Monthly Archive: October 2012

Fantastic Fan Art

You might recall that John Paul Cokes sent us some amazing Monk art about a year and a half ago. He sent me this note today, and thank god, cause the new ones are AMAZING:

“I just wanted to send these to you. I’ve had trouble finding inspiration lately so I turned back to The Electric Church for ideas to keep me busy. I’m a huge fan of these books and would love to see them adapted for the big screen or series. I’ve always imagined Avery Cates with short hair in the first novel and then longer hair in the second one.”


The Psionic The Psionic
The Psionic

Prank to Work It In


I handed my license over to the pretty young receptionist with a flirtatious but mild grin, despite my guess that she could be my granddaughter.

“My HDPT number is—”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Hemming,” she interrupted perkily, “but we have a new policy. I’m afraid you must submit to a Pin Test. We no longer accept HDPT as proof of coverage.” She smiled prettily, eyes twinkling.

I frowned. “I’ve always used my HDPT number. I’ve been a patient here for six years.”

She smiled again, nodding. But I could see her grin grow just slightly brittle. “I know, sir, and all the doctors apologize. But we experienced some security concerns recently, and for the time being we are forced to employ stringent security. We do apologize for the inconvenience.”

I considered. I knew I seemed like a typical whining rich asshole, and she—being at best a Class II or IIA employee—probably hated me. But I disliked DNA traces. The government had enough information on me as it was, and I paid plenty to keep it that way. As far as I knew their last update on me was seventeen years old—but that would change in seconds if I submitted to a Pin Test.

The again, I had a rattle in my chest that made me nervous.

“Oh, all right. Sorry to be a bother. I know you’re just doing your job.” I held out my hand.

She softened a little. “You’re no bother, at all, really. Some of our patients are real horrors, you know.”

She said this in a mock-conspiratorial tone that made me think she didn’t hate me after all. “That makes me feel better. Maybe you’d care to tell me some stories? Over dinner, perhaps?”

Not pausing in her swabbing and pricking one finger, she glanced up at me. “I’m not supposed to be overly friendly with the patients.”

“I see.” I didn’t want to push things, it was so easy to be misinterpreted when your credit rating outclassed everyone in the room. “Well.” I winced as she quite professionally drew blood from one finger. “I’ll consider that my loss.”

She smiled again as she inserted the samples into her desk workstation. It chimed pleasantly almost immediately. “Very well, Mr.—” she glanced at the screen unnecessarily “—Hemming, you can go right in.”

I nodded and turned for the door.

“Oh, Mr. Hemming?”

I paused and turned back to her.

“Happy birthday! One hundred thirty; that’s impressive!” There was nothing nice in her eyes.


When Booze Attacks

This first appeared in The Inner Swine Volume 14, Issue 1.

Hangover Cat is An HeroIn general, liquor been very very good to me. In a storied career stretching back several decades I’ve had a lot to drink, and certainly had my share of hangovers. I still have a suit of clothes I woke up wearing in Philadelphia one night, with absolutely no memory of how I acquired it. It hangs in the closet waiting for the day that we either invent cheap at-home DNA testing or time-travel, and the truth will be revealed. Until then I assume I drank too much and traded clothes with a much richer man of my approximate size and weight.

Still, I’m an old, frail man now, and I think I’ve tested my depth when it comes to killing myself with The Drink. Or at least I thought so. I mean, I ought to know my limits, right? I ought to be able to walk up the watery line of Lake Puke and toe it gingerly, and do a jaunty little dance of defiance. And usually, I can.

Recently, however, I’ve had several inexplicable brushes with the ancient stigma of being over-served, and the only thing more depressing than being a middle-aged zine publisher is being a middle-aged zine publisher who’s about to hurl his cookies all over the place like a high school kid after his first pint of blackberry brandy.

The first time, to be honest, I had consumed enough booze to pickle myself, I admit it. The evening got away from me in an excess enthusiasm for someone’s whiskey collection, and despite the way everything ended I don’t have any real regrets. The most recent episode, however, involved barely enough booze to register, and yet I ended the night swimming home in a taxi, turning various shades of green.

This is disturbing.

The cycle of life, as far as I imagined it, was this: You’re born. Then nothing happens. Sometime around your thirteenth birthday, you have your first drink, and then you fuck up multiple times, spending brain cells to gain experience. A period of happiness ensues, wherein you can pretty much drink without fear of consequence. This goes on until your liver explodes and you die, probably around age fifty. Suddenly returning to the earlier stage puts a distinct crimp in my plans for the future. Not to mention supplying me with ample embarrassment for those occasions when I attempt to be witty and erudite with my adult friends.

