“Mystery, Mayhem & Magic” is coming…

Yes, it’s true!  Get excited – “Mystery, Mayhem & Magic”, the third anthology by the Ten Penners (https://thetenpenners.wordpress.com/), is coming soon!  The proof has been ordered today, and it should be here next week.  I can’t wait to share it with you.  We’re all very proud of it.

In case you didn’t know (where have you been? :-)) the Ten Penners are a group of eight children’s writers based on the Gold Coast (and a subgroup of the Gold Coast Writers’ Association – http://www.goldcoastwriters.org/).  “Mystery, Mayhem & Magic” is the third anthology released by the group – the others being “Shock! Horror! Gasp!” (2004) and “Fan-Tas-Tic-Al Tales” (2009).

Each Penner brings something different to the group, and we think we’ve put together a really entertaining collection of stories that children (and their parents and carers) will enjoy.   Aliens and pirates, dragons and unicorns, adventurous children and heroic babies – you’ll find them all in the pages of “Mystery, Mayhem & Magic”.  Not to mention Kai Russell, my stepson, who has a starring role in my stories!  It’s incredible what that boy gets up to…

This is a preview of the cover – (front cover design by Starla Martineer – thanks Starla!)

Well, that’s it for now!  More news soon…

BookCoverPreview (Final)


It’s Shameless Self-Promotion Time!

As I sit at my laptop, writing my last couple of stories for the next Ten Penners anthology, “Mystery, Mayhem & Magic” (a collection of adventure stories for children aged 8 to 12 – out soon!), I started thinking about how little I had promoted my own book lately and the previous Ten Penners anthology, “Fan-tas-tic-al Tales”.  So to make up for lost time, here are the links:

“Fan-tas-tic-al Tales” by The Ten Penners (including a novelette, fairy tale and poem by me – together with over 30 other stories and poems by the other wonderful members of The Ten Penners):

Paperback:  www.amazon.com/dp/1530095476

Kindle e-book:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M117ZZF

“Shadow of a Soldier” by Kate Russell (that’s me!) (with a revamped cover and smaller format since the original release):

Paperback:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1512353310

Kindle e-book:  (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016DN0CN2)

(If you do purchase any of the books on Amazon, I’d really appreciate it if you leave a review too.  Thanks!)

“Mystery, Mayhem & Magic” will also be available on Amazon and as a Kindle e-book, but if you’re extra keen to support a starving author (or actually seven starving authors and our cover artist), you can preorder a copy from me for $15.00!  That’s right – $15.00!  (Plus postage if required).  We’ll even sign it for you.  What a crazy deal!

And now I must go and do more writing/editing/staring out the window blankly.  🙂





Camp NaNoWriMo – The Final Day

Well, I only completed 23 hours of my goal of 60.  Sigh.  But that’s 23 more hours than I had at the beginning of July!  Progress, however small, is still progress!

At least I know how to tackle this novel now, so it doesn’t seem so daunting.  In the words of Baldrick from “Blackadder”, I have a cunning plan.   I just have to find a little bit of time, every day.  Perhaps all that time I spend scrolling through my Facebook feed avoiding GOT spoilers would be better spent actually editing and writing.   Hmmm.  I might be onto something there!

Okay – so I just have to edit and publish six books (before November, when I’ll probably sign up for NaNoWriMo and write another one because I’m addicted), write a couple more stories for the Ten Penners’ anthology (“Mystery, Mayhem & Magic” – a book of adventure stories for primary school children – out soon!), work, exercise, perform my domestic duties – well, that all sounds easy, doesn’t it?  And somewhere in there I have to eat and sleep.

Sleeeep.  Now there’s a plan.  Goodnight!

Camp NaNoWriMo, Doctor Who and GOT!

I had no energy yesterday (a week off work wore me out) so I wrote nothing and I edited nothing.  But I did cook a mean Shepherd’s Pie for dinner!

Tonight I did an hour’s writing and an hour’s research, bringing my total to 20 hours.  I’m a third of the way to my goal!  Yay for me!  (But I still have to average three hours a night to finish on time, which isn’t happening at the moment…)

I was so keen to get back to work today that as soon as I set my alarm I leapt out of bed, ready to start the day.  Actually, that was a lie.  I did leap out of bed – to check the Internet to see who had been chosen as the 13th Doctor.  Seriously.  I HAD TO KNOW.  I knew they were revealing it after the Wimbledon final on Sunday, but that was England time, not Australia time!  So I had to wait until this morning to find out.  6.15 am this morning, to be precise.

I was a little shocked that (a) it wasn’t Kris Marshall and (b) that it was a woman – Jodie Whittaker (I have seen her in “Broadchurch” and she’s a brilliant actress – but – but – she’s a girl!)  I was a bit shocked, I have to say.  I’ve been watching Doctor Who my whole life, and I didn’t think it would ever happen (although I loved Missy – she was awesome).

But I’m a loyal Whovian (my favourites from Classic Who are Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker), and I’ve loved what each of the modern Doctors has brought to the show.  I’ve grown very fond of Peter Capaldi (those eyebrows!) and it’s always hard to say goodbye (I didn’t want you to go either, David Tennant).  But it’s Doctor Who, and regeneration is just part of what makes it so great.   And now I’ve had a day to get used to the idea, I think having a female Doctor is pretty cool, and I look forward to watching 13’s adventures (perhaps she’ll get a hot male companion…).

