Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bully for Me

I'll have an entry in an upcoming project from Harper Collins called Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories, which was put together by fellow writers Carrie Jones and Megan Kelley Hall, neither of whom had to bully me into contributing.

You can read all about the project here

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

People have sent me numerous emails this year telling me that they are going out with Generation Dead themed costumes (yay!). Supposedly, there will be hordes of Karens,Phoebes,Taks, and even one Mal out there on the streets getting treats.

Sometimes people will provide the evidence, like S. did here with her awesome Margi costume:

Other times people will send me evidence of their zombification, as BlueMonkie here did:

Have a safe and happy Halloween! White vans don't have candy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

True Tales of Terror

Tomorrow I'll have a guest post at totalbookaholic dot blogspot dot com. Jessica, who runs that fantastic site, asked for a true paranormal story so I gave her one.

Be advised that it is kind of scary. And true.


Monday, September 27, 2010

I like Pretty Pictures

This was done by Leti, a reader from Spain who tells me that Beso de Vida will be available there on October seventh! Thanks, Leti!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Know Your Goals: Or, the Thrilling Story of My Facebook Profile Picture

I changed my Facebook profile picture the other day. I think I've been on Facebook a couple years now and I've been blogging about a year after that. It is the only time I have ever changed my picture, and quite likely I will never change it again. I'm impressed and amazed by the frequency that most people change their profiles, but I just don't have the energy. For that, anyway.

Here's my new photo, which my wife took of me two years ago:

While this might look like a casual snap of me staring off into space or taking a snooze, it was actually a very staged photo, one that was a celebration of sorts for my wife and I. It was meant to look like this:

That's Don Was,a musician and music producer.It is an advertisement for a brand of speakers. One of the tag lines, which you probably can't see, is "Was at Work". I ran across this advertisement in a magazine when I was out of college working various dead-end jobs, and sort of became a little obsessed with it. I'd long known by this time that I wanted to be a novelist, you see, and that advertisement (shallow of me, maybe) helped me conceptualize what my vision for my life would be. I told my future wife Kim that the advertisement spoke to me in such a way, and I was fortunate that she bought into that vision, going as far to write the company to see if she could get me a poster of the advertisement. The company did not have any posters, but they were kind enough to send a color photocopy of the advertisement on heavy card stock.

Now, don't get the wrong idea when you look at these photos. My personal vision for my life was not to just sit around in a tropical paradise, napping whenever I chose. What kind of fool would want that for a life? I was going to work countless hours every week pursuing that as a goal?

Well, not exactly. I still work seventy hours a week. When I'm writing, I like working seventy hours a week. I'd work more if I could. But sometimes that work requires that I stare off into space; as the writer Jack Ketchum said, and I often quote, "Sometimes staring at the wall is writing!"

My vision was to make writing my work, and from that work, achieve certain forms of autonomy. The autonomy to work where I wanted. When I wanted. With a dress code that included bare feet if I so chose. But most importantly; the vision was to create and to bring something forward that others could experience and possibly enjoy and find interesting. The kicker of the advertisement was that Don Was had just won a Grammy. Despite appearances, this was not a lazy man. At least, that was how I chose to read it.

I should mention that I carried the advertisement with me for over a decade before my wife took the similar photo of me. That's a lot of seventy hour work weeks in between, but that was how many it took for me to feel like I'd achieved at least enough of my vision to not feel like I was lying to myself by replicating the photo.

Inspiration and motivation are where you find them. I've had the photo nearby my desk ever since I first saw it, and I'll take it out every so often, when things are going good, when they are going bad, when I need to be reminded just why it is I do the things that I do. And now every time I log into Facebook, I'll be reminded of what it feels like to fulfil, even momentarily, one's vision.

And then, once it is fulfilled, create a new vision...

My next vision for myself will include having hair like Mr. Was's in this photo...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wherin I Enter the Digital Age and Give Away a Signed Passing Strange

I finally, finally got a Kindle. Love it. Whoever guesses the very first book I downloaded will recieve a signed copy of Passing Strange.

Hint: befriend me on Facebook so you can see all the wrong guesses there--improve your odds of winning!

Hint #2: My books are only available in the U.K. on Kindle

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Book Tour Thanks

Thank you to everyone who came out to meet us on the unRequired Reading tour, and thanks to Hyperion/Disney and all of the great bookstores and event coordinators for putting it together--it was more fun than anyone has a right to have.

And thanks especially to my fellow authors/touring partners, who in addition to writing wonderful books were just all around spectacular, funny and wonderful people. If you didn't catch us on the road, the books and their respective authors are:

Tweet Heart - Elizabeth Rudnick
The Half-Life of Planets - Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin
The Ghost and the Goth - Stacey Kade
Carter's Big Break - Brent Crawford
A Field Guide for Heartbreakers - Kristen Tracy

If you haven't checked out their work yet, what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Passing Strange Trailer Contest!!!!!

Check out by clicking the blog title above!

Here's your chance to direct your own mini-movie!

GL and Hyperion Teen are looking for you to showcase all of the exciting drama of the new book Passing Strange by creating your own video trailer.

Give readers a taste of the conflicts and drama awaiting Karen in the book, and all of the inevitable complications for this not-so-typical high schooler. The top video selected by Girls’ Life and Hyperion Teen will premiere exclusively on! Plus, the lucky leading lady will score a makeover from a MAC artist!


