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Black Scorpion Blog Tour: Interview with Jon Land - April 9, 2015


Please welcome Jon Land to The Qwillery! Black Scorpion: The Tyrant Reborn, the 2nd Michael Tiranno novel, was published on April 7th by Forge.


Black Scorpion Blog Tour: Interview with Jon Land - April 9, 2015
Photo of Jon Land © Rayzor Bachand                                                           



Can you tell us a bit about Black Scorpion: The Tyrant Reborn?

Jon:  I think it’s the most ambitious book I’ve ever done in terms of character, emotion and story. I say that not only because of its epic-like structure, but mostly because I’ve never written a book before that challenges its characters in so many ways. It challenges them with truth and the reality of their own natures contrasted against their fates, testing especially Michael Tiranno’s capacity to exceed his own limitations. He has become a classical, almost mythic hero in terms of the losses he suffers and stunning revelations about his own fate he must accept. All the while confronting a villain just as powerful as he is with whom he unknowingly shares an indelible bond. Great villains, they say, make great heroes and that’s truly the case here as Michael confronts an all-powerful criminal organization with a plot to do incredible harm to the country and world in the offing. To stop them, Michael must become a different man than he is when the book starts out, he must evolve, literally, into something more and accepting that fate comes to define both him as a hero and the story as a whole.



What drew you to write thriller and mystery novels?

Jon:  Well, as the great Robert Louis Stevenson once said, You can only write what you would read if someone else had written it. So when I chose to be a writer, or should I say when writing chose me, I gravitated to what came most naturally to me. I’d grown up reading all of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels while away at camp for the summer, this after falling in love with the early films starring Sean Connery as Bond. The structure of those films has been more influential in my writing than any other individual factor. As I got older while in college, I began devouring the books of Stephen King, Robert Ludum, Clive Cussler and David Morrell—all great storytellers above everything else, and I realized that’s what I wanted to be too.



When did you first start writing?

Jon:  This is kind of interesting, because not until college at Brown University. And even then I never took a writing class. I majored in English and American Literature and fell under the influence of some incredible professors who introduced me to the novel, the whole concept of structure. Around the same time, I realized how much I actually loved the process of writing. I did a term paper on Huck Finn that the professor liked so much he recommended I try publishing it. A light bulb went off in my head and from that day I’ve been obsessed with seeing my name in print, especially in big bold letters on my book covers! I actually wrote my first novel as a senior thesis. It wasn’t very good, but I proved to myself I could do it and was able to work out all he kinks while receiving course credit for it. The best of both worlds, you might say and I remain eternally indebted to Brown for providing the liberal educational experience that allowed to be what I’ve become. It was always about the process and I fell in love with starting with the a blank page of paper and watching what happens from there.



What are your other interests besides writing?

Jon:  I’m a gym rat, especially when it comes to weightlifting. Healthy mind, healthy body as the saying goes. I also remain very active at Brown volunteering in any number of capacities that allow me to remain close to the undergraduate community. I’m Alumni President of my own fraternity, Delta Phi, and serve as Alumni Advisor to Brown’s entire Greek System. I’m also Vice President of the Brown Football Association and sit on the board of the Friends of the Library. Libraries are another passion of mine, as they should be for all writers. Libraries are ambassadors of the written word and its sustenance and at Brown I organize big events around name authors like George R.R. Martin to share my love for books and the place of books within pop culture as a whole. I also serve on the board of the International Thriller Writers organization, ITW, because another passion of mine is helping to promote our genre in general and ITW member authors in particular. ITW’s mission statement is all about the haves helping the not-yet-haves in a very difficult profession and I remain very passionate about that as well.



When do you find the time to write?

Jon:  Well, it’s my job. When does a doctor find the time, a lawyer or a teacher? Just because I love what I do doesn’t make it any less of a job, any less of a profession. I can’t see my name in those big bold letters if I don’t write the book. I’m very disciplined about my work but, fortunately, I also write very fast to the point where I can finish a first draft in 7-8 weeks. Of course, great books are made in the rewrite process and that’s where I truly excel. To me the first draft is about getting it down and the rest of the process is about getting it right. And that’s the thing about a career as a writer. It’s not just the writing, but also the promoting, the conferences, the book festivals, the signings, Twitter, interviews, Q & As. But here’s the thing about me: I enjoy all of that, every part of it, especially any opportunity I have to interact directly with my readers.



Where is your favorite place to write?

Jon:  The second bedroom in my townhouse is my office and it’s pretty much where I do all my writing. The key in this business, any business to some extent, is to find your comfort zone—where, how and when you best excel. I know where all the bodies are buried in my office and it’s very easy for me to bounce around between different things demanding my attention because I’ve laid all the clutter out in a way that facilitates that. I’ve got everything placed just where I want it and where it needs to be. If only life could be that simple!



You have written a number of series; is this one of your favorite to write?

Jon:  Frankly, no, that would be my Caitlin Strong Texas Ranger series. I’m not saying the books in that series are better than Black Scorpion because I think in many ways Black Scorpion is the most ambitious and best realized book in terms of vision I’ve ever written. I’m talking about the process. Black Scorpion is work for hire and I have an obligation to serve the needs of the Tyrant character’s creator, Fabrizio Boccardi. That robs this series, and me, of the spontaneity that defines me as a writer, since I don’t outline. Writing with someone looking over your shoulder isn’t nearly as fun or gratifying. But, that said, the end result of both this book and its prequel, The Seven Sins, proves I’m capable of adapting. Fabrizio isn’t a writer or a storyteller and he doesn’t grasp all the intricacies of structure. But he has wonderful instincts that are right more often than not and form the perfect complement to my experience and talents. Look, Michael Tiranno is his baby. He turned him over to me to build but he could never be expected to let him go altogether. Ultimately, I think we work so well together because our passion is balanced by our willingness to compromise toward telling the best story we possibly can. It may drive me crazy at times, but the ends justify the means.



