Blog

Uncategorized

Author Interview: RA McGEE

Tell us a little about your path to becoming an author.
 
I’ve spent my entire life trying to write a better a line than “it was a dark and stormy night…” and that’s what motivates me to this day. It is my sole purpose in life.  
 
In reality, I’ve always been a voracious reader and dabbled in writing. Two things happened to me at the same time that pushed me to take authoring more seriously.
 
The first was that I lost my father. It was a lengthy process and by the end of it, I was more than a little spent. The situation rudely reminded me that life is fleeting under the best of circumstances and painfully short in the worst. I had to think about what I wanted to accomplish with my time on the planet. And writing books was one of the things on that list. I wanted to prove to myself that I could tell the kinds of stories that I liked to read, and that I could do it well enough to make money from it.
 
The second thing was listening to an extremely popular podcast and realizing that the writing was mediocre. To be fair, I enjoyed the stories, but I couldn’t help rewriting dialogue in my head as I listened. Sure, that was a bit of hubris from someone who had never written anything longer than a term paper, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I could at least rival the stories that I was listening to on my old-school iPod.  
 
So, I decided to give it a try.

What do you find easiest about the writing process and what do you find the most difficult?

The two extremes of writing. The easiest thing about the writing process is coming up with ideas for stories. I often get asked about where I come up with ideas, and they literally come from everywhere, fast and furious, all day long. The ideas aren’t an issue. The execution can be. That and the fact that we are all only gifted with so much time every day, so there will never be a chance to write everything I want to.

The most difficult is that writing is a solitary endeavor. Even for someone with plenty of author friends, the process of sitting down at your computer every day and banging out words can be lonely. The work exists in a vacuum until you decided to show it to someone. And the entire time, your mind plays tricks on you, telling you that your writing isn’t very good, that your story sucks, that no one will want to read what you’ve written.

It’s one of the least glamorous parts of writing, but one that I think most authors can relate to. Feeling like the last three months (or six months or year or ten years) were all a waste. That the words sound bad and you’re an idiot for wasting your time. That no one will want to read what you’ve written. It takes some fortitude to see a project all the way to the end. Kudos to the brave few who make it.

What is a common myth about your job or field of expertise?
 
I think there is a romanticized notion about authors. That we sip tea all day (it’s actually coffee) and that we sit in oak-lined studies filled with books, wearing tweed coats with elbow patches. [Craig’s note: we don’t?] That we wait for inspiration to strike and then we can peck at a keyboard for a few minutes and voila! Book!
 
The fact is, writing can be difficult. It can be messy and ugly and it can happen in ways that challenge the author mentally and physically (I mean, hunching over a desk and banging away on a keyboard all day takes its toll.)
 
But one day I plan on wearing that tweed coat while sitting in my underwear and writing. [Craig’s note: Pics or it didn’t happen.] I think I will finally feel like I’ve arrived.
 
What is one book you’d wish you’d written?
 
There are so many good books out there it would be tough to pick one. But I think I’ll go with two, if the editors of this esteemed website will indulge me. [Craig’s note: *sigh* Fiiiiine.]
 
The first would be Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy. Tom Clancy occupies a unique space in my memory. Rainbow Six was the first of his books that I read, and I remember being fascinated with the complexity of the plot. How he wove several seemingly disparate storylines together and made them all converge at the end.
 
I loved how he took all the soldiers from different countries and dropped them into a melting pot to see how they would function. They all retained their own unique voices and mannerisms and as a kid, it was amazing to read.
 
The protagonist of my Blackthorn Thrillers is named Clark, and that is an homage to John Clark from Rainbow Six. Shameless, but it felt right to me.
 
The other book I wished I’d written is the Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. It definitely skews toward youngers readers, but my first exposure to it was after I was already an author. Reading it with a “professional” (I say that tongue firmly in cheek) eye was incredible.
 
I challenge you to do this: go to Amazon and pull up the Graveyard Book and read the first chapter of the look inside preview. The first couple pages are so good, it made me want to stop writing, because I realized I would never write anything as smooth.
 
I still haven’t, but I didn’t stop writing either, so I suppose that’s a win. 

If you could only recommend one of your books to a reader, which would it be?
 
Getting into my Porter series at the beginning is a pretty good way to go. The first book, Forceful Intent, is a good indication of who I am and what I’m about as an author.
 
