NEWS & EVENTS
A FIRE ON THE SEA
My first novel is now in print. Copies of the 288-page paperback are available from this website. To order copies, visit my BOOKS & MUSIC page and click on the Buy Button below the book. A Fire on the Sea was shortlisted in the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest for 2013 in February, and made it into the quarter finals of the contest as of March 12, 2012! I will be responding to readers by email and arranging for its distribution as an ebook. I wish to thank Ann Eriksson, Gary Geddes, Shendra Hanney, Deborah Wheeler, Jasper and Susan Rubin for their feedback, all of whom provided support for this work.
At the request of a major Canadian publisher, I am completing work on a magical realist novel set in a town very much like Prince Rupert, BC in the mid-90s. This novel will explore the rapidly evolving relationship between native and non-native worlds as it follows the interlocked stories of several people who inhabit the wild north coast landscape. The presence of a ghost figure, the Gyemgat, the Moon Watcher, traditional advisor to the Tsimshian chiefs, carries the book back in time to tell the story of how two cultures collided, and what was lost when they did. It explores our illusions of control and reveals how the events of our lives can help us learn to let go.
With the help of editorial consultant Paul Butler, I am adapting a story about simultaneous dreaming to place it in a new location: the mountains of western Newfoundland, This exploration of the power of human imagination will bring together a cast of characters who are caught in the struggle between industrial development and wilderness. It was originally developed as a radio play, which was profiled on the CBC radio program MORNINGSIDE.
Also well underway is Floater, a young adult novel about a sixteen year old inventor who moves to the middle of the Pacific to harvest floating plastic from the sea. Nine chapters of that book are written so far. I especially appreciate the feedback and criticism I have received for this novel from other writers and editors.
Finally, I am developing a screenplay/graphic novel about an alien child who is brought back to earth after his planet has been destroyed by military attack. After fighting the Terran military in court to win his freedom, he will discover the power of his gifts as a brilliant musician and healer.
With support from the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Countil and the City of St. John's Dave Panting and I completed our second album, a collection of 13 original songs that Dave and I have written over the past three decades. Facing the Flame was recorded with the help of Geoff Panting (engineer and co-producer) and four other musicians. To hear the songs, visit the Tanglecove website: www.tanglecove.ca.
We released our first album, TANGLECOVE: 30 New Canadian Fiddle Tunes, in 2013. That collection was also released as a book of the 30 original tunes. This collection of airs, marches, schottishes, waltzes, jigs, reels and freilachs is a teaching tool (the book and CD come bundled together) and is an instrumental album and is currently in use in the schools in Newfoundland and Labrador. To order copies, click on the buy button link on my "BOOKS & MUSIC" page.
The second recording by Tanglecove was FACING THE FLAME, a collection of original songs, produced by Geoff Panting, with support from several other musicians.
Tanglecove was invited to cross Canada as guests of ViaRail, as part of their Artists Onboard program. We travelled west by train to ccomplete a Western Canadian tour in 2015. The tour was organized by Home Routes/ Chemin Chez Nous. We had a series of wonderful encounters with the people who were our hosts and the audiences they gathered. The tour took us to Toronto and Winnipeg, then by train to Edmonton, where we picked up a car and drove through rural Alberta, then east into the southwest corner of Saskatchewan, wrapping up with a performance in a club in Calgary.
On our return to St. John's we launched our new CD, followed by fourteen gigs in and around the capital city. We also completed a mini-tour of Central NL. We are looking forward to new touring and performing opportunities in the new year. After this, we released a live album based on the Alberta tour, titled HOME ROOTS, and followed that up with a second Home Routes tour, of rural Ontario and Quebec. Since the COVID pandemic, Tanglecove has presented one online and one in person performance, and is engaged in preparing new material for a fourth recording.
Atlantic Union, the Celtic traditional trio with ten year history of performing and recording new versions of traditional music has a new life. Along with Sally Goddard (vocals, guitar, bodhran, concertina) and Jane Ogilvie (Celtic harp, accordion, keyboards) I am working on a new album which will be Atlantic Union's third release. These songs are partly traditional and partly original, focused on our deep yearning and appreciation for home. HOMEWARD was released some time later in 2016. Watch for it. The newest release by Atlantic Union is INDULGENCE, a chance for all three members to select their favourite originals and a few traditional pieces to make up a seamless exploration of their collective creative potential. With funding from Music NL, this recording was released in 2021.
After a gap of twenty years, 2015 saw the limited release of a new album of original songs, as part of the annual RPM challenge. This album is currently being remixed and mastered for commercial release. NEW WORLD includes fourteen original songs ranging from dreamy ballads to wry commentaries on current affairs. It will be followed by a fourth solo album, BACK SMACK, a collection of wild and wicked original tunes, commenting on modern life, still in planning.
RECENT FICTION REVIEWS
Some reviews ofThe Singing (in the Canadian sf anthology Tesseracts Nine) from various websites and publications:
Gentle, poetic and powerful. Six pages of magic. You won't care where author Dan Rubin happens to live, or where the story is set.
- Teresa Baker (Eternal Night)
Particularly touching is Newfoundland musician Dan Rubin’s “The Singing,” a beautiful and vivid account of an elderly woman inadvertently saving the planet by drumming and singing as she nears death. Aliens, poised to demolish much of the Earth to make it fit for colonization, are so moved by the song that they leave peacefully, while broadcasting it to all known frequencies in the universe. I wish no less a hearing for the Canadian writing presented in this delectable anthology
- Tracey Thomas (Quill and Quire)
A group of aliens about to terraform Earth are totally enthralled by the singing of an elderly eskimo woman who knows that she has reached the end of her life.
- Paul Lappen (amazon.com)
If I had to pick something that many of these stories had in common, it would be that the vast majority are strongly emotional narratives, rather than aloof exercises of the intellect. Although filled out by some long stories, this collection contains many extremely effective short pieces. Two worthy of particular mention are "Newbie Wrangler" by Timothy J. Anderson (involving desert urchins and a peacekeeping mission) and "The Singing" by Dan Rubin (about an old Inuk woman). I can't say much about either without including spoilers, except to note that they both cover a great deal of emotional territory in a very few pages.
- Donna McMahon (sfsite)