Great initiative by Pittsburgh Writer!

Book Promotion!

The Hand Of Yemanja front cover filtered 1 web







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Return to Sender

Stephen Fry


Dear Mr. Fry,

The recipients of your letter are mere levers on a faulty machine that is neither fueled by a historical conscience, nor ever designed to produce anything other than an advertising platform.

Perhaps you could appeal to the athletes that will attend Mr. Putin’s games – because, yes, athletes will attend and Putin will have his games, as promised. (Fat chance David Cameron will risk getting his gas turned off during winter, don’t you think?) They, the athletes could be the ones to raise a rainbow flag during the opening ceremony or in salute to tolerance and civilized behavior with every medal that is won. You could even make an appeal to us, the public, who would otherwise be made accomplices to the persecution of homosexuals every time we shave our panty lines with a Gillette or flick out our Visas whenever we go to pay for one. You could ask every fifteen year-old kid to hack the shit out of this faulty machine and make the rainbow colors the official screensaver on every IOC computer for a while.

Don’t you think it would be better to just show Mr. Putin which machine was built to last longer?

Let us indeed have a coke and a smile during those two weeks, Mr. Fry!

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flatline 4Few things speak louder, I suppose, than a bi-annual sales report from a publisher. It so reveals the truth about artistic endeavor, about passion and yes, reciprocated love.

It so can be a reminder of what it means to empty out the content of your own heart for the world to trample and ignore, but also why you once decided to write in the first place – and for whom.

Oh, how I missed that fuck-all feeling that once told me: if there isn’t a book being published which you want to read, then you write it – for you!

But I too, of course, am the mutated baby of this monster we call ‘Market’, an addict to the drug that makes us believe that at the heart of everything there is a sound fucking business plan.

So, I too got on facebook and LinkedIn and set off to build a ‘Community’. I was told I needed a blog too – not a diary – but a blog: an on-going dialogue with an audience. A what?

Could it be that only psychopaths leave marks and that conquest is indeed the flip side of creation? Did I actually forget that expression is always personal, and that an audience of any significance is always ONE!?

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back to school

A couple of week ago I had the huge pleasure of visiting a fifth year, pre-exam class at Berlage Lyceum here in Amsterdam. I was invited my friend and fiction critique group colleague, Peter Crowe, who teaches English there.

I was the inaugural guest in a series of podcasts in which, for school audiences, Peter plans to invite different individuals working creatively with the English language in Amsterdam – of which there are surprisingly many, I should add.

(click the photo for entire interview)

I didn’t think I would enjoy talking to an audience of 16 year-olds about writing as much as I did. They seemed well prepared. That morning they had read parts of the book, and after Peter conducted his interview, hands went up all over the place with good questions that could only have come from genuine interest. A couple of his students revealed ambitions toward writing fiction themselves even, and I suspect there were more aspiring novelists in the class.

I sold three books too – and not even at a student discount!

I sure hope to do this more often.

Loved it.


July 12, 2013 · 12:35 pm


It doesn’t happen very often that my writing gets cut to shit in public. I assume that this is because most people are too polite and can appreciate the effort, regardless. But it does happen and it happened to me, the other day, by a known bully, however – at his house.

At a well chosen moment in a conversation getting underway with enough likeminded admirers around him – obviously – the bully said,

It could be that my English isn’t so good, but I didn’t understand what your book is about. There were words in there I didn’t know and your sentences are too complicated for me.

I thanked him for his candor. I told him that I too thought his English wasn’t that great, but that he had been brave to try.


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Pin up

Courtesy: The Pin-up Parade

I’m not sure how it is in the rest of the world, but in Holland, women’s thrillers are immensely popular; as a rule, written by women and read massively by the same mostly during the summer months. This genre has been my own cup of tea on occasion, and out of the ones that have been, some I enjoyed more than others, of course.

One of these female Dutch authors is the former lawyer living in Miami Beach, named Tess Franke – – delving from her own experiences in the world of courts and crime with four successful titles to her name so far.

Interesting thing about Tess is not only that she constantly seems to get short-listed for this prize or that and that she thus could be consider one of the top ladies of Dutch crime fiction, but Tess is also a buddy of mine. That is –

When it comes to Tess Franke, some explaining is always helpful. A couple of years ago, during the height of (I believe) her second title, Tess revealed that next to her talents as a lawyer and a writer, she was also a marketing genius. She had supposedly never given interviews with the Dutch press other than in writing. Clearly, her busy schedule balancing a law and writing career and the inconvenient fact that she resides in the United States, was always an acceptable reason for not appearing on any talkshows or Live radio and whatnot.

One day, however – or, so the story of Tesss goes – her Dutch publisher appeared in the media to announced to her adoring fans that Tess Franke is indeed a fictional character herself, by the hand of a friendly giant named Gert-Jan de Vries – a man!

Gert-Jan and I are friends, though I consistently call him Tess. I refuse to do otherwise. What I can say about Tess is that he will never hesitate to support and encourage a fellow scribe with a mix of childlike enthusiasm and the energy of a space-bound rocket, especially when it comes to new ideas regarding the changing world of writing and publishing. This enlightened soul in my life is also the founder of a new platform called Boenda – – a platform for authors to maximize their earnings by selling directly to their readers. And as a writer he is the most prolific one I know.

I am sorry I missed Tess at my book launch last month, but living in Miami, balancing a career as a lawyer and novelist, boss of his own publishing house Gibbon – – writing and ghost-writing all over the place and managing Boenda, I was at peace with his considerate e-mail he sent me explaining why he couldn’t come, but with the promise that he would read my book and that he would say something about it.

Well, she did; Gert-Jan did – Tess:

Claudio, you wrote a women’s book. And to do that one definitely needs balls!

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Book Launch – The Hand of Yemanjá / 26 May, 2013

an impression…


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