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. 


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Central America First Stop

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

Now how cool is that, travel lovers?

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

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

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


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

Here's a video snapshot:

Vaya con dios amigos...


Monday, May 29, 2017

Layovers and Tiger Woods

We all mess up now and again...
I've been up since 2:30 am, so if this seems like a bunch of garbled words, well it probably is. Add to that a couple shots of Jamesons, plus a Valium, and you get the idea. I'm heading down to Central America to research yet another Chase Baker pulp action thriller. Since the latest Chase Baker just arrived on the scene a month of two ago, Chase Baker the Dutch Diamond, and there's also one waiting to be edited, Chase Baker and the Spear of Destiny, this one will not be released probably until early '18.

I'm also close to 20K words into the first Young Chase Baker novel. It's a YA novel. My first. What a joy it's been writing in the teenage adolescent Chase voice. In some ways, it's much more of a challenge than the contemporary takes since the period is not only different (1979), the voice is different. Obviously, Chase isn't as slick, experienced, or as educated as he is now. But he is ballsy, if not too ballsy, and he is, as always, in trouble with the ladies. What's also interesting, is that his dad is alive in this series. In fact, his dad is younger than the contemporary Chase is now, yet he refers to him as his "old man."

Right now, the working title is Young Chase Baker and the Cross of the Last Crusade. A bit of a mouthful, but so what. It's my book, my show. In the meantime, my newest release is a new novella in the PI Jack Marconi series. Arbor Hill. Released this past Friday, it's already killing it, so grab a copy at any distributor from Kobo to Amazon, while it's priced to sell. Tomorrow, the price normalized.

Time for me to pack up the laptop and head down to the gate, with maybe a pit stop at the bar for one more Jamesons. Then a nap on the plane to Guatemala. And what the hell is this I hear Tiger Woods got busted for a DUI (dee wee)? I leave for a few hours and the whole world goes to hell. Well, poor Tiger is living proof that greatness is not immune to the occasional screw up. I wish him well, and that he gets his shit together fast, which I'm sure he will. Watch for the media to blow this whole this out of proportion. Oh, well, the mainstream media outlets gotta keep moving those Pampers and Budweiser Beer...

Thanks God I'm not driving.

See yah next stop...