As many of you know, I started a little #gettheblood hashtag recently as part of my increasingly desperate efforts to get everyone in the world to buy a copy of my upcoming novels Fixer and We Are Not Good People. I wrote some essays about scars I’ve gotten, since scars factor in the books, and people sent me some of their own scar stories.
I totally encourage this — email your scar stories to me and I’ll do something with them. Recently I’ve made two videos based on the scar stories folks have sent me. First up was Kent Bunn:
And today I posted a new one inspired by a story told by Matt Handle:
Got a scar story to share? Send it on and we’ll do something creative with it.
SO, on October 7, 2014, the world will change forever. Well, not really. What’s actually going to happen is my next novel, We Are Not Good People, will be released. Whether or not I spend 2015 dancing on street corners for nickels or ordering rounds of drinks for strangers as I blaze, briefly, in alcoholic splendor before doctors arrive to harvest my ruined body for parts, depends entirely on what happens in the bookstores and online venues in the days and weeks afterwards.
In the past, with the Avery Cates novels, I organized a Street Team (organized may be a strong word here) to help with promotion, and we had a lot of fun, so I’m doing the same, gathering blackguards and bravos from around the world to help make it seem like a passably good idea to spend money on my book. And I want you to join the Street Team. It will be ever so much fun.
We have a forum: http://wearenotgoodpeople.freeforums.net/
The book has a website: www.wearenotgoodpeople.com
I understand your hesitation. I am a notably unreliable author who is easily distracted by glasses of booze and things like videos of kittens acting surprised. So, here are
REASONS TO BE ON THE WANGP STREET TEAM
- You love me. You may not realize it, but you do.
- You fear me and know if my writering career goes south I will start showing up at your door, begging for a couch to sleep on.
- There will be swag — free books, signed things, T-shirts, bookmarks, anything else we cook up to give away or what have you, Street Team members will get first dibs. In the past every member got a T-shirt or a hat and some other stuff just for being awesome.
- Meet new people! Who are not me pretending to be other people just to make my Street Team seem huge and imposing, promise.
- All Street Team members pat and present earn the Right of Cocktails, which means they can march up to me at any time under any circumstances and, once they’ve identified themselves, demand that I buy them a drink, and I will.
- Did I mention the swag?
- The forum is there to exchange ideas and suggestions, so if you’ve ever wanted to humiliate and destroy me publicly (and who hasn’t) here is your chance. Why not suggest I dress up in a pig outfit and dance on your lawn? Because if everyone on the Street Team votes for it, I will totally do that.
- The abbreviation of We Are Not Good People is WANGP, so you get to throw around the word “Wang” a lot and no one can complain.
- Someday, when they decide to make a documentary about me (most probably because I snap mentally in 2016 and start showing up in public in a pig outfit and dancing, eventually becoming known as The Pork Avenger) they will totally come to interview you about it.
- Because I am dancing for right now, even though you can’t see it. And also weeping. How can you be so cruel?
So there you have it. There’s no official sign up or anything — just participate. Send me your contact info via email or message, let me know you’re interested, join the forum and say hello and suggest things. What can you suggest? Well, anything:
- If you know of a bookstore that would love to have me come read, let me know.
- Ideas for swag or giveaways
- Ideas for digital graphics that I could create and distribute
- Forums or other sites that people could post on
- Ways to tweet and post about the books (or my other books), write reviews, or otherwise spread the word
Or, just lurk until something gets suggested that appeals to you. Literally, anything you want to do is appreciated and I’ll be extremely grateful for.
Onward! I’ve just discovered I will have to have my Pork Avenger outfit let out a little. I’m … not a young man any more.
SO, last night I was invited to speak at the first-ever Genre Night for Jersey City Writers. Now, I was born and raised in Jersey City and I currently live a 5 minute walk away from that city, but when I was a kid it didn’t have writer’s groups. It had gangs, yes, and Boy Scouts. But no writer’s groups. So this was exciting stuff.
The event was held at the Freshly Baked Gallery on Monmouth Street in JC – it’s a delightful little space in the middle of a sleepy block in a newly revitalized area of the city. If you click through you’ll see a lot of really neat pieces – The Duchess and I were really intrigued by a couple of them.
