You would think using a photo of myself, Dwayne Epstein, for the cover of Lee Marvin Point Blank would be a rather simple matter. Not so when the situation was complicated by several factors. Topping the list was not liking how I look in photographs. In fact, there are damn few photos of myself that I like. There are a handful of exceptions, of course, but they are few and far between. One exception was a photo of me taken in New Jersey back in the late 80s.

Author Dwayne Epstein in New Jersey, circa 1989.
















I wanted to use that photo but publisher Tim Schaffner balked at the idea, stating that it was too old and I no longer looked like that. He was right of course. So, I thought about this possibility, taken a few a years later when I moved back to California. Problem was that I no longer had the beard and…I no longer looked liked. Cool posters, though, huh? Unlike the beard, I still have them.




Long Beach, Calif, circa 1991




Then there was the idea of this photo, in which I posed with Robert Marvin in front of the Marvin family home in 1994. Problem was….that’s right, you guessed it. I no longer looked like that. Sensing a trend, here?



Robert Marvin and author Dwayne Epstein in front of the Marvin home in Woodstock, NY, in the mid-90s.












Personally, I didn’t understand why this was becoming so difficult. It had not dawned on me at the time that my publisher was trying to politely spare my feelings. It reminded me a lot of that scene in The Professionals with Ralph Bellamy and Lee Marvin. You know the one. Early in the film, Bellamy’s character of J.W. Grant points to a newspaper clipping on the wall that includes an image of Marvin during the Mexican Revolution. He tells Marvin’s character, Henry ‘Rico’ Fardan, “Your hair was darker, then.” Silver-haired Marvin responds, “My heart was lighter, then.”




Ralph Bellamy and Lee Marvin in ‘that’ scene from THE PROFESSIONALS.

It had gotten so bad between the publisher and myself that he hired a professional photographer to take a more recent picture. The ones the publisher liked I detested and vice versa. I suggested that my girlfriend Barbara take the shot. End result? His choice was used for the hardcover and my choice, by Barbara, was used for the paperback. Want to know what they look like? Ha! Buy the book(s).




My publisher Tim Schaffner, of Schaffner Press, recently reminded of the fact that this week marks the two year anniversary of the publication of our book, Lee Marvin: Point Blank, and what an amazing two years it’s been! Just a cursory glance at that month in 2013 from my calendar below still makes my head spin……

The next six months were even more amazing as the book tour kicked into high gear. Keep in mind, book tours are no longer considered economically feasable by most publishing houses and if they’re done at all, the author often has to foot the bill. Luckily, Schaffner Press is NOT most publishing houses. Tim believes in having his authors go out there, press the flesh and make their presence (and their work) be known. I was able to see and go places I had never been before and consequently meet some amazing people in the process, all of whom were either Lee Marvin fans or  happily discovering his work for the first time.

All that said and done, the best part of all is the fact that two years down the road, it is still selling, almost as if it just came out. Don’t take my word for it, check out these numbers from Amazon. First the paperback and hardcover from earlier this week…..

Paperback ranking and then hardcover ranking, both from Amazon.

Paperback ranking and then hardcover ranking, both from Amazon.

Best of all? In June of last year an amazing publicist at the book’s distibutor, IPG, convinced Amazon to include Lee Marvin: Point Blank as part of their discount promotion. The result was a spot on the NY Times and Wall Street Journal best seller lists, and a continued sales boost that exists to this day!

Kindle sales rank on Amazon as of Jan. 22nd, 2015

Kindle sales rank on Amazon as of Jan. 22nd, 2015

I could not be happier with the results that have made Lee Marvin: Point Blank an ‘evergreen’ title, and hopefully will continue to be for some time to come. More succinctly, for those who have read it and enjoyed it, THANK YOU ALL FOR YOU SUPPORT & CONTINUE TO TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY. They won’t be disappointed!



And now, a holiday message from Schaffner Press‘s man-in-charge, Tim Schaffner, a man I affectionately refer to as ‘Bwanah’:
“Seasons Greetings and Best Wishes from Schaffner Press!
As I move into my 15th year of independent publishing, I wanted to say thanks to all of our authors, past, present, and future, who have made this press what it is today and will continue to be for many years to come!
And thanks for all the support from agents, IPG, designers, publicists, review editors, and the publishing community in these years of growth!
Happy Holidays and Happy 2015!
Tim Schaffner”
For myself, I’d like to add that it has been a most extraordinary year! Like all writers, I dreamed of making the NY Times Bestseller List but never imagined it would come true! Deep gratitude to my agent Mike Hamilburg, designer Jake Kiehle, IPG’s Lauren Klouda (yes, as far as I’m concerned, she was indeed born in a manger!), tech whiz Mike Phillips, publicist Tyson Cornell, and most of all, Tim Schaffner. More than the indie who said ‘yes,’ he constantly proves himself to be the only publisher in America with any vision.

And to one and all, HAPPIEST OF HOLIDAYS!