Daniel Evan Weiss
Post Office Box 250811
New York, NY 10025
(646) 217-0648
e-mail

About me

Unlike most novelists, I had no interest in literature when I was growing up. I read history and science; my ambition was to become a physicist or mathematician. But I turned down an opportunity to go to MIT, and went instead to Harvard. Even there I learned little about literature, and graduated magna cum laude in philosophy, the most useless achievement of my life. However, while I was working on my undergraduate thesis, I found a great deal more pleasure in the process of writing than in the subject I was arguing. I thought writing might be a fun career. I was wrong, but I've been doing it ever since.

After graduation I began a five year stint at the general books division of Reader's Digest. In books about complex crafts and home construction, it was my job to take subjects I at first knew nothing about and, working with experts and designers, make novices able to duplicate the techniques and projects on my pages. I also contributed to books on many other subjects, including law and travel (I was sent to America's backest backwaters). For the new video division, I wrote two two-hour videotapes, one on home repair, the other on emergency medicine.

Though I had not had any fiction published - I had written a few dismal short stories - a wave of grandiosity compelled me to begin a novel. The Roaches Have No King took me six years to complete. Immediately afterwards, before it was published, I wrote the second, Hell On Wheels.

I then wrote two humor books, based on statistical facts: 100% American, and The Great Divide.

Then it was back to fiction - first The Swine's Wedding, my favorite (which I also turned into a screenplay), and then Honk If You Love Aphrodite.

Throughout this time I tutored in writing; I also edited novels and non-fiction, and rewrote a biography. Now I began to teach writing at technology companies and management consulting firms. I also spent time at the options exchange in Chicago inventing, with a software engineer, a tool for identifying real-time trading opportunities in equity and index options.

To keep some balance, I wrote book reviews and created two large internet sites for Time Life.

Over the last several years I have been interviewing people and putting together their memoirs. Fiction can be thrilling, but real lives yield the greatest stories ever told.

NOVELS

The Roaches Have No King

A colony of roaches lives in harmony with the human couple who share their apartment; when the tempestuous woman hurls meals against the wall, there is food for all. But one day she disappears. Her successor, who is compulsively tidy, has the kitchen redone; cracks and holes are sealed, and all food is stored in impenetrable containers. The colony is threatened with starvation. Numbers (his name derives from the Bible, where he grew up) leads his peers in an intricate yet costly campaign to try to drive her out and save themselves.

"One of those brilliant allegorical novels that comes along once in a lifetime and haunts you forever." Bizarre

"Shades of Kafka, Swift, and Don Marquis. Daniel Evan Weiss has written an appealing, often mordant satire about the urban condition.... Have I neglected to mention that Daniel Evan Weiss's unusual novel is also dark and erotic in addition to being clever and charming... If you're a roach, this book is positively steamy!" The New York Times Book Review

"Even funnier than Kafka's Metamorphosis, and manages to touch just as many social and metaphysical bases... an uncannily sharp analysis of modern manners and neuroses." The Times (London)

"Until now no author had ever beaten Kafka at his own metaphysical game.... The Roaches Have No King isn't just amazingly funny, it's the sickest, most imaginative and complex novel since Patrick Suskind's Perfume.... An implausible, hilarious, and beautifully written tale." Vox

"The Roaches Have No King is the genuine, endangered article: shocking, inventive, sometimes downright repulsive and very smart. Funny, in short. I loved it. I laughed out loud on the first page." The Sunday Oregonian

"Daniel Evan Weiss' fast-paced, richly inventive, floor-level fable of a cockroach's quest for a promised land of slovenliness, The Roaches Have No King warns us of the even greater dangers attendant upon eating what you read." Bloomsbury Review

"The human characters Numbers [the roach] manipulates are ... wittily observed upon in this sly, enchanting novel. The prose sparkles with energy throughout, as the narrative scuttles between high philosophy and low comedy." The Insider

