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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.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Back Home, at least...

Well, we have heat in the house, at least on the first floor. The second floor heating system pipes all burst when the warmth reached them (save one - give it time). Janet and the girls are on their way home from my brother and sister-in-law's house, and Andrew... well, my son is currently in the bathroom having an arguement with seals. It's OK. The two girls have both had it - last night was Audrey, night before Amanda. :-) Three down, two to go (me and Janet). Sigh. Seems we've had someone sick on Christmas last three years - there's symbolism in that somewhere.

Still, we're home. Thanks to Mike and Kathleen and the kids for keeping us at their house the past few days, even if we ended up filling their house with a stomach flu virus. And the rest of our families and friends for all the support this past week and a half - special shout out to Paul and Holly Blain who've been watching dog Molly and guinea pig Honey since the power went blinko. And to the Brenners for staying in the same hotel as us so our respective kids didn't go TOO stir crazy. :-)

So everyone will be home for Christmas - one to remember. And it ain't over yet....

Dan

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ruiniation and Rebirth

Hi, everyone. Living in new England has been interesting lately, if nothing else. Our town was pretty much destroyed by the ice storm which roared through Thursday night. No one in town slept, awake listening to thousands (literally) of trees breaking apart and crashing into power lines, poles, cars and houses under 5 inches of ice. One of those "perfect storms," to use the ironic catchphrase. At the moment we're sequestered in a hotel, and the National Guard has been working 24 hours a day trying to get power back (almost every line is down), and from folks working at the shelter these soldiers and utility workers have been sleeping only a few hours before heading back out. This is what the Guard was made for, and I can't express how grateful, and infinitely impressed, I am for what they're doing and how they're doing it.

Not a whole lot on the writing front, naturally. At the moment the novella Nightmare in Greasepaint L.L. Soares and I are working on is at the top of the To Do list, though finishing up Christmas shopping has been pushed in front of that lately (yea, yea, mixing up my imagery a bit there).

Thanks to everyone for their words of support. It's been an adventure (my son celebrated his 17th birthday in a hotel room yesterday with his sister and another family from town). I think my daughter's going to be celebrating her 14th birthday tomorrow the same way, but what can you do? At least there's a pool.

Oh, and maybe you've noticed if you go to http://www.dankeohane.com/ that it now redirects to this blog instead - thought I'd try the Blog As Homepage thing for a while, see how it works...

Talk to you soon, I hope.
Dan

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Path to Solomon's Grave, Part 2

Well, the email I sent to editor Gabrielle Harbowy felt really good. A few weeks ago she sent what amounts to an electronic pre-galley - I don't think it's really the "galley" in publishing terms, but rather just the manuscript with all of her editing suggestions tagged (all this electronically via email). A galley, if I understand it right, is a final copy of the manuscript before going to press. Anyway, she had some great comments, some small, some bigger. All made the ms better. Basically I printed off the pages, and as I went through and noted her comments, I also line-edited the entire novel again myself. Had been a while, and I found myself basically making one more draft. Some pages got away unscathed, others didn't, but overall nothing earth-shattering but the book's better for it. I spent the past week typing everything in. Now she has a copy of the document with my changes tagged, so she can see what I did, and can accept or reject any of them.

Now, as I wait for whatever comes next, I need to decide what to work on. I seem to have gotten some momentum after a long dry spell, and have to decide. Lauran (L.L.) Soares has our novella on his side of the net, so I can do one of a few things: 1) go back to Lost in the Woods and pick up where I left off, about halfway through the first draft, 2) go back to Plague of Locusts, which is about a third done, 3) write some short stories, or 4) start something new.

As far as the novels, I've begun to think maybe it's not such a good use of my time to write the entire novel, then redraft and redraft, then start marketing it. I mean, I've got three complete manuscripts done already (on top of Solomon - Margaret's Ark, Plague of Darkness and Doomsday Key), and most publishers when they get a book they like it's based on opening chapters and synopsis. I'm thinking I should go through both of the new ones, Lost.. and Locusts.. and work out the complete plot synopsis (it can always change when I actually write the drafts), go back and make the opening chapters perfect, then shelve them until they're sold. Basically make them proposals rather than completed novels. Then do the same for more novels, see what sticks, and focus my time on whatever does. I mean, the books I have aren't being very successully marketing - maybe because they stink, maybe because I need to reconsider how they're being marketed / shopped around. The latter is looming high on my mind lately. We'll see.

In the meantime, Solomon's Grave is rolling along towards publication, and Plague of Darkness is slated for its debut in Germany next Spring. Hitting multiple continents at one time. Kind of cool.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Letter to Turtle Sums Up Everything

Wanted to write something about what happened here in the US yesterday, but to be honest, Brian Keene beat me to it. Click here for his blog entry from last night, sums up my feeling better than I ever could say.

Been meaning to post the last few days to catch up on some things, including how work is progressing with Solomon's Grave, but it can wait. Enjoy the day, no matter what party you feel you belong to.

Dan

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Path to Solomon's Grave, Part 1

Well, the gears are beginning to turn over at Dragon Moon Press, as they begin the process of preparing my first novel, Solomon's Grave, for its upcoming release in 2009. Now, I've gone through this process twice before with the book, first with its Italian publisher in 2006 then with editor Michael Krug of Otherworld Verlag in Germany. But this time around, as the book will become available here in the US for the first time, I thought I'd keep you posted as to the process from the beginning to the final release.

