Welcome!

You've somehow stumbled upon the page of Dan DeWitt, genre-hopping author of the zombie thriller ORPHEUS, the Norse mythology adventure ODINSONS, and the horror short-story collection UNDERNEATH. There's lots more where those came from, so stick around.

Monday, December 31, 2012

My personal, totally random, completely non-comprehensive "Best of 2012" list.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

100-Word Review: "Afraid" by J.A. Konrath


Though I've followed Konrath's blog for about a year, Afraid is the first book by him that I've read. It didn't hurt that it was free. Anyway, Afraid is a story about a town under siege by a handful of augmented and utterly psychotic super-soldiers. The pace is fast, the characters are believable enough, and it held my attention. Caveat: The gore is over the top (if you don't like graphic descriptions of violence, just move on), and the death count is enormous. Suspend your disbelief (super-intelligent monkey, anyone?) and don't bother looking for a hidden message. Subtle, it ain't.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

"Addicted" Part 2: Sibling Rivalry


Cade instinctively brought the gun up to fire, but it took him about one second to realize he was a half-second too slow. He got one off; it might have been a hit, but his big brother charged right through it and tackled Cade so hard he though he might pass out. The gun flew off into a bush as Matt landed on top with crushing force.

Cade was a calm, disciplined fighter, and his brother never became anything but a brawler. He wrestled with his brother, intending to subdue him, smack him across the face a few times, and find out what he was on to make him go crazy like this. He quickly gained the advantage, pinned the good arm, and thought it might be over. But Matt strained with the other arm, the one with the titanium shoulder, and it made a sickening popping/grinding noise as he threw him off like a bull throws its rider when it decides it has had enough. Before Cade knew it, he was flying through the air, shocked at the strength and disregard for pain he had just witnessed. That was impossible. Last I knew he couldn’t even shoot a basketball, let alone throw a 220-pound guy around with one arm. Then he hit the back wall and crumpled to the ground, all thoughts gone.

When they were growing up, they fought sometimes, as brothers, especially two so close in age, like to do. They were always fairly well-matched, and as adults often joked about their unbeaten record against the other. Truth is, they always fought to a draw, because neither one, in his heart, really wanted to win. They were brothers, and that trumped whatever game or girl they felt was worth fighting over at any given time during their fleeting adolescence.

This time, Matt clearly wanted to win. Matt was pounding on his little brother, not caring where the blows landed. He was repeating his mantra of “Whereisshe? Whereisshe?” His voice grew more and more hysterical with each repetition. Cade covered up as best he could, but he was taking a lot of punishment. He heard his wife screaming from the balcony and then run inside. He knew she was heading to him, to help him, to save him. He wanted to scream at her to stay inside or run, but he had no breath.

He’s going to kill me, Cade thought. My brother’s going to beat me to death, and then go after Liss, and I’ll never know why. He thought he heard sirens off in the distance, but he couldn’t be sure. He focused on the only thing he could: keeping Matt busy for as long as possible. He took several brutal blows to his face, and he knew it just wouldn’t be long enough.

Then, a shattering of glass, and a terrifying growl. He had forgotten all about Loki, but Loki had forgotten nothing. It had only been about thirty seconds since Matt had first broken the picture window, and Loki had been working his way through it. He launched himself, all sixty pounds of him, at his master’s attacker with a fury Cade always wondered about, but never thought he’d actually see. He tore into whatever he could grab, and Matt moved off Cade.

Good boy, he thought as he fought unconsciousness. That’s my good boy. Liss burst out of the house, carrying the aluminum baseball bat that he stored under the bed for, well, for something like this, he guessed. Matt threw Loki off and moved for her, but the dog was back on him instantly. She swung, catching him square in the chest; he staggered a bit from the blow, a dog was shredding his leg, and still he moved for her.

Stubbornly clinging to life, Cade struggled to his feet. They didn’t abandon me … least I can do...

Liss swung again, but Matt moved in and punched her in the jaw, driving her backwards. She collapsed, out cold. Matt grabbed the bat, and the look in his eye was both vacant and homicidal at once. Cade could do nothing but stumble to his unconscious wife and cover her up with his battered body. He saw that his brother had raised the bat for the killing stroke.

