Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Random Concert Post

Found this on YouTube. Jane's Addiction performing "Jane Says" at Artpark in Lewiston, NY.  Me and a buddy caught the show. We were sitting roughly where the video was shot from.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Stuff

Celebrated a great Christmas, watched the kids enjoy their gifts and got schooled in FIFA 15 by my son (twice). My wife made two excellent Italian dinners. We had one Christmas Eve and one Christmas Day.

I'm itching to spend my Amazon gift card. It's always a tough choice on how to spend it, but I've been putting books on a wish list since mid-November. Should narrow it down tonight and make my purchases. I also got a machete and a survival knife (among other gifts) to take camping. People give you funny looks when you're a horror writer and you ask for these types of things.

The Gray Men has hit the 40,000-word mark. I'm debating turning this into a trilogy. I might have enough material. Not sure yet.

Hope everyone had a great holiday season.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Game of Thrones and Better Fiction Through Torturing Your Characters

I just finished writing a few scenes in the Gray Men where some pretty nasty stuff happens to the characters. This brings to mind a mantra that should resonate in every writer's mind: Torture Your Characters. Make their lives hard. Physically and emotionally. Take them to their breaking points. See what you can take from them. Threaten what is dear to them. It's what makes for compelling fiction.

My wife and I are binge watching Game of Thrones on HBO Go. We're almost done with the third season. There's maybe no one better at torturing (sometimes literally) characters than George R.R. Martin. If you've never seen the series or read the Song of Ice and Fire books, be prepared. No one is safe from death, dismemberment, and losing those they love. Martin certainly never plays it safe with his characters, and neither should the rest of us.

Put them through the wringer. Then put some fight in them and make them claw their way out of trouble. Your story will be better for it.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Read an Excerpt from Where the Dead Go

Here's the first three chapters from my new novel, Where the Dead Go.

You can pick it up for $3.99 on Amazon and Kobo.

Where the Dead Go

Copyright 2014 Anthony Izzo


Mia saw the blood again. She saw it every night in her dreams. The walls had been painted with it. The cops had walked her out, an officer the size of a linebacker shielding her eyes so she didn't see it all, but she'd peeked, as kids were apt to do, taking in the great splash of it across the yellow linoleum floor. There was the blood and the sight of her mother's dead, white hand, two of the nails ripped off in the struggle to save her life.
That is what she'd seen this time; Xanax hadn't helped. Nor had Ambien or any of the other shit the doctors had prescribed for her.
Sometimes the dreams were about the blood. Sometimes there were gallons of it, sloshing down the hallways of her childhood home, drowning her, the metallic liquid filling her mouth and lungs, Mia awakening, feeling like there was something sitting on her chest. Other times she would bolt awake, hairs on her neck at attention, ice running down her spine, thinking she'd heard someone in the house, just as she had that night long ago.
She sat on the edge of the bed in her one-bedroom apartment. There was a pile of laundry that had taken on a peculiar funk. A half-eaten microwave pizza rested on a plate on the nightstand. Next to that was a piss-warm, half empty can of Busch lite.
Had to go to the budget beer. Cheap buzz. God I need to clean this place up.
Killer on the road. That's how they had referred to him, the man (or men) that had come out of the night like grim phantoms and left Mia without a family.
Shit, she needed a beer. The drinking had started in the past month, Mia sucking down cheap beer in the hope that a quick buzz would help with sleep.
She went to the kitchen, where three empties sat on the counter. She opened the fridge and found the empty twelve-pack of Busch. Shook it just to make sure there wasn't an extra beer hiding in the twelve-pack. But it was empty.
She looked at the clock. It was just past two in the morning. The Red Apple down the street was open 24/7. It wouldn't take long to walk down and pick something up. Just one to take the dead-as-dogshit taste out of her mouth. To quench her thirst.
Who are you kidding? That beer's to help you pass out and hopefully have a dreamless sleep.
The dreams troubled her, but there was something worse. The visions had returned. At twenty-nine, Mia had thought she was free of them. They had stopped a few years after her family had wound up butchered on the kitchen floor. But in the past few weeks she'd kept having the same one.
They would come at odd times, never predictable.
She would see a linoleum tile ceiling through clouded eyes. A liver-spotted hand with an IV jabbed in it, covered by tape to keep it in place. It had been someone in a hospital bed, and when the visions were particularly vivid, she would hear the muffled electronic beep of monitors and smell the piss from a catheter bag. These would come at inopportune times: when she was standing line at the bank; standing at the gas pump, the gasoline sloshing on the ground as she zoned out. There would be stares from strangers, because she knew she had mentally checked out during the visions and likely stood there like a zombie from a Romero flick.
Now, she crushed the Busch Light case and stuffed it in the overflowing garbage can under the kitchen sink.
She returned to the bedroom and threw on flip-flops. Pink sweatpants and a Buffalo Sabres hoodie rounded out her ensemble. When she was on her way out the door, she snatched her purse and entered the apartment hallway.
Based on the smell in the hallway, Mrs. Jenaway had fried fish again. The heavy, greasy odor permeated the hallway.
I've got to get out of this place.