"Moby Dick for the millennial mindset." Wired

"It takes a writer with great skill and a lot of humor to make coockroaches appealing protagonists, and Weiss has both." Los Angeles Reader

"Villainously crude and delightful." Mail on Sunday

The Swine's Wedding

A young man, nominally Jewish, and his girlfriend, an Episcopalian, plan to marry. The groom's mother, who is excluded from the planning of the church wedding - which she is paying for - decides to research the family tree to present to the couple. But she slowly unravels the family's flight, from country to country, from the threat of torture and murder by the Church - which began five hundred years earlier, in Spain. She tries to impress upon her son the significance of his faith - which she has never taught him. She must also face the bride's mother, an uncompromising and condescending church official. But what happened in the terrible fire that ultimately undoes the wedding?

"Weiss is surely the Evel Knievel of novelists… The Swine's Wedding is a funny, daring, and ultimately searing book that is both a pleasure to read and too painful to forget." Newsday

"Weiss's novel deals with serious ideas, but it does so in a way which is almost surreptitious, so that one never feels one is being preached at or hectored. In fact, despite the harrowing nature of some its material this is a very enjoyable book.... Unusually, for a novel by a male author, men play an almost entirely passive role in The Swine's Wedding. It is the women who are most forcefully realized, and who are given the first - and last - word in this tale about star-crossed lovers." The Times (London)

"This is metaphysical tragedy, the likes of which appear ten times a century, if that." Sud Ouest (France)

"Weiss' confidence in this briny sea of spiritual self-servitude is daring and unwavering. He cleverly weaves the story in three distinct parts. The effect is suited to the story, perfectly balanced and unnerving. Not altogether unlike the triumphant soul of the religious martyr as it succumbs to the fiery stake." Tulsa World

"Daniel Evan Weiss is a satirist: one of the rare novelists whose works contain an unsettling mixture of the funny, shocking, and serious…. Containing some of the best one-liners in any novel I have read, The Swine's Wedding is an absolute gem, and recommended for anyone yearning for something out of the ordinary. This is a superb tragi-comedy." The Bookseller

"For those who like their satire black, this compulsively readable novel is a comically dark dose. Weiss takes the awkward and contemporary dance of intermarriage and gleefully ups the stakes until it's transformed into a fiery, high-stakes tango set to the tune of the Spanish Inquisition…. [The characters] are complex, delightfully unselfconscious, and eminently credible. They're immeasurably enriched by Weiss's uncanny and chameleonic talent for writing in a wide range of voices. The Swine's Wedding may not be for everyone, but it is one of the most original books to come around in a long time." Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles

Hell On Wheels

Marty was a handsome, womanizing tennis pro - until an automobile accident, three years ago, cost him his legs. He is fortunate that one girlfriend has stayed with him. Then one day his lover at the time of the crash - who disappeared that very night - reappears. He doesn't know why. But he does figure out that she and his current girlfriend both know something that he doesn't - what happened to him that night on the highway.

"The best book I've read for ages. Not for the squeamish or the fainthearted, and how a novel can be brilliantly bitter, ferociously funny, insanely obsessive, generally foul and still end up life-enhancing I have no idea, but that's what Dan Weiss manages in Hell On Wheels. I expect he has some special relationship with Truth...." Fay Weldon

"Fast-moving, clever, and bitter as lemons, Hell On Wheels is not for the faint-hearted." Literary Review (London)

"Hell On Wheels is hilariously funny and painfully moving… an important and thrilling book." Blood from Stones Magazine

"This book's short, deceptively simple sentences weave together a moving personal account, a moonless satire, and a very tense thriller." Athens Week (Greece)

"Incredibly neat and stylish." Knave Magazine,

"With his debut, The Roaches Have No King, Weiss made a reputation for himself as a writer of no little talent, a reputation that Hell on Wheels cements. He's got a way of cutting through the bullshit and getting to grips with a character's motivations that many better-known writers would do well to take note of. He's not afraid to show his characters' more unlikable traits, and he certainly doesn't pass judgement on them." Book of the Month, Fiesta Magazine

