2. French scientist surprised that elephants are not water-hole bullies. I don't . . . what?
3. I ended up nuking my Twitter account, because trying to keep up with it was actually stressing me out. I can't keep up with my own daily life, so I guess trying to keep up with everyone else's just isn't going to work.
4. Fuck You, Penguin is perfect for those who like to pretend cute animals don't matter to them. Thanks to Shana for the link.
5. Finally, there is this, which I cannot explain:
As mentioned, I'm about to head out of town and away from Internet access for ten days. In the interest of keeping myself honest, I thought I'd post a list of the books I'm bringing (way too many) and the writing stuff I'm hoping to accomplish (way too much) in between splitting wood, mowing the grass, and chasing the dogs around.
( Book list and writing goals behind the cut )
Schwartz wisely declines to explain how and why they've gotten these gifts, focusing instead on the ways their newfound abilities affect the five students. . . . Set in the days just before Sept. 11, Superpowers makes sometimes funny, often surprising and always moving comparisons between the dream of invulnerability and the reality of what even the most powerful of people--and nations--can do.
OK, now I'm gone again.
I'm excited. But I have to say, if they had told me I was going to be reading with EDDIE FREAKING CAMPBELL I might have been more hesitant to say yes, because HOLY CRAP EDDIE FREAKING CAMPBELL. No pressure or anything.
Anyway, I hope to see all my Chicago peeps there. I promise to be entertaining and not embarrass myself too much in front of Eddie Campbell.
Because I went to school there (off and on) and lived there for about ten years. Because I used to work the brat stand at the Memorial Union terrace, and spent summers burning the hair off my arms and knuckles and smelling of pork and beer. Because when I think of directionless angst and emotional turmoil and a feeling of invulnerability I think of those years. Because Rush Limbaugh calls it the People's Republic of Madison and former gov Tommy Thompson once referred to it as "twenty square miles surrounded by reality." Because the statue on top of the capitol building has a badger on her head. Because the Midwest never gets any superheroes, and if you're going to call us "flyover country" then we ought to have someone in a spandex bodysuit up in the sky. Because the Madison I knew was made up of people and places that are no longer there, and fiction is a repository for misremembrances.
The Superpowers Personality Test
created with QuizFarm.com
|You scored as Jack Robinson|
You scored as JACK. Your power is SUPER-SPEED. You get a kick out of catching bad guys and dodging raindrops, but you're starting to realize that there are some problems that can't be solved quickly, and some things you can't outrun.
Since this is already a book post, some more mentions out there in the Intrawebs: specifically Dreamwatch Total SciFi and BlogCritics.org. And check out these banner ads at Boldtype! I hadn't even seen those before. They're all cascade-y.
In NON-BOOK news, I just found out that Xcel Energy is imploding the smokestack near the High Bridge tomorrow; that would be the real-life counterpart of this. Crazy. In my lifetime I've walked, biked and driven past that thing thousands of times, crossing that bridge. I'm going to go down there tomorrow morning--they're saying it'll happen around 7:30 AM--to see it fall and to start getting used to the weird gap in the sky. Anybody else getting up early on a Saturday morning to watch something fall down and probably get a snootful of dust? Yeah. Thought not.
Superpowers is still out there! Hard to tell how it's doing at this point, but word of mouth is the best weapon. So if you've read it and liked it, please tell someone about it. Post a review on your blog or at Amazon. If you read it and didn't care for it, then this is a time for quiet reflection. (OK, I stole that line from Joss Whedon, but it applies.)
Mention Of the Other New Book Which Sometimes Gets Lost In the Shuffle:
Someone (I'm sorry, I forget who) pointed to this Wordle thing. Just for the hell of it I pasted The Sun Inside into it, and I like what I got:
Click for bigger.
Slightly Whiny Mention Of Book Which I Am Currently Trying To Fix:
Man. Sometimes revision is just a bit of plastic surgery, ya know? Polish the prose, remove unsightly moles, shave the unsightly bits. And then sometimes it involves the realization that a story is a Frankenstein's monster assembled from multiple thoughts and influences, and that if you want it to put its arms down and bend its knees you're going to have to break some of the bones and re-set them, cut down the leg that's slightly longer than the other. And then you need new flesh and new organs and, yeah. News flash: sometimes writing is hard.
"A book for everyone who's ever wondered what superpower would be most fun or whether Batman or Superman would win in a fight. (And for everyone else who's ever wondered what made comic books so much fun.) David J. Schwartz has written a first novel with superpowers, smarts, and heart to spare. If you'll forgive a lame pun in the service of a swell book: Bookstore patrons, online browsers--may the Schwartz be with you."
— Kelly Link, author of Stranger Things Happen and Magic for Beginners
"A thoughtful and convincing blend of magic and realism. I believed in these ordinary, recognizable college students with their extraordinary abilities. As their powers change and fail them (and vice versa), Superpowers tells us a story both soaring and sober."
— Karen Joy Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club and Wit's End
Forgive the bolding. I thought about posting these in 72-point type, but I thought people might protest.
