Categories
Archives

Posts Tagged ‘Vincent Zandri’

postheadericon First Chapter Reveal: The Guilty by Vincent Zandri

The GuiltyTitle: The Guilty
Author: Vincent Zandri
Publisher: StoneGate Ink
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 465
Format: Ebook
Language: English

Purchase at AMAZON

Jack Marconi is back. In The Guilty, Jack finds himself investigating a local restaurateur who’s not only obsessed with the sexy, dark romance novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, he’s accused of attempting to murder his school teacher girlfriend. As the now brain-damaged young woman begins recalling events of that fateful winter night when she was allegedly pushed down the front exterior stairs of a West Albany mansion, she becomes the target of the angry foodie/sex-obsessed boyfriend once again. Only this time, he’s cooking up a plot to keep her silenced forever.

In the Beginning…

…she falls for him as fast and hard as a plane crash. He has that devastatingly immediate effect on her, and she swallows up everything about him, like a woman dying of an incurable thirst.

But then, he is so different from her now, ex-husband.

This man…this ambitious young man…he is so different from the tight, pit-in-the-chest-loneliness relationship she’s endured for six long years. This man isn’t at all like the man she married. This man is kind with his words, caring in his actions, tender with his touch. When he makes love to her, he does so unselfishly and with a power so focused on she and she alone, it takes her breath away.

There are other wonderful things about him.

He is kind to her little boy. He’s the kind of man to buy the little guy a train set for no reason at all other than it’s a beautiful sunny Sunday. He plays with the boy. Cowboys and Indians. Reads with the boy. Carts him off to the movies. Shares Happy Meals with him. In some cases, he is more dad than his real dad.

He is exceptionally handsome, in possession of the deepest green eyes she’s ever before seen on a man. A tall, slim but not skinny, muscular build, and thick, wavy, red/blond hair that just screams for her to run her hands through it. She considers herself an attractive young woman with her shoulder-length brunette hair and deep-set brown eyes. But not deserving of a man with his out-of-this-world looks. She feels blessed.

Unlike her ex, who is a writer, time to him is not a commodity or something to be greedily horded. His generosity and selflessness seems to know no bounds, as if God placed him on this earth for she and she alone.

It’s the same when it comes to money.

He’s taken her places her husband couldn’t begin to afford. Weekends at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City. A full week in Paris. Deep sea fishing and nude sunbathing in Aruba. Dinner at the most expensive restaurants, and shopping at the best stores. Garnet Hill, West Elm, Bloomingdales, Prada…He even bought her a new car. A fire engine red Volvo station wagon which he claimed would be a safer ride for she and her little boy than her five year old Toyota Carolla.

For the thirty-eight year old grammar school teacher, he is like a green-eyed dream come true. A knight in pure shining armor who has rescued her from a life of never quite making ends meet, from a husband who chooses career over family, from days filled with boredom and nights chilled by despair. For the first time ever, she has snagged the man of her dreams and she is not about to let go. She will do anything for him.

Anything.

But then things change.

Not in a dramatic, earth shattering way. But subtly. He begins to ask her to do things for him. Things that surprise her when they come out of his mouth. Especially when he asks her to do them with a smile on his face.

That. Smile.

She’s never before heard of people doing the things he’s talking about. Correction…she’s heard of them before, but only if she’s happened to see them on late night cable TV or read about them in some shady, bestselling erotica novel. But then, the things he’s talking about are worse than those things. They involve other things besides human flesh on human flesh. They involve tools of wood, glass, leather and steel. They involve chants and pain and spirits summoned from anywhere but heaven. He doesn’t demand for her to do these things with him. He merely asks her to explore the idea of them with him. To explore the possibilities. To explore the depths of her sensuality. In a word, he feels the need and the want to share her.

She feels at once shocked and afraid. But then she feels confusion too. She reasons with herself that perhaps he is just being playful. Deviant, but playful. That there is no harm in what he is suggesting. She’s an adult and so is he. So long as it happens amongst consenting adults, what harm can come of it? Still, she resists.

But he keeps asking her to share herself. Day after day. Night after night. He never lets up. Her beautiful man, he is determined.

Other changes begin to occur.

Physical changes.

His already thin physique becomes thinner, more veiny, his muscles more pronounced. The retinas in his striking green eyes always seem to be dilated now. As if he were secretly experimenting with some new drug or drugs. He rarely trims his fingernails, preferring now to grow them out like claws. And his teeth: He’s doing things with his teeth. Having his incisors sharpened so that when he opens his mouth, he resembles a vampire.

The changes cause more and more anxiety in her. But she chooses to ignore it. He is still so kind to her. To her boy. So loving and protecting. She doesn’t want to ruin what they’ve built together. She doesn’t want to break the spell. She decides to keep her mouth shut and carry on like her life is all wine and roses.

Then one day he reveals a secret.

He takes her by the hand, leads her downs the stairs into the basement. There he reveals a hidden room.

The. Room.

He reveals the room to her and all the room contains.

It makes her dizzy at first. So dizzy she thinks she might pass out. There are the four windowless, red-painted walls, the concrete floor with the drain positioned in the middle, the strange devices hanging on metal hooks, the video cameras, the lights, and the strangest thing of all: a large, heavy wood, spinning wheel balanced atop a ball bearing-topped pilaster. A wooden wheel with four heavy leather straps attached to it that can accompany a fully grown human being. Standing inside the door opening, she feels as if she is looking into a medieval dungeon.

“I had this constructed for us,” he whispers. “Because I love you.”

Her knees grow weak, her legs wobbly.

She fears she will faint.

But then he takes her into his strong arms and smiles that smile. That’s when he tells her wants to show her something else. Something very special. Releasing her he raises up the sleeve on his right arm to reveal a long, white, gauze bandage held in place with strips of white surgical tape. Reaching out with his left hand, he slowly, tenderly, peels away the bandage. What he exposes is as shockingly wonderful as that room is shockingly frightening.

It’s a new tattoo.

But not just any tattoo.

This tattoo contains no artistic rendering. No red hearts with arrows piercing them. No Indian heads. No tribal insignias, wings, crosses, dragons, stars, or angels. This tattoo contains only a name.

SARAH…inked in deep black, with rich scarlet droplets of blood dripping from each letter.

For her, the tattoo isn’t just decorative body paint. It is instead a declaration of the purest love. The tattoo means he is declaring his devotion and his love for all eternity.

“You don’t have to do this if you don’t want,” he says, his blue eyes shifting from her, to the sex room, and back to her. “I’ll understand completely. If you like, I can close up the secret room for good.”

She slowly turns away from him, focuses on the heavy wood wheel, and as much as it pains her to even contemplate being strapped to it with other people watching…watching and doing things to her and themselves…she can’t help but begin to feel a hint of excitement beginning to run through her veins and between her legs. It’s as if in the revelation of this basement space, along with her lover’s new tattoo, a tiny door inside her has been pried open. The room and all it contains, might still bring out the fear in her, but her love and desire for him is so much stronger.

“If it will please you,” she whispers, “I will do it for you.”

With that, he once more takes her into his arms, holds her hard against his chest, his hands forming tight, angry fists, his sharpened incisors biting down into his lip, piercing the flesh, drawing blood.

“Till death do us part,” he whispers into her ear.

Chapter One

Harold Sanders didn’t look like a world renowned architect who was said to be richer than God. He looked more like the grand master or head priest for one of those new, pray-for-profit, storefront Christian churches you see springing up all over the suburbs these days.

But then what the hell did I know?

I was neither world renowned nor was I rich and I only believed in God when it was convenient. Like when someone had the business end of a pistol barrel pressed up against the back of my head for instance.

I guess, in some ways, not being rich or famous made me feel sort of sad, but in other ways provided me with an odd sense of comfort. As if in all my anonymity and humble earnings was planted a kind of peace and, dare I say it, Zen. Who wants to be rich anyway and not have to work for a living? I wouldn’t know what the hell to do with myself.

I was still trying to convince myself that it would suck to be rich and failing miserably at it when Harold Sanders crossed his long thin legs and cleared his throat. Not like it required clearing. More like he was insisting upon my undivided attention without having to actually ask for it. And considering he was the only other person occupying the room besides myself, and knowing how deep his pockets must be, I gave it to him.

“Naturally, I’ve done some checking up on you, Mr. Marconi,” he said with a tight-lipped smile, his tone patronizing. Like an elementary school principal to a newly arrived fifth grade transfer. For a brief instant, I felt like reaching across my desk and backhanding that smile right off his cleanly shaved face. But then I once more reminded myself of those deep pockets.

We were sitting in my first floor converted warehouse office space/apartment with the door shut and the view of a sunbaked Sherman Street looking positively magnificent through the old floor-to-ceiling, wire-reinforced, warehouse windows. It hadn’t rained all summer long and what had originally been termed a “temporary dry spell” by the Albany meteorologists had evolved into a full blown drought, complete with a lawn watering moratorium and hefty fines or, even jail time, for those who broke them. It was so hot and dry in the city that the drug dealers who almost always hung outside my front door rarely bothered coming out during the overheated daytime hours. A situation which must have pleased the very rich and very accomplished Mr. Sanders upon his arrival to my downtown address in his brand new black BMW convertible.

“Please call me, Keeper,” I said while painting on my best shiny happy smile. “All my friends and enemies do.”

“You survived the Attica uprising as I understand it,” he said, re-crossing his legs. Like I said, he dressed himself in the manner of a new wave priest or maybe even a successful pop culture artist like Richard Prince. But not poorly. If I had to guess I would say his black leather lace-up boots, matching black gabardine slacks, and cotton blend T-shirt didn’t originate from the local Gap outlet. More like a high-end clothier in Florence, Italy. The same place he would have purchased his round, tortoise shell eyeglasses, and maybe even the same place his thick, shoulder-length salt and pepper hair was coiffed. I tend to notice these things since giving up the prison warden life to become a laminated license-carrying private dick.

I leaned back in my swivel chair, locked my hands together at the knuckles, brought them around the back of my head for a head-rest.

“I was just a kid fresh out of high school. A brand new corrections officer. Attica was the largest American versus American slaughter since the Civil War. Not counting the abominable Indian wars of course, which were much worse. From a genocidal point of view.”

He smiled. Probably because I’d somehow managed to use the words abominable and genocidal in the same sentence.

“Why so young?” he asked.

“I didn’t feel the college path was right for me, and I definitely didn’t want to go to Viet Nam, so my dad pulled some strings.”

Sanders smiled, like we were both a part of the same old boy crony circuit of which I most definitely was not. What I didn’t tell him is that I would go on to score an undergrad degree in English. Took me six years of night classes, but I got through it.

“Sometimes it pays to have parents who can afford us a proper start in life, even if that start is on the nice side of a set of iron prison bars.”

“My dad was a construction worker,” I said. “He used to get drunk and lose at poker to the guards from Coxsackie Correctional.”

Sanders smile melted into a sour puss, like he’d just farted by mistake. Made one wonder if he was as liberal as he appeared. Or maybe he just liked to portray himself as a liberal.

“Just as well,” he said. “Both my lawyer and the Albany police force spoke highly of you. Said you were a fine prison supervisor and now you are a very competent and very mature private detective.”

“Awe shucks. Now you’re embarrassing me.”

“They also said you were a bit of a jokester.”

“You mean like a wise ass.”

“Yes, indeed. Must be a requirement in your profession.”

“You have no idea,” I said, bringing my hand around and adjusting the ball knot on my tie so that it hung Lou Grant low under my white, open-necked button-down. “So how can I be of service today?”

He reached down towards his black booted feet, took hold of a leather briefcase that didn’t have a handle or a shoulder strap. He flipped open the fine leather lid and slid out a collection of newspaper clippings bound together with an alligator clip. He handed them to me from across the desk. I leaned forward, reached my hand over the desk and took them from him.

“You’ve no doubt heard about my daughter, Sarah, and her recent troubles,” he said. “Troubles with her fiancée, the restaurateur, Robert David, Jr.”

I knew that if I told him I had not heard about his daughter’s troubles that he would find me ill informed, and therefore no longer a candidate for whatever job he wanted me to take on. So, considering his expensive tastes and the fact that he might consider laying a hefty retainer on me, I played along.

“I’m sorry,” I said, taking a bit of a gamble. “I know how hard things must be for you as of late.”

“Thank you,” he said, genuinely pleased with my reaction. Score one for Keeper Marconi, former English major.

While we were quiet for a reflective moment, I did my best to speed read the first couple of graphs on the top-most clipping which bore the headline: MANNY’S OWNER UNDER INVESTIAGTION IN FIANCEE HEAD INJURY CASE. It was about Sarah Levy, now divorced from the local writer, Michael Levy. Seems she’d taken up with the aforementioned young restaurant owner and gotten herself into some trouble which culminated in her landing in the Memorial Medical Center in a coma after suffering severe head injuries.

Truth be known, I had indeed heard about this case after all. It made the local vine not necessarily because of Sarah’s injuries, which were very bad, but because of the suspicious nature under which they might have been sustained on the property of one of Albany’s richest and most eligible bachelors.

“You think Robert David Jr. hurt your daughter on purpose?” I posed to Sanders.

He nodded.

“The young man claims that she slipped on the ice outside his West Albany home at two in the morning. Which would be a fine explanation had he immediately called 911. She was unconscious and bleeding from a ruptured cranial cap for God’s sakes.”

Ruptured cranial cap…

“But he didn’t,” I said, staring down at the photo of the happy couple that was published along with the top-most article. He was young and clean looking, with wavy if not curly reddish/blond hair and striking, if not spooky green eyes. She was also bright-eyed, her brunette hair long and lush and parted neatly over her left eye which was brown. The two reeked of optimism and youth, even if the paper cited David’s age as forty one and Sarah’s as thirty eight. Not exactly the youth of the world but then, love is a many splendored thing. Until the splendor spoils. Or in this case, splits it head open.

“Why didn’t he call 911?” I said.

“I wouldn’t be sitting here if I knew that.”

“Who have you been speaking to at the APD?”

“A detective by the name of, Nick Miller. While they have obvious evidence of a violent event, they have no leads or evidence of a violent crime having been committed. See how that works, Mr. Marconi? On top of all that, the Davids are exercising their 5th Amendment right, which means they have the right to remain silent. That’s exactly why he suggested I contact you.”

“So I can do his work for him,” I said, not without a grin.

“Perhaps that is a secondary motive on Detective Miller’s part. As I understand it, the police force is over-extended these days and the wealthy Davids rather generous in their annual police benevolence contributions.”

“I’m shocked that you’d suggest the Davids purchase their own particular brand of Albany law and order.”

He re-crossed his legs again. Did it with class and more than a little bit of joie de vivre.

I sat back in my swivel chair again. Did it with blue collar toughness and cynicism. Keeper the hard-ass gumshoe.

“Your daughter is recovering from her injuries?” I pressed.

“She is currently in Valley View Rehabilitation Center in Schenectady. She has no short term memory nor any recollection of the event which occurred nearly six months ago now.”

“Is she still engaged to Mr. David?”

“They have since ended their engagement,” he said, his Adams apple bobbing up and down in his neck.

“Who ended it?”

“The young man did. It was the polite thing to do. Under the circumstances.”

“In other words, you’re suing the shit out of him.”

More bobbing of the Adams apple along with some rapid eye blinking. I’d definitely stepped on the architect’s exposed nerve endings.

“Yes, I’ve entered into a civil suit with him.”

“How much you going after?” I said, leaning back up against my desk, grabbing hold of a Bic ballpoint, jotting down the words, “law” and “suit” in neat Keeper Marconi scribble. Felt good putting that English degree to work.

“Forty million,” he said, with all the casualness of a man revealing the score on a Yankees/Red Sox double-header.

“I see,” I said. “Your lawyer’s name?”

“I don’t think–”

I slapped the pen down, raised up my head, my brown eyes locked with his bespectacled gray/blue eyes.

“Look, Mr. Sanders,” I said, “if we’re going to work together, we have to get something straight right off the bat. I’m going to have to trust you and you’re going to have to trust me. I’m going to be asking a lot of personal questions of you, your wife, your grandmother if you got one. I might even interrogate the family dog. For sure I’m even going to interview your daughter for what it’s worth. But the point is, when I ask you a question, I expect a straight answer and I expect it immediately. Got it?”

He swallowed something. It looked like fear or respect or both. I went with both.

“My lawyer’s name is Terry Kindler,” he said. “And I don’t have a dog at present.”

I sat up straight, picked the pen back up, jotted down the name “Kindler” even though I’d personally known the litigator for years. Marconi the conscientious.

