Frosty The Hitman A Blazing Success!

So, at midnight on Christmas Day, as the 24th ticked over into the 25th, I launched the annual Christmas freebie that I write for friends and fans. This year’s entry was FROSTY THE HITMAN, a 5600-word story. Along with the story itself, the ebook contained 3-chapter excerpts from both THE FIXER and THE INVOKER, an author’s note from me, an invitation to subscribe to my free newsletter, and a list of all the current Lawson adventures as of December 2011.

I put the blog post out and wondered what sort of reception it would get, how many people would download it, etc. etc. My hope was that I’d get about 200 downloads of the story, especially considering it was Christmas Day and a lot of people would be otherwise preoccupied. In addition to my blog post, I set up automatic tweets announcing it on Twitter. I also asked for a small group of my fans to Tweet, Retweet, and post things on their blogs and Facebook to help spread the word. Then I sat back and waited to see what would happen.

Today’s the 29th and as of this writing, here are the results:

Total number of downloads: 1836
Kindle file downloads: 966
Epub file downloads: 444
.pdf file downloads: 426

Christmas Day and yesterday saw the most traffic. Yesterday is not surprising since I sent out a bulletin to my newsletter subscribers about Frosty and they certainly responded. Plus, I got a mention over on Books On The Knob about Frosty being free. That exposure definitely helped!

In addition, I picked up roughly 50 new subscribers to my newsletter. My Christmas Day post also received a large number of Facebook “likes,” which then show up in the person’s timeline (thereby potentially leading more people to the post). It was also +1’d out on Google+ by twelve more people, earning me some penetration on that social media website as well. As far as tweets and retweets go, the tracking showed that 1,159 people clicked the link, 25 people shared it on Facebook, and it was retweeted well over 100 times.

Then there were the comments and tweets from people who hadn’t read Lawson yet. Of the nearly 2,000 downloads, I’m hoping that at least 25% are new to the series. 500 potential new readers is a pretty great gift to get for giving something back to my already-awesome fans.

So, to everyone who helped spread the word about Frosty, my sincere thanks. This year’s freebie gift was an fantastic success and I couldn’t have done it without you all helping and downloading away. As 2012 comes roaring in, Lawson is going to have an even bigger year than 2011. Tons of new adventures, big movement ahead on the TV production, and more news besides. Keep talking Lawson up to your friends and family – we’re going to be doing some amazing things together and I want everyone of you along for the fun-filled ride!

Happy New Year & thanks!

My Christmas List

Interestingly enough this year, a number of fans have written to ask what I’ve got on my Christmas list – that is, the things I’m hoping to receive. It’s a pretty short list, so I thought I’d share it with you. Pay attention to number 7. The fat guy with the reindeer fetish and red suit always seems to forget that one.

Without further ado, I hereby present things I’d like to get for Christmas 2011…

  1. More reviews on Amazon and Barnes & from fans of my writing. The more, the better!
  2. More interaction on my Facebook Fan Page. Got a question? Ask away!
  3. More fans telling their friends and family about my work. Expand my audience, people. Become a prophet!
  4. More interviews on blogs, podcasts, radio, and TV. Keeping my name and work in front of people is critical!
  5. More subscribers to my free newsletter. I love my subscribers!
  6. More ebook sales, more print book sales, more deals!
  7. Catherine Zeta-Jones, Tia Carrere, and Kelly Hu. Not necessarily in that order. And yes, all three.

Thanks Santa! 🙂

FREE Lunchtime Reading: A Peaceable Mind

Note: If you enjoy this little tale, I hope you’ll grab my books! If you’ve got a Kindle, click here. If you’ve got a Nook, click here. Prefer print? Click here. Thank you!

A Peaceable Mind

Jon F. Merz

Joey strolled in wearing his shirt untucked, trying to be all subtle about it. I’d been in Medellin, Colombia through the mid-90s so the fashion sense was familiar to me. Either on the back of a hip or in the small of his back, Joey had himself a piece. Knowing Joey, it’d be the right – his strong arm side. A quick flick with his fingers to get the shirt clear and then the draw would be a smooth one-action coming out of low-ready to instinctive fire – bang, bang.

Question was: who was he here to drop?

I took a sip of the Grey Goose and tonic in front of me, tasted the wedge of lime when it kissed my lips like the tawdry citrus bitch it was and let my gaze wander.

Joey settled himself at the end of the bar since it gave him a good vantage point. Guys like Joey grew up watching all the usual suspects on TV and in the films. Then when he got interesting enough to the right people, they plucked him out of fantasyland and gave him a crash course in “grow the fuck up quick.”

