{Blogger Book Fair} Spotlight + Guest Post + Giveaway: January Black by Wendy S. Russo

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

For the third day of the Blogger Book Fair, I'm spotlighting January Black by Wendy S. Russo and I also have a guest post and a giveaway! Check everything out!

January Black
Title: January Black
Author: Wendy S. Russo
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Date of Publication: January 15, 2013
Genre: YA fantasy/sci-fi

Sixteen-year-old genius Matty Ducayn has never fit in on The Hill, an ordered place seriously lacking a sense of humor. After his school’s headmaster expels him for a small act of mischief, Matty’s future looks grim until King Hadrian comes to his rescue with a challenge: answer a question for a master’s diploma.

More than a second chance, this means freedom. Masters can choose where they work, a rarity among Regents, and the question is simple.

What was January Black?

It’s a ship. Everyone knows that. Hadrian rejects that answer, though, and Matty becomes compelled by curiosity and pride to solve the puzzle. When his search for an answer turns up long-buried state secrets, Matty’s journey becomes a collision course with a deadly royal decree. He's been set up to fail, which forces him to choose. Run for his life with the challenge lost...or call the king’s bluff.

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Guest Post

Ten Random Facts about January Black

1. January Black was a NaNoWriMo novel. I started a week late and ended up with 40k by the end of the month. I took another four months to finish. (Then 18-months and 8 rounds of editing for the manuscript that was accepted by Crescent Moon Press.)

2. Between me and my editors, the novel that Crescent Moon published is significantly different than the manuscript they accepted. (That happens all the time.)

3. Matty and Hadrian were characters I cannibalized from a novel I shelved. Matty's name in that book was Lindsay. He was 12. Hadrian's name was Eric. He was something of a mix between Batman and a shut-in.

4. January Black was originally "Winterblack." It was name of a gypsy family from that same shelved novel. After playing around with it, I thought "January Black" sounded like a better name for a ship.

5. The title came before the story. (It usually doesn't happen that way.)

6. The coming-of-age storyline was inspired by a Dream Theater song called "Rite of Passage." It's about freemasonry. The video is corny, but I think the song rocks.

7. There were two scenes after the end. The editor felt they were gratuitous. I agreed.

8. There used to be a really sweet scene between Matty and Iris on his 18th birthday. It was a casualty of my scooping out the middle of the novel and starting over. Actually, quite a few darlings were killed in the editing of this novel.

9. The *spoilers* hanging in Hadrian's library are intended to be the originals. I had a back story on exactly how they came to be in the Steer Family's possession, but it didn't fit anywhere.

10. The original Chapter 10 was a database entry about Casanova, followed by Matty logging out of a computer while laughing belatedly at a joke the king told earlier in the day.

About Wendy S. Russo

Wendy S. Russo got her start writing in the sixth grade. That story involved a talisman with crystals that had to be found and assembled before bad things happened, and dialog that read like classroom roll call. Since then, she’s majored in journalism (for one semester), published poetry, taken a course on short novels, and watched most everything ever filmed by Quentin Tarantino. A Wyoming native transplanted in Baton Rouge, Wendy works for Louisiana State University as an IT analyst. She’s a wife, a mom, a Tiger, a Who Dat, and she falls asleep on her couch at 8:30 on weeknights.



  1. It's an interesting storyline set in a different "world." I'm interested in the outcome.

    1. That's truly an interesting tidbit. Good luck, Jennifer!


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