Friday, December 29, 2006


Well, in my spare time I've been working on the Evil Monkey Guide to Creative Writing. Here's the rough draft of the introduction. I'm sure it will undergo extensive revision.


More than half of all writing advice you receive over your lifetime will be incorrect, incomplete, or howlingly wrong. You will encounter advice driven by neuroses, bitterness, failure, ego, and arrogance. In books and in writing workshops, you will have instructors who mistake their own path to success as the only path to success. Yet others will try to impose upon you their own writing style, their own list of valid subject matter and approaches. Anecdotal evidence will loom large. Some advice, some instructors, will be actively obstructionist, driven by the belief that "toughening beginners up"--discouragement--is good practice for the real world of writing.

Some of your instructors will be drunk. Some will be fucking some of the students. Some will be going through painful divorces and believe the world is a rotting peach pit of unhappiness and despair. Some will be polyannas who love every word you write and will appeal to your sense of vanity, your ego, your own love of every word you write. Hacks will give you good advice. "Literary" writers will give you crappy advice. Some will exhort you to lie down in the gutter. Others will beseech you to remain in the tower. (Some of your instructors will be wise and happy and playful and wonderful, but it is boring to write about that which does not contain the seed of conflict.)

Amongst writing books, you will find pathetic attempts by almost every writer to give you good advice equally on every aspect of writing, even those aspects the writer has little or no experience with, or is not good at. Some writing books will display a desperate reaching for a different structure--dividing up parts of a story or novel into esoteric or exotic categories, simply to be different.

Beward the instructional books that include information like "your hero must be handsome or attractive in some way so that readers identify with him or her." Beware the writer who justifies their own hedonistic, experience-is-everything approach by codifying it in their instructional manual as Law. Beware writers who talk in terms of "trends" and "publicists".

Never seek validation from others. Some people will always think you should not be a writer. Some people will always think you should be a writer. All of these people are fools. There is only one way to determine whether or not you are a writer: you must find the secret tunnel leading to the hidden door. Once there, you must place your hand upon the doorknob. If you are really a writer, the door will open. You will be ushered into a magical palace. Inside of this palace, a beautiful woman (or man, depending on your wont) will take your hand and whisper in your ear, "I'm glad you made it here. I need someone to mop the marble floors. I'll pay you good money. This will keep you from starving while you write." Of course, everyone is chosen. The door opens for everyone.

Never sleep with a ghost writer; that person will replace your words with their own and leave your skin covered in strange tattoos. Do not go to a writer's workshop and wind up in a cult. Do not seek advice from ouija boards or from scientists in lab coats. Never trust writers who not only dress in black but also wear black pajamas and underwear to bed. No one has ever written truly immortal poetry about how good their dog looks in knitted garments. Waist coats and pocket watches are signs of lunacy and therefore lack of authority when it comes to writing advice. Those who must display their bodices incessantly have a hidden agenda. Alcohol is not your friend. Meth is your enemy. Cigars are neutral. Computers are overrated. Haste is overrated. Sloth is just as bad as haste. Ten words are better than ten thousand, if those ten are right and the ten thousand are wrong. Personal experience is useless if you cannot leverage it with imagination. If you have no imagination you are dead to me. If you don't realize writing is hard work, I keel you with my eye bullets. If a man in a black cape approaches you in the back of a bar and promises to make you a bestseller, beware! For He is either Agent or Devil.

For all of these reasons and more, writing is perilous work. It is more deadly than special ops. It is more boring than selling insurance. It is more exhilarating than jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. You may die from writing, but more probably you will be disappointed. That is okay, too. Disappointment, as we all know, builds character.

As for this book and this writer: everything you read inside this book is true. Everything you read inside this book is a lie. I am the wisest man who has ever lived. I am a fool. Both may be true for you, sometimes on the same page. For a time.


Luis Rodrigues tells me that Diario de Noticias, a major Portuguese newspaper, has put The Transformation of Martin Lake collection on its best of the year list, along with Rhys Hughes' A New Universal History of Infamy (first published by Ministry of Whimsy).

