Monday, October 13, 2014

Crimson Son by Russ Linton Interview, Excerpt & Giveaway

Crimson Son
by Russ Linton



His mother kidnapped, his superhero father absent, powerless Spencer Harrington faces a world of weaponized humans to prove himself and find the truth.

Nineteen-year-old Spencer is the son of the Crimson Mask, the world's most powerful Augment. Since witnessing his mother's abduction by a psychotic super villain two years ago, he's been confined to his father's arctic bunker. When the "Icehole" comes under attack from a rampaging robot, Spencer launches into his father's dangerous world of weaponized human beings known as Augments.

With no superpowers of his own save a multi-tool, a quick wit and a boatload of emotional trauma, Spencer seeks to uncover his mother's fate and confront his absentee superhero father. As he stumbles through a web of conspiracies and top secret facilities, he rallies a team of everyday people and cast-off Augments. But Spencer soon discovers that the Black Beetle isn't his only enemy, nor his worst.


This part always comes so fast.

I hand the phone back to Mom. “You’ll need to send later, I guess. The signal dropped. Should be in your outbox ready to go.”

As she takes the phone, the wall of the room explodes.

Here. Dream becomes nightmare. For a moment, I feel I can make it stand still, but why would I? Events unfold with the emptiness of the bunker gnawing at my insides. I can identify every stray chunk of plaster and splinter of wood in this time-robbed moment.

Fragments of home spray like a swarm of locusts. Mom screams and the world spins under her protective dive. I struggle to see through a haze of dust. Glimpses of the valley filter past a humanoid silhouette. A long, pincered arm lashes out. The arm clamps tightly around Mom’s waist and retracts, drawing us closer.

“Release the boy and he will live,” the Black Beetle speaks with an unnatural vibration. “He can relay a message for your husband.”

Mom squeezes tighter but her screaming stops.

I search her face, knowing what I’ll find, all the while scrambling to find an anchor as we slide across the room. She’s bleeding from a gash on her forehead and the pincer cinches tighter. Her eyes are full of fear, but focused. She’s calculating, deliberating. A hundred times? A thousand? It always hurts.

“No, Mom, please!” I throw my hands around the leg of a toppled chair which drags uselessly behind us. Countless trips through this nightmare, I know I can’t keep us here, but I reach out anyway. And always, she lets go.

I grab her arm, trying to pull her back, cursing my stunted size, my weak limbs, my feeble grip. Sweaty hands slip as the pincer continues to retract. Her trembling lips form a final smile and she watches me with a sad but determined expression.

She mouths the words, “I love you.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

In the fourth grade, Russ Linton wrote down the vague goal of becoming a “writer and an artist” when he grew up. After a journey that led him from philosopher to graphic designer to stay at home parent and even a stint as an Investigative Specialist with the FBI, he finally got around to that “writing” part which he now pursues full time.

Russ creates character-driven speculative fiction. His stories drip with blood, magic, and radioactive bugs. He writes for adults who are young at heart and youngsters who are old souls.

Local / Personal Bio

Russ lives in Denton, Texas where he writes beside an unnervingly quiet dog with the support of his history-obsessed son and his extremely patient wife. He regularly pursues community service and is currently scoutmaster for his son’s Boy Scout troop. He is a regular at the North Branch Writers’ Critique Group and has honed his craft through creative writing courses with Stanford University’s continuing studies program as well as writing workshops at local conventions.

Russ holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do which was marginally more useful in a former life not making his living from behind a desk. He enjoys the outdoors and when he isn’t leading his scouts on virtual campouts in Minecraft, he’s making them haul their gear across state parks in the North Texas area.


Where are you from?

I have vague memories of a magical pool in a dense wood. Of course, that might have been a pond on a golf course on the edge of suburban mundanity. (Yes spell-check, I made up that word, the corrective shaming isn't helping.)

The story goes that the phrase "Broken Arrow" indicates an act of peace. Actually, the Creeks that came up with the term got the name because they broke branches off trees for their arrows instead of cutting them.

Now it means something like "people that don't want to live in Tulsa but don't mind working there."

Currently, I live in Denton, Texas which means "people that hate commuting to Dallas but couldn't stand to live there." I write beside my unnervingly quiet dog with the support of my history-obsessed son and my extremely patient wife.

Tell us your latest news?

Do I have to?

As a self pub probably the strangest thing is writing press releases about myself and writing as though I've taken part in a fascinating, prime-time interview. Take this gem:

Crimson Son is a coming of age story which focuses on the relationship between a young man and his absentee superhero father as he stumbles through his father's dangerous world. The nature of the story and the fact that the protagonist, Spencer, is a bit of a tech-head made this the perfect project for the father-son team.