“I’m going to need to talk with Kindler right away. Miller too. In the meantime, you have any theories as to what happened on that cold night in February? The love birds been fighting? They not been getting along the way the soon to be betrothed should?”

“I believe Robert David Jr. hit my daughter over the head many times with a blunt object and did so in a heavily inebriated state. He then tried to cover it up by saying she fell on the ice.”

“Why was she trying to leave at two in the morning on a cold winter’s night? She have children from her first marriage?”

“A sweet little boy, Sam. But he was staying with his father.”

“The novelist,” I said.

“Yes, the novelist. I suspect she was leaving because they were fighting. Robert has himself one heck of a temper.”

“That so?”

“Yes, it is so. A devilish temper. I believe he hit her and nearly killed her. But instead of calling 911, what does he do? He calls his father, Robert Sr., who drives to the house, stuffs my daughter into the back seat of his car and then proceeds to the emergency room not at the more capable Albany Medical Center, but to a smaller, very incapable hospital on the outskirts of town.”

“Memorial Medical Center,” I say. “North Albany.”

“Indeed.”

“Stinks,” I said.

“Overwhelmingly,” he said. “Positively pungent.” The way he pronounced “pungent” was with a hard G. An English major notices these things.

“Two hundred per day, plus expenses. Under normal circumstances, I request a retainer of twenty-five hundred. I consider these normal circumstances.”

His eyes went wide, but only for a brief second.

“Seems a little…excessive.”

“Not if you’re a world famous architect who makes millions and who’s looking for forty million more.”

We both chewed on that for a while, staring one another down from across my desk. Until he slowly grew a smile, obviously interpreting my crack as a compliment masked in sarcasm. He cocked his head forward as if he was going to have to be good with my prices or else hit the bricks.

“Get what you pay for I suppose,” he said, reaching into leather satchel, pulling out his checkbook and a genuine Mont Blanc pen.

“Money sings like an angel, Mr. Sanders,” I said, “and I love to listen to those angels.”

He wrote out the check, leaned forward, set it onto my desk beside the newspaper clippings. Then he stood back up.

I got up, came around the desk. I asked him for a card. He found one in his wallet and handed it to me.

“My cell is on there. Call me day or night. I’m not travelling right now, so you can find me either at my Albany office or at my home in Bethlehem just outside the city.”

I didn’t need for him to explain where the little town of Bethlehem was located. I knew it as a rich suburban haven filled with upwardly mobile and liberally educated white people like Sanders. I took a quick glance at the card.

Sanders Architects, Engineers, and Interior Designers. Offices in Albany, New York City, and Hong Kong. I thought about my own humble business. Marconi Private Detective Services. Office inside a formerly abandoned Sherman Street warehouse in downtown Albany, where the locals sold cocaine and ecstasy right outside my front solid metal door. But I wasn’t complaining. At least it was all mine. My little kingdom on this big blue bitter earth.

I stuffed the card into the interior pocket of my blue blazer, my hand brushing up against the butt of my shoulder-holstered Colt .45, model 1911.

“I’ll be in touch,” I said.

He held out his hand. I took it in mine and squeezed. Soft, thin, sweaty…Maybe even metro-sexually sweaty.

“Oh my,” he said. “You must work out.”

“I train with weights and run.”

“How often?”

“Everyday.”

“Explains your exceptional shape for a man having solidly reached his middle years.”

“I try and I still feel like I’m twenty one.”

“Keep trying,” he smiled, releasing my hand. “We don’t get any younger.”

“Not unless India is right about reincarnation.”

I was still staring down at the perspiration Harold Sanders left behind on the palm of my hand as he casually exited my office.

  • Share/Bookmark

postheadericon Literarily Speaking September 2011 Book Panel: “Agents: Do we need them to get published?”

The Literarily Speaking Book Panel talks to authors on different subjects regarding books, book industry topics, book selling, book promotions, and whatever catches our fancy. Today’s topic is agents. I’m sure everyone knows in order to get into the “big houses,” you need an agent.  That goes without saying.  That’s the first thing aspiring authors do when they finish a book – send queries to loads of agents hoping they’ll be the next best thing.  Unfortunately for most, their next best thing might not be your next best thing and it leaves the author wondering what to do next.

We asked our panel today what they did when they finished their book.  Did they look for an agent or go for it on their own?
Our Distinguished Panel of Authors
Lucas TrentRICHARD BLUNT is the author of the fantasy novel, Lucas Trent: Guardian in Magic. He is currently working on his second book in the Lucas Trent series. You can visit his website at www.lucastrent.com.

Visit him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lucas_trent and Facebook at www.facebook.com/people/richard-blunt.

* * *

Mary Carter 5MARY CARTER is a freelance writer and novelist.  The Pub Across the Pond is her fifth novel with Kensington. Her other works include:  My Sister’s Voice, Sunnyside Blues, She’ll Take It, and Accidentally Engaged.  In addition to her novels she has written two novellas: A Very Maui Christmas in the best selling anthology Holiday Magic, and The Honeymoon House in the best selling anthology Almost Home. She is currently working on a new novel for Kensington. Readers are welcome to visit her at www.marycarterbooks.com. Visit her at Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-Carter-Books/248226365259.

* * *

Lilian DuvallLILIAN DUVAL lives with her husband George, a native of Singapore, in a small house in New Jersey overlooking a large county park. They have two sons and a daughter, all independent and ambitious, and several cats. She’s an amateur classical guitarist and enjoys attending concerts and plays in New York City. But writing has always been her calling. In her own words, “The most enjoyable activity I can imagine is to invent some characters, make them a little larger than life, set them bickering and thrashing against each other and their fates, and enact a fictional resolution that makes more sense than the chaos and unpredictability of our complicated lives.” Lilian’s latest book is You Never Know: Tales of Tobias, an Accidental Lottery Winner. You can visit Lilian’s website at www.lilianduval.com. Connect with her on Twitter at @lilianduval and Facebook at Lilian Duval.

* * *

Carole Eglash-KosoffCAROLE EGLASH-KOSOFF lives and writes in Valley Village, California. She graduated from UCLA and spent her career in business and in teaching. In 2006 her husband, mother, and brother died within a month of one another, causing her to reevaluate her life. She volunteered to work with the American Jewish World Service and was sent to South Africa to teach. She returned there a year later, having met an amazing array of men and women who had devoted their lives during the worst years of apartheid to helping the children, the elderly, and the disabled of the townships. These people cared when no one else did and their efforts continue to this day. It is their stories that needed to be told. They are apartheid’s unheralded heroes and The Human Spirit is their story. You can visit her website at www.whenstarsalign-thebook.com or connect with her at Facebook at www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553077163.

* * *

Tamara ElizabethTAMARA ELIZABETH is a speaker, author, self love coach, radio host, a master motivator of women in transition, conductress of motivational seminars, professional photographer, small space designer, lover of social media, mother of 5, and a fabulously loveable woman after her first 50 years. She is determined to create a revolution of women by empowering them to look in the mirror and discover their true loveable reflection.  Her journey has been a rocky one of late and she has had to start her life again at fifty.  From this process I wrote a book – Fabulously Fifty and Reflecting It! – Discovering My Loveable Me. Visit her website at www.moximize.me. Follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/Moximize_Me and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/moximize.

* * *

Nemo JamesNEMO JAMES dreamt of becoming a professional musician from the first time he picked up a guitar following a talent content disaster. Thought of by his friends as being the person most likely to make the big time he turned professional but was continually side tracked by the need to earn a living from music. Just a Few Seconds, A Story From the Hidden World of Music and Beyond is an autobiographical account of his life in the music industry. His journey takes him all over the world from private gigs for the rich and famous to the roughest pubs. Starting in the late sixties when heavy rock was born, through to the 1980’s and 90’s when discos and electronics decimated live music dance halls. Just a Few Seconds is an amusing and heartrending story of perseverance showing how the road to success can lead us down the strangest of paths. You can find Nemo James at his website, www.nemojames.com Visit his tour page at Pump Up Your Book!

* * *

Cheryl MalandrinosCHERYL MALANDRINOS is a freelance writer, children’s author and editor. Her first children’s book, Little Shepherd, was released in August 2010 by Guardian Angel Publishing. She is also a member of the SCBWI. Cheryl is a Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book, a book reviewer, and blogger. She is also a former contributor for the Writer2Writer eZine. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two children. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl at her newly redesigned website http://ccmalandrinos.com/ or visit the Little Shepherd book blog at http://littleshepherdchildrensbook.blogspot.com/.

* * *

Jaime McDougall 2JAIME MCDOUGALL is a citizen of the world, currently loving life in beautiful country Victoria in Australia. She loves eating sushi, kidnapping her husband and naming her pets in honour of science fiction authors. She has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: High School: The Real Deal and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Campus Chronicles. She has also enjoyed writing a column called ‘The New Australian’ in local newspapers as well as various articles online.

Echo Falls is her first paranormal romance novel and is available on Kindle, in print and at Smashwords. You can visit her website at InkyBlots.com

* * *

Greg Messel 3GREG MESSEL has written three novels and three unpublished memoirs. He published his premiere novel “Sunbreaks” in 2009, followed by “Expiation” in 2010 and “The Illusion of Certainty” in 2011. Greg has had a newspaper career as a columnist, sportswriter and news editor. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist. Greg also spent many years in the corporate world as a Financial Manager. He now devotes his energies to writing at his home in Edmonds, Washington on the Puget Sound just north of Seattle, where he lives with his wife, Carol. You can visit his website at www.gregmessel.com.  Connect with Greg on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gregmessel or Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.messel.

* * *

Dorothy_ThompsonDorothy Thompson is CEO/Founder of Pump Up Your Book, an innovative public relations agency focusing on online promotions.  Her book, Romancing the Soul, was published by Zumaya Publications in 2004 and will be releasing a new one, The Soul Mate Triangle: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Soul Mate Relationship, in 2013.  She is also the author of the ebooks, How to Find & Keep Your Soul Mate, 101 Facts You Never Knew About Soul Mates and A Complete Guide to Promoting & Selling Your Self-Published eBook. Dorothy has appeared nationwide on many radio programs such as Lifetime Radio and Single Talk, Barry Eva’s A Book and a Chat, and has been quoted in many publications including the supermarket celebrity tabloid, “OK!”. Her articles have been published in many online and print magazines, including the Eastern Shore News and the Daily Times, both Gannett publications.  Dorothy lives on the beautiful island of Chincoteague, Virginia.

Theresa WallaceT. M. WALLACE lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and four children. At eight years old, she won a short story contest and was published in a local newspaper. She wrote her first book at ten years old called “The Adventures of Pinkstar,” about a stuffed rabbit who magically comes to life. T. M. Wallace received her Master’s degree in English Literature from Carleton University and a degree in Education from the University of Ottawa. In 2010 her latest book, Under A Fairy Moon, was a quarter-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel awards. Under A Fairy Moon will be published by Brownridge Publishing in June, 2011. You can visit her website at www.tmwallace.com.

* * *

Vincent Zandri 4VINCENT ZANDRI is the No. 1 International Bestselling author of the thrillers THE INNOCENT, GODCHILD, MOONLIGHT FALLS, THE REMAINS and CONCRETE PEARL. An MFA in Writing graduate of Vermont College, he has was a Stringer for The Albany Times Union Newspaper, and a contributor to New York Newsday, Hudson Valley Magazine, Game and Fish Magazine, and more. His short fiction has appeared in many of the leading journals and magazines, Orange County Magazine, Buffalo Spree, Negative Capability, The Maryland Review, Rosebud, The Best of Rosebud, Lost Creek Letters among them. His novels, stories, and journalism have been translated into many foreign languages including the Dutch, Japanese, French, Russian and Turkish. A freelance photo-journalist, foreign correspondent, and Blogger for RT, Globalspec and International Business Times, he divides his time between New York and Florence, Italy. For more on the author, go to WWW.VINCENTZANDRI.COM.

* * * * * * * * * *

September 2011 Book Panel Agent Discussion:

Richard Blunt: “Having an agent surely helps when you are trying to score with the big publishers, but having an agent is not a guarantee as well and finding one is quite a challange. On the other hand with modern technology, like print on demand and ebooks, getting into the big houses is no longer a must have for a book to make it to the market. In the end it comes down to this: How good can a big house do marketing on your book? In my experience the costs for an agent would be pretty much as high as going for self publishing in the first place, and the only really advantage you have with a big publisher is that they have way more pull on marketing than an author can have by himself. So, do you need an agent? No… Would you like to have one? Depends on who you are and how you work. It might defintely make your work easier… I didn’t have one, and I wouldn’t have liked one either…”

* * *

Mary Carter: “I looked for an agent. I bought the Literary Marketplace Digest and followed the guidelines. I made sure to only query agents who represented the genre of book I had written. I made sure I had a complete manuscript before querying agents, and I made sure I had done all I could with it before submitting it. I even had ten friends read it and give me feedback first. I wouldn’t want to be in this business without an agent. They have your back. They handle the contracts. They give you feedback and support. I know it’s really hard to get an agent. I’m sure I would have explored self-publishing if I hadn’t been able to get one. John Grisham self-published his first novel. We all know how that story ended. Of course he transitioned to having an agent and a publishing house, so maybe all roads lead to Rome. I think the digital age is transforming self-publishing and distribution, there is no doubt about that!”

* * *

Lilian Duval:  “You Never Know is my first book, but before that, several of my short stories were published in magazines. To find a publisher for this novel, I queried 217 literary agents, sent requested submissions to seven of them, waited nearly a year for some of them to respond, and watched the months roll past my somewhat date-sensitive book. Then I decided to find the best and most reputable independent publisher to bring the book to life, and I’ve had no regrets. Wheatmark, Inc. did a great job, and the book couldn’t be more professionally prepared. The whole process took longer than I expected, but the wait was worth it: seven months. Because I have no talent for selling, I hired an internet marketing company specializing in books, but was disappointed that their actual work didn’t match their promises. Then I hired a much better internet marketing company, Pump Up Your Book, and a highly-regarded, traditional offline public relations specialist from New York City. The lady from New York charged me an arm and a leg, and for all that, I ended up with ONE single review from a top critic—nice to have, but at what cost! Of these three publicists, the only good one was Dorothy Thompson of Pump Up Your Book, and she is truly excellent. She gets the word out, about, and all around, and she does it with heart. To my fellow writers: don’t worry that you’re wasting your time writing, because storytelling will always be an integral aspect of humanity, whether as paperbacks, Kindle, narration, theater, cinema, or some new medium not yet invented. Good fiction helps us make sense of life and its unpredictable adventures. Literature is good for the soul!”

* * *

Carole Eglash-Kosoff:  “My first book, The Human Spirit – Apartheid’s Unheralded Heroes, was self published without an agent but I had an agent on my first novel, When Stars Align.  I followed their suggestions by paying a professional editor.  They tried for well over a year to find a publisher but they were unsuccessful.  Finally, in frustration, I self-published it as well.  I believe an Agent would be a terrific thing to have but in this changing world of publishing, unless you are already a name, getting one is difficult.”

* * *

Tamara Elizabeth:  “From the time I put pen to paper till I held a printed copy of my book in my hand for my eyes to see, I have done the process totally on my own. I never even considered an agent. I chose to invest my time and money in a mentor. She was invaluable to me. She was the voice of reason, helped me think outside the box, she gave me generous doses of tough love while all the while being my biggest cheerleader. She saw the gift I had to share with the world; a message to share with the hope of helping one woman with her struggles to overcome the many challenges that go hand-in-hand with life’s transitions. She encouraged me to get my message in the hands of woman as quickly and easily as possible. So I decided to use a print-on-demand company to publish my book, and I am using my blog, social networks and this virtual book tour to promote my book. I haven’t looked back and I encourage others with a desire to write a book to venture forward as well. Everyone has a gift to share with the world and there are more than enough readers waiting to devour your tidbits of expertise.”

* * *

Nemo James:There is no question in my mind that an author should try and find an agent but with my first book, Just A Few Seconds there was no point as who was going to bother with an autobiography by an unknown musician regardless of how good it is?  To stand any chance of attracting an agent I knew I had to self publish. I was delighted to get some excellent reviews including one from one of the UK’s top journalists so three months ago I approached six agents who obviously regard hitting the reply button and pasting “no thanks” as being too much for them. Coming from a musical background it seems to me that agents play the same role as music publishers in that their sole purpose is to exploit your work. Even if you are accepted it is like winning a lottery where the first prize is a ticket for another lottery. I have had it up to here (I am slapping myself on the top of my head) with people telling me they love my work but there is no market for it so it was a great relief to discover how easy it is to go it alone these days. Fortunately, I have had a lot of experience with computers, self promotion and banging my head against a brick wall so everything is moving along nicely. I do have an advantage over most writers in that I can cross promote my books with my music. I have noticed a dramatic increase in my music since my book was published and that is creating a lot of interest in my book all of which has led to some enquires about live performances. So in answer to the question: if you can find an agent great, if not don’t worry about it. There is more than one way to skin a live crocodile.”