Thanks to Livros de Areia for publishing it and to Luis for a fantastic job of translating the work.


UPDATE: The very kind (and prolific!) Ed Champion has put Shriek on his best-of-year list.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

LOCUS ARTICLE: My European Summer

The latest Locus includes my article on publishing in Europe, and a little local color as well. Now's as good a time as ever to subscribe to Locus if you don't already.

Here's a taste of the article. To read the rest, pick up the January Locus, also available on newsstands.


"In 1989, after the fall of Ceausescu, ten thousand publishing houses sprang up in Romania," Bogdan Hrib, the founder of Tritonic Publishing, told me as we roared down the main highway toward the mountains during our first hours in Romania. "Everyone wanted to tell their story and they thought the best way was to start a publishing house." Six years later, that number was down to around 500, and today there are around 300 publishers in Romania, of which Tritonic is in the top 20. It's not the only publishing tale we heard while in Europe, but it is a dramatic one, and a testament to what happens when the sudden absence of the state-controlled system allows thousands of suppressed voices to be heard suddenly and without censorship.

Everyone wanted to tell their story...

A tour of six European countries centering around one’s own publisher or editor and associated confidantes, protectors, and adversaries can only provide a subjective story about the SF/F scene in each. However, a few things are clearly the same everywhere you go: the economies of scale are vastly different because most of the markets are much smaller than the United States, and the local writers on the ground continue to be shafted by a combination of factors, including the imperialism of the English language.

The fate of your average non-bestselling non-English-writing SF/F author in Europe is cause for sobering contemplation. There is a vast difference between being a fluent English speaker and actually being able to translate your own work into English. Thus, a writer can spend literally thousands of dollars trying to get work translated into English and then spend years trying to get English-language publishers interested in that work, spending even more money in the process. Not to mention, this is the only way to get interest from other countries in Europe. In most cases, a Romanian editor cannot read a Portuguese manuscript and vice versa. Both of them probably read in English, however.

At the same time, other things appear to be changing.

What is different? It depends on the country, but on the whole the idea of "cross-genre" work has clearly penetrated into European markets to various degrees, generally in two forms: the infiltration of "fantasy" into the mainstream under non-SF/F imprints or the codification of such work under a term like "New Weird". What struck me most of all, however, was that in each country we visited, editors and publishers were industriously and creatively finding ways around the drawbacks and limitations of their particular market.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


(Just as an update--I'll be posting here and MySpace for awhile until I've got WordPress up and running.)

Peter Lavery is one of my favorite people and one of the most humble. This the guy who has published China Mieville, Hal Duncan Jeffrey Ford, KJ Bishop, Justina Robson, and Liz Williams, along with a slew of others (too many, really, to list). He was the first editor at a major publisher to buy my books. He's also a wonderful guy.

This holiday season, I thought I'd share with you the secret life of Peter Lavery, Pac Macmillan editor (appearing in my secret lives book).

If you know Peter and are so inclined, you could do worse than share your own (true or false) anecdotes about Peter.



Peter Lavery works for Pan Macmillan on the third floor of the Pan Macmillan building in London. A tallish man who has been known to appreciate a good red wine, Peter spends his days stamping out the incessant "rabbiting" of his authors, whilst simultaneously coordinating this and acquiring that. Dealing with writers is his joy and his burden. They are always e-mailing him about something—"rabbiting on" even when not writing books—and yet he loves them all.

Still, sometimes, as much as he enjoys his job and working with the nefarious Stefanie Bierwerth and the devious Rebecca Saunders, Peter needs a break. Whenever he feels the restlessness coming on, whenever the pressures of the job begin to rise like a tide against cliffs, he walks down the stairs to the basement. The basement is filled with rats, cockroaches, and Pan Macmillan employees. After a few minutes of nonchalant conversation to allay suspicions, he saunters over to the far wall. He is usually sweating a bit by now, for this is the moment of greatest peril. He looks around, this way and that. When everyone is busy typing away at a computer keyboard or looking at cover proofs, when no one is looking at him—

—in one quick, twirling motion, Peter presses the hidden button and hugs the wall as it swivels open, depositing him in the secret tunnel behind the wall . . . before sliding innocently back into place, no one the wiser.

