Archive for December, 2007

GUD Magazine a-comin’

By | December 30, 2007 | 5 Comments

Having a writing “career” is an odd thing, sometimes: There is an awful lot of waiting around for things to come out. No matter how many stories or novels or epic poems you sell, you spend a lot of time with nothing going on (aside from the maddening attempt to record your genius on paper, where genius tends to wilt and brown up a bit). That’s why whenever I have news, I tend to post it everywhere, to create the illusion that writing isn’t all about sitting at a desk in the dark, tapping on a keyboard.

So: Check out some samples of GUD Magazine issue 2.0, which include my short story closer in my heart to thee. You can read samples of all the pieces, and even buy individual stories electronically if you’re so inclined. From what I’ve seen, however, you should buy the whole damn thing as it’s excellent. I mean, damn, it includes a Somers story! IT MUST BE GREAT! Or something. Ahem.

Looks like I’ll end 2007 with 51 short story submissions and 1 sale. Last year I managed 64 subs and sold 4 stories – it always varies a little. Submissions can be a lot of work; in 2002 I managed a whopping 107 submissions (4 sales) but there’s been a steady slide since then as I’ve acquired a wife and 4 cats since then, not to mention a few steady writing gigs (like my column in Brutarian and my column in Xerography Debt, not to mention the Avery Cates books). I’m a little disappointed I only got 51 subs out this year, but on the other hand it’s almost a triumph of the will to have gotten that many out the door.

Plus, response times seem to have shot up all around as markets are deluged with submissions, and that’s a factor. If I’d gotten things back more quickly I might have turned them around a bit. I don’t believe in “trunk stories”; I’ve sold stories years after first sending them out, and I think a good story is a good story even if 30 people reject it. I admit that sometimes when a story’s been rejected a lot I take a second look at it and realize there’s a reason it keeps getting the bounce, but I’ve also had stories that were rejected a lot suddenly sell and get praise, so I don’t think there’s a hard and fast rule. Besides, the damn things won’t sell unless you submit them, right? I mean, maybe when you’re world-famous editors are calling you up to beg for stories, but when you’re Jeff Somers, moderately unknown author, you have to hustle a little.

So. Check out GUD Magazine and buy some fiction fo’ yo’self, ‘kay?

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Bookgasm Best 10 Crime Novels

By | December 29, 2007 | 6 Comments

Well, we’re back from our trip to Texas, where, aside from drinking a bit of whiskey with in-laws and exchanging gifts, we actually acquired a stray kitten: Meet Spartacus.

Sparticus le chaton Yes, I am aware of the insanity of taking in a kitten in Texas and then flying him all the way home. Sparky here followed us into our hotel room and made himself at home, and is such a little sparkplug we couldn’t leave him behind. We are sad, softheaded people, it’s true. Our other cats hate us, naturally.

Now, business: Bookgasm’s Bruce Grossman named The Electric Church to his list of “10 best crime novels of 2007“! That simply rocks, bubba.

My agent told me to think of TEC as a thriller early on, but it took me a while to believe her. It’s got cyborgs, fer crissakes, can it really be described as anything but sci-fi? Apparently my agent is not crazy, as previously supposed. Carry on.

Hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday, whatever it was. If you didn’t fly any kittens cross-country, you’re missing out, man.

J

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Happy Holidays

By | December 24, 2007 | 3 Comments

Yo, yo, yo! Happy holidays from the Somers Imperium, where Xmas is generally known by its pagan name, Whiskey Festivus (apologies to all those whose holidays don’t coincide with December 25th, or who don’t have holidays at all–you can pretty much remove the cynical child from the Catholic Church, but even the coldest of atheist ex-Catholics holds onto Xmas with a death grip, because of presents. I’m not much of a Catholic, my friends, but I am a definite believer in Santa Fucking Claus, get me?). I think of December as a month wherein I can start drinking the Holy Water of the Gods the moment I get up, and a healthful vomit around 3pm isn’t a scandal. I mean, if you’re drunk at 11AM on, say, August 22nd, people start to talk about you in private. On December 23rd, you’re just in a festive mood. It’s great!

Writing is always hard during the holidays, though. Time is short, you have a dozen social obligations pulling you from the house, and there is the aforementioned problemed drinking. Plus, there’s travel. The Duchess’ family lives in Texas, so every Xmas morning there we are on a plane, where I sit and wonder if the other passengers will taunt me if I order a bourbon from the flight attendant.

I’m always optimistic, though. I load my laptop up with files I’m working on, bring fresh pens and notebooks, and imagine myself burning the midnight oil in the hotel, bloated from good home cooking and free liquor, blearily trying to plot out the third Avery Cates novel. The harsh reality is me sitting in bed watching infomercials, though I am certainly as bloated as one might imagine after a day spent eating fried chicken and drinking bourbon. There’s a lot of bourbon in this scenario. They don’t cotton to Scotch much in Texas. It’s bourbon and Rye, mostly, good solid American whiskies. Not that I’m complaining.

So, a happy Whiskey Festivus to you all! Have a splash of cheer in my name.

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New Review

By | December 20, 2007 | 0 Comments

Nick Cato of Novello Publishing was kind enough to send me a head’s up on a review of The Electric Church appearing in the next issue of The Horror Fiction Review. The review says, in part:

The Electric Church had me on the edge of my seat for most of it’s thrilling second half, and with the forthcoming second Avery Cates novel, The Digital Plague, I believe Jeff Somers has created what may become a classic series. This novel is that good.”