Special shout-out to my editor at DM, Gabrielle Harbowy, who has begun the process of going through the novel, line by line, and making suggestions. Every editor has their own methods, and in this case Gabrielle prefers to work within MS Word using the track-changes feature. I was glad to hear this, because it's what I'm used to - it's how my two agents made suggestions and the past two editors - though for the most part since the book was translated at the same time as edited I didn't see the galleys (pre-pub proof copy). This time I will. And one of my oft-proofreaders, Michelle Pendergrass, likes to use MS Word's track-changes feature, and I've learned how to use it (and appreciate it).

So, Gabrielle will mark it up, send it to me for yays or nays. This should be much the same process as the original three proofreaders of the book from way, way back: my wife Janet (who marked her changes on printouts), Fran Bellerive (same, only with really bright pens) and Mark Lowell (who used email sometimes, othertimes simply sat me down and told me what he liked/didn't like).

Next, publisher Gwen Gades has been working on some cover mock-ups. So far, looks like we're going to follow the concept of #1 below, because it fits more with the overall plot, but I show #2 as an example of how different cover concepts could be. I like the looks and the color of #2, it just didn't work with the story itself. But I'd love to see any comments folks have on either. Be honest. As we refine the cover, I'll post more mock-ups here:

Concept #1 (click on images for larger version):



Concept #2:



Well, what do you think?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Honorable Mention in YBF&H

One of the events we lowly writers look forward to with a mix of eagerness and trepidation is the release of the annual Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, a tome covering what worked, what didn't, in both the fantasy and horror genres. One place where these two areas are intermingled, one of the few actually (normally fantasy and science fiction are paired up). Edited this year by Ellen Datlow, who's edited the horror side of the book since forever, and Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant taking up the reigns as fantasy editors. Filled with stories which they deem the best in the two genres from the past year, it's the front and back sections which we writers go immediately to, not necessarily in that order.

The back contains "honorable mentions," a list of authors and their stories published the prior year which Ellen & co consider good stories, but which did not make the cut into the book itself. We all want to see our name in this section, and I have gotten a few in the past. This time around, Ellen offered a gracious nod to "Ray Gun," published last Fall in Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest. The story had garnered some nice reviews this past year (and a couple of angry ones), so this Honorable Mention is a nice way to seal the pie - to mix metaphors. In her lengthy, very detailed reap of the horror market for the past year, Ellen also had this to say about Apex, which made me smile:

Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest, edited by Jason Sizemore, is a quarterly with consistently readable fiction and regular interviews. The three issues published in 2007 had notable horror by Ian Creasey, Patrice Sarath, Cherie Priest, Stefani Nellen, Daniel G. Keohane and Nancy Fulda.
Gosh, shucks. Congrats to everyone who made the list, and those who got their stories into the issue, especially Jack Haringa (he who was killed many times in the past year by us scribes). Sure would be nice if I had some stories published in 2008, but doesn't look promising since Cemetery Dance is way behind on their magazine publishing schedule, and I'm not sure if the issue of Shroud I'm slated for will be out before 2009. I doubt she's reading Relief 2.2. Maybe I'll send her a copy. :-)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Aunt Eileen Duddy


Our thoughts and prayers are out to my Uncle Jimmy, and cousins Jim, Maureen, Larry and Cathy Duddy as we have the funeral for their mom, my Aunt Eileen, this morning. Also for my Dad, who lost a sister. Aunt Eileen was always such a nice person whenever we talked, always smiling, asking about the family. We'll miss her.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

My most recent Newsletter

This most recent newsletter, after a long time silent on the email front:

Hi, everyone. Sorry, been, what, eight months since my last newsletter?Been posting on the blog (http://dankeohane.blogspot.com/) but have beenremiss in thisWhat's inside:
* Wheels and Heels Against MS walk this weekend
* Solomon's Grave coming out next year in English
* Plague of Darkness coming out in Germany in January
* "True Fashion" now appearing in Jack Haringa Must Die!
* "Box" coming to Coach's Midnight Diner 2 this Fall and currently inRelief Journal 2.2
* "Family at Dinner" recently sold to Shroud Magazine
* Miscellany

First off, the event which finally got me to send this out
=======================================
Wheels and Heels Against MS - annual 30 mile MS walk.
=======================================
Each year, my brother Paul and sister Anne are joined by other family members and friends in a 3-Day, 50-mile walk on Cape Cod to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Over the years their team, called Wheels and Heels Against MS, has raised over $50,000!! They're doing it again this weekend, SEPTEMBER 5 - 7. A number of people ask me about this each year, so I wanted to get the word out, a bit belated this time around (my apologies). Obviously, we're in the midst of difficult economic times and resources are being stretched extremely thin, but if you'd like to make a donation (never too late, of course) you can either log onto their team fundraising site: http://www.wheelsandheelsagainstms.com/ and make an online pledge or mail a check the old fashioned way, payable to The National MSSociety, to either Anne or Paul at:
Paul Keohane / 2 Jillian Rose Dr / Oxford, MA 01540
Anne Murphy / 16 Kenneth Lane / Tewksbury MA 01876

Good luck this weekend, everyone!
--------------------------------------------------------
Now, to the writing....
========================================================
Solomon's Grave to be published by Edge/Dragon Moon press next year in English ========================================================
After seeing print in Italian and German (and almost Russian), my novel Solomon's Grave will be published next year in English by Edge/Dragon Moon Press. They're a small/mid-sized press out of Canada who also distributes to the US. Yea, I seem to be taking the ICBM missile course to US publishing, starting in Europe, moving over the pole into Canada.... They haven't pegged a final release date yet, but early plans are for the Spring of 2009. More as I know it....

