Sunday, September 24, 2017

Wonder Where the Money Went? - A Guest Post by Diane Capri

This month, Fabulous Florida Writers is pleased to welcome guest blogger Diane Capri. Diane is the  New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of the Hunt for Jack Reacher series based on Lee Child's enigmatic character. Her latest novel, Jack the Reaper, (Book 8 in the series) will be released on September 26. Diane was our featured author on January 18, 2015.

Jack the Reaper is the newest novel in my Hunt for Jack Reacher series. When I began writing this spin off series back in 2009, I had no idea whether readers would embrace the concept or not. Eight years later, the series about two FBI agents, Kim Otto and Carlos Gaspar, on the hunt for Jack Reacher has now sold well over a million copies, hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists several times, been nominated for a few awards and even won a couple of them. The series has found readers around the world. Let me tell you, I couldn’t possibly be more thrilled about all of that!

Perhaps the question I’m asked most frequently is where I get the ideas for my books. I usually joke and say I buy them at But the truth is that I don’t always know. Sometimes, ideas simply pop into my head. Other times, like this book, real life events inspire the story.
 In the case of Jack the Reaper, what sparked my interest were the secrets being revealed by whistleblowers and watchdog groups. As a lawyer, I’m required to keep confidences and secrets. If lawyers reveal private matters, we can lose our license to practice, which means losing our ability to feed our families. All of which meant I was intrigued by the big scandal the media dubbed The Panama Papers.

Do you remember that one? A Panama law firm’s files were hacked. Private information about thousands of offshore tax havens was exposed. Prominent people found themselves in embarrassing situations. Some of those situations, it turned out, were also illegal.

How might Jack Reacher be involved in all of this, I wondered. After all, Reacher is one of the least likely men on the planet to be hiding hordes of cash from tax collectors. Reacher seems to care very little about money at all. He cares even less for paperwork. It’s not likely he’d have an offshore shell corporation holding boat loads of pre-tax cash. Not likely at all.

Where would he get the money, for starters?
It turns out that Reacher did have access to nine million dollars of untraceable cash at the end of in the Lee Child novel, The Hard Way. Nine million is a lot of money, for sure.

What if Reacher went back to The Dakota where the money was hidden after he dispatched the bad guys?

What would Reacher do with all of that cash?

What if more bad guys wanted that money back?

Jack the Reaper developed from questions like these. Like all of my Hunt for Jack Reacher series novels, this one uses a Lee Child novel as its source book and springs from the characters, settings, and events in The Hard Way. Coming up with a compelling story that isn’t a sequel to the original but retains the flavor of a Reacher novel is a challenge every single time.

But when the magic happens and an exciting story results, it’s well worth the effort. Don’t you agree?

 In Jack the Reaper, the exposure of sensitive banking records leads to a thrilling chase from Iraq to London to New York and Palm Beach. Agents Otto and Gaspar are caught up in deadly situations they don’t understand. Everyone knows more about Reacher than they do. They’re forced to learn fast to stay alive.

And what exactly happened to all that cash?

For more information, visit my website:

Monday, September 4, 2017

Gino Bardi - Remembering the Sixties

There’s an old joke, “If you remember the sixties, you probably weren’t there.” For those of you who were  - or weren’t, and wish you were - a new novel by Hudson writer Gino Bardi will take you on a magical mystery tour back to those turbulent times. “Those years were a highlight of my life,” he says.  “Get it? High light? Okay, never mind.”

Bardi began writing for local newspapers and magazines while still a high school student in West Islip (Long Island), New York. He attended Cornell University in the late sixties, a time of campus unrest, where he met and later married his college sweetheart. After graduating with a degree in English/Creative Writing in 1972, Bardi wrote copy for an advertising agency and film scripts for a training and development company in Washington, DC.  He and his wife eventually owned and operated a commercial printing business in upstate New York. They sold the business in 2008 and retired to Florida after deciding “winter was an unnecessary evil.” The move turned out to be a pleasant change in more ways than the weather.

“The best thing about Florida is that it’s filled with writers,” Bardi says. “I was amazed by how many writers there are, how good they are, and how nice they are to one another. In New York, they were much more competitive.”  After trying to fill his time with typical retiree activities like fishing, golf, and tennis (which he admits he “did badly,”) he joined a writers group.  “I’m a guy who likes to take the path of least resistance,” he admits. “Writing was the only thing I could do, so I decided to write something.” He began working on a short story about a young man finding love- and fun- in a demanding, stressful university, “Much of the story really happened to me,” he explains. “But when I got to the point where I needed an actual plot – that’s where the road parted.” He soon discovered that writing a novel was very different from completing an assignment for an ad or a magazine.

Fortunately, Bardi found “a very generous mentor” - author David Edmonds, the moderator of the Tarpon Springs Writer’s Group.  “When I got to the point where the character’s life grinds to a stop, and what had really happened wasn’t too interesting, I wasn’t sure where to go with it,” he says. “I moped around for a while, like the book’s main character, Tony.  David Edmonds encouraged me to keep going. I let the characters tell me how to finish the book. It turns out they couldn’t be pushed around. The story took on a life of its own. It was amazing!”  The result was Bardi’s first novel The Cow in the Doorway: Love and Loss in a Time of Pot and Protest. He describes the often humorous, sometimes poignant book as “a coming-of-age, new adult, historical romantic comedy - it’ll be the only book on that particular shelf!” The protagonist of the story is Tony Vitelli, a reluctant freshman focused more on babes than books. His search for romance in the midst of tremendous political and societal upheaval teaches him some hard lessons about life and love. “Tony learns that, at some point in life, you have to figure out what you want and what you have to do to get it,” Bardi notes. “The title is a metaphor for whatever stands in your way, whatever keeps you from getting what you want and need.” The Cow in the Doorway is a rare example of something that will make you laugh and break your heart on the same page. It received the Florida Writers Association’s prestigious Royal Palm Literary Award for both Best Unpublished (2015) and Best Published New Adult Novel (2016).

 Bardi has recently completed Three on a Match, a collection of eleven humorous and quirky short stories examining aspects of relationships from many angles. On schedule for early 2018 is a full-length novel, WKDZ, about a younger Tony Vitelli (from The Cow in the Doorway) who, along with a team of miscreant high school kids, builds a powerful radio station and gets into an incredible amount of trouble. Also in the works is a futuristic crime spoof, titled Freezer Burn, whose protagonist has been dead for forty years and emerges from a deep freeze to cause all kinds of problems for the world.

 In all Bardi’s books, the protagonist eventually gets the girl. “And that’s how you know it’s fiction,” he is quick to point out. Creating offbeat stories and characters that can make readers smile is part of the joy Bardi gets from his craft. “When it comes to writing, there’s very little I don’t like,” he says. “And I can always make myself laugh, which is a real treat.”  

For more information, visit Gino Bardi’s author page, Both The Cow in the Doorway and Three on a Match are available on Amazon.