On other matters, almost done with the revisions to the ending of DoW. Things have slowled a bit on the writing front, which is fairly typical in these last couple of weeks leading to Christmas.
- Daniel G. Keohane
- (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.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
On other matters, almost done with the revisions to the ending of DoW. Things have slowled a bit on the writing front, which is fairly typical in these last couple of weeks leading to Christmas.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
The short fiction review site, The Fix, has a review of Apex #11 online online. Can't tell from reading the review whether he liked "Ray Gun" or not, but more than likely, his reaction is one I expected (even in some way, hoped) I'd get. Torn, not sure how to react. The story is meant to make the reader uncomfortable, as the main character has Alzheimer's, and there is a bit of humor, but I treat the condition itself with the, well to be honest, fear it deserves. One of the reactions I hoped to garner was, at times, a reflex to laugh at something, but not being able to, because it's simply not funny. Being from the character's perspective (unreliable narrator, is the expression), you simply can't. You will, at some of the things he says, but it doesn't feel right. So the reviewer is right on the ball with his point that some people might hate the story, other's love it, with few in between. Of course, I'd be happy if most fall into the "love" category, but it was heartening to hear this, because it meant the emotion in the story was strong enough to garner one of the two ends of the range, without any ho-hum response. Can't do better than that. :-)
Also got a nice "fan mail" from Jennifer Pelland with whom I share the issue. Doesn't happen often in this business, but when you get a "nice job" note from someone you don't know, it makes a writer's day. And that did.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Here's the news release from editor Jason Sizemore:
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
So, after about 15 minutes of free-writing (actually I was mostly whining and venting in Times New Roman 12 point), I began to flesh out some actual plot points for the next novel - one I had no idea I was going to write. I thought the next book was going to be called Frost, with an entirely different plot, but my Muse decided I needed to write this one first.
It's called, for now, Lost in the Woods. Don't try to assume what it's about.
Lost in the Woods. I like it. Gets right to the point (except that, well, no one actually gets lost in the woods...).
That's it. Have a meeting to attend.
Friday, November 02, 2007
My final changes were done on November 2nd. Two days off my self-imposed deadline. 7 months total from the day I started the outline, and I really, really am happy with the final result.
But... what I think doesn't count. Not yet. Book's not done. It's currently under the editorial microscope of three fine, able proofreaders: Mark Lowell, Fran Bellerive and Michelle Pendergrass. So far the comments coming in have been great (not as in, 'This is great!' though the response has been positive - trust me, if you're new to my world, this is not a common event.. lol.. but as in lots of very constructive suggestions). Life at home has been so busy Janet hasn't had a chance to pick it up yet, but she will. She may be my wife but she's just as ruthless as the rest. The perfect attribute for a proofreader.
Anyway, just happy with myself at the moment. We have so few of these self-congratulatory moments. Felt like posting.
Back to work. Miles to go before I sleep....
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
The girls are excited. Maybe I will be soon enough. Perhaps tonight, when we go trick-or-treating. Andrew isn't planning on going out tonight - he'll be handing out candy instead. Sigh. Life moves on, doesn't it? The kids get older, things change. Still, when trick-or-treating is done and we've tied the kids to their beds while they thrash in a sugar-induced hysteria, Jan & I will still settle in to watch the third episode of Creepshow 2 ("The Hitchhiker" - or as we like to call it: "Thanks for the Ride, Lady"), a tradition at the end of every Halloween for years.
During our last soccer game Darryl the coach (I was assistant coach), who used to live in the Midwest until a couple of years ago, said something interesting: "Halloween is an awfully big deal up here (meaning New England), much more than Ohio." I guess so. We love this holiday up here in these parts. :-)
I really wanted to visit Salem, as scary as the place is. The air is filled with... something. But it's only an hour away... never made it. Maybe next year. Maybe next year.....
I know I mentioned there will be some news on Plague of Darkness coming, but still nothing I can mention just yet. Also, something's brewing with Solomon's Grave. Things are moving along but can't say much at this point. Stay tuned.
Won't be finishing the final draft of Destroyer of Worlds today. The last two days were spent in talks with my agent Sara about developing stuff, one of the few things I'd ever let get in my way of my daily writing. :-) Almost done with it, though. Most of my proofreaders are lovingly pouring through the prose and mercilessly slashing with red pens....
Should be good weather tonight. Pumpkins are carved and illuminated. Costumes are ready. Kids excited. Halloween 2007. Have a great one, folks.
Oh, I updated my home page with a new free story, one from 2002. "Feed the Birds." Enjoy on this festive day.
Friday, October 26, 2007
As I passed alongside, keeping pace, I see this accountant-type with his flip phone open against the front of his steering wheel, thumbing the buttons madly. My first thought, ah, he's having trouble and is calling someone for help (trouble was, what kind of trouble? His steering wheel refuses to turn right? As it turns out... anyway...). But no. Unless he was dialing Uranus, there were way too many thumb-pressings on that phone. Not only that, he was staring fixedly at the phone - not sure how he stayed on the road, must have been using his peripheral vision for such a mundane task as driving. As he began to slow down again it hit me: he was playing a &#*#&# game on his cell phone, thumbing the arrow buttons as he tried to blow apart asteroids or something. Slower, his car dropped, and based on how quickly my car pulled away from him (I was still in the middle lane so I could watch, amazed, in my side mirror and effectively becoming as dangerous a driver as this guy, I suppose) I guessed his speed in the left lane leveled off at about 60 MPH, phone still propped up, and roughly about 6 cars behind him, sometimes flashing their lights, finally curling around him.
He's obviously a complete loon.
People like that who cause accidents that hurt people. Yes, there are other things that can do the same thing, like sex while driving, or trying to eat spaghetti and garlic bread while driving, but I've seen way too many lane-swerving, last-minute course changing, cutting-me-off drivers, only to realize there was a phone glued to their ear, not to get pissed sometimes. I finally have a cell phone myself, but still find a place to pull over to make a call (granted, on the rare occasions someone calls me on the thing I'll answer while I'm driving, so I'm no angel myself, but try to keep the conversations in these cases short and at least watch the road while I talk).
Still.... I hate thatman. And I don't even know his name.
On writing, well, had an intense lunch period editing the final chapters of Destroyer.... I think I break every grammar rule with my plethora of sentence fragments, but it seems to roll through the action pretty quickly. Almost done... almost done....
"Ray Gun" is coming soon to Apex Digest #11. Das grab Des Solomon end of next month, too. Still can't tell you the Plague of Darkness news, yet.....
That's it. Just wanted to check in....
Friday, October 19, 2007
Been so busy this week with the Interfaith Hospitality Network and a Hundred Things family-wise, doesn't feel like I've accomplished must. But starting to get feedback from one of my Beloved Proofreaders on Destroyer of Worlds, so far so good, with some tweaking in a couple of places. About 3/4 way through my final edits. Need to finish this one. Have a week. As long as my part's done before 10/31, I made my deadline.
Some news on the front for Plague of Darkness, believe it or not. I hadn't realized it was out anywhere, yet. More when I can mention it.
I entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest, sponsored by Penguin books. Talked it over with my agent Sara and we figured, why not? The timeline is shorter than some regular manuscript submissions, and, well, it's Penguin. Still time to submit something of your own - if you have a completed manuscript, mind you. I'd say which book I sent them, but they're supposed to be anonymous. But I will say it's not Solomon's Grave, obviously, and it's not Plague of Darkness, and DoW isn't done yet.
Speaking of Solomon, Das Grab des Salomon, the German edition from Otherworld Verlag, is coming out next month. Editor Michael Krug is lining up some good promotion. Looking forward to it.