But still, Joey liked to milk it the way the movie toughs would have.

I knew the sentiment; I’d gone through it, too.

I spotted a couple of possibles cheating each other out of twenties and tens over hands of five-card stud at the small table near the bandstand. No band tonight, though. Lem, the guy who owned the joint, hadn’t been able to book anyone to play the place since Vic Demoulas got his third eye opened unconventionally a month or so back. Wouldn’t have been so bad if the wanna-be Disney teen stars hadn’t been crooning about cafeteria lunch lines and corn dogs when ol’ Vic went down streaking bone and grey ooze across the linoleum right in front of the suburbanized moms keeping watch over their flock. I thought Lem was going to have break out the cardiac defib machine he’d had installed; coulda sworn I saw a few pairs of eyes roll over white.

Joey ordered himself a white Russian and I blanched. In my book, milk and liquor are two things that should never shack up with each other. Sacrilegious. I dunno. It’s like a dog riding the hell out of a pig. Might look kinda funny, but you definitely don’t want to see the offspring.

It was when he walked over to my table that I felt a twinge of surprise. He nodded at me as he crossed the floor, sort of a flag of truce so I didn’t put two into him before he got any closer. Not that we had bad blood between us, but in this town, the day you started assuming anything was the day they started digging a hole for you.

“How’s it going, Ken?”

I lifted my glass and thought about how badly I wanted about four more of them to help me forget. “You come over here to ask me about my day?”


I shrugged and Joey sat down across from me, his back to the rest of the place. Interesting. “You giving your back to the room? Must be something good you need to discuss.”

“I’m on a job.”

“No shit.”

“You know?”

“Shirt gave it away. I’ve seen it before.” I took a sip and tasted more ice than vodka. “Who’s the mark?”

Joey sipped his white Russian and it left a pencil thin mustache along his lip. Made him look like he was fish on his first night in cell block D. “Don’t know if I can handle this one alone.”

“Why’s that? You back in therapy? All concerned about your role in the universe?” I smiled to show him I was only kidding. But Joey didn’t rise to the bait.

“Might be out of my league.”

“Awfully humble of you.”

Joey downed the rest of his white Russian and the glass hit the table hard. “I know my limitations.”

“Clint says that’s a good thing.” I sipped the icy water in front of me. “What team’s the mark playing for?”

“Does it matter?”

I stopped drinking. “It does for me. I don’t like pissing off friends.”

Joey sniffed. “As if you and I have any friends. We’re just pawns in this whole thing, man. You know that.”

I looked him over. His eyes had bags hanging beneath them. Dark, like he hadn’t been sleeping worth shit. “You’re definitely back in therapy.”

“I need your help, Ken.”

He was being way too up-front with me, Coming from Joey, whom I had only a marginal level of respect for, it made me suspicious. But then again, I was pretty much suspicious of anything. Or anyone.

I stared Joey down, trying to see past the beady, tired eyes and get some clue as to what he was up to. He kept his eyes on me, but there was nothing defiant there. Just exhaustion.

“You in?”

I shrugged. “Pay?”

“What I heard you were getting last time I checked.” He waited. Patient. Joey always had been good at selling things.

I tilted the glass back, caught the wedge of lime and bit into it looking for the last bit of juice before slapping it back down on the table. “All right.”

* * *

The clouds pissed on us as we drove across town, Joey next to me with his hands folded like he was going to church. “Heard you got away for a while.”

No such things as secrets in this town; they lasted about as long as a virgin backstage at a rock concert. “I did. I’m back now.”

“They welcome you back in?”

I wheeled down around the waterfront, past the corrugated roofs – past the tramp steamers lolling in the harbor swells. “Well, they didn’t waste any bullets on me.”

“What the hell’s that mean?”

“Means they didn’t take too kindly to my going off the reservation. I’m back, yeah. But it’s more like probation. They need to feel like they can trust me again.”

Joey nodded. “Who knows? You helping me with this might just make you look good enough again.”

“Maybe.” The tires splashed through a puddle. “You going to clue me in here or do I have to keep waiting for you to spill it?”

“Keep driving over toward Fort Channel. I’ll give you the information when we get there.”

Fort Channel was a thin strip of nowhere populated by a mass of warehouses slung next to weeds, old oil drums, and rusted car wrecks. The place reeked of low tide, seagull shit, and rotting corpses. Usually, rats. But two-legged bodies had been known to show up on occasion. Looked like we’d be adding to that tally tonight.

I wasn’t naïve enough to ignore the possibility that Joey was going to stick a couple of Teflon rounds into the back of my head. But I didn’t think he was. Still, a healthy dose of cynicism has kept me shambling around longer than most.

