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.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Why is it so hard to find well-written zombie fiction?

Zombie fiction isn't even close to the only thing I write, but I find myself constantly on the lookout for some to read. In the last several books I've read (whether free or cheap) I keep running across the same pitfalls. I won't name names, because I don't feel it necessary to in order to get my point across, and I have no desire to trash another writer's work personally. I'll have my own detractors, of course, but there's no way in Hell that they'll be able to accuse me of the following sins.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I'll experiment with KDP Select, so you don't have to.

If you've paid attention at all, you know I'm a self-published author.

I've done it through three different publishing services. I originally published through Smashwords, because I liked the multiple distributions to outlets like Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, etc. It seemed an easy way to keep most everything in one location. I've since learned that I prefer to publish on Barnes & Noble directly through their own PubIt! service, because making price changes, for example, can take as long as a couple of weeks through Smashwords. And reporting takes forever. I honestly have no idea how well my first two books are doing on any of those minor (in comparison) outlets. In a nutshell, the PubIt! service makes it much easier to manage my books on B&N.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Guest Post by Simon Haynes: Why (and How) I NaNo.

Dan here: I'm excited to bring you this guest post. It's relevant to all who are participating in NaNoWriMo (especially first-timers), and I'm a huge fan of Simon's yWriter. It's the only writing software I use.

For those of you who may have fallen behind on your word count, let me offer you this advice: 2006 was my first attempt (and success) in NaNo, and I didn't sign up until Day 6. Even if you haven't yet written a word, you're still in it.

Now, on to Simon Haynes. 

Every year, come November, thousands of writers the world over sit down to apply themselves to a very special event. Yes, it's the annual 'bash all those deluded NaNoWriMo participants' blogfest.

Well I'm here to tell you NaNoWriMo does matter, and it is important.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011: Be afraid (but only a little).

It's time, once again, for NaNoWriMo.

If that first sentence made you go, "Uh, what?" then it's also time for an explanation. If you're not a writer, aspiring or otherwise, you probably won't care. See you next post. :-)

NaNoWriMo is the crazy-catchy nickname for "National Novel Writing Month." I suppose that "Novelember" was taken. Anyway, a guy named Chris Baty started NaNoWriMo in 1999 with 21 participants. Last year, there were over 200,000 participants who collectively wrote over 2.8 billion words. I'd say it's growing nicely.

Friday, October 14, 2011

My Self-Publisher's Creed

I self-publish because of desire, not failure;
I will tell stories as only I can tell them;
I will stand or fall on my own merits.

Still, I will seek assistance from many others
So that my works may be the best they can be;
To do any less is a betrayal of my ideas.

I will do my best to deceive my readers
And tell fantastic tales of different worlds;
But to do so believably and with great care.

I will use all of the tools at my disposal;
There is a reason that I learned them;
A good writer should find a use for all.

I will not get too high after a good review,
Nor too low after one that seems personal;
All criticisms serve as guides in one way or another.

Sales be damned, I will persist in my craft,
Because it's the only thing I was really meant to do;
How I deliver my works will always be secondary to that.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The DIY Writer #3: The power of free.

This post is going to be a short one. It really doesn't need to be all that long, because it's simple.

From what I can tell, there are two kinds of self-pubbers:
  1. The kind that only has one or two books in them and prices their book according to what they think their time and effort is "worth," even if it's vastly overpriced for the market.
  2. The kind that succeeds.
Yeah, I said it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Guest Story: "Death's a Circus" by Mike Whitacre

Dew perspired upon Grimm Preston’s face as he awoke to the early morning. The atmosphere of his tawdry trailer was as sultry as it was unbearably musky, which was almost as horrendous as the nasty swamp he tasted in his mouth. He let out a roar of yawn then a growl of a groan while a stinging headache pierced his skull, dug deep, and jerked all around his brain, the way a butcher’s knife jerks when trying to free itself from a slab of meat. When he sat up on the flimsy bed that came with the trailer, he saw that he was still wearing his overgrown overalls, shoes, and giant bowtie. Thank God he remembered to take off his make-up before he decided to hit the sauce, last night. Feeling another hot sting, he held his head and massaged it with his finger for a good, long moment.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

This YouTube comment represents what I love about the internet.