"There was Naked Lunch, now there's Hell on Wheels." Sud Ouest (France)

"Hell On Wheels is nothing if not a simple man's account of a life gone hopelessly awry. Weiss's telling of it, however, is pure magic; bearing a style that's concise yet telling, he's a master at telling a story by leaving things out, creating characters that are as obviously flawed as their situations." Philadelphia Weekly

"Weiss, in playing the parts of a judgemental bug and now a dry-witted cripple, has consistently demonstrated a mathematician's intuition for the illuminating common denominator. But his depictions of the passions that unsettle equations are no less lucid." The Stranger

"It is Weiss's particular skill at making the gruesome palatable - as in his previous outings, The Roaches Have No King and The Swine's Wedding - which garnishes the book so enjoyably." Jewish Chronicle

"Good fun in bad taste." Sunday Times (London)

Honk If You Love Aphrodite

To prove himself worthy of her love, a son of Aphrodite descends to the earth and alights in Coney Island, New York. There he encounters the mortal Stanley Short-Sleeves, who, after an evening of eating, drinking, and entertainment with two buddies, has to make his way home to make love to his waiting wife. Aphrodite's son assumes the form of one of his buddies, and accompanies Stanley through the New York night, above and below the street, encountering more than their share of perils. This bawdy epic poem is an urban, modern-day Odyssey.

"Madman novelist Weiss goes for the Classics... a reimagining of the Odyssey set mostly in Brooklyn.... Jolly, rollicking fun, told with gusto and a surprising sensitivity." Kirkus Reviews

"The ancient gods live!... Mixing verse with prose, Weiss' hilarious mock epic apparently assumes that, if this kind of parody worked for modernist Joyce, it will work for postmoderns." Booklist

"A deft and clever handling of language... generous in spirit too - if this is the form the novels of the new millennium take, half prose, half poetry, all vision, so be it. I'm happy." Fay Weldon

"A riotous read." Fiesta Magazine

"Told for the most part in free verse, in language that one might expect from 19th century translations of the Greek epics, but set in modern New York City (and including a fair amount of thoroughly modern conversation), Weiss has created a small but worthy contemporary epic…. We recommend it highly." The Complete Review

NON-FICTION

100% American

"An incredible compilation of what various percentages of Americans believe, do, act, say, are." Forbes Magazine

"Fascinating facts about who we are and what some of us - or even most of us - are thinking, doing, believing today. Good Housekeeping

"Daniel Evan Weiss knows exactly who you are. And he's telling everybody." Cincinnati Newspaper

The Great Divide: How Men and Women Really Differ

"This book, consisting entirely of statistical surveys of female-male differences in attitude and experience, is more fascinating that it ought to be." People Magazine

"Statistics freaks will be in awe of this book. There are thousands of enlightening facts on how males and females differ in dress, work, play, shopping, eating, and loving." Toronto Sun

"Keeping score in the battle of the sexes." Chicago Tribune

BUSINESS WRITING

In the age of e-mail and text-messaging, the written word is more vital than ever to the success of businesses. It is unfortunate that our culture celebrates Greenspanian prose, with endless sentences and numbing jargon. The purpose of writing is to communicate; it should always be clear and simple.

Bad writing habits, like bad personal habits, can be eliminated when people see themselves in action. I offer individual coaching and small seminars, which are the best ways to achieve this. Improvement clients have made in their own writing are shown in the samples to the left.

People don't dread writing when they're good at it; readers don't dread what they write. When no one has to ask, or explain, "what does this really mean," the workplace is smoother and more efficient. To see how you can improve the communication skills in your company, contact me.

