Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Season Begins!

It's now officially okay to start listening to Christmas music! For me, I mean. Not that anyone else needs my permission. The Thanksgiving weekend is when something happens inside, and I now get "in the mood" for all things Christmas. I want to hear the music, see decorations everywhere, drink egg nog (in moderation), watch Christmas movies...the whole bit.

And a whole lot is happening this week with my newest novel, Remembering Christmas. Starting today. Cindi and I will be driving an hour south for a booksigning at the Calvary Chapel bookstore in Melbourne, FL. They're doing all kinds of special events at the store today. This will be my 3rd time there. The first two were to visit the Book Club that meets at the church.

Other Book Club News

Speaking of Book Clubs, I'll be calling into one that meets in Niceville, FL this Thursday evening. This is a way for me to spend time with people when it's too far to drive. I've visited Book Clubs this way in many different states. A Book Club selects one of my books to read that month and someone sets up a speakerphone in the middle of the room. I call in while they're meeting so they can ask questions and we can chat a while. If you're Book Club would like to do this, just email me at

But I'm doing an even bigger Book Club thing that starts on Thursday, December 1st. I hope you'll join me online at The Book Club Network (TCBN) this week. I'll be featured on their main page, and we'll be giving away 5 copies of my new book, Remembering Christmas.

If you love fiction, this is a site you have to join. TCBN connects Book Clubs together from all over the country with the authors who write the books they love to read. Even if no book club meets in your area, there are many online clubs you can join at this site. Fred and Nora St. Laurent coordinate all this activity and they're such gracious and friendly hosts. Hope to see you there this week. Click Here to check out TCBN.

Join Me at Suzanne Woods Fisher's Blog

Suzanne Woods Fisher
This Friday, bestselling Amish author Suzanne Woods Fisher will be interviewing me on her blog. If you leave a comment or ask a question, you'll have a chance to win a signed copy of Remembering Christmas.

Suzanne is a fellow author at Revell, and she has a great Christmas book out also now, called A Lancaster County Christmas. My wife Cindi loved it (I'm reading it now). She has a huge following of devoted fans and writes both fiction and non-fiction books about Amish life and culture. She also hosts a weekly radio show called Amish Wisdom.

We got to spend some time together this past September at the ACFW conference, and learned she and my wife Cindi have something in common, they are both dog lovers and love to work with dogs. Cindi is a dog trainer who works with shelter dogs and Suzanne raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

To visit Suzanne's Blog, Click Here.

A Major Award...Details Coming!

Plans are underway with Revell, my publisher, for a HUGE CONTEST to help get the word out about Remembering Christmas. Details will be firmed up and announced THIS WEEK. The contest will have some serious prizes, much bigger than anything I've been involved in before. And much nicer than that old "Leg Lamp" won by the Dad on Christmas Story.

I'll put up a separate post about it this week once I get the full story. But the plan is to offer prizes that connect to the storyline in the book, centered on Art and Leanne Bell, the owners of The Book Nook.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Updates - The Blog Tour

My publisher, Revell, put together a blog tour that's been running all this week for my newest novel Remembering Christmas. For those who don't know what that is, it's one of the marvels of the internet. My book goes on tour without me. And it has, throughout the US and Canada, with 62 bloggers participating. They each get a copy of the book and agree to read and review it in the same week.

Before I go further, I want to thank all of you who participated this week (even the handful of you who didn't care for the book...which I'll get to later). It's a busy season of life and I appreciate the time you invested in my work.

I haven't read all the reviews yet, and more will be coming in over the weekend, but I've read quite a few. Most have blown me away, far exceeding what any author could hope for from a review. I'll paste a sampling below. Just excerpts, though; space won't allow reprinting the entire review (I'll create a link with each blog name, so you can click on it and read the whole review if you want).

As I said, though most of the reviews have been extremely encouraging, there are a few that "go the other way." Admittedly, I'd like every one who reads the book to love it. That's not gonna happen, this I know. As of this post, for example, there are 37 reviews on Amazon. 27 are 5-Stars, another 4 have given the book 4-Stars. That's 31 out of 37 reviews that are very positive. But we've got a couple of 3's and even a couple of 2's in there. I imagine for the potential reader, it might be confusing to read some of the negative reviews compared to the rest.

At first, it confused me. It seemed almost like these folks were reading a different book. Some of the things that deeply and positively affected the majority, didn't move these people in the least. It goes to show that no one can write a book that makes everyone happy, and there are a variety of "taste buds" at play when someone picks up a book to read (or clicks a button on their E-reader).

But I wanted to speak to one thing I picked up as I read a couple of the more negative reviews. Some didn't like the main character, Rick. They felt like he was a selfish, self-absorbed young man who didn't treat his parents or those around him very well (this is true, Rick does start off that way). It didn't seem to matter that by the book's end, that all changes.

As I read their comments, I realized some people don't like to read books with characters who have a "dark side" at Christmastime. They prefer their Christmas books to be light and cheery all the way through. That's okay. I'm not here to mock that. Thankfully, there are plenty of Christmas books out there like that to be read and enjoyed. But my novels are not like that. Certainly, not my Christmas books. I prefer to write tales  more in the Dickens tradition. Take Scrooge for example. Not a nice guy, really for most of the book. But considering how the story goes, and where things end up....would we really want Ebeneezer to start off any other way?

