Wednesday, March 19, 2003 is a marvellous essay on John Crowley's books, made only slightly less marvellous by the assertion that Little, Big is out of print (they link to some Amazon links to out of print editions), which is nonsense. It's very in print, and you ought to read it. Aegypt is out of stock at Amazon, not out of print, and in-print as an eBook, which isn't a bad thing.

Let's see...

I'm the Frederick Gundling of eBay infamy, trying to publicize my upcoming novel DISCONNECTED and my website ( by selling off minor characters in my first two novels. I'd love for more money to go to charity, but my first novel was delayed by a full year of editing, during which I reduced it from 401,000 words to a screamingly tight 175,000, and I need the extra cash to get a new roof and put a new a/c and furnace into this godawful 1963-contructed house I'm currently living in. I "retired" from The Washington Post at age 28 to write fiction full time, and my wife is going to take an ax to my groin any day now if I can't produce some sort of income. (We moved to the Middle of Nowhere, Texas in order to subsist on her income, so just imagine the burgeoning job market for bitter, sarcastic writers hereabouts.)

Although I've sold five characters for a total of $500, I made more money selling my rare Nirvana albums ($1,000) and my Bloom County comic strip ($750). And they say writers make the best living, among all artists . . .

(signed) a regular blogger reader since (almost) the beginning,

- Fred

PS: Curiously, a bare bones synopsis of Disconnected would look almost identical to a bare bones synopsis of American Gods, although they're both very different novels.

PPS: Why don't you talk about your wife more? Has she forbidden you??

Er, no. Not explicitly. But, unlike, say, Maddy and Holly, she's never once been known to look at me with a disappointed expression and say "Why haven't you mentioned me on your journal recently?"

Currently it's Spring Break at my daughters' schools, so she and Holly are on a tour of New Englandy colleges: they've seen Smith and Hampshire and Union and Skidmore and Bard and Trinity (I think that's the list for that part of the world). Meanwhile Maddy and my-assistant-Lorraine are heading off to New York for a few days, to see A Little Night Music and Hairspray. (And I'm recouperating and getting some writing done.)

Anyway, good luck with the book and the unusual method of raising money.

Dear Neil;
Quick questions. First, do you have any concrete (or at the very least well intentioned) plans to attend any comicons in the six month future? Secondly, is there any thought of doing a reading tour this summer (I can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon then listening to Coraline)? And thirdly (and God help us lastly), have you ever thought of doing a chapbook of poetry? I'm sure other stories are elbowing each other as we speak to get onto the page, but it's just a thought. Oh, and (good God, did she not just say lastly???) if you could make up any monniker for yourself to ghost write under, what would it be? Please feel free to answer any or all. Thanks so much. Shalene Shimer

Names I remember using include Richard Grey, Gerry Musgrave (it was a Sherlock Holmes reference that was also a James Branch Cabell reference, I think), and W.C. Gull (it was meant to be W.W. Gull, as the previous reviewer had been M.J. Druitt, but the editor changed it because he said it was funnier that way). Any names I'd ghost-write under in the future I'll keep to myself, otherwise there'd be precious little point in having them.

(On rereading this, I should add that I don't have any plans to do stuff under a ghost-name, as A) My brand-identity as an author is already so hopelessly muddled that I can't imagine something I'd want to write that would have a publisher pursing its publishy lips and saying "Perhaps you should put out the pornographic cookbook under a different name...?" They'd just shrug and say "Oh. A pornographic cookbook. Right," and let me get on with it. And B) I'm not prolific enough that I'd face, for example, the problem Steve King did when he brought out the Bachman stuff.)

I do sometimes feel I ought to gather up all the poetry under one roof. I just need a publisher who wants to make it happen enough, I suppose.

Yes, I'll be at the Comicon in San Diego this summer. No idea what my schedule will be like there -- but in addition to whatever I'm down for I'll try and do a reading for the CBLDF members-only event (last time I was a guest, in 1999, I read 2/3 of Coraline, which was all I'd written at that point, and The Wolves in the Walls). I doubt I'll do a reading tour per se though this summer. I have to do some writing.