How do you approach writing a book like Black Scorpion?

Jon:  It all starts with the hero, Michael Tiranno. I started Black Scorpion with the premise that in the five years since the events depicted in The Seven Sins, Michael hasn’t changed very much. He’s still pretty much the same man we left at the end of the first book, a tyrant consumed by his desire to expand his empire and holdings. The whole essence of Black Scorpion is watching him evolve into something entirely different—still a tyrant, yes, but a tyrant for good. A superhero without a mask or cape. We watch his view of his entire place in the world change, forced upon him by the shattering truths and tragedy he encounters along the way. And in that respect his quest changes from the pursuit of riches and power to self-fulfillment and self-actualization. So now, above everything else, Michael Tiranno’s character is defined by his obsession for standing up for those who can’ t stand up for themselves. Bullies aren’t confined to the schoolyard and he won’t tolerate them under any circumstances. He’s spent his life trying to find the security he lost that day his parents were murdered and once there he uses the power that comes with it to defend those who need him the most. My point is your hero defines the very nature of a book with the sprawl and ambition of Black Scorpion. The book will rise or fall based on how the audience responds to him and you have to approach a book like this with that in mind.



Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Jon:  Thank you, because without you I’m nothing. I can only be a writer if you’re reading what I’ve written. And I remain extremely humbled by the whole nature of the relationship between the writer. It’s a sacred pact, not much different than reading or telling a child a bedtime story. It comes with an intimacy that defies explanation. That a reader is wiling to bring me, through my work, into their lives by letting me entertain them, sweep them away from the mundane world into one of my own creation, brings with it an awesome responsibility and the very worst thing I can do as a writer is disappoint my audience—the moral equivalency of breaking that sacred pact.



Tell us where we can find your book and more information about you.

Jon:  To use the cliché, accurate in this case, wherever books are sold or is most convenient for you. As for me, you can find me on the Web at jonlandbooks.com or follow me on Twitter @JonDLand. I promise to keep you entertained there too!





Black Scorpion: The Tyrant Reborn
Michael Tiranno The Tyrant 2
Forge Books, April 7, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages

Black Scorpion Blog Tour: Interview with Jon Land - April 9, 2015
The next adventure of The Seven Sins' Michael "The Tyrant" Tiranno, Jon Land's Black Scorpion is a pulse pounding action-thriller as he takes on a worldwide human trafficking cabal.

Five years have passed since Michael Tiranno saved the city of Las Vegas from a terrorist attack. And now a new enemy has surfaced in Eastern Europe in the form of an all-powerful organization called Black Scorpion. Once a victim of human trafficking himself, the shadowy group's crazed leader, Vladimir Dracu, has become the mastermind behind the scourge's infestation on a global scale. And now he's set his sights on Michael Tiranno for reasons birthed in a painful secret past that have scarred both men.

Already facing a myriad of problems, Michael once more must rise to the challenge of confronting an all-powerful enemy who is exploiting and ravaging innocents all across the globe and has set nothing less than all of America as its new victim. Black Scorpion has also taken the woman Michael loves hostage: Scarlett Swan, a beautiful archaeologist who was following the dangerous trail of the origins of the ancient relic that both defines and empowers Michael, a discovery that could change history and the perception of mankind's very origins.

With the deck and the odds stacked against him, Michael must come to learn and embrace his true destiny in becoming the Tyrant reborn as a dark knight to triumph over ultimate evil and stop the sting of Black Scorpion from undermining all of the United States and plunging Las Vegas into chaos and anarchy.

A major production for a feature film is in active development in Hollywood based on the franchised character of Michael Tiranno, the Tyrant. The film will be based on the blended adaptation of Black Scorpion and its predecessor, The Seven Sins, which both have also been licensed to DC Comics for comic books and graphic novels publications worldwide.





Previously

The Seven Sins: The Tyrant Ascending
Michael Tiranno The Tyrant 1
Forge Books, June 2, 2009
eBook, 384 pages

Black Scorpion Blog Tour: Interview with Jon Land - April 9, 2015
To Dream...To Dare..To Win...

The ancient motto, inscribed in Latin on a mysterious golden medallion, recovered from the ruins of the Roman Empire, has guided Michael Tiranno to heights few men have achieved. Once an orphaned farm boy in his native Sicily, Michael made millions by mastering the intricate world of high finance, and is now the fabulously wealthy owner of Las Vegas' The Seven Sins, the grandest and most extravagant casino in the world. The lavish resort embodies the personal philosophy fueled by his lust for power: the greater the risk, the greater the reward.

But he also has secrets, secrets that he and Naomi Burns, his driven corporate attorney and confidante, have gone to great lengths to bury. When an enemy from the past threatens to undermine everything he has built, his dark history must now be uncovered. Together, they must tear open painful scars in Michael’s heart and soul to discover the true identity of their unknown foe—before all of Las Vegas pays the price for Michael Tiranno’s realized dreams.

The Seven Sins is a globe-spanning saga of one man's spectacular rise from rags to riches, the sins that brought him there, and the insidious vendetta that may cost him everything.