=========================================
Plague of Darkness to be released in Germany January 2009
=========================================
Otherworld Verlag, the German/Austrian publisher who published Solomon's Grave in its gorgeous German edition (as Das Grab des Salomon), has acquired another of my novels, Plague of Darkness, for publication in German, as Plage der Finsternis. The cover's done (once I get an official image I'll share it with you, but early looks were pretty cool), translation's almost done, and the book is scheduled for release in January 2009. This will be Plague's worldwide debut and I'm prettyexcited about it.
======================================
"True Fashion" now appearing in Jack Haringa Must Die!======================================
Not sure if many of you know or remember back in March (depends if you follow my blog) when I killed off one of my fellow Central Massachusetts writers in the world's first official "Kill Jack Haringa on Your Blog Day"? Well, a number of these entries, mine included, have been collected in a small paperback (104 pp) edited by writer Nick Kaufmann, called "Jack Haringa Must Die! 28 Original Tales of Madness, Terror and Strictly Grammatical Murder." They did this, aside from the It-Would-Be-A-Hoot reason, to raise funds for the newly established Shirley Jackson Award for work in the horror genre. Though the book is currently available from Amazon, if you order directly from the Awards website (http://www.darkfantasy.org/shirleyjacksonawards/sja_jhmd.htm)
they keep a much higher percentage of the $10 sticker price for thefund-raiser. You can also see the full table of contents, which includes some pretty major names (hey, I'm in there after all, ).

==================================================================
Short story, "Box" coming to Coach's Midnight Diner 2 this Fall andcurrently in Relief Journal 2.2
==================================================================
Fellow writer Michelle Pendergrass, co-editing a sequel anthology tolast year's successful Coach's Midnight Diner, invited me to write a story for #2. CMD is an interesting mix of Christian themes with dark horror, nothing sanitized, which deals in some way with faith. The story I ended up writing is rather grim, but I have to admit it's one of the best stories (I think) I've written in a long time. Special thanks to Holly Wang, who works with my wife Janet, who got me phonetic translations of dialogue from English to Mandarin Chinese. The anthologyis due out sometime this fall, but in the meantime, they also publish a literary magazine called Relief Journal, and in the most recent issue, Relief 2.2, they've published the story as a promotional tool for the upcoming anthology. Relief is an incredible magazine, with essays, poetry and fiction. Since there's no website yet for the Diner anthology, here's a link to the lit magazine that has the story (and it's on sale for $10 currently, just found out):
http://www.reliefjournal.com/component/page,shop.product_details/category_id,1/flypage,flypage.tpl/product_id,7/option,com_virtuemart/Itemid,135/vmcchk,1/ (or you can just go to http://www.reliefjournal.com/ and lookfor issue 2.2 along the bottom right)

===================================
"Family at Dinner" coming soon to Shroud Magazine
===================================
After spending years, literally, on the maybe list of two major magazines (one ended up folding, I finally pulled it from the other), my surreal story "Family at Dinner" has been accepted for publication inthe new horror magazine Shroud (http://www.shroudmagazine.com/). This is a slick horror mag (print, not web) which has been gaining quite a reputation. The story is slated for issue 6 at this point, sometime later this year, early next.

=======
Miscellany
=======
No word yet which specific issue of Cemetery Dance Magazine "Living by the Highway" will appear in. Likely the next one (after the one due out any day now...). More as I know it.

For those who do not know, way back in January this year my novel Margaret's Ark was a semi-finalist in a contest run by Penguin/Amazon. Didn't get any further than that, but we walked away with a nice Publisher's Weekly review and those very cool Amazon reviews, so a gain all around. Thanks to everyone who participated.

OK, that's it. Again, sorry for the delay. I'll try to do better next time...
Dan
http://www.dankeohane.com/

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

38,864 and Wheels & Heels Against MS time...

Thanks to Janet's impeccable driving to and from vacation last week, I was able to make some good headway with Lost in the Woods, bring the word count of the first draft up to almost 39,000 words. Halfway there, and seems about right, as I've reached the mid-point climax involving a gunshot to the chest. Always pleasant....

I'll probably drop a little in my word acceleration because L.L.Soares writes too fast and our novelette Nightmare in Greasepaint is back on my side of the net. This is shaping to be a pretty cool one, though. Never wrote a novella/novelette before but Lauran was right when he said this early, early short story of mine (written 20 years ago believe it or not) is long-form material. We'll see when it's wrapped up, though. Later drafts always cuts the word count down (if you edit properly).

Oh, and special congratulations to my son Andrew for acheiving the level of brown-black belt in Kempo karate. (and for getting a 790 on his Math SAT...!)

So much - news on Coach's Midnight Diner Volume 2 coming soon, containing my new story "Box". .

And I got a sneak peak from editor/publisher Michael Krug of the cover of the German edition of Plague of Darkness (Plage der Finsternis), due out from Otherworld Verlag in January 2009. I'll share it when it becomes the official cover, but it's dark, and very, very cool.

To the important point of today's entry, a special message I proudly deliver each year from my brother and sister:

Hi, everyone -
Over the past five years, I have Emailed to ask you to be a hero in the fight against Multiple Sclerosis. And, each year, you have answered that call and much more. I cannot thank you all enough for always being there.

