by Russ Linton~~~~~~~~~~~~~BLURB:
His mother kidnapped, his superhero father absent, powerless Spencer Harrington faces a world of weaponized humans to prove himself and find the truth.
Nineteen-year-old Spencer is the son of the Crimson Mask, the world's most powerful Augment. Since witnessing his mother's abduction by a psychotic super villain two years ago, he's been confined to his father's arctic bunker. When the "Icehole" comes under attack from a rampaging robot, Spencer launches into his father's dangerous world of weaponized human beings known as Augments.
With no superpowers of his own save a multi-tool, a quick wit and a boatload of emotional trauma, Spencer seeks to uncover his mother's fate and confront his absentee superhero father. As he stumbles through a web of conspiracies and top secret facilities, he rallies a team of everyday people and cast-off Augments. But Spencer soon discovers that the Black Beetle isn't his only enemy, nor his worst.
The sound of dry leaves cascading downhill gets louder. My forehead lies flat on the cool earth and stubbornly, my head refuses to turn when I try to get a better look. My eyeballs feel disconnected and keep spinning, no matter how hard I focus. I see running shoes and black, ankle-length stretchy pants approaching. Maybe an Augment?
Wiry arms encircle my chest and start to pull. My moon boots catch at an awkward angle along the frame. As much as I’d love to, I can’t get my limbs to cooperate. She lifts and shifts and twists, struggling with my dead weight until the boot comes free and we tumble backwards. Smooth, damp, cool skin envelops my face for an instant and despite the mental numbness, my thawing hormones recognize the source.
Real, honest to God, non-digitized breasts. Goodbye, iPod diva.
The mystery girl struggles to her feet and drags me away from the crash site. Gently, she lays me on my side and kneels. A highlighted strand of dark brown hair has escaped her ponytail, dangling down her cheek. Her eyes glow with green flecks in the woodland light. Her lips are parted as if she’s mid-sentence. No makeup, just sweat and a smudge of dirt, all forming a stunning image.
I feel violently ill. Stabilizing my spinning head and lurching stomach becomes a priority.
I roll over and clamber to my knees, palms flat on the ground. Standing would be a good start. Impressive, even. Heck, it would impress the hell out of me if I can manage to get vertical with the earth moving this much. I stagger to my feet while she keeps her hands poised to stop the impending face plant.
Figuring out some ingenious way of explaining how I crash landed in the woods that a) makes me sound badass, and b) convinces her I’m not an alien invader (unless she’s into that) isn’t working out at the moment. I could say something cool: “Me? I’ve seen worse.” Or go the funny guy route: “I meant to do that.”
Opening my mouth is a big mistake.
I really hope she didn’t like those shoes.AUTHOR Bio and Links:In the fourth grade, Russ Linton wrote down the vague goal of becoming a “writer and an artist” when he grew up. After a journey that led him from philosopher to graphic designer to stay at home parent and even a stint as an Investigative Specialist with the FBI, he finally got around to that “writing” part which he now pursues full time.Russ creates character-driven speculative fiction. His stories drip with blood, magic, and radioactive bugs. He writes for adults who are young at heart and youngsters who are old souls.Local / Personal BioRuss lives in Denton, Texas where he writes beside an unnervingly quiet dog with the support of his history-obsessed son and his extremely patient wife. He regularly pursues community service and is currently scoutmaster for his son’s Boy Scout troop. He is a regular at the North Branch Writers’ Critique Group and has honed his craft through creative writing courses with Stanford University’s continuing studies program as well as writing workshops at local conventions.Russ holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do which was marginally more useful in a former life not making his living from behind a desk. He enjoys the outdoors and when he isn’t leading his scouts on virtual campouts in Minecraft, he’s making them haul their gear across state parks in the North Texas area.Social Media
- Website - www.russlinton.com
- Facebook - facebook.com/RussLinton
- Twitter - twitter.com/Russ_Linton
- Google Plus - https://plus.google.com/+RussLintonPurchase Links
- Amazon UKhttp://www.amazon.co.uk/Crimson-Son-Russ-Linton-ebook/dp/B00KZ87P2S/
- Create Space Paperbackhttps://www.createspace.com/4852266
- Barnes and Noblehttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/crimson-son-russ-linton/1119733467?ean=2940046006636
- Google Play https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Russ_Linton_Crimson_Son?id=HIYdBAAAQBAJ
- Powell's Bookshttp://www.powells.com/biblio/61-9780990316909-1
The best book/s you ever read?