Interview with Jon Land, author of the Caitlin Strong Novels and More - August 13, 2013


Please welcome the wonderful Jon Land to The Qwillery. Jon's most recent novel (of many) is out today - Strong Rain Falling (Caitlin Strong 5).



Interview with Jon Land, author of the Caitlin Strong Novels and More - August 13, 2013




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery and Happy Publication Day for your 5th Caitlin Strong novel, Strong Rain Falling. When and why did you first start writing?

Jon:  My answer to that one may surprise you, since I didn’t actually start writing until I was a sophomore at Brown University. First off, that was probably a positive thing since it’s so easy for fledgling writers to get discouraged when they start out in high school or even before. I’d always enjoyed the process, dating all the way back to junior high, but I never had even considered the notion of pursuing a career. For me, law school was as certain after college as college was after high school. But the writing bug bit me while at Brown, and I started writing magazine articles for periodicals like People and The Saturday Evening Post and fell in love with, confession time!, seeing my name in print. Around the same time, I fell in love with reading again, particularly thrillers, and figured why not write one, specifically for my Senior Honors Thesis in Brown’s Honors Program. Two wonderful professors, George Monteiro and the legendary Elmer Blistein, took a huge chance by sponsoring me, but I ended up finishing the book. It was god-awful for the most part, but I’d proven to myself that I could do it. The next book I wrote was the first one that ended up selling and, to this day, I credit Brown to a huge degree in providing me the academic freedom and opportunity to chase my dream



TQ:  In addition to 5 Caitlin Strong novels, you've written many other novels (the Blaine McCracken series, for example). Has your writing process changed over the years? Are you a plotter or pantser?

Jon:  I’ve always been a very fast writer. My pace when writing a first draft is somewhere between 75-100 pages a week because I’ve also always been a writer who requires, and thrives on, editing—constructive criticism in other words. To me a first draft is about getting it down, not getting it perfect. The rest, once you have the structure, emotional core and characters down, is so much easier. I like to tell people that I’m a much better re-writer than I am a writer. That’s always been where my best stuff comes in. Think of it like a house—the quality of the finish work, the details and subtleties, is where the value can increase exponentially. I’m definitely a plotter and my books are relentlessly plot driven (That’s a quote right from Publisher’s Weekly!), driven by incident, episode, and conflict. But, and here’s the thing, it all comes back to the characters—vesting the reader in them emotionally and letting them dictate the pace, flow and direction of a book. It never ceases to amaze me how often I sit down with no idea exactly what I’m going to write or end up altering my intentions in mid-stream. It comes down to trusting your instincts as a storyteller. If it feels right, it probably is. If it feels wrong, it definitely is!



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences?

Jon:  Well, THE EXORCIST was the first book I read cover-to-cover in a single day, a single setting actually. Reading Robert Ludlum’s THE HOLCROFT COVENANT (along with THE MATARESE CIRCLE) taught me more about what makes a great thriller than anything else. THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL taught me the importance of a great “What if?” question. THE STAND showed me the wonder of taking the reader out of his or her world and into the world we fashion on the page. MARATHON MAN made me realize just how much caring about the characters means. I can quote portions of that book, just as I can from the others I mention here and far more. As far as strictly favorites, Lee Child and James Lee Burke are the authors I most look forward to, with plenty of others not far behind. David Morrell, who never writes the same book twice. Stephen Hunter, who’s a maestro when it comes to action scenes. Michael Connolly for writing books that are impossible to put down. And I’ve recently discovered John Hart who seems incapable of writing a bad sentence or creating a character who doesn’t command our interest.



TQ:  Caitlin Strong is a Texas Ranger. Why did you make her a Texas Ranger?

Jon:  Okay, confession time on that one. Caitlin Strong was actually born at a business meeting at my publisher where we were discussing what direction I should go in next. One of the heads of Forge’s sales department raised the point that thrillers are the most popular genre and the vast majority of books are bought by women so, BOOM!, a light bulb went off in my head and right there on the spot I said I wanted to create a female action hero, say a female version of Lee Child’s brilliant Jack Reacher. Well, I’d always wanted to write about the Texas Rangers so I just melded the two together and there was Caitlin waiting to burst out from the page. Hey, she may have been the product of a sales discussion, but she is without question the most complex, interesting hero I’ve ever created.



TQ:  How much research do you do in general for each of her novels? What is one of the oddest things you've discovered in your research?

Jon:  Well, I’m not an obsessive researcher. I do the bulk of it in the midst of the writing when I know exactly what I’m looking for. I do some in advance but I find the process tedious and boring when it’s not task specific. All that said, when I go back to polish and edit books like STRONG RAIN FALLING, I’m utterly floored by the incredible amount of information and facts they contain. Trying to do all that at once, without a clear direction of where the book is going, would be as impossible as it is daunting. Oddest things? Well, in the opening of the next installment in the series, STRONG DARKNESS, the infamous Judge Roy Bean inserted himself as a major character in that book’s flashback sequences (All my Caitlin Strong books have historical sub-plots that are ultimately crucial to what’s going on in the present.). But this legendary “hanging judge,” I learned in my research, actually only sentenced two men to hang and one of them escaped! And in researching (spoiler alert!) the notion of taking down the nation’s power grid, I was struck by the ingenious nature of what I came with for the villain’s plot.



TQ:  In the Caitlin Strong series (so far) which character has surprised you the most? Which character did you find hardest to write?

