Friday, December 29, 2017

Goodbye 2017: Don't let the door slap you in the ass...

The researcher in Guatemala
Okay I jest.
2017 was actually a good year for me professionally, not in that I hit any particular home runs with any one or two books like year's past, but damn, did I put out the word count or what?

I published both traditionally and indie starting with The Corruptions in hardcover back in February (Polis Books), and then onto Chase Baker and the Spear of Destiny, a new Marconi, Arbor Hill. There was The Handyman Series, the pilot novel in the new Steve Jobz series, The Embalmer, my first collected non-fiction Pieces of Mind, the first Young Chase Baker YA novel, Young Chase Baker and the Cross of the Last Crusade (coming in March '18), a new stand-alone which is currently with my agent, plus the first draft of another stand-alone that will soon be with my agent, and I'm finishing up the year with 20K words on a new Keeper Marconi, Sins of the Sons. And did I mention the short stories that I published in Pulp Metal Magazine that are now available on my own site and of course, Amazon, Nook, and Kobo?
I could offer links to all these products but you know where to go to buy them.

New for 2018 will be a brand new short story, HEAD. HEAD will also be included in a new short story collection called Pathological: Collected short reads about sex, lies, and murder. In February The Detonator will be released in hardcover (Polis Books), and I'm very excited about it since it's getting great reviews in PW and Booklist. After that will come the aforementioned Young Chase Baker, then in April, the new Steve Jobz, The Flower Man. In May I'll release the new Marconi, Sins of the Sons. By then I'll know who's taken my new stand-alone, The Doctor Will Kill You Now. I will also have finished up the second stand-alone, No Good to Her Dead. In between these publications look for more short stories and new Handyman episodes.

Okay, that's production side of things. But like I said, this was the first year in which I didn't hit any particular home runs like I have in the past with books like The Remains which went to number 1 overall, or The Innocent which did pretty much the same or Everything Burns which killed it. I attribute this to one, Book Bubs are nearly impossible to get nowadays and two, Amazon KDP seems to have changed up their algorithms again. It means that any books that suddenly spike in sales look suspect and they sometimes will strip you of your rank, dooming the momentum of the book. It's good that Amazon is cracking down on the schemers, but bad for us nice, hardworking folks just trying to make a living.

But if I've learned anything about this year, it's this: slow steady growth is the only tried and trusted path to be on. Anything else is just smoke and mirrors. Those writers who consistently put out good to great content will be rewarded with an ever expanding audience and sales. On the marketing side of things, building your subscriber list has never been more important. I've also hired a marketing crew to handle my AMS, FB, and Book Bub ads and so far they have been doing a fine job. I'm also setting up my own store on my website. What's the address again? WWW.VINCENTZANDRI.COM

2017 was the year I started going from writer, to writer running a business, and I've learned a lot. I pour just about all my money back into the business, but said business is growing, and I can see myself making a passive income in short order that would rival at least a mid-management position at some downtown firm. Imagine that.

On the personal side of things, it's been a bit of a shit show. There were more deaths of friends and family than I care to count, not to mention Sam Shepard. There were more reports of illness, the sudden and unexpected discovery of my own potentially fatal ailments (don't worry, they're under control, but it did get me to thinking about my own mortality), a totally unexpected breakup, a move back to an apartment and other things too banal to mention here. But it was also an exciting year for traveling and adventure, from caving in Guatemala, to fly fishing in Belize, and of course eating my favorite rabbit dish in Italy. The food poisoning in Guatemala was no fun, however.

Sure, life comes at you hard sometimes, but hey, I could be six feet under and that's no fun. The point is to live a great life while you have breath in your lungs and happiness in your heart and soul.

Back to the books...


Sunday, December 24, 2017

It's a real Hank Moody day, let me tell you...

A real Hank Moody moment...
It must be the holidays, because yesterday I consumed ten chicken wings, a plate of greens and beans, prosecco, red wine, beer, and a shot of Jameson. This morning I am miraculously up and at 'em at my laptop, pounding out the words, even if the electrical signals from brain matter to typing fingers are a little slow. It's a real Hank Moody day, let me tell you. See what happens when you're a full-time author and you suddenly find yourself single again?

