Archive for December, 2011

Friday Is Guitar Day

By | December 30, 2011 | 0 Comments

Epiphone Les Paul CustomWell, a new year is about to begin in this randomly-chosen scheme of time-keeping we have, so that means it’s time to empty out the notebooks, MP3 files, and text files I have littered everywhere in a final end-of-year idea dump. Start fresh in 2012 like Lindsay Lohan, reborn and re-energized. So here’s a final crop of guitar songs for those of you crazed enough to actually listen to them.

Herewith:

Song456
Song461
Song462
Song464
Song467
Song469
Mom’s Song

The usual disclaimer: 1. I admit these are not great music; 2. I claim copyright anyway, so there; 3. No, I cannot do anything about the general quality of the mix, as I am incompetent.

Categories: gee-tar

We Didn’t Win a Hottie

By | December 29, 2011 | 2 Comments

The Final EvolutionWe didn’t win a Hottie over at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist, but we were in his Top 20 for Top 10 Speculative Fiction Titles of 2011! Yay Me! IN YOUR FACE, BRANDON SANDERSON!

Categories: BAM!

Happy Endings Resistance

By | December 29, 2011 | 3 Comments
The Final EvolutionSo the other day I got a note from a reader titled “The Final Evolution”:

“I love the ending. I don’t think it could have ended any other way and it was excellent. Not every story has a happy ending, and I am glad you didn’t shy away from that like many authors would.”

I actually got a bit of resistance to the ending of the Avery Cates series because it’s kind of dark and lonely and soul-crushing. Despite the fact that the main character is pretty much an evil bastard who kills folks for a living, for convenience, and for petty revenge — not to mention a guy who view violence as the only way to deal with even trivial annoyances like chatty people — a lot of readers wanted a happy ending for him. I even introduced a vague romantic possibility for him in the final book mainly to enjoy the sound of hearts breaking when he didn’t end up with her. Ah, I am cruel. Like Caligula, only sans the power to deify myself.

People want the happy ending. This is, I think, to justify a) your time investment in the story and b) (in this case as in others, but not always) your identifying with a sociopath and rooting for him. Avery is a terrible person. Wishing that he ends his days with a girlfriend and modicum of peace is so wrong, so unjust, I simply couldn’t do it. You’re lucky I didn’t end the book with him being torn apart by wolves while he quoted the Nic Cage Bees scene from The Wicker Man:

This restraint can be laid at the feet of my own affection for the character. I love Avery, despite his mass-murderin’ and being semi-responsible for the end of the world and all.

So, it was great to get this email. Someone gets it! Thank goodness, because I thought I was going insane. What’s that, voices? I am insane. Shut up.

A Xmas Miracle!

By | December 26, 2011 | 3 Comments

So, the other day I was kvetching about writing on the road and how little actually gets done, I did, in fact, get some work done on the planes yesterday. I’ve remarked before how airplane travel, with its associated miseries, actually inspires good work from me. All my life, the more bored and unhappy I am, the better the writing I do is.

Then, of course, after knocking down a few thousand words on the plane and feeling like a genius, I had a mishap with the computer and the thumb drive and, yep, didn’t save any of it.

After the Sky Marshals released me from restraints and sent me back to my seat with a stern warning, I sat weeping for a while. I wept all the way home, which may have something to do with the speeding ticket and accident. And then, a miracle! I sat down later that not and re-wrote the section, and goddamn if it wasn’t better.

This doesn’t happen often, to me. Usually lost work is always enshrined in my memory as superior. I’ve written and lost some award-winning scenes, bubbas. Usually when I sit down to re-create them, they are pale imitations. Not this time! This time I actually came out on top. IT’S A XMAS MIRACLE!

Look for the HallMark Original Movie next year: The Alcoholic Writer Has A Good Day. Hopefully this will inspire a series of Alcoholic Writer feel-good movies. I could play myself!

Merry Xmas

By | December 25, 2011 | 2 Comments

So, to recap:

  • I was on a series of planes for what seemed like six years
  • I received a speeding ticket from the Unfriendliest State Police Officer In the World
  • Two minutes after that ticket, I was rear-ended while sitting placidly at a red light, contemplating my sins vis-a-vis excessive speed
  • I then figured the State of Texas owed me something, so I bought some lottery tickets while waiting for the local police to come take a report, and won nothing
  • Shortly after that I ate a delicious dinner until I passed out and woke to discover one of my brothers-in-law had bought me a bottle of Glenmorangie, The Original.

Conclusion: GOD BLESS US, EVERY ONE!

Categories: Bullshit

The 12 Whiskies of Xmas

By | December 24, 2011 | 3 Comments

MoonShineSo, it’s Christmas Eve, which for us lapsed Catholics and damned Christians means lots of boozing and gifts and more boozing and Italian Food. Or something. So I’m slightly drunk, and part of what I’m drunk on is Hudson New York Corn Whiskey, which is basically moonshine passed through modern filtration and safety standards. In short, it’s the pur distilled alcohol from corn mash, without all that tedious mucking about with wine casks that makes real whiskey so delicious.