She entered the Red Apple, glad to be away from the fish smell in the apartment hallway. Mia sniffed her sweatshirt and found the greasy odor had permeated her clothes. She walked to the back of the store and looked at the beer section. Heineken, Sam Adams, and Guinness were in the high-rent district. Labatt's, Molson, and Coors were in the suburbs. She scanned right and found her section: the ghetto of the beer cooler, populated by Natty Light, Milwaukee's Best, Genesee, and Busch Light. She grabbed a twelve of Busch Light and walked to the counter.
The clerk leaned on her elbows, bent over the counter. She had straight-cut bangs across a pimple-studded forehead. Her nose was bulbous and red. “Nice night for a walk.”
“Not bad out,” Mia agreed.
The clerk slid the beer across the counter. “The good stuff, huh?”
“Just ring it up, please. I'm kind of tired.”
“I’ll need ID.”
Mia fished in her purse, dug past a hair-clogged brush and a tampon, grabbed her wallet, and took out her license.  The picture was eight-years-old. She felt as if she didn't really know the smiling, fresh-faced girl in the photo. The girl that had been asked to leave the University at Buffalo after it was found out she was spending her nights at her history professor’s apartment. He’d resigned. Last she’d heard he’d move to Cleveland and was working in real estate.
The clerk took the license, checked it, and said: “Holy shit, you're that girl.”
Yes, that girl with the hair and the two boobs. There's lots of us. We are legion.
“I'm sorry?”
“The Gordon House Massacre. You're her.”
This happened a lot, Mia getting recognized. She had been splashed all over the local news after the murders. In addition, she'd been on 20/20, 60 Minutes, and had been featured in a two-hour special on MSNBC. The local news had recently done a follow up story on the fifteen-year anniversary of the murders.  If this was fifteen minutes of fame, she wanted no part of it.
“That's me,” Mia said.
“God, that was awful, what happened to you're family. I'm terribly sorry.”
Maria suddenly couldn't look the clerk in the eye; it was too much, too intimate. “Just ring me up,” she murmured.
She felt the cool plastic of the license being slipped into her hand. She slipped it back in her wallet.
The clerk gave her the total and Mia paid with a twenty. She took her change, her beer, and walked out into the night.

Back in the apartment, she sat in the darkness, moonlight coming in the kitchen window and spilling on the pile of dishes in the sink. The clock ticked on the wall, sounding as loud as a passing freight train to her.
She took a sip of the Busch Light. It was bitter and shitty, but it was cold, and she planned on getting piss-drunk and passing out until late morning.
That was when another vision struck, this time like a physical force inside her head, and she heard a sort of whooshing sound in her mind. This time there was a choking, gurgling sound that came along with the vision of the dotted ceiling tiles. It sounded like someone with a throat full of phlegm. After a moment, the choking noise stopped and she heard a grating voice say: I'm dying.
The vision faded out and she was left with her beer. When she picked up the can this time, her hand was trembling.


