Friday, March 31, 2006

Spherical Tomi Print News

Since April begins tomorrow, and any announcement made on April 1st is rendered dubious, I'll drop the news here and start the promotion machine:

The "Spherical Tomi" softcover print chapbook is set for release sometime in April! It will be available for order from Project Pulp and Shocklines. From what I understand, I'm going to sign my name on a limited number of them.

So there you go - - if you're interested in the story, but you're not an e-book reader, then you'll soon be able to get your hands on an honest-to-goodness, real live book version.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

This is an unofficial announcement

The publisher has posted this announcement on a messageboard, so I assume he'll be ok with me mentioning this here. . .

My *other* nightmarish future traffic system story, "Crash Day", has been accepted by Pendragon Press (based out of the UK) and will appear in their 2nd Triquorum release, sometime around December 2006.

Yes, it has some things in common with "The Unsolvable Deathtrap", but they're not connected in any way, save for my name in the byline. "Crash Day" is a novella, for one thing, and lives in a much more elaborate, intricate setting.

Incidentally, Triquorum: One looks pretty intriguing. . .

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I had some stuff to tell you. . .

. . . but it's slipped through the steel sieve of my mind.

So in the meantime, check out the genius of one of my all-time favorite journalists: DJ Henrik X. Be sure to take a good long look at his picture before you start reading his marvelous words.

Oh wait - - I've just remembered my announcement. . . but it's not urgent. Go read DJ Henrik X.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Another positive review for "The Unsolvable Deathtrap"

Check out the latest review at Whispers of Wickedness.

My second favourite is The Unsolvable Deathtrap by Jack Mangan, a writer relatively unknown to many though if this story is a benchmark for his talent then he should go far. Describing the mundane and routine life of a taxi driver that is turned literally upside down, Mangan's prose is uncluttered and pared down to the bone, which makes for a thrilling story, spoilt only by the fact that the protagonist knows who Clint Eastwood is - the technology within seems to suggest a faraway future, yet the Man with No Name is still ever-present?

--(His favorite was Sundowner Sheila by F. Gwynplaine McIntyre)

Friday, March 24, 2006

You've heard this week's Wingin' It! shows, right?

I've been a bad, bad blogger.... I assume that you've already heard Wingin' It! and the Wingin' It! voicemail podcasts for this week. If not, then you really should. Tee Morris and I were both in the studio to hang with the boys. The large quantities of alcohol didn't dull the wits. It was a fun, funny episode.
Download them both:

Wingin It!
Wingin' It! Voicemail

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Early-to-bed, Early-to-rise

"Early to bed and early to rise.
Makes a man or woman miss out on the night life."
Early to Bed - Morphine

Cory Doctorow posted an interesting link at boingboing about HOWTO become an early riser. Now, I tend to be nocturnally productive (squash those naughty thoughts, you). During the new dawn hours, I usually feel too sluggish and yucky to do any quality work. I can barely manage the milk, cereal, bowl equation at that hour. I remember hearing ages ago that Prince (you Sexy Motherfucker) preferred to work overnight as well.

But - -
Statistically, it would appear that 4am risers are more productive. My friend Demon (not his real name) accomplishes a staggering amount of projects in any given week - - and he's up every day before the sun. In that BoingBoing post, Cory Doctorow says he's always been an early riser - - and he's nothing if not productive.

And what about its impact upon all other aspects of life? Are earlybirds happier overall than night owls? More social?
What are your sleep habits like - - and how do you think it affects your overall day? Your creative output? Your happiness?
Should I make an effort to change my ways, and become an early riser?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Bill DeSmedt. . .

. . . posted a comment at the bottom of my SFReader review of his novel, "Singularity"!
He did this mainly to promote the Podiobook version of his novel. Wow, Podiobooks are taking over!!

If you read his comments, you'll note that he took my criticisms with a sense of humor. He even plugged the "Spherical Tomi" Podiobook - - classy move!

I did illustrate a few bothersome points when I reviewed "Singularity", but I also gave it 4 stars. I said in the review's opening paragraph: " I can damn-near guarantee that you won't dislike Bill DeSmedt's Singularity." An honest reviewer couldn't really offer a more solid endorsement.

Monday, March 20, 2006

How was ICE Escape?

Fantastic! My hat is off to Mary Erickson and her team; they put together a really great event.

I had the pleasure and good fortune of speaking to Ginjer Buchanan. She's the Senior Executive Editor of Penguin Putnam's Ace Science Fiction & Fantasy division. I view our 10-minute-or-so conversation as a major event in my writing career. Whenever you meet a powerful name in the industry, whether they be a writer, editor, or agent, you can only hope that they'll be friendly and professional. Ginjer Buchanan way exceeded my expectations in both regards.

