Monthly Archive: February 2008

Fruits of Ego-Surfing

I have Google Alerts set to, er, alert me whenever my name or book titles get mentioned out there. It’s always fun to wake up and find out someone has posted about you, even when the post is about how much you suck. No, really – you’d be surprised how much fun even a post entitled JEFF SOMERS SUCKS MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE HAS OR EVER WILL SUCK can be.

Anyway, found this little blog post today, where a guy named Derek James is reading TEC and wonders whether it is worse to be buried alive or trapped inside a cyborg body you don’t control, as in The Electric Church’s monks, and he has a poll set up to see what people think. So, which would it be – buried alive or a Monk? Surf on over and let ‘im know.

TEC in Magyar

I woke up this morning to discover that My Corporate Masters had removed the lien on my house, though they’re still garnishing my wages. When I asked why this sudden gift had been given to me, I was put on hold for sixty-seven minutes while Gimme More by Britney Spears played on a loop, and then a gruff voice finally picked up and said “Hungarian Rights.”

Yup, the Hungarian publisher Ulpius-haz has purchased the rights to The Electric Church. I am pleased to welcome my new foreign masters, and hope I can advance their cause of world domination in some small way. Perhaps by assassinating someone? Or maybe selling some books, why not.

I never know if anyone cares about stuff like that – I mean, should I send out an email update to folks? While some people seem politely interested in my career, I have to think what they want to hear about are exciting public appearances or major events, like “I sold the movie rights for eleventy billion dollars and will now proceed drinking myself to death” or “I’ve built a fort out of the couch cushions and there is no power in this world which can make me leave its protective walls”. You know, important shit. I can’t imagine foreign rights makes anyone excited.

Then again, it’s hard to imagine any part of my exciting career – which involves, mainly, petting cats and mixing highballs – warrants an email bulletin. And yet I do occasionally contrive to send them. In a weird way that kind of sums up my career altogether!

Seen Wayne Handcuffed to the Bumper of a State Troopers Ford

SO, I’m working on Avery Cates Exciting Adventure #3, which hopefully won’t be the last Avery Cates Exciting Adventure because the character is a lot of fun and I can see him doing all sorts of damage. But you never know, and if we’re selling worse than Pintos in Mexico this may be it. Time will tell.

As usual, I took a break around what I think is the halfway mark to let a few special folks take a gander at it (agent, wife, etc). This is tough. I hate doing it, in fact, because there’s so much yet to be figured out and massaged. Inevitably you get back questions that will be explained later, or comments you know won’t matter once you finish up. Plus, some people (I won’t name any names) can’t seem to read a first-draft without marking every single typo they find, despite your continual pleas that it’s a first-draft and thus plagued by small errors.

Sigh. I don’t know how you handle it. I drink.

Still, it’s a good exercise, because the other inevitability is that someone will note something about the story that just isn’t sitting right, and it’s usually a moment where I thought shit, this is genius and it turns out it’s simply lazy writing*. Like deciding to skip a big chunk of story and tell it via allusions and interior character monologues. Yep, that seemed like a cool, mysterious way to write it up, until someone actually tried to make sense of it and. . .failed.

Frustrating, but this is why I let people read partial manuscripts, to let me do some course-correcting before I get too deep into it. As painful as it is, I’d rather know I’m fucking up now rather than 50,000 words past now.

So that’s me today. My cats are fighting and we’ve had to separate them for a while in hopes that when we re-introduce them in a week or three they’ll blink their eyes and say Golly, who are you? And start purring and licking each other. This may not happen. In the mean time, most of my energies are being spent keeping cats from fighting each other to the death–which is only a minor exaggeration.

*I believe I have patented this style of writing. Let’s call it Stupidism. I am its master.

GUD Magazine


GUD Issue 2Just a quick note for anyone interested that GUD Magazine #2, containing my story closer in my heart to thee, is out and you – yes you! – can buy a copy.

Check out their site here. Then buy a few copies so’s Jeff can get some liquor monies, and stop this nagging shake that’s been making my handwriting so unreadable recently.