Karen Zelinski took her time walking down the hall to check on the patient in 1302; in ten years of nursing she had never had a patient give her the creeps like Edward Allen Gruber did. She thought about the need to buy a Halloween mask for Jason, her ten-year-old son. He wanted one of those Scream masks that filled with blood. She reflected that Edward Allen Gruber's face would make a terrific mask in itself. She'd seen plenty of dying patients, their skin pale, waxy, and yellow, but Gruber's was different; his skin was almost chalky, as if he’d been made up to look like a vampire.
She entered Gruber's room. He'd been circling the drain for the past twenty-four hours. His catheter bag had nearly dried up; the doctors had confirmed that his kidneys were shutting down.
Karen approached Gruber, the man with the Halloween face. His eyes opened as she stooped to check the catheter bag. It was pretty much dry.  She looked into the watery gray eyes. They were much like that of a stuffed animal, devoid of life.
A steady gurgling came from Gruber’s throat, a death rattle. His mouth was open and even from several feet away, she could smell the rot on his breath. His pulse had dropped and his respiration was shallow.
She took her stethoscope and listened to his heart; the beat was there, if weak.
He had almost a full bag of saline, so there was nothing to change there. The doctors hadn’t much checked on Gruber. He had staggered into the emergency room coughing up blood and passed out soon after. Tests had shown stage four lung cancer that had metastasized to his liver, pancreas, and brain. There were no relatives to contact, only a driver’s license with a picture of Gruber that looked to be fifteen years out of date.
The social worker had attempted to find a next of kin or anyone who could provide any information on Gruber; so far they had been unsuccessful. No relatives, no kids. He had been born in 1900, but even in his poor state of health, Karen would’ve taken him for around eighty, not the hundred-plus years listed on his driver’s license.
As she stood at his bedside, he let out a long, low gasp. His eyes shot open, revealing little red rivers where blood vessels had popped. His lips curled back in a parody of a grin, then his tongue poked out and lolled to one side.
A long breath that reeked of rotten eggs spilled from his mouth. Karen clapped a hand over her mouth and nose to try and avoid the stench. The monitors started beeping and jangling.
If this guy dies, no one will miss him.
The lights began to flicker and give off a buzz-hum, and when the door to his room slammed shut, she felt a scream building but stifled it.
Gruber’s head slumped, his chin to his chest. The room was like the inside of a coal mine. She stumbled toward the door.
As she headed for the door, she told her self not to panic, to take deep breaths. A breeze must’ve slammed the door, and the lights were a fluke. Had to be.
She heard something hiss. It was like someone whispering too low to hear. She turned and looked at Gruber.
In the corner near his bed, something slithered in the corner, a shadow blacker than the darkness itself in the room. It was vaguely man-shaped, and she watched it drift across the wall.  The shadow-thing kept up its chattering and whispering. Karen was tempted to plug her ears so she wouldn’t have to hear it.
Her guts felt like they’d been liquefied. She gripped the door handle and pulled.
The door would not open and she pounded on it, yelling as she did so. Someone in the hallway would have to hear her.
She glanced at Gruber. He sat up, yanking the IV from his arm. His eyes were still dead glass and his mouth remained open.
The shadow-thing, with spindly arms and legs, moved across the floor towards the bed. It crawled up onto Gruber’s chest and dammit if it didn’t force its way into his mouth. She saw his cheeks bulge and his Adam’s apple bob as he swallowed whatever the thing was.
Jesus Christ if you’re going to do me one favor, let this door open.
She gave one final tug as Gruber fell back on the bed. The door opened and she stumbled into the hallway, nearly hitting an aide, who was wheeling a linen cart down the hallway.
This time, she let the scream out and didn’t stop until her throat felt as if it had been raked by glass.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Where the Dead Go - Cover Art

The cover design is complete for Where the Dead Go. I'm working on the formatting. The book should be available in all formats later this week.

Mia was a teenager when two men broke into her home and slaughtered her family. The crime made headlines, known as the Gordon Farmhouse murders. Cursed with having visions, she witnessed the massacre through the killer's eyes. Now, fifteen years later, the visions have returned, and the men who killed her family are back and looking for her.

One of them is more than an average killer; he's lived for a century, moving between the physical world and a realm beyond ours. An undead killing machine. As the killers close in on her, Mia will have to save her own life and that of a young girl who shares her unique gift.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Where The Dead Go

I put the final corrections into the manuscript for Where The Dead Go. The cover is done. I'll post it here in the next day or two.

