Tag Archives: witness protection

Can You Believe it? More Free Books!!

What’s better than a #FREEBOOK?

Easy…Two #FREEBOOKs!

It’s been a month of giving and I’m not stopping yet!

First – there is the Pre-Doomed-To-RepeatRelease Giveaway – which is now in its fifth week, and this week’s featured selection is Eyewitness Blues.

 

Eyewitness Blues is the story of Martin Aquino, a young man who believes the only thing that can save him from the black cloud hovering over his life is the witness protection program.

Unfortunately…he hasn’t witnessed anything.

This doesn’t stop him from trying though – and that’s where the fun starts!

But wait!! There’s more!

As promised last week – because the Boston Red Sox won the World Series we have yet ANOTHER #FREEBOOK to celebrate!

 

I understand that not all of you are Sox fans…that’s okay, I still want you to have a copy of Blood in the Water for FREE! (If you really hate the Sox you can pretend it’s just another #giveaway.)

Blood in the Water is the second installment in my Steve Salem series.

Flagler Beach P.I. Steve Salem and his partner Val came onto the scene in the extremely popular Backseat to Justice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blood in the Water has them trying to solve three mysteries in one!

Both books are free from midnight tonight (Monday, Oct 29, 2018) until midnight Saturday (November 3, 2018).

If all goes to plan we will have one more giveaway before the release of the highly anticipated Doomed to Repeat – so stick around!!

 

As always – thank you for reading

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2014 Review – It Was a Very Good Year

Once again we are watching yet another year fade away in the rearview mirror.

Sometimes I think there is some sort of universal phenomenon that causes the years to go by faster as we get older. Sort of like a roller coaster…the long slow climb up that first hill is followed by a neck-breakingly fast plummet which really makes you appreciate the scenery you ignored on the way up.

Anyway…I digress.

2014 is in the books and it’s time for the annual recap.

From the perspective of my writing career, I have to say that 2014 was, by far, my best year (to date).

Let’s run down the highlights (in no particular order):

 

5-Digit Territiory

I joined Twitter in October, 2009 – shortly after my first novel was released – because I had heard it was a good way to network and market.

At the time I looked at networking and marketing the way a St. Bernard looks at catnip.

When I met Armand Rosamilia a year later I think I had about 80 twitter followers. Armand showed me how to use twitter and, most importantly, how to avoid being intimidated by its rapid fire, life-at-a-million-miles-an-hour pace.

Within a month I was up to 600 followers.

Here we are, just four years later and I have crossed the 10,000 follower mark – something I never thought possible.

twitter 10k

I thank you all for your support! I am truly appreciative for every single twitter follower as well as facebook fan and everybody else connected to me through social media.

 

An Audiophile’s Dream

When 2013 ended I was doing two radio shows on Surf 97.3.

Tim Baker’s B-Sides, Deep Cuts and Cool Covers (Friday night from 7-8 pm) was in its infancy and I was also partnering with Armand on Friday Night Writes (Friday nights from 8-10 pm).

In the early months of 2014 Armand’s schedule took him away from the show, leaving a two hour void in Friday night’s programming. B Sides cover

This void gave birth to The Tim Baker Friday Night Music Extravaganza.

At the suggestion of station manager DJ Vern I took over the 8-10 block, flying solo and replacing the writing-related talk with good ole’ fashioned rock and roll.

The show airs on Friday’s from 7-10 pm EST on Surf 97.3 FM and http://www.Flaglerbeachradio.com. It has been fun for me since day one and has developed a loyal, if not somewhat rabid, following!

Every Friday night I spend “the best three hours of my week” entertaining people with music, but even if nobody was listening I would still love doing it (although DJ Vern might not be too thrilled)!!

 

Oh! The Horror!!

Those who read my work know that my genre (the one that defies classification) will never be confused with horror, yet 2014 saw me contributing stories to two horror anthologies.

