I grew up two blocks from a Midwestern university Campustown—Pig Heaven for a kid who spent most weekends at the movies, or in bookstores and record stores, or reading novels, or checking out the latest DC and Marvel comics at the drugstore on the corner. A fascination for Story in every form took hold and grew over the years into a consuming passion.
Notwithstanding—passions are time consuming—I managed to leave town with a B.A. in History, with minors in English and German.
After roaming about for a time in places as far afield as California and Kentucky, I moved to Oregon in 1996. The immense beauty and variety of the Pacific Northwest has informed my geographic imagination ever since, and I hope I never to leave this astonishing place. (Except for maybe the odd trip abroad during our new fifth season, “smoke season.”)
Hewing to Toni Morrison’s famous quote, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it,” I began to write in my spare time. I eventually published both fiction and non-fiction under my real name, and even placed high in a couple of screenplay competitions.
Then my creative interests took a sharp turn and I undertook my “Great Work,” as the Alchemists would have it: a speculative fiction/SFF series under the pen name, Dana Rail.
Nom de Plume
Most writers are introverts, I suppose, but me, I’m downright reclusive. (Other than worry over the health of loved ones and despair over the politicization of what should be a public health issue, the Covid pandemic changed my lifestyle but little.) However, the chronic stress of having to explain this utterly mad project of mine, with all its strange and challenging themes, to all but my closest family and friends, quickly proved so taxing that I decided to shut up about it altogether and let my imagination fly under the radar.
So it is that “Dana Rail” was born. It is the name I call myself when I put on my Wizard’s Hat and my Cloak of Invisibility and sit down at the butcher block desk in my writer’s studio, “the Birdhouse.”
There’s something about the purposeful obscurity of it all that gives me the freedom to explore our possible futures without that hectoring “real world” voice in my head that sounds so much like a bemused relative. It is better so when one’s imagination lives in an alternate universe where Magic–and the Grail Hallows–have reappeared in our cynical and postmodern 21st century.
For more info on my project, go to my Work-in-Progress page. And thank you for your fellowship on this journey. I hope it takes us both to marvelous and unexpected places.
Speaking of Fellowship…
I have two particular friends on this perilous quest for the Holy Grail of a damn fine story, fellow writers and sometime collaborators who will be appearing here from time to time: Haydn Crowe and Sydney Wren. We are, the three of us, represented and unfailingly supported by our amazing agent, Maura Phelan of Green Light Literary.
Networks & Webs
I’ve begun to blog on Arthur, the Grail, and other related legends and mythologies over on GrailHallows.com.
Crowe and Wren and I blog together on books (and other fascinations) on CroweRailWren.com.
I’m a member of the International Arthurian Society-North American Branch and the Mythopoeic Society.
Follow me on Twitter. I usually follow back.
My Discord profile is “Dana_Rail#5946”
Here’s my Facebook page.
And my Instagram profile.
As for Pinterest, my plan is (soon) to post some cool stuff about inspirations for characters and locations in my Grail Hallows world.
Some of my social links are displayed on the top right menu of this page. You can see the complete list on my Linktree page.
If you’d like to contact me by snail or email, use the form on this page.