Monthly Archive: June 2008

Super Famous

SFX Book SpecialWell, I feel Big Time today because I received the special SF & Fantasy Book Special issue of SFX today, and I’m in it as part of the Ten by Ten section, where they ask ten questions of ten authors and print their responses. Holy frick, I’m in the same section as Charles Stross, Jennifer Rardin, Lili Saintcrow, Neil Gaiman, and R Scott Bakker (among others), which is heady company to be in. It’s like I’ve been invited to a great party. I don’t often get invited to parties, on account of the drinking and potty-mouth, so this was pretty cool.

Here’s a sample question/answer from my piece:

If you weren’t a writer what job would you be doing?

Easy: Stalking the neighborhood in a greasy longcoat and a bottle of Rye, terrorizing the good citizens and begging. What, other writers have skills? Like, marketable skills? This is news to me. I assumed that writers unable to earn a living writing were gently placed on public assistance with a liquor stipend. The fact that this is not so is shocking. Civilization has failed me. I am angry now.

I don’t think it’s on sale until 7/11 and I’m not even sure if it comes out in the US. But I have a physical copy so I’m pretty sure it happened.

Pay No Mind

I’m often at a loss about this whole Blog thing. I mean, I read a lot of blogs and they all seem much more interesting than this one, and I sit there burning with envy and rage, wondering why I can’t be that interesting. This leads to some serious and seriously uncomfortable soul-searching, terminating in the drunken determination to kidnap John Scalzi and force him to blog under my name. Luckily I rarely get further than the car before passing out, usually stalling in the middle of the street and rolling into a nearby tree; my neighbors, bless them, are used to being woken by the impact and come out in the pitch darkness to push my car back into its parking space, where I wake up the next day.

But I digress.

The problem with me blogging, of course, is that I am completely unsuitable for the activity. I think I can bang out a pretty decent story, and the zine, while a kissing cousin to the whole blog thing, is different in its inception and creation in just about every aspect. There are plenty of reasons I’m no good at this, and I can only pray that these reasons, when blended together by my personal spiritual glue of alcohol, despair, and irritation, become something vaguely entertaining.

1. I’m a moron. No, really. The vast, uncharted wilderness of Things I Do Not Know is. . .well, vast. I can’t speak authoritatively on much of anything, which leaves only the role of Internet Blowhard available to a man of my slim skills. This doesn’t appeal to me because of the torrents of abuse I’d have to withstand. I’m not a strong man. I can’t take the abuse.

2. I’m boring. If you can’t be the go-to expert on something, you can try to be everyone’s vicarious life. Unfortunately, here’s a typical day at the Somers Compound:

  1. Wake up. Doze off again for five minutes. Wake up.
  2. Drink coffee.
  3. Sit at my desk for roughly sixteen years, working.
  4. Make dinner.
  5. Check on the prisoners in the basement. If necessary, pick one to set free so they can tell the world what they’ve seen.

See? Nothing very exciting. I don’t hang out with celebrities or do particularly extreme things. My wife will tell you it’s hard to get me to simply leave the house. I suppose I could exploit the glamour of my debilitating drinking, but that ends in tears a lot more than you might suspect.

3.  I’m lazy. The Golden Rule for blogs is you have to post every day. You have to give folks a reason to surf over to you every day. Even if you’re not selling ads, it makes sense: If your page remains static all the time people get out of the habit of checking your site, and after a while forget you exist. If you’re putting up exciting information all the time, people will check you several times a day and your empire of thoughtspace will grow to Darth Vader proportions.

Sadly, I am a lazy, lazy man. Almost all of my interesting news, weird web sites, or cool tidbits comes from other, more dedicated bloggers, and even if I was willing to simply regurgitate their efforts here, it all seems like work, somehow. Work gives me hives.

4. I’m private. Or shy. I don’t want to post about what I did last night, or what I made for dinner, or what my wife and I talk about.  That leaves posting about writing or posting about my cats, of which I have more than you might suspect. Now I am sure there are folks who wouldn’t mind reading about my cats and their zany misadventures (possible blog post title: Kitten Spartacus Thinks He Is Big Enough to Eat 4-Year-Old Pierre and I Encourage Him in This Belief), but I’m not sure their numbers are that large. I could, I suppose, post about the craft and business of writing, and probably will do so a little more in coming months, since folks seem interested – and I know I eat up such posts on other blogs – but that’s a limited topic, I think. Besides, my craft advice boils down to: read a lot, write a lot, don’t be afraid to do stuff you’re not supposed to (curse, have dead folks narrate events, have everyone die in a plane crash at the end – hell, have fun with it). Everything else either comes naturally or isn’t there to begin with.