What is something about you that people might find surprising?
 
I suppose everything, since no one knows me. I mean… the real me.
 
To actually answer your question, maybe people would be surprised to know I never queried a traditional editor or publisher. I know that seems to be a fairly common story: person writes book then spends time trying to get the old-school powers that be to publish it, ultimately failing and becoming an indie author.
 
I never bothered trying.
 
When I was finished with my first book, I did some research on the ways to publish books, found out about indie publishing and never looked back. I think it’s worked pretty well for me so far, and I don’t regret it.
 
Which isn’t to say I’m against being traditionally published by any means, but more on that later.
 
What is one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring authors?
 
There are several things I love to say to aspiring authors, but I won’t go on a tangent here, so I’ll try to make it brief. I have a nuts-and-bolts suggestion and one slightly more esoteric.
 
As far as the nuts and bolts go, turn off your spell and grammar check as you write. Go in to the setting of whatever you use to put words on your screen, and get rid of the little squiggly lines that pop up when you make an error.
 
I would never be able to finish anything if I always saw those lines. I’d always stop and go back and clean things up as I went. And for me, that’s counter productive. There will be plenty of time to edit things later.
 
When it’s first draft time, I need to get the words out, and stopping because I spelled “the” as “teh” (which I do seventy-five percent of the time) will only slow me down. [Craig’s note: The internet leads me to believe “teh” is actually the correct spelling, and the internet is never wrong, so …] Yes, you can add your usual screw-ups to the predictive text and eliminate “teh”, but you will always come up with creative ways to spell like an idiot. [Craig’s note: It helps to actually be an idiot, like me.] So just get rid of the red line all together.
 
My other suggestion to new authors would be to have the courage to finish. Don’t be the person talking about the book they want to write, or worse, the one they’d been writing for seven years and they are currently on their fourteenth draft.
 
Don’t do that. Start works and push until you finish. You will learn more about yourself as an author by simply finishing projects than you will in any course.  
 
What are you currently working on?
 
So many things, so many things…
 
I’m writing the seventh book in my Porter series, for release some time in 2022. I am also outlining the fifth book in my Blackthorn thrillers series, featuring the aforementioned Clark.
 
And, despite what I said above, I am tentatively working on an outline for a book that I plan to shop around to traditional publishers. Not because I have to, since I’ve proven to myself that I can indie publish successfully. But because I’m looking for a new challenge. And I’m a glutton for punishment. So, I guess we’ll see how that goes!

Where can people find you online?

You can reach me at ramcgee.com or at info@ramcgee.com.

Uncategorized

It won’t be long now …

We’re moving ever closer to May 19, which is the official launch day of the rest of your life. And also Mayan Shadows.

Not that I’m saying the two are related.

Okay, I’m totally saying that the two are related.

But, seriously, this is an exciting development. The book has been getting some great early reviews, and here are some of those:

  • “An enjoyable action-adventure read that vividly brings the action to your mind’s eye. Several moments through the book also had me laughing out loud as well. Strongly recommend for those that enjoy a break from books that take themselves just a bit too seriously.”
  • “In the manner of a Clive Cussler or Dan Brown, Mr. Hart/Mr. Varengo spin a tale of intrigue and mystery including explosions, kidnappings, characters out of history, magic skarebeoards as well interesting and beautiful ladies helping…..or not! A definite great read! You’ll not be able to put it down!”
  • “I really enjoyed this book. Well written, page turner, great characters, twists & turns. Great job.”
  • “This was a fun story with developed characters, a strong plotline, and lots of action and humor that kept the pages turning.”

So far it seems people are digging it! Heh–a little archaeology joke there.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Maxwell Barnes is an archeologist and the son of an archeologist. He and his companion, friend, and brother since youth, Axel Morales, have been treasure hunting for their benefactor Myron Crabtree, in the jungles of Guatemala.

This area, not coincidentally, is also rumored to be the location of the last great city of the Maya, the legendary Ahrum. When Max meets a man who appears to be a young Mayan skateboard punk, his entire world is turned upside down as he hears the true story of the city’s demise, and of the Crystal of Ahrum, lost then but supposedly capable of restoring the ancient Mayan empire.

