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.
themes I return to
The themes at the heart of many of my stories center around coming of age and discovering identity. Both are inextricably linked. Often it isn’t until we step out on our own that we first start wrestling with the question of who we are and what our place might be in a great big world that seems to have lost all boundaries overnight.
That twilight between youth and adult is a perfect place to find all the elements of great fiction. Conflict, triumph, and disaster navigated by a fresh and naïve perspective creates memorable tales which everyone can relate to.
I write fantasy for adults who are young at heart and youngsters with old souls. I like to explore that realm which both groups have common – those who’ve been there and those anxious about what’s to come. And let’s face it, even years after we’ve started our own journey of discovery, most of us are still searching.
In Crimson Son, Spencer, is the son of the world’s toughest superhero. His struggle includes finding a way to be himself while also escaping his father’s enormous shadow. He’s coming of age in the middle of a family crisis that threatens to not only drive him over the edge but which could spell disaster for the world he’s been desperate to explore.
True, we don’t all have to deal with that amount of drama on our personal quest, but interspersed in the fantasy, I grounded Crimson Son with very real, relatable experiences.
I can relate to those still searching for whatever inner truth they need for peace. I’ve lived my life as an explorer, constantly seeking new experiences and trying my best to “settle” down. With writing, I feel I have finally found that place, but I’m still restless and I’ve started to think that’s simply a commentary on who we are as human beings.
With fantasy, we can continue to explore places we never thought possible. Mostly because it turns out, that great big world is infinite. And the reason why figuring out who you are makes “good art” is that there never is a perfect, final answer. Only more stories to tell.
An Excerpt from Crimson Son
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.”
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.
Social Media: russlinton.com | Facebook | Twitter | Google Plus
Purchase Links: Amazon | Amazon UK | Create Space Paperback | Barnes and Noble | Smashwords | Apple | Google Play | Powell's Books | txtr | Abe | Alibris | Kobo
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 $10 Amazon GC will be awarded to a randomly drawn host.
Angela Shelley, herself.
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