The I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER Twitter Party!

November 10th, 2016

I think we all need a movie party, and what was the best movie of the year?

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Yeah, baby. Want it watch it together? Me too.

This fine film is and will continue to be streamable through pretty much any VOD platform, but discerning fans will want to buy the DVD/Blu-Ray, which you can pre-order now or purchase directly on December 13.

To make sure you all have time to buy it, and to give it to each other as gifts if you want to, I have scheduled the twitter party for December 30, 2016, at 9:00pm MST. (That’s 11 Eastern, 10 Central, and 8 Pacific.) We’ll all synchronize our watches and press play on the DVD exactly at 9, so we’re all watching the same stuff at the same time, and I will tweet like a maniac the entire time: author commentary, adaptation stories, behind the scenes anecdotes, stuff I like and stuff I love and stuff that maybe I don’t love as much as I wish I did. It will be awesome. I’ve even created a brand new twitter handle for the occasion–@DanTweetsMovies–so that everyone not watching the movie with us doesn’t get flooded with messages they don’t understand. And who knows? If this goes well, maybe I’ll live tweet more movies in the future

So, yes! Mark your calendars, order your DVDs, and join me for this awesome Movie Twitter Party. It’s the best possible way to spend a cold Friday night short of actually embalming a body.

Always Do The Most Awesome Thing

November 8th, 2016

tron-legacy-armyIn the movie Tron: Legacy, the bad guy inside of the computer knows that there is a world outside of the computer, and he knows that people can move back and forth between worlds. He make hundreds of copies of himself and enacts a plan to send them all out into the real world, and I thought “Holy crap! That would be so awesome! Several hundred super soldier programs come into the real world! I am excited for this.” And then the good guys defeated him before he had a chance to do it, and yay I guess, but man. Nothing in that entire movie was as awesome as the thing they told us might happen, but never did.

Around this same time I was writing the book that would eventually become EXTREME MAKEOVER, which is a book about cloning. At one point in that draft a character was kidnapped, and learned that a rival group was planning to replace him with a clone of himself; the character talked his way out of it, and I was pretty pleased with the scene and the logic and the character’s cleverness, but my writing group was incredibly disappointed. “What the purpose of that scene?” they asked. “He starts in one situation, and then he avoided an obstacle, and then he ended up back in the exact same situation again. We didn’t accomplish anything!” My first thought was: they’re wrong, we did accomplish something, we revealed the existence of this rival organization. But then I thought a little harder and I realized that they had every reason to feel upset. If all I wanted to do was reveal the existence of a powerful enemy, I could have done that with a line of dialogue. Instead, I outwitted them in their very first appearance, which made them look weak and ineffective, but even worse than that I pulled a Tron: Legacy. I teased my audience with an awesome new development–main character replaced by a clone and forced to work for the bad guys!–and then yanked it away. Nothing that happened in that scene was as awesome as the thing I said might happen, but never did.

Extreme MakeoverI went home and took a good hard look at my outline. If I moved things around here and there, could I switch this branch from one direction to the other and just do the awesome thing? It would take a few rewrites, and the addition of a couple of extra scenes, but yes I could. I wrote up a quick new synopsis of how the book would go if I made the changes, and I liked it a lot. It even gave me the chance to solve another problem in a different part of the novel, which was a nice bonus, but most of all it was just cool. It took the book in an ambitious new direction, and added tension and conflict and change. Reading it now (the book comes out on November 15!) you’ll think that yes, of course this thing has to happen in this scene, but at the time it was a big change. And I resolved to carry that kind of change forward through the book: every time I had a choice of two or more things happening, I would choose the more awesome one. No holding back, no pulling my punches, no saving up for a bigger thing later. This is a book about the apocalypse–there will be plenty of room for bigger things at the end no matter how crazy I get with the middle.

The final manuscript ended up around 200,000 words, which is very big, and we edited it down to about 130,000, which is a massive cut. Almost a full third. A lot of those awesome things I promised myself I’d put into the book ended up on the cutting room floor, but even more of them stayed in, and more than that, the feel of the book was different. This is a book that goes for broke.

