Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Day's Writing

This was the first weekend I didn't have to work my day job in some time. I took advantage by working on some writing projects.

The first John Childress novel is done. Just waiting for the proofreader to go over it, then I'll be uploading it to Kindle, Nook, etc. I haven't decided whether to do a paperback version. There hasn't been much demand for them, but Createspace makes it easy to do, so I just might do a paperback anyway.

I'm working on a crime novella about a mob wife that rips off her husband. There's crooked cops, a hit man, and lots of mayhem. I typed in about 5 pages from the rough draft I'd started in a notebook. This should be a fairly quick project, possibly uploaded next week.

I had someone ask me about the third Dead Land book, and I'm outlining that now. Should be out in July if all goes well.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Beat The Devil Chapter 2

Here's Chapter 2 of Beat the Devil. It still needs to go off to the proofreader, but I thought I'd post a preview.

Beat the Devil - Excerpt
Copyright 2013 Anthony Izzo

John Childress climbed the stairs, an important mission on the line. He was to read The Hungry Caterpillar to Jordyn. At six-years-old, she was one of the top readers in her class, but she still loved her father to read to her. This was what he'd missed while in Afghanistan.
He's put in his twenty in the SEALS and had retired earlier in the year. It suited him fine. He had loved what he did, relished every mission, but being home was even better.
As he entered Jordyn's room, she was sitting up, a pillow behind her back. Her damp hair hung in loose curls, sill wet from the shower Megan had given her.
Hey, Daddy.”
Are you still awake? Shouldn't you be sleeping?”
Dad, really?”
Really. You should go to sleep,” Childress said.
Quit teasing,” she said.
Or if you'd like me to read this,” he said, holding up the book.
She patted the bad and he sat next to her, their backs against the headboard. As he opened the book, the lights went out. Jordyn gasped.
What happened?” she asked.
Just a circuit breaker. I'll flip a switch in the basement and the lights will come back on.”
Jordyn eyed him as if she didn't believe her father.
Jessica entered the room, a flashlight in her hand. Her hair was pulled back in a pony tail and a few errant strands crossed her forehead. As usual, she looked amazing, even with her hair hastily pulled back.
Wanna play amateur electrician?” she asked.
Consider me hired,” he said, and stood up. He took the flashlight from Megan and she took his spot next to Jordyn on the bed. After going to the basement, he opened the breaker box and found none of them tripped. He speculated there was an outage on the road somewhere.
The lived in a rural area, the nearest neighbor hundreds of yards away. He couldn't even peek out the window and see if the neighbors lost power, as well. They were bordered by fields and the neighbor's house was too far away to determine if the lights were on.
He went upstairs and looked out the bay window in the living room. The pole light at the road cast a glow on the end of his driveway. It was odd that the light still had power.
They had an extra flashlight in the kitchen junk drawer. He entered the kitchen and something caught his eye outside. Someone was creeping across the field and coming towards the house. Dressed in black. A chill went down the back of his neck.
He burst from the kitchen and raced up the stairs. Entered Jordyn's bedroom. “Listen to me. Go in the hallway bathroom. It'll be safe. There's no windows. Lock the door and don't come out until I tell you.”
Megan stood up, her brow knitted into a frown. “John, what the hell's going on?”
Call 9-1-1,” Childress said.
John, tell me.”
There's someone creeping up on the house,” he said, and went to Jordyn's window.
It overlooked the back yard, and looking out, he saw more of them, dressed in black and carrying pistol-grip shotguns. They were to the edge of the field, almost at the house.
Childress gripped her wrist and brought her to the window. He pointed out the men, who were mere shapes in the darkness. Her eyes grew wide.
You have your cell?” he asked.
In my pocket.”
Lock yourself in and call the cops.”
She took the cell phone from her pocket, dialed, and held it to her ear. “Nothing.”
They only had cell phones, no landline. It occurred to him that the intruders may have jammed the signal, which would mean they were professionals. Had there been a leak? He wondered if he'd been exposed to some terrorist cell and they were coming to seek revenge.
Childress ushered his wife and daughter into the upstairs bathroom. He heard the lock click into place. He went to the hallway closet and grabbed his old softball bat. It was better than nothing.
He went downstairs, racking his brain as to who might be coming after him.
In the kitchen, he peered out the rear window. Two of them, carrying shotguns, crept near the back of the house, the men getting closer to breaking in.
More of them might be coming through the front door, and he cursed himself for not locking it. He hurried to the front door, flattened himself against the wall. As he reached to lock it, the door was eased open.
The two men came inside, but they hadn't seen Childress yet. Both of them were clad in black, all but their eyes obscured by ski masks.
He hit the second man in the knee, sending him to the ground. Followed up by smashing him in the face, the bone giving with a hollow crack. He fell face down on the floor.
The first guy turned, aimed the shotgun at Childress. He swung the bat, clipping the shotgun and forcing the guy to point it at the ceiling. He jabbed the guy in the throat with the butt-end of the bat. The intruder fell to the floor holding his throat.
He grabbed the shotgun from the man, a Mossberg pistol grip. A moment later, the back door exploded inward. The other four men entered the kitchen and fanned out. He fired the Mossberg, forcing them to scatter. Glass shattered. Hope that wasn't the good china, he thought.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Trying to Win New Wheelchair Van