I don't believe in massive rewrites when finishing a draft. The basic story is in place. I edit for grammar, spelling, and typos. Editing is also for keeping story details consistent and cleaning up any rough edges. After my edit, I send it to my proofreader and make any corrections she notes.

This is the second book I've finished this year, and I imagine I'll keep the same pace going into next year. I still get excited when I finish a book and it's ready to go up for sale. It's what keeps me going.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Spent a good day with family and had a nice meal topped off by my wife's pumpkin cheesecake. Crossed the 100-page mark on the latest novel. At the current rate of production, I'll probably be able to have a draft done every 3-4 months. One of the keys to success in the new world of indie publishing is having a number of quality titles available for sale.

Maybe it's because we're binge-watching Game of Thrones, but I have an urge to write an epic fantasy novel. It might be something I take a stab at under a pen name.

Saw Edge of Tomorrow on pay-per-view and enjoyed it.

Currently reading: Brilliance by Marcus Sakey.

I've taken a break from King's 11/22/63. It's one of his more meandering novels. Sometimes he can write a 1,000 page novel and it reads like 300. Other times it's like wading through quicksand. I'm hoping the book picks up. I'll come back to it eventually.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Six Hours of Snow Removal

Yesterday I wrote around 500 words. We spend around six hours digging out of the 90 inches of snow that fell in a few days.

Started what will be a binge-watching of Game of Thrones. My wife and I watched the first two episodes of Season One on HBO Go. I'm guessing we'll get up to speed with the series over the next few weeks.

Rattled off 1,000 words today on the Gray Men. Where the Dead Go should be up for sale in the next few weeks. Just waiting for my first reader to have a look. After that, I'll make some corrections and light edits. Will probably start designing the cover this week.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Storm Continues

I'm sitting in our office in my writer's uniform (hoodie, sweats, and a robe) working on a scene in The Gray Men. It's day three of the storm being dubbed "Snowmageddon" and "SNowvember." Outside, a foot of the stuff has already piled up in the driveway. This is after clearing the nearly three feet that was in the driveway yesterday. Our town has been under a travel ban for days, and the street is quiet, save for the occasional wind gust.

The New York State Thruway and Route 400 (which I take to get to the Thruway) are still shut down, and this is the third day I haven't been able to get to work.

We've gotten around 4 feet of snow all together, and this is light in comparison to other towns around Buffalo. One of my friends suggested that there's a great idea for a horror novel buried somewhere in this storm, and I might have to visit that idea some time.

My wife and kids have been home the whole time, as well. For that I'm thankful. We've been able to ride out the storm by watching movies, reading, and taking the occasional dip in the hot tub. We have food, heat, and power. For that I am also grateful.

For now, I'll keep writing. The storm is supposed to die down tonight. Hoping everyone in Buffalo is keeping warm and safe.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Weekend Writing

Mandatory overtime is on hiatus at my day job, which will free up my Saturday mornings for family and writing time. Despite the extra hours at the job, I've managed to get 20,000 words done on The Gray Men over the past month.

They Gray Men has a large cast, and I expect it will be my longer than most of the books I've done since I went independent in 2010.

Last night my wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary with a nice steak dinner. We're planning on going away in the spring. Someone asked me if it has gone fast, and it has. Time feels like it has accelerated as I've gotten older. It makes me realize I have a lot left to do at what could be the midpoint of my life. Best write faster.

The sequence I'm writing at the moment involves a prison riot. I did some research and based part of one of the bad guy's backstory on The Ohio Penitentiary fire.  Seems my fictional badass may have been present at the 1930 fire and has a history of inciting violence. More to come. Maybe I'll post an excerpt soon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Research and How to Write Faster

Doing research for a sequence in The Gray Men involving a prison riot. One of the characters has a back story involving a prison fire. I researched prison fires and came up with an article about the 1930 fire at the Ohio Penitentiary. It was quite gruesome, as 322 people died. Many of the inmates burned or died of smoke inhalation while locked in their cells. There were also stories of selflessness and heroism, as guards and convicts saved each other from the flames.