I sincerely hope that you like it.

You can buy the book here.
You can order a signed copy here and here.
You can find me on tour in these awesome places.

EXTREME MAKEOVER, and where it came from

November 4th, 2016

Extreme MakeoverSeveral years ago, I was writing a book. I had finished the first John Cleaver trilogy, and The Hollow City, and I was working on a new idea that, as much as I loved it, wasn’t working. Books are like that sometimes. I knew that the problem was dire when I realized I was so uninterested in my own book that I was literally looking for ways to avoid writing it. Which is how I found myself on the couch watching The 6th Day on TV.

The 6th Day is not a great movie, but it’s honestly not as bad a movie as you probably remember. It’s about cloning, and while most of it is fairly mindless there’s a scene that hit me really hard–hard enough that it not only inspired me to write a new book, but to mention the scene several years later in the acknowledgements of that book. The scene is this: Schwarzenegger crashed a plane in the wilderness, and everyone thinks he’s dead, but he makes it back home again, excited to see his family. As he walks toward his house, though, he sees himself through the window, talking to his wife and his kids, and he realizes two things. First is the plot thing: they thought he was dead so they cloned him. Second is the more profound thing, and the thing that smacked me in the brain and inspired the next several years of my life: he realized that he was no longer unique. That he wasn’t the only him. We are taught from birth that everyone is different and special, and that there’s nobody exactly like us, and that knowledge is a fundamental aspect of who we are and how we see the world. And this man was suddenly and irrevocably confronted with the fact that it wasn’t true anymore. There were two of him. His entire reality shifted, and the fact that someone was the same as him meant that he could never, ironically, be the same again.

I love that. I adore that. I wanted to write an entire book about that moment and that feeling, and pretty much discarded the other project I was working on right then and there. I would write a book about cloning. But, I told myself, there have been a zillion books and stories about cloning. How would I make mine different? We had recently recorded a Writing Excuses episode about developing ideas, and one of the principles we’d talked about was taking something normal and combining it with something weird–your main character is a spy, but he’s also a werewolf! Your magic system let’s people summon animals, but only animals you’ve eaten! So I sat on the couch during the next commercial break and asked what I could combine with cloning that had never been combined with cloning before. How about some kind of science, to explain how the clones are created? Sounds good, but what? We’ve already done genetic engineering and alternate dimensions and time travel and every other cool cloning technology. What was new and fresh? More to the point, what branch of science did I know enough about to come up with something convincing?

That last question was easy to answer: before I went full-time as an author, I worked in the health and beauty industry for eight years. I’ve described more lotions and shampoos and makeups than I ever thought possible, and written endless reams of website copy, box copy, ad copy, and more on the subject. I knew cosmetics inside and out, and it’s an industry practically overflowing with chemical innovation, so why not get something out of that? One of the big buzzwords in the beauty industry at the time was biomimetics–products that can intelligently adapt to your body and even your DNA–so it wasn’t a huge leap to posit a substance that flips that around and starts adapting you to it. A hand lotion that overwrites your DNA. That was new, and the more I thought about it the more I realized that it was a gold mine of fun and terrifying science fiction ideas. Want to look like a supermodel? We can literally just make you into a supermodel, down to the DNA, but maybe be careful about how you use the lotion and where you leave it–your friend wants to borrow some lotion for her dry hands? Now she’s a supermodel too. Your husband brushes past the bottle to reach something behind it? Better hope there’s no lotion left on the outside, or now he’s a supermodel too. And if your kids are anything like mine? Congratulations: your whole family are now supermodels, and not just that but they’re all the same supermodel, a whole little row of disconcerting duplicates. You are not the only you anymore, and nothing will ever be the same.