First off, Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays all around. 2017 was a stellar year for me in terms of word count, book and story publication. It was also a year where I made a sort of dramatic shift from making traditional publishing my priority with the independent side of things being a fun sideline, to quite the opposite.

I now consider the indie publishing method of primary importance. That doesn't mean I'm giving up traditional. Not at all. I'm still a hybrid. But this year I became entirely enamored not only with the freedom of indie publishing, but also the financial, passive income possibilities and the lack of industry volatility. IE: I have had two editors from traditional world either yanked from their jobs or decide to quit just prior to a book's publication, dooming the title, at least in the short term (one of these titles actually went on to sell a couple hundred thousand copies...ten years later). Such totally-out-my-control issues becomes non-issues in indie world.
My kind of Xmas!

The thing about indie, it's a matter of content. While my traditional publishers could never nor would ever take more than one book per year from me (sometimes they decide not to take any!), I can, under the guise of my own publishing label (Bear Media), publish as much material as I wish. The more the better, and my true fans are happy to have the new material as fast as I can write it (and have it edited, of course).

It's a matter of math. If one of my indie books/stories earns me $2.07 per day (sounds paltry doesn't it?), imagine what 100 will earn me, per day? This is a passive income that is entirely separate from the royalties earned on traditional agented projects. But you get the idea. The more I write, the more money I make. And what's even better, I own 100% of my rights. I also get paid once per month. Which means, in years to come, it will be my children who get paid once per month and their children, and so on. 

What I foresee in the future (in fact, it's already in the works), is all of my novels and stories being available not only in all commercial markets but also in a store at my website WWW.VINCENTZANDRI.COM where the thousands of readers and fans who subscribe to my "For Your Eyes Only" newsletter can purchase what they want, when they want it, directly. Not everyone believes in shopping at Amazon and not every Amazon customer even considers buying a book from Kobo. Not everyone wants to get in the car and go to the bookstore, that is you can still find one that hasn't become a toy store/coffee shop. But they can always come to my store, even if they're in bed, totally butt naked. It's always open. This is the eventual journey indie publishing will take us. The inevitable destination.

One of these indie projects is my Handyman series. Tagline: Would you commit murder for art's sake?  This steamy, noir thriller is as graphic as it is suspenseful. But don't take my word for it. I'm just the author. As of today, the entire first season is collected in one single handy bundle. It's called, appropriately, The Handyman: Season I...If you're into this kind of graphic romantic noir, this is totally for you:

Buy The Handyman:Season I in the US

Buy The Handyman: Season I in the UK

"Merry Christmas you old building and loan!"


Monday, December 18, 2017

Too many novels too little time...

I just woke up from a nap and found myself staring at the ceiling and going over all the projects I currently have on the boards. Coming Xmas Eve will be the collected 1st Season of The Handyman, the steamy noir thriller episodic series I brought out this Fall under my Bear Media label (Bear Noir). The pilot novel in the new Young Chase Baker YA spin-off series is set for editing and formatting come February. It's called Chase Baker and the Cross of the Last Crusade. There's the second in the new Steve Jobz PI series, The Flower Man. I'm currently editing that one, and it will be on my editor's desk sometime after Xmas. My two big stand-alones that will go the traditional publishing route, The Doctor Will Kill You Now (formerly, The Girl Who Wasn't There) and No Good to Her Dead are still in the editing mode but will be finished up in the early winter one way or another, and then both will be in the hands of my agent. There's a spy novel that I wrote last year, but haven't looked at since. That will come out in the spring. I have 8K words on a new Jack Marconi novel, Sins of the Sons, and just a moment ago, my publisher at Polis Books sent me the final proofs of The Detonator which comes out in hardcover in February. Did I mention the two short stories I'm also working on?
So why then am I blogging?
I should be working.
Think I'll take another nap...

PS. Remember, Zandri books make great "stocking stuffers..." Just go here...