ACADEMIC WRITING

Nowhere is there greater pressure to write badly - with polysyllabic words strung like a long line of box cars - than in the university. But even the most brilliant work will not be appreciated if it cannot be understood. Authoritative writing can be readable. See example, click [link to academic example]. For help with dissertations, proposals, or other academic writing, contact me .

EDITING

There are times when you work on a project for so long that, though you know it has problems, there is nothing more you can do. And some project are so overwhelming that you know you need help. For help with editing fiction, non-fiction, essays, applications, etc., contact me.

My Golden Rule of Writing: Do not write unto others that which you would not want them to write unto you.

In the age of e-mail and text-messaging, the written word is more vital than ever to the success of businesses. It is unfortunate that our culture celebrates Greenspanian prose, with endless sentences and numbing jargon. The purpose of writing is to communicate; it should always be clear and simple.

Bad writing habits, like bad personal habits, can only be eliminated when people see themselves in action. I offer two ways to do this. In small seminars, people collectively examine samples of regrettable writing and improve them; one solution spurs another, and by the end the group produces remarkably concise prose.

I also coach on a one-on-one basis. The client sends me his current writing project the evening before I arrive. Rather than expending time on examples or exercises, we work at improving his writing habits while we refine his own document - which is fresh in his mind, and useful to his company. I like to think of it as "just-in-time teaching". Improvements clients have made in their own writing are shown in the samples to the left.

People don't dread writing when they're good at it; and readers don't dread what they produce. Everyone is happier, and the workplace is more efficient, when the question - "what does this really mean?" - is no longer asked.

To see how you can improve the writing skills in your company, contact me.

ABC COMPANY MARKETING SHEET

Focus on Customer Segmentation

Enhanced customer segmentation is critical to realizing Return on Investment (ROI) from CRM initiatives.

To enter the "winners' circle," companies in the financial services industry have to develop and enhance segmentation schemes based on customer profitability and measure the ROI of the CRM solution using these segmentation schemes as a baseline. Indeed, based on XYZ Consulting Group data, institutions can increase Return on Assets (ROA) by 8-30 basis points through best practices customer segmentation and customer management disciplines.

Understanding profitability as the key driver allows successful institutions to take the following measures:

" Develop and measure the success of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) efforts, and provide a basis for enhancement strategies

" Identify opportunities to realign your distribution channels to meet client needs

" Develop new product offerings and re-price existing products to enhance revenue streams and retain alliances with your most valuable customers

Focus on Customer Segmentation

Financial service firms can increase their profits by the use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programs. Customer segmentation is essential to the success of CRM programs.

Financial services firms must determine whether their CRM initiatives are profitable. Customer segmentation provides a baseline for measuring their Return on Investment (ROI), and a basis for profitability strategies. Data from XYZ Consulting Group show that effective customer segmentation and customer management can increase Return on Assets (ROA) by 8 to 30 basis points.

Skillful use of customer segmentation allows institutions to:

BUSINESS STRATEGY

We place a heavy emphasis on implementation to ensure that the chosen strategy realizes business benefits. Successful implementation requires a thorough and well-executed communications plan, careful team building, detailed project planning and effective project management, and education of employees. We measure business results to ensure that established goals are met.

Executing our business strategy is important. We plan it carefully, and train our staff so that they manage the project effectively. We measure the results of our plan to be sure it is successful. Sometimes in the course of business it is necessary to write documents that are inconclusive, or even evasive. Good writers write the best evasions - they include, and omit, the essential words. The danger in writing evasively is that it becomes a habit, and everything you write comes out slippery.

Excerpt from a thesis at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education:

I will collect retrospective reports from subjects to better understand the cognitive processes subjects use while working through the tasks. This methodology is well-suited for this study for several reasons; first, the semi-structured interviews will provide rich, naturalistic data about the individuals' understanding of the concepts and experience with the task. Second, this method is consistent with the assumption that the meaning people make of their experience is essential to gaining insight into how individuals develop and learn.