Do you ever wake up and just feel like a zombie? Uh, yea—everyone's had one of those days (or try several)! The winner of the Passing Strange Video Trailer contest will score a makeover fit for a starlet. She'll get her makeup done by a professional MAC artist and will pick up up to $200 worth of MAC product. The best part? Your video will be featured on in a video poll. Now a prize like that is sure to zap a zombie back to life.


In Passing Strange (out now wherever books are sold), all-American teenager Karen DeSonne faces more than the usual high school drama—she happens to be dead. Her troubles only multiply as she finds herself caught up in a high-profile scandal— new anti-zombie regulations that have forced nearly all of Oakvale’s undead into hiding.

Obtaining enough evidence to expose this sinister plot means doing the unthinkable for Karen: Betraying her true love and becoming the girlfriend of the one guy she truly cannot stand—Pete Martinsburg. Karen’s only hope is that the enemy never realizes who she really is—because the consequences would be even worse than death.


What is a book trailer?

Videos are the newest way to promote the hottest reads. Called book trailers, they are similar to movie trailers, in that they are designed to build interest in an upcoming or current novel and are used to encourage people to buy the book the trailer is about.

What’s the difference? A movie trailer already has visual images to work with—clips from the film. With a book trailer, the maker (that’s you!) has to convert the written words into a fun visual.

How to create a great book trailer:

The trick is to convey a sense of what the book is about without giving away any juicy deets away.

Most book trailers run from one to two minutes and can be anything from someone reading a passage from the book to an elaborate mini-movie.

Here are some links to book trailer examples we like:
Generation Dead trailer by the author
Generation Dead trailer by a fan
Another Generation Dead trailer by a fan

Here’s how to make yours, step by step
1. Get your BFFs together or go solo.
2. Learn it! CLICK HERE to download the script for the Passing Strange trailer.
3. Decide how you want to put your trailer together.
4. Video your best one to two minute book trailer by following the script You can use the video cam on your cell phone, digital camera, camcorder or computer.
5. E-mail the file (10M or smaller, please) to or upload to


We’ll announce the winner on 8/1/10 by featuring the trailer on every page of our site! So put on your director’s hat, get in the zombie mindset and good luck.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Book Tour and Psychic Book Club

A Field Guide for Heartbreakers - Kristen Tracy
Carter's Big Break - Brent Crawford
The Ghost and the Goth - Stacey Kade
Passing Strange: A Generation Dead Novel - Daniel Waters
Tweet Heart - Elizabeth Rudnick
The Half-Life of Planets - Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin

Dates and times for the unRequired Reading Tour:

June 18: 6pm, Davis Kidd, Memphis (Waters, Rudnick, and Halpin)
- June 18: 7pm, Keplers, Menlo Park, CA (Tracy, Kade, and Crawford)

- June 19: 7pm, Books & Books, Coral Gabels, FL (Waters, Rudnick, Franklin, and Halpin)

- June 19: 1pm, “Meet & Greet” at Copperfields, Petaluma, CA (Tracy, Kade, and Crawford)

-June 20: stock signings tk

- June 21: 7pm, Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, GA (Waters, Rudnick, Franklin, and Halpin)

- June 21: 6:30pm, Pudd'nHead Books (Tracy, Kade, and Crawford)

-June 22: 7pm, Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL (all authors)

- June 23: 2pm, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, KS (all authors)

- June 24: 6pm, Books of Wonder, New York, NY (all authors)

- June 25: 6pm, ALA Convention, Disney Book Group booth #2654 Washington, DC (all authors)

-June 26: 3:30pm, Politics & Prose, Washington, DC (all authors)

And now a chilling tale...sort of.

I’ve got kind of a long drive home so on Friday I call up my good friend Matt Smith, most recently of Dr. Who fame (Matthew Dow Smith, the artist on the Dr. Who comic book series, not Matt Smith the new Dr. Who). I’ve only known Matt for a few years, but he’s one of the few people who it seems I’ve known my entire life (as opposed to many people I have known practically my whole life, of whom I often think, ‘who are you?’), especially as we seem to share a brain on nearly everything and have the sort of finish each others’ sentences, start laughing before he says the punchline types of relationship. So we give each other the quick update on life, the universe and everything and then we start our inevitable discussion about books. We‘re both book junkies. Not just reading junkies, but actual book junkies, so the discussion ranges from what we’re reading to books we’ve picked up in our travels. Matt tells me he made a foray to a used bookstore and picked up a few things, and he starts telling me which ones he’s read. And then it gets weird. Listen:
Me: “Nice finds.” Then, remembering my own recent excursion to a used book store, “Hey, have you ever read anything by James Herbert?”
Matt: “Other than The Magic Cottage, you mean?” he says, reminding me of a conversation we had three or four years ago. We’d both really liked The Magic Cottage.
Me:“Yeah. Anything recently?”
Matt: “Funny you should mention it. I picked up one of his on that outing. That was one of the first ones I started reading.”
Me: “Really? When did you say you went to the book store?”
Matt: “About two weeks ago.”
I’d gone to the used bookstore near me two weeks ago.
Me: “Um, which one was it that you got? ‘Cause if you say…”
Matt: “Moon.”
Me: “…I might freak.”
Moon. The very James Herbert novel I’d picked up at a used bookstore two weeks ago.
Me: “How much did you get it for?”
“Three bucks.”
I told him I’d paid a dollar, but when I looked at my copy later that night, I saw the little 3—penciled in the upper right hand corner on the frontispiece.
Matt: “Well. That’s a little bizarre.”
Perhaps less bizarre, we’d reached pretty much the same conclusions about the book.