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.


Grab our new thriller: Thriller Firsts!

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...


Get THE REMAINS for just $1.99 for a limited time

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.


 Grab the first novel in the brand new Steve Jobz Thriller series, THE EMBALMER!


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Stephen Paddock blew his brains out then placed the gun two feet away...


The laws of physics dictate that when a man (or women) shoves the business end of a fully loaded firearm--in this case a high caliber revolver--up their pie hole then presses the trigger, the human body will collapse under its own sudden dead weight. The firearm in question will simply drop onto the pile of lifeless flesh, bone, and blood. For the suicide victim, life will cease to exist, sort of like turning the lights out in a windowless room.

In this newly "leaked" (there's that word again) photo, Stephen Paddock, the man presently accused of shooting to death 58 innocent souls and wounding more than 500 more at country music concert in Las Vegas this past Sunday night, is lying on his back, the victim of an apparent gunshot wound to the head (judging by the wound it looks like he ate the piece). Yet, not only is the gun placed more than two feet behind him, there are fresh rounds (caliber not known) lying in his blood pool.

I'm not sure how this could happen, unless someone else was in the room when he killed himself. Or perhaps someone else did the shooting. In my fictional stories, I've concocted situations where a man is shot by a someone else, and then the scene is manipulated to look like a suicide. But this isn't supposed to be fiction. It's supposed to be real life and death.

In this second photo, you can see Paddock lying lifeless on the floor of the hotel room. On the table sits a note and a pen. But the authorities thus far tell us there is no note. Maybe it's a laundry list.

The news of the day is all about gun control while the true identity and motives of Stephen Paddock still elude us. Like John Lennon once sang, "All I want is the truth..."


Buy the First thrilling and sexy episode of THE HANDYMAN: LUST & LETTERS

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Who is Stephen Paddock? And why won't they tell us?

Like the rest of you, I've been trying to make sense of the horrific massacre that took the lives of 59 souls and wounded many more this past Sunday at a concert outside the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around how a single late middle-aged man could more or less clandestinely haul a dozen or so long guns up into a 32nd floor room over the course of four days and nights, how he could carry up thousands of rounds of ammo (I own an AR-15 and possess ammo for it, and trust me, this type of hardware isn't light), how he could build shooting platforms up against two designated windows, how food could be delivered to his room, how his maid service didn't get suspicious even if he did refuse it (still sketchy on this topic), how he could set up a camera system to film himself, and more.

I've been paying close attention to the news networks and their reporting, and it seems like all that's being discussed is the weapons used in the mass murder spree, plus these so-called bump stocks which turn a semi-automatic into a fully automatic weapon. Listen, Vegas is apparently one of the most security camera filled destinations on the planet. Where's the CCTV video footage of Paddock parking his car in the garage, or his walking into the hotel with his bags? Where's the footage of him inside his room, or out in the hall, or in the lobby, or in the elevator and stairwell? What kind of info are the FBI uncovering on his laptop?

They say more than one person might have been involved. Who? Now they say he planned his own escape. So why then did he commit suicide? Or was it suicide?

One interesting theory is that this scumbag Paddock might have actually been running guns for one terrorist organization or another, and the whole thing went bad. Right now, Paddock doesn't fit the personality/profile bill as someone who would shoot all those poor people. He was however, a wealthy, professional gambler, so I think he fits the bill as someone who would willingly run guns, for say $100K that would be placed inside a Philippine bank, tax free, which is exactly what happened.

Who is the real Stephen Paddock and why won't the government tell us more? Why has this become less about madmen and/or terrorists bent on mass murder be it guns or bombs or trucks or Tylenol pill bottles, or whatever, than it has for the left (and late night talk show hosts) to call for more gun control? Why would a lawyer who works for CBS feel comfortable coming out and saying she has zero sympathy for the innocents slain since they were probably Trump supporters? Was the mass killing an act of politically motivated terrorism like the shooting spree that occurred on the Washington DC ball fields this past June specifically targeting Republicans and nearly killing Rep. Steve Scalise? Is this Civil War and no one wants to admit it? Or is this just simply the reprehensible act of one evil lone gunman? 