Well, enough analysis. Here are excerpts from the 4-5 Star reviews that came in this week (and thank you every one for reading the book, getting what I was aiming for, and taking the time to write about it).

Blog Tour Samples:

“Dan Walsh writes beautiful stories full of tender moments, and just as each of his previous three books did, Remembering Christmas touched my heart…Walsh does a masterful job of showing how hurts and childhood perceptions can impact our lives as adults and the impact that unconditional love makes in a life, even years after the seeds are sown. This is a wonderful book to read for the holidays. It's definitely one for my keeper shelf, and I suspect reading it may become an annual tradition.”

Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh is the best Christmas book I’ve read this year. In this book you really find out what Christmas is really about…A very beautiful, tender story full of love, forgiveness and hope. I highly recommend this for a fantastic book to add to your Christmas shelf. Five stars for sure!”
“Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh is a beautiful story about a man who remembers the Christmas that changed his life…I very highly recommend this book! If you haven’t read a book by Dan Walsh before, then you need to. He is a brilliant story teller, and his stories are emotional and powerful. This story is deeply moving, and packs a powerful message. It’s sure to get you into the Christmas spirit. Be sure to check out his other books: The Unfinished Gift, The Homecoming (which is a follow-up to The Unfinished Gift), and The Deepest Waters. He has become one of my favorite Christian fiction authors and I have come to look forward to his Christmas stories.”

“Dan Walsh is easily one of my new favorite authors, and I told him that last time I read one of his books. I have compared him to Nicholas Sparks for the Christian book enthusiast. I have been reading a lot of Nicholas Sparks' novels lately, and have to admit I prefer Dan's books to his. I know when I read one of Dan's books that it will be kept ‘clean’ while still holding the mystery and romance that I enjoy in novels.”

“Fans of Nicholas Sparks will find a new author to love in Dan Walsh...for me, he writes circles around any New York Times best-selling author. His books are filled with engaging characters, rich story, and deep faith in our unchanging God…Once again, Dan creates memorable characters that pull up a chair in your imagination and settle in for a good, long while. From J.D., the homeless man who looks forward to his daily McMuffin to the sassy co-worker that keeps putting Rick in his place, you'll love each and every person you meet. Be prepared for a surprise or two along the way.”

"Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh is a good book to read this holiday season. Like other novels written by Walsh, this book jumps right into the life of the main characters… It’s the third book I’ve read by this author and Dan Walsh’s writing style reminds me of Nicholas Sparks. My hope is someday his books will be published into a movie for all to enjoy…If you need a good Christmas gift idea for someone who enjoys reading, I’d recommend putting together these three books - Remembering Christmas, The Unfinished Gift, The Homecoming.
What more could I add to this but...God bless us, everyone.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Friday Updates...On Saturday

I can't even start a trend that lasts a week. If you take a look, you'll notice my blog posts are pretty sporadic. Last week, I thought I might at least post once a week...on Friday. Even called it "Friday Updates" as if this was going to be the new routine. Well, it's Saturday. Yesterday, just didn't work. But thankfully, good stuff is happening, even if I'm sharing it a day late.

Dr. Gary Smalley
My Book With Gary Smalley

I finished Week 1 of my new book with Gary Smalley on schedule. Wrote the first 4 chapters. I'll be writing the actual book, drawing from materials from Gary's books on family and relationships, then sending him 2 or 3 chapters at a time for review. He'll make comments and suggestions, then send them back to me. By and by, a few months from now, and Book 1 will be finished.

I've already written a synopsis of the storyline, which I'll follow as I write. But I love this stage of things, as the characters start to come alive on the page. Eventually, they will take over and I'll just be the scribe, recording the things they do and say (that's how it starts to feel anyway).

My Guidepost Novel Arrived

A few days ago, a box of books arrived on my doorstep. They contained my author copies for my 6th novel, called Autumn Light. I wrote it last spring for Guideposts for their new series "Miracles of Marble Cove." My novel is Book 5 in the series. Even though this is the 6th book I've written, it's only my 5th book in print (all my other novels have been written for Revell; they have a longer "pipeline" from the time a book is written than when it appears on the shelves).

Well, saying "on the shelves" isn't quite accurate for Autumn Light. Initially, Guideposts doesn't make these books available in retail stores. But you can get them online at their website by Clicking Here. They are $13.95 each and will be sent to your home for a 30-day  preview. If you like the first book, you send in the money and every 4-6 weeks, the next book in the series will come. I think it's an excellent value, especially when you consider the books are hardbacks.

Here's what it says about the series on the back of each book: "Come to a place known for flip-flops, lobster pots and porch swings. It's a place to relax, a place to feel at home. Take a walk along the rocky coastline, and gaze out at the boats bringing in their daily catch. Meet four different yet unforgettable friends who are mysteriously drawn together by events too amazing to be coincidence. Follow their miraculous adventures as they face life's challenges, hold each other up in faith, and experience God's amazing grace."

