Month:

January, 2012

I got an e-mail the other day from a friend who knows I follow events in the U.S. with some fascination – especially the financial situation, which in my opinion is moving from dire to bleak. If you aren’t shocked and furious after reading the following editorial, I can’t imagine what would do it.

The Federal Reserve just created more money than ever in the history of the US, and gave it to for-profit banks, many of which aren’t American. How much? $16 trillion. You are reading that right. Trillion. The money went to US and foreign banks – Citigroup got $2.5 trillion, Goldman (which isn’t a bank in any sense) got $800 billion Banks in the UK, France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium… Everyone got hundreds of billions or trillions, bailouts which were never authorized by Congress or anyone but the Fed. Free money, from the American taxpayer, at unprecedented levels, for use however they felt like – and I’m guessing, it was to make big profits.

Here’s the eerie part. None of this was reported. The GAO report linked in the article was ignored. Or if it was, it was so low key as to be invisible. I spent an hour online scouring the news services and couldn’t find anything. No, instead I found the same blurb over and over – that the Fed was going to be handing the Treasury a check for $85 billion, the largest amount of interest ever. Apparently the US media didn’t think it was noteworthy to point out that $85 billion was pennies, whereas the banks it had passed the money to made 2%, 3% or more. It was a news blackout that would have made Stalin-era Russia proud.

To put it all into perspective, the US total GDP is roughly $14 trillion. That’s everything, including what companies like Microsoft, Apple, Ford, Amazon, Ebay, etc. all collectively generate. Every business in the US. Real estate. You name it. And the Fed created well over a year’s total GDP worth of money for the express benefit of its bank friends, at the direct cost to the US population. The country paid to keep Barclays and Credit Suisse and Goldman profiting while it struggles to make ends meet. And there was no coverage. It’s as though it never happened.

This is the biggest financial boondoggle in history. And it went unreported.

How scary is that, and what does it tell you about the media, as well as the government? Think long and hard.

The GAO report I have linked to below via the article says that the loans were repaid. Want to bet that means that the original term of the loan was repaid…with yet another loan from the Fed, but a “new” loan? That’s what crooks typically do in rigged games, where they limit audits – as the Fed did with the GAO. It’s Enron accounting – the “old” loan was “repaid” with the proceeds from a “new, different” loan. The boys on Wall Street invented dodgy tricks. Which is why they won’t allow a real audit. Simple. If you have something to hide, you bluster and obfuscate and deny access. Why anyone would believe that the Fed is any different is beyond me.

I write conspiracy thrillers where a flawed protagonist fights insurmountable odds, usually against a system run amok. They’re racing reads, but in the end we all know, or hope, that they’re fiction. How much is actually fiction I never disclose – I prefer to leave that to readers to decide. Like Robert Ludlum, the line between reality and fantasy is blurry. Deliberately so. But this isn’t a solicitation for you to buy my books. It’s an alarm. A wake up call.

Here is the article on the $16 trillion.

This is real. This is your future. And nobody is telling you. You’re being conned by the largest, most powerful, richest cartel the world has ever known – and you are paying for it. While most can’t keep their heads above water, and are effectively indentured servants for the government’s taxes, the mortgage bank, the car lender, and the insurance company, US and foreign banks were handed more money than anyone can reasonably imagine to use to make even more money.

If this sickens you, or if you didn’t know this, please hit the Stumbleupon button (little green one below) and e-mail this blog URL to everyone you know. It’s about time someone told you the truth, even if it hurts. Or do nothing, and wonder why your children will live in relative squalor.

Disclosure: I live in Mexico, a country with its own corruption problems, which are pervasive and non-trivial. But compared to what just happened with the Fed, Mexico is a Swiss bank in terms of integrity, and the Fed is a Moroccan rug merchant. No exaggeration. None required. So don’t attack me. I’m just alerting you to the biggest story of your lifetime, and your children’s lifetimes. What you do from here is up to you. Most will likely try to pretend it didn’t happen, or doesn’t matter. That didn’t work so well for the Romans.

 

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Well, folks, it’s January, which means it must be time for the release of another Russell Blake thriller. Sorry to disappoint you, as I have my parents and every woman in my life, but due to editing and binge drinking, I won’t be able to get it out by month’s end. Looking more like early Feb.