Now, understand, that Moon isn’t a current NYT Best Seller—it is a twenty-five year old horror novel. Now, you might say, “Well, Dan, both you and Matt are both horror fiction geeks, so it only makes sense that you could end up reading the same book.” But that, to me, only makes it weirder. True, we are horror fiction geeks—between us we’d read a good number of Herbert’s two dozen novels. He is a pretty big name in the horror field, and so the odds of neither of us having read the book prior would seem very slim—and then to decide to read it at the same time after buying the same twenty-five year-old edition (hardcover, Herbert’s first in the U.S.) at the same time, for the same amount of money, seems weeeeeiiiird to me.

I think maybe we should start “Matt & Dan’s Psychic Book Club”. The thing is, I already know which of you want to join.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Career Ending Injuries and other Stresses

By using the above chart, I have calculated my personal stress level of the past month to be 433. The legend at the bottom of the chart suggests “If you score more than 200, you have an above average level of stress and should simplify your life.
By reading that ridiculous statement, I think my score went up to 443.Either way, I expect more than doubling the "average level of stress" ain't good.

A few recent stresses: I sold the house that I have lived in for the past fifteen years (my longest stint, I believe, in any home in my life). I bought a new home. I went through childbirth, twice. (Passing Strange just came out, and I delivered a new book to my editor. Um, ok, so maybe that isn't quite as stressful as actual childbirth). I’ve been travelling, a lot. Never been to Kansas my entire life before this year, and yet I’ll be there for my third time in five weeks when I head out for the unRequired Reading book tour. Life is weird.

The highest individual stress score I awarded myself, worth 53 points, was for one of the most gruesome sports injuries of my entire life. While no one would ever confuse me with a world class athlete, I tend to be very competitive and what I lack in natural ability I compensate with tenacity and resilience. I play hard, and I almost never ever get hurt.

Except, now I do.

I went to play basketball with a friend of mine in his local church league, hoping to burn off a little of the huge amount of stress I’d been carrying. I’m always nervous when I start playing in a new league, but I I could hang with these guys. I'd been running 3-6 miles five days a week so although I still look like a lumpy animated couch cushion I could get up and down the floor pretty well. I started out great. In the first minute of the game, I had an assist and two rebounds, one of them offensive. I got my third rebound ten seconds later, but when I came down my right knee buckled laterally and there was this awful sound,like someone ripping into a sheet of bubble wrap, and I went over.

My first thought wasn’t “ouch”—actually it didn’t hurt all that much, it just felt kind of weird—my first thought was—“that’s it, the career ending injury. I’ll never play basketball again".

This was not a pleasant thought, by any stretch of the imagination. By favorite personal recreational activities, in order, are writing, reading, listening to music, and playing basketball. And jogging is somewhere in the top ten, and considering my knee was making crinkly-cellophane sounds as I limped off the court, I thought that maybe I’d lost that one as well.

It is the old saw about not appreciating something until it is gone—I tell you, the prospect that I’d never be able to play pickup basketball again left me with a deep, deep despondency. I guess I'm getting old! How did that happen?

But here we are about six weeks later, and the air has cleared considerably (although I'd never want it to clear too much; the fact of the matter is a bit of stress is good for the ol' writin'). We’re in our new house, and the massive stress of selling/buying/moving is behind me. And the first “home improvement” project I did was set up a roll away regulation NBA hoop. Every night that I’ve been home and the sun is out (or the rain isn’t too heavy) I’m out in the driveway with the kids or by myself shooting around. I ran two miles yesterday and three today. I’m stubborn. But the knee is feeling really good.

And I'm a little more thankful every time I shoot a jump shot, regardless of whether it swishes through, clangs off the rim, or misses entirely, because, no matter how much I may want to, I won't be able to shoot them forever.

I also wanted to extend a special thank you to Kati, who took the time to write a note to tell me how my newest novel Passing Strange affected her. Kati, your note made a big impact on me as well; as a writer sometimes all you want out of your work is that it reaches a single reader. I'd just hurt the knee, and was feeling pretty sorry for myself and whah whah whah, but your note got me thinking and lifted my spirits considerably. Thank you, thank you, thank you--I really appreciate you taking the time.

Oh, and PS--I'll probably be blogging a bit more now that I've moved. That was literally a year-long project, one that I'm glad to see behind me.

And also PS--please buy PS, Passing Strange, at your earliest convenience. At fine bookstores everywhere!

Saturday, May 22, 2010


I’ll be speaking this Sunday at the Hartford Public Library during the Letters about Literature, which is open to the public. I was one of the judges this year and I had the privilege of reading some fantastic letters. Bring your zombie or trad friends and I’ll sign yer books. Not the libraries’ books, though, because you aren’t supposed to write in those.

In other thrilling news, the paperback of Kiss of Life is due to come out on May 25. Make certain that you buy a case or two, because you can never have enough Kisses. Buy one for everyone on your Facebook friend list, and post this message: “Hey…I got a special Kiss, just for you!”. They will no doubt think that you are very considerate and cool. Or possibly creepy and strange, if they are only your Facebook friend because their uncle’s niece’s cousin’s bffl likes Glee and you like Glee too. Or you met because of Farmville. Either way, I’ll sell more books and I really appreciate your business.