Just to give you an idea of the financial impact you have had, our team --
Wheels and Heels Against MS -- last year received a plaque from The National MS Society stating that we had, over those years, raised over $50,000!! The award is a true testament to your incredible generosity!

These funds go such a long way toward funding the vital efforts of The National MS Society. Remarkable advances have been made these past few years, searching for a cure. The money you have donated have helped greatly in those efforts, as well as helping to pay for local education, support and advocacy programs that mean so much to those individuals battling this terrible disease.

Once again, my sister Anne Murphy defies her MS and joins her wheels (her hand-pedalled sports bike) to our heels in our 3-Day, 50-mile journey. From September 5th to 7th, we will be joining hundreds of others at the Cape [Cod, Massachusetts], proudly pushing our bodies to the limit in the fight against MS. We look forward as always to this challenge and hope that you will again
join us in our efforts.

Obviously, we are the midst of very difficult economic times and your resources are being stretched extremely thin. But if there is anything you can spare - no matter the amount - it would make such a big difference and is so greatly appreciated.

There are several ways you can help.
* Log onto our fundraising site,
http://www.wheelsandheelsagainstms.com/, and make an online pledge.
* Mail a check, payable to The National MS Society, to either Anne or I. Our addresses are:

Paul Keohane / 2 Jillian Rose Dr /Oxford, MA 01540

Anne Murphy / 16 Kenneth Lane / Tewsbury MA 01876

* Forward this to others and ask for their help in our cause.

Thank you all so very much!!!
- Paul Keohane

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jack Haringa Must Die! and Dark Harvest

I'm way behind in posting this first part, my apologies!

Remember back in March when I killed off one of my fellow central Mass writers in the first official Kill Jack Haringa on Your Blog Day? Well, a number of these entries, mine included, have been collected in a small paperback (104 pp) edited by Nick Kaufmann, called Jack Haringa Must Die! 28 Original Tales of Madness, Terror and Strictly Grammatical Murder. They did this, aside from the It Would Be A Hoot Factor, to raise funds for the newly established Shirley Jackson Award. Though the book is currently available from Amazon, if you order directly from the Awards Website they keep a much higher percentage of the price for the fund-raiser. You can also see the full table of contents, which includes some pretty major names (hey, I'm in there after all, lol).

Also want to give a shout to Michelle Pendgrass and her fellow horror writers over at the Indiana Horror Writers organization, who've released their first anthology, Dark Harvest, with stories from Michelle, Michael West, Marcus Broaddus, Bob Freeman, Tracy Jones, Sara Larson, Tiffany Proctor, with an introduciton by Gary Braunbeck. Ordering information for this trade paperback can be found at http://www.cairnwood.net/darkharvest.html!

Nightmare in Greasepaint, a novella I'm working on with L.L.Soares, is coming along nicely. As well, finally diving back into the novel, Lost in the Woods, after a hiatus. About 26,000 words, so still have a long way to go, but slow and steady progress forward.

No further news on Solomon's Grave's release next year in the states, or Plague of Darkness in Germany around the same time. More as I hear anything, about these or my other hapless works.

On the short fiction front, "Box" is set to be released in the upcoming Coach's Midnight Diner 2, but not sure when or who else is in it at the moment. I think it's coming out earlier as a promotional story in the next issue of Relief Journal, but I'm not listed as a contributor so not sure about that. We'll know soon enough. Relief 2.2 is set to be released this summer.

Finally, "Living by the Highway" is still slated for an upcoming issue of Cemetery Dance Magazine, maybe as early as issue #60 or the next. When i Iear, you'll hear.

OK, bye.

Monday, May 05, 2008

21,382

Broke the 20K mark for new novel Lost in the Woods last week, which is pretty good considering the week began writing-less. Hate that, makes me crazy.

Remember the Kill Jack Haringa on your Blog Day earlier this year (click the link of not)? Well, there was quite a spread of stories killing off writer Jack Haringa, and quite a few have been collected into a small anthology - not yet released, so I'll keep the details to myself until Nick Kaufmann says it's OK. Stay tuned.

Fellow writer Michelle Pendergrass, who is co-editing a follow-up to the successful anthology Coach's Midnight Diner, and invited me to write a story. CMD is an interesting mix of Christian themes with horror, not soft or sanitized, no rules, hard horror but which deals in some way with faith. I did some free writing, word association, came up with the image of someone living in a box, and went from there. The result, a story called "Box". It's been officially accepted and may appear in a related magazine Relief 2.2 beforehand. Though the subject is rather grim and serious, I have to admit this had been one of the most enjoyable writing sessions I had with a piece. And, all humility aside, I think it's one of my best stories in a long, long time. Special thanks to Holly Chen, who works with my wife Janet, for getting phonetic translations of selected lines of dialogue from English to Mandarin Chinese. This dialogue adds a lot to the story, on many levels. Looking forward to seeing the final TOC for this collection.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Lost in the Woods, 17,400 words and moving forward

Hi, everyone. Been quiet for a while. But I'm back from a few hundred mile driving vacation, looking at colleges for my son. It was fun, and imformative. Janet did most of the driving, for as long as my laptop's battery lasted, and because of this I was able to get some good progress once again on the new novel, Lost in the Woods. 17,000+ words. Not bad. Revised a few things as well, and had to work out some plot changes. I have it outlined, roughly, through about 3/4 of the plot and some ideas on the ending (but not exactly how it'll end, need to decide this by word 50,000 I think), but as I write the characters begin to behave differently than I expect, some things I expected to write didn't pan out, etc, so constant revisions have to be done.

