Sunday, December 10, 2017

Moving day...New life...New adventure

If I do the math, and I suck at math, I believe I've moved twelve times over the past nineteen years. I could be wrong, but I think I'm pretty close. Anyway, today, I'll haul all my stuff...mostly books, gym equipment, and my writing another location and start another phase of my life. Another adventure. I'm excited about it, but at the same time, saddened that what I thought would be a permanent relationship has once again gone south. No flinging of plates or shouting matches. No infidelity, no emptied bank accounts, no chemical dependency problems... Just, "Your writing and traveling seem to come first."

Bet this guy moves a lot...
Fair enough. Can you blame her? She was very good to me and we'll always have one another's back. But like Elvis once said, You can love someone, but be totally wrong for them. Or something like that. I'm paraphrasing here on a subject important enough not to relegate to paraphrasing. The Brits call this being cheeky. I call it, just being sort of sad.

My writing is one of the most important aspects of my life (it's how I make my living after all). But lots of things come first. My kids, my health, my mom, and yes, my writing and my traveling. Oh, and did I mention my Jeep? My workouts? My bench presses? My hikes? My pals at the bar? That delicious grilled rabbit at Campo de Fiore in Rome? Florence in the morning. The sun rising in the Sahara Desert or on Machu Picchu? A brown trout snatching your fly off the surface of a clear stream?

Lots of things come first in my life, and it could be the reason why I move a lot. Perhaps I just can't sit still long enough. Anyway, yesterday, we buried one of my best friends from childhood. His name is John Vincent Weglarz. He was only 54. Cancer took him way too young. Like me he loved to be on the move, traveling, seeing friends, working, golfing, just enjoying life. I feel badly, because I missed most of his life, for some reason equating moving on after college with leaving cherished friends behind. Why did I do that? Big mistake.

The last words John spoke to me were, "Docs say I have three days to three months to live. Crazy great life I've had!" My God, can you imagine the dignity and bravery it takes to make such a statement? The resolve? The peace with one's own soul? a full life...that's what came first for John. Me too. But damn, if I don't hurt some of the people I love the most sometimes. I'm learning and working on it, however. Like my dad used to tell me even when he was seventy-something, "Vince, I'm a work in progress." I used to think it was silly. But now I know there's a lesson to be be learned there. I can bet my friend John was a work in progress right up until that last breath.  

Now, I'd better get moving. The van is about to pull up.


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Sunday, December 3, 2017

Thrillers now available to a far wider audience inculiding Kobo, Ibooks, Nook and more...

Just a quick note to let everyone know that my novels Arbor Hill (Jack Marconi PI) and the bestselling The Shroud Key (A Chase Baker Thriller No. 1) are now available on all platforms, from Nook to Ibooks and more thanks to Draft2Digital.

Towards the end of January, all of my indie books will once more be available on a wide basis. Having experimented with utilizing KDP Select as the primary means of publishing my indie books, I'm now realizing it's a mistake to work with only one distributor when there are now so many more avenues out there for pushing my particular brand of over the top killer fiction.

So stay tuned.

For now here's some links:

Arbor Hill

The Shroud Key

These are universal links so you only need to click once to find the store you prefer. And of course you can always still purchase from Amazon as always.



Friday, December 1, 2017

Writers: Don't be the Starving Farmer...Be the Mega Mart CEO

The Mega Mart

Hey, first off, this is nothing against farmers. I wanna make that perfectly clear from the get go (I love farms and farmers). I'm just using the above-stated title as a metaphor inspired by a short book I read while traveling devoted to modern writing and publishing by hybrid (now almost entirely indie) author, Dean Wesley Smith called The Magic Bakery. (BTW, Smith has made millions as a fiction author).

In so many words, Smith says that one of the big reasons authors don't make a lot of money is because they don't have enough inventory. In other words, their bakery only has one or two pies in it. A person walks in, sees the lack of goodies and walks back out.

Smith also goes deep into copyright as well and provides a very convincing argument on why authors, even when signing traditional deals, should never give away all of their "world" copyrights. What it means is that that product, or pie, in this instance, is gone forever, and in the hands of someone else who will choose to sell it, or not, for the rest of that author's life.

But right now, I wish to concentrate on the inventory side of things. It's taken me a long, long time to realize that as a hybrid author (a guy who publishes traditionally and independently), I have maintained the mindset of the farmer. You know, you work your ass off, cultivating acres of corn, for instance (it could be apples, or cattle, or wheat...but you get the picture). You pray for good weather, you toil, you watch the fruits of your day in and day out labor grow each and every day, week by week, month by month, until finally it's ready to be brought to market.

But that's when the problems set in.

