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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.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The World's Smallest Violin

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.


Michelle Pendergrass said...

Gods In Alabama has my favorite opening line and I have yet to read the book.

Dan Keohane said...

There are Gods in Alabama, Jack Daniels, quarterbacks, and Jesus... something like that. Definitely a great opener. And so far a great read. I was turned on to this (and all the books i'm currently reading) because of - where they send you the opening pages of new/semi-new books in email-a-day installments. Great idea, excellent for weeding out what you don't like, and finding gems....