Glitter and Madness Questionnaire

Hopefully by now you all know that I'm in the anthology Glitter & Madness, which is running a Kickstarter right over here. We're down to less than three days remaining, and we have a ways to go.

The anthology is described as "A fiction anthology filled with Roller Derby, nightclubs, glam aliens, (literal) party monsters, drugs, sex, glitter, debauchery, etc.," and I plan to pack nearly all of those things into my story, which is about the Douglas County Rollergirls, a struggling rural roller derby team whose night out after an away bout turns into a shanghai-ing off to a galaxy-sized nightclub in a Dyson sphere, where they are forced to skate for the fate of Earth.

That's the elevator pitch, anyway. But the story's not written yet, because how can I be sure y'all want to read it unless the anthology gets funded?

So those are the basics. I've also got this questionnaire provided by the editors, John Klima, Lynne Thomas, and Michael D. Thomas:

1. What about the theme drew you to the anthology?

Two words: roller derby. I'm a huge fan of roller derby, far beyond my interest in any other sport, and for years I've been trying to find a way to write about it. The night I saw the editors chatting about this anthology on Twitter, the idea for this story finally started to crystallize.

2. We're often told to write what we know. Did you draw your G&M story from your own nightlife experiences?

I used to tend bar, and before that--way back in my freshman year of college--I was a dance club kid for a brief period. Also, there were all those years of skating in circles over at Saints West as a kid, trying and failing to learn to spell out "YMCA" with arm motions. Yes, I am a SERIOUS PARTY ANIMAL.

3. What's your favorite way to make life more glittery?

Just apply more Bowie.

4. If you had to create a cocktail that reflected your story, what would it be?

1 oz well water, 1 1/2 oz skate lube, dash of space delirium, serve over non-gender-specific ice.

5. If you knew your were up for a surreal evening, what and whom do you bring with you, and why?

It is folly to attempt to prepare for a surreal evening. Whatever is needed will appear across an ever-shifting landscape, and whoever is desired will be transformed into a common household object, one which is useless in whatever context you may be in at that moment. But I'd bring roller skates.

Please, if you have the wherewithal to do so, throw a few bucks at our anthology! That's right over here, in case you forgot.

Gooseberry Bluff Launch Day!

The first episode of Gooseberry Bluff comes out today!!!

Just as a point of clarification, as some have asked: the pricing for the serial is a flat $1.99, NOT $1.99 per episode. That's two bucks for the entire book, and every three weeks you get a new episode. Seriously, it's a steal.

I did a questionnaire with Minnesota Reads in honor of the launch: check it out.

Also, you know, if you read it and want to say nice things/discuss it at the purchase page, I WON'T MIND.

Press Release: Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic (Or, What I've Been Working On)

February 4, 2013


Announcing Launch of New Kindle Serial


Gooseberry Bluff is not a school for the chosen ones. It's a school for those who have run out of choices. An unlikely place for an international conspiracy. But after suspicious paranormal signatures are reported and a professor of magical history goes missing, the possibility of demon trafficking seems more and more likely.

St. Paul, MN – February 4, 2013 – With his new Kindle Serial GOOSEBERRY BLUFF COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF MAGIC: THE THIRTEENTH RIB, Nebula Award-nominated author David J. Schwartz is joining a pioneering group of writers that are forging into new frontiers -- with their feet planted firmly in the past.

Combining the uniquely modern phenomenon of e-books with the distinctly retro appeal of serial novels, Amazon Publishing's new Kindle Serials program offers full books bought up-front for as little as $1.99, then delivered episodically to readers' Kindles on a set cadence. GOOSEBERRY BLUFF COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF MAGIC: THE THIRTEENTH RIB is the first Serials to be released in 2013 by 47North, Amazon Publishing’s imprint for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. As the series unfolds, readers have the opportunity to provide feedback and discuss the Serial with each other in community forums.

"Before TV and before comics, writers like Charles Dickens and Alexandre Dumas were working in the serial form," said Schwartz. "I'm looking forward to the fun and challenge of making that three weeks between episodes into an escalating agony of suspense," he joked.

GOOSEBERRY BLUFF COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF MAGIC: THE THIRTEENTH RIB, the first season set in Schwartz’s fantastic contemporary world, begins the tale of Joy Wilkins, an undercover agent with the Federal Bureau of Magical Affairs, as she starts her first semester of teaching and investigating the alarming activity at this school of magic on the border of Wisconsin and Minnesota. The deeper she goes, the closer she gets to dangerous secrets that could threaten her entire world.

David J. Schwartz is the author of the Nebula Award-nominated novel Superpowers as well as the novella The Sun Inside. He has written more than twenty-five short stories, which have appeared in such publications as Strange Horizons, The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror collections, Paper Cities, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and the World Fantasy Award-nominated anthology Twenty Epics. Visit his author page at, or follow him on Twitter at

For more information about GOOSEBERRY BLUFF, contact David J. Schwartz at snurri [at] gmail [dot] com. For more information about 47North, visit To pre-order GOOSEBERRY BLUFF, visit



Follow-up to the Previous Post

Your generosity of the past couple of days is humbling. I have enough, now, that I don't have to worry about money for the time being. I can't express how relieved I am.

As difficult as that post was to write, there was something liberating about letting go of my pride and just admitting that I was over my head. And your donations really crystallized something for me; I'm working for you, now, in a way that I wasn't before. Writing sometimes feels like a bit of a cry in the wilderness, but you have inspired me as well as helped me. Yesterday I finished up the climactic chapter of one of the projects I mentioned; this weekend I hope to write the last chapter of it. With any luck I'll be able to tell you more about it very soon. Just to be able to focus on writing without being distracted by money worries is a pleasure that I owe to you guys.


