Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Book Tour Thanks

Thank you to everyone who came out to meet us on the unRequired Reading tour, and thanks to Hyperion/Disney and all of the great bookstores and event coordinators for putting it together--it was more fun than anyone has a right to have.

And thanks especially to my fellow authors/touring partners, who in addition to writing wonderful books were just all around spectacular, funny and wonderful people. If you didn't catch us on the road, the books and their respective authors are:

Tweet Heart - Elizabeth Rudnick
The Half-Life of Planets - Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin
The Ghost and the Goth - Stacey Kade
Carter's Big Break - Brent Crawford
A Field Guide for Heartbreakers - Kristen Tracy

If you haven't checked out their work yet, what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Passing Strange Trailer Contest!!!!!

Check out by clicking the blog title above!

Here's your chance to direct your own mini-movie!

GL and Hyperion Teen are looking for you to showcase all of the exciting drama of the new book Passing Strange by creating your own video trailer.

Give readers a taste of the conflicts and drama awaiting Karen in the book, and all of the inevitable complications for this not-so-typical high schooler. The top video selected by Girls’ Life and Hyperion Teen will premiere exclusively on! Plus, the lucky leading lady will score a makeover from a MAC artist!


Do you ever wake up and just feel like a zombie? Uh, yea—everyone's had one of those days (or try several)! The winner of the Passing Strange Video Trailer contest will score a makeover fit for a starlet. She'll get her makeup done by a professional MAC artist and will pick up up to $200 worth of MAC product. The best part? Your video will be featured on in a video poll. Now a prize like that is sure to zap a zombie back to life.


In Passing Strange (out now wherever books are sold), all-American teenager Karen DeSonne faces more than the usual high school drama—she happens to be dead. Her troubles only multiply as she finds herself caught up in a high-profile scandal— new anti-zombie regulations that have forced nearly all of Oakvale’s undead into hiding.

Obtaining enough evidence to expose this sinister plot means doing the unthinkable for Karen: Betraying her true love and becoming the girlfriend of the one guy she truly cannot stand—Pete Martinsburg. Karen’s only hope is that the enemy never realizes who she really is—because the consequences would be even worse than death.


What is a book trailer?

Videos are the newest way to promote the hottest reads. Called book trailers, they are similar to movie trailers, in that they are designed to build interest in an upcoming or current novel and are used to encourage people to buy the book the trailer is about.

What’s the difference? A movie trailer already has visual images to work with—clips from the film. With a book trailer, the maker (that’s you!) has to convert the written words into a fun visual.

How to create a great book trailer:

The trick is to convey a sense of what the book is about without giving away any juicy deets away.

Most book trailers run from one to two minutes and can be anything from someone reading a passage from the book to an elaborate mini-movie.

Here are some links to book trailer examples we like:
Generation Dead trailer by the author
Generation Dead trailer by a fan
Another Generation Dead trailer by a fan

Here’s how to make yours, step by step
1. Get your BFFs together or go solo.
2. Learn it! CLICK HERE to download the script for the Passing Strange trailer.
3. Decide how you want to put your trailer together.
4. Video your best one to two minute book trailer by following the script You can use the video cam on your cell phone, digital camera, camcorder or computer.
5. E-mail the file (10M or smaller, please) to or upload to


We’ll announce the winner on 8/1/10 by featuring the trailer on every page of our site! So put on your director’s hat, get in the zombie mindset and good luck.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Book Tour and Psychic Book Club

A Field Guide for Heartbreakers - Kristen Tracy
Carter's Big Break - Brent Crawford
The Ghost and the Goth - Stacey Kade
Passing Strange: A Generation Dead Novel - Daniel Waters
Tweet Heart - Elizabeth Rudnick
The Half-Life of Planets - Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin

Dates and times for the unRequired Reading Tour:

June 18: 6pm, Davis Kidd, Memphis (Waters, Rudnick, and Halpin)
- June 18: 7pm, Keplers, Menlo Park, CA (Tracy, Kade, and Crawford)

- June 19: 7pm, Books & Books, Coral Gabels, FL (Waters, Rudnick, Franklin, and Halpin)

- June 19: 1pm, “Meet & Greet” at Copperfields, Petaluma, CA (Tracy, Kade, and Crawford)

-June 20: stock signings tk

- June 21: 7pm, Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, GA (Waters, Rudnick, Franklin, and Halpin)

- June 21: 6:30pm, Pudd'nHead Books (Tracy, Kade, and Crawford)

-June 22: 7pm, Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL (all authors)

- June 23: 2pm, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, KS (all authors)

- June 24: 6pm, Books of Wonder, New York, NY (all authors)

- June 25: 6pm, ALA Convention, Disney Book Group booth #2654 Washington, DC (all authors)

-June 26: 3:30pm, Politics & Prose, Washington, DC (all authors)

And now a chilling tale...sort of.