In the meantime, Doomsday Key, Plague of Darkness and Margaret's Ark are out there in the world of submission again withmy US agent. Solomon's Grave seems to be still slated for 2009 with Edge/Dragon Moon, and my European agent continues to peddle it throughout the old country. The German edition, Das Grab des Salomon seems to be holding its own, and picking up the paces a bit. Got some good (and, admittedly some less flattering) reviews. Hopefully it'll do well, so the German edition of Plague of Darkness will have some leverage when it comes out.

I've gotten word that my short story, "Box", will be published in Coach's Midnight Diner 2, and may appear earlier in Relief Journal as a way to publicize the coming Diner anthology. That's nice. I really like this story, and hopefully others will also.

OK, that's about it. I'll try to keep this blog back to a weekly updating mode going forward. It'll keep me honest with my writing progress.

Dan

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Roger Blain

Roger Blain, 89 of Blain Road died Friday March 21, 2008 at home. He was the beloved husband of Fleurette L. (Gendreau) Blain. Born in New Bedford, MA, he was the son of the late Joseph and Elise (Goyette) Blain.Mr. Blain was the Valedictorian, Class of 1937 at Tourtellotte Memorial High School. He owned and operated of R. Blain Oil Company and later worked in the accounting department at American Optical until he retired. He was communicant and volunteer of St. Joseph's Church. He was a member of St. Bernard Council 2087 Knights of Columbus in North Grosvenordale and the Franco American Genealogical Society. He was a volunteer fire fighter with Community Fire Company for many years and served on the Board as Treasurer. He enjoyed playing cards especially cribbage, gardening and socializing.He is survived by three sons, Joseph Maurice Blain and his wife Cynthia of Taunton, MA, Michael Blain of Palmetto, FL and Paul Blain of Grosvenordale; a daughter, Janet Keohane and her husband Daniel of Princeton, MA; a brother, Roland Blain of Worcester; 8 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by a brother, Romeo Blain.

Relatives and friends are invited to visit with Roger's family from 5:00 to 8:00pm Tuesday March 25, 2008 in the Valade Funeral Home, 23 Main St., N. Grosvenordale CT. A gathering will begin at 9:00 am on Wednesday March 26, 2008 at the funeral home, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 am in St. Joseph Church, 20 Main St., N. Grosvenordale. Burial will follow in St. Joseph Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Community Fire Company, P.O. Box 874, N. Grosvenordale, CT 06255.

I've known few people as kind, big-hearted, gentle and God-loving as Roger Blain. It was a rough time, watching this strong man who taught me how to chop wood without losing my foot in the process, who can beat anyone at cribbage with such a wry smile that you just don’t care if you’re double-skunked, who one day had misunderstood what one of his sons meant when he asked his father to ‘take care of the dogs’ while he was on a trip with his family and subsequently had a neighbor shoot them (well, they were pretty old dogs, you can’t blame him for the confusion), who held his family together within an iron embrace through storms and sun, take his slow trip away from us. But it is so good to know that now, he’s in so, so better a place. He'll be smiling forever and kicking Saint Peter’s butt at cribbage.

I hope you know how much I love you, Roger, though it’s a love that might pale next to how much Janet and her brothers adore you. I just wanted you to know how much you’ve meant to me over the last twenty-two years, even though I’ve never said it. Now that you've left us and this broken world behind, I hope some day I’ll see you again and tell you in person. By then, of course, you’ll probably already know.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Solomon's English Language Debut, Lost in the Woods, 8000 words and counting

Before I start, if you can send up some prayers and good thoughts for my father-in-law Roger Blain, and for my wife and her family as they care for this wonderful, wonderful man as he slips away from us, it would be very much appreciated. If my two daughters grow up to adore me a fraction of how much Janet does her Dad, I'd consider myself a lucky, lucky man. Also, for my friend Fran who is caring for her brother at home as he is terminally ill with cancer. Life sometimes can feel so hard, knowing there are others thinking about you goes a long way.

Breaking News: Solomon's Grave has finally reached our shores. It will be published in 2009, in trade paperback by the Canadian publisher Dragon Moon Press. They cover both Canada and the US so the book has finally come home to roost, starting in Russia, getting lost, resurfacing in Italy, then Germany, now rising over the northern horizon via Canada. No specific publication date yet. More as I know it.

Before the final update, you need to re-read a post I made last year, on April 1st. Click the link below, read, then click your BACK button on the browswer and continue....
http://dankeohane.blogspot.com/2007/04/0-or-square-one.html

So, I found this, and it reminded me of my commitment to more mainstream work, along with the fact that I found myself doing other things at lunch than returning to Plague of Locusts, much as I like the story, and how I couldn't write fast enough last year for Doomsday Key (the new title my agent & I came up with for Destroyer of Worlds, a title which felt wrong, along with other reasons it no longer worked as a title in my mind). So poor Locusts has been put aside for now (again), and I went back to Lost in the Woods, which I am enjoying and have written only 8,000 words so far, but that'll climb quickly, if I behave. I'll post weekly updates on the progress as I did last year for DK.

Thanks
Dan

Thursday, March 06, 2008

In honor of Kill Jack Haringa On Your Blog Day, here’s a little something....