Jon:  Wow, great question and I’d have to say the giant Venezuelan assassin Guillermo Paz. I don’t think I’ve ever created a character who speaks on his own and creates his own dialogue better than Paz. He’s an indestructible killing machine originally hired to kill Caitlin way back in the first book in the series [Strong Enough to Die], but has evolved into her protector and guardian angel since. He’s always in search of the elusive answers to provide some sort of spiritual enlightenment. When regular visits to church confessionals fail to achieve this for him, STRONG RAIN FALLING features scenes of Paz auditing college philosophy classes where the professors, how I can put this mildly?, run afoul him—a truly bad idea, trust me. And the amazing thing about Paz was that he wasn’t even supposed to survive the first book in the series. Turned out he had plans of his own. None of my characters are hard to write—if they are, it’s probably because they didn’t belong in the book in the first place. I would say, though, that the character of Jalbert Toms from STRONG VENGEANCE (now available in paperback) was scary to write because he’s a pedophile and the scene (Chapter 41) where he luridly and leeringly eyes eighteen-year-old Dylan, who’s the son of Caitlin’s outlaw boy friend Cort Wesley Masters and her surrogate son, scared me so much I wanted to kill him then and there so I wouldn’t have to write him anymore.



TQ:  Tell us something about Strong Rain Falling that is not in the books description?

Jon:  I love that question! I think the emotional core of the book is very, very strong. It opens with Caitlin taking the aforementioned Dylan on a trip to visit colleges—about as maternal and parental a thing you can do coming from a woman who is essentially a modern day gunfighter. That highlights the constant push-pull in her character between the old-fashioned gunfighter that Caitlin unquestionably is and the loving maternal figure she finds herself becoming for Cort Wesley’s two sons. I think Caitlin’s scenes with those boys, are when she springs most to life and all her emotional conflicts are most on display. This isn’t a part of her life she’d ever expected or planned for, but she wouldn’t trade it for anything. Writing action is easy compared to writing emotion, but it’s emotion that makes the Caitlin Strong books truly special and you’re going to see lots of it in STRONG RAIN FALLING!



TQ:  What's next?

Jon:  Lots of work, too much work, more work than I can handle! (laughs) Seriously, I’ve never had as many opportunities as I have right now but I never stop considering more because you just never know when the BIG ONE that gets me on the New York Times bestseller list is going to come. The next book’s already done. It’s called THE TENTH CIRCLE and it’s the follow-up to PANDORA’S TEMPLE once again featuring Blaine McCracken, my original series hero I’ve fallen back in love with. Beyond that I’m actually working on three books: a sequel to my bestselling THE SEVEN SINS, a terrific project I’m doing in tandem with the great Heather Graham, and I’m just about to start STRONG DARKNESS, the next book featuring Caitlin that takes her and Cort Wesley Masters to a very dark place potentially. I’m going to take her right up to the edge, but hopefully not so close that she slips over. I also see some good finally coming out of Hollywood after my one and only film, the teen comedy DIRTY DEEDS, was released all the way back in 2005. Hey, call me the eternal optimistic. But I’m also a realist and that’s why, to paraphrase the great Jerry Garcia, I’ve embarked on so many journeys leading to the same destination that’s labeled, simply, SUCCESS!






Caitlin Strong

Strong Rain Falling
Caitlin Strong 5
Forge Books, August 13, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages

Interview with Jon Land, author of the Caitlin Strong Novels and More - August 13, 2013
Jon Land's bestselling series featuring Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong continues in Strong Rain Falling.

Mexico, 1919: The birth of the Mexican drug trade begins with opium being smuggled across the U.S. border, igniting an all-out battle with American law enforcement in general and the Texas Rangers in particular.

The Present: Fifth Generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong and her lover Cort Wesley Masters both survive terrifying gun battles. But this time, it turns out, the actual targets were not them, but Masters’ teenage sons.

That sets Caitlin and Cort Wesley off on a trail winding through the past and present with nothing less than the future of the United States hanging in the balance. Along the way they will confront terrible truths dating all the way back to the Mexican Revolution and the dogged battle Caitlin’s own grandfather and great-grandfather fought against the first generation of Mexican drug dealers.

At the heart of the storm soon to sweep away America as we know it, lies a mastermind whose abundant power is equaled only by her thirst for vengeance. Ana Callas Guajardo, the last surviving member of the family that founded the Mexican drug trade, has dedicated all of her vast resources to a plot aimed at the U.S.’s technological heart.

This time out, sabotage proves to be as deadly a weapon as bombs in a battle Caitlin must win in cyberspace as well. Her only chance to prevail is to short-circuit a complex plan based as much on microchips as bullets. Because there’s a strong rain coming and only Caitlin and Cort Wesley can stop the fall before it’s too late.



Strong Vengeance
Caitlin Strong 4
Forge, July 2, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 464 pages
Previously released in Hardcover, July 17, 2012

Interview with Jon Land, author of the Caitlin Strong Novels and More - August 13, 2013
Get ready fir a new adventure in Jon Land's Texas Rangers series with Strong Vengeance.

1818: In the Gulf waters off the Texas coast, the pirate Jean Lefitte and his partner Jim Bowie launch an attack on the Mother Mary, a slave ship carrying an invaluable treasure.

The Present: Fifth-generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong finds herself investigating the murder of the oil-rig crew that had found the long-lost wreckage of the Mother Mary. The crew also uncovered something else beneath the surface of the sea--something connected to a terrorist attack about to be launched by a mad American-born cleric who has recruited an army of homegrown terrorists.

