The International Thriller Award Nominees

Best Hard Cover Novel:
VANISHED by Joseph Finder
LONG LOST by Harlan Coben
FEAR THE WORST by Linwood Barclay
THE NEIGHBOR by Lisa Gardner
THE RENEGADES by T. Jefferson Parker

Best Paperback Original:
SHADOW SEASON by Tom Piccirilli
URGE TO KILL by John Lutz
VENGEANCE ROAD by Rick Mofina
THE COLDEST MILE by Tom Piccirilli
NO MERCY by John Gilstrap

Best First Novel:
FRAGMENT by Warren Fahy
DEAD MEN’S DUST by Matt Hilton
COLLISION OF EVIL by John J. Le Beau
DRACULA: THE UN-DEAD by Dacre Stoker
RUNNING FROM THE DEVIL by Jamie Freveletti

Best Short Story:
THE DESERT HERE AND THE DESERT FAR AWAY by Marcus Sakey
A STAB IN THE HEART by Twist Phelan
AFTERSHOCK & OTHERS by F. Paul Wilson
ICED by Harry Hunsicker
BOLDT’S BROKEN ANGEL by Ridley Pearson

Congratulations to all the finalists!
2010 Thriller Awards Winners
To be announced at ThrillerFest V
July 10, 2010. Grand Hyatt, NYC

Special thanks to Vicki Hinze, VP Awards
Allen Wyler, Awards Committee Chair
Julie Korzenko, Liaison
And the 2010 Thriller Awards Judges

Publishing News: Dating in Dead World

I just got word from John Joseph Adams, editor of The Living Dead, Wastelands, Federations, and the new speculative fiction magazine Lightspeed, that his new zombie anthology, The Living Dead 2 will be landing in stores this September.

Here’s the table of contents:

Introduction — John Joseph Adams
Alone, Together — Robert Kirkman
Danger Word — Steven Barnes & Tananarive Due
Zombieville — Paula Stiles
The Anteroom — Adam-Troy Castro
When the Zombies Win — Karina Sumner-Smith
Mouja — Matt London
Category Five — Marc Paoletti
Living with the Dead — Molly Brown
Twenty-Three Snapshots of San Francisco — Seth Lindberg
The Mexican Bus — Walter Greatshell
The Other Side — Jamie Lackey
Where the Heart Was — David J. Schow
Good People — David Wellington
Lost Canyon of the Dead — Brian Keene
Pirates vs. Zombies — Amelia Beamer
The Crocodiles — Steven Popkes
The Skull-Faced City — David Barr Kirtley
Obedience — Brenna Yovanoff
Steve and Fred — Max Brooks
The Rapeworm — Charlie Finlay
Everglades — Mira Grant
We Now Pause For Station Identification — Gary Braunbeck
Reluctance — Cherie Priest
Arlene Schabowski Of The Undead — Mark McLaughlin & Kyra M. Schon
Zombie Gigolo — S. G. Browne
Rural Dead — Bret Hammond
The Summer Place — Bob Fingerman
The Wrong Grave — Kelly Link
The Human Race — Scott Edelman
Who We Used to Be — David Moody
Therapeutic Intervention — Rory Harper
He Said, Laughing — Simon R. Green
Last Stand — Kelley Armstrong
The Thought War — Paul McAuley
Dating in Dead World — Joe McKinney
Flotsam & Jetsam — Carrie Ryan
Thin Them Out — Kim Paffenroth, Julia Sevin & RJ Sevin
Zombie Season — Catherine MacLeod
Tameshigiri — Steven Gould
Zero Tolerance — Jonathan Maberry
And the Next, and the Next — Genevieve Valentine
The Price of a Slice — John Skipp & Cody Goodfellow
Are You Trying to Tell Me This is Heaven? — Sarah Langan

This promises to be a huge anthology, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. My story, “Dating in Dead World,” is a sequel to my Dead City series. The main character is Andrew Hudson, the baby Eddie Hudson spent a night of hell trying to rescue in Dead City.