I wanted to try it just to see what it was like, and it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever tasted. But I do think there’s a reason people prefer their corn mash after it’s spent several years, if not decades, mellowing in casks. After trying the Corn, I’d vote to let whiskies sit in casks for centuries.

It’s too sweet, and has no character at all. I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve long suspected this rise of “white whiskies” is just a way for distillers to sell off stock without having to wait years for it to mature. By US law, it has to sit in a cask for 2 weeks in order to be considered legal whiskey. I’m sure these bastards would walk it through a room filled with casks and call it done, if they could. In short: If you like whiskey, you will likely not like Corn or White Whiskey. If you enjoy going blind, you might.

For my actual Christmas Day, I will be drinking continuously from a bottle of Early Times. Which isn’t much better.

Categories: Bullshit

Traveling with Jeff

By | December 21, 2011 | 1 Comments
MERRY FN XMAS

Merry F'n Xmas

KIDS, it’s the holidays again. Various holidays. I more or less celebrate Christmas, which means I get nostalgic for my childhood, drink heavily, sing some songs, and eagerly accept gifts from fools who do not yet realize that I consider my company to be the Greatest Gift of All.

It also means I have to do some traveling.

The Duchess hails from Texas, and we travel there every year to visit her family. This is usually enjoyable enough. As long as you completely ignore the actual travelling part, which is horrific on so many levels. Getting up early to catch flights, making your way to the airport, enduring airport “security”, sitting in a deathtrap squished in with several hundred other people. Ah, travel. The destination is almost never worth it.

Of course, I try to make these trips productive. I try to write. I always bring along reams of material on my laptop, determined to make the travel work for me instead of against me. It never works. Travel defeats my efforts to write every time. Every. Single. Time.

HOW TRAVEL DEFEATS JEFF’S EFFORTS TO WRITE

First of all, there’s the plane. You board, exchange some nasty words with the flight attendant who seems to think you stole a blanket from the first-class cabin, settle into your seat. No point in starting any work, because they’re going to tell you turn off all your devices soon anyway, right? So you read Maxim magazine. Feel stupid for, once again, purchasing Maxim magazine, which takes about thirty seconds to leaf through and brings nothing but shame, possible arousal, and then more shame.

Then, you take off. This is of course terrifying. A billion-pound thing is being hauled into the air via someone’s shaky understanding of physics, operated by some unseen military washout. HOLY SHIT. If you think I’m not clutching The Duchess’s hand so tight her fingers turn white, you do not know me.

After that, who can work? I’m shaking and soaked in sweat, and we’re not safe yet, because now we’re a billion-pound thing hurtling through the air at several hundred miles an hour. HOLY SHIT. So naturally I start drinking. How many tiny bottles of sweet booze does it take to get to Texas? I can tell you precisely: Thirteen.

Let’s just say not much work gets done on the plane, right? Aces.

Then there’s the hotel. Assuming you spend any time in it. Which we don’t. The hotel is always a speculative place, sort of like the Hatch in Lost. Sure, it’s there. There are things in it, like wireless Internet and a desk, a minibar. We will never know for sure, because we will never spend any time there. Sometimes we sleep there, but I’m usually so bloated on Texmex and BBQ that I’m in a dream-like state whenever I return to the hotel, floating along the hallways while Dean Martin sings Ain’t That a Kick to the Head and dancing cowgirls circle around us, singing.

In between are, of course, relatives, restaurants, shopping excursions, arrests, hallucinations, conversations with Jesus involving insincere pledges to never drink that much again, and deer jerky. So, so much deer jerky.

So, with my fingers perpetually greasy, and always hovering in a sweaty gray area between drunk and hungover, not a lot of work gets done outside the hotel, either. And then the trip is over, and we’re back on the damn plane (HOLY SHIT) and nothing’s getting done there, either, usually because the flight staff all remember me from the previous flight (or because my name and photo have been posted on secret flight attendant web sites along with unflattering descriptions of my behavior) and somehow I always wind up locked in the bathroom with one of the airphones, desperately trying to contact my lawyers so they can meet me at the gate.

They never do. Possibly because I do not, actually, have any lawyers. At least not ones I’ve ever paid.

So, the next week is going to be a black hole of unproductivity. This also means I sail into the New Year immersed in a strong sense of shame and panic, because I’m another year older and nothing much got done, as usual. I have hundreds of novels to write and so far I’ve managed about 20. HOLY SHIT.