There are a lot of directions to take this idea, and it took me a while to figure out exactly what story to tell about that one exciting seed. What I settled on was, in hindsight, one of the most difficult: an epic, globe-spanning story that starts when the lotion is created and ends when it destroys the world. Because believe me: the world is not going to survive this technology. The apocalypse comes at the end, though, and in the middle I had the delicious opportunity to skewer the beauty industry I’d spent so much time in. The idea that you can sell beauty–that you can sell self-esteem–is unwholesome at its core. It’s an industry that feeds on insecurity, that makes its money telling people they’re not good enough without it; it’s a textbook abusive relationship, and one I’d been aching to slam for years. So I wrote a book about how the company that says you’re no good the way you are literally gets the power to turn you into somebody else. It’s an absurd corporate satire about the end of the world, and a deep dive into the social side of science fiction: how does a new technology really change the world and the way we live in it? The title, of course, could never be anything other than EXTREME MAKEOVER.

I love this book. It took me years to write it, and more years to publish it. It stretched me as an author and as a reviser, and changed the way I work, and I have never been more proud of a book than this one.

EXTREME MAKEOVER hits shelves on November 15. I hope you love it as much as I do.

Note: most of the images you see online have the title as EXTREME MAKEOVER: APOCALYPSE EDITION. This is my preferred title, and was the working title for years. At the last minute, consulting with booksellers, we pulled the APOCALYPSE EDITION because we didn’t want people to forego buying it because they wanted to get the regular edition instead. The physical books just say EXTREME MAKEOVER, but if you like I will happily write APOCALYPSE EDITION on there with a sharpie :)

A (dia)Critical Look at English Spelling

October 20th, 2016

This morning my brain woke me up at 4:30am, and demanded that I couldn’t go back to sleep until I completed a task: I needed to go through the English written language and replace all of the consonant combinations with new letters and diacritical marks. Some version of this happens every time I come to Eastern Europe–I have so much fun figuring out how to spell and pronounce people’s names that I get all excited about diacritical marks, and I want to add a bunch to English to help standardize our ridiculous spelling system. I tried to ignore it, but I also wanted to sleep, so I finally gave in and gave my brain what it wanted in the hope that it would let me go back to bed. In the end it took about four hours, so I never got back to sleep at all, but on the other hand I do have this blog post, so: enjoy.

First things first: my goal here is not to produce a phonetic alphabet, partly because those already exist but mostly because they serve a different purpose–I don’t want to reproduce the exact way we speak, because people speak in vastly different ways depending on the region they come from and where they learned English. All I really want to do is get rid of our wacky system of letter combinations: the o makes a certain sound, as in bot, but sometimes we want it to sound different so we add an extra o for boot, or we add an a for boat, or we tack an e on the end for bote (which is not a real word, but bode is, and you know what I mean.) This is especially stupid where it’s inconsistent: sometimes oo makes a long sound, as in boot, and sometimes it’s a short sound, as in soot. And sometimes that same short sound is written with a u, as in put, and sometimes that u sounds totally different, as in putt. Wouldn’t this be so much easier and simpler with a bunch of diacritical marks, so that every sound has a single symbol that always makes that same sound? Of course it would. Diacritical marks are going to save us. Hooray!

(Hooray, by the way, is going to look completely different by the time we’re done.)

(Side note: I’m not trying to get rid of letter clusters in general, just the ones that we use as hacks to make the letters say different sounds. The pr in pray, for example, can totally stay, because both the p and the r are doing exactly what they’re supposed to do. The sh in show, on the other hand, forces both the s and the h to do things they don’t normally do. That’s the kind of thing we’ll be changing.)

We’ll start with consonants, because they’re easier, and the first one on the block is the h in sounds like sh and ch. The simplest change here is to steal the Slovakian system, which is to add a little arrow (called a caron or haček) over the top of the letter, so those are now Š and Č. The combination th is harder to deal with, because it makes two sounds: it’s voiced in words like this, and it’s unvoiced in words like thistle. And even though that difference is almost never phonemic (ie, it almost never changes the meaning of a word), sometimes it is: word pairs like thy and thigh are extremely rare, but they do exist, so we need a way to handle them both. I thus declare that a voiceless th shall be written as Ť, and the voiced version shall be written as Ď. Because both of those letters have risers in the lower case, they’re written as half-carons, which mostly look like accent marks: ť and ď.

Just for the sake of completeness, anytime z makes the same kind of sound, as in azure, we’re going to give it a caron as well: Ž. Why? Because I can.

