Bullshit

“The Stringer” is Out!

Stringer.jpg The Stringer, The Ustari Cycle #3, is out — 99 cents for a great story that returns to the world of Lem Vonnegan and Pitr Mags.

A frequent question is, Hey Jeff, why is The Stringer number 3 in the series? This is confusing as hell and now I’ve spent my last dollar on ice cream instead of your book.

First of all, I get that: Ice Cream is goddamn delicious, bro. Second of it, here’s how the numbering in The Ustari Cycle works:

1 – Trickster

1 – We Are Not Good People

2 – Fixer

3 – The Stringer

4 – Last Best Day

5 – The Boom Bands

The reason We Are Not Good People is both 1 and 2 in the series is because it was originally going to be two separate books (Trickster and Fabricator), but was combined into one. And Fixer, although it’s officially numbered as #2, is a prequel that should probably be considered 0.5. And we’re blessed with a confusing series numbering system as a result. Yay!

Now go buy The Stringer. Also, We Are Not Good People is still just $1.99 for eBooks.

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Writing: Watch Out for the Forgotten Character Detail

POOOOOTTTTSSS

POOOOOTTTTSSS

So, Roadies, the new show on Showtime from Cameron Crowe is proving to be a Master Class in How Not to Write in many ways. The show doesn’t lack some charm, and the world of a tour crew with a major band is kind of interesting to see, but it’s amazing how far Crowe—who once had a golden ear for dialogue—has fallen in recent years. When was the last time Cameron Crowe made something people talked about in a positive way?

Roadies is populated by likable actors, which is the only reason, really, it’s watchable. And every episode offers an object lesson in writing mistakes. The example we’ll pull comes from the pilot episode, which of course has to do a lot of work to introduce the premise, the characters, the setting, and the season-long conflicts and storylines. And Crowe makes a fundamental, if minor (but irritating) error when he introduces the Quirky Character Detail What is Forgotten Immediately and Never Mentioned Again. This is an error that a lot of writers make in their stories and novels, so it’s useful to take a gander.

I AM QUIRKY AND ADORABLE, DAMMIT

In Roadies, Imogen Poots plays Kelly Ann, who has a junior role with the roadie crew. She’s supposed to leave for school in the pilot, but of course is seduced by the love and sense of family she feels with her co-workers to eschew higher education in favor of an adventure on the road—fair enough, a believable if not particularly inspired bit of motivation. Poots is, of course, adorable, and she plays Kelly Ann with a bit of measured intelligence; her expressions of doubt and suspicion whenever someone tells her something do a lot to make her character at least seem interesting.

Now, creating and defining characters is hard. It’s very easy to reduce every character down to a trait, or an ethnicity. In fact, a lot of writers start off with little more than that, and add in the details later. And sometimes, in an effort to establish a character before you’ve done the hard work with dialog and action to define them, it’s common to attach weird little details.

Now, weird little details can be inspiring when they react with dialog and action. The way Heath Ledger licked his lips as The Joker in The Dark Knight was inspired; combined with his statements, actions, and appearance, it was a wonderful little tic that underscored his squirrely energy. But this goes wrong when it’s the only thing that differentiates a character—but it also goes wrong when you immediately forget all about that quirky trait after introducing it.

In the Roadies pilot, it is established that Kelly Ann eats off of other people’s plates, a mildly rude yet quirky (oh god quirky) little tic. It’s mentioned explicitly as a reason another character doesn’t like her, and then there is a moment when Kelly Ann does it in a very obvious and ostentatious way, to drive the point home.

It’s easy to imagine that Crowe, faced with a character he’d made blonde, beautiful, young, and smart, needed some way to make her seem, you know, interesting. So he gave her this totally innocuous trait, and made sure we noticed it. And then he completely forgets all about it and the behavior is never mentioned again in subsequent episodes. And that’s annoying. It’s a dumb detail, but if you’re going to go through the trouble of putting a flag on it and making certain we notice it as a way of making the character interesting, then you have to remember it. Otherwise it distracts.

So, when writing, keep that in mind: Giving your character a gonzo detail to give them shape and a memorable aspect is fine. Just don’t forget you did it when you start Chapter Two.

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Man Baby

Artist's Rendering of the Author

Artist’s Rendering of the Author

When I was a young’un, I was never, you know, the Cool Kid. I didn’t exactly have a tragic childhood or anything, but I was definitely aware in grammar school that I was a pudgy, glasses-wearing mascot for a lot of kids. I had friends, this isn’t a tragedy or anything, but there it was.

