Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Ho Ho Ho

That tal guy wit da funee whiskas is sleepng in today afta late night of catnipping. He woke only to dress me iN silly suit nd sit me in front of the compUtah.  

"Now's you chance to act like an aruthr," he tole me. "You always want to till story in ur words anyway, so go head and write soMethin in my blug--if u can."

O somthin lik dat. I wasnT listn. He dint think i cud do it, but what's so hrd bOut ths typin stff?? 

I did wnt to thnk hM for tellng my last story bouT the fire. That was hot stff, and evry wrd was tru--xcpt the prts he made up. IF u hvnt red TRAIL UV FIRE yet, wht u waitn for?? Science Diet dsnt grow on trees.

Sorry, gut cAreed a--way. But guy wit whiskas says he'l b bck afta the holidays. and i thnk its time fr a nap mysef, so thnks to evryonE whu bot and red advntres of me--WINDRUSHER--an hope youhav happy holidays.

See, no problm wIt wrtng blug. pieece of tuna.

Yurs trudy. 
Windrusher (not Tony)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A winning time of year

November turned out to be one of those non-stop months where every moment seemed filled beyond capacity. Each weekend found me in a different place hustling books, speaking at conferences and introducing Windrusher to lots of new readers. It began in Atlanta with the Cotton States Cat Show, one of the country's biggest. Then moved to Jacksonville the next weekend for a 2-day arts and crafts show where we had a writer's tent. 

After barely catching my breath, I drove to Lake Mary for the 7th Annual Florida Writers Association Conference and presented two writing workshops, moderated the editors and publishers panel, and attended the Royal Palm Literary Awards banquet. I was among a dozen or more NE Florida writers who took home awards. Windrusher and the Trail of Fire won 2nd place in the YA fiction category—congratulations to Hank Racer, who took 1st with his book, River Rats. This was one of the best writing conferences I've attended.

Then it was back to Atlanta the following weekend for the Cat Writers Association Conference. These folks know how to have fun while learning a thing or two about feline health, 
writing, and writing about cats. CWA holds an annual competition as well, and I was excited to learn that Trail of Fire had won not one, but both of the top awards for fiction. First, it was announced that my third in the series won a 
Muse Medallion, the top award for book-length fiction. One of the judges wrote that, "This author has created an innovative fantasy that is entertaining and inventive. The main character is wonderful: noble, yet humble and dominant, yet gentle and understanding. Great job!" Above, you see the proud author, grinning ear to ear, as he holds up his Muse Medallion. With me is Kim Thornton, one of the presenters at the awards banquet, and another Muse Medallion winner. Thanks to photographer Betsy Stowe for sharing her photo of the joyous occasion.

The competition attracted well over 200 entries covering non-fiction and fiction, and along with the 40 different categories eligible for Muse Medallions, the contest also honored entries with 17 different special awards presented by conference sponsors. I couldn't have been more surprised when they announced that Trail of Fire had been selected as the winner of The World's Best Cat Litter-ary Award, sponsored by, who else, The World's Best Cat Litter. Despite the whimsical name, it's a highly-prized award since it's presented for the outstanding novel, short story, poem or radio/television dramatic script which portrays cats and cat ownership in a positive way. 

Ruthanne Brockway, a longtime journalist and former editor of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, was the judge for this category, and she commented, "What distinguishes this book is the smooth pace of the writing. Never too rushed. Never too slow. Always interesting. The author describes a fire and makes the reader feel it, smell it, see it: Wow! That's a page-turner."

After the CWA Conference it was back home for Thanksgiving week where we prepared to host a bunch of family for the annual celebration of over-eating. 

This month will see more activity, but nothing like last month as we prepare to fly across country to share Christmas with our sons, daughter-in-law, and of course, our very special granddaughter who will turn 1 the week before we arrive. In the meantime, I have two book signings lined up in Jacksonville, so if you're looking for a special gift for that cat-lover in your life, let me suggest an award-winning trio of books featuring a heroic cat.

Look for me here:
  • Borders on Southside Boulevard this Saturday, December 6, from noon to 4:00 p.m. 
  • And at the Barnes & Noble in St. Johns Town Center on Friday, December 12, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. I'd love to see you.
Until then, I hope your days are filled with the love and happiness of the season.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Work like you don't need the money...

Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching." 

Those rules to live by are attributed to the great American baseball player Satchel Paige who took the mound for the last time in 1965 and pitched three shutout innings for the Kansas City Athletics—at the age of 60, if you can believe it. Satchel surely lived by his philosophy—he also once said, "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you." 