“Pull in over there.” Joey pointed at the narrow alley nestled between two of the larger warehouses. Ahead of me, a pile of broken toilets and sinks formed a pyramid of busted porcelain.

I slowed the car to a stop and then killed the engine. Joey was busy making sure he’d topped off his magazine. I watched his fingers work pushing rounds down. He smirked. “You’re going to like this.”

“I am?”

His eyes gleamed, catching the yellow sodium lights overhead. “Trust me.”

As if. I slid out of the car and patted the back of my right hip. The USP Compact I carried still hugged me tight.

Joey cleared the car and came around. “You recognize this place?”

“Should I?”

“One of Le Clerc’s.”

I frowned. The thought of doing something on my boss’ territory didn’t exactly sit well with me. I usually stayed well away when off doing his bidding. Killing someone here violated that whole “don’t shit where you eat” protocol.

Joey didn’t seem to mind, but then again, we weren’t getting ready to plug someone on Marchand’s turf. He could afford nonchalance.

We closed on the closest warehouse and Joey pointed out that there weren’t any cameras around. “Probably doesn’t think anyone will bother him down here.”


Joey just eyed me. “Dude, Le Clerc.”

“He’s the target?”

“Duh.” Joey shook his head and pointed at the door. “You go in first. He sees you, he’ll relax.”

I put a hand on his arm. “Wait – how exactly does this get me back into good standing with my him?”

Joey smiled. “I never said doing this would make you look good to them. But it will to my people. And you’ll need a home after this anyway. Nothing worse than an orphaned killer. You’d just wander around aimless. No sense of purpose. No one controlling you.”

He had a point, of course. And Le Clerc hadn’t exactly been kind when I’d returned. The idea of killing him didn’t make me feel all that awful.

“You ready?”

I nodded and moved ahead to the door. My stomach ached at the thought of Joey being behind me, but I had to trust the situation, not the man. If that got me killed, then so be it.

The door was a pre-fab number, hollow and metal, but suitable for barring entry to the place. I turned the knob and the door opened.

Inside, the place reeked of incense. Le Clerc always had some of that shit burning in braziers hung on chains off the framework. Given the usual aroma of Fort Channel, I couldn’t blame him. Even if incense made me want to puke.

I sensed Joey behind me, moving in the shadows. Maybe he expected Le Clerc to have a big welcoming party or tons of guards around him. Fact was, he didn’t need them. Unless it was for show.

Joey pointed around my shoulder. “Up there.”

I looked and saw the reflection of flames dancing on the walls on the second level. Le Clerc had a fire going. And I could hear something now as we approached.


I took the steps that brought us up and down the catwalk, I could see where Le Clerc had set himself up amid an altar and a blazing hearth. He was dressed the way he usually was in flowing deep burgundy robes and a brilliant yellow sash knotted in three places to denote his rank within his particular order. The glow of the fire made his ebony skin gleam.

He stopped chanting when he saw me. “Ken?”


“You’re early.”

I shrugged. “Traffic was light.”

Le Clerc nodded. “Who’s that with you?”

I stepped to the side and Joey came up from behind me, his pistol – a Smith & Wesson .40 – leveled at Le Clerc’s head. The shot was a good twenty feet away and in flickering firelight, but I figured Joey could plug him just fine.

“This is Joey.”

Le Clerc smiled. “So…this is him.”

Joey frowned and I could see the tug on his mind. He grunted and shook it off, refocusing on Le Clerc. “I’m here to kill you.”

Le Clerc chuckled. “Obviously.”

Joey thumbed the hammer back, but the sound was lost amid the crackling fire. “No tricks, Le Clerc.”

Le Clerc raised his hands. “I wouldn’t dream of it. Would I, Ken?”

“You’re not one for tricks. Pragmatism, yeah. Tricks? Nah.”

Joey glanced at me. “You ready to do this?”

I brought my USP out and shrugged. “Suppose so.”

Le Clerc said nothing as I drew my pistol up. I could see the fire dancing in his eyes. I could feel the pull of his will on my own. His power was immense. Not that he needed it with me just then.

I turned the gun and put the barrel flush to Joey’s temple – pulled the trigger twice – and heard the gun bark-bark. The left side of Joey’s head exploded as the rounds exited, taking most of his cranial cavity with them.

He simply dropped.

Le Clerc advanced on me, his voice low and soothing. “Nicely done, Ken. Very nicely done. Am I correct in assuming he had no idea?”

“I doubt it. He came to me for help, just like you said he would.”

