Friday, January 29, 2010

Special Charity Offer

If you haven't been to my primary site lately, you may not be aware that I have opened the door once again with a special offer for charity:

On June 6, 2010, I will be riding America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride around Lake Tahoe for the second time. This is a 100-mile bike ride and I will be training from January through May with Team in Training, part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. To support my ride, I will be fundraising for LLS and must reach my goal in order to participate. This is my fifth TNT century and I confess my family and friends may be suffering a bit of "donation fatigue."

Therefore, I am offering authors a rare opportunity. You can submit an UNSOLICITED chapter (not to exceed 25 pages) and synopsis (not to exceed 5 pages) and I will read that chapter and respond with my thoughts. The catch? You must donate at least $100 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society using this link:* You MUST include your receipt showing you donated to my effort with your submission. All donations are fully tax-deductible and The Zack Company, Inc. receives no income from this offer. This is purely a charity fundraising effort.

All submissions must be made by US Mail and include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Making a donation and submitting should in no way be construed as increasing your chances of receiving representation. TZC will read and respond with a one- to two-page evaluation of your work. Should we wish to read more, we will request more. If we decline the work, our evaluation will explain why we are declining it.

Please read our submission guidelines and properly format your work. Our mailing address can be found on the How to Query Us page.

Thank you in advance for your support of Team in Training and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.


*If you really, truly, absolutely cannot donate by credit card online, then you can submit with your check made payable to "LLS" and I will arrange for that to be processed by the Society.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Year Later, It Just Seems Closer to Reality

I wrote this post a year ago and just read it again. Is it just me, or do we actually seem to be getting closer to this reality?


Mountainview, California—January 28, 2009

In a move sure to surprise markets tomorrow morning, Google® announced this afternoon that it has acquired the following companies:

• Plaxo®
• LinkedIn®
• Facebook®
• MySpace®

The four companies will be rolled into one to be known simply as Goo®. Google assures users that it will do all it can to make being a part of Goo a rewarding experience. Immediate changes that will take place include the following:

1. All users’ personal and professional information from all four services will be immediately cross-referenced, cross-indexed, “crawled,” and published to the web. Simply putting anyone’s name into Goo will immediately result in their home and work contact information, résumé, educational background, net worth, sexual preference, fetishes, kinks, and STD status.
2. “Status” updates need no longer be manually updated. Cell phones equipped with Goo software will automatically track your longitude and latitude to the closest square foot, allowing Google Earth to place your location online whether you are at work, at home, the gym, or elsewhere. Thanks to new Google Heat Signature software, Google Earth can now provide real-time images of your location and show where you are by tracking your body heat signature. Google warns users that this may not work if you are in the shower or making hot love to your honey. However, in conjunction with Goo’s new Personal IP® program, where users are implanted with their own RFID chip with a Personal IP, location status should be discernable even in the hottest background. Contrary to many rumors floating about, the RFID chip implantation will remain voluntary until students reach school age, at which point they will receive the chip along with their whooping cough vaccines.
3. “Friends” will now be automatically connected by any association whatsoever. Everyone in your high-school or college graduating class will automatically be your “friend.” That guy or girl you met on Yep, you’re connected. That friendly teller at the bank? Yep, he’s your new best friend. And the cable guy would like you to join his rotisserie league. Best of all, Goo will be uploading nationwide adoption records, making that search for baby’s momma or daddy a simple point-and-click exercise.
4. Thanks to Goo Banking software, Direct Deposit has new meaning. All of your accounts will be immediately linked upon opening to all other accounts. And there’s no need to worry about budgeting or bill-paying ever again! Goo will do it for you. By automatically linking all of our accounts, money will flow freely from your employer’s bank to your bank to your credit card company, all without your intervention. Goo thanks the Federal Government for inspiring it in creating this service. After all, why should anyone want control over how his or her money is spent!
5. Photos will now automatically be updated to your account from your computer. No need to pick and choose. Goo will do it for you! Simply log on and Goo will seize control and locate every single .jpg file on your computer and upload them. Users who wish not to have their images posted are advised to turn off their computers, disconnect them from their internet connection, and cut the plug off the power cord.
6. Google has announced a new slogan for Goo: “Wherever you go, wherever you hide, we will find you.”™
7. The many applications developed for use with Facebook, LinkedIn and other services will now be rolled into a separate shopping site for such services, known as GooGoo. Google has paid a licensing fee to the GooGoo Dolls for use of their name in this product and will sponsor a worldwide tour for the band. The band’s new album and tour will tie into the new Goo slogan and is entitled simply, NO PRIVACY™.
8. With Goo, authors, song writers, filmmakers, and artists need no longer actually publish or release their work. Goo will automatically locate all manuscripts, artwork, photos, films, and other potentially copyrighted works on users’ computers, immediately uploading it to the public domain. As a part of the new GooWiki, users will be able to rewrite, redraw, revise, and comment on all such works, making them truly collaborative projects for which all can claim ownership.
9. Spinning from Google’s YouTube® division is the new GooYouVote, in which registered voters will be able to vote along with Congress on each and every bill offered for consideration, bringing true democracy to America. (Please note that an RFID chip and Personal IP are required to use GooYouVote.)
10. Last but not least, Goo has announced that it has acquired naming and branding rights to the Earth’s Moon, which henceforth will be known as “the Goon®”