- The Good Earth – because the imagery is beautiful and it is a classic example of writing the “other”; Buck’s investment in the culture she witnessed was evident on every page.
- The Magician’s Nephew – because Lewis not only unlocked Narnia but a whole universe of imagination in that Wood.
- Dragonlance – Dragons of Winter Night – because I’ve never worn a cover of a book so thin. Yellowed, exhausted, it finally gave way under my own sons hands, but that was only fitting.
Who inspires you?
- Over Nine Waves – This is a translation of some of the oldest stories in European tradition – Irish legends to be precise. The stories are timeless and the seeds of many western fantasy tales are evident in each tale. Every writer needs to find their center in tradition and myth whether they ascribe to any particular culture themselves or not. Find it and mine it for all it's worth.
I write about people with super powers and magic and all manner of fantastical beings. However, normal people doing amazing things inspire me most.
Right now, inspiration is close at hand. My wife inspires me because after her arduous work days, hour-long commutes, and a trip to the gym, she heads to her home office to study for her M.B.A. My son inspires me because despite his dyspraxia, which makes motor skills challenging for him, he's learned to play the violin and mandolin. (Sure, the fact that he enjoys playing Irish drinking songs may be a bit of a parenting fail on my part, but one thing at a time here.) An acquaintance of mine is struggling with a cancer diagnosis and chose to blog about her experience with the world. That, to me, is inspiring.
Do you have strange writing habits?
I think every writer has strange habits. I don't have any writing rituals aside from filling my "Write like a Mother F-----" mug to the brim before I settle in for a session.
As far as habits, I like to keep things quiet. I rarely listen to music unless I feel the need to for a particular scene (I'll sometimes listen to things like natural ambient sound effects if I need to put myself in a specific place - monks chanting, swamp sounds at night, etc. - Lol!) I talk to myself. Read out loud. Make sound effects. Stand and try to mimic actions while I conspire ways to trap them on the page. I'm, not sure any of that is strange... Is it? (not more then talking to self)
My crit group has a weekly group writing session I go to whenever I can get free, and I manage to avoid most of these things there, so maybe these aren't "habits". Or maybe I'm just too embarrassed by them and they ARE strange. Damn, you're making me self conscious.
Where did you grow up?
A little slice of suburbia at the bottom of a hill. We were bordered by a creek, where many fantastic creatures made their home, and a golf course, with a glassy pond that hosted all manners of horrors. My friends and I would often wade through the creek and have our own adventures. Cowboys and Indians was a bit old-school by then so we played Rebels and Imperials.
There was a funny bit of snobbery in the neighborhood between those up the hill and those down the hill. I never played a round of golf in my life but those from "Up the Hill" most likely had. Much of this seems to have culminated in a snow storm one winter where some friends of mine decided to take an eight man canoe down the hill (I say eight-man though I don't know the actual size only the number of occupants at that time). We did this repeatedly.
I'm pretty sure later, the Up-the-Hillers made a legitimate case for repairing the grass on said hill.
Did any real-life political incidents or maneuvering make it into the book?
To some extent, yes. Augments in Crimson Son are state-sponsored weapons, a thinly veiled allusion to nuclear weapons. So instead of "Fat Man" being an atomic bomb that exploded in the skies above Nagasaki, he was an earthquake-generating superhero, part of Augment Force Zero who leveled the city to win the war.
The Augment's history roughly tracks the arms race. Downtown Havanna is wrecked when Russian and American Augment strike forces come to blows. Red Scourge, a deranged Russian Augment, escapes from a facility in Chernobyl and leaves an irradiated swath of destruction. The Djinn, one of the world's first Augments created by a rogue nation state, destroys the twin towers in New York on a fateful September day.
