Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, March 3, 2019

Here we are in another month. Seems like only yesterday we celebrated New Year’s! It’s great to have more daylight, even if the weather’s still a bit unsettled. The plants seem to think spring is on the way as more and more buds are popping out each day. Hope there’s no sudden dip in the temperature to cause them harm.

The painting moved from the hallway to the living room. Things appear to be completed for now, although when the doors and windows can be left open, it’ll be time to paint the trims.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on March 3rd. (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Edmund Waller, England, poet (Penshust); Thomas Otway, England, playwright/poet (Venice Preserved); William Godwin, philosopher/political writer (Caleb Williams); Charles Sealsfield [Carl Anton Postl], Austrian-American writer; Vissarion Belinsky, Russian author (Literary Review); Alexandros Papadiamantis, Greek author; Arthur Machen, Welsh-born author; Alain, [Emile-Auguste Chartier], French philosopher/writer; Tore Ørjasæter, Norwegian poet; Beatrice Wood, potter/artist/author; Yuri Olesha, Russian writer; Rabbe A Enckell, Fins author/poet (Lutad about Brunnen); Artur Lundkvist, Swedish writer/Swedish Academy (Agadir); Aar van de Werfhorst, [Pieter G Jansen], Dutch writer; Kenton Kilmer, American writer; Roger Caillois, French writer (Les Jeux et les Hommes); Bert van Aerschot, Flemish writer (Elevator, Women); James Ingram Merrill, US poet/author (Scripts for the Pageant); Gudrun Pausewang, German writer; Hans Pieter Verhagen, Dutch poet (Hoepla/Holland’s Hole); Germán Castro Caycedo, Colombian writer and journalist; Roger Swaybill, actor/writer (Porky’s II, Breaking Point); and Clifton Snider, American poet and writer.

How many did you recognize? There’s definitely one or two who should be familiar, perhaps not by name, but by the title of their work. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

My Work in Progress

Editing continues on my third novel, Carnage in Singapore. So far I’m still on 1539534550track to submit the manuscript to my publisher in May/June. Here’s another snippet:

After sharing a breakfast of fresh-squeezed orange juice and a variety of sliced fruit, Musa bid farewell to his old friend. He stepped onto the veranda where the same armed men waited to escort him to the beach. They helped him onto the waiting speedboat, which pulled away and skipped over the calm waves.

Musa thought about the past twenty-four hours. So, it begins. We’ve created a path to join JI. Now, I must make things work.

Before long, the rhythmic rocking of the boat lulled Musa to sleep.

The next morning as he awoke, the boat pulled into the harbor of Tanjung Pinang, the largest town on Bintan Island. After he clambered up a ladder to the dock, he spotted Umar waiting for him. Umar took Musa’s single bag, and they walked to a nearby microlet, a battered, once-white, minibus.

They remained silent until they left the outskirts of Tanjung Pinag, heading toward Gunung Bintan. Umar glanced at Musa. “How did your visit go with Abu Zeze?”

Musa smiled. “Excellent. He supports us.”

“We will not let you down.” Umar released a pent-up sigh. “The men are waiting for us.”

***

Once they hid the van in a tight copse of trees, they climbed the hill. Dusk beckoned, and a few flickering lights could be seen through the foliage as they approached the camp.

Umar led Musa into the central hut. Ten men jumped to their feet. Musa sat in his self-appointed chair and grinned at his followers as they grabbed seats on the benches. “Abu Zeze agreed to our plan. We are now aligned with Jemaah Islamiyah. Our first strike will be within two weeks.”

The men whistled, stomped their feet and slapped each other on the back.

Musa waved for quiet. “We have one other issue to decide.” He stared at each man in turn. “What should we do with our remaining hostages?”

“Kill them! Kill them! Kill them!”

More next time.

1539535798I didn’t have much time left over to work on the final book of the series, Ultimate Escalation. However, I did manage to write a bit more on chapter three.

