Monday, August 29, 2011

MOONLIGHT RISES Reviewed in Denver Examiner



Writer Zack Kopp reviews Moonlight Rises...




The second full-length novel in the continuing Richard "Dick" Moonlight series by Vincent Zandri has been released by StoneGate Ink in Kindle, Nook, and all e-Book forums, available via your Tattered Cover and other retailers. Private eye Dick Moonlight is really dead this time, see. Three thugs in black wearing Obama-masks and communicating with hand-held voice synthesizers pressed against their voice boxes appeared from nowhere and beat him to death in a dark alley in downtown Albany, NY. But why? And forwhat reason! They demanded a mysterious box, see, of unknown proportions the likes of which he’s never heard about. WHAT box?!! They insist he cut all ties with his latest client: a disabled nuclear engineer of Russian heritage by the same of Peter Czech. Is he really from Ruissia? Moonlight can’t be sure, see. It hardly matters, now that he’s dead. Private Eye Dick Moonlight has a blissful out of body experience, his soul floating above his ruined mess of a body inside the Albany Medical Center I.C.U. whereon his one true love, Lola, is standing by his bedside, see.

But then something happens, see. Something bad. This young punk rambles into the I.C.U, see, he takes Lola’s hand, and draws her into a loving embrace over the limp Dick Moonlight. What seemed at first like a sweet peaceful death now causes Moonlight to struggle to reenter his body so he can stare down Some Young Guy and avenge himself, see. The pain of his battery is worsened by the pain of his breaking heart. Even so, as a hardened private dick, Moonlight wants to find out the true identity of those thugs who killed him, see, and decides his bruised and broken body is the perfect place to lay low for a while and pick up information. Yeah, see. Surely he’s not really dead, given the title. Does he come back to life? Will he spring into action, clubbing down attackers with balled fists? And what about those crazy masks? Is this is a political book? Hah. Life sucks, then you die. But Moonlight Rises

To read original review: http://www.examiner.com/books-in-denver/book-review-moonlight-rises-by-vincent-zandri-review

To grab Moonlight Rises: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B005HB16Y6/ref=nosim/theplanningsh-20

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"If I Were to Become a Writer all Over Again I'd..."



"The new major pub on the block!"




...self publish.
It's true. If I were to start all over again as an author I would set my sights not on publishing with the majors or even a small indie press. I would simply plan on going DIY the entire way. With Amazon's KDP program, doing it yourself is not only easy, you have nothing to lose but the time it takes to get your writing out there. Now this isn't an advertorial for KDP, it's just me being able to take a step back and look at all the possibilities, and the most obvious for me would be KDP. Amazon has the ability to reach a huge audience while pushing your book. So if you're a newbie, go for it.

However, that established, I am not a newbie. I've been at the game now professionally for 15 years. I've been published by the majors (Random House) and the minors (StoneHouse/StoneGate Ink, etc.) and I've had my ups and downs with both. As for the former, mostly downs and the latter, almost entirely up. As you all know by now, I believe that a full-time author in this day and age should take advantage of all the publishing, marketing, and audience building opportunities by engaging in three kinds of publishing:

1. Major Commercial
2. Small Indie
3. Self-Publishing

It makes sense to go with the majors at least for a couple of books since they can reach out to the masses like no other. While your audience expands they will also get you reviewed by major media darlings like The New York Times and The New York Post (The New York Post called THE INNOCENT "Sensational...Masterful...Brilliant!" That's the kind of review you can cherish for a lifetime).

Publishing with the small indie presses won't garner huge reviews from the major media outlets, but it will afford you a very personal experience that could never be achieved with the majors. If you are lucky enough to land a great small press they will become like family to you. They will ask and indeed come to rely on your creative input every step of the way. Not only about the writing, but about book design, cover, marketing, and more.

