Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Late to the Party

....but glad to be invited.

Hello blog readers! I am Frank Zafiro.

I have to admit, I was sorely tempted to write only 'SSIA', and call it a post. A bold move, I know, but in the end, not one that would endear me to most of you right out of the chute. So this is a more traditional introduction to your newest every-other-Tuesday member of Criminal Minds.

The first thing I tell most people is that I am a retired cop, having served on the Spokane Police Department for twenty years. I either did or commanded most every job within the agency during my career, and retired as a captain. My inclusion on this blog began in much the same way as most patrol stories did back when I was on the job....

There I was...on routine patrol...when all of a sudden....

In this case, the sudden part was an email invite from James Ziskin, who you already know well. Honestly, I was honored to be asked to be a part of this group, and hope to carry my own mud well enough to validate Jim vouching for me.

So who am I and what do I write? 

Retired cop, one-tour in the Army, national instructor for police leadership, hockey guy...well, there's a bit of a start. I'm a hybrid author, meaning that some of my books are published by a publisher and some I publish independently. Also, I love playing guitar, but man I wish I was good at it. 

One thing I am kind of good at is being fairly prolific.  And collaborations. I'm hell at those.

Start with prolific...

(Okay, this is going to sound a little brag-ish, but remember... some people write one book and win a ton of awards and sell millions of copies...I've done neither of those things)

Like a lot of writers, I started (and continue) with short stories. I've been fortunate to see dozens of my stories published in various venues and anthologies. I was three times a finalist for a Derringer Award, and alas, thrice a bridesmaid. 

Novels came next. About ninety percent are crime fiction, and most are in one series or another. The River City series is an ensemble police procedural. The Stefan Kopriva mysteries are ex-cop, sorta PI novels in the first person. The Bricks and Cam Job series is dark humor and hitmen (complete withe the Eric Beetner gross out scene in all three installments). The Ania series is hard boiled, just like my co-author, Jim Wilsky. The SpoCompton series is dark and from the criminal perspective. And the Charlie-316 series is another procedural, with more of an emphasis on character and action than your stand entry in that sub-genre.

Bricks & Cam Job #1
River City #1
Stefan Kopriva #1

Charlie-316 #1

There are a few stand alones, but that mode seems to be in the pleasant minority for me.

At today's count, I have 26 published novels, and should see at least three more added to that number by year's end. 2020 is shaping up to be a bumper crop, as well.

Twenty-six is good number, right? I mean, I've been at this since 2006 (first novel published), so that's like two a year. A pretty good pace. How'd I do that, you ask?

I cheated.

Now, cheated might be a strong word. But I did collaborate on eleven of those twenty-six novels (and one of the three forthcoming this year) with five different authors. That means for those eleven, I only wrote half a novel. But I still get to take credit for a full novel, because thems the rules.

Whose rules?

I don't know. I made the rule up. But it seems fair, doesn't it?

I won't go into a lot more detail right now, because I recognize that a part of the blog's attraction is for readers to get to know the writers in more depth. I'm certain I'll share some juicy tidbits as we go along. So I'll close out with a few interesting facts about me (that they are facts is indisputable -- you may vote on the interesting part, though).

* My first book was published in 2006 -- Under a Raging Moon, the first in my River City series.

Took 30 years to figure it out,
but here we are.
* I learned Czech during my military stint -- fifteen months at the Presidio of Monterey. The grammar was torture, but the landscape gorgeous.

* I finally married the girl I fell in love with when I was just ten....thirty years later.

* I started playing hockey at age 29. You're only ever going to get so good when you start that late, and so I am a career C leaguer in the beer league (If you care, A league is the best, D league is usually for beginners). Love the Philadephia Flyers, and my hometown Spokane Chiefs.

* I've been playing guitar for years, and it doesn't sound like it. But over the past year and a half, I've actually improved more than in the previous decade, so there's that. And that girl I mentioned before will always listen to me play, so there's that, too.

* I grew up in Spokane, WA, and now live in central Oregon. Many of my books are set in the Lilac City, though...or a thinly veiled version of it. Have yet to pen anything set in my new digs, but we'll see.

* I'm currently writing three books at once - the third book in the Charlie-316 series with Colin Conway, River City #6 (Place of Wrath and Tears), and an stand alone with Lawrence Kelter from an idea that's been brewing in my head for about six or seven years, called Unforgivable.

* My undergraduate degree is in History, and my Masters is in (big surprise) Administration of Justice. History because a) a Crim J degree is worthless to a working cop and b) mostly because I love History -- it's the story of people from always. Admin of Justice because a) the city had tuition reimbursement for approved degrees, and b) there is no b...

* Three kids (Boy, girl, boy, all adult now), two dogs (Richie and Wiley), and a meowy cat named Pasta.

Honestly, there's not much more I can say after the Pasta reveal, so I'll see you on my first real Tuesday, in May. Thanks for having me, folks.

My final appearance at the now unfortunately shuttered Seattle Mystery Bookshop.
Photo credit:  Jim Thomsen


Paul D. Marks said...

Welcome aboard, Frank. Glad to have you hear. And look forward to some of those interesting stories to come.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Well said, Frank, and welcome aboard.

James W. Ziskin said...

Welcome, Frank! Looking forward to reading your posts and benefitting from your expertise.


Cathy Ace said...

Welcome Frank - I'm very much looking forward to our conversations!

Susan C Shea said...

Welcome, Frank. One great thing is you'll bring a new perspective to answering the questions we and others pose. In fact, you may have some suggestions for topics that your readers ask you but haven't asked us, since none of us is an ex-cop. P.S. What is the "Lilac City?" At one point, Rochester New York was holding or hoping to hold that title.

Deborah Elliott-Upton said...

Frank! I always enjoy finding your writing! Great to find you here: friends among friends!

Frank Zafiro said...

Just swinging back around to notice comments... Thanks everyone for the warm welcome!

Susan, Spokane is the Lilac City. I call it River City instead of Spokane, though, in my procedural series.

Deborah, thanks, and great to come across you again!