The Week Ahead…

Got a busy week ahead:

  • I’ll be sending out the next chapter of THE MADAGASCAR MATTER later today. This has been on-hold lately because of the other projects I’ve been involved in as well as some personal stuff that cropped up. In any event, we’ll be back on a regular schedule now, after leaving Lawson in a lurch (as I normally do, lol). So if you’ve subscribed to the ongoing serial, look for the next chapter coming your way soon!
  • Rewrites continue on the YA adventure series and I’ll be getting that back to my agent later this week. I’m excited about this one because it’s going to be big. Very big. More news when I can share it.
  • I need to rework a beat-sheet for the feature movie I’m working on.
  • Along those lines, I’m reading over a book my manager in LA wrote, so that should be fun as well.
  • I’m looking over website redesign plans for the new website for THE FIXER that will hopefully be unveiled this autumn. It will be the destination for all things Lawson. Stay tuned!
  • Got a few investor meetings lined up as well.
  • …and, of course, more training.



So, lessee…got a few updates to share…

First of all, I received the first pass typeset pages for THE KENSEI in the mail today. These are basically how the pages will look in the actual book. I need to go through them and spot any typos and report them back. This is usually where the gremlins like to jump in and hide often resulting in angry readers spotting them once the book is released, heh heh. So I’ll give it another once-over and then get them back to St. Martin’s as soon as possible.

And speaking of THE KENSEI…it is now officially up for pre-order over at The street date for the book is January 2011 and Amazon reports they’ll start shipping it on or about January 18th. Pre-orders always help, so if you’re so inclined, please head on over and secure your copy now. Here’s a handy link you can use to pre-order it. And yes, that is the cover as it stands right now.

I’m currently working on a beat-sheet for a screenplay for my Los Angeles-based Manager, who is anxious to get something from me that he can sell. So I’m reworking a project to see if that might fit the bill. We’ll see…

Also, had the second today of two meetings around my YA adventure series. I’ve got my marching orders from my ever-excellent agent, Joe Monti of the Barry Goldblatt Literary Agency and revisions will start almost immediately (once I get the beat-sheet off to my manager). But big things are definitely ahead for that series and both my agent and I are extremely excited about how the book is coming along…this has been five years in the making since I started thinking about it, so to have it at this stage even is a big thing.

Got some other news to share with you all soon. So far, it’s been a pretty damned good week.

Did you enjoy this blog post? If so, please subscribe right now!

Get It By EMail | Add to iGoogle | RSS/XML Feed

Liked this post? Please share it!


Get this and other great articles from the source at

TV GUYS – Chapter 1

Note: This is a reprint of a column I started writing last year that fizzled out as my schedule got more complex. I’ll be reprinting the columns here over the next few months and then continuing where I left off last year. Enjoy!

If I were pitching my current project as a movie in Hollywood, here’s what the logline would sound like: “Two guys with no real experience in the television business decide to ask private investors to front them millions so they can produce 13 episodes of a new supernatural TV series that they will then sell broadcast rights to domestically and internationally, thereby hopefully making hundreds of millions of dollars and turning the entire Hollywood business model on its head.”

Sounds absolutely ludicrous, right?

But that is, in fact, what my business partner Jaime and I are doing. Let me back up for a moment and give you a few more details.

I’m a writer. It’s what I do. I’ve had over a 16 novels published, co-authored two non-fiction books, had scores of short stories appear in print alongside some heavy hitters like Stephen King, and have written ad copy for everyone from Polaroid to Red Lobster Restaurants. I’ve scripted comics, screenplays, and turned four 3-minute webisodes into a novel. I don’t just write in one medium, preferring instead to try my hand at anything that helps me bump my game up to the next level.

Over the years, I’ve flirted a lot with Hollywood. There’s been some serious sexual tension, culminating a few times with deals that looked reasonably good on paper. But I’ve never jumped into the sack and here’s why: Hollywood doesn’t pay writers enough.

