Sunday, August 6, 2017

Uber: It's Just Easier




A few words about Uber...

I've never used it, nor have I downloaded the app on my smartphone. But I know at least one person driving for them, and judging by the amount of cash he appears to be bringing home from this part-time gig, it seems like a great gig for a self-starter. It's an easy job, and a no brainer.

Up until very recently, I'd never met anyone who used the service. But these people described their experience as a Godsend.

"Why drive when you can use Uber?" they asked.

The question, as unanswerable as it is, made me feel like I was living under a rock. I like driving my Jeep. I like it a lot. But why do I feel like in the very near future, I will be the sole human driver on the road while Uber driverless cars cart family and friends around town?

It's coming, believe you me.

Yesterday I delivered a lecture at a conference for Writer's Digest University and their second annual Mystery and Thriller Writer's Conference. I didn't have to fly to another city, or drive hundreds of miles. I didn't have to shell out for an expensive hotel room. I didn't waste hundreds of dollars on meals and drinks. I simply delivered my lecture with the help of Power Point, answered a whole bunch of questions, and later on fielded emails from attendees who appreciated the lecture. I also recognized an uptick in book sales.

The conference was a success and I never had to leave my writing studio. It was easy.

Amazon now owns Fresh Market. You can do all your grocery shopping online, have your stuff delivered right to your door. Easy peasy.

Some single friends of mine no longer date using Match.com. It takes too much work. They use Tinder. Just find a suitable mate who is probably occupying the same space as you are...a bar for instance. Let he or she know you're interested. No fuss, no sweat. Easy.   

I wonder when I'll be selling books right off my website directly to my list of dedicated fans? That time is coming. No publisher required. No bookstore. No library. Not even an online distributor like Amazon or Kobo. Just direct sales. It will be so easy.

I woke up this morning to see that Eric Bolling of Fox News fame has been accused of sending lewd pictures to some of his female colleagues at the network. The accusers remains "anonymous." It brought to mind all the professionals who have been accused of wrong doing at Fox recently. Roger Ailes (R.I.P.), Bill O'Reilly, Charles Payne, and even Sean Hannity. Is there a pattern emerging here? The Deep State going after conservatives and Trump supporters? Whatever is happening, these accusations always seem to be backed up by anonymous sources.

I guess it's easier that way. 

WWW.VINCENTZANDRI.COM


Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Embalmer: A Steve Jobz Thriller



I've been working with gritty PIs Dick Moonlight and Jack Marconi for so long, I thought it was time to bring another dude into the fold. His name is Steve Jobz, which is short for Jobzinski (it got cut off at Ellis Island when his relatives arrived from Poland back before the war). 

In word, he's what my late grandfather would have referred to as a "pisser." You know, one of those guys who's always getting into trouble, can't seem to get much right, but whom you can't help but like or even love. He's not the biggest guy in the room, but he's got a big heart. Plus, he's got no choice but to bear the burden of having a name so very similar to one of the most successful individuals who's ever lived. His first novel is called THE EMBALMER and it too is a pisser.  Think, Better Call Saul meets The Rockford Files.

Without having to reinvent the wheel, here's the synopsis as provided by the KDP page:

"The Embalmer is dying to meet you..."


From New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Overall No. 1 Bestselling Thriller and Shamus Award winning author Vincent Zandri comes a brand new private detective series that combines wry humor with some serious hard-boiled action, adventure, and romance. For fans of Don Winslow, Charlie Huston, Vince Gilligan and cable TV series like Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.

You might think that a guy with the name of Steve Jobz would be one lucky man. That he'd be rich and have the world at his fingertips. But instead, Jobz is barely making ends meet at the New York State Department of Unemployment Insurance Fraud. A former cop who was forced to retire early after shooting a young man of color during a convenience store holdup, Jobz has since resigned himself to wasting away his days in a four-by-four cubicle inside an office space that's more boring than watching the paint dry.

