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Monday, December 27, 2010

Shaken, by JA Konrath: A book review.

Book Blurb
Since her debut in Whiskey Sour, Lieutenant Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels has dealt with her fair share of criminals. But she may have finally met her match in “Mr. K,” the brutal serial killer who has eluded Jack not once, but twice, over the years. Mr. K is the essence of evil, credited with more than two hundred horrific homicides. Now, on a hot August night, Jack finally gets the chance to face the maniac—unfortunately, she must do so while bound and gagged in a storage locker, primed to be his next victim. As she awaits her fate, Jack looks back on her career, from her first homicide case to her recent retirement. The twenty-five years in between saw Jack’s attitude toward justice, the law, her job, and her personal life shift drastically. She is a different woman now…but is she good enough to stop a madman? Novelist J. A. Konrath’s trademark blend of suspense and wry humor are on full display in this tense thriller, a gripping tale that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Just when I thought that Mr Konrath would never be able to top Ms Cork's character in Cherry Bomb he unleashes the ultimate terror: the elusive Mr K. the story takes place in three periods in Chicago PI, Jack Daniel's, career: when she was an ambitious young police officer working her way up the ranks, while she was a detective 3 years before, and now in the present as a PI. Not since The Firm by John Grisham, have I read such a beautifully-written page-turner that I was able to complete it in under 24 hours. I'll be looking forward to Konrath's follow-up Stirred, which will be on sale in 2011.




5 Stars





Shaken, by JA Konrath is now available on Amazon.



Russell Brooks is the author of the action/thriller, Pandora's Succession, available now.



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Heirs of Mars: Book Review


Book Blurb

The dream that was Mars has become a nightmare for the children born there. To save New Troy from falling birth rates, Asher secretly clones people in his truck. To save New Troy from despair, Claudia hosts the most popular racing show on two worlds. And to save the city from destruction, they’ll rally persecuted cloners, resurrected colonists, and racing celebrities to fight homicidal AIs.


Review

I was given a copy of this novel by the author for review. It is set in the future on Mars and although this is science fiction, there are several elements of the story that people can relate to today. The main one being the ethics of cloning. There are the humans that believe that cloning is essential for the survival of life on Mars since there are too many professionals that are dying as a result of the ongoing war with robots—who, interestingly see the clones as a threat to their existence. Then there are the humans that don’t accept the clones as individuals with equal rights.

I had a bit of difficulty keeping up in certain parts because of the number of characters, and at some points it was difficult to tell the protagonists from the villains, but it did not prevent me from enjoying this story.


3 Stars

Heirs of Mars, by Joseph Robert Lewis
Available now on Amazon and Smashwords
Russell Brooks is the author of the action/thriller, Pandora's Succession.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thanks For Nothing, You Bastards! An open letter to the 60 House Members who voted against the 9/11 Health Care Bill.

New York Fire Department Deputy Chief Joseph C...Image via Wikipedia
Dear House Members,

My name is Russell Brooks and I’m a thriller novelist. Although I live in Montreal, Canada, there are many things that Canadians share with Americans. There are holidays, our love for fast food restaurants, broken New Year’s resolutions, and NAFTA. I try my best not to criticize US policies, but there was an event that occurred this week that I found to be very disturbing. You all attempted to block a bill that would have allowed the first responders of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to receive health care benefits. It is my understanding that some of those first responders have either died or are suffering from long-term health problems due to being exposed to the toxic ash that engulfed lower Manhattan. Although I’m sure that you all have your reasons (selfish as they may be) for ignoring the needs of these heroes, it is very incomprehensible that although the safety of Americans—home and abroad—is a high priority for everyone, you did not recognize the First-Responders. They may not be fighting overseas with assault rifles, grenades, and rocket launchers. They came into lower Manhattan with fire hoses, EMT equipment, and their ability to direct traffic and crowds to safety. Their own selfless acts of risking their own lives for the benefit of others without receiving any orders from the White House is what makes them the real heroes of 9/11.

I’m sure that you may have pledged allegiance to your flag on numerous occasions to illustrate your patriotism. But I must add that your choice to block the 9/11 Health Care Bill was anything but patriotic. It was a flagrant slap in the face to ordinary citizens that risked their lives to help others in need on that dreadful day. This would’ve occurred while many of you had the luxury of hiding out in one of the underground bunkers that are located between Maryland and Virginia. By voting against the bill you attempted to sign their death sentence, something I’m sure would've pleased Osama Bin Laden considering you’ve continued the job of increasing the death toll from the 9/11 attacks.

