Amazon Featured Book-of-the-Week

Here’s this week’s Featured Book-of-the-Week available now on Amazon.com!


MERIDIAN

by Andrew Ceroni

(5 Stars – 19 Customer Reviews)

Price: $18.95

Andrew Ceroni’s “MERIDIAN.” In this prequel to SNOW MEN, CIA agent Pete Novak and his security/assassin escort are racing to Europe with orders to stop a Russian-controlled spy who has uncovered the key to destroying the most intensely protected program since the Atom Bomb. Novak is committed to sacrificing his own life in what may become a deadly struggle over the future of mankind itself. 2016 CIPA-EVVY AWARDS: First Place Winner for Action-Adventure! 2016 BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by Outskirts Press

 

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An Interview with Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Winner Andrew Ceroni

For the second year in a row, retired special agent (read “spy”) Andrew Ceroni has walked away with the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award, this time for his non-stop action page-turner, MERIDIAN.

Andrew took a moment away from his book marketing efforts to talk with us:

What led you to write MERIDIAN?
I wrote MERIDIAN based on an espionage investigation for which I was the lead agent in Europe in the late 1970s. Since I was still in a Top Secret Codeword position, public release of the original manuscript required the approval of the U.S. Government. The investigation itself took over a year. During it, I was awestruck, taken back by the horribly tragic background of the spy himself, named ‘Laszlo’ in the novel. Everything about him in the novel was based on fact – the death of his parents in a train collision in France, his placement in an orphanage afterward when his grandmother became infirm, and the arrest and brutal beatings by U.S. military interrogators in a detention facility in the German Alps as well as the nightmares of demons that plagued his every waking and sleeping hours. I found his background to be nearly a novel in itself. My thinking was that if I ever wrote a book, Laszlo would have to be in it. He has since passed away, but I will always remember him. As for the Science Fiction aspect of the book, due to continuing sensitivity of the subject, I really can’t write much about that here… but I can tell you that from what I know, from what I have seen myself, that so much fiction it is not.

What was your writing process like? How long did it take?
I chipped away at the original MERIDIAN manuscript for nearly two years. I was reading very little fiction at the time and I didn’t know much about writing a novel-length story, so all of this this impeded my forward progress as well as the quality of the resulting product. Years later, a literary agent in New York City wrote me that he had read the book and was impressed by the story, but my writing, plot flow, pace, and chapter structure needed a lot of improvement. He gave me a page of things he would have liked to see changed in the story. It took me quite a while to get engaged in a total re-write and in fact, found it more difficult to write than a story from scratch. I added a new first chapter, structured the story from 20 chapters to 44, and still cut 15,000+ words from the manuscript. I cut anything that didn’t propel the plot forward while still attending to well defined character development. There is no question but that my experiences as a special agent focused in counterespionage and antiterrorism operations and my knowledge of tradecraft vis-à-vis double agent handling practices, foot and vehicular surveillance, rules of evidence, and psychological target personality assessments which lay bare vulnerabilities for exploitation, etc., played a significant role in my writing. I am very pleased with the resulting re-write in this novel as were EVVY reviewers and my readership. In stark contrast to the elongated process in MERIDIAN, I wrote SNOW MEN in ten weeks after returning from Alaska. I was on fire with the story and hammered away at it at night after long 10-hour days in my corporate office. For both books, I believed that the best fiction would be based on a foundation of recognizable reality – so much so that it becomes difficult for the reader to determine where reality departs and fiction begins. I think my writing process has now greatly matured. And, I have become a voracious reader of fiction. As Stephen King writes in his book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, if you want to write, then you must also read, read a lot, and a great deal of your reading should be in the genre that you wish to write in.

Tell us about publishing with Outskirts Press.
The first publication of MERIDIAN was in the year 2000 and released by iUniverse. A disaster. A proliferation of errors – dropped words, dropped letters, and misspellings in transitioning my MS word .doc manuscript into their singular printer font. It gave me a jaundice view of independent publishing. Years later, having written SNOW MEN, I researched all of the top independent publishers and ultimately chose Outskirts Press. The result – Success… and, a deep breath of fresh air that followed! Specifically, the front cover graphics on both novels are stunning – hard not to stop and notice this book on a store’s bookshelf. Picking it up and turning the book over, one finds the back cover design extremely well done, enticing and professional. Then, leafing through the pages, one finds the interior formatting superb from chapter headings, font selection and graphic paragraph (scene transition) breaks. The publication of both MERIDIAN and SNOW MEN was superbly executed both in hard cover, paperback and e-book versions. I have been extremely pleased with the results and obviously, so have my readers. The consulting and production staffs at Outskirts Press represent the absolute best in the industry and I immensely enjoyed working with them every step of the way. Finally, after book production and release, the marketing options offered by Outskirts Press are manifold and top-notch, far more so than any other Indie publisher. I took advantage of many of them, PR Release, Amazon Kindle and Barnes&Noble NookBook bundles, book markers (which I littered bookstores, libraries and coffee shops with). And, all of this pleasurable experience has moved me to remain an Outskirts Press author. The proof is in the pudding – the results of the past two years have been awesome!