PS: PS will be out June 1. Pick up a case or two of those, too.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ali Smith Interview

Ali Smith shot the photos for all of my books, including the ones for Passing Strange,above(did I mention I received a couple copies of the actual book from my brilliant editor? It is even prettier in person!)--so naturally I love her and think she is awesome. I thought it would be fun to do a mini-interview with her, so here it is!

And before I forget, make sure you check out her work at her fabulous website, And while you are there, check out the "Making of a Bookcover" video, which features some of the beautiful GenDead cover models!

1. Why are you a photographer?

it suits the way i live and helps me make sense of the world. i've always been a visual learner and visually expressive. Plus I have strong beliefs and curiosities and care about sharing them. it's the way i have found to express myself best and tell stories. my mind sees stories in chunks rather than fluid narrative. I might as well embrace that.

2. Who/what/where inspires you?

i come from a music background- punk and all that goes along with that. I played in bands most of my teen and adult life and traveled the world with it. Punk artists- like siouxsie sioux and exene cervenka- were visually genius. the whole punk aesthetic was creative and painterly. those things still inform me. my punk and goth days definitely informed all the gen dead covers! before music, i was a ballerina. that brings an appreciation for another aesthetic. if i were a lot younger and didn't sound like a fool saying it, i'd call my aesthetic a " mash up" of a few different lifestyles I've had.

my political beliefs inspire me as do my feminist beliefs and my search for meaning.

3. What is the best thing about your what you do?

F-R-E-E-D-O-M! and the blurring of the line between work and life. i mean i work damn hard, but i love what i do. I get to make art for a living and it melts fantastically into my off hours so that it all just becomes about being creative!

4. Any advice for aspiring photographers?

If you love it, you should be doing it. If not, why bother. making a living at anything is a challenge, but nothing beats loving what you do every day.

5. Tell us about your new book

It's a photo based look at the realities of how woman live their lives as mothers.

My first book, Laws of the Bandit Queens, was released by Random House and was a celebration of women who'd influenced my career and personal goals throughout my twenties and on into my thirties. It included portraits of and "life laws" from 35 extraordinary women such as Alice Walker, Sandra Bernhard, Geraldine Ferraro, Janeane Garofalo, Pat Schroeder and Sheryl Swoopes. The idea was the construction, through these life laws, of an alternate life philosophy that made more sense to me and to the women around me, who sometimes felt out of step with or unsupported by accepted social norms.

Momma Love picks up where Bandit Queens left off. It still reveres an enthusiastic, vibrant, longing spirit in women, but it shows the ways in which that spirit is inevitably altered—sometimes frustratingly diminished, sometimes gloriously enhanced—by motherhood. Also addressed is the transformation that’s occurred between the way our own mothers experienced motherhood and what it’s like to be a mother today, illuminating the differences and some of the startling similarities as well.

Thanks, Ali!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Wish You Were Here

Many years ago, I lost my mother to cancer. Among the million individual sadnesses I have about that fact (first among them: that she was never able to meet my children), one that pained me for years is something that I'd told her in her final days, namely that I was going to have a novel published in the near future. It had been my goal since I was very young to make myself into a novelist, and my mother was probably the most supportive person in my life as I worked towards achieving that goal. The week before she died, I'd entered into contract discussions with a publisher for an adult thriller I'd written entitled Skin and Bones. Immediately upon hanging up the phone after talking with my agent, I rushed into my mother's room to tell her the good news. The look of happiness that cut momentarily through her pain was one of the few pleasant memories of those days. Her expression, and her words to me as she placed her hot hand against my cheek: "That's you, Danny," she said. "That's you."

A month or so later the publisher (who, admittedly, I'd never heard of prior to my so-called book deal) went bankrupt and not long after that my then-agent and I parted ways. I never stopped writing, but for a few years I stopped submitting my work for publication. The real fun was in the writing, anyway. But I've always felt badly that one of my final assurances to my mother--that I would be fine, that I would be doing what I loved--did not come to pass. At least, it did not come to pass in the time frame or the manner in which I'd told her it would. Some years would pass before I decided to leave my cave, manuscript pages of Generation Dead in hand, and take another stab at "getting published". There were many setbacks and disappointments along the way, but I was sustained along the way both by my promise to her, and her words to me--"that's you". I got there eventually, but there were many nights where I thought that I would never make good on my promise.

Writers fall in two distinct camps generally with regards to their families and early formative experiences--they either had a happy, supportive and almost idyllic childhood, or else their family life is an endless wellspring of bitterness, horror and trauma. One or the other background seems to fuel the writing of most writers I've known. I'd definitely count myself in the former group.

Earlier this week, my brilliant and talented editor sent me a couple copies of the new Kiss of Life paperback and, finally, the soon-to-be released Passing Strange hardcover. I dedicated this one to my parents, Jeff and Elaine.

Miss you, Mom.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Making of a Book Cover

I've been very fortunate in that I've worked with absolutely brilliant people on my books. Two of those brilliant people are the photographer and the designer of thebook covers, Ali Smith and Elizabeth H. Clark, respectively.

Would you like to see a brief video on the making of the Kiss of Life and Passing Strange book covers? Of course you would! Who wouldn't? Go to the March 31 entry on Ali's blog HERE. And stay tuned, because I am hoping to get Ali to do a guest blog here at some point.