Going indie won't get you any of the above (although by investing in a virtual tour you'll nail some reviews from the mommy blogs and expand your audience. I invest in virtual tours no matter how I publish...), but it does allow you the absolute freedom to write, edit, and publish precisely how you want to publish. And in the end, the cash you earn is yours alone to keep. No publishers to pay, no agent percentages to honor. It's all about you and your work. Like I said, if I were just starting out with zero track record, this is precisely the route I would take. If I ended up selling a million copies of my e-books like John Locke, and I were to attract a major publisher like Simon and Schuster in a huge distribution deal, then I would go from happy to ecstatic.

A lot has changed in the past year. Lots of bestselling indie authors who've previously been published by the majors like JCarson Black, Scott Nicholson, JA Konrath and even yours truly have come full-circle by once more signing on with a major publisher for some of their books. The major pub we all have in common is Thomas and Mercer, Amazon's new publishing arm. The move makes sense for us all, since the outfit is new, filled with brilliant editors, open to new ideas and let's face it, Amazon has the marketing power to position your books in the marketplace like no other major publisher. I couldn't be happier about it.

But that doesn't mean I'm giving up on other publishing opportunities or lessening my marketing efforts. In essence, going back to the majors means I'll be working all the harder. Stay tuned!!!!

WWW.VINCENTZANDRI.COM


Friday, August 26, 2011

C.R. Lloyd, Author of "The Second Shot"




I love being an instigator.
Case and point: Last November during a very rainy month-long writing retreat in Florence, Italy (I'm writing this from the same apartment), I found myself spending as much time in a local pub as I did behind my desk. Anyone who knows me well enough won't see anything strange in that. Just ask my ex-wives. But I ended up chatting it up with some very cool ex-pats who work the place and one in particular from London who eventually got around to asking me about acquiring an agent. A couple of beers already swimming in my brain, my reaction was thus: If I had to do it all over again, I'd self-pub on Amazon. Forget the agent and forget about wasting time. Go for it now! Or something like that. Now mind you, I'd never self-pub'd a thing in my life and still haven't. It was the old hubris talking I guess. Or beer muscles. But I was speaking the truth. Kindle Direct Publishing is precisely the route I would take if, like London's newest best-seller to be, C.R. (Rebecca) Lloyd, I was young, super-talented, charming, attractive, and just plain fun to be around. Methinks my meeting with C.R. that rain-soaked November will turn out to be not only serendipitous, but also fortuitous. Indeed and jolly good show!

Rebecca, please take it away:


How to court a writer – in the ‘God people must ask you this all the time but please help me with my writing’ kind of way

I met Vincent Zandri at the pub where I worked. An Irish pub in the centre of Florence. I was working in the pub so that I would have the time to write, but so far I had had no luck getting a literary agent for my book.

My colleague Steve told me about Vincent. ‘Hey, there’s this American dude. He writes thrillers. I googled him. I think he’s pretty successful. He’s in town for the rest of the month. You should so speak to him.’ I met Vince a few days later. But I didn’t tell him I was a writer. I was embarrassed. And when he told me that every time he met someone in Florence they turned out to be an aspiring writer needing help, I knew I couldn’t say anything.

But then I bumped into him at the pub after I’d worked the day shift. I’d had a few drinks already and with my shame levels lowered by the beer I brought it up in conversation. Well we talked about everything that night from our relationships with our parents to our love lives to our favourite books. He came into the pub one more time before heading back to the States and gave me his email address and offered to read some of my stuff when it was ready. I blushed to my toes, feeling as though I had manoeuvred him into offering to help but I was very pleased. You need all the help you can get when you are starting out.

