I’m Baaaaaaack!

Dear readers,

I met up with a friend yesterday and he asked me about my absence. He had enjoyed the hoopla about the book, Vacationland.  He bought the book and thought it was really good.  My social media disappearance had him wondering if I’d given up on promoting the book, and if I really cared.

His observations were telling, but I assured him that I was serious about getting the word out aboutVacationland, and in fact was just beginning a major push to catapult the novel to best seller status.  That goal is no small feat, but it’s time to think BIG.

Though I haven’t fallen off a cliff, I do find myself huddled beside a baseboard heater after enduring a 36-hour snowstorm and shoveling out this morning in 10 degrees below zero with wind chill @ minus 20 degrees.  I’m in Maine with the family until the end of February and then a trip back to Ecuador.  My work for these next two months all revolves around my writing and promotion of my novels.  Novels?  In the next several weeks I’ll be pre-selling copies of my upcoming novel Once Upon a Nightmare. It’s in the final edit stage and will be published this summer.  Briefly, it’s a story about one man’s descent into the drug trafficking world in the late 1980s, his growing internal darkening, and his ultimate desire to “retire” from the business.

While I polish that book, I’ll be pushing Vacationland and my comfort zone and scheduling lots of book signings here in Maine.  I’m mailing books to every reviewer I can think of.  I’ll be offering the book to marine supply stores, airport book stores, LLBean, boat yards and marinas, statewide and national publications for review, and obviously book stores.  I’m also working on a neat promotional video that I’ll put on Youtube.  I think it’s so cool it could go viral.  (Thinking BIG again, so shoot me.)

As I dust my hands from all that work, I am looking forward to writing my next book, A Maximum Mistake.  It’s partially set in Cuenca, Ecuador, where a courageous police chief is under fire, literally and figuratively, for fighting the spread of drug cartel violence into his quiet city.  There are four other independent stories that come together in the end, the unifying theme being how narco-trafficking and the War on Drugs are impacting the culture of South America.

So what do I need to do to get Vacationland onto the bestseller lists?  I believe I’ve satisfied the “great product” aspect.  The rest is up to me (doing the above) and you.  It’s simple really:  buy and read, write a review for Amazon (could be as brief as thumbs up or down), then, if you like the book, recommend it to friends who then recommend it to their friends and so on, down the line.  Think of it as a wave, a stadium wave.

Word on the Street

” I really enjoyed my visit inside the lobster trap. It’s a page turner. Well crafted, some great sentences. Good local color. Well done.”

“Love the Donny character and the insights into lobstering.  And of course the shout out to H’ford, BMC and the Main Point.  It would make a great movie.””Hysterical clause.  You are so clever.  Now let’s sell some books!”

“I finished the book. Really good Nat! My favorite Chapter I think was 37 (book is at home) when Shelly and her mother are in the garden and Shelly cries. Very touching and wise and so much more. You are a good writer. Keep going. I wrote a review for Amazon ending with “I hated when the book was over.”

“I am reading your book and I think it is very good. It is believable. One area that many writers have great difficulty with is the sex scene. Yours are real. I think you have achieved something very difficult to do. Congratulations. It should sell.”

“A  straight through read from start to stunning finish! Incredible  verisimilitude… you can taste the salt spray, smell the bait and feel the  chills run up your spine. The guy knows his stuff. Vacationland is no island  picnic; it’s a gripping story that will educate you some to boot. This is a  must-read and a cautionary tale for flatlanders contemplating a migration up to  quaint old Maine to munch lobster rolls and patronize the locals. I’m looking  forward to the movie.”

“Doesn’t that describe a bilge pump?  I enjoyed “Vacationland”, lots of familiar stuff.  Movie next? BTW, I thought the dialogue and the descriptions were excellent.  The sex scenes were even fresh, though I didn’t find the toe-sucking.  Maybe that happens in the sequel when Shelly and Donny reunite and the DUBs appear.”

“Congratulations, a great read!  Just finished and posted a 5 star review.  Jerry Darby??”




Vacationland  is  FOR SALE

Welcome to Vacationland.  We are now open for the season.