* * *

Cheryl Malandrinos:  “When I finished, Little Shepherd, I already knew who I wanted to put it under contract. Since Guardian Angel Publishing (GAP) is a small independent publisher, I didn’t need an agent at the time. That didn’t mean, however, that I wasn’t going to pursue finding an agent in the future. It’s been a year since Little Shepherd’s release. In the interim I’ve kept learning about the industry and my craft. I’ve followed some agent blogs, taking the advice and insight to heart. Next month, I will have the opportunity to pitch two of the five stories I’ve written to agents. I’m not sure what will come of it. What will I do if they reject them? Perhaps I’ll submit them to my current publisher. I love working with GAP and the support from them and my fellow authors is tremendous. What will I do if either is accepted? Do a happy dance (please don’t watch, it will be ugly).Do we need agents to get published? No. But the expertise they bring to the table is what makes them so valuable. If I am fortunate enough to secure an agent, I look forward to working with an industry professional who can help me shape my career.”

* * *

Jaime McDougall:  “When it comes to publishing these days, the question isn’t “Do we need agents to get published”; the question is “Do you want an agent to help you get published”. In today’s changing publishing world, agents still play an important role to those who want to be traditionally published. I chose not to pursue an agent mainly because of the time involved not only in the sale but in the production of a book. I understand the necessity of the time frame, but I knew I could indulge my love of learning new things and produce a book in a relatively short amount of time by doing it myself. There is no doubt that I could have and could still benefit greatly from an agent. Yet I see this as a great adventure full of things to learn.”

* * *

Greg Messel:  “There are two choices–working your way through the traditional publishing houses or becoming self published. I have talked with authors who have published with traditional publishing houses and have even had best sellers, who say it can take them a year to try to get an answer on their manuscript. Then the answer can be “no.”  It is exceedingly difficult to break into the big houses and get an agent. I used to enjoy walking into a bookstore and seeing the thousands of books. Since I’ve been writing novels, I find it demoralizing to walk into a big bookstore and see thousands of books. I find it especially disheartening to see some of the garbage that gets published. I’m not sure how you get noticed by agents. Meanwhile, as a writer I can finish one novel a year, get it self published and out there, then continue writing. Otherwise, I think writers can end up with a pile of manuscripts and a pile of rejection letters. Today is a new day. There are other ways to get published.”

* * *

Dorothy Thompson: “I actually had an agent.  Then fired her.  In order to get into the big houses, I would have had to cut out half my book and do away with the ‘new agey’ stories in Romancing the Soul, an anthology I put together focusing on the soul mate relationship.  It didn’t sit right with me so I had to let her go.  Was it a mistake?  Not to me because dissecting my book wasn’t in the cards.  I ended up going with a small press, Zumaya Publications, instead.  The publisher had the same focus I had and I knew it was a marriage made in heaven.  Will I ever want an agent?  Just depends.  I hear so many stories about it taking so long to even get your book looked at, agent or not.  Not saying I wouldn’t turn down a million dollar deal, but publishing has taken a new persona.  My opinions have changed as well as the options as to how I want to be published.  Frankly, if I had to choose between any method of publishing, I’d choose self-publishing because I like to have that control.”

* * *

T.M. Wallace: “When I finished writing Under A Fairy Moon, I decided to go for it on my own. There was no question of my getting an agent to shop this book around. I write children’s books and Young Adult fiction, and thankfully, these are areas in the industry that still allow authors to work directly with publishers.  Although it takes a lot of time and energy to attend writers’ conferences and keep sending your manuscript around to various publishers, I think that it is worth the extra effort to maintain control over your creative property. Also, it is becoming almost as much effort to find a good agent as it is to find a publisher! It is doubtful that you will an agent that believes in your book as much as you do. I say, if at all possible, take the matter into your own hands and represent yourself.”

* * *

Vincent Zandri: “For big traditional deals with major publishers, agents are still crucial if not critical. My agent just negotiated a major deal for me with Thomas and Mercer which includes their buying out five of my  in-print novels currently with StoneHouse/StoneGate Ink, including the bestsellers THE REMAINS and GODCHILD and the Top 10 Bestseller Amazon Kindle, THE INNOCENT. The deal was so complicated and dealt with legalities so far above my head that I never could have handled it alone. Plus my agent was able to  secure me a very nice advance and an unheard of percentage for E-books. But as for working with small indie presses, like my relationship with StoneHouse/StoneGate Ink, often times the publisher and I negotiate a deal on our own. The contracts are simple and the relationship very personal. So in that sense, I can enjoy the best of both the traditional agented world and the non-traditional unagented world. However, take heed: many indie presses are fly-by-night operations, so beware. My indie press is one of the most successful and respected in the country and fully approved by my agent. So do your homework if you’re going to go after an unagented deal. If you harbor any doubt whatsoever about what you’re getting into, then by all means, work with an agent. ”

* * *

Do you have an opinion? Leave your comment!

* * *

  • Share/Bookmark

postheadericon How to Sell A Lot of E-Books by Vincent Zandri

Guest Blogger 2

For those of you who are not familiar with Vincent Zandri, I have to tell you this guy knows how to sell ebooks.  Not just a few, but thousands.  So it brings me great pleasure to have him here with us today at Literarily Speaking talking about what he does best.  ;o)

How to Sell A Lot of E-Books

by Vincent Zandri

A friend of mine who is a published author and great writer just emailed me about what it takes to sell a lot of books. E-Books in particular or so I’m assuming. At first I was ready to dig in with a two page email about marketing and social media and how important it is to maintain a constant presence on these digital mediums. I was also ready to discuss the importance of blogging two or three times a week on topics ranging from how to write a great noir novel to what I did on my summer vacation. Then there’s Kindleboards, Goodreads, Crimespace, yadda…

But then it occurred to me that no matter how much I talk about these issues, none of them are really responsible for selling books, so much as they simply spread the word about your books being available for sale on the free market. Social media can definitely help you sell books but it can also hurt sales when you abuse and over-use it. After all, you shouldn’t be directly selling your books in a social media setting. You should be selling you the human being.

Concrete PearlSo then, how was it I’ve been able to sell hundreds of thousands of e-books so far this year?

Jeeze, I’m not entirely sure how I did it.

But I do know this. If you want sell a lot of units (as they are lovingly called in the trade), you need to write great books (luckily my friend has this going for him already). You need a great cover (like me he’s traditionally published so he has to rely on his team to produce this for him), a great product description and a very good if not “cheap” yup “cheap” price. As for the rest of the equation, you have to rely on a little luck here.

But then, how can you improve your luck as an author who wants to sell lots of books? The best possible way is simply to write more books. Authors like Scott Nicholson and JA Konrath are making thousands of dollars every month not on just one title, but upwards of 40 titles. These guys are sitting on a novel and rewriting it over and over again for two or three years. They are writing them in a matter of two or three months (please don’t take this as gospel, I’m merely trying to make a point).

But Vin, you say, how is it possible to write a great novel in two or three months?

My answer is this: can you produce five good pages per day, five days a week? Or are you worried about writers block? If you believe in writers block, you must learn to change your beliefs. Writers block doesn’t exist. If you’re a writer your job is to show up at work everyday and write. Granted, there will be days when Mr. Plot and Mr. Story and Mrs. Brilliance don’t show up for work, but that’s just the nature of any business. You go with the flow and you keep plugging away anyhow. You take up the slack and plow through the day.

Or here’s an idea that might help.

Whenever you feel like it will be impossible to write yet another book, think about your dad or mom. What did they do for a living while they were raising you trying to put clothes on your back, Hamburger Helper on your dinner plate and video games in the Play Station? If your dad was a lawyer, did he ever get lawyer’s block? If your mom was a nurse, did you ever hear her complain “I’ve had absolutely nothing to nurse about for the past six months”? Of course not. Your parents showed up for work five days a week because that was their job. Sometimes it went well, and on occasion, when the proper support staff didn’t always show up, things were hard. But by the year’s end, they produced a body of work for which they were paid a significant sum.

Back to my point about selling books.

There is no tried or true answer to selling books. Sales flow in cycles. I seem to experience a few weeks of stellar bestselling sales every three or four months or so, probably due to Amazon marketing campaigns. My last great months was in July. I’m not due for another Top 100 Kindle Bestseller months until October or November. But then, this is just a guestimate. I have no control over Amazon marketing, other than signing on with their publisher, Thomas and Mercer, which I’m about to do.

So, in the final analysis, there is only one tried and true method of increasing your chances of selling books. That tried and true method is to show up for work everyday, and write more of them.

Vincent Zandri 4Vincent Zandri is the No. 1 International Bestselling author of the thrillers THE INNOCENT, GODCHILD, MOONLIGHT FALLS, THE REMAINS and CONCRETE PEARL. An MFA in Writing graduate of Vermont College, he has was a Stringer for The Albany Times Union Newspaper, and a contributor to New York Newsday, Hudson Valley Magazine, Game and Fish Magazine, and more. His short fiction has appeared in many of the leading journals and magazines, Orange County Magazine, Buffalo Spree, Negative Capability, The Maryland Review, Rosebud, The Best of Rosebud, Lost Creek Letters among them. His novels, stories, and journalism have been translated into many foreign languages including the Dutch, Japanese, French, Russian and Turkish. A freelance photo-journalist, foreign correspondent, and Blogger for RT, Globalspec and International Business Times, he divides his time between New York and Florence, Italy.

For more on the author, go to WWW.VINCENTZANDRI.COM.

  • Share/Bookmark

postheadericon Literary Speaking Book Panel: “Social Media: How Authors Sell (or Not) Their Books on Social Networks”

The Literarily Speaking Book Panel talks to authors on different subjects regarding books, book industry topics, book selling, book promotions, and whatever catches our fancy.  Today we are talking about social media and how we use social media to promote books.  Is social media all hype?  A big waste of time?  Are authors selling books this way?

Our Distinguished Panel of Authors

Chad Coenson 2Chad Coenson was born in Orlando, FL, but he can barely remember that and pretty much spent most of the years following his birth in a nomadic state of perpetual motion until finally finding a home in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two dogs.   He has a degree in creative writing from the University of Arizona and spends his time “trying” not to take life too seriously.  Despite his generally adventurous nature and willingness to attempt almost anything, he has never had the opportunity to cast the first stone. Me and Bobby McGee is Coenson’s first novel.

Buy the author’s book from Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Ron FritschRon Fritsch is writing and publishing a tetralogy asking whether history and civilization might’ve begun and proceeded differently than they did. He’s doing it not because he hopes to become rich and famous but because he wishes to share his story with the world.  His latest book is Promised Valley Rebellion.

Buy the author’s book from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound


J.J. HebertJ. J. Hebert’s debut novel, Unconventional (paperback), became an Amazon.com best-seller in three categories on July 19, 2009. The Kindle version has been the #1 Inspirational Book in the Kindle Store numerous times. J.J. is also the founder of MindStir Media, which helps authors successfully self-publish and distribute books worldwide. Currently, he lives alone in New England, home to some of the greatest sports teams in the world (for now), where he’s at work on his latest novel, Saving Dad, and a children’s book, Weepy the Dragon.

Buy the author’s book from Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Jennie HeldermanJennie Helderman is a 2007 Pushcart Prize nominee and co-authored two nonfiction books, Christmas Trivia, Hanukkah Trivia and writes profiles for magazines. Previously she chaired the editorial board of the 120,000 circulation alumnae magazine of Kappa Kappa Gamma, The Key. Helderman is married to a retired newspaper publisher; is the mother of two and grandmother of three; and has recently moved from Alabama to Atlanta.Her latest book is As the Sycamore Grows.

Buy the author’s book from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Thom HunterThom Hunter is a Christian married father of five who fought, fell and rose again to fight against unwanted same-sex attraction. He encourages others to press on, moving beyond excuses, to claim responsibility and power through the Grace of God. Thom believes the church has failed in its responsibility to provide hope and healing for those who struggle with sexual brokenness.Thom is a former newspaper and magazine editor, journalism professor and speech-writer. He spent 20 years with AT&T as a public relations executive and chief of staff. He now writes and speaks full-time. Surviving Sexual Brokenness: What Grace Can Do is his third and most recent book.

Buy the author’s book from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Doug JacobsonDouglas W. Jacobson is an engineer, business owner and World War Two history enthusiast. Doug has traveled extensively in Europe researching stories of the courage of common people caught up in extraordinary circumstances. His debut novel, Night of Flames: A Novel of World War Two was published in 2007 by McBooks Press, and was released in paperback in 2008. Night of Flames won the “2007 Outstanding Achievement Award” from the Wisconsin Library association. Doug writes a monthly column on Poland’s contribution during WW2, has published articles on Belgium’s WW2 escape organization, the Comet Line and other European resistance organizations. Doug’s second historical novel, The Katyn Order, which will be released in May, 2011, focuses on one of history’s most notorious war crimes, the Katyn massacre.

Buy the author’s book from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Carla MaldenCarla Malden grew up in Los Angeles, California. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from U.C.L.A. with a Bachelor of Arts in English and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society for her academic achievement. She worked extensively in the film business, both in production and development. Along with her father, Academy Award-winning actor Karl Malden, Carla co-authored his critically acclaimed memoir, When Do I Start?, published by Simon & Schuster. AfterImage:  A Brokenhearted Memoir of a Charmed Life delivers a fiercely personal account of her battling the before and surviving the after of losing her husband to cancer. It offers an alert for an entire generation:  this is not your mother’s widowhood.

Buy the author’s book from Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Allison MooreAllison Tammy Moore’s own rise from being labeled a habitual offender to prominence deems her an expert on personal success. Born to teenage parents and ending up being adopted, Allison lived a life plagued with abuse, addiction and crime. With a criminal history, low self esteem and no one to guide her, Allison went to prison and developed her own method of recovery by redefining success.  Allison Moore is Co-Founder of Meet Her At The Gate, an organization devoted to assist women exiting prison. Allison is also the author or several magazine articles and her first book entitled: I Was I Am….How to Move Beyond Your Past to Create an Extraordinary Life.

Buy the author’s book from Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Elle NewmarkElle Newmark is an author whose books are inspired by her travels. Her work has been published into 16 languages and she lives in the hills north of San Diego with her husband, a retired physician. She has two grown children and five grandchildren.  Her latest book is The Sandalwood Tree.

Buy the author’s book from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound


Christine NorrisChristine Norris is the author of several works for children and adults, including the Library of Athena series and the Zandria duology. She has also done several English adaptations of novels translated from other languages. She reached a new level of insanity by attending Southen Connecticut State University Graduate School’s Information and Library Science program, so that someday she, too, can be a real Librarian. She currently resides somewhere in southern New Jersey. Her current book is a YA/Fantasy titled The Mirror of Yu-Huang.

Buy the author’s book from Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Hippie received a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Utah and worked briefly as a licensed mental health therapist before leaving her job to pursue writing. She prefers ice cream in the winter, beanies in the summer, and only plays sports when properly guilt-tripped. She currently lives with her husband and two dogs in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Her latest book is Snowflake Obsidian.

Buy the author’s book from Amazon | Indiebound

Alexandrea WeisAlexandrea Weis began writing at the age of eight. In college she studied nursing and went on to teach at a local university. After several years in the medical field, she decided to pick up the pen again and began her first novel To My Senses. Since that time she has writen several novels and sold two screenplays (White River and Blood Will Tell). Blood Will Tell is currently in pre-production with Buyer Group International. Her work has been critically acclaimed and is continually growing in popularity. Alexandrea Weis is also a permitted wildlife rehabber and works rescuing orphaned and injured animals. She recently has been working to aid oil soaked birds in the Gulf disaster.  Her latest book is Recovery.

Buy the author’s book from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Nzingha West is a special education specialist working in New York City. As an instructor Nzingha’s expertise has been featured onRadio Disney, 106.7 Lite Fm in New York, News 12 Connecticut, NPR Radio and several parenting magazines. Before starting her education career Nzingha worked in several labs as chemist. Nzingha has honed her education expertise over 10 years in New York City schools and private companies. Nzingha has worked with several prestigous schools such as The Harlem Children’s Zone, University Settlement, The New York Foundling, The American Museum of Natural History and The City College of New York among others.  Her latest book is Is My Kid Stupid? Avoiding an Educational Disaster .