I can’t guaranty that another terrorist act will not occur on North American soil in the near future. At best, the terrorists don’t need to do much to attack American citizens since they’re aware that it’s a lot cheaper and convenient for them to let you guys do the job for them. The sad truth is that by voting against the bill, you were all serving Al Qaeda—not your country—an act for which you all deserve to be arrested and charged with treason. Furthermore you ought to be barred from politics for the rest of your lives.

I’ve read some excellent novels and watched some great movies. As an author I’ve always told others that villains will either make or break a story. I’ve been asked what was the inspiration for the villains in my novel. The answer is simple, I always base some of my characters—even the villains—on real people. Today I can say with confidence that if I were to model a villain after any of you in my next novel, it’s unlikely that I would be criticized for creating an unrealistic character.

Fortunately, your efforts failed this week, and at a right time considering that this would be a long overdue Christmas present for the First-Responders. The best Christmas present to America and the rest of the world would be for you all to be exposed and remembered for your actions (or inactions, which ever way you look at it), especially the next time elections come around.

Yours Very Truly,
Russell Brooks
Author of Pandora's Succession.

So for my gift to everyone, I’ve taken the liberty to list the names of the 59 Republicans and the 1 Democrat (non-italic) for your convenience. Hopefully the American voters will not be as asinine in their votes as these House Members have been.

Akin, Alexander, Bachmann, Bachus, Bartlett, Bilirakis, Bishop (UT), Boozman, Brady (TX), Cantor, Cassidy, Coffman (CO), Conaway, Diaz-Balart, Ehlers, Fleming, Foxx, Franks (AZ), Goodlatte, Graves (GA), Guthrie, Hall (TX), Hensarling, Herger, Hoekstra, Inglis, Jenkins, Jordan (OH), King (IA), Kingston, LaTourette, Latta, Lewis (CA), Lummis, Manzullo, McClintock, McCotter, Mica, Miller (FL), Myrick, Olson, Paulsen, Posey, Rehberg, Rogers (KY), Royce, Scalise, Schmidt, Sessions, Shuster, Smith (NE), Stutzman, Taylor, Terry, Tiahrt, Upton, Walden, Whitfield, Wilson (SC), Wittman.
*
Russell Brooks is the author of the action/thriller, Pandora’s Succession. Available Now.

*( http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2010/roll664.xml#N)


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Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Russell Show: Christmas 2010

Here's an excerpt of the solo I sang this evening for the Trinity Memorial Church annual Christmas Concert.
Happy Holidays.



Russell Brooks is the author of the action/thriller, Pandora's Succession, details HERE.
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Barry Eisler Spotlight, Part IV: The Russell Show, featuring Inside Out.

As the saying goes, All good things come to an end. But from my point of view, we'll always have Barry Eisler's books with us. And in our last communication, he confirmed to me that he was busy on his next novel. So we all have something great to look forward to.

To conclude Eisler's spotlight feature, I do a dramatic reading of an excerpt from Inside Out, his latest bestseller.


Please visit Barry Eisler's website at http://www.barryeisler.com/ and check out his blog, The Heart of the Matter. I also must recommend his previous books, starting with Rain Fall, the first in the John Rain series about a Japanese-American assassin. I have a strong feeling that John Rain will be in Eisler's follow-up to Inside Out, so it would be a good idea to start from the beginning. You'll be in for an excellent thrill ride.


Russell Brooks is the author of the action/thriller, Pandora's Succession, now available. Details.



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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Barry Eisler Spotlight, Part III: Review of Inside Out.



Conspiracy-theory buffs are in for a treat. Inside Out features the return of Ben Treven—an American Black-Ops soldier. In this sequel to Fault Line, Treven isn’t on the run, but doing the hunting instead. A rogue Black-Ops soldier, Daniel Larison, has stolen ninety-two CIA interrogation tapes and has blackmailed the US Government . Treven—who was imprisoned after a bar fight he was in resulted in the death of one of his attackers—is released from jail with the aid of his former commander, Colonel Scott Horton. Treven’s release comes at a price: He must track down and eliminate Larison. Along the way, he is joined by Paula Lanier—a sexy FBI agent with an attitude—who is not only an annoyance to Treven, but later becomes an ally. What complicates matters further for Treven is that other hit squads have been dispatched to hunt for Larison, leaving Treven to suspect that he may be a pawn in a bigger picture.

Inside Out contains some well-paced action, martial arts, and a believable conspiracy that will leave the reader wondering if all of it is really fiction. FBI agent Lanier brings about an excellent balance to complement Treven’s character. This is illustrated by her naivety in handling certain situations that risk exposing them. At times, I had a chuckle picturing how pissed off Treven must have been every time she made a gaff. What I also enjoyed was that Eisler allowed readers to enter into the minds of both Treven and his target, Larison, illustrating his first-hand knowledge of surveillance and reconnaissance techniques. The fight scenes were very believable, and the hand-on-hand combat scenes were meticulously well done.