Along the way he also meets Isabel García, a Spanish beauty who is far more than meets the eye, and a man named Estrada – who could be the evilest person on the planet.

Adventure, romance, and more than a little excitement all await you in book one of The Crystal of Ahrum: Mayan Shadows!

Book Series, Cover Reveal, Craig A. Hart, Crystal of Ahrum, Mayan Shadows, New Book Announcement, S.J. Varengo

The Shadow has Begun to Spread…

I want to tell you about a book, but first I have to give you a modicum of background. But don’t panic, it’s a kind of human interest meets man vs. machine meets van winkle thing.

You’ll see what I mean.

I certainly hope so

Easy, you. Deep breath.

Anyway, a while back I, (living room famous author from Central New York) was talking to my writing partner, (award-winning, best-selling, and famous probably all the way to the back yard,) Craig A. Hart. Cuz we’re like that. We talk. About, you know, stuff.

So this conversation drifted to an idea he had for what would become a new series. We were both very excited about the concept right from the start, and before long he’d written us a treatment for book one, which we dove into.

So you started writing. Great. Aren’t you writers?

Seriously, who hired the headline tech?

But anyway, even with that backbone (aka the treatment), we developed and introduced a lot of ideas as we progressed. We also deviated from the treatment once or twice. I’d like to tell you it was all Craig, rolling about like an unsecured field cannon with its fuse nearly spent. The truth is, every time we drifted it was because of an idea I had that drew us. So Craig helped, but it was also always him who came to his senses first. I’d get messages that said things like, “I had to do some minor rewrites in the previous eight chapters. Well, okay the four you wrote. Anyway… I think we’re on to something here!”

And I’d respond with an interrogative “Yay?”

Seriously? We’re supposed to care about this?

Wow. I really don’t like the headline tech.

I guess here’s where the story gets a little darker. In January, amidst an entire galactic hurricane of family garbage, I somehow fell outside my front door and fractured my skull, damaged my brain – a real tragedy since it was barely functioning to begin with, and set the progress of our new book back significantly as I reconnected with my ability to do this job. More than once did I think ditch-digging might be a lateral move at worst.

I was going to grab a picture from the internet of a guy with his head wrapped and make some sort of joke about never looking as bad as him, though I did have the same bandages but have you ever done that? Depressing.

Anyway, over the next three months, things kind of went up for a bit. I mean to the point where I was starting to snatch little moments of optimism when apparently my heart turned off.

I mean this quite literally. I was sitting on the same device Elvis Presley was when the elevator opened for him one last time, as his pals found him on his bathroom floor. And the next thing I knew I was waking up on my bathroom floor. Stinking Elvis and his stinking trend-setting ways.

It took me a couple of seconds to work out the best way to stand up, but I did, and went back to my living room chair and sat down. There was no pain. No real understanding. In my mind I fainted I guess. And before you ask, no I was not wearing a constricting corset.

I’d been receiving regular home visits from a nurse, and she was due to arrive in about an hour from the time my wife got up slightly after the bathroom maneuver. Now I need to explain that I was actually wearing a heart monitor at the time, after my second visit to the ER, and it was due to come off the following day to be mailed back to the company. The people monitoring it began calling our house, apparently right after my cold-tile faceplant. First the house phone, then my wife’s cell. On this later they left a message saying they saw a “significant pause” in my heart function and she should get me to the hospital.

But like I said, the nurse was coming. When she arrived we told her about what had happened, but there wasn’t a huge amount of concern by then. We were communicating clearly, I felt no pain, blah blah blah.

Now part of her job was to take vitals, and she had an oximeter on my finger, on which she watched my oxygen saturation and heart rate drop to zero. Right in front of her. She worked on me for about 27 seconds, at which point I woke up. I was unable to recall the incident, and she told my wife to call the ambulance.

They arrived, gurney-ed me up, put me in the vehicle, and before we left our parking lot I had a third incident, this was slightly shorter. But in each of the three, I was more or less dead for a while.

Okay. I’m done being grumpy. What happened next?

Thank you. And to answer the question, agonizingly slow recovery. But in what I consider a very serendipitous coincidence, one of the first activities I found I could manage – was writing.

I got back to work on the book. Craig got back on as well. We followed the treatment. We finished the novel.

It looks like this:

[SUBLIMINAL DIALOGUE: “You want this book. You really want this book.”

