4 for FRIDAY

cover1-sm.jpg (61 KB)Announcing a brand new ebook of four thrilling tales from Jon F. Merz and Joseph Nassise

4 for FRIDAY

Four tales – 20,000 words of pure adrenalized mayhem – available only for an extremely short time: FRIDAY for the incredibly amazing price of just $2.50

Available in any ebook format (pdf, epub, mobi, ltf) 4 for FRIDAY ships right away, as soon as you order it!


Barlow’s GameOn the streets of monster town, one veteran agent tracks an elusive killer and finds much more than he bargained for…
Roadside MemorialsWhat we do for the living, isn’t always right for the dead…
A Peaceable MindWhat happens when a simple assassination turns out to be anything but?
Siren CallSometimes it is best not to disturb that which lies dreaming in the dark…

PLUS, exclusive introductions to the stories direct from the authors themselves.

Don’t wait! Get 4 for FRIDAY right now by choosing your file format and then clicking the Buy Now button below. There are no plans to offer this ebook for sale anywhere else except direct from the authors.

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When Life Sucks

In my last post, I talked about the path of a warrior and the concept of fudoshin, that driving force behind achieving goals and blasting through challenges. But what happens when things don’t move fast enough? What happens when the constant slog grinds you down, the interminable wait bores you to shreds, and well, life sucks?

I was feeling that way yesterday. Not that anything dramatically traumatic happened (thankfully) but one of my goals is taking far longer to achieve than I ever thought it would. The constant driving forward, the endless amount of patience I’ve got to supply when things aren’t getting accomplished, the encouragement I need to keep broadcasting to keep morale high, and the repeated disappointments that keep adding up, finally bore down on me to the point where I was frankly pissed off with the state of things.

I’ve never been one to indulge in the whole self-pity thing. When disappointments mount, I’ll generally allow myself a few hours (max) of acknowledging how bummed I am, and then it’s right back into the fight. I happen to think that’s a healthy way to handle it. Too much moping about can thoroughly derail the train you’re attempting to careen down the tracks toward that goal.

Yesterday, however, was one of those times when I needed a bit more than a few simple hours of bumming about.

What I needed was a more immediate reminder of what the spirit is capable of doing when pressed into service. After all, it’s easy to lose sight of the potential of personal power when it’s being directed at a goal that is taking quite a long time to achieve. So, I decided to remind myself of the infinite power we all have, if only we’re willing to tap into it.

Late last night, I strapped on my rucksack, filled it with some weight plates, packed a few water bottles and then drove over to the high school track. Fortunately, the place was deserted (which is the best way to do this type of thing – having people around only distracts you from the goal of reminding yourself that the real competition in life comes from within, from the constant inner temptation that would otherwise distract your focus) and I slid the ruck on and decided that the goal was to pound out five miles without stopping. It was late; it was hot, humid and buggy. Rain was moving in. But I was there to remind myself that I could keep going for the long ball – that persistently elusive goal that has thus far defied my efforts to reach it.

The length of the track is roughly a quarter mile, which meant I needed to go around twenty times. The first four laps were fairly easy but the pain soon set in and I was amazed to see all the usual suspects bubbling up as my inner self tried to get me to stop running. It’s too hot, your knee aches, there’s a TV show on, you could be writing that next chapter, why don’t you just slow down and walk?, the bugs are coming now, is that rain?

The process made me smile because I’ve been there so many times before. And each time in the past, I’ve done exactly the same thing: head down and press on. Which is what I did last night. Twenty laps. About ninety minutes worth of exertion. It wasn’t fast; that wasn’t the point. While it was a good workout with the weighted rucksack on, last night’s exercise was for my spirit. It was to remind myself that I do have the necessary power to make that elusive goal a reality; that I do have the power to bring something into being where it has not existed before. It was to remind myself that the excuses that others might make to let themselves out of the fight are not ones I will ever yield to. Despite the pain, the exhaustion, the desires to quit and rest and take it easy, to follow that simpler way of life, to settle for good enough instead of aspiring toward excellence – despite all the distractions, it was simply a matter of finishing what I started and not settling for “almost.”

The point of this post isn’t to appear self-congratulatory. It’s to show that despite the years I’ve invested in studying martial arts, in trying to better myself, and despite whatever levels I’ve already achieved, there is always more work to be done. There are always new challenges to face.

