BAM!

The Unconventional Novelist

SO, I’ve written a book, and the contracts have been signed, and barring extinction-level event between now and 2018, The Unconventional Novelist will be published by Writer’s Digest next year. Huzzah!

My pitch was, in a nutshell, hey I do everything wrong and generally approach my writing career like a drunk guy approaches riding a bicycle down a mountainside, and yet here I am, nine novels in and making a living writing. And the editors took one look at my disheveled appearance and then one look at my surprisingly robust list of writing and publishing credits and decided that they could make some hay with this.

The book will be chock full of the wisdom I’ve accumulated during my lengthy and unusual writing career, most of which goes against received wisdom and, you know, the usual way of doing things. There’s this illusion that there’s a “right” way to get published and make money from your writing, and I am living proof that this is bunk. Also, there are more hilarious footnotes in this thing than is probably wise.

I’ll keep y’all updated. I’ve set up a blog over at https://unconventionalwriting.wordpress.com where I’ll be posting nuggets of drunken literary wisdom and other things, so if you want a sense of what the book will be like, there you go.

Another Novel Experiment

Anyone who pays attention to my wee blog here knows that now and again I try a little literary experiment. I’ve Tweeted short stories, I self-published six novellas that tied together as a new Avery Cates novel, I post free short stories here all the time.

Another experiment: A novel published as a transient blog. Here’s the details:

The Novel: Black House, featuring my character Philip K. Marks, who has appeared in short stories published at Buzzy Magazine (A Meek and Thankful Heart), Black Denim Lit (Howling on for More), and the anthologies Hanzai Japan (Three Cups of Tea) and Crimes by Moonlight (sift, almost invisible, through).

Here’s the synopsis:

All his life, Philip K. Marks has been a magnet for the strange, the surreal, the slightly impossible. His investigations into each macabre mystery that he’s stumbled into have always taken something from him, something essential. Old before his time, Marks is a shadow of what he used to be—but the strange and unusual still finds him. And he still can’t resist seeking answers.

At a rare upward swing in his fortunes, he finds himself able to imagine a more normal, stable existence for the first time in years. If he can just keep his head down. If he can just stay sober. If he can just resist the urge to help the little girl whose father went to look at an apartment and never came back. If he can stay out of the Black House.

The Blog: theblackhousesite.wordpress.com

The Deal: I’ll begin posting chapters of the novel on 5/1/17. I’ll post at least one chapter a day throughout May until the final chapter hits on 5/31/17. The novel will remain up until 6/15/17, and then I’m taking the whole site down.

Why? I dunno. To see what happens. To how it feels. To let anyone interested read what I think is a pretty cool story.

Some Giveaway Winners

We have three winners who will be receiving a signed print copy of the new Avery Cates story, The Kendish Hit, and this is the story of how they won.

First of all, if you weren’t aware that I was giving away copies of the story, that’s probably because despite my incessant pleas and reminders, you haven’t signed up for my newsletter. Which is, frankly, inexplicable. Four times a year I’ll be sending out an email with news, secrets, embarrassing photos, and giveaways and other exclusive stuff. You can sign up over at the top right of this page, or go here. I suggest you do it right now, before you forget.

In the March 2017 newsletter I asked people to finish a line from the story itself:

“The Big Guy had an accent, something drastic that made every word sound like _________.”

In the actual story, the line ends “… it had been carved out of rocks.” I took all the entries and anonymized into a document, which I submitted to the Jeff Somers Rocks You Like an Email Hurricane Judging Committee, which is staffed by my wife The Duchess.

The Duchess takes everything she does very seriously, and so after a costume change and a snack she settled in to read through the entries, sifting through until she had found three she deemed acceptable for a variety of reasons. Here are the winners:

“… it had been carved out of rocks!” — A.L. Coan

The Duchess says: “I chose this one because they mimicked the Master.”

“… cliff faces falling into the ocean, taking that hospital of paraplegic nuns with them. His voice was what the stratification of the Burgess Shale, the Morrison Formation, and the Laramide Revolution would sound like if you recorded every sound during their deposition, scrunched that into a five-minute soundclip, and turned it into a black metal single. Every intake of breath was the collective screams of pterosaurs and anomalocarids still trapped somewhere below his larynx, begging for just one tracheotomy to let them see daylight again.” — Paul Riddell

The Duchess says: “This one was chosen for the simple, sheer amount of time it took to come up with something like that.

