Thursday, March 31, 2011

Damn, I've got a lot of e-books out now

With the StoneGate Ink release of Bad Karma and my e-book original, Dying Memories, I've now got 10 e-books out when you include Killer, Outsourced and The Caretaker of Lorne Field from my two print publishers. Like a lot of traditionally published authors I've been keeping my toes dipped in the e-book world while still focusing on traditionally published print books, but about two months ago I started to take the e-book publishing more seriously, both with my involvement with Top Suspense and working with StoneGate Ink (thanks Vincent for talking me into it!!--The Innocent by Vincent Zandri #5 on Amazon) to bring out two more e-books, and this month I'm beginning to see a payoff--last month I sold a little over 300 ebooks, so far this month over 2,000. I'm certainly not giving up on print--The Caretaker of Lorne Field will be released in paperback in the Fall, and probably my best book, A Killer's Essence, will be released by Overlook Press Sept 1st. Also, the movie project for Outsourced has gone from a 50-50 proposition, to just about a certainty, and if it gets made (as it now seems highly likely) it will be a game changer for me. But if I keep seeing the type of increases in my e-book sales as I did from February to March, it will be hard to deny that that's where my future focus will be. Anyway, with 10 e-books out, all in different genres and style, I thought I'd give a short description ranging from lightest (G-rated) to most fierce (NC-17).

Julius Katz Mysteries ($0.99) -- the two Julius Katz mysteries making up this ebook are lighthearted and charming, and appropriate for any mystery reader. 'Julius Katz' won the Shamus and Derringer awards, 'Archie's Been Framed' won this year's Ellery Queen's Readers Choice Award.

The Caretaker of Lorne Field ($10.99, Overlook) -- a mix of horror and parable, but still appropriate for any reader, any age. In fact, I've had readers email me that they wanted their children to read this also.

21 Tales ($2.99) -- 21 of my short stories ranging from whimsical to brutally noir.

Dying Memories -- a thriller where memories can't be trusted. Appropriate for any thriller reader

Bad Karma ($2.99) -- the sequel to Bad Thoughts, but very different tone than the first book. This one is a hardboiled PI novel with new age sensibilities, and while it is filled with evil yoga studios, dangerous Russian mobsters, and a deviant guru, it's appropriate for any fan of hardboiled PI novels (and when it came out in hardcover it received a very favorable response from hardboiled PI readers). I'll be writing a lot more about both Bad Karma and Dying Memories in the upcoming weeks.

Outsourced ($8.19, Serpent's Tail) -- a bank heist novel--what Booklist calls "a small gem of crime fiction"

Killer ($7.59, Serpent's Tail) -- the 3rd and best of my 'man out of prison' noir trilogy. Publisher's Weekly says of Killer: "Spare prose and assured pacing place this above most other contemporary noirs.". While not the fierce ride of Pariah, Killer is quieter, more meditative, but ultimately more powerful than any of my other crime novels.

Bad Thoughts ($2.99) -- this was my second book, and very different than anything else of mine. Bleak and grim, it's a horror and crime thriller hybrid that masquerades as a police procedural.

Fast Lane ($2.99) -- my first novel. This is mix of full-blown Jim Thompsoneque psycho noir and deconstruction of the hardboiled PI genre. This is one of my most ambitious books and has a lot of fans among noir readers.

Blood Crimes ($2.99) -- the first book of a planned 5-book series. This is a wild thrill ride of a book, wickedly paced, and loaded with sex, violence and intense horror. I'm sure Twilight readers who find this are going to be horrified, but the book has gotten a great reaction so far from crime and horror readers.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Top Suspense highlighted today at DailyCheapReads

The excellent ebook site, DailyCheapReads, is making our Top Suspense anthology one of today's picks. And no wonder with the reaction this anthology has been getting!