Jack stood for a moment at the entrance to Booth’s Specialty Menswear and breathed in the familiar tang of formality and dust. Mostly dust. Sometimes he wondered if he’d become their only customer in this era of business-casual dress codes, policies adopted by weak employers to coddle lazy employees, policies which had become the death knell to the last vestiges of decent attire. He fancied himself, at times like this, that final refuge, the Last Well-Dressed Man Alive, as it was.


Today, all he needed was a tie so he stepped inside the store. Its once vast chamber of shirts and slacks, shoe polish and black socks for all occasions had been compressed to half its former size at the far end of the mall, elbowed aside to make room for a much-needed (in everyone’s opinion but his own) expansion of The Gap next door. Society may have made Booth’s Specialty Menswear nothing more than a musty antique shop, but they could never kill its pride. Its necessity.

“Hey, Mister H, how’s it hanging?” The pierced kid behind the half-counter looked up from his Wolverine comic. “What can I do you for?”


Jack rapped his knuckles on the counter, pretended not to hear the soft echo drifting through the store. “I’m all set, just a necktie or two. Going to the movies tonight, need something appropriate.”


“Ties?” Benny put the comic down and looked behind him. The tie racks had been pushed together, weeds choking themselves into extinction. “Mister Booth told me to stay clear of them. Getting restless.”


Jack had gone only a few steps in the direction in which the kid was looking, but now stopped. “Restless?”

Benny shrugged. “Dunno. That’s what he said. Or maybe he said lonely.” He looked back to the counter a moment, considering. “He was talking all funny. Said something about dogs craving attention, not being fed.” He twirled his index finger around his temple. “Think the store’s dying and it’s making him looney, you know?”


The store’s not dying! Jack wanted to scream. They’ll come back! The world will realize what they’ve lost, the respectability they all secretly crave, and they’ll come back! But all he said was, “Thanks, I’ll be careful,” and moved away.

The racks, which once held thin-striped shirts as proudly as a pin-lipped tailor, were full, but dust lines were visible along their shoulders from the hangers beneath. The smell of dust and disregard was stronger here. At the back, three racks of ties huddled like frightened children. These, too, had the beginning of dust lines, though each week when he came Jack tried to shift them a little, level out their abandonment, buy them some time.


A blue one, gentle swirl of gold woven throughout, caught his attention. He lifted it from the rod.

Me, pick me....


Silent voice, barely a whisper. The voice was weak, but with a texture he could almost feel. He looked back. Benny was hunkered over the comic, mouth slightly agape, lost in his color-paneled world. Hadn’t been his voice anyway –

No, pick me... another voice, just as weak, but a different inflection, more playful. Coming from beyond the far rack of novelty ties.


“Hello?”

Behind him Benny shouted, “You need something, Mister H?”


“No,” Jack called, not turning around. Still holding the blue woven tie he pressed himself to the center of the display, the three racks surrounding him in a triangle of presentable attire.

No one there.


A bright red power tie slipped loose and draped about his ankle. I’m the one you want, it said sternly, as if in his mind alone.

What was he thinking? He shook his head, feeling like a fool and knelt down. The tie hadn’t –


Three ties fell over his shoulders. Me, me, me....

He flung them off. They intertwined about his arms, working themselves under the sleeves of his tweed coat. The red one by his foot tightened around his calf. He’s mine! Get away!

Jack froze for a moment, trying to ground his thoughts. He misunderstood something simple, something basic. A radio, perhaps, playing overhead.


Four, then five more ties, green felt, black silk, one with Iron Man racing up to the neckline, more of them he couldn’t see leapt from the rack above his head. Buy me, wear me, I’m perfect, I can make you proud to be clothed, I can show what a man is meant to be! Dozens of voices, small, weak, dying, desperate. Jack tried to stand but Iron Man wrapped around his throat, the red tie wriggled towards his crotch inside his pressed pant leg.

Wear me! Buy me!


So many voices, crowding out thought. Panic set in, Jack unable to think or breathe. Something pulled his left foot out from under him and he was suddenly on the floor, looking up at the remaining ties as they dropped like pythons. He was gagged, blinded, feeling only the texture of such perfect compliments to a man’s wardrobe across his face and arms, squeezing, pressing in like lepers to the Lord, demanding attention, demanding love, respect, wanting to live and be more than a tool for lovemaking, wanting their glory to be restored, before it was too late.

He tried to take in air, could not. Me, me, me, me, me.....

Jack died on the floor, buried in true fashion.


* * *

Friday, February 22, 2008

From The Ashes....

Well, back from vacation. Nice to just get away, sleep late, use the strangely-chlorinated pool and relax. Anyway, while away I checked on the status of the Amazon contest. Margaret's Ark, even with the positive PW review and a glowing one from Amazon's top reviewer, didn't make the cut for the final 100. Ah, well. This was the tape I was sticking my chest out to reach. Thought it would be too narrow a scope for much past that, but I was really hoping for that one last nod or attaboy. Still, I was pleased with how the contest was run, and best of luck to the final 100 entries. Some of the exerpts I read were quite amazing.

Now, with a PW review, and some nice things said about the exerpt from nice people, we move on to the marketing end of things. Let's see what walls it might stick to, once flung.