Now comes one of our favorite parts and at the same time the part we’d just as soon do without, which is book release. Officially this will be May 15th, which is a lovely day if I do say so myself.

I’m guessing you have a point. Do you have a point?

Why yes. The point, simply enough, is that E2 Books is going strong, ramping up even, for what we sneakingly believe is going to be a very fun series. STAY TUNED FOR MORE NEWS!!

Craig A. Hart, E2 Books Show, S.J. Varengo

I gots the Covid

I use the term constantly now. “I gots the Covid.” It’s bad English and points to the author as problematic at best, but it’s what Grand Funk once called “a natural fact.” Not only true but there for all to see in prison-blue majesty. “Steer clear of him. He’s sick.”

Of course, these are the same people who have spent the past couple of years whining about how unfair and, dammit, untrue this whole Covid-19 story really is. Does it affect your liver? Your spleen? Your medulla oblongata? Your balls?

I don’t know and neither does anyone else if they’re talking at all. From what I’ve been able to discern the vast majority of “experts” have essentially postponed reaching any sort of determination on the world front. No, we haven’t gotten any big answers to bigger questions. No, we don’t really know that much more about the transmission of the disease than when all this madness started. No, we don’t know how to guarantee that we’ll get better. No, we’re not sure from one moment to the next which take-out has the best deal on burgers. [Ed. Note: It’s probably McDonald’s.]

What have we found out? Whole lotta nothing in my opinion. But here’s the thing: I have been governmentally tested and told that I am indeed positive for Covid-19. Yipee!

Full disclosure: I never doubted the existence, severity, or survivability of the virus. From my initial exposure to the topic, I have known that the whole thing was little more than a crapshoot. You can catch Covid, spread Covid, even call Covid a series of unpleasant names, one of which rhymes with the English term, “Ducking Runt.” But no one, at least thus far has told me anything about it that eases my mind, that puts my future on solid ground. They just all say things like, “We’ve got to get to Subway and pick up dinner.”

I suppose there are worse things they could say. [Ed. Note: I had a social studies teacher once who told me I was living my life all wrong, but he never told me how to correct it. Memo to self: find and kill this individual.] Certainly, there are better things. There are always better things. For example a simple, “I suddenly have forgotten all my English. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go to Subway to pick up dinner.” I’d be down with that.

But even this has failed to be my reward, my Heavenly billboard, in sparkling letters, saying, “Scott, you’re dead? Come on in and play Parcheesi!” It’s just uncertain news about a disease we have not yet conquered. It’s just meaningless platitudes about something that should never have happened in the first place, but was, of course, inevitable.

I was not told the specific nature of my Covid, although it occurred during the height of the Omicron variety’s rise to international glory. People in Pakistan, Cambodia, Idaho, and Moosejaw are all experiencing the same thing. Misery. Pain. Discomfort. Unpopular party appearances… it’s a nightmare. A diamond shower of burning shit.

And I’m smack in the middle of it. I am a textbook example of whatever the hell it is that I have. Perhaps even beyond the textbook, as a) ain’t nobody writing textbooks about this shit and b) ain’t nobody telling the sick kid anything that could possibly be of any use.

But there are certain things I’ve been able to determine on my own. Let’s take a look, shall we?

  • In spite of all the news I’ve received, mainly via TV, I still don’t know which of the popular varieties of the virus that I have.
  • I’ve lost all sense of smell and taste, although the interweb says this is very uncommon at this stage of the disease’s development.
  • I’m not getting sick every time I eat, as I was when the test first indicated I was possitive. Don’t get me wrong. I still feel like garbage more often than I don’t, but I’m keeping nutrition down.
  • All of my friends fall under one of three catagories: a)vaccinated b) unvaccinated, but very good as laughing at those who are and c) unvaccinated and very sorry of that fact now because they’ve infected the entire Eastern seaboard. And they caused that red-headed girl from Oregon to miss her favorite show on Nickelodeon. I myself consider me to be a subsector of a) in which I’m fully vaccinated and still alive, but feel like I’ve been swallowed by a gelatenous cube.

So, what does this all mean, you great poofter?