Other Top Suspense news: we'll be putting out another round robin story as the other six (Lee Goldberg, Paul Levine, Joel Goldberg, Naomi Hirahara, Libby Hellmann and Stephen Gallagher) strut their stuff and show what they can do. Look for the first installment on our Top Suspense blog April 5th. And like The Chase, no planning, no safety nets in the writing--and names will be left off so you can guess who wrote what!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Guest Blog: Bestselling Author Vincent Zandri

I'm proud to be able to introduce my guest blogger today, my friend and bestselling author, Vincent Zandri. That's right, bestselling author. Vincent is a hell of a writer and is rightfully getting the recognition he deserves as he's right now ranked #10 at Amazon for Kindle books with his The Innocent. Not only do Vincent and I share at the end of mystery sections in bookstores, but thanks to Vincent's urging, I'm now also being published by StoneGate Ink, and later this year Vincent and I will have The Innocent and Dying Memories in a double e-book. Here's Vincent:

Albany, New York: A City Stuck in Noir By Vincent Zandri

I travel.

I travel a lot.

Sometimes I travel on assignment for one of the news agencies I sometimes work for, and other times I travel to simply grab a month or so just to write in peace and lonely isolation. Less occasionally I travel as a tourist. Whatever the case, I love the process of travel, the freedom it offers, the constant moving, the crowded airports, the smell of burning fuel, the planes, trains, and automobiles.

But even though travel is one of my passions I always seem to land back in Albany. Albany, New York that is. The capital of New York State. More than once somebody will tap me on the shoulder. Usually a down-on-his-luck suburbanite dressed in a wrinkled suit, bent over the bar, nursing his second or third scotch, bloodshot eyes looking like they’re about to burst into tears. I’ll feel the tap and I’ll turn to him and he’ll look into my eyes and ask the one question that I already know is coming: “Why the hell do you stay in this town when you don’t have to?”

Ok, it’s possible if not probable, this man doesn’t want to escape Albany so much as he wants to escape his life…the overdue bills, the mortgage he can’t afford, the marriage that was over along ago, the kids he feels entirely disconnected with, the hopes and dreams of youth that have given way to middle-aged spread, high blood pressure, and unbearable desperation. But the question is nonetheless a valid one.

I’m known as an “Albany writer.” Perhaps the only writer living in my area more known for their books than me at present is William Kennedy, another not so anonymous Albany writer. Oh, and he scored a Pultizer too. But even though I’ve spent enough time in other places like Florence, Italy for instance, to set at least one novel in them, I always seem to gravitate to Albany. Why?

I think the answer has everything to do with noir and hard-boiled fiction.

You recall that famous vintage noir photograph of the dark street corner, a hot blond dame perched beside her fedora capped toughie outside a gin-mill enveloped in fog and lit up only by a long vertical sign that bears the word “BAR” in red neon letters. Well, Albany is still like that. Maybe the fedoras are long gone, but the dark street corners are still there as are the neon signs and the hot dames. The bars are dark and usually occupied by tough guys who want to get drunk quick. Not exactly a rosy picture I’m painting of my hometown, and I’m sure the Albany Chamber of Commerce might send some spies out after me if I keep this up, but it’s that same desperate hard-boiled quality that keeps me coming back here.

Albany is a genuine relic, an authentic concrete jungle in a world fast becoming one big Disney Land. It’s a forgotten-in-time city of barely one-hundred thousand that has long been overshadowed by New York City 140 miles to the south. It’s a town that was run by corrupt political figures who’d spend more time having their palms greased than they did reading the numerous telephone book-sized bills that were passed across their desks day in and day out.

Just last week, one of the top detectives in the APD was arrested by one of his own men on a DWI charge. Said senior detective had been tailed to a downtown bar earlier in the afternoon while the arresting officer waited him out. When the drunk dick got back in his car and drove off with a headlight that was mysterious no longer working, the arresting officer pounced on him and made the bust. Now if that doesn’t sound like a set up I don’t know what the hell is. It will also no doubt be the basis for one of my Richard “Dick” Moonlight novels to come.

There are other similar hard-boiled stories that seem to spew forth from Albany like the coal dust from the old garbage burning plant down on Sheridan Street, across from the old Times Union Newspaper building where Martha Gelhorn, Ernest Hemingway’s third wife, worked in the early 1920s. There’s the one about some of the APD blue getting involved in an illegal body parts harvesting op that created the basis for Moonlight Falls. Then there’s the one about the prison warden accused of aiding and abetting a known cop killer’s escape from Green Haven Prison and eventually being accused of murder in the first himself. That one became The Innocent. There’s even the one about the asbestos removal company that cheated on its removals exposing thousands of people to deadly cancer-causing asbestos fibers. I personally knew some of the players in that train wreck. And, let me tell you, what a hell of a novel plot it will make for my new forthcoming hard-boiled novel from StoneGate Ink, Concrete Pearl. And yeah, I will have to watch my back when it gets published.