(Side note: yes, I realize that the voiced partner of Č is J, but as much as I’d like to I’m not going to add a caron to the J, because in English J only has one job, so we don’t need a caron to differentiate it from anything else. If we start adding a caron to every affricate in the alphabet we’ll go insane.)

We have more consonant clusters to deal with, and one of them is super easy: ck is now just k. Sorry, c, but if we’re being honest you’re pretty unnecessary to the language as a whole. Your hard sound can be handled by k, your soft sound can be handled by s, and your only job in the consonant cluster is to preserve a vowel sound, so that, for example, the e in baker doesn’t mess with the a in backer. (Imagine of every kickstarter had bakers instead of backers–the world would be delicious but confusing.) Now that we have diacriticals to handle all our vowel sounds we don’t need to protect our vowels from the tyrannical e, so I’m afraid we’re downsizing the language and c is being let go. The only place it’ll show up, in fact, is in the Č, which is a far cry from it’s former glory but it’s better than nothing.

(Side note: yes, I realize that I just said I’m not putting a caron on the J because that’s it’s only job, and I just made that C‘s only job as well, so why am I still putting a caron on Č? Because it will be super confusing otherwise. That may seem like a silly reason, but trust me. It’s way too crazy without that caron.)

Speaking of nothing, that’s what Q and X get: they are eliminated completely. When we need the qu sound we can already make it with kw, so we don’t need a stupid vestigial letter that only functions when it’s clustered with something else. X dies for the opposite reason: it’s a self-contained cluster, without any other letters involved, so we’re killing it and just using ks. Done.

And what about ng? That’s not really an n or a g, so it needs it’s own letter. The phonetic alphabet writes that sound with a funky symbol that most keyboards can’t produce easily, so I’m nominating the Ń instead. It’s not a perfect solution, but at least we can type it. Maybe when the world’s smartphone and keyboard makers adopt my genius system we’ll come up with a better solution.

The last consonant cluster I want to talk about is wh. Sometimes the w is dropped completely, as in who, and sometimes the h is dropped completely, as in what, and sometimes the h and w are both pronounced but in reverse order, as in, um, what. Maybe what was a bad example? The problem is that some English-speaking accents pronounce the h and some don’t, which is where we get, for example, the Family Guy clip of Stewie saying “Cool Hwip” and Brian being confused by the h. This is further complicated by the fact that in some cases the difference is actually phonemic: the h changes the meaning between, for example, which and witch, or whether and weather. So how are we going to handle this in our glorious new system? By siding with the more popular pronunciation and dropping the h from our written language, though you’re still welcome to use it in your spoken language if you want. There are going to be a jillion spoken dialects no matter how we alter the written language, so we’ll do our best to keep things simple.

And as for wr? Screw wr. We’re just going to write it as an r.

Now: on to the vowels. Vowels are going to be hard because English has a shocking number of vowel sounds, and almost all of them are phonemic. The root form b-d is a great example, because you can add almost any vowel sound to those consonants and change the meaning of the word: bad, bade, bed, bead, bid, bide, bod, bode, bud, booed, bowed, Boyd, and probably a bunch more that I’m forgetting. Vowel sounds that don’t fit this particular construction, such as the short u in put, are still phonemic in other words, as we illustrated earlier by the difference between put and putt, or look and Luke, or soot and suit. Compare this to something like Spanish or Japanese, which only have five phonemic vowel sounds each, and you see one of the reasons that so many people have trouble learning English. The fact that we represent these sounds in grotesquely inconsistent ways (ie, boot and soot don’t rhyme, and for that matter neither do bowed and bowed) only makes it worse.

(Side note: as we did with the wh cluster, we’re going to be ignoring certain regional pronunciations during this streamlining process. There are accents on the American east coast where, for example, Don and Dawn sound completely different, and I in fact once knew a family who named a son and daughter Don and Dawn, respectively, and were shocked that people from other parts of the country pronounced them the same. So yes, some vowel sounds are phonemic in some dialects, but if the rest of us can get by without them so can you. Feel free to keep saying them however you want; all we’re changing here is the spelling.)