Safe, Peter breathes in a mouthful of the salt air that wafts faintly toward him. To his left is a natural grotto holding several bottles of merlot, pinot noir, burgundy, and cabernet sauvignon. In front of him lies the tunnel, carved from the rock over many years by Peter himself, finally completed only a few years before. The floor of the tunnel has train track running out toward a smudge of light in the distance. A miniature train car idles on the track in front of him. Peter lets out a deep sigh of satisfaction. "Free for awhile," he mutters. "No more rabbiting for awhile."

Selecting a bottle of wine, Peter sits down on the plush cushion atop the seat, pulls a red lever—and off the car goes, down the tracks, accelerating to a pleasant thirty kilometers per hour.

The sea scent gets closer and closer. The train car rocks gently from side to side in a pleasing way. The breeze picks up, the murky circle of light ahead more distinct, until eventually it replaces the walls of the tunnel entirely . . . and Peter is released into the light.

The light comes from the pale blue sky above, seems to reflect off of the black sand beach and the mirrors of tidal pools, before sliding up across the arc of brambly cliffs that frame the scene. With a light bump, the train car comes to a stop at the end of the track. In front of Peter is a former Blackpool tram car, converted into a cottage get-away. It is bedecked in barnacles, the green paint fading and chipped.

This is Peter’s refuge, and inside all that seems eroded on the outside has been restored: a galley kitchen, all gleaming stainless steel and polished wood; a bunk bed; a living room with two comfortable chairs and a number of books and magazines; a refrigerator for the occasional beer; a phonograph and stereo system; and, most of all, blessed solitude.

Peter has never been exactly sure where this place is in relation to London; nor can he remember how the tram car came to be in this place. All he knows is that he has found it, and he is grateful.

He looks at his watch and reminds himself that he should return in a day or two. Time passes differently in this place; when he returns, it will be as if he never left.

Meanwhile, he will drink his wine and listen to his music and read his books and watch as, out in the water, strange phosphorescent creatures breach hard above the crystalline water, under twinned murky suns, all thoughts of author rabbiting driven from his mind.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


Ann's put together a little report on the year for relatives. I thought I'd reproduce it here since it's getting a little late to actually snail mail it to friends.

Anyway, happy holidays everyone. Yeah, I know it's Christmas. Still, Happy Holidays, since I'm not a big fan of Fox News.

Have a great holiday!


The year started inauspiciously with our Uncle Alfred surreptitiously drowning in a huge vat of pickles at his old-fashioned food store in Lexington, Kentucky. We surely will miss Alfred, as much for his elaborate shadow puppet plays put on in the backroom as for his witty banter. February and March we traveled a lot, mostly to bookstores and whatnot. Jeff met a lot of bookstore managers and talked to them about his books. One guy in Montana had actually read Veniss Underground, although he didn’t like it much. It was during March that we had the squirrel problem. They kept coming in through the attic and before we knew it, we had a baby squirrel problem, as several newborns entered the world at that time. They made quite a racket and we were loathe to have them captured or killed, so we just put up with it through July or so. I think the worst part of spring, though, was the bizarre problem with the walls of the house. Through most of April, our walls bled a kind of transparent goop in a thin layer that tended to dry up whenever we had a building expert over. No one could find the cause of this goop. We ran it by a chemist and he told us that it was a kind of industrial glue. Eventually it went away.