Someone told me tonight that children don't have peanut allergies, or any of the new food allergies which kids in the US are getting these days, or most any other country. Seems our incessant need for anti-bacterial soap is likely one of the major culprits, screwing with the next generation's immune systems (folks: kids NEED to get sick... stop it! Let them be sick!). If Someone of Power knows this, DO SOMETHING. Scary stuff.
OK, gotta go. Thanks for stopping by. Talk to you again soon.
Oh, PS. Just finished Lee Thomas' Dust of Wonderland. What a smart, brilliantly-written book. I'm straight, and have never read anything where the love scenes were only between two men, so I had to get used to that aspect, but even then, to my virgin eyes, they were written with tenderness and passion (but yea, sorry, I skimmed those parts, was getting freaked out). One of the better books I've read this year. Highly recommend it.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Halfway through my final draft of UNTITLED. 4th draft, but I'm so happy with it I'm starting to get it packaged up for the proofreaders.
The book is basically broken into Part One and Part Two, and they're about equal in length (anyone reading this post a second time might notice I'd said part One was short, but come to find out, it ain't).
And no, still haven't come up with a freakin' good title yet. Sigh. However, I did decide on a couple of good quotes to stick on each Part Page, i.e. under "Part One: Corey's World" I have a quote from David Gilmour's song Out of the Blue, and another quote, same song, under Part Two..... That's not to say that when it sells I'll have the right to use it. Not sure how that works.
I'm still hoping to get my editing done by the end of the month, but with so much going on this month, including working with the families in the IHN program (http://www.ihnworcester.org/) in town next week, soccer assistant-coaching and teaching in the classes for the High School religious ed at church every Monday... well... I'm going to try. Need to get moving on the next while the proofreaders grapple with the beauty (or unsalvagle mess) of the novel.
Couple other items: New TV season. Well, I think we'll settle on the following shows this Fall, and wait for the DVD for any others: HEROES, no question there. Though not a lot's happened in 2 episodes so far. CHUCK - what a brilliant, fun show. Two shows in, and we're hooked. THE UNIT - I don't know, we'll stick with it a little longer, plus Janet likes it. Good acting, just a vague and cluttered plotline at the moment. We're going to start watching NUMB3RS again, though last season we found ourselves falling asleep during the episodes. Not a good sign.
I had high hopes for BIONIC WOMAN, but judging by the first episode, the typical NBC melodramatic touches like slo-mo walking with hair all ablow... if others' tell me it gets better, we might deal with it on DVD some day.
Over the summer we watched season 1 of HBO's ROME... what a brilliant show. The guy who starred as Lucias Verinas has his own show now, a Quantum-Leap knock off called JOURNEYMAN.. might start taping this - mostly for the star than the premise.
And of course, waiting for January for LOST to start up again, and also hope that 24 does something new, and not just write themselves into a hundred corners or bore themselves, both of which they did last season. Time will tell. I still think they should set a season in the Old West or something, see what they can do with that....
Always more on my mind, but out of room. Oh, one more thing: Congratulations to Andrew for attaining Brown Belt in Kempo. Nice job! And to Amanda, for her first successful baby-sitting venture last night! And so I don't get in trouble omitting anyone: to Audrey, for being so good at soccer her team is *almost* undefeated. :-)
See you soon, promise...
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Well, I suppose it doesn't really matter. Any interested publisher will need to wait for the final manuscript anyway... and this way we take advantage of the usual long wait times of book editors to polish the manuscript. Anyway, like I said, we'll see.
Before I started the new draft, I took a few days to go back through three stories that have been waiting patiently for some final work, and I've sent these out now and it feels good to have more in circulation. There's still one more, a co-written story Michael Arruda and I have been bandying... is that the word?... back and forth for over four years now. It's done, I think, we're just working out what to do with the last sentence. As least it's the last sentence, not the first. :-)
OK. Well that's about it. Any deep insightful thoughts I might have thought to share has, as usual, gone flying out the window as soon as I began writing this....
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Where was I? Ah, so almost done with the 3rd draft before I print it off, run through one more time I think before my beloved proofreaders get a hold of it (that is, if Fran's still speaking to me after the Billy the Clown incident... long story, :-)
I always think of a hundred things to write for this blog, then freeze up mentally when it comes time. However, some news: The cover for Apex Science Fiction & Horror Digest, issue #11, is done, and I'm humbled but psyched at getting my name as a headline. See below:
What's next? Not sure. There is an HWA anthology with a tight deadline, so am racing to finish final revisions to "Seeing Monkeys" so I can send it along. Gotta finish the book though... have to keep swimming or I'll drown....
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Aren't they the same? Yes. But here's the rub - what I call Word Blindness. It's looking pretty good because it is good, but also because I'm so used to seeing every page in the same format, I'm starting to skip over words, not seeing the story with an objective eye anymore. When this happens, our brain fills in the gaps, knowing what's coming, what's been written, and it looks better than it is. Time to print it off (or, if you always print and edit, time to change the font to Ugly Courier) and go at it with new eyes. Still, almost there....
Then? When my work is done and Janet/Fran/Mark have all inked their critiques of it? Time to market it. Because this book is so different from the type I've done recently - straight out horror, this time - I have to make a decision whether to give it to my US agent, who's currently marketing the first 2 (Solomon and Margaret's Ark, not Plague at the moment but to be honest still not sure if I'm not going to re-do the ending a little), or go at this on my own. I'm leaning towards marketing this on my own at first, considering my thought that I need some standard horror novels out there to build a name/rep, considering within the market I've got new stories coming out soon in some major outlets, best fire while the irons are hot (if that's the expression). Otherwise it'll simply line up behind the others and wait, and even then... not sure. A bit of a dilemma - am I being impatient, or realistic as far as how things are progressing (or not) here in the states and beyond?
The above, last question is, I think, critically important for my future, and one I need to decide on soon.
Anyway, the title the new book is going to be Destroyer of Worlds- it just works so well on so many levels. It'll change, probably, when an editor gets a hold of it. Who knows? If that happens, they can call it whatever they want. The question is finding a publisher, which is always hard.
Still, as always, while my beloved proofreaders hack and slash, I'll start outlining the next. Whether this is going to be the sequel to Solomon's Grave, or another rewrite of Solomon's Grave itself to work better in the US market (a distinct possibility), or an entirely new horror novel, we'll have to wait and see.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Not always do you get to have this double whammy for a story - words and pictures. Still, though, in the few remaining print magazines out there, it's usually standard. The first time was way back in Fantastic Stories where my Great Flood story, "Lavish" was illustrated. Two images actually, and they were both fantastic (no pun intended). I was honored that my first story in CD, "Mermaids" written with L.L.Soares, was illustrated by a Necon friend of mine, Glenn Chadbourn (who has gone on to do some incredible work with Stephen King). More recently, Michael Apice's "Selection" illio was brilliant, especially when he emailed me the color version which still hangs on my wall today.
One thing I learned in this business is to appreciate these too-few moments of joy, when you see one more piece of a dream come true. As a writer, we want others to read and enjoy what we've done. And when it happens, when we have this brief moment in the sun, it makes all the crap that came before worth it. And don't get me wrong, even with the above-mentioned crap, it's worth it.
PS: 19% done with draft three..... If anyone's counting. :-)
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Anyway, the first draft is basically a mad mind dump, where I never look back and allow myself to write anything, playing with words and leaving literary carnage in my wake. But the story gets written. The second draft was, as I expected, mostly following behind the first with a broom and cleaning up the aforementioned carnage. Also, this is where I have to clean up the plot points, especially in the first half, now that the story is completed. Pretty much every sentence had at least one fix needed, usually more, but to be honest this time through the mess wasn't too bad. I also tend to add more words, enhancing some scenes and coloring in the boxes as I go along.