"Bedtime Stories for Alien Children" + A Plea

This is a very difficult post to write.

For a while now, I've been underemployed. I have been scraping by, for a few years, by living very simply. I don't eat out. I get the generic oatmeal. I go to the cheap (or free) cons and take full advantage of the consuites.

Last year my income was under five figures. (You might think that would be enough to get out of paying taxes, but no! Thanks to our draconian self-employment taxes, that is not the case.) There are a lot of things I could use--a better computer to do my paying work on, some new workout shoes, a better class of ramen noodles--but those are out of reach at the moment. Right now the hole I'm in is deep enough that I'm having difficulty paying the rent.

What's frustrating is that I have writing projects that I'm really excited about, that I think could really improve my situation if they sell. Things that are done, things that are in development. Things I think y'all would love. But publishing moves really slow, and I need money sooner than hopefully maybe pretty soon.

I'm not the only person who is in bad shape, and I feel crappy about even asking for help when the economy is hurting us all. But the truth is I've been on the verge of writing a post like this for a couple of years now, and it's finally that bad.

Since I will feel better about myself if there is at least the appearance of a transaction here, I'm posting an unpublished story of mine below. It's called "Bedtime Stories for Alien Children" and it's a trilogy of weird little vignettes that I hope you will like. You can read it and not donate and that's OK. You can not read it and donate and that's a little weird, but thank you. If you think it's worth sharing, go ahead and link and your friends can make the same choice. I am not proud of this post, but I am proud of the story.

And if you're still reading, thanks. Regardless of whether you have the wherewithal or inclination to donate, thank you.

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My WisCon schedule, in case anyone is curious:

Exiles at Home - Fri, 4:00–5:15 pm - Conference 2
Christopher Barzak, M. Rickert, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Sofia Samatar, David J. Schwartz
Five Tales of Longing, Constraint, and general Creepiness. Safe as houses? Think again.

Sipping From the Firehose: Managing Writing and Social Media - Sat, 1:00–2:15 pm - Senate A
Moderator: K. Tempest Bradford. Barth Anderson, Kimberly Gonzalez, Michael J. "Orange Mike" Lowrey, David J. Schwartz
FaceBook, Google+, LiveJournal, Tumblr, Twitter, blog, traditional website: Does a writer need them all? How do they help with self-promotion? How do they help with the isolation of writing? If you participate in social media, how do you keep it all up-to-date and still find time to write?

MUPPETS!!! - Mon, 10:00–11:15 am - Room 634
Moderator: Christopher Davis. Sarah Emrys, Jackie Gross, Joanna Lowenstein, David J. Schwartz
What's been your life experience of The Muppets? Does your age group make a difference in how you feel about them? Did you meet them through Sesame Street, Tales from Muppetland, The Muppet Show, commercials, movies? What did you think of the 2011 film? Can the Muppets be a vehicle for social change?

In addition, I'll be running the Small Beer Press table again, so if you're looking for me I'll be in the Dealer's Room more often than not.

2012 Reading #7: Thor by Walter Simonson Omnibus

1. Feral Cell by Richard Bowes.
2. Orlando by Virginia Woolf.
3. Fractured by Karin Slaughter.
4. Orsinian Tales by Ursula K. Le Guin.
5. Living to Tell the Tale by Gabriel García Márquez.
6. Undone by Karin Slaughter.

7. Thor by Walter Simonson Omnibus by Walter Simonson, Sal Buscema, et al. This is a pricy item--I was lucky enough to get it as a gift--but man is it worth it. This collection includes Simonson's entire run--The Mighty Thor #337-382, minus 2 non-Simonson fill-in issues but with the 4-issue limited series Balder the Brave included. It is, in my opinion, the second greatest extended run on any regularly published comic ever, the first being Koike and Kojima's Lone Wolf and Cub. Until a couple of years ago, Marvel had never managed to collect the entire run into trades, but this 1100+ page monster (I won't bore you with the complexities of attempting to read it in bed) has it all in glorious color on durable glossy paper, along with an extended glossary of sketches and character designs. But here's why it's great: Simonson blends Eddic source material with a Silver Age Marvel aesthetic, updating the mythmaking of each while walking the line between reverence and disrespect. There's a lot of the Kirby aesthetic to the art--Simonson draws the majority of the run, with Sal Buscema ably filling in for the last several issues--but the story is a little less angsty and a little more coherent than the Stan Lee tradition. The plot is complex without being confusing, with a multi-threaded foreshadowing approach similar to the best of Chris Claremont's X-Men. It starts with the introduction of this guy:

That's Beta Ray Bill, by the way, and if you don't know who he is you're going to love him.

From there the story runs the gamut from the cosmic--Surtur and the fire giants invade Asgard by way of the Big Apple--to the gleefully ridiculous--a transformed Thor leads the frogs of Central Park against the murderous rats of New York City.

And it climaxes with an issue composed entirely of glorious splash pages, as a Thor cursed with brittle bones by Hela battles the Midgard Serpent.

If you can't swing a copy of your own, bug your local librarian, because this is spectacular stuff.

2012 Reading #6: Undone by Karin Slaughter

1. Feral Cell by Richard Bowes.
2. Orlando by Virginia Woolf.
3. Fractured by Karin Slaughter.
4. Orsinian Tales by Ursula K. Le Guin.
5. Living to Tell the Tale by Gabriel García Márquez.

6. Undone by Karin Slaughter. The Grant County and Atlanta/Will Trent books come together in an extremely satisfying, character-driven way in this book. There's also, of course, some horrific criminal activity going on (and for I think the first time in Slaughter's work, I knew who the culprit was pretty early in the book), as well as the bad behavior and communication gaps that make her books so realistic and frustrating (in a good way). There are only a couple more of these out thus far, so I guess I may finish up Slaughter's oeuvre soon.