X is for Xombie is my new series. Each is a stand alone book can can be read in any order, but they take place in the Z universe and relate to some of the events and characters to enrich that world. Young Brains is the first of the series to be released and it is one of my favorites. High school can be terrible for some, but imagine dealing with zombies at the same time as you're looking for a prom date and finishing the algebra assignment.
I have been one busy writer!
Severed Press has taken my 9 book series and will be handling them. But the publisher and I spoke and we had ideas for some new stories. I can't say what all they are about...but Severed Press is well known for the "Dead Bait" theme (anthologies). Suffice it to say that the new book is amazingly intricate and about half finished. I am attending an exhibit this weekend in Fort Worth for further research. I am very excited about this new book.
If you are a fan of the Z is for Zombie series, you will notice they have new covers. I have an amazing artist via SP who drew them and each one has been a treat to see. I love the graphic arts style and am pleased with each one. The characters are so perfect. The Head at SP wanted a special feel for them and we wanted the characters and weapons to be impressive. Luckily, I have a weapons specialist on call who was able to help me and spend hours working on the ideas.
We are working a lot and Helen of Troy: Vampire is still with the copy editor. Red Man is finished but awaiting another run through by me and then it is off to the copy editor as well. If you haven't read a book I have written, you can start with Smooth or Alice and Friends as they are my favorites. I have had a publisher ask to put Alice under contract but I am not ready yet. So, why not try a read?
Here is what is about to be released in the next two months. Z is for Zombie series is now under contract with Severed Press and they are designing some excellent book covers for all of them! Stay tuned for the Severed Press release of those books as well.
As a writer, i get odd questions like....where do my ideas come from and are writers rich and is it hard....and I get asked things like..."Is that me in your book?" On one hand, I am flattered that I have written so well that someone identifies with a character! But to be honest, a character may have a few traits that real people have, but no one character had EVER been someone from real life. Why? Take Alice and Friends..... the antagonists are (sometimes cannibals) kidnapping, sadistic, inbred, brilliant men. Do you think I KNOW anyone like that??? The women in the book are generally good, strong females, but Alice, of the title is a spit fire and doesn't break no matter what she endures, DO you think I know someone like HER? Trust me....no one is in my books....well...none are major characters. Now there may be a few very small roles that I put people I know in r/l. They always get eaten or worse. If you are someone i seriously dislike, then maybe some of you will be used for a character, our first name, traits, the way you looks, things you've said,,,,and then i will kill you off in the most brutal ways imaginable. I have a few on my list. But If I like you, you (may) nothing to fear.
It must be very easy to write scary stories and to entertain and move on. I love those books. I like reading and having an adventure and then going on to a new book. Sometimes, I read a book and it haunts me in some ways. I can't get it out of my head. Ira Levin's novels haunt me. Robert McCammon's Swan Song haunts me. I think that it's because I know there is more to the story and yet, they don''t tell it. They leave me hanging and wondering about the characters. But Swan Song also digs into some weighty issues about how we judge others, who people are beneath the surface, love, bravery, sacrifice and the nature of jealousy and evil.
I long to write just a scary book, but I can't seem to get there. In the zombie series, Z is For Zombie, I tackled the right to die by choice, judgement, ethics,and maternal love. I went so deep into some theme that I began to wonder what my story was all about. Yes, there were zombies, but they were a vehicle for so much more I wanted to tell. In Alice and Friends, I thought it was a book about a girl being kidnapped and her struggles, but it is about family and shades of badness and I was reminded about Dr. Frankenstein and the way his creature turned on him. In other words, the book became about more than what was on the surface. Smooth, which is in the works now, started as a book about a creepy town changing and a few heroes trying to do the right things, but the right things became muddled and the book is evolving into something else. It is about the sheer strength of people and the sacrifices they will make and love and bravery.
I have found that each book I write become more than I planned and if asked what a book is about, when obviously it is horror, my answer is something like "It is about hope. Or Love. Or fortitude, Family. Lonliness. Isolation." Maybe that is why we write and read horror. In the midst of fear and dread, there seems to be another message of something bigger. Is it that way in real life? I don't know, but in the wake of recent tragedies, there are heroes involved. Instead of caring about the idiots doing the killings and what is wrong with them, and instead of only honoring the victims, I would like to know the stories about the heroes. What horror did some face and then make wonderful, selfless choices and serve a higher cause?
Again, I am left to wonder.
But I feel, if we can find the hidden heroism and sacrifice, then we reach the real human spirit and who we really are as a species.