I got invited to a birthday party one weekend. I don’t know about you, but when I was like nine or ten getting invited to a birthday party was like the Social Event of the Season. Making it onto some other kids’ elite list was thrilling, and I was excited. It was in the summer, there would be a pool, and it was like 1,000 degrees out. My Mother, naturally, insisted I wear Church Clothes. I was mortified, but Mom insisted. No child of hers was showing up at someone’s house in play clothes.

Cut to: Jeff, the only kid wearing long pants and a dress shirt and shoes, sweating profusely. I didn’t get invited to a lot of birthday parties. I can’t swear that was the reason why, but … that was the reason why. That and the cursing and the habit of breaking into liquor cabinets.

Anyway, I digress. Cut to 2016, and I am a middle-aged married man (MAMM) and my wife, The Duchess, and I make plans with another couple to have dinner at a fancy shmancy restaurant. And the following conversation occurs:

DUCHESS: You’re not wearing … well, I assume those are clothes.

ME: Why not? They’re street legal.

DUCHESS: This is a nice place. Don’t you have anything pressed?

ME: … I do not know what that word means.

Needless to say, The Duchess, much like my Mother thirty-five years before, insisted on Church Clothes. I registered my vehement protest, but if the evening was going to end with me drinking Scotch and ordering a $50 appetizer, Church Clothes it had to be.

We walk over to the other couple’s house, and when the other husband walks out, he is also wearing Church Clothes. We share A Significant Look and spend the trip to the restaurant grumbling. Naturally, we walk in and the place is packed with very comfortable and happy people wearing shorts, T-shirts, and the like. We each turn to our wives and glower darkly, and spend the rest of the evening drunkenly threatening to take off our pants right there in the dining room.

This of course leads to the inevitable moment when we do take off our pants and are chased out onto the street, where we call an Uber and

What’s my take-away from this? It could be

  1. I really have no idea how to dress. There is much evidence that this might be the case, including three open indictments against me in several states, or
  2. The Duchess learned her Rules of Polite Society in the 1970s Texas Hill Country, which is like the 1870s everywhere else, or
  3. I need to burn all my clothes except what I’m wearing right now so as to have no other options (except that won’t work because a) The Duchess will just march me to The Gap for a shopping spree and b) that means I’ll be wearing Superman Underoos to all my fancy literary events), or
  4. I am a Man Baby and need constant supervision.

Actually, I don’t need to know. Thank you for your time, please forget this ever happened.

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Smug Bastards Can Go Pound Sand

OH NOES SMUG BASTARDS!

OH NOES SMUG BASTARDS!

I’ve never been what you would call a “hip” person. Or cool. I’ve never had my finger on the pulse, as it were; I tumble along, more or less lost in my own thoughts (you folks I’ve walked past on the street while you shout my name to no effect know exactly what I mean) and only occasionally surface to note the things around me. I’m more or less one step from living in my own fantasy world, and the only thing keeping me rooted to reality is probably whiskey.

In short, I’m blissfully unaware of most things.

My memory is also famously awful; my brain lives in the present, bro, and the past melts away and the future has no meaning. The memories I do retain tend to be powerful enough to gain some traction on the smooth, wrinkle-less vastness of my brain. One of the memories I came still summon up dates back to when I was about ten or eleven years old, and I just started to become aware of my social status. Up until then my identity had been wrapped up in my grades and the fact that my teachers thought I was adorable, and the opinions of my fellow children never really mattered; in my neighborhood I could beat all the kids in a footrace and thus considered myself King of the Block.

But then something shifted, and I realized I wasn’t King of the Block, I was a pudgy, glasses-wearing nerd. And this troubled me, because who wants that? So I began an incompetent and lazy campaign to make myself seem cooler, and part of this campaign involved the classic Jeff Somers strategy of pretending to be very knowledgeable about things all the other kids considered cool. And so, when challenged by a bullying classmate to name my favorite rock band — because this was back when rock bands were still cool, you see, which if you carry the two and divide by pi will reveal just how fucking old I am — I said Led Zeppelin, because I had vaguely heard the name before. Unimpressed, the kid demanded I name a favorite song, and, my knowledge of rock music exhausted, I was humiliated.

Now, since that day I’ve rectified both my knowledge of Led Zeppelin (favorite song: Black Dog) and my need for approval (somewhat) and am happy in my slightly obtuse existence. I have accepted myself and my limitations, even though this means I don’t get a lot of stuff. Like Pokémon Go. I barely understand what it is and have no desire to play it.

