I Won a Liebster Award!

Nat RussoAwards 2 Comments


Well how about that! Just when I thought no one was watching what I was doing out here on the interwebs, a couple of lovely folks nominate me for a Liebster award!

Priest. Philosopher. Policeman. Programmer. Pencil Pusher.

Follow the jump link for details on why I only choose professions that begin with the letter “P”!

What’s a Liebster Award?

A Liebster Award is a nod from fellow bloggers that they like something you’re doing. It’s also a way of spreading the word about up and coming blogs and bloggers. Does it get any better than getting a pat on the back from your peers?
So, who do I have to thank for this recognition (besides “The Academy”, that is)? Two wonderful twitter friends of mine: Melanie Sokol (@MelanieSokol) and Elena Jacob (@ElenaJacob).  If you’re not reading these blogs or following these folks on Twitter, you don’t know what you’re missing!
As with most awards, there are some rules.

Liebster Award Rules

  1. Post the award image on your blog. There are several varieties. Google them and find the one you like the most.
  2. List 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions asked by the person/people who nominated you.
  4. Make up 11 questions for those to be nominated.
  5. Nominate 11 people to receive the award. They should have fewer than 200 followers on their blog.
  6. If you’re nominated, your name and/or link will appear at the bottom of this post. Just follow the same format and voila! you’re a recipient.

11 Random Facts About Nat

  1. I spent several years studying to be a Roman Catholic priest at St. Meinrad Seminary in southern Indiana. I left the seminary before I was ordained, though. Theology and Philosophy…wonderful. Celibacy? Not so much.
  2. I’m married and have a 12-year old son. Both my wife and son are just as geeky as I am, which makes for a fun and wacky home life 🙂
  3. I was a police officer for a few years (after the seminary thing…you’d be surprised how similar the jobs of Police Officer and Priest are, though).
  4. When I was seven years old I won a disco contest. Yes…I know how to get down with my bad self 🙂 Although many would say I still look like a 7-year old at a disco contest when I dance.
  5. I worked on the set of the movie “The Getaway”, starring Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger, in Prescott, Arizona, as a security guard. Alec and I became acquaintances, and it led to him writing me a letter of recommendation to the local police department. It didn’t result in a job with that department, but several months later I was hired by another local police department. 
  6. I lived and worked in Germany for about 3 years, from 2003 – 2006 as a Department of Defense contractor. I did software development for the U.S. Army (5th Signal Command and VCorp G6).
  7. My Bachelor’s degree is in Philosophy (from Northern Arizona University. Go Lumberjacks!)
  8. I’ve hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon several times, and camped there as well.
  9. As a seminarian, on a trip to Rome, I met the (then) Archbishop of Australia in a cappuccino bar. He was in regular clothes so I didn’t even know he was clergy. It wasn’t until he found out I was there for midnight mass at the Vatican that he formally introduced himself. I was floored…and we had a wonderful conversation after that (not to mention some great cappuccino).
  10. Browncoats Unite!
  11. All through my teens I studied a Korean martial art called Tang Soo Do. I earned my 1st degree black belt (midnight blue in Tang Soo Do) at the age of 19. You may think you’ve never seen anyone perform Tang Soo Do before, but you have…Chuck Norris is a Tang Soo Do stylist. And like Chuck, under my beard is another fist. It’s a Tang Soo Do thing. Takes years of training…and a beard comb.

11 Questions from Melanie


If you could pick one character from any story ever (movie, book, fairy tale, etc), who would it be and why?

My first thought is “pick the character for what?” 🙂 I would have to say Richard Rahl, from Terry Goodkind’s “Sword of Truth” series. Then I could have a band of ferocious Mord Sith as personal body guards. He’s also one of the strongest fantasy heroes I’ve ever read.


If you were going to write about the end of the world, how would it end and would anyone survive?

It would be overrun by zombie hamsters, and only a handful would survive: Bob “Hamsterbane” Wazowski and his band of friends. Because hamsters are evil. I know…I owned one.