You may purchase a physical copy of the novel from Amazon.  We are having formatting issues with the Kindle edition and are presently ironing out the kinks.  The ebook should be available in a couple of days.

Vacationland  will also be available through your local bookstore.

A note to my readers:  Needless to say, I am very excited about this launch.  This book is a culmination of years of work and decades of living in Waldo County, Maine.  I trust you will find the book entertaining – my ultimate goal as a writer.

Perhaps it is gauche to put this so plainly, but after you buy and read Vacationland,  I would be grateful if you wrote a review for Amazon.  It could be as brief as “two thumbs……..” If you liked the book, I would be much obliged if you spread the word to all your friends.  I believe in this book, and want as many people to know about it as possible.  Think of it as a project.  We can all watch this phenomenon take off.

I welcome any and all comments and insights.  You may contact me through my websitewww.natgoodale.com, or email ngoodale@aol.com.

My writing continues…

Once Upon a Nightmare is a novel about a bored family man who receives an offer he should refuse.  He chooses a life of crime, becomes exhilarated inside the maelstrom, then decides to leave this darkness and turn towards the light.  Giving notice and requesting severance pay is not the suggested exit strategy from the underworld.  How would you get out?  This book is “finished” and is in the editing stage.

A Maximum Mistake is in the initial stages.  Five stories intertwine, connected by their links to narcotrafficing, the war on drugs and what the money and criminality are doing to the fabric of Latin American society.

I will keep you informed.  As always, I appreciate your interest in my writings.

Many good things (come from inside a lobster trap, buy Vacationland),

Nat Goodale

The Plan

           October 20

Pot Luck, a 31-foot wooden Willis Beal lobster boat, slipped through the fog at a slow and steady pace doing close to three knots. She headed straight for the shore without deviating or slowing and ran up on the rocks beneath the shrouded spruce trees and a lone maple, its leaves glowing a dull red, on the northwestern tip of Seven Hundred Acre Island. Nobody was aboard.

With her momentum, she rode up smartly on the slippery seaweed. Her bow rose and her planks splintered. She came to rest listing severely to starboard.

The jolt caused all the fishing gear to slide forward. The bait trays crashed into the engine box and tipped over, spilling chopped herring onto the deck. The lobster tank ripped loose and dumped its contents into the herring slurry.

The propeller remained free and continued to turn. Her engine ran steady at a thousand revolutions per minute. The wet exhaust no longer muffled the noise. Her only through-hull fitting, which normally brought cooling saltwater to the engine, was now sucking air. The 275-horsepower Chrysler gasoline engine began to overheat. Within fifteen minutes, the engine shuddered, seized, and went silent.

The tide continued to recede. Small waves lapped at the shore. A gentle breeze blew through the evergreen trees. The only thing moving, besides the squirming lobsters, was the sweep of the radar in the display over the helm. It went around and around until the battery went dead four hours later.

It was noon. The tide had turned, and the fog lifted. Shelly called the Marine Patrol to report Donny overdue and missing. At the same time, Wally was just leaving the mainland docks in Lincolnville for a run at his own traps. He looked across the now-clearing three miles of Penobscot Bay and saw Pot Luckon the shore. He headed straightaway toward the island, running flat out.


Vacationland now available on Smashwords!

Dear friends and family,

Just wanted to let you know that Vactionland was recently published as a multi-format ebook by Smashwords.  As many of you know, the story revolves around Donny Coombs, a Maine lobsterman, who is caught up in a mess of troubles.  I hope you’ll take the time to check it out at Smashwords, where you can sample the first 20% of the book for free.

Here’s the link to my author profile: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/natgoodale.

Here’s the link to my book page, where you can sample or purchase the book: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/404200

And in the realm of shameless self-promotion, won’t you also take a moment to spread the word about my book to everyone you know?

Thanks so much for your support.

Once Upon a Nightmare – Chapter 1

A man descends into the drug-running underworld, is frightened by his capacities for evil, and attempts to turn towards the light.  Here is a bit from the first chapter.  More to follow.  This book will be published this coming summer.



Commuter flight 1632 was going to cost him his life.  The whimpering woman several rows to the rear seemed to agree.

