Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Man Behind The Mask or Why I had to become Jeffrey Kosh

Jeffrey Kosh was born in Chinle, Arizona. Not in 1968, but much, much later.
Massimo Zini was born in Rome, Italy. On that date. So why on Earth I’m going around saying I’m American? Why do I have to wear a mask?

Simple, I had to.

I was reborn there in my second life. I’m not going to explain you all the details of my private life (first I don’t want to bore you to death, second I still need my privacy). Young Massimo was a restless guy who loved to travel and make new experiences. In one of my trips I fell in love with Arizona, where I really became a cowboy for a time. Or rather a ranch hand. However, life had other plans, so I had to leave and go back to Italy. Got married there, then back to Florida where I worked as a receptionist. Then, back again to Italy for family reasons. As many of you know, I eventually ended up living in Thailand and there, thanks to the lack of job opportunities, I found myself being a storyteller, and a good one at it. My stories aren’t international bestsellers, but my name (the pen one) has grown quickly in the written word industry. I was doing great. Not much money, but a lot of personal satisfaction when publishing companies started accepting my submissions.

The US have always treated me kindly, offering me great opportunities of growth. After all these years, I can barely write in my native language as I read, write, and think in English. But yeah, sometimes you can hear my Italian accent. I can write and speak with a Southwestern accent, and I even showed to my readers that I can write dialects. Still, that’s not my native language.

Am I a liar?
No, because I always said that Jeffrey Kosh is a fictional figure, an armor to disguise the much more vulnerable and sensitive Massimo. And no, because everything I said in public is true. There’s just one lie: I wasn’t born there.

Why I’m telling you this?
Because things have changed (the only constant in this universe being change) and because someone else can do that.

First, when I created Jeffrey Kosh I was trying to cut all ties with my family. We had a really bad fight and we stopped talking for three years. It was natural I didn’t want to share my (meager) successes with them. They had, and still have accounts on social media, and that was my main tool for advertising my debut as a public figure.
However, we are again a family now, and it hurts them to stay in the shadow. Likewise, I have a new family, the lovable Versinis, and I don’t like forcing them to pay attention at what they write about me: like calling me Massimo on Facebook.
All these people deserve respect and less stress.

Second, I split off from my wife after 19 years of marriage. Again, I will spare you the details. Anyway, she threatened to spread out the truth behind Jeffrey Kosh, just out of spurn. Well, I think better you know it from me rather than someone you barely know, but that promised to call down the fires of heaven on me and my actual partner. I’ve always tried to keep my private life out of my professional one, but it looks like this is impossible.

Third, I love my city. I was born in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I’m proud of being Roman first, and Italian second. This city made me what I am: an artist, a history lover with a knack for small details.
And the fact that my soccer team is doing great this year (FORZA AS ROMA!) is just adding to my eagerness to unmask.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused to you.
And that’s all. Now back to what we love most: writing and reading.

My Best.

Massimo Zini

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Maybe this is not much - but every bit helps.

I'm glad my last novel, DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES - The Full Tale, is part of May December Publications' GRIM WINTER box set. I'm even more glad now.

Today May December Publications  will send a check for $100.00 to the American Red Cross for disaster relief from typhoon Haiyan’s impact in the Philippines.
Also, their anthology, 'Wake The Witch', is available and 
ALL proceeds of this book will go to the Red Cross. 

AND from now through the end of the year - not only MDP will still pay the authors for their part in the GRIM WINTER Box Set - but will match EVERY dollar paid for this box set and send it to the Red Cross Philippines as well.
Wanna help? Go buy this excellent collection of 13 scary novels. Heath Stallcup, TW Brown, Tracy Ford, RD Teun, Robert Dean, Bennie Newsome, DA Chaney, Duncan Lloyd, Patrick MacAdoo, Christopher Harris, PS Turner, Erik Rise, and me are proud to offer you the best from MDP.

Monday, November 4, 2013

There’s not such a good way to promote your work and be professional at the same time.

