Spent a good part of the summer editing my first three novels written under Gary Goshgarian—ATLANTIS FIRE, THE STONE CIRCLE, and ROUGH BEAST. Took out the deadwood, clunky phrases, and excessive modifiers—all the stuff I now tell my writing students to avoid. They’re leaner, meaner, and now currently available for the first time under my pen name Gary Braver as eBooks through Amazon, Apple, Kobo and more—for only $2.99.
Hope you enjoy these old favorites!
ROUGH BEAST—my first biomedical thriller.
“And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?”
It is from these famous lines of William Butler Yeats’ “The Second Coming” that Gary Braver [Gary Goshgarian] derives his title for this provocative novel.
Rough Beast, set in a small town in Massachusetts, is a thriller in the tradition of Stephen King and Dean Koontz, combined with the scientific underpinnings of Michael Crichton. The elements of horror and suspense and intrigue reinforce one another in a many layered tale that ultimately brings the boundaries of nature into question. Gary Braver has crafted a novel that plumbs the depths of genetic engineering, a powerful force that can be used for good or evil. Rough Beast explores the consequences of a military experiment gone wrong and its effects on as normal, unsuspecting American family—especially on its twelve-year-old son, Matty.
Praise for Rough Beast:
“[Treads] territory staked out by John Saul and Dean Koontz. . . sharp characterizations. . . a solid and suspenseful cautionary tale that expertly blends political intrigue and domestic drama” –Publishers Weekly
“Watch out, Stephen King! Gary Goshgarian [Gary Braver] has taken your incredibly successful formula and made it work as skilfully for him as it does for you. Goshgarian is an excellent writer of suspense. . . Rough Beast is explosive, gripping and truly scary!” –The Roanoke Times
“Various mayhem, strange animal behaviors, a shadowy hit-man, and a secret Vietnam-era project are thrown into the cauldron. It’s all fun, and Goshgarian can propel the plot and reader forward.” –The Washington Post
“The prose here sings and the characters are multi-dimensional. . . This cunning, deft novel keeps the pages turning without sacrificing style for story.” –The Tab Community Newspapers
“The season’s scariest novel. . . Horror writer Stephen King could not have conceived a more chilling plot. . . The blending of political intrigue, the characterizations and the realistic drama reflect writing both original and masterful.” –The Cape Codder
“Rough Beast is full of nail-biting tension. The book is fascinating and sparks curiosity. You’ll want to read every word.” –The Tulsa World
December 5, 2012 Comments Off
I spent a good part of the summer editing my first three novels written under Gary Goshgarian—ATLANTIS FIRE, THE STONE CIRCLE, and ROUGH BEAST. Took out the deadwood, clunky phrases, and excessive modifiers—all the stuff I now tell my writing students to avoid. They’re leaner, meaner, and now currently available for the first time under my pen name Gary Braver as eBooks through Amazon, Apple, Kobo and more—for only $2.99.
Hope you enjoy these old favorites!
The Stone Circle–my only “ghost story”:
Trying to ease the pain of his wife’s tragic death, archaeologist Peter Van Zandt agrees to excavate a strange stone formation on a private Boston Harbor island, being converted to a millionaire’s casino resort. He is distracted from his grief by the unearthing of a Stonehenge-like site suggesting early Celtic immigrants. Yet he becomes haunted by horrific visions and consumed by obsession as he battles corporate greed to save the monumental discovery as well as an ancient menace, pushing him toward unspeakable acts that would destroy him and everything he loves.
Praise for The Stone Circle:
“Goshgarian [Braver] grabs his readers by the lapels and doesn’t let go until the last page is turned…a terrifying collision of minds and bodies that is spellbinding.” The Middlesex News
“A galvanizing new novel. . . a frightening tour de force.” The Providence Journal
“This is a story stripped for action, and action is what it delivers.” The Boston Globe
“A scary and entertaining take off on some favorite themes of H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King.” The Boston Herald
“A richly conceived work.” Kirkus Reviews
“A masterpiece of suspense. . . If you like Stephen King and Dean Koontz, then you’ll love The Stone Circle.” Robert B. Parker
December 3, 2012 Comments Off
Writers get their ideas from a variety of places—experience, newspaper articles, overheard conversations, movies. I’m happy to say that my first novel, ATLANTIS FIRE, now available as an eBook online (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Apple, etc.) was based on a true experience—and one that nearly killed me.