In addition, readers will learn why it’s not a good idea to read important documents—electronic or hard copy—or have a private conversation while you’re traveling in first class. Conspiracy fiction fans will love the subject matter of the CIA’s interrogation tapes that was top news several months ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if discussions about this have been given a boost, due to Eisler’s interpretation of what could’ve really happened to the CIA interrogation tapes.
Oh yeah, if you’ve ever wondered whatever became of Japanese-American assassin, John Rain, from Eisler’s previous novels, you’re in for a treat.

3 1/2 Stars.

Russell Brooks is the author of the action/thriller, Pandora's Succession. Available Now.

Friday, November 26, 2010

SPOTLIGHT: Barry Eisler. Part II The Russell Show featuring Fault Line.

Barry Eisler, writerImage via Wikipedia This week I continue with my spotlight of former CIA operative and bestselling thriller author, Barry Eisler, where I do a dramatic excerpt from Fault Line on The Russell Show. (Excerpt chosen by Barry Eisler and done with his permission).

Book Blurb: Silicon Valley: the eccentric inventor of a new encryption application is murdered in an apparent drug deal. Istanbul: a cynical undercover operative receives a frantic call from his estranged brother, a patent lawyer who believes he’ll be the next victim. And on the sun-drenched slopes of Sand Hill Road, California’s nerve center of money and technology, old family hurts sting anew as two brothers who share nothing but blood and bitterness wage a desperate battle against a faceless enemy.



Russell Brooks is the author of the action/thriller, Pandora's Succession, available now.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

SPOTLIGHT: Author Barry Eisler. Part I Review: Fault Line.

Fans that were hoping to see Japanese-American assassin, John Rain, in a followup to Eisler’s bestselling series will be in for something slightly different in Eisler’s first stand-alone thriller, Fault Line. The first paragraph opens up with a hook that will lock in Eisler’s fans and many more. Readers unfamiliar with Eisler’s work will be instantly drawn into a page-turning experience.


The story focuses on a young patent lawyer, Alex Treven, who expects to strike oil when his latest client, Richard Hilzoy, presents him with a revolutionary technology called Obsidian. Alex anticipates being the talk of Silicon Valley and becoming partner in the firm. However, Hilzoy is murdered in an apparent drug deal, the patent examiner dies, and Alex barely escapes with his own life after an alleged burglary in his own home. When the police offer little assistance, Alex turns to his estranged brother, Ben—a special-ops soldier—for help. Ben rushes to Alex’s aid and forces Alex’s Iranian-American associate, Sarah Hosseini to go underground with them because of her knowledge of Obsidian. Ben distrusts Sarah and believes that she is working for clandestine powers that are bent at stealing Obsidian. As a result, Alex is thrown head first into Ben’s world and must follow his brother’s rules in hopes of surviving further attempts on his life by the forces they hope to expose.


Ben’s paranoia and methods of survival are reflected in Eisler’s experience as a covert operative. Eisler has mastered the art of creating situational tension while weaving in character tensions. Ben’s main objective of keeping Alex and Sarah safe is complicated by unresolved family issues that led to Ben’s estrangement. Further complications also result from the animosity Ben and Sarah have towards each other. There is excellent character development that is not overdrawn. There are also interesting plot twists which make Fault Line a gripping and easy read.

Russell Brooks is the author of the action/thriller, Pandora's Succession. Now available through Amazon.com, Amazon UK, BarnesandNoble.com and www.RussellParkway.com.
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Winners of the STOP THE SUCCESSION virtual book tour.


Hello, Everyone.

It's been a long and fun three weeks of my first ever virtual book tour for my debut action/thriller, Pandora's Succession. Thanks to everyone that participited by leaving their emails in the body of their comments. You will all receive an autographed ebook cover shortly. Now for the moment that you've all been waiting for, the winners of the STOP THE SUCCESSION virtual book tour.

October 26 Mini-Contest.

In this mini-contest, commenters were asked to guess the identity of the actress that was the inspiration for Ares defector, Sveta Stechina. Everyone got the right answer. However the award goes to the first person to get the answer right. So you've all guessed it. The actress is none other than...











Myriam D'Abo. The former Bond Girl in the James Bond epic, The Living Daylights.

Congratulations to Tiffany Laurie who was the first to guess the answer correctly. Tiffany will receive a copy of the sample graphic novel version of Pandora's Succession that I once queried.



Winners of the autographed ebook.