The new draft stands at 15,000 words. I've been averaging about 5,000 words of fiction per week. This is while working 6 days a week at my full-time job. If I had to give advice on how to write more, I'd say:

1. Know what you are going to write. Have a rough idea of the scene or chapter. For this novel, I'm writing some general "signposts" where the story needs to go, as opposed to an outline. Signposts are scenes or events that are key to the novel.  My previous two books were written without any outline.

2. Keep writing materials handy. Grab 15 minutes and write if you have it. Lunch breaks and waiting rooms are perfect for this.

3. Don't obsess about perfection in your first draft. Write hot and get the story down.

4. Plan multiple writing sessions per day. Maybe a half hour before work, twenty minutes on lunch, and another half hour in the evening. You'll be surprised how fast the words pile up.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Led Zeppelin, Aging, and Acceptance

I'm a huge Led Zeppelin fan. I discovered them in high school and was hooked. This was around 1989. The Fay's drug store near my house used to sell cassette tapes. I'm dating myself by admitting this. I also used to have to avoid getting eaten by a saber-toothed tiger on the way to school as a kid. I think the first Zeppelin album I bought was Houses of the Holy. They were the reason I talked my parents into buying me a crappy, sixty-dollar Les Paul copy from a pawn shop. I wanted to rock like Jimmy Page.

I saw Page/Plant in 1995 at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. They put on a great show. Robert Plant sounded amazing. The crowd went ballistic when Jimmy Page played the unaccompanied "Heartbreaker" solo. Best concert I ever went to.

I wasn't really surprised or disappointed when Robert Plant turned down a boatload of money to reunite the band. He's balked at reuniting Zep in the past, and I don't think it's a bad thing that he turned it down. Maybe Plant is content, and he mentioned in the article above that he didn't want to go back to the past. Or maybe he realizes it just wouldn't be the same given the years that have gone by. The voice is not the same at age 66 as it was at 25, or even 45, as it was when they played Buffalo in '95. Whatever his reasoning, it took a ton of guts to turn down the money Sir Richard Branson was offering him. Some will think him crazy, while others will applaud his integrity.

We all age. Time steals abilities we had when we were young. Maybe we can't go back and it's foolish to try. Regardless, I'll remain content to remember that night in 1995 when Page/Plant lit up the Aud and be thankful I got to see them live.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Friday Stuff

Got 1,000 words done on the new novel today. Just passed the 50 page mark.

My current stack of books (Kindle and paper) that I'm reading is growing. Right now I'm reading:

11/22/63 - Stephen King

The Drop - Dennis Lehane

The Chill - Jason Starr

Also finishing up Under the Dome, which I've been reading off and on for a while. 20th wedding anniversary is coming up, and I'll likely ask for an Amazon gift card. Always more books to be had.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

The Gray Men/Sunday Wrtiting

Added 2,100 words to the new novel. This one's a thriller with a slight supernatural element. Working title is The Gray Men but that might change, as it brings to mind visions of little gray guys in flying saucers. And it has nothing to do with aliens.

Sunday mornings are a great time to write. The house is quiet until the rest of the family stirs around ten a.m. I've always been an early riser, so it works out good for getting some words down. 

Took the boys yesterday to a comics/pop culture convention in my town. It was a small event, but the artists and dealers were very warm and friendly. I had a chance to meet Graham Nolan, the creator of Bane and artist for the Batman comics. Turns out he lives right around the corner from us. He was very gracious to fans, taking the time to chat and sign prints. I also picked up a great print from Matt "Monster Matt" Patterson of a mummy painting he did. My sons got some comics and graphic novels, as well. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Writing and Momentum

I spent about 20 minutes last night working on the latest novel. Our family worked our final game at the concession stand at my son's school. Football is officially over. I got a couple of pages churned out in that 20 minutes, and it wasn't a long session, but at least I got some writing in. It's important to  keep momentum going on a novel. My usual goal is 3-5 pages per day. Most days I hit it. Other days life keeps me from that exact number. Getting some writing in every day keeps the story fresh in my head and gets me one step closer to finishing.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Horror Movies, The Walking Dead, and Such

Watched Book of Eli, which I liked a lot. Also checked out You're Next. I'm about 3/4 quarters of the way through. It builds tension nicely but it's plagued by SHMCD (Stupid Horror Movie Character Decisions). Everyone knows you don't go check out the spooky noises by yourself. And never split up, for Chrissakes. The Walking Dead is off to a strong start with two solid episodes. Let's hope they keep it up. It's a much better show when the situation is fluid and the characters don't get bogged down in one location for an entire season. Also, my twelve-year-old said, "Rick looks bad ass with that beard. Just like you, Dad." I hardly qualify as a badass, but I'll take it.