 

Categories: Bullshit

From the Zine

By | December 11, 2011 | 0 Comments
From The Inner Swine Volume 17, Issue 3/4 (Winter 2011)

THOSE OF US ABOUT TO DIE SALUTE YOU

Hoping the American Empire Lasts a Few More Decades: I Need the Book Sales

by Jeff Somers

“I’m just a regular Joe with a regular job
I’m your average white suburbanite slob
I like football and porno and books about war
I’ve got an average house with a nice hardwood floor”

- Denis Leary, “Asshole”

[Begin transcript of unaired interview conducted 7-26-11 in Manhattan. Present are

 

Sway Calloway Jeffy Somers
MTV Personality Sway Calloway Indigent Writer Jeff Somers

 

and several unidentified MTV staffers.]

SWAY CALLOWAY: So I’m sittin’ down with … wait, who the … Christie? Hey, Christie? Who is this guy? I thought we were doing the –
JEFF SOMERS: Take off your hat.
SC: What? Wait – thanks Christie, but – wait, what?
JS: I’ve never seen you without the little hat. Take it off. I want to see what you’re hiding under there.
SC: I never take off my hat, dude. Now hold tight while the PA gets the sheets for today. I have no idea who you are, or why I’m sitting here with you. I thought we were –
JS: Don’t worry, Jay-Z will be fine.
SC: Uh, what?
JS: He’ll be fine. He’s just unconscious and locked in the trunk of a car that’s probably in Bayonne by now. But we’ll release him as soon as I’m done here, no worries.
SC: No worries. You … you touched Hova?
JS: No worries. I just want you to interview me, and once that’s done, no one needs to get hurt. Would I hurt Shawn? No, I would not.
SC: Christie! How about calling the police, instead, babe, huh?
JS: That’s fine. Just get on with the interview.
SC: Interview? About what, man?
JS: I’m offering all my money to the Presidential Candidate who promises to increase the military budget the most and start the most new wars.
SC: Again: What?
JS: I’m going to sell off my entire zine-publishing empire and take all my book royalties and advances and such and offer the whole mess of cash to the candidate for President who promises to increase military spending and our involvement in foreign wars the most.
SC: Shit, do we not have any kind of security in this place? Is that liquor?
JS: Technically, it’s mouthwash. But it gets the job done.
SC: Holy shit.
(more…)

Ask Jeff Anything 12-5-11

By | December 5, 2011 | 6 Comments

Well, from the comments of this very blog, a fresh Ask Jeff Anything, in which I am asked what I would be if I lived in my own Avery Cates Universe:

Please, no one screengrab that photo of me playing guitar and humiliate me, ok? Thanks.

Unfinished Novel

By | December 5, 2011 | 3 Comments

One of the joys of having a Blog is being able to post whatever the hell you want. Used to be, a novel that fizzles after 23,000 words like this one would just rot in a drawer unless and until I thought of some way to save it. No more! Now I can post chapter one on a slow Monday just for fun. So, herewith, I give you

THE RITE OF DEATH

CHAPTER ONE: Execution Day

 

This is the story of how I murdered fifty thousand people.

It starts with one murder.

 

It was a holiday – Execution Day. The mob had started lining up for a good view an hour before, ruining my sleep. I stared up at the ceiling, tracing the cracks in the plaster.

Next to me, she snored. For such a handsome woman, the Lady of BarJef snored like a penny whore. And I knew my penny whores.

I pushed my way out of the bed and stretched until I was rewarded with several loud pops. My back ached. The fresh bruises on my arms had gone purple in the night. It was strangely pleasurable to feel their burn and throb, to relive the echo of those heavy wooden bats. Less pleasurable was my aching head: Three mugs of strong northern cherry liquor too many, as usual.

Naked, I ignored my urgent bladder and stepped to the blurry windows. Pushed one open, leaning out into the thick air, already hot. I scanned the milling crowd, scheming and jostling – and soon, fighting – for position in the huge courtyard. Normally off-limits, one day a month it became a boiling theater. I thought I could almost smell them, these fat, sweaty people, overdressed for the cursed heat of Salan, eager for the fun.

The platform had been erected overnight, in stealth and silence. The ancient block sat like a wart of blackened, polished shadow. Wood, I’d been told. Petrified and stone-like. Carried from the homeland across the mountains so we wouldn’t have to cut one special when we felt like beheading someone. Ancient and revered. I didn’t even like to look at it. How many heads had been chopped off on that ugly square of dense, heavy wood? Thousands, I thought. Tens of thousands. And six more today. Six! Not so long ago six executions would have been an embarrassment. But these were low times. Five simple criminals, convicted by acclamation and held in the palace jails for weeks, now to stand blinking and trembling in the sun for a few moments before Lekum pushed them onto their knees, pronounced their crimes, and separated them from their heads. Five simple beheadings, no challenge to Lekum and his massive shoulders and unkempt beard – a True! Heran! Hero!, my Lekum – but the crowds were swelling because of the sixth. A traitor. No simple beheading for her, thank goodness. Lekum would get some exercise.

We were not a civilized people.

(more…)

Categories: Fiction, Writing

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