The market forces are beyond your control at that point. Maybe there's a glut of corn that year and you can only charge a price that hardly covers the cost of what it took to produce your crop. Or maybe a tornado hits and your crop is wiped out. Or maybe the supermarket chains that used to carry your corn are closing down or going with a brand new, younger, more tech savvy, more algorithm friendly supplier. Whatever the case, you're shit out of luck.

The ruined harvest
But what about the supermarket CEO?

Who hasn't at one time or another, gone into the mega mart for a head of lettuce, a carton of milk, some toilet paper, and oh yeah, "Don't forget the eggs, honey," and comes back out with three bags full of steaks, potato chips, some lunch meat, a six pack of beer, and "Oh crap, I forgot the eggs."

The point here is that unlike the farmer who is relying on selling one or two products every year and who is entirely at the mercy of forces beyond his or her control, the supermarket CEO is dealing in vast quantities of products, all packed nice and neat with beautiful labels, and smart positioning on the shelves, and even that corny canned-in Musac to enhance the shopping experience. And what else is he doing? He's giving away free samples. A slice of rare roast beef here, a piece of cheese there, or maybe a little hot dog wrapped in dough (I forget what they call them...oh yeah, pigs in a blanket). And many mega marts now encourage you to become a member of the store so that you get a "discount" and they, in turn, grab your email. See how that works?

While the farmer must rely on that one (or two or three) big ass payouts per year in order to make it, the supermarket CEO is doing something extremely savvy. He's making a fortune by selling thousands of products that make him $0.50 here, or a $2.00 there, and he's doing it on a daily basis. He is reliant only on himself and his own imagination and no way in hell is he selling off, say, the produce section to another company for a one time advance so that said company can keep making money off all that greenery forever and ever. At best, the supermarket CEO might make a limited deal with say a Starbucks to come in a set up a space where they'll sell coffee and both entities take a cut of what's sold. But I think by now you get the point.

In this day and age, everything a writer produces of quality, should be controlled by the writer. Even up until recently I've made the mistake of selling properties to publishers who simply do not know how to move product. Nothing against them per se, but what I'm getting at here is that I'm like the farmer in this situation. I am at their mercy. Again, that doesn't mean I am not willing to work with them, but the price and the terms must be right and my corn (my book or short story or article) cannot disappear from my control forever. After all, I have kids who will one day earn from those many ears of corn.

If you're lucky enough to be prolific and talented as a writer, there has never been a better time for you to start your own mega-mart (or magic bakery) full of goodies and products that will not only entice a buyer, but that will encourage that buyer to keep coming back and buying more and more. They don't have to buy thousands of dollars worth of stuff in a single visit, but hey, five bucks here and three bucks there, adds up to a nice chunk of change at the end of the day.

So do yourself a favor come Monday morning. Get up and write not only to put in that daily word count, but write like you're putting a new product on the mega-mart shelf. And once that product is created, produce a new one, and another new one, and another...Then see what happens.



Sunday, November 26, 2017

Final episode of the erotic noir Handyman series is now released...

I know you.
You're the type who not only likes a hell of a mystery and/or thriller, but you also like a little steamy romance mixed up along with it. You're the type to binge all those steamy series on HBO and Netflix. You eat them up like potato chips, one after the other. You also finish an episode with a smile on your face because even if you're not realizing a happy ending, someone else sure is.

So with that, I give you the third, titillating yet thrilling Episode III of the brand new Handyman Series. Thus far sales have been good enough where the boss (me), has green-lighted a second season. You can read these episodes in an hour or so and if you're lucky enough to have a sig other nearby you can do a little role playing later on (nudge, nudge, say no more). Or, if you're single, just download the Tinder App and see who's available.

So here it is: Episode 3, Savage Sins...

His passion is sex. His muse is murder...

 Have fun reading and have even more fun after reading...


Savage Sins: US

Savage Sins: UK

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Congressional sex predators are crapping themselves...

Graphic courtesy of Buzzfeed

Never mind Harvey Weinstein (Hollywood)
Never mind Charlie Rose (the Mainstream Media)
Never mind Al Franken and John Conyers (Dems)
Never mind Roy Moore (Republican)
Never mind Slick Willy Clinton (POTUS)...

Buzzfeed, along with dozens of other news outlets from the alternative Mike Cernovich to the left wing Newsweek to Jeff Bezos' WAPO, are all reporting factually that the not very aptly named Congressional Office of Compliance (Huh?) paid out an estimated $17 mil of your hard earned tax dollars to settle 20 years worth of sexual harassment cases. Some of which could very well include pedophilia.
What's even more troubling about the Conyers case is that he didn't even use the fund to silence his accuser, opting instead to pay her off from out of his own budget, giving her a "no show" job that paid out $30K. That's a mega felony folks. 

The point?