I also met a number of intriguing authors and editors this weekend (Ravyn Crescent, 19-year-old YA author --- I could never, ever, ever have written a novel at 19. Brian Hades of Edge books.), and also enjoyed the opportunity to hang out with my Dragon Page friends.

And of course - - I also must give a shout-out to Tee Morris! We traded interviews for our podcasts, and just had a great time just cold-chillin' and taking in the Conference.

Friday, March 17, 2006

My Music in Mark Forman's MindField

You can hear two of my instrumental guitar pieces in the background during Mark Forman's latest Mindfield Podcast.

Thanks for playing the tunes, Oyabun!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A note from Pete Allen

AM I CRAZY????? (a word from our sponsor)

I've slashed prices! Prices so low, you'll swear I've lost my mind! Spread the news in your blogs, wake the kids and phone the neighbours! All CGP ebook prices on fictionwise slashed to prices straight out of the 60's!

Be the first on your block to read these rare ebook classics! do a search for "creative guy publishing" and tell them Uncle Pete sent you!

Status of the Deadpan

Status: (coming soon)
So in case you're wondering - - Jack Mangan's Deadpan podcast #1 is still set to launch. Much of the recording is done for the first episode - - - First podcast episodes always suck - but I'm trying to make this one sound somewhat professional. As soon as I know the target release date, you'll know the target release date. Barring personal disasters, I predict it will be out by the end of the month.
I am in process now of scheduling an absolutely amazing, incredible, magnificent interview with an absolutely amazing, incredible, magnificent guest! This interview will not be a part of the first episode, but I will run it in the not-too-distant future. I'm hoping to make it a part of Jack Mangan's Deadpan, episode #2.

I actually have 2 great interviews already confirmed - - and more in the works.

Watch this space for official announcements.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Flying High with the Brooklyn Bluesman

Hey, I'm the recipient of a shout-out in Mark Forman's latest podcast. My name is listed alongside Tee Morris. Cool.
I have yet to listen (I will tomorrow), so I hope the shout-out doesn't say, "That Jack Mangan is a sphincter-boy".

How is it that the hippest guy in America lives in Taiwan?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Possibly the funniest thing I've read all year

Thing from John Cleese

It seems kind-of old, so you may have already read it - - but I only discovered it today.

"The Unsolvable Deathtrap" reviewed in IROSF

Monday, March 13, 2006

I'm doing a live music performance!

Hey to all friends local to Phoenix! I'm going to be doing an evening of ambient acoustic guitar -- Friday April 14 from 7:30 to 10:30 at the Jug 'n Barrel Wine Bar and Bistro in Glendale, AZ.
I have lots of original material, but my set is also loaded with covers translated for solo acoustic guitar.
If you're free, and in the area, then come on down! It's a really nice place.

I'll post again as the date approaches, with more info.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

This link tells a pretty sad, frustrating story

Take a look.
I signed the petition.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Jack's Deadpan Cast

I can't believe I'm about to type these words. . .

OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: The Jack Mangan Podcast is coming! The working title is "Jack Mangan's Deadpan"; the show is in final stages of development, and will soon be unleashed as a new Farpoint Media venture.
Content will include:
Interviews (whenever possible),
Readings of original Fiction,
Appearances from my wife's voice,
Occasional Duels (of the Fates),
and so much more. . .!

I expect to have the first episode ready by the end of March; the plan is to release one 30-minute episode according to a bi-weekly schedule. Stay tuned to this blog for further details.

And yes. . . I fairly recently declared (in a comment at this very blog) that I wasn't going to launch my own podcast. . . well. . . things have changed. I'm ready to add the Full-Time Podcaster hat to the stack already perched atop my noggin. They will all scatter in a pleasing spectacle when my head explodes.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Subscribe to the Duel of the Fates 2 Podiobook!

I have something new to plug and push!

My Duel of the Fates 2 series recently wrapped up on the Dragon Page Wingin' It!, and is now available as a Podiobook! Go ahead and subscribe - the first round is available now, and the final 3 battles will soon be posted as well. And while you're at it, join up to hear the first Duel of the Fates tournament too, while you're there.

