazlowczy has returned from a fictitious conflict in North Korea a changed woman. Just how changed, her strange and insular family and the people of an isolated Midwestern town are about to discover. The Other Daughter is a revenge tragedy of the old school given a modern twist.

This book is already available in print (and you can learn more about the book at that link too) but now that I’ve got the hang of Kindle Direct Publishing it’s also available as a Kindle book too. Because there are no printing costs to cover I can offer it a lot more cheaply for the Kindle (as should all publishers, which is another grumpy rant for another day but honestly, if the physical book is £7.99 the eBook shouldn’t be £7.99 as well! Come on, guys!), and The Other Daughter for Kindle is available for the cheap-as-chips £2.64.