You'll notice, upon watching the video, that everyone at the shoot is gorgeous. Everyone. Models, artists, editors; all are drop-dead (har har!) gorgeous.

This may be why I have never been invited to one of the photo shoots.

I think that the fear--the altogether justifiable fear--is that I might possibly scoop one of the participants up, sling them across over my broad and hairy back, and then scamper Quasimodo-like out the window to shimmy up the side of the building. Once I reached the relative safety of the rooftop ledge where my gargoyle brethren await, I'd do nothing more harmful to my shrieking captive than read tender love sonnets and stare mournfully first at them, and then at the setting sun, with my one lazy puppy-dog eye.


Go watch the video!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Kiss Me Once, Kiss Me Twice, Come on Pretty Baby

I'll have a story called Many Happy Returns in the above anthology, which is stacked with some of the best writers working in YA today. I'm thrilled to have my work appear alongside theirs, especially as this is only my second anthology appearance, ever. Kiss Me Deadly will be out this July.

Many Happy Returns, btw, is a Generation Dead story. You won't see Phoebe or Adam or Margi or any of the gang from the novels, but you will have the opportunity to return to their differently biotic world. And I sincerely hope that you do! It gets lonely there, sometimes!

PS: Is that an awesome cover, or what?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

unRequired Reading Tour

I'm hitting the road this June in support of GDIII:Passing Strange as part of Hyperion's unRequired Reading Tour along with Kristen Tracy, Brent Crawford Stacey Klemstein, Emily Franklin, Brendan Halpin, and Liz Rudnick. Dates and locations to follow, but you can become a fan of the unRequired Reading Facebook page HERE and I promise we'll get some neat-o keen content up real soon.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Although my dream of traveling to Spain so I can have a starring role in Vicky Christina Barcelona 2 will most likely never happen, at least I can I can travel to Spain in spirit when Generacion Dead is released there. I think the release date is tomorrow; I was very, very tempted to hop a flight to Spain tomorrow to go poke around the bookstores to make sure they are well-stocked.

Don't know when this will come out, but I love the title:

Also, for those of you who can read Spanish, the bi-lingual, and/or the bi-lingual-curious, check out this nifty website:


which, I think, is "Supposedly Dead". The website features, among other cool things like banners and avatars, yer pal and mine Tommy writing some blogs in Spanish (not his native tongue). I love it when my characters are far more intelligent than I am!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Frequently and Not-So-Frequently Asked Questions

I was lucky enough to have an online chat with a group of teen readers at the Lake Geneva Library today, and because I don't believe in wasting anything (I love leftovers, too) I thought I'd post the transcript for the curious, the bored, the boredly curious and the curiously bored. Many thanks to The Librarian Sara (her official title) for the invite and for the moderation.

I had a great time, but I was promised cookies. Who ate all the cookies? Was it Ashleigh? Was it Lia? Lexi? Mary? Rachel? Don't all of you go blaming Jo aka JoJo, now!

Anyhow, here's the transcript:

LGPLyouth2: Hi!
WatersDan: Hello

LGPLyouth2: Thank you for coming to our book discussion of your book Generation Dead
LGPLyouth2: we have about five fangirls and one almost fanboy here to chat with you
WatersDan: Thanks for having me--I'm hoping I can learn about the book a little

WatersDan: sweet

LGPLyouth2: um, you wrote it :-)
WatersDan: oh, right, right

LGPLyouth2: rachel would like to commend you for being one of the few male romance authors. bravo
WatersDan: thank you, Rachel
WatersDan: You know Dean Koontz started out writing romances, too

LGPLyouth2: Rachel will now be looking into that very soon
WatersDan: they're hard to find--he wrote them under pen names, some of which he's never revealed!
WatersDan: but enough about Dean Koontz
LGPLyouth2: first question, from Lia (the typist/ executive fangirl #1)
WatersDan: Hi Lia
LGPLyouth2: hi!!!! what inspired the "Skeleton Crew" in book two?
WatersDan: the name, or the band itself?

LGPLyouth2: the general idea (both)
WatersDan: well, I listen to a lot of horror punk (among other things), and I listen to that type of music a lot when I'm writing.
WatersDan: And I wanted to show the zombies doing more "normal" things, especially in the arts. It is usually the arts that pushes social change, in my mind, more so than politics or law
LGPLyouth2: in my opinion art is more influential than politics or law.
LGPLyouth2: also there was a general "that's true" from everyone
WatersDan: sweet--we just solved all the world's problems! Thank you, and have a great day!
LGPLyouth2: many lols
LGPLyouth2: next question from Sara the Librarian...which came first; Zombies or social prejudice?
WatersDan: In the books, you mean? I knew that I wanted to write about social prejudice before I knew I wanted to write about zombies.
LGPLyouth2: cool
LGPLyouth2: why zombies?
WatersDan: Zombies ended up being my coping mechanism. The initial impetus for the book was a show I'd seen on violence in schools, featuring actual violence in schools. Kids were hurting other kids just so they could film it and be h"heroes" on YouTube. I had to write about that...but every time I tried to write a realistic novel the subject matter became too oppressive and my braaaaiiiin locked. I had all these theories and reasons why I thought kids would do that to each other floating around my head
LGPLyouth2: many comprehensive nods
WatersDan: and one day, the idea "if zombies really existed, they would be the most oppressed kids in the school". This led to "what is a zombie tried to take a living girl to the prom" etc.