I started thinking about Satchel Paige the other day when my dear wife observed that she thought I was working harder these days than when "I had a real job." As always, I have to admit she's right (there's a reason why our marriage has lasted so long), but it often doesn't seem like work. My days are full, though, especially this fall with the release of Windrusher and the Trail of Fire and a full schedule of book events. 

In connection with the release of "Wind-3," I'm excited to pass along a new book trailer created by my talented son Greg. It's at the bottom of this post. Let me know what you think about it.

Hopefully Satchel Paige will allow me a small look back before I look ahead.  Along with several dozen other authors, I participated in the Author in the Schools program as part of the Amelia Island Book Festival. My thanks to Mrs. Brenda Patterson for hosting me during my day at Yulee High School.  I had the pleasure of speaking to five English classes and a journalism class where I was the subject of an interview for an article in the school paper.  Here I am with Mrs. Patterson's journalism students. 

The next day at the AIBF, I was one of the featured authors and spoke several times as well as participating in the author's luncheon and book signing sessions.  This photo by Ron Miller was taken in the bookstore where I was seated next to Peter Post, right, the great grandson of Emily Post. With his back to me is Stephen Noden, one of my newest Windrusher fans. Congratulation to all the hard-working volunteers for organizing a terrific event.

If you're looking for an autographed copy of any of the three Windrushers, you can always order them from my website and receive two special gifts while supplies last. Or, if you're in the area. you might look for me at one of these upcoming events:

  • Friday, October 17 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Ft. Lauderdale Borders, 2240 East Sunrise Blvd.
  • Saturday & Sunday, October 18 & 19 at the CFA Cat Show at War Memorial Auditorium, 800 NW 8th Street in Ft. Lauderdale.
  • Tuesday, October 21 at 10:00 a.m. at the Belleview Friends of the Library, 6007 SE Earp Street, Belleview, FL.
  • Friday, October 24 at 1:00 p.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library – I'll be speaking to the Sawgrass Women's Club Book Club.
  • Saturday & Sunday, November 1 & 2 at the CFA Allbreed Cat Show held at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, GA. 
  • November 8 & 9, I'll be part of the FWA Writer's Tent at the Family Art Fest & Salute to the Troops held at Midtown Centre in Jacksonville, FL.
I hope to see some of you at one or the other of my upcoming appearances. And if I could ask a favor, if you've read Windrusher and the Trail of Fire and liked it, please go to Amazon.com and write your review for the book. These "unsolicited" testimonials help convince others who might be considering purchasing the book. 

Thanks. Until next time, remember to work like you don't need the money. I hope you enjoy the book trailer.

Friday, September 19, 2008

It's About Time

Everyone is busy with their own life, so I won't bore you with the reasons I haven't updated this blog in the past few months. Suffice it to say I'm back. Between my June visit to L. A. for the BEA and now, I've launched Windrusher and the Trail of Fire locally with two book parties, travelled to Asheville for a talk and signing, participated in a new book festival – Florida Heritage Book Festival (FHBF), more about that below, and visited with the new grand baby. Can you guess which one meant the most to me? Although I can't speak for baby Alessa, who you can see seems a bit underwhelmed by our last visit, it's been a whirlwind few months, and it doesn't look to let up for a while. 

Before I jump forward, I wanted to compliment the producers of the FHBF for an outstanding first event. Based in St. Augustine, the festival included a day of workshops for writers and a day for readers with more than 40 authors talking books and their related subjects. Next year's will be even better. I was pleased to present a marketing workshop on Friday, a Windrusher talk on Saturday, and sign books. To the left is faithful reader and St. Augustine writer Debby Jones who purchased the new book at the festival. 