Congressional leaders (That's you Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi) must release the list of names it is currently protecting in its Compliance list, along with their respective payouts. Doesn't matter if you're a Dem or a Republican or an Indie (like me), these names must be released.

I believe that in this, the new era of uber transparency, they will be released and when they do, you're going to feel the very earth beneath Washington DC tremble.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Market saturation? Nonsense...Build your own tribe separate from Facebook

The writing studio in Florence where I'm currently eating, drinking, writing...
One of my best writing buddies posted on Facebook this morning about his having to burn through two years to get the rights back to one of his novels from a rather prominent publisher. Said publisher wasn't doing dick to promote the book so my bud figured (wisely) he could do a much better job of it on his own.

Go figure.

Someone in the comments mentioned the terrible saturation situation that has afflicted the fiction market (and non-fiction market, I suppose). I guess something like 1.5 million books are being published per year, indie and traditional books combined. Is that possible? Or did I dream that stat?

Whatever the case, I don't consider myself competing against 1.5 million books or a million other authors both dead and alive or those about to be born. I write, for the most part in a specific genre that sees far fewer than 1.5 mil books being published each year. I'm talking noir, hard-boiled mystery, and psychological suspense. I'm also publishing erotic noir/suspense these days (Don't tell my mother). Being that publishing isn't a zero sum game, I consider my true competition to be myself. Sort of like a marathon runner who is always trying to best the completion time of his last race.

Here's how I'm bettering myself every year and improving my chances of success.
1. I'm writing more books per year than ever (and in turn writing less journalism)
2. I've hired a professional marketing team to set up ads and provide Book Bub like promos once every couple of months (right now this "growth" program is costing me a lot of money but in the long's a marathon remember...this will pay off)
3. I'm building up my subscriber list to the tune of 10-15 new readers per day (in general, every time I send out a newsletter, I lose about 10 of these subscribers, leaving me with an excellent positive net return). No longer do I rely on asking my 9K friends and fans on FB to "Buy my shit!"
4. I've hired a brand new literary agent who has a killer reputation and who will most definitely land me more traditional deals, foreign deals, and multi media deals to compliment my indie publishing.
5. I'm also toying with the idea of taking on a small number of writing students who wish to be coached on both manuscript quality and publishing direction (more on this in 2018)
 6. I've rented a new writing studio/apartment and will no longer be writing "out of the house." I've seen lulls in my career happen before (they happen to all of us), and at least two of those times can be attributed to my working "at home."

This list is by no means comprehensive or complete. In fact, it's a fluid work-in-progress. But in the end, I wouldn't be worried about how many books are being published per year. In fact, bring them on, because one, most of them are pure shit. And two, most of the authors who produce those 1.5 mil books will never ever write another book again when they realize just how difficult it is to sell even a single copy.

Now get to work...


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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Paddock shot guard six minutes BEFORE he opened up on the crowd...

It was revealed today just how sketchy the information at the Las Vegas MPD's disposal truly is. We learned that instead of intruding upon the shooting and effectively stopping the carnage, hotel security guard Jesus Campos actually arrived on the 32nd floor shooting scene, six minutes prior to the initiation of the massacre which began at 10:05PM.

According to reports, Paddock fired around 200 rounds out into the hall at the unarmed Campos, who was checking an open door (not the door to Paddock's room), wounding him in the leg. Campos reported the situation to his people and no one was able to come to his aid, nor stop Paddock's killing spree which lasted until 10:15PM or so.

So, let me get this straight. Paddock shoots Jesus Campos in the leg at 9:59PM, then has six minutes to screw around, positioning his guns, drilling holes in the wall, setting up steel plates in areas of the stairwell, calculating complicated rifle trajectory information on a notepad (something that would challenge the most experienced of militarily trained snipers), and just generally psych himself up for a whole lot of killing. On top of six minutes, he's got another full ten minutes to unleash nearly 2K rounds into the country music crowd. But police still don't converge on the room until many minutes later when they find Paddock on the floor, his brains staining the carpet. 

Listen, I stay at a lot of hotels over the course of a year, and I can order a beer or a bottle of wine and have it delivered to my top floor room within the span of six minutes, plus or minus. Why then did it take so long for security and police to converge upon an active shooter situation?

One hotel guest who was also staying on the 32nd floor, tweeted out that he was pretty sure a terrorist event just happened right next to him. What's for sure is that a terrorist event occurred. Since we still have no CCTV footage of Paddock, nor have a true indication of who he was, or how he was able to amass an armory inside the hotel over the course of nearly a week and not be a person of suspicion, we really don't know what to believe. We have only what the media and the LVMPD is feeding us, and a call for more stringent gun control, and even a call for a ban in some circles.

It's been a week since 59 souls were killed in Las Vegas and we're no closer to the truth than we were on the night of the killing spree.


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