NEW INTERVIEW: With Becky at MysteryWritersUnite. On craft & my books.

GOOD INTERVIEW: now live with @ElaineAsh1 interviewing me. It’ a good one.

NEWSFLASH: Zero Sum, Book 1, Kotov Syndrome, my Wall Street thriller serial trilogy, has just been reviewed by acclaimed author Steven Konkoly, whose The Jakarta Pandemic just got its 100th Amazon review, and who just released Black Flagged. The review is a wonderful deconstruction of the trilogy, and is recommended reading for one and all.

MAJOR BREAKING NEWS: Justin Bogdanovitch just published a poignant and touching review of An Angel With Fur for prominent online lifestyle magazine . It’s really a must-read review. And the Pet Wall also gets spotlight coverage at Justin Bogdanovitch’s blog.


I have been told I’m out of my mind.

There is some merit to that position.

I decided to give the National Novel Writing Month challenge a whirl. The objective is to write a 50K novel in the month of November.

The problem is that I was finishing up my latest magnum opus, so I couldn’t start on a new book until yesterday. So I did some cursory plotting, and started writing yesterday afternoon. That would be the 11th.

As of today, I’m at 10K words, and I hope to get to 15K by tomorrow night. That’s about as far as I can imagine getting, as I haven’t plotted what happens next yet, so there’s a conceptual hurdle there. But not to worry. I’m fairly sure I know the broad strokes of how it ends. I just need to flesh out all that stuff between Chapter 1 and the ending. Details, details. Stuff happens. People die. There are plot twists, and other stuff happens we didn’t see coming. Then the pace builds, and pretty soon we’re at the end. Maybe our protag’s character arcs, and he learns something about himself, or the world. Maybe he learns to trust, or that hate is a cancer, or finds the power of love.

As with all my thrillers, you can bet there’s a conspiracy within a conspiracy, and a breakneck pace. I just don’t know what the conspiracy is quite yet that’s in the conspiracy. Nor do I know what the twists are that will surprise and delight us at the end. Or the middle. Or anything after the beginning.

Having said that, the world is filled with bad people doing bad things, so there’s no shortage of real conspiracies I can draw upon for ideas.

The big hurdle is that I want to have 75-90K words done, as opposed to the 50K the challenge requires by, er, November 25. Of 2011. While I’m polishing my latest 150K of stories. And editing that one, which will require some heavy lifting. And preparing for a big book launch event I’ve signed up for in honor of @AndyHolloman.

But what is life without a challenge or three? Who knows, maybe this will turn out well enough to warrant some serious editing time, and release, say, around December 15?

What the heck. I actually almost wish I had one of those magic 8 balls where I could just shake it every chapter and it would go, “The protag meets a woman, who seems benign but is really deadly,” or whatever. It would be way easier than plotting all that stuff between once upon a time, and the end. Maybe I’ll just follow the age old advice, if you don’t know what happens next, have a guy enter with a gun.

If you want to check out the first installment, the opening of the book, which I’ve tentatively titled “King of Swords,” you can read the intro here. The title was suggested by my editor, who completely rocks and who I shall now blame for everything if the book bombs or sucks in any way.

That was yesterday afternoon and evening’s project. Oh, and MS Word conveniently lost the quick outline I did, where I’d figured out the first half of the book, so I’m kinda winging that. Nice, huh? Good old Word.

So pull up a chair and make some popcorn, and you you can watch a thriller novelist try to create something from scratch over a period of 10 or so days, allowing for a meeting or lunch every now and then.

Did I mention that some believe me to be, er, a little nuts? It’s why I drink. OK, one of the reasons. Ya got me. Now back to the ink mines…


Join Russell Blake and 9 of his author friends at WoMen’s Literary Cafe’s Mystery Book Launch, December 13-15. Ten authors will discount their ebooks to just 99 cents. Buy 3 get 1 FREE!”



  1. Sun 13th Nov 2011 at 3:19 am

    I’ve got to hand it to you Russell, you don’t do anything by halves. I’ve read the first chapter and I didn’t want it to end, like all your books.
    Maybe you are nuts, but who cares, as long as you keep delivering. What’s the definition of nuts anyway? I for one would like to be nuts and write like you anyday.
    You go at it like a steamroller, not content to have just finished one but your mind is half way through the next before the ink is dry on the one you’ve just finished. Are you sure you sleep? I’m not.
    If you don’t make it in this book world, then there’s no justice. I for one would like just a portion of your brain power. Good on you Russell for making us all sit up and listen.