I know, I know, lots of other cities and towns all across this great country boasts the same hard-boiled stuff. The crime, the corruption, the neon. But this is the town I was born in. This is the town where my kids live, my ex-wives live, and where my descendents are buried six feet under soil that remains rock hard and frost-bit for six months out of every year. That reminds me, have I spoken yet about the winters up here? They’re enough to drive you to drink.

I keep thinking about that poor palooka at the bar staring down into his scotch. I can’t help but feel his pain in wanting to leave his life. I was there once myself. I was unhappily married, kids underfoot, working a job I hated, and swimming in more debt-ridden bills than I had breaths in my lungs. And my writing was going nowhere.

I used to just drive around the downtown, with no particular destination in mind, until inevitably I’d stop at some corner juke joint, belly up to the dark end of the bar, order a beer, and light up a smoke. I remember making a solemn promise to become a bestselling hard-boiled author one day, and to shake the Albany dust from my boots as soon as humanly possible.

I kept the first promise.

But the second promise I broke, and that has made all the difference.

Vincent Zandri is the bestselling author of THE INNOCENT (As Catch Can), GODCHILD, THE REMAINS, MOONLIGHT FALLS, and the forthcoming CONCRETE PEARL and MOONLIGHT RISES. A foreign correspondent, photo-journalist, and adventurer, Zandri divides his time between Albany, New York and Florence, Italy. For more information on him and his books go to WWW.VINCENTZANDRI.COM

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Opening for Dying Memories

Other than the man who watched her intently though a pair of high-powered binoculars from a fifth-floor office window across the street, most of the people who passed the woman didn’t notice her, which was understandable. She was in her thirties, nondescript, dressed neither expensively nor shabbily, her hair thin and dull brown in color, her body hidden under a bulky black-and-white checkered cloth coat. It didn’t help matters as far as her near invisibility went that she was standing at a busy spot for pedestrians rushing off to work: right outside the entrance for the forty floor office building at One Post Office Square in the heart of Boston’s financial district.

Those who did glance at her might’ve wondered about the tautness hardening her face into an angry mask and the deadness glazing her red-rimmed eyes if they weren’t so preoccupied with their own busied thoughts or their cell phone conversations or wolfing down their greasy breakfast sandwiches and gulping down the remnants of their coffee. It was eight thirty-seven in the morning, which meant that most of these people were already seven minutes late for work. The few who did slow down on noticing her assumed that her obvious distress was over something trivial, such as a rough morning or an unpleasant business meeting scheduled for later, and they sped up quickly as they dismissed the idea that she was anyone to be concerned about.

They paid attention to her after the shots blasted out. There were a lot of them and everything seemed to stop then. Nobody screamed, though. As people turned to her she stood stone-faced, her right hand stretched out in front of her, her knuckles white as she gripped the handgun that had earlier been hidden under her cloth coat, red speckles dotting her coat sleeve and gun hand, the acrid smell of gunpowder penetrating the crisp autumn air. Lying on the sidewalk crumpled only a few feet from her was a well-dressed man, his legs twisted unnaturally beneath him. From the gray showing in his hair and his weathered face, he appeared to have been in his early fifties. He looked like before the shooting that he could’ve been a good-looking man; slim, athletic, but it was hard to tell with the way his chest had been turned to a bloody pulp and the gaping red hole carved out where his left eye had been only seconds earlier. Some of the people staring at the scene were probably in shock, others might’ve thought this was some sort of TV stunt and were expecting Ashton Kutcher or some other such person to come running out yelling that they had all been punk’d.

Nobody ran, but people slowly began to back away from her, especially as they realized that as unreal as the scene may have seemed it was quite real. The blood that had spattered on the woman was genuine, as was the gore littering the sidewalk and the blood pooling beneath the man that she had shot. He was dead. This wasn’t staged, the shooting wasn’t an elaborate special effects and make up job. The gunshots still reverberating through the street were real. The woman standing as still as a statue with her gun hand outstretched had indeed fired bullets into the man lying dead on the sidewalk in front of her.

