Thursday, December 19, 2013

Well, I'll be interviewed!

I’m going to be interviewed by Jackie Chin this Friday night 12/20/2013 at 10 pm Central time on Zombiepalooza, a podcast with about a million listeners. Anyone can listen for free at:
Warn your friends!
Go like Jackie Chin and Zombiepalooza on Facebook:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Lupa Bella: First Take

I am immensely pleased and proud to have received the following reaction to my novel, Lupa Bella, from Rosemary Edghill, author of Hellflower, Bell Book and Murder, and Shadow Grail: Legacies:
Lupa Bella is a compelling secret history of a world that might be our own. D.C. Petterson blends pagan mysteries and very human evil to create a haunting tale of love, lore, and renunciation that will keep you turning pages in your race to the end. Petterson gets better with each book. Keep an eye on this guy: he's good, and he'll surprise you.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

ValleyCon postscript

I just got home from a trip to ValleyCon in Fargo, North Dakota. It was my first visit. Highly recommended. Go there next year if you can.

I enjoyed the panel discussions -- lots of writers there, talking lots about writing. That's why I went, to hear from other writers and to make some contacts. I was pleased with the results.

I picked up a steampunk roleplaying game, Gaslight, which looks like it'll be great fun. I spent hours by the pool, playing Cards Against Humanity, the funniest party game I've ever played. Definitely for adults -- well, adults who refuse to grow up.

I learned about this awe-inspiring project to bring back the carrier pigeon. Extinct species might not have to stay dead.

The con suites rocked. Special mention for Inarra's Shuttle and the Star Wars cafe, though they were all great. The butter beer in the Hogwort's teachers' lounge was the best I've ever had.

For me, the highlight of the trip was the two long private conversations I had with C.E. Murphy. She is vivacious and outgoing, generous with advice and encouragement, a truly delightful lady. She has the best story ever about the Irish tendency to be laid-back. They could teach the Spanish a thing or two about maƱana -- but not today.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Cover Reveal - Lupa Bella

Hunt the magic.
Conquer the future.
Run with wolves.

I am pleased to be able to present the cover of my forthcoming novel, Lupa Bella. We are shooting for an Oct 31 release date.

For a thousand years, the de Luna family 
has protected the slopes of Santo Stefano from the outside world. 
Magic wanders through the woodlands, 
electricity is but a distant rumor, 
and werewolves are still secretly fostered to human families. 
It is 1962, and that's all about to change. 
One young wolf struggles to understand the threats of the new age, 
while protecting her brother, her lover, her secret, her birthright, 
and the feudal lord who still knows the Old Ways.
What must she lose, and what will survive?

This is a prequel to my previous novel, A Melancholy Humour. It shares the world and the mythology, but it stands entirely on its own.

I am delighted to be working with a different publisher, Dark Continents Publishing, with whom I share initials, and where my writing seems to have a better fit. I'm also overjoyed that the editor I worked with on A Melancholy Humour, Nerine Dorman, is also now at DCP, and helped to nursemaid Lupa Bella into reality.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

American Dreams

I've written in other places about the influence of science fiction, fantasy, and horror literature upon our culture. Writers with an interest in social commentary find science fiction valuable in this regard. It is possible to explore cultural issues by creating a foreign or alien society, a future or alternate world, and talking there about things that would be difficult to describe here. It is possible to play out fears and hopes, dreams and nightmares, in that sort of fictional setting.

This isn't a new technique. Jonathan Swift used it to advantage in Gulliver's Travels, back in 1726, a work long recognized as satire and social commentary. Indeed, the Berber writer Apuleius (who wrote in Latin) did much the same nearly two thousand years ago, with his novel Metamorphosis, or The Golden Ass. In more modern times, there is George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm, and stories from Aldous Huxley such as Brave New World. These and innumerable others were intended primarily as works that told interesting tales as a palatable way of presenting social commentary

More interesting still, perhaps, are works that were intended first as popular tales, stories that simply take advantage of existing social fads for commercial purposes. These don't comment on the culture so much as reflect it. Recent trends in current science fiction may reveal something about the nearly-subconscious dreams and fears of present-day America. As Yogi Berra said, "You can observe a lot just by watching."