Five times during the 1970s I had visited the Greek island of Santorini—perhaps the most popular of Aegean islands, and the most magical. Because of the beautiful and violent volcanic nature of the place, I had thought that it would be a great locale for an adventure novel. The only problem was that I hadn’t had the adventure.
But in the late 1970s, I got that adventure—more than I had bargained for.
I had just gotten certified as a scuba diver and joined an Earthwatch team of other divers volunteering to help a marine archaeologist locate Phoenician and Roman shipwrecks off the Spanish island of Mallorca. Fishermen had pulled up ancient artifacts, and the scientist wanted to see if he could find a shipwreck that had not been ravaged by sea time or looters.
After a week, we began finding pieces of amphoras and other artifacts from Roman wrecks that had sunk off the coast over 2000 years ago. One day while excavating shards of amphoras and other pottery about a mile off shore and in only 30 feet of clear water, a speed boat passed over our bubbles. In spite of the fact that our inflatable Zodiac was anchored just above us with a red-and-white dive flag, the boat raced through our bubbles again and again and again. The first time is an accident, the second time is stupid, the third, fourth, and fifth time meant danger.
Unfortunately, we were nearly out of air, yet the boat kept turning around and crossing over us. After the 6th or 7th pass, the drivers of the boat let out anchors swinging on chains at 20 mph in effort to gaff us on the fast moving spikes and pull us out to sea to drown. Near panic and almost out of air, my dive buddy and I shot to the surface following another pass. Seeing our heads break the surface, those in the boat headed for shore. Yet they had slashed our rubber boat so we had to paddle back to land.
At that time, we didn’t know that our little marine archaeological expedition had trespassed into the middle of an antiquities black market operation involving dealers who were stealing booty from Mediterranean shipwrecks and selling it to collectors and museums around the world. And the owner of the speed boat was a local Godfather and head of the operation—a lawyer by profession and antiquities smuggler on the side. He even managed to get the local naval commandant to revoke our diving permits. But we got them back because we had an underwater metal detector that he wanted to borrow, hoping to find gold and silver on another Roman wreck he had located. His house had more Phoenician artifacts than Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. This guy was a big-time crook. But we wanted to get back into the water and let him borrow the device for a day with the conditions that we get our dive permissions back and we go along on his boat with our metal detector. Although we could not dive, we free dove (no scuba gear) while they were deep on their virgin Roman wreck to watch them stack booty underwater to be raised at another time. The next day we got our permits back and found our own 2nd century BC Roman wreck.
I still remember thinking back then that if I got out of that experience alive, I’d write a book about it. I did and moved the locale to the Aegean island of Santorini, the ancient outpost of the Minoan Empire, and upped the ante to the discovery of the sunken world and vast treasure of Plato’s legendary Atlantis. That’s the story behind ATLANTIS FIRE.
Some Praise for ATLANTIS FIRE:
“A fast, colorful suspense-adventure. The story races to a literally explosive climax that is better than [Peter] Benchley [Jaws, The Deep] at his best. . . Atlantis Fire blew me away. This is a fine thriller, seasoned with wit and sensibility.” — Stephen King
“A lively and dramatic story of underwater exploration, of the stunning discovery of what may be the lost city of Atlantis, and its golden treasure. . . . full of chilling surprises.” — Publishers Weekly
“An entertainment full of eminently filmable aquatic action and scenic locales.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Archaeological diving sequences are very well done—the author has actually participated in such expeditions. . . The climax, a free-for-all fight in underwater caves . . . is as exciting as any reader would want.” — Library Journal
October 9, 2012 Comments Off
WANT TO WIN A KINDLE?