    • Russell Blake  –  Sun 13th Nov 2011 at 5:47 am

      Well, you are too kind. I’m glad you enjoy my scribbling. I enjoy writing these, so it’s a good match if you enjoy reading them.

      I may have bitten off more than I can chew on this one, though. Trying to keep topping myself, coming right off one, is exhausting. We’ll see how this turns out. Won’t be boring, at least there’s that…

      • Andrew Harding  –  Thu 17th Nov 2011 at 2:27 am

        Nothing you’ve done so far has been boring. The last update on your mindblowing schedule for this book is really riveting to read and you pull no punches. Like your style of writing, indefatigable, compelling and always leaves you wanting more.

  2. Sun 13th Nov 2011 at 5:44 am

    Throw the reader a curve, and have a guy enter with a trident. Oh, snap, a NEW mystery!

    • Russell Blake  –  Sun 13th Nov 2011 at 5:48 am

      I like the way you think…

  3. Sun 13th Nov 2011 at 2:36 pm

    I wish I could match even half that output. Good luck with it. I look forward to seeing how it develops.

  4. Sun 13th Nov 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Your pace is absolutely amazing. I was heavy into self-chastising when I read a reply from you on another post that you write 10K a day. You are an inspiration and I have no doubt you’ll make it with room to spare. You go boy!

    • Russell Blake  –  Sun 13th Nov 2011 at 6:39 pm

      It’s not hard to write 10K a day if you only do that and nothing else for 15 hours. I don’t recommend it. I’ve just got a narrow window to get these stories into the world, because I’m starting a project that will reduce my output to a third next year, so I committed to just crank out the books while I can. It’s not much of a life, but you do get a lot of work produced, so for a six or eight month burst, I’m willing to do it…

  5. Sun 13th Nov 2011 at 9:15 pm

    When I would see author’s listing their 30 books, I wondered how they could write so much considering it takes me a minimum of a year to research and write a novel. But I once read a Stephen King interview which said he NEVER takes a day off and writes a minimum of 3-4 pages per day. Good luck with your writings… wear out that keyboard! All the best to you.

  6. Sun 13th Nov 2011 at 10:13 pm

    I am jealous, inspired and eager all at the same time. My life has been practically living under a rock working at my day job but the schedule is gradually winding down until, starting in just a few days, I will be able to write almost 24-7 for a month.

    So, the bar has been set. Thank you, Russell.

  7. Sun 13th Nov 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Russell, I tried to read the intro but the link keeps coming up Page Not Found. Just wanted to let you know.
    Elaine Ash

    • Russell Blake  –  Mon 14th Nov 2011 at 12:19 am

      Thanks. I fixed it. Sometimes it loses links, for whatever reasons. Gremlins in the machine. Clowns sabotaging me. You know, the usual…

  8. Wed 16th Nov 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Impressive schedule. I read the opening to “King of Swords” and I found the story well told and compelling. Your descriptions of both characters and settings are excellent. I look forward to seeing the completed work.

  9. Sat 19th Nov 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Book kills author? Perhaps that be what happens when you try to implement your schedule. And how do you keep up with your blog too? Like me, you must not have a life outside of writing.

    • Russell Blake  –  Sat 19th Nov 2011 at 4:03 pm

      You forgot the three dogs, too. They require some time. Pretty vocal about it, actually.

      Look, I don’t recommend my process. It’s just what works for me. I won’t be doing this more than a few times next year, as I have a project coming up that’s not writing-related, and I also accomplished what I wanted to this year in terms of writing. I don’t think it will change anything if I have 6 more books out next year, or 3. So 2011 was my big experiment, and mission accomplished.

      The reason I’m publishing all this is not to tout my speed or output, but rather to show all those who think it can’t be done, or who procrastinate, that they’re wrong. They can do it. They just don’t. Now, I know not everyone has a year to work 4000 hours on books. I get that. But the basics apply. Set aside an hour or two a day. Write 500 words per hour. Within 4 months you’ve written a novel. 5, tops. The math doesn’t lie.


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