The contract negotiations for the English language rights to Solomon's Grave with a small Canadian press are hopefully winding down so I can give the news offiically. And as I mentioned before, Plague of Darkness is hitting the German/Austrian shelves via Otherworld Verlag late 2008 / early 2009. Can't complain here, I guess. Things are moving on the international front. :-)

No other news to report. Of course, after a big letdown like the Amazon contest thing, I always second-guess my choice of direction - stay with Plague of Locusts or move back to the mainstream path. Wish I knew what to do, but at least now I recognize this for what it is and know to ignore the instinct to bounce like a pinball all over the place. I'll write whatever I want, and see where things fall. Obviously, one genre or another isn't really going to be any easier, so best enjoy whatever it is I'm writing and have fun with it. The rest will work itself out, or not. I may remain an obscure entry in some 21st Century in Horror tome in 2099, maybe not. Time will tell. As long as I enjoy doing it, am happy in the process (at least as I write), and do right in the eyes of God and my family, whatever that might be, I guess I'm doing OK overall, eh?

And a story I wrote... gasp... twenty years ago, about an evil clown in the basement and a boy named Billy, kept alive in spirit for years by my friend Fran Bellerive, may actually grow from a lost weed into a tree of sorts, along with fellow writer L.L.Soares. We're looking at it, and seeing if a phoenix might rise out of the neglected ashes of the old story, lost for decades (literally) in a file drawer. Time will tell....

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Plagues of Locusts and Darkness, Oh My.

"Lavish", my short story which inspired Margaret's Ark, has now appeared in the Hungarian science fiction magazine Galaktika (the January 2008 issue). Click on the link to see the cover. I'm sharing the magazine with the likes of Harlan Ellison, which is very cool indeed. Hopefully I'll get my author's copy in the mail soon (mail time between countries can be tricky).
Well, Plague of Locusts is the lucky winner. After re-reading up through where I'd put it aside (to write Destroyer), 25K+ words and I really like this book, especially the characters who had become very real and fleshed out for me. I've been running through what I had written thus far, revising and mostly just getting my writer-head back into the story so I can become obsessive and keep the momentum once I hit the end of the paved road and start writing new words. This book is outlined only to a point, not all the way, so I am still not sure how it's going to end. But I've decided I like how it's gone so far and will wait and see where it brings me. A different tactic from the last book, but as long as it doesn't slow me down I'll let the characters and events dictate the outcome. Again, this one's more science fiction than horror, but there are horror elements in it. A cross-genre novel if you will. Why not? Not like I'm pigeon-holed at this point into any one style.

Back on the international front: Das Grab des Salomone (Solomon's Grave) has recieved a couple of glowing reviews in Germany/Austria from some very big reviewers, as well as a couple of good ones on Amazon.de. My editor is going to translate these into English for me when he has a moment, and I'll pass them along.

And some Dan's Blog exclusive news: Solomon's Grave's German publisher, Otherworld Verlag, has just bought the German language rights to another of my books: Plague of Darkness. Looks like Plague of Darkness will be premiering in Germany later this year or early 2009.

I finished my short story, "Box". I really like how it came out. Waiting on a couple of edits and we'll see where it stands with the anthology.

The fate of Margaret's Ark with the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest will be known next week, on February 19th, when Penguin Books announces the 100 Finalists (out of the current 826 Semi-Finalists). I still only have 8 customer reviews as of this morning (thanks to those who left them, and to folks like Michelle Pendergrass who rallied on their own blogs for my cause), but that's OK. The more the merrier, but we'll see what the Finalist decisions are after Tuesday.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Woods, Plagues, Boxes and Penguins

I've been outlining what I think might be the next novel, Lost in the Woods, and it's looking pretty good. However, I've also been taking another look at Plague of Locusts, which I'd put on hiatus early last year. One of those crossroads I'm at, where to go now that Destroyer of Worlds is done. I had a dream last night that I started in on one of them, or maybe it was an entirely new one - I can't remember the details, nor which book it was. I suppose that's no real help, then.

I did finish up a new short story called "Box" which I'm planning to submit to the anthology Coach's Midnight Diner. Need to read through one more time and send it out, and see if it's a fit or not, or if they even like it. Still, I enjoyed writing the story, and special thanks to Holly Wang, who works with my wife, for some key translations into Mandarin Chinese.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a review for Margaret's Ark as part of the Amazon breakthrough Novel contest. A few people told me they left a review but it never posted. Seems this has been a problem, but it has been fixed. However Amazon did not re-post the lost ones, so unfortunately they're gone. Still, I've got 8 reviews, and they've been quite kind and instructive. Penguin Books will be announcing the Top 100 Semi-Finalists in two weeks, on February 19th. These will be out of the 836 Semi-Finalists, so competition is still fierce. Fingers crossed, and prayers welcome. :-) That's my goal - to make it to the top 100, at which time Penguin editors will read the complete manuscripts. Very welcome attention. We'll see how things wash out.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Publisher's Weekly Review of Margaret's Ark

Hi, Folks. Amazon has posted the Publisher's Weekly review of the semi-final manuscripts in the Breakthrough Novel contest, as well as the review given by their "Top Reviewer" which served to push Ark into the semi-finals. Again, the entry for Margaret's Ark and its excerpt is at

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00121WE32

I'm very happy with the two reviews. Whether these will be enough to get the book into the Finals (top 100 entries) on February 19th, only time will tell.

A number of you have posted public reviews which have never been posted by Amazon. This is happening all over the board, not just with ours. Not sure what's up with that. Overload, maybe?