I was a bit late asking my neighbor to wear a sexy dress and draw the winners at random, so I had Clinton the Cat draw the names instead. The winners are chosen and announced in the following episode of The Russell Show.



So there you have it. Congrats to all the winners. I had a great time participating in the vitual book tour. Thanks again to all of the book bloggers that hosted me, and the book reviewers that helped me out by posting their reviews to their blogs, Amazon, Goodreads, and other forums. It is much appreciated. And also thanks to those that have read and spread the word about Pandora's Succession.



Best,



Russell Brooks
Pandora's Succession is now available as an ebook, here and here(UK)
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Monday, October 18, 2010

"Stop the Succession." The Virtual Book Tour.

Stop the Succession
The Virtual Book Tour
From October 24 to November 14, 2010
Participate in the virtual book tour.
Visit www.russellparkway.com for contest details.



Friday, October 1, 2010

The Russell Show: Featuring Lancelot's Lady, by Cherish D'Angelo.

I'm honored to be hosting Romance/Suspense novelist, Cherish D'Angelo, author of Lancelot's Lady. This is the first time that I am hosting an author on a blog tour. When I was approached by Ms D'Angelo to host her on her Cherish the Romance book tour, I was originally supposed to do what other book bloggers do—either interview or allow them to do a guest blog. I decided to do something different: recite an excerpt from Lancelot's Lady.


Enjoy!




Lancelot's Lady is available in ebook edition at KoboBooks, Amazon's Kindle Store, Smashwords and other ebook retailers. Help Cherish celebrate by picking up a copy today and "Cherish the romance..."

You can learn more about Lancelot's Lady and Cherish D'Angelo (aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif) at http://www.cherishdangelo.com/ and http://www.cherylktardif.blogspot.com/. Follow Cherish from September 27 to October 10 on her Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour and win prizes.

What do you think about this video?

Leave a comment at below, with email address, to be entered into the prize draws. You're guaranteed to receive at least 1 free ebook just for doing so. Plus you'll be entered to win a Kobo ereader. Winners will be announced after October 10th.

Thank you!
Cherish

Russell Brooks is the author of the soon-to-be-released action/thriller, Pandora's Succession.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I'll be joining you later to sniff coke. I won't be long, it's only a DWI.

DWI victims spun in their graves this week when former WHAM! singer, George Michael, was only sentenced to eight weeks in jail for driving under the influence of drugs. The remaining fourteen weeks will be spent under the supervision of the probation service. Considering that he has a prior offence for lewd behaviour and a laundry list of other drug-related offences (The List), one must again wonder whether judges are too lenient on some people when they commit serious offenses—especially when they are repeat offenders.

Paris Hilton is one of the best examples of a repeat offender. The spoiled heiress to the Hilton hotel chain and renowned sex-video superstar, was arrested in September 2006 for a DWI. She was sentenced to 36 months probation and fined $1500. Since her blood alcohol level was 0.08%, she was left with a suspended licence. As though that wasn’t enough to teach her a lesson, less than a year later in January 2007, she was pulled over for driving with a suspended licence, and yet again a month later for driving 70 mph in a 30 mph zone. Oh yeah, did I mention that she still had a suspended licence? Her sentence was forty five days in jail. However due to a "Phantom" medical condit
Mug shot of Paris Hilton.Image via Wikipediaion she was released two days later. She was then re-sentenced to 40 days home confinement with an electronic monitoring device (2).

Here we are in 2010 and her ass has been arrested again. The charge: cocaine possession. Her defence? “It’s not my purse.” The latest report is that she’s been offered the chance of a plea bargain. Although specifics were not disclosed, a spokeswoman for the Clarke County District Attorney’s Office said: “Possession of a controlled substance is a felony punishable by a minimum term of one year and a maximum of four years. (Hilton) may be fined up to $5000. This charge is probationable so the court could sentence her to a term of probation, rather than prison time.” (
3).

Both Michael and Hilton displayed inexcusable behaviour where the consequences could have ended with in serious injury or even death—either to themselves or to others. The fact that Hilton`s in trouble with the law again illustrates that she did not learn from her previous arrests. Maybe if she’d get off her high horse and start doing some real work for a change—likeDrunk Drivers Dent ThingsImage by ballookey via Flickr the rest of us normal taxpayers—she’d be too busy being productive that she wouldn’t have time to be so stupid.

As for Michael’s eight-week prison term, it’s both a joke and an insult. It was reported recently that he’s being kept in solitary confinement since he’s in the same unit as pedophiles and rapists. However a snitch disclosed that George is being treated like a king and that his cell is dubbed The Ritz. This is because his cell comes complete with duvets, cushions, and even its own digital TV box (4). I could hear the gnashing of teeth from the fine citizens of the UK, as they learn where some of their tax dollars are being spent. This ought to leave one to wonder whether reports of George Michael crying like a bitch is nothing more than an act to make us feel sorry for him, thus tricking the judge into reducing his sentence.