But, to paraphrase Voltaire, I will die to defend your right to play it.

The Smug Bastards

You know them: The killjoys who can’t stop announcing what they refuse to enjoy, or don’t consider interesting, or are mystified by. It might be Pokémon, it might be Game of Thrones. It might be Star Wars or sports or whatever — the only defining characteristic of the Smug Bastard is that they don’t share your enjoyment of something, and they wish — oh god how they wish, they wish hard — to let you know this fact.

The classic example has always been and will ever be the Person Without a Television. These days you could update that to The Person Without Any Sort of Screen. These folks have been waddling about for decades, proudly announcing that they are certainly not stupid and lazy enough to waste their time watching programs. They prefer reading books, collecting stamps, listening to the opera or some other Smug Bastard Approved form of entertainment.

These days, with pop culture fragmenting, Smug Bastards, much like bedbugs, are proliferating. It’s easy to fall into the trap; someone says “Hey, I love that show!” concerning something you’ve never heard of, and a cursory investigation reveals a cartoon whose premise seems silly to you. So you dismiss it. Now, you’re not required to like or even know about anything in this world. If you choose not to partake, no worries. It’s when you decide you have to let the rest of us know, in awful, horrible detail why you don’t care for it that you become a Smug Bastard, living in the damp, dark creases of the Internet.

The Dark Creases

Resting. Smug. Bastard. Face.

Resting. Smug. Bastard. Face.

The Internet, of course, is where most of the Smug Bastards thrive. The disconnect, the digital wall between you and everyone else — plus the other Smug Bastards who rally around you — makes it seem almost okay to shit all over someone else’s enjoyment. You meet Smug Bastards in real life, of course. People who will dismiss all of rap music, for example, as unworthy of their attention, or people who love and praise the worst movies made before 1970 but despise everything since. But it’s on the Internet where the Smug Bastards thrive, clogging up your Facebook feeds with smug declarations that what you enjoy is stupid, or less worthy.

Fuck ’em all.

I’m just as guilty of Smug Bastard Syndrome as anyone else. In fact, where some folks have a Resting Bitch Face I often have a Resting Smug Bastard Face, and my kneejerk reaction to just about, well, everything is bored, superior disinterest. But you know, at least I don’t post it on the Internet or walk around announcing it. When with my fellow humans, when something like Pokémon Go comes up, I smile and feign polite interest.

Because that’s what you do in a society.

So, to repeat: Fuck ’em all. Have a good day.

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Weekly Recap July 8, 2016

recapSo, another week over, and what have I don? Not that much, as it happens. Still, once you start one of these sorts of Blog things, you have to keep it up or everyone stands around laughs at you because you can’t maintain even the simplest of projects. So here I am, are you happy? Are you happy judging me for my inability to even do a simple recap post on a weekly basis?

Ahem. At any rate, here’s what y’all need to know happened in The World of Jeff Somers this past week, because life moves pretty fast:

1. We Are Not Good People is still $1.99 for the Kindle (and Nook, Kobo, etc) version, and will be until July 31st. Kirkus called the book an “insistently entertaining novel, Somers creates a world of seedy urban crime that develops into a violent epic.” It’s also a good way to be ready for The Stringer, dropping in August for just $0.99.

2. I wrote a thing (right below this thing!) about how I hate several things that other people go crazy for, especially parades. If you agree with me that these things are terrible, please comment and support me and maybe we can defeat the evil Parade and Fireworks Industry. UNITE!

3. I posted this photo of my cat Coco Chanel and an expertly photoshopped cover of The Stringer:

coco_wangp

4. I wrote several things for the Internet:

And that about covers the main points. Until next time, I will be drunk and pantsless.

 

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On the Dark Side

Can't Tell if the Cop is a Costume or Not

Can’t Tell if the Cop is a Costume or Not

Increasingly, we live in a world where shared, universal experiences are fewer and further between. Where once you could count on a few tens of millions of people watching a TV show with you—and often at precisely the same time—these days DVRs and streamed video means you can watch things literally years after they make their cultural splash, and even if you do watch them at the same time as just about everyone else, chances are a much smaller number of people are watching it with you.

Which leads to the most ridiculous of all ridiculous First World Problems: Trying to find a TV show everyone at a dinner or other gathering has watched completely in order to have something to discuss passionately. It’s a lot harder than it should be.

