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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, 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