(Other side note: American English is currently undergoing a massive change in vowel pronunciation called the Northern Vowel Shift. If you live in the great lakes area, odds are good that you or your neighbors pronounce, for example, bag as beg or even baeg, with the same long vowel as bade. This is linguistically fascinating, but throws a wrench in my plans to alter spelling based on vowel sounds. I’m still going to do it, but I’m going to use classic, midwestern, pre-vowel shift vowel sounds. Remember that my goal is not to reflect spoken pronunciation, but to replace the letter combination system: I’m less concerned with how you say hat than with how we as a language turn hat into hate.)

So: we’ll keep the base letters pretty much the same as they’re pronounced in the list I showed above.
A as in bad and lash
E as in bed and felt
I as in bid and ship
O as in bod and far
U as in bud and some

This is already going to shift a bunch of our spellings, since the old system used a for the o sound all the time. Father and mother will become foďer and muďer–and already you’re seeing us start to reverse some of the major consonant and vowel shifts that differentiate modern English from our Roman and Germanic roots. And don’t worry, because foďer and muďer are going to change EVEN MORE by the time we’re done. It’s going to be awesome.

The next set of vowel sounds we change is going to be the long vowels, which I choose to represent with a line over the top, like so:
Ā as in bade and pray
Ē as in bead and need
Ī as in bide and sight
Ō as in bode and cold
Ū as in booed and rude

Next we’re going to deal with the diphthongs, which are vowels we think of as a single sound, but are actually two. We often represent this by tacking on an extra vowel or even a w, as in ouch and wow and point. Using the sounds we’ve codified above, what you’re actually saying in those words is aūč and waūw and poēnt. Sometimes a diphthong is just one letter by itself: technically the ī sound is a diphthong; say the word my really slowly and you’ll see that what you’re actually saying is moē. Even the ā is often pronounced as . But I don’t want to handle diphthongs as vowel clusters, because a simple diacritical mark is way simpler: makes sense to us in a way that moē does not. So I’m going to leave ā and ī as-is, and I’m going to write ow and oy as:
Å as in ouch and wow
Ø as in point and toy

Why am I using these specific symbols? Especially since I’m not using them to mean what they already mean in the languages that already use them? I’m doing it for expedience: I need symbols that a typical smartphone keyboard can produce, just like I did with ń, so here we are.

On the other hand, we’re going to write the short u (put, soot, look) as Ö, because that’s how a lot of languages already do it, so we’re not being completely ridiculous.

There’s one more thing that I want to do, though I’m not sure if it’s strictly necessary. We have a lot of words in English that use a kind of null vowel, such as the second syllable of social, or both syllables in curdle–you can’t really tell what those vowels are, and they certainly aren’t any of the vowel sounds we’ve already defined. The two liquid consonants, L and R, have a strong tendency to modify vowels this way, by reducing them to a kind of faceless placeholder between two other sounds, but even D does it, as in the final sound of landed. These three sounds are all different from each other–the final sound in tumble, and the final sound in tumbler, and the final sound in landed–and they’re not really e‘s either because they’re not really anything. The consonants dominate them to the point that they lose their own identity. I kind of want to eliminate them completely, which the Internet is already doing with things like tumblr, but that creates all kinds of stupid situations: if someone tumbled, I don’t want to write tumbld, and if someone is a murderer I definitely don’t want to write mrdrr. But I don’t want to write murderer either, because we’ve already defined what those u‘s and e‘s mean, and it’s not that. So I’m going to create a new vowel that just means “there’s a vowel here, but only in the most technical sense.” And that symbol shall be henceforth Ë, because it’s very similar to what we’ve already defined the Ö to mean, and it lets us use the umlaut again, which is always fun. So remember when I said foďer and muďer would get even weirder? Now they’re foďër and muďër.

(Side note: A lot of words that end in ed don’t actually give it a vowel sound at all, such as looked or leaped. We don’t use our null vowel in these cases, so if you looked before you leaped it would actually be lökt and lēpt.)