“I’m amazed that this is the best Marchand could field.” Le Clerc shook his head. “I believe the problem lies in the recruitment method. You do get out what you put into it, of course.”

I watched the blood dribble out of Joey’s head down to the lower level. His eyes were opaque and lifeless now. “Marchand grabs his guys from a security company. Low-level rent-a-cops. But Joey wasn’t as bad as the majority of them.”

“Marchand doesn’t like challenges. These rent-a-cops as you call them, are easier to control.”

I glanced at him. “As opposed to the likes of me.”

Le Clerc smiled. “Former government operatives are always preferable to me. Yes, it takes a lot of extra work – and yes, there are…setbacks. Your recent vacation was a bit problematical for me. But overall, the results are far superior to substandard help.”

“This your way of telling me all is forgiven now?”

Le Clerc’s smile widened. “You want to forget?”

“Worse than you could possibly know.”

Le Clerc nodded. “Follow me.”

We walked back into the glow of the firelight and I saw that he’d set up a small tripod that dangled a deep pot over the flames. Le Clerc took a long wooden spoon and stirred the contents. From where I stood, I caught the familiar scent and my mouth watered at the thought of it.

“It’s easier this way, isn’t it?”

My eyes were focused on the bubbling mass in the pot. “Yes.”

His voice swam in my head. “I’ll make sure the usual amount is deposited into your account.”

“Thank you.”

“Are you still happy to be working with me?”

I tore my eyes away from the cauldron and looked at him. “I’m not happy right now.”

“But you will be.” He pointed with his spoon. “You will be.”


Le Clerc dropped his voice and the words came out of his mouth in a jumble of Creole, Gullah, and other dialects I didn’t even recognize. I didn’t need to recognize them. Their effect was what was important. The singsong utterances fluttered about my head, distracting, unfocusing, and graying out more and more of my thoughts.

At last, Le Clerc drove the spoon into the liquid and drew it out. He sniffed it once and then passed it to me. Already, my sentience seemed to be dwindling. I took the spoon and slurped up the contents.

Le Clerc, the high priest, fed me three times more.

And my mind vanished. Along with all the horrible memories of things I’d done in the name of God and Country. The bodies, the cries, the blood – so much blood – the terror I’d wrought, the demon I’d been.


By the zombie I’d chosen to become.

I was still a tool.

In more ways than one.

But now I had something I’d never had before.


Copyright © 2011 by Jon F. Merz All rights reserved.

Note: If you enjoy this little tale, I hope you’ll grab my books! If you’ve got a Kindle, click here. If you’ve got a Nook, click here. Prefer print? Click here. Thank you!

Twilight Scam on Facebook

There’s a massive scam happening on Facebook right now involving a Twilight Breaking Dawn game. Do NOT click on it because it apparently hacks your account and attacks your friends. Worst of all, it opens you up to ridicule from people who see that you actually like the Twilight series. 🙂

The single best way to combat this threat is to read my Lawson Vampire series. Like, say, the latest novel in the series that goes back to the 1970s when Lawson and Zero are dispatched to Madagascar to track down a skeleton in the Council’s closet with roots running back to World War II. Its awesomeness will easily trump any Twilight scam and you can be proud that reading Lawson is like saying to the world, “I rock the casbah and so does Lawson.” In fact, you can grab THE ENCHANTER just by clicking the cover here—>

And here’s another way to show your pride on Facebook: grab this anti-Twilight scam banner and fly it proud! (just right click and “save as” or Mac users can Control + click to save)

Remember: I’m here to help. 🙂


Apparently this got missed in all the excitement of the book’s release, so I want to make sure everyone knows about it! We are giving away the sword we used in THE KENSEI official book trailer!

Send me proof-of-purchase (or a copy of your receipt if you bought online) that you’ve bought a copy of THE KENSEI and you’ll be entered for a chance to win the sword used by actor Brandon Stumpf in the official book trailer for THE KENSEI. Brandon will be starring in the TV series based on the novels, THE FIXER, and I’m certain he’s got a huge future. If you win, not only will you get the sword, but a certificate of authenticity, and you can even have it autographed by Brandon and me. Each copy of the book counts as one entry, so if you buy three copies of THE KENSEI to give as gifts to friends and family, then you have three chances to win the sword. And yes, ebook sales count as entries, too – ALTHOUGH, I REALLY want people to buy print copies so we can sell out that first print run! One winner will be drawn on May 28th, 2011. You can send your entries to:

thekenseicontest AT gmail DOT com

Good luck!

Buy THE KENSEI at Barnes & Noble | Buy THE KENSEI at