What marketing efforts did you make to earn over 80% of the votes for your book in the Best Book of the Year polls?
For MERIDIAN, this was a full court press from the opening of the gates! I am lucky to have large blocks of voter-advocates to energize which I did… thousands. I built a set of three .jpg graphics that were utilized as timed-released advertising. These graphics highlighting MERIDIAN for the Outskirts Press contest appeared on at least 7-8 Facebook sites. The same graphics were printed on 11”X14” paper posters and posted on employee bulletin boards where 700+ fellow employees would see them. I advertised with large blocks of voter-advocates to include my Poughkeepsie, New York high school and high school Re-Union friends; an extremely large group of U.S. Air Force Academy Alumni Association (AOG) friends and colleagues; Case Western University graduate school friends and professors; very large group of my Office of Special Investigations (OSI) special agent friends and fellow agents; present and past lots of work friends at HARRIS Corporation-SENSOR Program; CIPA friends and acquaintances; Military Writers Society acquaintances; Cold War Writers Society acquaintances; and my friends and extended family spread throughout Dutchess County and Long Island, New York; neighborhood friends, and finally, just groups of good acquaintances. I had previously utilized extensive advertising – large quarter page ads, in a magazine (Colorado Life Magazine) and three newspapers (Denver Post, Colorado Springs Gazette and the Poughkeepsie Journal) and viewers of those ads who became subsequent readers may have also added opportunity votes. Thousands and thousands… I left no stone unturned in advertising the book and the contest.

You won the Best Book of the Year last year, as well, with Snow Men. Did you do anything different when marketing MERIDIAN?
I employed essentially the same advertising paradigm except for the timing. Last year, with Snow Men, it was more incremental, and in fact, I had a relatively slow start and was actually behind the voting for the other two authors, but ramped up significantly a day or two later. This year, for MERIDIAN, it was an organized blast from the get-go. As I mentioned above, a full court press from the opening of the gates! Potential voters were energized through varied advertising media and set to jump out from the opening of the contest.

What book are you writing currently? What’s it about?
My wife and I just returned from a week in Bar Harbor, Maine… 90% vacation and 10% research for the manuscript-in-progress. I needed to be there, experience layout of the town, the chilled waters of the ocean there, the shoreline, the forest and breathe the sea air. Without giving the farm away, I will say that the next story takes place north of Bar Harbor and Desert Island, off Route 1, the Intercoastal Highway, in the notional town I created of Tamarack Harbor. Dave McClure, the major character/protagonist in Snow Men, is there visiting his in-laws one last time before taking the CIA up on its offer to return to the intelligence business and covert operations. It’s what happens while he’s there. The story involves a Russian Spy working at a nearby nuclear submarine base and several horrid deaths of young boys perpetrated by a pedophile/serial murderer residing in the area. A female agent in the NCIS becomes involved in the story as well.

Sounds like you may have another award-winner on your hands. We can’t wait to read it! Thank you for chatting with us, Andy!

Congratulations to Meridian, the 2016 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year

Throughout the month of September, Outskirts Press has been publicizing the nominees for the 2016 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year. Thanks to the many readers who took on the daunting task of selecting only one of these phenomenal books, we are now proud to announce this year’s winner.

Every year, Outskirts Press officially nominates a small percentage of the books we published during the previous year for submission to the Colorado Independent Publishers Association EVVY Awards. A nomination to these awards is the first step toward receiving the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award. Next, three finalists are selected from among the EVVY Award winners for the Best Book of the Year Award contest. We feature each of the finalists on the Outskirts Press blog and conduct a public vote for the grand prize of $1,500.

We are thrilled to announce that Meridian, by Andrew Ceroni, has been chosen as this year’s Best Book of the Year.

Award-winning author Andrew Ceroni served a distinguished career as a senior supervisory special agent conducting global counterespionage and antiterrorism operations. He received his B.S. Degree from the US Air Force Academy; M.A. Degree from Case Western University; and studied several foreign languages at the University of Maryland. He lives in Colorado with his family.

The Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award recognizes not only the author with the writing talent to compose an award–winning book, but also the marketing prowess to promote it. Through his dedication to his book and his commitment to marketing the final product, Andrew Ceroni has shown that he is enthusiastic about writing quality pieces that appeal to a wide audience.

Andrew Ceroni, author of Meridian, is a Finalist for the Outskirts Press 2016 Best Book of the Year

Every year Outskirts Press has the honor of publishing thousands of amazing books, and every year we nominate a small percentage of those for submission to the Colorado Independent Publishers Association EVVY Awards. And every year, a percentage of those official nominees win an EVVY Award, thereby representing the best of independent publishing as determined by a committee of 3rd party judges from the publishing community.

From among all our EVVY winners, we select 3 finalists for our own Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Awards.  These finalists compete head-to-head-to-head in a public poll to see who can garner the most votes.

Because this is a public vote on this blog, the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award not only demonstrates to agents, editors, publishers, and readers that the author is the talented writer of a technically and artistically award-winning book (as evidenced by the EVVY win) but also that he or she knows how to successfully market a book. The Best Book Finalists also introduce brand new and remarkable books for the public to read and review in order to cast their votes.

This year, Outskirts Press won 22 EVVY Awards, the most among all participating publishers, and all excellent books from excellent authors in their own right.  So selecting three finalists is never easy. Yet, every year, we must systematically narrow down all our published books from the past year to select three finalists for the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Awards and its $1500 Grand Prize.

Our first finalist is Andrew Ceroni, author of Meridian.  Meridian won a 1st Place EVVY Award in the Action/Adventure category and a 2nd Place EVVY Award in the Science Fiction category.  Mr. Ceroni has had a distinguished career as a special agent, conducting global counterespionage and anti-terrorism operations.  While this may sound like the biography of the main character in a high-octane thriller, it is actually the author’s real-life biography. Andrew received his B.S. Degree from the US Air Force Academy; M.A. Degree from Case Western University; and studied several foreign languages at the University of Maryland.  So to suggest he writes adrenaline-filled action/adventure novels filled with intrigue based upon his true-life experiences would be an understatement. He lives in Colorado with his family.  He is also the author of a previous Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award, Snow Men.

Introducing Meridian, by Andrew Ceroni, one of the finalists in the 2016 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Awards.

 

It is the biggest of America’s big secrets—MERIDIAN, the deepest black and most intensely protected program since the Atom Bomb. The MERIDIAN program contains the furthest leading edge of weapons technology and with origins more profoundly startling than the technology itself. Governments will stop at nothing to get it. Laszlo Csengerny, a Russian–controlled spy, a man haunted by demons from his past, has uncovered the key to destroying the program. In this prequel to SNOW MEN, CIA agent Pete Novak is racing to Europe with orders to stop Laszlo, to kill him if that’s what it takes. Several agents have already died trying. Novak’s dedicated security escort, J.T. Brannon, former assassin unmatched in the art of killing, is leery of Novak’s assignment and warns him of its danger. As Novak unravels the alarming secrets behind the MERIDIAN program and his path converges with Laszlo’s desperate pursuit to annihilate his demons, Novak and his family are swept into the cross-hairs of rogue Agency assassins. Only Brannon can save Novak’s family, and he is committed to sacrificing his own life to do so. The final confrontation and profound revelation of MERIDIAN explode into a deadly struggle over what may be the very future of mankind itself.

As a finalist, Andrew Ceroni has already won a book video trailer. Take a look!

Sound intriguing? It gets better!

As one of three finalists, Andrew Ceroni and his book Meridian will be competing head-to-head-to-head with the other two finalists in a public poll on this blog September 9th through September 14th. Andrew has already demonstrated he has the writing chops to win this prestigious award, as evidenced by his EVVY Award win. Does he have the marketing prowess to make it as the Best Book of the Year author in this digital age (for the second time)?

Stay tuned tomorrow and Wednesday for the announcements of the next two finalists and then come back September 9th through September 14th to cast your vote for the book you believe to be the best among the three. Order it now to help you decide!

Snow Men Receives the 2014 Best Book of the Year Award from Outskirts Press

Every year, Outskirts Press officially nominates a small percentage of the books we published during the previous year for submission to the Colorado Independent Publishers Association EVVY Awards. A nomination to these awards is the first step toward receiving the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award. The standards for winning this award are exceedingly high; we nominated fewer than 5 percent of the books we published in 2014. Next, three finalists are selected from among the EVVY Award winners for the Best Book of the Year Award contest. We feature each of the finalists on the Outskirts Press blog and conduct a public vote for the grand prize of $1,500.