There’s not such a good way to promote your work and be professional at the same time.

Being a writer, I feel gratification when I get a positive review (heck, I’ll be excited even with a bad, but constructive one), or when someone else, rather than me, talks about my stories (very, very rarely).
And I’m not the only one feeling this way, I think.
We writers are like theater actors: we live for the clapping at the end of the performance. Or even for the splash of rotten tomatoes. We just don’t like being ignored.

However, it has come to my attention that posting on the Internet about your small and insignificant successes is a sign of neediness and self-doubt. Or posting how many words you wrote today. Or extracts of your work in progress. Or about your last interview.
In short, to be professional and serious, writers must be silent.

So, let’s just talk about giraffes, grumpy animals, politics, sports, memes, our kids, our sad stories, and what we had for dinner. Better, why don’t we just stop being present on social media and fade away.
I used to be very active on social networks when I started publishing, but lately, with all this criticism going on, well frankly I’m afraid even to write good night.

I know there’s a constant misuse of self-promotion. I know that sometimes writers (or actors, photographers, directors, etc.) act like they are the only stars in the firmament.
But what are we supposed to do?
I see people working in other fields (clerks, administrators, you name what) posting about their small, but exciting good news, such as getting two extra bucks in their monthly. They just want to say to the world how much they are faring good.
They are entitled. We aren’t.

“How am I driving?”
Remember that bumper sticker on trucks all across America? Truckers were getting so much a bad repute that some companies started calling for feedback from motorists just to know who was doing a good job. When you see an artist pumping its wares it's no different. Yes, it's a call for attention. Most of these people don’t have an agent, or a publicist behind their backs.
When they post about their successes I’m happy for them. I don’t feel jealousy, and I don’t consider them needy. Unless … unless they do it every hour, to the point of nausea. Moderation is the key word in everything in life.

I understand criticism, but there’s too much bitterness around here. I’m sincerely thinking of just stop talking about my writing and post only graphics. Mind you, I didn’t receive any kind of personal attack. I just read some general posts.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


I’m being constantly bugged by robot programs and young women looking for a good man to marry, or so they say. Phishing websites have an ‘evolve or die’ attitude, y’know?

At first, they tried to fish info out of me with robot programs. But they are too impersonal: they just contact you when you are not logged in, drop a funny line (Hi Jeffrey, how r u? I’m here in Ao Nang and I’m sooo bored. I’m not always on FB, so it’s better if u give me ur cell number, so I can contact u directly. Stay hot!), then disconnect before you can reply.
It’s not going to work in the long distance.

So, they are now hiring actual people: they create a fake account in a social network (you can spot them by the profile pic showing a gorgeous gal or guy in a sexy pose and by the lack of personal info), send you a friendship request, then immediately contact you by private messages. And you can have some interesting (?) conversation with them.

Most of my author friends often complain about receiving this kind of messages. Heck, they contact you even on Goodreads.

‘Eeewww,  had a guy, half the age of my grandson, hitting on me in my inbox…”

That’s not a guy trying to get into your knickers. He just wants your phone number.

Well, this kind of thing can be clearly useless, but I’ve learned from a humorist blogger (Don Mills) that you can get some cheap fun, just for the sake of it.

Here’s an actual conversation between me and a ‘Maria.




how are you doing to day

How can I help you?

just making friends here

How did you find me?
Spotted me in some groups?

i am a new people on facebook

Interested in writers?
I see you are friend with Joe.
Oh, btw, where are you typing from?


i am here

Hi again.

how are you doing today

Fine thanks. What about you?

i am also fine

Good to hear that.

where do you come from

Born in the US, but I live in the UK

i was born in US to but now im living in tamale


that is in wast Africa



Are you a reader?

do you know ghana

No, never been there.

so what do you know about ghana

I just know it's a country
And ...

ok i am living in ghana with my mum

Ghana, officially the Republic of Ghana, is a sovereign nation-state and unitary presidential constitutional republic located on the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in Africa. Ghana consists of ten territorial administrative regions with several islands and it is bordered by the Ivory Coast to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean to the south. The word Ghana means “Warrior King”.
That's all I know.

oh i see
how old are you

Too old. I'm vergin’ 45.

