More Than a Soldier Book Spotlight and Guest Post from Author D.M. Annechino

This morning, we are pleased to feature a guest post by author, D.M. Annechino, as he shares a bit about his experiences in writing and publishing over the past 15 years of his career.  Enjoy his look at "dumb luck"--although, we will all certainly argue that his writing well warrants his publishing successes--and check out his latest book, More Than a Soldier:  One Army Ranger's Daring Escape from the Nazis.  Be sure to enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post as well!

Dumb Luck or Literary Excellence?
Guest Post by D.M. Annechino

Over the last 15 years I have attended both the San Diego State University Writer’s Conference and the Southern California Writer’s Conference. If you’re a serious writer and hope to one day get published, make it a point to attend a high-profile writer’s conference. Nowhere on planet Earth will you find more aspiring writers, literary agents, editors, publishers, and writing instructors. It’s a great venue for networking, pitching your work and learning the business of writing.

Publishing deals are made at these events; agents offer representation; writers connect with influential people; workshops teach tricks of the trade. Overall, it is a worthwhile investment of time and money. And I guarantee that you’ll meet some extraordinarily talented writers.

The Fiction Read & Critique Workshops are one of my favorite events at writer’s conferences. Many writers don’t have the backbone for this slugfest, but those who endure gain some great perspectives. Picture 25 hopeful writers jammed in a small room for hours on end, reading passages from their latest work and listening to their fellow writers scrutinize every word, every character, and every syllable. Emotions flow freely and diplomacy is not in the vocabulary. Of course not all critiques are critical. But for the most part, the criticisms far outweigh the accolades.

The point of these read & critique workshops is not for the writer to be unmercifully bludgeoned or embarrassed. But for them to learn and grow as a writer by accepting the critiques in the spirit in which they were intended. Thin-skinned writers have no place in this world. Competition is ferocious. So, excuse me for saying this, but “if you want to play with the big dogs you have to step into the tall grass”.

What I found most amazing about the read & critique workshops was that once in a while an undiscovered, unpublished writer would stand up and read a passage from his or her work and absolutely blow me away. I’m talking about stunning narratives, riveting dialogue, and a use of language that was so literate it read like poetry. What amazed me most was that few of these gifted writers had ever been published. I would say to myself, “If this gal can’t get to first base, what the hell am I even doing here?” How could I ever hope to get published if these extremely talented writers were still waiting on the sidelines?

So, after attending several writer’s conferences and accepting the painful truth that my writing at best was middle-of-the road, I faced a bittersweet reality. On one hand I could save myself further pain of rejection by embracing my fate. On the other hand, it tore out my heart to accept defeat and the reality that none of my novels would ever be published. So, I did what any red-blooded Italian would do: I said, “Screw them all! They don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.”And I self-published.

I didn’t sell very many books; most to family and friends. But then one day the unimaginable happened. I got a call from an acquisition editor at Amazon Publishing, a newly formed company in 2010. The editor told me he stumbled upon, They Never Die Quietly, my first novel, loved it, and offered me a publishing contract. At first I thought it was a setup, that my workmates were messing with me. But then I realized that the guy on the other end of the telephone was legit.

So here I am, seven years later, and I just published, More Than a Soldier, my sixth novel. Whether or not I’m a good writer, worthy of publication, could be argued till doomsday. But one thing is certain: Lady Luck dealt me a straight flush and had I not endured the disappointments and rejection, I’d still be living in the abyss of obscure writers.

Check out D.M. Annechino's book, More Than a Soldier.

               About the Book

Feeling a patriotic duty to defend his country after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, seventeen year old, Angelo J. DiMarco, enlists in the U.S. Army. Severely short of frontline fighters, the Army rushes Angelo through Ranger training and sends him to Italy as part of the 1st Ranger Battalion. Their objective: stop the German invasion.

Fighting on the front lines in Italy, the German’s teach Angelo a sobering lesson on life when they capture him during the bloody battle of Cisterna. Against insurmountable odds, Angelo miraculously escapes in a way that stretches the imagination. He survives behind enemy lines for over five months, hiding from the Germans and trying to outmaneuver them. He begs for food, sleeps in barns and suffers from many ailments, including dehydration, malnutrition, malaria and exposure to the elements.

More Than a Soldier is Angelo DiMarco’s powerful story of survival, resilience and courage.

Buy the Book:  

Praise for More Than a Soldier:

Annechino colorfully draws the actions scenes, and richly brings the supporting cast of characters to life. A moving tale of survival in war-torn Europe.
- Kirkus Reviews

Nuanced and eloquently written, More Than a Soldier adds to the body of WWII literature an extraordinary story of survival and a deeply affecting portrait of a soldier’s coming-of-age.
- The iRead Review

Meet the Author

Daniel M. Annechino, a former book editor, wrote his first book, How to Buy the Most Car for the Least Money, while working as a General Manager in the automobile business. But his passion had always been fiction, particularly thrillers. He spent two years researching serial killers before finally penning his gripping and memorable debut novel They Never Die Quietly. He has written and published five novels—all thrillers. But his latest work, More Than a Soldier, is a Historical Biography set in Italy during WWII.

A native of New York, Annechino now lives in San Diego with his wife, Jennifer. He loves to cook, enjoys a glass of vintage wine, and spends lots of leisure time on the warm beaches of Southern California.

Connect with the Author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

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  1. Thank you so much for Spotlighting More Than a Soldier. I really appreciate it!

    D.M. Annechino



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