Outskirts Press is proud to announce that Snow Men, by Andrew Ceroni, was this year’s winner of the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award. Andrew’s work was voted the top honor from the three finalists. Andrew received the $1,500 Grand Prize from Outskirts Press, as well as receiving recognition through social networks and a widely distributed press release.

Andrew Ceroni served a distinguished career as a special agent conducting global counterespionage and antiterrorism operations. He is a graduate of numerous federal intelligence and criminal law enforcement training forums. He received his B.S. degree from the US Air Force Academy; M.A. from Case Western Reserve University; and studied several foreign languages at the University of Maryland. He has authored several short stories and two novels, and his poetry has also been published in several magazines.

Thousands of readers and writers in our writing and publishing community were invited to vote for the Best Book of the Year Award. The Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award recognizes not only the author with the writing talent to compose an award–winning book, but also the marketing prowess to promote it. Andrew ultimately collected the highest number of votes.

It’s never too late to publish your own award-winning book. Perhaps you will find yourself in the running for next year’s Best Book of the Year Award! Get started today.

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AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT & SUCCESS STORY

“As a first-time author, I was overwhelmed with the publication process, but my research paid off: My choice of Outskirts Press is one of the best decisions I made.”

Alexandra Goodwin was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and came to the United States as a student. She lives with her husband, Craig, and their two poodles in Coral Springs, Florida. Exchange at the Border is her first novel.

Mexican agave farmworker Porro Camorra never meant to do anything wrong. He is in love with his girlfriend, but when she becomes pregnant, his life is in danger. Fleeing the vindictive wrath of her enraged brothers, who have sworn to kill him, Porro runs for the border. But when he reaches the barrier between Mexico and the United States, he finds more than the safety he seeks. As he is thrust into a mystical realm, he must agree to a fascinating but dangerous bargain in order to reclaim his place in the world. Vivid, inventive, and suspenseful, Exchange at the Border is a thrilling and colorful exploration of the timeless battle between good and evil, with a story and characters that will keep you spellbound.
– Alexandra Goodwin, author of Exchange at the Border

And the winner of the 2014 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year is…

The votes are in! Outskirts Press announced today that Andrew Ceroni has won the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award for 2014 for his book, Snow Men. Andrew’s work was voted the top honor from the three finalists selected from the most recent Colorado Independent Publishers Association EVVY award winners. Andrew will receive the $1,500 Grand Prize from Outskirts Press as well as wide recognition through social networks, and a widely distributed press release. An exclusive award seal will also be added to his cover for all future printings of his novel.

Andrew Ceroni served a distinguished career as a special agent conducting global counterespionage and antiterrorism operations. He is a graduate of numerous federal intelligence and criminal law enforcement training forums. He received his B.S. degree from the US Air Force Academy; M.A. from Case Western University; and studied several foreign languages at the University of Maryland. An author of several short stories and two novels, his poetry has also been published in several magazines. He lives in Colorado with his family.

Over the last week, thousands of readers and writers among our writing & publishing social community were invited to vote. The Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year award recognizes not only the author with the writing talent to compose an award-winning book, but with the marketing prowess to promote one. Andrew ultimately collected the greatest percentage of votes.

Besides receiving the $1,500 Grand Prize, Andrew Ceroni will now reap the benefits of extensive promotion of his book by Outskirts Press. A feature story that covers his inspiration to write the book, his own writing process and his personal story will be widely distributed throughout the social networks in the near future.

Congratulations, Andrew!

The results of the poll were:

Snow Men by Andrew Ceroni 63.51%
Dust to Dust by John Hudson 27.18%
Speechless by E.J. Brown  9.32%

Start publishing your new book today and you could become next year’s Best Book of the Year winner!

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Vote now for the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award for 2014

Now’s your chance to give us your vote for which book you would like to see receive the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award for 2014 and the $1,500 Grand Prize that goes along with it. Voting is open to everyone. The poll ends at midnight (Mountain Standard Time) on Sunday, September 6th.

