Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Worst Episode Ever (The Girl Who Looked Like Kimmy Gibbler)

While looking for new and exciting ways to plug SPARKS, we ran across an mp3 of Adam singing a song about stalking a girl who looks like Kimmy Gibbler, the annoying neighbor on Full House. Since SPARKS holds the world record for most Full House references ever in a published novel, I re-convened one of the house bands, The Holy Quests, and had them re-record this little gem. Here's hoping that Andrea Barber doesn't take out a restraining order on Adam.

So we recorded it in honor of the fact that the staff is off to see the Beach Boys reunion show tonight. Enjoy!

Adam says that he mailed a copy of this to Andrea Barber's management (or something) 10 years ago just to be on the safe side. He never heard anything, so he assumed they didn't want to sue or anything. Here's Adam with Dave Coulier. Call him UNCLE Joey and you die. He was Danny's best friend. He wasn't anyone's Uncle. That was Jesse. Who Adam once waited on at a restaurant.

Monday, May 21, 2012

I'm back.

I've made it back from the arctic. I did not see Santa. But I'm not dead yet. In fact, I'm nominated for the ALA's Rainbow List.

I didn't come back to Chicago right away. In fact, I rolled through Canada to the great lakes (in that contraption of my own making) to go to Rochester, where the boss and I were both booked at the Teen Book Fest. Rode in a hot rod with AS King, caroused with Terry Trueman, Barry Lyga, Paul Griffin, Shawn Goodman, James Kennedy, and Jack Ferraiolo.

And, of course, as soon as I got back to Chicago and HQ, Selzer put me back to work.

"THERE you are!" he said. "Thank god. I need someone to make me a set of Don't Trust the B in Apt 23 action figures."


"Complete with a coffee shop action playset. Hurry. I want to act out my favorite scenes. And by the way, I think I might be going into the basement of the building on the site of the Murder Castle next month for a cable show to look for ghosts, so you'll want to start drilling the interns for what to do if something goes wrong."


"And we're getting some hate mail from Oxfordians ever since the Shakespeare guides came out."


"And I started you a tumblr so we can see about getting some people to pay you five bucks for holy quests."


"So we can be tax exempt!"

"You're weird, Selzer."

Maybe I should go look for Santa again.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Message from Adam

Hi, folks. Adam Selzer here, S.J.'s boss on the Smart Aleck Staff. Just thought I'd give you a bit of an update about SJ and his whereabouts.

Most authors go through a sort of "post launch depression" when their book comes out and doesn't make a huge splash. After a dozen odd books that got good reviews but were hard to find in stores, I'm sort of used to it. S.J. isn't, though. We all deal with it in our own ways. Most of us whine about our publishers, or Barnes and Noble, or the simple fact that there's no market for YA humor these days. SJ didn't complain at all. That's not the kind of writer SJ is. But that's not to say there was no post-launch depression. SJ always wanted to Do Big Things, and slowly realized that putting a book out isn't as Big as it seems.

In January, a couple of months after SPARKS came out, SJ showed up at Smart Aleck HQ with this giant canvas ball - about the size of a monster truck - that barely fit into a city parking space.

"SJ," I said, "what the heck is this?"

"All terrain vehicle," SJ said. "Invented it myself. Look inside."

Inside of the thing, there was nothing but an axl with a hammock hanging off of it. "This baby'll roll over land or sea," said SJ. "You steer by sliding the hammock up and down the axle to shift the weight."

"SJ," I said, "what the heck are you going to do with this?"

"I'm going on an expedition," said SJ. "To the north pole."

"Like in Winnie the Pooh?"


"You know that since that book came out, they've discovered the north pole, right?" I asked.

"Did they find Santa?"

"Uh, no."

"Then they weren't really at the pole."

And SJ climbed into the hammock and the big canvas balloon rolled away down Grand Avenue, towards Lake Michigan. I guess SJ was planning to take the Great Lakes into Canada and head to the pole from there.

A few weeks back we got a note saying "Have been in the arctic for two weeks without snuff."

SJ doesn't use snuff anyway, so none of us here at HQ thought much about it.

But that's the last we've heard. I'm sure SJ is still okay out there, and has not frozen to death or been eaten by a polar bear.

- adam

Friday, February 17, 2012

What S.J. stands for....

For those who've asked, S.J. stands for Satan Jehosephet.

