Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Career Criminal: 10th Anniversary Edition by Gary Govich


I don't know where you are, but here in New Orleans, it is freezing! I woke up with both cats, one on each side on my very furry blanket. None of us wanted to get up and face the chill. Hot coffee couldn't come fast enough. As I write this post, I have my space heater on full blast keeping my body warm and I'm snuggled up in a blanket. Honestly, I don't know how you Northerns do it. Thank goodness it won't stay cold here long.

Now that I'm adjusting to the cold, the author and the book I'm introducing you today is hot! It is also in its tenth anniversary with a special edition available. I hope you enjoy learning about the book and about the author.


Career Criminal: 10th Anniversary Edition




Mr. Govich returns to take you deeper|darker inside the dreadful places. The ones he said that he would never look back into them again. Forbidden zones you should never enter alone. It's treacherous there. You go inside and you can’t tell where the grey ends and the black begins. Places where you can drift away and never even know you were gone | They were too unpleasant for him to recant.
Mr. Govich was a stranger to you. And you were a stranger to him. He was afraid you might cut loose and he knew that without you, there was no way he would make it back out of there again.
Ten years later.
I read your reviews. My work touched your lives, it inspired others to give you their best work. With the movie “Caviar” now complete, we stand at the precipice. The cusp of victory.
You have valued my hardships.
You have honored my scarifies.
I’m gonna let you see it now.
We’re ready | Together, steadfast, you and I. Nothing held back.
Gritty and real, Career Criminal: The Code of The Streets is more than a profound retelling of the original indie classic. Mr. Govich brings you a page-turning kaleidoscopic powerhouse that puts you square center – the real-life Russian mafia. With a bold new format, over two-hundred pages of new content, a newly expanded glossary, and original artwork from the brightest talent on the planet.
It’s not something you read | This is something you experience.
I made it special, for you.
The cost was high for me but I owed you that.
Consider us even.


Gary Govich 




Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

 Before we begin, I would like to thank you for taking the time to interview me. For my readers, I would like to thank them for their continued support, the encouragement, the great feedback I received in the reviews for the original Career Criminal book published back in 2008. It was your kind words that kept me breathing when the entire whole of the world smashed on my head and broke me open.

Back in ‘08 when I published the original with Iuniverse (now owned by crappy Authors House) self-publishing was in its infancy stages. It was considered more of a vanity thing to do. Hardly anyone took self-publishing seriously. I was such a freshman; I didn’t even know what an agent did. After writing the original manuscript and semi-polishing it, I internet searched (Google was barely a thing back then) the phrase “how do I get my book published?” That led me to purchase a copy of “The Writers Market.” With that in hand, I set about doing the standard big five query process. To my surprise, I had more than a dozen requests for the full manuscript.
               
I promptly ran to Kinkos, printed out a few dozen copies, paid for the postage, and sent them to their intended targets. This was a pretty costly endeavor. To my best recollection, I spent close to two thousand dollars in all. My wife was not happy. In fact, she was downright livid. “You need to stop this foolish book bullshit, Gary. Nobody cares about your book. Pull your head back from whatever hole its stuck in and start thinking about normal things. Nobody is going to read your book.” I believe were her exact words.
               
Unfortunately for me, somebody did read my book.
                
A few months and I get the letter. “We love your story, Mr. Gary. Here’s the thing; your style of writing isn’t a good fit for our audience. We would like to purchase your book along with all the rights for…” Well, you can read all about it in my “From the Author” section of the new book. You get to write one of those when every single person you were convinced you could count on them, every single one you cut it up for when they summoned you – ridiculed you and called you fool-boy for not taking that money discovers that you sold the film rights to “the book nobody cares about.”
                
Selling the options was pretty cool; it was a victory. The definitive victory came when I got the call, “We’re ready to start filming. We owe you some money, Gary.”
                
