Videos, Signings, and More…

Just a couple of items to catch you up on…

1. This Friday night, October 18th, 2013 at 6:30pm, I will be having my “official” launch party for THE UNDEAD HORDES OF KAN-GUL at Park Street Books in Medfield, MA. The store is located right on route 109, 504 Main Street. It’s an awesome place, filled with amazing books – including mine. The event will probably last about two hours and I’m hoping to see a ton of people there. Please join me if you can!

2. Yesterday saw the debut of not one, but two different videos. The first is a quick promo I did for the above-mentioned signing.

The second is the book trailer for THE UNDEAD HORDES. Check that out here:

3. My publisher sent me about a zillion bookmarks and post cards for THE UNDEAD HORDES events I have coming up. I don’t expect that I’ll be using them all. I’m trying to figure out how to get some out to my awesome fans who aren’t local. More news on that when I have it.

bookmarks and postcards

4. Finally, this past weekend, we took some family photos over at Rexhame Beach in Marshfield, MA. Here are two that I’ll be using for promotional purposes. (Can you tell it was a bit windy?)

Jon F. Merz headshot1Jon F. Merz headshot2

Promotional Memes for THE UNDEAD HORDES OF KAN-GUL by Jon F. Merz

Below, you’ll find some promotional memes for the release of THE UNDEAD HORDES OF KAN-GUL. Feel free to download them and share them around all over the Internet. Visual funny cues like this are a great way to promote the book and I hope you’ll enjoy spreading the word about my latest release. Many thanks!

promotional meme for the undead hordes of kan-gul by jon f. merz
promotional meme for the undead hordes of kan-gul by jon f. merz
promotional meme for the undead hordes of kan-gul by jon f. merz
promotional meme for the undead hordes of kan-gul by jon f. merz
promotional meme for the undead hordes of kan-gul by jon f. merz
promotional meme for the undead hordes of kan-gul by jon f. merz
promotional meme for the undead hordes of kan-gul by jon f. merz

Get a Free Christmas Card from Jon!

Lots of stuff happening this month. In case you haven’t seen it, the production company I run with my good friend Jaime Hassett – New Ronin Entertainment – is ramping up for 2013. Come like us over on Facebook and check out our projects.

In a few weeks you’ll be able to download a FREE copy of my annual Lawson Christmas story for fans. This year, I’m pleased to bring you THE SNITCH WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS. Look for that around the 21st or so.

Also, this year I’m doing something fun: Christmas cards for my fans. Want one? They’re easy to get, but the number I’m doing is limited, so DON’T WAIT! Here’s what you need to do:

1. You MUST be subscribed to my newsletter BOSTON NOCTURNE – if you’re not, look over on the right side at the top and you’ll see the subscribe form. Drop your email in that and you’re good to go.
2. Send me an email to JONFMERZ at GMAIL dot COM (remove the “at” and “dot”)
3. Include the following: You full name, complete mailing address, zip/postal code
4. Tell me which books/ebooks you’ve enjoyed recently or what your favorites are.

I’ll fill out each card I send, so you’ll be sure to receive something unique and special. I should be sending these out within the next few weeks.

Additionally, if you buy some of my ebooks today and send me a copy of the receipt, I’ll include a little something special in your stocking this year. No purchase is required to get the Christmas card, but if you do pick up some of my work today or whenever you send me your information for the card, I’ll send you a little gift. It’s my way of saying thanks for being such awesome fans.

Time is short and so is the number of cards I’m sending, so don’t wait! Drop me a line right now!

Sears: A Corporate & Consumer Failure

By Jon F. Merz


Yesterday, my wife and I ventured to the Dedham, MA Sears store to purchase a new washer and dryer. Our current models both decided to need replacing at virtually the same time and since they’re about ten years old, we decided it was a good excuse to upgrade. We also bought a new stove. At the store, we worked with a great associate named Don, who was capable and friendly and made the shopping experience quick and seamless. When we explained to Don that we didn’t have a working washer & dryer at the moment and would therefore appreciate the fastest possible delivery of the replacements, he told us he would look up the delivery times and let us know. He came back and told us we would have our entire order today – October 31st. Needless to say, we were pleased, paid for the order and left the store assured that we would have a new setup today.