(c)2009 by Andrew H. Zack

Monday, January 25, 2010

Riding to Save Lives

To all of my publishing colleagues:

Our industry has a long and steadfast commitment to helping others. From literacy to UJA to helping Haiti, the publishing community has reached out and helped those in need.

I am writing you today to ask you to help out just a little bit more.

On June 6, 2010, I will be riding as a mentor with the San Diego chapter of Team in Training, raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We will be riding America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride or, as I call it, “The hardest 100 miles on a bike I’ve ever ridden.” Yes, I’ve done it before, in 2005. And between 2005 and 2006, I helped raise over $12,000 for LLS. In total, LLS has raised over ONE BILLION Dollars to help fund the search for a cure to blood cancers, but there isn’t a cure yet. So the effort continues, both in fundraising and in the labs those funds help support. You can read about the efforts of LLS here:

LSS helps support research and also directly assists patients who cannot afford their treatment co-pays or just the taxi to the hospital for regular chemo, and much in between.

Team in Training helps non-athletes train for endurance events, such as centuries, triathlons, and marathons. In exchange for that training, participants fundraise. Mentors assist participants with fundraising and training, while fundraising and training themselves. This will be my fifth century or century-plus (a century is 100 miles) bike ride with TNT and I am hoping to break the $15,000 (total) fundraising mark with this event.

Thus, I’m writing today to ask for your support. Will you please make a donation to my fundraising effort by visiting All donations are, of course, 100% tax deductible and all funds go straight to LLS.

Your support is deeply appreciated.

Thank you.

Best wishes,

Andy Zack

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Buckle Your Seatbelts. It's Going to be a Bumpy Ride.

In Iraq, perhaps the most dangerous job other than EOD is convoy escort. Several years ago, I read a proposal by an author who had retired from the US Marines after running one of the most successful convoy-escort operations in Iraq. The opening chapter, describing the scene of a car-bombing in Baghdad left my jaw hanging. I was actually on a plane that had not just been delayed but had been diverted for refueling and I handed it to the flight attendant to read, I was so eager to share it with someone else.

The chapter was graphic and raw and, I thought, really captured the "boots on the ground" perspective. I worked my ass off to sell that book, but editors complained of "fatigue" in the marketplace. The author, working with his brother, finished the manuscript and I went back out, ultimately selling it for hardcover publication to Thomas Dunne Books. The book should hit bookstores this week.

While serving in Iraq, Jack Lynch found himself in a unique and unexpectedly dangerous role: running convoy security. Each day his team went out, it didn’t know if it would encounter IEDs, ambushes by armed militiamen, or car bombs. Some would argue it was the most dangerous duty in Iraq. For most, the trip from point A to point B was the most dangerous part of any mission. For Lynch’s team, the trip was the mission, and one they performed over and over under harrowing circumstances.

To make this story even more compelling, Lynch’s team, cobbled together from multiple branches of the military and including one woman, conducted their missions with gusto, taking the approach that a good offense makes for a good defense. Civilian cars following too closely? Give them a warning shot. Still too close? Take them out. Armed militia approaching? Open fire before they know what’s happening. While other units routinely sought the safest routes and allowed armed militia to stroll by with impunity, Jack Lynch and his team did what the rules of engagement said they could: they fought the war to win.

Early reviews have been outstanding:

“...tells a poignant story...Lynch draws the reader away from the politics of war and introduces the people fighting and enduring it. He gives a name, face, and a story to the misunderstood tribe of the American warrior...

“...this is where Lynch’s work shines. He reminds us that a family is a cohesive group of individuals with different personalities... This is a beautiful phenomenon of the warrior culture that many will never understand but one well articulated in the MAJESTIC TWELVE.”


“WOW! The Majestic Twelve is a front seat ride into combat at its most dangerous point. A must read.”—Jack Coughlin, USMC, New York Times bestselling author of Shooter: The Autobiography of a Top-Ranked Marine Sniper

"The Majestic Twelve is the story of the team that invented successful urban convoy security tactics, and they did it the hard way--on the road to Baghdad International Airport. Master Sergeant Lynch brings all the military virtues of the Marine Corps to this mission—a brash attitude toward authority, a commitment to mission success, an ability to forge an effective small combat unit, and the ability to skillfully engage enemy forces in close-quarter combat."—Hans Halberstadt, author of Trigger Men