As people moved away from her they did so as if they were moving through molasses, even the ex-Marine who recognized the model of the gun that she was holding and was pretty sure he had counted seven shots, which would’ve left the magazine empty. When the crowd had gotten to what they felt was a safe distance from her, some stopped to watch, others continued on. Nobody spoke. A hushed silence had descended on the area. The woman seemed oblivious to them all, her attention focused solely on the ruined body of the man she had murdered.

Several minutes passed before the quiet was broken by the pulsating wail of police sirens. By the time four Boston police cruisers came screeching to a halt in front of her, the woman was alone on the sidewalk; all other pedestrians had moved to the other side of Post Office Square to watch the events from there. Orders were barked at the woman to drop her gun.

The woman remained frozen. She appeared unaware of the small mob of police officers shouting at her to give up her weapon. They didn’t fire on her. Instead three of them edged closer to her with their own guns drawn. When they got within ten feet of her, they charged her, first pulling her gun out of her hand, then pushing her to the sidewalk and, with their adrenaline pumping, violently jerking her arms behind her back so they could cuff her. The woman remained mute throughout it, just as she had while she had waited for her victim and later during her assassination of him. If she felt any pain from the near dislocation of both her shoulders or the abrasions that the rough cement of the sidewalk caused to her face, she didn’t show it. It was only when she was pulled to her feet that she muttered something under her breath.

One of the police officers asked her what she had said. He was holding her by her right elbow, his hard, narrow face red from the excitement, perspiration wetting his upper lip and gleaming along his forehead. She turned to face him, confused, as if she were only just realizing he was there.

“I’m glad I killed him,” she said.

The officer was still breathing hard from the arrest. He grunted, nodding towards the dead man. “You knew him?”

Her eyes grew small and her mouth started to quiver as she glanced towards what was left of the man she had shot seven times. She swallowed back whatever emotion was fighting to come surging out.

“I knew him,” she said. Her voice broke off for a moment before she continued. “Kent Forster. He raped and murdered my daughter. Jenny was only eleven when that monster did that to her. He deserved worse than what I did.”

She started crying then. Mostly a silent sobbing, her face twisting into a massive crease and showing nothing but pain. Two of the officers put her in a police cruiser and drove off.

Simon, the man who had been watching her through binoculars, was alone in the office. He had also listened to her statement to the police using a state-of-the-art parabolic microphone. He was dressed neatly and conservatively in a dark gray suit, white shirt, light gray tie, and black oxfords. Thin, with black hair that had been cut short, and a square-shaped and freshly-scrubbed pink face; his most distinguishing features other than the extreme pink hue of his skin color were slightly pointed ears and small round eyes that didn’t look much bigger than a pair of dimes. Satisfied with what he had seen and heard, he packed the equipment into a small canvas suitcase and left the office.

Dying Memories is available now for $2.99 as a Kindle or Nook download

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Two new e-books

I've got two new e-books out now by StoneGate Ink. Dying Memories is an original e-book, a pure thriller with my own twist on the genre, and Bad Karma, a new age, hardboiled PI novel that's a sequel to Bad Thoughts, and was originally published in hardcover in 2009 by Five Star. Both e-books are $2.99, and I'll be writing a lot more about these in the next few weeks. Right now my mindset is still around Blood Crimes, which thanks to a terrific writeup by B&N this past Wednesday, got down to a ranking as low as #126 at, and is still holding steady at #170. This has helped significantly with my sales for this book, and I'll soon start writing Book Two in the Blood Crimes series.

Dying Memories is available at Amazon, BN and Smashwords.

Bad Karma is also available at Amazon, BN and Smashwords.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Dexter meets True Blood"

"Dexter meets True Blood in Shamus Award-winner Dave Zeltserman’s latest thriller, Blood Crimes, available now for $2.99.