LGPLyouth2: sweet (and one ....interesting...)
WatersDan: strangely, it let me bring a little distance and humor into a very heavy subject
LGPLyouth2: which is great, teens don't like to get too serious. humor relief is a win in this case
WatersDan: but they like to think along with being entertained. (right?) A lot of people overlook that and set the bar pretty low, imho
WatersDan: I triy to creat a discussion, rather than give a lecture. I don't pretend to have answers for everything

WatersDan: "try", that is
LGPLyouth2: so true. we are very underestimated. kudos for giving us things to think about.
LGPLyouth2: next question from Lexi (executive fangirl #2)...
WatersDan: Hi Lexi

LGPLyouth2: ok how did u come up with the characters from the book? (p.s. i made zombie t-shirts this is like one BIG deal to talk to u) oh and hi
WatersDan: It is a big deal to talk to you, as well. It sounds corny but the characters just sort of appeared when I started writing the book. Phoebe and Tommy were first; Adam actually was a composite of two characters, one who was written out of the first book, and Karen--even though she was the first one I introduced, in the very first line of the book--wasn't going to be anything but a walk-on (but I totally fell in love with her, immediately). Tak didn't exist either until I started writing.
WatersDan: one of the really nice things about the series is that new characters keep knocking on the door, asking to be let in. I feel like I've still got a lot I want to say and do in this world
LGPLyouth2: THANK GOD YOU KEPT KAREN AND TAK!!! (from Lia and Lexi) they're like the best couple!
WatersDan: They are two of the main characters in Passing Strange. Adam/Phoebe/Tommy kind of take a back seat
WatersDan: Pete's still there, being his usual jerky self
LGPLyouth2: The next question is from Mary (An avid reader, and wanna be author.) (and sorry but I haven't finished the book yet... >.>; I still love it though...) Ps. Lexi and Lia say WOOOOOOOH! and now they say awwhhhhhhhhhh....
WatersDan: Hi Mary
WatersDan: it sounds like Lia and Lexi are starting the Wave
LGPLyouth2: Anyways, my question is: how did you get into the minds of the female characters? I, myself try to write, but I find it hard to write dialouge for the guys... Also, hi. And lia and lexi are.
WatersDan: Guys' minds are pretty easy to get into ;)
LGPLyouth2: .....Well... yeah, but I start to turn them into female/gay guys... which doesn't work when trying to write straight romance...
WatersDan: That's a good question. I don't claim to be good at many things, but I am a good listener. Part of being a good listener is being able to "hear" what isn't said. I think that is probably the skill that most enables me to write in voices that are pretty far from "my" voice
LGPLyouth2: Ahhhhh... makes sense.
WatersDan: maybe your mind is telling you to write a gay romance, btw ...if the characters are really speaking to you that way it is hard to force them to do something else
WatersDan: if you want to "listen" for a male-male voice, read some series detective fiction. Robert Parker and Ed McBain are two of my favorites. Also George Pelecanos, Robert Crais, Raymond Chandler...
LGPLyouth2: Already been done... >.>; by me. Alottttt of times. I agree with the last part. Mkay. Thanks for the advice, but I'm going to stop typing. If I don't I might die by rabid fangirls.
WatersDan: I wonder what you would turn into by the light of a full moon if you were to be bitten by a rabid fangirl?
LGPLyouth2: HI, again, this is Rachel (CEO Romance fangirl...I'm the only one in this group....) [I feel so alone] Group clapping heard around the room for Rabid fangirl bite comment...
WatersDan: Instead of "Arowoooooo!" you would howl "Ohmigaaaaaaawwwwwd!
LGPLyouth2: I'm curious, did Tommy actually Love Pheobe, because htere was this whole, "Do you really care?" deal throughout most of the book...?
WatersDan: Hi again Rachel
LGPLyouth2: hello
WatersDan: That is one of those questions I will always leave up to the reader.
What do you think?
More importantly, how do we ever really know if someone really loves us for who we are, as opposed to what we are?
LGPLyouth2: rachel-no, he didn't
LGPLyouth2: ashleigh-mayyybe...
LGPLyouth2: Lia- it would never work
LGPLyouth2: Lexi- im still questionable
LGPLyouth2: Mary- hasn't gotten to that part
LGPLyouth2: Jo- should've been friends (non romantic)
LGPLyouth2: and here is ashleigh to explain her position furthur... (also Jo is a guy aka JoJo)
LGPLyouth2: HI there, :-)
WatersDan: He Jo aka JoJo
WatersDan: I mean "hey"

LGPLyouth2: Well, on the whole subject of whether or not Tommy really loved Pheobe, I said it was a maybe because there was emphasis on the fact that he said "a girl to love me" not Pheobe specifically. And Adam gave up everything for her at the end of the book. It kind of created a big conflict for the reader.
LGPLyouth2: Lia screamed and threw the book, so there was a HUGE conflict for her.
WatersDan: Hi Ashleigh. Nice insight! I hope Lia didn't create a zombie when she threw the book.