And yeah, I get bummed out, too.

It’s what you do when your spirit ebbs that counts the most. Life is easy when things are going well. But when life sucks, that’s when you learn the most about yourself.

I relearned that lesson last night.

Upon finishing the run, I walked back into the parking lot that was now filled with local teens who had decided to park next to my car, have a few butts, and generally parade themselves around the opposite sex. One particular muscular dude puffed on a cigarette and stood directly in my path as I approached my car. Perhaps he saw the refocused look of intensity in my eyes; perhaps he simply saw a “crazy old man,” but whatever the reason, he quickly stepped aside and let me pass – almost a living metaphor. At the car, I fished out the water and sat there drinking it all in – everything about the experience I’d just gone through and what it had to teach and what more I had yet to learn.

According to my handy pedometer on my iPhone, it had taken my 11,000 steps to relearn an important lesson. My right knee throbbed and I was soaked with sweat. I’d say I paid a bargain price for something pretty damned valuable.

As I sat there drinking some water, I checked my email and found that I had received the first blurb for THE KENSEI and it was a mighty awesome one.

And suddenly, in the afterglow of being tested in the crucible of self-doubt, life didn’t suck so much anymore.

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The Path of a Warrior

I’ve had several conversations lately about the path of the warrior – especially as it relates to studying ninjutsu. I thought I’d take an entry and express what this thing is all about – at least to me, right now at this moment in my personal evolution. (My way of saying this could easily change in a few years based on me getting some more mileage/experiences under my belt…)

Ninjutsu, the martial art I study, attracts more than its share of nut jobs. In fairness, all martial arts styles have their percentage of whackos – god knows I’ve met plenty – but there’s something about the whole “ninja” thing that sends people into loopy Obi Wan Kenobi behavior without even having the ability to throw a proper punch. People have this idea that they can achieve some sort of supernatural ability to deal with attackers with a flick of the finger and a wink of the eye.





Way. (and yes, I’m using bad grammar for effect, dammit)

People often embark on the path of a warrior without fully comprehending what it means. It’s a novelty. Something cool. “Hey man, check me out…I’m a warrior now.” They have this notion with the right look (camo gi, tabi, face mask) or by chucking shuriken on a Youtube video they can simply start referring to themselves as a “ninja warrior.”** They go looking for something that’s not there; some sort of shortcut to martial invulnerability and this attitude of invincibility. When they don’t find it, they tend to short-circuit and immediately search for an excuse or someone else to blame for their inability to stay the course. Because they’ve found what actually IS on the path of a warrior: endless challenges and obstacles. And worse: they lack the ability to persevere in the face of those challenges.

A lot of folks equate being a warrior with being an amazing fighter. In reality, the path of a warrior is something you choose knowing full well that the only thing before you is an infinite amount of hard work, frustration, challenges, and temptations to stray from the path. Along the way, you might learn how to be a good fighter, but that’s not the essence of warriorship. I know plenty of good fighters; I know very few true warriors.

The few I am fortunate enough to know all share one thing in common: an inner drive of such power that any obstacle set before them simply stands no chance. They will either go through it, around it, seduce it, cajole it, or otherwise overcome it on their way to achieving whatever goal they have in mind.

There’s more…

Along with that incredible drive comes an acute and honest realization that challenge isn’t something that happens once or twice and then the gates of some proverbial heaven open before them; challenge happens for as long as they remain on the path of a warrior. There’s no end.


I’ve often remarked that there’s a definite sense of masochism that goes along with some of the more intense training in the dojo I’m lucky enough to study at. It’s a sort-of running joke with my training partners, but there’s truth there as well. You’ve got to love the pain; you’ve got to love the struggle; you’ve got to love the nights when nothing makes sense; you’ve got to love the frustration and uncertainty of the training – of walking the path. This is what it means to be alive – truly alive – forever testing yourself against all challenges and insecurities. Without that spirit of contest, without that spike of adrenaline when things don’t go right, without that attitude of “WTF happens now?” there’s no sense of knowing the greatness that comes from persevering in the face of bad times.

Warriors understand this.