With the stakes higher than any she has encountered before, Caitlin races to find the connection between the secret treasure of the Mother Mary and the deadly secret hidden on the bottom of the ocean.

Caitlin’s only chance to defeat the terrorists lies in the darkest reaches of the Louisiana bayou. In the end, only the strongest of vengeance can win the day.



Strong at the Break
Caitlin Strong 3
Forge Books, May 22, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages
Previously released in Hardcover, June 21, 2011

Interview with Jon Land, author of the Caitlin Strong Novels and More - August 13, 2013
Twenty years ago, fifth-generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong witnessed her father shoot down the cultlike leader of a separatist church. Now, that man’s son, Malcolm Arno, has become head of a militia movement bent on unleashing chaos and anarchy across the country. Nothing seems to be standing in Arno’s way—until his actions run him afoul of Caitlin Strong.

Caitlin is already searching for the kidnapped son of her sometime lover, former outlaw Cort Wesley Masters. When the missing boy’s trail leads straight to Malcolm Arno’s fortified Texas compound, Caitlin will be put to the ultimate test.

From the frozen rivers of the Canadian border to the desert wastelands of Mexico, the stage has been set for a battle like none Caitlin has ever faced before. The stakes are nothing less than the survival of America as we know it.



Strong Justice
Catilin Strong 2
Forge Books, May 24, 2011
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages
Previously released in Hardcover, June 22,  2010
Also available in Mass Market Paperback, April 24, 2012 (Special Edition)

Interview with Jon Land, author of the Caitlin Strong Novels and More - August 13, 2013
Fifth-generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong is back, pursuing justice the Ranger way. She takes on the case of a Mexican girl on the run from white-slavers. For Caitlin, the case evokes memories of her legendary grandfather’s run with the Rangers, even as it brings her face-to-face with a serial killer who’s left a trail of bodies along the Mexico border.

Pursuing the killer brings Caitlin to a sleepy Texas town suddenly riddled by violence and to the site of a major water find. The connection between these two disparate places lies buried beneath the plains of West Texas: a deadly weapon with the potential to give a new enemy the means to terrorize the United States.

Her grandfather’s past collides violently with Caitlin’s present as she fights to save her world in the same border town where he fought to save his. Caitlin will learn, just as he did, that only strong justice can save the day. But this time, outmanned and outgunned, even that may not be enough to keep Caitlin Strong—and the country itself—alive.



Strong Enough to Die
Caitlin Strong 1
Forge Books, March 30, 2010
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages
Previously released in Hardcover, May 12, 2009
Also available in Mass Market Paperback, April 24, 2012 (Special Edition)

Interview with Jon Land, author of the Caitlin Strong Novels and More - August 13, 2013
Caitlin Strong is a fifth-generation Texas Ranger, proud to wear the badge of her father and grandfather—until a deadly shoot-out along the Mexican border causes her to question her calling.

Five years later, Caitlin is still trying to purge herself of guilt from the day that ended her Ranger career. But a shattering discovery will reopen old wounds, and Caitlin’s renewed investigation into the truth behind the bloody desert firefight uncovers a terrifying plot that reaches into every home and threatens the very core of the country.

Her only hope for success—and survival—is to team up with Cort Wesley Masters, a deadly outlaw who has every reason to want her dead. But he also holds the key to the truth she desperately seeks in the anguished brain of an amnesiac torture victim.

Caitlin’s tormented quest for redemption takes her to a dark world, ranging from Washington to Bahrain to the wastelands of Mexico, as she finds that the strength to live comes from learning how to die.





About Jon

Interview with Jon Land, author of the Caitlin Strong Novels and More - August 13, 2013
Jon Land is the award-winning, critically acclaimed author of more than 30 thrillers, including the bestselling Caitlin Strong Texas Ranger series that includes Strong Enough to Die, Strong Justice, Strong at the Break, Strong Vengeance and, most recently, Strong Rain Falling. This past fall he resurrected his longtime series hero Blaine McCracken in the E-Book Original Pandora’s Temple which was nominated for a Thriller Award and received the 2013 International Book Award for Best Adventure Thriller. A follow-up, The Tenth Circle, is slated for release right around the first of the year. Jon’s first nonfiction book, Betrayal, meanwhile, was named Best True Crime Book of 2012 by Suspense Magazine and won a 2012 International Book Award for Best True Crime Book. He is currently working on Strong Darkness, the next entry in the Caitlin Strong to be published in September of 2014. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from Brown University, where he continues to maintain a strong volunteer presence, in 1979 and can be found on the Web at www.jonlandbooks.com.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~ Twitter @JonDLand


BookExpo America 2013 - The Books


As I mentioned in the prior post about BEA (here), I only picked up a few books that I am really interested in reading. Not all of them are Speculative Fiction because I do read other genres. Most of the novels have not yet been published. I've taken photos of the ARCs/novels, but also include the cover image so you can see what they really look like. Without further ado, the books:


The Debuts
(3 of the 5 books I absolutely had to have!)
Pierce Brown, V.E. Schwab and Samantha Shannon
BookExpo America 2013 - The Books



Red Rising
AuthorPierce Brown
Publisher:  Del Rey, February 18, 2014
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages
Price:  $25.00 (print)
ISBN:  9780345539786 (print)

BookExpo America 2013 - The Books
Pierce Brown's relentlessly entertaining debut channels the readability and excitement of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games and the best of Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game.