Cade had just enough energy left to whisper, "Why, Matty?"

Two shots rang out in quick succession. They weren’t police-issue handguns. He wasn’t positive, but it sounded suspiciously like his neighbor’s rifle, the reports echoing in his head as he slipped into darkness.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My first impressions of the "Zombies, Run!" app

Before you read my mini-review of the Zombies, Run! app, you should know two things:

1) People seem to think that I'm into zombies, but I have no idea why.
2) I'm carrying about forty extra pounds. Fifty if you want to be an asshole accurate.

So, because the universe thinks I'm tilting the Earth's axis is helpful, it gave me this app.

In a nutshell, Zombies, Run! is part fitness app, part zombie audio drama, and all fun. A player will get the most out of this by running outside, but I gave it a test run on the elliptical. It goes a little something like this:

- Set playlist
- Start app
- Choose mission
- Insert headphones
- Assume the role of Runner 5
- Alternately move your ass to the beat, the instructions coming from Abel Township, and the melodic groans of zombies closing on you to eat your face.

In the initial mission, I was instructed to escape the wreckage of a downed helicopter, then make a side trip to the hospital to pick up supplies in order to earn passage into the Township, and finally make it to the town in one piece. Interspersed with the radio instructions were songs from my playlist (keep your songs short-ish unless you really like running). Along the way, I automatically picked up supplies like batteries, tinned food, and fresh tightie-whities, which I then distributed among Abel Township in a light "Sim City" mode. As a bonus, if you run longer than the mission length your music will continue to play and a couple of pirate radio DJ's will bust in here and there.

Even though I was on the elliptical, I was really engrossed in the narrative, and my pace actually increased when I was being chased by a horde. As a by-product, 30 minutes flew by. That's good, because the immediate goal here is to get back into reasonable shape so I can hit the road/trail, where I assume this app really shines. Outside and with the GPS turned on, not only will the app track your time and distance, but will enable "zombie chases," periods in which you need to increase your pace by approximately 20% for about a minute to escape a horde. If you get "caught" you'll have to drop some of your supplies to get away.

One thing that people may see as a drawback (which I definitely don't) is the price tag. At $7.99, the price is really steep ... for an app. I've seen some people who are outraged over having to spend so much, and I think those people are ridiculous. $8 for an app that makes exercise much more entertaining and tells a riveting story, to boot? BARGAIN. Having spent a half-hour with it, I think it's well worth that small investment, and I hate running.

The ultimate goal is to get ready for the Run For Your Lives race next year.

No idea where this notion that I have a zombie problem comes from.

Anyway, if you're looking for a great way to get motivated again, I wholeheartedly recommend Zombies, Run!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

"Addicted" Part 1: Bump in the Night

Here's the first installment of my web serial Addicted. 

Cade Becker just survived a brutal attack at the hands of his big brother. Now, on the mend and wracked with guilt, Cade decides to find out for himself what could turn a good man into ... something else. His search leads him from his suburban New York home to an abandoned town full of horrors and beyond, his brother's last words "Where is she?" still ringing in his ears.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

The barking brought Cade and Melissa Becker back to consciousness, if only barely. The floodlights were on, meaning that something had triggered the motion sensors.

He mumbled something, and she responded with a sleepy groan. “Loki, come on, buddy, shut up.” Expecting the dog to throttle back to growling, as he always did when he wanted to bark but his owners most decidedly wanted him to not bark, Cade drifted down, a few glorious degrees closer to slumber.

Loki, uncharacteristically, continued to bark.

Friggin’ deer,” he said as he stared at the ceiling. “You need to do a better job of marking your territory. Now shut up already!” Loki paid him no mind, and barked louder than before.

Dog owners know that a dog is like a baby in many respects, not the least of which is that the dog owner learns to decipher his pet’s different barks the way a parent can decipher a newborn’s cries. After a while, he knows when a dog’s hungry, sees a squirrel, wants to play…

and when he knows something’s wrong.