The first story was called Dying Days – Angel and appeared in the anthology Still Dying 2… an anthology of stories released by Armand Rosamilia based on his Dying Days zombie series.

I also submitted a story called Road Wearier to a collection of short stories called State of Horror – New Jersey. SoH New Jersey

I surprised many of my readers with these stories, and to tell the truth, I surprised myself a little too!

 

Singin’ the Blues

In the fall of 2014 I released my 7th novel – Eyewitness Blues.

Eyewitness Blues is the story of Martin Aquino, a young man with less sense than luck, and a knack for landing in bad situations.

Convinced that his life is beyond salvage, Martin decides the witness protection program will provide him with a fresh start.

Sort of like hitting the reset button.

Eyewitness Blues final cover

Unfortunately he hasn’t witnessed anything and things go downhill from there!

Practically from the day it was released Eyewitness Blues has been receiving great feedback.

Several readers have told me that, of all my books, it is their favorite. The reviews on Amazon are extremely flattering.

 

The Off-White Knight Rides

It seems that Ike took on a life of his own in 2014.

The final project of 2014 was a collection of short stories featuring my enigmatic anti-hero.

The book is called Path of a Bullet – A Collection of Short Stories featuring Ike.

The title came from a quote (by Ike) in one of the stories where he tells his compadre, Brewski “The shortest distance between two points is the path of a bullet.”

Florida author Susan Nicholls  penned a very nice foreword for the book and internationally acclaimed author Seumas Gallacher wrote an amazing review.

Six other writers contributed their own stories about Ike to the book. I don’t know how other writers feel about fan fiction, but I take it as a huge compliment. The fact that my character made enough of an impression on other people to inspire them to write their own stories is incredibly flattering and (at the risk of sounding cliché) why I write!

10807997_4705964944190_673894021_nSales of the “Ike has my back” tee shirts were better than expected too!

The Ike Anthology has been so well-received that work has already begun on the 2015 edition. I plan to write at least twelve stories for it and there will be additions from 11 other others.

Stay tuned for a blog post in the very near future formally announcing the other participants.

 

Speaking of 2015

I am hardly a prognosticator, but I’ll do my best to let you know what’s on tap for 2015…

The aforementioned collection of Ike short stories is planned to be released in early December and is tentatively being called Muzzle Velocity.

Many of you have heard the story of my ill-fated, 1988 attempt to write a novel called Full Circle. Well the time has come to drag Full Circle out of the closet and give it the attention it deserves.

From the day I began scribbling it down in a spiral-bound notebook all those years ago I have always felt it was a book that needed to be written – and now its time has come.

I have spent the past few weeks gathering & reviewing the 15 or so chapters I had written back in the day. I’ve also been going over the many thoughts & notes jotted down on everything from post-it notes to cocktail napkins (and never thrown away!) as well as compiling some new ones. As soon as the holiday madness dies down I will be diving into Full Circle. If all goes well it should be available in the fall of 2015.

I also have an idea for anBTJ coverother Steve Salem (he of Backseat to Justice) novel and I am going to try to crank that out as well.

Hopefully, a year from now I’ll be writing a recap about all three of those projects!

 

Thank you to all of you for sharing 2014 with me. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support.

I hope each, and every one, of you are blessed with peace, love and prosperity in 2015!

 

As always – thank you for reading

 

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Book Giveaway – Eyewitness Blues

According to Mr. Big (the villain in the 1973 James Bond movie Live and Let Die) “when entering a fiercely competitive field one finds it advisable to give away free samples.”

Sounds like good advice to me – so I’m going to give away some books.

Of course, Mr. Big was giving away heroin in an attempt to corner the market…and the heroin trade is a little more cut-throat than the book business…but I still think it’s a good idea.

Mr Big

So to make a long story short, beginning on October 13 and running through November 13 you can enter for a chance to win one of five signed paperback copies of Eyewitness Blues on Goodreads.

The contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. You will have to join Goodreads also – but that’s free and easy – and it’s a good way to find some new authors and books. You can see for yourself by clicking this link.

As I said – I’ll be giving away five copies of my latest novel Eyewitness Blues.

Eyewitness Blues final cover

Eyewitness Blues is the story of Martin Aquino – a down-on-his-luck everyman from Rhode Island who has taken one wrong turn after another on the road of life. The icing on the cake comes when he finds himself up to his eyes in debt with a ruthless mob boss.

In a flash of inspiration Martin decides that the Witness Protection Plan will give him a fresh start with a clean slate.

Problem solved.

Except for one minor detail…he hasn’t witnessed anything.

That’s when things get interesting.

The action starts in Warwick, Rhode Island and takes Martin all the way to the small, beachside community of Flagler Beach, Florida.

So far Eyewitness Blues is very popular with readers and is already getting some great reviews.

One reader said Eyewitness Blues grabs “…readers by the collar, taking them through a merry maze of characters and plot turns before letting go at the end.”

At the very least, I guarantee you it’s worth the five minutes it will take to enter the contest!

Click this link to enter…and I wish you the best of luck.

enter to win

As always – thank you for reading

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My Thoughts About Marketing for Independent Authors

My friend Becky and I seem to have this running “discussion” about marketing our books. She recently shared her thoughts on the matter in this blog post, to which I added a brief comment.

Then I decided a more lengthy response was in order…so here we are.

My Thoughts About Marketing for Independent Authors

Step 1; Write the book

Seems pretty self-explanatory and definitely obvious so we won’t go into any detail about it, other than to say if you ever want sell a book, it’s the only place to start (plagiarism notwithstanding).

Step 2; Sell the book

This is where many authors drop the ball.

In fact, when I released my first novel, Living the Dream, way back in the day, I made the very mistake(s) I’m about to tell you to avoid – so pay attention, because I’m speaking from experience.

First, let’s start with some assumptions;

Assumption number 1 – you didn’t write your novel for fun.

This is not to say you didn’t have fun writing it, I’m sure you did (editing – that’s a different story!). No, what I mean is that your ultimate goal was to sell books.

I wrote a blog post about this very topic a while ago (Do We Write for Love or Money?)

There may be some who are insulted by the concept of producing any form of art for money, but as Dr. Samuel Johnson said ““No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”

Let’s face it, you spent months, maybe years, writing that book…did you do all that work just so it could take up space on your hard drive? If so, you can stop reading and go do something else…there’s nothing for you here.

Assumption number 2 – you don’t have a publicist or a PR firm at your disposal.

I once entertained the thought of hiring a publicist – until he told me how much his services would cost. I don’t remember the exact amount, but it was far too expensive…especially when he wouldn’t promise me any results. I was of the opinion that if you’re going to charge me hundreds of dollars to increase my sales, you should at least promise me tangible results, or, at the very least, work on strict commission.

He didn’t share that attitude.

Assumption number 3 – you get tired of people asking you if you’re making money yet, and you’re even more tired of telling them that you aren’t.

This can be very annoying, and somewhat demoralizing for independent authors. When people learn that you write books the conversation usually goes from “Wow, you’re an author? That’s cool!” to “Are you making any money?” pretty quickly.

Not that they’re trying to be rude or inconsiderate, they’re usually just curious.

And of course we try to find creative ways to answer, like “I’m not getting rich, but it’s getting better.

 

The take-away from this is that you need to sell your book.

I’m no expert. I can’t tell you that doing this, that or the other thing will result in a sudden influx of cash. If I could, I’d be writing this from my yacht. What I can offer are a few tips of what NOT to do and a couple of suggestions that might help you a little bit.