From user "CokeCookies" on one of the "Moves Like Jagger" videos:

This song makes me wanna strip naked, burst out of my window, free fall 28 floors, faceplant in the snow, make a snow angel mixed with my own blood, shiver from the cold, get hypothermia, DIE, go the pearly gate, say wuzzup to Jesus, do our secret hand shake, look for Buddha, find him, have him reincarnate me into a frog, meet a princess, kiss her, turn into a prince, order my subjects to bring me a computer, listen to this song again, sleep, Wake up.. Repeat.

Bravo, sir.

Monday, September 26, 2011

From the old blog 4: The day I got completely worked by my three-year-old.

This afternoon, I went to pick my son up at daycare. When I got there, I found that he was trying to hug one of the girls in his class (to protect the identity of the unhuggable, I'll call her Betty) without her permission. No matter how many times I told him he had to ask her permission or the teacher showed him how easy it was to get Betty's permission, he flat-out refused. He kept trying to hug, we kept stopping him, rinse, repeat.

He got bored of this game and started to run around the room. He passed by Betty and put a shoulder into her...not enough to hurt her or knock her down, but enough to be rude.

So what does Dad...the boss, the smart one...do?

I tell Nate that he has to go apologize to Betty. And he does the standard apology: an "I'm sorry" accompanied by...

...a big hug, of course, met with open arms.

To recap: After several minutes of refusing to let my son hug a girl without her permission, he decides to Jedi mind trick me into ordering him to hug her. Which she welcomes.

1-zip, Nate.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Here's another free short story from "Underneath."

I just hit the 500 follower mark on Twitter, which was a goal I'd set for the weekend. I said that if I reached that goal, I would post another free short story from "Underneath: Short Tales of Horror and the Supernatural." Granted, the whole collection is free on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but still. This is more convenient. 

Here we go.


Cliches and other stuff that you'll never see in my writing.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, so let's jump right in.

* "Where are we? More like when are we?"

* A hard-drinking cop whose next case will either save his life...or end it.

* By the same token, said cop's screaming sergeant/lieutenant.

Friday, September 2, 2011

You might not be a writer, but I sure as Hell am.

A few weeks ago, I posted about the general disbelief that I've experienced from other people when I tell them I'm a novelist.

This topic came to the forefront of my mind a couple of days ago due to a Twitter conversation. Twitter Goddess* Julie Anne Lindsey related a conversation with her neighbor in which he commented that she'd "wasted a year of her life" writing a novel.

I've been simmering about it ever since, mostly because of all the responses I'll never get to deliver. They'd go something like this:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

From the old blog 3: Sorry, traditional publishing, I'm breaking up with you.

It's not you, it's me.

No wait, it's you. It's definitely you.

For as long as I've known me, I've always been a staunch (read: militant) paper and ink book guy. The sensation of flipping through a physical book is just another book-related taste that I'd wager I inherited from my mother. As a reader, I fought the so-called electronic revolution...then I used a Nook for the first time. Love at first sight, I tell ya.

Monday, August 22, 2011

My birthday wishlist (not what you think).

On this date (August 23rd) in history:

Absolutely nothing of note has happened. Ever.

Instead, we celebrate the respective naissance of Dan "Rudy" Ruetiger...the working class dog himself, Rick Springfield...Kobe (the Bryant, not the beef)...and yours truly. Rudy's got a timeless movie, Rick has a bunch of hits and a soap opera role to his credit, Kobe's got pretty much everything, so it's my turn.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The DIY Writer #2: Don't get scammed.

I originally intended on writing this post on a completely different topic, but the events over the last few days concerning PublishAmerica (I won't ever link to those d-bags) have made me feel it's necessary to address something else.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The DIY Writer #1: Keeping a Proper Timeline

This is an entry in the "DIY Writer" series in which writers share their tips, tricks, and experiences to help guide others from the opening sentences to self-publishing.

The story you’re reading starts on a Monday. You know this because the author said, “Monday morning, Joe drove to work.” The character goes to work a couple of days, and the next thing you know, it’s Friday. You think, “Hm. That’s odd. They didn’t mention Joe was part-time help, and I don’t think I slept-read again so what’s up with that?” You’re confused. You decide to have a drink and mull things over. Still confused, you have another. You stare at the words, which by now are running amok on the page like horny ants. So you have another drink to make them stand still. You forget why you’re drinking, so you have another. The next thing you know, you’re a raging alcoholic who refuses to attend your AA meetings because they might make you read a pamphlet, and reading will bring the traumatic memories of a reckless timeline to the surface. My point? No one wants to read a story that can’t follow a timeline. Not even alcoholics.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Call for contributors: This time with actual details.

