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?
http://www.cattd.com now contains hints about upcoming horror novels. catt dahman continues to make the ordinary quite horrifying as she takes on time travel, Spartan history, the countryside, and family secrets in the next few months. Long awaited novel Smooth is in final editing steps and will be released soon and will chill readers as it pokes at so many phobias we all share: fear of drowning, fear of the dark, and much more. About choices, the novel strips them away and leaves the reader with a frightening emptiness that will thrill S. King fans.
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 up to my eyeballs busy working with my copy editor and re-releasing all of my books. She is a real stickler for details and while the stories have not changed, the sentences are cleaned up and pristine! Via her view, I have also gotten to hear my writing in a new tone and really love the story all over again. 8 books in, at about 400 pages a book...that's a lot of writing and a lot of character development. In ways, I wish they weren't my books and were new to me and I could enjoy the world created for this long.
How about the Walking Dead series? I admit I am a fan and have enjoyed the twists and turns in the story. I know fans are upset over the loss of some characters, but as a writer, I know that not all survive when chaos hits.
I hate when my own characters die as well.
Back to work I go...happy zombie hunting!
If you haven't read Alice and Friends, you should. It's by far my best book and very scary!
We are doing everything we can to get Alice and Friends released tomorrow for Halloween, my favorite "holiday". I think it's by far the best book I have released and I bet you agree! For one day only, it will be at a Halloween special price.
My books now go through a professional editor who has a sharp little red pen. My agent also had her fingers in the pie as well. With everyone involved, the pie sure has a lot of fingers poking at it! This benefits readers but it does tie my hands at times as I try to move fast and they slow me down. But never fear, I am a busy writer and I produce the horror. I promise, the upcoming holidays won't slow me down...tons of ideas still blaring at me.
Alice is a highly unusual novel. I somehow touched a few genres. There is a mystery here for sure, a psychological aspect (okay, it's chilling, who are we kidding), blatant horror, a cannibal or two, family ties, a nod to horror master Richard Laymon, a snicker and hint about the Z is for Zombie series (but is not part of the series at all but fans of the series will find a HUGE clue to the series mysteries embedded in this book) and it's a thriller. I feel this is a book that once you read, you'll want to go back and read again just to see all the clues given all along as to where this was headed. It's a rollercoaster and I never, ever lie, but ummm...well, I may not tell the reader everything up front...hee hee. What is more fun than those first sharp turns and spins on a coaster? It's having them at the end...one after another...wham, wham, wham....blinding speed and plunging falls...and what's at at the end? A slam into an ice cold pool...that's what's fun!
I think you'll enjoy this one. What I wrote is terrifying, but what you will think about after you've read it? Much worse. I think you'll be haunted and have chills every time you see a dark road, a smoke house, family photos, a basement. a fair,.....(you get the idea).
I was sent an e-mail today with pictures of Wal-Mart shoppers that are funny. I know some people will say it is bad to make fun of them. These people also say it is terrible to belittle and make fun of other people in varied situations. I think this...if people didn't put themselves out there in such silly situations (or outfits or looks) then we would not laugh. I don't laugh at fat people for being fat. I laugh if one wears short shorts and has on a halter because that is such a silly display. It's the display that is so funny!
I am a horror writer. So...let's say I drive by a car wreck and see a person decapitated and the head lands atop a post. If some one yells "Heads up", yes, I would laugh. If I knew the person who was killed and saw it happen, I would not laugh and be horrified. It is when the situation is personal that it is no longer humourous and does that not depend on individuals? That's my point.Also, some in some jobs (morticians, cops, doctors, etc.) we have to laugh and find the humour or it drives us crazy to see the horror that man enacts. As a horror writer, death and weirdness is very real to me and yes, I have to find humour or have a pretty strong gut for it. But it is my choice to write what I write as it is a cop's choice to do what he does...so why do it? Demand. There is a demand for what we deliver.
I am to the point in my life that there are many things I have to laugh at.
I find it funny how people use religion or politics or anything to further their cause. When students wrote papers for the college class in Literature I taught, I warned them to not use the Bible as a reference to "prove" anything as it is interpretation and not scientifically based. The Bible does have some good life lessons and helpful advice and it it aligns with some scientific history, but to say it says "XYZ" is interpretation. Also, as written, each word may have a deeper meaning. In other words, people use it to further their own ideals but it doesn't make them FACT.
There is a part that is about loving thy neighbor. Well, I can be nice to my neighbor, but if they are a child molester, you can bet I don't love them, will laugh if they do funny things, and if they come near my child, I will let them meet Mr. .38 Special! See how I can take this and make it my own personal take? I say I can do that BUT _____________. Isn't that how we all are? We try to be one way but when things are about us, they change. No matter what the event or situation, we personalize it OR we remove ourselves.
I am beginning to theorize that people who are so about themselves and being such "great people who do no wrong or are forgiven" are really psychologically inept. It just isn't healthy at all and leads to unconscious or conscious acts of very evil deeds. If we think we are "saved" after certain requirements then are we free to act poorly? Some think so and I feel these are the ones behaving the worst. On the other hand, when we act badly based on our own personal evaluations, at least we are honest and acting in a psychologically beneficially manner.
I might giggle at the Wal-Mart people and laugh at people who show themselves as victims (etc) and I do it aside, not where they could see it and be hurt, but I don't hurt children. I don't destroy marriages, covet, steal, lie, cheat or murder. I am sarcastic, a horror writer, profane in speech, selfish, and vindictive at times. Judge me. I would rather be how I am than be the former, and when anyone says the Bible doesn't distinguish, I say..."use a reference that is accepted and not interpreted" and base your judgement on MY personal mind set.
Until then, I will find the humour in a car wreck or a tree falling on a house or a cannibal. It's how I survive the world....finding the funny parts in horrific tales.