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Barnes & Noble Pre-order Sale!

Apparently Barnes & Noble is having a pre-order sale right now! 👀 American folks, this is your chance to pre-order my weird, queer, Frankenstein spin-off Our Hideous Progeny 25% off!

Here are some 2023 releases that I’m excited for…

Weyward, by Emilia Hart
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The Crane Husband, by Kelly Barnhill
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A House with Good Bones, by T. Kingfisher
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Hell Bent, by Leigh Bardugo
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Some Desperate Glory, by Emily Tesh
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The Archive Undying, by Emma Meiko Candon
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A Restless Truth, by Freya Marske

2022 Reading Challenge: DONE!

Happy New Year, everyone! Extra proud of myself today, because for the second year in a row I managed to hit my New Year’s Resolution to read 100 books!

It was a bit of a struggle there towards, the end, but fortunately I’m firmly of the opinion that comics and graphic novels count as books (and… are considerably quicker to read than the non-graphic sort 😂). I also read about 2/3 of these as audiobooks, which is honestly my favourite way to read, because I can get chores done at the same time!

I’m so thankful that I actually had the time to reach this goal this year — I still vividly remember the grim days of college in which I hardly had the time to read anything at all besides the books I was required to read for classes. After I graduated and dove into writing nearly full-time, I read an interview with an author I admire in which she said that she’d read 100+ books a year since 2016 and had noticed a considerable improvement in her writing skill ever since.

I have a notoriously love-hate relationship with my own writing, so I can’t say objectively whether devouring this many books has made my writing better, but I’ve definitely noticed an improvement in my motivation and creativity. It’s almost as if writing too much in a short period of time drains my brain of words, and the best way to fill it back up again is to take a break to read!

Wishing you all a fabulous 2023, and don’t forget — my debut novel, Our Hideous Progeny, comes out in May! You can read more about my weird, queer, Gothic baby on Goodreads or pre-order it wherever books are found.

— CEM

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Our Hideous… Bakery? (I’m working on it)

Christmas brought an absolutely amazing surprise this year – my grandparents got me an OUR HIDEOUS PROGENY cake!! Isn’t it absolutely fabulous??

Hats off to the decorators at Speciality Cakes Glasgow for their amazing work (apparently they said it was one of the most complex designs they’d ever made! 😱) and thank you again to Beci Kelly for the wonderful cover design!

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A wonderful book; dark, passionate, multi-layered and rich with enticing detail.

Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat and the Strawberry Thief

OUR HIDEOUS PROGENY: Coming May 2023!

Sticky post

For readers of Circe or Ariadne, a brilliant literary revisiting of Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein with a fresh, queer, provocative twist.

Years ago, Mary’s great uncle—dropout medical student Victor Frankenstein—disappeared in the Arctic. Now, in 1853, she and her husband Henry live in London, struggling to make a name for themselves as paleontologists.

Unfortunately, in a world where scientific success requires wealth and connections, they don’t stand a chance: Mary, the illegitimate daughter of a housemaid, with a sharp mind and a sharper tongue; and Henry, a recently-fired geologist better known for his gambling problems than his radical theories. But when Mary discovers some old family papers that reveal the truth of her great-uncle’s past, she comes up with a plan—one that will pay their debts, prove Henry’s theories right, and finally get her some of the respect she goddamn deserves.

They’re going to make a monster, and not just any monster—they’re going to create a plesiosaur.

It’s weird, it’s queer, and it’s (almost) here! OUR HIDEOUS PROGENY is my debut novel, a spiritual sequel to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and a love letter to women in science and the fascinating history of Victorian paleoart.

Are you a fan of Victorian mad science? Gothic gays? Women who are angry, and ambitious, and covered in blood? Then you should pre-order OHP or request an ARC from Netgalley now!!

OHP is coming out on May 4th 2023 in the UK and commonwealth from Doubleday Books and on May 9th 2023 in North America from Harper.

Our Hideous Progeny takes inspiration from Mary Shelley’s masterpiece along with the Victorian fascination with scientific innovation and the prehistoric world. This wonderful debut evolves into a gripping Gothic tale of grief and ambition, passion and intrigue.