If you've already read this, you know that I'm looking to do an informal blog series directed at the new writer and/or self-publisher. Several of you have expressed interest...thank you! If you have an idea for a post, just let me know ahead of time so no one's working on the same topic. You can email me here or just leave a comment on this blog; it amounts to the same thing.

With regards to posting, if you want to include any pictures in your post, just include a link. Also, I reserve the right to edit, but it's almost a certainty I won't for anything other than typos. If I need to edit beyond that for whatever reason, I'll notify you before it's posted.

The bottom line is this: If you have information to offer that will benefit other writers or self-publishing neophytes, I want to feature it. Hey, I'll probably learn something, too.


Random Writing Though from: Neil Gaiman

I'm not a big Neil Gaiman fan. That's not to say that I don't like his work. I'm saying that, outside of some Sandman when I was younger, I've never read him. I just started reading American Gods, so let's see where that goes.

However, it wouldn't matter if no one had ever heard of him. These next words are something that we authors should post above our writing desk, slap on a bookmark, or otherwise put in a conspicuous place to remind us of what it is we've all chosen to do.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Planned blog series: call for contributors.

I'm planning a series of posts directed mostly at new writers and self-publishers. The topics I want to touch on include (but are no way in Hell limited to): dialogue, action, (un)common mistakes, formatting, writing groups, timelines, and marketing. I guess I already unofficially kicked this series off with "A Four-Letter Word to Describe the Self-Publishing Process", so that's a good indicator of the kind of informal yet informative content I'd like to feature.

Writing and self-pubbing is a pretty broad topic, to say the least, so I would love to see some guest posts from other writers and self-publishers. I don't mind concurrent posts that run on your own blog, so long as you have something to offer other writers: tips, good/bad experiences, reviews of writing software, etc.

I'm also drawing a blank on a catchy title for the series, so suggestions for that are welcome, too.


Zombies as I see them, zombies as they should be.

I'm appointing myself international head of something for only the second time in my life.*

Say hello to your Worldwide Zombie Commissioner. It's a lifetime appointment, so get used to it. I felt it was necessary to ascend to this post for one main reason: there seems to be too much leeway in what constitutes a true zombie nowadays. Zombies, like Hansel, are so hot right now, and some creators are taking too many liberties for my tastes.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hostile takeover.

Writers are like snowflakes: no two are identical.*

However, as in any other profession, I imagine that we all share a lot of similar experiences. For example, I just assume that almost all writers have that moment when they realize that the page they just agonized over is complete rubbish; or experience that queasy feeling when someone whose opinion they care about is reading their work for the first time; or get an anger-fueled boost of confidence when they read a successful writer who isn't fit to carry their laptop.

But I wonder how many have had a character show absolutely no respect for authority and just do whatever the hell they want.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

From the old blog 2: The day I couldn't even throw a proper tantrum.

I'm a cusser. It's how I vent.

Not when it's wholly inappropriate, mind you. But I do use invectives to let off steam bit by bit, so that I can avoid a big blowup later.

During those rare blowups, it helps to break something. Nothing valuable...an old two by four, a brick, even something as simple as snapping a branch over my knee gets it out and then it's back to business.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A four-letter word to describe the self-publishing process.


What did you think I was going to say?

So, you have a release date in mind? Great! Congrats on your accomplishment! Now start formatting your book. Do. Not. Wait.

If you've actually noticed that I'm behind schedule for everything but the Smashwords releases of Orpheus and Underneath...well that's awesome that you noticed. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

From the old blog: My zombie survival team has some openings.

Because I believe in being prepared, I'm putting my Zombie Survival Team together before it's too late. The positions of need are:

Trusted Lieutenant: Must be comfortable questioning leader's decisions while always having his back.

Tank: Must have cool nickname (e.g. Tex, Cannibal, Big Sexy) and be able to dual-wield anything.

Hot Chick: Must be willing (read: eager) to sleep with leader when shit looks hopeless, have faux regret, then do it again after survival is assured. Must work well with Slightly Less Hot Chick.

Slightly Less Hot Chick: Must provide competition for leader's affections. Glasses and latent bisexuality a plus. *UPDATE: POSITION FILLED*

Nerd: You're bait. The sooner you realize that, the better off you'll be. Ability to throw together a semi-palatable meal is preferred, but not required. You'd better have computer skills.

