Newsletter #3, Bye-Bye Dorian, Hello Deadline!

Welcome to your post-summer, post-Dorian newsletter!

My August writing view

My August writing view

Our month in the north Georgia mountains was extended thanks to ol’ Dorian.  We were fortunate that he turned north and missed our area.  It gave me a few more days to hike, visit wineries and stare at the woods while pretending to write.

Although we were on “vacation,” it was a busy time.  So, I have lots to report. 

Sandblast has been copy edited, and it was a surprisingly painless process.  I was pleased that the copy editor didn’t have any major complaints.  He made a few good catches of small problems and smoothed out a couple of style issues.  No biggie.  Next step: proofreading.

Sandblast cover proof. A very quick read!

Sandblast cover proof. A very quick read!

Even better, something arrived in the mail that I was not expecting: cover proofs.  They’re the book without all those pesky words inside.  They really make the whole thing seem real.

The actual, whole, entire book – with the words inside – has been priced at a mere $8.99, a dollar less than I anticipated.  And most of the time Amazon has it discounted to $7.19.  The ebook is also available, and discounted.  Both will be delivered March 31. publisher, Kensington, has licensed the audiobook rights for Sandblast and the first sequel!  Tantor Media, a major audiobook maker, will produce the audio versions with one of its stable of experienced actors.  Audiobook sales are growing every year, so this is a great development.  I already sent a pronunciation guide to them for the foreign names and phrases in Sandblast, which turns out to be a lot.

Speaking of sequels, I can now reveal that the first one will be called...drum roll...


In military and intelligence parlance, “blowback” is an unexpected negative consequence.  That’s what my characters will face.  I can’t tell you much more about Blowback without giving spoilers for what happens in Sandblast.  But I can tell you it’s due January 15, well before Sandblast even hits the shelves.  Blowback is on my screen now, at about 70% done in rough draft.  Four more months may seem like a lot of time to finish it...but not to me!


Meanwhile, rehearsals start in a couple of weeks for my play, Murder at the Butcher’s, and tickets are already on sale at  If you’re going to be in South Florida the weekend before Thanksgiving, I’d love to see you at the show.

Murder at the Butcher’s is now a finalist in the Royal Palm Literary Awards, which will be presented at the Florida Writers Association conference in Orlando on October 20.  I will be there for the white-knuckle moment.


Delray Newspaper, September, 2019.

Delray Newspaper, September, 2019.

With the play coming up relatively soon, we’ve started doing publicity, which resulted in some coverage in our local monthly, the Delray Newspaper.  They did a very nice layout for their “Five Questions With...” feature.  The image is what the print version looks like, and here’s a link to the online version:

My first fan selfie.

My first fan selfie.

Finally, I had my first fan selfie moment a few weeks ago at a restaurant in Georgia.  A man overheard me talking about the book, and, unbeknownst to me, went online on his phone and bought it.  He came over to me and showed me his receipt and asked for a selfie.  So, thanks Bill, for my first, but hopefully not last, fan selfie moment!


That’s all for now.  It’s back to Blowback for me.

All the best and thanks for subscribing!


Newsletter #2 - The Big Reveals

Hello again, and welcome to Al Pessin Author Newsletter #2, “The Big Reveals!”

It’s here.  OMG, it’s here!  This is the cover of Sandblast, thanks to the amazing team at Kensington Publishing:

Click for

Click for

Cool, huh?

They used the great quote from Richard Castle (pen name of Tom Straw, a terrific guy and great author/screenwriter I met at Sleuthfest).  Other quotes will be on the back and/or inside.

I love the the texturing in the background that, to me, suggests a desert at night (“sand”) and the shadow of a man running through an explosion (“blast”).  The Capitol Building indicates that he’s an American.  And the explosion and fire promise plenty of action.

We came up with Task Force Epsilon as a way to link Sandblast to the two sequels that are in the works.  The name is explained toward the end of Sandblast, when the team’s success is rewarded with a permanent status.