Red Rising is the story of a society in a desolate future, riven by class conflict and shaken by the tremors of an impending revolution. But more than that, it's the story of Darrow-a secret revolutionary who is inspired not only by a longing for social justice, but by lost love. It's only when Darrow's beloved wife is executed by the oppressive government that he begins to question the harsh world he lives in. Recruited by an underground revolutionary cell, Darrow is given a perilous mission: infiltrate the academy that educates this elite-and become one of them.



Vicious
AuthorV.E. Schwab
Publisher:  Tor Books, September 24, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages
Price:  $24.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780765335340 (print)

BookExpo America 2013 - The Books
A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?



The Bone Season
AuthorSamantha Shannon
Series:  Scion 1
Publisher:  Bloomsbury USA, August 20, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 480 pages
Price:  $24.00 (print)
ISBN:  9781620401392 (print)

BookExpo America 2013 - The Books
It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine—a young woman learning to harness her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.




Mira Grant and Edward Lazellari
(The other 2 of the 5 books I had to have!)
BookExpo America 2013 - The Books



Parasite
AuthorMira Grant
Series:  Parisitology 1
Publisher:  Orbit, October 29, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 512 pages
Price:  $20.00 (print)
ISBN:  9780316218955 (print)

BookExpo America 2013 - The Books
From New York Times bestselling author Mira Grant, a high-concept near-future thriller.

A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.

We owe our good health to a humble parasite - a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the Intestinal Bodyguard worm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system - even secretes designer drugs. It's been successful beyond the scientists' wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.

But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives . . . and will do anything to get them.



The Lost Prince
AuthorEdward Lazellari
Series:  Guardians of Aandor 2
Publisher:  Tor Books, August 20, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 528 pages
Price:  $27.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780765327888 (print)

BookExpo America 2013 - The Books
Edward Lazellari brings you The Lost Prince, and the race to find the missing prince is on . . .

In Lazellari’s debut fantasy, Awakenings, New York City cop Cal MacDonnell and photographer Seth Raincrest found themselves stalked by otherworldly beings intent on killing them. The two had to accept the aid of a mysterious woman to unlock their hidden pasts, and what they discovered changed their lives.

Everything they knew about their lives was an illusion. They had in fact travelled to our dimension from the medieval reality of Aandor to hide their infant prince from assassins, but upon arriving, a freak mishap wiped their memories. Cal, Seth, and the rest of their party were incapacitated, and the infant prince was lost.

Thirteen years later, that prince, Daniel Hauer, is unaware of his origins--or that he has become the prize in a race between two powerful opposing factions. Cal and Seth’s group want to keep Daniel safe. The other wants Daniel dead—by any means necessary.

From the streets of New York City to the back roads of rural North Carolina, the search for the prince sets powerful forces against each other in a do-or-die battle for the rule of the kingdom of Aandor.

Against a backdrop of murder, magic, and mayhem on the streets of New York City, victory goes to the swiftest and the truest of hearts.




Karen Heuler, Jon McGoran and A.D. Robertson
(Books that caught my eye, and then had to have!)
BookExpo America 2013 - The Books



The Made-Up Man
AuthorKaren Heuler
Publisher:  Livingston Press, November 30, 2011
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 226 pages
Price:  $21.00 (print)
ISBN:  9781604890815 (print)

BookExpo America 2013 - The Books
Self-pity will only get you so far. When Alyson Salky finds that her lover is having an affair with her best friend--and he takes the dog with him when he moves out--and a man with worse credentials is hired over her at work, it’s time to make some major life decisions. She keeps running into the neighborhood fortune teller, Madame Hope, who promises she can make Alyson’s wishes come true—any wish, so why not a big wish? As far as Alyson can determine, the problem with her life is that she’s getting all the crap that women get, and none of the free passes that men get. It’s time to switch—it’s time to see what life is like as a man—and while Madame Hope can get that done for her (in exchange for her soul), nothing really goes as planned. The devil, it turns out, has a sense of humor. But who will have the last laugh?



Drift
AuthorJon McGoran
Publisher:  Forge Books, July 9, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages
Price:  $24.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780765334701 (print)

BookExpo America 2013 - The Books
When Philadelphia narcotics detective Doyle Carrick loses his mother and step-father within weeks of each other, he gains a twenty-day suspension for unprofessional behavior and instructions to lay low at the unfamiliar house he’s inherited in rural Pennsylvania.

Feeling restless and out of place, Doyle is surprised to find himself falling for his new neighbor, Nola Watkins, who’s under pressure to sell her organic farm to a large and mysterious development company. He’s more surprised to see high-powered drug dealers driving the small-town roads—dealers his bosses don’t want to hear about.

But when the drug bust Doyle’s been pushing for goes bad and the threats against Nola turn violent, Doyle begins to discover that what’s growing in the farmland around Philadelphia is much deadlier than anything he could have imagined . . .

Quick, clever, and terrifying, Jon McGoran’s Drift is a commercial thriller in the tradition of Nelson DeMille’s Plum Island.



Captive: The Forbidden Side of Nightshade
AuthorA. D. Robertson (Andrea Cremer)
Publisher:  Dutton Adult, October 22, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
Price:  $25.95 (print)
ISBN:  9780525954118 (print)

BookExpo America 2013 - The Books
The first adult novel set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Nightshade series, Captive delivers a steamy, forbidden romance between sworn enemies drawn together by an irrepressible desire.