I’m also assisting a fellow writer with paring down his first book, a memoir based on his father’s life as a hobo during the Great Depression. A fascinating read!

Books I’m Reading

Over the past few days, I finished reading Five Light-Years to the Firesnake. Rayner Ye’s debut novel depicts what the future might hold for people of distant planets and galaxies. Those with power continue to prey on the powerless, forcing them into a life of misery. Follow Aedre as she deals with the death of her mother and eventually ends up as a slave. But the future holds some promise that things might change for her.

Rayner’s characters come across as vivid and believable as the plot unfolds. An excellent space fantasy story. Look forward to the next installment.

My Favorite Authors

In addition to Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, and Clive Cussler, another favorite author is Brad Thor. Like the others, Brad’s stories have an international flavor to them, are full of action and suspense, with life-like characters. It’s no wonder he’s on my list of favorites!

This brings us to a close for another week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 27, 2019

It’s hard to believe we’re almost at the end of the first month of the new year. At least I’ve noticed daylight is coming a bit earlier and staying a bit later. Always a good sign! We’ve been fortunate thus was regarding the white stuff (knock on wood), which means those animals and birds who forage during the winter will be able to get to their food supplies.

We assume our two hedgehogs are sound asleep in their nests, as we haven’t seen them for several weeks and their food is undisturbed. Roll on spring!

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on January 27th. (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Johann A Cramer, prime minister/poet; Hester Thrale, Welsh diarist; David F Strauss, German theologist (Jesus’ Life); Lewis Carroll [Charles Lutwidge Dodgson], English author (Alice in Wonderland); Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Austrian writer (masochism); Rafael Obligado, Argentina, writer (Santos Vega); Neel [Cornelia H] Doff, Dutch/French/Belgian painter’s model/writer; Giuseppe Prezzolini, Italian writer (La Voce, La Cultura Italiano); Ilja Ehrenburg, writer; William Randolph Hearst, Jr., American newspaper magnate (Hearst Newspapers) and 1955 Pulitzer Prize winner; E. R. Braithwaite, diplomat and writer (To Sir with Love); Fritz Spiegl, Austrian journalist; Gastón Suárez, Bolivian novelist; Mordecai Richler, Montreal author, (Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz); Ismail Kadare, Albanian author/poet (Dimri i Madh); Ethan Mordden, American author; Alexander Stuart, British author; and James Grippando, American novelist.

How many are you familiar with? Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

transparentbeverly_sweets_png copyI’m absolutely thrilled with the news I received earlier this week. Both of my published novels, The Kurdish Connection and Dangerous Alliance have moved forward in the judging rounds from SLUSH pile to the 2018 Long List (aka the Slush Pile Survivors) to the SHORTLIST and have competed for the 2018 GLOBAL THRILLER SEMIFINALISTS positions. They are two of the thirteen novels making the semi-finalist lists! The complete list is available by clicking here: CIBA.

TKCDA-3D-cover

 

Dangerous Alliance will be featured in the February 1st edition of the monthly magazine, The Big Thrill, issued by the International Thriller Writers. To celebrate this event, the Kindle version of Dangerous Alliance will be free across the Amazon network on February 1st and 2nd. 

My Work in Progress

I completed the first draft of my manuscript for Carnage in Singapore last weekend. Now my time is spent going through the myriad of chapter reviews and selecting suggestions which I feel will help improve my story. As of this morning, I have 681 chapter reviews from the two online subscription writing sites I use, so plenty of recommendations to choose from.

I’ve also been playing with the outline for my fourth novel, Ultimate Escalation. While I do have an initial opening chapter, I’ve decided to add at least one additional one at the beginning. This will be used to show how the story’s main protagonist came to be.

Books I’m Reading

Contact, by author M.D. Neu, was released this week. This is a well-crafted story from an up-and-coming author about a civilization searching for a home after the destruction of their home world. But, what if this really happens? Will we be able to handle things as Todd Landon and his husband, Jerry, did?