In recent weeks both Kelly and Karen have visited the Twin Cities (Karen was here just Monday promoting Wit's End, which I can't wait to read), which was good because since I'm a little in awe of them both it was hard to believe that they really said these things about my little book. Which I am hugely proud of, but come on. I could die happy now. (I would, of course, die happier if everyone on the Internet pre-ordered a copy of the book. WELL?)
Some of these questions that keep coming up might perhaps be interesting to some of you folks. So here goes:
When did you write the book? Most of Superpowers was written in early 2002. The last chunk of it, though, which deals with some heavy stuff, I put off finishing until mid/late 2003.
What were the revisions like? I revised the original manuscript a couple of times on my own in 2005, after I had signed with my agent. She liked it, but even so we went back and forth through three revisions before she was ready to send it around. After it sold (in fall 2006), I went through two rounds of edits with Three Rivers, and I just finished a second round with the page proofs. (Page proofs = Not Fun.) So that's nine times (or more, depending on your math) through the manuscript before the public sees it. I consider the fact that I still like the book to be a small miracle. (If you'd asked me whether I still liked it during my first round of page proofs, though, I'd probably have made a face and grunted.)
Is this your first book? First book sold, sure. It's actually the third book I wrote, of four so far. When there is news to report about any of them, I'll let you know :-)
Are your other books related to this one? Nope. None of my books are related, so far. Succession may potentially become two books depending on how I revise it, and if I had the choice I'd do a series of stand-alone books set in the same world as Goblin Market. But so far, the series bug hasn't bit me in a big way.
How did you get your agent? I got lucky. Basically, she found me, which is not the usual way that these things happen. So I don't really have a lot of helpful advice about pursuing representation. I did some querying, and badly, before Shana got in touch with me, but I found it a hugely frustrating process. What would I suggest? Go read the archives over at Miss Snark's blog, and do what she tells you.
When do you find time to write? Actually, few people have asked me this, I think because most of the people asking the above questions have not been writers. To non-writers, writing looks pretty easy. You just sit down at the computer and make shit up. EASY. Especially if, say, you've got a full-time job, a commute longer than ten minutes, a pet, a spouse, a child, or multiples of any of those last three. Because then it's easy to get home from your job, quickly make a meal, and lock yourself in your conveniently provided office which comes standard with each dwelling-place. And then, as all writers know, the words just flow right out of your fingers and snap into place. Like Legos!
(No, that's not my answer.)
When I wrote Superpowers I was working as a bartender. I'd work from 4 PM to anywhere between 10:30 and 2 AM, maybe watch some TV if I'd taped anything, and then write until 4 or 5 or 6. On nights I didn't work, I'd write for 4-6 hours, I'd estimate. I was about the most disciplined I've ever been, but the reason I was able to work that way was that I had no life. Sure, I'd hang out after hours with my co-workers once a week or so, get drunk and act stupid, but that was about it. Oh yeah, and I was living with my parents. In other words, I had it easy.
Writing with a full-time job is hard. Writing with a full-time job and people in your life who demand and deserve your time is even harder. Writing with kids . . . I honestly don't know how those of you who are parents manage it. It's not just the time, it's the headspace to work through story stuff in your mind. But then, I am one of those shy introverts who needs to be alone (or at least ensconced in headphones) to get anything done, so YMMV.
The short answer is that I find time to write whenever I can, because it's the most important thing to me. That doesn't mean it should be the most important thing to anyone else, and it's probably healthier if it isn't. If and when something else comes into my life that matters more, that's going to be an interesting adjustment.
Got any other questions? WELL DO YA?!?
I might have to figure out a giveaway contest, though :-)
Nothing makes it more real than holding one of these in my hands, folks. My neighbors are probably concerned about all the shouting and jumping around.
I made a book. Holy fucking shit.
You may be looking at those covers and wondering what the benefits of buying Superpowers by David J. Schwartz (which comes out on June 5th in the UK and June 10th in the United States) might be. You may be thinking, "Gee, it seems like the economy is in a downturn, and I may have to limit my book-buying." You may be thinking, "I haven't read a book since I bought World of Warcraft." You may be hungry. You may be thinking about taking a vacation.
I would like to respond to these musings.
However, I would first like to state UP FRONT that Superpowers by David J. Schwartz does not contain dragons. Neither does it contain robots. I have no good excuse for this. I do, however, have a bad excuse: I was drinking, a lot, when I wrote this. (No, not dreaming. You're thinking of Prince.) So, when it came time to add in the dragons and the robots, I was busy arguing with Grover Cleveland about the gold standard. The fact that President Cleveland turned out to be a couch cushion is beside the point. I apologize to everyone for the dragon/robot deficit, and to my liver for all the drinking.
Superpowers by David J. Schwartz also does not contain elephants, a fact for which I apologize to myself.