If you’re interested in how Hollywood makes its money, there is no finer book to read than THE BIG PICTURE: Money & Power in Hollywood by Edward James Epstein. I read that book several years ago and it opened my eyes.

Novelists especially tend to have a very fairytale image of Hollywood. They imagine that if they write a book, that Hollywood will come calling with an option (this is a small price – almost a rental fee, really – giving the producer or exec the ability to shop the project around and possibly secure financing, cast, crew, etc. within a certain time frame (usually 6-18 months)) or an outright rights purchase. If the movie then gets made, the studio will cut the writer a handsome check and the novelist gets the thrill of seeing their book turned into a movie.

When I started cutting my teeth in publishing, I imagined it would be an incredible experience. What I didn’t count on was the interminable wait, the endless teases, and the fact that Hollywood doesn’t want novelists writing anything or sticking their noses anywhere into the process.

Some writers can live with that. They take the money and run, knowing that the end result may well be such an extreme departure from their original novel that it bears resemblance in name only – if they’re lucky.

But when studios wanted my work, I knew what they could reasonably expect to make off of my creations. And I wanted more than they were offering. Of course they balked and all the whispered promises evaporated.

Last year, exhausted at the number of television shows that were coming out that were, to be overly kind, crap, my friend Jaime and I sat down and discussed the idea of trying to do something ourselves.

When we hashed out the concept of using my un-vampire vampire series of novels as our first project, the first person I bounced the idea off of was a good friend of mine who works in the film/TV industry. He’s well-known, so I won’t mention his name here, but he pretty much knows everyone worth knowing in Los Angeles and New York City. I called him and told him what we were planning. Then I asked him if we were crazy.

What he told me was this: “If you can make this work, then the sky is the limit. You will open doors that have never been open to you before and you will change the way Hollywood works in TV.” Then he offered to come on and be part of our executive board.

That was good enough for us. We started New Ronin Entertainment and chose THE FIXER as our first project. Ronin, in feudal Japan, were masterless samurai – called “wave men” because they owed allegiance to no lord. The name felt appropriate and our mission seemed sound, albeit tough as hell.

We would find private investors willing to back us in the production of thirteen episodes for the first season. (Networks usually greenlight, or approve, a pilot and then order up to twelve additional episodes for a first season run). We would put a team together to shoot, edit, and package the series, as well as sell it domestically and internationally. I would write all the episodes, thereby guaranteeing that the sanctity of my novels stayed intact and that I had complete control over the story lines and characters. The novels take place in New England; the cast and crew would be from New England; and we hoped that our investors would also be from the region. THE FIXER would be born and raised in our backyard. We thought that was pretty cool.

We enlisted two experienced directors who had worked in both television and independent films for years (therefore they knew how to work on a tight budget). Our sales force was composed of industry vets who had shepherded major films to hundreds of millions of dollars worth of sales. Experienced vets and up-and-comers made up our crew. And our art & marketing department worked hard to develop a consistent look for our flagship project. You can see the results thus far at our official website

But we needed money to pull this off. There was no business precedent whose plan we could use to attract investors, so we put it together after weeks of research into Hollywood budgets, sales forecasts, and more. Trying to divulge what Hollywood spends and what it makes is harder than cracking into the National Security Agency, but at long last, we felt we had a workable business prospectus.

Our offer was generous; we knew it had to be. We offered a 50% return on investment within 24 months to those who chose to back us. The task now was to try to convince wealthy Bostonians and New Englanders that a TV series entirely produced in their backyard was a viable and worthwhile investment.

But first, we had to find them. And then we had to get in the front door…

Giveaway #6 Winner + Giveaway #7: Jewelry & Ninjutsu

Congratulations to Giveaway #6 winner…

Kent Holloway!

(Kent, I’ll be in touch later tonight or tomorrow to get your info so the good folks at Variance can send your books out!)

