Friday, August 1, 2014

"At Their Own Game" by Frank Zafiro

ON SALE for $0.99
At Their Own Game
by Frank Zafiro

At Their Own Game is ON SALE for only $0.99 (save $4.00) to 31 August, as part of Frank Zafiro's August Birthday Month Reader Appreciation Sale. All of his titles will be $0.99 cents (except boxed sets - they will be $2.99) on Amazon for the entire month.

You can even get two titles FREE: The Bastard Mummy (B&N, Smashwords) and In the Shadow of El Paso (B&N, Smashwords).

Happy birthday, Frank! Looks like we're the ones getting the presents!
Also available: The Thrilling Thirteen for only $0.99, including The Last Horseman and In the Shadow of El Paso by Frank Zafiro (see my blog post).

Jake Stankovic has been flying below the radar for years, dealing safely in stolen property crime with his two-man crew. But times are tough, so he decides to step up to the big money with a drug deal. Everything that can go wrong, does. The deal goes bad, a vengeful detective sets his sights on Jake, one of his crew might be a turncoat, and a woman from a long past affair suddenly reappears. All of this would be complicated enough on its own, but for Jake, it's even worse.
The woman is the detective's ex-wife.
And Jake Stankovic used to be a cop.
Now Jake must face new problems and old vendettas in an all-in proposition with lives on the line. He has to find a way to get his money back, keep the girl, and beat everyone involved ... at their own game.

Book Video

So far, I’ve been to jail three different ways.
The first way was when I was on the job, working as a cop. Back then, I’d walk right through the officer entrance with my handcuffed prisoner in tow. I’d stop in the outer waiting area and secure my weapon in the gun lockers. Drop the oversized key ring into my empty holster, and walk the bad guy straight into the booking area.
The second way I went to jail wasn’t much different. Except that time, I was the one in handcuffs. As a prisoner, I had no weapon to secure. All my stuff was already in a plastic bag carried by the arresting officer. And I found booking to be a whole different experience on that trip.
Tonight was the third way. Through the visitor entrance.
Read the first three chapters:

Featured Review
Jake used to be a stand up kind of guy- he was even a cop at one time.
Somewhere along the way Jake went down the wrong path and turned into a hustler- dealing with “hot” merchandise. That was bad enough but then he decides to get in even deeper and gets involved in a drug deal.
Things take a nosedive and when you think they can’t get any worse for Jake - toss in a detective from his past and make it double bad - a woman from his past too.
When you read this fast paced crime thriller, you think this author has definitely done his research. Then you realize this is a bit more than research. If you are like me, you check his bio and see his police career background - perfect fit for crafting this story.
This story absolutely sizzles with intrigue, crime and maybe even a little of Jake’s own regret for taking the low road that he now has to somehow get off of to save himself. Can he outsmart the detective or is he kidding himself? The woman from his past- what is her connection and is she legit or is this a ruse?
There are many layers in this story and as you slowly peel the onion (known as Jake) you see things that were, at first, well hidden.
Excellent read.

