Sunday, March 30, 2008

Words Are Flowing

My father didn't have a huge record collection, but what he had was all top shelf stuff. He had a few Ventures albums, the Dave Clark Five's Greatest Hits, and for fun, most of the early Bill Cosby records. He also had the complete American Beatles catalogue, as well as a number of Beatles related imports and such. I spent many, many hours as a little kid sitting on the floor with the headphones on, listening to The White Album or Yesterday and Today and reading comic books. Dad gave me his turntable and all his records a number of years ago and they are on the shelf above me as I type.

I received A Hard Day's Night from Netflix the other day and watched it with Cormac while his sister was at dance class. When I was putting him to bed he asked me if I'd make him a CD of Beatles music. He's been listening to it every night before bed since I gave it to him.

His favorite song right now is "If I Fell", and he can tell which Beatle is singing which part on most of the songs already.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Book Signing April 17th--Now With Books!

Good news! The hardworking (and very, very attractive) people at Hyperion have made it possible for me to have books for the booksigning this April 17th at the Groton Public Library in Groton, CT. Initially, we didn't think we'd be able to have books that soon before the street date of May 6th. This is a great chance for everyone in the Groton, CT area to be the first person on your block to have Generation Dead!

The event, which will have a number of other authors (see below) will run from 7:00-9:00.

Hope to meet you there!

Friday, March 28, 2008

March Madness

I may have mentioned elseswhere how chock full o' birthdays March is. I was born in March, both of my kids were born in March, my brother was born in March. My brother in law was born in March, and one of my best friends celebrates his birthday tomorrow. Einstein and Jack Kerouac were born in March. So were Flava Flav and Shemp Howard, the world's mightiest Stooge. Leonard Nimoy, Fatty Arbuckle, and Harry Houdini--all born in March. Dr. Seuss and Shaquille O'Neal--in like lions. Van Gogh and Mariah Carey--out like lambs.

And now, a new birthday for the Waters' family: Generation Dead.

Today I received a package from my publisher and within were two copies of Generation Dead, the actual, authentic, soon-to-be-for-sale hardcover edition of the book, and it is gorgeous. Stunning, knock down gorgeous. I don't even care what the words are inside it is so beautiful. Who cares what the words are like with a design like that?

(I'm kidding about the words inside, just for the record. I actually care about them quite a bit.)

So I'm marking today, March 28, as an important birthday, the birthday of my book. I plan to eat a cupcake every year henceforth on this date, because Lord knows, with only three hundred and twenty seven March birthdays for family and friends, I don't get enough cake in March.

I guess this means my book is an Aires. I'm a Pisces. I hope we can get along.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bela Lugosi Lives?

I just read that Bauhaus has just released an album of new material, their first in 25! years. Entitled Going Away White, apparently the album really is the bands' going away present, because some "undisclosed incident" caused them to have a falling out that will prevent them from touring or making any more music together. What a shame.

I haven't checked out the new music yet, but the news inspired me to play my favorite Bauhaus recording, side 1, album 1 of Bauhaus:1979-1983. Yes, a record. Yes, I am a dinosaur. I own an iPod with a gargantuan hard drive, but if I'm in my office I'd rather listen to the vinyl, okay? The last siong on the side is "Bela Lugosi's Dead", which would probably make my extensive list of Best Songs Ever.

And for more Goth music fun, check out A Life Less Lived: The Gothic Box, which is three CDs and a DVD of early Goth tunes. The Bauhaus influence is stong on this collection,which has an excellent book of photographs, liner notes, and--chuckle--Goth dance moves, and comes wrapped in a leather corset-thingy. In addition to the Bauhaus song "She's in Parties", there are songs from Tones on Tail, Dali's Car, Love and Rockets, Daniel Ash, and Peter Murphy--all Bauhaus spin-off projects. And the DVD, of course, has the video for "Bela Lugosi's Dead".

Friday, March 14, 2008

Library Appearance

I've been invited to participate in a YA event at the Groton Public Library in Connecticut. It sounds like a fun time, and there will be a number of other YA authors there. Here are the details:

Young Adult Author Evening

Thursday April 17, 2008
7:00 PM until 9:00 PM

Appreciate Teen Literature and Meet local authors who will share their books and writing experience. Scheduled to appear: E.M. Alexander: DEATH AT DEACON POND, MJ Allaire: The Denicalis Dragon Chronicles: DRAGON'S BLOOD, THE PRISONER, Lucas Baker: JESS AND ZOEY, Daniella Brodsky: ONE TRICK PONY, Libby Koponen: BLOW OUT THE MOON and Daniel Waters: the upcoming GENERATION DEAD. Copies of the books will be available for sale and autographs.

I don't think I will have books for sale or to autograph, as Generation Dead isn't officially out until May 6, so my plan is to bring my last remaining arc and wave it around over my head so everyone can see what a great cover it is. Bring money anyway, because the books from the other authors who are participating sound wonderful!

BTW, I love the Groton Public Library. I think it is one of the best libraries in SE Connecticut. I wrote much of Generation Dead there on my lunch breaks (no, you can't eat in the library--I scarfed my lunch in the parking lot), and it was the only place around where I could find the copy of Publishers' Weekly that announced my book deal (yes, I had to see it in print, being the vain, callow man that I am).

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Blogging All Over the Place

I was invited by the super-cool Fran Friel to be this month's guest blogger at the "Horror Library Blog-O-Rama". Check out the fun at Myspace here or at the Horror Library blogspot here.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Slamma Jamma

Last night I took the fam to the staff basketball game at their school. The game may have been one of the funniest things I've ever seen in my life. Watching the teachers play is funny enough, but my kids go to a Catholic school, so for this game the nuns took the court as well. In their habits! It was awesome watching Sister Agnes, all five foot three of her, posting up the schools' basketball court. Sister David has a wicked crossover dribble, no small feet when wearing the gear, and Sister Cabrini has a mean outside shot and drilled one from the top of the key. The event was a fundraiser, and I tell you this: I would gladly buy season tickets to watch nuns play basketball, because you know what? Nuns got game.