The Beech 99, a twin engine prop job out of Boston to Rockland had taken off late afternoon into blowing snow and low clouds.  A late March low pressure system was disrupting the entire eastern seaboard, bringing reduced visibility and turbulence.  Airports below minimums were closing like dominos.

The plane hit an air pocket and lost several hundred feet.  A man in the back screamed and then started to pray. Jesse closed his eyes and listened to the surging sound of the engines and the groans from his fellow passengers.

He opened his eyes and focused on the pilots.  The plane had an informal configuration and there was no barrier between the pilots and passengers.  Jesse sat alone in the first row where he could watch the work of his fellow pilots. There was not much to admire on this flight. The crew was tired and sloppy and nervous.  Even with the terrible weather, there was no excuse to be so far off headings and altitude.  They were one step behind the airplane at a time that called for ultimate anticipation.    The co-pilot tried twice to clip the instrument approach plate in front of his pilot before finally succeeding.   They regained some of the lost altitude.  The windshield was an ominous gray screen.

Jesse could feel the tension of all the souls on board.  The pilots struggled to bring the flight to a safe conclusion but were probably wishing for the game to end.  Jesse pushed fatalistic thoughts to the side and tried to convince himself that all would end well.  A drop of cold sweat dribbled down his side.

The plane continued to descend through the rough air.  It yawed violently to starboard.   Something fell to the floor with a thud.  The engine sounds slewed asymmetrically.  Everything bounced.

Jesse was familiar with the approach procedure. Rockland was a small airport with adequate but non-precision instrument approaches.  He’d done it countless times, even in bad weather, but never under these conditions.  The pilots should be in radio contact with Brunswick Control, who would be instructing them to descend to 1300 feet and maintain a heading that would intercept the final approach course.  The winds were blowing hard from the north which meant a landing on runway 3.

Once established on the final course, they would maintain 1300 feet until crossing the Sprucehead NDB.  The needle would swing from front to back.  They would descend to the minimum altitude of 440 feet.  If all went well, God willing, the pilots would keep the localizer needle centered, they would break out of the overcast before reaching 440 feet, see the runway, and land uneventfully.

The rules for an instrument approach to minimums are based on honesty and self preservation.  Once established on the final approach course and aligned with the runway, you need to keep the needle centered.  If you get too far afield, the time you have for correction is limited, and you are all the time coming closer and closer to unforgiving ground.  And you never ever bust the minimum descent altitude.

Rockland’s elevation above sea level is 55 feet.  On the approach, you’re allowed to go as low as 440 feet. That leaves you flying at 100 miles an hour in the clouds and blustery north winds with only 385 feet between you and granite.  To the right and left are trees and other obstructions.

The pilot brought the throttles back and spoke into his microphone.  He initiated a shallow turn to the left.  The plane descended out of 2000 feet.  Jesse placed them south of Rockland out over the ocean.

The pilot concentrated on the artificial horizon instrument which is driven by gyros and not subject to the thrashing of turbulence.  His hand on the control wheel countered the effects of the wind and was in constant motion.

The altimeter wound down to 1300 feet.  The plane leveled off and turned left to a heading of 079 degrees.

Jesse leaned forward, straining on his seat belt.  His life was in the hands of these two tired pilots who now looked too young to be pilots.

Jesse surveyed the panel, confirming that everything was proper for the approach.  The beacon frequency was correct.  Their speed was good.  The communication channel was set for Rockland Unicom.  But then Jesse noticed a glaring error.  The main navigational instrument still had the Brunswick frequency and had not been reset to reflect their present approach.  The plane lurched right.

The pilot was not scanning the panel but was frozen on the artificial horizon.  The copilot reached out and set the Rockland approach frequency into the number one navigational instrument.  He must have felt Jesse’s gaze because he turned to see if anyone had noticed their error. Jesse saw fear in his eyes.  The plane jerked left and the copilot returned his attention to the approach.

Jesse unclenched his fists and took a deep breath. His face was a sheen of sweat.  He wondered if the copilot’s expression was a reflection of his own unblemished fright.

The plane was at 1200 feet but not yet established on course.  The pilot pulled up abruptly and gained altitude.  His heading was off by 20 degrees.