Already, in the short bit I've done for the third draft, I can already see what comes next: cutting. Cut, cut, cut. One of the things I find often when critiquing others' stories is the problem of too many words. You need to allow yourself diarrhea of the keyboard when slapping the clay onto the - spinning clay thing - but now that the foundation's laid, the writing is too verbose. Time to tighten up, see where 10 words can work where I'd written 20. Etc, etc. I know in much later drafts, it'll come down to culling out the weak words like just and seemed (one of Fran's pet peeves). But this draft will be fun, I think. Cutting words out. I added 4,000 words to the manuscript in just the second draft. It won't surprise me to find when the third is done, I've cut at least that much. Different words, maybe. Still, when I'm done, the writing will be better.
Even better after the fourth draft, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. So, in summary so far: 2 months for the first draft, 2 months for the second. I'll shoot for one month for the third....
Anyway, skipped workout this morning (again - bad habit, but been doing that a lot recently, I get obsessed in this stage of novel writing) and am almost 99% done with second draft, about to work on epilogue - which I WILL do at lunch. Then, I click CNTL-Home and start from the top, and do it all over again. Be interesting to see how quickly I can run through this. It usually goes faster after the second draft is done. I want to get it done, done! And I need a title!
OK, no time to wax poetic about anything right now. My compile should be finished. And I have to go to the bathroom. Busy, busy!
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Went dark for a week to give my brother's MS Walk notice (below) some room. Had a great time at Necon recently, though 4 days and it felt like it flew by and still, with only 200 attendees, didn't get enough time with everyone. Still, it was good to be home and hug the family. :-)
Worlds in Yellow... trying this title again... I like it, just wish it looked better on the page... coming along well, though.
On the home front, we decided to try attending another non-denominational church on Sunday in the next town. The sermon was great, but aside from that the entire service consisted of 6 contemporary Christian songs (which I think are great for services, mind you, in moderation) in a row. This is the second time we've hit something like this. Now, the Catholic church is a bit over-structured in my opinion, relying too heavily on ritual and tradition, and has drifted too far from its original foundation (hence the need for reformist, protestant denominations), but at least they know enough to break things up a bit. A couple of songs in the beginning would be good, then do something else, go back to the music, etc... 6 songs in a row waters down their effect on worship, in my humble opinion. Ah, well, maybe I'm being too picky.
This is one of the things that turned us off when we visited the non-denom church in our own town, but at least they kept it to 4 songs up front, then they had other content like scripture readings before getting to the sermon. In retrospect I guess it was pretty good. I do have a problem with the one in town, for a few reasons I won't bother to blog. But we should give the church we went to Sunday another try - something too new needs to be experienced a few times for any truly subjective decision. And Tom Morin's a good preacher The spirit was in there, which counts for a lot. And I don't want to start window-shopping, which I sense is starting. There's no such thing as the perfect church, I suppose. But I've gotten too disillusioned with the Catholic church, try as I might to stay with them, mostly for the rest of the family. But there's so much to learn and experience in our faith, and to be honest, the only thing keeping me at our current church is the ability to teach religious education for 16 weeks to the high school kids and show them their faith from a different perspective. But at what cost?
Church shouldn't be a place drag ourselves to simply because it's where we've always gone and the people are familiar. I want us to enjoy ourselves when we're there, feel close to God, LEARN about our faith, not drift off because the same things are being said. Though I do wish the non-denominational churches did Communion more often. Should be a priority (I don't mean make it the center of worship, the way the CC does, but a part of it, an important part).
Anyway, a bit of a theological aside. We'll probably alternate weeks at each, for the kids - and us - to be able to see which one is right. In the end it's Jan & my decision, but they're not birds, can't just push them out of the nest. OK, OK... back to writing....
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Hi, everyone -
As you know, for the past 4 years, I have participated in a very special event in the fight against Multiple Sclerosis. Each year, myself and hundreds of other dedicated individuals, lace up our sneakers and take to the streets and bike paths of Cape Cod, hoping to make a difference in the lives of those with MS. Each year, we proudly take on our 50 mile, 3-Day challenge.
Rejoining me this year is my inspirational sister Anne. She is currently oiling and tuning up her hand-pedaled sports bike, ready to take her battle with MS to the Cape. Entering her 3rd year, she will continue to be a source of inspiration to us walkers as well to those who share her physical challenges.
Also returning to our Wheels and Heels Against MS team is my brother-in-law Gene, who, along with the rest of his Harley crewmates, will patrol the routes, making sure we stay safe and motivated.
This year's challenge walk starts on Friday, September 7th and we can't wait to get started!! But before we hit the streets, we turn to you once again and ask for your generosity. Our team goal for this year is $11,000 and, with your help, we know we can make it. The proceeds we raise for this event go towards funding vital research and the many wonderful programs that are offered by the National MS Society.
To help us reach our goal, there are several ways you can help:
* Go to our team URL and click on one of our names to sponsor us.
* Mail myself or Anne a check, payable to The National MS Society. Our
2 Jillian Rose Dr
Oxford, Ma. 01540
16 Kenneth Lane
Tewksbury, MA 01876
If you know of others who would like to contribute to this great cause, please pass along my letter to them. Any help we receive from them would be so greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much for your support and your generous contributions to this cause!!
If you would like additional information about Multiple Sclerosis or the MS Society, you can contact them directly at 1-800-FIGHT-MS or on line at http://www.msnewengland.org/.
Love to all,
- Paul Keohane
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
For the past couple of months I've been plagued with the adult writer's version of the old "back to school" dreams we all have. You know, the kind where you are back at high school/college/elementary school wearing only your underwear (or in my wife's case, not wearing any socks... that's just so cute <g>), and everyone has done the assignment over the summer but you, though it doesn't matter because you can't find your classroom? Everyone has them, I suppose. But Thursday begins my 8th consecutive year attending the amazing writers conference Necon (www.campnecon.com), where a limit of 200 attendees, all, for the most part, writers of some sort, or artists, get together, attend panels, eat hot dogs, play mini golf (and fall under the crushing weight of my talent when they do), play softball, drink (to varying degrees) and, most importantly, talk about the craft/business/insanity of writing - horror in particular - for 4 days. So, beginning in late spring, I begin to have dreams where I arrive and everyone has a schedule and are doing the Necon jig, and I'm wandering around, trying to find out where I'm supposed to be, and for some reason my shoes are always untied (any psychoanalysts out there who can tell me what that means?). As I get closer, I'm able to interact with my fellow scribes a little more, but everyone hates me, or thinks I'm an idiot and ignores me. It’s the old back to school, why aren't I popular like Sally Everyone (or Sam Everyone in my case), self conscious drivel. Still, when the day comes when I, Stephen Dorato, Lauran (L.L.) Soares and Laura Cooney pull into the campus in my haggard mini-van, I'm Mr. Sunshine and Everybody's Friend. But, I suppose part of my pre-Necon dread stems from the fact that every year I hope to arrive and see one of my books in the goodie bags (we get goodie bags), to become one of the many Necon Regular Breaks Through people. Some day. Looking forward to it, though. Hopefully everyone will be nice to me.
Things are pretty stagnant on the book-selling front. My European agent Cristine is at least answering my emails. Aside from that, I've set up a Publisher's Marketplace page (http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/DanKeohane/) to tout my wares as well, see if there's any interest I can garner. It was through here a couple of years back that I got in contact with my agent and even a Russian publisher, so who knows....