Because you already subscribe to the Spherical Tomi podiobook, right?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Street Corner

Back in September 2005, I recorded myself reading my poem, "Street Corner", and posted the mp3 at both the Internet Archive and Ourmedia. This poem was something that consumed me about 10 years(!) ago, and which I've fine tuned on only a few occasions since. I don't claim to be a poet, don't pretend to understand what your contemporary poetry reader or connoisseur wants. Full disclosure: I've submitted "Street Corner" to at least 7 poetry markets (I'd submitted a few times before I began to keep submission records), and seen it rejected everywhere. The one editor who liked it couldn't use it due to the length. In spite of this, I find the collage of rhymes and imagery personally meaningful, which is why I released an audio version for free over at Ourmedia. I like it. Who knows? Maybe you'll find some connection to it as well.

In this interim between my professional announcements and news, I give you ----- "Street Corner".

Street Corner

Welcome to the place where you now find yourself,

Cursing and questioning the fate you’ve been dealt.

You rail and scream against this Typhoid sentence,

Humbled before the city’s mindless omnipotence.

On the first corner, an A-frame reads, “Pave the earth”,

On the second corner, a woman screams through childbirth.

Third corner, skyscrapers rise from tectonic shifts,

And then there’s you, with orange suit and cuffed wrists.

The city’s your judge and court is in session,

You’re sentenced to hard time at this intersection.

You’re a documentary of a soul standing alone,

In this burning place, scored by the beltway’s drone.

Hopeless solitude found before the camera eye,

Cinematic stillness broken by the city bird’s cry.

You watch films of the war on the first corner’s screen,

Across from that, Kurosawa shoots a scene,

On the third corner, a samurai commits suicide,

And then there’s you: conveying loss of pride,

The director yells Cut and they take down the set,

Shooting is finished where these streets intersect.

Sunlight seeks passage through the shroud of smog & clouds,

But the sun’s not welcome here; there’s no life allowed.

Can’t touch the filth, the stains, the grime, the scum,

Because in the sun we’d see what we’ve become.

On one corner fight diseased rats and pigeons,

Across a man is preaching his religions.

The third corner whore reminds you that you knew her,

And then there’s you lying face down in the sewer.

Lips spread wide, your tongue pressed against the grate,

With open mouths you both silently await.

Drinking deeply the city’s discarded potion,

As it passes through the intersection towards the ocean.

You pull the sludge and nicotine into your lungs,

The noxious vapor burns on your atrophied tongue.

You fraternize among- but you’re just graffiti,

Painted and forgotten on the walls of the city.

Nefertiti grows obsolete on the first corner,

Across is Zeus, flanked by wiseguys and informers.

On the third corner stands the resident godhead,

And then there’s you, envying the undead.

They come to tell their tales and seek Zeus’ protection,

You’ve never felt so alone at this intersection.

Over this place’s stink you struggle just to think,

The curb is your bar, you order another drink.

You find that you can’t keep from facing towards the sky,

With footprints on your chest and saliva in your eye.

On the first corner stumbles W.C. Fields,

On the second corner a pusher blatantly deals,

On the third corner I sit and observe,

And then there’s you, quietly waiting to be served.

I buy you a shot and send it in your direction,

We’re all regulars at this intersection.

Your life is a sex motel; doors say do not disturb,

There’s no privacy; you catch the smell of herb,

Sitting on the curb, this new smell accents the stench.

You sink further down like a soldier in a trench.

On the first corner wait the dreaded undead,

They envy Frankenstein’s monster and the life it led.

We all look in awe, on the third corner lurks death,

And then there’s you, all alone and out of breath.

This is a sex motel, but you can’t get an erection,

Check out anytime, but you can’t leave the intersection.

The ancient mariner’s ship sails through the streets,

But the ill-fated vessel sinks into the concrete.

Cruising the metaphor, enigmatic ferryman,

Avert your eyes, he recruits passengers where he can.

Siddhartha sits first corner listening for the Om,

Alone; across the way Jim Morrison reads a poem,

On the third, a wise man feeds his stray pets,

And then there’s you, not remembering to forget.

Full of regret, you look back to when life was better,

Before this intersection, the day that you met her.

Covered with mucus you stand there among them,

Skin and hair greasy and matted with phlegm.

A paradigm, you don’t even have a pair of dimes,

Couldn’t pry one off of the pavement from the filth and grime.

One corner’s Captain Ahab, and in the street’s a hearse,

Across from that the Sphynx is dealing out its curse.

Third corner on the curb a test tube of Ebola.

And then there’s you, drinking your can of flat cola.

The E. Coli dies on burgers cooked to perfection,

The smell permeates throughout the intersection.

William Gibson’s dead channel sky looms above,

Your lost love is all you allow yourself to think of.

Like Edgar Allan Poe dreamt of lost Lenore,

Quoth the suspended traffic light, “Nevermore.”

Yonder perches a raven with blackest feathers,

Across a beautiful happy couple together.