But when his overbearing boss calls him in on a job that the Albany Police Department is heading up, Jobz has a chance to get out of the office for a while. But what he doesn't realize is that he's about to come face to face with a serial killer who embalms his victims alive. What he is also about to face down, is his own worst nightmare come true when that serial killer turns out not to be a stranger. 


Here's hoping you take advantage of he special $2.99 pricing that will be around for the launch weekend only.  Grab The Embalmer HERE!

WWW.VINCENTZANDRI.COM 


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Monthly Writing Challenge

The new series is dying to meet you...
I'm always pumping out the words, but this month I've taken on a new challenge. I'm writing a new episodic erotic noir novel inspired by some of the edgier cable TV shows we all love to binge. It's called The Handyman.

Thus far, I've completed two of the episodes which contain about 15k words each. I've also started on the third episode. I'll be releasing each episode, one per month, soon under my own Bear Noir label. In the end, I'll collect them into one single book.

At this point I'm not sure if I'll do more than three episodes before I begin releasing them, but first I'd like to see the response from my fan base. 

In the meantime, I'll have a new novel coming out every 60 days from this point forward for the rest of the year including January when Polis Books publishes a new standalone thriller, The Detonator (which is getting a lot Hollywood play, I should tell you. More on that at a later date).  Scratch that. By the looks of things, I should be putting out a new novel every 60 days for the next year and a half.

Clearly, I'm a roll here...creatively speaking.

Let me tell you about another author who is on a roll of his own. This past spring I interviewed New York City novelist Lee Matthew Goldberg for the prestigious, Fiction Writer's Review, about his new novel The Mentor, which is getting great praise from the critics. Lee is both a friend and a screen writing partner. Grab the interview HERE.

I'll soon be starting on the second novel in Steve Jobz series. Thus far the pilot novel, The Embalmer, has turned out to be my most successful pre-order to date, and that includes my 9 Thomas & Mercer novels. Go figure. So if you want to pre-order a copy now for a special price, click HERE.

I'm still a hybrid author, but have you noticed that I've been doing more and more indie publishing as of late? I'll be curious to compare the statements from my traditional publishers with my indie data later this month. My guess is my indie numbers are, for the most part, better, if not far better. Food for thought.

WWW.VINCENTZANDRI.COM


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Pieces of Mind

Fiction isn't my only shtick. I've been writing non-fiction and essays since I first picked up a pencil. The topics I've covered over the years range from fly fishing, to travel, to architecture, to hunting, to coping with a loved one's depression. I've also written about writing.

So many books exist on the Amazon shelves dealing with how to become a bestselling author or how to game the system that it's impossible to hear yourself think over all the noise. But few books actually deal with the what it's like to be a writer, how it affects your relationships, what it's like to be alone all the time on a day to day basis, making a living by making stuff up.

My new book (errr one of my new books), Pieces of Mind: Fictional Truths & Non-Fictional Lies about Writing and the Writing Life, is one of the only ones out there that not only attacks the subject of "on writing," but that also deals with the "writing life." Here's the official product description: 
  
Brand new from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Vincent Zandri comes a non-fiction volume that will hold special appeal for those writers, new or established, who've enjoyed books on writing by Stephen King, Charles Bukoswki, Scott Nicholson, Chris Fox, Wayne Stinnett, and more.

Featuring a brand new introduction by the author on how he willingly gave up his birthright as the heir apparent to a multi-million dollar commercial construction firm in order to pursue his writing passion, Pieces of Mind contains essays on topics as diverse as lost love, sex, divorce, coping with a child's severe depression, experiencing Carnival in Venice, to sharing a first beer with your teenage son. But every word is delivered under the umbrella of a full-time fiction writer and freelance journalist trying to make sense of the lush world that surrounds him.

You'll also find "how to" pieces on going indie, staying traditional, and even hybrid authorship. You'll discover how Zandri sold 100,000 books in a single month, and how to keep on writing when you don't even want to get out of bed in the morning. Originally featured in publications such as Conor Friedersdorf's Culture 11 Magazine, Literarily Speaking, Writer's Digest, and other now archived pieces originally written for The Vincent Zandri Vox, these essays will make you laugh, cry, cringe, and think. Most of all they will want to make you drop everything to write your own story, be it fiction, non-fiction, or a fictional truth.

