Friday, January 30, 2009

Advertisements for Self, Others

Today's GD inspired art is from Ryan Robbins, who tells me that he did this piece in anticipation of Comic Con in New York City. I had the pleasure of meeting Ryan at a World Fantasy Convention many many months ago. Not only is he great company, but he's a fantastic artist as well. Many thanks to Ryan for letting me put this piece up at the site.

Kiss of Life is available for preorder at generous discounted rates at fine online retailers everywhere, most of which now have the cover art up (how I wish they could put up the full wraparound covers; that would probably double sales in a heartbeat). Most often the book is listed as being by "Dan Waters", so you may have to hunt around a little to find it.

If you are on Facebook and want to be friends I can be found Here. Also, if you would like to join a Facebook fan site for Generation Dead, we'd love for you to join Here.

I just finished reading Stephen King's new book of short stories,
Just After Sunset, which I loved. I've been reading King since I could read and his collections never fail to disappoint. Be warned; despite the title and color scheme, the book is not part of the Twilight series.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

U.K. Kiss

Purple is the new black, btw.

Kiss of Life is available for preorder at fine online retailers everywhere. Sometimes it is listed as being Generation Dead: Kiss of Life. Sometimes it is listed as being The Kiss of Life. Usually it is listed as being by "Dan Waters" instead of "Daniel Waters". Sometimes it is listed as Repairing Toasters and other Useful Household Appliances, 3rd. Ed, by Samuel J. Lemonrind. We're working on it, okay?

Early May for the U.S. release, early July for the U.K. release.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Why I Don't Use an Author Photo

Thanks once again to the incredible Yasmin B for this photograph. More of Yasmin's art can be found

Note: this photograph has not been altered in any way.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Phoebe and Tommy Photo

Today's artwork comes from Katie! Thanks, Katie! I love the way you've zombified and goth-ized your subjects here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Phoebe and Tommy

Today's artwork of extreme coolness was done by Isabel. Thanks, Isabel! And speaking of cool:

Quote of the Day:
I'll tell you my secret, man: I don't tell no one my secrets.
Miles Davis

Was there ever a human being as cool as Miles Davis? Probably not, as he was responsible for the Birth of the Cool. I've been listening to his fusion recordings lately, some of the most amazing pieces of music (and live performance) ever. A nice change of pace, because as we've discussed I'm usually listening to metal. But, maybe that is one of those secrets that I shouldn't tell.

In between reading The Terror I read The Forest for the Trees, by Betsy Lerner, a former editor and current agent. Subtitled "An Editor's Advice to Writers", I thought it was one of the best books on or about writing that I've read (I've read many, many, many. Still looking for arcane secrets), and one of the few that was lol funny in places. Speaking of cool quotes, how about Ms. Lerner's promise not to "Strunk you over the head with rules about style". Now that I've "Gone Pro" (which reminds me of another great book, The First Time I Got Paid For It: Writers' Tales From the Hollywood Trenches, edited by Peter Lefcourt), many of these books resonate with me in a completely different way than the did when I was working in the boiler room (note: I never actually wrote in a boiler room, but Stephen King did, and writing in a boiler room shows far more determination and grit than working in a comfortable home office with not one but two lava lamps, like I often did). Many of the sections of writing/publishing books--the "what to expect when you are expecting to publish" sections, as Ms. Lerner terms them ,were completely lost on me back in the days when I was pressing my own ink from octopus glands and grape juice and writing with a porcupine quill (note: I never...well, you get the idea). I just wasn't internalizing the "once you are there, these are the things you will need to contend with" advice, advice which seems more important to me today.

Oh--don't confuse "today" with "there", though--there is no "there". Journey, not destination, etc. There are still arcane secrets to be acquired and shared.

A great book, though, for aspirants and publishing rookies alike. Maybe for old, battle scarred vets as well; I can't really speak from that position, yet. There's more food for thought in the book than just "the biz" type of stuff; a couple lines from an early paragraph in her introduction that stuck me as so appropriate to how and why I've been working lately that I have put them on the "wall of quotes" that hangs above my monitor. If you write or want to write, check it out and maybe it will speak to you, as it did to me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


This piece is from HoundDoomLover, and you can see more of her work at deviant art here. I love how she captured Margi's quirky, winsome nature--and the piece is done in her favorite color, too! Sweet! Many thanks, HoundDoomLover, for your work and your permission to use it here on the site.

Did I mention that I hate winter? In case I was unclear, I hate winter. The snow. the ice. The cold. Yuck. And brilliant me, I pick yesterday to start reading The Terror by Dan Simmons, which is set in the Arctic Circle! No, I couldn't read another book about Hawaii or a desert somewhere, I had to start reading a book about the Arctic Circle.. And, of course, Dan Simmons being one of my favorite authors working today, it is great and I'll keep reading even though it causes me to feel the frostbite he so lovingly describes.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Let's Interactive!

Many thanks to Becca for allowing me to post the above video review. I swear neither I nor Skip Slydell bribed her in any way, although I may be paying her kindness back with a visit to the library where she works. Has anyone else noticed my empty calendar at right???

Sunday, January 11, 2009

More Phoebe Phan Art

Isn't this beautiful? It was done by Yasmin B and you can see more of her work at deviantart here. I've never really gotten to see readers with the U.K. edition of the book so I was doubly psyched to see it incorporated in the artwork.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I've been encouraged to engage in social networking (as opposed to my usual antisocial networking) and so I'm in need of friends on Facebook. You can find my Facebook page here. Be my fweind?

I'm actually doing quite well on the 3K a day plan so far, even with going through another editorial pass on Kiss of Life with my brilliant and beautiful editor at Hyperion. And by beautiful I mean internally as well as externally. Thanks very, very much to the folks who sent in corrections for mistakes they saw in the arcs, especially Jeanne at Necromancy Never Pays.