Cranky and Humorless

It also highlights one of my own problems: I hate many things that most people love.

As I ease on down into middle-aged crankiness, I am increasingly comfortable openly admitting to absolutely hating things I am expected, for some reason, to love. It’s like politics: Have you ever had a total stranger just suddenly start talking to you about their batshit political beliefs because they simply assume you’re one of them? Like, you’re chatting with a neighbor on the street and they suddenly unload a torrent of anti-Obama invective, and you’re standing there wondering what it is about your specific T-shirt and shorts combo that somehow projects I AM AN INSANE RACIST?

I feel that way when people discuss any of the following activities, which I am somehow weird for not enjoying:

  1. Live music. Fuck concerts. I went to a lot of them when I was a kid because it was just what one did. I’ve always despised the experience, though. Crushed, shoved, expensive drinks, and music that sounds a millions times worse than the carefully recorded and engineered versions. These days I’d usually rather have my feet cut off than go to a concert.
  2. Parades. Sweet baby jebus, parades. A slow, grinding assault on my time here on Earth, a parade is literally a way of measuring off how much of your life you’re wasting that day. Unless you’re in the parade, possibly carrying one of those batons that you pump up and down in the air while leading everyone. That’s a different story. And basically how I spend my Sundays, although so far no one has spontaneously followed me as I march around, which has surprised me.
  3. Fireworks. Our country’s recent birthday reminded me just how boring and awful fireworks are. People who enjoy setting off fireworks are sociopaths, and people who enjoy watching fireworks are people who believe entertainment literally equals staring at bright shiny things for fucking hours.
  4. Travel. The Duchess will burst into tears and punch you in the face if you ask her about my aversion to travel. The Duchess wants to go everywhere, even places where the local residents are getting into leaky boats and risking dangerous trips to escape from. I want to go nowhere. The idea that the future of mankind somehow hinges on broadening my understanding of other cultures is debatable, and travel is uncomfortable, exhausting, and just makes me really, really want to go home. Of course, since I am married to The Duchess, the travel continues, until I die, most likely while strapped into an economy seat heading god knows where.

It’s freeing to be old enough and mature enough to just admit I hate these things and not worry much whether it makes me weird, even if I suspect the world has a few more concerts, parades, and fireworks in store for me, because the world is cruel. In the mean time, if you see me marching up and down in full-on parade regalia, please do join me.

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On Food Cannibalism in Commercials

Eat me.

Eat me.

Let’s stipulate that two of the more disturbing things in this world are A) advertising in all forms and B) eating other living things for sustenance. Stipulated. Now, put those things together and generally speaking you’ll get some of the most insane, soul-killing stuff ever committed to paper or video, and anthropomorphic food is definitely at the top of the list. Every time a hot dog dances onto a movie screen singing about treats, I think about that fucking hot dog screaming in horror when someone eats him. The upcoming film Sausage Party gets this, since the entire film is all about anthropomorphic food that thinks being chosen at the grocery store is ascending to paradise, only to be completely horrified to discover what it really means.

So, as with most dark stuff, there’s humor there. Even so, sometimes there are commercials that are so ridiculously strange they make an impression—but what really makes you wonder if you’re living in a computer simulation created by aliens with an imperfect understanding of humanity in general is when the strange commercials all have the same weird, disturbing thing in common.

For example, food eating itself.

You’re Eating Yourself, You Don’t Believe It

Now, on the one hand anthropomorphic food eating itself—eagerly—isn’t necessarily evidence of anything beyond the fact that people working in advertising and marketing are the Worst People in the World (this is a fact, go look it up). I mean, if we imagine that Mrs. Potato Head actually exists as an intelligent, sentient being, then if she chooses to grind up her fellow potatoes and fry them up into delicious chips and then eat them, well, maybe sentient potatoes have different traditions and religious beliefs.

Dig the Trump Hair

Dig the Trump Hair

Or if our breakfast cereal spends its free time chasing its fellows around so it can literally tear them apart with its teeth (teeth?) and eat them alive while they flee in fucking terror, then who am I to say otherwise? Again, maybe sentient cereals have developed a different standard of morality.

I see this in my nightmares, now.

I see this in my nightmares, now.