Oddly, Cormac did not win the basket raffle, although he and Kayleigh each snagged a school sweatshirt.

I finished my gig as assistant coach of his basketball team today, scoring a t-shirt of my own. The Huskies (UConn, my alma mater) were undefeated--which at Cormac's age, means that we survived the season without an injury. Kayleigh's team also was undefeated, and she's at an age where they actually keep score. She played a lot of minutes at point guard, and hit the game winner with 3 seconds left on the clock in her first game.

Not that I'm proud of my kids or anything. Now, if I could just rope one of the nuns into coaching with me...

Friday, March 7, 2008

GL Magazine--Friend of the Undead

Make sure you check out the new issue of Girls' Life magazine, which has a stunning full page advertisement for Generation Dead. The ad is right after an article about cheerleading (pretty sneaky, huh?). The Ad is in the April/May issue, which has those lovable Disney teen sensations, Aly & AJ, on the cover. According to GL, they are sisters and BFFs! Lucky!

Now if you will excuse me, I have to get back to GL, so I can find out how I can "Get a bikini bod--Just in time for summer!"

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Farewell to the Dungeon Master

I read that Gary Gygax, one of the co-creators of Dungeons & Dragons, passed away the other day. As someone who played hundreds of hours of D&D and other pencil and paper role playing games growing up, I was deeply saddened by his passing.

I recall reading an interview where Holly Black, the author of Tithe and The Spiderwick Chronicles and lots of other fabulous books, discussed the impact that role playing games had on her development as a writer and storyteller. I'd have to echo her sentiments with regards to my own writing. Most of the time I was the gamekeeper for whatever game my friends and I were playing at the time, and being the gamekeeper required a thorough knowledge of the characters and story of the game you were keeping, as well as keeping yourself open to twists and turns of the plot. Writing is often about discovery, and the nice thing about playing a story as a game is that you can need to run all the different if/then scenarios through your mind. What if, instead of defeating the dragon, the heroes run away? What if they get their butts thoroughly kicked? What if they try to make friends first? Running a game certainly forces one to be open to possibility.

And then there's the simple fact that as gamemaster, as in writing, you need to be entertaining and/or intellectually stimulating. You need to know your target audience, the players. If the game is too hard they'll get frustrated and quit, if it is too easy they'll get bored and quit. You need to keep them in suspense, pay them off for their effort, but always leave them hungry for more.

In writing this blog entry, I'm realizing that Gary Gygax's creations have influenced my writing as much as the creations of Stephen King, Bill Gaines, Shirley Jackson, and everyone else I read and studied growing up.

So thank you, Mr. Gygax. Rest in Peace.

Monday, March 3, 2008

King of the Basket Raffle

My seven year old son Cormac is the King of the basket raffle. He is literally the luckiest boy in the world when it comes to basket raffles, and his streak continued yesterday when he took home a basket from a raffle at his Cub Scouts' Blue and Gold Banquet. Even I find it a little spooky.

I remember the first time he participated in a basket raffle, it was at his preschool graduation. A number of parents and local businesses donated baskets of prizes and parents could but tickets, with all the cash going to the school. A buck bought an arm's length of tickets, which the kids could then put in little bags in front of the
baskets they wanted to win. There were a lot of baskets, so the odds of winning were pretty good. I don't remember what he won that day, but I'll never forget the look on his face when his ticket was announced.

Nor will I forget how he and I laughed until neither one of us could breathe the day he won the basket raffle at his sisters' dance recital. I gave him ten bucks that day for the raffle, which was a few baskets and then a 50/50 raffle at the end, with half the money going to the dance school and the other half going home with the winner. The understanding was that we would split the winnings, as I was investing my cash and he was investing his unbeatable luck. My Dad had bought a bunch of tickets, too, even though Cormac and I told him to save it because we were going to win.

We won. I forget the exact amount, but even after paying him I'd recouped my original ten and then some.

Well, last night he won again (as he has on at least three other occasions, bringing him baskets of action figures, coloring books, or, from the Science Fair at the school where my wife teaches, a big basket with a microscope and enough electrical experiments to keep Nicola Tesla busy for a week). The odds, much like the dance recital odds, were not good. He only had two tickets and there were about seventy kids investing on three prizes. He took the third prize which was a bath and body basket, with things like shampoos, scented candles, and bath salts. I thought it was kind of a weird thing to have for a group of Cub Scouts, who were mostly interested in first prize (a big snakeskin), but who am I to mock someone's charitable contribution (all proceeds went to the pack)?

Cormac, having a generous heart as well as generous luck, gave almost all of the loot to his sister Kayleigh, keeping only "bath confetti", whatever that is, for himself.

Hmmm. Generous spirit, generous luck. I wonder if there is a correlation?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Shortest Month, My Eternal Enemy

Yes, I did stay up late just to wave a mocking goodbye at the unnaturally long shortest month (although I almost always stay up this late, and it is snowing out and I like to watch snow fall when I am inside my house). The shortest month did make one last attempt to maim me, however. Not two minutes before midnight, I yawned and rubbed at eyes--proceeding to tip my contact lens up under my eyelid, far enough so that I couldn't blink it out. Yuck. It was most definitely Not Cool. I got it out, though, and am wearing my glasses now.

Goodbye, Feb. '08.

I'm really looking forward to a spectacular March. Hyperion is running a print ad--yes, a print ad--for Generation Dead in a magazine that is seen by three million potential book buyers each issue!

Any guesses which one? All will be revealed in time!