Warning signs appear when the American President begins shifting troops back to the U.S. Why? Before long, he appears on television and explains: the Nentraee, a humanoid race, is approaching Earth. While some people begin panicking, thanks to his estranged brother, Brad, Todd and Jerry, although sceptical, appear to be handling the mind-boggling news rather well. When Todd is chosen by his company boss to be part of a welcoming committee when members of the Nentraee visit, before long he finds himself in a vehicle heading to a reception with one of their leaders.

Not everyone can handle the development, and their transportation is blown up in an attack. Todd is injured, along with the Nentraee leader. Racked with physical and mental pain, Todd is at wit’s end when the Nentraee state they want him to be their envoy to work with Earth. He eventually takes the role, much to the delight of the Nentraee and to the angst of the American Secretary of State. What will the future hold?

Although I don’t read a lot of sci-fi, I can’t wait for the sequel. M.D. Neu’s a brilliant writer and this story is begging to be read.

I’m also assisting a fellow writer in trimming the length of his memoir to meet his publisher’s desired word count. I think it’s a fantastic story about his father’s life during the Great Depression.

My Favorite Authors

I had planned to share with you one of the authors who helped to shape my interest in writing thriller novels. Unfortunately, I ran out of time, so I’ll cover this next time.

This brings us to a close for another week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, January 20, 2019

Another mild start to the day, with temperatures hovering in the mid-30s (F). Unlike the past couple of days, where there’s been plenty of sunshine, it’s gray. Not just a bit, but an ugly mass of gray as far as the eye can see. Oh well–it is winter after all. So far, the white stuff has stayed away, although the other evening as I stood watching the rain and waiting for one of the cats to come inside, I noticed the rain became whiter and whiter. Fortunately, it didn’t last long before the precipitation stopped altogether.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born today. (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Susanna van Baerle, Dutch poet; Michiel de Swaen, South Netherland physician/poet; Giovanni Vincenzo Gravina, Italian writer and jurist; Jean-Jacques Barthélemy, French writer and numismatist; Eugène Sue, French novelist; Nathaniel Willis, writer/editor/founder (American Monthly Mag); Richard Le Gallienne, English writer (Maker of Gainborg); Johannes V Jensen, Danish novelist/poet (Energy Storage, Nobel 1944); A[braham] Merritt, American sci-fi author (The Moon Pool, Burn Witch Burn); Elmer R Diktonius, Finnish musicologist/author (Janne Kubik); Theodore Brameld, author/educator (Use of Explosive Ideas); C W Ceram, [Kurt W Marek], German/US writer (March of Archaeology); DeForest Kelley, American actor, screenwriter, poet and singer (Star Trek); Thorleif Schjelderup, Norwegian author and ski jumper; Bernt Engelmann, German writer; Eugen Gomringer, writer; Jamiluddin Aali, Pakistani poet, essayist and columnist; Qurratulain Hyder, Pakistani novelist; Sawako Ariyoshi, Japanese writer (Compound Pollution, Doctor’s Wife); Eddie Shah, English publisher (Today, Post); Susan Vreeland, American author (The Passion of Artemisia); Nancy Kress, American writer; and Edward Hirsch, American poet.

How many are you familiar with? Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

DA-3D-coverI was delighted to find out that my latest novel, Dangerous Alliance, moved from the slush pile and is now on the official 2018 Global Thriller Book Awards shortlist!  This is a prestigious award sponsored by Chanticleer International Book Awards. Dangerous Alliance is one of seventeen novels making the shortlist, so competition for the semi-finalist positions will be stiff. Wish me luck!

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I’m not sure when the semi-finalists will be announced, but I’ll include the names of the authors and the titles of their work when I find out.

 

 

My Work in Progress

My poor brain! It continued to work overtime this week, and I’m pleased to announce the completion of the entire first draft of Carnage in Singapore. Lots of editing to do as I work my way through the 622 chapter reviews it’s received from my faithful followers on the two subscription writing sites I use. Stay tuned for more information and a snippet or two.