It’s funny; cash money up to that point was my only real motivation for doing anything and everything. Not selling out that book was the single thing that I had done in my life because it was what felt like the right way. Because by not selling it, I somehow knew it would add value to people’s lives. That was my only intention for that book – that it would touch people. After releasing it into the world I received (and keep receiving) the easiest money I’ve ever been handed – The cost for me doing that – Very High.

What inspired you to author this book?

There were two inspiring factors in creating the 10th-anniversary edition.
                
The first was y’all, my readers. When I brought the original Career Criminal: My life in The Russian Mob | Until the day I died, I put in everything. I always knew how to tell a good story – It’s not always about the story. For that, I refer back to the old adage, “It’s not what you say. It’s how you say it.”
               
 I needed to create something unique. A new writing style that could show the story like y’all were my road-dawgs, shotgun right there with me. Feeling every triumph and suffering through every beatdown. I reached into the ether and activated every molecule of energy available. I forced and shaped and manifested until I pulled out something important. I knew this was going to be a movie before I ever sat down to punch a key. That’s not braggart – That’s real talk. 




               
 I believe that we shape our own destinies, that the power to create our greatest future relies solely on the belief (within ourselves) that not only is that future possible – It’s our birthright – and it is our duty to claim it. Too bad for me, at that time almost all of the people dearest to me didn’t look at the world in the way that I do. The remedy was easy enough, I got rid of those people and found some new ones… or did they get rid of me. It doesn’t matter. I found some new people – People 2.0 – Ones that wouldn’t dare make a shit on my dreams.
                
As for the book, although it did exactly what it was supposed to, it left me feeling like I shortchanged my readers. I wanted to give so much more than the original I published. I convinced myself that I didn’t need professional editing. The message was the message. My words would speak for me. In reality, the book needed serious editing, but I just couldn’t afford it. Even if most people didn’t understand my gibberish, regardless of how stupid my mistakes made me look “in the writing community,” no matter what and at all costs that book needed to be published.
                
My readers would have to make due.
                
Nary knowing who I was y’all gave me a read. You paid full boat for the eBook. You saw what I showed you, mistakes – no editor – y’all gave me great reviews. I owed you. When a man has a debt to pay it haunts him – The choice was never really mine to make.
                
When I sat down to bring the 10th Anniversary. This time I came with the force of the movie royalties behind my creative power. I hunted down talented sketch artists for almost a full year. That was a very interesting exercise. We artists are uniquely peculiar people. I commissioned three extraordinary illustrators. They crafted eleven distinctive pieces. Not all of them made the new book. The ones that did – Powerful masterworks – They will touch people in ways my words cannot.
               
I utilized every resource at my disposal and was fortunate enough to locate one of the most talented editors in our time|space. Almost a years’ worth of the usual back and forth with my brilliant editor Mellissa Carmean – I had to send it to her in three parts – She’d never worked on a book like this. The pressure was intense; there was a movie on the way. There couldn’t be any glitches. Mel knocked it out the box. She insisted I look at everything I forced myself not to see – she loves words in the same way I do. Once I got back the fully edited manuscript. That’s when my work really began.
               
 After reading your reviews, my biggest criticism was that the story was confusing.
              
  I needed to fix that.
               
 I reached back into that same ether. This time with greater clarity, with truer purpose.
                
The ether is a lonely place – It’s scary in there – You stay in too long you don’t come back the same. And sometimes you pull back more than you can handle. Revisiting one more again the pain and desperation, regretting all over again through the losses – It’s exactly like Hemmingway said "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
                
I dedicated myself to this task with a new resolve – redoubling my efforts. I lived inside that space for over a year. I became the book, experiencing every single word over and over. It was everything. All day – Every Day – Everything. Some days it truly felt like a hopeless effort and I was more the fool than ever before. Instead of taking that money and investing into something with a stable dividend. Here I was again – like I had never left. Like this was the only place I had ever been.
               
 I knew though – I knew I had to lose so I could win.
                