Just finished reading: Kill Whitey by Brian Keene

Just started reading: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Killer on the Road Finished

The draft for Killer on the Road is done and off to the proof reader. The title will likely change to Where the Dead Go. I'll have to give it some thought. Fall foliage is in full swing here in the Buffalo area and I have roughly eight million leaves to rake this weekend. Even so, I plan on getting some pages done on the new novel. I write pretty much every day, even if it's just a page or two. Those pages grow into novels rather quickly.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Setting the Stories

My wife asked my the other day about the settings of my books and what has served as inspiration for the places in my stories. Off the top of my head, here's a list by book:
Cruel Winter (Knox Estate, East Aurora, NY)
Evil Harvest (Kenmore, NY, Machias, NY)
The Dark Ones (Downtown Buffalo, Bethlehem Steel Plant)
No Escape (Robert Moses State Park, Thousand Islands)
The Hollow (Letchworth State Park, Erie, PA)
Forgotten (Montana)
The Dead Land Trilogy (Downtown Buffalo, NY, Naval Yard, Amherst, NY)
Beat The Devil (Chaffee, NY, South Wales, NY, Grand Island, NY)
Where the Dead Go/KIller on the Road (forthcoming - South Wales, Delaware/Chippewa area of Downtown)
Getaway (Buffalo's West Side)
One Crazy Night (East Aurora,NY - our first apartment there)
Strike Force Z (post-apocalypse Downtown Buffalo)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Killer on the Road and Outlining

The latest novel I'm working on, tentatively titled Killer on the Road, is nearly done. Once I finish up my edits over the next two days, it's off to the proofreader. I wrote this book - and the third Dead Land book - with no outline and minimal notes. I've come to enjoy writing this way. I have an idea of where the story is headed and who the characters are, but no outline leaves room for the story to grow. It also leaves room to surprise my self, and that's the best way to surprise the reader. And as my wife would probably tell you, I'm terrible at planning surprises.

One of the dangers in writing with an outline is the tendency to think up a cool scene that has to occur in the book. You can wind up cramming this scene into the book even if it's something implausible or out-of-character for one of your story people. And sometimes outlining can leave a writer feeling like they've already told the story.

I've also settled in on what the next book will be. I've written the first few scenes and once edits are done on Killer, I'll start the other book in earnest.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


I worked mandatory overtime yesterday morning, so that cut into the writing time. I'm not much of a night owl (I get up at 3:45 a.m. for work), so the weekends are a good time to catch up on writing. Being the first one up on the weekends has its advantages. I usually do 2-3 pages per day during the week and 5-6 on Saturdays. Working in small bursts adds up to a lot of writing. This morning I did a quick sketch of an Uruk-hai. Onto some work on the new book. Just crossed the 50K mark, and I'm thinking there's another 10K to go.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Killer on the Road

I thought I'd post the first paragraph of the WIP. It's tentatively titled Killer on the Road. 

Mia saw the blood again. She saw it every night in her dreams. The walls had been painted with it. The cops had walked her out, an officer the size of a linebacker shielding her eyes so she didn't see it all, but she'd peeked, as kids were apt to do, taking in the great splash of it across the yellow linoleum floor.

Look for it Fall 2014. More sneak peeks to come.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Editing the Novel

I'm one or two editing sessions away from completing the third Dead Land book. Although it's necessary, I don't particularly enjoy editing. I've read writing books where writers claim that this is the most fun part of the process, but I have to disagree. For me, the fun is in writing the first draft, where anything goes.

After I give the manuscript a pass, I'll send it to the proofreader for a final check. I'm looking at a release date in the next two weeks. I'm toying with the idea of putting all three books in the trilogy on sale.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ex-Navy Seal Goes After Serial Killer in Beat the Devil

I recently tweaked the cover for my latest novel, Beat the Devil. If you like over-the-top action, you might want to check it out.