Wound, the latest of my Working Titles, has passed the halfway mark today at lunch, for the second draft, 54% to be precise. Coming along nicely. Still enjoying what I wrote, which is a good thing. Probably won't stick to this title, since half the people will think it's "wownd" and the other half "woond". Though both work (the "wownd" works because one of the thingies in the story is a clock, and "woond" works because of the underlying theme to the whole book). Still... It looks cool.
Monday, July 09, 2007
Yea, OK, making steady progress on the second draft, not the lightening fast progress I'd hoped for, but summer brings with it its own set of distractions. Still, after lunch today - even after a Wal-Mart stop for new camping gear - managed to give the progress meter a shove up to 45%. My goal is to pass the halfway point by the end of the week.
I put Solomon and Margaret up on Publisher's Marketplace the other day. My page is one of the most-viewed today, which is nice. Maybe Sarah and/or Cristina will get some interest in the work. Why don't you pop in and bump my viewer count up a little? It's at http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/DanKeohane/ (and of course, when you do, you'll learn who Solomon, Margaret, Sarah and Cristina are, if you don't already know).
I recently sent out a long overdue newsletter, covering what's been happening over the past 8 months since the last one. I've been so into posting on this blog I've been remiss in doing that. Anyhow, if you click the 'newsletter' option on the sidebar menu next to this post, you can find how to sign up for it - though if you read this blog I don't suppose the newsletter's going to tell you anything new.
OK, gotta to do camp pick up. Until next week...
Monday, July 02, 2007
It's funny how much I'd laid the groundwork as a Christian novelist over the past few years that in a few corners I'm still considered as such, though I've never sold anything to the CBA market and have turned my attention, for the time being at least, back to the secular world (writing wise). Still, sometimes I feel like Jonah running in my own, frenzied direction, but someone's catching up behind me with hand outstretched saying.... but probably not. I've always had the feeling that when it comes to this writing gig, I'm on my own.
Anyway, one such case is a new Christian-horror themed web magazine called Fear and Trembling (http://www.fearandtremblingmag.com/). A while back they contacted me for an interview and have just released their new issue online, and the interview is in it. I was pretty honest with them, on how I see the market these days, especially for horror. I think it came out pretty well. It's an interesting site, hopefully they go far with it.
As of the end of lunch today, the second draft of Nurse Charles' Revenge is a fraction away from being a third done (32.8 % or something like that). For those of you visiting this blog for the first time, that's not the title. Haven't come up with one yet. Coming along nicely, but I think I might take a few days off once the second draft is complete so I can get to a few revisions I've been meaning to get to for a couple of short stories, so I can send them back out to market, then return to draft 3. Revisions on this second draft have actually been easier than I expected. Maybe I'm simply getting used to the pain, but I suppose the more books you write the cleaner the first drafts become ("cleaner" being a relative term, they're still unreadable as manuscripts).
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
OK, I have a Palm Tungsten E2 coming soon, finally joining the 21st century - OK, still a few years behind the times, but that's how I usually work. I'm a used car guy, too, normally. BUT... to the point of this rant. A new book is released, say in hardcover. 26 bucks or so, using King's BLAZE as an example. Now, with Palm's Palm Reader software, I should be able to buy the e-book and download it, read on my thingy. If I want to pay $17. Or, wait! How about this: Dean Koontz's THE GOOD GUY, a book I want to read, hardcover on sale at Amazon for $15 (paperback is out now I think, or coming soon - say for $9). How much if I want to download the electronic - cost-free (except royalty and profit) version? $23!!!! There is NO INVENTORY, people! No storage, shipping costs. And NO - I work with computers - there's NO COST to transmit the book. If there has to be a number, let's call it 1/1000th of a cent.
Of course, the conspiracy theorist in me knows the answer: the biggest chunk of the cost of a book - this is absolutely true, I haven't gotten to the conspiracy part, yet - is the $ paid to the distributor. These folks get the books out to the bookstores, supply Amazon & co. They're valuable, for printed books. They're useless for e-books, obviously, since there is no printed product. But they are the link between publisher and store. They carry a lot of weight, and are obviously using it to say: nuh-uh! You will not charge people for e-books any less than a hardcover or trade paperback, because more people will use their Palms to download them at a reasonable price, and we'll make nothing! How dare you! (of course, the publisher and author will make money...)
Downloading an audio book, READ TO YOU, by a professional, is cheaper.
Shame on you, book-making people. Shame... shame...
By the way, if you're wondering, the entity in the publishing biz who gets the smallest cut (usually under 10% of wholesale) is, you guessed it, the author who wrote the thing in the first place. Of course, we're dime a dozen - I don't mean that cynically, it's true. Even so, I WANT TO BE ONE OF THOSE... WAAAAAHHHH...
OK, gotta go. Sorry for not posting an update. I'm around 20% done with draft 2 of WORLDS IN YELLOW... or DESTROYER OF WORLDS... or THE CLOCK.... or ARMAGEDDON OUTA HERE......
Friday, June 15, 2007
Thanks again for the prayers and words of support. Barbara had touched a lot of people, and it showed by the enormous outpouring of support and love this week. Our prayers now for her family.
On the writing front, I actually finished the novel, typed those wonderful last two words "THE END" last Friday. I've now begun the laborious task of working on the second draft. The second is always the most difficult, as I go - literally - word by word, sentence by sentence, and change it. On top of these obvious fixes, now that I know how the book progresses later, and ends, the beginning has a lot of changes plot-wise, subtle things I need to add, etc. I'll start giving titles for my progress based on percentage done with the second draft, I suppose. Life's gotten in the way this week, even today didn't get out at lunch to write since I have to leave early to get the girls for their check ups. Still I suppose 6% complete is better than nothing.
Some other news: the German edition of Solomon's Grave has a release date: November 2007, by Otherworld Verlag (http://www.otherworldverlag.com). And we have cover art! Check this out:
If you click the Home option on the side menu here, you can click on the image and see it in more detail. It looks great! Looking forward to this (though, like the Italian edition, I won't be able to read a word of it, lol).
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Barbara Jones June 8, 2007
Barbara (Stanton) Jones, a loving and compassionate woman who gave of herself throughout her life, passed away at her home, surrounded by her family, after a courageous battle with cancer on Friday evening, June 8, 2007. She was 39 years old.
Barbara was born in Winchester. She was raised and educated in Arlington. Barbara was a 1986 graduate of Arlington High School. She went on to further her education graduating from Fairfield University in 1990 receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics and English and a Masters Degree in Education from Lesley University in Cambridge. Barbara worked as a Special Education Teacher in the Belmont School System for a number of years. She has been employed at Bank of America (Formerly Bank of New England & Fleet Bank) since 1990 as a Senior Program Officer working with foundations, trusts, and endowments. Barbara was involved for many years with Special Olympics in Arlington. She was also on the Parish Council of St. James Parish in Arlington. Barbara and her husband Chris moved to Burlington in 1997 where they made their home.
Barbara enjoyed spending summers growing up with her family in Marshfield. In more recent years she enjoyed spending time both in Marshfield and Plymouth during the summer. Barbara’s life centered around her husband Chris and her two children, to whom she was totally devoted. Barbara will be remembered as a gentle, kind, and caring woman who will be deeply missed by all those who loved her. Barbara was the beloved wife of Christopher Jones. She was the loving mother of Emma S. and Christopher J. She was the daughter of Ann Stanton of Arlington and the late John J. Stanton and daughter-in-law of Lianne S. Jones of Arlington and the late James P. Jones. She was the sister of Patricia Tomsyck & her husband Randy of Wakefield, Joan Clark of North Berwick, ME, John Stanton & his wife Sharon of Baltimore, MD and Paul Stanton & his wife Jane of Arlington. She was the sister-in-law of James P. Jones & his wife Denise of Franklin. Also survived by many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held in St. Agnes Church, Medford St., Arlington (Massachusetts) on Tuesday June 12 at 10 a.m. Visiting hours will be held at the Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn St., Burlington (Exit 34 off Rt. 128, Woburn side) on Monday from 4-8 p.m. Memorials in Barbara’s name may be made to the
Thursday, June 07, 2007
I didn't post an update on the book at the start of this week because there wasn't a whole lot to report, but I'm in the final stretch now so should have some good news tomorrow.