Within the folds of tangible permanence, adrift the hardness of dense reality. Deep inside the creases that connect consciousness to matter, I wrestled with the source. Back and forth we fought until I was able to reach into eternity’s fire and claim my prize – I lost something in that fire – It wouldn’t let me come out the same. I had to give away a part of who I was. The was the price. A small piece of me. I gave it gladly – for you – and returned home with a format that I believe will show you more|better. A mathematical encoding of words that are attuned to universal principals of higher understanding. It grants anyone reading the ability “to see with my eyes.” This combination of symbols and word placement opens a new channel. You don’t just see the words – You feel them – That’s all I ever really wanted – from the very beginning – Now I can finally say DONE and thank you.         
                
There was another factor that committed me to the 10th Anniversary Edition of Career Criminal: The Code of The Streets.
                
Y’all weren’t the only ones I owed – Joseph Mensch – I owed him too. In 2013 he optioned the movie. I don’t even know how the son of a bitch found me – I did not want to be found. I was done with writing. Giving you that original Carrera Criminal – The cost for me was very high. I didn’t want a sequel; I didn’t want a new story. With the book’s small success, I was encouraged to write. Every time I sat down and got to it – I just couldn’t do it – The pain hurt too much.
               
Then Joe hollered at me. He wasn’t the only one that wanted to option the movie. He was the only one I took seriously. You see, I knew what this project was. Joe at the time had no clue – He probably wouldn’t have believed me had I told him. I responded to his email, considered his offer, then gave him my private number. Young Joseph was a film school graduate out of Columbia Film or some other place of most importance. “Your book is gonna be my Goodfellas.” That was what he told me on that call. I imagined myself a young Joe reading my words. From across sixteen-hundred miles away I felt his energy – the hunger – How could I say no to the kid on the fresh come up?
               
I gave it to him. Who the fuck was I to stand in his way?
               
 Options expire. Yep, they do. When a book options for a movie its on a timer. What is an option anyways? It’s a contract to buy something at a certain price before a certain time. So, if the options aren’t exercised – they expire. Such was the case with my options. They were days away from expiring when Joe hit me back on the cellular and wanted to “re-buy” the options. In five full years, Joe hadn’t made the movie.
               
 It’s like I said – I knew what this really was – a Passion Project. Here’s the thing about a passion project. My book Career Criminal: My life In the Russian Mob | Until the Day I Died was a passion project. Green money is never your only motivation when you work a passion piece. You’re after something much more meaningful. Whether it’s success, touching people, changing something, whatever it is your looking for with a “passion” – It’s gonna cost you. You pay for passion projects through sideways deal-making that comes back on you. Those type “deals” never amount to anything. They destroy you and your project. The only other payment that the universe – in this current state – will accept is a pound of flesh. Neither option is really anything nice – I gave my pound and called it good. Of course, Joe hadn’t made the movie – He had yet to install his required pound of flesh.
               
 Let me tell y’all a little something about me. Living life in the left-lane. Dying. Coming back. Losing everything – twice – You gain some wisdom and if anything at all you learn how to read people, their intentions, their integrity. Joseph Mensch wasn’t making any “deals” This here is a man of character. How do I know? For starters his last name is Mensch. In the Hebrew tongue, his name literally means good man. A mensch is a good person, someone you really like and admire. "a person of righteousness and honor." Nope. No deal making for a mensch. That meant the universe was due to its pound. When we spoke about “re-buying” the options – Joe was different. He understood the cost.
               
 I gave it to him. A few weeks later they started rolling the tape on “Caviar” the movie adaptation based on Career Criminal. A few days after that I got a check – I swear to you now – The day it came I knew. I cash that check and I’m in debt.
                By now I know the rules real good – You can't take without giving back – If I let Joe cut off a pound of flesh and he puts a “based on my jacked up ten-year-old wreck of a book” in his credits – It’s how do they say it in the movies, “ShowsOverThatsAWrap.” Him – me – Probably the whole entire all of it. And here lay my real problem – Joe is putting my name in the credits – It was in the notarized contract we both signed. And I already told y’all, we’re dealing with a mensch. Righteous people keep their word and do what they say. Every time.
                