Worst still, also in April, our cat Jango sprained his neck and we had to get him a head crutch. Basically, this contraption ascended from his shoulders and held his head up, because otherwise it would have lolled, which the vet said would not be good. For some reason, over the years, Jango’s head has gotten bigger and bigger while his body has stayed the same size. The vet says this is genetic and occurs in something like one percent of the population of cats. It’s most noticeable at birth and then after the cat is about two years old. In the intervening years, body growth tends to match head growth. The vet showed us a picture of a litter of these monster-head kittens, looking like furry bowling balls with tiny bodies attached. The gene is dominant, but most females won’t mate with a monster-head male, so they remain rare. Most days now, we spent our time rolling Jango around by his head using a special cart, as the head crutch no longer appears to be working.

Well, so that was the first half of the year. As you may know, we went to Europe over the summer. Paris and Lisbon and Berlin and Prague and Romania and Helsinki were all great and I know if you read Jeff's blog you’ve already heard about our adventures there. A couple of details we left out because we weren't quite sure how to write about them. We’re still not sure. Let us just say that whips, chains, and masks now make us much more uncomfortable than in the past. Anyway, the summer was mostly lovely despite poor Jeff getting trapped in a mascot costume for several hours the day in Brussels when I went shopping and left Jeff to his own devices.

When we returned home, we found that my daughter Erin had successfully driven out the squirrels, young and all, and had a carpenter seal up the holes in the attic roof that had caused the problem in the first place. However, in so doing they had somehow managed to seal in a green fungus that began to shadow the walls rather severely. We were living outside for about a month while that was dealt with. During this time also, Jeff's cousin Joshua went on his killing spree, which was embarrassing for both sides of the family, to be honest. At least it was relatively brief. In other news, Jeff sold another of my mosaic fictions as the collection Autonomous Rose the Krithling to several foreign publishers, under the new pseudonym of Chrysanthemum Jones. The pen name necessary after the disastrous repercussions of including several multi-denominational religious jokes in the remixed version of Secret Life, most of which I was responsible for. I also took the fall and winter to learn an obscure but deadly martial art. Unfortunately, I began to sleepwalk around the same time and I put Jeff in the hospital for about a week when he went to get a drink of water and found himself felled by, as he put it later, "my tiny yet fierce wife." This was certainly unexpected, but his back and nether-regions healed relatively quickly. At about this time, too, my nephew Jake “Malmute” Johansen made an ill-advised attempt to rob a bank using numchucks, which put some strain on the family during November.

Not to mention Jeff running afoul of a writer at the university here, which led to a fist fight in a bagel shop and unexpected nakedness, which at least the police found humorous rather than chargeable.

All through December, we’ve tried to take it easy and to relax, and we hope you have as well. Have a great holiday season!

Oh--and Erin had a baby. Riley. We've found in the last week that he can shoot flames from his one appraising open eye and has a weird defense mechanism involving bad smells.

Love, Ann (and Jeff)


Evil Monkey: What the fuck? What the fuck?

Jeff: Evil! My beloved monkey! Long time no see.

Evil Monkey: What the fuck? What the fuck?

Jeff: Hey, hey. Calm down. You look like you're fucked up.

Evil Monkey: What the fuck? What the fuck? What the fuck?

Jeff: Get a grip, Evil. C'mon. Evil!

Evil Monkey: What the f--

Jeff: Sorry. Had to do it.

Evil Monkey: That'll leave a mark.

Jeff: What's wrong.

Evil Monkey: Just saw Lady in the Water. There were (*shudder*) topiary monkeys.

Jeff: Yeah, I saw that flick. Pretty fucked up, huh?

Evil Monkey: There was a giant eagle and a one-armed man and a grass wolf and a mermaid and a guy who could drink air out of a glass without drowning and a what the fuck what the f---...Thanks.

Jeff: No problem.

Evil Monkey: Sorry. I just wasted two hours of my life and I couldn't tell you anything about why or how or what the hell was going on.

Jeff: It's about a guy whose family got all jacked up by some home invader.

Evil Monkey: I got that much. But then there's scrunts and nerfs and fucking topiary monkeys and an eagle and...

Jeff: You on something man? You been hanging out at the pit? You got the yellow tops?

Evil Monkey: I tried to go clean, but snortin' that M. Night Shamblingman is a powerful powerful thang.