The localizer needle came alive and the pilot slowly came left to 030 degrees.  He anticipated the strong left headwind and compensated, but too soon.  The needle was not centering.  He came right ten degrees and waited for the instrument to react.  The NDB needle swung aft and went unnoticed.

As the localizer finally started to react, the pilot noticed the NDB.  He brought back the throttles and called for the copilot to lower the flaps and gear.  The localizer needle swung through center and headed left.  The grinding sounds of the flaps and the clunk of the gear were all but lost in the wild confusion. The plane slowed and started to descend too rapidly.  The pilot was chasing the airplane.

They descended through 500 feet.  The copilot looked out the windshield, searching for the airport.  The window was full of cloud.  The altimeter spun through 440 feet.  They were right of course and below their minimum descent altitude.

The copilot noticed the breach and reached out with a bouncing arm and tapped the instrument.  The pilot nodded and slowed the descent but still went lower.

Jesse knew the approach was irretrievable.  His premonitions were coming true.

Kirkus Review – Vacationland

A Maine lobsterman endures a barrage of threats and sabotage from various people before finally seeking retribution in Goodale’s debut thriller.

Donny Coombs has enough trouble keeping his lobster boat, Pot Luck, above water with the recession and rising fuel costs. But he also must contend with affluent neighbors insisting he beautify his property, another lobsterman elbowing his way into his fishing spots and a father demanding that Donny stop dating his daughter, Shelly. Vague warnings soon turn to vandalism: Someone dumps sugar in his truck’s gas tank and tampers with his boat’s fuel line. As the threats increase and become deadlier, Donny looks for payback. The novel is well-paced; the first sign of problems to come is an innocent visit from new neighbor Del Nelson, asking Donny to clean his front lawn. But while Donny can shrug off Shelly’s father telling him to dump his college-age daughter and deliver a message to obtrusive lobsterman Stanley by cutting the man’s traps loose, he can’t ignore someone poisoning his oak tree or sending his boat adrift. Anticipation heightens as things sour for Donny, especially when someone shoots at him. It’s even more unsettling that the suspect pool, which also includes Del’s abrasive wife, Eliza, is so extensive. Donny can’t be sure who exactly is responsible for each damaging or potentially lethal act. A stellar protagonist who doesn’t back down easily, Donny isn’t above directly confronting Stanley, who, intentionally or not, may have tried to kill him. But the lobsterman earns the most points for the way he treats Tut, his dog. There’s a correlation between the two: Donny the local goes after the rich girl, while Tut has his eyes set on the Nelsons’ poodle; Donny mangles Stanley’s traps to reestablish his territory, while Tut marks his territory throughout the story; and Tut growls at nearly everyone, paralleling Donny’s gruff exterior. It’s a subtly comical link, but the association also underscores in Donny some of Tut’s best traits: loyalty, confidence and, yes, even doggedness.

So understated that readers won’t know they’re reading a thriller until they’re already fully immersed.


Begging for Feedback (sound like a dog)

Dear Readers,

I’ve been spending a lot of time researching what it’ll take to get Vacationland onto bestseller lists.  I believe I’ve accomplished the first and foremost task of writing a good story.  I do, however, have questions about the next critical elements: cover design, back flap description and price.

I realize that many of you bought the book because you know me and you didn’t think twice about the above questions.  I appreciate that level of faith.  Now I’m trying to drive sales outside this tight circle of friends and family.  I’d really like your ideas and insights.

Does the cover “grab” you?  Does it make you want to flip to the back to read the description?  Does it convey what might be inside the book?  How could it be different or better?

Does the description on the back entice you to know more?

Are you resistant to the price?  Apparently, the sweet spot price for an ebook is $2.99 to $5.99.  It’s a balancing act between attracting more readers or more revenue.

With today’s technology, I can remedy any and all of the above with a keystroke.  Again, I’d be very grateful if you took a moment to consider and then drop me an email atngoodale@aol.com.




THIS IS A TEST.  I REPEAT.  THIS IS A TEST.    In the event of a real endorsement or award, you will be instructed to tune into the Today Show and then directed to your nearest bookstore.*

NEWS FLASH!  NEWS FLASH!  DYNAMITE DEBUT NOVEL takes the literary world by storm.  Perhaps we are witnessing a parallel universe from a fugue state, or the natural endgame of our smart phone addictions, or a virally contagious redundant rash.