Joseph Mensch outside bleeding out a piece of himself so he could make y’all a masterpiece while selfish Gary Govich rests on his laurels – I gave my pound – That’s why I got what I got. Except “Hold on now Gary,” says the universe. “If you want this next success. This next victory – the big one – Look here. We’re gonna require another pound.” And the real – what the fuck – If I don’t give the pound. It’s a loss across the board – for everyone. “We’re not guaranteeing you victory Gary. The loss – that’s a for-sure”.
               
 Like I said – the choice was never really mine to make.
                
Two years later. Movie finished. Book finished. Both of us a pound lighter. I spoke to Joe Mensch. He invited me to the private screening. The first showing of his impressive passion piece. He spoke to me in a commanding tone of a surety I had never heard him use.  Finally, he knew what I had known all along. He made y’all a blockbuster. I can’t wait for y’all to see it!
               
Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

The covers – Wow. You know the covers. What can I say about the covers? Well, first I want to give recognition to the talented artists that helped make the covers possible. I would also like to give special thanks to Natalie Narbourne from Original Book Covers Designs. She created the “Mass Market edition” cover an did all the renderings and illustration work for the “10th Anniversary edition softcover” as well as the detail work for “Battle Worn – the 10th Anniversary Special Edition” hardcover.  The first and most obvious question readers have when they see the covers – Why so many and what’s the difference?
                
Please allow me to explain the covers and some of the reasoning behind our decision to present readers with multiple variants of the cover. There are three covers of the same book. The first called Career Criminal: The Code of The Streets is your industry standard kick-ass awesome cover. The concept for the cover came from a collaboration between myself and Natalie. Its everything you can expect in a “normal” book cover – like the ones that most of us have become accustomed to. It’s the only cover that provides a descriptive blurb on the backside. It’s cousin the Career Criminal: 10th Anniversary Edition cover we got from one the illustrations called “The Devils Gun.” No description – no blurb. We choose to put credits on the back. It’s a polarizing power-piece that breaks every industry standard. It was designed specifically as a companion for “Caviar” and to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the book.

The final cover “Battle Worn” is one of the most potent artworks in the arsenal. There’s a great backstory behind this piece and the feelings it summons in me when I look at it – desperation shamedeception. I love this piece. It paints a picture of the confused duplicity of the everyday struggle. We don’t print this edition in softcover. It’s hardcover only. Limited print run. Check my website, either it's available or it's not. I promise you though, it's one you’re not going to want to miss.
                
So essentially you have one book – 3 covers. Why do such a thing? Two reasons. The artwork is amazing. Some of it’s in the book. The bright white book paper doesn’t do it the justice it deserves. I need y’all to see it in its truest form. You can purchase both prints and canvases of most of the pieces on my website or through some of our local retailers, probably even on eBay.

There isn’t even one thing conventional about any of my writing. I intentionally and effectively break every single writing “rule” created by the establishment. I figured why stop with the interior. The classic “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” I’m thinking this time is the exception. 



Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?

You know this writer’s life – It really is something fantastic.
                
My journey hadn’t even reached the beginning of the beginning when early ’04 I met this frail oldtimer – Dale. Five-foot three and a quarter inches tall. About two-thousand years old. Always wore a half-dozen war hero medals. He trudged around – stiff crumpled hand gripping the painted American eagle head at the top of his bent-wood brown lacquered cane.
                
Dale sat down on a white plastic chair adjacent to mine. Sitting was a process for this antique. I grabbed him by the elbow and helped him down. “Get your hands off me, son,” he barked then knocked me in the foot with his cane.
                
