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 saw that I had a very nice review for my favorite book (of mine). When people give detailed comments, I get to see the book as others see it and trust me, that helps a lot. The reviewer mentioned this is a coming of age book which eluded me. It really is one and I may have missed that because it is told in first person MALE point of view, was very difficult to write, but is my all time favorite because of the fun I had with some real history. To be compared along side of Stephen King and Robert McCammon on this one was a delight. It's not always easy to be noticed in the horror-writer market and I have used the zombie series to get my brand noticed and to pay me to do this full time, but this is who I am...mainstream horror....a little supernatural, a lot psychological...and strong characters, I like to immerse myself in whole other worlds when I write true horror fiction and for someone known for gore and violence, I feel that most readers are surprised at how subtle my writing is. despite my writing, I am most influenced by the horror writers of the 50s-70s when dread and unease was more fearful than blood and gore (Think Psycho movie) and my favorite writers are Thomas Tyron and Ira Levin. I will read anything frightening and nothing scares me like those two because of the subtle styles they used. Richard Laymon is my other big influence and is very differrent than the other two, but isn't that what horror should be? Scary, unpredictable, and stylized for whatever theme is being written about? George Romero probably got it most correct when he did NOTLD because so much of the movie was subtle and suggested and other parts were pretty grahpic for that time period. It was balanced. Absolute discomfort and changing tempos are what seem to work best. (IT by Stephen King) This is just my late night rambling as I think about the reviews and letters people send me...what people say about my writing. It isn't easy to be a writer. Yes, E-books have done a big business based on people who someone said could write but who really need to stop pumping out very bad prose. But it is hard to be a good writer over the course of many books. I know I don't always get a hit out of the park or even score with a few books, but I am trying to entertain people. That's all. I want to amuse people or scare them, make them think, or make someone uneasy...that's my job. Getting a great review that tells me I am hitting the points I want to hit...that makes the job enjoyable, Cheers and when you love a book, let the author know; it does make a difference!
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.
* Z is for Zombie: What Lies Beneath, The Time of Grace, and Wild Boys will be offered this weekend for free. Enjoy! HERE @ Amazon.com
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!
A short update on my interesting life.
Yes, the second in the Vampyre/western series is available and I want to add that I am humbled and honored by the sales I have seen for my books.
I do have at least 3 more planned for this series, but I may have to stop and add a new zombie book to the other series because we all seem to miss Beth, Kim, Len and the gang.
My husband gave me a pedicure and back rubs every night for last 2 weeks and I have been mega-relaxed. I have been able to type much better with my matching Aqua/lime glitter fingernails and loose muscles. I never knew that this color was perfect for typing!
On the other hand, the air condon is on the blitz and I don't know how people can stand this heat. I am miserable. Think, back in the 1880s, which I was just writing about, a man wore a long sleeved shirt, a vest, jacket, pants, etc. In August heat. The women wore hoops, petticoats and long dresses and it must have been unreal although they were used to the heat. I think many people who died did so of heat stroke, I read somewhere....wish I had kept the article....that going back in time would present many problems beyond the obvious. Yes, there would be disease and all...things we are not used to, and the heat and cold...yes...but a major issue, if I can be so crude, would be that people smelled rank. They sweated and wore those heavy, sweaty clothing for months without washing them and they didn't bathe often...no deodorant...the scent must have been horrible. When the cowboys came to rent a whore (for a dollar), they often had little sheets or pads of leather to catch the horse manure and nastiness from their boots (On the bed as they didn't take off their boots but just dropped trousers). I think that the smell of those men half undressing would make a maggot vomit. The women didn't smell any better. I am going on about this, but if one thinks about the things like this, it is amazing to think of how now people shower daily or more, have air con, wear deodorant and douse themselves in perfume. I read another article that stated that the divorce rate is high now because we can't smell one another and pick mates according to phermones and natural scents.
Think on that.
People's strongest memory sense is the sense of smell. Babies know the scent of their mother's nipples even. So, we have eliminated one big way we picked mates and chose who was suited to us. We have lost this simple but effective tool for picking people on Love.com with a few questions and a picture; no wonder marriages fail! I don't suggest sniffing people to find a mate, but....it's something to consider.
Ok..off to shower...my husband is looking at me with love in his eyes and I stink.
Vampyres and old west cowboys at the OK Corral....wow....can it get any more exciting? The book is rolling out with a bit more editing needed and then on to the second in the series. I feel a trilogy on this set. In the wings are still 4-5 others just waiting to go. My husband scanning for me certainly helps it move out faster. I know some are just into my zombies and now some will be vamp fans. I hope that some will also be fans of just horror in general so I can get passed the labels of being a zombie and vampyre writer. I promise, I write better general horror than those. That said, I have so many requests for another zombie book that I may go cursing and screaming and write another one in the next year. ;)
The book is almost finished but we have been so busy lately and having a rough time as I try (yet again) a new protocol of meds to help my immuno system. While there is no cure for me, I always hope at least I might feel better!
My husband had a birthday and for that he got my name as a tattoo on his arm. It looks so good! That was what he wanted for a gift. After that, and keep in mind it was his birthday...he bought nail polish and painted my toe nails. They are a lovely shade of teal now with glitters. I won't say he is an expert but it was a good effort. After that, (keep in mind it is his birthday, not mine) I had a three hour massage. I slept like the dead after that. Then I had breakfast in bed and slept more. I think everyone should celebrate a birthday this way!
I like tattoos. I have five: a cross for our daughter who died, a black heart from my PI days, an ankle ring with hubby's name, a Pisces with my son's initial for both of us, and a big one on my neck and back that is a dragon fly with a spider web that David bought me for last Christmas.
I have been thinking about things. I write fantasies and stories...but some people live them. I do go on Face Book and I see grown people there fighting and arguing about anything from games ro relationships and just wonder about it. Why do they fight? I have never thought two women needed to fight over a man because the man will pick whom he wishes to be with and stay with and have a life with, and the other one is left out. Oh, he might string along a few, but it's all a game...a fantasy not written but "lived" in a way. There is enough wayward in the world without drama that one can and should walk away from. I think people need to stop thinking the techo devices are real life and anything but some communication and an avenue for messing with another's mind. I have had men try to connect with me and I always laugh. I think I prefer and deserve live men and not a voice on a phone or words on a screen, but then I have a good sense of self worth.
I find that on FB and such, people are far prettier, more slender, taller, richer, sweeter...etc than in real life. Warts are not shared on the internet. I don't discuss my immuno issues on FB or with people, so I doubt other people share that they are HIV positive or have been with someone who is HIV positive. Scary. Reunions and meetings on FB and the like may be one of the biggest causes of HIV being spread....mark my words. Yes, this sounds like a great story idea, but it's fact. People may not share that info, hoping it isn't an issue or that no one finds out, but it only takes once to get a death sentence.
Anyway...my random musings. Be safe and be smart....there is nothing new on earth since Hector was a pup...so use common sense.
Catt Dahman lives in Texas with her Husband, son, 4 cats (Ollie, T.S. Eliot, and Procol, and a dog named Levi. Catt writes horror, thrillers, spooky stories, and westerns.