It’s here, just in time for the holidays! The third installment in the Black series, featuring our reluctant hero Artemus Black, PI of questionable skills and sobriety, immersed in the world of modeling, is now live. Inspired as much by Zoolander as by Vogue, BLACK Is The New Black is a fun romp that pokes fun at many of the treasured icons of the fashion world while Black stumbles through it in search of clues.
As with all the BLACK books, this one is vicious, funny, and fast-paced, with Black forced out of his comfortable routine in Los Angeles and compelled to travel to Mexico, Las Vegas, and Northern California in order to stop disaster from striking on the set of photo shoots he’s assigned with protecting.
The books are fast reads, and offer a tip of the hat and a wink at classics by authors like Dashiel Hammett and Elmore Leonard.
I’m happy with the way this one turned out, and have turned to plotting BLACK 4, which should be out in February, assuming my editors are still answering the phone after I loaded them up with BLACK 3 and JET VI, all before the holidays.
On other fronts, I’m only a week or two away from being able to break my exciting November news, which is now my exciting December news. There’s a method to my madness, which everyone will understand shortly, but in the mean time, in a day or two I’ll be running an Author Spotlight with living legend Lawrence Block, who is releasing his first self-published novel, The Burglar Who Counted The Spoons, on Christmas day. I’ve read it and it’s masterfully written, humorous, erudite, brilliantly plotted, and generally a must read for anyone who enjoys a good mystery or incredible character development. Santa could do worse than to deliver you a copy of the novel, of course, only after he’s delivered BLACK Is The New Black to your stocking, even if you haven’t been particularly good this year, which I’m not here to judge.
Here’s the cover again, for those keeping score at home.
What do you do when you write something that’s fun, funny, and you really enjoyed doing?
Write a sequel, of course.
Which brings me to BLACK Is Back, the sequel to BLACK. Oh, nothing. It’s just live, is all.
I think this second installment is actually more humorous than the first, although I’m clearly biased. What I can say is that fans of hard-boiled detective fiction with a cynical sense of humor will probably enjoy it. If you liked Get Shorty, this is up your alley. Fans of my action adventure stuff might wonder where the next car chase or explosion is, but that’s part of the fun of writing in a different milieu. Mixing it up. Keeping em guessing. And so on.
Here’s the cover. I’m hard at work on BLACK is the New Black, where someone’s killing the fashion models, and hope to have that out in mid to late November. Back to the ink mines on getting that whipped into shape. Hope you enjoy BLACK 2, as I think of BLACK Is Back. I think it’s a hoot.
The day I’ve been waiting for is finally here. My new series launches today with BLACK. I’ve got BLACK 2 being edited, and BLACK 3 in the queue. I’m targeting BLACK 2 for mid-October release, and BLACK 3 for mid-November, with December being a BLACK-fest with BLACK 4 hitting by Xmas, as well as the sixth installment in the JET series.
BLACK is a new kind of book for me. It’s funny. Humor plays a big part in Artemus Black’s interactions with the world, and much of the humor is dark. I really like the characters in this series the more I write them. Black is a fun protagonist, and Roxie, his assistant, is a hoot. Mugsy, the morbidly obese cat, Dr. Kelso, his therapist (who has anger management and sexual hangup issues of his own), Gracie, his alcoholic landlady, Stan, his bitter LAPD buddy…
They came alive on the page for me, which is what you dream of when you’re writing. Sometimes you have to prod the characters into reluctant animation, and sometimes they arrive on the scene fully formed, bursting from the page. This is one of those times.
For those of you expecting my usual breakneck-paced action adventure, this will be a slight departure. It’s a detective mystery, not a chase book. There’s still plenty of action, but this keeps to the genre, and is more cerebral, more focused on the twists and turns and plotting, and of course, the characters.
I’m really excited about this series. In the tradition of Michael Connelly, Elmore Leonard and Raymond Chandler.
Even the cover has me doing a happy dance. I actually had a photo shoot done to get a bunch of covers just for this series. They nailed it.
Now go buy it or clowns will eat your brain while you sleep. I’m so not kidding about that. Why risk it? Act now. You’ve been warned.
After much hair pulling and gnashing of teeth, I’m happy to report that my noir detective series, BLACK, is almost ready to go live. It will officially launch around the middle of Sept., with BLACK 2 already in the bag, and going out 30 days later, followed by BLACK 3 in November, and possibly BLACK 4 in December.
If that sounds like a lot of writing, you ain’t seen nuthin yet. I’ll also be writing JET VI for a December release, and have agreed to do two co-authored novels with indie authors with whom I’m friends, and also a fan. Different genres than my usual, though – one’s a dystopian prepper novelist of considerable talent, and the other’s a NA author and USA Today/NY Times bestselling author of no small repute and ability.
ANTHOLOGY RELEASED – FREE!!! The new anthology, The End of the Road, to which I’m a contributor, is now out…and free!
BREAKING NEWS: An interview about Upon A Pale Horse! Check it out!!!
NEWS: New in-depth interview with yours truly at Smashwords. Worth a read if your TV’s on the blink. Feel free to comment and leave questions you’d like answered there. I’ll probably ignore them, but hey, worth a shot, right?
Whether the two co-authored deals will get done by year’s end is up in the air due to everyone’s schedules, but I can honestly say that I’ve never written this much in my life. For those keeping track at home, 2013 will be a year where I released eight of my own novels, if all goes well, and these two co-authored offerings.
Next year I am slowing the pace down to three or four of my own, and that’s it. I swear. Really. Unless the co-authored books go through the roof and I become a NA romance sensation, dancing in my lime green man thong for the tourist ladies off the cruise ship, their hungry eyes and grabby hands haunting my nights – but that’s a whole nuther topic, thank god. As it is, figure one Russell book every three months, and no more. For which my editors and proofreader are already exhaling long sighs of relief.
I will also be announcing some incredibly exciting news in November that will change the way many view indie authors. That’s all I’m going to say right now, but trust me when I tell you that it’s news that will be front-page-worthy, right up there with some of the biggest accomplishments to date. It’s a huge milestone for me on a personal level, and a game-changer in many ways. Stay tuned. And no, this is not a cheap publicity ploy to get people wondering what the big deal is. It’s not a big buildup to a completely uninteresting non-event. This is the real thing. Unless I’m lying. Which I do, early and often. So you’ll just have to wait to see.
BLACK, for those wondering, is the final title of the hard-boiled detective novel I discussed here in April or May – Artemus Black, Hollywood PI to the stars, with anger management problems and a host of other issues. It’s written with more than a little humor, and is reminiscent of The Geronimo Breach in terms of the main character’s luck. I really like this series, and can see it going for a long, long time. Lighter than some of my stuff, it’s a tip of the hat and a wink at the likes of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Michael Connelly and James Patterson. So if you like that bunch, give it a try. I’ve always enjoyed detective mysteries, and promised myself I’d write a few, so this is my toe in that water. I think it turned out really well, and hope that it’s kindly received.
That’s the latest. If you don’t see me around my usual haunts, it’s because the next 100 days is going to be a marathon, not because I hate you or you’ve offended me in any way. Except for you. And you know who you are. Don’t play dumb. It’s not going to work this time. I’ve got a memory like an elephant on meth, and I’m not going to forget your betrayal.
The rest of you, carry on. And go buy some of my crap. The price is going nowhere but up soon, so this is probably your last chance at it at these prices.