Yesterday at around 4pm, I got a call from an automated service telling me there was a delay in the delivery, but instead of telling me any more information, I was directed to call a number. This number turned out to be in the Philippines, judging by the accent of the woman I spoke to who informed me that delivery was now slated for November 4th. I told her that we would not have purchased the new appliances had we known delivery would take an extra five days. She then tried to call the warehouse, but got no answer. Then I got disconnected, which meant I had to repeat the entire process again. This time, the CSR suggested I call the Dedham store and ask if they had any stock they could ship to us instead.

Fine. I called the Dedham store and wound up speaking to an automated operator who apparently does not understand clear, concise English because I was shouting into the phone to things like “large appliances” and the always challenging “yes.” After trying to navigate that for a while, I finally reached someone human who told me to call back the Dedham store and press zero when the robot came on. I did. And promptly wound up at customer service at a national call center rather than the store itself. I once again explained the situation – stressing the importance of us getting our new washer & dryer. I was fine waiting for the new stove to be delivered. Ours works fine for the moment. But the new washer & dryer are sort of important when you have kids.

This time, the CSR told me that since we’d ordered in the store, she couldn’t actually see our order. That made no sense whatsoever. How can that be? Do Sears computers not synch to the same network? Don’t they “talk” to each other? She finally managed to locate my order and according to her, it was still scheduled for an October 31st delivery and that I should ignore the automated call that started this entire thing. She stressed that I would receive a call last evening giving me a delivery window for today and to call a certain number if I did not receive that call.

In the meantime, I took to Twitter and bitched directly at the Sears twitter account. I got an immediate response, but upon giving them my contact info, was told they’d get back to me in 24 hours. FAIL. If you don’t have someone manning your social media who can produce results for consumers, what the hell is the point? Lip service is a shoddy replacement for actual results.

And guess what – no call last night either.

So I called back, and for the third time found myself speaking to the Philippines. And once again, I was told that the delivery had been changed to November 4th. The CSR tried calling the warehouse and again, no one picked up the phone. I asked when the warehouse opened in the morning and she told me their hours are 9-5.

A few thing for the Sears Corporation to ponder:

1. Why, despite the fact that this was post-Sandy, did your computer systems not have updated delivery times? Or do you encourage store clerks to routinely lie about delivery times?
2. I’m in Massachusetts and we were not unduly affected by Sandy. I have to imagine that any appliance delivery is coming from a warehouse in Massachusetts – especially since I was told I’d have it the day after I bought it. In fact, a quick Internet search shows several that are fairly close to where I live. So given that Sandy didn’t swallow half our state, why is there a delivery delay? If I was in New Jersey, then this would certainly make sense. But I don’t think I would have gone shopping for appliances yesterday if I was!
3. Why was the CSR unable to locate my store order? That one still defies reason. If your computer systems aren’t synched, what century are you operating in? It shouldn’t matter where a consumer purchases your products, you should have a complete picture all the time. You might want to fix that.
4. Your warehouse apparently doesn’t believe in answering the phone. You might want to fix that.
5. The person manning your Twitter account has no apparent power to get results for aggrieved consumers. You might want to fix that.

We dropped about $2500 in your Dedham, MA store yesterday. That’s not an insignificant amount of money. And one would think that a large store like Sears would appreciate that large a purchase and make every attempt to make good on their promises. After all, it’s a pretty basic relationship: I give you money and you give me products. That’s how it works. It’s not: I give you money and then have to call the Philippines, get disconnected, deal with robot operators, try to understand your labyrinthine rationale behind your computer networks, get told conflicting things, and then take to the Internet to write a thousand-word blog post in the attempt to get said products delivered to my home.