I will ask people to perform some tasks. Afterwards I will ask them what they were thinking while they were doing the tasks. Asking people questions is a good way to find out what they're thinking, which helps us understand how they learn.

Your Memoir - Written by a Novelist

Have you ever thought of writing a memoir - a record of the people and events that helped make you who you are? Would you like to leave your children - and their children - a document that describes, through your own eyes, the time and place you came from?

It would be a daunting challenge - if you had to write it yourself. But you don't. All you have to do is tell me your stories, and I will do the writing.

I will come to your home to interview you. Then, once I have the recordings transcribed, I will bring a novelist's eye to your stories, editing them, giving them structure and shape - while keeping them in your own voice.

You can include photographs, documents, or memorabilia of any kind.

In the end, your memoir will be printed in an elegant bound volume.

Leaving a memoir is more than a keepsake -- it's your life.

The Procedure

Before the interview, I will send you an informal questionnaire to help you focus on what you want to talk about (though you are always free to change your mind). It will also help prepare me for our interview.

Then we will meet where you feel most comfortable; most people prefer their own homes.

The length of the interview depends on how much you want to relate. You might choose to restrict your memoir to a period of your life - your youth and adolescence, for example, or military service, adventures on the road, or courtship. Or you may want to tell your entire story. Prompted by my questions, you will probably remember a lot more than you expect.

The tape of the interview will be transcribed by a professional. (An hour of interview yields roughly 30-50 pages of transcript.) Then, I will edit and shape your manuscript, making it vivid and readable - while maintaining your narrative voice.

When I'm done I will send you a draft, so you can make any corrections, additions, or deletions. It is your book; you have the final say. I will then insert photographs, documents, family trees, art work - whatever you wish.

When all this is done, the memoir will be printed and bound at a professional printer. You will have a choice of format, binding, and cover.

Pricing

The price of your memoir depends on several variables. How long will the interview be - and therefore how long will the book be? Shorter memoirs can often be finished in a few hours of interviews; longer ones two or three days, depending on how long you can talk in a sitting. How many photographs and other documents do you want to include? What kind of edition do you want - what size and binding - and how many copies? The price can be as low as $1000 for a short, simple memoir, or up to $7000 or more.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact me.

A Young Man Goes to War and Is Captured

Battle of the Bulge, 1944

My regiment, the 422nd, in the blue circle, upper right, was overrun on December 16th,, 1944. By the time we tried to attack Schönberg, we were already surrounded. Colonel Descheneaux commanded us to surrender within a few hours - 8000 men altogether. It was a disgrace.

A confident young soldier in 1944. I had no idea what was about to happen.

After we were captured by the guys from the German Signal Corps, they took my rifle and they took us to a church. The church had no roof, and it started snowing again that night. The rest of the company that survived the night before was there. Somehow the Germans knew where they were. Then I found out that not everybody was killed. The rest of the people in front of me just surrendered.

There was a very small house near the church, and the next day they took us one at a time and searched us. There were about ten Germans in there. They didn't even have to ask us any questions because they knew who we were. They knew more than we did. But I was very slow in doing something - I'm not exactly sure what it was - and they didn't like it. I was trying to be defiant. And somebody hit me across the chest with a rifle so hard that it knocked me against a wall two or three feet away. And I said to myself, Stanley, this is not the way. Your life is not your own. These guys got you, and if you want to stay alive, when they tell you to do something, you do it.

In the church I was with what remained of my company, which was maybe a hundred guys. We were only there overnight. In the morning we started walking. And all of a sudden we were walking with thousands and thousands of people - guys who had been captured from all over the place, guys who were shot down. It was a huge mass of people. They tried to take us through the woods and along the roads as much as they could. But we walked through some cities, and people would point their fingers and laugh at us. But I didn't give a damn what they did.

