So here’s the thing: I don’t write, or think, in one style. Which is probably just one of the many reasons I don’t have an agent.
The Darbas Cycle
My first novels were A Madness and Siobeth, and if you’re thinking “Hey, I’d like to read a book by this Dan guy,” and you were also thinking “Hey, I like reading fantasy series,” then this is where you need to start. An early version of these novels — actually, a rather large version (the two average-length books were originally one long book) — got an editor’s recommendation for publication at a New York science fiction house back in 2004. A few weeks later, everyone I knew at the publishing house had been purged, and the company was out of business about three months later. So it goes.
But on the bright side, after revising the manuscript a few times, I think these two smaller books are a lot more fun to read.
I love the world that grew up around this story, and in addition to finishing the five-volume series that contains these two novels, I have this wild idea that someday I’ll be able to open the world up to its readers as a creative playground. But all of that depends on whether the first two novels can find an audience. If they don’t, it can end gracefully here. If they do, all sorts of things could happen.
There’s a website for the series here. There’s a bit more about where A Madness came from here, and you can buy your own copy for $0.99 via Amazon for your Kindle reader here. I wrote a bit about Siobeth and the evolution of the original manuscript here, and here’s the link to buy your own ebook copy of the sequel.
After a particularly good year in 2011, I celebrated with the ultimate splurge: I took six weeks off from freelancing and did nothing except write a novel. That literary sprint became Bokur, which is my idea of a pulpy little picaresque about middle-aged white Americans in the Caribbean playing around with voodoo, sex, money and murder.
Bokur is not a book for teenagers. It’s probably not a book for a lot of adults, either, when you get right down to it. That’s mostly because of the sex.
Now, to be honest, there’s at least some sex in just about everything I’ve written. Because sex is just a great topic. But the idea behind Bokur was that it would be fun to write an entertaining story where the sex scenes advance the plot rather than distracting from it. So it’s a bit more explicit than I’m used to writing, and maybe that’s a bit titillating. But it’s really kind of mild in comparison to some of what passes for “romance” writing these days, and I hesitate to call it “erotica,” since the sex serves a plot that’s about something other than … well, sex.
But if you’re a grown-ass man or woman and you like contemporary paranormal/fantasy thrillers with darkly erotic plot twists, this is probably the best place to start.
Another Goddamn Novel About The Collapsing Quantum Multiverse
I spent the majority of 2012 making one last effort to connect to the traditional publishing industry. After all, I’d been stuck with the ambition of writing novels since I was 14 years old, and for decades I figured that nothing would make me happier than a nice agent who pimped me out to a nice publisher while I sat at my nice home and cranked out nice books. Occasionally, I figured, we would go up to New York for meetings and things, and there would be really smart, really funny, really nice people we’d meet, and after long nights out having nice conversations, we’d meet again for brunch and have eggs and toast and really nice coffee.
But after giving the lists and advice at AgentQuery.com a solid, systematic, go, and after absorbing the resounding silence that followed, I’ll admit to getting a wee bit… snarky. Later, after a near-miss on what might have been a really cool job in Vermont, I found myself looking for a winter project that offered better prospects than the traditional “Extended Bout O’ Seasonal Depression.” So I started writing.
Now I’m a rules-following guy, for the most part. But after a while, rules-following guys have to look around and ask, “What the fuck good is that?” And I just wasn’t in the mood to write another novel that followed “the rules.” In fact, I didn’t want to think about what I was “supposed” to do at all.
So I stripped down to my underwear, poured lighter fluid all over the rules, and danced this rude, bratty dance around my own personal bonfire of literary and cultural pretensions.
Here’s why I like this book so much. It’s only the second thing I’ve ever written (“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” from Absolutely Brilliant in Chrome is the other) that routinely cracked me up while I was writing it.
The idea here is that there are a Very Large Number of alternate quantum realities that we create as we make our choices. But what would happen if we became aware of them? Or, for that matter, started creating paradoxes across those dimensions? And the answer, of course, is that the world would come to an end.
Because it just would, OK?
So begins the sprawling saga of Dan Conover, riding the bow-wave of the collapsing quantum multiverse, from a post-apocalyptic German castle to suburban North Carolina to the upper floors of Magical New York City in 2032 and back home to Charleston. It’s a story about tanks and bikes and sex coupons, about guns and culture and books and writers and MFAs and leprechauns and minotaurs and ghosts and reincarnation and… well, you just have to read it.
Three Different Dans: Pick the One that’s Right for YOU!
Anyway, that’s it. If you’re a reader who enjoys a good long-form epic fantasy, pick up A Madness. If you like a more contemporary style, try Bokur. And if you’re ready for the full-on double-live gonzo, take the plunge into Another Goddamn Novel About The Collapsing Quantum Multiverse.
But whatever you choose, I ask one thing of you, as a personal favor. If you like what you read, please tell your friends about it. Because the more people buy these books, the more time I can justify writing more of them. And if you’re up to it, I’d like to hear from you.
Thanks for reading.