Buy the author’s book from Amazon

Paula WisemanAfter working several years as research chemist, Paula Wiseman was blessed with the opportunity to stay home with her children and follow the writer’s path. She has been published in several Cup of Comfort devotional books and in Life Savors for Women. Contingency: Book One: Covenant of Trust Series, her debut novel, spent time on the Amazon.com Christian Fiction bestsellers list, and was also the #1 Hot New Release in Christian Fiction. Indemnity is her second novel.

Buy the author’s book from Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Terri WolffeRecently, Terri Wolffe was challenged by the question: “What is it that you’ve always wanted to do, but never allowed yourself to do because of fear?” The resounding answer for her was: “I’ve always wanted to write an historical romance novel!” Pouncing on that flash of inspiration, she set out to try her hand at writing her very first historical, erotic romance. Terri admits that she had to overcome fears such as, “What will people think? What will people say? What if you fail and fall flat on your face?” Three months later, Desperate Desires was born.

Buy the author’s book from Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Vincent ZandriVincent Zandri is an essayist and freelance photojournalist, and the author of the recent bestsellers, The Remains, Moonlight Falls and The Innocent . His novel As Catch Can (Delacorte) was touted in two pre-publication articles by Publishers Weekly and was called “Brilliant” upon its publication by The New York Post. The Boston Herald attributed it as “The most arresting first crime novel to break into print this season.” Other novels include Godchild (Bantam/Dell) and Permanence (NPI).

Buy the author’s book from Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Dave ZeltsermanDave Zeltserman won the 2010 Shamus Award for ‘Julius Katz’ and is the acclaimed author of the ‘man out of prison’ crime trilogy: Small Crimes, Pariah and Killer, where Small Crimes was picked by NPR as one of the five best crime and mystery novels of 2008, and Small Crimes and Pariah (2009) were both picked by the Washington Post as best books of the year.  His recent The Caretaker of Lorne Field received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, calling it a ’superb mix of humor and horror’, and has been shortlisted by ALA for best horror novel of 2010. His latest book is Dying Memories.

Buy the author’s book from Amazon | Barnes & Noble |

The term “social media” had become the latest buzz word lately.  In your opinion, why do you think social media such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, has gained in popularity in regards to the book world?

Chad Coenson: “There is no question that social media has become a prevalent part of the modern world, so much so that many people have actually forgotten how to communicate verbally altogether.  And though the muting of auditory ignorance is in itself of notable esteem , it is not the only positive effect social media has had on society.  From my perspective, it has also become an extremely useful tool for the book world.  I say this because, unlike films and music which can be previewed with more ease and generally have a broader marketing reach, there are tens of thousands of books released daily across the globe and because of the sheer quantity of titles, it is nearly impossible to keep track of what works have recently been published, especially as it pertains to lesser known authors.  In parallel, there has also been a major flood of self published literature in the last few years which adds another layer of complexity when the time comes for readers to select their next book of choice.  The combined challenge herein is essentially a twofold cliché: it all comes down to time and money.  What this means is that shy of a mutated librarian in a permanent isolation chamber being fed amphetamine intravenously, no one has time to sift through the infinitely expanding pile of available literature.   Furthermore, these days, next to no one, aside from professional gamblers and the US national treasury, has funds that can be frivolously thrown around without the guarantee of at least a semi-worthwhile investment.  More simply put, endless agendas limit the amount of free moments an individual can spend browsing the physical and digital book shelves, and the current economic climate prevents people from taking a chance on an author they are not familiar with. It is for these reasons that emerging authors, small press and self published, and even several established authors, have embraced social media as a modernized means for marketing .  It is the most convenient and cost conscience way of promoting one’s work as it allows for mass communication, “friendly recommendations”, and acts as an outlet for writers to relay updates regarding existing and upcoming releases.  In turn, social media also gives readers the opportunity to express their opinions on literature, write reviews,  and suggest books to others in their “network”.  This virtual relationship is a sort of symbiotic, bi-product of social media that perpetuates literacy beyond the New York Times Best Seller list, in this age of TMA (text-message-acronyms) and CliffsNotes.  It is this concept in concert with the fore mentioned public’s lack of time, as well as the “cautious spending revolution”,  that I believe has prompted the ever evolving book world to welcome the rise of social media, advocate its usefulness to others in the community, and leverage it as an alternative publicity resource.”

Ron Fritsch “I’m not convinced that the book world has figured out yet how best to use the social media. If you’re already a famous person, or at least a writer who is familiar to a significant number of potential readers, the social media can obviously inflate your celebrity far faster than anything humans have previously invented. If you’re a nobody, on the other hand, pushing your first novel, what can you do with the social media except to prepare for the moment when all your marketing and other efforts let you take off? I have a website and blog for that purpose.”

J.J. Hebert “Social media popularity continues to grow in the book world because actively participating in social media yields positive results … Authors are now able to reach and communicate with lots of readers all over the world…without spending a dime. I believe social media is particularly crucial for the indie author, who usually lacks a large marketing budget and brick-and-mortar distribution, and therefore should use social media to ultimately drive traffic to online bookstores to generate sales.”

Jennie Helderman: Every author wants her book to go viral. It happens. It’s possible. All she has to lose is time. And even if she doesn’t hit a jackpot, she spreads her book’s name recognition and possibly increases her network. It’s a new, trendy way to market for free. And we all know how vital marketing and promotion are. I don’t see a downside to using social media. I do see some people wasting vast amounts of time with it. One author on a recent panel in Atlanta said she spent three hours every day on Facebook. I also see social media as one of many avenues to reach book buyers. I wouldn’t put all my effort in one place.”

Thom Hunter “As odd as it may seem, and even though we may not meet some of our “friends” or “followers” face-to-face, a trust factor builds. Over time, they can see whether we are legitimate, truly believe in what we are doing and whether others believe we are credible. Even people who communicate in little bites here and there eventually want to settle down with something substantial. They like to read what their friends are reading. The social networks allow for immediate feedback and reaction. They play an important role in the development of word-of-mouth sales because links can be shared so easily and comments can spread quickly. “

Douglas W. Jacobson: “I think they are popular because it is so easy. You can just sit down at your computer and in a few moments connect with hundreds of people anywhere in the world. There is no easier, and less costly, way to get out the story of your book.”

Carla Malden: “People have a multitude of likes and interests in books – as many tastes as the tens of thousands of books released each year.  Social networks allow for word of mouth so that people can find books that align with their personal tastes.  It’s like attending a technological cocktail party where you gravitate toward a clump of people discussing a book or writer of interest to you.  Books inspire people to communicate ideas about them.  Social media offers another venue for that kind of discussion which, in turn, elevates the value of books in the world.  In other words, it facilitates the sharing of the reading experience.  One would hope that social media emerge as another venue for the deepening of the reading experience – the creation of a synergetic experience of a book. ”

Allison Tammy Moore: “I absolutely believe such social media options has gained popularity in regards to the book world because it allows you to reach the masses as well as a specific target market audience, with very little or no cost at all.  The connections made through such outlets are phenomenal. It gives authors a presence that may not have otherwise been known.”

Elle Newmark: “Because everybody is on it.  Authors can reach more people with one well-placed blog than they used to reach on a whole book tour.  It’s hard to justify the huge amounts of money on traditional publicity when you have a soapbox like Facebook.  And it’s convenient for the reader, she can go from one website to another, checking out a book, and end up on Amazon to buy it – all without ever having moved out of her chair.”

Christine Norris: “I think that we’ve become this interconnected society, where we can reach anyone anytime. On one hand it’s good – I talk to relatives that live far away more than ever. On the other hand, sometimes we need to unplug. As far as the book world, books are evolving from just a printed form of media and into an ‘experience’. I think readers enjoy being able to connect with those authors whose books they love, finding out they’re real people an able to ask them questions in 140 characters or less, knowing there’s a real chance of getting an answer. It’s interactive, and that’s the beauty of it! I’m finding more and more that blogs are getting shorter in their entries, possibly because people are more into the bite-sized tidbits; they don’t want to sit and read a long blog post. I’ve been trying to make my own shorter, unlike this answer! I also think that a savvy author can keep readers interested in their work through social media. A book takes awhile to write, generally, and it can be a year or more between books. An author can use social media to keep a readers interest, so their name sticks in the reader’s mind, their next book event is right there in front of them, their pre-publication teasers can entice readers to pre-order the book. If the author is excited about the book, the readers will be too!”

The Hippie: “I think social media sites have gained interested in the book world because you have to go where your customer is and this is where the masses are headed. “

Alexandrea Weis: “It is a wonderful way to gain an audience for books and to interact with that audience. Social media networks bring people closer, especially authors and fans of their work. Unlike book signings and public speaking engagements, I feel the social media format gives individuals a faster and more personal approach to interacting. Communication is also not dependent on travel and a certain day or time. There is much more flexibility and a more open forum for feedback from readers.”

Nzingha West: “Overall, the internet has gained in popularity. Sites like facebook, twitter and LinkedIn offer people a way to connect that is cheap, free and instant, so why not capitalize. Also, sites like facebook, twitter and LinkedIn allow you to meet with individuals and learn about businesses and catch sales etc. Really most people enjoy these sites because of their convenience. When it comes to books, promotion is a big deal. The more you use these sites the more people learn about you, your book and your cause overall. Almost everyone uses or has used the internet in the past. It really offers a cost effective, smart way to promote your book and find followers and readers.”

Paula Wiseman“Social media provides a “win” for readers and writers. Readers are passionate people, and social media provides an open invitation to voice their opinions. Writers get to share their work in a much more personal and interactive way. Writers are more accessible than in the days before social media, and the opportunity to engage and build relationships with readers is a welcome innovation.”

Terri Wolffe: “One of the novel features of all the social media platforms is that it allows authors to have immediate contact with our readers. To be able to instantly communicate with someone whose works you’ve read and enjoyed allows one to feel connected in a sense. This contact enables the reader to have the sense that they know the author. I believe this in turn translates to more sales over time.”

Vincent Zandri: “Is the Pope Polish? Oh, that one died. My bad. Well, yes, enormously so…We don’t have to schlep our books at bookstores anymore to an uninterested trickle of customers. now we can promo our books via the social networks to a willing global audience! Way better!”

Dave Zeltserman: “As more and more books are being bought online, and as the digital book market explodes, it makes more sense for authors to have an online presence. I’m also noticing readers want more of a connection with authors now, and I’m often having facebook chats and answering emails from readers.”

Of all the social networks out there, which one is your favorite and how do you use it to promote your books?

Chad Coenson: “Before directly answering this question, I must admit that until the weeks before my first novel was published, I avoided social media networks in the same fashion that cows avoid Taco Bell meat; I dabbled in it ever so slightly, but was never really a major part of the whole thing.  But as the release date for Me and Bobby McGee approached, and my lack of involvement in the cyber society was revealed, my publicist at the time more or less ordered me to create a Facebook page, something I had vowed to myself never to do out of stubborn principle and relative fear of “The Grid”.  Reluctantly breaking my vow, I somberly signed up and established my online profile.  Within minutes all of the things I had anticipated dreading about social media were fully verified.  Useless status updates, friend requests from people I had intentionally lost touch with, invites to participate in collective-life-wasting events…  Facebook was rapidly ratifying my assumptions and the continued existence of my membership was certainly in question.  And it continued to remain in a potentially temporary status, that is, until the day my book became available.  The moment I posted the news about the release, the buzz began and within a day I started to see links to purchase my book appear on other folks pages, some that I knew and quite a few that I didn’t.  From that point on I began to post any news pertaining to the book, or to my writing in general, on my Facebook page and I continue to do so whenever I can.  I have also used this particular social medium to post video excerpts from the book, radio interviews ,and  live presentations to name a few other means of promotion that are commonly propelled through my social network.  The ability to do this from a single spot has certainly allotted me the opportunity to reach a much larger audience, which I found to be especially helpful in the larval stages of publicity.”

Ron Fritsch: “I try to connect with other independent authors, book reviewers, and book marketing experts in order to find out what I’ve got to do to bring myself to the point where I want to be—and to meet some fascinating people along the way. I’m much more active on book-world blogs than I am in the social media listed in the previous question. The time for them will come.”

J.J. Hebert: “Goodreads.com, which is the #1 social networking site for book lovers. As of now, the site consists of around five million members. I prefer this social network over Facebook (the runner-up, in my opinion) because Goodreads is completely geared toward people who love to read. Marketers would call that “targeted marketing.” I promote my book Unconventional via Goodreads by participating in the free author program. More information can be found here: http://www.goodreads.com/author/program. “

Jennie Helderman: I use Facebook primarily right now—my book has a page—but I haven’t made the most of social media yet. Had good intentions, but other priorities bumped it aside. I may have made a mistake in not giving it more attention from the beginning. I’m in the process now of learning, evaluating my options and moving forward.”

Thom Hunter“At the moment, Facebook is my favorite. I post links to my blog there and receive great feedback. Many of these contacts eventually turn into book buyers. It’s important, however, to truly be a “friend,” on Facebook and not just a marketer. I read and comment on a lot of links and status updates and do so remembering that the person who wrote them is real and wants attention, not just a marketing pitch. I am working to develop a better feel for Twitter, but Facebook is my favorite.”

Douglas W. Jacobson: “I think Facebook is the easiest to use, it reaches more people, and you can target specific groups that are most likeley to be interested in your subject.”

Carla Malden: “I have been dragged kicking and screaming into this world, I must admit.  I am pleased with my website; I suppose because I was able to exercise control over its look and content.  I don’t tweet and I’m not on Facebook, but my daughter created a Facebook page for my book.  That’s her arena and I’ve been happy to let her manage it for me.  As I get closer to the release of my book, I may check on the page more regularly to see what kind of response it’s getting.

Allison Tammy Moore: “Of all the social networks, my favorite is Facebook. For me it allows the most interaction, easy to use, and gives the most options for promoting.”

Elle Newmark: “I guess Facebook is the biggest and then Goodreads.  It’s mostly a matter of just showing up.  Be there on a regular basis to keep an online presence fresh.”

Christine Norris:I am a big Facebook and Twitter user. I think LinkedIn is less social and more business. I use them to update people about events, talk about writing, and just be myself, which I think is part of promotion, that readers can touch that little bit of something they might not usually get to. I can also post links to my blog through my Twitter, and I syndicate my blog through my Facebook Author Page. I use Tweetdeck to be able to update any of my accounts or all of them at once.”

The Hippie: “I like Facebook because it’s more interactive than Twitter, and those are the only two I use. Facebook also has more posting options and I’m not limited to cramming my thoughts into less than 140 characters.”

Alexandrea Weis: I would have to say I use Facebook the most. I have a page for my books and it allows people to follow updates on new releases, as well as posting reviews and any other pertinant material I may want to convey. When I was working on my second book, Recovery, I used my facebook page to post updates on the progress of the book, reveal the cover, and share early reviews with my followers.”

Nzingha West: “I personally love Facebook, I’ve tried twitter, but I haven’t perfected it yet. With Facebook, I’ve just started to use a service called North Social to help with my book promotion. I’ve also tried Facebook ads in the past and I plan to re-implement them in the future to assist with book promotion.”
Paula Wiseman:  “I use Facebook most of all. I have an author page and from there I’ve listed news, and reviews. Previewing quotes and chapters and audiobook samples from my upcoming book worked well, too. When the Kindle version of Contingency released at 99c, I ran Facebook ads which proved very successful because of the specific demographic targeting the ads offer. Also as a timesaver, my Facebook page is linked to my Twitter account so updates automatically post both places.”

Terri Wolffe: “For me, Facebook works best because it affords me a greater level of communication than just tweeting about something and hoping the network will read it. I use Facebook to promote in many ways and I’m able to comment/post on other’s pages as well.”

Vincent ZandriI’m more comfortable with Facebook. I think it was invented for 30-60 year olds. Twitter is crazy rapid, and LinkiIn is cool but kind of snoozy.”

Dave Zeltserman: “I’m a bit behind on the times and haven’t gotten on twitter yet, but I am finding that my readers like see me on Facebook to hear about what’s going and leave comments to me. But even with Facebook I haven’t gotten into it as much as I should yet.”

Do you think you have actually sold books because of social media?

Chad Coenson:Yes, and I actually know this for a fact.  It became explicitly evident when the Kindle version of my novel, Me and Bobby McGee, was released.  The paperback had been out for a few months before the electronic version became available and other than my own website, Facebook was the only other spot I used to announce this.  In the weeks that followed I watched my sales rank on Amazon improve steadily and it has continued to do so, a success which is at least partially related to the self promotion I have done via social media.”

Ron Fritsch: “I have no idea. It’s much too early in this phase of my independent publishing life for me to worry about that. It’s a good question for me to keep in mind, though, as the world and I move forward together.”