So, where does that leave me? Pretty much using this blog as a promotional tool, announcing things where my name or book title (or, in a holy convergance that makes me happy for one brief, shining moment, both at the same time) is mentioned, or where I will be appearing in public, shouting my name and book title over and over again (folks who live in Hoboken know you can witness this just about every night in Church Square Park, where the cops know me and gently lead me home after administering a breathalyzer). This is all well and good except, of course, that folks who read this blog regular-like generally already like my writing and thus are paying attention, so it’s kind of redundant.

Oh well. Look – I just constructed an entire post from the cobwebs and dead spiders littering the attic of my brain. This is, I submit, a form of genius, albeit unrecognized.

Roast Me

In my endless, slightly spastic quest for attention for my novels, I’ve gone and volunteered to have The Digital Plague roasted. I’m scheduled for July 22, so mark your calendars to be sitting at your computer all day in order to participate, or maybe just to post endless insults until I cry.

Here’s how it works: They’ll post a short excerpt from The  Digital Plague and then 3 questions. The questions are written by the Book Roast folks, not me, and will skew towards the humorous and/or ridiculous. Then people post answers to the questions, and I’ll be monitoring the blog comments and jumping in as well, so feel free to ask me questions or, as I said, insult me (do I know my readers or what?). I will, of course, be sitting at my desk pantsless with a glass of whiskey in my hand and will post photos to prove this if asked. If anyone’s working on the little puzzle over at the TDP web site, I might be induced to offer hints. But only if you’re super nice.

Then, I pick a “winner” who I think answered the 3 questions best – not necessarily correctly, just “best” – and the winner gets a free book. I might get creative with the prize, actually, and if you already own TDP we can figure something out, and naturally I will sign the book as well if asked.

So, start thinking of creative insults to have ready on 7/22. But be warned: I’ve heard them all, and nothing makes me cry any more. Well, almost nothing.


Patrick over at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist has listed his ‘provisional’ Best of 2008 (provisional since the year is only half over, natch), and The Digital Plague is hanging on as an also-ran, currently ranked #10. Which means chances are Pat will read something in the next 5+ months that will knock me off the list, so I might as well crow about being there at all now, while I have the chance, eh?

Of course, maybe he’ll re-read TDP at some point and move me up. Anything’s possible. I wonder if I mailed him an envelope of ten-dollar bills, if that would have any effect? Only one way to find out. Of course, first I have to accrue some ten-dollar bills. I guess it’s back to busking for me — I only know 2 songs, both more or less theoretically, so this might take a while.

Nick Harkaway, I Love You

SFX Magazine has deigned to review The Digital Plague, friends, and they love us. Eddie Robson writes:

“This is a brash, brutal, brilliant novel, gleefully packed with violence. Fans of gratuitous swearing will also find plenty to enjoy, with major profanity appearing on nearly every page. In fact, possibly on every single page – we haven’t checked, but it seems eminently fucking plausible…”

Of course, for some reason they seem to believe someone named Nick Harkaway wrote it. Which might be problematic for folks reading the review and seeking to find me for celebrity endorsements. I’M GONNA SUE. As soon as I find my pants and a place to put my drink down.
UPDATE: At some point, they’ve fixed the name, thank goodness.

DIY, dammit

I ache all over. In the past week, I have done the following feats of Herculean amazingness:

  1. Re-grouted our shower, due to water leak that punched a soft, chewy hole in the kitchen ceiling
  2. Re-stained deck
  3. Drywalled, mudded, and taped hole in said kitchen ceiling
  4. Installed two storm doors on dear old Mum’s house
  5. Cleaned like a demon

All this and delivered a manuscript, too! And created about 6,235 new concepts for Next Major Project, the ultimate fate of which depend mightily on whether someone wants to pay me to write any particular one. The Duchess has been pushing a particular idea of hers which is an amalgamation of three stories I wrote years ago that she didn’t like much individually, but she hit on the idea of combining them and has haunted me about this ever since, as she believes combining these ideas = instant Nobel Prize. But if someone wants to pay me to write something else–perhaps an Epic Poem dedicated to the lump of green putty found in my armpit this morning–all bets are off.

I am exhausted.

Of course the other night I was sitting at my desk looking out my window onto our street, and a drunken motherfucker stumbled in-between two parked cars as I watched and began urinating lustily. I stared in surprise — I’ve crawled through enough bars on the East Coast to have witnessed plenty of public urination before, but this is the first time it’s happened a) while I was sober myself* and b)  it was right outside my own damn house.

After a second he looked up and saw me watching. He shrugged, looking back at the business at hand.

“Whatchu gonna do?” He slurred. “This is what happens when you drink.”

Indeed. There is wisdom in there, if you care to look. By the time I decided the appropriate response would be to go get the garden hose, hook it up to the kitchen sink, open the front door and douse him, he was long gone, and I’d been staring blankly out the window for about fifteen minutes.

*Old hands will know automatically that sober is a relative term.