From the ITW Thriller and PWA Shamus Award Winning author of the No. 1 Bestselling novels, THE REMAINS and EVERYTHING BURNS, as well as new bestsellers like THE ASHES, ORCHARD GROVE and THE EMBALMER, comes the first in a series of books ON WRITING.


If you love short, sharp vignette style essays that get right to the point, while kicking aside political correctness, you'll love Pieces of Mind.

WWW.VINCENTZANDRI.COM 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Amazon giveways, food poisoning, and a new release: Just another day in the life




Three weeks ago I was lying on a bare mattress with only a ceiling fan to cool my sweat-soaked body. I was suffering from the effects of food poisoning which I attributed entirely to my own carelessness. You don't travel to a third world country and eat as many street tacos as humanly possible and expect to feel well. What I'm about to tell you is not for the weak stomached nor it is for the kids, so skip a bit if you must. But at one point, nature was not taking it's normal course, rather, I was bleeding out.

The fixer for my research trip explained that a hospital might be in order, but together we gazed into one another's eyes, and the answer seemed obvious enough. Better not to go to a hospital in Guatemala than to willingly go. In the end he suggested I just allow the disease to take its course. "Oh, and we leave for the six hour overland drive at four in the morning," he added.

I wanted to die.

Here's a bit of video shot as I was beginning to recover the dreaded disease...

So now I'm back in New York and facing other more business related challenges that also make me feel like I'm bleeding out. One of these might not seem like a big deal to some, but I utilize Amazon Giveaways as one of my primary marketing tools. But for some reason, Amazon won't allow me to giveaway any of my titles as of this past Friday. Now you might think there would be a quick fix to this, but after spending countless hours and days on the phone with everyone from KDP to Kindle Retail and back again, no one can figure out what the hell is going on. It's almost like someone or something is tossing a wrench into the Zandri publishing works.

You'll also recall that I was unceremoniously removed from Kindle Select a few months ago without warning. Hmmmm, not that I subscribe to conspiracy theories, but things are beginning to smell a little bit. Or maybe my overactive imagination is playing tricks on me again. In any case, I've spoken to some very nice people at the firm and they are working the problem, even if they are doing a lot head scratching in the meantime. Hopefully, my giveaways will be up and running soon, and you dear fans, will be able to take advantage of some new free book offers.

Speaking of books, I have a new series starting up in July. The PI series will feature Steve Jobz (get it?). It will combine some wry humor with all the action, romance, and suspense you might expect from a Zandri crime novel. The pilot novel in the series is The Embalmer. In a nut shell, it involves a serial killer who enjoys embalming his victims while they're still alive. "Where do you come up with this shit?" a doctor once asked me. So there you have it.

Please pre-order now at a special low price!!!

I have quite a few new projects on the horizon including a brand new full-length Chase Baker action/adventure novel, the first in the Young Chase Baker YA series, and even a new erotic noir series. The latter will most definitely not be for the kiddies but Mature Audiences only. Now that the journalism is all but entirely paused, I'm putting out as many fictional words as possible everyday. It's what I love to do. And I hope you love to read them.

WWW.VINCENTZANDRI.COM

 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Experiences

Boats, rain forest, and food poisoning. What's not to like?





The crash of thunder and lightning woke from my first sound sleep in nights. The lightning was so close you could hear the quick “click” that occurs a split second or less before the massive crash of thunder. The thunder rattles my little bungalow in the middle of a Rio Dulce tropical forest. "Bungalow" is pushing it since it’s really just three and a half walls, the other made up of screen. There’s a ceiling fan for ventilation but mostly it just pushes the hot humid air around. That means the torrential downpour, despite the rattle, hum, shock and awe of thunderclaps, is a welcome friend down here in central Guatemala. 

It’s the rainy season, so I expected nothing less. 