Jeff: If its those low rises again, givin' you trouble, I can send in muscle.

Evil Monkey: It's more those high rises in Philly, dude. There's, like, mermaids sent to the apartment complex pool and a wolf that rises from grass, man.

Jeff: Grass ain't where the profit is, Evil. It's all in the meth and the coke. You know that. You're part of the game.

Evil Monkey: What the fuck are you talking about?

Jeff: While you been watching that lame-ass whitebread movie, I been watchin' the first season of The Wire, motherfucker.

Evil Monkey: Fuck.

Jeff: Fuuuuuck yeah.

Evil Monkey: Fuck?

Jeff: FUCK!

Evil Monkey: FUCK!

Jeff: Mutha-fuuuuuccccckkkkeeeerrrr.

Evil Monkey: Fucketyfuckfuckfuck. Measure that. Bullet came in the window there.

Jeff: Fuck.

Evil Monkey: Fuck!

Jeff: Unfortunately, it didn't hit M. Night Shamblingman while he was makin' his skint flick, man.

Evil Monkey: Fuck me!


Evil Monkey: Word.

Jeff: No. Story. Her name was Story. It was fucked up, man.

Evil Monkey: Fucked up, yeah. Apartment complex in the middle of nowhere in Philadelphia. They built a fucking project for that thar project.

Jeff: Paragraph.

Evil Monkey: No. Story. Her name was Story.

Jeff: You know, they popped Wallace.

Evil Monkey: Wish they'd popped Paul "Dare Fucking" Giamatti before I had to see his breast titties while he was swimmin' in that "I'm gonna breathe for five minutes from a fucking glass of air." That shit was, like, The Abyss, only not so poignant.

Jeff: What's the take from the pit tonight, anyway?

Evil Monkey: I dunno. I don't know how it's doing in rental.

Jeff: The deputy op come down on you?

Evil Monkey: I wish the deputy op had gone down on me, man, while I was watching that movie. That was some fucked up shit..

Jeff: Yeah. What was with that thing. Like, the guy who did Spirited Away--he'd've made it work.

Evil Monkey: He's on the pure stuff, yo. He been smokin' his own brain for so long, it's strong. M. Night Shamblingman, he's been smokin' his own brain, too, but it's, like, two-thirds baking soda cut with, like, a third of powdered elephant dick, I think.

Jeff: Word.

Evil Monkey: No. Story. There ain't no story. There's just people talking at each other and telling us what the fuck's going on.

Jeff: Fuuuuuuck.....

Evil Monkey: Fuuuuuuuuck.

Jeff: Still, I don't want that fucking chia pet of a villain, that astroturf hyena thing up in my piece.

Evil Monkey: That reminds me. I got rid of the piece. After the deed.

Jeff: Not in the fucking room, man. Turn up that music. What if there's a wire?

[Bootsie Collins' Christmas CD comes on...loud...]

Evil Monkey: ...Shame about Wallace.

Jeff: He knew what was what. He was in the game.

Evil Monkey: Shamblingman's in the game.

Jeff: Different game. Different consequences.

Evil Monkey: I just wasted two hours of my life. What the fuck did any of that shit happen?

Jeff: Hey, they gots a conviction. Sure, it was only seven years, but Dee got twenty.

Evil Monkey: But Dee's all-right.

Jeff: He's a stone cold killer.

Evil Monkey: Story, you're right about that.

Jeff: McNulty sure was a prick.

Evil Monkey: Man, if he'd been in at that apartment complex with the mer-nelfling, he'd've gotten to the bottom of it. He'd have tapped the phones of that Korean woman who knew the whole story of the mer-thing and told it to poor fucking bastard Paul G., like, over forty fucking minutes. He'd have taken it right to the top. And Daniels be right up beside him, signing them warrants. No way that turf-toe wolf thing would've gotten anywhere close. That damn eagle would be in the city jail, awaiting bail.

Jeff: Word. Story. Paragraph. Comma splice.

