WELCOME Jon Land
Hailed as “the greatest thriller writer alive today” by Bookviews and called “a creative genius” by Romantic Times, Jon Land is the author of 36 books, twenty-one of which have been national bestsellers, Jon is published in over fifty countries and six different languages, including German and Japanese. There are currently almost 7 million copies of his books in print. RT Book Reviews honored him with a special achievement award for being a Pioneer in Genre Fiction.
Jon’s latest series features female Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong who debuted in STRONG ENOUGH TO DIE (May ’09, Forge Books). The Associated Press wrote “The book is a page-turner, the pace blistering, the characters well-drawn and the action hot. Caitlin Strong is a female version of John McClane from Die Hard.” That was followed by STRONG JUSTICE (June ’10, Forge) which Publisher’s Weekly lauded with a starred review calling it, “Intense and skillfully plotted.” The San Jose Mercury News added that, “I’ve always wondered why there isn’t an estrogen driven, sometimes skirt wearing female competitor to James Bond, Jack Reacher, Mike Hammer, Spenser … Well ladies and gentlemen, now there is and her name is Caitlin Strong.” STRONG JUSTICE was named a Top Thriller of the Year by Library Journal and was named runner-up for Best Novel of the Year by the New England Book Festival. The third Caitlin Strong novel, STRONG AT THE BREAK (June ’11, Forge) was called “the best book I’ve read this year” by the San Jose Mercury News. “A terrific plot, vivid characters, suspense, a fast pace, all the ingredients of a great thriller,” adds Strand Magazine which included the book on their Best Books of the Year list as did Library Journal which named it, again, as a Top Thriller of Year. The next book in the series, STRONG VENGEANCE (July ’12, Forge) garnered the highest praise in series so far, including from the Huffington Post which proclaimed it, “a rare combination of meticulous research and good old-fashioned shoot-em-up action.” STRONG RAIN FALLING (August ’13, Forge) Caitlin’s latest adventure, won the 2013 USA Best Books Award and 2014 International Book Award in the Mystery/Suspense category. STRONG DARKNESS, the next in the series, will be published in September of 2014.
Meanwhile, BETRAYAL (January ’12, Forge), Jon’s first nonfiction effort that reached as high as #5 on the Boston Globe bestseller list, was optioned by Fox as a vehicle for Denis Leery, and named Best True Crime Book of the Year by Suspense Magazine as well as winning the 2013 International Book Award for Best True Crime. Most recently, Jon has resurrected his longtime series hero Blaine McCracken in THE TENTH CIRCLE (December ’13, Open Road Media) and PANDORA’S TEMPLE (November ’12, Open Road Media) which was nominated for a 2013 Thriller Award in the Best E-Book Original category and won the 2013 International Book Award for Best Adventure Thriller.
No stranger to the world of the film, Jon’s first film, a teen caper-comedy called DIRTY DEEDS, was released theatrically in the summer of 2005 and in DVD in January of 2006. Among numerous others, his current film projects include CHALK (Handpicked Films and Millennium) and STRANDED (Milk & Media Productions).
Jon graduated Brown University in 1979 Phi Beta Kappa and Magna cum Laude. He continues his association with Brown as alumni advisor to the Greek System, and vice-president of the Brown Football Association. He bases his novels and scripts on extensive travel and research, as well as a twenty-year career in the martial arts. He is an associate member of the United States Special Forces, has volunteered frequently in schools to help young people learn to enjoy the process of writing and chairs the Marketing Committee of International Thriller Writers. He lives in Providence, RI and can be found on the web at:
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NICE GUYS FINISH FIRST
Guest Post from Jon Land
I am not your personal customer service hotline. Do not ask me the order of my series or when the book is coming out in your particular country or how to make your ____ing Kindle turn on. Google it. It will take you less time and turn up a much more reliable answer.
That, my friends, is a message from author Chelsea Cain to her, er, fans posted on Facebook on September 3 at 1:23am. Last time I checked, we authors kind of depend on such fans for our very livelihoods, and the response to Cain’s comments were both scathing and caustic. Which made me realize that in our industry, among thriller writers anyway, Cain is way, way the exception, not the rule. Far from it.
I was talking to my publisher, Tom Doherty, founder of Tor/Forge, the other day. Tom also publishes the iconic George R.R. Martin, arguably the best-known writer in America today, thanks to his GAME OF THRONES series. Tom mentioned he’s bringing out three books of George’s later this year, two of which are anthologies that George edited in addition to contributing stories to. The reason?
“He wanted to help out some friends of his who aren’t as successful as he is,” Tom told me and added that one of George’s contributions is an original GAME OF THRONES novella.
Think about that for a moment. The most successful writer on the planet right now wanted to do something just to help his fellow writer friends, and here’s the thing: George isn’t alone. The mission statement of International Thriller Writers ITW, an organization for which I served on the board and am currently chair of the marketing committee, was founded based on the principle of the haves helping the not-yet-haves. Successful writers stretching a hand out to writers in search of that same success. Like Doug Preston, Lee Child, Steve Berry, Sandra Brown, James Rollins—some of the biggest in the business not named George R.R. Martin.