The name of the book is The Voynich Cypher, and it represents a broadening of my work from suspense/intrigue thrillers with a conspiracy basis, into more of a pure action/adventure vein. Voynich follows the saga of Dr. Steven Cross, from my Zero Sum trilogy of Wall Street thrillers, as he races to decipher the most enigmatic document in history, while being hunted by a who’s who of bad guys intent on taking possession of the Church’s most valuable secret. It’s a fun read, fast-paced, with all the usual twists and turns I include in my work. As I’m rewriting, I’m chipping it down from the 105K words I wound up with, and I’m hoping to chop 10%, ruthlessly, over the next two weeks or so.

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NEW INTERVIEW: I was interviewed about online book marketing. You can click here to see just how little I actually know about it.

BOOK SALES UPDATE: An Angel With Fur hit #2 paid books on Amazon in Animal Essays, and #3 Dogs this morning. That’s pretty cool, as well as being somewhat unexpected.

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In February, I’ll start on a sequel to King of Swords, tentatively titled Revenge of the Assassin, which makes sense given that the prequel is called Night of the Assassin – and is free on Amazon for a limited time. If the river don’t rise, I hope to have Revenge out by mid-March, if not earlier.

I’m very excited over the cover for The Voynich Cypher, so I thought I’d share it with everyone. It represents a departure for me in the sense that it’s more monochromatic, but I think the result is striking. For a synopsis of the story, click here.

For those who have expressed interest in chatting with my cover artist, e-mail me through the site and I can get you his information. I’ve found him to be good, fast and cheap – which is also how I like my…oh…never mind.

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17 Jan 2012, by

So it begins

Night of the Assassin just went free on Amazon.

Thank you to everyone for your support in getting Night of the Assassin free. This represents the next phase in my marketing plan – to give away the prequel to King of Swords, in an effort to broaden my readership and gain exposure.

Night is one of my favorite books, for a host of reasons, not the least of which that it is the prequel to what is arguably my best work, and absolutely one of my all time favorites. I don’t know why these two books turned out the way they did, but for whatever reason, I’m thankful.

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MORE ACCOLADES: Fatal Exchange was the favorite book of 2011 for Kate Farrel at The Kindle Book Review.

INTERVIEW: I was interviewed about writing and craft by @WritingTips101. Worth a look, & please Stumbleupon it at the bottom using the little green button.

BIG NEWS: International bestselling pet bio An Angel With Fur is free on Amazon for a few days. If you want a whole other side of me, pick that up. Guaranteed it will move you.

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So why give away what is one of my favorite books? Isn’t my craft something worth being paid for?

Absolutely. My conviction is that once readers get their hands on Night, they’ll know two things. First, that it is a different kind of read, and one that’s a good representation of my unique writing style. And second, that they’ll want to read King of Swords next. I’m so convinced I’m willing to skip the part where I get paid for Night, at least for a limited time, so that readers can see what I’m talking about – so I can back my mouth without risk to them. I would say that they’ll know where they fall in their opinion of the book within the first 10 pages. That fast.

People are either going to love Night, or hate it. That simple. Doubt that there will be many “I don’t know, it was okay” reviews. It’s a polarizing book, that chronicles the making of a monster – the super assassin El Rey, from King of Swords.

Pick up a copy, and see if I’m full of it or not. And enjoy, with my compliments, for as long as it lasts. You can get Night of the Assassin here. And if you like it, or any of my books, please take the time to leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads.

If you like this blog, hit the Stumbleupon button down at the bottom (the little green guy) and share it. Gracias.

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And for those who keep asking who my cover artist is, shoot me an e-mail at [email protected] and I’ll get you the contact info. Good, fast and cheap.

 

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15 Jan 2012, by

Free Lunch

I have been asked how my recent three day jaunt on Amazon went.

The one where I made my thriller The Geronimo Breach free for three days.

I think I’d accurately compare it to being sixteen, and handed the keys to dad’s Porsche while discovering that I have the house to myself for three days…and the liquor cabinet’s open. It’s that kind of “Wow” moment.

First, to the numbers. Over the three days. roughly 10,400 people downloaded the book. That’s a lot of people. How many will actually read it is probably a fraction of that – maybe 20%, maybe 30%. I’m using highly scientific proprietary algorithms to come up with those number, by the way, incorporating numerology and magnetism (available in my upcoming releases Attraction, Repulsion, Alignment and Of Course He Tricked You, Douchebrain).