Black Guy: Must have large repertoire of wisecracks about being the only black guy.

Coward: Must skin out at the worst possible time and die horribly. Your unintentional sacrifice must enable the rest of the group to get away.

Hidden Badass: Must rise up and lay waste to the undead when all seems lost. Being aware of your badassness will automatically disqualify you. Therefore, this is the most difficult position to fill.

Old Guy: Must possess ability to repeat same three stories about non-specific “The War” with minimal rest and produce cigars seemingly out of nowhere. Bad knee/back/hip must not slow you; constantly bitching about it is acceptable.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The other woman.

I've been a happily married man for over ten years now.

But there may be a new woman in my life.

Let me back up a few paces.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

"Orpheus" is now available on Smashwords!

It's been about two years in the making, but my zombie thriller Orpheus is finally available for download on Smashwords for $1.99. Even better, if you apply the coupon code "SSW50" at checkout either today or tomorrow, you'll get it for just $.99. A buck. You get a 95,000 word horror novel, plus a preview of my next novel Ragnaok, for, quite literally, less than a pack of gum. See, you benefit greatly because no one knows who the Hell I am yet. :-)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

TV Tropes: Don't go there if you need to be anywhere else that day.

There's a little website out there called TV Tropes. The name is a bit misleading. Though it originally started out as a TV site, it has grown to encompass pop culture in general.

The site is, quite simply, a seemingly-endless catalog of "tropes" ("devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations") for fiction writers to use/misuse/overuse as they see fit. Each entry includes scores of examples from popular culture, as well.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Orpheus" Chapter One

The Rookie 

He didn't want to turn the corner. He didn't know what was ahead of him, but the only thing that was worse than that was that he had no idea what might be behind him. That thought served to overcome his fear, albeit temporarily, but long enough to decide to move ahead.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

When Danny Met Josey: A Love Story

Today is my wife JoAnne's birthday. In lieu of buying a gift or card, either of which would require money and driving, I've decided to share the story of how me met, instead. It's actually interesting here and there. Mostly there.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Random Writing Thought from: Stephen King

I posted this on the old blog. Now, I'm posting it on the new blog, for no other reason than it's awesome and true and awesome.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Me writer, you skeptical.

I don't know this for sure, but I would guess that every serious writer has a transition moment when they stop thinking of their writing as a hobby and start believing that they're a writer who also has the necessary evil of a day job.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My first day with Google+.

First off, I'd like to thank two authors who don't know me from a hole in the wall, Julie A. Lindsey and Mary Robinette Kowal, for inviting me to Google+. To reward their graciousness, I began stalking them almost immediately.

First things first: the layout will look pretty familiar. Google+ isn't exactly reinventing the wheel. You have a wall. People post on that wall. You post on other people's walls. You have a news feed of what all of your friends are posting. Photos, videos, notifications...


New post over at coffeeshopdaily, and I'm now on Google+.

"Drop the thesaurus!" he exhorted.

And I'm now on Google+. Once you get in, come find me.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

More about "I Write Like..."

If you read my previous post, I told you about I Write Like, a site that analyzes your writing samples and compares your writing to that of well-known authors. A few people have asked me some questions, so allow me to go into a little more detail.

At the very least, the site is not just a random rotation of authors. The same writing samples will get the same results. I've tested this time and again.

I write like...

There's a fun little time-waster out there on the Internets called I Write Like. All you do is paste some of your writing (novel, blog, comment, etc.) and it analyzes your word choice and overall style, then compares it to the people you pay to read.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

New post over at coffeeshopdaily!

The devil's in too much detail.


The virtual book tour, and why I'm looking to do one.

Before the days of e-publishing, the words "book tour" to an author meant, among other things, gas, lots of mileage, and possibly appearances with little to no turnout. All of this was done to support their print book.

This still happens to some extent, but ebook authors have devised a new form of book tour, one that is much less time-consuming, embraces technology, and is free: the virtual book tour.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Vanishing on 7th Street": What the heck went wrong?

I had high hopes for "Vanishing on 7th Street." My interest was initially piqued when I heard comparisons of the film to the video game "Alan Wake," which is one of my favorite games in recent memory. The game follows the eponymous main character as he searches for his wife through a living darkness and uses light as a weapon in both typical (flashlight) and creative (flashbang grenades!) ways. "Vanishing" follows four people as they fight to survive against a living darkness using light as a survival tool, so I was in.