John Childress is an ex-Navy SEAL who gets recruited by a newly-formed government agency to track down and kill an escaped serial killer.

I have plans for additional Childress books down the line.

Beat the Devil is available here:



Barnes and Noble

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Spilling Blood on the Page

Every once in a while I gear up to write a scene that I know is going to be unsettling. I tend to stall for time, checking Facebook or my Amazon sales page before writing such a scene. It's typically something that might be painful or disturbing. Or it could be hitting a nerve on something in my past. What's the saying about writing? Just sit down and open a vein?

The scene in question involves the disappearance of two middle school kids. It's for my latest novel, Killer on the Road. It wasn't easy to write. I hope the reader will find it as unsettling as I did. Our main job as fiction writers is to tell a story, but it's also to evoke an emotion in the reader. Stephen King once said that you need to hurt the reader a little. Not much. But just a little.

I think good writing is unflinching. King never flinches. Certainly not when it comes to gore, but more importantly, not when it comes to his characters. He shows us every wart, every raw emotion, every thought and action they wouldn't necessarily want the world to see.

My advice? When you come to something uncomfortable in your writing, get it on the page. Expose it, even if it hurts a little. If you think you shouldn't "go there," go anyway. Spill some blood on the page. Your story will be richer for it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Passage of Time

When the third Dead Land book is complete, this will mark my tenth novel. I'm also working on the draft of an eleventh. It's been almost ten years since I got the call from an editor at Kensington telling me they wanted to buy Cruel Winter. The years have flown. My youngest son is twelve. My oldest just attended his junior prom (and nearly brought his mom to tears by asking for a dance - we were chaperones).  This year my wife and I will celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary.

I'm not where I want to be in terms of a writing career, but I'll get there. Might not be this book or the next. Or the one after that. But I'll keep writing them because I can't stop. At 41, the knees aren't what they used to be, I have gray in my beard, and some nights making it to ten o'clock without dozing in my chair is a Herculean task. But I'm okay with that. I like to think as time has gone by I've become slightly wiser, and a better writer, as well.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Works In Progress

Edits continue on the third Dead Land Book. I still don't have a title for it, but that will come. I typically edit by printing out 50-page sections and making corrections/notes in the margins. After I go through it on paper, I put the corrections in the computer. I recommend editing on paper, as it's too easy to miss things on the computer screen. After I do an edit, my proofreader reads it and gives me feedback.

I've also started a new novel. It's about a woman who survives a massacre in her home as a teen and has a psychic connection to one of the killers. That's all I'll say for now, but it's moving along nicely.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Strike Force Z Now Available

My latest novella, Strike Force Z, is available for Kindle. Nook and Kobo versions to follow soon.

You can pick up a copy here

The world died years ago. The infection took hold, leaving vast wastelands populated by the dead. 

Three prisoners locked up in an old county jail are about to be made an offer: recover a supply truck that went missing in the wasteland and earn their freedom. 

With the help of three ex-Marines, they will take on the infected and the gangs that prowl the wastelands. 

An action-packed, bloody ride through the apocalypse. 

Strike Force Z is the latest novella from thriller writer Anthony Izzo. His next scheduled release is the third book in the Dead Land series. Look for it in the spring of 2014.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday Morning Writing

I've always been a daytime writer. Some people can burn the midnight oil and crank words out, but I find I turn into a drooling zombie if I try and write late at night. My eyes get heavy and the next thing I know the laptop is hanging half off my lap and is in serious danger of tumbling to the floor. If this were to happen, my wife would justifiably murder me.

I get up before six most weekends and write, balancing the time between fiction and freelance writing for a client. Right now I'm sitting near our pellet stove hoping to ward off the Arctic chill that's taken over the Buffalo area. Temperatures have been in the single digits for the past week or so. I actually threw some thermals on under my clothes. This was inside the house, mind you.

Work continues on the zombie novella. I hope to have a draft finished this week. I'm liking it. It's full of action and mayhem, which I enjoy. With editing, proofing, and cover design, it should take about two weeks before it's for sale. Then it'll be on to finishing up the Dead Land book (it's almost done, I promise). Beyond that, I'll have to decide which writing project to tackle next.

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...