Monthly Archives: October 2016

END OF DAYS teaser: Brisighella

No, it’s not a funky and virulent contagion. Nor is it related to mortadella. It is not, in fact, a cured meat.

Brisighella is a small town in the foothills of the Apennines, about ten miles southwest of Faenza. There are three promontories overlooking it. One holds a small fortress, another holds a clock tower, and the third (and highest) has a chapel.

The fortress (Rocca Manfredi): img_0659

The clock tower: img_0693

The chapel … maybe … ? img_0698

No that’s definitely the chapel, as seen from the castle.

At any rate, Brisighella was such a cool town we visited it TWICE. The second time was primarily for a festival involving a specific kind of pig. Everyone was friendly and welcoming and for that reason — along with it’s topography — I decided it needed to figure prominently in the beginning of END OF DAYS, the sequel to VENDETTA.

And oh my droogs, will it be one hell of an explosive beginning …

Stay tuned …
















When people find out I write historical fiction, there are a couple of statements they throw out (after the initial, ‘whoa, you’re a writer’), almost without fail.

The first is, “I don’t know anything about the fourteenth century.” I’ve got nothing for that. I mean, if you’ve heard of the Black Death you know a little something about the era. And it’s kind of a big deal. I mean, about one-quarter of the world’s population was wiped out. It’s an important factoid.

The second is, “Wow, you must have done a ton of research.” THAT is an easy one to respond to.

“Yes,” I say. “Not only did I do a ton of research. I did a SHIT-ton of research.” So not only do I validate a person’s assumptions, I teach them a snappy new adjective … shit-ton. It’s an old Marine term …

I’m hard at work on Book the Second: plotting, strategizing, outlining, character sketching … and *groan* researching. Because despite the fact I’m using a lot of the same characters from VENDETTA, and despite the events in END OF DAYS taking place in the same year as VENDETTA (at least, initially), our heroes have an awful lot of adversity to overcome, new enemies to beat the snot out of, and new ground to cover.  Places to go, things to do, wrongs to right, feelings to hurt …

While beating my head against the desk one day — because, quite frankly, reading about the Papacy and the conclave process is like putting railroad spikes through my skull — I looked at the giant stack of books that all provided fodder for VENDETTA, one way or another. It put things into perspective. I went through a lot of books; the real deal (I’m old school and like holding a book in my paws) and ebooks. And a large number of websites, too.

A lot of this … img_1766

… got squeezed into this:


No wonder I can’t remember where I put my car keys …

#writerslife, #amwritinghistoricalfiction, #VENDETTA






VENDETTA Milestones and other news

I couldn’t help but notice the dates on my previous posts, and how they correlated to when fire season went from ‘busy’ to ‘downright aggravating.’ It was hard to get excited about the continuing hijinks of Angelo Anchioni and Stuart Heton when fire was so unrelenting in GTNP this season. Not complaining, mind you … Love fire-fighting. I’m just saying …

On to other things!

With all of the fire business (the Berry Fire, in particular, had my number) it was hard to focus on maintaining interest, drumming up sales, doing that whole f&@^#%* marketing thing.

As a brief aside … Wanna be a writer? Then don’t do it the way I did it. 1. Write a book. 2. Come up with a marketing plan. 3. Query hard. 4. Get an agent. 5. Get published. Repeat one, two, three, and five. I’ve been pin balling all over the place. Know nothing about marketing. It’s like ‘Opposite Day’ with me and publishing. Do as I say, not as I do …

Anyway, two nights ago I happened to glance at Amazon and POW!! VENDETTA had twenty reviews … This morning, twenty-one. And there’s really twenty-three if you count the pair of reviews from the Kindle version.

For the four people reading this, you’re like, “*Yawn.* Now what are those whacky Kardashians up to today?” HA! And you’d be right to wonder what they’re up to. For the rest of the mortals who don’t have gobs of money thrown at them for breathing valuable oxygen, let me elucidate.

Twenty-plus reviews on Amazon means VENDETTA will start appearing in the ‘readers also read this’ banner which appears under your book purchase. Or whatever it is you’re purchasing.

Thank you so much to everyone who wrote reviews! And don’t worry — I’ll continue to gently cajole all of the hold-outs. And you know who you are … Really, though, I don’t know who you are. But if I did … Well. Hoffa. Cement boots. Lead pipe diplomacy. A tune-up from my boys Rocco and Gino. You get the drift …

Speaking of drift, work on END OF DAYS is going in fits and starts. I’ve taken a different approach to this book and have actually created a premise, a synopsis, an outline, plot lines, character arcs, the whole shebang. I was talking about this to my wife a few nights ago and she said, “You wrote an entire book without an OUTLINE!?! I can’t believe you did that. How did you keep everything straight in your head?”

She got the standard reply: “Magic.”

Honestly, I don’t know how I managed it. Sheer force of will, maybe. In any case, thank you KL Cooper  for turning me on to Chris Fox and his ability to break down outlining, Barney-style… Check out Chris Fox (he writes sci-fi and horror) on YouTube and at his website:

I’ll have an excerpt from END OF DAYS by the end of this month. That is the goal/plan. And a mailing list! Which is what I intended to do before writing this post …