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MORE ACCOLADES: Fatal Exchange was the favorite book of 2011 for Kate Farrel at The Kindle Book Review.

INTERVIEW: I was interviewed about writing and craft by @WritingTips101. Worth a look, & please Stumbleupon it at the bottom using the little green button.

NEW INTERVIEW: I was interviewed by South African blogger Nadine Maritz, and the result can be seen here.

IMPORTANT! Night of the Assassin just went FREE on Barnes and Noble. Please help me out here. Go to the Amazon page for Night here, and scroll down below the rating, where it says “Tell Us About A Cheaper Price.” Then click that, and enter the link to B&N, which I post below, and enter 0.00 as their price. I would appreciate the help in having them price match it. Thanks so much. Here’s the B&N link.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/night-of-the-assassin-russell-blake/1108178602?ean=2940032947783&itm=6&usri=russell+blake

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Those are big numbers. And oddly, downloads increased roughly 20% per day over each prior day. Extended out over time, that’s an exponential curve that will have more people on earth with a copy of The Geronimo Breach within a few months than have spent days with Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest reading about shopping trips to Ikea and frozen pizza. Which is why I put a stop to it. Shut it down. Promo nomo. I didn’t want to tip the poles or cause a cosmic imbalance due to all the kindles filled with my work. Not for free, anyway.

Why would I give my book away for free – a book that’s garnered rave reviews, and has been described as unique in most of the 23 four and five star reviews? Obviously, because I hope to get something.

Readers.

My bet is that if, say, 2000 of those fine, discriminating folks actually read the book, most will become repeat customers of my other titles. That would translate into a nice sales bump. Additionally, it would increase my visibility as an author, which should translate into a long term net positive both in brand recognition, as well as sales. So it’s really a loss leader. Like a dope dealer. First time’s for free.

I fully expect some of the one star drive-by reviews to happen, as I’ve seen that as a regrettable by-product of free book distribution. Some might say miserable pr#cks with no lives who delight in trashing things for no good reason are drawn to free books, and that these lowlife f#ckwads, who are easily recognizable due to their never having reviewed a book before, are basically vandals who delight in tearing down the work of others, good or bad, for the thrill of any attention it might bring, and should be dragged behind a garbage truck through rusty nails and broken glass while splattered with battery acid and bleach in any kind of just world. I take a more charitable stance, and view them as mentally ill – the not too bright angry cousins who would be torturing animals if they weren’t busy prowling the net expressing their disturbances in a more benign way. I’m all about tolerance here, and when I say my critics can bite me, I mean it respectfully, of course. Let’s be clear about that.

I believe the vast majority of readers will vote with their wallets. If they think the work is redeeming, they’ll buy more of it. If not, they’ll shut the kindle off after a few minutes and move to the next one. That’s what I do. Life’s too short to read crappy books.

If my belief is correct, and if Geronimo is actually as good as everyone has said (and as of this writing, it has 21 five star and 2 four star reviews on Amazon), people will read it, hopefully like it, and then buy another of my titles.

I shall keep everyone informed of how that works out. I’d hope to see a 20%-30% increase in sales in January, and a sustained increase thereafter. We shall see.

To everyone who downloaded it, thank you, and enjoy. Let me know what you think. It’s one of my favorites – Al was a fun character to write, and it was a delight to do so. I hope you enjoy reading about his exploits as much as I enjoyed creating him.

If you like this blog, hit the green “Stumbleupon” button at the bottom and recommend it to others. Spread the word. Oh, and vote for me for a shorty award so you can watch me annoy legitimate talents with my inappropriate antics at the presentation ceremony. I understand drinking may be involved. Wink.

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I’ve had numerous folks ask me who my cover artist is. E-mail me through this site and I’ll give you the skinny. Good, fast and cheap.

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10 Jan 2012, by

Get Shorty

MORE ACCOLADES: Fatal Exchange was the favorite book of 2011 for Kate Farrel at The Kindle Book Review.

NEW INTERVIEW: I was interviewed by South African blogger Nadine Maritz, and the result can be seen here.

