Undead Anonymous

July 11th, 2011

I’ll be attending Comic-Con in San Diego from July 21-24 and will be appearing at the following signings and panels:

Signing: Geekscape Booth (#4016)
1:00pm – 2:00pm

I’ll have bookmarks, postcards, and a limited supply of 11″ x 17″ posters of Breathers and Fated that I’ll be giving away. While I won’t have any novels with me, feel free to bring your copy along or you can purchase one at the Mysterious Galaxy Booth (#1119)

Panel: Room 6A
1:45pm – 2:45pm

Vampires and Others – How to make a relationship work when you or your significant other lack a pulse, or face other mortal-challenged issues.

Relationship advice from: Patricia Briggs (The Mercy Thompson series), Nancy Holder (The Crusade series), Linda Thomas-Sundstrom (The Golden Vampire), S.G. Browne (Fated), Clay & Susan Griffith (The Vampire Empire series), and Christine Cody (Bloodlands).

Autograph session for the panel to follow:

3:00pm – 4:00pm
Autograph Area 8

At this point I don’t anticipate any additional appearances, so if you’re at the convention on Thursday and/or Saturday, swing by the Geekscape Booth or the panel and say “hi.”

Long Island Book Signing

June 9th, 2011

Next weekend, June 16-19, I’ll be attending the Horror Writer’s Association Bram Stoker Weekend at the Long Island Marriott Hotel in Long Island, New York. Although the majority of the weekend programming is open only to those who have registered for the convention, there will be a mass book signing the evening of Thursday, June 16th, that is open to the public.

Held in the Grand Ballroom of the Marriott, the Book Signing Meet and Greet will run from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. There’s no guarantee that everyone at the convention will be signing or have books for sale, but here’s a list of convention attendees. There will be a special area for Guests of Honor, which include Peter Straub, David Morrell, Gillian Flynn, Douglas Clegg, and Dacre Stoker (the great grand-nephew of Bram Stoker).

While I will be in attendance signing books, unfortunately I won’t have any copies of Breathers or Fated for sale and I can’t guarantee that anyone in the dealer’s room will have copies available. However, please feel free to bring along your copy for a signature or just stop by to say “hey.” This will be my only appearance while I’m in New York.

Hope to see you next Thursday!

Long Island Marriott Hotel
101 James Doolittle Boulevard
Uniondale, NY
(516) 794-3800 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (516) 794-3800 end_of_the_skype_highlighting


March 28th, 2011

I’ll be appearing at WonderCon this weekend at the Moscone Center South in San Francisco for a couple of events.

April 1 – Signing
Geekscape, Booth #617
2:00PM – 3:00PM

On Friday, April 1, I’ll be signing 11″ x 17″ posters of the covers for Breathers and Fated, including the UK versions. Unfortunately, I won’t have any copies of my books for sale, but feel free to bring your copy to the Geekscape Booth (#617) and I’ll be happy to sign it.

April 2 – Interview w/ F. Paul Wilson
Room 220
2:00PM – 3:00PM

On Saturday, April 2, I’ll be interviewing F. Paul Wilson, bestselling author of The Keep, Black Wind, and the Repairman Jack Series, as well as numerous other novels, screenplays, and comic books. There will be an audience Q&A afterward.

Hope to see you this weekend!

Fate, Destiny, and the Consumer Culture

October 19th, 2010

In July 2003, I was sitting on a bench at a shopping mall, watching people walk past and wondering what their futures held for them. I started writing some thoughts down about a character who can see what everyone will be like in fifteen or twenty years and went with it. A little while later, I’d scribbled out several pages that would eventually become the opening chapter to Fated.

The novel is narrated by Fate (aka Fabio) who’s in charge of assigning the futures of the 83% of humans who are fated to live ordinary, mediocre lives – most of whom will make bad decisions or fail to achieve anything more than a fleeting encounter with success.

Think single-term Presidents.
Think drug-addicted actors.
Think one-hit wonders.

Destiny, on the other hand, gets the rest of the population who are destined for greatness. Or at least for better things.

Think George Washington.
Think Meryl Streep.
Think The Beatles.

