Sunday, December 25, 2011

Renewing Your Writer Vows

"Papa wrote everyday, even while on safari."

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone who frequents the Vox.
I've experienced one of the hardest seven days of my life this past week with the unexpected and very sudden death of my dad who dropped dead while tying his shoes after having jogged his daily three miles and having gotten in a full free-weights workout. Being in the possession of a strong heart, even at 76 years of age, he over exerted himself on this particular morning and his heart stopped. No resuscitation possible, despite a valiant effort on the part of EMTs who worked on his chest for nearly an hour. By the time he arrived at the hospital in Albany he was DOA.

My dad was a giver and he liked to be involved even if in a small way in all the lives of his children and grandchildren. He was also a control man who liked to do things his way, and his way only. So now that he is suddenly gone, I find myself wanting to give him a call regarding matters that have to do entirely with him. The paradox is heartbreaking.

Despite the tragedy of his sudden death, I am nonetheless a better man for it in that I have had a lot of growing up to do this week, not the least of which is deciding how I am going to handle the next thirty to forty years of my life. How I can carry on in a way that will make him proud. Curiously, I find myself looking at my writing in a new light. I find myself wanting to work even harder and better than ever. That means slowing down on certain projects in order to grab the most meaning out of the fewest words possible. It will take concentration and a renewed effort.

I also find myself more committed to traveling to some of those exotic destinations I have not yet experienced. Borneo, Tibet, Mongolia,...and beyond. Life is a process and like a story it has a beginning, a middle and an end. Often times we don't know when that end will occur. It can come when you least expect it, like when you're tying your shoes for instance. It's your responsibility to live that life to the fullest in the mean time. And living life means discovering things. The world is out there. Go walk it. And while you're doing that, work hard. Very hard.

Starting Monday, I am renewing my writing vows so that I can hit the New Year in full sprint. You should too. Here's how I'm going to conduct my days:

--Get out of bed by 7AM, and be at my writing desk with coffee in hand by 7:15
--I will write 2 to 3 pages in the morning (or if editing, 10 to 15 pages)
--At around 10:30, I'll go for a run and hit the gym.
--By 1:30, I'll be back at my desk for another 2-3 pages.
--When that's done, I'll put in an hour or so of marketing via the social networks and my blog.
--On Saturdays I will work in the mornings and take the afternoon off.
--Sundays are days off (unless I have a deadline looming).

I'm going to commit myself to this routine even when traveling, so long as it's possible (I understand it's pretty hard to write sentences on your laptop from up on a camel's back). I think my dad would be proud to hear that I'm renewing my writing vows. Everyday he got up, put on his running shoes and hit the pavement in the dark and cold of the dawn, and then he showered up and went off to work. Nothing stopped him from doing what he needed to do for himself and for those around him whom he loved and who depended upon him. He worked to both please himself and to make the world know that he was here, if only for a brief but poingiant time.

Happy New Year!!!



Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Power of Words

Bri Clark here reporting in for the Vox. Most of you know that Vince's father, Richard Zandri died unexpectedly on Friday. This has forced Vince to take a step back from social media, be with his family, but still work on edits for Thomas and Mercer.

I can't imagine as a writer how truly hard that must be. Working on edits and rewrites for The Innocent and The Remains and planning you're father's funeral. Then that caused me to ask "What can I do to help?"

I could send flowers but Richard was a man well known so I'm sure flowers will abound. I'm 2,000 miles away and it's Christmas. I cant manage making a trip. Which made me feel's Christmas! So I sat in my living room sulking while my family watched football.

And that's when inspiration struck. A player was hurt. And I listened to the announcers say positive things about the player to fill the time. Now I'm not saying I'm going to have Vince hurt. But we as people are formulaic.

When someone dies or is hurt we want to say nice things about them. Express our condolences to the grieving family. And people everywhere have done amazing leaving expressions of empathy to Vince.