These are just two of several advertisements for awful processed foods that apparently believe that cannibalism, terror, and the complete and total breakdown of society is an aces way to sell you horrible things. There are the M&Ms commercials, of course, which are not so much cannibalism as simply the predatory consumption of sentient, thinking beings who are completely aware that we all wish to consume them. I mean, seriously, this is a shitshow of psychological horror centered on convincing us to eat food we should never, ever actually eat. (Although, to be fair, Lay’s chips are fucking delicious).

My conclusion is inescapable: As I have long suspected, you all want to eat me.

I Am Delicious

Here’s my unbreakable logic:

  1. Advertising firms have the resources and motivation to get to the bottom of the human psyche. If they can crack the mind-control codes that stumped the CIA during the MK-Ultra years, they can make us give them our money for things like shit cereal that will 100% give you diabetes within a few years.
  2. Thus if all the trends in food advertising use cannibalism and the violent murder and consumption (usually raw) of sentient beings, the Advertising Illuminati must know this will appeal to you. Because you—yes, you—are a horrifying animal who secretly wants to murder and kill me.

I think I’ve proven my point: If you buy Cinnamon Toast Crunch, you’re a murdering cannibal. Or could be a murdering cannibal. Either way, I don’t want to be left alone with you. You can just mail me my Ph.D. in Thinking, I’ll just be sitting here drinking whiskey and watching far too many television commercials about predatory cannibalistic food.

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Authoring is Hard Work

Cats Ate My DeskIn 2002, a year in which otherwise almost nothing I can remember happened, the New York Times reported that “a recent survey” confirmed the worst fears of many Americans: 81% of the country thought they could write and publish a book. Eighty-one percent. Considering there are about 319 million people in the U.S.A. alone, that means about 258 million people figure that someday when they have some spare time they’ll bang out a novel. Or, more accurately, they’ll go find a writer friend they know, drunkenly explain the story idea with helpful doodles on cocktail napkins as visual aids, and then let that writer friend write and publish the book while splitting the profits 70/30.

At first blush, the 81% number seems high, especially when you consider that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics counts just 129,100 authors and writers in the country as of 2012. Although, when combined with the explosion of self-publishing in recent years, that seems like a dubious number too, especially when you learn that the Bureau also claims the median income for authors and writers is $56,000 a year when most writers are constantly Googling “how to boil shoes for dinner” or “how long can I eat nothing but Ramen before getting scurvy”—although to be fair when you include people like James Patterson or Stephen King or E.L. James in the calculations, that median is going to shoot up quickly.

However, when you think about how many people participate in things like NaNoWriMo every year (more than 300,000 according to the website) and how many people are publishing novels—more than 750,000 traditionally and self-published books annually in the United States alone—it starts to seem like that 81% number might make sense after all.

In reality what this means is that an enormous number of people think they can write and sell a book, but less than 25% of them actually do, one way or another. That’s a big gap, even if we remove those helpful folks who are always offering up brilliant ideas for novels and seeking to split profits and restrict ourselves solely to people who would, you know, actually be willing to write a book. As an author myself, there’s only one explanation for the this discrepancy that makes sense: writing a novel is hella hard. Selling a novel is even harder. Black magic may be involved.

(more…)

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Admitting Defeat

Dear Mr. Manuscript: BURN IN HELL

Dear Mr. Manuscript: BURN IN HELL

SO, a few months ago I had an idea for a novel. It was a little outside my usual light cone, so it was a little scary. But sometimes the best thing to do when you’re not certain about an idea is to steer into it and see what happens, so I leaped in. 80,000 words later I had something that resembled a novel, and “resembles a novel” is the best I can ever hope for, honestly.

I was meeting with my agent, the also-frightening Janet Reid, doing a check-in kind of thing and I mentioned I might have a new novel for her to read. She asked for the elevator pitch, and I started laying out the premise, when she interrupted me.

“I love that,” she said, “as long as the next words out of your mouth aren’t X, X, or X.”

(Note that “X” here represent tropes, concepts, or buzzwords).

“Well,” I said, abashed. “Actually, it is X, X, and X.”

Janet attempted and failed to appear cheerful. “Well, who knows! Maybe you pulled it off.”

Being informed that your big idea isn’t nearly as original as you thought isn’t uncommon, and being blithely unaware that your big idea has been done to death isn’t uncommon, either, at least for me. I’m full of myself enough to ignore such advice when it suits me, however, so I decided that the way I’d approached the concepts set my novel apart. I polished it and sent a draft to my wife The Duchess for a read-through, as she is uncommonly smart.