Some works of popular fiction stand in a sort of gray zone. They may be immensely popular stories that reflect then-current social concerns, but it isn't clear whether the creators intended them as anything more than money makers. The prime example of this is the 1956 classic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. This is now almost universally recognized as an allegory of paranoia about Communist plots, expressing fears that your neighbor could harbor a frightening secret intended to subvert our very way of life. Other sci-fi of that era reflects similar fears: 1951's The Thing from Another World (remade as The Thing in 1982 and again in 2011), 1958's The Fly (remade in 1986), and even George Romero's classic Night of the Living Dead toward the end of that era. All of these create their fear through the idea of normal people being transformed into monsters, or monstrous realities hiding within people who could be close to you.

The themes were repeated in the 1967-1968 television series The Invaders, about aliens coming to conquer the Earth, aliens who could disguise themselves as humans, another thinly-veiled cautionary tale about Communist sympathizers among us. In 1984 and 1985, in the middle of the Commie-bating Reagan era, the television series "V" resurrected exactly the idea of The Invaders. "V" even returned in 2009. That many of the classics found new life as successful remakes shows the underlying fear remains part of our society. Communism has faded as a threat; but the theme remained.

My wife pointed out a current trend to me, the significance of which I hadn't noticed. We saw an ad for a new upcoming television series, Defiance, and I commented that the idea of alien invasion seems to be once again gaining popularity in modern culture. There is, for example, another current series, TNT's Falling Skies. She suggested there was a reason for that.

Americans are once again afraid of alien influences. Stoked by the twenty-four-hour "news" cycles which are mostly about political posturing, the fear has again floated to the top of the sewers of our collective mind. The fear was crystallized by Barack Obama's rise to the office of President. There is a conscious and intentional effort by his political opponents to depict President Obama as alien, un-American, socialist, perhaps not a citizen.

It's more than that, though. Our culture is rapidly changing, from opinions about gays to the ever-accelerating pace of technological advance. We are not what we were fifty years ago, or even a dozen years ago. The world is changing around us:
For this generation of entering college students, born in 1994, Kurt Cobain, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Richard Nixon and John Wayne Gacy have always been dead.
Click this link. It will make you feel very old.

Is it any wonder we again (still?) fear a dark invasion, a hidden conspiracy, forces from outside the comfortable fence of the known world? The Walking Dead embodies the fear of becoming something horrible; Battlestar Galactica, another recent remake, makes the aliens explicit; Terra Nova vividly depicted the monsters just outside the city walls. Supernatural depicts the threat with existential and religions overtones. The explosion of vampire and werewolf fiction carries that same undercurrent.

We Americans have always had a deep-seated fear of the Other. This seems odd since we are, in fact the Other. America, as is often said, is a nation of immigrants. We came here. Think about that. For most of us, we were The Invaders, and we conquered the people we found here to establish our nation. That is, in fact, what makes this fear so natural and comprehensible, so much a part of our national consciousness. We know it is possible for aliens to conquer, we know it happens, we know it can happen again, because we ourselves did it.

That may be why modern vampire fiction often depicts the monsters as being compelling and attractive, even while remaining unspeakably dangerous. We can play in that genre, we can explore our fears of what we are becoming, even while we acknowledge our moth-like attraction to the flame that will consume us.

This trend in modern sci-fi, fantasy, and horror fiction, enduring and perhaps increasing, says something very deep about American psychology and about the way we see ourselves and our world. It reveals our secrets, almost as a psychologist might analyze a patient's dreams. Indeed, these are our culture's dreams, expressed by the creators of popular fiction. We can observe a lot about ourselves by watching them.

(Originally posted at