"Team? To be clear, I'm the sidekick here," says Russ. "Bryce did a fantastic job and I'll definitely use his
services in the future. Five star, A plus, Highly Recommend."

See what I mean? "Says Russ." I wrote that. That's just weird.

But this does bring up a good point - there IS an awesome book trailer that my son created. You can check it out on my website:

When and why did you begin writing?

I've always been a plotter and occasional writer but didn't own up to the title until recently. Most often these skills would get put to use in pen and paper role playing games. RPGs are a fiction collaboration where one player has the role of story "referee". Often, that player would be me. I would concoct plots on the fly, create interesting worlds for the other players to explore and provide the personality and motivations for all the secondary characters.

Turns out, this kind of improvisation happens to be great training for writing.

But it was in the fourth grade that I wrote my first book. Yes, the book was an assignment for English class. What makes it stand out is that I actually completed it and got an "A". Elementary school for me was a wasteland of paddlings, noses to the wall and skating on the edge of academic disaster.

Fast forward a few decades. My parents sent a box of crap from their attic of infinite-box-of-crap-holding which included a note along with my report cards, faded construction paper and a bunch of loose macaroni. Scrawled in a desperate, hurried script was a teacher's note that said "Shows talent for creative writing."

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I've always been a writer but didn't want to lay claim to the title until recently. In school, writing stood alongside endless math problems as boring, hand-cramping, busy work. But even though I excelled at it, I didn't want to do it only because someone else told me I had to.

Even after I decided to write a story which was published in our high school lit mag and had students quoting it in the hallway, I didn't see myself as a writer. I took a creative writing class in junior college, but only because it sounded "easy". I sought out classes that depended on essay tests at the university (who in their right mind does that?) because I knew writing was how I survived in school.

I only briefly considered a career in journalism. Afterwards, writing didn't feel like a real career choice (sort of like philosophy isn't a "real" degree...) Then it was on to graphic design, law enforcement, parenting - anything but writing.

One day, after leaving all the fruitless career searching behind and setting off on a path toward self employment, I found my sales drying up and a phone bill due in a few weeks. I found a freelancing website and started writing articles in direct competition with other writers. Nearly everything I wrote that weekend sold.

I paid my phone bill and STILL didn't accept the title.

Then, my graphic design business started to slide toward a "working for someone else" status. The entire process of creating art for someone else to their specifications had always been frustrating for me. With the loss of self determination, the whole enterprise started  losing it's luster.

I needed a change and I remembered those articles I sold. I remembered the creative writing class in college. The story I'd written. Even the book I wrote as a kid and the hours and hours of plotting and world building I still did as a grown ass adult for Role Playing Games. That's when it finally hit me.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I was busy cranking out short stories and had a notepad full of ideas. One I'd jotted down said "son of a superhero locked in the fortress of solitude." That idea stared back at me while I continued to tweak other stories.

My initial inspiration was the time I spent away from my son and family when I worked for the government. Watching others in my job, living that lifestyle myself, and finding out how normal lives became impossible to maintain, I was later drawn to write about those we left at home.

I drafted a story which ended with this depressed kid wandering out into the blinding snow. My critique group thankfully set me straight and let me know that the story could not end there.

For the next year, I brought in a new scene each week and before I knew it, I had the first draft of my first novel, Crimson Son.

So the inspiration was twofold - first my family and next my extended writing family who encouraged me to expand my vision.

What would you like my readers to know?

That I appreciate the time they took to read my ramblings. That I'm very grateful if they even consider adding my book to their shelf. As a self published author and a relative unknown, I'm at their mercy whether this venture succeeds or not.

I really do think they'll like Crimson Son. Sure, it's a superhero novel, which is a bit of a narrow market, but it has so much more. It's a coming of age story with messages about family and learning what's important in life. It's an action adventure narrated by a snarky kid with a dark sense of humor that's guaranteed to entertain.

Most of all, I want to thank them for helping writers like myself share their crazy imaginings. The success I mentioned isn't simply financial - there are much easier ways to make money than selling a book. It's about connecting with people and giving them stories that might just change their perspective or enhance their lives, even perhaps inspire them to write their own.

Social Media

Purchase Links


Amazon UK

Create Space Paperback

Barnes and Noble



Powell's Books





Russ will be awarding a $10 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner and another winner will receive a signed copy of Crimson Son (US ONLY), both prizes via rafflecopter during the tour. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks everyone for your interest in Crimson Son! I'll be checking in throughout the day to answer questions from readers. And a question for them: Who is your favorite superhero?

  2. Lol...I can just picture you sitting there...writing out interview/press releases and being like...."We have with us today...Russ Linton!"

    must be a bit surreal!

    1. I think surreal is a good way to put it. I'm debating taking to the next level and making demands of myself for the privilege of interviewing me...