For the second year in a row, our son Tony is entered in a contest to win a new wheelchair van. The contest is part of National Mobility Awareness Month. It's a nationwide contest, and people can vote one time per day.

Tony has mitochondrial myopathy, which falls in the Muscular Dystrophy spectrum of diseases. There is no known cure and we depend on the van to get him where he needs to go.

I'd like to take a moment to ask if people would take a look at Tony's profile and cast a vote. It only takes a second, and our family truly appreciates every vote. We've got our fingers crossed, as our current van is 14 years old and has 120K miles on it. My wife drives Tony to her school, which is 50 miles round trip.

Please consider voting for Tony by clicking on the link below.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Thriller Excerpt - Chapter One of Beat the Devil

I have about sixty pages left to edit on Beat the Devil. Here's the first chapter. I'll post additional chapters over the next few days.

Excerpt from Beat the Devil
Copyright 2013 Anthony Izzo


They were taking him to one of those Supermax facilities, where John Raven would spend the rest of his days in a cell. Twenty-three hours a day in a six-by-eight cage, with an hour allowed for exercise.
The guards walked him out of the cell block, Raven shuffling along with cuffs and leg irons. The Department of Corrections van waited for them, dimly visible through the sheets of rain falling outside Block D.
The guard, a pig-faced slug named Harrod, nudged him along with a shotgun. One of the other guards slid the door open and they muscled Raven into the van. A steel grid separated the driver and passenger from the rear seating. They shut the van door and Raven listened to the rain beat on the van roof. It was a six hour drive to Supermax. To the end of his freedom.
Herrod turned to him and said, “Going to enjoy your new home, Raven?”
I'd enjoy skinning you. That's what I'd enjoy.”
The look of anger appeared on the pig's face was worth it.
Boy, if I had five minutes with you, I bet you wouldn't talk so tough,” Harrod said.
You wouldn't last five minutes with me. “
He scared people. That he knew. He'd always been big, growing to six-foot-five as a teenager. He had done thousands of pushups and burpees in his cell, packing on slabs of muscle. His long, dark hair sometimes hung over his eyes, making him hard to read. And then there was the scar: a mess of pink tissue that crisscrossed his right cheek, given to him by a cop.
You'll never see the sun again, know that Raven?”
Do you have family? I once cut a family of four to pieces. The father lasted two hours before he died.”
You deserve to rot,” Herrod said, turning around.
Raven smiled, something he rarely did.
The van began rolling and he looked out the rear window and Griffin State Penitentiary faded in the distance, becoming a large gray blur in the falling rain.
The scenery rolled past, the road flanked by towering pines. Up ahead twin head lights approached on the other side of the road. He could see the running lights of a semi, the rig swerving back and forth. Something was wrong with it.
It drew closer and Raven watched it veer towards the van, the grill looking like the maw of a great beast. The van's driver tried to swerve, but the semi clipped the van's bumper and they whipped around and before Raven knew what was happening, they had flipped. The van rolled several times and Raven felt as if he were in a steel drum being rolled down a hill.
He heard screeching metal and the blare of a large horn as the van came to a stop. He was staring up at the broken side window, the van resting on its side. Turning his head to the right, he saw the pig-faced guard sprawled over the seat. His neck was cocked at a bad angle. Broken.
The front windshield had been smashed out and the driver was nowhere to be seen.
His body felt as if he'd been hit with baseball bats. He realized when he moved his arms, his wrists were no longer bound, the chains having been snapped by the crash.