Gary will be selecting one lucky fan at random to win a brand new Kindle 3 w/Wifi! How do you qualify? Simple! Just:
1) Pre-Order Gary’s new book TUNNEL VISION from any online retailer, and
2) Email a copy of the purchase receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org
The first 100 submissions will be entered into a drawing, the winner to be announced June 17th!
Time is of the essence. If you make your purchase on or before May 20, your entry will be counted THREE times! Purchases made May 21-June 3 will count TWICE! And any purchase made June 4-June 10 will only be counted ONCE. The earlier you buy, the more chances you have to win!
All entries due June 15th.
May 4, 2011 Comments Off
This week it’s a little dimmer in Boston. A brilliant light is out. A literary light. Robert B. Parker, extraordinarily successful author of dozens of books about Boston sleuth Spenser, as well as other novels and young adult stories, died on Monday at his writing desk. There isn’t a bookstore or airport in the free world that doesn’t have his titles on their shelves. And although he didn’t put Boston on the map, he helped keep it there, making this great city accessible to the reading public - its glory and feisty independence, its rich and varied culture, its history and beloved teams. Collectively, his Spenser books are a symphony to this city by the sea.
But I didn’t know Bob Parker just through his novels. He was my oldest and closest friend. He introduced me to Kathleen Krueger, my wife of 30 years. With his wife, Joan, we played tennis and double-dated and traveled to England. We watched each other’s kids grow up. His death is like the loss of a gravitational force in our lives - something solid and strong and dependable.
I knew Bob Parker five years before he became Robert B. Parker. I met him on my first day as an instructor in the Northeastern English Department in September 1969. I was just out of grad school, and he was in his second year of teaching. He was to be one of my officemates. The first time I saw him, he was standing in running shoes and swinging an invisible baseball bat while reciting a recipe for chocolate mousse to a colleague.
Bob Parker was probably the smartest person I’ve known and the quickest wit. His observations, never labored, were always incisive and sensible. His writing was brilliant and lean, which in part accounts for his immense popularity. Like his archetypal knight, Spenser, he was a fixer, a corrector. If you needed something, he was there - whether it was advice on children, carpentry, or someone to pick up the other end of a couch. And his love and devotion to Joan and his sons, David and Daniel, was immeasurable.
Bob was also a baseball encyclopedia who could quote stats back to the 1930s. He could recite the lyrics of most love songs. A phrase would come up during dinner, and he’d sing a bar from Vaughn or Sinatra or Mercer. How many people do you know who can recall the words from “Aba Daba Honeymoon’’?
One of Bob Parker’s greatest virtues was how true he was to himself - void of pretense and affectation which in part made him uncomfortable with academic life. One morning while jogging the NU track, he told me he was thinking of writing a novel. How could he? He didn’t know any big words. He wasn’t the sensitive artiste. In spite of that - or, perhaps because of that - he began writing his first Spenser novel, “The Godwulf Manuscript’’ which gave him a chance to take swipes at academe. It also got him fantasizing about writing his way out of the classroom. He was a good teacher, and taught a popular course on the Novel of Violence, but that wasn’t him. He preferred to write his own. And so he built a dynasty that added brilliantly to Boston’s rich literary landscape. There are fans who come to town from afar, armed with his books as walking and dining guides.
Although he enjoyed the benefits of celebrity, he was never taken by it - his or anyone else’s. If you met him and didn’t know who he was, he wouldn’t tell you. He hated self-promotion. He groaned in anticipation of book tours. He long ago wearied of interviews. But he did what he was supposed to do as Robert B. Parker. And he always came home Bob.
Over 40 years, we jogged hundreds of miles and shared hundreds of meals. And, although he has given the world some 75 books, I cannot recall a conversation about his writing that went more than a couple of sentences. “What are you working on?’’ “Spenser #42.’’ “What’s it about?’’ “Truth and beauty.’’ Books were what he did, and he seemed to turn them out once every two weeks.
