What Happened to Common Courtesy?

So, this is a message (along with a corresponding friend request) I get earlier today in its entirety on Facebook:

“Someone suggested that I contact you about a book that I am writing. Do you have publishing contacts? I am still finishing the manuscript but wanted to start working on the business side as well.”

That’s it. No “Hi Jon.” No “Please.” No “thank you” (or even “thanks”) No opening greeting, no sense of polite attitude, no sense of gratitude for any help I might be inclined to provide in the future. Nothing. Now, I happen to know this individual, but not anywhere on a level I would equate with that of a close friend (where such an abrupt note might be forgivable). He’s an associate. Thus, the need for common courtesy is even more necessary. But there’s nothing. Just more of an expectation that I would drop everything in my life right now in order to respond to what is basically a note devoid of politeness.

So, what are the odds I’m going to help this individual?


There’s nothing I hate more than people who can’t even be bothered to use two phrases that should be ingrained in all of us from birth: please & thank you. Further, I’m not going to contribute to what I see as the decline of basic decorum by responding to this. You want my attention? You want my help? Then approach me properly. Mind your manners.

Jeez Louise.

Jon's New Publishing Home

Official announcements will go out next week, but in the meantime (since I’m chomping at the bit to release this news)…

I have signed a great deal with St. Martin’s Press to release THE KENSEI (book 5 of the Lawson Vampire series) in the Spring of 2011 (exact date to be forthcoming). The deal was spearheaded by my amazing agent Joe Monti at Barry Goldblatt Literary with editor extraordinaire Daniela Rapp. Plans are underway for a LOT of great stuff for the series as a whole and I’m off to New York City next week for lunch and meetings with my agent and new editor. Right now, THE KENSEI is slated for a trade paperback release, although this may change if there’s enough buzz and interest in the series (so tell everyone you know to clamor for more!)

Needless to say, this is probably the most excited I have been in years. I have a team (at last) that believes in Lawson as much as I do and it’s extremely gratifying to moving ahead after so many years slogging away.

This is the start of a whole host of awesomeness coming in 2010. So strap in, double-check your gear, and get ready for one helluva trip!

By the way, don’t forget to sign up for the on-going Lawson Vampire e-serial THE MADAGASCAR MATTER by clicking the order form below:

File Format

Also, you can now pre-order the Lawson Vampire graphic novel coming in October 2010, so grab that as well!


If you missed Chapter One, you can read it here right now! or read the Chapter Two snippet here! Or the Chapter Three snippet here!

Chapter Four

Andrian kept a steady pace as we plowed through the dense vegetation. It wasn’t
a jungle, per se, but the foliage was pretty thick. That was good for us since it meant
we’d have decent cover from the hunters behind us. Some of the tree trunks we passed
would have easily stopped 7.62 rounds from the Kalashnikovs. The hunters would have
to get close before they unleashed any more fire.

Noise was a concern, though. Picking your way through dense undergrowth is
tough. The leaf litter alone crinkled underfoot like a paper bag and each sound seemed to
travel for miles.

Andrian kept glancing back at me and frowning. But he wasn’t carrying Zero on
his shoulders and I was. Sweat drenched my clothes. I was breathing hard, too. But we
kept plowing on.

After a quarter mile, Andrian paused and waved me up to him.

“Why’d we stop?”

Andrian pointed at Zero. “I’m worried about him.”

“Makes two of us. But stopping isn’t going to help him.”

“Yes but I’m thinking that we not proceed to the village, after all.”

I shook my head. “Why not? You said there’s someone there who can help him.
I say we make for that.”

“And we’ll be leading the men pursuing us right to the village. They won’t
hesitate to kill everyone there. Including us.”

He was right. The guys with big guns didn’t look like they’d be too willing to
only take who they needed. “So, what do you suggest?”

“We penetrate their search line.”

© 2010 by Jon F. Merz All rights re­served

Get the rest of Chapter 4 RIGHT NOW – sign up below!

File Format

Lifetime Subscription Opportunity

So here’s a crazy little idea I’ve been sitting on for a while. I know of one other author who has done this and he seemed to have a good time with it, so I thought I’d offer it as well. So here’s the poop: I’m offering my readers 25 lifetime subscriptions. For a one-time fee of $500, you will receive 1 (one) copy of each and every mass market paperback, trade paperback, trade hardcover, cover flat, comic book or graphic novel that I publish – under my own name or any pseudonym – beginning with March’s publication of ROGUE ANGEL: Sacred Ground and continuing until the time I die or you die (whichever happens first). Copies will come flat-signed or personalized to you (whichever you prefer). Shipping costs are covered in the one-time fee.