Glad you asked. The primary effect upon me is the inability to complete even the simplest of tasks, most especially when it comes to my career. (I’m a writer. Did I mention that?) I understand very clearly that at this stage of my public life I should be constantly working on some aspect of my writing, whether creatively (as in actually composing the shit), or promotionally. I should be selling the name E2 Books, the works of S.J. Varengo and of Craig A. Hart.

But what I’m actually doing is dragging my carcass through as much of this crazy, mixed-up world, marking the end of my day by recognizing the creation of a new one. I’m breathing to the best of my ability, and I’m waiting for my energy level to return to no less than 93% human. I’m waiting for my ability to write books to overcome my ability to watch the sunrise.

When can we expect you to clock back in?

How the hell do I know?

Okay. Here’s what I do know:

  • The day I first went to the hospital I already knew I was infected, but did not know I’d fall outside, hit my skull on the sidewalk, and break said skull in multiple places.
  • I knew that many people got over their brush with Covid, even though it has killed uncounted victims across the planet.
  • I knew I was vaccinated and therefore most likely I’d survive the whole drama. In fact…
  • I knew I would live.

But none of that really does one any good! It’s a list of shit we know, but don’t know. It’s a list of symptoms we’ve seen, but don’t, in reality, understand a damn thing about.

So what was my purpose for all of this blah blah blah?

Look, I want you to know that I care about you. I want you to know that creating worlds, creating characters, is as pleasing a thing to do as anything I’ve ever done, with the possible exception of all the things I probably ought to charge you for before I tell you. I don’t like being a little Covid puppy.

But I do want to take you to new places, introduce you to new people, and get you to pet a new dog, even if it’s a Covid puppy.

So don’t give up on me just yet. And don’t forget that Craig and I have worked well into our new series, which we’re hoping changes everything for you.

Now if you excuse me, I’d like to go be ill. LOVE YOU!

Cover Reveal, Craig A. Hart, Limited Time, S.J. Varengo

You Don’t Even Know…

My father had a friend named Guido, (I swear to God), and Guido, as it turns out, was quite a character. He used to like to tell me stories but he could never finish them. He’d get about two-thirds of the way to his point and then wave his hand at me and say, “You don’t even know.” It was always accompanied by a dismissive wave of his hand.

You don’t even know!

My dad’s pal guido. honest to god.

After about the four hundredth time he did that I began to suspect that he didn’t even know, and that’s why he never finished a story. But you have to give points for this – he was right. I certainly did not even know. How the hell could I?

Cool story, huh? I shared that episode from my awkward youth with you to make an analogy. Which is: Craig and I have so many good things planned for you in 2022… you don’t even know.

That’s not really an analogy. I’d call it more of a parallel. But seriously… you don’t even know.

Okay, you may know a little, like for instance the book we’ve been talking about for a while now, Mayan Shadows. We’re actively working on that, and it is shaping up nicely. We’re also getting ready to tell you about another new series, (featuring an old friend – and that’s all I’m telling you for now.)

Just a little reminder… this one’s getting closer!

So, yeah. It’s going to be a big year. With any kind of luck, the pandemic chills sufficiently to allow us to see our fans in the wild. Not one but two new series… listen, seriously… You. Don’t. Even. Know.


Oh, don’t forget, our new collection Killer Instinct, is available just in time for the holidays, and with 19 books, 3000 pages, and three complete series, you’re not going to want to pass it up. Click here, (or the gorgeous ad below, designed by a crackerjack graphic artist if he does say so himself.

Book Sale, Book Series, Cleanup Crew, Craig A. Hart, Limited Time, New Collection, S.J. Varengo, Shelby Alexander Thrillers, SpyCo Novellas

Oh My Holly-Jolly Goodness!

It’s the Holiday Deal You’ve Been Waiting For

Happy Holidays,  it’s Scott and boy have I got good news for you. The world changed hands overnight and now everything is wicked groovy because the main change was that all the books in the world are free!!!

Okay, they’re not. I made that up. But I’ve got news that is almost that good, and won’t lead to filling your house with 10,000,000 hardcover editions bloating both your TBR list and, frankly, every room in your house, the garage, and that metal storage shed you bought to put the lawnmower in. (And remember, you built that shed without really following the instructions. It’s a miracle it’s stayed up this long, what with the strong winds we’ve been experiencing.)But don’t even worry about that today, because I’ve got good news, remember? (, you haven’t forgotten already have you? Tsk.)