So the following March I emailed him the first three chapters of my book – a political thriller set in Italy. He paid me some great compliments, but even more importantly he advised me to publish it myself on Amazon for Kindle. Kindle devices had been on sale in the UK for less than a year and I still saw self publishing as vanity publishing. And Amazon had only just reached Italy at that point – Kindle was unknown – I hadn’t realised that ebooks were becoming such a big thing. But Vince’s books were selling strongly in their electronic formats and he felt that there were real possibilities out there for new writers to get read and noticed. He told me to get myself an editor, a cover and go for it. I did. And my book, The Second Shot, is now available on Amazon. And if you’re interested here’s what it’s about…

Pietro is a typical Italian: angry, disappointed, resigned to the state of things. But one drunken night he gets an idea: why have one man kill the president when you can get half the country to do it? And his idea becomes a plan, a plan to assassinate the president, using donations from Italians who feel the same as him.

The next six months of his life are a battle to put his plan into actionhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif and avoid arrest. His plan will force him to go into hiding, will put his friends and family in danger, and will bring him into contact with the criminal underbelly of Russia, France and Italy.

And after it’s done? Well if half the country are involved in killing the president, it means they have to be involved in what happens next...

The Second Shot by CR Lloyd is available on Amazon for Kindle priced $3.50


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Son: Chip Off the Old Block...Sort Of



Now I know how he feels...(the old dude on the back)



Did you ever find yourself watching your teenager eat and whispering softly to yourself: did I eat that much when I was his age?

My 17 year old son, Bear, and I are now entering into week 4 of our month long stay in Italy. All has been smooth sailing as they say thus far, with our having investigated every museum, church, monestary, cathedral, catacomb, and tomb in Rome, Florence and beyond. We've seen relics like bits and pieces of the true cross, pieces of Christ's thorn of crowns, Galileo's teeth and cut off fingers, and the entire mummified body of Cosimo De' Medici (he was a tiny man for having made such a monumental impact on art and architecture). We've climbed mountains, towers and domes, and navigated narrow alleyways and tunnels. We've put in 5 miles a day running along both the Arno and the Tiber and we even found an old gym to bench press and get in some dead-lifting.

All throughout I could not have asked for a better adventure companion if I'd pre-ordered one from out of an old Montgomery Ward catalog. But I have to say, man, can that boy eat. And not just your average pasta or lasagna. True to form, Bear goes for the more exotic in order to please his palate. Snails drowned in sauce. Squid and muscles soaking in a fish brine. Whole sardines sitting in a vat of olive oil and rank fish heads...It seems there is nothing the kid doesn't like or won't try.

I don't recall being that adventurous an eater when I was his age. Pizza mostly, burgers and tacos. That was about the extent of my culinary table of contents. But not the Bear. Like he said on the plane over, he wants to experience everything he can about the life here in Florence. http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

It's a shame I'm here to work or we might travel to some other out of the way places along the coast. But that will have to wait until I come back in just a few months. In the meantime, Bear wants me to book tickets for us to see the pyramids in Egypt. I'm sure he'll find the pyramids as breathtaking as he did climbing to the cupola atop St. Peter's Cathedral. I'm sure he'll make us ride a camel. He'll want to climb the pyramids, block by solid block. He'll want to look out over the valley and soak it all in.

Afterwards, he'll find something exotic to eat. Something goopy, fishy, rank, and entirely dramatic. Chip off the old block...Sort of.

CHECK OUT THE NEW NOVEL: MOONLIGHT RISES!!!!!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Prodigal Author and the Major Pub



Before the Kindle, we had the ...





I'm in Florence for the month working on two sets of galleys, researching a new novel, and trying to make two trade journalism deadlines. Plus my son the Bear is with me, and despite some junkets to Rome and other places, I'm really trying hard to get everything done before I have to hand back the keys to this apartment on the 31st. That said, I've been cruising through some of the more prominent lit blogs looking for a topic I can blog about quickly and effectively. Or, to be more frank, I'm more or less looking for a topic I can rob.

But all existing topics aside, there seems to be a new thread I'm noticing that's springing up amongst just what a few months ago might have been some steadfast "indie" authors, some of whom publish with indie small presses like StoneHouse/StoneGate Ink (as in my case) and some of whom DIY. The thread is this: Indie authors who are making waves in the bestseller lists are being picked up by the majors. And gladly.