The 2014 Best Book of the Year Finalists Are:

#1 – Speechless by E.J. Brown

E.J. Brown has been fighting to recover her sons from autism for the past decade. For the last seven years she has been the teacher to one handsome, insightful, bright student: her son, Clary. Every day means fighting the good fight to full recovery. She lives in coastal South Carolina with her handsome trophy husband, George, and three brilliant boys that teach her more every day than she ever learned in a book or a classroom.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE BOOK

We are here to teach the world what happens when love is enough…

Speechless is the story of a family that was forced to take the long journey of heartache and despair into the dark, confusing world of autism and found their way out the other side to recovery. Three brothers each were diagnosed with a different form of ASD and their parents faced an unwavering fight to bring them back. The battle was against a disorder that is considered incurable, and children who are thought to be unreachable. This theory was turned on its ear with a new perspective, hope, love and determination. We refer to the full recovery of two, the third a miracle in progress. This one family’s story will change everything you think you know about autism and the things you consider to be important in life. This was a family that loved one another and exercised blind faith in each other, despite the obstacles placed before them. They accepted the disorder with the caveat that they would continue to fight and would never accept that this had to be a lifelong disability. They fought with everything they had and proved that sometimes amazing things happen if you put aside what your head tells you is logical and, instead, follow your heart. Three boys showed everyone that hope can lead to miracles if we choose to believe. What seems impossible is very often possible. It is only when we believe that we can change despair into hope and enjoy the happy ending we all expect and deserve.

For more details, including ordering the book instantly, click here.

#2 – Snow Men by Andrew Ceroni

Andrew Ceroni served a distinguished career as a special agent conducting global counterespionage and antiterrorism operations. He is a graduate of numerous federal intelligence and criminal law enforcement training forums. He received his B.S. degree from the US Air Force Academy; M.A. from Case Western University; and studied several foreign languages at the University of Maryland. An author of several short stories and two novels, his poetry has also been published in several magazines. He lives in Colorado with his family.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE BOOK

Dave McClure is on a plane to Alaska in early winter, having quit his job with the FBI and turned his back on the world. It’s been a year since the horrific accident that claimed his wife and son, and McClure is still unable to move beyond his grief. Remembering the joy he once shared with his wife on vacation in Alaska, he heads north… seeking solace and resolving to either put his painful past behind him or succumb to the unforgiving Alaskan wilderness. Instead, McClure finds a grisly scene in the forest—the body of a hunter whose throat has been cut ear to ear. And that’s only the beginning. In Snow Men—equal parts international thriller and wilderness survival—McClure uncovers a cache of nuclear weapons and a Russian-Iranian plot to wipe the nation of Israel off the map. With only a hunting rifle, a pistol, and a few days worth of supplies, Dave McClure not only faces Russian Special Forces and the harsh reality of nature, but discovers a will to live he didn’t know he still had. Spanning locales in Alaska, Paris, Amsterdam, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Thailand, and Washington, DC, Snow Men is a stunning thriller set against the pristine beauty of Alaska’s rugged Wrangell-St. Elias wilderness.

For more details, including ordering the book instantly, click here.

#3 – Dust to Dust by John Hudson

John Hudson is a career banker with over 30 years of financial institution executive marketing experience. He also performs regularly as keyboardist and soloist with his Dixieland band Dixie Rhythm and is house soloist with the Clarke County Community Band and Yesterday Swing Orchestra. He is the author of two books commemorating his employer and his hometown; Dust to Dust is his first novel. John is married with two sons and a daughter-in-law and lives in Virginia.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE BOOK

The year is 1826 and Thomas Jefferson has just died. His beloved Monticello bustles with activity as funeral plans are swiftly organized for his burial in the family cemetery. Fast forward to 2026. A group of researchers specializing in regeneration technology have found success after years of work and significant investment. Dr. Pat Alexander, head researcher at BioGen, announces to the assembled group of board members/investors that the regeneration of a circus chimpanzee, which died in a runaway circus wagon accident in 1926, has met with success: The animal is alive and well. Discussion turns to the final step in the researchers’ plan—to bring back a human being—and after careful elimination, the candidates are whittled down to one name: Thomas Jefferson. So begins this powerful debut novel—a book that examines human ambition gone wrong and chronicles the miraculous “rebirth” of the nation’s third president, his struggles to assimilate, and the world’s collective amazement at the science behind this feat. The American government swiftly becomes part of the oversight of the technology, and the 48th president personally introduces Jefferson to the 21st century. But with a lethal flaw in the researchers’ technology, the world’s unbridled excitement quickly erodes, leading to a destructive conclusion for all involved. Fortunes evaporate, beliefs are challenged, careers are ruined, and lives are lost in Dust to Dust.

For more details, including ordering the book instantly, click here.

Now it’s time to vote for the winner of the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award for 2014.

The winner receives a $1,500 grand prize, an exclusive Best Book of the Year award added to the book’s cover for all future printings, exclusive placement in our Best Book of the Year Pinterest Board, and much more!

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