All of this is background information though which mainly exists to provide a backdrop for Spencer's adventures as he tries to reunite his family and ultimately, stop an Augment battle to end all battles.
What do you consider your best accomplishment?
Raising a son who is considerate and smart. Who has his head on straight and has made some very grown-up decisions in his life while contending with his own issues. I can't think of anything better than that.
What sacrifices have you had to make to be a writer?
A second income for one. Going out and getting a 9 to 5 (or a "whenever to whenever" as my previous employment has been) is a viable option and would make my family's lives easier in many ways. I gave up security, money, prestige - you name it, I've left it behind in this quest.
But I've gained so much more than I've given up.
Seven years ago, I left a job with the F.B.I. intent on being self employed (government jobs will do that to you...) I've worn many hats along the way trying to find career happiness. When I finally gave in and listened to myself, my true self: the kid who read obsessively and wrote his way to a college degree, the guy that spent what few weekends he had creating worlds and crafting stories for his RPG group, I finally figured out where that happiness was.
So now I probably don't have anymore time than I did and work as hard as ever, but I do something that's really at the core of who I am. And the free time I have, I have so much more control over.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
No doubt about it, the cover is the single most important thing for selling a book. Everyone "judges a book by its cover" whether they want to admit it or not. Our eyes are trained to be drawn to color and beauty. Sure, it is a very subjective thing as with any art, but if you have a bland cover, either nobody will notice your book or you will attract readers looking for a bland story.
Your cover needs to communicate story themes, genre and tone all in a single picture so with one glance a reader will say "this is something I would read." If that doesn't happen, they'll never even pick up the book (or click the graphic) to read the back blurb or the first chapter. A cover is the first barrier to a purchase. If it doesn't work, you simply don't sell books.
What do you think of “trailers” for books?
I used to not understand them at all. In fact, I loath Hollywood movie trailers. Obnoxiously loud, spoilery, over the top explosion fests designed to induce seizures. No surprise, I had no plans to have a trailer made for Crimson Son but then my son got bored over the summer.
Well, he didn't get bored so much as I wanted him to use some expensive video editing software he'd gotten for Christmas. He's always been interested in making collages and videos. He's got gigabytes worth of photos he's taken of army men patrolling the garden or sprites he's downloaded. He and his friends once made a zombie movie which he was responsible for editing.
Naturally, being a teenager, when I sprung for Adobe Premiere as a Christmas gift, he ceased all video editing activities.
I decided to enlist him to make a trailer and offered him a little extra on his allowance for the effort (yes, I bribed him to use the software I bought him, DON'T JUDGE ME!) He agreed and as the project progressed, I started to see how freaking cool it was going to be.
As a result, I'm sold. Trailers are awesome and in fact, you can view my son's creation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TYAQfRzlKo
How did you come up with the title?
I asked my wife. (Cherchez la femme)
Hi Russ glade to have you on my blog
Okay, it was really more difficult than that. My original working title was "Collateral Damage". Go ahead, type that into Amazon search engines. Uh huh. I'll wait. Yeah, about a billion results come back.(lol!!!) As a self-pub, I figured I'd do my first official marketing survey and change the name.
The campaign wasn't anything public. It mostly involved me creating a list of names and running them by my crit group. I have no idea where the list went but it included such gems as "Escape from the Ice Hole" and "Lost in a Crimson Shadow". There was a Titlescorer* App on Lulu that loved those.
After many rounds and ideas tossed to and fro, I asked my wife and she said, "How about Crimson Son." And I said, well, not much because I didn't think it could be that easy. Maybe I choked on a "whatever" or just stood there staring blankly, I'm not sure.
When I took Crimson Son back to the crit group they all were like, "Oh yeah, that's it" and my book had a title.
THE AUTHOR WILL BE GIVING AWAY:
Russ will be awarding a $10 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner
and another winner will receive a signed copy of Crimson Son (US ONLY), both prizes via rafflecopter during the tour.
A $10 Amazon GC will be awarded to a randomly drawn host.
a Rafflecopter giveaway