If any animal in the world could be domesticated, what would you pick as a pet? 
The Honey Badger. Honey Badger don’t care!
If you could be a supernatural being of any kind, what would you be and why?
Vampire! Definitely Vampire! Immortality…no arguments about what’s for dinner…speed…strength…what’s not to like?
If you could relive any year of your life, which would it be and WHY?
Probably the last year I was in Germany. By that time we had adjusted to life there and just enjoyed the privilege. We did some traveling and had a great time.
If I were a broken record, would you let me play or stop me? Why?
I’d probably just let you play. After all, broken records and modern pop music have distinct similarities, so it would be like having a radio station on in the background 🙂
If you could only read one book over and over again for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?
“Magician” by Raymond E. Feist. It was the book that started it all for me, and it never gets old. 
If I had to choose a backup (and I do…’cause this is my blog) I’d have to go with “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams.
If you were a mutant, what powers do you think you’d end up with? What powers would you prefer?
I’d probably end up with something useless like “Summon Random Food Allergy: Self” or something like that. I’d prefer something like “Thought Wave of Instant Car Repair”…and so would my wallet.
If you could change the genre of your world, what genre would you pick and why? 
I’d change it from Fantasy to Science Fiction. I mean, Necromancers in space! How cool is that? Ooh, maybe western. Shootout at the O.K. Corral, except all the shooters are undead summoned by my necromancers. Horror would work too, for obvious reasons. Oh wait…what about Erotica? Necromancers that…nevermind. Not gonna go there.
What, other than writing, would be a dream career for you? 
Rock star. Without a doubt.
If you lived in the Disney universe, would you be a vegan? Why or why not?
Hell no! I don’t care if the cow can walk and talk…the cow needs to get in my belly!


11 Questions from Elena

Do you work on writing projects one at a time, or do you like to be juggling several at once? 
One at a time, though I’m often focused on various aspects of that project simultaneously.
Where do you like to write—home, coffee shop, park, library, somewhere else entirely?  
Home. I have to have a controlled environment for things to work smoothly. I can’t even be in a room that has a television running in the background. I also like to repeat some of the sentences I write out loud to get a feel for their sound, so public places would be out…or they’d commit me 🙂
Do you prefer to write on your computer, or by hand? Or some other method? And why? 
Actual prose I tend to write on my computer. But I keep a handwritten journal with me so that I always have some way to record ideas. I prefer those journals that have the elastic band that keeps the book closed. I’ve been known to write short stories (or portions of them) by hand.
What has been something you’ve had to overcome in your life, and did it affect your writing at all?
Most people believe that if you weren’t born a writer, you’ll never be a writer. They think it’s some mystical set of skills bestowed upon a few “chosen” by the universe or some deity. I used to be one of those people. I had to get over that. I had to keep telling myself that writing is a skill that can be learned, practiced, and perfected.
What do you have to overcome still before you feel you can really succeed?
I still have this nagging voice that tells me I’m not good enough. I’ll never have a voice that tells me I’m perfect, but I need to find one that humors me enough to tell me I’m at least adequate. 🙂
How long did it take you to start being able to share your stories and hear what others thought of your writing?
I have one close friend that I share the work with almost immediately, in its rawest form. He and I created a couple of characters years ago, in an online role-playing game. Mujahid and Nuuan Mukhtaar. Twin brothers. Those characters are the basis for much of the fantasy that I write, so I like to get his opinion early on. Aside from him, I usually don’t share the work with anyone else until it’s in a late revision (perhaps a year after the first draft is complete). And I don’t share with anyone “in the industry” or beta readers until the work is as polished as my current skill level allows for. The reason for this is that I believe growth happens when you push yourself. If I get the work in as good a shape as I know how and then submit for advice, it causes me to go outside of my comfort zone. And that’s where the magic happens!
Who is your favourite person to share a story with? Who is the most helpful person to share a story with?
My favorite person to share a story with is my son. We have very similar tastes, and he usually likes what I write. (It’s never a bad thing to hear the words “Man, that’s cool!”) The most helpful person to share a story with is a beta reader of mine. All I can say is find yourself a good beta reader and treasure the experience. Open yourself up to learn and grow, and don’t be afraid to make suggested changes to your work. I’ve yet to experience a case where a suggested change didn’t make the work stronger. Aside from that, I share with a couple of close colleagues/friends. They don’t know me as Nat “The Writer”, so they’re not afraid to tell it like it is.
What was the plot of the first story you really sat down and wrote completely?
Funny you should ask! The work I’m currently polishing is actually the first story I’ve written beginning to end. I’ve attempted MANY stories over the years, but I would always hit a wall and not be able to finish. I know the reasons why now, and it will never happen again. As it turns out, I’m an outliner, and hadn’t been working with outlines! Now to the question: It’s a story about faith and redemption. It’s a story about abuse of religious authority. But, if you’re looking for the one-liner: A college student who fears death discovers he is a Necromancer in a violent magical world.
Where do you want to be with your writing in five years? And how are you planning to get there?
In five years I would like to have my first book published traditionally, and perhaps two other sitting in the “finished” queue waiting to be submitted. I’m going to accomplish this by writing until I drop and submitting until the agents get so tired of hearing from me that they just hand me a contract to shut me up 🙂
Who do you emulate as a writer—in style, success, or any other aspect, and why?
This one is almost too tough to answer. In fact, I think it’s probably best left for others to comment on. I can name a few influences, but whether I’ve risen to the level of emulation is for someone else to judge. I am no doubt influenced by Raymond E. Feist, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Terry Goodkind, Lyndon Hardy, Frederick Pohl, and, to some extent, Tom Clancy. But, as I sit here and think about it some more, it’s probably unfair to list explicit influences. I believe that writers are like sponges when we read. I think absolutely everything we read, regardless of genre, influences us in one way or another. I’m currently reading Octavia Butler (“WIld Seed”) and Ernest Cline (“Ready Player One”). I have no doubt my future work will reveal elements of those writers.
Which of your characters (from any story you’ve ever written) has been your favourite so far, and why? Which has been your least favourite, and also why?
My favorite would have to be the reknown necromancer and Mukhtaar Lord, Lord Mujahid Mukhtaar. He’s a complex character. On one hand he’s very proper and “lord-like”, or at least he thinks he is. His twin, Nuuan, is very rough around the edges, because of some rough experiences. But Mujahid is more like his brother than he’d ever be willing to admit. He’s willing to get his hands dirty and accomplish his goals by any means necessary, he’s just good at justifying those means, where Nuuan doesn’t care enough to bother with justifications. My least favorite…tougher than I thought it would be. Each of my characters, for better or worse, are a part of myself, or at least represent parts of myself. I suppose it’s like that for all writers. I can say it was most difficult to write my antagonist, Kagan Ardirian, because I don’t have a mind for politics. But Kagan is a master politician. I had to stretch to pull that character off.