“You know what your problem is Gary,” he said. “I didn’t know I had a problem, Mr. Dale.” I jokingly replied with a giggle. “There’s nothing funny here son. I’m trying to help you. You need to listen here boy,” Dale stated. I was besieged by his mixture of outdated cowboy cologne and cigar smoke as he spoke his words of wisdom. “I see you hanging around here looking for answers. Son, you don’t even know the right questions. You came a long way from where you were. I’ve seen hundreds of you – runners – You’re running away from something”, he paused for a second catching his breath. “It doesn’t matter where you run Gary. You can’t run away from yourself – no matter where you go – There you are,” he finished. Dale put his right hand on my left shoulder and pressed down hard. He slowly got back on his feet. “Time to stop running Gary. Time to stop pretending. Time to start making it right. Pick up the pieces. Get to living”, Dale didn’t look back as he broadcast that final message.
                
It wasn’t but two weeks and we throwing dirt and smoking brisket at his remembrance.
                
Not long after I sat down to write my book.
                
Men like Dale. A few other men of incontestable character took in a hopeless loser – a throwaway – These men made me their family. They loved me back to life. Men like “Country” Jim Gaskill learned me how to give without expecting anything back. What an amazing gift. Good men put their good names up so that I could be granted pardon. They climbed down into my pit – risked all of it – so that I was able to find myself.
                
I regained the basic principles. Truth. Character. Integrity. I had them from the jump-off. I brought them with me when I first come upon the scene. Somewhere between here and over there – oneXone – I sold them off. Sometimes for the bling. Sometimes for a bit of comfort. Other times I just gave them away for nothing at all – I didn’t deserve it – I still question why it was me that destiny chose to resurrect. I try not to dwell on such matters. I’ve concluded that – for now -- they are a few levels above my pay grade.
                
In honor of these men. Their selfless giving. That’s why I take to the hard road.
                
So many days I wish that I could just turn it all off. Go back down inside that pit and hide there. 

Return to the dark|black. What was it that Notorious BIG said “Dyin’ ain't the shit, but it's pleasant.
Kinda quiet.” I can never fully repay their favor. But once again I have a debt to pay. It starts with me never allowing this world to once again steal my kind heart – it’s designed to harden then rip it from us. No sir. That’s mine to keep. I brought it with me when I came and I have no intention of leaving it here. When I go, my kind heart comes with me.
                
On occasion I return to that pit of mine – I walk its edge – I force myself a look back inside. If I don’t remember where I come up from, I might forget how to get to where I’m going.

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

The struggle. The struggle continues. “I didn’t hear no bells.”
               
Here’s some Rocky Balboa wisdom. “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward – That’s how winning is done! – Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!” 
                
I think sly said it all right there. Really, I don’t know who’s wiser – Sly or Yoda.

Tell your readers about your book.

I really don’t want to give too much away about the book. For those that have read the original – Y’all know what to expect. For my new readers – get ready – It’s gonna be a fun ride.
                
I’ll leave y’all with the blurb.

Mr. Govich returns to take you deeper|darker inside the dreadful places. The ones he said that he would never look back into them again. Forbidden zones you should never enter alone. It's treacherous there. You go inside and you can’t tell where the grey ends and the black begins. Places where you can drift away and never even know you were gone | They were too unpleasant for him to recant.
               
Mr. Govich was a stranger to you. And you were a stranger to him. He was afraid you might cut loose and he knew that without you, there was no way he would make it back out of there again.
                
Ten years later.
                
I read your reviews. My work touched your lives, it inspired others to give you their best work. With the movie “Caviar” now complete, we stand at the precipice. The cusp of victory.
                
You have valued my hardships. You have honored my scarifies.
                
I’m gonna let you see it now.
                
We’re ready | Together, steadfast, you and I. Nothing held back.
                
Gritty and real, Career Criminal: The Code of The Streets is more than a profound retelling of the original indie classic. Mr. Govich brings you a page-turning kaleidoscopic powerhouse that puts you square center – the real-life Russian mafia. With a bold new format, over two-hundred pages of new content, a newly expanded glossary, and original artwork from the brightest talent on the planet.
                
It’s not something you read | This is something you experience.
               
I made it special, for you.
                
The cost was high for me but I owed you that.
                
