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(pronounced Ko-Hane)
Dan is the Bram Stoker-nominated author of Plague of Darkness, Solomon’s Grave, and the critically-acclaimed Margaret's Ark. Writing as G. Daniel Gunn, he released Destroyer of Worlds and the novella (written with L.L.Soares) Nightmare in Greasepaint (Samhain Publishing),. His short stories have appeared in Cemetery Dance, Shroud Magazine, Apex Digest and many more. He and his family live in New England.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Why Gavin Patchett, and Why Clifton Heights? A Guest Post from Author Kevin Lucia


Author Kevin Lucia has been touring the blogosphere discussing his upcoming book Things You Need from Crystal Lake Publishing. The entries thus far have been centered around fictional author Gavin Patchett. Today, we "hear from" Kevin himself:

So Gavin Patchett's going to take a backseat today as I talk a bit about where the idea of a fictional altar ego came from, and why I seem to keep writing stories taking place in my fictional town of Clifton Heights, New York. First of all, Gavin Patchett.

Where'd he come from?

Well, I've always been intrigued by fictional authors meant to stand in as altar egos of their creators. Probably the first I ever encountered was Timothy Underhill, the “author” of Peter Straub's Koko, Mystery, The Throat, In the Night Room, and lost boy lost girl. To me, it seemed like an amazing concept. As writers, we spend so much time crafting our fictional worlds, and depending on the subject matter, even though the plot details are fictional, we lovingly craft tales which seek to convey “truth.” The idea that we could craft characters which stand in for us, in some ways speak for us, conveying those “truths” we hold so dear?

I loved it.

Other authors have done this, of course. Stephen King not as specifically as Straub, but his Narrative Voice is so often very present, and – though many fans criticized it – I loved it when he wrote himself into the Dark Tower. The idea that King was fated to create and chronicle Roland's story, that all the universes depended on it, and that something sought to prevent King from finishing Roland's story, that King himself was frightened of what he had to write?

Again, I loved it.

From the very beginning, the thought of both a mythos and a fictional chronicler of this mythos as a stand-in for me held great appeal. I remember, one year, when Abby and I were on a short vacation down in Pennsylvania, driving through the Camelback area. I wish I could remember the exact location. In any case, we made a wrong turn and found ourselves driving through what was, for all intents and purposes, a boarded up and closed vacation town of sorts.

Right then I thought: what a great framing device! Abby and I – actually using our real names – make a wrong turn while on vacation in the Adirondacks, and find ourselves in a ghost town. Exploring a few buildings, I come across a manuscript (I never exactly worked out where or how) which detailed the events leading to the town's demise.

Now, that initial version of Clifton Heights never came to be. Does destruction loom in my small town's future? Do I someday need to blow it up, so I can move on to other stories, much like King did to Castle Rock in Needful Things?

Who knows? Let's be honest, for a moment: I still operate, for the most part, in the small press. Even with forthcoming releases from Cemetery Dance Publications – two novellas, entitled Mystery Road and The Night Road (unrelated, despite the similar titles)I'm not exactly at the point where I'm too concerned that I've written myself into a corner. I teach full-time, and that's not going to change any time soon, so my “living” doesn't depend on my art. Though I want to make good business decisions, I also only want to write stories I feel personally drawn to.

I only want to write Truth.

So I can't really say what will happen to Clifton Heights. In some ways, it's sad that Charles L. Grant left us before answering the mysteries behind his haunted small town, Oxrun Station (sadder still that I never got to meet him), but in some ways: maybe it's for the best. Maybe knowing why Oxrun Station is cursed would've proved to be a disappointment. And who knows? Maybe Grant never would've told us.

So maybe that's what I'll do. But then again, I'm Kevin Lucia, not Charles L. Grant, nor could I  ever hope to be him. I have to be me and write what's in me, so I guess we'll just have to wait and see what the ultimate fate of Clifton Heights is.

Why write so many stories in one small town? I know I'm leaving the Gavin Patchett issue dangling, but this feels like a natural segue. Anyhow – why keep writing stories one small town? Don't I see it as...limiting?

Not at all. I mean, I can confess to thinking lately that I'd like to write something else completely unconnected to Clifton Heights, and in different genres. Those ideas are still percolating, however, and are very unformed. For the moment, most of my extant projects are solidly rooted in the Clifton Heights/Webb County mythos.