Just in time for the holidays, E2Books has released the Killer Instinct collection. 

Your next question was going to be “Huh?” wasn’t it! I foresaw.

Let me tell you a little about this huge collection of E2 thrillers. It is jam-packed with every SpyCo,  every Cleanup Crew, every Shelby 
Yes, Every.
That’s 3000 pages of pulse-pounding action, a total of 19 BOOKS!
What’s that? Break it down for you? Gladly!

SpyCo Novellas

  • Assignment: Athens
  • Assignment: Paris
  • Assignment: Istanbul
  • Assignment: Sydney
  • Assignment: Alaska
  • Assignment: Dublin
  • Assignment: London

Cleanup Crew Thrillers

  • The Beauty of Bucharest
  • The Count of Carolina
  • The Terror of Tijuana
  • The Demon of Denver

Shelby Alexander Thrillers

  • Serenity
  • Serenity Stalked
  • Serenity Avenged
  • Serenity Submerged
  • Serenity Engulfed
  • Serenity Betrayed
  • Serenity Reborn
  • Serenity Possessed

Whew!

I’ll give you a moment to catch your breath.I can see how you might need to recover for a moment, much like this lovely young lady who is recovering from the first successful head transplant, while her doctor shows her that he just bought the Killer Instinct Collection and is telling her that if she were a doctor she could have a copy of her own.

You know what?

Doctors can be such weiners!

Listen, you don’t need to be a doctor. You just need to love great thrillers, oh and be able to work the internet.  Okay. Do you feel like you have your legs back under you? Because if you do, that’s good. If you feel like you have your legs under your back, that is different and you should see a doctor at once. Even if he’s a weiner. But if you have recovered from that monstrously long list of titles it’s time to talk about price.

“Oh, we knew that was coming.”

Well, of course it was, but stay with me.

In the infomercials, this is where a man whose parents had the foresight to actually name him “The Pitchman,” says to the other person, (who we in the business call “The Stooge” or in rare cases for reasons we’ve never had fully explained to us, “The Ostrich”), “Well, Miss Mary Muffin, what would you expect to pay for all of this entertainment?”

Mary Muffin, (who, in yet another twist, actually is an ostrich), would do some quick mental calculations and then say, “Exactly $11,234,205.”

Then the other guy would begin laughing, and he would laugh so long and so uncontrollably that he dies and has to be replaced by his son, Son of The Pitchman, who says, “No, no, Mary Muffin, the ostrich. That’s far too high. Guess again.”

This goes on for some time until Mary finally sticks her head in the sand in shame and frustration, just as Son of The Pitchman reveals that the price is actually…

$9.99!

That’s over 80% off the individual list prices of the 19 included works!

Normally I’d add some more words here designed to entice you, but I think you’re already sitting in downtown Enticeburgh, MO. (Let’s give it up for Missouri – for no reason at all!) You know you want the collection, and you know you want it NOW!!  Alright, alright. It’s cool. Click the button!

Need more?

No judgment here! We’ve got you covered because we know that the only thing you want more than E2’s Limited time offer on the Killer Instinct Collection is to show the world you love E2 Books by incorporating us into your wardrobe. 

Available Now

E2 Apparel!

They come in all colors and styles, with women’s and men’s cuts, and are just loaded with features:

  • The E2 logo, designed by Craig A. Hart after drinking an entire washtub of home-distilled whiskey/rat poison
  • A hole for each arm
  • Another hole at the top for your head
  • A big hole at the bottom for easy egress

Prices range from $14-22, depending on choices, so dooooooooo itttttttt!

See, you were thinking the holidays might be ruined this year. You know – because of the alien invasion.

Oh. Oh, you hadn’t heard about that yet? Yeah, the whole thing is kinda hush-hush. Probably better if you forget that part. 

Anyway, show the true spirit of the holidays and buy stuff!

Cover Reveal, Craig A. Hart, S.J. Varengo

Hi!

It’s been so long since we’ve written anything here that I almost feel like I need to introduce myself all over again. Assuming I introduced myself previously, which is not a sure thing, as I’m painfully shy. In fact, do you see the brick wall behind the “hello” sign? I’m hiding behind it right now. But anyway, the therapist said, “It’s best to jump right in and get it over with.” We were standing on the culdera of a volcano at the time, but I’m sure he meant it as an encouragement. Pretty sure. In any case, hi, I’m Scott, a writer from Upstate New York. Pleased to meet you.