Naturally, I was awkward. We walked in and after greeting Meg Merriet, who organized everything, The Duchess and I sat up front trying to look casual while an alarmingly large crowd filled the space. I turned to the Duchess.
“Think there’s a window in the back I can fit through? I’m terrified. I think I just wet myself.”
She slapped me violently and warned me not to embarrass her in public.
Over at Lynn Viehl’s Toriana Blog (Lynn is the author of the Disenchanted & Co. books I created trailers for a few weeks ago) I took part in a regular “Steampunking” series where authors are asked jolly questions and give jolly answers. Go check it out!
“1. If you could replace one piece of current technology with a steam-powered equivalent, what would you swap out, and what would you call it?
The coffee maker. My coffee maker right now is basically Star Trek: It uses those little pods and it’s like you insert this obscure plastic thingamabob and then coffee is dispensed. For all I know the plastic pods are the currency of aliens who accept my sacrifice and give me coffee in return.”
AND ALSO TOO there is a grand giveaway, where you could win all the stuff pictured here: — Unsigned paperback copies of the complete Avery Cates series along with Trickster, The Writer’s Lab by Sexton Burke, Writing the Paranormal Novel by Steven Harper, How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You, The Geek edition of Magnetic Poetry, A typewriter-shaped notepad, The Predict-a-Pen, Handy bookmarks, A brand-new black and denim O’Neill backpack. What are you waiting for?
I don’t go out of my way to read reviews of my work, because it’s alternately frustrating and horrifying. I’m generally embarrassed by good reviews and enraged by bad ones, and after all every book gets a bad review or fifty. People are still arguing over whether The Great Gatsby is a good book, after all.
Sometimes, though, Google Alerts or something just brings a review to my door and it’s occasionally a happy moment. Recently, Sarah E. Bewley who runs a book review blog posted a review of Trickster that warmed my tiny black heart. It reads, in part:
“The book is powerful, terrifying, involving and makes you, as the reader, want to race to the end to see what happens. It is well worth every moment spent reading.
I look forward to more Lem and Mags. The world needs them.”
Huzzah for me, I say. Why not buy a copy? Papa needs liquor monies.
“So, yeah, I’d love to have my life recorded for me. Although what would happen then is that I would always intend to go back and cull out the boring stuff – the bathroom breaks, the time spent doing nothing – and hone it down to a grand documentary called Jeff Fucking Somers and then I’d never get around to it.”
It may be the greatest thing you ever read. Or not. I don’t know, frankly.
ALSO! In what might appear to be some sort of payment for my awesome guest post but which certainly was not, Geeks Versus Nerds also reviewed Trickster:
“I love urban fantasy, I blame The Dresden Files for that, and I love the wonder that could be hiding in the shadows of the streets we walk every day. But everything always seems to stay in the shadows. There is rarely any consequences when the Vampire declare war or when the Fae revolt. UF also seems to have, despite its dark atmosphere, a rosy feel to it. Everything will always work out. Jeff Somers seems to ignore both of that. When shit start to explode it takes millions of ‘normals’ with them. Jeff’s UF world is dark and gritty. It’s full of backstabbing and horrifying people and that’s before the cutting starts.”
AND ALSO! The Electric Church, book #1 in the Avery Cates series, was reviewed by The Taichung Bookworm:
“If the set-up sounds equally insane and implausible then you’re absolutely correct and let me assure you – that’s part of the fun. The Electric Church is an oil-burning page-turner playing like a pulp novel yet with a serious literary bent. Jeff Somers obviously spent some large portion of his life wolfing down Hammett, Chandler and their lesser-known ilk and portrays bustling, seedy dives and wandering, down-on-their-luck loners with a natural ease. Cates is such a grim, sardonic anti-hero that he often seems in danger of falling into caricature before saving himself with his stark insights into the rigged nature of the game he’s forced to play.The team of broken, conniving rejects he rounds up as his crack team and the decaying world they inhabit all contribute to the atmosphere of hopelessness which all must overcome.”
Not bad for a book that came out in 2007. And now: Celebratory drinks for everyone! Note: Must supply your own celebratory drinks.
“A very auspicious beginning. . . If you are tired of the same old, same old, and want a different take on urban fantasy from a cutting edge author, give Trickster a shot. You won’t be disappointed.”
So, Trickster is out. Huzzah!