11 Questions for my Nominees

Ok, if you’ve found you’ve been nominated, here are the 11 questions you should answer:

  • If you could live in one of your story worlds, where would it be and why?
  • Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
  • After the first draft is complete, do you take a systematic approach to revision, or just do a read-through and fix what needs fixing? If systematic, describe your system.
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, or Twix?
  • Do you prefer to write happy endings or not-so-happy endings? Why?
  • Dogs or cats? And yes, there is a correct answer! Explain why you have the correct answer 🙂
  • Do you have a method for approaching plots? Do you outline in advance, or simply free write and see where the story takes you?
  • Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kind?
  • Who was the headlining act at the last concert you attended? What do you like about them?
  • If you could go back into the past and tell your younger self a single thing, what would it be and why?
  • If you could step into the future and tell your future self a single thing, what would it be and why?




And Now, the Nominees. 

I have to say, this is tough. There are many excellent blogs out there, many of which are difficult to determine how many subscribers there are. If you actually have thousands of followers, please don’t take this is a slight 🙂
The following bloggers will make you laugh, cry, learn, think, and want to slap them. Not necessarily in that order 🙂 
There you are! Now go forth and tell us something about yourself.

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About Nat Russo

Nat Russo is the Amazon #1 Bestselling Fantasy author of Necromancer Awakening and Necromancer Falling. Nat was born in New York, raised in Arizona, and has lived just about everywhere in-between. He’s gone from pizza maker, to radio DJ, to Catholic seminarian (in a Benedictine monastery, of all places), to police officer, to software engineer. His career has taken him from central Texas to central Germany, where he worked as a defense contractor for Northrop Grumman. He's spent most of his adult life developing software, playing video games, running a Cub Scout den, gaining/losing weight, and listening to every kind of music under the sun. Along the way he managed to earn a degree in Philosophy and a black belt in Tang Soo Do. He currently makes his home in central Texas with his wife, teenager, mischievous beagle, and goofy boxador.

Comments 2

  1. Hey, you nominated Jen! I’d love to hear her responses to those questions, haha 😀

    You cracked me up, Nat! You are a funny writer–that’s so awesome 😀

    I’m glad you had fun with this! And WOO to Firefly and Hitchhiker’s Guide. You, good sir, have excellent taste ;D

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