Then, to top it all off, Game of Thrones returned!  Yay!  I get goosebumps as soon as the opening theme starts playing.  There was some serious girl power in this opening episode, and all the surviving Starks – survived!  I don’t think that’s too much of a spoiler.  But I’m not saying anymore because I hate spoilers myself, so I’m not going to do it to anyone who might be reading this blog and hasn’t seen the episode yet.  (I still haven’t forgiven my mother for telling me how everyone died in “The Guns of Navarone” WHILE I WAS WATCHING IT!)

But I’d better get to sleep now because blogs don’t pay the bills, people!  (And neither do my novels – yet…)  Goodnight!



Camp NaNoWriMo – Day 15

I mixed it up a little bit tonight – did some editing on something else before I moved on to my main project.  Another four hours done!  So now I’m at 18 hours in total, and have to average three hours a night to finish on time.  But there are still a couple of weekends before the end of the month so as long as I get a couple of hours in every night, and do a bit more on the weekends, I should get there.

You can change your goal (if you do it before 20 July) but I did that last time and didn’t get anywhere and it kind of felt like cheating (even though it’s within the rules).   So I’m just going to keep trying and hope I get there!  I need to do this.

Who needs sleep anyway?  (Actually, I do.  I need sleep.  I need sleep right now.  Who am I kidding?  Good night!)




Camp NaNoWriMo Update and other Stranger Things

I’m getting somewhere now – 3.5 hours yesterday and 2.5 today – bringing my total to 14 hours.  I’m very pleased with how my formerly daunting and messy novel is progressing – it’s one I drafted during NaNoWriMo in 2013 and it has been my biggest challenge – it was all over the place and I kept putting it aside and then cutting stuff out and then putting stuff in – but now the story is heading in the right direction.  I had to cut a lot of words though, but it is so much better for it.

In between editing and rewriting, I managed to watch the whole season of “Stranger Things”.  What an amazing cast of young actors (especially Millie Bobby Brown who plays Eleven).  I hope they all win Emmys!  Winona Ryder was really great as Joyce too – in fact, everyone in it was awesome.  I watched it on my iPhone with my earbuds in (thanks to Netflix downloads) and I’m sure that it was very amusing to my family to see me jump and scream at the scary bits! And it did get very scary.  And not everybody gets out alive.  But it’s really funny in places too, and emotional, and did I mention scary?  It captured the feel of the 80’s brilliantly too.  I can’t wait for Season 2.

To shake things up a bit, I also watched “Bridget Jones’ Baby”, which I loved.  Laugh out loud funny in places, and it also made me tear up a few times.  And Colin Firth returns as Mark Darcy, so what’s not to like?  I read the third book soon after it came out, and it was completely different to the movie (no Mark Darcy, for one, and I’m not saying why, but it was sad) but I enjoyed them both.

And finally, Monday sees the return of “Game of Thrones”.  Yay!  Winter is here…  I hope nobody I care about dies, because, of course, THAT NEVER HAPPENS in GOT!

Camp NaNoWriMo and other things…

So I signed up to Camp NaNoWriMo again this July.  My goal is 60 hours of writing/editing/researching – whatever I feel like.  ‘I can do this’, I told myself.  ‘That’s only two hours a day! And I’ve got a week off work!’

But up until Tuesday (11 July) I had done nothing.  Zilch.  Zip.  Zero.  So I was already 22 hours behind in my goal!  Aaaaaagggghhhh!  But I put in four hours yesterday – which was great – so I just have to keep doing that.  Easy.  (Gulp!)

The trouble with being on leave is that I’m just too relaxed.  I’ve also been distracted by Netflix (‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ (so awesome – it captures the atmosphere of the books brilliantly, and Neil Patrick Harris steals every one of his scenes as Count Olaf) and ‘Stranger Things’ (OMG I’ve just started episode three and it’s scary and brilliant and everything you’ve heard about it is true) plus I’m reading ‘The Night Circus’ by Erin Morgenstern (it’s amazing, poetic and magical) and listening to the Harry Potter books on CD whenever I’m in my car – plus hanging out with the family and the in-laws from Melbourne – and now I’ve spent time writing this blog post instead of editing or whatever…

I’m not making excuses.  (Yes you are, Kate). 

I’m allowed time off!  (Who’s going to do it if you don’t, Kate?)  

Oh, shut up, Kate.  (Rude!)

Okay!  I’ll do some more writing/editing/researching today! (Good!)

“Big Little Lies”

Wow.  I just finished watching this dramatisation of Liane Moriarty’s bestselling novel.  It is SO GOOD.  The acting was brilliant all round but Nicole Kidman as Celeste was a standout.  And Alexander Skarsgard as Perry – OMG.  Who knew that someone so gorgeous could be so absolutely terrifying? 

I’ve read a couple of Liane Moriarty’s other novels “Truly Madly Guilty” and “The Husband’s Secret”, and now I must add this one and everything else she’s written to my ever-growing “to be read” pile.  Her characters are flawed but oh so real, and the situations she puts them in are totally believable.  

And she’s an Aussie so that’s even better!