Sandblast is available for pre-order from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target and soon other online outlets, and also by order from your local bookstore.  It’s already discounted on Amazon and Target!  At this writing, only the paperback is available, but the ebook should be posted soon.  Shipping or electronic delivery will be March 31, 2020.

Click for Willow Theatre.

Click for Willow Theatre.

My other big news is that we have the official poster for my play, “Murder at the Butcher’s.”  And we also have a cast – ten wonderful actors who are studying their lines right now to prepare for our first rehearsal in early September.

It was fun to attend the auditions.  We have four great young actors, fresh from the Florida International University Theater Department, to play the twentysomethings, and six seasoned pros for the, um, older roles, including Benny the Butcher, his wife Miriam and their ‘seductress of a certain age’ neighbor Sylvia.

Tickets go on sale September 1.  They’re just $25, $15 for groups of four or more,

The performances promise to, as director Teresa Biber LoMonte says, “bring the house down every night.”  So, if you’re in the area, or can possibly be, please come by and see the show!

One other thing.  I had a fun three-night trip to New York a couple of weeks ago to attend the Thrillerfest writers’ conference and meet the team at Kensington Publishing.  I did not take any good pics at Thrillerfest, and none at all of the Kensington authors’ lunch.  I will do better in the future.  The lunch at Capital Grille was hosted by Kensington CEO Steve Zacharius, who is a great guy.  It was terrific to meet some other Kensington authors, including fellow-thriller writer John Gilstrap, and modern western writer Reavis Wortham.  I attended some interesting panels on writing and publishing, and met lots of authors, agents and publishers.  I also had a chance to see “The Play that Goes Wrong,” a farce playing on Broadway.  So, lots of inspiration for my novels and for the work ahead on the play.

Click for more on Manahattan-henge.

Click for more on Manahattan-henge.

One pic I did take was “Manhattan-henge,” that moment (two nights, actually, twice a year) when the sunset lines up perfectly with the east-west numbered streets.  So, I’ll leave you with that, until next time.



P.S. Please “Like” my Al Pessin Author Facebook page, and follow me on Twitter @apessin and on Instagram alpessinauthor.  Thanks!

P.P.S. If you’re reading this on email, you may have noticed I’m writing from a new email address.  I’ll be using for communications related to Sandblast and Murder at the Butcher’s.



Newsletter #1 - Advance Praise for Sandblast and Some 'Murder' News

Dear Friends,

AlPessinPic very small.jpeg

 I have lots of exciting news to share!

Several wonderful writers have read Sandblast and loved it.  They have been kind enough to share their reviews with me, and allowed me to share them with the world.  They’ll be used in the marketing campaign, and they’ll be printed on the book cover, back and inside.  You can get an advance look at them below.

But first, a few other tidbits.  The cover copy for Sandblast is just about done, and I’ll share that with you in my next email.  I hope to have the cover artwork in the coming weeks from the team at Kensington Publishing.  I put in some ideas at the beginning of the process, and left it to the experts to make something incredible that people will want to buy.  Believe me, I’m super eager to see it.

I also understand that Sandblast will be available for pre-orders soon.  Don’t worry, if you’re on this list, you’ll know!  Save your pennies.  It’s only $9.99 for the paperback, $9.49 for the eBook.  You’ll receive your books on the official publication date in late March or early April.

Finally, you may know I also wrote a play, Murder at the Butcher’s.  Well, I’m thrilled to tell you I just got confirmation that it will have its world premiere run this November, produced by The Playgroup, LLC, a local professional theater company where I’ve done some workshops. 

The hugely talented and energetic Teresa Biber LoMonte will direct.  Recalling the first time she heard a reading from Murder at the Butcher’s, Teresa said, “I nearly fell out of my chair laughing.  I love every page of this script. It's going to bring the house down every night.”

So, if you’re in, or want to visit, my area, mark your calendars for November 22, 23 and 24.  And no, it’s not Thanksgiving.  That’s the following weekend.  I’ll unveil the hilarious poster for the play in my next newsletter.