Thriller writer Simon Wood is one author, who like me, has been published by the biggies in the past and while the experience wasn't by any means an end-all/be-all, he nonetheless has found great success in indie publishing, especially when Amazon directly marketed one of his titles catapulting it to the No. 2 spot on overall Amazon Kindles. You can check out his story here at JA Konrath's Blog.

Wood has to be making a great payday as an indie. I know this from personal experience. I too have reached the top ten and held tight at the No.3 spot with THE INNOCENT while at the same time, held tight with two other books in the top 100. That said, why would I want to publish any other way than indie?

But take the case of JCarson Black who has also been killing it in the top 100. She's another ultra successful indie author who has been with the biggies in the past and has recently made a return by having signed a multi-book deal with Thomas and Mercer, Amazon's new publishing house. Thing you gotta ask yourself is this: if the machine ain't broke, why try and fix it? If she was doing so well as an indie, why sign on with a big publisher?

Same story with Scott Nicholson who has literally written the book (or books) on the subject of indie publishing. Both he and Konrath have signed with the aforementioned T&M...There must be another dozen hyper-successful indie authors like these who have either willingly given up indie publishing exclusively or are contemplating it, even while kicking some serious ass with no real end in sight. Why are they doing it? Why jeopardize the relative freedom and money-making potential to once more become beholden to a big corporation?

I think the answer lies not in dollars and sense or big business vs. the little guy or even logic for that matter. I think the answer has to do with the human condition. Or to be more precise, the one thing that is most important to a professional writer: validation.

I'm not going to lie. Even after experiencing one of my lucrative years (and the year ain't over yet by a long shot) as an author since signing a mid-six-figure deal with Delacorte, I have some things on the fire. Rather my agent is working them. Soon as they are done and can be announced, you'll all hear the dinner bell clanging loudly. Suffice to day I'm open to making a return to the biggies not just for the money, but to be perfectly honest, for the pride as well. I have a perfectly good and lucrative and happy experience right now publishing with StoneHouse and StoneGate Ink, but to be offered an opportunity to do the same at another big house would only add further validation (there's that word again) not only to my recent Top 10 success, but to me as a writer also.

I wonder if a lot of indie authors out there feel the same way?

No matter what happens I plan on continuing my relationship with the "Gates," but I also want to explore the enormous marketing and distribution possibilities of once more being with a major pub.

Being an indie rocks, no doubt about it. Just me against the big bad world. But then so does belonging to something important and exclusive, like a major publishing house. I mean, what the hell, I'm only human.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

All Your "Moonlights" in a Row

The DICK MOONLIGHT SERIES...in ORDER


















My publisher brought up a good point: Since all the Moonlights take place in sequence but can still be read as stand-alones, perhaps it would be a good idea to give you an idea of the order in which the Moonlights should be read thus far. That is, you want to read them in order. So here goes:



1. Moonlight Falls: In MOONLIGHT FALLS, novelist and photo journalist Vincent Zandri asks the question “If you knew your life could end at any moment, how far would you go to prove you murdered your lover? ” Albany, New York, is the setting of Zandri’s paranoid thriller (in the Hitchcock tradition) about Richard “Dick” Moonlight, former APD detective turned private investigator/massage therapist, who believes he killed Scarlet Montana, his illicit lover and wife of his ex-boss Chief of Detectives Jake Montana. The dilemma ... Moonlight doesn’t remember what happened!
1.25...COMING SOON: MOONLIGHT FALLS (UNCUT): The extended and expanded edition of the bestseller, including dozens of unpublished chapters, interviews, reviews, videos links, A Dick Moonlight's Albany Walking Tour, pictures, and more.

1.5 Moonlight Mafia: In this digital short, the too often unemployed private detective is hired by an anonymous client (“John Smith”) to bring down a Mafia wise guy who’s using a used car lot as a front for illegal gambling activity. At least, that’s what Moonlight is led to believe. According to the job description, he is to answer a want ad for a salesman position at the same used car lot and thereby secretly infiltrate the illegal operation. Sounds like a piece of cake.