LGPLyouth2: XD many lols
LGPLyouth2: Lia- someday i shall introduce you to my friend Sal, (idk why i named him sal, just roll with it)
WatersDan: I wonder, though, do we always manage to say exactly what we want to say in a budding romance? And I'll also say this...I don't know that it is possible to really overcome our difference if we are always second-guessing each others' intentions.
LGPLyouth2: That's very true. We are only human. Second guessing shows a lack of trust, which is a big part of a strong relationship.
WatersDan: People "hang" Tommy on that line--and of course it gives Phoebe doubts--but does it really define his feelings? We aren't zombies (most of us, anyway) but do we always express ourselves appropriately? Sometimes I feel like I don't even have the language for what I want to express.
WatersDan: Then again--if I'm Phoebe--his statement doesn't exactly melt my heart!
LGPLyouth2: here's Lia. and thanks for talking to me. :-)
LGPLyouth2: i totally know what you mean abou the "language" thing. i always think there's not enough good words in the english language to describe the true workings of a person's brain.
WatersDan: there probably are--we just haven't learned 'em yet!
LGPLyouth2: like if you were to read a person's thoughts, would they be in comprehensive sentences or would you just feel it?
WatersDan: if you were telepathetic...

LGPLyouth2: many woos! and one AMEN from me, we probably haven't learned them all yet. those big dictionaries are scary. it's easier to just make up your own words "telepathetic" ?
LGPLyouth2: :-D
WatersDan: making up words and terms is fun. I'll probably have "Differently Biotic" written on my tombstone
LGPLyouth2: will you even need one? you may still be walking around
WatersDan: I like dictionaries, though. Also David Foster Wallace, whose writing taught me many words I didn't know
LGPLyouth2: medical dictionaries are fun too, did you know lycanthropy (werewolf paranoia) is a diagnosable thing???
LGPLyouth2: oh, and here's Lexi...
WatersDan: I did not know that
LGPLyouth2: lia is jumping up and down
WatersDan: If you were a mislycanthrope, would that mean you hate werewolves? or that you were an unwerewolf-like werewolf?

LGPLyouth2: and ok im typing much better less hyper ok umm why did u make Pete the way he is not that we mind but (sortof) many lols
WatersDan: well, every book needs some bad guys
LGPLyouth2: yeah so true but why so CRAZYYYYYY!
WatersDan: but I wanted one that had some type of rationale for the way he was.
WatersDan: Do you think he's crazy?
LGPLyouth2: and why does he hate/love pheobe (yeah we do)
WatersDan: so...wait. You think Pete loves Phoebe, but Tommy doesn't? Who is crazy now????
LGPLyouth2: mary-isn't it because she reminds him of julie? And I like the fact that he knows that he is crazy, and wouldn't have minded if julie had come back.
WatersDan: JNice insight, Mary...a big part of Pete's craziness (if that is what it is) is tied up in the feelings he had for Julie, and what happened (and didn't happen) to her
LGPLyouth2: lexi-well he calls her julie all the time i mean come on and he has a pet name for her mortisha scarypants really he must love her some how even if it is like i HATE but LOVE u. ]
WatersDan: he likes irritating Adam, too, which is part of it. They used to be good pals, remember?

LGPLyouth2: yep
WatersDan: And everyone leaves him...his dad...Adam...his mom, too a certain extent...Julie, forever...
WatersDan: awwww. poor Pete

LGPLyouth2: awww pity for pete.
WatersDan: I don't think most people that are evil start out as inherently evil. Who knows how Pete would have turned out if Julie had come back from the dead?
WatersDan: would he be like Faith, or like Colette's parents?
LGPLyouth2: way to leave us hanging on a cliff...:(:(:(:(:( unfortunately our splendid hour spent talking to you is up. and we must sign off now. however you can expect several facebook requests from us. :-D thank you so much for talking to us.
WatersDan: How would we react, in similar circumstances?
WatersDan: My pleasure. Hey do you mind if I copy this transcript to my blog?
LGPLyouth2: This is the Librarian Sara
WatersDan: Hello The Librarian Sara
WatersDan: cool. will do
LGPLyouth2: thank you for hanging with us today, i hope we can do this again sometime. perhaps when your next book comes out.
LGPLyouth2: when will that be exactly????????
LGPLyouth2: :-D :-D
WatersDan: Ummmm....June? The Spanish ed. of the first book comes out next week, tho! Generacion Dead! Beso de Vida will follow soon.
LGPLyouth2: viva la dead!!! mucho me gusta! Bye we really have to go. the evil librarians are kicking us out. not sara though she's the good one
WatersDan: Take care!

LGPLyouth2: bye bye Daniel Waters!!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cerebros Insípidos

Dorimar from the wonderful Mientras Lees book blog was kind enough to interview me recently in anticipation of the release of Generacion Dead (for some reason, it will not be Generacion Muerta, probably because it would be really hard to untangle the script-y "Dead" and redo it as "Muerta"). Dorimar translated the interview and it appears in both Spanish and English for your viewing pleasure. The title of the blog above is one of the translated phrases in the interview, and I'm thinking of adopting it as my personal motto. What do you think?

You can view all of Dorimar's hard work HERE.

BTW, I last week I heard that the rights to the first three Generation Dead books sold in yet another country where I don't speak the language. I started a contest on my Facebook page (friend me HERE I'm so lonely!) where I offered a free copy of the U.K. edition of Kiss of Life to the first person who guessed correctly which country it was...after about forty tries, there's still no winner, so I thought I'd open up the contest here. Free copy, U.K. Kiss of Life! That lovely purple lily! Leave me a comment with your guess!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Multimedia Fun Day: Generacion Dead Trailer

Some brilliant person or people made a book trailer for the impending release of Generacion Dead, and, having ascertained my boundless love for the Rosedales, used their music as the soundtrack. I think it goes together like peanut butter and chocolate!