IMPORTANT! Night of the Assassin just went FREE on Barnes and Noble. Please help me out here. Go to the Amazon page for Night here, and scroll down below the rating, where it says “Tell Us About A Cheaper Price.” Then click that, and enter the link to B&N, which I post below, and enter 0.00 as their price. I would appreciate the help in having them price match it. Thanks so much. Here’s the B&N link.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/night-of-the-assassin-russell-blake/1108178602?ean=2940032947783&itm=6&usri=russell+blake

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These are exciting times. Madly so.

Why, you ask, are you bubbling with such excitement, Russell? Did they switch up your meds? Did you start early today?

No. Haters.

I was just nominated for a shorty.

Lest anyone think I’ve been living under a park bench, many people don’t know what this significant tribute to my talent means. So it wasn’t just me.

I investigated, and was initially disappointed that it’s not made out of any precious metal or negotiable commodity, and carries no cash award. Unlike the Nobel. If anyone wants to nominate me for one of those, now THAT would get me fired up. A million bucks. Think of the ocean of tequila that would buy! But I digress, as I often do. The point is that someone nominated me, and being the competitive animal that I am, I naturally want to win. Unless placing second pays. In which case, we’re number TWO, we’re number TWO!

As far as I can tell, it’s all about creating short content. As in tweets. Or maybe it’s short words. Or short ideas. Given that I have been writing the same book now a dozen times, I think it’s safe to say that I am as short on concepts as I am on patience after a mean drunk. So I should win.

Be that as it may, I’m up against some pretty significant talent. JK Rowling, who as I’m sure you all know produces prodigious quantities of masterfully-crafted tweets. Or maybe that should read “is the biggest selling author in the world.” I think she wrote the bible or something. Maybe it was Twilight or Chicken Soup for the Caged Bird. I’m pretty sure there were vampires. I really have to catch up on my reading. But she’s big.

This is where I need to suck up to you all, and beg you to vote for me, so that I can snatch victory from the jaws of whatever is masticating it. As with Chicago elections, please vote early and often. I’m hoping I win, so I can grope some supermodels or hang out with Kiefer for a few pops. Maybe I’ll show up lit and swing a tequila bottle at the MC. Very Ricky Gervais, only without the wit or money.

So please vote for me, @Blakebooks, so you can watch me humiliate myself before an audience of literally dozens. I’m listed under Authors, no doubt because they don’t have a category for man thong model, or ice dancer, or clown hunter. If I’m elected, I’ll wear the Russeller for some exposure – no pun intended – sales of which are down now that the weather’s colder. You don’t have to be a U.S. citizen to vote (or be elected to many offices, apparently), so if you won’t vote for me, I’ll need to get the boys in Bangalore tippy tapping away and stuffing the ballot box in my favor. I’ll do it. Don’t test me. I just hope they’ll take a two-party out of state check with no ID, because I think my last payment to them for writing a few of my trilogies got lost in the mail. It happens.

To summarize. Nominate me for a Nobel, so I can sneer at Bono contemptuously. Absent that, vote for me for a shorty – because I’ve still got mad love for the streets and am keeping it real for my homies in the joint. But mostly vote for me because you are a sick, demented f#ckwad who would delight in watching our cherished institutions tarnished by yours truly putting in an appearance.

If elected, I promise not to let you down. Which you can bank on like so many other election promises.

That is all. You can vote HERE by typing in @Blakebooks and Author, and entering some drivel about why you’re voting. Hint: paid off isn’t a good entry. It can be our little secret.

So vote. For me. Until your fingers bleed. Do so to strike a blow against clowns, and because I love kitties, puppies, apple pie, Grandma, the flag and whatever else you need to hear. Do it for yourself. Because this is your time in the sun. Climb the mountain of success that is your birthright and reach your strong arms out to clutch the fruit of victory from the tree of bounty! A vote for me is a vote against your despicable enemies, who I will vow to destroy, crushing their bones into jelly beneath my relentless heels so you can dance a victory jig on their cold, dank graves, their last memories being of dying shivering and alone in a sewage ditch covered with frenzied fire ants and centipedes and broken glass/razor blades/whatever else you like with the realization that you, and you alone, are responsible for their defeat and humiliation, their legacy forgotten moments after their last gurgling breath exits as a death rattle.

Thank you. Love, XOXO – Oh, and if you like this page, hit the small green StumbleUpon button below and share the love.

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