Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Phoebe Phan Art

I love the way you make my world go 'round

Wow! What a quick response! I'm thrilled to be able to show you the first GD-related pieces of art sent to the site, this one from undeadforlife (great tag, btw)

She writes:

My interpretation of Phoebe.

The model is my friend Erin...she most likely has more tatts than Phoebe would but I always kinda have this mental image of her when i read the book...

-The Most Awesome Zombie Loving Girl There Is,

Thank you, undeadforlife! And thanks to your friend Erin as well!

In other news, I'm still working on the New Year's Plan.

My 2008 in Review

Some of 2008's major accomplishments:

*Published a book (that was pretty cool)

*Lost thirty pounds (or the equivalent of two puppies)

*Finished Kiss of Life (cool)

*Wrote a metric ton (maybe some of it is cool)

*Read a hundred and eighty books (many of which were very cool)

*Managed to blog at least a couple times a month

*Met roughly three thousand, seven hundred and eighty-six cool people (roughly!)

That's on the personal/professional side--it was a great year for my family as well.

I'm not one for spontaneous bursts of enthusiasm, but I assure you--2009 is going to rock!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fan Art

Love is like oxygen

When I wrote about my friend Matthew Dow Smith the other day, I omitted the fact that I'm insanely jealous of him. Not because of his good looks, immense wealth, or exceptional taste in clothing, food and wine--but because he can draw. I can't draw. I always wanted to be able to draw, and I've put in countless hours of time trying to draw, but I just can't. Intellectually I can understand the mechanics of drawing and composition, but I just can't execute on the page. When I was younger I desperately wanted a career in comic books, but if I was ever going to get there, it wouldn't be through my artistic skill.

Second best is writing something that someone illustrates or represents through another artistic medium. Of the many wonderful moments associated with the publication of Generation Dead, the moment I received the jpeg of the cover (designed by the beautiful and obviously mega-talented Elizabeth H. Clark, who also did the stunning Kiss of Life cover) ranks very high up there. Especially because when I was told the concept for the cover, I absolutely hated it! But then when I saw the finished result, it was love at first sight, and from that moment on I decided I'd shut up and let people do their jobs.

This week I've discovered that other talented people have produced Generation Dead inspired artwork, which makes me even happier than the sugar and cream laden Tank of coffee that I just pounded (yes, I'm back on the bean). I ran across a website called, which has a few really, really nice GD inspired pieces. If you go to the site and do a search for "Generation Dead" (include the quotes, otherwise you'll get everything with either of those words in it) you can check it out.

Makes me think that I should find a place for so-called "fan art" here on the site. Hmmmmm....

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Everyday Will Be Like a Holiday

Make love your goal

My favorite Holiday? New Year's Eve. I use the holiday as a great excuse to participate in one of the great American pastimes: self reinvention. Beginning around Christmas Eve, I enter a week-long ritual of self-assessment and self-reflection, my long contemplative stretches offset by frenzied writing and note-taking. I review where I've been and where I want to go. I think about my family. I think about every aspect of my life, sometimes employing self-helpy, new-agey terms like "holistically" and "centering" and "enchilada", and decide this year, it will be different!

Guess what? Every year, I've been right!

Check out this cool review from Charles De Lint, which can also be found in the new issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction, here. A good review is always sweet, but having a writer that I admire as much as Mr. De Lint weigh in especially special.

Almost sixty degrees here in Connecticut. Went running this morning and a deer crossed my path yet again, maybe about ten feet away from me. Tried to catch her, failed. Next time.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy of the Day--Special Gift Edition

Love, it don't come easy

What's the deal with all of these Happy Day moments? People are going to forget that I write about gloom, doom, and the living dead.

For many years, I've held fast to the idea that it is increasingly harder to make new friends as one gets older. The gave and take of true friendship, the willingness to have unguarded moments with people tends to go away, I always thought, once you you leave college and start putting on the trappings of adulthood. Then again, maybe I'm just a jerk, and always have been.

Flying in the face of my curmudgeonly beliefs is the fact that some of I've met some of my very closest friends just within the past couple years. Maybe it is because I have more opportunity to meet and spend time with writers and artists (i.e., freaks like me), or because I'm generally a more happy person than I was in previous career-incarnations, such as when I was a manager of various mall-based retail stores (shudder! Much love, clerks of the world! It will all be over in a few weeks!), but I've somehow been more able to make brandy-new friends recently. Plays well with others, that's me. But it is cool, because I really thought I was at an age where I couldn't make new friends anymore, in the same way I can never really enjoy a game of ghost in the graveyard or play in the sandbox with action figures (at least not with kids' my own age, anyhow).

Anyway, one of those friends is a guy by the name of Matthew Dow Smith, one of those scarily talented people who just seem to operate at a higher level of creativity than the rest of us. Matt makes his living as a comic book artist (Hellboy, X-Men, Supernatural), is a phenomenal writer, and can even play bass guitar. He's written for television and done artwork for computer games. He can probably lay a ceramic tile floor, bake better pies than your mom, and do reasonable forgeries of renaissance sculpture as well for all I know. I'm reasonably sure that he can't been his elbows backwards seventy degrees like I can though, so at least I've got that over him.