Why?

On one level, simply this: I write what I love to read. I love King's Castle Rock stories. When I discovered Gary Braunbeck's Cedar Hill, I leaped for joy. I was floored to realize Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury occurred in Green Town, Illinois, as does many of his short stories, and The Halloween Tree. When I discovered Charles L. Grant's Oxrun Station, and the series of anthologies he edited about the fictional, cursed Greystone Bay?

I felt like I'd come home.

At the end of the framing narrative for one of his novella quartets, when Charles signed his name Charles Grant, Oxrun Station, identifying himself as the unnamed author living in Oxrun Station, fated to chronicle the events of his strange town, I knew I wanted to do that, too.

So I've always wanted to do this. Even before I discovered all these other wonderful universes, I realized that one of my initial failed Clifton Heights novels contained many small vignettes which might be turned into short stories. The idea occurred to me of selling those first, before writing a full length work in that town. Quite simply, this is what I've always wanted to do.

Secondly, as I've sought to refine my craft and tell more human stories trafficking  in “Truth,” I've thought more and more about the kind of people who inhabit a town, and what kind of stories they have to tell. I'm not sure I'm always successful, but even as I'm writing “weird, strange” stories with speculative or horror tones, I'm always thinking about the main character's story, and what it has to tell us. Once my mind started down that avenue, I realized that the stories in Clifton Heights were limitless...as well as the shadows which lurked in them.

http://getbook.at/Thingsyouneed
When I'm solicited for a story, or am writing a story for submission, I don't consciously think: “I am now writing another Clifton Heights story.” I focus on that character's story first, and go from there. It just happens to take place in Clifton Heights, is all. If all these strange stories build up the foundation of my strange town? All the better.

So where did Gavin Patchett himself come from?

As I said, the idea of a fictional author standing in for me has always lurked around in my head. The name Gavin Patchett, however, actually comes from a close brush I had with writing under a pen name.

I've talked before about how I initially considered seeking publication in the Christian Bookseller Association, simply because I felt as a Christian I was  “obligated” to write a “Christian” novel for a “Christian” publisher. Through those early years, I built up some contacts with acquisition editors at CBA houses, and I kept in touch with them, even after I'd started selling my first horror short stories to secular presses, even after my first solo work, Hiram Grange and the Chosen One, was published as part of the The Hiram Grange Chronicles from Shroud publishing.

In the course of that, discussions grew between myself and the acquisitions editor of a CBA publisher that actually wanted to start publishing horror and supernatural thrillers (ironically,  they now only publish Amish Fiction, and have regressed from being a traditional, royalty paying publisher to POD publisher; last I heard, anyway). I was working on a supernatural thriller, and upon hearing the synopsis, this editor was interested.

I did point out Hiram Grange, however, which was PG-13 or at best a very mild R in terms of language, innuendo and violence. She agreed that she probably should read it herself, first. The odd verdict?

She loved it and thought it was exciting, fast-paced and engaging. It could, however, prove problematic if I wrote a supernatural thriller for them, which might in turn lead readers to Hiram, if they liked my work.  She had to admit that for the most part, even considering the fact they were intentionally branching out to horror and supernatural thrillers and suspense, the majority of their readership was “Christian soccer moms.”

So, we decided on a pen name. Gavin Patchett and his unfortunate fall from New York publishing was born. Several things thwarted Gavin's debut as my pen name, however. First, I wasn't able to wrangle that novel to its conclusion (which sadly happened to several other novels afterward). 

Most importantly, however, was the reality of Christian publishing.  This publisher's sales of “Christian” horror and supernatural suspense simply weren't promising, were indeed falling. They decided that new authors would be published through a POD platform first, with no royalties, and no distribution. Distribution and traditional publishing would only occur if said author's sales showed enough “potential.”

Sadly, talks fell through (which, again, proved moot point, as I was never able to finish that novel).  There seemed no advantage to writing for this publisher under a pen name, because even if their reach is somewhat limited, the horror small press at least has a long, respectable history, and holds an important place in the horror community. I don't know if anything has changed, but at the time, there very little place in the Christian fiction community for small press publishers. Ironically, the fate of this publisher proved very ironic, as they eventually reverted from their bold experiment of pushing Christian “horror” to producing the most bankable kind of fiction in the CBA: Amish Romances.