Twenty-five-year-old Tristan Doran enjoys a life of incredible power and privilege. As a direct descendant of the Keepers—witches who have embraced dark magic—he defers to no one but his overlord, Lord Bosque Mar. For most of his life, Tristan has been kept
out of the centuries-old Witches War, his bloodline too valuable to risk in battle.

But when a beautiful, young human Searcher named Sarah is captured and made a prisoner in his Irish castle, Tristan’s infatuation with her flings him headlong into the fray. Captive and captor, unable to contain their longing, embark on a passionate, forbidden romance together—only to learn that their love is at the heart of a prophecy predicting the downfall of the Keepers’ ages-old reign.

Captive explores the darker side of the richly imagined Nightshade universe, a fantasy world of powerful dark witches, shape-shifting wolf warriors, and fascinating history. The first of three erotic novels, Captive delves deeply into the fiery, illicit romance of two young lovers whose very desires invite their doom.




Jon Land, Peter Mattei, and Lisa Unger
(More unexpected treats!)
BookExpo America 2013 - The Books



Strong Rain Falling
AuthorJon Land
Series:  Caitlin Strong 5
Publisher:  Forge Books, August 13, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 450 pages
Price:  $25.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780765331502 (print)

BookExpo America 2013 - The Books
Mexico, 1919: The birth of the Mexican drug trade begins with opium being smuggled across the U.S. border, igniting an all-out battle with American law enforcement in general and the Texas Rangers in particular.

The Present: Fifth Generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong and her lover Cort Wesley Masters both survive terrifying gun battles. But this time, it turns out, the actual targets were not them, but Masters’ teenage sons.

That sets Caitlin and Cort Wesley off on a trail winding through the past and present with nothing less than the future of the United States hanging in the balance. Along the way they will confront terrible truths dating all the way back to the Mexican Revolution and the dogged battle Caitlin’s own grandfather and great-grandfather fought against the first generation of Mexican drug dealers.

At the heart of the storm soon to sweep away America as we know it, lies a mastermind whose abundant power is equaled only by her thirst for vengeance. Ana Callas Guajardo, the last surviving member of the family that founded the Mexican drug trade, has dedicated all of her vast resources to a plot aimed at the U.S.’s technological heart.

This time out, sabotage proves to be as deadly a weapon as bombs in a battle Caitlin must win in cyberspace as well. Her only chance to prevail is to short-circuit a complex plan based as much on microchips as bullets. Because there’s a strong rain coming and only Caitlin and Cort Wesley can stop the fall before it’s too late.



The Deep Whatsis
Author:  Peter Mattei
Publisher:  Other Press, July 23, 2013
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 256 pages
Price:  $15.95 (print)
ISBN:  978-1-59051-638-6 (print)

BookExpo America 2013 - The Books
The Deep Whatsis follows a brilliant antihero staggering into madness as he navigates among Brooklyn hipsters, advertising tyrants, corporate hypocrisy, and the ghosts of his past.

Meet Eric Nye: player, philosopher, drunk, sociopath. A ruthless young Chief Idea Officer at a New York City ad agency, Eric downsizes his department, guzzles only the finest Sancerre, pops pills, and chases women. Then one day he meets Intern, whose name he can’t remember. Will she be the cause of his downfall, or his unlikely awakening?

A gripping and hilarious satire of the inherent absurdity of advertising and the flippant cruelty of corporate behavior, The Deep Whatsis shows the devastating effects of a world where civility and respect have been fired.



In the Blood
AuthorLisa Unger
Publisher:  Touchstone, January 7, 2014
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
Price:  $25.99 (print)
ISBN:  9781451691177 (print)

BookExpo America 2013 - The Books
In the Blood is the Lisa Unger novel we've all been waiting for—and a return to the dark psychological suspense that made Beautiful Lies a bestseller around the world.

Lana Granger lives a life of lies. She has told so many lies about where she comes from and who she is that the truth is like a cloudy nightmare she can’t quite recall. About to graduate from college and with her trust fund almost tapped out, she takes a job babysitting a troubled boy named Luke. Expelled from schools all over the country, the manipulative young Luke is accustomed to controlling the people in his life. But, in Lana, he may have met his match. Or has Lana met hers?

When Lana’s closest friend, Beck, mysteriously disappears, Lana resumes her lying ways—to friends, to the police, to herself. The police have a lot of questions for Lana when the story about her whereabouts the night Beck disappeared doesn’t jibe with eyewitness accounts. Lana will do anything to hide the truth, but it might not be enough to keep her ominous secrets buried: someone else knows about Lana’s lies. And he’s dying to tell.

Lisa Unger's writing has been hailed as “sensational” (Publishers Weekly) and “sophisticated” (New York Daily News), with “gripping narrative and evocative, muscular prose” (Associated Press). Masterfully suspenseful, finely crafted, and written with a no-holds-barred raw power, In the Blood is Unger at her best.