JESS KIDD, author of The Night Ship

A wonderful book; dark, passionate, multi-layered and rich with enticing detail.

Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat and the Strawberry Thief

Exquisitely written, brimming with imagery both beautiful and shocking, this daring debut makes the rivalries of the Victorian scientific establishment thrilling and urgent, bringing us a story worthy of Mary Shelley.

Sean Lusk, author of The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley

Fantastic read; I felt everything about Mary, her simmering anger and her intellectual delight, so very clearly.

Freya MArske, author of A Marvellous Light
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New US Publisher!!

More exciting news today, especially for my American friends — I’m thrilled to announce that my debut book, OUR HIDEOUS PROGENY, has been acquired in the US by Wendy Wong at Harper Collins! 🥳

Publisher's Marketplace Deal Report: Fiction: Debut. January 24, 2022. C. E. McGill's "Our Hideous Progeny," pitched as a queer take on the Mary Shelley classic, in which an aspiring paleontologist and great-neice of Victor Frankenstein attempts to make her name in the patriarchal world of Victorian science by creating her own monster, only to reevaluate what monstrous truly means, to Wendy Wong at Harper, in a good deal, in a pre-empt, for publication in spring 2023, by Tamara Kawar at ICM on behalf of Sue Armstrong at C&W (NA).
As is tradition, here is my very own Publishers Marketplace screenshot, the most coveted gray rectangle of the publishing world

I’m so thankful to my US co-agent, Tamara Kawar, for negotiating this deal, and so excited to work with Wendy on editing OHP! We’ve already been working together for a few weeks now, along with my UK editor Kirsty, and I feel so fortunate to have such an enthusiastic and talented team helping me bring OHP into the world.

Speaking of, I’d better get back to the edits grindstone; US friends, mark your calendars for spring 2023!

— CEM

OUR HIDEOUS PROGENY: Coming in 2023!

Absolutely fantastic news today: my debut novel, the Frankenstein-inspired paleontological gothic OUR HIDEOUS PROGENY, has been acquired by Kirsty Dunseath at Doubleday!

Read the full press release here!

It’s been such an exciting week, and I’m thrilled I get to announce this at last! Innumerable thanks to my agent, Sue, for all her hard work (and for managing to negotiate this deal while BOTH she and Kirsty were on trains, no less!). When Sue first sent OHP out to editors, I settled myself in for what I’d heard could be a long and trying process, only to be absolutely blown away by the speed and enthusiasm of the responses — Kirsty’s first among them! I’m so grateful to Sue for her Agenty Expertise, and can’t wait to bear witness to Kirsty’s Editory Expertise as we work more on OHP over the next year. It’s always wonderful to meet someone who feels like they truly love and understand your work, and Kirsty Dunseath is just such a someone. OHP couldn’t be in better hands 🙂

Oh, and did I mention it’s a double book deal?! Speaking of, I’d better get to work writing; more news on OHP and my as-of-yet-secret Book 2 to come!

You can read the full press release on The Bookseller here!

What I’m (re)Reading: This Is How You Lose the Time War

Hunger, Red—to sate a hunger or to stoke it, to feel hunger as a furnace, to trace its edges like teeth—is this a thing you, singly, know? Have you ever had a hunger that whetted itself on what you fed it, sharpened so keen and bright that it might split you open, break a new thing out? Sometimes I think that’s what I have instead of friends.

Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, This is How you lose the time war

Last year I posted a review of This Is How You Lose the Time War to the tune of “This is one of those books that are so good you can’t wait to read them again in a year when all the best bits will seem new again” — and what do you know, I just finished doing exactly that! I listened to the audiobook version this time rather than reading my physical copy, and it was an all new and thoroughly delightful experience. The narrators were brilliant, and El-Mohtar and Gladstone are stunning writers; the prose flows like honey, the characters are sharp and witty and complex, and their central romance — spanning countless millennia, across timelines both real and imagined — feels somehow epic and intimate at the same time. I can’t wait to gush over this one with my book club tonight (and in all likelihood, reread it again next year!)

— CEM

What I’m Reading: The House in the Cerulean Sea

An image of the book The House in the Cerulean Sea, by T. J. Klune.