So married or single

Been married for 19 years, now I'm living with my new Lady.

Ok what is the name of your lady

Why do you want to know my Lady's name?

Oh i just asking

I mean, it's an odd conversation, don't you agree?
Do you want to know my Lady? I can introduce you to her. She is a writer, like me.

I see

What do you for a living, Maria?
Are you a writer? A publisher? An editor?

Right now im looking for a good man to get married

Oh, I see
And you are looking for it on ... the web?
I can point you to some dating sites.


Hello There,
am here for you are you there with me as well?

Sorry, just fell asleep, ma'am. You ask questions, then answer back after a long while. I’m no longer a young lad.

So can you give me your phone number so i can taxi you

Sure, here's a photo of my phone
Hope it can help
I can even send you a pic of my home.


That's my flat:

So can i have the number

Do you want a pic of my driving license, too?


Oh, sorry I lost it, but I can send you a pic of my Babylon 5 Fan Club card
Can you send me a pic of you wearing a Vorlon suit?


Thanks, I really appreciate.

can i have the number

That's a pic of my passport


Sorry, been busy looking for my phone number

so did you get it

Excellent news. I was able to locate my driver’s license. It was in the socks drawer, right next to an old business card and some suspicious old and dirty undies.
Attached is a photo.
oh good
Hello Dear , Can you Give me your Cell Phone Number when ever i get Online i can text you to come on as well.

Dear Miss Cass, unfortunately I do have some urgent business to deal with. I sincerely hope you'll be here when I'll be back from the shi ... I mean, the bathroom.
My Best

Are you there?
Here’s a photographic scan of my passport. I think that will help.

My Best,

P.S.: Still eagerly waiting for that Vorlon suit pic …

So, next time you are approached by those lovingly helpful virtual paramours, don't be rude. 
Just bring then on a wild goose chase.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES - The Full Tale. A talk show with Arthur J. Jones

Today, I’m going to host a talk show.

Yes, you read it well, a talk show. I’m going to host some of the characters of my last novel, DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES – The Full Tale – published by May-December Publications.

I personally invited Captain Daniel Drake, Admiral O’Neill, Captain Lorraine Dumont, and the Crimson Roger here at the Banshee’s Cry pub, in Prosperity Glades. It was very difficult bringing them here from an alternate universe, but thanks to the marvels of Vorlon technology, I was able to breach the barrier between dimensions and whisk them away for a short time.
However, I’m not going to interview them. I leave that dangerous duty to Arthur J. Jones, a well known resident who had some major change of luck lately (from vagrant to billionaire) and is doing much for this little hamlet.
Arthur J. Jones: G’evening, ladies, gentlemen, and … whatever you are (points to the Crimson Roger). Now, keep in mind this the first time I do this, so please be patient and try to open your mouth one-at-a-time. This guy, Kosh, the one who published my story (FIVE), asked me to interview you creeps about a book titled DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES

Daniel 'Drake' Davies: The Full Tale. It’s the longer version of the short story I narrated last year …

Jones: Yeah. Whatever. Anyway, for what I see it’s a pirate story, right?

Everybody, excepts the Crimson Roger, nods.

Jones: Do you disagree on that, Mister?

The Crimson Roger: We don’t think it’s a ‘pirate tale’. We see it as the personal vision of a deluded man who thinks he saved the world from a terrible scourge. Yet, it remains to be seen.

Morgan 'Red Leg' O’Neill: This reminds me of the battle of Pinhilla. We were outnumbered, but we buccaneers had something that …

Jones: Okay, okay, man, leave that for another time. Lets just stay focused on the book. Who’s the main character in it?”

Drake: Me. I’m the hero, Hermano. I’m the one who rushed in where angels feared to tread.