They actualize a concept known as “fudoshin,” – “immovable spirit.” While a literal translation might lead one to assume that fudoshin could be likened to simply being stubborn, it’s anything but. Fudoshin, in essence, is what defines a warrior: that drive, that willingness to accept the challenges on the path as the price of living a life filled with the potential of higher personal evolution and an understanding of our own place and role within the scheme of the universe.

There are no shortcuts. There are no excuses.

There’s only one easy way out: stop walking the path.

Of course, the ones who stop walking the path always have excuses ready. And the common denominator in all these excuses is that they’re externally-focused. “Things have changed.” “It’s not the way it used to be.” “I’m too busy.” True warriors are always looking to improve themselves so they spend more and more time taking care of their own failings and faults instead of looking for someone else to blame their shortcomings on. Warriors know that the ability to persevere and stay on the path comes from ridding themselves of the personal junk and clutter that affects us all. They internalize and work to vanquish their own demons through brutally honest self-assessment rather than spend their time only looking outside themselves.

It’s not easy. But then, no one said it would be.

That’s the path warriors choose to walk. Personally, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

** Which, of course, will cause some people to say, “Yeah, but Jon, on your website and elsewhere, you refer to yourself as a Ninja. Aren’t you just being hypocritical?” The answer is no: I use the term “ninja” to help market my personal brand and separate myself from the pack of other authors and producers since very few – if any – of them have spent the last two decades studying ninjutsu with acknowledged senior teachers in the art. I don’t purport to be an expert on ninjutsu; I don’t have a DVD series; I don’t even have a training group or corny Youtube videos filled with bad techno music (although I do have a few videos showing me doing some techniques). And I certainly don’t imagine myself creeping about the dark with a sword across my back. What I do have is fudoshin – and I happen to train and study my ass off, working to apply the principles of ninjutsu outside of the dojo to better my life, my family’s, and the lives of those less fortunate than myself – so I’m perfectly fine with the idea of using the term “ninja” as it relates to the actual definition of the term rather than the stereotypical silliness others would prefer to lazily employ. ‘Nuff said.

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Buy 1 Get 1 FREE

New promo for ebook readers! Here’s the skinny:

Buy a copy of one of my novels (listed below) from Amazon.com, send me the receipt (proof-of-purchase) and I will send you another one of my novels (your choice) absolutely free!


What happens when two professional assassins – one a Mafia hitman and the other a former German terrorist – kill at exactly the same moment in time? For Ernst Stahl and Frank Jolino the result is a psychic bond that slowly blossoms in each man’s mind, enabling them to see into the other’s world. Frank Jolino doesn’t like what he sees, especially when he realizes that Stahl is headed to his home turf of Boston to kill a scientist who may hold the key to solving the world’s deadliest diseases. But for Stahl, there’s no other option. Virtually bankrupt and with his son in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant, he’s got little choice but to take the assignment. Jolino has other ideas. On the run from his crime syndicate for refusing to kill his ex-girlfriend-turned-government-informant, Jolino sets a plan in motion that will bring the two men face-to-face and gun-to-gun…with no guarantees either will survive.


When disgraced ex-FBI agent-turned-Boston-cop Steve Curran finds a corpse with no practical explanation for its death, the nightmares start again. Convinced the serial killer that caused his expulsion from the Bureau is once again haunting him, Curran soon learns his theories are all wrong. When the sister of the latest victim, Lauren Fields, uncovers an old journal detailing the hunt for a creature known only as the Soul Eater, she and Curran must confront the very real prospect that the killer is not of this world at all – and that his motives have little to do with killing, but all to do with something far, far worse.


PURGE: A top secret satellite platform that delivers pinpoint assassinations via biological warfare… Gwynneviere – the beautiful and deadly assassin who wants to sell PURGE on the blackmarket and will stop at nothing to get it…Jonathan Archangel – former Delta Force turned elite Shadow Chaser…it’s his mission to hunt Gwynneviere down before she can complete her deadly assignment. A novel of international intrigue, espionage, and biological warfare played out against the backdrop of Boston and beyond, Shadow Chaser will leave you breathless.

SPECIAL BONUS! If, after reading the novels, you review them on Amazon and elsewhere and send me notification that you’ve done so, I’ll send you his brand new novella FOOL FOR GREEN: A Frank Steel Job set in 1940 Boston and filled with World War II intrigue and the supernatural.

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