First – some do’s:

Do:

  • Be aggressive. How aggressive is up to you. I like to strike a balance that is not too passive, but not obnoxiously aggressive either. I’m still experimenting.
  • Be supportive of other authors. The independent author community is huge, and growing every day. Mutual support helps all of us. If you can’t buy books by other authors, at least help promote them – they will usually reciprocate.
  • Utilize social media. Things like Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, Instagram, blogging, etc are FREE and provide access to millions of people. Take advantage of it (again, I’m still experimenting with different methods, but it works). (Side note: some people seem to get offended by “paid promotions” on facebook – but I use them. Once or twice a month I create a “buy my book” post and pay to promote it. I never pay more than $10 and it reaches a few thousand extra people. In my mind…it’s $10 well spent. Of course you can spend hundreds if you want…I don’t want.)
  • Block out time for marketing. Writing time is precious for all of us, especially if you have a day job, but it’s critical to save time for your due diligence. Believe it or not, I probably spend 2 hours on marketing for every hour I spend writing…maybe more.
  • Steal ideas. That’s right, I said it. If you see another author doing something to sell books that you think might work for you, it’s okay for you to do it too. Hey, there’s more than one commercial during the Super Bowl, right?
  • Monitor your sales on Amazon. If you don’t know how to do this…find out. It’s easy and it’s the only way to figure out what is working and what isn’t.
  • If something isn’t working, stop doing it. Pretty simple. Try a new promo idea…run with it for a week or two, while monitoring your sales numbers. If you don’t see results, move on.
  • Remember – the only stupid idea is one you don’t try. Getting your book cover tattooed on your butt and posting the picture on Pinterest may seem idiotic, but you’ll never know until you try.

 

And now the don’ts:

Don’t:

  • Sit around waiting for your book to sell itself. Believe me, it won’t. Books are notoriously lazy.
  • Assume that what you’re doing is enough. Unless you are interviewing chauffeurs and body guards…keep pushing.
  • Do the same thing over and over. Marketing is a continually evolving endeavor – that’s why you don’t see the same TV commercials for Coke and Pepsi today that you saw when you were a kid (unless you’re 11).
  • Listen to the naysayers. There are people who will tell you that marketing is a waste of time. Ask them how many books they’re selling.
  • Be afraid. Remember the old saying…If you want something you’ve never had, you have to be willing to do something you’ve never done. Maybe you’re shy and don’t want to get out there and sell yourself. Too bad – nobody is going to do it for you.
  • Be aloof. I don’t want to hear any of that “I’m an artist, not a salesman” crap. If you’ve ever gone on a job interview you were selling yourself – this is no different. Well, maybe a little different…but you went on that interview because you needed a job. Think of marketing the same way.
  • Pretend you don’t care if nobody reads your book. You do. If you didn’t you wouldn’t have finished it…or even started it for that matter. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to share your work with the world…warm up to that concept.
  • Believe me. Don’t take my word for any of this…find an author who sells a lot of books and ask them if I’m right or wrong (if I’m wrong, please let me know).
  • Give up. There is an audience for every book…keep going until you find yours.

 

I think that’s about all I have.

As I’ve said many, many times…I am no expert, but I have learned a few things in the past 5 years. Hopefully I can save you some time by imparting these nuggets to you.

Conversely – if you have any tips for me – lay them on me—I am definitely not too proud to listen to your advice.

 

Oh – one more thing…my newest book, Eyewitness Blues is now available in paperback and digital formats…buy it! (too pushy?)

 

As always – thank you for reading

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Presenting Chapter One of “Eyewitness Blues”

Eyewitness Blues, is now available!

The kindle version can be found here…

The paperback version can be found here…

In the meantime, I invite you to enjoy the first chapter:

Eyewitness Blues final cover

Eyewitness Blues

Chapter One

Martin wasn’t asking for his life to be a fun-filled ride down a water slide…he just didn’t want to feel like it was being flushed down a toilet every day. Even on those rare occasions when he seemed to catch a lucky break it wasn’t really luck, it was more like getting plucked from the toilet and dropped directly into the cesspool.

How else could you describe his current situation?

The ape literally held Martin’s life in his hands.

