Now, Three Good Writing-Related Things That Happened This Week

Skeleton Mouse drawn in, like, 5 minutes by Gem Sheldrake, a True Genius


Since I don’t want to bury the lede, as they say (is that how you spell “lede”?), I will start with the biggest news.

And that is that my novel, once called Miscellaneous Stones: Necromancer and now called Saint Death’s Daughter–which started off as a thought experiment when Marie O’Mahony took me shooting guns in the desert and I was all sweaty and nervous and like “Where’s my silencer?”, and which thought experiment then morphed into a short story (with ROBOTS) in a Science Fiction class at Columbia College Chicago under Phyllis Eisenstein, and which short story then grew into a very light 50,000 NaNoWriMo comedic fantasy romp, and over the following 9 years metastasized was crafted into a massive, monstrous, very-dear-to-my-heart, beautiful and beloved novel–has been picked up by Rebellion Publishing, to be released in 2022.

You can see by the Dickensian length of that last sentence/paragraph what you might be getting into with this book.

Thankfully, I have an EDITOR for that. And her name is KATE COE. And I already love her. But, as Rogers and Hammerstein famously wrote in their musical about undead mice, Cindermancer:

Do I love you because you’re wonderful?
Or are you wonderful, because you like my footnotes?
Are you the sweet invention of a writer’s dream?
Or are you really as wonderful as you seem?

Reader, she’s just great. AND SHE LIKES MY FOOTNOTES!

You know who else is great? Gem Sheldrake, Rebellion’s in-house illustrator, who came up with the aforementioned mouse skeleton in two seconds, and who will be working on EVEN MORE mice skeletons (my protagonist Lanie would be GOOing herself), as well as UNDEAD WOLF PUPPIES! OMG!

Kate also just introduced me to Hanna, Rebellion’s marketing person, and I am so PSYCHED by this team, I can’t even TELL YOU!

My agent Markus Hoffmann at Regal Hoffmann and Associates LLC has been the most supportive, enthusiastic, determined fellow, and also, I adore him. But I’ve liked him ever since he responded to my first fifty pages query with a “I quite like these, please send more.” I MEAN, WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE, RIGHT???

Seriously, my husband Carlos thinks his agent DongWon Song is the best, and FER SURE he’s pretty great, but I’ll fight him on “best.”

So that’s 1.

Cover art by Jason Wren. Cover design by Brett Masse.


Mike Allen at Mythic Delirium, who published my collection Bone Swans: Stories (which won the World Fantasy Award in 2016, which, whoa, feels like such a long time ago), approached me a few years ago about a potential project. We’d both submit novellas to this publishing company, who’d then put the together in a back-to-back collection, kind of like those vintage Sci Fi paperbacks that had two covers, one on the front, one on the back?

Well, that fell through. And while I’d had a novella in mind for it, it was in early raw cake-batter stages, and I got busy, and never went back to it.

But then, last October 2019, Mike approached me again and asked what I’d think about contributing that novella to an anthology of four works of long fiction, called The Sinister Quartet.

Reader, I was INTRIGUED. I’d just finished two rough drafts of new novellas–tentatively titled Fiddle and I Will Make a Ruin of Myself–and wanted to step back from them and let them rise in the warming oven for awhile, or whatever it is first drafts do.

(By the way, I initially wrote “whatever” as “whateffer” and was almost charmed into keeping it, but I didn’t, so you get a parenthetical aside instead–CONGRATULATIONS!)

So I started work on revising that old, old first draft of The Twice-Drowned Saint, which was in NO SUBMITTABLE STATE WHATSOEVER. Basically, it needed a full-body re-haul, or whatever the mechanical term is for it. But a revision from the ground up.

And lo, over the next five months, what had been a 20,000 word first draft became–not a novella, no, nothing so tidy–but a 60,000 word ACCIDENTAL NOVEL! YAY ME! Can you sense a pattern? No? I direct you to my origin story for Saint Death’s Daughter and also to what happened with my “novella” or rather more precisely “very very very short novel” Desdemona and the Deep.

But now the whole anthology is AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER! Both in Paperback and in E-Book. It drops in June!

I am so excited, not only because I love Mike, and I love my story–it has weird angels, rebellious saints, a city made of salt surrounded by a diamond of ice, desert giants, viperbikes, and OLD MOVIES!–but because I also share the Table of Contents with new colleague, fantasy author Amanda J. McGee, whose work I cannot WAIT to read, and my very dear and beloved friend and former roommate, Jessica Paige Wick.

You might remember Jess as one of the founding editors of Goblin Fruit Magazine, along with Amal El-Mohtar and later Caitlyn Paxson. Well, remember how good that magazine was? Jess’s OWN PROSE IS JUST RESPLENDENT!!!

Image in public domain provided by Anthony DeRosa


Brendan Choisnet of Plywood Pictures approached Carlos and me last December about an independent film idea he’s been mulling over for years. He’d worked with Carlos before through Disney Hyperion–particularly, the Symphony Space event for Rick Riordan Presents in January 2019–and he’d read Sal and Gabi Break the Universe. Listened to it, actually, on audiobook! (Anthony Ray Perez is SUCH a good narrator, everyone.)

To my very great surprise, he’d also listened to Desdemona and the Deep, written (and narrated!) by your very own C. S. E. Cooney. He wanted a husband/wife team to work on his “kitchen sink sci-fi drama,” and TAG! We were IT!

To that end, we had several day-long meetings and hashed out a workable outline we were all happy with. Then Brendan went off to work on our contracts with our agents, and we went off to have a fabulous (and very intense) (okay, sometimes I cried) (but on the whole fabulous) writing retreat in which we WROTE OUR FIRST SCREENPLAY.

We recently turned in both our contracts AND the first draft of Re-Entry to Brendan, and eagerly await his edits.

So that’s huge.

AAAAAANNND, I think that’s about it for now. Did you even READ this far??? YOU’RE ADORABLE! THANK YOU!

More soon, I hope!

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