Problem is, when Moonlight heads over to the used car lot to answer the ad, he decides to pay a quick visit to the bar next door and have a couple of quick “Jacks” to loosen himself up. But when he opens the big heavy door on his late father’s pride and joy 1978 “Cadi” hearse, it gets away from him and dings the passenger-side of the brand spankin’ new black Dodge Ram parked beside it. What Moonlight doesn’t realize as he pretends to ignore the Ram’s damage is that the door he just dinged belongs to his new would-be boss. And his would-be boss is not only in the Mafia, he’s no stranger to torturing and killing people for fun!

2. Moonlight Rises: Dick Moonlight is dead.

Really dead this time, now that three President Obama-masked thugs dressed all in black and communicating only with hand-held voice synthesizers pressed up against their voice boxes have beat the life right out of him inside a dark, downtown Albany alley. What are the thugs after? A box. Size, weight, description unknown. They also want him to stay away from his newest and only client: a handicapped nuclear engineer of dubious Russian heritage by the same of Peter Czech.

But then, now that they’ve killed him, Moonlight’s problems seem to be over. In fact, as he undergoes an out of body experience, his soul floating above his train-wreck of a corpse inside the Albany Medical Center I.C.U., he feels pretty damned good. Great in fact. To make death all the more sweeter, his one true love, Lola, is standing by his bedside. With her long dark hair draping her chiseled face and big round Jackie O sunglasses hiding tear-filled eyes, she appears every bit the grieving sig other. Nothing could make the dead-and-gone Moonlight prouder.

But then something happens. Something bad. A man enters into the I.C.U. Some young guy. He takes hold of Lola’s hand, and pulls her into him. Together, the two share a loving embrace over Moonlight’s dead body. Now, what seemed like a peaceful death is anything but. Moonlight wants back inside his body so he can face-off Some Young Guy and find out if his true love has in fact been cheating on him. At the same time, he wants to find out the true identity of those thugs who killed him so he can exact his revenge. No doubt about it, Moonlight needs to live if he’s going to uncover some pretty painful answers and take care of business.

Like a little kid dropping down a playground slide, Moonlight slides right back inside his bruised and broken body. Opening his eyes the white light blinds him. He feels the pain of his wounds and the pain of his breaking heart.

Life sucks, then you die.

But Moonlight rises.

3. COMING SOON... Murder by Moonlight

4. COMING SOON...Blue मूंलिघ्त









Monday, August 15, 2011

MOONLIGHT RISES is RISEN!!!

"The long awaited second novel in the Moonlight series!"


“Life sucks. Then you die. Or, if you’re Dick Moonlight, first you die and then you live.”



The second full-length novel in the continuing Richard "Dick" Moonlight series has been released by StoneGate Ink in Kindle, Nook, and all e-Book forums: MOONLIGHT RISE.

The Story:

Dick Moonlight is dead.

Really dead this time, now that three President Obama-masked thugs dressed all in black and communicating only with hand-held voice synthesizers pressed up against their voice boxes have beat the life right out of him inside a dark, downtown Albany alley. What are the thugs after? A box. Size, weight, description unknown. They also want him to stay away from his newest and only client: a handicapped nuclear engineer of dubious Russian heritage by the same of Peter Czech.

But then, now that they’ve killed him, Moonlight’s problems seem to be over. In fact, as he undergoes an out of body experience, his soul floating above his train-wreck of a corpse inside the Albany Medical Center I.C.U., he feels pretty damned good. Great in fact. To make death all the more sweeter, his one true love, Lola, is standing by his bedside. With her long dark hair draping her chiseled face and big round Jackie O sunglasses hiding tear-filled eyes, she appears every bit the grieving sig other. Nothing could make the dead-and-gone Moonlight prouder.