Evil Monkey: Plot. Causality. Narrative. Form. Voice.

Jeff: What you doing for Christmas?

Evil Monkey: I'm watching the second season of The Wire.

Jeff: Me too.

Evil Monkey: I gotta get that fucking movie out of my head.

Jeff: You wanna come watch with Ann and me.

Evil Monkey: I need a safe house. Omar's on my tail and that motherfucka's got a hell of a shotgun.

Jeff: Then come on in. It's been awhile, like I said.

Evil Monkey: Merry Christmas.

Jeff: Merry Christmas.

Evil Monkey: Jeff, you don't think...

Jeff: What, Evil?

Evil Monkey: ...that they'd ever do a sequel to Lady in the Water?

Jeff: They did. It's the second season of The Wire. They fish that mer-lady out of the river off Baltimore. First episode, man. McNulty on it from his little salty seadog boat.

Evil Monkey: Fuuuuccccccckkkkkkkk!

Jeff: FUCK!

Evil Monkey: Fooooooooo--ooooookkkkkkkkk!!!!!!!

Jeff: You think Santa's coming down the chimney?

Evil Monkey: Not with this many F-bombs.

Jeff: Fuck, you're right about that.

Evil Monkey: Fucking A.

Jeff: And don't be getting me started on that obsidian-smooth lame-ass Miami Vice movie. Omar's gonna be takin' out Crockett and Stone Face any time now.

Evil Monkey: And to all a good night.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Ann and I decided to rent the entire first and only season of Firefly a couple of weeks ago. We watched it almost continuously until we'd finished it. We both thought it was one of the best SF series ever. The casting, the writing, the direction--all first-rate. I really enjoyed the economy of the writing--the way in which sometimes very complex emotions and exposition came through effortlessly. We were very sad after having watched the last episode. You mean there isn't any more?

So we watched Serenity, the movie, again, and really thought it was even better than the first time. In part because Joss W. does such a great job of making it a movie you can watch independent of the series or as part of the series. That's an amazing accomplishment. There's even more compression in the movie than I thought before seeing the series--compression of character motivation/relationship, narrative, etc. An economy that made me simultaneously envious of Joss W's abilities and wishing the movie could have been part of the series. Because there's so much rich material there that you could make a series out of the movie and expand the character interactions, etc. This would have a totally different feel from the movie, of course, but be equally effective.

Anyway, Ann and I were talking about Firefly/Serenity and then Battlestar Galactica, which has some similarities in the kind of hand-held approach to shooting and editing but is, of course, otherwise quite different.

I personally think the Firefly model is more flexible and human than the BG model and I had to just take one series to a desert island it would be Firefly. The thing is, a digression on Firefly tends to be a delightful and good thing. A digression on BG tends to seem like a static point in the plot. There's less ability to absorb digressions and make them dramatically potent. (In my opinion. Firefly is also, of course, a uniquely American experience, to my mind. It reflects those kinds of American values and American optimism that has been completely and utterly destroyed as a gestalt by commercialism, cynicism, selfishness, and laziness in this country.)

In the meantime, I've been playing Joss W's commentary on Serenity and studying his teleplays for Firefly. There is a lot to learn in all of this, even if some of it is only applicable in the combination of image and words.

Now, like thousands of other Firefly fans, I'd really like to see the series come back, or another movie. Although I realize this is not likely to happen. Anyway, bittersweet, this late discovery that cut off so abruptly. :(


Thursday, December 21, 2006


Having done quite a bit of pirate submission reading, here are some things I never want to see again, even though some of the stories they manifested themselves in overcame the cliche.

- Gulls wheeling. Gulls flapping their wings. Gulls doing anything.

- Captains of Her Majesty's navy who have doctor sidekicks and the great relationship they have together (platonic).

- Dead pirate captains cursed to wander the seas in their ghost ships, scaring the shit out of people.

- References to Peter Pan and Captain Hook.

- Burly men and willin' women.

