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TAKING WHAT THEY’RE GIVING

January 28th, 2008 Comments off

by Wayne Allen Sallee

Ah, Huey Lewis, the man too hip to be square. Wonder what’s he’s doing right now? (Aside from slapping at his ear, buzzing away because he’s being talked about). I’ve spent the week reading Brian Hodge’s MAD DOGS and had thought about writing about Brian’s move into the realm of crime fiction, and how, just like the guy he co-dedicates the book to, Sean Doolittle, each book is about a different topic, different characters, no super cop who is the first guy on the scene for every high profile crime. (Incidentally, the other fellow in the dedication is Clark Perry, and fourteen years ago, it was the four of us in staring across the Mississippi at Algiers, Louisiana like we were The Warriors ready for their last rumble; it was then that Clark gave me the name that shall live on past my own, Jonny Algiers. Certainly better than Waynard Thumptwanger, after an obscure freaking puppet on a local kids show here (he was Maynard, though). Just saying, its a small world, even when I realize I haven’t seen Brian since last century. But, man, it takes balls to write the stuff Brian’s writing, same with Sean, not doing the safe bit and creating a lovable character and a crusty but cantankerous boss who will appear in book after book after book. Now, I’ve gone on record in several interviews saying that DEATHGRIP is the only book that made me truly consider suicide. Of course, that was before my lovely and expensive bipolar meds, which keep me perfectly sane for five days and then for two days the “S” word is floating beneath my eyelids when I blink. I’m thinking if I reread DEATHGRIP during those next two days, well, who knows what might happen. Brian breaks from the dismal view of life I am poster child for, and writes WILD HORSES and now this crazy book I’ve told him reads like a BLOOD SIMPLE episode of MY NAME IS EARL. Would it be so goddamn hard for the masses of people out there who read diluted crap with Fabio as a vampire on the cover to just realize that any book that Brian writes is brilliant, it doesn’t have to be horror. Sean has always gone the crime route, but I’ll bet a lot of you don’t recognize the name. Same for my good pal and sometimes co-writer, Sidney Williams, who has nine novels in print. Well, I went off on a tangent, as usual. I want to discuss something else, if it hasn’t already been covered (seeing as someone was asking for a certain Seattle publisher’s email). Also, while I’m not naming names, I’ve left a clue in the fact that I have Brian’s limited edition book because, well…

I’ve emailed a few people over the past few months, Dave has put me in touch with James Lowder, who has quite a bit of knowledge regarding anthology contracts, and I think what it really comes down to is…no one expected a search engine like Google. Certainly not editors. Who’d have thought SPLATTERPUNKS was released in Italy? It was Mr. Lowder who mentioned, after I told him that I traded with a private collector in the Netherlands to get three Danish editions of YEAR’S BEST HORROR, that it was quite possible that there would be very little monies to be had as the selling rights might have been very minimal. To this, I agree. There have been only two editors who have ever been square with me, Ellen Datlow and Gordon Van Gelder. I’m not talking about royalties, and I’m also talking of the days when we mailed people or called them up. Ellen made certain I received every foreign edition of LITTLE DEATHS and Gordon sent me a variant cover of SPLATTERPUNKS third printing and the Spanish edition of NIGHTMARES ON ELM STREET. Nobody else has done Philip K. Dick about such things, and those I’ve mentioned it to claim it all falls back on their agents. Or not knowing how to get in touch, even though everyone knows everyone now thanks to the Internet. Or Google. Hell, it frosts my crab rangoons that I can type my name in Google Images and find that damn Italian copy of SPLATTERPUNKS staring at me on page 2. If Huey Lewis’s ears are ringing, I can only hope that —- —–‘s urethra is turning itself into a balloon animal. Never mind the German edition of both volumes. I don’t give a damn about money, I would just like the common decency of being told that there was a foreign edition of an anthology I am in and where to contact the publisher. No word on that when LOVE IN VEIN was picked up by Michel St. Aubin, or several other anthologies with French and German publishers. To his credit, the late J. N. Williamson did tell everyone that MASQUES III was being reprinted in Spain and did give us an address in Madrid. Of course, I don’t have any of my contracts from the mid 90s around anymore, so I can’t say that First North American Rights meant anything as I had expected. Screw the story on the agent not following through, the editor knows what’s what when they get their cut, however big or small it might be. The same goes for domestic editions, I’ll go on record as saying that I am tired of finding trades published by ROC with the hardback publisher not saying a damn thing. And, no, its not like DAW trying to keep up with a hundred authors from the YBH anthos, the ROC books were by dealers of limited editions, you recall me mentioning *ahem* Brian’s book earlier, right?

I’m working on this comic for Elfinkids in New Delhi and I’ve basically signed off on everything, whatever I create belongs to them. Taking what they’re giving, because the money is better than I’d ever expected. I knew this going in, but I did ask that they change my contract to show that I get compensated with copies of any collection (the comics are 64 pg quarterlies) or foreign editions. Sure, I’m gambling that this thing won’t take off and become Bollywood’s answer to Shark-Boy and Lava-Girl, but at least I’ve learned to get answers to the questions that matter. So I’ve filled out my private bookshelf a little thanks to Google and a guy named Kees Buis and no thanks to —- —-, —– ——-, and particularly balloon animal urethra ————-!#@#$#@#—— . And, hey, thanks to Google I found out there’s another guy with my name who owns a fish store in southern Florida. As always, thanks for putting up with my insanity.

–Wayne

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