And you have to admit...these books come with such great covers. Don't you just want to walk right into that store on the corner (click on the pic to see a bigger version)?

Book Clubs!

Me (on the right) at a Book Club last Sept

I LOVE visiting book clubs. It's fair to say, way more than doing book signings in stores (unless the store managers are very enthusiastic about your me, they make all the difference). But when you visit a book club, the members have already bought and read your book and are looking forward to meeting with you to discuss it (at least, so far they have...hope it stays that way).

If the Book Clubs aren't too far away, I'll drive there. But I also "visit" with clubs by speaker-phone. I'll be meeting this way with 2 Book Clubs the first week of December to discuss my newest book, Remembering Christmas. One in Perry, FL and one in Niceville, FL. I've also been invited to visit a book club in my town in January (the Daytona Beach area). They will be reading my first novel, The Unfinished Gift, in December (it's also a story set at Christmastime).

And here's something exciting, I'll be visiting a wonderful online website totally devoted to Book Clubs all week long, the first week of December. If you haven't been there yet, you need to check it out. It's called The Book Club Network (TCBN). Click Here to visit. We'll also be discussing my book, Remembering Christmas, and giving away free copies.

If you have a Book Club you'd like me to visit, you can email me at by clicking on the Contact Me button.

The Deepest Waters - Only $2.99!

Finally, I want to mention, you can get my novel The Deepest Waters, released last Spring, for only $2.99 on Kindle for the whole month of November. It received some great magazine reviews and has an average of 4.5 Stars on Amazon after 44 customer reviews. Click here if you'd like find out a little more about it.

Even if you don't own a Kindle, you can download an app from Amazon to read the book electronically on your laptop, Ipad or phone. If you have read it and liked it, please tell your friends. I don't mind selling it a this low price (will give them a low-risk chance to see if they enjoy my books).

Right now, it's ranking #462 in Amazon's Kindle Store overall (out of over 1,000,000 Kindle books), and #23 in Historical Romance. Check it out!

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Writer's Life - Friday updates

It's been a few weeks since I've blogged. Health issues have continued to dominate my life since then. Really, since about mid-Sept. Before you feel "stuck" listening to me go on and on about my aches and pains, I promise to keep this part of the update brief. Believe me...I have no desire to talk about all this again. You know how it is, people who've heard you haven't been well, either through genuine concern or obligation, ask, "So how do you feel?" And you repeat the story again and again.

Apparently, something is wrong with my adrenal gland. This finely crafted little organ has been with me, lo these 54 years, but I've never give him the time of day. Now he's getting plenty of attention. My blood pressure began spiking back in mid-Sept, and my potassium began plummeting. The doctors have found a benign growth on my adrenal gland and say this is the cause. Unfortunately, they are not in agreement as to whether to fix this with surgery or medication. My vote is for surgery, believe it or not. I'm having to take a ridiculous amount of medication every day just to keep my system from exploding, and it makes me very tired.

We should know something soon. Would appreciate your prayers. At least, they've found a combo of meds that allow me to get back to writing, which I've done only sporadically during this time. Hard to write when you're mind is too cloudy to think.

Onto some more exciting stuff...

Our Local Historical Society
Cindi and I visited the Halifax Historical Society in downtown Daytona Beach this week (The Daytona area is known locally as the "Halifax area" due to a river by that name that runs throughout the city). The curator was very helpful a few months ago as I researched my 5th novel, The Discovery, which comes out in April. I brought her 2 signed copies of Remembering Christmas (one for her, one for the museum library). She was thrilled and instantly asked me to bring back 10 copies to sell in the museum store. Also, she asked if I'd do a booksigning for The Discovery there at the museum when it releases in April. I was thrilled (this is something I was working up the nerve to ask her about).

Click here to visit the museum's website.

Best Inspirational Novels of 2011

James Rubart, a bestselling author and good friend, sent me an email this week letting me know that my newest novel, Remembering Christmas, was named as one of the finalists in RT Book Review magazines "Best Inspirational Novels of 2011." His novel, Book of Days, made the list, too (I loved this book and my endorsement appeared on Jim's cover).

RT Reviews is the largest book review magazine in the country. They review hundreds of new books every month in every category and genre. Back in Sept, when my book came out, they gave it a 4.5 Stars/Top Pick rating (Click here, if you'd like to read their review). As you can imagine this was quite an honor and, after reading the other finalists on this list, I'm keeping some excellent company.

Celebration Florida

Yesterday, I felt strong enough to get out of the house, so Cindi and I drove just over an hour to visit the little storybook town of Celebration, Florida. It's located 15 minutes from Disneyworld and was actually created by the Disney corporation back in the early 90's. Since then they've turned it over to others, but Disney fingerprints are all over the place (imagine a small town built by Disney, and you get the idea).

There are over 7500 permanent residents now, divided up into little villages filled with some of the most charming (and often expensive) homes. The little downtown is just amazing. If you get to Disney, it's worth taking at least a half-day to check this place out.

The reason for our visit? I've decided to base my 4-book series with Gary Smalley in a fictionalized version of this town. I'm starting the book next week and wanted to get a number of videos and pics I could use to help me as I write.