But then something happens. Something bad. A man enters into the I.C.U. Some young guy. He takes hold of Lola’s hand, and pulls her into him. Together, the two share a loving embrace over Moonlight’s dead body. Now, what seemed like a peaceful death is anything but. Moonlight wants back inside his body so he can face-off Some Young Guy and find out if his true love has in fact been cheating on him. At the same time, he wants to find out the true identity of those thugs who killed him so he can exact his revenge. No doubt about it, Moonlight needs to live if he’s going to uncover some pretty painful answers and take care of business.

Like a little kid dropping down a playground slide, Moonlight slides right back inside his bruised and broken body. Opening his eyes the white light blinds him. He feels the pain of his wounds and the pain of his breaking heart.

Life sucks, then you die.

But Moonlight rises.

Where to grab it:

MOONLIGHT RISES in Kindle
MOONLIGHT RISES in Nook


Sunday, August 14, 2011

"On Pricing" Redux and a Challenge to Myself....

"Baby, have we got a deal for you!"






It's been a few months since just about every indie author blog had something written inside it about the power of pricing. The gist of the chatter centered around $.99 being the optimum price, and authors like John Locke and Amanda Hocking were proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that books priced that low can really move. Move in mass quantities that have the potential to add up in the end to a pretty decent payday (and to book deals from major pubs!).

I had a two books priced at $.99 back in February, March, and April and while both of those hit the Amazon Top 25, one of them THE INNOCENT hit the Top 10, settling at No. 3 for nearly a couple of months. Even with paying a standard agent percentage, I still took in payday that averaged three times your normal NYC legacy publisher advance. In May my guys at StoneHouse/StoneGate Ink decided to up the prices back to more normal levels and the books naturally lost ground in terms of ranking but continued to sell very well while remaining bestsellers.

Now it's August, a traditionally slow month for publishing while everyone takes in vacation and gets ready for the upcoming school year or whatever. Sales are good, but I'm convinced they could be great again.

I'm still convinced the three major attractors to making your E-Books bestsellers are...

1. An Awesome Cover
2. A Great Product Description
3. Price, Price, Price
(4.) Great Writing
(5). Direct Marketing from online publishers like B&N and Amazon...

That said, my cats at StoneHouse/StoneGate Ink have decided to run a special on CONCRETE PEARL, my new thriller (the first in a series) starring brassy and beautiful commercial construction business owner/amateur sleuth, Ava "Spike" Harrison, and THE REMAINS, my stand-alone thriller that's been a bestseller for 15 months. Both books will be published at $.99 for at least the length of the CONCRETE PEARL virtual tour which is scheduled for September.

Having been blessed with a great 3/4s of 2011, I also want to issue this challenge to myself: if one of the books breaks the Top 100, I'm going to donate $500 to the Boston Children's Hospital which does great things for kid with all sorts of injuries, ailments, and dreadful diseases. From cancer to cutting edge operations that can make a once useless limb useful again, as was the case with my son Harrison (Bear) who suffers from brachial plexus palsy, the BCH is a Godsend to kids and their parents. It's a curing place and an emotional place and I encourage all of you to take a look at their website. We've spent a lot of time at BCH where Harrison has undergone two major surgeries to repair his left arm, the most recent being last July. If both books hit the top 100, I will donate $1,000 to the hospital.

So, like Paul Weller of the JAM once sang, "What you give is what you get!" I couldn't agree more, other than to say, better to give than receive.

Ciao, Ciao for now, from sunny Italy!!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Father and Son Enjoy a First Beer Together

"The view which Bear and I enjoyed while having a first beer together..."







Ok, comes a time in every parent's life (most parents anyway) where they sit down and enjoy a first beer with their son or daughter. In my case, my son Harrison and I were able to experience exactly that in the Irish Bar located in Santa Maria Novella in Florence, Italy.

Bear is 17 and a half and more than old enough to legally drink a beer here. So what a great opportunity to share something so sacred as a drink with my own son and to unwind and just talk with him in a way we rarely can back in the states.

