Saturday, 28 June 2014

Are you in danger of turning into a crazy cat lady?

My cat Ninja has been driving me mad recently with his refusal to eat whatever band of food I buy him and the fact that he does his best to stop me walking anywhere in the house. I found myself wondering where all the people who post all the kittie photos on the Internet get their patience from - this ended in me writing this test!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

We're looking for bloggers who want free, interactive content for their blogs!

My novel writing has been put on hold for a while as I've taken on the role of Editor-in-Chief at, a new start-up that is a social content/sharing platform with lots of fun and/or interesting interactive content.

You can take polls, quizzes on all subjects, play coffee break games like 'Hot or Not', find out a bit more about yourself with our fun psychological tests, or enjoy our top 10 lists.

The good news is that you can now integrate this content onto your blog for free using either a Java snippet or a WordPress widget.

Just how easy is this integration?

The test on the right has been on using the Java snippet as this is a Blogger site - took me about 30 seconds. You can also put content into blog articles like the one at the bottom of this article.

Our WordPress widget has been designed on the principle that no-one bothers to read instructions so it's really easy -
1) From Wordpress dash, go to plug-ins
2) Click 'Add new'
3) Type in ‘Riddle playful content’
4) Click "Install now"

Do I lose my traffic to you?

Nope - I’m a blogger myself, and hate the thought of that. Your visitors stay on your site when they’re playing our content that is themed to your blog. The best bit is that the social media share icons on the Riddle will direct traffic to YOUR social media accounts - not Riddle's. So you will gain traffic/social media followers!

What if there's no suitable content for my blog?

With 100’s of content pieces, there should be something there for you, but if there isn't - why not write some with us? I'll help create the content, we'll provide the images and will link back to your site at the end of the content - so if someone else features it on their blog there will always be a link back to your site. This phase won't last long as we have some fab plans in the pipeline for content creation so contact me now if you have any ideas. It's a great way of presenting yourself as the expert in your field.

Fab plans eh? What are they then?

We're working on a system that will bring bloggers both revenue and content! It's a great win-win and anyone who knows me knows just how much I bloody love a genuine win-win situation. If you want to be on our short-list of blogs to feature this system when it's all polished up and sparkling new just drop me an email. It will, of course, be free to use.

Here's one of my favourite Riddles ;O)

 If you actually like reading instructions here they are for WordPress and other blog integration.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Mixing business and pleasure with Shakira

Those of you who follow me on Twitter on Facebook will know that when I am working in the evening I will often claim to be 'sponsored by' what I'm eating, drinking or listening to. This usually involves sweets/chocolate, beer of some sort - Estrella Damm hopefully - and more often than not - Shakira.

I was often queried about this. "You do know she's pregnant don't you?" "She's married you know? To a footballer!"

I didn't know she was pregnant (she now has a young son) or married and it really doesn't matter. I'm not in love with Shakira, but her music is damned good to work and because she has a wide range of influences it doesn't get boring.

So when I got my new job as Editor in Chief for and needed to write funny personality tests that actually mean something this was one of the first I wrote. No research needed!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Last weekend a bookshop saved my life

There's only one thing worse than not having a book to read and that's having money to spend on a book and not finding one that grabs your interest. The most obvious reason for this malaise is my mild, yet chronic, mid-life crisis.

When you quietly slip into your forties (and to be honest in my case, some years before) you find the world is no longer arranged in your favour. You get irritated by every radio station, jeans no longer fit because it's now cool to have half your arse hanging out and people occasionally point out that the pretty barmaid with the sexy smile is young enough to be your daughter.

None of this is a huge problem but in this in-between world stretching between youth and middle-age it can be very difficult to find yourself. Take music as an example.

In my teens and twenties I used to flick my way through hours in music shops, searching for the next album that would set my ears on fire (and secretly thinking I looked pretty cool). Then along came Amazon where I could explore different genres by looking at what other people had bought and recommended.

Next came music downloads but then suddenly - not only was I too cool to like much of the mainstream music, but I was too uncool to feel moved by the alternative scene. I know there is music I will love out there but it gets harder to find.

Books have travelled a similar journey but it's much, much worse to buy a book that you can't be bothered to finish than an album that only gets a few listens. A trawl though Amazon doesn't really help as the bestsellers in the different genres don't seem to appeal - everything just looks too similar in each genre. It's no different in Waterstones, especially the books on the special offer tables.

Last weekend on a trip to Bath we popped into Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights on a recommendation of a friend. It's what Americans would be stereotyped as calling 'quaint' - a Georgian building crammed with books and charming eccentric touches such as a kettle and tea bags to make yourself a drink and a book display in a bath. I loved it the moment I walked in.

Then, standing in the fiction section I suddenly felt I belonged somewhere. It was in the area where the staff recommend their favourite books, pretty cream bookshelves peppered with little notes saying exactly why they loved them.

