Welcome to the Site!

As soon as my novels became available on Kindle Unlimited, there’s been lots more traffic on the website here, which tends to be behind the times. Writing time keeps getting spent on fiction instead.

So if you are visiting for the first time: Hi!  Expect irregular postings when the mood strikes, and some really excellent contributions from other authors. I only post items from the people I love to read, so consider their inclusion here a wholehearted endorsement.

Follow me here on Facebook for new releases and updates to the upcoming convention schedule. Here’s all the other nastiness available on Amazon for your reading pleasure, including some sci-fi benefit anthologies.

Hope to hear from you soon.

 

-Russell James

Resurrection on Q Island

In 2015, Samhain Publishing released my post-apocalyptic horror novel Q Island. At the time, editor Don D’Auria, a legend in horror publishing, added a note to the acceptance letter reading “This could be big.” While he had been enthusiastic about my five previous novels, this was the first time he’d been predictive.

The cover proof came in and it matched my design request, except better. Even I wanted to buy the thing, and I knew the ending.

Q Island released with a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, being selected as the Editor’s Pick of the month for Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, and garnering a series of excellent reviews from some trusted, picky review sites. It was advertised at SXSW and other major markets. I thought Don’s crystal ball had been right. This was going to be big.

Then it wasn’t.

For whatever reason, it didn’t hit public consciousness. Maybe it was an issue being from a small press, maybe it was just bad luck. But when I sold the book at horror conventions, I would sell out the first day. People saw the cover, came to check it out, and then frequently cut me off mid-sales pitch to buy it.

When Samhain folded their horror line, I bought the cover art. Rather than farm the book out as backlist to another publisher, I opted to re-release it myself. It couldn’t hurt, plus I could opt into Kindle Unlimited, which my publisher could not. I ran a 99 cent promo and hoped for the best.

Instead I got amazing.

That promotion did what the earlier advertising could not. Q Island has taken off like it should have, the ignition on the engines finally lit. It is finding an audience in sales, as well as on Kindle Unlimited, and the audience is worldwide, moving pages in the UK, Australia, Canada, and India. Wow. Reviews are kicking in on Amazon and Goodreads, and they are excellent.

So to authors, never give up on something you’ve written. Even years later, the audience may find it.

To all the new readers, thank you for giving Q Island a try. All the reviews, social media support, and personal messages are really appreciated.

If you enjoyed your stay on Q Island, there’s more where that came from. Keep an eye out for Return to Q Island later this year. Millions long to leave, but one man stranded in Connecticut must go back to save his mother and pregnant sister. In the year since the first book, Q Island has gotten worse.

Much worse.

You can sample some Q Island here.

Con Game

Want the low down on attending a con as an author? Look no further. It’s one stop shopping time.

Part 1– How to prepare.

Part 2– What it will cost.

Part 3– What you can earn.

Part 4– How you can sell.

Dive in and I’ll see you at the next convention. If I’ve already met you at one, your picture may be on these pages.

Copy Edits With Old Friends

Here’s how writing a novel works, at least for me. I spend about a year creating it. A first draft, a second draft, then a third draft after another round of revisions from Beta readers. Then it goes off to my publisher. With luck my editor buys it for publication sometime in the next year.

So a few months before it gets published, I get the copy edit version back. This has notes and correction from my editor, the amazing Don D’Auria, and a copy editor. If I did well with the first three drafts, these are usually minor continuity errors, typos, and a few review lessons on embarrassing grammar points I’d forgotten. This my last chance to get the whole thing right. Whatever goes back to Samhain from here gets sent out to the rest of the world.

QIsland72lg

This week I got back Q Island which releases in June. In the story, Long Island, NY becomes a quarantine zone as a plague breaks out. The victims become ultra-strong psychopaths, bent on murder. The island goes to hell. One woman, Melanie, finds out her son is immune, and this is the story of her escape attempt.

I could just check and approve changes and corrections, but instead I decided to re-read the whole thing. What am I finding?

First, the copy editor is apparently a much bigger fan if commas than I am. I swear the whole thing is two pages longer now.

Second, I really like these characters. The heroes, the villains, the ones in between. Honestly, after beating the thing to death for twelve months, I never wanted to see the book again. But it feels good to visit with Melanie once more, feel the strange combination of love and frustration she experiences with her autistic son. I missed old Samuel, the GP doctor who ends up treating Patient Zero+One, and watch the spread of the epidemic through his eyes. But the bad guy, Jimmy Wade, now he’s a trip. A nickel-and-dime crook and perennial loser, he gets infected and instead of going psychotic, he goes telepathic, though a little psychosis still develops. What fun watching him grow into his role as Long Island’s new crime lord.

In a few months, Q Island will hit the stores, and the rest of you will get to meet these friends pulled from my subconscious. I think you’ll like them, or hate them as need be. I’m sure that you’ll enjoy Melanie’s desperate attempt to get herself and her son off Long Island before Jimmy Wade and his thugs or the growing army of the infected can get to them. I mean, I’m enjoying reading it. And I know how it ends.