- Arrr. Listen close. For a pint o' grog I'll tell ye a story. Arrr.

- The passing of gas out of proportion to any other element of the story.

Seriously, though, most submissions have required a very close reading and we're having a lot of fun.



I am:
Samuel R. "Chip" Delany
Few have had such broad commercial success with aggressively experimental prose techniques.

Which science fiction writer are you?

I am Delany! Or at least I must think I am. LOL!



I've decided to move to WordPress and mirror content on MySpace as necessary.

I need to customize WordPress and need help with that. If anyone out there has the requisite experience and is willing to help in return for free books and a small payment, please email me at vanderworld at . I'd really appreciate it!


Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I've done a short year-end list post at MySpace.

I'm still not sure where I'm headed exactly, MySpace or somewhere else. But for the next couple of weeks, MySpace.


Saturday, December 16, 2006


I've been blogging at My Space and I find it better than blogger. It's also better because I'll have a lot of videos and film stuff to post and I can do that on my main My Space page.

I tried livejournal, but that felt too much like "dear diary". But MySpace is a little more personal than blogger, so...I'll probably switch over to myspace by the end of the year. Still giving it a little bit of thought, but...probably.

I want, also, to get back to posts about writing. Although tons of other writers do talk about the PR side on their blogs, I think that pointing out the strings and wires has had the negative effect of taking emphasis off of my fiction onto the peripherals associated with a writing career. (For example, the Shriek movie, an artistic endeavor, continually described as PR for the Shriek book.)

Anyway, if I do move, I feel like it'll allow me to reinvent how I talk about fiction and my own work. We'll see.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Click here for a larger image.

This is probably for hardcover fans, but--we've acquired some covers from the original Prime edition of City of Saints, the one with the story on the cover. The Prime edition is out of print, but there ain't nuthin' wrong with sellin' the cover as a poster, suitable for framing. At least, that's what we're doing with the thing. It's pretty gorgeous.

These will be carefully rolled up and tubed and sent to you. It's $10 plus $4 shipping and handling (the tube itself costs $1.50 plus) inside the US. If you order more than one poster, it'll still fit in the same tube, so no extra postage charges. Orders outside of the US, of course, postage will be more. Email Ann at buzzcity @ to paypal her the money or to ask for more details. I'm happy to sign the other side of the thing if you like, and draw a drawing of stupendous insanity...

Also, for those wondering about their secret lives order--the damn thing finally goes to the printer this week.


Saturday, December 09, 2006


Father John with baby Riley

Erin, happy it's over...and that she took the pain meds

Grandma Ann cradling Riley the Wise

Riley Daniel Kennedy

Born 8:45 this morning. Cute as a button. Has all limbs and toes and whatnot. 7 pounds, 13 ounces. 20 3/4 inches long. Cute as a button. Did I say that? Looks very very wise. Fingers are still a little wrinkly, but clearly writerly. Has the toes of an elite marathon runner, the height of a nascent pro basketball player. His head is very large and therefore I surmise he will be a human computer as well. Already thinking up stories to tell him before he becomes too smart for the old bearded guy with the cane and the pipe to fool him. He's cute as a button. (Cute as a cute button?)

Erin is doing fine and both John and Erin seem very happy. Ann and I are very happy, too.

Granpappy Jeff

Thursday, December 07, 2006


The cover of BAF, featuring artwork by Scott Eagle. The final cover will probably change a little, but this is for the catalogs and distributors.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

EISNER AWARDS, and no baby yet

I'm not a grandpappy yet... :(

In other news, I'm crazy and have agreed to serve as an Eisner judge. See below for more details.


Judges Named for 2007 Eisner Awards

Entries are now being accepted for the 19th annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, to be given to the finest publications and creators of 2006.

Publishers can submit any comic, graphic novel, or comics-related periodical or book that was shipped to retailers between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2006. The submitted items will be considered by a blue-ribbon panel of judges, who will select the final items to appear on the Eisner Awards ballot.