Nearly all of these books jumped out at me and begged me to take them home. Somewhat bewildered by this change in events I stumbled across to the travel section to look for books set in Spain - a passion of mine.

Again I could have walked away with an armful.

Reluctantly restricting myself to a reasonable amount I found myself in a queue to pay. While I was waiting,  the owner of the shop excitedly told me just how good one of my purchases was and how much I would enjoy it. There was genuine pleasure in his delight at my future reading pleasure.

It seems I may have to save up and do a few bulk buy visits a year to Mr B's. At the moment I'm trying to suppress the urge to ask them if they will help me set up a bookshop in my own town.

Go visit Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights. The web site is almost as good as visiting the shop - well, okay, it isn't but it's far better than other online bookshops I could mention.

The books I restricted myself to are:
The Telling Room: A tale of passion, revenge and the world's finest cheese by Michael Paterniti (I'm currently devouring this)
I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
All my Friends are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman
How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse by Cressida Cowell (for Thing 1 and Thing 2)

There is also an interesting sequence of events that lead to my arrival at the shop:

1) I've been doing some work with a local cinema who were showing the film Mr Peabody and Sherman. This film is fabulous fun involving lots of time travelling mayhem.
2) I was asked when I would like to time-travel to and my instant answer was  - bohemian Paris in the 1920's.
3) I described this to my Mum two weeks later who grinned in a strange way and handed me 'Books, baguettes and bed bugs'  by Jeremy Mercer that describes the Shakespeare and Company bookshop in Paris - an old haunt of the famous bohemians - that becomes a hostel for penniless writers at night.
4) After finishing and enjoying this book I had an urge to visit a 'proper' bookshop on our trip to Bath. I asked a Twitter contact for advice on what to do in the area knowing she would include a literary suggestion.
5) She recommended Mr B's that was only 50 yards from our hotel.

6) I now find myself really wanting to open my own bookshop.

All the photos of Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights are used with permission of Mr B. Don't steal them. Even better, go to the shop and take your own photos like I wish I had done.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Do you know a business networker who hasn’t read my funny novel Working from Home?

Running your own business can be fun!
If you know someone who works from home, a sole trader, an entrepreneur or anyone who runs their own business  please tell them about my laugh-out-loud novel Working from home: Mixing business with pleasure!

You’re bound to get some questions so I’ll answer them from reviews of the book.

1. Is it really laugh out loud funny?

It seems to be - or at least snorting out loud on the train funny.

“I'd read the hype and all the 'I laughed out loud' comments about this book, and thought 'yeh yeh, over-used cliche' and expected to read a book that might, just about, make me smile. But, I have to say, cliche or not, I did indeed 'laugh out loud'.”

“King's portrayal of the stereotypical networking characters and their conversations and dynamics were so true to life they made me laugh out loud.”

“I read this book in one sitting on a flight to the US. I laughed out loud on many occassions, much to the amusement of the bloke next to me (who took the details to download his copy!!)”

“there are many points at which I laughed or cringed or routed for the main character”

 “Working From Home is a cracking blend of how to transition from a corporate, 9-5 career to self-employment and a really funny novel that is a pleasure to read.”

“Russ King has captured the essence of successful social networking whilst sharing his valuable insights in a funny and engaging story.”

2. Will I learn something about business networking, running a business or getting sales?

 Oh yes, and it’s mainly via other people’s mistakes - much better than making your own!

“Anyone who has ever worked from home on an internet based business (or tried to) will relate to the humour, the conversations and relationships that exist on and through social networks. The author clearly has first hand experience of this world and a good understanding of the ins and outs of this relatively new business phenomenon.”

 “This is also a rather cleverly disguised technical guidebook. If you knew nothing about networking before reading it, you certainly will after. I, for one, have picked up several tips for expanding my own social networking presence.”

“Having been to many networking meetings over the years, as well as attempting to work out online networking protocol, I found this a very informative book, not only for those of us who have been 'doing it' (or at least trying to do it) for a number of years, but for those who are new to the game of building relationships through all areas of networking.”

“without realising it readers will benefit from years of King's experience as you sublimely digest social media and networking tips.”

“I loved the story line which kept me interested, but also picked up a lot of networking tips and found an interest in a subject useful to everyone.”

3. Where can I buy this ebook/paperback?

You can buy the Kindle and paperback version on Amazon here (doesn’t matter what country you are in the link takes you to the correct site).
Smashwords (This can be used for all formats of e-reader so check here if your e-reader is not covered above).

Or type Working from Home by Russ King into wherever you usually buy your ebooks.

4. How much is it?

The ebook version is £2.99/$4.99 - about the price of a cup of coffee. I’m running an experiment to find the optimum selling price. That's a bargain for a funny, book that will help you improve your bottom line!