“Ple-e-e-ase,” Martin begged. He could feel the blood rushing to his head. If there had been any money in his pockets it would have fallen out.

Martin’s St. Cajetan medallion dangled in front of his eyes, but his attention was focused on the expressionless face of Lorenzo the ape Aponte. Lorenzo leaned over the parapet and looked down at Martin. Lorenzo could have been reading a menu or dangling a man eight stories above the asphalt, it was impossible to tell.

Martin tilted his head back and saw a blue minivan exiting the parking garage below. He looked back up at the ape.

“Please,” he tried again. “I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you. Please.”

Lorenzo released Martin’s left ankle, sending a bolt of panic through Martin’s body. He closed his eyes and waited for the impact with the ground. When he opened his eyes the ape was scratching his nose with his free right hand. He glared down at Martin and spoke for the first time.

“So talk.”

“Yeah, yeah!” Martin said. “I will! Just pull me up. Please.”

The wheels that had driven Martin Aquino to his current predicament had been put into motion a year ago with the seemingly innocent purchase of a used car. It had taken him months to save the money, nothing fancy, just a 13-year-old Honda with about a million miles on it, but at least he had a car.

Unfortunately, Martin hadn’t known that the dude who sold him the car wasn’t the rightful owner…he was the guy who had stolen it from the projects in South Providence where some idiot had left it sitting in front of a bodega with the engine running. The Rhode Island DMV hadn’t scrutinized the signatures on the paperwork any more than Martin had; a cursory glance at best, as long as the government got their money they were happy.

For a week Martin drove the car around, unaware that there was twenty-five pounds of pot in the trunk until the pot’s rightful owner, a guy named Mutt, showed up to claim his weed. Mutt gave Martin two choices…he could be buried in the car or he could work off his mistake. Martin wasn’t sure exactly what his mistake had been, other than buying the wong used car, but he knew for sure it wasn’t worth getting dead over.

So he went to work for Mutt.

Martin became Mutt’s errand boy, making pick-ups, drops and, on more than one occasion, ripping people off for thousands of dollars on phony drug deals.

It was better than being dead—until Mutt ripped off the wrong guy.

Mutt’s victim worked for local mob boss, Don Gammino, and the ten grand they got from him was collection money. Needless to say, the mark didn’t live very long after Gammino found out about the con, but he did live long enough to tell Gammino about Martin.

And now the world was upside down—literally.

From Martin’s inverted perspective, the airliner lifting off the runway at TF Green airport looked like it was trying to land on its roof.

Martin’s stomach lurched momentarily when he felt sudden movement, but he felt a wave of relief when he realized he was moving up. The ape dropped him on the concrete deck and loomed over him. Martin froze, except for the trembling.

“Okay, ass-wipe, let’s hear it,” the ape said, “and it better be the truth or your last meal is going to be pavement.”

Martin nodded rapidly.

“His name is Mutt. He made me work for him, I had no choice.”

“Where can I find this Mutt?”

“He’ll kill me if I tell you.”

The ape reached for Martin’s ankle. “You either tell me what I want to know, or we find out if you can fly.”

The look in the ape’s eyes was enough to convince Martin. He told the ape everything he knew about Mutt—where his stash house was, where he hung out and where he liked to eat breakfast.

Lorenzo stepped over Martin to leave, pausing mid-step, his work boot hovering an inch above Martin’s face. Even though he feared his face was about to get squashed by Lorenzo’s size twelve, Martin became oddly fixated on a pebble wedged into one of the treads. The stomping never came. Instead, Lorenzo laughed and continued on his way to his car.

Only after Martin heard the tires of the ape’s car squealing on the level below did he pick himself up and brush the dust from his pants. “Jesus fucking Christ, I hate my life.”

He looked around to make sure nobody heard him. A seagull hovered high above him in the grey October sky. Martin watched it with envy.