My writing partner Craig lives over there, (points to Iowa).

I told you we write, but I haven’t told you what! You know those little cartoon instructions that come in a box containing 3,485 parts, leaving you scratching your head and inventing new swear words? Yeah, that’s not us. We write books.

Now you probably want to know what kind of books we write. You know those paperbacks with the glossy covers that always have a dude with great abs, which are clearly visible because he either doesn’t own a shirt or, if he does, it has been reduced to little more than a napkin on his left shoulder? Yeah, that’s not us either. We write pulse-pounding espionage, thrillers, and adventures.

But more about that later. First, let’s talk about those shirtless dudes!

OMG, is he going to do a RANT?

Yes. Yes, he is.

But my conclusion may surprise you.

In general the books with these covers, you know the topless man with abs so well developed he can flex any portion thereof on demand? Yeah, those. The generic term for these is “romance.” Okay. Whatever. And there are tons of subgenres, some of which get pretty bizarre, but they all have one thing in common. NONE OF THESE MEN WEAR SHIRTS! And they’re often walking around outdoors.

Now, there are a lot of places on this planet I have yet to visit, (and as such they both exist and don’t exist, but let’s save that topic for a day when the smart people are writing), but there’s one place I have been many times, and that’s outdoors. And often when I’ve visiting this strange, wonderful land, I see other people. Some of them are men. And it’s the strangest thing…

All of them were wearing shirts!

Every last one.

But here’s where I’m throwing you the curveball. Well, it’s more like a curveball followed by a sick cutter that you couldn’t hit even if I shouted, “I’m throwing the cut fastball!”

  1. Ol’ Uncle Charlie: Just because there’s a half-naked man on the cover it doesn’t guarantee the book will stink. It might be a wonderful story masterfully told. Often in this case it’s just a savvy marketing move to stick Fabio and, now, his great-grandchildren, on the cover. I pretended to call an advertising agency that I decided to name “Foreskin and Associates,” (because I’m 9 years old), and was told that 93% of all women experienced muscle spasms which caused whichever arm was closest to the bookshelf to reach out and grab anything with one of these guys on the cover. Science and Art combine in an unholy marriage. Unholy, but brilliant.
  2. Here comes the cutter: These guys? The dudes on the cover? They’re making a living, man. What the hell? You’re going to begrudge this guy his income because he has a six-pack, and you’ve been drinking six-packs non-stop every day of every year since high school? It’s a job, man! Jesus!

Okay. Rant over.

Let’s see. What else is going on?

Oh, I know. Here’s the cover of the next Hart & Varengo collaboration:

Cool AF, right?

Cool AF, right?

Cool AF, right?

[Ed. Note: Scott is not having a stroke. He just really likes this stunning cover created by our good friend, a brilliant writer as well as one of the premiere cover artists in the game David Berens. Read his books too. These guys won’t mind. TTFN!]

[Ed. Note: The previous so-called Ed. Note was in fact written by Scott himself. Aside from the use of “Tah-tah for now,” a phrase we would never use, we agree with him, however. Hmm. We think this may be the first time we’ve ever done that. I’m calling our doctor.]

Craig A. Hart, E2 Books Show, S.J. Varengo, Special Guest

E2 Books Show – Episode Six

Stephanie Nemeth Parker

The lovely and talented
Stephanie Nemeth Parker

You don’t meet people like Stephanie Nemeth Parker every day. She has done numerous voice overs in Switzerland (where she lives much to the jealousy of her friends), for such companies as Omega Watches (she was the voice of the company for five years) and some rinky-dinky furniture company called Ikea, (she did one for them recently, then sent me a lovely picture of the Swiss countryside on her train ride home.) Oh, and she also co-starred in a short film with Rutger Hauer, who I’m told you may have heard of. (I watched it to see Steph, but this guy looks like he has some potential.) And if you follow her on Facebook, Insta, or Tiktok, you’ll also meet her friend Pammy, and that is an experience you will not want to miss. She also has about eighty audiobooks to her credit, narrated under her own name or her pseudo Vivienne LaRue.