Looking ahead, the fall months are particularly busy and I'll be giving talks and appearing at several conferences and cat shows. If you're looking to purchase an autographed copy of any of my books, look for me at these events:
  • Saturday, September 27 – Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 11112 San Jose Blvd. in Jacksonville:  I'll be signing books from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m as part of the Literacy Pros Book Fair. Help support literacy programs and starving authors.
  • Friday, October 3 – Yulee High School: I'll be speaking to all the English classes that day as part of the Amelia Island Book Festival's Author in the School program.
  • Saturday, October 4 – Amelia Island Book Festival: Join me and dozens of other national authors for a day of book talk and signings. It all takes place on the campus of St. Peters Episcopal Church in Fernandina Beach.
  • October 18 - 19 – Cats Exclusive Cat Show – War Memorial Auditorium, 800 NE 8th Street, Ft. Lauderdale: Two days amongst the finest cats in the land. My South Florida readers can enjoy the show and buy the new Windrusher from me.
  • Tuesday, October 21 at 10:00 a.m. – Belleview Friends of the Library: Talk and signing.
  • November 1 - 2 – CFA Allbreed Cat Show, Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth, Georgia. One of the largest cat shows in the south.
  • November 8 - 9 – Family Art Fest & Salute to the Troops at Midtown Centre in Jacksonville. Formerly known as the Koger Center, Midtown is all-new and will celebrate with a grand arts & crafts show, family entertainment, music and more. I'll be there as part of a Florida Writers Tent hoping to sell a few books and eat a sausage dog or two.
  • November 14 - 16 – 7th Annual FWA Conference, Lake Mary Marriott Resort. Three days of outstanding workshops, panel discussions, networking and more. I'm scheduled to do two writing presentation and moderate a panel of editors, publishers and agents. 
  • November 21 - 22 – 15th Annual Cat Writers Conference, Renaissance Concourse Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. A herd of cat writers assemble for workshops and seminars. We'll also sell a few books at the CFA International Cat Show.
I may have left something out, but you can see that it will be a very busy fall season. I'll catch my breath at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and maybe watch a few football games in between.

One last thing before I leave for those of you who have read and enjoyed the marvelous bestselling novel Water for Elephants. You'll be happy to know the author, Sara Gruen, is coming to NE Florida next month. The Friends of the Ponte Vedra Library are bringing her here as part of their Major Author Program. She'll be at the Sawgrass Marriott Resort on Friday, October 24 at 7:30 p.m. This is one of the author's rare appearnces, and you can meet her if you attend the VIP Reception prior to her presentation. Tickets are required and you can get all the details at the FOL website. Ms. Gruen will be discussing the writing of Water for Elephants and her upcoming book, Ape House. A question and answer period will follow along with a book signing.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

From BEA to Red Hats

Flying cross-country to Los Angeles for Book Expo America, I had time to reflect (lots of time) on what lay ahead for the newest Windrusher. BEA is the largest book industry trade show in the nation, and my reason for attending was to meet and greet potential buyers and promote Windrusher and the Trail of Fire
After landing at the L. A. Airport, we picked up our rental car and headed 
for the highway. I wasn't looking forward to driving in what is supposed to be the worst traffic in the country. Although it had it's pulse-quickening moments, it wasn't as bad as I feared, and driving through the heart of L. A. on the 110 was indeed impressive.
I was told that BEA is huge, and it certainly lived up to that reputation. Held in the cavernous L. A. Convention Center, the halls seemed unending, filled with aisle after aisle of publishers, distributors, and almost every entity connected to the book industry. Covering them all would literally take miles of walking.
As we moved from the vast parking area into the hall the first morning, we (my dear wife accompanied me) were passed by people heading toward their cars carrying tote bags overloaded with books. Some folks struggled to heft the bags, barely able to walk under the heavy burden. My first impression was that there must be one heck of a sale going on. My second impression was that we were late for the sale. 
But I quickly learned this was even better than a sale. The books were free, copies given to retailers, librarians, and anyone who wanted them, in order to promote the book. I knew that this was the case since I was there to sign copies of the new Windrusher for my publisher, Ocean Publishing. But I had no idea of the scope of the give-aways, or the feeding frenzy surrounding the event.
Inside, we were buffeted by hordes of people moving from one exhibit to another. From one autograph line to the next.  The official BEA autograph section was tucked away at the rear of one of the halls. There were 25 or more tables lined up with a different author at each one. The authors were scheduled for one-hour shifts, then replaced by another slew of authors eager to scribble their names. This went on for at least two days. And that wasn't all. Many other signings were done at the publisher's display area—usually a full aisle. Here and there I spotted Barbara Walters, Robert Crais, T. Jefferson Parker, and Dionne Warwick.
Ocean Publishing was part of the massive section filled by Publishers Marketing Association (which changed its name to Independent Book Publishers Association that very weekend). This trade association of independent publishers has over 4,000 members. Not all of them were 
represented, of course, but many were. IBPA had its own autograph booths, and Frank Gromling, Ocean's publisher, had signed me up for two 1-hour sessions along with an hour at the main autograph area.
Here I met many booksellers, librarians and others curious about the cat book. I told them about the Windrusher series and collected business cards. All in all, it was a great experience for a small fish like moi to be swimming in the nation's largest book pond. Just as importantly, we were able to spend time with our two offspring who live on the left coast, and see our new granddaughter once again. 
One week later, jet-lagged and weary, but happy to be home, I began planning the launch of Wind-3, as I affectionately refer to Trail of Fire. Although my publisher had several hundred advance copies printed for the BEA signings, the book will actually not be available in stores until early August. So I have some time to begin scheduling a string of signings, talks and conference appearances. It looks like it will be a busy year, and I hope to see some of you at one or another of my events. Please check the Appearances page of my website to see when I may be coming to your area.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking to the Foxy Red Hat Ladies Book Club which meets at
the Books-A-Million in Jacksonville Beach. I tracked Windrusher's journey for them from hairy idea to heroic literary figure. Here I am expounding on the life of a resourceful cat who has suffered through three book-length adventures filled with dangerous challenges and survived them all. Note the red cap. It was a gift from the good ladies of the Foxy Ladies Red Hat Club. Thanks ladies. And BTW, if any of you belong to a book club and want to hear of the further adventures of Windrusher, I'll be more than happy to make either an in-person appearance, depending on your location, or conduct a telephone conversation at your meeting. Let me know.
One more thing before I go in search of a caffeine fix, The Flagler Review, Flagler College's literary magazine, selected my short story, The Day Hemingway Died, for its latest issue. You may read it at http://www.flagler.edu/flaglerreview/.
Until next time, keep reading.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

