Dan McNeil rocks his way into writing!

Okay readers, I was so elated to snag this interview with sexy, Canadian rocker-writer Dan McNeil!  Can you say score?   Not only is he adorable, but talented with a pen.   Dan hails from Canada and was able to take some time away from his busy schedule for an author interview.  Enjoy!  Ladies, please show your admiration not by salivating but by placing your comments below!  

Tell me a little about why you started writing.

A rocker with a story!

A rocker with a story!

 Honestly, the reason why I began writing was to see if I could actually pull it off. Writing a book (could I really do that?) was not something that clawed at me, to tell the truth. I’d always loved reading and it seemed to me that I had a book idea or two bouncing around inside waiting to come out but the thought of writing a book just seemed like a whole lot of work! What I really wanted to be was a songwriter. My cousin and I had a band and we wrote and recorded two CDs of original music (I maintain that there are some hits on some of them!) but somehow we never could capitalize on it. When that fizzled, I redirected my creative outlet from music to novels so I decided to give the book thing a shot, in spite of the fact that I knew that diving into something like this would no doubt, kick my ass. (Can I say ass?)

 Why is historical fiction a favorite genre?

 I love history and I’ve always loved novels with historical settings. They’re just so much more appealing to me. They transport you to a different time and place and isn’t that what a good book is supposed to do? I find that the heroes of these stories usually have to work a little harder and use their wits more. There’s no cell phones, no GPS, no internet, etc. Something as simple as say, getting a message to someone can become a pretty big obstacle that needs to be surmounted, and for me, things like that make for an exciting read. Although I do read contemporary stories, the historical genre is my go-to genre. (I think that I’m a bit of a Luddite at heart…)

Tell me about your writing as it relates to the Beatles.

 I’d had the idea for “Can’t Buy Me Love” for many, many years. I’d read somewhere that while the Beatles performed on the Ed Sullivan Show in February of 1964, not a major crime was committed in New York City. Not even a hubcap was stolen. Everyone was glued to their television sets to watch this phenomenon from Liverpool. I remember reading that and thinking “what a great time to rob a bank.” Of course, I love music and I am a huge Beatle fan and the idea of this bank heist set during one of the most important eras in the history of rock and roll (and including the Beatles – it’s a natural!) appealed to me in a big way.

 Do you think your interest comes from your talent in music?

 Oh, no doubt. The funny thing is, when I was writing songs, I was always more interested in creating the music rather than the words.  I love interesting chord structures and melodies and that’s what drew me to creating music in the first place. You can draw a parallel between a great piece of music and a novel – just as a great book draws the reader in, so can a great song. Towards the end of my songwriting phase though, I was contributing more lyrics and so I guess the natural progression from that was to writing books.

 Who would you say were your greatest author influences?

 As a kid, I read “The Catcher in the Rye” by JD Salinger. It’s cliché I know, but what teenage guy doesn’t identify with a screw-up like Holden Caulfield? I also loved the casual way Salinger wrote so it was certainly a major influence to me when I started writing.  I re-read it about once a year – still my favourite book. Another influence to me was Caleb Carr and his book “The Alienist.” It’s a historical novel that takes place in 1896 New York City. Carr peppered his story with real life characters of the time and that really made the book come alive. Both of my books have real life characters in them too, so you could definitely say that Caleb Carr was a pretty big influence. I’m also a big fan of Jeffery Deaver’s work too.

What was your most flattering moment after writing the book?

 There were two, actually. One was as I was writing it and the other when I finished it. After I’d written the first one (“The Judas Apocalypse”) and spent a crapload of time and energy trying to get it published, I wasn’t really sure if I was all that interested in writing another book. The first one took four years so the thought of doing another one was less than appealing than a root canal. I have a great friend that I used to work with who loved my first book and when I told her I was thinking of attempting a second book, she became so excited about the prospect of it, that it spurred me on. The fact that she really wanted me to do this was very flattering. When I finished it, I let her read it. She took it home and over the next few days she read it 3 times. She also told me that she cried at the end. The fact that it affected her like that was also very flattering. I dedicated the book to her.

Why would readers want to choose this book?

