Where Zero Came From

A lot of people have written email asking me about the character of Zero from my Lawson series of urban fantasy thrillers. In the books, he plays Lawson’s mentor, of sorts. When Lawson graduated from his Fixer training, he was apprenticed to Zero – a legendary Fixer himself – to get real-world experience. But a simple apprenticeship led to a much deeper friendship and as such, Zero’s character has been seen a lot more than I’d originally planned.

But where does Zero come from? Is he, like many characters that authors write, a combination of people we know?

The simple answer is no. Zero is very much based on one particular person in my life. And I’d like to shine a light on that person now – even if I don’t happen to use his full name.

Ken H. was one of my closest pals back when I was doing private security and protection work. A literal mountain of a man, Ken stood at least six feet five inches and towered over pretty much everyone. He was built like a linebacker and he could move just as fast as one if the situation demanded it. He was from a blue-collar family north of Boston in Peabody and he’d lost his father early on, much like I did. Ken had come up the hard way, having to scrape and scrimp for everything he ever got. And he had a work ethic that reflected that drive – you know the type of person that never takes anything for granted, but just puts his nose to the grindstone until he achieves what he set out to achieve. Ken was like that.

When we used to work down by Boston’s waterfront, we’d take walks at lunch. This time of year meant that the ladies of the Financial District would be out in full force and Ken was a great admirer of the ladies. So was I, for that matter. But for all his blue-collar sensibility, and the stereotypes that people often attribute to that, Ken was extremely intelligent. He wouldn’t quote long passages by Plato or Socrates, but Ken had a keen insight into human behavior and I really enjoyed our talks while we strolled through the gardens of legs.

Over the years, Ken and I became close friends. We were in a number of high-stress situations that bonded us together in a way that only being in high-stress situations can. And we knew that we had each other’s back. There are few things more important than knowing who you’re able to trust your life to. For me, Ken was one of those men I could trust without reservation. And he counted on me in the same fashion. Ken was the first person to ever tell me that he was my number one fan. “Some day, your books are going to be everywhere. They’re amazing.” I was still struggling to find an agent or a publisher at the time and his forecast seemed unlikely.

“I’m going to create a character based on you,” I told him one day. Ken thought that was about the coolest thing he’d ever heard. And years later, when Lawson was born, Zero wasn’t far behind. In some ways, Zero was even easier to create because he already existed as Ken.

When I was fired for storing my novel-in-progress on the company computer, Ken proved that he had my back all over again. He was the only man I worked with who stood beside me and told the powers-that-were how stupid they were being and how the entire termination had been a witch hunt because I’d stood up to my bully of a boss. None of the other guys I worked with had the balls to do that.

Ken did.

Subsequently, they also fired Ken because he was unable to conceal his disgust with the treachery that had been displayed in my case. And he let everyone know it. “Ken, they’re going to can you, too, if you don’t rein it in,” I’d told him beforehand.

“Fuck ’em,” was Ken’s reply. “You never should have been fired. It was wrong. They were wrong. And if telling them that costs me my job, then so be it.”

It did cost him his job. But Ken’s resilient spirit never let him regret what he’d done. He simply switched gears and went into plumbing.

As a result of us not working together any longer, Ken and I grew apart. Our schedules never seemed to sync up and while we managed once or twice to get together, it wasn’t anything constant.

I found out earlier this year that Ken had been sick. Real sick. He needed a liver transplant and had been hospitalized for several months. He’d come close to dying a number of times but had managed to fight through it all. He got the transplant, and today, he’s on the mend. As he recovers, he’s keeping busy reading a ton of my stuff and he still proudly proclaims that he’s my number one fan.

He’s also damned inspirational. Not just because he was the source for Zero, but also because Ken never gives up, never quits, and never sold out his friend when loyalty meant the world to me. If ever there was a perfect mold to cast the character of Lawson’s mentor and closest friend, Ken is it.

This one’s for you, Kenny – keep getting well my friend – we’ve still got a lot of journeys ahead of us.

Amazon’s German Kindle Store

I’m thrilled that Amazon has now opened up its new German Kindle store – and already, my Lawson Vampire series is out and available for mass consumption. As of this morning, they had just about every Lawson adventure there, except for THE ENCHANTER, but I epxect that should be available shortly.

As someone making a significant income each month from my independently published titles on Amazon and Barnes&Noble, this latest news is fantastic. It’s yet another platform to sell ebooks on, and yet another market I can enter into and reach new fans. The books are still in English, of course, but given that there are many English-speaking Germans, I’m hoping to reach a majority of them and get them hooked on Lawson. And this, of course, helps also with the building of a global community ready to devour Lawson on the television as well.

Here’s the link to the full press release from Amazon.

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. 🙂

Lots of News

So, this past Friday at 9pm, we launched the all-new, all-awesome website for THE FIXER. This is THE place to go for all things Lawson Vampire – the TV show, the book series, everything. We also debuted the new 30-second teaser clip, which you can see just by clicking on the screen shot to the left.

AND on top of that, we also debuted the brand new ebook THE ENCHANTER. You might know this better as THE MADAGASCAR MATTER project that I ran as a subscription only serialized piece a year or so back. The problem was, the story took on a life of its own and blossomed into a full-fledged novel of 81,000 words. So I turned it into THE ENCHANTER and put it out. The book is a Lawson adventure from the late 1970s when he’s in Madagascar with his former mentor Zero to run down a skeleton in the Council’s closet with roots running back to World War II. Fun stuff. It’s out for the Kindle and the Nook, or you can grab it on THE FIXER website, too.

And we have much more planned. This week, I’m working on THE SHEPHERD, a special Lawson novella written for some very special folks. That should be out soon. And then we’ll be debuting the extended cut of the teaser clip out on THE FIXER website. Look for that by the end of the week,hopefully.

More media attention is brewing. I have a lunchtime interview today, so that should be fun. It comes on the heels of a nice piece in the Boston Herald a week or so back.

Tons of other stuff happening right now. I’ll talk about it when I can.

EBook Sales for March 2011

I sold 3421 ebooks in March.

To say I’m thrilled would be an understatement. And if I thought February was great, well, March was even better. I saw a 46% jump in sales in March and it’s my goal now to realize that same sales increase with each succeeding month. Is it sustainable? I think it just might be. More people are flocking to ebooks and ereaders than ever before. And my numbers, as great as they are for me personally, are still a drop in a very, very big bucket. I still have hundreds of thousands of fans to introduce to Lawson. If I can be sure to introduce new Lawson adventures each month, retain readers from each book, and drive new readers to the series, I think it’s very, very possible to make good gains each month. We’ll see if I’m right.

The vast majority of my sales in March came from my Lawson vampire series. THE FIXER alone sold 953 copies on the US Amazon site. The other three novels all posted solid triple-digit sales and even the two novellas made it into triple digits. The Lawson short stories, while not as impressive sales-figures-wise, still managed to add several hundred dollars to my bottom line. And this next week will see the addition of a new Lawson novel, THE ENCHANTER (previously known as THE MADAGASCAR MATTER before it became a full-fledged novel) as well as a new novella titled THE SHEPHERD. I’m hoping that more and more people will find the series and really enjoy what I’m doing with it. Add to that the new redesign of THE FIXER website – which will be THE place for all things Lawson (including the TV series) and you have some very cool things happening right now.

For me, this new world of ebooks sales is extremely gratifying. I’m earning a very respectable wage on ebook sales (roughly $150 bucks each day) and I couldn’t be more pleased. I get a monthly check (net 60 days) which certainly makes things a lot easier to budget and plan for. I’d like to take a moment to say thanks to everyone who has purchased ebooks over the last few months. I write for you and I hope you really have fun with Lawson.

Oh, and by the way, PREY is coming soon. It needed a bit more revision work, but it will be out within the next month.