Books I’m Reading

My nightly reading time has been focused on a beta read of a new novel by up-and-coming author, M.D. Neu. Watch for the release of Contact on January 21st! I’ll be posting my review on Amazon and Goodreads tomorrow and here next Sunday.

My Favorite Authors

Feedback from blog followers suggested I talk about my favorite authors. I plan to begin this section next Sunday, barring any unavoidable circumstances. I think it’s a good idea to share with you the authors who have influenced my work. I’ll discuss famous authors and also introduce you to new authors whose work I’ve enjoyed.

This brings us to a close for another week. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2019 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, December 30, 2018

Despite the end of the year being upon us, the weather hasn’t been bad, with temperatures around 50F/10C. Of course, it also means we’re having damp days, but it can’t be helped. I think I’d rather have this than be out with the shovel taking care of the ‘s’ word.

With the dawn of 2019 approaching I want to wish everyone health and prosperity for the new year.

Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on this last day of the year. (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Vincenzo da Filicaja, Italian poet; Theodor Fontane, German writer (Effi Briest); Heinrich Hart, German writer (Song of Humanity); Rudyard Kipling, English author (Jungle Book, Gunga Din-Nobel 1907); Georg von der Vring, German painter and writer (Soldier Suhren); Alfredo Bracchi, Italian author; Daniil Kharms [Yuvatchov], Russian surrealist and absurdist writer, poet, and playwright; Paul Bowles, writer (The Shelting Sky); Elyne Mitchell, Australian author; Sara A Lidman, Swedish author (Jag Och Min Son, Samtal in Hanoi); Patrick Bowles, American writer and translator; Richard Christ, writer; Glenda Adams, Australian author; Vladimir Bukovsky, Russian author and dissident; Lewis Shiner, American sci-fi/fantasy author; Somtow Sucharitkul [S. P. Somtow], Thai composer and sci-fi author (Utopia Hunters); Douglas Coupland, Canadian author; and Chandler Burr, American author.

Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

DA-3D-coverTKC

 

A special thank you to all who purchased copies of my books during the past year. Your support has been greatly appreciated and makes all the hard work worthwhile. Thank you!

This brings us to a close for this year and I’ll return again next Sunday with a full post. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading. Happy New Year!

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, December 16, 2018

Yesterday, we had freezing temperatures, rain and sleet. Today has started out much better, with the temperature hitting 39.2F/4C. Had to put my sunglasses on while driving when the sun came out, but it was a short-lived threat as the clouds are rolling in.

As always, let’s check out those associated with the writing world who celebrate birthdays today (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Louis-Jules Mancini-Mazarini, Duc de Nivernais, French diplomat and writer; Elizabeth Carter, English poet, bluestocking and translator (All the Works of Epictetus Which Are Now Extant); Jane Austen, English novelist (Pride and Prejudice); Mary Russell Mitford, English writer; Eugene Demolder, Belgian writer (Sous la robe); George Santayana, Spanish philosopher/poet/humanist (Last Puritan); Paul Neuhuys, Belgian playwright and poet (Le Canari et le Cerise); Noel Coward, England, playwright (In Which We Serve-1942 Acad Award); Victor S Pritchett, literary critic/author (Myth Makers); Rafael Alberti, Spanish poet (El hombre deshabitado); Piet Hein, poet/inventor; Arthur C. Clarke, English sci-fi author (2001: A Space Odyssey, Childhood’s End); Pierre Chany, writer/cycling journalist; Anthony Simmons, British writer and film director; Tip [Silvio A] Marugg, Antillian writer (Weekend pilgrimage); G Randall P D Garrett, American sci-fi writer (Takeoff (too)!); Peter [Malcolm] Dickinson, Zambia, sci-fi author (Heartsease); Philip K[indred] Dick, US, sci-fi author (Hugo-1963, Blade Runner); and Adriaan van Dis, Dutch TV host/writer (Promised Country).