And that’s the whole thing. Our new alphabet looks like this:

AĀÅBČDĎEĒËFGHIĪJKLMNŃOŌØÖPRSŠTŤUŪVWYZ

See how fun this is? By which I mean:

Sē hå fun ďis iz? Wē kan rīt evrēťēń wē wont wiť dīukritikël morks! Hërā! Ińgliš māks sō muč mōr sens nå. Ī ekspekt evrēwun to rīt ďis wā frum nå on: insted uv år kluńkē ōld sistëm wār wun letër köd mēn a bunč uv difrënt ťińs dëpendiń on wič letërz it wuz nekst tū, wē hav an ajël, eksītiń sistëm in wič evrē letër olwāz māks ďu sām sånd. It’z simpël and kënsistënt. Jøn mē in ďis glōrēës revōlūšën! Rīs up ugenst ďu folēz uv år antikwātëd rītiń sistëm!

Deť! Deť!

Or mābē Ī got u litël kerēd uwā. Nō deť rēkwīrd. Just tīpiń.

My schedule for the Frankfurt Book Fair

October 6th, 2016

BluescreenI’m going to the Frankfurt Book Fair! I’m very excited about this, because as big as Frankfurt is (the biggest book fair in the world), I’ve never been before. I’ve done Leipzig several times, and that’s already big enough to make BEA look adorable in comparison, and everyone says Frankfurt is several times bigger, so: awesome. Let’s do this.

I have a handful of events, and of course I’ll be talking about the John Cleaver books and the movie, and about the Partials books as well–Germany just got a really cool omnibus edition of those–but the big story will be the grand debut of Bluescreen. My favorite new cyberpunk series is finally coming to Germany, and I couldn’t be happier.

I have a fairly full schedule for the fair, though most of it is private interviews and meetings and such. If you want to see me and say hi and get book signed, this is where you can find me:

Saturday, October 22

12:00-14:00 – Meet-up With Bloggers
Me and Nina Mackay, hosted by Christian Handel

I suspect this is probably an event you need to sign up for, but I don’t actually know. If you’re a blogger and you want to be there, check the festival’s website, or talk to Piper, my publisher.

16:00-17:00 – Piper Fantasy and Science Fiction, at the “Stage
Me, Andreas Brandhorst, and Christoph Hardebusch, hosted by Christian Handel

Andreas and Christoph will read a bit, and I’ll answer questions about Bluescreen.

17:00-17:30 – Signing, at a tent near the Open Stage
Me, Andreas Brandhorst, and Christoph Hardebusch

I will sign every book you bring.

Sunday, October 23

11:00-11:45 – Signing at the Piper Booth
Me!

I’ll sign books, babies, etc.

12:00-13:00 – Reading at the Azubistro (the Mediacampus booth)
I will read a small section of Bluescreen in English, and actress Paula Hans will read some in German, and I will talk some more with Christian Handel and answer questions. Afterward we’ll have another book signing, though I don’t know how long it will go.

So that’s the schedule! If you’re at the book fair, please come say hello.

I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER won a really big award

September 27th, 2016

meliesSo over the weekend I announced that I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER had one the Silver Melies award at the Strasbourg film festival, which I and many of you thought was awesome, but it turns out that I was grossly underestimating it’s actual awesomeness. The Olympics have trained me to think of Silver as second place, but looking into the award I have learned the truth: the Silver Melies is Strasbourg’s top prize for international films. The top prize. First place. That’s a big honkin’ deal.

But there’s more: there are a whole bunch of European film festivals that have a Silver Melies, and throughout the season they give them to their favorite films, and winning one means that you are eligible for the Golden Melies: the straight-up Best Film in Europe prize, awarded by the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation. This year that prize will be awarded at the Lund International Fantastic Film Festival in Sweden, coming up in just a few weeks. So basically, I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER is now on the short list for one of the biggest honors European film has to offer.

Billy and the rest of the cast and crew did an amazing job with this movie, and I’m delighted that they’re being recognized for it. If you haven’t had a chance to see it yet, do it! It’s opening on new screens all the time, so it might be at a theater in your area, and if it’s not it’s still and always available on VOD.

Who Wants to Win an Advance Copy of My Next Book?

