Thursday, October 23, 2014

Crimson Son VBT

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.

Russ, thanks so much for stopping by. So, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
Hello, my name is Russ and I’m a writer.

(Pause for the greeting.)

I was born to two loving parents on a dying world and stuffed into an escape pod with an old-school VCR looping episodes of “Barney”. I was supposed to gain all kinds of powers when I got to Earth, but only ended up insane with a propensity to spew bullshit.

Naturally, I took advantage of my abilities and pursued a philosophy degree. I then started work as a graphic designer, went into national security with the F.B.I, started my own business and finally decided I should write fiction.

What was the inspiration for your book?
Crimson Son was inspired in part by my family and my experiences working in a career that becomes more than a job but a lifestyle. It was also inspired by a love of comic books and our modern mythology of superheroes. I blended those elements with some real world truth, focused on the “powerless” people in the path of the runaway train that would be “weaponized humans”, and Crimson Son was born.

What’s the one genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to?
I’ve been lucky enough to have work published in a number of genres. Horror, weird west, fantasy and I’ve written several sci-fi stories which I’ve published on my website at

Crimson Son is a toss up as superhero fiction has been described as both science fiction and fantasy (I lean more toward fantasy cause the “Science” in most comic books is purely fantastical. An irradiated spider is a dead spider…)

One genre I’ve never written is historical fiction. There are a few elements in Crimson Son that come close, but I’d like to a full book where historical fiction is at the forefront. There’d naturally have to be elements of fantasy mixed in with the fact, but I think warping history into interesting hypotheticals would be exciting.

So, what are you working on right now? Got any releases planned, or still writing?
Currently, I’m writing a fantasy novel under the working title, First Song. It’s about a bug-humanoid named Sidge who is raised by human monks in an isolated monastery. He grows up not knowing much about his past and accepting his role as an acolyte in the Storm Temple among his human brothers.

He leaves for his first pilgrimage along with his heretical Master, Ivar and their travelling companion, a worldly prostitute named Kaaliya. On their journey, they come across a naked man who appears to have lost his wits but harbors a mystery that may unravel Sidge’s own orderly world.

A tale of high fantasy and apocalyptic forces all unfolds as a backdrop to Sidge’s own quest to understand his true identity. I pitch it as a Hindu inspired Lord of the Rings meets Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Release is planned for 2015 but no exact date has been set.

Alright, now for some totally random, fun questions. Favorite color?
Blue. No yel… AHHHHHHHH

Favorite movie?
Empire Strikes Back. I’m a child of the 80’s. And while I’m a huge fantasy fan, there weren’t a lot of really great fantasy movies. Ladyhawk, Excalibur, Willow, Krull, and a whole bunch of Henson’s Muppet magic gave some competition of varying quality, but Lucas’ timeless space opera wins out. Star Wars started it all of course, but Empire was the pinnacle of the franchise (yeah, he peaked early…)

Book that inspired you to become an author?
C.S. Lewis’ the Magician’s Nephew. Lewis not only unlocked Narnia but a whole universe of imagination in that Wood full of magical pools. When Polly and Digory landed there, I was overcome by the possibilities. Every pool could take you to another world and I wanted to dive into each and every one of them. I can do that as a writer and I can take anyone and everyone with me.

Alright, you have one superpower. What is it?
I create worlds. Care to come along?

You can have dinner with any 3 people, dead, alive, fictitious, etc. Who are they?
Robin Williams. It’s interesting how you can develop a sense of understanding or camaraderie with someone through a television or movie screen. It makes no sense (about as much as getting to know a person that is nothing more than words on a page) but I feel like we had a lot in common. Like I knew him somehow, and that he’d be a cool guy to hang with apart from the intense, “always on” comedic side.
My wife. I’d be in trouble if I didn’t include her. We’re long overdue for a date. As soon as she wraps up her MBA stuff and I get this next book out of my system, we’re going to make reservations at the best restaurant I can afford and celebrate. (What this means is y’all need to buy my book so I can upgrade. We’re at about Taco Bell level at the moment...)

Lastly, I’m going to say Neil Gaiman. Not sure if he is attending World Fantasy Con or not, but I bought banquet tickets so if you’re out there Neil, I’m saving a seat.

Last question: Which of your characters are you most like and how/why?
Spencer is pretty close to home. For a first novel I didn’t want to try writing a deep POV like first person present tense in the “other”. We’re both incorrigible smart asses, though Spence beats me by several levels of magnitude. We share some interests like computer tech, but again where I’m the whiny farm boy who wants to pick up power converters in his spare time, he’s the wrinkly muppet who’d rather pick up an X-wing with his brain when it comes to raw technical talent.

He’s also got several interests which I don’t share in the least. I’d rather watch paint dry than watch a baseball game. As for his interest in the black hat side of programming, I’ve never delved much into that world aside from a few games on 5.25 floppy I may or may not have paid for back in the day.

All the exaggerated differences aside, we’re very much alike. Geeky hobbies, a strong desire for personal freedom, and a penchant for diving into stuff head first and making it work. I cram all that into a wiry 6’2 frame though, so he’s bound to hate me a little for that.

October 13: Kit 'N Kabookle
October 13: Coffee Books and Art
October 14: Deal Sharing Aunt
October 15: Unabridged Andra's
October 16: Rainbow Warriors
October 17: Long and Short Reviews
October 20: Bunny's Review
October 20: Queen of All She Reads
October 21: Angela Myron
October 22: SBM Book Obsession
October 23: Sharing Links and Wisdom
October 24: Room With Books
October 27: A Book Addict's Delight PROMO
October 27: The blog of C.R. Moss
October 28: The Book Review REVIEW
October 29: Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews
October 30: Straight from the Library
October 31: Lilac Reviews
October 31: Bunny's Review

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.

Russ 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.
Website     |     Facebook     |     Twitter     |     Google Plus

Purchase Links
Amazon     |     Amazon UK     |     CreateSpace Paperback     |     Apple
Barnes and Noble     |     Smashwords     |      Google Play     |     txtr
Powell's Books     |     Abe     |     Alibris     |     Kobo


  1. I enjoyed the interview. Authors all seem to have interesting answers to questions. It's good to see into their minds through their answers.

    1. Thanks but I need to give the obligatory warning - careful peering into my brain. I haven't had a chance to clean and the latch to the cage is busted...

  2. Greetings to the Sharing Links and Wisdom readers and a big thank you for hosting this leg of the tour! Feel free to grill me in the comments here. I'll be checking in throughout the day.

  3. Reading about the fantasy novel in process was interesting

    1. Thanks, winemama! If you'd like to know when that will be released, sign up for my New Release Mailing List - no spam or newsletters, just a notification when new books are available! Sign up here: