Cover Up!!!

Yes, with the lack of bookstores nowadays, nobody gets to judge my book by it’s cover… So to remedy that I’m putting my cover, up online. Just imagine your are in the aisle of a drugstore, Century 21 or what ever your old bookstore is now, and you come across this book, face out on the New Release aisle.

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And then if you are like 78.9% of book buyers who buy more than two books a year, you flip it over to read the Blurbs. You know they are called blurbs because you buy hardcover books. 

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Then if the incredible, gushing adoration of those authors who are greater than myself, grabs you, you’ll open the book and, as 87.3% of readers who self-identified as “avid”do, you read the flaps. Both sides combined here for your convenience. 

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Then you’ll say, “I wonder if this guy still looks like that?” and I can tell you he doesn’t he actually lost weight, but 92% of readers admit that they trust heavy-set writers to spin a more “tasty” tale than thin authors.

I know this was totally self indulgent, but this is a cover I would very much like to be judged by.

TOM INCSHOW60 lighter…because I knew you’d ask.

 

 

Safe At Home

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In my second novel, The Hammer of God, my leading character, Bill Hiccock is the science advisor to the president who routinely reports to him on technological threats aimed at America. Yet, upon learning his wife is pregnant, those routine assessments suddenly loom larger and more terrifying in his mind, which causes him, in a moment of self-reflection to ask himself, “Is that what impending fatherhood does to a person: magnify all the sharp edges and pointy things in the world?”

Well, when you “father” international thrillers and regularly write about terrorism and study the threat matrix, you tend to see the world as billions of looming sharp edges and pointy things … all aimed at America.

As an author, this scary view is especially magnified as major holidays and large public events draw near. The specter of an attack and our vulnerability as a free and open society, find their way into the media, public discourse and more than a few family discussions. As I write this, the world has successfully managed to enter a new year with no major terrorist statement accompanying the strains of Auld Lang Syne. There were a couple of blips; a lone wolf in Syracuse who was caught before he could slaughter folks with a machete as they dined locally. He confessed it was an act to serve as his initiation fee and buy-in to ISIS. There were some plots foiled in Germany and unfortunately an attack in Israel. But thankfully the most spectacular event this New Year’s Eve was the 63-story hotel fire in Abu Dhabi, which for now seems to be accidental in nature.

Strike that, the most spectacular event was a million people in Times Square, and millions more around the country unfettered, unstoppable and unmolested as they reveled in New Year’s celebrations throughout America. Made possible by hundreds of thousands of men and woman on watch, on guard and on duty while the rest of us got to party. Lets resolve to keep them and their families in our thoughts and prayers. – Happy New Year.

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#1 Again! Thank you.

My 5th novel, Give Us This Day, just became a number 1 bestseller.GUTD NO 1 SHADOW SHORT

Thanks you to all my loyal friends and fans.  Please consider giving this #1 Bestselling book as a great Christmas present. It’s available as a Hardcover or gift-able E-book in all the popular platforms.

   
3 BEST SELLERS

Give Us This Day, Synopsis:

It always starts out as routine, even when you are only doing it while your husband is deployed at sea. Even if it began as a safe, easy way to make enough cash to start a family. Even if there was no way you would ever get stuck doing it full time . . . after all, that’s why you retired from the FBI. But then they killed off your prime witnesses all over the globe, erased all of their digital fingerprints from a Wall Street hedge fund, blew up your office, tried to blow up St. Pats and, with unlimited funding from financial plays in the stock market, launched the biggest, most devastating attack ever directed against a city. One that no one saw coming. An unthinkable event that would have ramifications for the next one hundred years or more.

And all you wanted to do was go home to Hawaii and coach high school soccer . .  Welcome to former FBI agent Brooke Burrell’s life. Her cushy assignment turns into a countdown to mega-death and destruction, keepingher and her hand-picked group of experts guessing what, where, and when the attack will be – right up until zero hour. 

Give Us This Day is a book with enough plausibility that it will keep readers guessing what will happen next, whether they are in their living rooms or in government offices.

 

Story Plant Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-61188-209-4
Fiction Studio Books e-book ISBN: 978-1-936558-74-8
420 pages

The Defending Super Bowl Champions

With Terrorism in the news I thought I’d remind us of one of the great victories in the battle to keep us all safe. Here’s a blog I wrote 2 years ago:

I write about the threat matrix. My novels pit the good guys’ brains against terrorist brawn.  In the course of my writing, I have done much research into some really scary stuff. The ‘keep you awake’ all night kind of nasty scenarios where America is just one virtual box cutter away from suffering another devastating attack. Yet, this past week the Super Bowl of all terrorist events played out safely with the terrorists as effective as a Peyton Manning overhead snap.  The final score:

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The zip, nada, goose egg shut out to the terrorist’s team was accomplished, as in the game, with over powering defense.   It is my intention to present the MVP. (Most Valuable Protection) award to the NYPD, New York and New Jersey State Police, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the hundreds of other organizations and departments that did their job so well that the only injuries at the biggest juiciest terrorist target in the world were on the football field.

SuperBowl1Now there may have been some plays “off the field” that we will never see in a replay, but we do know this; no terrorist got to spike the ball at the Stadium or Times Square. Or… The Mall of America for that matter, which would have been an effective play action fake.

Our first responders insured there was no need for any response. As you know, the dedicated men and women, who did such a magnificent job keeping millions safe, didn’t get a trophy. No sweatshirts or hats magically appeared with a Super Bowl Defending Champions logo emblazoned on them the minute the game ended. Instead, they finally got to have a good night’s sleep.  But they dream as champions in the greatest contest of all, with the direst consequences.

Sleep well, as we all do, thanks to you.

God Bless you and thank you, thank you all.

Tom Avitabile

Get, “Give Us This Day” – Today!

My 5th novel, Give Us this Day is available in hardcover and all formats.  Already it has received many 5 star, rave reviews plus much acclaim from authors who were kind enough to share their thoughts on this “non-stop” thriller.

 Order it today!
   

“Clever and compelling. Brooke Burrell is my kind of heroine, savvy, kick ass, and with a direct line to the president. You will stay up late and keep turning the pages to the very end.” – Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author

NetGalley Review: Give Us This Day. Rating: 5 out of 5 stars Review Excerpt: “The book takes you on a rollercoaster ride from the start, and doesn’t disappoint at the end. Very good read and highly recommended.”

Synopsis:

It always starts out as routine, even when you are only doing it while your husband is deployed at sea. Even if it began as a safe, easy way to make enough cash to start a family. Even if there was no way you would ever get stuck doing it full time . . . after all, that’s why you retired from the FBI. But then they killed off your prime witnesses all over the globe, erased all of their digital fingerprints from a Wall Street hedge fund, blew up your office, tried to blow up St. Pats and, with unlimited funding from financial plays in the stock market, launched the biggest, most devastating attack ever directed against a city. One that no one saw coming. An unthinkable event that would have ramifications for the next one hundred years or more.

And all you wanted to do was go home to Hawaii and coach high school soccer . .  Welcome to former FBI agent Brooke Burrell’s life. Her cushy assignment turns into a countdown to mega-death and destruction, keepingher and her hand-picked group of experts guessing what, where, and when the attack will be – right up until zero hour. 

Give Us This Day is a book with enough plausibility that it will keep readers guessing what will happen next, whether they are in their living rooms or in government offices.

 

Story Plant Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-61188-209-4
Fiction Studio Books e-book ISBN: 978-1-936558-74-8
420 pages

Not Growing Up…Just Getting Older

The Mick

When I was 10, the New York Yankees were the “best-est” thing ever in the whole world. The world at that time was the entire Bronx. Yogi Berra (8), Joe Pepitone (25), Roger Maris (9) and Mickey Mantle (7) were the bubble gum cards that got you respect and honor in any schoolyard. The Yankees were so cool, that the candy at Ida’s Sweet Shop on Burke Avenue was named after them. Baby Ruth bars and the M&M boys. And Yogi sold Yoo-hoo Chocolate drink on TV. To be fair, Gil Hodges from the Brooklyn Dodgers, also sold Maypo on TV. But Maypo was a hot, maple flavored oatmeal cereal, not peanuts and nougat wrapped in chocolate. The Yankees were, as was candy, the biggest thing to that point in my decade long life.

I remember that on long hot summer days, you licked the salty sweat that dribbled down your face from your lips as the sun bounced off the concrete of the schoolyard’s ball field and blasted you from below and above. Squinting, you watched Joey Mangione wind up to pitch a black electrical tape wrapped, “clincher” softball at you. At that second you fantasized that you would step into the bucket, explode your rear hip and extend perfectly through the swing, connecting on the fat part of the bat and send that ball right over the 12-foot chain link fence into the traffic on Bronxwood Avenue – just like Mantle or Maris! Extra points if you hit Mr. Deputo’s old salmon and dingy white, colored Studebaker that never moved from the spot outside his house.

In all that time, the thought of actually meeting Roger Maris or Mickey Mantle was the same fat chance as going to the moon. We’d hang out on River Avenue at 161st street outside the Stadium after the game. And sure, maybe we’d catch a glimpse of Tresh, Richardson, Boyer, Whitey Ford even Mantle, but they were out of there like a shot. Piling onto the team bus or beyond reach on the other side of a blue, police stanchion line. A couple of dorky lawyer’s kid’s from the suburbs usually got up front to get an autograph or shake a hand. But not us, we was nobody’s kids. We was just Bronx guys.

Now I am considerably older than I was back in the 60’s and hero worship has gone the way of the Studebaker – free agented and drug tested out of existence. But we did eventually go to the moon. And so did I, last week, in fact.

Now that I am an author, my heroes have changed. The new “Yankees” in my life are the literary team that plays at the top of the New York Times standings. Guys and gals who can hit the long ball out 20 to 30 million books. Men and women who keep their percentages up by coming to bat and connecting… connecting with their fans. At Thrillerfest, the International Thriller Writer’s convention that I attended last week, I met the Mickey Mantles and Roger Maris’ of the game I play in now.

My hero worship, adjusted for age and decorum, returned. The same awe and esteem by which I held The Mick and the rest of the pinstripe company was back and at full gush. So that’s how me, a kid from the Bronx, wound up just shooting the breeze for twenty minutes with Nelson DeMille, a kid from Queens. We didn’t talk baseball much, but I did get his autograph… on his latest book, Radiant Angel.

Here’s the thing. In my life, as a Director – Writer – Producer – Author, I have met and worked with some of the biggest stars, names, celebrities and musicians ever and never asked for a picture… but here’s me and Nelson from Jamaica.

Tom and Nelson Cropped

THE DRAMA ON THE ROAD TO NUMBER 1

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Recently my novel, The Devil’s Quota,  became a number one best seller. As you can imagine, that’s a great feeling and personal satisfaction for any author. However, I couldn’t help but immediately reflect on the perils and precarious pitfalls that occured along the way in creating this book.  During that time in the trenches I wrote a blog chronicling one such close call that could have ended in literary disaster; almost fatally wounding the entire book. It was just a small thing but one that would have cut the very beating heart out of the story.

On this, the occasion of this my second #1 bestseller, (The Eighth Day was my first) I thought re-running that blog, and by reflection, my mindset at a time when the notion of being #1 was a million miles away, when I was solely focused on the editorial and submission of the manuscript. Enjoy.

Modesty, Chastity, Young Love and the Taliban

Tom Avitabile | SetaraRight smack dab in the middle of editing my fourth book The Devil’s Quota – which is set in New York City, upper New York State, Canada and Afghanistan – I felt I had constructed a beautiful love story between an American G.I. and a local Afghan girl. It was all very lovely and very soft around the edges. I was positive that I had captured the true euphoria of that first spark of love, infusing into the relationship the electric sensation two soul mates tingle with every time they meet. I topped off that exchange of energy with its titillating aftermath and breathless anticipation of their next encounter. I even threw in a dash of the fanciful ‘what if’ and the ‘what when’ dreams that occupy their every idle moment.

From a plot perspective, I had set their encounter at the community well, literally at the most nurturing and central location of a war-ravaged, dirt poor Afghan farm village. I had Sgt. Eric Ronson, the perfect male hero for a love interest; a strong, strapping young warrior buck.  As for my femme extraordinaire I had an incredibly radiant, simple farm girl, Setara.  I even had over-arching symbolism in their meeting across not only the walls of the well but the one million walls between their cultures.

So I had it, the forbidden love, fighting to survive against the prejudices, mores and  traditions of the times in which they live.  And then….

The burqa happened.

Or more correctly my editor, Sue Rasmussen happened …  to come across in her research that, according to the taliban, which is known to shoot you if you do not comply, women have to wear a burqa in public. That means fully covered, without the tiniest slit for the eyes! However, the inherent slapstick comedy of women walking into walls and bumping into things is avoided with a dark mesh over the eyes. (See, the Taliban isn’t totally unreasonable.)

But I, however, walked right into a wall. The whole “their eyes met” gone, the descriptives like “the radiance on her face” gone, the insightful “he could see her attempt to suppress her elation over seeing him,” gone!

Conclusion: There is absolutely nothing on the romantic attractor side of a story if the taliban were to write it. One of many good reasons never write a Taliban-based love story, because in a world lousy with taliban, all marriages are arranged. The young-ins have absolutely no say with whom they shall grow old. In short, romance, as we would artfully construct it, becomes a charge listed on an order of execution, read aloud before the stoning to death of the young girl.  

So you can see that the Western-accepted, innocent, G-rated acts like two kids smiling at one another, God forbid holding hands, a scandalous peck on the cheek or the public humiliation and spectacle caused by him merely gazing upon her naked face, in the taliban world, puts a crimp in my romantic story. It is also a fatal AK47 bullet wound through my entire book because I need that relationship in Afghanistan as the emblematic inciting incident for the rest of the story. Those characters also become major players as the story unfolds.

At this point, I’ve got a lot riding on Afghanistan and it’s being spoiled by a thin veil of mesh fabric. That means my two love interests will pass in the night or at least the darkness of the taliban-imposed morality police.

So I took my case to the Google World Court and I looked up images of Afghan women and right there in vivid, living color, in stills taken recently, are images of many women in burqas, but then my heart stopped, almost like my male character’s, when I saw the one woman among them in the hijab. Then, I found many photographs of hijab-clad women among the populace.

The hijab saved my life.

The hijab, more like a loosely worn scarf around the head, allowing full facial features rescued my love story. Now I actually have photographic proof that hijabs and burqas can co-exist with men in the same public space.

Saved! Book back on course. Everything’s good with me. Not so much with the women living under oppression though. Hmmmm, maybe that’s another book?

Buy this book! The best deal on the Internet @ 99¢ for a limited time only!

ATW

The best deal on the Internet @ 99¢ for a limited time only!

After The Wanderers by George Cannistraro

“A surprisingly adept decent into hell and ascent into life.”

This review is from: After The Wanderers (Paperback)

The Summer of Love has been romanticized by many, in hundreds of books and films of the 60’s, but in ‘After The Wanderers‘, Cannistraro allows us to relive it, in a truly wonderful, non-romanticized, ‘warts and all’ LSD trip. In marked contrast to the literary, well trodden, flower power nostalgia of Haight-Ashbury, Carnaby Street and Woodstock, Cannistraro sets his turf in the mean streets of the Bronx.

At times poignant, and at times laugh out loud funny, this lush chronicle of coming of age, in the Age of Aquarius, is set against the background of urban strife, racial tensions, anti-war protests and raging hormones, literally on drugs. And like the times, his main character’s journey is part acid trip, part rock ‘n roll concert and part free love. With a couple of rumbles, scams and the funniest wedding I have ever read about in print. Denoted with sage lyrics from the music of that time, those words become the poetry and headlines to not only the content of the book but of the decade the story is set in. In all, a gripping read that spans generations by shamelessly reveling in our basic need to feed our human desires. – I’m Tom Avitabile, I am an author and I loved this book!