 Because it’s a lot of fun! It takes place during a seminal moment in rock history, it’s got loveable characters, a great plot line, a ton of heart and the Beatles. Seriously, what else could you possibly want?

 What are you working on next?

 Right now, I’m trying to promote this one, but I do have a couple of ideas I’m toying with. One is a Western murder mystery and the other a crime story set in the sixties – both historical ideas (surprise, surprise!)

 Where can my readers get your books?Can't Buy Me Love Sept 2012 for poster[1]

 Right now you can get the Kindle version of CAN’T BUY ME LOVE from Amazon http://tinyurl.com/9z8zquc , Nook for Barnes & Noble http://tinyurl.com/a5qllk4 or directly from the Pulse, the publisher http://www.shop.pulsepub.net/. Print is available from the publisher as well, although should be up on Amazon very soon. You can also get the audio book from Audible and iTunes.

 Can we be groupies at your next concert? 

 Sure…can never have too many groupies although Ottawa is pretty far away to catch a gig.

A little bit about Dan McNeil

You can follow him on twitter @DanMcNeil888

Dan McNeil was born in Toronto, Ontario Canada in October of 1962. He grew up in a home surrounded by books and music, ensuring that he would have a love for both. When he got older, his love of all things trivial led him to make an appearance when he was 16 years old on the CBC television show “Trivia” where his team managed to make it all the way to the finals. He spent much of the 80’s playing in bands around Ottawa, later writing and recording two albums of original pop rock with his cousin and song-writing partner Steve Casey. The two had some success, winning a number of song-writing contests including the prestigious NSAI (National Songwriters Association International) competition in 2002. Dan spent 24 years at CHRO TV in Ottawa as a camera operator and later as senior editor for the station, often composing much of the music for many of their local productions. It was during this time that he decided to try penning a novel. His first book, “The Judas Apocalypse” was published in 2008. He fully enjoyed the experience and decided to write another. His latest offering is “Can’t Buy Me Love,” a light hearted romp about a heist during the Beatle’s first visit to the United States in 1964, which was released September 2012.

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Solo Vietnam coming April 2012

Alright readers . . . you have asked for it, salivated over it. . . here is an excerpt of the upcoming release of SOLO VIETNAM, sequel to FLYING SOLO.   Coming in just days!   Release should be around the first week of April 2013.   Please enjoy!   Would love your comments, RTs, reblogs and invitations to your friends.   Already getting great advanced reviews!    Thanks so much for your readership and support.

Chapter 28

∞ Tonkin Gulf ∞

 Steve packed his B-4 bag in silence.  He expected that like the rest of the crew on board the Coral Sea, that he had only a few weeks before they set sail toward home.   He wasn’t the only A-4 pilot being reassigned to the USS Bon Homme Richard.  Because of a fire on the Bonnie Dick back in the fall, they were short of pilots. There were several others scheduled to serve in the Tonkin Gulf until October.  Once on deck to await his COD helo, Steve ran into Pete Watterman, the helo pilot he had met before.

“Lt. Commander,”  Pete saluted.

“Lt.” Steve saluted back.  “At ease.”

“Hey man, how’s it going?”  Pete asked.

“Being relo’d.   To the Bonnie Dick,” Steve replied.

“Yep, I’m taking some of the pilots over now.  COD.”

“Aren’t I included on that manifest?”

“No, man.  You’re orders must have changed again.  Sorry.”

“What?” For a moment, Steve was confused.

Before Pete turned to make his way to his helo he offered, “Hey Lt. Commander Novak.   You’re an alright guy.  Nice to have met another man from Dixie land.  Good luck out there.”

“Same to you,” Steve responded.

About three other pilots and their bags were loaded.   Pete geared up his propellers, kicking up some salty mist. About that time, Steve was approached by Commander Woolcock, the skipper from his squadron.

“Sir,” Steve saluted.

“Sorry to jerk you around, buddy.  But there’s been a change in plans.  You’re to bingo off to Chu Lai, taking one of our scooters for hand-off to VMA-311.    She’s seen her days on the decks of the Coral Sea.   Commander Nelson from Air Ops is fazing her out.”

“Gotcha,” Steve acknowledged.  Chu Lai?  How lucky could he get?