Guess what, George? I’m not falling for it. Your DWI is no less a crime than the DWIs that ruin scores of lives every year—even scarring the lives such as that of my friend, whose girlfriend was killed by a drunk driver a few years ago. As long as the courts keep going easy on drunk drivers, one day judges will only have themselves to blame if the next victim of an impaired driver is one of their loved ones. On a positive note, a real prison term for George Michael would do him some good. Give him a few pens and a lot of paper so he could write music, which is what many of us have grown to love him for. By the same token, he’d be taking responsibility for his actions. After all, isn’t that one of the characteristics of being a Father Figure?

Russell Brooks is the author of the action/thriller, Pandora's Succession. Available Fall 2010.


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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Not a chapter, but still a teaser.


Several people wrote me asking me to post another chapter of Pandora's Succession. Well, I could continue posting more and more chapters. Unfortunately for me to do so would give away major plot spoilers. So I've decided to do something else to appease a few appetites. I'll post a small section further on in the story where nothing much is revealed, but will be enough to set a mood for any reader so that they can guess what's in store for them when the ebook is available this fall.
Enjoy.

The one thing that Fox knew that Ares operatives excelled in was their torture techniques—using medieval or ancient methods as a signature. He recalled uncovering one of their victims in the past. The shirtless man had been strapped to a table with a cage on top of his stomach. Fox still had memories of the foul smell in the room before he had seen the large hole in the victim’s stomach—with a rat gnawing away inside. Apparently the cage that housed the rat had been heated, freaking out the rodent so that it had burrowed its way through the man’s stomach and intestines in order to escape.

The only thing that Fox imagined that could be worse, was a sadistic torturer that maintained the suffering as long as possible, not allowing his victim to die.

So that's all I can share for now. In the meantime, keep checking back as I'll post the dates of my virtual blog tour for the month of October. And if all goes well, there will be a second book trailer.

Cheers,

Russell

Friday, September 3, 2010

Who's America's Biggest Enemy, itself?

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: V...Image via Wikipedia

I spent some time on a conspiracy website, AboveTopSecret.com this week because I thought that it would be a cool way to see some of the interesting conspiracy theories that are floating around—and pick up some ideas for subject matter for a future novel. One topic that grabbed my attention the most was the 9/11 conspiracy thread that argued that those terrorists attacks were an inside job. Apparently the smoking gun that corroborates that theory comes from video footage of World Trade Center 7 (WTC 7). In the video, WTC 7 is seen collapsing on itself. While evidence suggests that Al Qaeda leader and alleged former CIA operative—Osama Bin Laden—was responsible for the plane crashes, one theory that is arguably plausible as any is that the Twin Tower crashes were allowed to happen in order to turn our attention away from the alleged controlled demolition of WTC 7. This would’ve been done in order to cover-up secrets that were hidden inside WTC 7.


Debunkers of conspiracies theories regarding WTC 7 argue that WTC 7 collapsed because it was struck with flying debris from the Twin Towers. However, at least two witnesses—a now-retired NYPD officer and Barry Jennings, the Deputy Director Emergency Sevices Department—both claimed that they heard explosions inside the building prior to WTC 7 collapsing. Further video footage shows WTC 7 collapsing in its own footprint as would a building that was demolished by professionals as opposed to an internal fire.

Considering that the United States has the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as other elite intelligence agencies whose main goal is to collect and analyse intel in order to prevent catastrophes such as 9/11 from occurring, it’s unfathomable that former President George W Bush did not know that Al Qaeda was planning an attack on American soil on that day. For him not to act and allow the 9/11 attacks to occur in order to have an excuse to start a war with Iraq has been a popular theory. Is it possible that 9/11 was engineered to distract attention from what was actually going on in WTC 7?

Russell Brooks is the author Pandora's Succession, coming Fall 2010. Teaser chapter.












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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Harper moving in on the CRTC: A step closer to dictatorship?

As if turns out, Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, was spotted dining in New YorStephen Harper, Canadian politiciank City last year with Roger Ailes, the president of Fox News, and Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News and coincidentally the inspiration behind the James Bond villain, Elliot Carver. If Mr Harper were to have it his way, Canadians would have a Fox News-style cable station established as early as 2011.


