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.....


Being on track feels so damn good, eh?

Anonymous said…
Hey Dan,
Welcome back - you've been missed!

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