J.J. Hebert: “I’m 100% certain that I’ve sold MANY books because of social media. I’ve watched my sales rank climb as a result of social media campaigns. I’ve seen tons of sales receipts through Paypal from people I “friended” on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/jjhebert) as well as fans there. Many Twitter followers (I’m @authorjjhebert) have also purchased copies of Unconventional. And I haven’t even mentioned Goodreads … Members from that social network have purchased and reviewed Unconventional, helping my book gain exposure. Now that I mention reviews—I am able to trace many reviews back to friends/followers in my social media world. Those are reviews from people that otherwise would not have heard of Unconventional … Podcasting is another form of social media that I utilized early on by releasing Unconventional as a free podcast novel, meaning my book was serialized and offered online for listeners at no charge. That podcast novel edition attracted somewhere around 30,000 downloads and resulted in increased sales figures for the paid versions. Unconventional, the paperback and Kindle edition, has spent time on the Amazon.com bestsellers lists. The Kindle version has been the #1 inspirational book in the Kindle Store numerous times. I owe most of this success to social media and encourage all of my authors (I own MindStir Media, a self-publishing and book marketing company) to engage in social media.”

Jennie HeldermanMaybe. I hear from readers who are excited about my book and they’re spreading the word. I do think some new readers have come through social media. Chances are, though, they passed around the same book.”

Thom Hunter“I know I have because people have responded through the social media to let me know their reactions to Surviving Sexual Brokenness: What Grace Can Do. Several have reviewed it and a number of people from Facebook and Twitter purchased the book directly from my website by following the link. I’ve not sold huge numbers because it takes a little courage to order a book called Surviving Sexual Brokenness, but I can track a number of sales directly to social media contacts. Interestingly, I’ve also gained some contacts from people who read the book and then requested to be friends.”

Douglas W. Jacobson: “Absolutely. I track my ratings on amazon as one barometer and I can see the impact of being active on social media sites.”

Carla Malden: “I don’t know yet.  Books are sold through word of mouth.  The precise ways in which that word of mouth occurs are difficult to measure; it’s nearly impossible, I suspect, to gather numbers that pertain to word of mouth.  Some pre-orders for my book that have been received on Amazon are probably a result of the Facebook page.

Allison Tammy Moore: “Yes, I have actually sold books because of social media. It allows me the opportunity reach people all over the world with the click of a button. I am able to connect with people, develope a following, post about the book, create buzz and make people want to read more!!”

Elle Newmark: I know I have.  People have told me they saw my book on this or that site and, after reading reviews on Amazon, they bought it.”

Christine Norris: “Absolutely. I saw a marked increase in my sales rankings on Amazon when I started using Twitter, more than when I started Facebook. Once I started being more aggressive with FB, though, I did see some sales as well. Social media is kind of like any other promotion — you get out of it what you put in. That doesn’t always hold true, but it’s pretty close.”

The Hippie: “I know that I have, however, friends would likely buy my book anyways. Except without Facebook I would not have stayed in touch with so many people from my past and been given a forum to let all of them know about it.”

Alexandrea Weis: “Absolutely. I feel the word of mouth factor fostered by social media networks is priceless for a writer. People who read a good book and want to spread the word about it, can do so with social media. It is a fast, effective, and efficient way to reach a large amount of people in a short amount of time. I have seen the popularity of my first book, To My Senses, grow under the auspices of Facebook and Twitter. And it has definitely helped gain an audience for my second book, Recovery.”

Nzingha West: “I can say that I’ve sold some books because of blog exposure, but I cannot really say that I’ve sold books because of social media. I haven’t explored it as throughly as I could have. However, with my new knowledge of how to leverage social media, I definitely plan to explore it more thoroughly.”

Paula Wiseman: “I know I have. I’ve had readers tell me they bought the book because they saw the Facebook ad. My friends posted the book’s release on their profiles for me which led to sales. I’ve also heard from friends from years ago who picked up Contingency after seeing news about it on my profile page.”

Terri Wolffe: “I know I have sold books over 200 books via Facebook. And I have also made use of their direct advertising. Conducting a two-month marketing campaign with them caused a spike in my sales.”

Vincent Zandri: You gotta ask???”

Dave Zeltserman: “I have been. I’ve had 4 print books released since 2008, with them all getting nice attention, including Small Crimes being picked by NPR as one of the five best crime and mystery novels of 2008 and The Caretaker of Lorne Field being shortlisted by ALA last year for best horror book of the year, and that has gotten more people looking me up on Facebook and discovering more about my other books.”


Do you have any questions for our panel?  Let your comments or questions below!

  • Share/Bookmark

postheadericon Popular Noir Thriller Author Vincent Zandri’s ‘The Innocent’ in Top 100 Bestselling Books in Kindle Store

We are so proud to announce Vincent Zandri’s thriller noir The Innocent is in the Top 100 Bestselling Books in the Kindle Store at Amazon! Right now he’s holding strong at #4 but who knows how high he will climb!

The Innocent ebookFor Green Haven Prison Warden, Jack Marconi, Getting caught is simply not an option.

It’s been a year since his wife was killed. Ever since, he’s been slipping up at his job as warden at an upstate New York prison. It makes him the perfect patsy when a cop-killer breaks out–with the help of someone on the inside. Throwing himself into the hunt for the fleeing con, Jack doesn’t see what’s coming.

Suddenly the walls are closing in. And in the next twenty-four hours, Jack will defy direct orders, tamper with evidence, kidnap the con’s girlfriend–and run from the law with a .45 hidden beneath his sports coat. Because Jack Marconi, keeper of laws, men, secrets, and memories, has been set up–by a conspiracy that has turned everyone he ever trusted into an enemy. And everything he ever believed in into the worst kind of lie.

Vincent ZandriVincent Zandri is an essayist and freelance photojournalist, and the author of the recent bestsellers, The Remains, Moonlight Falls and The Innocent . His novel As Catch Can (Delacorte) was touted in two pre-publication articles by Publishers Weekly and was called “Brilliant” upon its publication by The New York Post. The Boston Herald attributed it as “The most arresting first crime novel to break into print this season.” Other novels include Godchild (Bantam/Dell) and Permanence (NPI). Translated into several languages including Japanese and the Dutch, Zandri’s novels have also been sought out by numerous major movie producers, including Heyday Productions and DreamWorks. Presently he is the author of the blogs, Dangerous Dispatches and Embedded in Africa for Russia Today TV (RT).

He also writes for other global publications, including Culture 11, Globalia and Globalspec. Zandri’s nonfiction has appeared in New York Newsday, Hudson Valley Magazine, Game and Fish Magazine and others, while his essays and short fiction have been featured in many journals including Fugue, Maryland Review and Orange Coast Magazine. He holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College and is a 2010 International Thriller Writer’s Awards panel judge. Zandri currently divides his time between New York and Europe. He is the drummer for the Albany-based punk band to Blisterz.

You can visit his website at www.vincentzandri.com or his blog at www.vincentzandri.blogspot.com. Connect with Vincent on Twitter at www.twitter.com/VincentZandri, on Facebook at www.facebooks.com/vincent.zandri?ref=profile and Myspace at www.myspace.com/vincentzandri.

Vincent will be on tour with Pump Up Your Book in May to promote another Kindle bestseller to be, Godchild! If you would like to review this book, email Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife@yahoo.com. Deadline for review inquiries end on April 25 so hurry!

  • Share/Bookmark

postheadericon A Day in the Life with Thriller Author Vincent Zandri

LS-DayintheLife
A Day in the Life is Literarily Speaking’s newest feature. Here we get a glimpse into our favorite author’s day-to-day life! Today’s guest is Vincent Zandri, author of the thriller novel, The Remains (Stone House Ink).

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Vincent ZandriA Day in the Life of Vincent Zandri
by Vincent Zandri

Being from New York, the night before the day in the life might go something like this: an evening dining at Sparks Steak House with a top literary agent. Say Suzanne Gluck. We might be joined by Woody Allen or Michael Connelly. Maybe even Tony Bourdaine. We’ll party into the wee hours after which our separate limos will cart us back to our spacious apartments on Upper Park Avenue. Mine sports a rooftop garden.

In the morning I’ll be awakened by the maid, who will bring me breakfast in bed at exactly 7 AM, along with the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. My beautiful, mini-skirted, 27 year old, brunette, Gold’s Gym slim, secretary, Zoe, will join me a for a coffee and offer up a briefing on the day’s activities, which will include writing time for the first couple hours, then a excise with my personal trailer and Pilates coach Edward. Following that will be a lunch meeting with a movie exec. Maybe Clooney if he’s in town, or Brad (we like to leave Angelina behind—she’s neurotic). On occasion, Steven will ask for a meeting, but he likes to meet at  Katz’s Deli down on Houston and that place gives me heartburn.

The Remains smZoe will of course make a block of time for me for afternoon writing but she’ll also have to include some interviews with reporters from the NYT, NY Post, Time, you name it. Naturally, a photo shoot or two will be included. I used to do a lot of TV, but not as much. They make you wake up too early. The day will end with Zoe making travel plans for a European tour for my new bestseller The Remains. We’ll hit London, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Istanbul, and more. A private jet will take us there….

Ok, I’m lying. What was your first clue? Ha!

What’s a real day in the life like for the real Vincent Zandri? Up at 6, at my writing desk in my boxer shorts, a cup of bad coffee steaming up the screen on my two year old laptop (I can’t afford a new one yet!). I’ll work on both fiction and journalism stories until about ten, then off for a run and quick trip to the gym. After that, I’ll be driving one of my three kids to some destination like school or the doctors. A lunch of Ramon instant soup will be consumed at my desk while writing. In the late afternoon maybe a rehearsal with my punk band The Blisterz. And in the evening, a quick beer at the local watering hole followed by dinner and bed. I spend part of the year in Italy, but the routine is similar except for the driving kids around part.

So there you have it, a day in the life of bestselling author, Vincent Zandri. I wish it were more glamorous. But I’m not sure I’d ever be able to afford the life I dramatized in the opening graphs of this blog. Or if such a life would even be good for me. But isn’t it pretty to think so.

You can visit Vincent’s website at www.vincentzandri.com.

  • Share/Bookmark

postheadericon The First Page: ‘The Remains’ by Vincent Zandri

LS-thefirstpage

The First Page is one of Literarily Speaking’s newest features. Here we get a glimpse into an author’s work and what better place to begin than the first page? Authors share their first pages and answer a few questions about why they started their books off the way they did. Today we welcome Vincent Zandri, author of the thriller novel, The Remains (Stone House Ink).

…………………………………………………….

The Remains smThe Remains
Vincent Zandri
The First Page

THE GUARD SERGEANT STANDS at the base of a four-tiered iron cell block, the angelic orange-red rays of the early morning sun shining down upon on him through the top tier chicken-wire windows.

Cupping his hands around his mouth, he shouts, “Joseph! William! Whalen!”

Inside a dark cell, inmate Whalen inhales his final wormy breath inside D-Block. He stands before the vertical bars. So close, the hooked nose on his hairless face and head is nearly pressed against the iron.

“Cry, cry, cry,” he chants quietly to himself. “Cry, cry, cry you naughty kittens.”

An abrupt electric alarm sounds. Metal slams against metal. The noise echoes throughout the concrete and steel prison block. But no one—not inmate or screw—notices it. When the barred door crashes open, the shock reverberates inside Whelan’s chest. It is the sound of freedom.

“Step forward,” shouts the guard sergeant.

There to greet him are two uniformed corrections officers. They will escort him along the gangway, down the four tiers to the first floor.

Having descended the metal stairs to a place called ‘between gates’, Whelan proceeds through a series of opened and closed barred doors, until he comes to Intake/Release.

A female Corrections Officer stands protected inside the barred window of the small brightly lit cubicle.

“Name,” she exclaims, voice detached, but sprinkled with anger.

“Joseph William Whalen,” speaks the inmate, not without a smile that exposes gray-brown teeth.

Bobbing her head in silence, the C.O. turns, locates the prepackaged materials that sit out atop her metal desk. Setting the plastic bag through the small opening beneath the bars she reads off a neatly typed inventory. “One wallet containing ten dollars cash, thirteen cents in coins. One neck tie, one ring of keys, one pocket-sized Holy Bible, one black-and-white photo.”

Slipping his hand inside the clear plastic bag, Whelan shuffles around the items until he comes to the white-bordered three-by-five inch photograph. He pulls it out, examines the faces of two pre-teen girls. Identical twins. In the picture they are smiling and laughing, as though playing for the camera.

Vincent ZandriThanks for visiting us, Vincent.  Can you tell us what The Remains is about?

Thirty years ago, teenager Rebecca Underhill and her twin sister Molly were abducted by a man who lived in a house in the woods behind their upstate New York farm. They were held inside that house for three horrifying hours, until making their daring escape.

Vowing to keep their terrifying experience a secret in order to protect their mother and father, the girls tried to put the past behind them. And when their attacker was hunted down by police and sent to prison, they believed he was as good as dead.

Now, it’s 30 years later, and with Molly having passed away from cancer, Rebecca, a painter and art teacher, is left alone to bear the burden of a secret that has only gotten heavier and more painful with each passing year.

But when Rebecca begins receiving some strange anonymous text messages, she begins to realize that the monster who attacked her all those years ago is not dead after all. He’s back, and this time, he wants to do more than just haunt her. He wants her dead.

The first page is perhaps one of the most important pages in the whole book.  It’s what draws the reader into the story.  Why did you choose to begin your book this way?

The prison release of homicidal child abductor Joseph William Whelan sets the stage for the nightmarish terror that’s about to begin for my protagonist Rebecca Underhill.

In the course of writing your book, how many times would you say that first page changed and for what reasons?

Not at all. Other than basic line edits, I had thought out how to start the novel a long time before writing it.

Was there ever a time after the book went to print you wished you had changed something on the first page?

No.

What advice can you give to aspiring authors to stress how important the first page is?

Your first words must bait and hook the reader like a juicy worm will a hungry fish. Lose them in the first two sentences and they will put the book down and never go back. There’re simply too many good books to be read in a single lifetime.

  • Share/Bookmark

postheadericon November 2010 Pump Up Your Book Authors on Virtual Book Tour

  • Share/Bookmark

postheadericon Interview with Vincent Zandri: ‘Welcome to the new world publishing order’

Vincent Zandri 3

Vincent Zandri standing in front of Lenin’s tomb, in Red Square, Moscow

October 2, 2008
Albany, New York

In the deep night, a woman sits down at her writing table. Fingering a newly sharpened pencil, she focuses her eyes upon the blank paper, brings the black pencil tip to it.
She begins to write.

Dear Mol,
I’ve been dreaming about you again. I don’t think a night has gone by in the past few weeks when I haven’t seen your face. Our face, I should say. The face is always in my head; implanted in my memories. The dream is nothing new. It’s thirty years ago again. It’s October. I’m walking close behind you through the tall grass towards the woods. Your hair is loose and long. You’re wearing cut-offs, white Keds with the laces untied and a red T-shirt that says ‘Paul McCartney and Wings’ on the front. You’re walking ahead of me while I try to keep up; but afraid to keep up. Soon we come to the tree line, and while my heart beats in my throat, we walk into the trees. But then comes a noise—a snapping of twigs and branches. The gaunt face of a man appears. A man who lives in a house in the woods.

Then, just like that, the dream shifts and I see you kneeling beside me inside the dark empty basement. I hear the sound of your sniffles, smell the wormy raw earth, feel the cold touch of a man’s hand. You turn and you look at me with your solid steel eyes. And then I wake up.

We survived the house in the woods together, Mol, and we never told a soul. We just couldn’t risk it. Whelan would have come back for us. He would have found us. He would have found mom and dad. Even today, I know he surely would have. He would have killed them, Mol. He would have killed us. In just five days, thirty years will have passed. Three entire decades and I’m still convinced we did the right thing by keeping that afternoon in the woods our secret.

When I see you in my dreams it’s like looking in a mirror. The blue eyes, the thick lips, the dirty blond hair forever just touching the shoulders. My hair is finally showing signs of grey, Mol.

I wonder, do you get gray hair in heaven? I wonder if Whelan’s hair burned off in hell? I wonder if he suffers?

All my love,
Your twin sister,
Rebecca Rose Underhill

Exhaling, the woman folds the letter neatly into thirds, slips it into a blank stationary envelope, her initials RRU embossed on the label. Running the bitter sticky glue interior over her tongue, she seals the envelope, sets it back down onto the writing table. Once more she picks up the pencil, brings the now dulled tip to the envelope’s face. Addressing it she writes only a name:

Molly Rose Underhill

The job done, the woman smiles sadly. Opening the table drawer, she sets the letter inside, on top of a stack of nine identical letters-never-sent. One for every year her sister has been gone.