Here’s the thing: it’s October 31st and I want my appliances. I want them today, when I was told they would be here. Your clerk made that promise; if your warehouse knew delivery times were going to be affected or delayed, they should have updated the system with those delays. Because frankly, telling me AFTER the purchase was made is bullshit.

My suggestion: get a call into your warehouse and get my delivery made today – as well as the deliveries for anyone else who was promised the same thing yesterday.

Good luck getting them to answer the phone.

BTW, I have around 50,000 followers on Twitter, over 2500 fans on Facebook, 4,000+ friends on my facebook profile, and a few thousand on my newsletter list.

And ALL of them are going to see this post.

(For my readers, if you’d like to help Sears understand the error of their ways, you can Tweet the following: “Sears: A Corporate & Consumer Failure @searscares @sears Please RT!” and then encourage anyone else to do the same. Thank you!)

UPDATE: 31 OCTOBER 2012 14:34

So earlier today I received a voicemail from someone named Edwin in Texas at Sears, referring to the Tweet I’ve been blasting everywhere. After apologizing, he invited me to call him back at 888-572-8119 and if he was unavailable to leave a voicemail at extension 19. He also gave me the case number that has been assigned to me.

Soooo….I called. Turns out it’s not a direct line and you’re invited to enter an extension number in, so I put in “19.” There’s a series of beeps that sounds like you’re being transferred somewhere and then nothing but dead air. Nothing. Nada. Zip. I tried pressing buttons; I tried waiting for someone to pick up. But there’s nothing.

Disgusted, I hung up and called the actual number that Edwin had called me on earlier: 512-248-7700. When the line picks up, they ask you to say the name of the person you’re trying to reach. I said “Edwin.” That then transferred me to someone named “Ed,” who on his voicemail says, “If you’re looking for Edwin, I’m afraid you’ve dialed the wrong number.” But then he doesn’t tell you the right number. I called back and repeated Edwin’s name again only to hear there’s no one named Edwin at that location.

Then just now, as I’m typing this update, someone from Sears calls to tell me they need to delay delivery and can fit me in Saturday. When I ask where the shipment is coming from, they tell me Westwood, MA. I asked them why the warehouse hadn’t told the store there would be problems with delivery and they said that the system was updated last night. I told them that made no sense, since they should have immediately informed the stores yesterday morning that there might be delays.

So here we are: Sears may well be trying to make this matter right, but I have no way of knowing since their systems seem to be completely un-synched and no one is talking to anyone else. Westwood is a few miles from my home – I see no reason why they can’t get my delivery here on the day the store promised. If they can’t figure out their systems, that’s not my fault; it’s their problem.

Thoroughly and completely disgusted with such inept service.

Couple of Quickies…

I’m back from vacation well-rested and ready to get cranking again. Today, however, is devoted to painting my sons’ bedrooms. I started one yesterday and will finish today. That Monday adrenaline rush never gets old, eh? 😉 GORUCK Challenge updates will return soon…

Joe Nassise and I have a brand new ebook bundle out called DOUBLE TROUBLE. It features two full-length novels. From Joe, you get the first book in his awesome Templar Chronicles, THE HERETIC. And from me, you get Lawson in THE FIXER. The bundle is just $8.95 for two incredible reads. You should buy it here for the Kindle and here for the Nook and here if you shop at Kobo.

ZOMBIE RYU Episode Two will be out later this month. Make sure you grab the first episode and if you love it, then leave a review on Amazon, B&N, and anywhere else people purchase fine ebooks. The second episode cranks things up even more. Zombie vs. samurai and ninja in feudal Japan is a winning combination! Again, KINDLE | NOOK | KOBO

Finally, while many of you were asleep last night, I got a phone call from NASA. Seems that Curiosity Lander touched down and its first picture caught a lot of folks by surprise. Who knew Martians had such good taste? Apparently not even the best minds at NASA knew, so I’m being flown down today on a private Gulfstream 5 (after painting) to discuss the inherent galactic implications this photograph entails. I have no idea if Lawson will be chosen for first contact or not, but all options are on the table. More news when I have it…