It’s been almost twenty years since Hurricane Mardell swept through Houston, flooding the city and giving birth to a virus that turns the living into the walking dead. The world has been overrun by zombies and left in ruin. But there are still groups of people left alive, and they are carving out an existence in the wasteland.

Some of the survivors have moved into protective compounds, but Andrew Hudson wasn’t lucky enough to grow up in one of those. He was raised as a street urchin out in the ruins of San Antonio, where he makes a living as a special courier between the strongholds of the dead world’s warlords. During one of those runs he had the good fortune to meet the daughter of the area’s most powerful warlord, and he won her heart.

Now, they’re going on their first date. How hard could that be, right? Kids have been dating forever. Well, when taking your date out involves high speed pursuits through zombie-infested ruins and being used as pawns in an underhanded power grab scheme, nothing is as easy as it seems.

“Dating in Dead World” was written right about the same time that Kensington Publishing came asking me to do another zombie book. I had made a few readers mad with the ending to Dead City, and I wanted to address the criticism before I went on with the rest of the series.

The first person narrator of Dead City is a police officer named Eddie Hudson. The thing to remember about Eddie Hudson is that he is not a reliable reporter. Most people get that wrong about him. He’s deeply fractured by the events he recounts in the novel, and the optimism he expresses at the end of the story is…well, let’s just say he’s not telling you everything. He’s telling you about the world he wants to believe in, not the world as it really is. “Dating in the Dead World” came from that issue. And because “Dating in the Dead World” was written to refute Eddie Hudson’s optimism, the logical lead for the story was Eddie’s son, Andrew Hudson. So this story really becomes as much a conversation between father and son as it does a commentary on the Dead City series itself.

John Joseph Adams asked me where “Dating in Dead World” came from – not just the idea for the story, but the personal background of the story. I think the answer hinges on personal accountability. I don’t respect a person who can’t accept responsibility for his or her actions. That’s something I learned from my dad, and something I’ll always be thankful for.

He gave me some important advice on personal responsibility. Right before I left for my first date, he gave me the only bit of parental sex education I ever received. “Remember this,” he said. “You will be held personally accountable for everything that happens to that girl from the moment she leaves her front door to the moment she walks back in it. Conduct yourself accordingly.”

It wasn’t until after I’d written “Dating in the Dead World” that I realized I was channeling that advice. I guess it took.

My Interview with Gemini Ink

I’ll be teaching a class called Writing Modern Horror for Gemini Ink on Saturday, April 10, 2010. The course is a one day seminar designed to walk students through the process of turning an idea into a story outline. I’ve asked students to bring with them to class an idea for a horror story. Throughout the day, we will work on the basics, such as setting, character creation, developing convincing bad guys, plot structure, and outlining. By the end of the day, the students should have enough substance to their idea that they will be able to go home and start writing with confidence.

As part of the preparation for the course, the good folks at Gemini Ink did an interview with me. This is a really good one, focusing on some questions I haven’t been asked before. You can read the interview here. Come by and check it out.

This Year’s Bram Stoker Award Roll Call

The inimitable Lisa Morton, writer and HWA powerhouse, has put together a great webpage for this year’s Bram Stoker Award nominees, including a short biography for each. Check it out here.

And if you happen to be the only person on the planet who has yet to see the list of nominated works, check out the full list here.

Publishing News: Blemish

My novella, “Blemish,” is currently being serialized over at the online horror magazine, Dark Recesses. “Blemish” was originally scheduled to be the first novella in my collection, Peacekeepers, but when that project fell through, this story was left without a home. I felt bad about that because “Blemish” is some of the best writing I’ve ever done. Check out the first installment of it here.

Due to the length, there aren’t many markets for novella-length stories, which I think is a shame. The novella is the perfect venue for the horror story. It’s length allows the writer enough room to fully develop the story’s concept, but doesn’t suck away six months of your life the way writing a novel sometimes can. And “Blemish” is one of those stories that really deserved the extra room to run.

I hope you agree. Come by Dark Recesses and give the first installment a read. The second and third installments will follow in the next two issues.

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