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Self-Pub My JUICY GHOSTS Novel

I finished my Juicy Ghosts novel that I’ve been posting about for the last two years. My agent and I sent the Juicy Ghosts manuscript to three smallish publishers who are that crucial notch above being “small presses.”. The first two never answered. And the third said no, he thought the political assassination stuff was too much. The removal of the fictional President Ross Treadle, that is.

[Surrealism alert: many of my blog illos have little or no logical connection with the adjacent text. The paintings of mine that appear are for sale on my Paintings page]


210. “Althea’s Friends”” Acrilyc on canvas. Painted with Althea Lasseter, July, 2021, 30” x 24”.

That Treadle part was the first bit I wrote, early in 2019 and I put it in a (I then thought) standalone short story called “Juicy Ghost” that no zine would publish so in June, 2019, I put it put it on my blog, and that October the cool underground SF ezine Big Echo published it too. And then I was paranoid that “they” would come “get” me, but they never did—or they haven’t yet. So here I am, still squawking.

I explain about the book in this pitch video below, not that you have to listen to it right now. Scrolling down through this post might be more fun.

The “pitch” aspect has do with the fact that I’m self-publishing my novel with my Transreal Books imprint, and raising money for it via Kickstarter.

I could have dipped down to smaller and smaller presses for Juicy Ghosts, but, as with my other recent “Rucker late style” novels Turing & Burroughs, The Big Aha, and Return to the Hollow Earth, I decided I’d rather self-publish it with good old Transreal Books. And get some righteous bucks via a Kickstarter campaign. And not have to beg. And no have to wait.

In any case, my agent John Silbersack told me the real problem with selling Juicy Ghosts novel was that the sales of my previous novel Million Mile Road Trip were terrible. Maybe nobody really cares about my politics. That part’s like…compared to what?

Million Mile Road Trip did get some great reviews, but it didn’t catch on at all. Maybe the COVID plague hurt our sales, with all the bookstores closed? But MMRT didn’t even sell many ebooks.

Anyway, it turns out my Kickstarter for Juicy Ghosts is doing really well, way better than my earlier ones. A pleasant surprise. Happy days here at Rucktronics World Headquarters.

I think people are hungry for a novel that features the killing of an evil President. Pent up demand! Have a seat in Rudy’s magic Dream Chair.

I designed a cover, and graphic-designer daughter Georgia polished it up a bit this wekeend. I used one of my paintings for the background. And my old freelance proofreader Michael Troutman went through the novel for me—he has a very good eye.

My agent may yet sell it as an audiobook, or in Europe. And some publisher might reprint it in a few years. But for now the main thing is to put it out there. The career secret: Keep it bouncing. Along the way I wrote a book-length volume of Notes along with the novel.

Juicy Ghosts is about politics, telepathy, and immortality. I started it in 2019, as a reaction to Donald Trump’s repeated remarks that he planned to be a three-term president. That pushed me over the edge.

And then, like I said, I started with a short story called “Juicy Ghost.” Rebels bring down an insane, evil President who’s stolen an election. They sting him with a lethally tweaked wasp, erase the online backup of his mind, and explode his clone. Too much? It’s hard to stop, when you’re having this much fun! Over the next two years, my story grew into a novel. I had to write it. I wanted to stand and be counted.

So, yes, Juicy Ghosts is a tale of political struggle—but it’s more than that. It’s hip and literary, with romance and tragedy. Plus gnarly science, and lots of funny scenes. I used a loose, say-anything style. The point-of-view characters are outsiders and slackers. The majority of them are women, and they give the tale a grounded tone.

Here’s a kid I saw on Seabright Beach in Santa Cruz.

And here’s my painting of him.

207. “Beach Morning” Acrylic on canvas. June, 2012, 30″ x 24″. Click for a larger version of the painting.

Back to the Juicy Ghosts rap.

We’ll see commercial telepathy, or teep, before long. And we’ll want a channel that’s richer than text and images. Users might transmit templates for the neurochemicals that are affecting their current mood. Your friends feel your pheromones! In Juicy Ghosts, people do this with gossip molecules, which are nano-assemblers with tiny antennas. Keeping an astral eye on the neighbors.

I’ve been writing about digital immortality since my early cyberpunk novel Software. The idea is to represent a soul by a digital program and a data-base, calling the construct a lifebox.

But in Juicy Ghosts a lifebox needs to be linked to a physical body. It’s not enough to be a ghost—you want to be a juicy ghost, baby. The linked body might be an insect or an animal or a biotweaked bot—but high-end users will have tank-grown clones.

209. “Loplop” Acrylic on canvas. June, 2012, 24″ x 18″. Click for a larger version of the painting.

Lifeboxes and clones will be expensive, so most people will settle for free lifebox storage provided by tech giants. The catch is that if you accept this free service, you’re obligated to do gig-work for the company—as a bodyguard, a chauffeur, a maid, of a factory worker. Typical of our times!

I like happy endings. I’d rather laugh than cry. My characters destroy the evil President’s political party, topple the pay-to-play immortality racket, and provide everyone with free lifeboxes and physical bodies. Ta-da!

Notes for Juicy Ghosts came out to be a book-length volume as well, actually a bit longer than the novel. It includes plans, journal material, research, and writing notes. The Notes also covers the six short stories I wrote and published while working on the novel.

Notes for Juicy Ghosts has thirty illustrations, including drawings, photos, and seventeen paintings I did while writing the novel. In the Collector’s Edition hardback of it, the illos for Notes for Juicy Ghosts are in color. Fun to do these kinky kooky book design things when you self-pub. Like Virginia and Leonard Woolf with the Hogarth Press, right.

209. “Self-Portrait with Mandelbrot Set UFO” acrylic on canvas, 40″ x 30″, July, 2021. Click for a larger version of the painting.

The image above says it all. A painting I did this month, where a complex cubic Mandelbrot fractal is connected to a bunch of critters. It’s based on a fractal I found inside my computer.

The thing in the painting is kind of like a multibody juicy ghost! The divine Oversoul. With me at the bottom there, smiling.

Finis coronat opus, y’all.

And Sammy the broken kelp-float muppet-head says “Me skzt zbtx with you!”

One Response to “Self-Pub My JUICY GHOSTS Novel”

  1. paradoctor Says:

    I have given up on immortality and I will settle for reproducibility.

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