Also found this cool trailer (and many others) created by the University of Central Florida: Generation Dead Trailer.

The book description says "Generation Dead by Suzanne Collins", though. Sigh. I assure you that I am a real person and not a pen name for Suzanne, who, as I'm sure you know, is the author of the wonderful Hunger Games series, among others.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sometimes You Find It

...and sometimes it finds you.

Writing is often a treasure hunt in which you have no map, no shovel, and in many cases, one you hadn't even realized that you had begun. And by "Writing" I mean "every moment of your life", because if you call yourself a writer (and why shouldn't you?) then pretty much anything you do intrinsically becomes a component of the writing process. Writing that statement, true as it is, makes me cringe, if only because I wouldn't want anyone to get the mistaken impression that being a writer means all you need to do is traipse around feeling poetical all the time; some of that is fine, but the main thing is you need to work. Even when you don't appear as though you are working, you must be working. I'll never forget listening to the writer Jack Ketchum talk about the difficulties of explaining to non-writers what the writing process is like. He was speaking of a girlfriend who was harping on him for not working and for just "staring at the wall". His answer? "That's writing, sometimes!" So true. Thought, experience, spacing out--all are invaluable to the inevitable act of actually getting words down on paper.

But sometimes, staring at the wall is just staring at the wall. All depends if you are working or not.

I took Starro the Conqueror beagle on a walk today, a day which was yet another thoroughly dismal gray February day in New Endland. I wore my sweatshirt with the beagle-frayed cuffs because I wanted to feel the chill, but also a hat and gloves because I didn't want it to seep into me. We were going at a pretty brisk pace and I was happy that my wife had been walking Star so much because she wasn't pulling like she did when she was a puppy.

We call Star the Sphinx sometimes because of the way she likes to perch along the back of our sectional sofa; when walking she can't resist leaping onto the many low stone walls that border the properties around town, just like a kid who can't seem to avoid rushing right towards the craggy rocks at the beach. I'm leading her along and part of the stone wall she is prancing along serves as the railing for a short bridge that spans a brook, one that runs swiftly even when not saturated with three solid days of snow, spit and rain like the surrounding countryside has been. I pause a moment and watch the brook flow, guaging it's depth. I realized that if Star were somehow to slip from both her harness and the wall itself to drop to the icy water below, that I would have virtually no chance to rescue her before the current carried her away. I'd have to leap the wall and make my way down the muddy embankment and hope that she didn't panic. Even if she could swim against the current--unlikely, given it's speed and her stubby legs, she'd have nowhere to go, as the sides of the brook were stone walls a good foot higher than the water, making it like a miniature canal. Far downstream--it was hard to tell through the underbrush, it looked like there might be a footbridge, but I didn't think it would stop her. I think she'd go right under it, and be lost.

This is what I'm thinking as I watch the dark water. I realize that Star has stopped her pacing to look at the water too, and then she turns back to me and for a moment we seem to sharing a common mind.

"I'd go after you," my half of the mind thought.

"I know you would," she thought in return, and went back to staring at the water, her floppy beagle ears brushing the lip of the stone wall.

Then the smell of wood smoke mixed with the peaty aromas of wet earth and mossy stone already in my nostrils triggered childhood memories that shimmered just beyond the reach of my consciousness. Other details of the present swirled into thosememories; the feel of cooling sweat on the back of my warm neck, the sound of the water below, the precise quality of gray light light that muted further the winter colors around me.

I hadn't gone looking for that moment, but there it was.

I inhaled until my lungs were full, held it, and then released, slowly. This is my signal to myself that I am alive, made of flesh, and not a character in a story.

Then I called my dog and we continued on our way.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Song For While I'm Away

Wow--it has been awhile since I've been here, hasn't it? Look how dusty the place is. Disgraceful. And shocking.

Busy, busy, busy. No excuses for this level of neglect, but...still. I haven't been entirely idle in the gap between this blog and last. I did another round of edits with my incredibly talented editor on Passing Strange. I wrote my first ever Generation Dead short story (well, unless you count Tommy's entire blog), which will be published in an anthology before too long (more on that later), AND I also finished another novel with the working title of Shiny Happy People. I'll let you know up front that this book is 100% zombie-free and is not part of the Generation Dead series.

And you know what?

I really, really like it. I think you will, too.

And books! We've got some books coming out this year, too. Check these release dates out:

March 25 Generacion Dead The first book I've written that I can't read!

May 4 Kiss of Life paperback, which includes a ultra-exclusive sneak peak of Passing Strange!

June 1 Passing Strange U.S. edition, which includes the ultra-exclusive entire text of Passing Strange! Wow!

July 8 Passing Strange U.K. edition, which includes the entire text of the book with bonus alternate spellings! With a special variant cover! The image of which I will post if anyone wants to see it!

Whew, that's a lot going on. I also tried to get Disney to do a special three-in-one gwp (gift-with-purchase) edition of the three books, but it didn't fly. I had suggested that the GWP be a wheel of fine aged cheese, but they politely thanked me for my idea and went to the next item on the agenda. Cheese doesn't really have anything to do with the books(I decided to cut out a scene where Takayuki and Skip Slydell discover that the secret of the zombies' return from death is linked to a particular brand of smoked Gouda found only in little roadside shops in upstate Vermont, for various reasons): I just like cheese.