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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.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

26,100 (or, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown)

Almost 9K new words, not bad, and I have to say, it was quite a ride this week. One of my characters, I swear, does not want to die, and decided to wander off and so something I hadn't exactly planned. Made me rethink some things I had - but I just went with it, and when the smoke cleared, I had to sit back and decide where it all was going. For example, one of the main characters, Sam (Samantha), kept referring to the color yellow, as if there was some deep dark secret about it being repressed. At the time, I assumed it was just rambling on my part and I'd probably cut it in draft mode, but it kept coming back. I ten changed my opinion to a let's wait and see what happens mode. Now... well, now that the story (the PLOT I should say) has changed, the color yellow is very significant. I say the plot has changed but not the story... there's a reason for this. You'll have to wait to read the book the find out what I mean. Suffice to say, the outline I worked out really won't change.

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.

Dan

Monday, April 23, 2007

17,700

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

10,900

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.

Gotta run.....

Dan

Monday, April 09, 2007

4000

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

0 (or, Square One)

OK, so, I'm a little slow on the uptake sometimes, but I eventually get it. Granted, life over the past three years or so has taken quite a few turns I hadn't expected, some good some bad but - time to get back on track. I ain't getting any younger. And lots to do before I die, including seeing lots of my books on the shelf.

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.....