"Gripping" Windrusher Adventure

What do James Patterson, R.L. Stine, Dennis Lehane, Judy Blume, Ray Bradbury, Robert Crais, Michael Moore, Lee Child, Neil Gaiman, Nikki Giovanni, Michael Connelly, Faye Kellerman, Dean Koontz, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Brad Meltzer, and Victor DiGenti have in common? They will all be signing their new books at Book Expo America (BEA), at the Los Angeles Convention Center later this month. These and hundreds of other authors will convene in L.A. May 29 - June 1 for an event combining the largest selection of English language titles on the planet with special industry and author events.

BEA is huge and little old me will be there unveiling Windrusher and the Trail of Fire to the world. Frank Gromling, Ocean Publishing’s head honcho, invited me to be part of this mega-event and set me up with three signings over two days. BEA is the industry’s premier trade show attracting thousands of booksellers, publishers, authors, and librarians. I can’t wait to be part of the excitement and launch the third Windrusher adventure in such an amazing venue.

Not everyone had to wait to read what happens to my heroic feline in Trail of Fire. Advance review copies were sent out to some special readers last month and here’s what some of them had to say:

“DiGenti invites the reader into a rich and secret feline world, an experience that will change and enhance all you know, or thought you knew, about cats. Windrusher’s third exciting adventure will keep you involved and purring until the satisfying end.”
~Shirley Rousseau Murphy, author of Cat Pay the Devil

“Windrusher and the Trail of Fire cracks along at the speed of a bullet. DiGenti immerses the reader in a cat’s secret world while building suspense with his human characters. I couldn’t wait to see how it ended to be sure everything turned out all right.”
~Lee Killough, author of The Leopard’s Daughter

“Author Vic DiGenti has created a feline fantasy world unlike any other and it's a pleasure to return to in Windrusher and the Trail of Fire. From the first thrilling chase through the last, DiGenti’s heroic Windrusher leads readers through a wilderness in which the cats are as brave, loyal, and spiritual as any two-legged creatures, and more sensitive, to boot. Great fun.”
~Clea Simon, author of Cries and Whiskers

“GRIPPING…DiGenti knows how to depict complicated emotions and interactions. He paints a compelling portrait of both animals and humans in this story of self-knowledge, healing and redemption.”
~Pamela Bauer Mueller, children’s author

Now that you see what others are saying abut Windrusher and the Trail of Fire, perhaps you’ll want to place an advance order. The book won’t be in the stores until mid-June, but you can place your pre-publication order now by contacting publisher@oceanpublishing.com. Check back in the next few days for more details on pre-publication specials.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Live Longer - Adopt a Cat

Maybe you saw the news item last month. It reported on a study suggesting that cat owners are less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than people who don't own cats. And, sorry, but it doesn't seem to work for people with dogs.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that cat-less people were 30 to 40 percent more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those with cats. They don't seem to know what to make of this, other than to point to other studies suggesting pets can help reduce stress. But as cat lovers we know there's a special relationship bonding us to our felines. As a fantasy writer I'd call it a mystical bond. Perhaps our cats are so grateful for the love and attention we shower upon them they've found a way to transfer one of their nine lives to the two-legged creatures who care for them.