“But that’s not all.  Your recent service bought you some R and R.  After you hand off the plane,  you’ve got three days before you report to the Bon Homme.  Here’s your pay advance.”

Steve was handed an envelope containing the customary $200 given to pilots for spending money during their brief time off.   He couldn’t believe his luck.   Chu Lai, Nora and R and R.  It couldn’t possibly get better.

Often, when the navy felt an A-4 had seen its days on the carrier, they would send the plane to one of the marine VMA stations for repair and refit.   The marines would patch it up, repaint their own VMA call signs and the plane would be used for another hundred missions or so.   Second hand.

After pre-flighting the Skyhawk, Steve was given signal from the LSO to cat.  One last look at the deck of the Coral Sea.  She had been good to him.  As he gained altitude, he saw the lights on the deck become a small line of white, amidst a black sea.

He would be flying under night cover to transport the plane.   Another chance to see the war in action at night, from 10,000 feet.   By now, he knew the coast well.  He could see stars out everywhere on this clear night.

Despite flying over a war zone, it was relaxing in a way, to be flying a plane for delivery instead of a mission.  On shore, he intermittently caught site of flares being dropped.  There were white hot lights of anti-aircraft fire launched skyward.   It was a short flight from the deck of the carrier to Chu Lai, a mere ninety miles.  Before long, he saw the lights at Danang.  The moonlight was shining on the pristine, yellow-white sands of China Beach.

Soon, he visualized the river at Chu Lai.  As he descended, he saw the sampans out in the water.  No attacks for tonight.  He radioed Chu Lai ground and got clearance to land.

“Chu Lai tower, this is Blue Tail NL-317 requesting to land, over.”

“Bingo in, NL-317.  Keep your eye on the meatball.  Clear to ground.”

The runway at Chu Lai was fairly short.  He positioned the plane such that his slope would contact the arresting gear.  Lowering his speed and putting down his landing gear, with a small bump and scrape, Steve touched down at Chu Lai at 1930 hours.

There was no one to meet him on the tarmac.  For a moment, he wasn’t sure where to go.  But then, a marine flight crew approached.  Haggard and cover in dust in grease, they were a site.  One of them radioed for a jeep.   Steve took a moment to take the flight line in.  It was sure a far cry from the organized symmetry of the Coral Sea.    There were bunkers and razor-edged barbed wire everywhere.  It looked like the tarmac as well as the flight line had taken some substantial mortar attacks. Airplane parts, partially burned out made it a metallic graveyard.

A six by six jeep transport pulled up with three other pilots in it.   “Where to, Lt. Commander?” beckoned the driver.

“The USO club.  I hear they’ve got a great singer there,” Steve said.

“Yeah.  Righto.  Tonight’s a Mardi Gras party.   But you’ve only got about twenty minutes to curfew.”

“Then step on it,” Steve chided as he threw his bag in the back.

“Right on, Sir,” the jeep took off and sped toward the beach and the club.  As it neared, Steve could hear the sounds of jazz emanating from inside.  He could hardly contain himself and nearly jumped out of the jeep before it pulled adjacent to the make-shift arched bridge over a trench to the entrance.

Homesick for New Orleans, Nora arranged through her black market connections with Woody, to get the adornments for a Mardi Gras celebration.  Doubloons, beads, and plenty of seafood.   She booked a Vietnamese band that could play some jazz.  One more way to bring a little bit of the U.S. to Vietnam.

They place was packed.   Bar and restaurant were almost standing room only.   GIs were bedecked in vibrant Mardi Gras beads.  Some had on colorful masks.  The distinctive spicy smell of Zartaran’s filled the air from boiled shrimp and “bugs,” a crustacean native to the South China Sea.  Steve traced the sounds of jazz to the porch along the backside.   Sure enough, Nora was crooning out one of her favorites, Moon River.   He stood in the breezeway out of her sight.

She looked amazing, as always.   Radiant smile.  Bright pink lipstick.   Long, sensuous legs and high heels.  Her skirt had to be at least eight inches above her knees.  Damn, she was hot.

The crowd cheered as Nora wrapped up her song.  “Thank you all for coming tonight.  Les bon temp roulles.”  The GIs hooted and hollered.   As she finished replacing the mike in its stand, Steve came up from behind her.