He got to his knees and began crawling towards the front of the van. The cage separating the driver from the passenger's had been peeled open. He crawled over the dead guard, who smelled as if his bowels had let go. After ten minutes, he managed to crawl out the hole where the front windshield had been.
The guard who had been driving lay on the blacktop, his face covered in blood. Raven went to the dead guard, hunkered down. He found a set of keys on the man's belt and undid his shackles. Then he took the guard's weapon, a Glock 40. He grabbed the extra clips, too.
Looking down the road, he saw the semi had rolled. The trailer had been ripped open, looking like someone had taken a can opener to it. Smoke billowed from the tractor.
He saw a second set of headlights approaching and he watched as a Ford pickup truck approached. It stopped and a large man in a blue mechanic's uniform got out. A grease-smeared cap rested on his head. “You okay? Any other prisoners around?”
Just fine, and I'm the only one,” Raven said.
You ain't going to hurt me, are you?”
Raven shook his head.
I'll get my cell,” the man said, approaching. “Call for help.”
I'll be needing your clothes,” Raven said.
Excuse me?”
Your clothes,” Raven said, and shot him in the face.
He undressed the man, who was roughly Raven's size. After stripping down to his prison-issue boxers, he dressed in the man's uniform. The patch sewn on the shirt indicated the guy's name had been Jeff. “Thanks Jeff,” he said, and dragged the body, now clad in a pair of red jockey shorts, into the woods. Taking the Glock and ammunition, he got behind the wheel of the Ford and drove off.
He wondered how much time he had before they realized he was loose. And if it was enough time to settle some old scores.
He drove for half-an-hour until he spotted a ranch home tucked back on a hill. A long driveway snaked up to the house. Even at eleven p.m. the lights were still on.
Turning up the driveway, he killed the headlights and eased the vehicle forward.
Off in the distance, sirens cried out.

Donald Spielman was in bed watching the local news run through a fluff piece, something about a dog riding a skateboard. He wondered why he bothered with the news at times. The dog, a terrier named Sydney, rolled along on screen, its tongue wagging in the breeze. Nonsense, he thought.
He glanced at Isabel. His wife was sleeping on her side, her breasts pushed up in the lace nightie. He considered nuzzling her neck and seeing where it went. Their boys were staying with her parents for the night, which meant a rare evening alone.
He was amazed by her beauty. The dark hair and flawless olive skin. Even more amazed that she had fallen in love with an average long-haul trucker.
He was about to make his move when a knock came at the door. It made him flinch.
Who the hell was here at this hour?
Donald got out of bed and threw on a faded terrycloth robe. The thing was so ragged Isabel threatened to burn it every so often. He tied the belt, intent on telling the person at the door to politely fuck off.
They did get the occasional visitor. They were a few miles from the nearest neighbor. Visitors usually came in the form of stranded motorists. Probably someone looking for a jump or help with changing a flat.
As he opened the front door, he heard himself gasp. A man with a bouncer's build stood on the porch. He wore a pair of coveralls that strained at the seams. His long, dark hair partially obscured his eyes, making the man hard to read.
You break down?” Donald asked.
I need a place to say,” the man said. His hands were jammed in the coverall pockets.
This isn't a Motel Six. I'll bring the phone to the porch, if you need to call someone.”
Your place will be fine.”
Donald felt his face start to flush. “Take a hike, huh?”
He started to close the door, but the stranger pulled a semiautomatic pistol from his pocket. Donald froze.
Who else is in the house?”
Donald's heart jackhammered. “My wife.”
We're going inside. If you try and run or call for help, I'll shoot you between the legs. Got it?”
He'd been a fool for opening the door. He wanted to lunge at the man, gouge his eyes, but he didn't. Getting shot here wouldn't help Isabel. “Okay.”
Good man. Now let's go meet that wife of yours.”