This makes for a frustrated and overwhelmed Fabio, especially since most of his humans are focused on filling their lives with the empty calories of consumer excess rather than a healthy diet of internal happiness. Throw in the fact that he has a five-hundred-year-old grudge with Death and that his best friends are Sloth and Gluttony and what you get is an immortal who’s become a disgruntled employee of the cosmos.

But then Fate falls in love with a mortal woman on the Path of Destiny (which is against the rules) and he starts to get involved in the lives of his humans (another big-no-no), changing their fates and causing some serious cosmic repercussions.

I described my first novel, Breathers, as “A dark comedy about undeath through the eyes of an ordinary zombie” and “Fight Club meets Shaun of the Dead, only with the zombies as the good guys.” Which pretty much gives you a good idea of what to expect. But with Fated, I’ve had a difficult time coming up with a single line or two that succinctly captures what the book is about.

While I describe it as “A dark comedy and social satire about fate, destiny, and the consequences of getting involved with humans,” that doesn’t tell you anything about how the novel is a bit of an indictment of the consumer culture.

Or that Fate and Destiny have a complicated, friends-with-benefits relationship.

Or that Karma is an alcoholic.

When it came to populating Fated with characters, I had a lot of fun taking abstract concepts like Fate, Destiny, Karma, and Death and giving them starring roles – not to mention cameos by Lady Luck, Honesty, Failure, Love, Secrecy, Truth, Wisdom, and most of the Deadly Sins. Just to name a few.

I also enjoyed taking a look at what it means to be human through the eyes of someone who is not human but who is in charge of our futures. Or most of them. I enjoyed seeing how Fate’s relationship with humans changed as the story unfolded and what happened when he started breaking the rules. Like his humans, I was interested in seeing how Fate’s decisions ultimately affected his own future.

Rule #1: Don’t get involved.

That’s how the novel opens and, obviously, it’s set up for Fate to break that rule. Though it’s not an all-encompassing directive from Jerry (aka God). While Fate, Destiny, and Death aren’t supposed to get involved in the lives of humans, the rule doesn’t apply to other immortals like Lady Luck or Fear or Anger. After all, you can’t be an Intangible or an Emotive or one of the Deadly Sins without having some kind of an impact on humans. That’s part of the job description, getting involved. But it all comes down to what humans do with their luck or their fear or their anger that determines their eventual outcome.

Now I just have to figure out how to fit all of that into the tag line.

The Writing Life: Fated

September 11th, 2010

The idea for Fated started out as something completely different than what it eventually became. Actually, it was almost an accident. An idea born out of another idea that ended up being somewhat less brilliant than when I initially started writing it down.

Late in the evening of September 10, 2003 (it was actually 10PM – I have the entry in one of my journals), I sat down to write out an idea for a short story that had popped into my head. The entry starts out:

“Story about a man in his late thirties who has spent his life avoiding risks until some supernatural event intervenes.”

This brilliant idea goes on for almost a full page until I realized, and actually wrote down, that the idea sounded much better in my head before I watched SportsCenter on ESPN to see if the Giants beat the Padres. (They did, 7-1.)

At that point, I had no idea where I was going with the original idea. But not wanting to give up on whatever it was that prompted me to sit down and write in the first place, I kept journaling, coming up with an occasional “maybe this” and a few “maybe thats” until I stumbled upon the idea that my main character lived in Manhattan and had first hand knowledge about certain events because he’s Fate. I even had him aspiring to be a writer so that he could tell the truth about the fact that no one, not even fictional characters, control their own fate.

I rambled on a bit with that, trying to figure out if he was human, if he had a childhood, if he socialized with humans, if he went out on dates – throwing out ideas that at the time didn’t really go anywhere but that’s what writers do. Throw things at a target and hope something sticks. Then I turned on the TV and watched the rest of SportsCenter.

The following July, I was sitting on a bench at an outdoor shopping mall, watching people walk past and wondering what their futures held for them. I hadn’t pursued the idea about Fate from the previous September, but as I started writing, I realized the ideas were connected. Five minutes later, I’d scribbled out a narrative on a page of a yellow-lined notepad about a character who can see what everyone will be like in fifteen or twenty years. This would eventually become the opening chapter to Fated.