There are some nice elements to the movie. The visual effects, particularly the shadow people, are pretty good. The general atmosphere is creepy. There's really a feeling of impending doom as the shadows continue to close, and the survivors' sole sanctuary, day, literally keeps getting shorter.

The four leads do a generally respectable job carrying a movie in which the rules keep changing, several plot points that seem relevant in the beginning are abandoned, and the end gives you no payoff or explanation whatsoever. The director wanted to make the movie deliberately vague...has that ever worked out well?

Where it really falls apart for me is the characters' lack of preparation. For me, it's infuriating.

*spoilers ahead*

Incompetech.com: For all of your royalty-free music needs

I posted this before on the old blog, but people are actually starting to read this one, so I thought it was worth another mention. If you have a project (film, podcast, etc.) and you need some free musical scores, check out Incompetech. I'm going to craft a book trailer for Orpheus, and the right music is critical. You can search by genre or, get this, "feel." I searched under the "eerie" feel, sampled some of the tracks, and found the perfect score. All of the guy's work is free, though donations are appreciated.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My self-publishing journey: the first week.

Here's what's happened since I put Underneath up on Smashwords (everything is on Smashwords only, as I'm still awaiting approval to the premium catalog so I can get on the big distributors):

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The joy of horror.

If you asked me if I write across genres, I'd say yes. Even though I'm not completely sure if that means a) writing a novel in one genre, then another novel in a different genre, etc. or b) writing a novel with strong elements of multiple genres within it. From what I can gather, the rest of the world is confused about this, too. Either way, yes, I write across genres.

My first novel is a zombie thriller. My second, a fantasy based in the world of Norse mythology. My third, historical fiction (and horror). I'm planning a YA series sometime in the future. Most of all, I'm seriously considering a series of linked novels that will enable me to write in whatever genre I feel like writing at any given time. Horror, western, noir, war, pirate...you name it.*

Taking all of that into consideration, writing horror rules over everything else.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's time! "Underneath" is available for download!

Underneath: Short Tales of Horror and the Supernatural is now available at Smashwords! It also features a robust 17,000 word preview of Orpheus, my zombie thriller due for release in July. Best of all, it's free!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Short Story Preview Winner: "Dead After Dying"

People who watched Donnie and me together as little kids often commented to my parents that we were closer than brothers. When I got old enough to hear those stories related to me, I understood that they were right. I have...had...a relative who fit the biological definition of a brother, but Donnie and I were much closer than that. We had a motto between us. More like a vow, really. I know that's something that kids just do, and then forget about as life takes hold, but we meant it.

"Beyond the end." We'd always be there for each other, no matter what. The end of school, a relationship, even death itself, we truly believed with the innocence of children...none of those things would keep us apart.

And we held to that vow. Even as those walking nightmares turned our town into a slaughterhouse and ate (or worse, turned) everyone we loved, we held to that vow. I was there with Donnie, holding his hand, telling him that we wouldn't be apart long, as the blood, too much blood, pooled beneath both of us on the frigid tile floor of the restaurant kitchen. I was there to help him along to the next step, whatever that might be, and I closed his pale blue eyes after he was gone.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Nine tips for new writers that make me the worst writer alive.

Not "worst" as in "putting out slop," rather "worst" as in "not doing it the way everyone says it should be done." There are a lot of rules out there for new writers. There are a lot of writing "do's" (dealing with getting writing done, as opposed to style) that seem to keep rearing their ugly heads time and again. I just put the following list together from memory and 10 minutes of looking at articles about top tips for new writers (my thoughts in italics):

1) Outline before you begin. I tried outlining once. Once. It felt too much like work. Then, as soon as the story I'd written dictated a major change, the outline was toast. Not good. I'm 100% discovery writer now, and it's a blast.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

UNDERNEATH ebook version will be free for a limited time

Hi, everyone:

I've decided that when I release my short story collection UNDERNEATH this month, I will release the ebook version absolutely free for a limited time. The reason for this is two-fold: 1) I want you to get a no-risk look at my work, and 2) I will include a robust sample (the first few chapters, at least) of my zombie thriller ORPHEUS, so you can get a taste of it before it's released a few weeks later.

Hopefully, that's all it will take to hook you.

Thanks for swinging by; the door's always open.