But I fear I'm going to call on you again. And ask a question and a favor. Often when death happens we question our we've spent our time. We ask if I died would anyone come? Did I make a difference?

So I ask you dear reader. What has Vincent done for you? Do you look forward to his funny status updates? Do you relate to his personal blog posts? Do you like looking up these pictures of people that he quotes because you're too young to know who they are like i do? Do you just like his books?

Leave your response in the comments below. Let's let Vince return to a blog full of response.


PS Betting is opened to see if I'm fired after this post over at my blog. ;)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Blue Ray Edition of Moonlight Falls, Errrrrrrr.....

Are your one of those movie fans who can't get enough of the same movie?
Do you rush out to by the Blue-ray version of your favorite flicks if only to get the extra special features like alternate endings, deleted scenes, and director commentary? When the "new" old Star Wars movies come out, did you pluck them off the shelf as soon as they arrived? Did you buy The Beatles Anthology or the MTV "Unplugged" music performance series???

Now the same "Uncut" experience is available in books.

Before you ask the obvious question: well, isn't that the same as an unedited version of a manuscript?
The answer is more no than yes. Often times novels run too long, or head in a direction that eventually the author decides not to go through multiple rewrites. Sometimes the ending is different from the one he inevitably decides to go with. More often than not, entire different points of views will get cut from the finished product.

Such is the case with my bestselling thriller, MOONLIGHT FALLS. The version published by RJBuckley in 2009 represents the sum total of a dozen drafts and edits. Also, three solid years of work. But now, two years later, I realize there is another version of that same book that is just as, and in some cases, even more exciting than what was eventually published. It's now been published by StoneGate Ink. It offers the reader about 100 new pages of material, most of it in the form of different points of view from many of the novels main characters.

As far as I know, StoneGate Ink is the first indie press to traditionally publish a novel like this, and I can bet you dollars to jelly doughnuts, it won't be the last.

Hope you check out MOONLIGHT FALLS UNCUT EDITION and see precisely what it is you are missing!

Get more Zandri novels: WWW.VINCENTZANDRI.COM

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

So Many Words, So Little Time Left

"This year's runaway stocking stuffer...The Mayan Calender."

A very dear friend of mine reminded me just this morning that if the Mayan calender is indeed correct, we've only got about 12 more months on this planet before the whole thing goes Kaboom on December 21, 2012!!!

What this does NOT mean is that I will stop paying my bills.
It does not mean I will stop getting haircuts, or hitting the gym, or jogging my 3-5 miles everyday. It doesn't mean I will cease paying my taxes (although I do so while grinding my teeth), and it doesn't mean that I will stop stopping smoking or take up cocaine, fun as it all sounds.

What it does mean however, is that I am writing like a fiend again. My normal daily output when writing a new novel is five new pages per day. But lately that daily quota has risen to close to ten. In a word, I'm writing like it's the end of the world.

There are other things at play. Like my colleagues at Thomas & Mercer, Scott Nicholson, Lee Goldberg, and Barry Eisler have all astutely pointed out in their popular blogs, 2011 has been a "Golden Age" for writers and digital publication. I've sold hundreds of thousands of e-book editions of my books this past year and now with my new 7 book deal at Amazon, I expect to double those sales next year due to their "matrix" marketing system. Yes, Keanu, I took the red pill.

In the meantime, I want to write books. Not push them.
I no longer feel the pressure to constantly be barking up the social media tree in order to move a few books. I feel like social media has become more a place to say hello to friends and that's the way it should be. Yeah, sure, I'm still gonna taut my books, but the pressure isn't quite what it used to be when I was out there publishing with an indie house all by my lonesome.

Remember a little more than ten years ago when we were all listening to "We're gonna party like it's 1999?" and we were peeing our pants in anticipation of a global computer crash? Well, this year I'm going to write like its December 20, 2012...And if the Mayan calender ends up being wrong, I will have a whole new batch of novels to unleash on the world.