Today seems to be a popular day for the birth of sci-fi writers. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

DA-3D-coverFor those using Kindle, Dangerous Alliance today will be the last day it’s available free across the Amazon network. Don’t miss out!

 

 

 

 

My Work in Progress

Much of my writing time of the past week was once again devoted to social media marketing of Dangerous Alliance. Also spent time getting Christmas decorations in place.

I did manage to complete another chapter of Carnage in Singapore. The manuscript has now received 514 chapter reviews, all assisting me in improving my writing and tweaking the story.

Books I’m Reading

I don’t have my reviews ready for posting, but I just finished reading The Lazarus Succession by Ken Fry. Tonight I should complete my reading of a new story by Blair Howard.

This brings us to a close for another week as external events require my attenion. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

 

Randall's Ramblings

Randall’s Ramblings, December 9, 2018

A crisp but sunny start to the day. Definitely beats the slightly warmer but rainy weather! Since it’s December, who know what the next week will bring?

As always, let’s check out those associated with the writing world who celebrate birthdays today (compliments of http://www.onthisday.com/today/birthdays):

Peter, Duke of Coimbra and writer (Virtuosa Benfeitoria); John Milton, English poet and puritan (Paradise Lost); Johann Winckelmann, German archaeologist (History of Ancient Art); George Grossmith, British actor, comedian and writer (The Diary of a Nobody, A Society Clown); Joel Chandler Harris, US journalist (created Uncle Remus stories); Maksim Bahdanovič, Belarusian poet; Jean de Brunhoff, French children’s book author (Babar the Elephant); Leonie Fuller Adams, US poetess (Those not elected); Ödön von Horváth, Hungarian-born writer; Dalton Trumbo, American writer/film director (Johnny Got His Gun); Herbert Huncke, writer; Jerome Beatty Jr., American author; Jan Křesadlo, Czech writer; Joe McGinniss, author (Selling of President 1968); Ki Longfellow, American novelist; and Dobroslav Paraga, Croatian politician and editor.

Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one and many more to follow!

News About My Published Work

DA-3D-coverFor those using Kindle, Dangerous Alliance will be available free on December 14th-16th across the Amazon network. Also, Dangerous Alliance made it through the first round of cover voting from allauthor.com. Could certainly use some additional votes but check out the site and vote for the covers you like the most. https://allauthor.com/cover-of-the-month/

My Work in Progress

Much of my writing time over the past week was once again devoted to social media marketing of Dangerous Alliance. However, I did manage to complete another chapter of Carnage in Singapore. The manuscript has now received 504 chapter reviews, all assisting me in improving my writing and tweaking the story.

This brings us to a close for another week as external events require my attenion. I hope you found something of interest or at least useful for your own writing. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading.

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

Randall's Ramblings

An Interview With Author Russell Moran

This week, I’d like to introduce you to Russell Moran, the author of twelve novels and five non-fiction works. A lawyer and a veteran of the U.S. Navy, Russell lives on Long Island, New York, with his wife, Lynda.

Let’s learn more about him:

RFM Photo from SC News TWOWhat are your ambitions for your writing career? To write as many high quality books as my years allow me. Emphasis on “high Quality.”

Which writers inspire you?  Nelson DeMille, Stephen King, Estelle Ryan, Kristin Hannah

So, what have you written? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest, professional or hobby.) The Gray Ship is Book One of The Time Magnet series. (Number one Amazon Best-Seller, and recipient of a Kirkus Best Indie Books of 2013. Also won four other awards.)

The Thanksgiving Gang is Book Two of The Time Magnet series.

A Time of Fear is Book Three of The Time Magnet series.Time Magnet Series

The Skies of Time is Book Four of The Time Magnet series.

The Keepers of Time is Book Five of The Time Magnet series.

The Shadows of Terror is Book One of The Patterns series.

