Sunday, June 27, 2010
A Not-So Brief History of The Dead
At the end of the last installment, the movie version of The Dead hadn't gotten off the ground (although I did fairly well with it anyway). Moreover, I was without an agent, and nobody would publish me anymore. However, at the World Science Fiction convention at Baltimore, in 1998, a guy by the name of Brian Kerr sought me out...he's a big Samurai Cat fan, and he had an idea. He worked for a a vanity publishing house called BuyBooksontheweb.com (they're now Infinity Publishing), and he said that Buybooks would be happy to pay the setup costs on my books, reprints and new stuff...I had a new installment int the Zorachus series called Blood and Pearls, and wanted to get that published (the new York folks didn't want it), and so I was delighted to go along with the deal. Buybooks published Blood and Pearls and the next two books in the series, and reprinted Sword of Samurai Cat and Samurai Cat Goes to the Movies...a lot of people asked me about The Dead, and we reprinted that too. It soon proved itself to be the best-selling book of the lot...there was some interest in it on the net throughout the early 2000's, and I finally decided to do something I'd always wanted to do, bring out an illustrated version of it.
For my money, my best art has always been my horror stuff...I'm not really interested in funny cats (although some of the Samurai cat pictures are pretty choice technically) and the pinup material did not come naturally to me...I really enjoy painting naked chicks, but the skill to do it properly was very much acquired...I really had to work at it. But evil looking art has always been a snap for me. Needless to say, the subject matter in The Dead played directly to that...I spent about five months knocking off 36 highly ill-tempered illustrations, and Buybooks (now Infinity) was willing to oblige me, God bless 'em. They also allowed us to clean up the numerous typos and referential mistakes in the first edition, which were entirely my fault...when I first gave the manuscript to Buybooks, it was the one I had on my discs, which was also the one I gave Ace/Berkley, which was, of course, not copy-edited. Oops. Compounding the problem is the fact that I'm completely oblivious to typos, because I'm so used to reading foul manuscripts...typos roll right off me, and so I didn't do a very good job looking at the ms. I got back from Infinity. Anyway, the new edition came out...no one seemed to notice the illos or the improved copyedit.
I went about my business, mostly working on Flaming Sword, the latest Zorachus book. Then, early in 2009, Jacob Kier from Permuted Press got in touch with me. In case you haven't heard, Permuted Press specializes in zombie and apocalyptic fiction, and Jacob had read the book awhile back, and had really liked it...I went for the deal, and the new Permuted Press edition that's out now resulted. We got Brian Keene, J.L. Bourne and Taylor Kent to write us some very nice blurbs, and the latest incarnation came out in Nov. '09. There were a bunch of really nice reviews...have no real idea of how things are going to turn out this time, and that's about all there is to tell.