After The Wanderers – The best deal on the Internet @ 99¢ for a limited time only!

The Scary, Scary World Inside the Female

 

 

No wait, why don’t I just pull a pin on a grenade and wait 5 seconds…it will be the same as trying to survive this blog or any discussion that dares to invade the inner sanctum or reasoning process of half the human raceby the male half.


I am in the finishing phase of my 5th novel, Give Us This Day, and for some unknown reason, I risked my life and limb to stubbornly, not only write a book with a female leading character and hero (heroine!) but to have the audacity to go inside her, to delve into her psyche and foolishly think I could come out with my cognitive skills and self-image intact!


Note to all male authors: When delving into the working of the female mind, always, always, always assume that you are wrong. Then just ask any female and you’ll quickly confirm just how wrong you are.  But then ask another female and see how wrong the first woman was! — No, no, no, not that Female #2 agrees with you, noooo, you are not even on the same page as her, the terrifying reality is that she doesn’t agree with Female #1!

Okay, so back to me. I recently was enlightened to the fact that having a male character ask a female character for permission to call her by her first name, i.e. “May I call you, Brooke?” Is actually worse than chauvinisticThis critique hit me like I was T-Boned in my new Corvette just as I was pulling out of the dealer’s lot. I quote from the response of a woman whom I sought out not only for her brilliance but also because she is, like my protagonist, Brooke Burrell-Morton, a powerful person of achievement and position, who was kind enough to read and comment my manuscript, …


It’s huge power play and condescending for a man to address a woman who is an equal or better by her first name.   It’s like him asking her to get coffee for him.  She’s [Brooke is] a sharp cookie and should be offended or at least think he’s a sexist a**hole by his asking. 


I had two simultaneous thoughts when I read that… First, thank God for her and her sharing that critical piece of social decorum of which I was totally unaware, ill-informed and insensitiveAs, apparently, were a few other female early readers who missed it. (See Female#2) 


My second thought was…I am never going to talk to a woman ever again, God knows how many faux pas I commit per minute in just even the most innocent and casual chat with someone of the opposite sexYikes, I don’t want to ever be a sexist a**hole, EVER! Much less announce and confirm that fact in unretractable, New Times Roman set 12 on 12 in 435 pages that will live-on somewhere or on some shelf or digital file till the sun flickers out. 


Now, on second thought, where’s that hand grenade?

 

When what you write creeps you out!

Photo Credit: NY Post

I don’t know if this is really in the “It’s Only Fiction `til It Happens” pocket, but I wrote a scene set in Paris where bad guys cover some money laundering tracks by blowing up an art gallery and killing the people who work there. The French authorities never suspect any foul play because the perpetrators made it look like a gas leak explosion.  A few weeks ago, a real building exploded here in Manhattan’s East Village. Two people died. God rest their souls.

It made me feel creepy.  It also made me think.

Last year a whole apartment building, up in Harlem, was destroyed in a gas explosion. When you consider the fact that gas is in 99.9 percent of every home, apartment house and business in the developed world, it’s amazing that it doesn’t happen with more frequency. I guess the fact that when it does happen, it makes the news, bodes well for how relatively safe it is worldwide.

In The God Particle, I used a gas emergency to ferret out some bad guys in a European neighborhood.  And in a Bourne movie, he breaks the gas line and puts a magazine in the toaster. When it pop the whole house pops along with it. Steven Segal turned on the gas jets in the galley of a battleship and threw something in the microwave and set it for “Boom.” So using gas as a deadly device in fiction is not new. It’s how you trigger it that is the area for “fresh air”, i.e. toasters, ringing phones, electrical contacts attached to doorways that spark, etc.  By the way, none of those igniters are what I used in my novel, but you’ll have to wait till October 20th when, “Give Us This Day” premieres at a bookstore near you.

But still, having a real deadly explosion, so close to my fictionalized deadly explosion is a little unnerving.

Tomorrow, I will write of an author who wins Powerball! Let’s see if this “mojo” maintains.