And while I have a lot of respect for Windrusher, my feline protagonist, I don't always treat him so kindly. In my debut novel, WINDRUSHER, our poor hero was not only chased by Bolt, a murderous brute of a tom cat, but he was terrorized by wild dogs, came close to being euthanized at the Humane Society, and was caught up in one of Mother Nature's most violent acts.

In WINDRUSHER AND THE CAVE OF THO-HOTH, Windrusher found himself cat-napped and taken to southern California. There he had to escape from a mad man's house and once he did things became even more dangerous.

But like the brave trooper he is, Windrusher triumphed in the end and now faces another series of deadly challenges. WINDRUSHER AND THE TRAIL OF FIRE will bring the much-traveled kitty into another deadly encounter with man and nature. As revealed in my last posting, Windrusher is separated from his caretakers and relocated to a rural cat rescue operation called Precious Friends Cat Sanctuary. Here, the reader is introduced to a number of human characters: Emily O’Connell, the owner of the cat sanctuary, Sam Rawlings, her boy friend, developer Phillip Langston, and his two not-so-bright henchmen, Seth and Nate Tobias. We'll also meet the 200 cats living at Precious Friends.

Each character plays a key role in TRAIL OF FIRE, as does a mythical feline hero from prehistoric times. Windrusher must cope with the knowledge that something terrible will soon envelop the peaceful sanctuary, while contending with the awful responsibility that only he can save the 200 cats.

In my last posting I teased you with the first page. Here's an extended sample of the first chapter. Click on http://www.windrusher.com/Fire-Page1.html to view the excerpt.

Remember the new book will be released in late May and I'm looking to launch the book with a series of "Book Parties" at the homes of cat rescue people. If you know of anyone who would like to host one of these parties, and collect 25% of any book sales for their rescue organization, please contact me at author@windrusher.com.

I've heard from a few people in the past few weeks wondering if and when I'd be doing more appearances. You can always click on the Appearances link at my website for a calendar of upcoming talks and signings, but here are a few happening in the next couple of weeks.
  • Barnes & Noble Booksellers – Saturday, March 22 at 2:00 p.m. Book signing at the Mandarin store. This is a benefit for Fruit Cove Middle School so come out and support the kids.
  • Nassau County Senior Center – Wednesday, March 26 at 10:00 a.m. Talk and signing. 1367 South 18th St. off Lime Street, Fernandina Beach.
  • Murder They Wrote – Sunday, March 30 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the St. Augustine Main Library. I'll moderate a panel discussion looking at Mystery, Crime, and Suspense novels by the authors who write them. Participating authors include Mary Anna Evans, Michael Wiley, Rene Fix, and June Weltman.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Another Step Forward

One of the best features about the Windrusher series (aside from the great stories, of course) is the wonderful cover art created by master illustrator Andrew Robinson (http://www.nextexitproductions.net/). As I tell everyone, covers are an essential part of the sales and marketing of any book, and Andrew's covers have played a huge role in the books' success.

After delivering two incredible pieces of art, I wondered how he could top it for WINDRUSHER AND THE TRAIL OF FIRE. You can judge for yourself, but I believe that once again he's nailed the tension and drama to be found within the pages of my next adventure/fantasy.

Here's a brief synopsis of the book:

Separated from his caretakers and relocated to a rural cat rescue operation called Precious Friends Cat Sanctuary, Windrusher learns his destiny is linked to a mythical cat from legendary times. Can this dream-link protect him and the other cats that stand in the way of a ruthless developer’s greedy desires?

Along with the cover, my publisher has allowed me to sneak the first page of the book. Click here to read it—http://www.windrusher.com/Fire-Page1.html.
Look for the entire first chapter in future blog postings.

There is definitely an abundance of tension and danger in this book, pushing our heroic cat to his limits, but I've balanced it with humor and some intriguing subplots that should make this book a real page-turner.

Because much of Trail of Fire is set in a cat rescue sanctuary, my own experiences with The Bear Foundation, and my respect for the the people who devote themselves to this cause, I've convinced my publisher to launch the book with a series of "Book Parties" at the homes of cat rescue people. Similar to Tupperware parties, our Windrusher Book Party will offer lots of fun and prizes along with the opportunity to purchase WINDRUSHER AND THE TRAIL OF FIRE. More importantly, we'll donate 25% of every sale to the rescue organization hosting us.

I hope to do a number of these parties all over the state throughout the summer. If you know of a deserving organization that may be interested, please contact me at author@windrusher.com. I'd also like to know how you liked the first page.

Until next time, keep reading,