In the meantime, I'd like to make a request for some prayers for my cousin Barbara Jones, who is fighting the late stages of cancer and could use some prayer to help her out, maybe even get a miracle or two if it's possible. For a cure, something the doctors might have missed or something new, that ever-elusive miracle we're down to hoping for, and her wonderful husband Chris and their young children, for strength and support. Now more than ever this young family needs all the help they can get.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
We just finished watching (on tape) the finale for 24. Yawn. Honestly, I love this show, but you can tell even the writers lost interest a couple of weeks/hours ago, and they were simply trying to fill in the time with story. Which is too bad, since 24 is one of the best shows around. I hear they're going to 'reinvent' the show next season. Here's what I've thought they should do and have thought so for a couple of seasons (but since I don't know Keifer S I may as well tell you): Go back in time, make 24 take place in the late 1800's, Jack the Ripper time, or perhaps World War II. No high technology, not ability to track thermal images via satellite and all that deau ex machina they rely so heavily on. The digital clock between commercial breaks: a sweeping second hand, with a real mechanical TIC TIC TIC. The cast? Bring everyone back (who wants to come), including the woman who played the evil Nina. If it's a WWII scenario, who better to play a spy? Anyway, it's more of a challenge, but it would be a hoot. I'd even help write it... of course, Mr. Sutherland will need to ask me first. Otherwise, I continue on with New Horror Novel....
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
By the way, for quite some time I've made it a point to offer free short stories to folks visiting my website at www.dankeohane.com. These are older stories that have been published in various outlets, including my aging, self-published charity collection Christmas Trees and Monkeys. Currently on board is my only take (so far) on the whole zombie craze, titled "Two Fish to Feed the Masses." I always try and give a little background on the piece, and hopefully have formatted it so it's readable (whether the writing is readable, well, that's for you to decide <g>).
Anyhow, thought I'd mention it. Heading out to vomit another 1000 or so words into New Horror Novel (still haven't come up with a title yet, been leaning towards Destroyer of Worlds, but it sounds a bit over the top for a book title, doesn't it?....)
Monday, May 21, 2007
Haven't taken a whole day off to write in some time, but did so on Friday, which was good. Brought me up by almost 11,000 words (in total for week). Interesting when we write, how scenes never go the way we expect, not always at least. But when this happens, it's almost always better than what I'd planned. So, the scenes are moving together towards the final day (the story takes place over the course of a week, and we're about to move into Friday).
Finished a great little science fiction novel, a military space opera called The Myriad, Tour of the Merrimack #1. There's a #2 out (called Wolf Star), and it was the Dearreader.com excerpts from this that got me hooked. Written by R.M. Meluch, the book is fast-paced and very enjoyable. I should say that as I read it, I had to check out imdb.com to see if this guy (I assume RM is male) writes for Battlestar Galactica, because the characters, general feel reminds me a lot of the show - it came out around the same time as the series (and excellent series, by the way) began, so might just be a coincidence.
On another note, it's been about 3 months since I opened up a MySpace page (see sidebar menu for the link), so I should let you know what I think. It's kinf of sucky. Well, OK, the networking with people of similar interests is great, nice to have this connection, as tentative and spam-riddled as it is (I'll explain in a moment). So in that vein I guess it's successful. MySpace itself is a piece of annoying commercial shit, however, and pardon my French. They bombard you with constant ads for half-naked women who supposedly want me, and want me NOW. I'm always getting "friend requests" from non-existent people who are actually porn advertisers (basically, now, if I get a friend request with only a first name, and either a) there's no photo, or b) the photo is of a half-naked woman in a provocative pose, I delete it. My wife Janet calls my infrequent trips to MySpace "going to meet your girlfriends?" I see her point - most of the photos remind one of personal ads, which in some ways it is like that. Not for us writers, though - I tried (unsuccessfully, I think) to explain that writers use it for possible networking opportunities, and to reach fans when we (someday) have a book out. Ah well. The most often used tool I've seen used for communication between members is the "bulletin board" where people post news (sometimes) - if they're your "friend" you can see it. There are occasional people who feel the need to post something every day, in effect bumping the other, less frequent posters' news off the list before I can see them. Like anyone who first gets email and forwards all the same jokes to everyone they know, these folks eventually realize that they're starting to be annoying and taper the bulletins a bit, making room for the next. I can't see the bulleting working very well at all, however, once you're reached a certain number of "friends" - there'll just be too many in the network. Still, if MySpace didn't go SO SLOW because they're constantly filling your screen with semi-nude women, it might have some value. We'll see. I'll check in in another 3 months and see if things have improved.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Ah, sorry, running late with this one. had a couple of setbacks time-wise. Hopefully this week I can make a bigger leap, still, I think I'm past the halfway mark. No major changes this week plot-wise, steady as she goes.... Happy Mother's Day, everyone. Hope you all enjoyed the good weather this past weekend.
We saw Spiderman 3 yesterday. It had its problems, I think, not quite as good as the first two. Felt a bit bogged down, and the rah-rah'ness of the street crowds in too many scenes was annoying. Still, on the good side - Thomas Hayden Church is the perfect Sandman. (How he became Sandman is just silly, but he looks JUST like the character), and Bryce Howard looks just like the ill-fated Gwen Stacy (not ill-fated in the movie, but the original comic book - she was Peter Parker's original girlfriend who died at the hands of the Goblin the issue before I began reading the comic myself in my teens - interesting they brought her into the movies). A note to the filmmakers - after three Spidey movies with poor Mary Jane dangling from someplace really high as bait for Spiderman, maybe we can come up with another way for the webslinger to face the baddies at the climax? Still, an enjoyable movie all around, and I have to admit, the part I dreaded the most, the eternally dragged out storyline with Harry, Pete and MJ, was actually the best part of the flick.
OK, gotta run.
Monday, May 07, 2007
Six thousand, not bad for part-time writing, but on one day I'd only logged a 300 word increase, but wrote a whole lot more. See, something interesting happened this week. I'd worked out the plot of the book all the way to the end a while back, recently tweaked it, then (as I think I mentioned last week... maybe not), came up with a cool final chapter, a good way to end it and add a little twist. Well, had I been a full-time writer, I probably would have continued writing with this new last chapter in mind. Since I'm not, I had 24 hours to mull the idea over (and when I'm working on the first draft of the novel, I'm mulling over the book for pretty much 24 hours a day, just ask Janet). Anyhow, my brain kept playing with that last chapter idea, going What If This... and What if That.... I started to wonder, am I coming up with a whole other book, a sequel? I don't want to do a sequel to this book, so then what is going on? Well, I sat down next day and typed out these questions. I worked out what it was the right side of my brain was trying to tell me. In the end, what I was planning for last chapter is now revealed only third of the way through the story. Interestingly enough, the outline hardly changes, but there's now a subplot woven throughout the story, revealing itself in pieces, until the two come together at the end.