Roger: You’re not! You just happened to be in the right place in the right moment. You, pompous and arrogant swab, are just dead meat. Weren’t for our curse you would just be one of the Risen by now.

Drake: Belay it, you skullface. I led my crew into battle, across the Devil’s Sea, straight into the center of the maelstrom. You and your cold crew were just ballast.

O’Neill: Blimey! Now I remember! We used ballast to escape from the wake of the Nuestra Senora Incoronada. That Spaniard ship was right behind us, shooting lead into our very bumhole. So, I …

Jones: Please! Please! The book! Oh, I wish I had … Nevermind. I swore to never wish anymore. I will ask one of you. All the others stay silent, please. You, Ma’am. Who’s the main character in the novel?

Lorraine 'Le Corbeau Noir' Dumont: D’accord. I don’t know. I think Kaya was the most important figure in the ritual at Mabouyacay. Without her magie, there was no way we could accomplish anything.

Jones: Kaya? Where’s this woman?

Lorraine: Well … she …

Drake: Don’t say anything, Hermosa! You don’t want to spoil the whole story, right?

O’Neill: Oh, c’mon! This story has been told and retold so many times. Everybody knows that Kaya

Jones: No! Absolutely no spoilers, please. Kosh has been very clear on that point. I don’t want to know what happened to this Kaya. I will read the book. Now, use one word. Just one (looks at O’Neill) to describe this tale.

Drake: Adventurous.

Lorraine: Romance.

O’Neill: Tall tale. That’s two words, but I can’t find a better way. Actually, this reminds me …

Jones: Mr. Roger?

Roger: Nonsense.

Jones: I understand you didn’t like it. Why?

Drake: Guy’s just jealous. He's got less pages than me.

Roger: Nay! It’s the story. It’s as phony as this swab in front of our deadlights. It never went that way!

Drake: You are delusional, Amigo.

Roger: So tell us, swab, tell us why we are still here? We should be dead, forever forgotten, lost in the sea of mists surrounding the Scarlet Witch. Yet, we still ply the high seas, bringing death and misery to your pathetic colonies.

Jones: Why do you refer to yourself in plural?

Roger: Cause we are many. This body is just a vessel for all the lost souls of the Scarlet Witch. We are the Accursed.

Jones: Accursed? What does that mean?

O’Neill: There’s a curse on the Scarlet Witch’s crew. A curse worse than that of the Risen. Its captain had it befell on all the men 'board that bloody vessel. It all started before the Plague

Drake: Don’t spoil my story, old man!

O’Neill: Admiral! Call me Admiral. I should have had you jerk in the Devil’s arms a long time ago, scoundrel.

Lorraine: Merde! Can we just talk about the book, can we?

Drake: Aye. DEAD MEN is just a tale. There’s romance, horror, adventure, and drama. You can believe as much as you want of it, but anyway it happened. In the place we come from, a great plague destroyed the nations of Europe in 1666. Carried by the Risen, dead that won’t stay dead, it forced the survivors to escape to the New World, where, apparently, there was no trace of it. However, as we found out later …

Jones: Go on.

Drake: Nay. Buy the book.

Roger: The curse was older than that. Magic has always been part of our world. Do you believe in ghost stories, Sir? Fine, cause you are just into one.

Jones: Oh, no please, I had my own share of creeps. Well, time to say g’bye, we are boring enough our readers.

O’Neill: Wait, I haven’t finished with the battle of Pinhilla!

The Characters

Arthur J. Jones: The protagonist of FIVE, he was a drunken tramp who had the luck (or misfortune) to meet a weird being which promised him to answer to five of his questions about everything. This turned him into a billionaire, but soon he regretted knowing too much.

Captain Daniel ‘Drake’ Daniels: Dashing captain of the Banshee’s Cry, he was forced to sign the League of the Antilles chart, turning him into a legit privateer (or lapdog, as he often says). Dislikes authorities and dreams about being his own master.