He wrote about the things that were most important to him: love, family, and human decency. Behind the scenes, he lived a quiet, simple, and ordered life, spending most of his days at his writing desk, surrounded by photos of Joan and his sons, his dog Pearl on the couch. It was a life well-composed, just as he had wanted it - and perhaps his most successful creation.
So was his death - in a brilliant flash at his keyboard.
(Originally published in The Boston Globe.)
January 22, 2010 Comments Off
Interested in finding out a little more about Gary’s new book, Skin Deep? Check out the new video below:
Like what you see? Share this video with your friends and family! Spread the word that Beauty is Only… Skin Deep.
June 15, 2008 Comments Off
On July 8, my seventh novel, Skin Deep, comes out in hardback. And soon after that I’ll do some touring in the Northeast, then in Los Angeles in mid-August on the way to the Maui Writers Retreat and Conference, this year in Honolulu.
And in preparation for all that and a bunch of radio interviews, I’m polishing my response to what might be the most asked question of any writer: “Where do you get your ideas?”
The boring answer is that we make them up. But ideas come from almost anywhere: an experience, an overheard conversation, a news item, a movie scene, a dream—a notion that has been with you for years, sitting in the middle of your brain like an artifact. I have a separate book that evolved from each of those. And so do hundreds of other writers.
Like other genre writers, my publisher expects some basics from me: High concept thrillers centered on the development of a “hot” medical or biomedical breakthrough. For instance, the development of an anti-aging drug (Elixir); boosting the intelligence of slow children for parents intent on raising geniuses (Gray Matter); rushing to market a cure for Alzheimer’s disease (Flashback). Each story should be centered on ordinary American people—family folks with kids, cats and dogs. And each with the message: Beware what you wish for. So those are the basic ingredients of my assignments. But every time one book is finished, it’s like getting fired. I find myself trying to come up with the next big What If?
Well, after weeks of thrashing around, that happened. I was drifting through the family room where my wife was watching “Dr. Phil.” There on the screen was a young mother woefully confessing that she could not walk past a mirror without being depressed at how she didn’t look like Jessica Simpson in spite of 18 separate cosmetic surgical procedures. And she was lined up for more. It was unbelievable, because the woman was rather attractive, except for the grouper lips. What she needed, of course, was not another cosmetic surgeon but a good shrink. She was surgically addicted, obsessed with Jessica Simpson’s face, and miserable she would never look like her no matter how many times she’d go under the knife.
That story episode told me a lot and formulated the core idea for Skin Deep.
What that “Dr. Phil” moment brought home was how obsessed people were with their looks and how they were turning to cosmetic surgery for the quick fix. Losing your hair? Get plugs. Look like a dork in glasses? Call a laser clinic. Lips too thin? Get them plumped with collagen. Eyelids a tad thick? Get a lid lift. Nose too ethnic? Get it snipped. Crows walking all over your face? Get Restylane injections. Frown line too deep? Botox it. Got a belly that won’t quit? Call the liposuction doc.
That woman’s obsession also got me thinking about the nature of beauty and a concept known as the Golden Ratio or the “divine proportion.”
During the Renaissance, artists and mathematicians determined a formula for the most aesthetically pleasing creations of nature and art—flowers, seashells, trees, as well as music, paintings, and architecture. Also the human face. They determined the ideal facial beauty had a fixed ratio of various proportions: facial length to the width, mouth length to nose width, length of lips to width of nose, nose tip to chin to lip to chin, and several others. The ratio turns out to be a constant of 1.67 to 1.0. Philosophers say it’s the ideal that beauty aspires to. The closer that a face’s various proportions approach that ratio, the more attractive the face. And that is why most iconic beauties have heart-shaped faces, with wide-set eyes, thin noses, full mouths, and short chins.
Skin Deep is a novel about an obsession with an ideal of female beauty—an obsession that drives women to seek enhancement; an obsession that is like catnip to a killer who stalks these very alluring women. A killer who is quite unlike any other you will have met.
But that’s all I’m going to say. You’ll have to read the book to find out for yourself. So far the critics are loving it. And I hope you will also.
Until next time…
June 11, 2008 Comments Off