In any case, Gavin Patchett was now at loose ends. I didn't want to get rid of him, because I'd gone to the trouble of crafting his background . I wasn't sure what to do with him, but eventually, he became the main character of the first short story I ever sold, “Way Station.” He then popped up in another short story, “Lament,” which takes place five years after “Way Station.” By the time Joe Mynhardt from Crystal Lake solicited a short story collection from me, I knew what I wanted to do.

Gavin Patchett was born. And then, in Devourer of Souls (though Gavin doesn't make an appearance), I committed to his meta-fictional existence by having  Chris Baker, (Clifton Heights sheriff) and All Saints priest and headmaster, Father Ward, talk about Gavin's return to publishing with the release of his new short story collection, Things Slip Through. Gavin Patchett writing as me was born.

Where will I go with Gavin? Unsure. I just finished edits on the first draft of Gavin and Father Ward's first full-length novel, The Mighty Dead, in which I embrace him completely as the meta-fictional author of most of my stories. I say most, because another Clifton Heights resident, Kevin Ellison – framing device character of Through A Mirror, Darkly and new owner of Arcane Delights, a used bookstore he inherited from his father, Brian Ellison – is really the author of A Night at Old Webb and the forthcoming Mystery Road, both of which are much lighter, more optimistic tales of Clifton Heights. “Kevin Ellison” also recently finished an extensive outline for a sprawling coming of age novel, When We Were Young, a book Gavin Patchett, unfortunately, could never write.

In any case – there it is.  I have no idea where it's all going, but that's okay...because I'm enjoying every minute of it.

THINGS YOU NEED is now available for Pre-Order at http://getbook.at/Thingsyouneed

"Kevin Lucia is this generation's answer to Charles L. Grant." - Brian Keene, Horror Grandmaster Award Winner, author of THE END OF THE ROAD

"This is sophisticated adult fiction. With an edge. At times, the book virtually becomes folklore: clever, witty, elegant folklore, with a sting – many stings – including moments of iconic dread." - Robert Dunbar, Bram Stoker Award Winning Author of THE PINES and WILLY


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Wheels & Heels Against MS, 2018!

From my brother Paul Keohane:


Hi, everyone -

A few weeks ago, my wife and I were visiting friends down in Dennis.  Their new cottage just happens to be on a road that my sister Anne and I travel past during the last mile of our 3-day MS Challenge walk.  A short distance further is another street whose name carries more and more significance with each passing year.  It is called “Perseverance Path”.

On September 7, I will begin my 16th year participating in the MS Challenge Walk. Seeing that street sign earlier this month was a strong reminder that, although the journey to a cure may be long, the will to fight must remain strong.  As long as MS persists and continues to affect my sister, than I will persist as well. 

Speaking of persistence, my sister Anne is once again showing her unyielding courage and determination by taking on the 3-day, 50-mile challenge with me.  We look forward to joining forces with our friends and fellow warriors down at Cape Cod and continuing to raise awareness of MS and raising money to get us closer to that cure.

Multiple Sclerosis is a frightening disease that affects the central nervous system.  The symptoms may be mild (such as numbness in the limbs) or severe enough to cause blindness or paralysis. The severity and specifics of the symptoms of MS can’t yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are giving hope to all affected by the disease.

Your donations to the National MS Society are the key to these exciting treatments.  We hope that you decide to persist in the fight with us and be that beacon of hope for all who battle this disease.  No donation is too small!  
   
As in the past, there are two ways you can donate.  

  • The fastest and most convenient way would be to click on my name or Anne’s at:

  • You can also mail a check, making it out to The National MS Society
Our addresses are:
Paul Keohane                                      Anne Murphy             
2 Jillian Rose Dr                                        13 Apache Way
Oxford, MA 01540                             Tewksbury, MA 01876


Thank you all so very much for your continued support!!
Paul

Monday, August 13, 2018

New Reviews of JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM (2018) and ANNIHILATION (2018)

My reviews must continue, and so I'm happy to present my reviews of JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM, and ANNIHILATION on my reviews page. Check it out, let me know what you think.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

What's Been Going On?

Sorry, blog here's been quiet, but not for lack of stuff going on. I've been moving along with the third draft of a short YA novel I've been working on with a friend of mine. It's pretty god actually. That's what "secret project" on the sidebar means.