We met a few years ago at a writing workshop, a first for both of us, and basically were drawn together simply because we each liked the work the other submitted for the workshop. We ended up closing the hotel bar talking, and during our conversation we'd basically led very parallel lives, having grown up reading the same books, liking the same comic books, etc. We had such eerie points of similarity through our lives that I was almost afraid to shake his hand at the end of the night, in case we really were alternate universe doppelgangers whose touch would cause a cosmic cataclysm of universe-shattering proportions.

Luckily, we shook hands without incident, and we've been friends ever since, managing to get together at least a couple times a year for conferences and such even though there's many miles between us. And the workshop where we met ended up being, somewhat circuitously, the launch pad for my writing career, for first real "break" in the business. I can honestly say that might not have happened if I hadn't met Matt. At the very least, it wouldn't have happened in the same way if we hadn't connected like we did. The fact that we have remained friends makes the whole thing that much sweeter.

And sweeter still,today my friend Matt sent me one of the coolest Christmas gifts I've ever received, namely some of his original artwork!! The art features his character Fade, whose adventures began in the Negative Burn comic book and, God willing, will continue in the Fade prose novel that Matt is working on. It is a beautiful and touching gift, and I'm both proud and thrilled to have it.

Want to see it? Go to Matt's website HERE and check it out. That's the picture, right there on the homepage.

Someday, Matt and I hope to collaborate on a graphic novel together. We've got the ideas (crazy ideas! Mad ideas! But they just might work! )we just need that most elusive of commodities--time. Matt is busy drawing the upcoming Mirror's Edge comic for DC/Wildstorm and (God willing) working on the Fade novel, and I've been writing two new novels and editing a third.

Someday, though...someday!

Thanks, Matt! Merry Christmas to you, Claire and Sadie! Tell her that was a pretty sweet yeti she sent along for Star!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy of the Day/ My Wild Life Part XXIV

And they will never know, for love I sold my soul

I went jogging through the woods today--why not? It was a balmy sixty degrees here in Southeastern Connecticut! Someone had decorated one of the dwarf pines that lined the path through the woods; a dozen or so shiny round ornaments hung from the still-wet branches.

I figured out that I pass approximately .25 people in the woods each day I go jogging, and I actually go pretty often. Every other day at least, except I was sort of bad for a week or two after NCTE (I did use the treadmill once when I was down there, and walked about 17 miles up and down the river walk). What this means to me is that whoever decorated that tree is an exceedingly cool human being.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy of the Day

Our love is overdue

My editor sent me an email today letting me know that Generation Dead was named to Kirkus Review's Best YA Books of 2008.


I'm too stunned to even manage an adequate happy dance. Maybe with a little help from the Vince Guaraldi Trio, so fun to play at this time of year...

Thanks, Kirkus!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Gratuitous Puppy Photo!

I really love you, you're my best friend

Star had a ruff day helping set up the Christmas tree. Yes, we put her bed on the couch in case one cushion wasn't soft enough for her.

Why should I try to write anything entertaining on this blog? I have a beagle puppy.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Me and My Good Pal, Mr. King

And it made me love you, and it made me never want to go away

Hey there--

A couple of nice new reviews, one for GD from Anne at Starships and Books

and the first one I'm aware of on Kiss of Life from Karin at Karin's Book Nook

And check this out at Dark Scribe Magazine : Generation Dead was nominated for the magazine's Black Quill award, alongside Mr. King's Duma Key and others. Quite a thrill! There will be a "reader's choice" award alongside the editorial pick, so go ahead and stuff the ballot box for your favorite, even if it isn't mine!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Big Hearted Fun at NCTE

Burnin' love comes once in a lifetime

The NCTE convention was probably the most fun I've had at a promotional event this year, and not just because of the lack of anyone accusing me of corrupting the youth of America. I got to meet teachers and librarians from all over the place, including some who post on this blog (hi Sandi!), and San Antonio is just a very cool place.

I also was fortunate enough to meet dozens of the best authors writing YA fiction today, people who I've admired from a distance for years. I won't do a who's who for fear of leaving anyone out, but suffice to say I was pretty starstruck and probably babbled incoherently (or even more incoherently than usual) around many of the folks I met. I will, however, mention that I got to hang out with the fabulous E. Lockhart, who I was fortunate enough to begin my promo travel circuit with. E.'s book The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks was a well-deserved National Book Award nominee, as though you needed another reason to go read it. If you haven't, what are you waiting for?

And speaking of babbling incoherently, the folks at Hyperion shot some promotional footage of me, no doubt to capitalize on my radio-star good looks. Talk about a bizarre experience! For some reason I am pretty comfortable speaking in front of a group like I did at the panel I was on, and reasonably engaging one on one or in small groups, but I found hitting the grapefruits that Hyperion was serving me up during the "video interview" almost impossible to hit. At one point, when bungling yet another chance to describe Kiss of Life, I was asked "You did write the book, didn't you?" Yarg. Hopefully the Disney special effects team will take the footage and I'll come across as endearing as Wall-E. In fact, maybe they should just use footage of Wall-E with my voice over. Except my voice is probably pretty irritating so they should re-dub my answers in Wall-E's voice. Did I mention they played Wall-E on the airplane home? I love that movie.

Good times, good times. And I got home in plenty of time to act as my wife's sous-chef for Thanksgiving.