Wow! Needless to say, this was a really nice way to start my day. This was the edition put out by the Science Fiction Book Club, which was, I think, hardcover. Whoo hoo!

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Better Late than Never

By | December 16, 2007 | 0 Comments

I just noticed this great review of The Electric Church by Brian Burns on Blogcritics.com:

“The Electric Church is a winding, twisting rollercoaster of a book. Somers’ sparse, noir-like prose is fun and easy to read and his excellent pacing kept me turning pages way past bedtime. The world Somers has created is a dark and scary place, but it’s also a real place full of compelling characters, political intrigue and the problems of ordinary people who happen to live inside a cyberpunk novel.”

This was posted back on 10/30/07, but I just noticed it. Or maybe I already posted about it and have killed those brain cells? Anything’s possible.

Also, there’s this out on the intarwebs on a very interesting blog:

“Damn. This book is good. . .It’s a story with a Blade Runner kind of feel. The protag operates on the wrong side of the law and without an ounce of human kindness he’d ever admit to, yet is possessed of a quirky, if jagged, knack for making the reader face his own humanity at every paragraph.”

Huzzah for me!

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Today Utrecht, Tomorrow the World

By | December 13, 2007 | 6 Comments

My agent, god bless her, sent me this the other day:

This from a blog reader in the Netherlands to me today:

Walked into the biggest bookshop in Utrecht at the weekend to find Jeff Somers’ The Electric Church standing centre-stage on the main display rack. Read the first page and was completely blown away. Bought it immediately.

Thinking back on the way my first novel, Lifers, disappeared under the waves years ago, to have my book sitting on a shelf in the freakin’ Netherlands is pretty cool. To have people in the freakin’ Netherlands buying my book after reading the first page feels almost hallucinatory. Thank god for heartless capitalist conglomerates that rule the world with a rusty iron fist! Or something.

Lifers was published by a tiny, tiny company, of course, which offered exactly zero marketing and PR support. They sent out review copies (heck, the New York Times reviewed it) and put it in their catalogs, but that was about the limit of their support. I knew that going in, and thought I’d be able to do a lot of homespun promotion. I did my best – I put together a little reading tour which was pretty successful as far as those things go, I got some press. Still, I think at the height of my efforts you could count the number of bookstores stocking the novel on two hands, and as you can probably guess, Lifers-mania never exactly swept the nation.

The difference between rubbing yourself raw dragging yourself from bookstore to bookstore to do readings and beg for shelf space and waking up one morning, pouring yourself a nice cup of coffee and bourbon, and discovering your book is in a store halfway across the world is startling. And pleasant. Carry on.

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The Whirligig Reborn

By | December 10, 2007 | 0 Comments

BAM!

The WhirligigThat’s right–The Whirligig, famed lit-zine, is back in business. Featuring fiction by Your Humble Writer here as well as Nick Mamatas, August H. Bjorn, Karl Koweski, Kevin Dole 2, and Mikael Covey, as well as poetry and non-fiction. Go check out the web site and be amazed. It’s a paying market, too, so if you’re a writer in need of liquor monies, check their submission guidelines.

When you’re done, send editor JD Finch a note to say how cool he is to publish me, and hint strongly that you’d buy scads of issues if my name appeared on every cover, yes? Yes.

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My Incompetence

By | December 3, 2007 | 4 Comments

May I direct your attention to the new Mailing List page.

You see, back when I first set up the web page for The Electric Church, I set up a little form where people could submit their email and be put on a list to get updates whenever I had news about the book. A bunch of folks signed up, but then when the publisher upgraded the web site to the kickass Flash experience it is now, I plumb forgot about my little signup. And have spent the last few months wondering why no one signs up for it any more. Thus, my incompetence.

Well, if you’re one of the tortured few who desire updates from me, surf on over, fill out the little form, and I’ll add you to the list. The updates are random and often meandering, I warn you.

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BAM

By | December 2, 2007 | 4 Comments

Sometimes my bad habit of ego-searching on my own name and book titles has a serendipitous result, as most of my bad habits (excessive drinkin’, pants loss, and imagining I am sort of an intellectual) often do.

The Digital PlagueI am sitting here going through the copy-edits on the manuscript for The Digital Plague, the sequel to The Electric Church, and lo and behold, The Digital Plague is now listed on Amazon.com. Who knew? I sure didn’t. You can go pre-order a dozen RIGHT NOW!

I just got an amazing email, too, which I will anonymously quote here. This is the sort of email that makes writers weep – after all, by this point The Electric Church has been out for 2 months and all the initial buzz and hoopla has died down, and I find myself sitting here wondering if that’s it. You can’t help it. I feel like I ought to be out on the street wearing a sandwich board and ringing a cowbell or something. So when I get an email like this, I get all warm and fuzzy (I’ve edited this email for brevity):

I just want to say how much I enjoyed The Electric Church. I read that book daily – chapters at a time until my eyes felt like they were gonna bleed at 12 a.m. or later. I’m very glad to hear Jeff will be releasing a new Avery Cates book. . .I honestly can’t tell you how thrilled I am about these books, I haven’t enjoyed fiction this much since Lord of the Rings. – While they are very different from each other – they both keep me coming back for more. . .

I hope this encourages you to keep writing, I look forward to more of your books.

That’s gold. I don’t know about other writers, but I often lay awake at night imagining that the world picks up my book, reads it, and then immediately tosses it into the trash, shaking their heads in disgust. To hear otherwise is always wonderful.

Now, if only I could find those pants…

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