Now is the time we make promises we'll never keep and get ideas to start something or stop it. I think very little stick to a plan. This year, I am not promising myself anything huge. Last year, in 9 months, I managed to get 15 books out that I had in manuscript, handwritten form (2 short story collections, a 9 book series about zombies,2 vampyre/westerns and two horror novels) That is pretty much a big deal to be that prolific! Most are both e-reader form or in paperbacks and the rest are about to go paperbacks as well.
What do I worry about? Like any writers, I worry and wonder if the next novel is in me. Will I have ideas and get the books written? I have three on the burners right now. I have a good 3-4 in my head as ideas. I may even write another zombie book like my nephew wants me to (he picked the title and ideas so TY to Harrison for his brilliant ideas) I also am helping edit an amazing short story collection by Nic Hatfield and May collaborate with him on an idea he has for a book that is truly the next HUGE book. I worry that I can't do it justice as it is bigger than me by far!
I plan to release at least 7 books this next year. I am so thankful I am happy to work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week doing this.
I want to pay more attention to the writing of some friends who are amazing writers: Graham Masterton, Joe McKinny, Kealan Patrick Burke, Rhiannon Frater, Bowie Ibarra, and Jason Christie. I promise and resolve I will be as gracious as they are and work as hard as they do.I will thank my copy editor more and praise my agent. I will behave and do as my PR agent says.13 is my number and in 2013, i resolve to be a better writer. And I resolve to try to write something that isn';t splatter punk or cannibalistic (Lord how I try not to go to those themes but do so anyway).
I resolve to write because it's what I do.
I hope the rest follows. I don;t need to get rich or famous from writing, but I do need to entertain and scare the pants off all I can!
Happy New Years!
Excellent review of this book on Amazon.com
"What Lies Beneath is by far the best novel yet in this impressive series and fully makes up for anything that might have been lacking in the last book! There are some truly great, disgusting and original moments in this latest story (the Zombie virus as STD anyone?) and anyone who thought this series might have been in danger of becoming formulaic and stale should think again with this sixth installment as it fully sets the scene for what is left to come and will leave you literally gasping for more!
Great work Miss Dahman - may the last three novels be as clever and as nasty as this book!"
I think being called twisted and nasty is the nicest thing i have heard in a long time. Horror writers can get no better compliments. to know I disturbed and nauseated a reader? priceless. It means i struck a nerve and isn't that what writing is all about? Horror SHOULD disturb and scare people because that's what they buy horror for. This book was the most fun to write. I just let go and let the characters lead me and tell their stories and ...wow....they had fantastic stories. If you follow the series then this book will get you motivated for a conclusion that will be...different. It takes 3 full novels to tell the end of this epic tale and I feel the final words are a let down, a shock, a feeling of "You gotta be kidding me...no way"....because that is what is real. The world doesn't end with a bang but a whimper...and I hope this particular whimper is LOUD and upsetting. A reader may be ready to throttle me when they read the end, but after all..it wasn't me....those were THE TERMS>>>>>
I have been busy! I have this great reviewer who is very honest about my writing and he had helped me so much! He didn't get into SIx Shooters and Fangs....said it was well written but not his "thing". I will finish the series, but it isn't my "thing" either. I have 2 more for the zombie series and hope that will be the end but then I have this silly voice that tells me I may not be finished after the ninth book! How long can a series go? Arrrrrrrrrr. I really love the story and the characters and they have so much to do and so many adventures....it is hard to let go! On the other hand, my favorite reviewer has talked to me about my writing as has my copy editor. Now they both like Time of Grace and ALice type stories...you know.,.thrillers/horror with a bit of mystery and tons of psychological terror. Those are the books I enjoy the most and the writing is very easy for me. I am torn because the Z series is what sells like mad. I have to make sales and pay my way but people are zombie crazy and let's face it, most of the zombie books are horrible out there. (McKinney is great however). The Walking Dead (I LOVE it) adds fuel to the craze. So I have a zombie story and I have a series so people can get wrapped up in something they KNOW for 9 books. That is great for my sales and fan base. I am supplying exactly what is wanted. BUT.,....BUT.....I am a far better writer when I write my psychological horror/thrillers. My agent says "write both" (she's a tyrant...lol) What does this mean? It means that by next March (marking one year into writing full time) I will have 20+ books available which is a lot. 30-40 by year 2? That is more than prolific...it is insanity!
My new favorite thing people say to me: "Can you make me a character but not hurt me? And I read mysteries so can you make it a mystery?"
Arrrrr Again.If I write you into a book, you can bet you will get hurt very badly and die and maybe even eaten. It won't be a mystery, but a thriller/horror and I will add all your annoying habits! With a writer, be careful what you ask for!
Love October! Boo!