I’ve got kind of a long drive home so on Friday I call up my good friend Matt Smith, most recently of Dr. Who fame (Matthew Dow Smith, the artist on the Dr. Who comic book series, not Matt Smith the new Dr. Who). I’ve only known Matt for a few years, but he’s one of the few people who it seems I’ve known my entire life (as opposed to many people I have known practically my whole life, of whom I often think, ‘who are you?’), especially as we seem to share a brain on nearly everything and have the sort of finish each others’ sentences, start laughing before he says the punchline types of relationship. So we give each other the quick update on life, the universe and everything and then we start our inevitable discussion about books. We‘re both book junkies. Not just reading junkies, but actual book junkies, so the discussion ranges from what we’re reading to books we’ve picked up in our travels. Matt tells me he made a foray to a used bookstore and picked up a few things, and he starts telling me which ones he’s read. And then it gets weird. Listen:
Me: “Nice finds.” Then, remembering my own recent excursion to a used book store, “Hey, have you ever read anything by James Herbert?”
Matt: “Other than The Magic Cottage, you mean?” he says, reminding me of a conversation we had three or four years ago. We’d both really liked The Magic Cottage.
Me:“Yeah. Anything recently?”
Matt: “Funny you should mention it. I picked up one of his on that outing. That was one of the first ones I started reading.”
Me: “Really? When did you say you went to the book store?”
Matt: “About two weeks ago.”
I’d gone to the used bookstore near me two weeks ago.
Me: “Um, which one was it that you got? ‘Cause if you say…”
Matt: “Moon.”
Me: “…I might freak.”
Moon. The very James Herbert novel I’d picked up at a used bookstore two weeks ago.
Me: “How much did you get it for?”
“Three bucks.”
I told him I’d paid a dollar, but when I looked at my copy later that night, I saw the little 3—penciled in the upper right hand corner on the frontispiece.
Matt: “Well. That’s a little bizarre.”
Perhaps less bizarre, we’d reached pretty much the same conclusions about the book.

Now, understand, that Moon isn’t a current NYT Best Seller—it is a twenty-five year old horror novel. Now, you might say, “Well, Dan, both you and Matt are both horror fiction geeks, so it only makes sense that you could end up reading the same book.” But that, to me, only makes it weirder. True, we are horror fiction geeks—between us we’d read a good number of Herbert’s two dozen novels. He is a pretty big name in the horror field, and so the odds of neither of us having read the book prior would seem very slim—and then to decide to read it at the same time after buying the same twenty-five year-old edition (hardcover, Herbert’s first in the U.S.) at the same time, for the same amount of money, seems weeeeeiiiird to me.

I think maybe we should start “Matt & Dan’s Psychic Book Club”. The thing is, I already know which of you want to join.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Career Ending Injuries and other Stresses

By using the above chart, I have calculated my personal stress level of the past month to be 433. The legend at the bottom of the chart suggests “If you score more than 200, you have an above average level of stress and should simplify your life.
By reading that ridiculous statement, I think my score went up to 443.Either way, I expect more than doubling the "average level of stress" ain't good.

A few recent stresses: I sold the house that I have lived in for the past fifteen years (my longest stint, I believe, in any home in my life). I bought a new home. I went through childbirth, twice. (Passing Strange just came out, and I delivered a new book to my editor. Um, ok, so maybe that isn't quite as stressful as actual childbirth). I’ve been travelling, a lot. Never been to Kansas my entire life before this year, and yet I’ll be there for my third time in five weeks when I head out for the unRequired Reading book tour. Life is weird.

The highest individual stress score I awarded myself, worth 53 points, was for one of the most gruesome sports injuries of my entire life. While no one would ever confuse me with a world class athlete, I tend to be very competitive and what I lack in natural ability I compensate with tenacity and resilience. I play hard, and I almost never ever get hurt.

Except, now I do.

I went to play basketball with a friend of mine in his local church league, hoping to burn off a little of the huge amount of stress I’d been carrying. I’m always nervous when I start playing in a new league, but I I could hang with these guys. I'd been running 3-6 miles five days a week so although I still look like a lumpy animated couch cushion I could get up and down the floor pretty well. I started out great. In the first minute of the game, I had an assist and two rebounds, one of them offensive. I got my third rebound ten seconds later, but when I came down my right knee buckled laterally and there was this awful sound,like someone ripping into a sheet of bubble wrap, and I went over.

My first thought wasn’t “ouch”—actually it didn’t hurt all that much, it just felt kind of weird—my first thought was—“that’s it, the career ending injury. I’ll never play basketball again".

This was not a pleasant thought, by any stretch of the imagination. By favorite personal recreational activities, in order, are writing, reading, listening to music, and playing basketball. And jogging is somewhere in the top ten, and considering my knee was making crinkly-cellophane sounds as I limped off the court, I thought that maybe I’d lost that one as well.

It is the old saw about not appreciating something until it is gone—I tell you, the prospect that I’d never be able to play pickup basketball again left me with a deep, deep despondency. I guess I'm getting old! How did that happen?

But here we are about six weeks later, and the air has cleared considerably (although I'd never want it to clear too much; the fact of the matter is a bit of stress is good for the ol' writin'). We’re in our new house, and the massive stress of selling/buying/moving is behind me. And the first “home improvement” project I did was set up a roll away regulation NBA hoop. Every night that I’ve been home and the sun is out (or the rain isn’t too heavy) I’m out in the driveway with the kids or by myself shooting around. I ran two miles yesterday and three today. I’m stubborn. But the knee is feeling really good.

And I'm a little more thankful every time I shoot a jump shot, regardless of whether it swishes through, clangs off the rim, or misses entirely, because, no matter how much I may want to, I won't be able to shoot them forever.

I also wanted to extend a special thank you to Kati, who took the time to write a note to tell me how my newest novel Passing Strange affected her. Kati, your note made a big impact on me as well; as a writer sometimes all you want out of your work is that it reaches a single reader. I'd just hurt the knee, and was feeling pretty sorry for myself and whah whah whah, but your note got me thinking and lifted my spirits considerably. Thank you, thank you, thank you--I really appreciate you taking the time.

Oh, and PS--I'll probably be blogging a bit more now that I've moved. That was literally a year-long project, one that I'm glad to see behind me.

And also PS--please buy PS, Passing Strange, at your earliest convenience. At fine bookstores everywhere!