I'm typing this in between uploading songs for my son's iPod, which was his Christmas gift this year--he came to me and requested that I put on James Bond themes, some Jimi Hendrix, and "all the Beatles". Squee!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Writing, Running

behind the hatred there lies a murderous desire for love

Sort of a tangential follow-up on my last post

An author by the name of David Yoo and I have been exchanging emails regarding books on writing. David wrote Stop Me if You've Heard This One Before which is easily one of the finest novels, YA or otherwise, that I read last year and so you should buy and read it at your earliest convenience. I find that the recommendation from someone I respect is the third most trustworthy reason to pick up a particular book, right behind blind luck and my own awesome powers of psychometry. I read pretty much every book on writing that comes out, hoping to learn arcane secrets. While I'm not smart enough to figure out most of the arcane secrets, I do enjoy reading other writers' writing about writing (and then writing about other writers writing about writing) because then I feel marginally less insane. Marginally. Anyhow, in the exchange David mentioned Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, which I read today. It is mostly about running but also about writing.

I greatly enjoyed the book. Like me, Mr. Murakami started running when he was in his thirties. Unlike me, he started writing in his thirties, but I refuse to hate him, even though the first novel he wrote ended up winning some contest and went on to published while I toiled away for years, spending eight thousand dollars on printer ribbon without so much as a classified ad being published. I have expunged "bitter" from my emotional palate.

Also unlike me, Mr. Murakami has run many marathons, including a 62 mile ultramarathon! I start to hyperventilate and my calves curl up like Styrofoam in a microwave just thinking about it. He still runs a marathon or two a year, and he's at least a decade older than me. I especially enjoyed passages where he wrote about how he thought running had helped him as a writer. Good books inspire me to go write, and this one inspired me to write and go running. Writing process junkies and runners alike would likely enjoy the book.

And speaking of enjoying books, if you enjoyed Generation Dead, here are some reasons why you would also enjoy Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before:

*Both our books feature Korean characters with the last name of Kim

*Both our books have a character named Gino--how many Gino's do you know in your real life?

*Both our books make oh-so clever use of an "STD" acronym

* Both books feature a scene where a boy asks a girl to lie down and "trust them"--and the girls actually do!!!!

* Both of our books have an attractive shade of blue on the cover.

* Judging from the back jacket photos, we could easily pass as brothers! (Actually, this last comment is untrue. There is no author photo on the back of Generation Dead, and with good reason. But if I looked like David Yoo, there would be! He's fine!)

Check it out. And if you like writing, or running, or writing and running, or writing on writing and running, check out Murakami's memoir as well.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

How to Make A Million

I feel safe within the arms of love's discovery

The idea of "productivity" goals with regards to writing have always seemed a bit absurd to me, although I've always set them for myself (you'll find little bits of hypocrisy like this hidden all throughout my personal philosophy). Accumulating a page or word count is all well and good, but if it is all garbage, who cares? On the other hand, I've always been of the belief that effort properly applied can and will achieve results, and I've got trust myself enough to know that if I produce X amount of pages, at least Y will be worthwhile in some capacity. Then there's the idea that creativity is a muscle that can be exercised, so with a certain amount of reps or laps put it you can bulk up the ole brain, and with continued conditioning your output becomes at once more powerful, and you can sustain that output longer. There's plenty of books out on this subject, some good, most bad, and I've read dozens and dozens of them over the years. All I know is that certain things work for me, and I like to make "tweaks" here and there as I go on in the spirit of continuous process improvement. Some of my bold new writing initiatives work, others are glorious failures. But because, I think, that my starting position is: writing is incredibly fun, the improvements I try to make become fun as well.

A few years ago I initiated a goal of writing three thousand words a day, admittedly an aggressive number for me (although a walk in the park for many writers). I included "creative nonfiction" writing towards the goal, so blogs and articles would count, but not emails (even though I can write a pretty darn creative email). I'm a very sloppy writer, one who tends to "bleed all over the page" as I move towards the end of the story, and so this method worked pretty well for me. I found that it was critical for me to get the story "out", and once the story was out I was relaxed enough to go back and begin my editorial process.I read somewhere that Dean Koontz works in a very different way; he will work and work and work a single page until he finds it perfect before moving on. There are plenty of other variations to the idea of targeting a daily word or page count, all the way from "one true sentence" to thousands and thousands of words.

I wasn't consistent with the 3K a day. Many days I missed the mark, but on other days, when I entered a weird trance-like state and the words came easily I could sail beyond that mark (and yes, I used the Hemingway trick of stopping in the middle of a sentence). Overall, though, I'd say there were many more days where I fell short than when I hit it.

Sitting down last week and reviewing the 2009 plan, I realized that 3000 words a day would be over a million words a year. Imagine that--a million words.

This idea excites me.

Now, I'm not advocating quantity over quality. I'm certain that only a fraction of those million words will be "usable" in the sense of being able to be published. And I've no idea how this will effect my ability to edit afterwards--maybe the increased word count will only lead me to wasting far, far more time on the other side trying to decipher and decode what I've produced. Maybe instead of developing muscles that will enable me to write better books, I'll in effect be running in the wrong direction. But--a million words! How cool would that be?

I think I read somewhere that Stephen King's method was a daily dose of"four hours writing, four hours reading". I have a feeling he does more than that in either category--because he clearly loves both reading and writing. A few years ago I set a reading goal of two books a week, and since them I've exceeded that every year.
Maybe 3K a Day will lead to great things, or just a giant headache.

Either way, it will be fun to find out. I'm already two thousand behind this year, so I better get crackin'.