“… he’d been drinking Black Saddle bourbon for 3 days straight” — John Patterson

The Duchess says: “This one wins because it shows he actually read the newsletter.”

So there you have it, folks: The winners of the March 2017 Newsletter Giveaway. Who will be next? You’d best sign up to be in the running. You never know when I’ll be giving away my credit card # or something; I do drink a lot.

New Avery Cates Story

Just a quick note to remind everyone that the new Avery Cates short story The Kendish Hit is officially available. For just 99 cents you get the title story, a prequel set long before the events of The Electric Church, plus several other Cates short stories that are variably available depending on how well you’ve been paying attention over the last few years. Here’s the cover copy:

In this prequel to “The Electric Church,” a young Avery Cates takes on his first job, meets someone who will be an old friend someday, and learns some hard lessons in the newly-formed System of Federated Nations.

Contains the previously-released Avery Cates stories “This Was Battle. This Was Joy,” “The Golden Badge,” “The Oldest Bastard on the Block,” “This Was Education,” “all orphans, at least,” and “The Sewer Rat.”

Enjoy! 99 cents for a digital copy, just $6 for a print book.

KINDLE | NOOK | KOBO | PLAY | PRINT

Announcing Our “Stringer” Giveaway Winners

Stringer.jpgAs anyone who has signed up for the mighty mighty Jeff Somers Rocks You Like an Email Hurricane newsletter already knows, I recently ran a newsletter-only giveaway offering up five rare print copies of my Ustari Cycle novella The Stringer, which is only available for sale as an eBook right now.

I plan to do a giveaway like this every time I send out a newsletter, and I’ll be doing about 4 newsletters a year. So if you haven’t signed up for mine yet, do the math and sign up immediately. I’ll be sitting here, staring at my MailChimp dashboard, waiting.

Anyways, it’s too late for you to win The Stringer because that ship has sailed without you. But I can now reveal the winners!

THE STRINGER CAPTION CONTEST

The contest was simple. I included this photo:

Unimpressed Cat is Unimpressed

And asked folks to offer a caption. I received a couple dozen entries, which I anonymized and sent to my wife, The Duchess, to choose 5 of the best. Here are her selections, the lucky winners:

  1. “Thumb monkey I demand string. This is unacceptable.” — Terry Moody
  2. Sorry, you can only give away four copies. I chewed on this one a little bit. — Jesse W
  3. “Hey! So, where’s the string?” — Colin D. Smith
  4. Attached are my revisions. — Emerson Dameron
  5. I wanted to play with string and the drunk gives me this. It’s just insulting. — Jason Falter

Personally, #4 is my favorite for no reason whatsoever, although #5’s reference to alcohol is always a winning strategy with me.

Congrats to the winners!

Excerpt from “Last Best Day” (Ustari Cycle #4)

Last Best Day (Ustari Cycle #4)

Last Best Day (Ustari Cycle #4)

“Last Best Day” is out on Monday, October 3. To mark the occasion, here’s chapter 1 of the novella. You can buy the whole story at Amazon, B&N, Google Play, and Kobo for just 99 cents.

1.

THAT HOT DOG SMELL. Lem said we could eat hot dogs for lunch, but Lem said that before and we didn’t. Lem is cranky. I don’t know why. He’s not Hiram cranky, but no one is Hiram cranky but Hiram. Lem is Lem Cranky, which isn’t screamy cranky, but glum cranky. I actually prefer Hiram Cranky, because with Hiram you at least know why he’s mad.

Exhaust and sweat, even though it’s cold. Everybody is always rushing, but people get out of my way. Lem says its because I’m big. I am big. Or things are small. Like toilet stalls. Too small. I get in, I can’t turn around. Took me a long time to remember to back in sometimes.

Lem buys the hot dogs.

He doesn’t get any. He just stands there smoking a cigarette and scowling. I don’t ask what’s wrong. Lem never tells me.

(more…)

“The Sewer Rat” Free for Everyone

Free Sewer Rats for Everyone Sounds Kind of Weird, Doesn't It?

Free Sewer Rats for Everyone Sounds Kind of Weird, Doesn’t It?

Friends, a few months ago I announced a brand-new, 100% free Avery Cates short story, The Sewer Rat. The story was sent out to everyone who was signed up for my ass-kicking newsletter at the time. Did you sign up for my ass-kicking newsletter? No? Then for god’s sake do so immediately. There’s a form on the sidebar of this wee blog, as well as a link on my main web page.