Superpowers by David J. Schwartz does, however, contain:
- Underage drinking
- Premarital sex
- Conspiracy theories
- Head injuries
- Flying without the benefit of aircraft
- A car crash
- References to Stone Phillips
- A young man named Jack Robinson who does things quicker than you can say "Jack Robinson"
If that does not convince you to pre-order Superpowers by David J. Schwartz, perhaps the following numbered list will do the job (NOTE: if you have already pre-ordered Superpowers by David J. Schwartz, please stop reading now):
The Benefits of Buying Superpowers by David J. Schwartz (Either Through Pre-Order or By Speaking to Someone Helpful at Your Local Bookstore)
1. Superpowers by David J. Schwartz is colorful. You may find that waving Superpowers by David J. Schwartz about will distract small children. Be warned, however, that small children often have powerful grasps, and may seize Superpowers by David J. Schwartz in order to suck on it. Do not worry; this is unlikely to harm the text, as children have relatively small mouths and will be forced to suck on the corners of Superpowers by David J. Schwartz, where nothing but the page numbers may be lost or damaged. (Please see point 4.)
2. Superpowers by David J. Schwartz is humorous. You may feel the urge to read certain hilarious passages to friends, co-workers, fellow train passengers, and small children. I urge you not to resist this urge. Your friends and co-workers will enjoy your enthusiasm and will not be at all annoyed, particularly if they have plans to read Superpowers by David J. Schwartz themselves. (A related note: please do not loan your copy of Superpowers by David J. Schwartz to your friends. That way they will have to buy their own, and my publishers will make more money, some of which they may decide to give to me if I cooperate.) You may notice your fellow train passengers moving away from you if you persistently read them passages from Superpowers by David J. Schwartz. This is not because they are not enjoying your recitations. On the contrary, they wish to improve the acoustics in your immediate vicinity. Please make an effort to project as you read. Finally, small children are known to have wonderful senses of humor, but you may wish to use discretion in which passages you choose to read them, especially if they are not your own children. You may wish to pretend to be reading from a copy of Superpowers by David J. Schwartz, while ACTUALLY reading from a copy of Green Eggs and Ham, Goodnight Moon, or The New England Journal of Medicine which you have hidden between the pages of my book. Be sure to hold Superpowers by David J. Schwartz so that the cover is clearly visible; this way children will be prompted to ask for their own copy of this colorful volume. (You will obviously be unable to lend them your copy because of the need for my publishers (and hopefully me) to make more money.)
3. Superpowers by David J. Schwartz is affordable. You can pre-order it from Amazon for $10.17 OR £6.39. That is such a low price! You should probably buy several copies, one for each of your family members and friends. If you do not have friends, Superpowers by David J. Schwartz is a wonderful way to make some! Give it to small children on the train, or to the transit police, or to the taxicab driver who picks you up when they bar you from the trains. You've probably noticed that there are people in your neighborhood who talk to themselves; this is a good opportunity to approach them, introduce yourself, and give them a copy of Superpowers by David J. Schwartz. This way they can talk to Superpowers by David J. Schwartz, or even read Superpowers by David J. Schwartz aloud to the people around them, and the circle of life will be complete.
4. Superpowers by David J. Schwartz is edible. Most books are, it's true, but Superpowers by David J. Schwartz is especially delicious. Here is a recipe:
1 bell pepper (preferably red), diced
1 copy of Superpowers by David J. Schwartz, read
Extra virgin olive oil
24 pounds fusilli pasta
Shred all pages of Superpowers by David J. Schwartz except for 43/44, 151/152, 177/178, and the endpapers. Sautée pages and diced pepper in olive oil. Be certain to have a fire extinguisher within reach. In a large pot or small garbage can (preferably new), boil 6 gallons of water. Add pasta; cook until al dente. Salt to taste. Remove from heat and mix in peppers and pages. Serve with two gallons marinara sauce.
This is one of hundreds of mouth-watering ways in which you can serve a copy of Superpowers by David J. Schwartz. You will probably want to try them all, so buy several hundred copies. (Please see point 3.)
5. Superpowers by David J. Schwartz is just like a vacation. When you read Superpowers by David J. Schwartz, you will be transported to another time and place. (Please note that the ability of Superpowers by David J. Schwartz to transport you is dependent upon your physical location. If you are in Madison, Wisconsin, you will not be transported very far, but you will move around a fair amount. Also you will find yourself in the DISTANT PAST of the summer of 2001, a time when Britney seemed relatively normal, The Show With the Girl Who Fights the Vampires was still on TV, and people only suspected that George W. Bush was going to be a horrible president. You know, the good ol' days.)
6. Superpowers by David J. Schwartz is just like World of Warcraft, WITH SOME MINOR DIFFERENCES. Some of these differences include: Superpowers by David J. Schwartz will not enable you to gain levels, to kill monsters, to act as a "tank," to ride strange animals, to support Ron Paul for president, to "rez," to run a gold farm (whatever that means), or to shriek at your fellow Guild members over a headset. (For a full list of differences between Superpowers by David J. Schwartz and World of Warcraft, please see Appendix One of Superpowers by David J. Schwartz.) HOWEVER, Superpowers by David J. Schwartz is just like World of Warcraft in that it will allow you to neglect your health and your significant other(s), assuming that you read it while you should be sleeping, exercising, and/or interacting with those you love.
7. Finally, Superpowers by David J. Schwartz is actually good. No, seriously. I've read Superpowers by David J. Schwartz a bunch of times, and I still like it. I think you'll like Superpowers by David J. Schwartz, too. Just, please, remember to read it before eating it.