Captain Lorraine Justine Dumont: The daughter of a French explorer, she ended up becoming one of the most successful and feared pirate of the Caribbean: Le Corbeau Noir (the Black Raven). Commanding the Raven’s Nest, she stays away from politics, preferring to set sail to her own destiny.

Admiral Morgan ‘Red Leg’ O’Neill: One of the leaders of the League of the Antilles, this old seadog rose to power by betraying Captain Morgan and rebelling against English rule of Jamaica. Known blabbermouth, has a story for anything. If you care to listen.

The Crimson Roger: He looks like an undead creature, more bones than flesh. The captain of the Scarlet Witch, he and his crew of Accursed suffer under a terrible malediction cast by the Voodoo Queen of Mabouyacay. Their quest for the Crystal Skull will bring them in conflict with the crew of the Banshee’s Cry.

The Book

The Caribbean Sea, 1708 AD.

In Port Royal many have heard the legend of the Black Brig, a ship of the damned bringing a fate worse than death to the isolated colonies of the Caribbean Sea.
But few know the true story behind the tavern tales.
As the war between the Northern Alliance and the League of the Antilles looms on the horizon, an old captain is ready to embark on a venture to cease the blight of the Black Brig once for all and have his revenge.
Set in an alternate historical setting, where a supernatural plague caused the fall of the European powers and where what was left of humanity struggles to survive in the New World, DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES – THE FULL TALE narrates the ghastly voyage pirate captain Daniel Drake Davies underwent in 1676, and the events that will force him to confront those same horrors thirty years later. For the dead do not rest peacefully in the Devil’s Sea.
Pirates, voodoo, and seagoing undead await you in this fantastic journey in a land that never was. 

DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES – THE FULL TALE expands and completes the best selling short story, with new characters, unexpected twists, and more horrors.

You’ve heard the tale … now listen to the whole story.

“Errol Flynn would be pleased, George Romero would be pleased, Howard Philip Lovecraft and Robert Louis would be pleased, and I think you'll be pleased, too.” – Trent Zelazny, award-winning author of Tool Late to Call Texas.

“I applaud Jeffrey Kosh for an original take on both pirate fiction and zombie fiction!” – Suzi M, author of the Immortal War Series.

“Written in the vein of the classic ghost ship tale, "Dead Men Tell No Tales" has the feel of Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner told in prose.” – Leigh M. Lane, 2013 Epic Awards finalist and author of Finding Poe.

I love reading zombie stories, especially fresh takes on the subgenre. The author does it here, with pirates (another reading love of mine!) and blends them both into a unique short story that is well-written and a great read. – Armand Rosamilia, author of the Miami Spy Games zombie spy thriller series.

Monday, July 15, 2013


LORRAINE VERSINI's first story goes FREE today.

As her mentor, I'm feeling excited for her. As an horror writer, I'm not too keen on fairy tales, unless they are grim and brooding. Yet, her writing style charmed me from the beginning.
Purple Wish was born as an exercise: Lorraine was writing a bloody story (that I hope she will bring to an end soon) and there was a running Valentine event on Facebook asking readers to 'date' their favorite author, have a chat, and review one of the author's books. The author had to feature the reader as a marginal character in his/her work-in-progress.

Lorraine Versini was already my 'pupil' and she selected me as her date. She became 'Le Corbeau Noir' in my 'Dead Men Tell No Tales - The Full Tale' (not out yet), a dashing badass pirate chick. But my editor friend, Natalie G. Owens, suggested Lorraine had to write a story too.
So was born 'Purple Wish', in which yours truly is featured as the main character, and Natalie Owens has a special role in the whole plot. I'm not going to spoil this short tale for you, so just keep in mind that is a fairy tale with a modern language (very different from my 'angst-goth' storytelling) and with a lot of humor.

Oh, you know I'm not too keen on freebies, too, so grab one copy before I crack my whip on my pupil and stop all this sickenin' sweetness.

Enjoy 'Purple Wish - A Valentine Fairy Tale' ... till it lasts.