So, those lucky folks got to read the story months ago, but now I’m releasing it for free everywhere through Smashwords. Because I am awesome. Go on and grab it, and look for it to slowly trickle into all the usual storefronts as well.

As a reminder, this isn’t the first time I’ve released a free story through Smashwords; to promote my novel Chum I released the ass-kicking short story Up the Crazy through Smashwords a few years ago, and that story remains a pretty great value at $0. It’s a “lost chapter” that links the novel Chum to my first-ever published novel Lifers, as the stories share a universe and some minor characters. You should totally download and read that one as well.

“Lifers” & “The Shattered Gears” in Print on B&N

The Shattered Gears Omnibus

The Shattered Gears Omnibus

Lifers_cover

Lifers

You may or may not be aware that Barnes & Noble has moved to compete with Amazon‘s Createspace program with a print component for their own Nook Press. That means that self-publishers can offer print versions of their books through B&N’s website as well (and there are supposedly some limited opportunities for self-pub books to get into brick-and-mortar stores, but I’m not focusing on that right now).

Anyways, the point of this post is simple: My two self-pub efforts, my first novel Lifers and the Avery Cates Omnibus The Shattered Gears, are now both available as print books through either Amazon and B&N.

The good news is, they’re both cheaper on B&N, so if you’ve hesitated to buy either because you didn’t want to pay $8 for Lifers or $14 for The Shattered Gears, you can get both $2 cheaper over at B&N.

LIFERS

B&N Nook | B&N Print | Amazon Kindle | Amazon Print

THE SHATTERED GEARS

B&N Nook | B&N Print | Amazon Kindle | Amazon Print

(You can also buy both books at Google Play and Kobo if you’re so inclined!)

Writer’s Digest Annual Conference Appearance

Writer's Digest Annual Conference

Writer’s Digest Annual Conference

So, I’ll be participating in this year’s Writer’s Digest Annual Conference. This will be my third year in a row at this event, and I’m pretty jazzed.

Unlike the last two years where I presented my patented Take Off Your Pants and Write: Plantsing! seminar, this year I’m just popping in for the cocktail hour and a panel:

The Art (and Science) of Worldbuilding in Science Fiction and Fantasy

With Debbie Dadey, Elizabeth Bear, and Matthew Kressel

Sunday, August 14, 10:15am — 11:15am

New York Hilton Midtown
1335 6th Ave
New York, NY 10019

If you’re planning to attend, shoot me a note and buy me a drink, not necessarily in that order.

Weekly Recap 7-22-16

recap Here we are at Friday again. This keeps happening. Luckily for you, I am a driven man who continuously puts out new writings just for your entertainment.

On the Wee Blog
I wrote a few articles on this here wee blog because that’s what you do when you have a wee blog:

1. “Man Baby” in which I discuss that peculiar feeling when you’re a middle-aged man and your wife doesn’t think you can dress yourself.

2. “The Most Interesting Scene in Mr. Robot S2E1” in which I discuss one scene from the season premiere of the USA show.

ON Other Wee Blogs
I get paid to write for other people for whom writing is a mysterious, dark art. Here’s a few things that published this week:

1. “The Art of the Deal: Bestselling Ghostwritten Books” in which I discuss some bestselling books that were totally not written by the people on the cover.

2. “5 Writers Who Shouldn’t Have Survived to Write Their Classics” in which I discuss a few great writers whose lifestyle choices should have killed them long before they wrote anything.

Writer’s Digest
I have been steadily contributing to Writer’s Digest for the past year, and they recently released a few things including some of my work:

1. Their Yearbook issue on Novel Writing, which includes my piece on Plantsing.

2. “There are No Rules: 4 Tips to Improve Your Writing Instantly” which includes some of my wisdom.

The Ustari Cycle
Stringer.jpgMy novel “We Are Not Good People” is still $1.99 in eBook form, kids, and the next one in the series, “The Stringer” is out in August. So my publisher is pushin’ things:

1. $1.99 still too much for you? You could win a copy of WANGP!

2. BookReels named WANGP as their staff pick as well!

 

Photos
What would these updates be without some multimedia dazzle?

WANGP Super Fan is either at Target buying groceries or about to do some murderin'

WANGP Super Fan is either at Target buying groceries or about to do some murderin’

Spartacus spent all his allowance on a copy of WANGP and now needs liquor monies.

Spartacus spent all his allowance on a copy of WANGP and now needs liquor monies.

Well, that’s it for this week. Hopefully next week I’ll have more stuff for you to completely ignore and make me cry over.