But wait a minute, we have the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), there's no way that the trash thatRupert Murdoch - World Economic Forum Annual M... Fox News spreads will ever get past them if they were broadcasting up here, right? Not so fast, Harper wants to replace the heads of the CRTC with his own cronies in order to do his bidding. According to the Globe and Mail, Harper wants Konrad von Finckenstein, the head of the CRTC, and vice-chair, Michel Arpin, out the door. Arpin's as good as gone since his term would've expired by this time. Finckenstein's term doesn't end until 2012. But according to reports, he's been offered ambassadorships and judgeships. So far he hasn't taken the bait.

It would appear that little Mr Harper wants to have more control over what Canadians watch. What's next on his agenda? Will he try to control what we listen to on the radio, or what we read in the newspapers, or what we view on the internet? Fortunately Canadians are not so gullible as to believe the biased crap that comes from Fox News and will hopefully excercise their right to not tune into the station onElliot Carverce it becomes a part of our cable packages.

However there's a bright side to all of this. I've always said that Jon Stewart of the Daily Show owes Fox News, Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sarah Palin, a huge debt of gratitude for all of the times that they've set themselves up for failure. If it wasn't for them, The Daily Show would not have the comic material that has kept us North Americans, both north and south of the border, laughing for hours. Who knows, if this so-called, Fox News North makes it to Canada, they'd make such asses of themselves that the writers of the Daily Show would never have a case of writer's block.

So to you, Mr Harper, I say, "BRING IT ON!" Let Fox News North become a reality. I'll keep watching the Daily Show instead along with most Canadians. We can all use a good laugh, especially when it's about you.

Russell Brooks is the author of the upcoming action/thriller, Pandora's Succession. The excerpts, the trailer, the mailinglist.
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Friday, August 27, 2010

Book Cover Design

As you are all aware, my action/thriller, Pandora’s Succession, will be available digitally as an ebook this coming fall. Was it easy to write? Absolutely not. First novels generally are not the easiest ones to write, and not necessarily the best ones that an author will write. Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with a writing coach and an independent editor. In addition, I had to properly research subject matter, brushing up on what I learned in biology and chemistry classes. And last but not least, it took a lot of imagination in order to bring to life my protagonist—CIA operative, Ridley Fox—as he attempts to stop a worldwide disaster.

However, no matter how well a book is written, if it is not marketed well and properly distributed, it will flop. There’s another aspect that’s important for the sales of a book—and that’s the book cover. I know, I know. We all grew up being told not to judge a book by its cover. Let’s be honest. We’ve all judged a book by its cover and trust me, the people who told us not to do so are doing so themselves.

So today, I’m going to do something a bit different. I’m going to invite everyone that is reading this to help me design the book cover. My cover artist wants me to select a celebrity in which he could mould the Greek Goddess, Pandora, after. So I’ve narrowed it down to three beautiful women. So let’s hear it. Which one of the three do you feel could be a Greek Goddess?




1. Famke Janssen






2. Monica Bellucci







3. Angelina Jolie







You can all participate by leaving your answers in the comments section below. Or if you can't post them below, leave them on my page on facebook at: www.facebook.com/russellparkway. The one with the most votes will be chosen.

The first five chapters of Pandora's Succession can be read at www.russellparkway.com/

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I'm Black and Therfore Own All Rights to say the N-Word.

Over nine million listeners—soon to double that amount by the time that I finish writing this essay—listened to Doctor Laura Schlesinger this week when she got into an argument on her radio show with a listener named Jade. For those unfamiliar with what happened, Doctor Laura—in an attempt to make a philosophical point that African-American comedians on HBO incessantly say the N-word without offending viewers—said the N-word repetitively. Although Jade told Doctor Laura that her use of the N-word bothered her, Doctor Laura still said it again. Furthermore, Doctor Laura stated that she was not calling anyone a N*g*er, that she was just making a point.

Now hold on. This is Doctor Laura, an educated and presumably very intelligent woman of some renown in the T.V psycho-babble entertainment word who is regarded by many to be a leader in that profession. She felt that she was doing the right thing. Wrong. Just because an African-American freely calls out the N-word doesn’t mean that they are right to do so—which is what Jade also told Dr. Laura before being rudely interrupted. One would think that someone of the stature of Doctor Laura would have learned from Michael Richards—formerly known as Kramer from TV’s Seinfeld—when he screamed out the N-word in public. Doctor Laura should’ve known better.

Doctor Laura’s argument that she should be allowed to say the N-word freely as long as she’s not calling anyone a N*g*er is patently ridiculous and it made me wonder. Before that now awfully revelatory call from Jade, has she ever freely said the N-word in the presence of friends of like colour? For sure she would not have freely said the N-word in the presence of her bodyguard—who happens to be black? Considering that she’s a public figure, had she done that, I doubt Doctor Laura would’ve gotten away without causing a media stir that she wished to have avoided at this moment.