Interview With the Author
Hi Frank Zafiro, thanks for joining me today to discuss your book, At Their Own Game.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
Definitely adult, or mature late teens. It’s hard boiled crime fiction.
What sparked the idea for this book?
As a retired police officer, I often wondered what would happen if a cop became a crook. Since he knows the system, could he be more successful than your average criminal?
Plus, all of my previous novels were from the perspective of the “good guys” and I wanted to explore a character on the wrong side of the law who actually wasn’t such a “bad” guy.
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
In this case, it was the character’s story. The idea of a former cop turned criminal intrigued me. Other novels, though, have started with the idea or the “what if?” proposition.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
The parts where Jake shows some contempt for his former law enforcement colleagues. As a retired cop, I have tremendous respect for the men and women of my former profession, so I have to remind people … this is fiction.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
First off, I hope they enjoy the ride, both in terms of the emotional ride and the turns that the plot takes. On a deeper level, I hope it makes people think about human nature, and how honest we really are (or aren’t) with ourselves.
How long did it take you to write this book?
This one went fast. The first draft took maybe a month. Obviously, the revisions took much longer.
What is your writing routine?
It varies, depending on what I’m working on. I tend to be a “burst” writer, meaning that if I’m working on a project, I go all in and pound away at it, then take a little break in between. But when I’m working on something, I try to get started fairly early in the morning and just go as long as I can.
How did you get your book published?
This was my fifteenth book or so, and I published this one myself. I’ve gone a variety of routes to publication, including multiple small presses and independent publishing. I’m still not sure what the best route is for me, so I’m what you might call diversified.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Put your butt in the chair. Writers write. They don’t talk about it, they do it. And the term published has a bit more of a hazy gray definition these days. Anyone can be published (for the record, I don’t think that’s at all a bad thing); it’s another to be read.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love hockey, so I play a couple of times a week and watch games with my wife. I enjoy reading (you better read if you wanna write!) and playing computer/video games. My wife is teaching me yoga, and I’m digging that, too.
What does your family think of your writing?
Some are very supportive, but honestly, most of them haven’t read my work. Everyone is tied up in their own life, and I think a lot of my extended family are not aware of how much I’ve written or how widely my work is read. I’ve been rated the #1 Police Procedural author on Amazon (I’m #13 as I write this, but we all know how volatile those ratings can be), but I think some people in my family think of my work as “Frankie’s book thingie.”
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I was raised by my Dad in a small town. I have two brothers and three sisters.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
I loved it. I read constantly, everything from biographies to fantasy/science fiction.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Probably around ten or so. But by the time I was thirteen, I knew it, and was trying hard to do it.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Yes. Isn’t that true of us all?
Which writers have influenced you the most?
In the crime fiction world, I have to give homage to Wambaugh, since he was the first police officer turned author that made a name for himself. I love Lawrence Block, John D. MacDonald, Dennis Lehane, Donald Westlake, and Stephen King, too.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I do get occasional emails, which is always a pleasure. Usually, they tell me what they just finished reading and what they liked (or didn’t like) about it. Also when the next book is coming out.
The most gratifying part of hearing from readers is how much they identify with different characters. When a reader talks about a character like s/he is a real person, that tells me I did something right!
Another cool thing is how the ‘net allows me to hear from people from all over the world. For example, one of my readers is a guy named Mick, a 40-year police veteran from Australia. We met through him reading my books, and now he’s going to swing by to see me during his post-retirement trip to the USA.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
More stand alone crime fiction novels mixed in with the “next” novels in my various series – River City, Stefan Kopriva, Sandy Banks, etc. I’m also planning on branching out into other genres, including mainstream and fantasy.
Sounds like you're busy! Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Frank. Best of luck with your future projects.

About the Author
Frank served in the U.S. Army from 1986-91 in Military Intelligence as a Czechoslovak linguist. In 1993, he became a police officer. During his career, he worked as a patrol officer, corporal, and detective. In 2002, he became a sergeant and entered into leadership roles. He was fortunate enough to command patrol officers, investigators, K-9 officers (and their dogs!), and the SWAT team. Frank retired from law enforcement in 2013 as a captain. Since then, he has taught law enforcement subject matter at community college, university, and as an independent consultant. He also teaches a series of writing workshops.
Frank began writing seriously at about thirteen. In 1995, he started the first draft of Under A Raging Moon, which would become the first book in the River City series of crime fiction.
Since then, Frank has completed a number of novels set in River City, a fictional version of Spokane, Washington. The River City series is published in paperback by Gray Dog Press and currently sits at four volumes. Other Frank Zafiro books are also set in River City, including mysteries such as Waist Deep and Lovely, Dark, and Deep, starring Stefan Kopriva, and Some Degree of Murder, written with Colin Conway. Other novels are set in Spokane proper, such as The Last Horseman and At Their Own Game, or elsewhere, such as the Chicago setting for Blood on Blood, written with Jim Wilsky.
Frank has been rated the #1 author for police procedurals on Amazon, and remains one of the top ranked authors in that Amazon category. Frank's books are available in all formats - paperback, ebook, and audio book.
In addition to novels, dozens of Franks' short stories have been published in magazines (print or online) and numerous anthologies.
Frank also write mainstream fiction under his real name, Frank Scalise, including his hockey novel All That Counts (Gray Dog Press, February 2010) and a children's series about Sam the Hockey Player, which began with the middle grade title The Hardest Hit.
Frank resides near Spokane, Washington, with his wife and son. He is an avid hockey fan, reader, movie lover, and a tortured guitarist.