Long time no post! I’m trying to get back into the habit of posting about the books I’m reading, so I thought I’d start off with The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune. This is the first of T. J. Klune’s books I’ve read, dare I say the first of MANY, because this book was just so damn good. I originally picked it up because I saw that V. E. Schwab had described it as “like being wrapped up in a big gay blanket,” and by golly folks, she’s right; if you’re looking for something to soothe your nerves in these trying times then this is it!

The House in the Cerulean Sea follows Linus Baker, a reserved and sensible man who works as a case worker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. Linus leads a dreary life in the city, in which his only joy in life seems to be the beach-themed mousepad on his office desk; this all changes, however, when he’s given a secret assignment by Extremely Upper Management and send to inspect an orphanage on scenic Marsyas Island. As he gets to know the orphanage’s mysterious caretaker Arthur Parnassus, as well as his six charges (children classified by the department as ‘extremely dangerous’), Linus is forced to reconsider everything he knows about the system he works for. (And, of course, fall in luurv!) (That isn’t a spoiler. If you can’t tell from the jacket blurb that romance is on the table here then clearly you don’t understand the meaning of “big gay blanket.”)

I’m always a sucker for found family, so you can probably imagine that this book grabbed me squarely in the feelings and did not let go. As well as being charming and funny throughout (at the beginning especially, the surreal satire of office drudgery gave me Douglas Adams/Terry Pratchett vibes), it also addresses the othering of minorities and the cruelty of government bureaucracy towards disadvantaged populations — even those groups they supposedly claim to protect. All in all a lovely reading experience, and I highly recommend!

‘Til next time,

— CEM

What I’m Reading: The Inverts

Last night I finally got a chance to sit down and binge the rest of THE INVERTS by Crystal Jeans (coming April 2021)! My lovely agent gave me a proof of this one way back in October, but for several reasons (i.e. moving into a new house, painting & fixing up said new house, editing my book, and Having Seasonal Depression) it took me a ridiculous amount of time to finish this one. In the meantime, it’s been sitting upon my windowsill prettying up my view each day, because honestly, have you seen this cover?? The instant I saw it, it made me yearn both for a packet of rainbow Nerds and a bespoke purple suit to wear to lavish gay dinner parties. (Although unfortunately, given the state of 2020, the only one of these which I foresee in my future is a whole lot of Nerds.)

As one might be able to guess from the excellent cover, The Inverts is about two best friends, Bart and Bettina, who decide to get married — to disguise the fact that they’re both gay. The book follows their lives through the glitz of the 20s, the glam of the 30s, and the grim days of the 40s, as their friendship is tested to its limits by the strain of war and parenthood. I will admit I was quite surprised by how serious the book got at times, given that it seemed quite light-hearted at first; but I am glad that serious side is there, and that Crystal Jeans provided a realistic glimpse here into many of the struggles faced by real queer individuals in the first half of the 20th century.

I absolutely loved Bart and Bettina, and thoroughly enjoyed following their riotous, queer, champagne-soaked adventures. Keep an eye out for this one hitting shelves on April 1st 2021! 📚

— CEM

2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge: DONE!

A screenshot of my Goodreads Reading Challenge Page, showing the 60 books I read this year.

A few days ago, I finished reading The Way Back by Gavriel Savit (a Jewish historical fantasy about two children’s charming and macabre adventures through a land of demons called the Far Country), which marks my 60th book read in 2020, and the completion of my Goodreads Reading Challenge for this year! (Phew, squeezed that in JUST under the wire.)

I will admit, I did not start out with a goal of reading 60 books this year. In fact, if I recall correctly, I started at 35 (a modest improvement on my previous year’s total of 30) and hiked it up several times along the way, as I challenged myself further. This was the first calendar year since I started college that I’ve had as much time to read as I’ve always longed for, and I wanted to see just what ridiculous number I could push myself to! (Though in fairness, it must be noted that almost a third of the books I read were middle grade, novellas, or graphic novels, and thus pretty short — so with that in mind I suppose 60 isn’t too ridiculous.)

Here’s to all the wonderful books released this year that helped make 2020 less terrible, and here’s to (hopefully) a safer and saner world in 2021!

— CEM

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