On the third corner stands the image of despair,

And then there’s you trying desperately not to care.

You give heart to feelings too dark to mention,

And you ponder despair at hell’s intersection.

Impatient inpatient standing at this crossroads,

Internet junkie- a virus in your download.

The world passes you by: enemies strangers and friends,

_The end_; you silently know- someday this will end.

You depend on fate’s pendulum to set you free,

When you’ll wash away the scum, when the streets will be empty.

On all three corners, locked doors with exit signs,

And then there’s you, silently biding your time.

Someday you’ll log off and speak in another dimension,

But for time present you’ll live death at the intersection.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Spherical Tomi Meta-Episode Released

The story is done, but there's one more Spherical Tomi episode. It's a the meta-episode, containing extra details and information and thanks and --------- more outtakes!!!!!!!!!! I will periodically update this episode, but other than that - the ST podiobooks is done. Finished!

Here's the description at the site:
Post-story meta-episode. Acknowledgements. Submitted listener names are read aloud here. Spherical Tomi notes and trivia. Nearly four minutes of outtakes! Listening to this episode is not required to follow the story. Thanks for subscribing, everyone! - - Jack

Thursday, March 02, 2006

ST Meta-episode posted

I've posted the Final Spherical Tomi meta-episode! I imagine it will be up at Podiobooks in a few days. . . I'm grateful (and relieved) that some of you sent me your names -- you'll hear me read them during that final installment.
If you haven't yet sent me your name, but would like to be counted as a Sphericalhead, then don't worry! It's not too late! I will periodically revise that meta-episode as new listeners request to be included. Just send an e----------------mail to:


I'll let you know when meta-episode version 2.0 (or 3.0, 4.0, etc.), is released with your name added to the crowd.

FYI: I won't add your name unless you expressly request it! So even if you write to tell me that you enjoyed Spherical Tomi, I won't assume that you want your name read in the meta-episode. I will write you back, but I won't put you on the spot and ask about adding your name. . .
If I wanted to hassle people in that way, I'd set up a card table in front of the supermarket or the library.

I'll post here when the meta releases!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

What do I get out of all of this. . .?

I'm absolutely in this writing game because my nature demands it. That's the one true motivator behind all of my creative endeavors; it's what drives me to continue to hone my technique and craft, and to (hopefully) continue to evolve and get somewhere near a level of ability that I find almost satisfactory (I don't feel like I'm even close, at this point). I love Spherical Tomi, Dirk Moonfire, The Unsolvable Deathtrap, etc -- don't get me wrong! I've looked back on many completed stories or projects with pride. That's part of the whole author's experience, and it's a wonderful feeling. I just want to get better, and I want my output to get better and better.

All of your wonderful, positive feedback is not meangingless, of course -- quite the contrary! It inspires me like nothing else during the work's more difficult stretches. I feel deeply touched every time I receive a new e-mail or comment from someone who enjoyed something that I've created. (Now would be a good time to say thanks to all of you who've ever sent me compliemntary e-mails! Thank you everyone!!) Connection, praise, feedback, wealth, recognition, fame -- I've been blessed with 4 of those 5 to at least some small, modest degree through my creative output, and call me Hollywood, but they all feel great.
The elusive 5th? Wealth. I enjoy my day job immensely. But still. It would be nice to make a comfortable living through my creative endeavors.
There, I've said it.
My trips to the ATM are sometimes like hitting a slot machine; I push the buttons, but I never know if any money's going to come out. At those moments, I do wonder when James Cameron will show up, bearing huge canvas sacks labeled "$" for the Spherical Tomi movie options.
But even without James Cameron, I'd gladly go on 'til the end of my days improving my craft, writing my stories, and hopefully continuing to receive such nice, complimentary e-mails about them.
I don't think I need to defend my creative integrity, but I suppose I just did anyway. Did this whole rant make any sense at all?

Read the comments to this one ...
As I explained to JR after he pointed out my inability to count:
"This entire post was the result of a night of very little sleep... Attach spigot to over-tired, cranky brain and let it flow..... And of course, as you noted, I probably should have given it another read before posting :) First rule of writing: don't go forth with your first draft!"
I should edit it and revise the post, but f**k it. I'll just leave it here in all of its raw id glory.

Ice Escape

Well, I'm officially on for the ICE Escape writers conference, March 17-19 in beautiful Mesa, AZ. Thanks so much to Mary Erickson for getting my situation straightened out!

Anyone else out there planning to attend?
I missed last year's ICE Escape, but I hear that it was a fantastic success. I'm looking forward to making the most of this year's event.