I write every day, 7 days a week. Last weekend, I took off F-S for a family break road trip to visit my family and to attend the Four States Fair with my husband and son. I was so sad to see that the art exhibit was 1/4 the size as it was years before and I didn't see the Home Ec competition! It's not the same when the old, traditional parts are missing from a fair. On the Ferris wheel, I had this full story come to me (Laymon-like) and my son frowned because even on the ride, I was "working". I felt as if the break was well deserved and a lot of fun for us.
Besides my regular writing (number 7 in the Z series is about to be released), I have been busy! I have been working with my wonderful agent on an audio book deal and a video. I had no idea how popular audio books are! My copy editor ran over the Z wiki and said it was good with a few tweaks and she is wading through G's Terms and then the rest of the series so we'll have a re-release of all books in a second edition after she is finished and okays them. I am working with some fine folks across the pond and they have given me some great ideas and feedback.
In each review I get, I see the same things...that my writing is very "character driven" and I never tire of hearing that. I don't know if readers always want that and many do prefer the plot driven styles, but my brand is "character driven" all the way. Someone once said there are only ten stories in the world and we all retell them over and over in new ways. That may be true. But I think the human mind is the true, uncharted territory, far more intricate and interesting than outer space. I am thrilled that people enjoy the characters of the Z series and have chosen favorites and want to know what they do and say next!
People ask me if writing is difficult. Ummm. Yes. Imagine I have you 15 blank pages and tell you the topic is zombies, to fill them up right then, and to make me love every word. Oh, and develop characters that are memorable, a good story, and transport my mind to another place. While you are at it, make me think and debate some issue but hide it so I don't know. Easy? Nope. That is my world every day. I can do that. I am more in awe of someone who can look at a car engine and make sense of it, or drive in downtown Dallas, or climb a mountain without going splat. I think we all can be amazed by those who do things we can't imagine doing ourselves. When I got my scuba diving certification, I couldn't imagine doing what I did, and yet, I did it all; failure was not an option. We can do many things when we get a plan, have a desire to succeed, and dive (or follow) the plan.
What is the connection here? I work hard. I write even while I don't know I am writing. Not everyone can do all things, Success isn't easy. See? There is a theme here. If you know someone in the arts area (music, art, acting) be supportive because I am positive, they are doing something that some can't do and they work hard to entertain. Entering a jar of pickled peaches in a fair isn't the greatest accomplishment, right? Wrong. How did that person learn to can peaches? What was the plan? How did it turn out? In each jar of pickles, there is a wonderful story involved that may never be told, but I can bet there is an interesting character sketch there. I hope more people share art and peaches with fairs and other people and I hope they tell the stories of how they accomplished their tasks. I hope people continue to amaze me.
Mostly, I just hope.
I am not, normally a "zombie writer" as I am more about characters and crazed humans. Little did I know that these elements are what work best for a zombie thriller. There are so many zombies books out there and I see the same mistakes over and over where a young man gets a hot girlfriend and hides in Wally World and gets to run things and go around shooting and screaming bad words. It's like the writer is trying to write his dream fiction every time. BORING. The other thing I see is "everyday Joe" doing all these great things. I don't see any of the above surviving and they are so bland. I know I use zombies as a vehicle that is carrying politics, human ethics, morality, and glances into insanity. And why not? Do we think the usual would just vanish and we'd all go hide in Wal-Mart and have cute partners and never think again about what matters? I don't know. I do know I have developed some interesting characters who can be weak, strong, funny, cruel and good all in a day's time...like most people. Those following can see a character, Hannah, as she develops and she is probably the most like my usual interests. She is an odd one, but there are no excuses for who she is. Hannah is modern culture at it's most honest, like it or hate it. Take Hannah as you wish but be aware it is all about those who interact with her....that's the fun part.
Number six of the series is out and yes, there is a number 7 for sure. Bet on a number 8 as well...and a 9, because there is more to the story and I have still only scratched a few surfaces.
Why read my writing? Yes, the story is there and it is strong. The descriptions are there. But read my writing for the characters who will make the reader think and rethink a few things. I seldom pull a punch. For fans, my one pull was that issue of Kimball and Juan. Sadly, one had to be let go and it was a tough choice. We know that no one is safe...ever....and at anytime, someone may die. Such is my world.
http://zisforzombie.wikia.com/wiki/Z_is_for_Zombie_Wiki is the super Wiki out for fans...yes, there are spoilers so be careful! There is also trivia and a time line of who has done what.
I know some writers write for fans, some write for themselves; I write for the story that wants to be told. It isn't always easy as I have a full, regular life with a husband, child, and pets, home, and family....they keep me going and encourage me to tell my stories. In the next year, the series will be done and I will writing the stories that have waited impatiently to be told...about some wicked people, some strange events...all horror, all the time. Why? Because that chill of dread, the shiver when we see a clown (Pennywise), the unknown is just fun!