I was enjoying writing the book to this point, now I'm more excited about it because I think it's been twisted more into my true image, enough that it's a pretty unique story. Hopefully no more changes. Doesn't feel like it. Not that any of this is new. Usually when I'm plodding midway through a first draft of a novel it starts to feel heavy, weighted. This is due to something missing in the story, and the illusion that All Is Well can't maintain itself. At this point one needs to look at where the story is heading, and get it back on course. So, have a lot of writing to do, better et to it.
One final point.... the gym where I work out in the morning provides towels. They recently bought a slew of new ones. Now, have you bought a new shower towel for yourself recently? Have you noticed something odd about them? Yep, they're water-repellant. What the hell are the manufacturers of bath towels thinking? You're dripping wet, grab a brand new towel and expect - well - you expect it to absorb water! That's what towels are supposed to do. Not push it around from one body part to another. Wash the thing as many times as you want, whatever chemical they treat them with these days is pretty durable. Takes about a year of laundering to get the towel to actually DRY YOU. Sorry. My bitch session for the week. Small point. Fixing the absorbency of bath towels isn't going to feed the hungry, but if I can't whine about the problem here, where, then, can my cries be heard?
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Anyhow, to wrap up this week's NHN (New Horror Novel) update, a lot of questions I had about my ending now make perfect sense, and my subconscious has finally made my conscious mind aware of what it had been working towards, and it's pretty cool. I think, at least. Oh, and I have to also say that NHN is, at this point at least, not for the kiddies. It's got more sex in it than all of my other novels combine, lol.
OK, about the subtitle - congratulations to my daughter Amanda (12) and all the boys and girls at her middle school who were involved in You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, this year's Musical Extravaganza (last year was School House Rock). They had only 3 months to learn their lines and lyrics and music and steps for this 2+ hour production, and man, what an incredible show! (Amanda played Frieda, of the "naturally curly hair"). Hat's off to the entire cast & crew, and especially Lisa Hughes, director, and Mike Rice, the musical director.
While I'm at it, Happy Birthday to my other daughter, Audrey who turned 10 this weekend! And so as not to leave Andrew out, formal congratulations on making Red Belt with his Kempo Karate.
OK. Time to go. Time to write like a banshee this week again. May arrives in a couple of days, but I'm happy with the progress so far. Think I can finish the first draft by the end of May? I do..... See you next week.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Sorry it's so late... Well, considering that we were on a family vacation for most of last week, not a bad amount of words. Not at the level I want, but considering vacation usually = no words, 7000 ain't too bad. We'll see how this week fairs. Coming along well, still. As usual, as the first draft progresses the characters start doing things I don't expect, and I need to regroup.
Things continued to shine on the short story front. Just before leaving for vacation I learned that "Living by the Highway" has been accepted for publication in Cemetery Dance Magazine. This will be the third story I will have had in the pages CD, and I'm thrilled. For more on the story, click on the "Short Stories" link at the side menu of this blog.
On vacation, Janet & I watched the DVD for CRASH. I kept hearing good things about this, but it looked like it would such a bummer of a movie - (I thought the "crash" title implied a story of a druggie crashing, but I was wrong - one of the first lines spoken by one of the many major character - and I mean MANY characters - was that we live in such an isolated world, sometimes we need to crash into each other for the interaction. I totally messed up the line, but it's the general idea.) A big cast, where just about everyone in the movie is a bigot in one form or another, brilliantly played out, with a satisfying ending. No question it deserved the Oscar for best picture it took home.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Even with little writing done yesterday, made up for it today. Coming along well. I've brought in a couple of characters I enjoyed having in "Ray Gun," namely the foul-mouthed octogenarian Hank Cowles and his trusted sidekick: Nurse Charles, the latter already taking on a bigger role than I'd originally anticipated. Should add a little twist to the story, which is on track and getting more fun as I go along. Going on a little trip soon - hopefully I can convince Janet to drive so I can crank some more out on the road.
By the way, recently finished another fantastic book, Gods in Alabama. Contrary to the title, it's not a religious book in anyway. It's a best seller, though, so should be easy to find. Part murder mystery, love story, chick book. The second best book I've read in a long time (the other being the previously-mentioned The History of Love). Anyhow, pick it up. Very cool book.
Monday, April 09, 2007
Yea, I know, 4000 words in a week isn't going to get me to a finished novel in the time I was shooting for, but I did manage to complete the outline, wrote like crazy, then stopped when I realized an important plot point at the very beginning was just a tad too lame.. needed to rethink it, and spent some time, came out better, more original I think, then ran through the outline again to fine tune with the changes all the way down. This is going to happen from time to time, as I expected (and hoped) it would, once the characters who start out only as pencil sketches in the outline begin to take on a life of their own. They begin to think things, do things, I hadn't expected (if I'm honest as I'm writing and let their reactions be natural instead of forcing myself to follow the outline verbatim). It's what makes novel writing so fun, if you let it. Admittedly, I did not write on Thursday or Friday because of work and the pending holiday prep stuff, respectively. Will I actually finish the novel by the end of the month? Not likely, but I remain eagerly optimistic about cranking forward full steam. It'll be interesting how much gets down (hence the word count in each subject line). I want this first draft finished quicker than any other, and it'll happen.
Some good news, the story "Ray Gun" was accepted late last week for publication later this year in Apex Science Fiction & Horror Digest. Tough market to crack, and it made my day to get the acceptance letter from the editor. I've been so focused on novels that until recently I hadn't had any new short stories to market. It's been two years, in fact, since one has sold, so it was nice to keep this ball in the air. Especially to a market where the likes of Ben Bova and WIlliam F. Nolan have had stories appear in recently. More when we know which issue it'll be in.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
A revelation, perhaps, or my wife's words spoken over the years finally being accepted in my stubborn brain. What's he talking about? I don't know, let's hear him out..... You see, Margaret's Ark, Plague of Darkness, even Solomon's Grave - these are great books, original and groundbreaking in a lot of ways, especially the first two, and Solomon's a hot, folks'll dig it. But folks most likely aren't going to read it in this country. Not if I continue on the path I chose.
Why? Because that path was the artist's path. A noble one, granted, but not practical. A while back I explained how I walk past the bookshelves when I leave Borders after a lunch writing session, to remind me why I do it? Well, I don't write simply so my years of writing will get filed in a box in the attic by my grandkids when I'm gone. Writers need to be read - loved or hated, as long as we're read. I've heard again and again - the book I've written so far are original and well written, but they make marketing departments nervous because I have no track record. Story sales, yes, no novels. The catch-22, or so I thought. But I was wrong.
I haven't paid my dues yet, earned my chops. I always held out the hope that these would be picked up on their own merits, promoted, break ground, changed things. But that's not going to happen. Who am I? I'm a great writer, but they always will ask - what has he done? Mark Lowell suggested Friday I should do something to promote / publicize myself. He suggested burning down a church. I didn't think that would go over well.
But he's right. I need to prove myself in the market. Ark, Plague of Whatever, these will sell, but the world needs to know who I am first. So, to that end, I've cut through the wood from the path I'd chosen before it was too late and worked my way back onto the more paved and wider road. I know the way back, but for now...
Plague of Locusts - though I was enjoying the developing plot, it had cool characters -is on hold indefinitely (not permanently, though) - if I don't change direction now, I'm only writing for my future grandkids attic box. I'm going to write what I'm supposed to have been writing all along. Horror novels. Nothing bizarre, or too original - just your regular, scary, normal, entertaining horror novel. With this, and the next (and perhaps the next), I'll build an audience, build a market, then I can get the ones I've already written out of the box and into your hands, Dear Reader.