This offer DOES NOT include limited edition hardcovers, lettered editions, foreign editions, DVDs, audio-books or other miscellany. It is applicable only to US trade editions.

There are no international restrictions. Offer is open to anyone.

These lifetime subscriptions are limited to 25 people only, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Payment must be rendered in full for the agreement to apply. In the interest of fairness to all, payment installments cannot be accepted. I have no way of knowing if this will work, but I like the idea and thought it would be good to see if anyone else thinks it is also. Only 25 lifetime subscriptions to my work from now until the time I shuffle off this mortal coil. You can use the Paypal button below to order or if you’d prefer to send a money order, email me at jonfmerz AT verizon DOT net and I’ll pass along mailing instructions.

Update: Here are a partial list of just some of the books that will be coming out over the next year…

THE FIXER: My Soul to Keep (working title) – Graphic Novel
THE KENSEI: Book 5 of the Lawson Vampire Series – Trade Paperback
ROGUE ANGEL: Sacred Ground – Mass Market Paperback
THE FIXER: Book 1 of the Lawson Vampire Series – Trade Paperback
THE INVOKER: Book 2 of the Lawson Vampire Series – Trade Paperback
THE DESTRUCTOR: Book 3 of the Lawson Vampire Series – Trade Paperback
THE SYNDICATE: Book 4 of the Lawson Vampire Series – Trade Paperback
ROGUE ANGEL: Megaladon – Mass Market Paperback
ROGUE ANGEL: Shangri-La – Mass Market Paperback
THE MADAGASCAR MATTER: A Lawson Vampire E-Serial
MISSION: MALTA: A Lawson Vampire Mini-Mission Collection

Beyond that, there are a several other series due out, as well as more story collections and a variety of other cool stuff. Don’t wait – we’re already selling subscriptions and once the 25 are gone, I may not offer this again!

How I Write – Habit 1

One of the more common questions I (and other) writers get asked quite a lot is how we actually do it. How do we write? What are our habits when it comes to tapping away at the keys in the hopes that our words make sentences and those sentences turn into a story? So, I thought I’d take a moment and share one of the things I do that helps me in my continuing career as an author.


Ever since my father had his first heart attack when I was 16 (he was 41 at the time) I’ve been fairly obsessed with staying fit. Up until I was 16, I was interested in exercise solely for the purpose of attracting girls. But seeing my father have a brush with death instilled a deeper appreciation for my overall health. I don’t necessarily exercise every day, but I’m active every single day. And I’ve set my life up in such a way that it’s rare that I will not do something each day that invigorates the ol’ physical vehicle.

I usually exercise in the morning as I’ve found it’s a great time for me to get a workout in. I used to set aside 60-90 minutes per day to workout, but I don’t do that any longer. Nowadays, thanks to my good friend Rich Borgatti over at Mountain Strength Fitness I’ve become extremely interested in Crossfit. I like the fact that the exercises are all designed for practical strength and cardio fitness. No more heaving weights just for the sake of isolating a small muscle, the Crossfit workout is great at developing a total body approach to fitness, something that neatly ties in with the total body approach to self-protection from the Ninjutsu training I’ve been doing for twenty years. Crossfit is great for me because it is maximum effort in a short space of time, hence the benefit of both resistance training and cardio training packed into one workout. I love it. My schedule doesn’t allow me to join a group right now, although I plan to in the near future. For now, I’m doing it on my own and peppering Rich with any questions I have about technique, theory, etc. (Since Rich is also a student of Ninjutsu, this works great when I see him at the dojo…)

After I’ve cranked out the daily workout, I’ll usually shower and dress, followed by a breakfast high in protein to repair and fuel the body. Once that’s done, it’s time to work. Charged up from the workout and feeling full from a good breakfast, I find the words come very quickly when I sit down to write. With the rest of my body already “activated”, the muse/brainpower want to get in on the action as well and the neurons and synapses and all the other oozy gray matter start percolating and discharging some text. In effect, I’ve taken the same approach to my writing as I do to my fitness and martial arts: total body. Physically, mentally, and spiritually, I’m engaged to deliver the best writing I can.

Now, lest this turn into too much of a soapbox and you think I advocate marathon training as a means of developing good writing, it doesn’t take much to get started with this technique. You could easily take a quick twenty minute walk – even around the house. (This is what I do any time I’m on the phone: I walk laps around my house) The idea is to engage all parts of your person before you sit down to write. So a quick walk, followed by something that activates your mental state, and then you should sit down and see what happens.

Give it a try and let me know if it works for you. Or share some of your own techniques in the comments section below!

One more thing: don’t forget to have fun!

PS: THE FIXER graphic novel is now up for pre-order! I’d appreciate you ordering a copy if you happen to enjoy my Lawson Vampire series!