No matter.  The phenomenon is real, and having read the book myself, I can attest to the veracity of the claims and the truth of the accolades.  But enough about my point of view.  Here is what others are saying:

Nike Inc. – “You did it!  You did it!”

New York Times Book Review – “Perhaps the finest first effort we’ve seen in decades.  We’re in for years of delight.  Mr. Goodale, keep writing, please.”

Maine Lobsterman’s Association – “Goodale does for lobster what Melville did for whales. Finest kind.  Scarf her up.”

Elmore Leonard – “Wonderful sparse writing, if I do say so myself.  Years of reading pleasure ahead.  Kindle edition came through fine.  For some reason print version is not available here.”

Goodreads – “Characters spring off the page.  You want to cry when the book ends.  More.  More!”

Kirkus Reviews – “This is an engaging and entertaining look into New England life and coastal living.  Written with Maine “speak” and humor, it is a story about prejudice and set ways of life.  There is a love story.  There is a memorable dog.  And then there is Donny Coombs, a fifth generation lobsterman.  Jump right in.”

Lee Child – “If Reacher could fish!  Do yourself a favor and buy this book.”

Esquire – “Goodale has achieved something really difficult in fiction – to cast characters that are real and sympathetic, to paint honest love scenes that are light and cozy and funny, and then he throws in a dog you hate to love.  This world comes alive on these pages.”

Patrick Ruell – “Goodale takes the amorous approach.  He aims at the heart.”

AOL Recommends – “A lovely story and a promising debut.  Love story, dog story, class conflict and an in-depth (pun intended) portrayal of lobstering off the coast of Maine.  Clear, crisp writing, perfectly toned dialogue and a plot that kept me up at night.  I highly recommend this novel.”

Dashiell Hammett – “We have a fresh new voice!  Crystal, reminiscent of Elmore Leonard (Hi, Elm) with the dashes of humor and romance that reminds me of Hiassen.  That said, Goodale is forging his own space and I’m looking forward to more of his fiction.  Congratulations on a job well done.  (Hey Elm, what’s the deal with the “no print version” available?).”

Reginald Hill – “Hey Elm and Dash.  We still on for coffee?”

USA Today – “Diabolical neighbors, rotten fisheman, gritty dog, enraging protagonist with a sweet girl on his arm.  What lies beneath those blue bays?  All you have to do is turn the first page.  Then you are hooked.”

Publisher’s Weekly – “We do not review debut self-published authors.  What makes you think you warrant a review?  REJECTED REJECTED REJECTED. What were you thinking?”

Portland Press Herald – “You will love the characters and the snappy dialogue.  Cared so much that I’m still thinking of Donny and Shelly and Bert long after I finished the book.  And I miss Tut.”

Kindle Book Review – “The Kindle version came out super.  I hear the Smashwords edition is coming out tomorrow and that it sucks.  Our friends at CreateSpace are working on a heavenly print version.  Hold your breath”.

Smashwords – “Whatever!  Petty, petty, petty.  Cry me a river, why don’t you?”


There are more accolades, but let’s move on to the awards:


National Book Award – finalist.

Edgar – First Prize, 2014, fiction.

B.R.A.G. Medallion  – honoree.

Pulitzer – runner-up (the flag pole).

AIA Seal of Approval.

Olympic Gold Medal, Winter Games, literature/fiction category.

New England Book Festival – Grand Champion.

Upcoming Event: Fiction FisticuffsVacationland   vs. Inferno (Brown’s not Dante’s).  Goodale says, “No contest.”


* Most of the above endorsements by authors living or dead, or awards, are the product of pure fiction and are probing into the value of visualization.  It is true, however, that Steven King came to me in a dream last night and instructed me to do the above.

BTW – Know anybody who knows anybody who knows anybody influential in the literary world to whom you could recommend the book?  Come on, wrack your brain (which is obviously super fine given you’ve read this far).  As always, I hope you found this entertaining and I thank you for following this effort.