Imagine you’re a vampire with a conscience—your survival depends on preying on others, but you’re reluctant to harm the innocent. Just like the ethical serial killer Dexter, Zeltserman’s vampire virus-infected protagonist Jim feasts on the blood of only the most despicable characters. But as he and his non-infected partner Carol scour the country for worthy victims, they soon find that there are some nasty folks tailing them as well.
" has posted a terrific recommendation for Blood Crimes today. You can read it here.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

10 More Free Copies of Top Suspense

The 25 copies I was allotted went fast, but I'm giving out 10 more copies--but here's the catch: you must read and post a review on Amazon by April 1st (we're looking for honest reviews only--good, bad, indifferent, it doesn't matter as long as it's honest), or you'll have The Enforcer (AKA Ed Gorman) knocking on your door with his Louisville slugger in hand. To offer some added enticement, some early reviews are already starting to come in.

"If you need an example of truth in advertising, Top Suspense will do the job. Each memorable story evoked a strong reaction, whether humor or horror, noir-weary despair or holy crap shock." Earful of Cider, read review here.

"The title says it all. Twelve writers at the top of their form in these stories." Not The Baseball Pitcher, read review here.

"This past week, Top Suspense released their first anthology which I can enthusiastically recommend to BTAP readers." David Cramner, The Education of a Pulp Writer

So if you can read and review the Top Suspense Anthology on Amazon by April 1st, and are willing to suffer the consequences of a visit by The Enforcer if you don't, send me an email at and let me know whether you'd like a Kindle, epub or PDF version.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Old Wives' Tales

I've got a new story up at BEAT to a PULP, Old Wives' Tales. This is not one of my hardboiled, noirish crime stories, but something a bit different.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Get your free Top Suspense Anthology!

Well, not exactly free in that you need to agree to write a review (good or bad, we don't care as long as it's honest) somewhere. Your blog, amazon, kindleboards, b&n, facebook, all of the above, but somewhere. And we're serious about the review. If you don't write one we'll be sending The Enforcer (AKA Ed Gorman) to your door, and he can do nasty things with a Louisville slugger. Trust me, you don't want that to happen!!

So here's what you get with the anthology--one story by each Top Suspense member, plus the original round robin story, plus a link that will reveal the authors for each section of the round robin story.

Unreasonable Doubt by Max Allan Collins
Death’s Brother by Bill Crider
Poisoned by Stephen Gallagher
Remaindered by Lee Goldberg
Fire in the Sky by Joel Goldman
The Baby Store by Ed Gorman
The Jade Elephant by Libby Fischer Hellmann
The Big O by Vicki Hendricks
The Chirashi Covenant by Naomi Hirahara
El Valiente en el Infierno by Paul Levine
A Handful of Dust by Harry Shannon
The Canary by Dave Zeltserman
The Chase by Top Suspense Group

So if you want a copy, send me an email ( letting me know what format you want: Kindle, E-Pub, or PDF. Each Top Suspense member has been allocated 25 copies to give out, and copies are going fast, and so get me your email soon. And remember, we are going to want to see a review out of this. You don't want Ed knocking on your door!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The twinkle is back

The twinkle was missing previously from Archie, and if you look closely at this updated cover you can see the twinkle is back in Archie's eye. The reason for the earlier missing twinkle is the night before Julius and Archie posed for the last cover, Archie had spent the night cataloging Julius's wine cellar, and all that wine left Archie a bit dry-eyed. This time around Archie was feeling more his chipper self, and Julius also got into the act by placing a folded handkerchief in suit jacket pocket for a slightly more dashing appearance. I'd like to thank Julius and Archie for taking the time to pose again, and my friend, Laurie Pzena, for drawing the duo again in silhouette.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A new look for Julius

Thanks to a very talented friend, Laurie Pzena, Julius Katz now looks more as I've envisioned him (and notice Archie is still in the picture). I'd like to hear from people about which if these two covers they prefer.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

10 reasons to get Julius Katz Mysteries

1) Read this year's Ellery Queen's Readers Choice Award winner, Archie's Been Framed

2) Read last year's Shamus and Derringer winner, Julius Katz

3) Only $0.99 for Kindle, Nook, or Smashword purchase (price going up to $2.99 May 1st)

4) "Both the stories in this volume are a delight, and at this price they're probably the best deal on Amazon." Timothy Hallinan

5) "I'm a big fan, along with many other people, of Dave Zeltserman's character Julius Katz." Ed Gorman

6) "Absolutely fantastic!" Minding Spot

7) "Zeltserman evokes Rex Stout, Nero and Archie in the most fascinating way." Joe Barone