Here are the two reviews:

Editorial Reviews

manuscript review by Publishers Weekly, an independent organization
Apocalyptic horror meets Christian spirituality in this update of the Noah's Ark story. When Margaret Carboneau, a widowed mother of two, has a dream in which an angel commands her to build an ark to save 30 people from the coming deluge, she brushes off the unsettling vision until she learns that thousands of people worldwide have had virtually identical dreams. Margaret constructs an ark, encountering skepticism and resistance from the locals. Although Margaret's story of faith and sacrifice forms the crux of the novel, the author adds perspective and texture by incorporating the stories of others affected by visions; some of these subplots are more deftly executed than others, but they provide plenty of opportunity to explore faith from multiple perspectives. Like the original tale, the manuscript's tone is ultimately hopeful, though it pulls no punches in its portrayal of the consequences for those who fail to believe.

Amazon Top Reviewer
This is an extremely well-written excerpt! I love the characters so far. Margaret and Jack are both very complex and interesting, with imperfect lives. I like that they are both a bit skeptical of their mission when the dreams first come to them, but begin to accept it as the dreams continue. I like the idea of modern-day people faced with a very strange religious task, and I would imagine there is a great deal of room in this story to examine the idea of faith. Although this story is well-written, writing anything with a religious angle is tricky. Much of the audience will be turned off by the very idea, and much of the rest of the audience will be turned off if the story turns into preaching instead of plot. So far this line has not been crossed; the religious aspect is presented in such a way that it does not overpower the characters in the story. I would be interested in reading more of this story, and seeing the ways in which Margaret's and Jack's lives intersect.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Margaret's Ark Needs Your Help!

A couple of months back, I learned about a novel contest co-sponsored by Amazon.com and Penguin Books. It's called the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest, where they would allow up to 5,000 entries consisting of completed, but unpublished novels (plus an excerpt with only the opening chapters). Of these 5,000 entries, up to 1,000 Semi-Finalists would be chosen. The excerpts for these 1,000 entries would then be posted on Amazon.com. They will also each receive a full Publisher's Weekly review of the entire manuscript. Base on these PW reviews, and customer reviews of the posted excerpts, the top 100 Semi-Finalists will be chosen by Penguin editors. Of these, 10 Finalists will be chosen. The final prize: a $25,000 book deal with Penguin for the winning entry.

After discussing this with my agent, we decided it was worth a shot. The timeline for judging is relatively short, and the prize: a contract with Penguin, one of the largest publishers in the world, bar none, was worth it.

So last Fall I submitted Margaret's Ark.

I've just been informed it has made the first cut, and is now a Semi-Finalist along with 836 other entries. The excerpt is currently posted online, and here's where you can help: the purpose of posting these excerpts is to garner as many customer reviews of the entries as possible. These will have some bearing on which is selected for the top 100 entries (perhaps how well the author can pimp... I mean promote him/herself, more than anything most likely, but they definitely can’t hurt). The excerpts can be read online, downloaded, all FREE.

My entry for Margaret's Ark can be found at:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00121WE32

If you like what you've read and are so inclined, you can post a short review blurb for it. The more the merrier!

The General ABNA (the abbreviation for the contest) site is http://www.amazon.com/abna - from here you can click on the various genre categories, read and rate all of the other Semi-Finalists. Note that Amazon is running a side-contest for reviewers, customers who give the most reviews are eligible for some cool prizes (listed on the main page).

Speaking of Margaret's Ark: the original short story on which the novel was based, "Lavish", is soon going to be appearing in a Hungarian anthology of stories (translated into Hungarian and published overseas). I'll let you know when I learn more on this one.

In other news, I hear that Apex #11 (containing my short story "Ray Gun") is being reviewed in the most recent Locus Magazine. I can't find Locus in any of my local stores: if anyone subscribes and finds the review, I'd love to hear how it went.

Thanks
Dan

Friday, January 04, 2008

Checking in....

Sorry, been a while since my last entry. No new news on the German edition of Solomon's Grave. It's released and selling. No reviews or stuff like that yet. Time will tell.

News on a potential English edition of SG has been stalled a bit, holidays and such. News should be forthcoming soon, I hope.

I mentioned a while ago that, with an approving nod from my agent, Margaret's Ark was submitted to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel competition (grand prize is a $25K contract with Penguin, so definitely worth it considering the reasonable timeframe). In 10 days they'll be announcing the semi-finalists. Out of the 5,000 entries, 1,000 will be chosen as semi-finalists and excertps posted on Amazon. Anyway, 10 days to go to see if M'sA makes it to this next milestone. (After that, 100 will be chosen as finalists, but one step at a time)

Still working on the rewrite of the ending to DoW. Aside from this, not a whole lot to report on the writing front. Some news coming soon about a Hungarian translation of my short story "Lavish" (the story which served as the basis for Margaret's Ark). Once I know it I'll let you know.

If you can offer some prayers for a woman named Jill, who's going through some serious health issues, and for my friend Michelle and her family, who have been there for her and need just as much strength and prayers. Thanks.

And I know what some of you might think, Oh Cynical One. But prayer works. Sometimes it feels we're talking to the wind, but from personal experience, I can attest the power of someone else interceding on our behalf. Because of this, I can only assume it works the other way around, even if we don't always see the results. Sometimes it's all we have. Sometimes it's all we need, when everything else fall short.

And just to end on a more upbeat note: two dogs are sitting in a field, when suddenly in the distance comes a loud BOOM! The first dog turns to the second and says, "What was that?" The second dog turns to the first, eyes wide, and says, "What the f--! A talking dog!"

Dan