The judging panel for 2007 consists of:

*Robin Brenner, the Brookline, Massachusetts Public Library's Teen Librarian. She is also the creator and editor-in-chief of “No Flying No Tights,” a website reviewing graphic novels for teens and those who work with them. As a member of the American Library Association/Young Adult Library Services Association (ALA/YALSA), she advocated for and helped establish the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection List, an annual list of the best graphic novels for teens. She reviews graphic novels for The Horn Book, manga for Booklist, and Japanese anime for Video Librarian.

*Whitney Matheson, writer of “Pop Candy,” USA Today's pop-culture blog ( Comic-related events she has covered include Comic-Con International: San Diego, the Small Press Expo, BookExpo, and New York Comic-Con. Other publications she has written for include and Self magazine.

*Christopher P. Reilly, Harvey- and Ignatz-nominated comics writer of such titles as The Comical Tragedy of Punch and Judy (2002), Punch and Judy: A Grand Guignol (2003), Puphedz (2004), Punch and Judy: Twice Told Tales (2005), and The Trouble with Igor (2006). He was the co-creator, editor, and contributor to the anthology Strange Eggs (2005–2006) and has contributed stories to Disney's Haunted Mansion.

*James Sime, proprietor of the award-winning Isotope—the Comic Book Lounge in San Francisco. He is perhaps best known for his innovative approach to comics retailing, for his enthusiastic pursuit of comics evangelism through nontraditional methods, and for crafting unique and often extravagant comic launch events for the books he loves. He wrote about these subjects and more in his column “The Comic Pimp” published on James also established the Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics in 2003 in order to celebrate new talents working in an underpromoted area of the comics industry.

*Jeff VanderMeer, World Fantasy Award–winning author. He currently writes a monthly comics column for and the yearly summation on comics/graphic novels for The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror from St. Martin's Press, in addition to commenting on comics on his VanderWorld blog. He is the author of City of Saints and Madmen, Shriek: An Afterword, and Veniss Underground, among other works. VanderMeer frequently collaborates with artists on his projects, including The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases.

Publishers wanting to submit entries for the judges to consider should send one copy each of the comics or books to be considered and include a cover letter indicating what is being submitted and in what categories. The tentative categories include best single issue, best short story, best continuing comic book series (at least two issues must have been published in 2006), best limited comic book series (at least half of the series must have been published in 2006), best new series, best title aimed at a younger audience, best humor publication, best anthology, best graphic album—new material, best graphic album—reprint, best reality-based work, best archival collection, best U.S. edition of foreign material, best writer, best writer/artist, best penciler/inker (individual or team), best painter (interior art), best lettering, best coloring, best comics-related book, best comics journalism periodical or website, and best publication design. The cover letter should include both a mailing address and an e-mail address.

Publishers may submit a maximum of five items for any one category, and the same item or person can be submitted for more than one category. Each imprint, line, or subsidiary of a publisher may submit its own set of entries. There are no entry fees.

Creators can submit materials for consideration if: (a) their publisher is no longer in business; (b) their publisher is unlikely to have participated in the nomination process; or (c) they have severed connections with the publisher or have similar reasons for believing that their publisher is unlikely to consider nominating them or their work.

All submissions should be sent to Jackie Estrada, Eisner Awards Administrator, 4657 Cajon Way, San Diego, CA 92115, before the deadline of March 16.

Entries are also being accepted for the category of best webcomic. This category is open to any professionally produced long-form original comics work posted online in 2006. Webcomics must have a unique domain name or be part of a larger comics community to be considered. The work must be online-exclusive for a significant period prior to being collected in print form. The URL and any necessary access information should be emailed to

The Eisner Award nominees will be announced in late April, and ballots will go out in May to some 4,000 creators, editors, publishers, distributors, and retailers. The results will be announced by celebrity presenters at the gala awards ceremony on the evening of July 27 at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Further information on the Eisner Awards can be found at

Anyone with questions about submitting entries for the awards can e-mail Ms. Estrada at or call her at (619) 286-1591.