Wait, there's more. I will finish the first draft of the new novel BY END OF APRIL. Um, Dan, that's a month, and vacation's coming up, the IHN week... Yep, who cares, though. I can do this. (Or come as close as freakin' possible) Friday I had a blank screen, nothing else but determination, and wrote the first word that came to mind: Timepiece. I then free-wrote for 10 minutes, random words, random questions, and worked out the general plot of Clock (working title). I began an outline, chapter by chapter, and will continue doing the outline until The End. Hopefully that's Monday. Not questioning myself or second guessing (though this crops up when I'm not looking, but I toss it aside). It'll be better than 85% of the books coming out, guarantee you. It's looking good. And, it'll be commercial, a.k.a. sellable to the market for which I supposedly had chosen to write for in the first place.
So, then I'll write, like a madman. Most importantly, at the end of the month, I'll plop down the first draft of the novel in front of my wife Janet and tell her, finally, at last, I'm back, and I've written a novel that you will actually enjoy reading. She likes horror novels. That's that I'm good at, it's what I'll write.
I don't regret the four years I spent writing Ark, Solomon or Plague - the writing parts, I mean. These are tremendous books, and they will be published. Solomon & Plague came from my experimenting with CBA fiction, Ark, well, it felt I was driven to write. I don't look back and curse that I could have written more mainstream books. I don't think I could have, not then. These were the books that set me on fire, these were books that reflected what was going on in my head at the time, they were the books I honed my craft on at the same time, and they'll find their audience. Solomon already has in Italy and soon in Germany.
Of course, Sara my agent might suddenly call me and tell me one or more of them have sold. Fine. That'll be good. OK, that'll be great. Even so: Time to get my ass back on fucking track and do what I'm supposed to be doing, writing horror novels, and I'm a-gonna write them fast and furious.
One more promise. I'll have a book published in the US in 2008. The one I'm starting now or the next. Minimum 2 books written this year. A book with my name on it on the shelf in Borders in 2008.
OK, the clock's running with no more time to do this than I had before - and no, this is not an April Fool's joke, promise. Just me waking up and going back to what I do best. Hang on, we're going to move fast.....
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Man, there's always something getting in my way of writing. Of course, when I'm doing the first draft, it's easy to get distracted, as it's so nerve wracking getting those first-time sentences and paragraphs down. Gotta do it. Editing comes later. I've broken (barely) the 20,000 word mark, but that's not enough. Never enough. But it was nice to see the '2' as the first digit when I last did a word-count.
There were a couple of years when I used to work only 4 days a week, and wrote every Friday. It was how I got three additional books under my best (Ark, Solomon & Darkness) but that's not happening anymore. Life changed, but not in a way which warranted losing 8 hours of pay every week. Still, maybe someday, when the books begin selling, I can go back to this, or more. In one (good) day like that, I could crank out 6,000 words. It was nice. Still, on a (good) lunch-writing binge, the new word count can reach 1500 - 2000 if I'm on a roll. With such a massive work as a novel, it's the practice of picking up the momentum a little at a time which is daunting. I cashed in on a writing coupon a few weeks back, where Janet had the kids for the day, and it's a holiday at work, and I go into the day-job building and sit in the abandoned cafeteria and do nothing but write. Was great, cranked out almost 6,000 words that day. Almost. Felt good. I need to do that again.
Anyway, just wanted to get a little update blurb out there, so my Rant Against The Establishment entry below gets knocked down a peg. (Not that I think I was too harsh, it needed to be said, lol).
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
You know, I'm 17,000 words into Plague of Locusts, and it's times like this that I ask myself why bother? I don't mean when I hit the 17K mark I ask this, but after the other books get close to being snatched up by a major publisher, only to have them decide no, as original and well-written as This Book is, we're going to pass. I sit at Border's and look at what I'm working on, and think, This is a great story, it'll be fun to write, fun to read, great characters, would sell millions, and who the hell is going to ever read it if the publishers won't take a chance on a new author? These books are original, and I strongly believe they will touch a nerve with readers, they'll do extremely well for whatever publisher owns them, and I will too, writing more and more and making everybody (but myself) rich. (Writers generally earn 10 % or less of what a book pulls it, it's a sad thing but it's Life). So I think about what I'm writing, and see what's being published, and wonder if I wouldn't do better writing an erotic vampire novel. I could, I suppose, or a serial killer novel, those are popular (why, I'll never understand, but that's just me and all my insecurities about the scary world outside my comfy bubble).
Sigh. Yea, yea, I'm just venting. My agent here reminded me that I'm luckier than most new writers, who don't even have an agent, and she's right. She's right, and my frustration is in no way related to her work, she's pushing the works valiantly, and really believes in the novels she's trying to sell, which goes a long way towards reaching that goal. And they will sell. Soon. I hope. But you see, even after breaking through the barrier of no sales, years ago, as I honed my craft, 90% of a writer's life is rejection. Time after time. And this is the process which separates the proverbial wheat from the chafe. Those who make it through this barrier of frustration eventually see the light of success. ... OK, most of them. Now and then, like now, we scribes get these stressed-out moments of wondering why we do it, are we going to ever be recognized? I'll get past this. I always do.
Just... now and then, you know, we need a little atta-boy. I've got seven short stories out there, all good, all very different from each other, some of which will find a home and people I don't know might actually get to read them, and hopefully enjoy what they read. When this happens, my spirits will perk up. But hey, I've got this blog, I can rant and rave all I want. It's healthy.
In the end, I have a wonderful family, a great day-job, I'm really wanting nothing materially, and there are people out there who have nothing. Nothing. No home, barely enough money scraped together for food. Their life sucks, and when you lose perspective on life, you can forget this important fact. You forget that 90% of the world, or more, has it a lot worse off than you. In a way it's like Jesus says, the last shall be first, the first shall be last. That can be applied in a lot of ways, but one is this: get too full of yourself, forget how lucky you are to have drawn the card you got, and you need a lot of humbling before you earn anything more. Yes, life is a matter of perspective. I seemed to have lost that, and not until I wrote all this just now did I get it back. I'm grateful for how good life is. Problems now and then? Sure, if you have no problems in life it simply means you're dead. I ain't dead. Just a little whiny and selfish. Me, Me, Me.
OK. I'm back on track now. Thanks for listening. Sometimes you just have to talk it out - in this case, with the world at large.
"The Bridge" is done, by the way. Janet hacked and slashed at it, and as usual pointed out everywhere it needed to get fixed. There's something good about your proofreader also being someone who generally does not like reading short stories. It makes her merciless, which is what I need as a writer. What we all need. A writer never improves without a proofreader who has no qualms about pulling out that red pen and going at what you've written with the eagerness of a wolf towards a cute, bleating sheep.
Oh, also.. I just finished reading one of the best book I've read in a long, long time. It's call THE HISTORY OF LOVE, by Nichole Krauss (I may have misspelled her first name). It's a contemporary fiction novel, no sci-fi or horror this time around. Beautifully written, clever, and just overall a fascinating story. Buy it. Read it. You'll see what I mean.
I also recently finished THE TRAVELER, by John Twelve Hawks. A fun, fast-paced thriller. A bit over-edited, I have to say, but it really doesn't detract from the read. A great book for all my fellow conspiracy theorists out there. Part sci-fi, part fantasy, part suspense thriller.
Currently reading: GODS IN ALABAMA (contemporary fiction), THE MYRIAD (Tour of the Merrimack #1) (science fiction), and listening to THE HA-HA (contemporary fiction) on audio.