Murder at the Butcher’s is completely different from Sandblast.  It’s a farce, a murder mystery spoof, in which Benny Benjamin, Brooklyn Butcher finds a body in his walk-in fridge, and then it disappears.  As we say in the farce business, mayhem ensues.  The performances will be at the Willow Theatre in Boca Raton.  I’ll let you know when tickets go on sale.

Thanks again for subscribing.  Please tell all your friends to do the same.  And check out the advance praise for Sandblast below.

All my best,


Advance Praise for Sandblast

“Al Pessin escorts you through thrills and chaos, writing with the sure hand of authority. This guy knows his stuff.”  

-- Richard Castle, New York Times bestselling author of the Nikki Heat thrillers.  “Richard Castle” was the pen name of Tom Straw, a great guy I met this year at Sleuthfest, the writing festival organized by Mystery Writers of America Florida Chapter, where I am a member.  Tom is an award-winning TV writer, and now writes novels under his own byline.

“Sandblast is tense, believable and relevant.  Pessin calls on his years in the Pentagon and White House press corps for the keen details that bring this tale to life.  There's a high emotional content here, too, as we follow the almost impossible quest of a likable and massively outgunned hero.

--T. Jefferson Parker, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Good Guy.  Jeff was one of the main speakers at this year’s Sleuthfest.  I recently read Full Measure, his very relevant and excellent 2014 novel about a soldier returning home to economic and family problems, compounded by his own need to readjust to civilian life.


"Sandblast is the definition of a terrific military thriller--straightforward, precise and devastating. This timely, realistic story--with its authentic and knowing voice, and courageous main characters-- propels readers to the peak of white-knuckled brinksmanship, and will be awarded top marks by fans of Alex Berensen and Vince Flynn."  

--Hank Phillippi Ryan, winner of the Mary Higgins Clark, Anthony, and (five times!) Agatha Awards.  Author of the current nail-biter Trust Me, and the forthcoming Murder List, as well as five Jane Ryland Thrillers, the Charlotte McNally series and more.  Hank is tireless, holding down a reporting job with Boston’s Channel Seven while speaking to groups nationwide about Trust Me, writing The Murder List and helping other authors, like me.

 “In Sandblast, Al Pessin has crafted a taut action-thriller that really pulls you in. You’ll feel like you’re right beside the main character, on an increasingly perilous journey filled with impossible choices that threaten to change him at his very core. The plot is highly original, and I felt like I was there. It’s a great book.”

-- Henry V. O'Neil, author of The Sim War Series.  “Henry V. O’Neil” is the pen name of Vince O’Neil, whom I met at Sleuthfest last year.  He’s a West Point grad and army vet.  He writes military science fiction under his pen name, and mystery, horror and sci-fi under his real name.  Vince also provided some great insider tips for the (many) military parts of Sandblast.


"So exciting, and so terrifyingly realistic, you won’t be able to put it down. If you like complex international thrillers, keep Al Pessin on your short list of must-read authors."

-- D.J. Niko, international bestselling author of The Sarah Weston Chronicles.  Lots of pen names here.  This is Daphne Nikolopoulos, a friend here in South Florida, who is devoted to being an author who helps authors.  She’s a frequent speaker at conferences and at our local book store, and a great supporter of her fellow-writers.  Her series features a female sort of Indiana Jones character, who travels the world solving mysteries through archeology, history, and lots of grit.


"Sandblast is an aptly titled nail-biter of a thriller that opens at a pulse-rattling pace and only ratchets upwards from there.  Al Pessin not only knows how to tell a story, but his journalistic background imbues this tale of an Afghan-American Army officer infiltrating a terrorist organization with compelling authority."

--Les Standiford, author of Water to the Angels, founding director of the Creative Writing Program at Florida International University.  Les gave a great talk at Sleuthfest this year about writing his book Last Train to Paradise, the fascinating true story of the building of the railroad from Miami to Key West, much of it over open ocean.