In the meantime, I do one devotional a week for church and post them here as well. I really enjoy doing these, feels like I'm connecting one-on-one with God as I do (and in many ways that's exactly what I am doing), and yet still being creative, like writing a mini sermon a week. :) 

I'm planning on writing a couple of movie reviews in the next couple of days, if I can find some time. Unfortunately with Cinema Knife Fight gone, I don't have the ever-important world of deadlines to keep me going, so I need to be motivated to write them myself, for myself (and you). Hopefully. First off I'm planning to review the movie I CAN ONLY IMAGINE (2018, I think) and HBO's new FAHRENHEIT 451. Then planning to do a little essay on 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY seeing how 2018 is the film's 50th anniversary.  In the meantime, will be looking over hedges and around trees for another decent film review site that can use my talents.

What about my alter ego, G Daniel Gunn, and his world of horror? He's dead, at least I imprisoned him behind a wall of bricks, held a candle in front of the last rectangular opening for him to remember what light is, then placed the last brick in place. Can't remember if that's from The Count  of Monty Cristo or Dark Shadows, maybe both, but the image is fitting. I've put down the horror quill pen for a time, perhaps forever, and am aiming myself in other directions. It was what I'd started to do years back with Solomon's Grave, but then fell back into the (admitted) enjoyment of writing straight out horror, including co-editing three anthologies for the NEHW. At this point, however, I need to focus differently. Been getting these signals for a while and decided finally to listen. Where is this new direction leading? I don't know. I'm writing, and still marketing Plague of Locusts, and will continue to write, but where I'm truly led by the Spirit to write.

Stay tuned, and keep reading. Writing is way too lonely without someone out there reading.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Cinema Knife Fight Takes Its Final Bow

Cinema Knife Fight co-founder and editor L. L. Soares has announced over the weekend that his long-running, and horror sci-fi movie review staple, Cinema Knife Fight, is closing (or at least going on a long, indefinite hiatus). The decision was, admittedly, aided by a major technical crash of the website itself, but he had been considering ending the 10+ year run of this project for some time now, to allow more room for his other writing (and perhaps a little more sleep).

He and co-founder Michael Arruda began CFK as a column for the Horror Writers Association newsletter, where they would banter back and forth about various new or classic horror films, Siskel and Ebert style. Eventually they started their own website devoted to the column, and produced reviews every day, Monday through Friday. Of course the task was daunting, for something which was truly a for-the-love endeavor (ie, no money coming in), so they brought on others to write specific columns, and the staff grew until in early 2010 when I joined the merry band of film baristas with a review of the new disaster flick 2012. I continued as an occasional science fiction reviewer these past six years, and loved every moment.

I grew up turning first to the arts & entertainment section (or the comics, depending on my mood) instead of the usual sports sections, and scanned films reviews, learned quickly not to read too much of any for a film I wanted to see and not know the ending! When At The Moves (with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert) hit the TV airwaves, I was hooked. I soon discovered if Roger Ebert liked a movie, so would I. Aside from writing in general, doing movie reviews was always on My List, and suddenly I had a reason to do just that when Lauran invited me to contribute.

I still plan to write reviews, and will start looking around for someone in need of this kind of content, but for now, you can find all my reviews from the beginning at www.dankeohane.com/reviews

It was a pleasure being a part of something so cool, and consistently entertaining, and working with some awesome writers. In a genre where magazines and sites come and go like the wind, CKF was a well-produced and informative resource for all films speculative. Hats off to misters Soares and Arruda for sharing Cinema Knife Fight with all of us for so long!

Monday, May 21, 2018

My Knife Fight Review of DEADPOOL 2 (2018) with L.L. Soares is now Showing

L.L. Soares and I discuss the new Ryan Reynold's crazyfest DEADPOOL 2 (2018), as well as L's anger issues, at Cinema Knife Fight! Check it out. I have to admit, our review seems to be going again the general grain around this film.

Monday, April 30, 2018

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018) Review

My review, with L.L. Soares, of the the film touted as the culmination of 10 years (so far) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018) is now showing at Cinema Knife Fight. Almost every Marvel superhero who has thus far made it to the big screen is in this one, and it's non-stop awesomeness from the opening scene.