 Not even Paddock's girlfriend seems to know who the real Stephen Paddock is.

What happened Sunday is beyond tragic and my heart bleeds for all the victims, while my soul is heartened by all those courageous individuals who risked life and limb to save others. Kudos to Vegas Law Enforcement who willingly ran into the line of fire. I will always stand tall for you.

But who is Stephen Paddock and why won't the FBI tell us everything we deserve to know?


Grab the brand new Chase Baker adventure, CHASE BAKER AND THE SPEAR OF DESTINY

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Chase Baker is back in the thick of it...

I can still recall walking the narrow back streets and cobbled roads of Florence, Italy, racking my brain to come up with an action & adventure character who possessed all the humanness and fearlessness of Indiana Jones, but who also enjoyed the ladies, more in the vein of The Most Interesting Man in the World, as seen in the old Dos Equis commercials (one interesting factoid is my having spent an afternoon in Florence with the sister of the man who invented The Most Interesting Man in the World ad campaign).

I wanted the series to be different from my usual noir titles which are often seen as, well a bit dark, and I also wanted the series to remain fiercely independent, just like Chase himself. In other words, other than foreign and multi-media rights, I wouldn't be offering the books up to the publishers. Only I would possess the publication rights. Me, my children, and their children, and their other words. 

But it wasn't until I caught a movie on You Tube starring Charleton Heston that Chase Baker came alive for me. It was called the Secret of the Incas, and it featured an adventurer and former pilot who's as tough as nails, irresistible to the ladies (in fact, he's sort of a male prostitute), and a mega treasure hunter. No doubt he was the original inspiration for Indiana Jones with his fedora and leather bomber.

The original novel I came up with remains one of my bestsellers. The Shroud Key. It's controversial in that it deals with the possibility that the mortal remains of Christ actually exist. But it's full of romance, and adventure, and exotic locales. The point of the novels is not only to entertain just like the 1930s, 40s, and 50s cliff hangar serials used to do, but I would also make them real in that I would travel to each and every destination I write about. Thus far my Chase travels have taken me to the Sahara, the Amazon, India, Nepal, Egypt, Israel, Africa, China, Russia, and many more special locales. Since I plan on writing many more Chase Bakers (the Young Chase Baker series will be launched early next year), I will no doubt, be flying to many more exotic spots on the planet.

Chase Bake and the Spear of Destiny took both on-site research and some library study. The spear that pierced Christ's side during the crucifixion and that released the holy blood and the water that would become the basis for the holy sacrament of communion in the Roman Catholic church service has always fascinated me. It's a relic that holds special powers. No wonder the Nazis wanted it so badly during WWII. Now a band of Neo-Nazis who wish to oversee the construction of a Fourth Reich want to get their hands on it again. But the only way they can manage it is to kidnap the Pope. Can Chase stop them?

Find out for yourself ...

Grab up Chase Baker and the Spear of Destiny and be thrilled...



Thursday, September 7, 2017

Summer 2017

Summer, 2017

Begins with Central America.
Food poisoning, blood oozing from places nature and God never intended.
Caves drowned in frigid crystal clear water, dead bodies hundreds of years old, and I'm shivering.
Tall temples devoted to the Gods, but I see aliens landing here. Everyone laughs.

Hiking in the Adirondacks.
It's a nice, warm reunion for she and me.

Back home. Reality. The daily grind.
Up early to write. 1200 to 2000 words per day.
New words.

Book sales steady. Not bad. Not great.
The valley after the peak. The cycles of life.
Making a living. No complaints.
I carry on with that negative capability they pretended to teach you in writing school.

A best friend from grade school stricken with cancer. Another good friend in NYC now fighting stage 4 lung cancer. My own lung cancer scare of a few months back proved to be just that.
I refused anymore tests.
It rains, and rains, and rains.
Missiles and Nuke tests in NOKO by a laughable clown of a kid.
ANTIFA smashing windows and breaking heads.
History wiped out by lefties, ISIS style.
Right wing creeps.
Civil war.