I’ve Got Nothing to Say, Hope You Have a Nice Day

You know what the problem with me trying to post on this blog every day? Nothing ever happens to me. Nothing, seriously. I also have very few thoughts which would qualify as “blog-able”. I am sure this surprises no one, especially those who actually read my zine The Inner Swine. The poor souls. If I were to somehow summon the energy to blog every day, the posts would read something like this:

Woke up, still tired. Sat and stared at day-job work for some time while cats batted my ears with their paws, painfully. Finally fed cats to much purring and rejoicing. Wife called me “little man” again while threatening to beat me if the house wasn’t cleaned by the time she got home. Napped some. Had bourbon for lunch again, no regrets.

I don’t think anyone wants something like that.

I do have some news today, though! It’s the Second Annual Fantasy Bookspot Book Tournament! Check out the explanation of what’s going on and note, dearest readers, that The Electric Church has been nominated. If you’re inclined and able, vote the heck out of it. Please. If nothing else, defend it against theBlue Meanies who will call it names and make me cry.

Finally, the ARCs of The Digital Plague are in, and they are gorgeous. Orbit sure knows how to make me look like a genius.


Whew! Gotta start trying to post more often, but as far as writing goes I’m being pulled in a dozen different ways and getting to the blog has fallen down the list. This is probably bad as no one wants to come back to a blog that’s never updated, but something’s got to be sacrificed, and no one is paying me to write this blog. Any takers?

I spent some time over the weekend organizing and re-filing the masses of hardcopy manuscripts I have. Not only do I keep everything – I have stories and novels written when I was 13 and in dire need of a kick in the ass – but I keep everything on paper, too. Not to say I don’t have electronic backups; everything written pretty much after 1996 I have on disk somewhere and even the old HC has been scanned to PDF files, er most of it anyway. But I still print out a hard copy of everything and file it the old-fashioned way, because, you know, no one has ever made that file format obsolete, and no one has ever stopped making paper, dig? If you ask which is more likely to be readable by our alien overlords in 2000 years, paper or PDF, I’ll go with paper.

In fact, if the house burned down and I was able to only save the backup DVDs, the first thing I’d do is print everything out again.

I mean, looking back, electronic files have a shitty record for me. When I was a kid writing short stories on my Commodore 64, I used something called KWrite (I think that was its name–no relation to the KDE word processor used in Linux these days). I still have 5.25″ disks with KWrite files on them, unreadable by any modern computer. Sure, assuming those disks are still viable I might hook up my old C64 (yes, I still have it) and somehow extract those files, but it wouldn’t be easy. And what would I extract them to? Paper, probably. Maybe I could convert them to something usable by modern PCs, but it probably wouldn’t be worth it. Thank goodness I *do* have a HC of those early, awful stories.

Then, a few years later I got my first PC, second hand from a friend, a creaky old 386 model. I installed Word Perfect on it and have a ton of files from that era as well. WordPerfect still exists, of course, so those files aren’t lost, but they might as well be since I won’t dish out the $$$ to buy a copy. Then there was the brief, hellish tour of duty with MS Word, and now I’m comfortable in my Linux dotage, using Open Office and loving it. Chances any of those file formats will be usable in 500 years, assuming my hard disks and DVD backups survive? Approximately zero, I think.

Chances the paper will still be readable? Pretty good.

Anyway, part of the reason I am pressed for time is these damn cats. I have four of them, and this is what they think of me working:

Sparky Stop Work Order

Translation: not much.

Finally, for those of you who have read through this whole post: I need a title for Avery Cates #3. For some reason, I’m halfway through this one and a title eludes me, which rarely happens. It needs to be punchy like its predecessors – The Electric Church and The Digital Plague. A three word phrase with an adjective vaguely connected to science etc. How hard can it be?

Damn hard. If anyone has a suggestion, feel free, though note that I will shamelessly steal it from you if it’s any good and offer absolutely no credit, so be warned.