Doctor Laura has since apologized for her careless use of the N-word. I imagine that she’s had time to listen to the broadcast, to reflect and become more self-aware of her public role and admit that she has made a serious ethical error. I’m curious to know at which point Doctor Laura realized this. Was it the moment when she deviated from the topic and talked about President Obama and interjected that African-Americans voted him into power just because he had more melanin than his challenger? Was it when she accused Jade of being hypersensitive because Jade’s neighbour kept stepping on the line by obsessively singling out African-Americans in every conversation? Or was it when she interrupted Jade as she was about to mention that the N-word was thrown about in her house by family as though she was absent?

After having listened to the broadcast several times I’ve concluded that Jade had every right to be bothered by what went on in her household. Accusing Jade of being hypersensitive was insulting and demeaning because Jade stated that her dilemma had gone on for quite some time before she had reached the point of frustration.

As for bringing up President Obama, not only was it off topic but Doctor Laura herself was being racially insensitive when she said that blacks only voted for him because he was black. I’ll admit that if I was an American citizen, I would’ve voted for Obama, not because he’s black but because I feel that he’s more qualified to lead the country. Had it been Hillary Clinton versus Ms Condoleezza Rice or worse yet, Michael Steel, I would’ve voted for Mrs Clinton. Please note, that in the above reference to President Obama, I do not accuse Doctor Laura of being a racist, but that she was racially insensitive. Furthermore, the broadcast hasn’t convinced me that she is a racist, and I am saying this having repeated listened to it. Doctor Laura could have helped Jade had she listened to her more attentively!

Russell Brooks is the author of the upcoming thriller, Pandora's Succession, to be released in the Fall of 2010. Visit http://www.russellparkway.com/ for details.


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Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Russell Show, Erotic Poetry Series Part II

Russell Brooks is the author of the upcoming action/thriller, Pandora's Succession. First chapter available here.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It is my honor to re-introduce professional ghostwriter and editor, Victory Crayne, as a guest blogger.
What to Add in Drafts
to Make Your Story Sell Better
By Victory Crayne (c) 2010

Ah, that sweet spot when you’ve completed the first draft of a new story. In your excitement, you may want to show others your creation. After all, if you had so much fun writing it, it MUST be good, right?
Hold it right there!
First drafts can always use some revisions and, in some cases, SERIOUS rewriting. You wouldn’t want people to read your half-baked draft and think that it is your BEST work, would you?

First, let your draft sit for a few days. You’ll ALWAYS come up with improvements that you can’t see in the excitement of just finishing the first writing. Your first draft is to get your intention about the story out. Your subsequent versions are to refine your execution of the story.

Here are some ideas on what you can do in your subsequent drafts to “dress up” your writing.

1. Add descriptions of your settings to help the reader feel he/she is “in the scene” with your characters. You may picture the scene in your mind, but unless you give your readers enough clues about that scene, you won’t transport them into your story. Avoid the “white room” syndrome. Use all of the senses, not just visual: smell, taste, feel, sound, colors, shapes, etc.

2. Genre: Add enough clues to satisfy readers that this story fits the genre. Do this on the first page or they may return the book to the shelves with “no sale” for you.

3. Add physical descriptions of your characters, just enough to help the reader feel they are “in the presence” of each person. The first thing we do when we meet someone is evaluate their gender, size, shape, hair, colors, clothing, etc. Introduce each character so your reader feels they have met this person.

4. Add enough dialogue, action, and description to show what their personalities are like. Stories are about people. Make your people come alive. For examples: (1) Jack looked up and slammed his palm down on his desk. “Hey! Did you hear me?” Jack was more effervescent, easily able to express his moods. He claimed it helped him come up with more ideas outside of the box. At an even six feet, Jack was built lean and wiry. He kept in shape with a three-mile jog almost every morning. (2) Don took off his dark-rimmed glasses, frowned at them, and picked up a tissue. “You’re always so darned eager to jump ahead.” He sighed as he wiped his lens.

5. Change how you relay some information by using dialogue instead of narrative. Readers love dialogue, the lifeblood of every story.

6. Add facial expressions, body language, and perhaps some internal dialogue to show the emotions of your characters. Dialogue is easy to write, but we humans learned to show emotion on our faces and bodies long before we had language. Even babies do it. If you appeal to the part of your reader’s brain that processes visual clues of emotion, you’ll be adding depth to your characterization.

7. Add likes and dislikes for your characters to endear them to readers. To discover what that might be, ask yourself: My character wants ____ but is blocked by ____. For examples: (1) John loves playing his piano in the evenings but is blocked by his wife’s insistence on watching sitcoms so loud. She says she needs the break from her stressful job as a commodities stock broker. Is it any wonder he drinks too much and argues a lot? He hates himself for doing that, so he drinks even more. (2) Serena loves to garden but finds it hard to do when there is so much damned housework left.