8) "Julius Katz Mysteries are some of the most fun you will ever have reading detective short fiction" David Cramner

9) "In style, wit and charm, Julius Katz comes closer than anything I've read to capturing Stout's bloodless but entertaining riddles"

10) "I enjoyed these two tales so much that I find it a bloody shame there aren't more for me to hunt down and read" Man Eating Bookworm (there will be, Ellery Queen has bought a 3rd Julius Katz story, and the novel is done)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Julius Katz versus Blood Crimes

Julius Katz Mysteries and Blood Crimes are very different. I won't say they're polar opposites--for that to be true my JKM stories would have to be cozies, and they're not, at least no more than Nero Wolfe books could be considered cozies. While the stories making up my Julius Katz Mysteries are lighthearted and charming, there's still a hard-boiled edge to them. But they're still very different than the violent, noirish thrill ride that's Blood Crimes. The one thing that these two e-books have in common is the strong and very positive reaction I'm getting from readers, and this has been across the board. The latest review for Julius Katz Mysteries came from Wendy at Minding Spot, where she sums up her review:

There are two suspenseful reads in Julius Katz Mysteries, and even though Julius and Archie may be working the same case, they come at it from different perspectives. Archie may have a revelation, and so may Julius, but Julius is constantly surprising Archie - whose probability is almost never wrong. A dynamic duo that I would love to read more adventures of. The characters are so multi-dimensional, you can envision them in your mind, with quirks and antics that give them a life of their own. Mr. Zeltserman pens a superb mystery; I couldn't figure out who the culprit was until Julius and Archie led me to them. Absolutely fantastic! I highly recommend this series to any mystery suspense reader. Julius and Archie remind me a bit of all of the great sleuths, but uniquely their own.

I'm getting this same enthusiastic reaction from readers for Blood Crimes, where readers are emailing about how they had no interest with anything vampires, at least until reading Blood Crimes. Here are some of the comments readers have been emailing me or telling me on message boards:

"I just started it and I think it's great, Dave. The narrative really propels the reader forward like a missile."

"Hey, Dave. Finished the 1st installment of BLOOD CRIMES and loved it. Very cinematic, great plotting"

"read Blood Crimes, loved it and can't wait for the next one. I'm not a vampire fan really, but between it and American Vampire I may have to change my mind"

"I finished the book last night. I thought it was well-written and an extremely fun book to read. My only gripe is that the ending absolutely forces you to wait for the next book. I've just got a "thing" about that... I will definitely buy the follow-up when it's released though..."

"I really liked this book. The flow was great and kept me interested. I don't know how many times I have started a book and it hasn't been able to keep my attention. Even with my Nook dying on Friday night, I had to finish this book so I jumped on my laptop all weekend"

"cannot wait until the follow up book. This is definitely a different breed of vampire than I have seen reflected before. There is nothing romantic about it and more closely to a horror/mystery style novel"

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The trends continue with Caretaker and Small Crimes

The trends continue as new reviews popped up with readers seriously digging The Caretaker of Lorne Field and Small Crimes. Here's an excerpt from Ginger Nuts of Horror's review of The Caretaker of Lorne Field.

This book is being marketed as a horror book, which in my opinion is a misfortune, for this like The Thief of Broken Toys, transcends the horror genre. There has been talk about what is literary horror. I'll tell you it's this. This book is dense with themes, how far will a man go to defend his beliefs. How society treats those they no longer feel are useful. Zeltserman handles these themes with the skill and deftness of an author at the top of his game. This is a moving and haunting book that will stay with you long after you've turned the last page. Buy this book now, in fact buy two copies and give one to a friend, they'll be indebted to you.

Over at Man Eating Bookworm, Peter Leonard reviews Small Crimes. Here's an excerpt:

You see that quote up in the corner of the cover? The one by Ken Bruen? That, Wormies, is totally accurate.

This year has seen a monumental shift in my reading trends and interests. I've delved into a genre I pretty much ignored in the past. The mystery/crime section at the bookstore was just the place I had to travel between general fiction and horror and fantasy.

All that has changed and one of the writers that has been responsible for that change is Dave Zeltserman. I'm loving everything he's writing and he's making me a fan of the genre.