September 16th, 2016

imageMy newest book is called EXTREME MAKEOVER, a standalone novel about cloning, greed, and the beauty industry. It comes out in November, and I honestly think it’s the best SF I’ve ever written.

And I want to give you a free copy of it.

Here’s how it works:

1. EXTREME MAKEOVER is about a beauty company that accidentally creates a hand lotion that can overwrite your DNA. To help get us all in the festive spirit of cloning, I want to see your doppelgangers: people who look like you, or have the same name as you, or showed up in the same outfit as you, or whatever. Take the theme of “I am not the only me” and run with it.

2. Post a pocture of you and your copy on social media, along with a quick blurb or comment. These can be serious, funny, random–this is all for fun, remember–but the closer the resemblance the better. Bonus points for creativity, for making me laugh, and for tragically hilarious schadenfreude.

3. Use the hashtags #ExtremeMakeover and/or #NewYew, and tag me on one of these four platforms:
Twitter: @TheDanWells
Tumblr: @TheDanWells
Facebook: The Dan Wells
Instagram: @authordanwells

4. You have two weeks! I shall choose a bunch of winners at the end of September, and send you a signed book totally for free! I’ll even send a couple outside of the Us, so if you’re in Germany or Argentina or anywhere else, feel free to join in!

As an example, here’s a picture of me next to a picture of actor and personal trainer Dan Wells, holding a book written by Dan Wells and dedicated to Dan Wells. Which is which, and who is who? I can’t even tell anymore.

imageimage

Come Watch I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER With Me!

September 6th, 2016

My movie is coming to Utah this Friday! It opens at Jordan Commons and runs twice a night, 7pm and 10pm.

This weekend, on both Friday and Saturday, I will be there at 7pm for a special event: we’ll watch it together, and do a little Q&A afterward. If you want to see the film, this is absolutely the best way to do it.

Buy your tickets now!

NOTE! The website lists it as an R rating, but that’s a misprint. We’re working on getting it fixed.

See I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER on the big screen!

August 22nd, 2016

I-Am-Not-a-Serial-Killer-official-posterThe time has come!

(Updated 8/26/16)

I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER, based on my book and starring Christopher Lloyd, Max Records, and Laura Fraser, comes out this weekend. This weekend! I can’t even tell you how long I’ve been waiting for this day. Actually I totally can: it was June of 2009 when I first got the email from Billy O’Brien, the amazing director, telling me he loved the story and asking if the rights were available. I still have the letter; here’s a snip from the first paragraph:

“I like John. I believe in him. It reminded me of my teenage years, not that I feared I would be a serial killer, but that the world around me was juddering and that I needed something to hold on to until it steadied again.”

That sentence, more than anything else, was why I said yes–because I knew that Billy saw the story behind the story, and that he loved it for the same reasons I do. It’s a murder mystery, and a horror story, and a coming-of-age story, and a very dark comedy, but mostly it’s a story about a boy trying to hold himself together in a world we can’t understand. Very few of us (I assume) have been hunted by ageless beasts who prey on the fringes of society. But all of us can relate to John Cleaver.

So enough talking: where can you see the movie? You have three choices: theater releases, one-night big-screen events, and VOD. As an indie film, the theater engagements start off fairly small, and your support is key. The more you see it, the more you talk about it, the more you call your local theaters and demand that they talk to IFC and request it, the more the movie will spread. We need to get the word out, and drum up support, and vote with our dollars. Little indie movies compete with the big boys all the time, but only when they have an army of fans to back them up. You are my army of fans. Let’s make this happen.