Closing the drawer she hears her cell phone begin to vibrate, then softly chime. Picking it up off the desktop, she opens the phone, sees that a new text has been forwarded to her electronic mailbox. Fingering the in-box, she retrieves the message.
Rebecca is all it says.

Punching the command that reveals the name and number of the sender she finds “Caller Unknown.” The sender’s number has been blocked. Closing the phone back up, she sets it down on the desk. That’s when the wind picks up, blows and whistles through the open window.

“Mol,” she says, staring out into the darkness. “Mol, is that you?”

Omg, does that give you shivers or what?  When you think thriller, forget Alfred Hitchcock.  Zandri is Hitchcock reincarnated but with a fresher touch!

I loved Moonlight Falls, Zandri’s last thriller which became a Kindle bestseller before his virtual book tour was over in May, but this latest one, The Remains, which is already on the Amazon bestsellers list,  is unbelievable.

What is even more unbelievable is the fact people are now accepting the idea of reading books over e-readers.  Back when I was younger (many moons ago), there was no such thing as e-books or e-readers, but I’m really delighted there is now an alternative to reading books other than paper (which incidentally hurts our environment).  Not saying I don’t love curling up on the porch swing to catch up on my TBR pile with the latest paperback, but now I can go anywhere with my e-reader in which I downloaded my favorite book  in less than a few minutes and the fact that I’m paying oh so less for these enables me to buy even more.  Yes, Virginia, there is a such thing as e-books and they are wonderful.

Now for my special treat.  I interviewed Zandri to find out more about e-books and his views on the whole scheme of things.  If you want to download your copy of The Remains at Amazon in under 5 minutes and for only $2.99 (can’t beat that!), click here.

…………………………………………………..

Vincent ZandriThank you for this interview, Vincent.  Your book, The Remains, has just been released on Kindle, then the trade paperback will be released this fall.  How do you feel about having your book in this medium first and paperback later?

Well, to be more precise, The Remains is released first as an E-Book, which means it will be available on Kindle, I-pod, Smashwords, Nook, and just about any electronic device known to man and robot. The fact that it will be released first as an E-Book and later as paper makes perfect sense to me, for two reasons. The New York City big publishers I used to publish with release their books in just the opposite order, which tells me Stone House is doing something right. The old big houses have an antiquated system which still relies on a small percentage of sales revenues going to the author. They also are tied into that terrible system of allowing bookstores the option of returning books. I simply never understood the logic or the business model. By being released as an E-Book first, there is a strong likelihood The Remains will hit the Number One spot on Amazon or at least come close. That alone will fuel a very good print run later on down the line. I suppose for a more complete answer you would have to speak with my publisher and agent, but what I’ve told you comes pretty close to the mark.

Whose idea was it to do it this way and what is their strategy?

Again, you’d have to refer to the publisher. But like I just answered, bestselling electronic sales will fuel an excellent print run later on down the line. And since the printing method will be POD, it will be a responsible print run with zero returns. This new method of publishing also allows me a huge percentage of sales that I would have only dreamt about with the NYC Biggies. Finally, The Remains will be in print and available as an E-Book forever and ever. It will be the gift that keeps on giving. Welcome to the new world publishing order.

Do you think people are going to be receptive to reading your book on an e-reader rather than paper?

Initially some will, and some won’t. People like my parents and their generation, might prefer to wait until the novel is available in paper. Some people like myself, who own an extensive library, will prefer to wait until it comes out on paper. But those who live and die by their Kindles and IPods, they will be more than receptive. In fact, I’m frantically working on another novel, The Concrete Pearl, which will be a new series, in order to help feed their habit. But of course, first Stone House has to read and decide whether or not to take it on. By the way, I’m told that Kindle books and the like are outselling paper books by a margin of 6-1!

What’s your experience with ebooks?  Do you own an e-reader and, if so, have you ever read an ebook?  If not, have you read one through your computer?  Do you know anyone with an e-reader?

Well, I own a Kindle on my computer and I’ve downloaded the reader to my Blackberry. I’ve yet to read a book on Kindle, but as a journalist I fly to Europe and other destinations fairly often. Now, instead of packing six pounds worth of books, I’ll use my reader. When I get back, if I want to order those same books in hard or soft cover for my library, I will do so. Oh, and also, lots of indy publishers, Like R.J. Buckley for instance, who published my recent noir thriller, Moonlight Falls on Kindle and as a trade paperback, now forward galley proofs as electronic PDFs. So in that sense, I have already read my first novel in electronic format.

The RemainsRegardless of which format they choose to read your new book, I’m sure it’s going to be another Vincent Zandri winner.  How is it different from your first book, Moonlight Falls?  Everyone I have talked to fell in love with that one!

In technical terms, Moonlight Falls is my first noir thriller in a while. The first two, As Catch Can and Godchild, were published by Dell, and quickly made unavailable even after a mid-six-figure advance and awesome reviews like “Brilliant…” by the New York Post and “The most arresting first crime novel to break into print this season,” by the Boston Herald. In fact those two books are now considered noir classics in some circles and were recently included in an extensive history of noir written by Detroit author and noir critic, Heath Lowrance.

As for the difference between The Remains and Moonlight FallsThe Remains features a very strong, female protagonist, painter and painting teacher, caught up in a nightmarish situation. She’s simply different from Richard Moonlight in that she’s a little more controlled. She’s even got a real job! But much like Richard Moonlight, some of the life-and-death problems that stem from her past have now come back to haunt her. Or, in this case, come back to literally kill her. While Moonlight Falls is not necessarily a novel for everyone, due to its subject matter, style, and language The Remains is a far more accessible mainstream read for all sort of readers, ages and tastes. It’s still dark, still pile-driver plotted, still noir, but no one’s doing heroin in this one, if you get my drift. PG as opposed to R-rated.

I love (as you know!) the haunted looking house on the cover.  Why is the house significant?

That’s the place where my protagonist Rebecca Underhill and her late twin sister Molly, were abducted, tortured and kept in a basement 30 years ago by a murderer and serial rapist named Joseph William Whalen. Having been in prison all these years, Joseph is back on the streets and he once more wants to spend a little quality time with his one surviving girl. The image and the novel were inspired by the nightmares we’ve all had at one time or another in which you find yourself alone inside an abandoned house or building.

If you could compare your book to a movie, which one would that be?

Think Along Came a Spider meets The Blair Witch Project!

Thank you so much for this interview, Vincent.  Do you have any final words?

Final words? Is my computer about to explode in my face? Ha !!! LOL.

Ok, my final words are these: please check in to The Remains website (www.vincentzandritheremains.com) each and everyday beginning in mid June to take part in the Virtual Tour that is being run by the stunning and talented Dorothy Thompson and her fabulous Pump Up Your Books Promotions. Also, look for the new book trailer which will be coming soon. To check out the Moonlight Falls book trailer, see  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swD2-jAS03I

Thank you so much for your time in answering our questions, Vincent.  Godspeed to you!  Vincent will be on virtual book tour throughout the months of July to talk about his book, The Remains.  If you’d like to visit his official tour page where you can read more interviews and guest posts from this talented author, click here.

  • Share/Bookmark

postheadericon Thriller suspense author Vincent Zandri on virtual book tour July ’10

Vincent ZandriJoin Vincent Zandri, author of the thriller suspense novel,  The Remains (Stone House Ink), as he virtually tours the blogosphere in July ‘10 on his third virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

The Remains author, Vincent Zandri, is an award-winning novelist, essayist and freelance photojournalist. His novel As Catch Can (Delacorte) was touted in two pre-publication articles by Publishers Weekly and was called “Brilliant” upon its publication by The New York Post. The Boston Herald attributed it as “The most arresting first crime novel to break into print this season.” Other novels include the bestselling, Moonlight Falls,Godchild (Bantam/Dell) and Permanence (NPI). Translated into several languages including Japanese and the Dutch, Zandri’s novels have also been sought out by numerous major movie producers, including Heyday Productions and DreamWorks. Presently he is the author of the blogs, Dangerous Dispatches and Embedded in Africa for Russia Today TV (RT). He also writes for other global publications, including Culture 11, Globalia and Globalspec. Zandri’s nonfiction has appeared in New York Newsday, Hudson Valley Magazine, Game and Fish Magazine and others, while his essays and short fiction have been featured in many journals including Fugue, Maryland Review and Orange Coast Magazine. He holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College and is a 2010 International Thriller Writer’s Awards panel judge. Zandri currently divides his time between New York and Europe. He is the drummer for the Albany-based punk band to Blisterz.

The Remains smThe Remains centers on Rebecca Underhill and her twin sister Molly who were abducted by a man who lived in a house in the woods behind their upstate New York farm thirty years ago.  Vowing to keep their terrifying experience a secret in order to protect their mother and father, the girls tried to put the past behind them. And when their attacker was hunted down by police and sent to prison, they believed he was as good as dead.

Now, it’s 30 years later, and with Molly having passed away from cancer, Rebecca, a painter and art teacher, is left alone to bear the burden of a secret that has only gotten heavier and more painful with each passing year.

But when Rebecca begins receiving some strange anonymous text messages, she begins to realize that the monster who attacked her all those years ago is not dead after all. He’s back, and this time, he wants to do more than just haunt her. He wants her dead.

You can visit Vincent’s website at www.vincentzandri.com or his blog at www.vincentzandri.blogspot.com.

If you’d like to follow along with Vincent as he tours the blogosphere in July, visit his official tour page at Pump Up Your Book.  Lots of fun in store including giveaways.  Find out things about Vincent and his book that you never knew before on his The Remains Virtual Book Tour ‘10!

Purchase the Kindle edition of The Remains for $2.99 by clicking here!

Pump Up Your Book is an innovative public relations agency specializing in virtual book tours.  You can visit our website at www.pumpupyourbook.com.

  • Share/Bookmark

postheadericon Any e-reader owners want to join in the revolution?

The RemainsAnyone with a blog and an e-reader out there who wants to grow their traffic plus be part of a revolutionary experiment by reviewing a potentially bestselling book?

Bestselling author Vincent Zandri is virtually touring in July 2010 with his thriller/suspense novel, The Remains. Thirty years ago, teenager Rebecca Underhill and her twin sister Molly were abducted by a man who lived in a house in the woods behind their upstate New York farm. They were held inside that house for three horrifying hours, until making their daring escape. Vowing to keep their terrifying experience a secret in order to protect their mother and father, the girls tried to put the past behind them. And when their attacker was hunted down by police and sent to prison, they believed he was as good as dead. Now, it’s 30 years later, and with Molly having passed away from cancer, Rebecca, a painter and art teacher, is left alone to bear the burden of a secret that has only gotten heavier and more painful with each passing year. But when Rebecca begins receiving some strange anonymous text messages, she begins to realize that the monster who attacked her all those years ago is not dead after all. He’s back, and this time, he wants to do more than just haunt her. He wants her dead.

359 pages

Vincent Zandri

You can visit the author’s website at www.vincentzandri.com.

Zandri, who is represented by Pump Up Your Book, is trying an experiment to see if it’s true Kindle sales can outnumber print sales. This fall, his trade paperback version of The Remains will hit the stands; but meanwhile, can you help us in our revolutionary campaign to see if it’s true Kindle sales are outnumbering print sales?

If it is true, this will revolutionize the way we view e-books. If you are a blog owner who would like to receive a FREE pdf copy of Vincent’s new book, The Remains, before anyone else in the world will read it and you are willing to review it in July, email Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife(@) yahoo.com before June 25, and please put “I want to host Vincent Zandri” in the subject line.

Vincent’s Kindle version virtual book tour will begin July 6 and end on July 30.

We would love you to be a part of this revolutionary campaign to see if e-books have really hit their peaking moment in history!

  • Share/Bookmark

postheadericon Literarily Speaking May Virtual Book Club Selection: Moonlight Falls by Vincent Zandri – Day 3

Every month, we pick wonderful books we’ve read to spotlight at Literarily Speaking. Today we’re happy to be reading Vincent Zandri’s new thriller novel, Moonlight Falls.

This is his last day here with us and we will be announcing the winner of his book on Monday so make sure you read all the rules in order to become eligible.  To recap:

Read Day One’s excerpt here.

Read Day Two’s excerpt here.

To become eligible to win, all you have to do is ask a question or leave a comment on all three days. One lucky reader who comments with their email address is put in a pot to win the book. However, they must sign up for our email updates prior to the author’s appearance.

To recap:

  • ask a question or leave a comment on all three days
  • leave your email address
  • sign up for our email updates to the right ——->

That’s all there is to it!

Day Three: Literarily Speaking Book Club Selection: Moonlight Falls by Vincent Zandri

Moonlight FallsMoonlight Falls is the Albany, New York-based paranoid tale (in the Hitchcock tradition) of former APD Detective turned Private Investigator/Massage Therapist, Richard “Dick” Moonlight, who believes he might be responsible for the brutal slaying by knife of his illicit lover, the beautiful Scarlet Montana. The situation is made all the worse since Scarlet is the wife of Moonlight’s boss, Chief of Detectives Jake Montana.

Why does Moonlight believe he might be responsible?

He’s got a small fragment of a .22 hollow point round buried inside his brain, lodge directly up against his cerebral cortex. The result of a botched suicide attempt four years prior to the novel’s start, an operation to remove the bullt frag would be too dangerous.

But the bullet causes Moonlight lots of problems, the least of which are the occasional memory loss and his rational ability to tell right from wrong. The bullet frag also might shift at any moment, making coma and/or sudden death, a very real possibility.

Still, Moonlight has been trying to get his life together as of late.

But when Scarlet begs him to make the trip over to her house late one rainy Sunday night to issue one of his “massages,” he makes a big mistake by sleeping with her. Later, having passed out in her bed, he will be rudely awakened by a garage door opening and Jake’s unexpected and very drunken homecoming. Making his impromptu escape out a top floor window, Moonlight will seek the safety of his home.

Two hours later however, he will receive another unexpected visit from Jake Montana. This time the big Captain has sobering news to report. He’s discovered his wife’s mutilated body in her own bed. She’s been murdered and now he needs the P.I. to investigate it in association with Albany ’s “overtaxed” Special Independent Unit before I.A. pokes their nose into the affair. Moonlight takes a big step back. Is it possible he made a second trip to the Montana home-sweet-home and just has no recollection of it? Once there, did he perform a heinous crime on his part-time lover? Or is this some kind of set up by his former boss? Is it really Jake who is responsible for Scarlet’s death? Does he wish for Moonlight to cover up his involvement, seal the case before Internal Affairs starts poking their nose into the situation?

There’s another problem too.

Covering Moonlight’s palms and the pads of his fingers are numerous scratches and cuts. Are these defensive wounds? Wounds he received when Scarlet put up a struggle? Or are they offensive wounds? Wounds he couldn’t avoid when making his attack on Scarlet with a blade? The answer is not so simple since Moonlight has no idea where he acquired the wounds.

Having no choice but to take on the mission (if only to cover his own ass), Moonlight can only hope the answers to his many questions point to his former boss and not himself.

Read the excerpt from Chapter 72:

“Let me get this straight: Jake and Cain decided they had you
right where they wanted you–desperate and short of cash.” Stocky Agent
pontificated. “They pulled you back in as a part-timer, asked you politely
to rubberstamp a few of their open-and-shut cases. They told you the
force was understaffed and you believed them. You were a cop. Now
they needed you again. But you were different somehow. The bullet
fragment had changed you, made you more naive, let’s say. You had
difficulty telling the difference between right and wrong sometimes. You
already fucked up one major arrest, gotten yourself busted down to
forced medical leave. Which made you the perfect candidate for Cain’s
operation. But even after willingly completing false document after false
document, you make matters worse by getting in bed with the police
captain’s wife.”
“It all seemed like the right thing to do at the time,” I say.
“You realize what I can do now?” Stocky Agent asks, eyes
peering not at me but at his silent partner. “I can book you on multiple
counts of conspiracy to falsify police reports, plus multiple counts in the
complicity to commit the illegal harvesting and sale of organs and body
parts. Not to mention fraud and grand larceny. Then there’s all those
murders, all that carnage. People connected directly to you.”
I pull the pack of cigarettes from my shirt pocket, set them on
the table.
“You’re not believing all that bullshit Cain laid on me?”
“What’s not to believe?”
We stare at one another for a beat, until I say “Let me guess:
you’ll book me for multiple counts of murder unless I give you
something else.”
“You want your only child to know that his father is going to
spend eternity in hell? Or would you rather he knew that for once his dad
did the right thing?”
“My head…it can’t be trusted.”
Stocky Agent leans up, getting right in my face again. Nose tip to
nose tip.
He says, “You said that you and Dr. Miner fled the scene at Joy’s
condo. Albany was still looking at you as an escaped murderer. What’d
you do next?”
“I did exactly what I should have done when I collected the
bodies of evidence in the first place. I turned myself in.” I slide another
smoke from the pack.
“Before all that, Moonlight…before you turned yourself in,
Miner did more for you than just neutralize Cain. He helped you out with
your story. Because…”
He pauses. I look down at the cigarette burning between my
fingers. It’s trembling. Behind my eyeballs, I feel a great pressure. I feel
tears. I can’t help the tears.
“Because…my head…it’s not right.”
“And now you needed help.”
“There’s a bullet frag in my head. It makes me do all the wrong
things sometimes.”
“Tell me Moonlight: was Cain right? Did you in fact make the
decision to commit murder…right or wrong?”