Consider us even.



Who is your target audience, and why?

Really just about anybody that loves a great story would get something from this book. It’s got everything. Love. Loss. Betrayal. Redemption. Career Criminal: The Code of The Streets is packed full of action, heck it reads like a John Wick movie. It’s an amazing ride, up – down – left – right this son of a bitch takes you all the way through it. I wrote it for y’all to enjoy. And the artwork – That’s just an added bonus I gifted y’all.
                
All that being said my true target is a young Gary Govich. I wish he would have had a book like this to look at right around age fourteen. Perhaps things might have worked out something easier.
                
Regardless, I present it to the youth of today in a language that they will understand it and comprehend its value. My greatest joy would see the book used as a template – for all youngbloods on the come up – to better themselves without paying some of the very high prices Gary Govich spent on his education.
                
People of all ages, races, creeds, wherever they are in their journey will bring something back from the experience. Give it a read and I promise you, inside the book – somewhere between the pages – you might discover something important. A valuable treasure. Perhaps even a rare piece of wisdom I put in there just for you to protect and keep close to your heart.

What do you consider your greatest success in life?

My two great successes are my wife Maleyna and my little champion DJ.
                
I’m in no way an easy person to be around. I’m an artist. That makes me one of those uniquely peculiar people I mentioned earlier. Getting a woman like my beautiful wife to fall in love – and stay in love – with me I consider being one of my greatest achievements. This writer’s life. The struggle I go through – it’s her struggle too. She’s an extraordinary person. She’s made me a better Gary. She has sacrificed just as much as I have in order to bring y’all the 10th Anniversary Career Criminal. It’s really Maleyna that y’all need to thank. Without her, it just wouldn’t have happened.
                
My little homeboy#1 DJ.
                
My life began the day I held him in my arms for the first time.
                
There was a day when he was about seven months old. We went to the duck park near our home. I had him strapped to me in this pouch thing Maleyna bought for us. His baby DJ head faced forward – he had this really big head as a baby – his neck couldn’t support the weight and his head would always be slouched down to the side. His legs were so tiny they would just dangle down from this pouch. I don’t know why my fragmented mind chooses that day in particular to remember more|better than any other. The sun was just about to set. The sky was a pinkish purple shade of perfect. I walked close to the water – with DJ in his pouch – and threw some bread at the ducks. Maleyna had to work late. It was just daddy and DJ that day. I remember thinking how lucky I was. I fully recall the joy of that exact moment. I can safely report to you now – That was the single greatest joy I have ever felt in my life. Getting to watch DJ grow. Seeing his first steps. No material, no worldly success can come close to being a daddy to DJ.



What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

Unique – Writer. Those are the only two words I understood from your question.
                
I don’t like to put myself – my work – in a box. “Genre” should be a four-letter word. When we put labels on ourselves – we become that label. It’s almost like typecasting for an actor|actress. You know when they play a role so well that they become that role. I don’t ever want to be so rigid that I can’t grow both spiritually and professionally.
                
Looking back even just a few years. Whenever I met somebody new. One of the first questions I would have “What do you do. You know, for work.” It was almost like I used to categorize that person by what role they played. Their level of education and social-status were other benchmarks I used as a way of determining my first impressions of any “stranger.”
                
I mean think about it. We put these labels on ourselves “Hi I’m Gary. I write books.” Is that all I really am? A Gary that writes books? I will never again allow a label to set me apart from y’all – I won’t enable a category or a brand – of any kind – to foster separation. That’s all labels really do is highlight our differences. Rather than setting myself apart, I prefer to be – a part of.
               
Thank you for taking these few moments to listen to my words.
Thank you for your continued support.
Thank you for your patience.

Most of all thank you for not throwing me out with the rest of the trash. You stuck around long enough for me to make it good. I will continue to give more than I take. I make this promise to you now – I will forever remain grateful to you – I won’t ever forget your remarkable kindness.


Gary G.
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1490049.Gary_Govich.





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