From what my fixer tells me, it’s hot and humid in these parts, 365 days per year. It’s still a much sought out destination for wealthy sailors and less than rich adventurers who wish to moor their boats for a while. It's even becoming a much sought out exotic destination for Americans who wish to retire to a place less expensive that Florida. Think Key West or Havana circa 1925. 

What I didn’t quite expect coming down here is the food poisoning I contracted forty eight hours ago back when I was still residing in modern civilization. That is, Antigua. I had very good wifi in Antigua so another writer friend of mine accused me of being on vacation. Bastard. Tell that to my gut! But with the help of Cipro antibiotic twice per day and enough Imodium to block me up for months, I’m doing my best to get through it all.

I fell in love with South America, especially Peru and the Amazon some years ago while researching what would become Chase Baker and the Golden Condor. Now, I’m back in jungle/tropical rain forest territory to research what will become a Chase Baker action/adventure centered somehow around the Mayans and magnificent ancient civilizations like Tikal. I had originally planned on heading into El Mirador, arguably an ancient lost civilization older and much larger than Tikal, but the trip was cancelled by the adventure company I use. However, my guide down here tells me he can take me in at a later date to be determined. It’s two days hike in, one full day at the site, and another two day hike out. For now I’ll have to settle with what I’ve got, which is an overland view of Guatemala, Belize and the Yukatan in Mexico. It’s a lot of traveling, a lot of early mornings, a lot of bug spray, but I’m always up for the challenge.

What’s the old saying? Reporters gather facts. Writers gather experience. I’ve been a freelance reporter, and even a photo journalist, but I was never entirely comfortable in that role, as the facts are not always enough to peek my interest. Where’s the drama? I’ll expand upon the rule: reporters ignore the drama. Writers crave drama.

Soon I’ll be taking a boat upstream to an island village, Livingston, made up of West Africans, displaced Hondurans, indigenous Mayans, Guatemalans, and who knows what. For now, I’ll be taking a hike through the jungle that surrounds this compound. Maybe I’ll see a monkey, or an anaconda, or a croc. Yesterday I came upon a peacock that must have been five feet long from beak to tip of multi-colored tail. It was quite the thing to see. I’m surrounded by the sights, sounds, heat and humidity of the jungle. Despite my stomach, I’m soaking it all in. Craving the experience, the way a real writer should. 


 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Central America First Stop



That plume of smoke way beyond is a live volcano...
Quick check-in now that I've been hanging out in Antigua, Guatemala for a few days. Lovely colonial town with an unspoiled feel. Two and three-storied stucco-covered buildings, some of which are as old as the forested mountains that surround it. A live volcano watches over the place like a benign ruler with a loaded gun in his hand. You see the smoke rising up from its peak during the daylight hours (that is, the cloud cover isn't obscuring it) and you see the glow of hot lava at night.

Now how cool is that, travel lovers?

There's the usual smog and pollution from the many cars and trucks that motor across old cobbled roads that are an absolute bitch to walk. I've jogged them a couple of times which means I'm begging for a broken ankle or at the very least, a broken toe. Such is the stupidity of the author.

But this is a place of happy natives who, unlike NYC for instance, smile at you when you pass by on the street. The temperature is relatively cool for a tropical lowland/highland geography, but the humidity high. It rains every night since it's the rainy season. The smell is a combination grilled meats, roasting chocolate and coffee, and exhaust. The sounds are motorbikes, cars, church bells, fountains, and laughter. I don't think I've witnessed a single person in distress.

A writer can live here in a nice house, hire staff, and live very well for maybe $30K per year. Makes one think. But this is the easy peasy part of my journey which truly begins on Friday. So I'm enjoying my little calm before the storm, eating some tacos, washing it all down with Gallo Beer. From paradise into the jungle I go to the lost city of Z. Zandri that is. 

Onwards...

Yesterday I hired a tuck-tuck to take me around the place. Note for solo travelers. Don't feel like paying a whole lot of dough for the mega tour including an all you can eat buffet lunch? Just hire a taxi driver and pay him extra for his services. You be surprised how accommodating he can be.

Here's a video snapshot:

Vaya con dios amigos...

WWW.VINCENTZANDRI.COM