Cade bounced out of bed, instantly awake, and walked to the balcony doors. The spotlights threw out a wide cone, but the back yard was large and a great deal was lost to shadows. He absentmindedly scratched Loki, his hackles raised, behind the ears. Still he barked, and that had never happened before. Cade stared into the backyard intently, concentrating on the fringe of the light, knowing that anything within it would be noticeable.

A small voice came to him. “What is it?”

Nothing, babe. Go back to sl-“

To his left, but exposed in the light, something made a beeline to the back of the house. It was not a deer, unless they had learned to run on their hind legs. Cade jumped back, and that’s when the pounding started. Whatever it was didn’t care if it was seen or heard, only that it got into the house.

What the fuck?!?”

Oh my God! What is it?”

Loki bolted downstairs, making a vicious sound the whole way. He wanted to tear whoever was trying to get in his house apart.

Cade couldn’t agree more. He threw open the closet door, and fumbled in the dark for the keypad he knew was there behind half a dozen suits he never wore. “Call the cops.” They simultaneously punched in numbers: she on her cellphone, he on his safe. The door swung open. He pulled out the handgun, popped in a magazine, and hit the slide.

You…are not...going outside. Wait for the police!”

He grabbed the spare magazine and shoved it into his pajamas pocket as he slid on his shoes. Now the attacker was screaming something that may have been, “Where is she?” Over and over again…”Where is she???”

The pounding was moving all along the back wall of the house randomly, as if the wannabe intruder was too far gone to notice that there was a very large, very breakable plate glass window close by. He was hidden from sight by the balcony, but Cade got the impression that the intruder wouldn’t care if he had a neon sign on his back.

This guy’s fucking crazy, honey. He’s in the light, he’s screaming, he knows we have a dog in here, and he’s still trying to get in. He could leave us and go next door, and I don’t want any dead neighbors on my conscience. I’m not going after him unless I have to … I’m not stupid … but I need to keep him in sight.” He gave her a kiss. “I’ll be fine. Promise. Be sure to tell the cops what I look like and that I’m armed.”

She began speaking into the phone as he bounded down the stairs. Between the pounding and the barking, he couldn’t even hear his own footfalls on the wooden staircase, so he knew he didn’t have to worry about losing the element of surprise. He opened a window in the study and slid out as nimbly as his tired thirty-something-year-old body would let him.

Moonlight and familiarity with the land allowed him to sneak around the side of the house quietly, not that it was necessary. He peered around the corner. Sure enough, the madman (he was sure it was a man, now) was running back and forth along the back wall, hitting whatever happened to be in front of him. Cade could hear Loki matching the man pace for pace inside the house, his snout undoubtedly only a few inches from his prey.

Maybe I should have just let him out, instead. Where are the goddamn cops?

True to his vow to not be stupid, Cade only watched. Something about the way the man moved reminded him of someone he knew. What bothered him was the way the man was pounding. His left arm was moving normally, but his right never got raised above shoulder level. Almost as if he had an injury … or an artificial shoulder.

Just then, by design or accident, he found the window. It cracked, then broke.

That woke him up. Melissa was in real danger now, so he yelled, “Hey, asshole!” and moved around to the back to get a clear shot. The man turned, and it all fell into place.

He thought of the man screaming, “Where is she?” He knew that panicked voice. He had heard it for the first time when he was a young boy, lost in the woods during an ambitious game of Hide and Seek. “Game’s over, Cade! Where are you? Where are you?” He remembered thinking how mad Mom was going to be when his big brother couldn’t find him, and how funny that would be.

Then Matt Becker charged, covering the distance too fast, way too fast.

Hiatus. Over.

Really.

Now that I'm back, I'm going to switch things up a bit. I'm still going to bring you snarky, mostly original posts here and there, but I'm also going to attempt to serve as a bit of an aggregator. If I find a writing-related post interesting, I'll slap a sample and a link on here for your perusal.

Oh, and I'm going to relaunch "Addicted," a web serial thriller that I started over 5 years ago. Each installment is typically in the 1200-1500 word range, and I intend to release one per week, at least for now. I may release them more quickly at some point, but that depends on how fast I write them. I have over a dozen installments ready to go; the first one is coming up next.

Due to its format, it's fast, furious, and mostly fat-free. I hope you enjoy it.