Opening Dates for Theater Releases
August 26:
Arena Cinema, Hollywood, CA
IFC Center, New York, NY

September 2:
Cine-Rama, Chattanooga, TN
Gateway Film Center, Columbus, OH
O Cinema Wynwood, Miama, FL
Screenland Armour Theatre, North Kansas City, MO
Alamo Drafthouse, Yonkers, NY
Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline, MA
Chalmette Cinemas 9, Chalmette, LA

September 9:
Celebration Cinema, Grand Rapids, MI
Jordan Commons Megaplex, Salt Lake City, UT
Zinema 2, Duluth, MN

September 16:
PFS Theater at the Roxy, Philadelphia, PA
Mall of America 14, Minneapolis, MN

September 20:
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Winchester, VA

September 23:
Guild Cinema, Albuquerque, NM

October 21:
Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar, Austin, TX

If you want to check for local showings in your area, just to be sure, try GoWatchIt.com

Festivals and Events
September 2:
I will host a special screening of the film at DragonCon, in Atlanta, GA.
5:30 PM, in Hyatt International North.
I will be there to introduce it and host a Q&A. Bring all your friends! (Though they will all need a DragonCon badge to get in.)

September 9 and 10:
I will host two screenings of the film in Salt Lake City, Utah, at 7pm both nights.
Jordan Commons Megaplex.
Buy tickets here.

Video On Demand
The absolute best way to see this movie is on a big screen, but you can also download it starting August 26 from pretty much any streaming content provider. Please note that the movie is currently available for rent only; it won’t be purchasable for a few months at least.
Amazon
iTunes
Google Play
Vudu
Playstation
Xbox
Xfinity on Demand
And more!

If you want to help this movie, do these three things
1) Tell everyone you know. Rave about the book, show them the trailers, and tell them about the incredible buzz the movie has from its early reviews–especially for Chrisopher Lloyd. One of our SXSW reviewers said that the movie “reminds us why Christopher Lloyd is a national treasure.” Don’t you want to see that? I want to see that. And so do all your friends, so make sure they know about it.
2) If you’re near one of the theaters on the list above, go see it there. Take all your friends. Go seven times. Money talks, and a movie that makes money in a limited release will slowly and powerfully spread out across the world.
3) Download it through VOD. Download it even if you’ve already seen it, or even if you plan to see it elsewhere, or even if horror movies are too scary you don’t dare watch it–download it anyway. Vote with your dollars and your clicks.

Please Note: I do not currently have any information for non-US screenings or VOD. I’ve been contacted by a few different international distributors, and I’m planning some neat stuff with some of them (Australia is ON TOP OF IT), but I don’t have a complete list of countries where it will be available, and I don’t know dates. I will add that info here as I collect it, and I will broadcast it through social media, but for now just remember that I haven’t forgotten you :)

Bonus Content for Writing Excuses

August 17th, 2016

So: Writing Excuses records more episodes than we can afford to produce.

Writing Excuses

You may have noticed, about a year-and-a-half ago, that the audio quality of our episodes shot way up–that’s because we stopped just posting them with a little cleanup, and started paying an actual audio engineer to make them awesome. So now they’re awesome, but that level of quality costs money, and that’s where you come in. We’re no longer ad-supported, so all our pay-the-audio-person money comes from you, through Patreon. Help us get up $1500/month, and we have a great big backlog of bonus episodes that we’re ready and waiting to pour down on your heads.

Most of these guest episodes come from conventions: awesome guest host, amazing interviews with authors and editors and poets, and sometimes just fascinating talks with subject matter experts who can give us a cool new perspective on a thing we don’t know about. We’re currently sitting on some amazing stuff from GenCon and the World Horror Convention, and we have more in the pipeline. These don’t fit into our regular schedule, and thus not into our regular budget, either, hence this plea for your support. We had slated these bonus episodes for the $3000 level, but they’re too good to hold on to, so we’ve found a way to pinch some pennies and get them out to you early. Please note that the episodes will always be free, just like all of our episodes: Patreon subscribers will get them early, but everyone will get them a few weeks later with no restrictions. Writing is for everyone, whether they can afford cool classes or not. So if you have a little extra cash, consider helping us bring out this content at a high level of audio quality.

Of course, if you are a Patreon supporter, we do have a few extra perks to throw your way. Our current perk is a brilliant piece of writing from Mary Robinette Kowal: Conan the Barbarian, as written by Jane Austen. Yeah. You don’t want to miss it. We put out little tidbits like this every two weeks, so check them out.

Support Writing Excuses on Patreon today, and get some super cool stuff, and help us produce these sweet bonus episodes. Thank you!