Please buy a copy and help spread the word. We need more people doing business with a smile on their face.

5 Are all these reviews real?

Yup. Find them on the Amazon page and look for yourself!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Get a sneak preview of my new novel Three lovers, two bullets!

How deep is your love? Six feet under?
In an exclusive campaign with I am giving away the opening four chapters (over 12,000 words) of my new novel Three lovers, two bullets.

Take Steve, a cheeky builder with a ruined love life and introduce him to Catalan femme fatale Maria on a cruise to Barcelona. He has to grapple with Maria’s voluptuous curves and sinister plans; the meddling influence of his rebellious step-daughter, his flaky ex-fiancĂ©e and a retired Special Forces soldier who claims to know the exact day of his own death.

Add to the mix an eerie, bearded man who appears on every corner, Maria’s eccentric father who deplores sex before marriage and her ex-boyfriend - a powerful small-time gangster who really knows how to bear a grudge.

Sexy and compelling Three lovers, two bullets is a steamy romantic thriller. There are two bullets fired, but who gets shot and can you spot the wicked twist at the end?

So how do I get the preview?

You can earn the preview of Three lovers, two bullets by helping to spread the word about my previous novel Working from home: Mixing business with pleasure? using

Libboo is a new book reviewing/sharing community that links quality books to people who want to get a bit more from their reading. It’s a place where readers interact with their favourite authors and earn rewards for sharing information about books they love.

Check out Working from home on Libboo and see how easy it is to spread the word on your favourite social media sites. Just click ‘Buzz’ and sign up. You need to get 30 buzzes by the end of Sunday 21st July (30 different people visiting the Working from home page) to earn your free preview of Three lovers, two bullets.

Working from home: Mixing business with pleasure? is a fresh, genuinely laugh-out-loud funny (read the Amazon reviews!) romantic comedy following two people as they try to set up their own businesses. They soon find themselves struggling to find enough work to pay for the necessities in life like beer and shoes.
Can they manage to mix business with pleasure? And is it possible to keep your bank manager happy by following the bohemian cornerstones of freedom, truth, beauty and love?

How do I receive my free preview?

You have a week from Monday, 15th July to Sunday 22nd July to earn your 30 buzzes and you will receive the preview as a PDF file from me via email.

Whilst the preview chapters of Three lovers, two bullets is a professional piece of work it is an example of work in progress and thus does not yet quite represent fully edited, published quality. This is because I am seeking feedback for the opening chapters of the book that are so essential in terms of grabbing people’s interest enough to make them want to buy it!

Any feedback will be very welcome and acknowledgement will be given in the final published version of the book.

You can buy Working from home for around £2 or $3 on your favourite online store or you can get the paperback version on Amazon.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

A list of fun and interesting writers I interact with on Twitter

A while back I promised Leanne Smith (@smith_leanne), a superstar nurse and aspiring writer, to give some examples of inspiring and funny writers to interact with on Twitter. I thought I might as well slap the list in a blog post so other people can see it. I should stress that this is a very personal choice based on people I interact with regularly, rather than a list of the ‘best’ writers on Twitter. Then again, I might just have excellent taste! 

In no particular order - other than where they appear in my favourites on Twitter as I wrote this…

Tasha Harrison - @TashaHarrison_
Indie writer with funny, dry observations. Writes mainly chick lit/comedy romance, often full of sunshine.

Jess Sturman-Coombes - @JessSturman
Nutcase indie YA /crossover writer. Author of the Ruby Palmer series of books that started with Poker Face.

Freya Morris - @Freya_J_Morris
Down to earth comms expert and writer

Jonathan Meres - @JonathanMeres
Author of The world of Norm series of children’s books and occasional Nazi zombie. Expect very dry humour!

Julie Cohen - @julie_cohen
Writer of chick lit and much more and occasional writing coach. Fun, interactive and supportive.

Joanne Harris - @Joannechocolat
Author of the ‘Chocolat’ series of books, not to mention all the others. Owner of a magic shed, mistress of Story Time and surprisingly approachable considering she’s got a MBE. ;O)

Mandy James - @akjames61
Was indie, now mainstream and needs to spend less time playing Candy Crush.

Mick Davidson - @mickdavidson
All round creative guy and author of the disturbing and strangely poetic vampire book The darkness beneath.

Rachel Delahaye - @RachelDelahaye
Chilled out indie author of the fabulous YA and cross over novel Splinters. Join me in nagging her to do an adult version!

Ben Hatch - @BenHatch
Madman who loves cheese and who drives his children round different countries for weeks on end for a living.

Marion Grace Woolley - @AuthorMGW
Author of Georg[i]e, an intriguing novel about a woman who falls in love with a man only to discover he’s a woman.