We lose Sam Shepard
I lose Sam Shepard.

Find solace in my Jeep, trout streams and lakes.
Daily two hour workouts.
My feet hurt. Feel hobbled. 
Lanies Bar.

Two kids grown up, one going back to school. One about to enter Junior High.
The time she flies.

Two father figures die unexpectedly. It upsets the balance, even if the passings are a part of that great cycle of life. Hallmark bullshit.
Other things dying.
The summer being one of them.
The summer that never was.

The cool weather arrives early.
Cold mornings, even colder nights.
Cold stares, one from the other.

Still the writing gets done.


Friday, August 25, 2017

Michael Schein's Inc. Mag publishing article is fake news

Michael Schein

This is not to shine a poor light on Inc. Magazine's Michael Schein (haha). It's merely to point out how his recent article, Why Self-Publishing Is A Terrible Idea (Here's What You Should Do Instead), is not only misguided, but sort of dangerous considering half the title is devoted to dishing out advice to would-be writers. 

Normally, I'm so busy with the daily word count, that I don't have time to respond to articles like these. After all, everyone is entitled to an opinion and we're still sort of a free country. But I actually wrote a comment and attempted to post it in the comments section of the piece, but Inc. is one of those online mags that makes you sign up or take out a subscription in order to leave a comment, so my words got lost in the ether that is the internet. 

Read the article, and you'll see why I think it's way off base if not fake news. But if I were to focus on one important aspect of the piece, it would be this. Mr. Schein speaks of the advances major publishers dole out which are supposed to help a writer really make his or her manuscript shine. This is hilarious considering the average advance these days is about $5K and even then you get maybe $2K up front. That pays for maybe a couple of weeks worth of time away from the salt mine or where ever a traditionally published author must find work these days. 

He also states that having Simon & Schuster or some other big publishing house printed on the spine will add a certain cred to the publication. Sure, I get that. Everyone wants validation, especially in this business. But Dear Mr. Schein, no one gives a shit who publishes the book, the reader only wants a good story or their needs fulfilled (as in the case of nonfiction). I've got a bunch of books with major publisher monikers on the spine and they don't do nearly as well as the books that bear the moniker of my personal indie publishing company, Bear Media.

As a hybrid author, I am now no longer at the mercy of a big publisher. Up until recently, I relied on big advances to pay my way. If I didn't get an advance, I was in trouble for the year. It's a hell of way to live, let me tell you. It's the life of a slave, or an indentured servant at base. You see, a major publisher can make or break a book. If it wants to propel it to the top of the lists, it can. But if it gets bored with a title, or the marketing team doesn't like the title, or if there's a major staff shift at the publishing house prior to publication (this has happened to me twice and in both instances the novel tanked), the title will be DOA. 

But today authors have a choice. We can publish traditionally or independently (this is not to be confused with vanity publishing which is criminal). Or, like me, we can do both. Used to be I would put out a story or a short novel via Amazon KDP and it was sort of a fun sideline that made me a few bucks per month. I was more of a traditionalist back then. But now things have been reversed. Traditional publishing has become more of the sideline, while the books published under my own label provide me a nice living. 

Come February 2018, I'll have a new hardcover thriller released to the world. Sure, I'll get the reviews, I'll be in the bookstores, I'll do the signings in NYC, and it will all be fun. I might even get a movie deal out of it. As a writer, I will be validated. Hopefully I'll earn out my advance. But like the old days, I won't lose sleep over earning it out. Financially speaking, the books I own all the rights to are doing the heavy lifting. Have I mentioned rights argument yet? I'll save that for another piece.

I imagine Mr. Schein's argument might revolve around the following: It's a terrible idea to self publish a business book. But that's not what it says in the article header. Fake news! But then, we live in an age where lies are considered truths and truths are reviled. 

For an article on why crime authors are going indie click HERE!



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 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. 


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!


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.


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.


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.



Sunday, June 4, 2017


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.