Ok. I'll stop. Talk to you soon.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
OK, so where are we? Well, worked more on Plague of Locusts, though the word count didn’t go up too much, to 12,800 words, but this is to be expected early in a new novel. I spent a couple of days actually writing 2000-3000 additional words, but all in my little “outline” document. There are a couple of parallel storylines. One... Peyton Kay’s... was going well. The other.. Gendrick Hellerton’s... seemed to be heading down the wrong path. What I do when this happens is a bunch of free-writing, talking to myself on the page, trying to work out what’s working, what’s not, redefining characters. From there I move on and do rough outline of what will happen along the timeline given the changes I’ve come up with. This helps me to see if what I came up with, will work with the plot. Most seemed to flow well, still a few parts that didn’t, turned a few more screws – course correcting, if you will. Looking pretty good now. Then I went in and revised a few chapters already written for the modified plotlines. PoL seems to be heading in a good direction again.
A couple of potential plot ideas are simmering in the back of my mind for the book, partly because I’m not exactly sure how the story’s going to end. This is usually an important thing to know for a novel, but I have the specific direction the book’s going to move in, so that’s enough for now. The final ending will come to me soon enough. If not, then it will be time to think of one, perhaps by the time I’m about halfway through the first draft.
Things are still moving forward on the US marketing front for the books. Finally, now that Margaret’s Ark is becoming the focus. Still, marketing a book, even with a driven agent (always an important ingredient), you just... never... know. Mmmmm, need a little paaaatience... as the song goes....
I thought it might be interesting to write in the blog world the general timeline of the novels I’ve written, just to show (and probably bum out) aspiring novelists who may be reading this. I remember0 when I’d finished the first novel below, reading Scott Nicholson’s series of essays on publishing your novel, and finding out how many he’d written before selling them at last. Kind of depressing, but seeing as how I’m still doing it, and enjoying it, I guess I passed the test... we’ll see... anyway:
In late 1998, after I began to sell short stories to magazines, I decided that to make it in this business I needed to try my hand at the novel form. So after a camping trip where a bunch of interesting ideas came to me all at once, I began to write my very first novel, One Night at Good Shepherd. It took about a year and a half to write. Learned a lot working on this “monsters terrorize hapless campers” story. How to research, how to build characters, and thanks to my then Beloved Proofreaders – my wife Janet and friend Fran Bellerive – how to edit these long monstrosities.
It didn’t go anywhere, eventually languished for a couple of years in the Black Hole where most new horror writers’ book eventually languished –the desk of Leisure Books. Even as I began to market this doomed novel, I knew it was the proverbial first novel and if I looked back on it one day I would see it had a long way to go. During the writing of Good Shepherd, my short story, “Lavish” was published in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination – at the time a fairly big print mag (even got my name on the cover). They massacred the story, removing scene breaks and riddling it with typos (why they felt the need to re-type the story when I could have given them an electronic copy is beyond me). I loved this story, and was pretty bummed out. But – good comes from ashes. Because the story was in the forefront of my mind, I began to think that it would make a great novel. The story itself would be the final chapter, and the bulk of the book would be the story of the characters getting visions of angels and preparing (or not) for a new Great Flood. Originally titled Lavish, like the story, then The Ark on the Common, then years later Margaret’s Ark, I began writing this book around 2000. I had no idea the ride it would take me on over the years. But I’ve hit what is probably the limit for a blog post, so I’ll continue this tale the next time.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Yes, I know, I removed my other previous post. Sorry. It didn't belong here either. New one coming soon....
Friday, February 02, 2007
With some exceptions - when I have too many errands to squeeze into lunch, or most Thursdays when I'm working from home and somehow find 100 other things like.. ugh, work... to do instead of disconnecting my laptop and escaping to write - most weekdays I take off to the café in the Borders bookstore Northborough, MA, sit in a comfy chair (my small decaf black is usually waiting at the counter, they know me by now) and write. I tried to work at a Starbucks once, closer to work, but there's something about the comfy chairs at Borders and the massive homey (much more so than the warehouse-ish-ness of most B&N's) bookstore right there that feeds my muse. I write a lot. At least, as much as I can before I have to backup the work on my flash drive, pack up the computer and head back to the grind of real life. I usually only drink about half the coffee.
Before I leave, I take a circuitous path to the door via one book aisle or the other, I like to vary them, and look at the books. So many, many books, from so many, many writers. I look at the covers, the publishers and feel the effort and love gone into them, happy for the writers who have made it. They are able to walk into a bookstore and see their work, their book. People are buying it, reading it, maybe even enjoying it. It's the apex of the dream we scribes have had, or most of us, since childhood. I don't feel I've gotten there yet, Italy and Germany are simply too far away. Seeing my stories in magazines is a thrill, and it's a great feeling of accomplishment - it's almost there, more a big step. Anyway, it's what I do each day, not as self-abuse, but inspiration, telling my muse, my soul, myself that what I'd just spent an hour of my life doing was not in vain. These books, these children of a writer's mind, are the goal. Keeps me coming back.
Got back to Plague of Locusts today - didn't write much new stuff, instead reworked the first two chapters. I wanted to get a better feel for the two main characters and the setting, revising the chapters, fleshing out Gendrick and Peyton and Loki (I decided to name the Locust that makes an appearance in Ch 1). I drove back to work happy. This book is like a sculpture already defined in the marble, waiting for my chisel. I think what I'll do next is map out the plot a bit - make sure I'm heading in the right direction. I'm not overly sure what the main "conflict" will be - and that's important in order to know which direction to go.
My son Andrew recently asked me what the book's going to be about. I don't like to talk about the plot of a book, written or not, makes me uncomfortable, as if speaking it out loud would make it sound like the drek it probably is. But I gave him a quick summary, and he had a couple of pretty good ideas where I can go with it. I shrugged noncommittally, but a couple of his ideas refused to shake loose. Maybe... might make for a pretty cool concept. We'll see. But the book is there, it feels three-dimensional, and has color. Going to enjoy writing it.
Did a little work on "The Bridge" this week as well. I'm in the paper-editing stage, which means we're getting close to finishing.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Special Happy Birthday today to the Mom of the Century (OK, well, I should phrase that as the Mom of Two Centuries - no, no, she's not that old, promise <g>).
We should go through life, doing the proverbial counting of blessings, and my mother is up there at the very top. It's funny, I've got so many memories of things we did together growing up, and many times it had something to do with science fiction or horror movies. Janet always rolls her eyes the way I relate so many things in life to movies, or know so many minute details about the entertainment industry in general but still don't notice the empty cup needing rinsing on the counter. I suppose, that a lot has to do with my angst-ridden memories of my teenage years, which are always superimposed, like a healing salve, by memories of watching Star Wars for the first time with this woman, or Rocky. I especially hold close to my heart - for what reason I'm not sure, just that it was such a cool movie I guess - sitting with Mom in the theatre as the mother ship in Close Encounters drifts away into the night sky and the credits start rolling.
I know, take a white picket fence storybook and memories are stirring brownie mix or soup over a stove with aproned Mother giving direction, and I suppose our kids will have these moments tucked fondly into their heads. Me, sitting in a theatre, eyes watering (because I invariably stop blinking during the movie), escaping with Mom to these brightly colored celluloid worlds, escaping the real one for a time, and of course eating popcorn and Twizzlers, even the small speck of a memory of Mom mentioning a show coming on tv (it was a rerun on Channel 56, I'm not THAT old...) call Star Trek I might like. She later regretted it, because all she could hear after that was the constant screams of pain from whichever red shirt was being killed that day. We inherit different things from our parents, and most of it good. Some is deliberate on their part, but most is gotten when they act most like themselves around us. Be yourself around your children (unless you're evil, then you're allowed to pretend), you'd be surprised how effective it can be, ad how many good memories they'll have when they get older.
Anyway, again, Happy Birthday, Mom, and many, many more.