“Just fly away,” he said. “God, I wish I could just fly away to an island somewhere. All by myself. No people, no problems.”

The chirp of a nearby car alarm snapped Martin out of his trance. A man in a trench coat, carrying a briefcase, approached a nearby BMW. Martin finished dusting himself off, drawing an over-the-shoulder glance from the man as he closed his car door and pulled away.

Martin rode the elevator to the ground floor and returned to his booth at the garage’s exit. The door of the other booth opened and Frank Edler crossed the garage exit lane.

“You were gone for a while,” he said to Martin. “You’re lucky Marco didn’t—whoa! What’s wrong? You look like death-warmed-over. What happened up there?”

“Nothing,” Martin said. “Don’t worry about it.”

“Don’t worry about it? If Marco had come by while you were up there, I would have been just as screwed as you. I have to worry about it.”

“Calm down, Frank. Marco didn’t come and I’m back. Let’s just get back to work.”

“You go up top with a leg-breaker for Don Gammino and come back a half hour later looking like death and I’m supposed to forget about it? I don’t think so.”

“Jesus, Frank. I got enough shit going on…I don’t need it from you, too.”

“I don’t care what you…”

A pickup truck pulled to a stop at Frank’s booth and the driver rolled his window down.

Martin motioned toward the truck with his chin. “Better take care of that,” he told Frank.

Frank looked over his shoulder at the truck. The driver looked back at him and waved his ticket.

“I’m not gonna get fired for you, that’s all I’m saying.” Frank stomped back to his booth.

A week later, just as Martin finished his shift and was about to leave work, a car pulled to a stop at his booth. Martin’s stomach clenched when Lorenzo rolled his window down and told Martin to get in the car. Martin was convinced that his life, as shitty as it might be, was almost over. With a strange mixture of fear and acceptance he got into the car.

To his great surprise, and even greater relief, the ape took Martin to see Don Gammino, who wanted to thank him for the information about Mutt, ensure him that he was in no danger and, surprise of all surprises, offer him a job washing dishes at his restaurant. It would mean some extra money, not a lot, but God knew he needed whatever he could get.

More than that, it meant he wasn’t going to die…not today anyway.

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Wanted: Members of Team Ike 2014

 Remember last year when I sold tee shirts to help with the editing and printing costs of Unfinished Business?

Many of you – appropriately dubbed Team Ike – were wonderful enough to help me out by buying a shirt – and then you got a free book when you posted a picture of yourself sporting the shirt on facebook.

shirt collage

Well – guess what?

My latest novel, tentatively titled Protect This, will be released in August – and after the success of last year’s Team Ike shirt campaign I have kicked it up a notch…

This year’s model is bound to be very popular!

Feast your eyes on this bad boy…

2014 shirt front   2014 shirt back

It’s available in 3 styles and 2 colors and it has a beautiful tropical themed logo.

It’s a fund raising campaign so here’s how it works (for those of you who didn’t participate last year):

  • The shirts will only be available until May 4th
  • If the minimum quantity of 65 orders is not met there will be no shirts printed (no money will be charged for orders placed)
  • You will not be charged any money until the campaign reaches its goal

 

To reserve your shirt click here.

 

But wait!!! There’s more…

Like last year – once the campaign is successful and I reach my goal, not only will you be the owner of a wicked-cool tee-shirt, but I’ll repeat the same offer…post a picture on facebook of yourself wearing your beautiful Team Ike tee shirt and be eligible for awesome prizes (free books). If you’ve read all of them – get one as a gift for that special someone in your life! (or donate it to a library)

If you are inclined to share this blog I would appreciate it very much – and I am always willing to return the favor.

I truly appreciate you support – whether it’s buying a shirt (or 3) or by simply sharing this blog post and helping spread the word.

 

To reserve your shirt click here.

 

Now – in case you have been living in an underwater cave and don’t know who Ike is (I know – unfathomable) you can read a little about him here.

IKE3

As always – thank you for reading

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