And finally, and perhaps most importantly she is one of Craig’s and Scott’s very favorite people in the world. Take a listen to Episode Six and see if you are able to resist her overwhelming charm. [Ed. note: You won’t be.]

Book Series, Cleanup Crew, Craig A. Hart, Free Book, New Book Release, S.J. Varengo

Are you afraid of demons?

Welcome to the month of May! There are so many good things that happen in May. Like, the flowers, right? After the April showers and all that? (Technically in my area we’ve had more rain in the first four days of May than in April, but April has the edge in snow. So far.)

Also in May E2 Books is very pleased to announce the release of The Demon of Denver, which will be available literally everywhere in the world. We’re going to have people selling copies at a couple of the research stations on Antarctica, I’m pretty sure.

[Ed. Note: Nope.]

Quiet, you guys. This is a major announcement.

So where were we?

Ah, yes. Release announcement. Well now I feel off my game about it. This whole Editorial Staff thing, and their notes!

But I feel like I’d be kind of a rat if I didn’t tell you now, and frankly that would mean they’d won. I, for one, will always stick it to the man. Even when I am both the man and the stick.

Now I feel like I’ve completely lost the thread.

So let’s do this. Let’s talk about this post’s title. I obviously stole from the book title here, but the question is legitimate. Especially when the sort of demon we’re talking about is the human sort and frankly that’s the only kind that scares me. For readers of the series, there is little mystery about to whom the title refers, and for new readers, now would be a good time to get caught up. Book One, The Beauty of Bucharest, is available for nuttin’ at all, and you can get it here!

From there you’ll want to read The Count of Carolina, and The Terror of Tijuana to see how Nicole and her family got to where you will find them on…

May 26, 2021

Ha! I snuck the announcement in past the Editorialoids! Take that, Joe Authority! Have a whiff of that Ted Jurisdiction! Chomp on it, Melvin Ascendency! Oh crap, is that them coming? I’m getting out of here before they catch on.

LATAH!

Book Promotion, Cleanup Crew, Cover Reveal, Craig A. Hart, S.J. Varengo

As promised – Cover Reveal

We’re thrilled to reveal the cover for Cleanup Crew #4, The Demon of Denver. But first a word about the cover designer.

David Berens, apart from being a good friend to Craig and myself, is an incredible author, creating one of the better character’s I’ve come across in recent years in Troy Bodean, and on top of that he’s a brilliant graphic designer, as you’re about to see.

So without further ado…


I get that I’m probably not the most impartial observer, but I think it’s pretty sweet. Thanks to Dave for this and for the redesign of the first three CUC covers.

Stay tuned here on the website and on our “shosh meed” for more news, and the announcement of the release date.

Speaking of releases!

Check out this new thriller by my buddy Ethan Jones.

What if you had nothing to live for and nothing to lose…Devastated after his wife and daughter disappeared in a mysterious plane crash, Jack Storm, former CIS extractor, is failing to keep it all together. When a crucial asset is trapped in Tehran, the agency has no choice but to bring their top agent Jack back into service. They assign him a nearly-impossible mission, knowing he’s a ticking time bomb…Sent in with a know-it-all rookie, despondent Jack is relentlessly hunted at every turn. If he is caught, he’ll be hanged. But does Jack even care?Double-crossed, alone, and with the clock ticking, Jack, now more furious than hopeless, focuses his rage. But what does he have left to sacrifice to ensure the asset makes it out alive? The Jack Storm Spy Thriller SeriesInternational bestselling author Ethan Jones brings you a new series so heart-stopping and fever-pitched, that you’ll have to take up a permanent position on the edge of your seat. Like all Ethan’s thrillers, The Extractor is clean, clever, and captivating. With books two and three out in April and May, you will have hours of explosive entertainment.Enjoy the first book, The Extractor at the incredible price of 99 cents on all online bookstores, and start this adrenaline-filled, explosive series today!Click the link to grab it now: https://books2read.com/The-Extractor

Reviews★★★★★ “Awesome start to a new series!”★★★★★ “What a story! I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. It kept me at the edge of my seat. I was stunned by the ending. The author knows how to write an exceptionally good story. I could not put it down and I am impatiently waiting for the next book. I give it 5 stars which are well deserved. I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes spy stories. Keep writing!”★★★★★ “Wow that was some opening!”