Thursday, May 21, 2009

Jon Land - Funny Guy, Good Writer

James O’Neal

Last week I signed with a group of authors in San Antonio, Texas. I learned an awful lot about Texas and specifically the Alamo. I also learned, while attempting to run early Friday morning that San Antonio, while a nice town, is devoid of grass. The hard concrete, cobblestone and asphalt surfaces were not kind to my middle-aged knees.

But that doesn’t matter because I met some great writers. One in particular made my trip enjoyable. Jon Land. I had met him before at one convention or another, but this was the first time we had time to hang out and talk.

Land is a good guy with an infectious enthusiasm and a sincere appreciation for talking with people. He took his time with each fan and wrote inscription between three hundred and four thousand words in each book, while I wrote things like “Thanks” and “Thank you.”

While sitting next to him all day, I learned the pitch for his new book better than I knew my own. “Strong Enough To Die is about a female Texas Ranger on the trail of the men who tortured her husband.” I’m not certain my wife would care, but I love the premise.

Publisher’s Weekly said of Strong Enough to Die --“The revelations are constant, the characters compelling and the action fast and furious.” And calls Land’s new character, Caitlin Strong, a fifth-generation Texas Ranger “Tough, original heroine.”

Pretty good stuff.

We shared a few private jokes and sucked in super smart, super dignified Bill Martin of The Lost Constitution fame. He had a good accent, sense of humor and outlook. I could forgive him that he went to Harvard. I’m sure Florida State was too far to drive.

The whole trip gave me a little insight into my science fiction publisher, TOR, and their senior editor Bob Gleason. How do you not respect a company that sets up free events for service members at great expense to themselves? I respected their commitment. I have to give a shout out to Michael Barson and Neil Nyren over at Putnam who ponyed up quite a few books to give away as well.

I’ve gotta go and get a few things rolling for new week’s release of the Human Disguise. I’m hosting a launch party at Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore on Friday in Delray Beach, Florida. Free food and drinks for anyone who shows up. That includes the homeless. The party is on Friday, May 29th at 7:00pm.

Hope to see you there.

Jim Born, I mean O'Neal


  1. We appreciated you guys coming to the hospital to visit with us.


  2. I do so wish I could be there, James O. However, I have invited all the Floridians on my mother's Christmas card list, so expect a larger crowd than usual.

  3. I like the concept of a police thriller with some science fiction twists.

    I really loved your first chapter and just ordered the book.

    Good luck.

    Tom Mane

  4. James O. Born5/21/2009 12:52 PM

    It was a great experience I would repeat any time they needed me.


  5. Jon Land, besides being a terrific writer, is the best panel moderator I know.

    I've picked up some tips from Jon about keeping the questions short and the pace quick.

    Looking forward to reading "Strong Enough to Die."