I didn’t actually start working on the novel until more than two years later, in December 2006, after I’d moved to San Francisco. I wrote the first half of Fated (40,000 words) in three months, struggled for another nine months to squeeze out the next 20,000 words, then pumped out the last quarter of it (another 20,000 words) in January 2008. I finished the first draft of Fated on February 2, 2008, the day before the New York Giants upset the previously undefeated New England Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII.

I guess they were fated to lose.

Breathers & Fated Foreign Pub Dates

April 28th, 2010

One of the bonus features of having a book published is the chance to see it in print in another language. Or at least in another country, even if they speak English.

During my recent trip to the World Horror Convention in Brighton, England, I had the chance to meet with Donna Condon, an editor with Little, Brown in the UK.  Having already sold the rights for Breathers to Germany, Italy, Poland, and France, we hadn’t been able to find a publisher in the UK or Australia, so I was hoping to remedy that.

As it turns out, I had a great conversation with Donna, not only for Breathers but for Fated, which led to the sale of rights for both titles in the United Kingdom.  So never underestimate the benefit of attending conventions.

So far, in addition to the UK, the rights for Breathers have been scooped up by Germany, Italy, Poland, and Japan, while Fated is slated for release in Brazil, Germany, and the UK. As soon as I have images of the foreign covers, I’ll be sure to post them on my web site.

And yes, I realize I mentioned France earlier but have left them out of the schedule.  While the rights to Breathers were sold to France, that version, which was already translated and ready to go, unfortunately never made it into print due to unforeseen circumstances.  Which is disappointing for many reasons, one of which was the title.  It was supposed to be released last fall as Comment J’ai Cuisiné Mon Père, Ma Mère… et Retrouvé L’amour (or roughly translated How I Cooked My Father, My Mother… and Fall in Love Again).

I’m hoping another French publisher picks up the rights and keeps the title. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the upcoming foreign publication schedule for both Breathers and Fated.

August 2010, Germany (Heyne Verlag, Munich)
{Title: Anonyme Untote (Undead Anonymous)}
September 2010, Italy (Valter Casini Editore, Rome)
March 2011, UK (Little, Brown)
(Territories include Ireland, South Africa, India, Australia, and New Zealand)
TBD, Poland (Amber Publishing Ltd, Warsaw)
TBD, Japan (Ohta Publishing Co.)

November 2010, Brazil (Leya Brasil, Sao Paolo)
Spring 2011, Germany (Droemer Knaur)
September 2011, UK (Little Brown)
(Territories include Ireland, South Africa, India, Australia, and New Zealand)


December 6th, 2009

Just a quick update to answer some questions that have been thrown my way about my next novel, Fated.

What is it about?
Fated is a dark comedy about Fate, Destiny, and the choices people make that determine their futures.  The story is told from the POV of Fate, who has spent the better part of two hundred thousand years watching his humans make bad choices that lead to lives of mediocrity, while Destiny gets to watch her humans actually fulfill their potential.  It doesn’t help matters that his best friends are Sloth and Gluttony and that he has a five-hundred-year-old grudge with Death.

But when Fate falls in love with a mortal woman on the path of Destiny, he becomes involved in the lives of his humans, altering their fates and creating cosmic repercussions that could strip him of his immortality. Or lead to a fate worse than death.

When is it scheduled to be released?
November 2010. I know. I wish it was sooner, too. But unfortunately, I’m not Sarah Palin or Barack Obama, so I have to wait in the publishing queue with the other rabble.

What’s happening with the book now?
As I’d just recently Twittered, the line edits for Fated are done and it’s heading for the copy editors. While I’ve heard different definitions, for me, line editing involves working with my editor to make structural changes to the manuscript in order to improve the flow of the story and resolve any questions that may remain. Copy editing addresses grammar, formatting, consistency, etc.

When did you write it?
I started Fated in December 2006 and finished it on the day before the Super Bowl in February 2008, a couple of weeks after I sold Breathers.  That was just the first draft.  I took more than a year to edit it and send the manuscript to my agent.

How did you come up with the idea?
Back in September 2003 (September 10, 2003 at 10PM actually), I’d written a journal entry about a character in charge of everyone’s fates and who gets annoyed with all of the characters in books and in movies who actually believe they control their own fates. Eventually, it evolved into Fated.

If you have any other questions, I’ll be happy to answer them.  And as updates become available on Fated, I’ll be posting them here and on the Novels page on my author web site.