8. Add author’s or character’s voice to the settings, emotions, etc. This can be as simple as an observation or a comparison, for example, (1) “He kept expecting her to call him from the next room. Without her, the house seemed like an Egyptian museum after hours--cold and lifeless.” or (2) “He lifted one arm and took a sniff of his armpit. Who let a dead chipmunk in here?”

Victory Crayne, Ghostwriter and Editor, victory@crayne.com, http://www.crayne.com/
I help people who want to write books achieve their dreams.



Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Russell Show 6

Here I am, after I was dared to sing: So Beautiful, by Simply Red



I am the author of the upcoming action/thriller, Pandora's Succession. Chapters 1 and 2 are available here.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I was fired today for voicing my opinion. I guess I should've shut up.


Conflicts arise in many forms, the most common being political and personal. The nastiest ones involve one side gaining the upper hand at undermining the other side’s ability to effectively defend themselves, or express their case, or perspective on the issue. Take for instance the case of Valerie Plame Wilson, the ex covert CIA operative who made international headlines on July 14, 2003, when she was callously outed by Washington Post journalist, Robert Novak, in his column. As a result, Plame’s career as a couterproliferations (CTP) agent came to an end.

Although the Plame scandal, otherwise known as Plamegate, may be considered as old news, there are still many valuable lessons to be learned from that scandal—especially those related to pursuing the guilty, regardless of station, and holding them accountable for their actions. Regardless of status, if one is the victim of an unjustified malicious act that is either aimed at discrediting, belittling, defaming, or humiliating you, allowing the guilty party to silence you only gives the perpetrator more power over you.

Cover of Cover via AmazonIn Plame’s memoirs, Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House, she describes the tumultuous events that she and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, faced once Novak’s infamous article was published. For those that are not familiar with Plamegate, allow me a summary. Joe Wilson was sent to Niger by the CIA to determine whether Iraq had ever attempted to purchase yellowcake uranium. In his debriefing by the CIA, he told them that he did not find any evidence of the sort. The CIA then relayed their results—based on Wilson’s claims—to the White House. Yet, the Bush administration still invaded Iraq in 2003 under the pretext that the US Government had obtained proof that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Four months later, Wilson wrote an op-ed in the New York Times titled: What I didn’t find in Africa. The article detailed how the Bush administration twisted intelligence in order to justify the invasion of Iraq. In retaliation, senior White House officials leaked the identity of his wife to the press in order to discredit him. Although the Wilsons faced problems that ranged from severe financial difficulties and death threats, they fought back. And despite the fact that all odds were against them, their plight inspired others to come forward and support them. As a result, Plamegate ended with the indictment and conviction of I “Scooter” Libby, the Chief of Staff to former Vice President, Dick Cheney. Although Libby was the only White House staff member to face jail time (brief as it was), others such as Karl Rove, Richard Armitage, and Cheney—the Big Dick of them all—did not walk away from the incident without their reputations being severely tarnished.

Many victims of harassment, either sexual or psychological, could learn from the Wilsons. In many cases, many victims of harassment would rather take the easy route and walk away. For example, many victims of workplace harassment would rather change jobs rather than stick up for their own civil rights. The act of walking away plays into the hands of bullies and gives the success and psychotic euphoria they crave. Furthermore, people who do not stand up and defend themselves against personal injustice supply their victimizers with more daThis photo is on the Valerie Plame wikipedia p...Image via Wikipediangerous power to inflict pain and wreck havoc on other lives.

The Wilsons fought back against one of the highest offices in the nation. Yes, the battle was lengthy, stressful, and at times even fraught with danger. But in the end they emerged victorious and much stronger than those who tried to smear and ruin them. Many victims of harassment or other forms of psychological torment, for reasons of a personal nature, chose not to go the same path as the Wilsons. However, the lesson to be learned from their experience is clear. You don’t have to be a giant to stand up for your rights and face the bully, you only need courage and intelligence.

Donations to the Joe and Valery Wilson Legal and Support trust available here.
Russell Brooks is the author of the action/thriller, Pandora's Succession, and the short story, To the Last Bite







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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Did Eddie Murphy and Nickelodeon profit dishonestly?

Teacher, writer, and producer, Gregory L. Hudson, joins the Artist Lounge Radio Show to discuss his pursuit against Eddie Murphy for copyright infringement. Cartoonist, Troy Walker, the uncredited creator of Spongebob Squarepants, stops by.




I'm the author of Pandora's Succession. Excerpt available here.