Chuck Wendig and John Hornor Jacobs
(Okay, I had to have these also. Adore the writing of both authors!)
BookExpo America 2013 - The Books



Under the Empyrean Sky
AuthorChuck Wendig
Series:  The Heartland Trilogy 1
Publisher:  Skyscape, July 30, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and Kindle eBook
Price:  $17.99 (print)
ISBN:  9781477817209 (print)

BookExpo America 2013 - The Books
Corn is king in the Heartland, and Cael McAvoy has had enough of it. It’s the only crop the Empyrean government allows the people of the Heartland to grow — and the genetically modified strain is so aggressive that it takes everything the Heartlanders have just to control it. As captain of the Big Sky Scavengers, Cael and his crew sail their rickety ship over the corn day after day, scavenging for valuables, trying to earn much-needed ace notes for their families. But Cael’s tired of surviving life on the ground while the Empyrean elite drift by above in their extravagant sky flotillas. He’s sick of the mayor’s son besting Cael’s crew in the scavenging game. And he’s worried about losing Gwennie — his first mate and the love of his life — forever when their government-chosen spouses are revealed. But most of all, Cael is angry — angry that their lot in life will never get better and that his father doesn’t seem upset about any of it. Cael’s ready to make his own luck . . . even if it means bringing down the wrath of the Empyrean elite and changing life in the Heartland forever.



The Twelve Fingered Boy
AuthorJohn Hornor Jacobs
Series:  The Twelve-Fingered Boy Trilogy 1
Publisher:  Carolrhoda Lab, February 1, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 280 pages
Price:  $17.95 (print)
ISBN:  9780761390077 (print)

BookExpo America 2013 - The Books
Fifteen-year-old Shreve Cannon doesn't mind juvie. He's got a good business dealing contraband candy, and three meals a day are more than his drunk mother managed to provide. In juvie, the rules never change and everyone is the same. In juvie, Shreve has life figured out. Then the new fish shows up.

Jack's a quiet kid. Small. Cries himself to sleep too. He's no standard-issue titty-baby, though. There's his hands—more specifically his fingers, all twelve of 'em. And when he gets angry, something weird happens. The air wavers. You feel a slight pressure in your chest. And then…well, best take cover.

Jack isn't the only new face in juvie. There's Mr. Quincrux. Quincrux has an unusual interest in Jack and Shreve, and it quickly becomes clear that innocent bystanders aren't going to get in his way. So Jack and Shreve bust out.

On the lam, they quickly discover that Jack has abilities—hell, superpowers—that might just give them a fighting chance against Quincrux, if they can stay alive long enough to figure them out.




I'm excited to dive into reading these novels!

BookExpo America 2013 - The People


BookExpo America 2013 - The People
I missed BookExpo America (BEA) last year due to stuff. I was thrilled to be able to spend a day at BEA this year. BEA was held at the Javitz Center in New York City (where it will be in 2014 and 2015). It was a fantastic day. I was able to say 'hello' to authors and publicists I'd only met online and see others that I've met before.

If you are a book lover too (and I bet you are because you are reading a book blog), you can attend BEA as a Power Reader. I wasn't there on Saturday when BEA was opened to the Power Readers/public so I can't tell you if it was crowded. It seems like a great chance to pick up some wonderful books and meet some of your favorite authors.

Here are photos that I took of people on Friday. I'll write a separate post about the novels I picked up. There is a tendency to take every book offered, but I was careful to take only what I would read. It took a lot of self-control, believe me. 


BookExpo America 2013 - The People
John Hornor Jacobs and The Twelve-Fingered Boy. This is John's first YA novel.



BookExpo America 2013 - The People
Ben Smith and Jon Oliver from Rebellion Publishing (Solaris, Abaddon, etc.).
I talked with them before I had coffee. It's amazing that I made any sense (if I did).



BookExpo America 2013 - The People
Pierce Brown and Red Rising. There was a long line and many ARCs.
I owe Pierce a gold star for book signing.



BookExpo America 2013 - The People
Jon Land and Strong Rain Falling at the ThrillerFest booth.
ThrillerFest will be held in NYC July 10 -13.



BookExpo America 2013 - The People
I was just walking around and spotted Giada De Laurentiis. She had just finished
signing Recipe for Adventure (a children's book). She is super nice!



BookExpo America 2013 - The People
Jon McGoran and Drift.



BookExpo America 2013 - The People
Andrea Cremer as A.D. Robertson with Captive (Forbidden Nightshade 1),
an adult fantasy novel set in the world of her Nightshade books.
We'll be talking about this!



BookExpo America 2013 - The People
V.E. (Victoria) Schwab with her first adult novel, Viscious.



BookExpo America 2013 - The People
Edward Lazellari and The Lost Prince. The much anticipated second novel in
the Guardians of Aandor series.



BookExpo America 2013 - The People
John Carter Cash and Lupus Rex. This is the first novel being published by
Ravenstone, the children's and YA imprint of Rebellion Publishing.



BookExpo America 2013 - The People
Michael Molcher (Rebellion's PR Coodinator) with Lupus Rex
(that's King Wolf for those of you who don't read Latin).



BookExpo America 2013 - The People
Grumpy Cat!!! She is so calm. I think the longest line I was on at BEA was
to snap this photo. GC has a book coming out in the Fall and
has just signed a movie deal (actually her hooman did that on her behalf).



My final stop of the day was the SFWA booth:

BookExpo America 2013 - The People
Laura Anne Gilman, who has written the Retreivers, Vineart War, and 
Paranormal Scene Investigations novels (and more) and the upcoming Portals series.



BookExpo America 2013 - The People
Karen Heuler, author of The Inner City, The Made-up Man
The Soft Room, and more.




Look for my next BEA post - BookExpo America 2013 - The Books
Black Scorpion Blog Tour: Interview with Jon Land - April 9, 2015Interview with Jon Land, author of the Caitlin Strong Novels and More - August 13, 2013BookExpo America 2013 - The BooksBookExpo America 2013 - The People

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