That's where Sidney and I hooked up again. I had a blanket, and he didn't, and we shared it. When this German guy from the Signal Corps was marching us to the church, there was a field covered with munitions and parts of vehicles and all kinds of supplies. That's where I saw the blankets. So I ran and got one. He could have shot me, but I figured that because he was from Signal Corps he didn't want to kill anyone.

We walked for five days, and it seemed like forever. It was terribly cold. I lost my gloves. My hands were frostbitten, which was very painful. The whole time they gave us no food or water. By the end of the march I got diarrhea and dysentery from eating the snow.

Each night they put us in a hall, like a school auditorium, so we couldn't escape. Then they'd shut the doors.

One time it was a small house. A German kid knocked on the window near where I was. He had a loaf of bread, and I gave him my Bar Mitzvah ring for it - a nice bit of irony, but it was a true godsend. At this point I wasn't desperate, like I was later on, and I shared the bread with everyone I knew.

We finally got to Koblenz. One night the American Air Force came over and dropped a bomb on the building next to me. I don't know what happened to the guys there, because the whole thing went up. An incendiary came through the roof in our building, and even though it was a concrete building, I remember standing there and watching that thing burn.

A Girl Grows Up in New York City During Prohibition

To make a living my father set up a sort of cottage industry. We had this big house and the top floor was all empty, and he made himself a little factory where he used to employ people to sew the buttons on little boy's underwear pants -- in those days the underwear tops used to be buttoned to the bottoms. He had his little group of people working for him -- and he always employed me and a couple of my sisters too. And we liked it because the buttons were like toys.

But after a while he decided he didn't want to do this anymore. And being a pharmacist he knew a lot about alcohol. This was the time of Prohibition. So he ran a still in the cellar, and this house had a tremendous cellar. He had barrels of mash -- that I remember, those big barrels where the fruits, or whatever he would be making, would be fermenting. He would make whiskey and Vishnyovka, which is a kind of Russian cherry brandy. And he would sell it by the bottle. Sometimes people would come at night to buy some. Sometimes my father would deliver. I remember one day my father had to deliver some bottles to a customer, and I was eight - I was a little thing - so I was the decoy. He put the liquor bottles in this basket, and then covered it over with little sweaters, little harmless looking things. We were going to the Lower East Side, from Brooklyn, and then the train was all elevated. We're sitting there, and all of a sudden we smell this whiskey! One of the bottles must have broken, and we look down and there's a little splash of whiskey. We were arriving at a station, and he grabbed me by the head and flew out. It was scary. I didn't know how scary, I just knew that whiskey was not the thing to be smelling.

My father also brought the liquor up into the house so he could have his his daily bronfn, as he said in Yiddish.

One Friday night the whole family was was sitting around the table. We had a tremendous kitchen. Also at that time immigration was very heavy coming from Europe, and from Russia, and our doors were always open because we had such a big house. So we had a couple of couples living with us. The table was so big that all of us were there having dinner, and in come the revenue agents, three or four of them. And they say, "You've got an illegal still. But it's alright, folks. Finish your dinner. Don't worry." Of course, that was the end of the dinner, and all the women started to hide their children because the thought everybody was going to be arrested. They just arrested my father, and he stayed in jail for seven days.

The next thing they did was the thing that worried my father the most. They took all these big barrels of mash out in the street. Our neighborhood was not built up; there was a lot of empty land around, and the streets were not paved then. And they took their hatchets and broke up these barrels, and the mash really smelled. The whole neighborhood smelled of whiskey.

After that he didn't rebuild the big still in the cellar. He became more or less of a bathtub seller. He made a small still, a portable one. It was gorgeous; it was copper, and it had beautiful tubing all around -- the alcohol drips down, and whatever they use becomes alcohol. They used to raid us every now and then, but if they couldn't find the still they couldn't arrest you; it didn't matter how much whiskey or anything that's about. We had a front staircase and back staircase so we would sort of make a line around the house, and they never found the still, and they never were able to arrest him again.