Like all authors who go by initials, I am gender-neutral.

I just kicked Adam Selzer's ass at tetherball.

The Smart Aleck Staff is in high-gear trying to get new guides going. The Smart Aleck's Guide to Grave Robbing is now on ibooks.  Just click here:

The Smart Aleck's Guide to Grave Robbing - Adam Selzer & Smart Aleck Staff

Friday, January 13, 2012

On the Air!

KMSU has posted a 20 minute segment in which I discuss, and read from, SPARKS.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Pair of Holy Quests

Some holy quests from Emma and Tim's scrapbook.

#73: Kick old ladies' butts at bingo and act all arrogant about it. Bingo hustlers, yo!

#55: Find a guy with the same name as a U.S. president at get his autograph. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

New review: SPARKS is "a game-changer"

There are some reviews that have launched people's careers - like Dorothy Parker's review of Harlan Ellison. Or Robert Shelton's review of Bob Dylan. Or the one from 1974 where Jon Landau said "I saw rock and roll future, and its name is Bruce Springsteen." Shelton's review got Dylan a record deal (with Columbia. At age 20). Landau finally got Columbia to pay attention to Bruce instead of just slipping him out and thinking of dropping him (that anyone COULD get dropped after those stunning first two records sort of makes you take pause). And that Ellison could have been thought of as strictly a pulp fiction guy given the quality of his best 1950s/early 60s work is sobering.

I don't think any YA blog has the same pull as Parker, Shelton or Ellison did in their prime, honestly. There's a middle grade blog or two where a rave can make a real difference in your sales, but YA is a different world. In fact, I've been a fairly harsh critic of all those Memes n Drama blogs that focus more on contests than content. And I'm not alone. Honestly, if I repeated the way I'd heard authors, agents, and editors complete the sentence "there are a few great blogs, but...," the scandal would go on for weeks. Authors are known to kiss up to bloggers incessantly in public - I've played that game myself. But believe me, when we meet for lunch or a drink, the conversation is different.

However, there are a few in particular that I really do recommend. Like The Book Lantern, which is known to ruffle some feathers with its criticism of some of the dominant themes in today's YA (it's drama, but it's for a good cause). And there's John Jacobsen's Dreaming in Books , one of the rare male voices in the YA blogosphere, whose reviews are lengthy and articulate. Like Roger Ebert, even when you don't agree with John, you at least get the idea that he knows what he's talking about, and get a sense of whether you might like/dislike a book more than he did (and, incidentally, if you read Ebert's 1 and 4 star reviews, you can skip every "writing craft" book out there - he may be writing about movies, but he'll tell you all you need to know about writing). These are blogs that expect writers to write good books - not just to stick to the trends.

Reviews on these blogs may still not get Columbia to push you so hard that you end of on the cover of TIME and NEWSWEEK in the same week, but they're gratifying as all get out.

So it's REALLY nice to get a good review from him. A REALLY good one. Like Parker on Ellison, Shelton on Dylan, Landau on Springsteen good.  I got reviews that felt like raves from some of the trades on I Kissed a Zombie, and a couple of my others, but you only get a paragraph or two in those things.  As a writer, you always fantasize about people articulating what they like about your book at great length. I'm not going to lie to you. This is a fine ego trip at a time when I can use one. It's reviews like this that make you feel like you're good at your job and ought to keep doing it, no matter what that pesky student loan officer says.

Some excerpts:

Every once in a while an LGBTQ book comes out for the YA audience that just strikes me as being a game-changer for my expectations of LGBTQ YA.....Back to my usual schpeel - the writing in Sparks is fabulous.  Truly, truly fabulous.  This is the kind of book that will make hipster YA readers (you know who you are, peeps) and commercial readers equally happy.  The book satisfies on a basic level, but as you can tell from above, there's more here than meets the eye.  Adams writes truly hilarious situations - I laughed many, many times while reading this book - and he has a great balance of satire, regular humor, and seriousness.  He doesn't stay too serious, though, and that's what will make readers fall in love with this book....  This book is more than a journey novel - more than a cross-town road trip.....I just can't say enough about Sparks.  This is a book that is so different from the contemporary and LGBTQ YA out there today.  It's not angsty...eople that want diversity done without a heavy hand; without a stereotyped view.  They will all find something in Sparks.  Go out and buy this book.  I can't recommend it enough."  

Full review

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