“Say gorgeous, I’d know that voice anywhere,” he whispered in her ear.  Nora felt her knees grow weak hearing his voice.

Whipping around, she exclaimed, “What the heck?  Steve, where the devil did you come from?”

“About a hundred miles north of here.  Just to see my gal,” he couldn’t resist and in front of everyone grabbed her and planted a big kiss on her lips.   Catcalls erupted from every corner of the bar.

Nora was a mass of emotion.  Joy, tears, and pent up libido just  hearing his voice.  Taken aback at first, she quickly recovered.   “I can’t.  Not here.  Let me wrap things up and make sure everyone clears curfew.  Then,” she pulled him close and whispered in her sultry voice, “I’m all yours.”

Directing her cook, dishwasher and one of her girls running the bar, she quickly wrapped things up for the evening.  The books and tabs could wait till the morning.  She thanked everyone for the great job they did.  Within a few minutes, due to curfew, it was just Steve and herself left in the bar.

“What on earth are you doing in Chu Lai?”

“Had to deliver a Skyhawk for refurb to VMA-311.  How’s that for luck?”

“Brilliant,” she said throwing her arms around him.  “I’m just tickled pink you are here.”

“Nice place you got going,” he said referring to the club.

“The girls and I have really worked it over.  It was a dump.  But I’ve learned to make, uh, well, let’s just say connections.”

“That’s the navy way.  Way to go girl,” he could hardly keep his hands off of her.  “I’m about as randy as ever.  But where can we go?”

“I’ve been thinking about that,” she had a gleam in her eye.

“Certainly not to your hooch,”

“Nope.  The girls are there and curfew’s on.  But we might be able to sneak out back under the decks.  There’s a small, unused, elevated tent.  It was the original officer’s mess, near the beach.”

“Sounds great, doll.  Let’s go,” he said taking her hand.   Nora locked the place up and they quietly snuck out down the back steps of the club.  They walked close to the jungle line of trees, so as not to be seen by the sentry guards.  Clearing through some brush, they came to a clearing with the tent.  It was dank, dark, and sandy, but they didn’t care.  They were finally alone.

The flap of the tent barely went down before he had his hands all over her.  The fact that there was dust everywhere and cob webs didn’t bother them. They finally had a secluded, stolen moment alone.  He kissed her passionately, relinquishing the pent up sexual tension between them.  She darted her tongue in around his mouth, long, slow and ardent.

Pulling her close into him, she felt his desire for her.  He was rock hard.  He stopped kissing her for a moment and looked deeply into her eyes.   Without saying a word, he unzipped the back of dress, exposing her shoulders.    He lowered his head and began kissing along her collar bone, starting on her left.

And. . . . you will have to just purchase the upcoming copy to see the rest!!!!!

Flying Solo is Almost Here!

Flying Solo

My new novel entitled,  Flying Solo: an unconventional aviatrix navigates turbulence in life   is almost here.   After much anticipation, the final, FINAL, proofs were completed.   Ahhhh….now time to sit back and relax right?  Wrong, writing the book was easy. . . now it is time for shameless self promotion.  Blogging, advertisting, facebooking, twittering, interviewing, booksigning.   Wow, exhausting just to think about it all.  But so worth it to put the book in the hands of your readers.

Here are some links to follow for my own self promotion:

Facebook:    www.facebook/AgeViewPress

Twitter:   www.twitter.com/VaughanJeanette   (please follow me, as I have no followers yet 🙂

Goodreads:   www.goodreads.com/Jeanette_Vaughan

Tired yet?    All in a good day’s publishing work!

Buy it now!

Flying Solo

Just viewed the first galleys for Flying Solo.  I was nervous taking it out of the box.  First impressions. . . wow!   But then after careful inspection. . .ugh.   More revision needed.  Some pages just not perfection.    Oh well, first view!  But coming soon.  Stay tuned.   In the meantime. . . enjoy the trailer.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eVC7q2Jkk0

Sometimes people  don’t like to comment on youtube.com as you have to subscribe to a channel.     So. . what did you think of the trailer.    I will admit. . .I love it!    So proud that it was the first one I ever produced myself.    Please complete the poll and let me know what you thought.    All feedback is welcome here.