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Concept Art

Here's a cover concept I came up with for my first book in the John Childress series. Let me know what you think. I'm looking at a late April release for this one. The description is below.

In the blink of an eye, a corrections department van crashes, unleashing one of the nation's most feared serial killers. Sentenced to life in a Supermax facility, John Raven is turned loose on an unsuspecting population. He has only one thing on his mind: getting revenge on those who punished him.

John Childress is an ex-Navy SEAL. While at home one night, men in black fatigues close in on him and his family. Taken to a government compound, he's given an ultimatum by an organization known as The Agency: track and kill Raven or never see his family again. It's the Agency's business to eliminate internal threats, and Raven is on their radar.

Teaming with an ex-cop and one of the Agency's best operatives, Childress must hunt down a brutal killer and secure the release of his family.

If he fails, there'll be Hell to Pay.

An action-packed thriller from Anthony Izzo.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Sneak Peek at Book Description

I finished up the edits on the latest novel, for which I still don't have a good title. That will come. I have  a few in mind, but nothing that thrills me yet. I thought I'd post what will eventually become the book description on Amazon, etc. I'm not in love with calling my shadowy government organization "The Agency," so that will likely change. This is an extremely rough draft, but I thought I'd share.

Childress appears in my short story "Underworld," which I wrote under the Jack Vincent pen name. He's teaming up with Cody Garrett, an ex-cop who readers will recognize from The Hollow.

In the blink of an eye, a corrections department van crashes, unleashing one of the nation's most feared serial killers. Sentenced to life in a Supermax facility, John Raven is turned loose on an unsuspecting population. He has only one thing on his mind: getting revenge on those who punished him.

John Childress is an ex-Navy SEAL. While at home one night, men in black fatigues close in on him and his family. Taken to a government compound, he's given an ultimatum by an organization known as The Agency: track and kill Raven or never see his family again. It's the Agency's business to eliminate internal threats, and Raven is on their radar.

Teaming with an ex-cop and one of the Agency's best operatives, Childress must hunt down a brutal killer and secure the release of his family.

If he fails, there'll be Hell to Pay.

An action-packed thriller from Anthony Izzo.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Escape From NY

My wife and I just spent three days in New York City. We stayed in Manhattan and did roughly a hundred-and-fifty miles of walking. We had a blast. There's no place like NY, at least not that I've been.

Highlights were the fossils at the Museum of Natural History and the Arms and Armor display at the Met. The nerdy kid inside me could've spend all day reading the descriptions of the different suits of armor. The armor designed for King Henry VIII was particularly cool. The displays of armor, axes, maces, and swords also provided a ton of inspiration for future stories.

There were also two geeky-looking guys who looked like twins (right down to matching suits). I had some interesting thoughts on how to work them into a novel.

We had great Italian food in Hell's Kitchen and some terrific Turkish food at a restaurant called Parsha.

Most of the stereotypes I've heard about New York were false. We stayed in Manhattan the whole time and I never felt unsafe. The people were friendly and I didn't feel like I was playing Russian Roulette every time I crossed the street. In fact, it's probably safer crossing the street there than it is in Buffalo. I'll definitely be going back.

On the writing front, edits continue on the yet-unnamed thriller. I'm looking at a release later this month, and I'll really be pushing this one, promotion-wise. I'll be posting an excerpt in the near future.

Saw A Quiet Place II This Weekend

Jenn and I went for lunch yesterday, then saw A Quiet Place II at the Aurora Theater. The Aurora is a great little theater. One screen, and...