Friday, October 31, 2008

In Support of Indepenedent Bookstores

I’m getting near the end of my signing tour for ZOMBIE CSU. Along the way I’ve hit several independent bookstores, and that’s always a lot of fun. Indie stores are different from the chains in a lot of important ways.

First, they really know their customers. There’s more of a conversational back-and-forth between Indie store owners & staff and their regular customers. Which leads to a second and very important difference –since they know their customers they know what they like. These stores often have a lot of specialty stuff on their shelves that you won’t find anywhere else.

Good example… my second novel, DEAD MAN’S SONG, sold out of its first print run. All of the major chains (including Amazon) are out of copies, but you can find new, signed copies at some of the indies, including:




These stores support writers and their honor readers. And as a writer AND a reader, I love 'em.

Check ‘em out! And…support your local independent book store.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

OMBIE CSU book signing at the Borders in Center City Philly at 12:30 pm

Gearing up for my ZOMBIE CSU book signing at the Borders in Center City Philly at 12:30 pm on Thursday. Stop on by!

Borders -Avenue of he Arts
1 S. Broad
Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: 215.568.7400
Fax: 215.568.7466

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Adventures in Small Town America

This past weekend my wife (Sara Jo) and I traveled to Tunkhannock, a small town of about two thousand people in Pennsylvania near(ish) to Scranton and Wilkes Barre. We’d never heard of before. Now that we’ve been there…we’ll absolutely be going back. The weekend turned out to be one of those genuine surprises that has come to define small town America.

I was invited there by Hildy Morgan (of PennWriters) to give a full day’s worth of writing workshops for folks in the area. The workshop was part of a larger event to support the planned expansion of the Dietrich Theater. The old theater is a marvel. Original built in 1936 and closed in the late ‘80’s, it was brought back to life in 1998 and since then has been continually refined so that it’s now an elegant movie house that shows a mix of films but with a nice bias toward art films. Last weekend they were cruising along with a movie marathon that included MAN ON A WIRE, AMERICAN TEEN, BRIDESHEAD REVISITED, MONGOL (one of my recent favorites), and TELL NO ONE –a French film based on a novel by my friend Harlan Coben (current President of the Mystery Writers of America).

My wife and I were booked in at the Weeping Willow Bed and Breakfast, which has a view you won’t believe and true to its name, a massive weeping willow tree by the front drive that I first saw in the mist of early morning. Huge, green against the gray mist and the red barn, surrounded by flowers and with a cornfield rustling nearby. Pretty much a perfect image (even if you’re not a writer).

We dined at Seasons, a restaurant that is virtually unknown outside of Wyoming County and which can holds it own against anything in New York or Philadelphia. My wife is still talking about the pan-seared Pistachio Parmesan Encrusted Grouper; and I will go on record that the crab cakes at Seasons are second to none (and yes that includes the Jersey shore and the entire state of Delaware). The owner/chef Bruce Arrowood is a genius and the town wasn’t a three hour drive away we’d be there every night. No joke.

The group of writers to whom I spoke was terrific. Smart, focused, talented, and many of them are ready for that step into the pro leagues. They asked all the right questions and we had a blast!

Sara Jo and I feel like we stumbled into someplace magical, and we know we’ve made some real friends.

This Christmas we’ll be going back for their Christmas festival at the Dietrich and a big-screen showing of IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Can’t wait!


Thursday, September 4, 2008

ZOMBIE CSU by Jonathan Maberry in Rue Morgue Magazine

This is for all you zombie fans. ZOMBIE CSU : The Forensics of the Living Dead is the featured book in this month’s issue of RUE MORGUE MAGAZINE. Associate Editor Monica S. Kuebler does a bang-up job of discussing the content and highlights of ZCSU.

It’s Issue #82, on newsstands now. Go buy it and feed your braaaaaiiinns.

Here’s a link to the magazine’s website that has info on all the creepy goodies in this issue (which also sports a cool Alice Cooper cover!).

Zombie CSU official website:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Writers Voice

A writer's 'voice' is usually a product of his word choice, phrasingand pacing. Stephen King, for example, uses a lot of internalmonologue with his characters and is a cognitive rather than visualwriter. Dean Koontz uses a tremendous number of metaphors andsimiles in his text. Read a page of each and you can tell one fromthe other.Also, a lot of writers use favoring expressions over and overagain. In every single James Lee Burke novel you'll find theterms "fecund", "chemical green", etc.

Some writers can change their voice -either because they aren'tlocked into one, or because their particular skill set doesn't relyon a central voice for storytelling. Richard Matheson is anexample. His style for What Dreams May Come is totally differentthan the voice he used for I Am Legend or Stir of Echoes. Otherwriters deliberately change their voice with a new project, thoughthis takes a degree of effort. When I wrote PATIENT ZERO, the novelI have coming out from St. Martins in March 2009 I chose a lean and noirish style that was unlike the much more ornate style I used formy trilogy of supernatural thrillers (GHOST ROAD BLUES, DEAD MAN'SSONG and BAD MOON RISING). But it was a conscious choice and Ispent a while reading sections of old and new works aloud to lookfor similarities so I could deliberately change them.

I like experimenting with variations on voice, and I find it easiestto do this experimentation in short forms. When I wrote the shortstory Pegleg and Paddy Save the World for the History is Deadanthology I wanted a light, comedic voice and that took some doingbecause it isn't my natural style. Earlier this year I was asked tocontribute a short story to an antho of West Virginia tales based onfolklore, and I decided to write a story in which Sherlock Holmesvisits the US and solves a crime tied to a folkloric event. Thatwas a deliberate experiment in voice because I wanted to see if Icould write in the style of Arthur Conan Doyle. To manage it I reada ton of Sherlock Holmes stories and also fell back onto the usefultrick of reading things aloud: both Doyle's stuff and my own.

Then I handed the story over to one of my trusted `first readers' and asked him to see if it sounded like me or like Doyle.

I'm currently writing the sequel to PATIENT ZERO, so I have toreclaim that nourish style; but at the same time I'm collaboratingon an urban fantasy novel with another author, and though we wantthat to also have a noir feel to it we're working to make sure thatit has it's own unique voice.

It's not easy, but the challenge is fun.

The most useful strategies are to read through your work andhighlight phrases that you know you tend to repeat. And then readpieces from two or three separate works aloud. Those two stepsgenuinely help.-Jonathan


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

DEAD MAN’S SONG sells out its first print run

DEAD MAN’S SONG sells out its first print run

Hey guys…for everyone who has been asking why it’s so darn hard to snag a copy of the middle book of the Pine Deep Trilogy, the news is that DEAD MAN’S SONG has SOLD OUT!

DEAD MAN’S SONG links the first book GHOST ROAD BLUES (winner of the 2006 Bram Stoker Award) and the concluding volume BAD MOON RISING (2008). It gives the creepy back-story to the whole Pine Deep mystery.

Bookstores (real world and online) are taking orders now so that when the new print run is ready the copies can be sent out right away.

So….go order your copy now!


Ghost Road Blues (Pinnacle Books; ISBN # 0786018151)
Dead Man’s Song (Pinnacle Books; ISBN # 078601816X)
Bad Moon Rising (Pinnacle Books; ISBN # 0786018178)