By the way, at about 9pm, Brandon Stumpf who stars as Lawson in THE FIXER TV series, will be in the chat room. Don’t miss the chance to ask him questions about the role and how he sees Lawson developing for TV. You won’t be disappointed!

Giveaway #7!!!!

Two winners this next hour – one will get a beautiful pair of handmade amethyst earrings courtesy of my friend Tracy at The Lang Company Jewelry – really nice work and a beautiful pair of earrings. Be sure to check them out for all your jewelry needs!

The other winner this hour will receive a free week of training at The Boston Martial Arts Center in Allston, MA. Chief Instructor Mark Davis – one of my best friends and teacher for the past twenty years of my life – has graciously donated a week’s worth of training that includes a whole bunch of classes. Mark has one of the most diverse backgrounds of any martial artist I know and is one of the world’s preeminent Ninjutsu instructors.

All you have to do to be entered to win is one of the following. And if you’ve already done one on the list at a previous giveaway, just work your way down to the next item! 🙂 Easy! And don’t forget to leave me a comment so I can track everything! Thanks!

  • 1. If you’re on Twitter, type “Free giveaways all day long at Jon F. Merz’s new website #books #ebooks #writer” & then come back here and leave me a comment below so I know you put out the tweet.
  • 2. If you’re on Facebook, type a status update that reads: “Free giveaways all day long at author Jon F. Merz’s new website & join his fan page here on Facebook” & then come back here and post a comment letting me know you did this.
  • 3. Not on Facebook or Twitter? How about putting a link from your website to this one? Once you do, post a comment to let me know what site you’ve linked to mine.
  • 4. No website? Are you on any forums or bulletin boards? If so, start a new thread about the official launch and direct everyone to come here using this link: and then post a comment below letting me know what board you posted to.
  • 5. Not on any boards? Email your friends! Send them a quick email about today’s launch and invite them to swing by – BCC me on it (use the email address jonfmerz AT gmail DOT com) so I can see how many people you told about this site and then chime in with a comment below letting me know what you did.
  • 6. Suggest your Facebook friends become fans of THE FIXER
  • 7. Suggest your Facebook friends become fans of Jon F. Merz
  • 8. Read any blogs, magazines, news sites about books, new media, film/TV? Suggest they interview me and my work!
  • 9. Visit my Youtube Channel and rate & comment on my videos. Subscribe as well!
  • 10. Purchase one of my ebooks on Amazon or Smashwords or iTunes and send me the receipt

Doing any of these will automatically enter you into the fifth giveaway!

Did you enjoy this blog post? If so, please subscribe right now!

Get It By EMailAdd to iGoogleRSS/XML Feed

Liked this post? Please share it!

Get this and other great articles from the source at

Recent Events Round-Up…

So, to recap for the new folks following me on Twitter and Facebook:

1. I have a new deal with St. Martin’s Press for the Lawson Vampire series. Book 5 comes out in Spring 2011 and I’m thrilled to be with a major publisher and awesome editor.
2. A special 3-chapbook series of Lawson missions called DARK OPS will see print in April 2010 from UK publisher Ghostwriter Publications. Pre-orders should be up soon.
3. A Lawson graphic novel is coming in October. Cover art and interiors are being sketched right now. Details when I have ’em…
4. The Lawson e-serial THE MADAGASCAR MATTER is on-going. If you haven’t subscribed yet, use the form below to get in on the fun:

File Format

5. BOSTON NOCTURNE has been redesigned as a 10-page monthly magazine featuring free fiction, non-fiction, reviews, etc. but you need to subscribe by Emailing Me to get your copies.
6. THE FIXER TV series is moving ahead, albeit slowly. More news on the next release date of teaser #2 as soon as I have it.
7. More ROGUE ANGEL novels written by me will be coming out over the next few years.
8. My website is being redesigned again and will debut fairly soon.
9. The first installment from HELLtalkers (co-written with Joe Nassise) is available by going HERE!.
10. Be sure to check out my PublishersMarketplace Page for some exclusive video clips.

Thanks for catching up with me!