The Scent of Revenge is Book Two of The Pattern Series

A Reunion in Time is a time travel novel, but not in The Time Magnet Series.

Sideswiped, a legal thriller, is Book One of the Matt Blake Series.

The Reformers is Book Two of the Matt Blake Series.

The President is Missing is Book Three of the Matt Blake Series.

Robot Depot, published in August, is a novel about our automated future.

A Climate of Doubt, a terrorism thriller. May 2018.

The Maltese Incident, is Book One of the Harry and Meg Series, June of 2018.

The Violent Sea, Sequel to The Maltese Incident – Coming soon.

I also published five nonfiction books: Justice in America: How it Works—How it Fails; The APT Principle: The Business Plan That You Carry in Your Head; Boating Basics: The Boattalk Book of Boating Tips; If You’re Injured: A Consumer Guide to Personal Injury Law; How to Create More Time.

 Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? All my books include a strong male and a strong female character. Not without flaws (As in Sideswiped, where the two lovers discover they both once had problems with drugs and alcohol.

The Shadows of TerrorWhat are you currently working on and what is it about? The Violent Sea, a sequel to The Maltese Incident. It’s about time travel, and as always, two strong characters who compliment each other.

What drew you to write in this genre? I’ve always been fascinated by time travel, in that it allows the author to completely suspend reality and speculate on what may have been, or what might be.

How much research do you do? A lot. I try to make my fantastic stories believable by anchoring them in solid facts, including history. I don’t know what writers ever did without Google.

Have you written works in collaboration with other writers, and if so: why did you decide to collaborate and did it affect your sales? No. I’ve served as a beta reader and editor for a few other authors but haven’t collaborated.

When did you decide to become a writer? In 2012, after listening for the umpteenth time to my wife asking me, “When are you going to write a novel?” I’ve been a writer all my life, mostly as a legal journalist, but fiction began with The Gray Ship, begun in 2012 and published in 2013.

Do you write full-time or part-time? Yes, full time.

How often do you write, and do you have a special time during the day to write? I try to write every day, except for those days when I’m consumed by marketing. I do not have a specific time that I write. I look at what’s ahead in my day and then decide to hit the keyboard.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? 2,000 words a day when working on a first draft. No number allocation for rewrites.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? Computer. I can’t believe that Nelson DeMille, as great as he is, writes on yellow pads.

Where do your ideas come from? This is a great question and I wish I had an answer. I just sit (or walk) and think. Suddenly an idea shows up. I start to ask “what if,” and a few months later a book shows up. I look back at all my books and for the life of me I can’t recall how the story popped up. Maybe Stephen King is right—stories are like fossils and it’s the writer’s job to unearth them.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? I am what I call an In-Betweener, halfway between a strict outliner and a “panster,” who writes from the seat of his pants. I keep trying to outline, but the story suddenly takes me off my outline in a different direction.

What is the hardest thing about writing? Being “stuck,” when the wonderful story idea you had suddenly sucks and it’s hard to repair it. I have a book project like that right now. I hate it. Will I expect readers to like it?

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? Being stuck. See my above response.Sideswiped

What is the easiest thing about writing? Getting to know my characters. They become like old friends.

How long on average does it take you to write a book? About six months.

Do you ever get Writer’s Block, and do you have any tips for getting through it? I refuse to acknowledge the existence of writer’s block. See my responses above about “being stuck,” which is different from writer’s block. Once I can see a story in front of me I just charge ahead and the words flow out my fingertips. My tip? Keep on writing.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors. See my response to number 2 above.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books? I love to read on my Kindle (or iPhone).

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you? I proof and edit my own books, and also have two editors to find my (many) mistakes.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit? Yes, let it stew. When you come back to it it’s a fresh story, and time to murder your darlings.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process? I think so, at least that’s what professional cover designers keep telling me. My simple requirement is that it should grab the eye and create intrigue.

