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.]

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

Facelift

Did you have a celebrity crush when you were in high school? Have you been out of school for a while now? If you answered yes to both of those questions, I have a third for you. Have you seen them lately?

Just for the record, no one’s teen celeb crush was
Joan Rivers.

Chances are they’ve had some work done. The thing about facelifts is that if they’re really good, you don’t realize they’ve happened. And while I would never call anyone out on this you can cast your eyes to the left and … what? What’s that? Okay, I would never call anyone out on this that I think could beat me up. Or that was alive. So if that actor or swimsuit model from your youth now looks like blinking is probably something they only manage once a week or so, it wasn’t necessarily a good face lift.

There are, on the other hand, facelifts that, while dramatically noticeable are clearly an improvement.

To wit, E2Books recently commissioned acclaimed author and all-around great guy, David Berens, to create new covers for the Cleanup Crew series.

Guess what? You get to see them first!

Book 1

We might as well start at the beginning.

The idea for The Beauty of Bucharest, the series debut, as the author has explained many times, came when he and his wife were going to Home Depot, and heard a thump in the trunk as he was parking. Being a twisted individual a creative writer, he immediately thought, “My wife has killed someone and the body is in the trunk.”

[Ed. Note: We were kind of expecting him to tell you the wife was innocent. We also thought the writer of this post would not refer to himself in the third person. We thought by now he would start acting normal. Sigh. We are guessing you feel as disappointed as we. He put a rubber snake in our lunch box. A RUBBER SNAKE!]

Also for the record, neither of these are pictures of Craig. One is Mickey Rourke and one is a gelatinous alien who has almost finished congealing into a simulacrum of
Mickey Rourke.

[OFFICIAL STATEMENT BY E2BOOKS CO-FOUNDER, CRAIG A. HART: Look, S.J. Varengo is a hell of a writer, and a really good friend. But in order to get him to write these E2Books blog posts, he had to bring the editorial staff from his award-winning [citation needed] website, sjvarengo.com. And before you think I knuckled under to his pressure, he was just as upset as I was. “They” pretty much run things around here. Okay, I suppose we should get back to the post. That part of this madness was actually starting to get interesting.]

Are you guys done? Because I’m fine waiting if you’re not. All good? Let’s continue, then. Okay? Good. Where were we? Starting at the beginning.

Pretty sweet right? Also, this one is free in digital if you’d like to give it a read for nuttin. But just look at what Dave did! In this first adventure we travel to Romania and his cover captures the mystery and intrigue of the old city of Bucharest. Adding the birds lends some ominous foreboding, yet the sun peering through the triumphal arch leaves a hint of hope in the distance. Is it hope realized? Get it here to find out!

Book 2

In The Count of Carolina, we learn how it is that a young, beautiful housewife and mom from the Mile-High City came to be an international assassin.

There’s a lot of subtle magic going on in this one as well. This volume demands a little more from the reader and deals with some difficult subjects, as well as introducing Dan and Nicole’s daughter J.J. for the first time. Close inspection of the female figure suggests a young subject, but it could be Nicole as well, and the beauty is that the reader gets to decide for herself. Fire is also a significant theme in the story, and David made sure to work that into the design, not only in the title which appears to be blazing, but in mirrored burning buildings on each side of the walkway.

If you’re ready for the tough stuff, get it here!

Book 3

After the life altering events of The Count of Carolina, Nicole was enjoying a little downtime. J.J., after returning to school and finishing the semester is home for the summer with her parents and her brother Tony, also home from school.

When Nicole is drawn into a cleaning she wanted no part of, she is forced to face the fact that she isn’t as young as she’d once been, and the job, even if it wasn’t easier back then, it sure seemed that way now. Meanwhile J.J. must once again step up into shoes Nicole and Dan never saw her filling.

The Terror of Tijuana takes place in the titular city as well as the outlying badlands as Nicole finds herself in a situation so bad that only a one-in-a-millions alignment of the stars, and her family will save her now.

Again David has stripped the action to the bare essentials, give a clear impression of danger in the dessert-like hills and mountains to the east of Tijuana, where much of the climactic action takes place.

Read to see if Nicole can save a cleaner, finish the cleaning, and get herself and her family out of danger and to lead to a major confrontation with a man whose name appears in each of the three volumes so far published – Conrad Barker.

The action concludes with all parties racing back to Denver. Hmmm. To read for yourself, click here.

“But that seems like a kinda garbage way to leave things, Mr. Writer-man.”

Every Reader in the World

[Ed. Note: A lot of authors would take a burn at that sort of thing. We hope these two are that sort. Wah-ah-ah!]

This really is Craig. Don’t he look concerned?

[A SECOND OFFICIAL STATEMENT BY E2BOOKS CO-FOUNDER, CRAIG A. HART: I’m really starting to regret all of this. These people are literally horrifying.]

Well, as the only person actually authorized to speak in this post, I’d like to once again attempt to wrest control of it’s direction, as we have an official genuine announcement.

Because as it turns out, in this case Craig and I both agree with every reader in the world. After leaving everyone driving home from Tijuana for almost a year, I’m happy to announce:

Book 4

Coming soon, with an obnoxious amount and hoopla and whatever is the next most obnoxious thing to hoopla, will be the fourth volume in the series, with the ominous sounding title The Demon of Denver.

I am further excited to reveal that Cleanup Crew, in addition to it’s new cover designs, will further get the E2Books treatment, as this will be co-authored by Craig and myself.

[Ed. Note: At least he forgot that he had been talking about himself in the third person earlier in the post. That was really annoying. Does he think he’s Bob Dole?]

As a matter of fact, he did not forget.

So be sure to check back often.

One Last Thing

[Ed. Note: And now he thinks he’s Steve Jobs.]

Just ignore them.

Wanted to let you know that there is now an E2Books Readers group on Facebook. I could not in good conscience recommend that you join this group unless I thought that I might gain personally from it, so why not give it a click?

There’s more news coming too. It’s like our news bush bloomed.