Questions:

Q: Is it possible that towards the conclusion of the novel, Moonlight becomes convinced he’s a murderer?

Vincent Zandri: It’s hard to Moonlight to put two and two together due to his condition. Especially since, when under extreme stress, he passes out, loses his memory, and even walks the fine line between death and life. So when more and more characters in the book show up murdered, and all of them have had direct contact with Moonlight, he himself starts to feel that despite all good intentions, he may in fact he a killer.

Q: How does Moonlight overcome his inner conflict?

Vincent Zandri: He stays the course…He’s determined to find out who killed Scarlet, even if it killed him.

Q: So who did kill Scarlet Montana?

Vincent Zandri: The answer, as shocking as it is, isn’t revealed until the very end…So you’ll just have to pick up a copy and read it.

Now it’s your turn! Leave a comment below to become eligible to win a free copy of Moonlight Falls on Wednesday.  The winner’s name will be posted by Friday, May 7.

  • Share/Bookmark

postheadericon Literarily Speaking Virtual Book Club Selection: Moonlight Falls by Vincent Zandri – Day 2

Every month, we pick wonderful books we’ve read to spotlight at Literarily Speaking. Today we’re happy to be reading Vincent Zandri’s new thriller novel, Moonlight Falls.  Vincent will be with us until Wednesday and will be giving away a copy at the end of his stay.  Check back to find out if you’re the winner on Friday.

To become eligible to win, all you have to do is ask a question or leave a comment on all three days. One lucky reader who comments with their email address is put in a pot to win the book. However, they must sign up for our email updates prior to the author’s appearance.

To recap:

  • ask a question or leave a comment on all three days
  • leave your email address
  • sign up for our email updates to the right ——->

That’s all there is to it!

Day Two: Literarily Speaking Book Club Selection: Moonlight Falls by Vincent Zandri

Moonlight FallsMoonlight Falls is the Albany, New York-based paranoid tale (in the Hitchcock tradition) of former APD Detective turned Private Investigator/Massage Therapist, Richard “Dick” Moonlight, who believes he might be responsible for the brutal slaying by knife of his illicit lover, the beautiful Scarlet Montana. The situation is made all the worse since Scarlet is the wife of Moonlight’s boss, Chief of Detectives Jake Montana.

Why does Moonlight believe he might be responsible?

He’s got a small fragment of a .22 hollow point round buried inside his brain, lodge directly up against his cerebral cortex. The result of a botched suicide attempt four years prior to the novel’s start, an operation to remove the bullt frag would be too dangerous.

But the bullet causes Moonlight lots of problems, the least of which are the occasional memory loss and his rational ability to tell right from wrong. The bullet frag also might shift at any moment, making coma and/or sudden death, a very real possibility.

Still, Moonlight has been trying to get his life together as of late.

But when Scarlet begs him to make the trip over to her house late one rainy Sunday night to issue one of his “massages,” he makes a big mistake by sleeping with her. Later, having passed out in her bed, he will be rudely awakened by a garage door opening and Jake’s unexpected and very drunken homecoming. Making his impromptu escape out a top floor window, Moonlight will seek the safety of his home.

Two hours later however, he will receive another unexpected visit from Jake Montana. This time the big Captain has sobering news to report. He’s discovered his wife’s mutilated body in her own bed. She’s been murdered and now he needs the P.I. to investigate it in association with Albany ’s “overtaxed” Special Independent Unit before I.A. pokes their nose into the affair. Moonlight takes a big step back. Is it possible he made a second trip to the Montana home-sweet-home and just has no recollection of it? Once there, did he perform a heinous crime on his part-time lover? Or is this some kind of set up by his former boss? Is it really Jake who is responsible for Scarlet’s death? Does he wish for Moonlight to cover up his involvement, seal the case before Internal Affairs starts poking their nose into the situation?

There’s another problem too.

Covering Moonlight’s palms and the pads of his fingers are numerous scratches and cuts. Are these defensive wounds? Wounds he received when Scarlet put up a struggle? Or are they offensive wounds? Wounds he couldn’t avoid when making his attack on Scarlet with a blade? The answer is not so simple since Moonlight has no idea where he acquired the wounds.

Having no choice but to take on the mission (if only to cover his own ass), Moonlight can only hope the answers to his many questions point to his former boss and not himself.

Read the excerpt from Chapter 37:

I punched in the number for Albany Medical, Pathology Unit.
Phillips was taking longer than usual to answer. Or maybe it just
seemed that way under the circumstances.
When he picked up I told him, “Cain changed his mind before
we had the chance to do it for him.”
“Suicide to homicide,” George correctly surmised.
“Is Scarlet’s body still there?” I asked, freshening my whiskey
and downing a quick jolt before posing the question of questions.
“On ice, but not for long. Fitzgerald’s people called. They’re
coming for the body in an hour.”
I looked at the clock on the stove. Two-thirty.
Fitzgerald. The largest funeral home in Albany. The very outfit
that bought Dad out not long before the cancer cut his retirement short.
“Who gave the order?” I inquired.
“Montana, I assume,” he replied. “I guess he must have changed
his mind, because they have her slated for the standard send-off instead
of cremation.”
Jesus, I thought. He doesn’t know.
“Jake’s dead,” I told him. “He went up in flames along with his
house about an hour ago.”
Nothing on the line but dead air. I asked George if he was still
there. He said he was.
In my head, I saw him standing inside a windowless four-walled
room, some Vaughn Williams playing on the stereo. Total isolation. The
way he liked it.
I asked him if he had a copy of Miner’s tox report. He said he
didn’t but that he could get one easily enough just by taking a walk over
to the labs. I told him what the report revealed about the drugs, about
the curare.
“Cain’s right, little brother,” he said. “Murder.”
“In the first degree.”
“What do you want me to do?” he asked.
“A favor. Make that two favors.”
“I’m listening.”
“Hold onto Scarlet for as long as you can. Don’t allow
Fitzgerald’s people or anyone else to pick up her cadaver. Tell them
you’ve still got a couple of postmortem procedures to take care of now
that cremation has been refused.”
“What if they elect to wait inside the lab while I perform these . .
. ah . . . procedures?”
A legitimate question.
“Tell them that you’re backed up. That you won’t be able to get
to her until tomorrow. You’re a local Quincy. Your word carries some
weight around this town. Maybe you can’t go against an order from a top
cop like Montana, but you have the right to at least attempt more tests
on a possible murder victim. Fitzgerald’s people will just have to
understand.”
“Yeah, but will Cain swallow it now that Jake’s dead? What
about that second favor?”
“They deliver Jake to your doorstep, do not, under any
circumstances, sign off on the body before it’s opened up and thoroughly
autopsied. Just like you did to Scarlet.”
“Not gonna be easy with Cain staring me in the face.”
“No matter what he throws at you, you’ve got to hold the line.”
I thought about the curare that Miner found in Scarlet’s blood. I
wondered if it would be discovered in Jake’s blood, too.
“Are we square on all this?”
“I don’t think I’ve been asked to play the strong silent type since
Tet in ’68,” he said.
“You can stand up to Cain. I have total faith.”
“Faith,” he said. “Don’t see much of that anymore.”
“That’s because it’s about believing in something you cannot see,
feel or prove,” I replied.
“Like the truth.”
“Something Cain doesn’t want you to see.”

Questions:

Q: Give us a brief explanation of what’s happened up to this point.

Vincent Zandri: Jake Montana and his second in command, Mitch Cain, have hired Moonlight as a special investigator into the brutal death of Scarlet Montana. There’s nothing unusual about this, since Montana and Cain are always calling in the financially strapped suicide survivor to “rubber stamp” cases of their choosing. But this case is different. Moonlight now only feels like he might had had something to with her death, he he had real feeling for her. Knowing that because of the partial bullet that’s lodged inside his brain, he could die at any moment, Moonlight decided to investigate the case for real and in doing so, begins to uncover a plot of crooked cops and on top of it, an illegal organ harvesting operation led in part by a group of Russian from the town of Saratoga to the north of Albany. When Cain realizes Moonlight is getting too close to uncovering some serious incriminating evidence, he takes it upon himself to destroy the evidence.

Q: Who is Jake?

Vincent Zandri: Jake Montana is Scarlet’s husband. He’s the Captain of the APD. He wants nothing more than to sweep his wife’s death under the carpet. He, being a drunk who blacks out, also feels that he might have had something to do with his wife’s death, but just can’t remember.

Q: They have found curare in Scarlet’s blood. What exactly is that?

Vincent Zandri: Curare is an incapacitating drug that’s been around for ages. It renders a body paralyzed, almost death-like, while it’s cognitive and sensory abilities remains in tact. Thus, one can be sliced open with a knife and not move a muscle yet be aware of every cut as well as the excruciating pain.

Q: What are Montana’s thoughts during this time?

Vincent Zandri: Jake is troubled. He realizes he neglected his wife for all these years and perhaps resorted to brutal treatment and abuse. Now that’s she’s dead, he misses her. But he also is crooked and he wants to wipe the legal slate clean. He’s a reprehensible man who used to be a good man. And he hates himself bitterly.

Now it’s your turn! Leave a comment below to become eligible to win a free copy of Moonlight Falls on Wednesday.  The winner’s name will be posted by Friday, May 7.

Stay tuned tomorrow for Day 3 of Literarily Speaking’s Book Club Selection: Moonlight Falls by Vincent Zandri!

  • Share/Bookmark

postheadericon Literarily Speaking Virtual Book Club Selection: Moonlight Falls by Vincent Zandri – Day 1

Every month, we pick wonderful books we’ve read to spotlight at Literarily Speaking. Today we’re happy to be reading Vincent Zandri’s new thriller novel, Moonlight Falls.  Vincent will be with us for the next three days and will be giving away a copy at the end of his stay on Wednesday.

To become eligible to win, all you have to do is ask a question or leave a comment on all three days. One lucky reader who comments with their email address is put in a pot to win the book. However, they must sign up for our email updates prior to the author’s appearance.

To recap:

  • ask a question or leave a comment on all three days
  • leave your email address
  • sign up for our email updates to the right ——->

That’s all there is to it!

Day One: Literarily Speaking Book Club Selection: Moonlight Falls by Vincent Zandri

Moonlight FallsMoonlight Falls is the Albany, New York-based paranoid tale (in the Hitchcock tradition) of former APD Detective turned Private Investigator/Massage Therapist, Richard “Dick” Moonlight, who believes he might be responsible for the brutal slaying by knife of his illicit lover, the beautiful Scarlet Montana. The situation is made all the worse since Scarlet is the wife of Moonlight’s boss, Chief of Detectives Jake Montana.

Why does Moonlight believe he might be responsible?

He’s got a small fragment of a .22 hollow point round buried inside his brain, lodge directly up against his cerebral cortex. The result of a botched suicide attempt four years prior to the novel’s start, an operation to remove the bullt frag would be too dangerous.

But the bullet causes Moonlight lots of problems, the least of which are the occasional memory loss and his rational ability to tell right from wrong. The bullet frag also might shift at any moment, making coma and/or sudden death, a very real possibility.

Still, Moonlight has been trying to get his life together as of late.

But when Scarlet begs him to make the trip over to her house late one rainy Sunday night to issue one of his “massages,” he makes a big mistake by sleeping with her. Later, having passed out in her bed, he will be rudely awakened by a garage door opening and Jake’s unexpected and very drunken homecoming. Making his impromptu escape out a top floor window, Moonlight will seek the safety of his home.

Two hours later however, he will receive another unexpected visit from Jake Montana. This time the big Captain has sobering news to report. He’s discovered his wife’s mutilated body in her own bed. She’s been murdered and now he needs the P.I. to investigate it in association with Albany ’s “overtaxed” Special Independent Unit before I.A. pokes their nose into the affair. Moonlight takes a big step back. Is it possible he made a second trip to the Montana home-sweet-home and just has no recollection of it? Once there, did he perform a heinous crime on his part-time lover? Or is this some kind of set up by his former boss? Is it really Jake who is responsible for Scarlet’s death? Does he wish for Moonlight to cover up his involvement, seal the case before Internal Affairs starts poking their nose into the situation?

There’s another problem too.

Covering Moonlight’s palms and the pads of his fingers are numerous scratches and cuts. Are these defensive wounds? Wounds he received when Scarlet put up a struggle? Or are they offensive wounds? Wounds he couldn’t avoid when making his attack on Scarlet with a blade? The answer is not so simple since Moonlight has no idea where he acquired the wounds.

Having no choice but to take on the mission (if only to cover his own ass), Moonlight can only hope the answers to his many questions point to his former boss and not himself.

Read the excerpt from the prologue:

Prologue
Man’s life is flashing before his eyes.
He’s a little amazed because it’s happening just like it does in a
sappy movie. You know, when they run real fast through some
homespun super-eight film starting with your birth, moving on to
toddler’s first step, then first day at kindergarten, first communion, first
prom, first Gulf War, first marriage, firstborn son, first affair, first
divorce . . .
So why’s the life flashing by?
Man’s about to execute himself.
He sits alone at the kitchen table inside what used to be his
childhood home, pistol barrel pressed up tight against his head, only a
half-inch or so behind the right earlobe. Thumb on the hammer, index
finger wrapped around the trigger, hand trembling, eyes closed, big tears
falling.
On the bright side of things, it’s beautiful sunny day.
Outside the kitchen window wispy clouds float by like giant
ghosts in a heavenly blue sky. Bluebirds chirp happily from the junipers
that line the perimeter of the north Albany property. The cool wind
blows, shaking the leaves on the trees. The fall air is cool, crisp and clean.
“Football weather” his mortician dad used to call it back when he was a
happy-go-lucky kid.
On the not so bright side, a bullet is about to enter his brainpan.
But then, as much as the man wants to enter the spirit world, he’s not
entirely insensitive. He’s thought things through. While he might have
used his service-issued 9mm to do the job, he’s decided instead to go
with the more lightweight .22—his backup piece. To some people, a
pistol is a pistol. But to the man, nothing could be further from the truth.
Because had he chosen to “eat his piece” by pressing the pistol barrel up
against his mouth’s soft upper palate, he’d guarantee himself an instant
death.
A good death.
Problem is, that “good death” would leave one hell of a spatter
mess behind for some poor slob to clean up after his soul has left the
building. So instead of choosing the safe “good death,” he’s opted for the
more thoughtful no-mess, easy-clean-up kind of suicide—the assassin’s
death. Because only a professional killer with a steady hand knows that a
.22 caliber bullet hasn’t got a chance in hell of exiting the skull once it’s
made jelly filling of your brains.
Outside the window, the wind picks up.
The chimes that hang from the eaves make a haunting, jingly
ghost music.
The super-eight memories inside his head have ceased. His life
story—the entire thirty-six year affair from birth to this very moment of
truth have officially flashed before his eyes.
Roll credits . . .
Man swallows a lump, thumbs back the hammer. The
mechanical action reverberates inside his skull.
There’s no stopping him; no penetrating the resolve of the
already dead. He’s happy with himself for the first time in he can’t
remember how long. So happy, his entire body weight seems to empty
itself from out the bottoms of his feet. That’s when a red robin perches
itself on the brick ledge just outside the picture window. Just a small
scarlet-feathered robin that’s beating its wings and staring into the house
with its black eyes.
“Don’t look,” the man whispers.
He plants a smile on his face a split second before he pulls the
trigger.

Questions:

Q: This sounds like a really troubled man, Vincent. Can you give us an in depth character profile on him so that we can understand what he’s going through?