We took a table outside that my friends who work the establishment cleared for us. The bartender Steve (an art student and all around great dude), brought us two Heineken's a piece. Setting them on the table, Bear grabbed his in his fist and took a big swig. I told him to go easy. The alcohol could go to his head. But he just shrugged his shoulders like, "No big deal, dad."

Suddenly I was reminded of that scene in the 80's comedy classic "Vacation" where Chevy Chase sits down to enjoy a first beer with his teenage son. The kid chugs the beer and crushes the can in his fist, making it plainly apparent it's obviously not his first. Now, I'm not condoning underage drinking here by any means. But what I'm talking about is a sacred rite of passage. In this case, I thought I was above being the forty something naive dad, and totally in tune with my son. But when he downed his beer like it was just another glass of Pepsi, I knew that this wasn't Bear's first beer by any means.

It made me feel strange, like I didn't know him as well as I should. However, we had one more together and we entered through that rite of passage together and we talked about life and dreams and adventures and ups and downs, and all those things that make up a life worth living.

Sharing your first beer with your son isn't all about beer. It's about love.






Thursday, August 4, 2011

How Art Changes Life

"Imagine seeing this...I mean for real...for the very first time."





I have been noticing subtle changes in my son Harrison (Bear) as time moves forward during our month-long stay in Florence, Italy. He is not only paying attention to the art and architecture he views for the first time...David, Hermes Slays Medusa, the Duomo...he is trying to make sense of it all. He finds that the "classic" art has been able to capture the essence of its meaning and in most cases, it is devoid of abstraction. Not a band interpretation for the would-be writer.

Harrison has grown up in a post-post-modern world and is so used to viewing art as an abstraction. Now he is viewing murals and wall paintings that depict "nightmares" so accurately, it's as if he is experiencing them himself.

Today he will see the Uffizi Gallery, the world's most precious collection of Italian art in the world. Giotto, Leonardo, Rubens, Titian, Carravaggio and other masters will peer into Harrison and he will peer into them and his life will be changed even more.

In the process, I get to see how my greatest work of art...my son...will continue to grow and evolve.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Travels with Myself and Another


"A place to write, think, escape..."







I don't often get to travel with my kids. Most of the time, I'm either on assignment or, more accurately, used to be on assignment before I pretty much started back on fiction full time. Or I'm looking for an escape in order to gather inspiration for a new novel. Or I'm simply looking to get the hell out, which is not uncommon for a guy like me who is always itchy (I think I've mentioned before that I never sit down and watch TV, and it's tough to get me to a movie).

So when the opportunity arose to bring my 17 year old son Harrison (we call him Bear) with me to Italy for the month of August for which I've rented an apartment in Florence, Italy, he and I both jumped at the chance. As some of you already know, Harrison is hoping to become a writer and for now anyway, he has traded in his traditional education for one of being self-taught and simply reading and writing (while he pursues a GED).

He also seems to be in search of the meaning of life these days and asking himself questions that many of us either choose to ignore or run away from because they are so dangerous, the most obvious of which is: Am I really happy?

I may not always appear to be the best father to some people, but I know to others I am an exceptional father. I guess I fall somewhere in the middle. My life in unconventional at best but the love I have for my kids can't be defined in terms of convention of mandates, rules, mores or otherwise. It's simply an unconditional love no matter how often or not-so-often I get to see them.

Harrison and I will be living close quarters for the next month in a second floor downtown Florence apartment in a four-hundred year old building, that's spacious and breezy, with plaster walls, exposed wood ceiling beams, tile floors, french windows and doors, and a large terrace that supports an arbor. I will be writing my new novel and reading over the galleys for Moonlight Rises and Scream Catcher while outlining a new romantic suspense novel based upon one of my most anthologized and translated short stories. We will head to Rome, Pisa and Venice, and we will see the museums and eat the food and drink the drink. But mostly we will spend time together, getting to know one another, as father and son, and as writers.

(To be continued...)