A few days later, The Duchess reported on progress. “I’m halfway through, and I was really, really loving it until the end of Part I. Then I read the next chapter and it was X, X, and X, and you know I hate X, X, and X!”

So, friends, at this point as a writer who is at least trying to appear professional, you have three choices: One, assume everyone else is crazy and just barrel ahead with your lame novel; two, put it in a drawer and forget all about it, along with the dozens of other set-aside lame novels; or, three, accept that your original idea wasn’t so great and come up with something better. I went and had a whiskey and thought about it, and almost immediately thought of something better. I’ll have to rip out 40,000 words and start in the middle from scratch, but damn it’s a better idea. Much better than X, X, and X, anyway.

None of this means it’ll sell. It may yet wind up in that Drawer of Dead Novels. But at least for once I didn’t just put my head down like Juggernaut, because I have a tendency to ignore good advice. Even when it’s repeated several times, from different people. There’s still no guarantee that this novel will be successful, or sell, but at least it will be better.

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Let’s Contemplate Death, Want To?

Death Becomes Me

Death Becomes Me

My brother and I have an old routine where we discuss how we’d like to die, if we had our druthers. He always defaults to this fantasy of being diagnosed with some sort of movie disease like a Brain Cloud and having an idyllic six months to live, wherein he will feel more or less normal and have all his faculties, and then simply drop dead. The idea is he’ll have the time to liquidate all of his assets and fly out to Vegas, there to live like a modern-day Caligula until he simply keels over in a hot tub filled with prostitutes and, I presume, whiskey.

While I salute my brother’s dream of drinking himself to death when the last moments come, I deprecate his plan for the obvious reasons: None of us get that kind of warning, I don’t think. Or at least a vanishingly small number of us do. Most of us will either have a bus dropped on us without warning, or our last memories will be do I smell toast? or we’ll have a long, grinding road of misery and pain until we just sort of enter a new state of existence known as barely there.

In short, I haven’t known much death in my time, but I do know this: There is no such thing as a good death.

####

Writing often means you have to concoct good deaths for characters. The closer I hue to reality when it comes to death, the less satisfying people find my stories. People like to see just desserts, noble speeches, epiphanies, and deathbed confessions. They like to see death matter in fiction. I strongly suspect this is because almost always death doesn’t mean anything in life. It just is.

####

I think this topic has been on my mind (more than usual, anyway) because my agent, the Redoubtable Janet Reid, recently suggested that I take steps to set up a Literary Executor, someone who would be empowered to handle my Empire of Words after I’d died of acute alcohol poisoning (or, possibly, something else). Now, when your agent suggests you start looking towards a Post-Life Strategy, it makes you think. As in, I thought, Do I look like I’m fucking dying? It seemed like just a few years ago we were chortling over whiskies at Old Town Bar, plotting my eventual literary domination! Now we’re gently pushing my funeral barge into the water, the scent of lighting fluid all around me.

I’m no Stephen King or Nora Roberts, but I get royalty checks, which means my books sell and someone is making money from them. I’m the last stop on the Money Train, it’s true, but it’s still money. So, sure, when I die of (probably) drinking a fifth of bourbon and wandering into traffic whilst singing Irish folk songs, someone’s gonna have to make some decisions. And if I don’t designate someone, who knows what the hell happens. For all I know I signed a bar napkin a few years ago promising some rando they could have my literary empire. I mean, it’s entirely possible. I sign a lot of things.

####

On the other hand, you can’t think too hard about death when you create stories and universes. You have to be like god: eternal and unblinking, otherwise why bother? I mean, when I think about all the stories and novels I have planned for the coming years, I kind of assume I am eternal and ever-living, like Mumm-Ra. You can’t think, oh, I’d like to write this seven-book Sci Fi series, but … you know, chances are I’ll be dead tomorrow, probably from drinking grain alcohol with a lit candle nearby. Better safe than sorry!

So on the one hand, I have to plan for my own demise, when I will likely find myself on trial with every fly, roach, and cow I’ve ever murdered standing in judgment in the afterlife. On the other hand, I have to pretend I will live forever, like the aforementioned Mumm-Ra, or I will produce nothing. It’s kind of a mind fuck, if you ask me.

If anyone is thinking they might be the ideal choice to be my literary executor, I’m sorry to report the post is filled by The Duchess, who will not be amused if you make any attempts to seize control after my unfortunate death from beer poisoning.

And if you are one of the few who find references to Mumm-Ra, The Ever Living entertaining, y’all are my people.

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