Sunday, November 29, 2009

20% holiday discount on hardcover

With the holiday season now upon us, I want to try to better accommodate those interested in giving the hardcover version as a holiday gift this year. So I am including a 20% discount coupon on the hardcover version.

Note: The discount can only be used when purchased through my publisher. Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to control the prices at Amazon or the other online booksellers.

Here is a direct link to the publisher site for the hardcover
Or can get there from my web site

The only extra step from a normal order is to put the code listed below in the section called "Special Promotion"
discount code:

For those interested in having the book i
nscribed or signed, please contact me (preferably before you purchase it) and I will work with you to make it happen.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'd like to take a moment on this Thanksgiving to give thanks to...John Grisham?

So why in the world am I taking up space in the blogosphere to single out the king of the legal thriller, when I should be giving thanks for family, friends & supporters (you're the best!), eating food I would normally never eat (yams? really?), and watching bad football (I'm talking to you, Detroit Lions)?

I read Grisham's book The Firm when I was in college, and it had the biggest impact on my writing life, especially in two major ways:

  1. By the time I finished, I had caught the writing bug, and at that point decided I would write a fiction novel one day (even if it took me another decade to put pen to paper)
  2. The book made me realize that I wanted no part of going to law school. And in retrospect, I think the US justice system is much better for it.
I hadn't read a Grisham novel in many years, but recently I received a copy of his latest publication called Ford County Stories. I haven't read this one either, but I was struck by the book's dedication. It read:

When a Time to Kill was published twenty years ago, I soon learned the painful lesson that selling books was far more difficult than writing them. I bought a thousand copies and had trouble giving them away. I hauled them in the trunk of my car and peddled them at libraries, grocery stores, coffee shops, and a handful of bookstores. Often, I was assisted by my friend Bobby Moak.

I don't know if I'll ever end up selling a gazillion books like John Grisham, but I can imagine one day writing similar words in a book dedication. The only difference being, I would replace Time to Kill with Painless, and replace Bobby Moak with your name.

But I figure - why wait twenty years to thank you for the incredible support, belief, and assistance you've given me and the book. Thank you - I appreciate it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Friday shoutout from Carolyn Whitcomb

Here's to everyone who became a "fan" on the Painless fan site on Facebook this week, aka the Derek Ciccone Book Club!

Facebook has turned out to be a great "word of mouth" for Painless, so I hope you like what you saw and inspires you to suggest it to all your friends. Especially those friends interested in reading a fast-paced thriller, mixed with a heartwarming story of redemption. And if that's not enough, it features Carolyn Whitcomb, the scene-stealing four-year-old who amazingly...

Well, I can't tell you that part. But if you want to know, you can get it at Amazon, or purchase it here.

Thanks for the support! Have a great weekend!

PS: I would like to thank the model/actress, Alexandra, who beat out numerous candidates to play the much-coveted role of Carolyn Whitcomb for this blog entry, despite being a little young for the role. Hopefully her parents won't blame me in eighteen years when she drops out of college to move to LA and become an actress.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The old cowboy rides off into the sunset

One of my biggest fans left us this week

Aubrey Jay Mays was born on Valentines Day 1917 on the prairie of Oklahoma, and left this planet on a crisp November day in New England in 2009. As the ferocious fiction reader that he was, he must've been impressed by the many plot twists of his 92 years, and I'm sure he never saw coming the surprise final chapters to his life, which took him across the country to Connecticut and surrounded him with a family that he didn't meet until he was already beyond the halfway point of his life. A family that will miss him greatly.

Grandpa Jay, as he was known, is acknowledged in Painless as the first person to read each of my manuscripts (along with Christina, my great typist). And I would always say that if an 80-something year old man from Oklahoma and a twenty-something girl from Connecticut were excited about the same material, then I knew I was onto something. That didn't mean he didn't want to change things or get out his pen like a high school English teacher. This didn't hurt my feelings, since he would often get out the pen to correct what he deemed to be errors in library books, often written by some of the classic authors throughout history! And it didn't bother me that I was only his second favorite author after Robert Parker; I took it as a compliment. And when health began to decline the last few years and he was no longer able to read my manuscripts, I felt like they weren't completely done without his critique.

Grandpa Jay was never comfortable being the lead character, but that didn't make him any less important to the story or any less compelling. Many knew him as the folksy gardener who spoke in a soft Oklahoma drawl. The man who became a local celebrity in Southbury, Connecticut (click on above article) in his "retirement job" when he transformed the town grounds from a blacktopped eyesore into an exquisite garden of flowers. And created the famed "flower sign" on the hill above Main Street, in which he wrote out a sign each year in marigolds, whether it was the 100th anniversary of the local fire department or a supportive message for US troops overseas.

But like all great characters, there were many layers to him. He was fascinated by the universe and nature, and man's role in it. He would passionately teach my brothers and I about astronomy, black holes, and the speed of light, to name a few. He would read Isaac Newton and other great scientific minds like some people read Stephen King. He loved music and photography. He was always creating, whether it be his flower designs or his many quirky inventions.

Most people never got to know or fully understand all the layers of AJ Mays, and perhaps just knew him as the folksy gardener. But that was okay with him. It reminds me of when religious groups would knock on his door and he would always tell them he was an atheist. They would tilt their heads with sadness and question his lack of belief. He would always respond by raising his right hand and saying in his Oklahoma drawl, "I swear to god I am." They would leave and he would smile coyly. Nobody ever got the joke, at least initially - an atheist doesn't believe in God, why would he swear to him? But then sometime later on it would hit you, and you would suddenly get it, and then you would smile. I think that is how people will eventually think of AJ Mays. One day it will hit them, and then they will suddenly understand him and see all the layers, and then they will smile.

RIP, old buddy.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Election Day

Ted Kennedy to my LEFT, Glenn Beck to my RIGHT...election day...get it?!

Oh, that Political Science degree keeps paying off!

But besides the bad political joke - and another opportunity to shamelessly plug Painless - just a reminder to make sure you go out and vote today.

And after exercising your constitutional rights, I think the best way to salute our Founding Fathers who fought long and hard for freedoms such as the freedom of speech, including the written word, would be to go out and buy a book!

I think George Washington would recommend this great mystery/thriller

Although Thomas Jefferson wasn't such a fan of fiction novels, which were was spreading like wildfire across America in the late 18th Century. In fact he once wrote something titled "The Dangers of Reading Fiction" where he said:

A great obstacle to good education is the inordinate passion prevalent for novels, and the time lost in that reading which should be instructively employed. When this poison infects the mind, it destroys its tone and revolts it against wholesome reading. Reason and fact, plain and unadorned, are rejected. Nothing can engage attention unless dressed in all the figments of fancy, and nothing so bedecked comes amiss. The result is a bloated imagination, sickly judgment, and disgust towards all the real businesses of life.

Wow, I wonder how he would feel about crack and video games. Little did he know that America would become the country it is, based on the ingenuity that came from great imagination. But must admit I agree with TJ on one point - a good fiction novel can be powerful and can hook one in.