It’s not like other creative mediums share the same proclivity. You don’t see Brad Pitt offering to help struggling young actors or Maroon 5 mentoring some garage band. No, this inclination of giving back and paying it forward seems unique to writers not named Chelsea Cain. I learned this first-hand back in 2007 when I was in the process of publishing my first thriller in three years after a pointless foray concentrating on screenplays. I’d just joined ITW and was desperate for author quotes, also known as blurbs, to help reestablish myself in the marketplace and rebuild my brand. I asked eleven New York Times bestselling authors for those crucial endorsements and all of them said yes. Every single one.
Okay, so why? What makes writers, including among the most successful, so generous and giving of their time and energy?
I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately and my first thought boils down to a sense of community. Unlike actors or musicians, we spend an inordinate part of our lives alone, creating stories in a box of our own making. Writing isn’t a team sport; it’s relentlessly solitary and insular. We have to be very comfortable with our own company in order to pull it off. But that doesn’t mean we have to live like hermits which explains why so many of us thriller writers flocked to ITW upon its founding. Living and working in a box is a fine, but it also makes us long for the kind of camaraderie our profession seems to intrinsically reject. So the opportunity to band together to help others climb the elusive rungs of the publishing ladder is something we thrive on, not just tolerate.
That’s not all. Successful writers seem a truly unique bunch in the sense that we all remember, all too clearly, what it was like not to be successful. We all started in the same place pretty much and with the publication with each book, and the awards or bestseller list appearances if we’re lucky, comes the memory of what it was like the first time and the realization of how lucky we are to be succeeding, even thriving, in a business that seems to defy that. chaos
Another reason for this proclivity, I think, is the very nature and dynamics of publishing itself. It’s truly a tumultuous world where the rules keep changing so fast, nobody can really keep up. And the truth is we can learn a lot sometimes from the gorilla marketing tactics of authors who’ve been forced to go it alone after receiving the cold shoulder from the industry. Sure, they want in through the front door, but in the meantime many of them have found ways to make their mark by publishing independently on Amazon and the like. So in that respect we can gain something from them as well.
And that’s the point. Helping other writers flesh out their ideas and turn their Word files into published books makes us better writers too. If you can help someone fix their work, it only stands to reason that you’ll learn something about your own. In that respect, mentoring helps us fine-tune those crazy places in our minds from where the magic comes. Like stretching before a workout, getting loose and limber so you feel better and more comfortable about what you’re doing. We’re in the idea business, after all. Working with others to refine theirs helps us better refine ours.
Upholding the principles on which it was founded, International Thriller Writers now boasts a mentoring program, a remarkable Debut Author’s Program, and we have a board position dedicated to author development and education. In other words, we practice what we preach in large part because the process becomes self-perpetuating. Authors who’ve made their mark thanks in some part to ITW are going to give to others just as somebody gave to them. Nobody makes them; they do it because they want to.
Oh, and by the way, since I joined ITW and rebuilt my career on the shoulders of Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong, who you can meet in STRONG DARKNESS, I’ve probably been asked to blurb, endorse, maybe a hundred books. And I’ve never turned a single request down. These authors deserve my time and attention because other authors gave both to me when I needed them the most. What goes around come around, my friends (and Chelsea Cain), a good thing in this case because, sometimes, nice guys do finish first.
ABOUT Strong Darkness
1883: Texas Ranger William Ray Strong teams up with Judge Roy Bean to track down the Old West’s first serial killer who’s stitching a trail of death along the railroad lines slicing their way through Texas.
The Present: Fifth Generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong finds herself pursuing an-other serial killer whose methods are eerily similar to the one pursued by her great-grandfather almost a century-and-a-half before. But that’s just the beginning of the problems confronting Caitlin in her biggest and most dangerous adventure yet, starting off when the son of her reformed outlaw boyfriend Cort Wesley Masters is nearly beaten to death while at college.
The trail of that attack at Brown University leads all the way back to Texas and a Chinese high-tech company recently awarded the contract to build the nation’s Fifth Generation wireless network. Li Zhen, a rare self-made man in China and the company’s founder, counts that as the greatest achievement of his career. But it’s an achievement that hides the true motivations behind a rise fueled by events dating back to the time of Caitlin’s great-grandfather. Because the same era that spawned a serial killer who has impossibly resurfaced today also hides the secrets behind Li’s thirst for nothing less than China’s total domination of the United States.
His fiendishly clever plan is backed by all-powerful elements of the Chinese underworld that will stop at nothing to insure its success. Up against an army at Li’s disposal, Caitlin and Cort Wesley blaze a violent trail across country and continent in search of secrets hidden in the past, but it’s a secret from the present that holds the means to stop their adversary’s plot in its tracks, even as a climactic battle dawns with nothing less than the fate of the U.S. at stake. Because there’s a darkness coming, and only Caitlin Strong can find the light before it’s too late.