Vincent Zandri: Moonlight has not only lost his wife to his former Albany Police Department partner and best friend, Mitchell Cain, but he’s lost his son as well. His little boy now looks up to Cain as his dad. Moonlight has also gone broke over the ensuing divorce and been forced move back into his parents old home–the very home he grew up in, which also happened to be a former funeral parlor. With this heavy load becoming too much for him, he decided to get drunk one after which leads to his putting a gun to his head. But at the very second, just before he’s about to pull the trigger, the image of his boy enters into his brain. He’s pulling the gun away from his head when the trigger depresses. The hollow point bullet shatters and a portion of it enters into his brain pan, lodging itself up against his cerebral cortex, ultimately affecting his decision making process and, on occasion, his ability to retain short-term memory. Not, years later, he’s fallen in love with his former boss’s troubled wife, Scarlet Montana. One night when they decide to have one of their illicit visits, Scarlet’s husband arrives home unannounced. Moonlight sneaks out a window and heads back home. Later that night however, Scarlet is discovered brutally murdered. Moonlight is hired as a special independent investigator to oversee what’s being called a suicide. But Moonlight senses that what’s happened to her is outright murder. When he discovers blood on his own hands, he realizes that he may actually be responsible for her death. He could choose to just sign off on the suicide theory, but he’s got a second chance at life and now he wants to do the right thing. Even if it means pointing the finger at himself.

Q: Why did you decide to begin your novel like this?

Vincent Zandri: I wanted the the audience to know that we’re not only dealing with an unreliable narrator, but a trouble character who has the ability to cause a major train wreck where ever he goes. The reader should also get the sense that they have never read a book like this one before.

Now it’s your turn! Leave a comment below to become eligible to win a free copy of Moonlight Falls on Wednesday.  The winner’s name will be posted by Friday, May 7.

Stay tuned tomorrow for Day 2 of Literarily Speaking’s Book Club Selection: Moonlight Falls by Vincent Zandri!

  • Share/Bookmark

postheadericon Book Excerpt: Moonlight Falls by Vincent Zandri

Title: Moonlight Falls
Author: Vincent Zandri
Genre: Thriller
Paperback: 328 pages
Publisher: R.J. Buckley Publishing (Dec 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0758229208
ISBN-13: 978-0758229205

Moonlight Falls is the Albany, New York-based paranoid tale (in the Hitchcock tradition) of former APD Detective turned Private Investigator/Massage Therapist, Richard “Dick” Moonlight, who believes he might be responsible for the brutal slaying by knife of his illicit lover, the beautiful Scarlet Montana. The situation is made all the worse since Scarlet is the wife of Moonlight’s boss, Chief of Detectives Jake Montana.

Why does Moonlight believe he might be responsible?

He’s got a small fragment of a .22 hollow point round buried inside his brain, lodge directly up against his cerebral cortex. The result of a botched suicide attempt four years prior to the novel’s start, an operation to remove the bullt frag would be too dangerous.

But the bullet causes Moonlight lots of problems, the least of which are the occasional memory loss and his rational ability to tell right from wrong. The bullet frag also might shift at any moment, making coma and/or sudden death, a very real possibility.

Still, Moonlight has been trying to get his life together as of late.

But when Scarlet begs him to make the trip over to her house late one rainy Sunday night to issue one of his “massages,” he makes a big mistake by sleeping with her. Later, having passed out in her bed, he will be rudely awakened by a garage door opening and Jake’s unexpected and very drunken homecoming. Making his impromptu escape out a top floor window, Moonlight will seek the safety of his home.

Two hours later however, he will receive another unexpected visit from Jake Montana. This time the big Captain has sobering news to report. He’s discovered his wife’s mutilated body in her own bed. She’s been murdered and now he needs the P.I. to investigate it in association with Albany ’s “overtaxed” Special Independent Unit before I.A. pokes their nose into the affair. Moonlight takes a big step back. Is it possible he made a second trip to the Montana home-sweet-home and just has no recollection of it? Once there, did he perform a heinous crime on his part-time lover? Or is this some kind of set up by his former boss? Is it really Jake who is responsible for Scarlet’s death? Does he wish for Moonlight to cover up his involvement, seal the case before Internal Affairs starts poking their nose into the situation?

There’s another problem too.

Covering Moonlight’s palms and the pads of his fingers are numerous scratches and cuts. Are these defensive wounds? Wounds he received when Scarlet put up a struggle? Or are they offensive wounds? Wounds he couldn’t avoid when making his attack on Scarlet with a blade? The answer is not so simple since Moonlight has no idea where he acquired the wounds.

Having no choice but to take on the mission (if only to cover his own ass), Moonlight can only hope the answers to his many questions point to his former boss and not himself.

Excerpt:

Albany, New York
140 miles northeast of New York City

I’m escorted into a four-walled basement room by two suited
agents—one tall, slim and bearded, the other shorter, stockier, cleanshaven.
The space we occupy contains a one-way mirror which I know
from experience hides a tripod-mounted video camera, a sound man and several FBI agents, the identities of whom are concealed. There’s no
furniture in the room, other than a long metal table and four metal chairs. No wallpaper, no soft lamp light, no piped-in music. Just harsh white overhead light, concrete and a funny worm smell.

As I enter the room for the first time, the tall agent tells me to take a seat at the table.

“We appreciate your cooperation,” the stocky agent jumps in.

Out of the corner of my eye, I catch my reflection in the mirror.

I’m of medium height. Not tall, not short. Not too badly put together for having reached the big four-zero thanks to the cross-training routine I put myself on not long after my hospital release. Nowadays, my head is shaved. There’s a small button-sized scar behind my right earlobe in the place where the fragment of .22 caliber hollow-point penetrated
the skull. I wear a black leather jacket over black jeans and lace-up combat boots left over from my military service during the first Gulf War. My eyeglasses are rectangular and retrofitted from a pair of cheap sunglasses I picked up at a Penn Station kiosk. They make my stubblecovered face seem slightly wider than it really is. So people have told me.
Having been led to my chair, I am then asked to focus my gaze directly onto the mirror so that the video man or woman stationed on the opposite side of the glass can adjust the shooting angle and focus.

“Please say something,” requests Stocky Agent while removing his suit jacket, setting it over the back of an empty chair.

“There once was a cop from Nantucket ,” I say to break the ice.

But no one laughs.

“You get that?” the taller agent barks out to no one in particular.

“Okay to go,” comes a tinny, hidden speaker voice. “You gonna finish that poem, Mr. Moonlight?”

“Knock it off,” Stocky Agent orders. Then turns back to me.

“Before we get started, can we get you a coffee? A cappuccino? You can get one right out of the new machine upstairs.”

“Mind if I burn one?”

Tall Bearded Agent purses his lips, cocks his head in the direction of a plastic No Smoking placard to the wall.

Stocky Agent makes a sour face, shakes his head, rolls up the sleeves on his thick arms. He reaches across the heavy wood table, grabs an ashtray, and clunks it down in front of me as if it were a bedpan.

“The rule doesn’t apply down here,” he says. Then, in this deep affected voice, he adds, “Let’s get started, Mr. Moonlight. You already know the routine. For now we just want to get to the bottom of the who, what, wheres and hows of this train wreck.”

“You forgot the why,” I say, firing up a Marlboro Light. “You need to know the why to establish an entire familiarity with any given case.”

Stocky Agent does a double take, smiles. Like he knows I’m fucking with him.

“Don’t be a dick, Dick,” he says.

I guess it’s important not to take life too seriously. He laughs. I laugh. We all laugh. Ice officially broken. I exhale some smoke, sit back in my chair.

They’re right, of course. I know the drill. I know it’s the truth they’re after. The truth and almost nothing but the truth. But what they also want is my perspective—my take on the entire Scarlet Montana affair, from soup to peanuts. They want me to leave nothing out. I’ll start with my on-again/off-again love affair with my boss’s wife. Maybe from
there I’ll move on to the dead bodies, my cut-up hands, the Saratoga
Springs Russians, the Psychic Fair, the heroin, the illegal organ harvesting
operation, the exhumations, the attempts on my life, the lies, deceptions
and fuck-overs galore.

As a former fulltime Albany detective, I know that nobody sees the same thing through the same set of eyeballs. What’s important to one person might appear insignificant or useless to another. What those federal agents want right now inside the basement interview room is my most reliable version of the truth—an accurate, objective truth that
separates fact from fantasy.

Theoretically speaking.

“Ask away,” I say, just as the buzzing starts up in the core of my head.

“Just start at the beginning,” Stocky Agent requests. “We have all night.”

Sitting up straight, I feel my right arm beginning to go numb on me. So numb I drop the lit cigarette onto the table. The inside of my head chimes like a belfry. Stocky Agent is staring at me from across the table with these wide bug eyes like my skull and brains are about to pull a JFK all over him.

But then, just as soon as it all starts, the chiming and the paralysis subsides.

With a trembling hand, I manage to pick up the partially smoked cigarette, exhale a very resigned, now smokeless breath and stamp the cancer stick out.

“Everything you wanna know,” I whisper. “You want me to tell
you everything.”
“Everything you remember,” Tall Agent smiles. “If that’s at all possible.”

Stocky Agent pulls a stick of gum from a pack in his pants pocket, carefully unwraps the tin foil and folds the gum before stuffing it into his mouth.

Juicy Fruit. I can smell it from all the way across the table.

By all indicators, it’s going to be a long night.

“I think I’ll take that cappuccino after all,” I say.

For the first time since entering the interview room, I feel the
muscles in my face constricting. I know without looking that my
expression has turned into something miles away from shiny happy. I’m
dead serious.

If you would like to pick up your copy of Moonlight Falls, click here.

  • Share/Bookmark

postheadericon Book Excerpt: Moonlight Falls by Vincent Zandri

Moonlight FallsTitle: Moonlight Falls
Author: Vincent Zandri
Paperback: 324 pages
Publisher: R. J. Buckley Publishing (November 20, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0981965407
ISBN-13: 978-0981965406

amazon_buy1

Book Excerpt:

Albany, New York

140 miles northeast of New York City

I’m escorted into a four-walled basement room by two suited agents—one tall, slim and bearded, the other shorter, stockier, cleanshaven.

The space we occupy contains a one-way mirror which I know from experience hides a tripod-mounted video camera, a sound man and several FBI agents, the identities of whom are concealed. There’s no furniture in the room, other than a long metal table and four metal chairs. No wallpaper, no soft lamp light, no piped-in music. Just harsh white overhead light, concrete and a funny worm smell.

As I enter the room for the first time, the tall agent tells me to take a seat at the table.

“We appreciate your cooperation,” the stocky agent jumps in.

Out of the corner of my eye, I catch my reflection in the mirror.

I’m of medium height. Not tall, not short. Not too badly put together for having reached the big four-zero thanks to the cross-training routine I put myself on not long after my hospital release. Nowadays, my head is shaved. There’s a small button-sized scar behind my right earlobe in the place where the fragment of .22 caliber hollow-point penetrated the skull. I wear a black leather jacket over black jeans and lace-up combat boots left over from my military service during the first Gulf War. My eyeglasses are rectangular and retrofitted from a pair of cheap sunglasses I picked up at a Penn Station kiosk. They make my stubblecovered face seem slightly wider than it really is. So people have told me.

Having been led to my chair, I am then asked to focus my gaze directly onto the mirror so that the video man or woman stationed on the opposite side of the glass can adjust the shooting angle and focus.

“Please say something,” requests Stocky Agent while removing his suit jacket, setting it over the back of an empty chair.

“There once was a cop from Nantucket ,” I say to break the ice.

But no one laughs.

“You get that?” the taller agent barks out to no one in particular.

“Okay to go,” comes a tinny, hidden speaker voice. “You gonna finish that poem, Mr. Moonlight?”

“Knock it off,” Stocky Agent orders. Then turns back to me.

“Before we get started, can we get you a coffee? A cappuccino? You can get one right out of the new machine upstairs.”

“Mind if I burn one?”

Tall Bearded Agent purses his lips, cocks his head in the direction of a plastic No Smoking placard to the wall.

Stocky Agent makes a sour face, shakes his head, rolls up the sleeves on his thick arms. He reaches across the heavy wood table, grabs an ashtray, and clunks it down in front of me as if it were a bedpan.

“The rule doesn’t apply down here,” he says. Then, in this deep affected voice, he adds, “Let’s get started, Mr. Moonlight. You already know the routine. For now we just want to get to the bottom of the who, what, wheres and hows of this train wreck.”

“You forgot the why,” I say, firing up a Marlboro Light. “You need to know the why to establish an entire familiarity with any given case.”

Stocky Agent does a double take, smiles. Like he knows I’m fucking with him.

“Don’t be a dick, Dick,” he says.

I guess it’s important not to take life too seriously. He laughs. I laugh. We all laugh. Ice officially broken. I exhale some smoke, sit back in my chair.

They’re right, of course. I know the drill. I know it’s the truth they’re after. The truth and almost nothing but the truth. But what they also want is my perspective—my take on the entire Scarlet Montana affair, from soup to peanuts. They want me to leave nothing out. I’ll start with my on-again/off-again love affair with my boss’s wife. Maybe from there I’ll move on to the dead bodies, my cut-up hands, the Saratoga Springs Russians, the Psychic Fair, the heroin, the illegal organ harvesting operation, the exhumations, the attempts on my life, the lies, deceptions and fuck-overs galore.

As a former fulltime Albany detective, I know that nobody sees the same thing through the same set of eyeballs. What’s important to one person might appear insignificant or useless to another. What those federal agents want right now inside the basement interview room is my most reliable version of the truth—an accurate, objective truth that separates fact from fantasy.

Theoretically speaking.

“Ask away,” I say, just as the buzzing starts up in the core of my head.

“Just start at the beginning,” Stocky Agent requests. “We have all night.”

Sitting up straight, I feel my right arm beginning to go numb on me. So numb I drop the lit cigarette onto the table. The inside of my head chimes like a belfry. Stocky Agent is staring at me from across the table with these wide bug eyes like my skull and brains are about to pull a JFK all over him.

But then, just as soon as it all starts, the chiming and the paralysis subsides.

With a trembling hand, I manage to pick up the partially smoked cigarette, exhale a very resigned, now smokeless breath and stamp the cancer stick out.

“Everything you wanna know,” I whisper. “You want me to tell you everything.”

“Everything you remember,” Tall Agent smiles. “If that’s at all possible.”

Stocky Agent pulls a stick of gum from a pack in his pants pocket, carefully unwraps the tin foil and folds the gum before stuffing it into his mouth.

Juicy Fruit. I can smell it from all the way across the table.

By all indicators, it’s going to be a long night.

“I think I’ll take that cappuccino after all,” I say.

For the first time since entering the interview room, I feel the muscles in my face constricting. I know without looking that my expression has turned into something miles away from shiny happy. I’m dead serious.

–Excerpt from Moonlight Falls by Vincent Zandri. If you’d like to find out more about Moonlight Falls, visit the author’s website at www.vincentzandri.com or his blog at www.vincentzandri.blogspot.com. During the months of February and March, Victor will be on virtual book tour. If you’d like to find out where he’ll be touring, visit here.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
  • Share/Bookmark
SUBSCRIBE
Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz
Currently Reading
Dorothy's bookshelf: currently-reading

Fast Food Vindication The Nutcracker Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man A Christmas Home: A Novel Break the Skin

More of Dorothy's books »
Book recommendations, book reviews, quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists
Nice Things People Say

"My paperback sales went up overnight. THANKS TO YOU!!! My sales were zero before I started my tour."

-- Lilian Duval, author of YOU NEVER KNOW

“Dorothy is an inspiring leader who gets results, whether managing a team or working independently.”

— Gary Jamieson

“The hardest working woman I know who puts her heart and soul into everything she does.”

-- Jaime McDougall, author of ECHO FALLS

"The woman to know for an author from the leading blog tour company Pump It Books."

-- Bri Clark, author of GLAZIER

"Love the different authors Dorothy and her Virtual tours always introduce me to! She's a gem to work with.”

-- Rashmi CallmeaBookworm

"Dorothy is simply amazing. She goes the extra mile to help authors get noticed and has an incredible personality to match. ”

--April Schiff Pohren

"I have enjoyed working with Dorothy on several blog tours. And look forward to participating in more of her tours in the future.”

-- Romancingthe Book

"Dorothy is a phenominal woman and an incredible resource for authors. She is also a pleasure to work with; a veritable writer's dream."

Chad Coenson, Author

"Dorothy's expertise comes from a place where all successful and fundamentally sound American enterprises spring: research and fairness. ”

-- J.W. Nicklaus, Author

"Dorothy is a dedicated professional & a delight to work with. She is also straight-forward and direct, but also flexible and compassionate. ”"

-- Janie Hickok, blogger

"Dorothy I just googled my name my book publicity is all over the Internet. You are amazing!!!"

-- Chris Shella, author of REASONABLE FACSIMILE