The only course of action is to continue to experiment until I figure out the problem in my technique. I’ll continue to report my progress as events warrant.

From the Zine

This piece originally appeared in The Inner Swine Volume 14, Issue 1


PIGS, every now and then I get asked that perennial author question, how can I get published. The assumption being that because I have been published a little I have some secret voodoo spell you can recite that will result in thousands of your books clogging the mercantile arteries of bookstores everywhere. This assumption is pretty spurious, since most authors, myself included, are drunk when they sell their books and can’t possibly explain what happened; their stories usually devolve into strange tales of magical unicorns and wizards who cast publishing spells.

Still, I get asked. Every time the question comes up, my agent appears in a flash of purple flames and sulphur and slaps me across the face, commanding me to never answer. This is not because it’s some sort of masonic secret, but rather because everyone’s experience is different and most probably unreproducible. I mean, if you sold your book because you sacrificed a chicken and danced the Macarena outside  the publisher’s offices, the chances that such tactics will work for someone else are pretty minimal.

In other words, authors in general are idiots. I am no exception.

Still, the urge to talk about your publishing adventures can be overwhelming. For most writers, after all, being published is the only actual accomplishment we have that impresses anyone. You can win all the awards you like, and none of your nonliterary friends care. You can have all the artistic breakthroughs you want and no one will understand. But when you have an actual check in your hands, suddenly people are interested in your little hobby. So we all have an urge to just bloviate on and on for days about How We Got Published.

Part of this is because writing has transformed from a way to make a living into a lifestyle choice. It’s damned hard to actually make a living wage from your writing work these days, but it has become an artistic sort of hobby—after all, in today’s day and age, anyone can be a writer in the sense of having a printed book in your hands, so it’s become a choice of applied resources instead of a vocation. As a result, people who in past lives wouldn’t have bothered aspiring to being an author fancy they could do it—and why not? It’s not something they’re doing to earn money, or because undeniable artistic urges, otherwise known as Them Voices in Your Head, demand that they do so. They’re writing books because it’s a genteel sort of activity—like painting a sunset, or knitting a scarf.

I have no wisdom, really. My publishing adventures have been a mixture of pure chance, lucky incompetence, and inexplicable coincidence. People are always looking for rules to follow—the proper query letter format, the right way to approach an agent, whether or not to put your work on the Internet—but I am here to tell you folks that there are no rules. It’s Thunderdome out there.

Story of a Book Trailer

Promised by Caragh O'BrienCaragh O’Brien, the talented author of the Birthmarked Trilogy, wrote up a delightful post about her experience working with me on the book trailer for Promised:

“From teaching broadcasting, I know just enough about film editing to appreciate how flexible it is and how hours can vanish while you fiddle with clips.  Jeff and I got honest with each other real fast.”

Huzzah! I really enjoy working with Caragh and I definitely, definitely recommend her books, as she’s a fantastic writer.

Book Trailers!

Well, I been busy, people. Busy writing, busy drinking, busy proving myself innocent in various courts of law. And busy making book trailers. Here’s a few recent ones – I highly recommend buying these books, as I enjoyed reading each of them while figuring out the trailer approach.

Redemption by Denise Grover Swank

Glistening Haven by Jill Cooper

Promised by Caragh O’Brien


Struck Gold

The Electric ChurchAs with most authors, all of being selfish self-obsessed bastards, I am always delighted when someone reviews my books favorably. Especially when they review books that originally came out 5 years ago, like The Electric Church:

“Mr. Jeff Somers has struck gold with his book The Electric Church . . .  I had a lot of fun with this book and look forward to reading the sequels. I highly recommend this to any sci/fi fan.”

Well, bam. I’m pulling together some arcana to add to the official Avery Cates Series Web Page – just some random things created many many years ago and still on my hard drives. Until then, go buy some copies so I can giggle when the pennies shoot out of the pneumatic tube I’ve set up between me and my agent’s office.

First Review of Trickster

Trickster by Jeff SomersThe author is always the last to know: Apparently there are real live galleys of Trickster out there, because someone just posted the first review. Five stars on GoodReads, baby!

“I loved the world Mr. Somers hsa created, and his perfectly IMperfect characters, and I WILL be reading any sequels the moment I can get my greedy little hands on them.”

Score! Go buy ten. Papa needs liquor monies.