How are you publishing this book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both) My next book will be my first traditionally published novel, thanks in no small part to Randall Krzak, who told me all about the publisher.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? I could write a book on this question alone. Indie publishers have come into their own as the brilliant writer Hugh Howey has noted. I know a lot of writers who signed their rights away to a small publisher and are stuck without marketing.

Would you or do you use a PR agency? I’d consider it, although I haven’t given it much thought.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? Get reviews and keep at it.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? 50 percent.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? Most “bad” reviews are really not reviews at all but “hits,” from people with an agenda I can’t control. In three-star reviews, however, there is useful critical information.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you? A woman came up to my table at a book signing and said she had been looking forward to buying my book. She then walked off with it without paying. I later found out that she suffered from dementia. I hope she remembers my book.

A Climate of DoubtWhat’s your views on social media for marketing, and which of them have worked best for you? I do Twitter and Facebook all the time, but I’m not sure I see any results.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do when writing? Don’t put it off, just write. You can’t edit a document that doesn’t exist.

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work? No, I haven’t but I probably should.

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures? Email.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? I wish I paid more attention to my sub-titles. They’re great for marketing.

What do you think of “trailers” for books, and do you have a trailer/will you create one for your own work? I think trailers are great, but just be careful not to spend too much. I did one for The Gray Ship, and it seemed to help. Cost me $250, which I think is cheap.

Do you think that giving books away free works and why? Yes, if you have a reasonable expectation that the done will promote you.

If you hired someone else to format your work, how did you select them and what was your experience? After Createspace got out of the formatting business I’ve hired designers/formatters for about $500. My next self-published book will be done by myself with the software Vellum (but you need to have a Mac).

How do you relax? I read and write.

What is your favorite motivational phrase. “You can avoid reality, but you can’t avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.” Ayn Rand

What is your favorite quote? “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Anton Chekov

What is your favorite movie and why? The Godfather, I and II. Nothing has come close.

What advice would you give to your younger self? Don’t smoke.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? Abraham Lincoln, the image of greatness. He even made it into my first novel.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Always find ways to improve your craft.

Where do you see publishing going in the future? Self-publishing and small publishers will blend in many ways.

Is being a writer a gift or a curse? It’s a gift, but sometimes it feels like a curse. However, I can’t imagine my life without the joy of writing.

The Maltese IncidentIs there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing as far as content? Keeping dates and numbers straight. I try to force myself to type in numbers and dates into a separate document that I can search on.

Did you come across any specific challenges in writing?  What would you do differently the next time? No

What do your fans mean to you? Everything. At a book signing, a couple of ladies walked up to me and asked if certain characters, by name, will appear in future books. Made my day. My biggest fan unfortunately is off the grid and doesn’t even own a computer or smart phone. She thinks Amazon is a river. But she always praises me in public whenever we meet.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day? Creating characters and scenes lies before me.

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you? Yes, The Edge of Sadness, by Edwin O’Connor. I was blown away by the author’s use of words, and the way he wove a beautiful story without a lot of action. From then on I started my library. I was a high school sophomore at the time.

What motivated you to become an indie author? I went through a few weeks of querying and pitching and then decided that I’d go it on my own. My favorite response came 30 seconds after I hit send, saying the usual crap about my fine talent but I was just not a right fit for them. I’d rather talk to myself, because I don’t BS myself.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? Yes, The Gray Ship, like it was yesterday.

When you develop characters do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go? My characters tell me who they are and create their own dialog. Sound weird but it’s true.

Tell us about your writing process and the way you brainstorm story ideas. Once a story idea pops into my head I jot down “beats” usually asking the “what if” question.

Where is your favorite place to write? My library, which is also my office – With a stand-up desk I might add.

What marketing strategies do you find most helpful? Any resources you would recommend to other authors or aspiring authors? I strongly recommend the Author Marketing Club, amc.com, as well as Writer’s Digest and its tutorials.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into Russell’s writing journey. Follow him at: https://www.morancom.com/

Stayed tuned for another author interview soon!

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