I started writing this book in 2010. It’s amazing sometimes how you start with a germ of an idea and then end up somewhere far away from that. Here’s the first ~850 words I wrote for this book. I trashed this (and several versions afterwards) before settling on the final approach in October 2010; much of this is still in the final version, though in a different form, and spread over many sections.
Trickster Draft Zero, August 2010
WHEN I was nine years old, my father picked me up after one of my Cub Scout meetings at the old church, which was strange because my father had left us the year before and I hadn’t seen him since. He drove an old boat of a car, cracked seats and broken radio. I remember climbing around the front and back seats, so much room it was like a little portable house on wheels. He let me; he just sat behind the wheel with a pint bottle of brandy between his legs, humming old songs as he drove.
We merged onto an empty highway, amber lights driving away the darkness but creating a weird Marscape of road, like we’d left the real world behind and were driving in the Ghost World. I didn’t know where we were going. Dad took regular sips from his bottle and answered all my questions with grunts and monosyllables. I had a lot of questions. I remember being really excited, after all this time Dad had come to take me on a trip, and after I got tired of not getting answers to my questions I settled into the back seat with my Webelos handbook and tried to figure out where we were going—amusement parks, zoos, the beach all seemed likely candidates. Eventually I remember falling asleep, liking the sensation of rocking back and forth in the big back seat, the smell of cigarettes and the sound of the wind.
Dad shook me awake and we were out in the middle of nowhere in the parking lot of a small square tavern with a huge red neon sign that said, simply, BEER. I followed him sleepily inside, where a handful of people who all seemed to be wearing flannel shirts and baseball caps were scattered around the tiny, gloomy room. Dad lifted me onto a stool and I remember slouching there, still asleep, looking owlishly around.
“Bourbon,” Dad said. It was the first time he’d spoken since he’d picked me up. “Neat. A coke for the kid.”
This was magic. The man behind the bar, who was fat and red in the face, his gray-white hair greasy and pasted flat against his round head, put a glass in front of me with a grin and used a gun on the end of a rubber hose to fill the glass with soda. Soda from a hose! It was magic, and I immediately schemed to have one installed at Mom’s house, because she always forgot to do the shopping and there was never anything to eat or drink.
Dad didn’t pay any attention to me, just sat there staring at the silent TV mounted up on the wall and sipped from his glass. Any time I finished a soda the man behind the bar waddled over, smiling, and refilled my glass. Free soda from a hose. After a while I eased off my stool and wandered over to where a trio of ancient electronic games sat blinking dully. Dad watched me for a moment, then shrugged and called the bartender over, fishing out a five dollar bill and holding it up.
“Give the kid some quarters,” he said.
I drank soda until I had to pee so badly my legs ached, and played fifteen games of bowling before finally giving in to the realities of the situation and heading for the bathroom. It was a scary bathroom. It had a door that didn’t close right and was dark, everything in it cold and slimy. To get there I had to pass by an old man of at least my Dad’s age sitting at the end of the bar. He wore a white suit with no tie or socks, just white pants and jacket that seemed too light for the weather and a white shirt. He was a mass of wrinkles. His hair was long and slightly curly, and his nose dominated his face, making him resemble a squirrel. I didn’t want to push past him to get to the bathroom, and hesitated for a second or two while my kidneys swam up behind my eyes, bulging them out. Finally I screwed up my courage and hustled past. He just grinned at me.
I got bored after a while. The games were old and creaky and not fun and after my seventh or eighth soda the impossible happened and I didn’t want any more of them. Dad just sat and drank and stared. I was afraid to make much noise or bother him, remembering how terrifying he was when angered, and tried to find other ways to amuse myself. I looked around and found the man in the white suit staring at me. He smiled and waved, and I looked away. When I stole a glance back at him, he waved again, and I realized with a start that his fingertips were on fire. As he moved them back and forth through the air they flickered and smoked.
The flames were blue-green. As I stared the man winked at me.
I looked around, but no one else seemed to have noticed. Everyone else might as well have been asleep. Not me. My heart was pounding
I get it: You want to read my novels, but don’t want to buy them like some sort of sucker. I feel you, kid. I feel you. You’re in luck: Not only are there extracts from the book out there, but there are free books to be had as well!
Both Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist and All Things Urban Fantasy are giving away copies, so check them out above. Or, if Goodreads feels better to you, check it: