Author Archives: Dan Newman

I, Druid.

I don’t have one of those fancy BBQs – you know the ones I mean: chrome that can sear your eyes, a zillion burners, a rotisserie, a warming tray, built in GPS and of course a cup holder – one of three at least.  No.  Mine is annual.  And by that I mean it lasts a year.  Then the bottom rusts out, the burners clog and the grill can leave those yummy grill marks on the meat even when its off… and let’s face it – rust just isn’t that tasty.

bbq

Not the BBQ you’ll find at my house.

And because I subscribe to the annual BBQ approach, I also have the pre-summertime ritual of “the build”.  Yes – that’s right, exactly like the Druids of old.  It’s spring now, so I’m facing the build once again.  And after about 15 years of the this cycle, I almost have enough parts – left over from prior builds (they’re spares, right??) – to go ahead and build a new one without lugging another BBQ box home from the store…

All of this is to say that it appears spring is almost here – real spring, not calendar spring – and despite last night’s snowfall, I’m feeling pretty good about it.

So now it’s just a quick stop for some cold beer and a disposable BBQ… and then like so many other backyard Druids around the country, we’ll let the annual rites and rituals of spring begin.

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Be Nice to the Old Folks: A Cautionary Tale

Deciding to set off down the path of being a writer is really an act of penance. For what, we’re never actually told, but I’m pretty sure it’s payback for being some form of ne’er-do-well in a former life. For me, I assume I must have pushed over old ladies and ran away with their purses. Or perhaps I just pushed them over for fun–purses be damned.

gran

Think twice before messing with Granny…

Either way, the gods apparently decided that my sentence, my hair-shirt, would be that in my next life I’d be sent in hard-coded with the dream of being a writer.

Okay, so perhaps I’m overstating things a tad. I do have a lot to be thankful for: I have an agent, I have a publisher, and I have (what I think is) a decent book in the market. And I have the support of some really great people who encourage me in my pursuit of being a writer. So I’m really not that jaded. But I do have my guard up.

Why?

I thought you’d never ask.

In 2012, my novel THE CLEARING was picked up by UK based publisher Exhibit A Books. (Aha! Some of you recognize that name and already know where this is going, right?) Anyway, I started working with an editor there–just a super guy who absolutely understood where I was trying to take the novel, and who had some terrific input that only made it better. We put a lot into it and then, in the fall of the following year, there it was–on bookshelves in honest-to-goodness book stores. All good, right? That’s what I thought.

I spent the following months doing what I could to support the book. The usual: writing blogs, giving interviews, striking deals with deities and gods of every form. But I felt very much an island. I was pushing ideas hard, trying to get access to that secret marketing machine that we all believe publishers have, but reserve for their A-list elite. Support seemed light for the book. Off-handed. Perhaps even kind of after-thoughty (no, that’s not a real word, but I think you’ll agree it should be). Then, a couple of months later, I got an email from the editor; he was packing up, moving on. Something about timing, new challenges ahead. A vein similar to what you heard back in high school when she told you it was her, not you…

It wasn’t thirty days later that the other boot dropped and everything fell apart–and right in the middle of editing book #2 of the two-book-deal. Exhibit A sent my agent a note telling us that the imprint was closing. Book #2 was dead, as was any publisher support–light as it may have been–for Book #1.

Dang. If only I hadn’t pushed over quite so many of those octogenarians. But it was just so much damn fun (I assume).

At this point the dream is over. All was lost. Woe was me. Queue the overly dramatic music. Cut to shots of deserted border towns and tumbleweed, and the ever present animal carcass being bleached white in the empty, lifeless desert that is my alleged success (am I over-selling this?). Anyway, my agent gets the rights back and immediately sets about shopping them once again. She’s always been a big fan of the book and, apparently, entirely immune to dashed-hopes and beer drenched mumblings of why me?

At some point I dusted myself off (okay, so perhaps my wallowing only lasted a week and there was no actual drinking–just some very common cuss words and the occasional shake of the head), and then I sat back down at the computer and let the illusion of runaway literary success consume me once again.

And that brings us to today. Thanks to my agent’s hard work, the book has since found a new home with the good people at Diversion Books in NYC. THE CLEARING will be re-released in April this year, with a gorgeous redesigned cover and some great new editorial direction.

So who knows? Maybe my Exhibit A experience is just a bit of balance for all those grannies I left lying on their sides, waving their arms and legs around and trying desperately to get back up.

I sure hope so. Because I quite like grannies.

At least this time around.

(Reprint of my guest blog for International Thriller Writers at )


Time… How quietly it slips by.

I just had one of those moments when you look up and realize that decades have snuck by.

A childhood friend of mine posted a bunch of photos on Facebook – photos of OJ Simpson, Sophia Loren, James Coburn and others – when they were on St. Lucia filming the movie FIREPOWER in the late 70s.  As kids growing up there we watched a lot of the filming that went on – it was a big deal on an island that had yet to be fully discovered by mainstream tourism.

I remember clearly a scene they shot where they blew up a large radio controlled helicopter over the water at one of beaches, and as soon as they called “cut”, a swarm of us kids charged into the water to collect the bits. FP

Thinking about that is nostalgic, sure, but what really drove it home was when I Googled the poster that went with the movie.  When I saw it I was instantly transported to the late 70s.  The poster is hand drawn and filled with little vignettes and moments from the movie – it carries such a distinctive feel, almost indescribable, but something that everyone who went to the movies back then can instantly relate to.

As soon as I saw the poster I had this wonderful rush of childhood memories, followed closely by the terrifying reality that watching FIREPOWER get made was something I did in 1979… 37 years ago.

Sheesh.  I guess some time slipped by there when I wasn’t looking.

 


This One Is Buy The Book…

There’s a lot going on now with the run up to the Diversion Books release of The Clearing this April.  Three interesting things to share…  One: the Pre-Order utility was released by my publisher, Diversion Books.

Two: a nice box-O’-books arrived for me from said publisher…

books

and three: the trailer is now live!

Check out the pre-order Ganxy form, and if you’re planning to pick up (or download) a copy, please feel free to click the link provided – and if the urge strikes you, go ahead and share the link with whomever you see fit.  (No, really…  go ahead!)

Also, do check out the trailer and let me know what you think.  It’s new territory, but I like the creepy vibe they achieved. (And a thousand thanks-yous to Darren at 5Gear!)

Cheers!

 


Life Lessons from a Chocolate Lab

Rolo is my two-year-old American chocolate lab, and he’s thoroughly convinced I am the most impressive person in the world.

Now, despite the fact that he may indeed be right about that, it’s beside the point.

Like many of you who own dogs will know, when you come in the door, you get a reception like you’ve just come in from saving the world, or at the very least having just pulled a dozen orphans from a burning building.

It’s a great way to come home, and you get that reception every single time. No exceptions. And the dog’s willingness to be as excited roas possible about your arrival is only matched by his willingness to let it all shine through for anyone to see. He’s not concerned with how that will make him look, whether it’s cool or not to be seen gushing over something that obviously makes him happy. No. He just has an emotion, and lets it all hang out.

But as people, so many of us refuse to be moved by things. We may secretly find something or someone amazing, but we’ll often minimize our reactions, saying things like yeah, I’ve seen that before, or, hmm not bad. Sometimes it’s just a shoulder shrug. But inside we’re thinking, wow! That is freeking amazing! But we often make very sure no one sees us heaping approval. What if people thought I’d never seen that before? What if they’ve seen it and I haven’t?

Oh, the horror.

Now if we were chocolate labs, and someone did something as impressive as, say, walking into a room, we’d almost wet ourselves with appreciation and let everyone know it. And when I look at that chocolate lab, folding himself in half with every gigantic wag of his tail just because I came through the door, I realize that the act of expressing how happy he is makes him even happier. Hmm. There may be something in that.

So here’s the little life lesson that I’m going to try to take away from my observations of Rolo the chocolate lab: Next time I’m impressed by something or someone, I’m going to let them know. And I’m going to gush. And to hell with the consequences.

I think it may just add something – provided I can remember not to jump up at them and try to lick their faces.


…and, we’re back.

Yes, there’s been a gap in these here blogs.

But I have a good excuse – honestly.  Actually I have hundreds, but I’ll just go with this one: The Clearing has been picked up by a new publisher!  

Quick bit of backstory for those who don’t know: The Clearing was published originally by Osprey Books under the Exhibit A imprint in October of 2013. Sadly, after a year in the bookstores the company folded their thriller imprint and that, as they say, was the end of that…

The ClearingCOVER

…until the rights were picked up last February by NYC based publisher, Diversion Books.

Oh happy day.

Anyway, since then the book has been through an insightful edit, received a brilliant new cover, and is slated to be released in March of 2016.

So that’s the update.

My apologies for the huge gap in content on this blog, but given time, I think all three of you get over it.  That said, I have given myself a very strict new content schedule, and I am determined to stick to it.  You just see if I don’t.  What? Show you the schedule?

Hmm.  I think not.


And With the Shadow People Be

Well, here we are.

With the demise of Exhibit A Books – the publisher of my novel The Clearing – a number of other things fell apart, too. Like the second book in the two-book-deal.  Along with that went another piece of work – a novella that was a kind of companion piece to The Clearing – it told another part of what happened on that island, a part that never made it into the novel.Shadow People_small

As some of you know, large and creepy chunks of The Clearing actually happened, as is the case for a core element of my novella And With the Shadow People BeThat novella, incidentally, is available now on Amazon.  (Please allow me to plug it here.)  It deals with the existence of a creature – or creatures to be precise – that have inhabited the swamps of that island for generations.  Are they real?  In a word: Yes.  I know.  I’ve seen them.  And they scared the shit out of me.

The novella is self published – something  I’ve never tried before – so I’ll let you be the judge of how successful a pathway that is.  I wanted to make the novella available for free,  but the overlords at Amazon won’t allow that, so it’s set for the minimum 99 cents… (I’m ordering my bright red Porsche right after I finish writing this).

If you do happen to check it out, please let me know – I’d love to hear your thoughts.  And if you never got around to reading The Clearing but thought about it, consider And With the Shadow People Be.  It’ll give you a taste of what the novel has in store.

DN.


The Doubting Writer

A blog by Dan Newman

LITERARY CARRIE

A blog by Dan Newman