A Writer’s Writer

Russell and I travel together, often. If you know anything about either of us, you know that he lives on the Pacific coast of Mexico, and I live in Huntsville, Alabama. So, let me explain. I travel a lot in my day job, while Russell lies on the beach, drinking tequila and writing. To take my mind off the fact that I’m driving through Mississippi in July, or waiting for zombies to open my side of a one lane road repair area, or seriously contemplating which Subway I’ll eat at today, I often plug my old Kindle into the vehicle sound system, select a Russell Blake book (one he wrote while I was driving), select text to speech and listen to a computer read about Captain Romero Cruz, Cassidy Silver, Al Ross, Dr. Stephen Cross or any one of a cast of thousands of wonderful characters who march up and down a Mexican beach while Russell writes about them. I’m not envious you understand. The green tint of my skin is probably a rare condition that stems from a combination of too much driving and too little writing.

I looked at Russell’s avatar about a year ago when I first got into the social media thing. Then, I looked again and thought, this guy is standing behind the control console of an off shore, rum running, power boat, and if I follow him on Twitter he just might run me down and leave me for the sharks. Never one to back off, I followed him anyway. And guess what, he turned out to be a good friend and more. He’s a man who doesn’t follow the crowd and he’s not interested in leading it either. He is a writer, a self-published writer who is figuring out how to do the deal and do it right. Best of all, he will tell you everything that works, things that don’t work, and he’ll share his contacts with you.

I told him I was going to write this blog, and to make sure I got it right, he sent this bio:

Russell Blake is the international bestselling author of Fatal Exchange, a groundbreaking genre-blending thriller set against the counter-culture backdrop of New York’s gritty underground, The Geronimo Breach, an action/intrigue/thriller set in Panama, the bestselling
Zero Sum
trilogy of Wall Street thrillers, The Delphi Chronicle trilogy (The Manuscript, The Tortoise & The Hare and Phoenix Rising), the epic assassination thriller
King of Swords
, its prequel Night of the Assassin and sequels Revenge of the Assassin and Return of the Assassin, adventure/treasure hunt thriller The Voynich Cypher, and police procedural thriller Silver Justice.

His first satirical non-fiction work, How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time (even if drunk, high or incarcerated) was released to critical raves. An Angel With Fur, his second non-fiction book chronicling the saga of Lobo the miracle dog, hit the #1 spot in Animal Essays on the U.S. and UK charts.

“Captain” Russell lives on the Pacific coast of Mexico, where he spends his time writing, fishing, collecting & drinking tequila, playing with his dogs and battling world domination by clowns.

At this moment, between stints of driving, I’m wrapping up Southern Investigation-Tucson, second in the Southern Investigation trilogy. I needed some insight into how to do some of things that are being done in the book. Since the book is about the movement of drugs, people, and guns, between Mexico and the United States, I asked Russell. He’s better than Google. With my logistical questions answered, I sucked it up and asked him something that had come to me when I was listening to and reading King of Swords. I emailed, “Russell, Captain Romero Cruz is the character I need to help me close a segment of the book I’m working on. Could I borrow him for a while?”

I waited for his answer, all the time thinking, I’m treading water here and he’s turning that damn boat around and pointing it toward me. I was wrong. He answered in minutes and said I was welcome to use Romeo Cruz, though he thought I could create a better character on my own. Well, he was wrong, and I told him so, noting that Captain Romero Cruz, of the Mexican Federal Police is just the man I’d been looking for. That’s why Captain Cruz, and his second, Lieutenant Fernando Briones, have just finished a temporary duty assignment, with the OK of their boss, Russell Blake, a writer’s writer. As far as I’m concerned, loaning a character to another writer takes awesome to a whole new level.

I’ve asked Russell a lot of questions, and he has answered them all, even if the answer was, “Dammed if I know.”

Russell Blake is carving a path that will ultimately take him where every writer wants to be. That means he is a damn good man to follow and a great writer to read.


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