#Read about Guest #Author Russ Towne

RTHi, my name is Russ Towne and I’m honored that The Story Reading Ape is sharing this information with you.

My hope is that readers will experience truth and kindness in my writing, and that it will remind them of the greatness within themselves and others.

I believe in doing what I love and in listening the whispers of my heart.

I didn’t think I had a creative bone in my body until I was in my fifties. Then an email from a friend changed my life. Denis Loiseau, an accomplished songwriter, sent one of his latest creations to me and asked what I thought of it. I replied with the areas I thought were great just as they were, and mentioned some parts I believed could use further work. He agreed with my assessments and invited me to co-write a song with him.

Despite my serious doubts that I’d be able to add anything of value to the project, I jumped at the opportunity and we wrote several songs together. Some of our songs were “picked up” by music executives from Hollywood and Nashville. We were even invited to Nashville to present some of our songs to music industry executives. So far, none have been “cut” by a well-known band or performer (and that’s where the major money can be made in songwriting), but my view of success is focused on the adventure not the dollars and I’m delighted by the ride.

It has been a wonderful, fun, and exciting learning journey; incredibly so to me because I can’t read music, play an instrument, or sing in tune. What I found I could do was write lyrics, so that is where I focused my creative energy.

I also began co-writing songs with other exceptional songwriters, and then started writing poetry.

One day I gave myself the challenge of taking the goofiest combination of words I could quickly think of then see if I could turn them into a funny rhyming children’s poem. Readers of my blog seemed to love it, and I had so much fun with that project that I decided to see if I could turn it into a children’s book.

That is how my first book, Clyde and I came to be. It’s about a green giraffe named Clyde who stands on his head in the rain while eating a blue banana. I got incredibly lucky and on my first attempt found an amazing illustrator named Josh McGill, and other talented and reasonably-priced self-publishing specialists including an editor, and cover design and layout specialist. I also created a Kickstarter campaign to help fund my first two books and to give my friends and family an opportunity to be a part of this new venture. I’m grateful and blessed by the response, support, and love I’ve received along the way.

clyde_cover   color_cover   pg27   The Duck who flew upside down   Clyde and Hoozy eBook   Rusty Bear and Thomas Too

That was about three years ago. I just released my fourteenth book, Touched. It is a collection of my speculative and flash fiction stories.

Touched eBook

In-between, I wrote several more children’s books, then decided to try my hand at writing and self-publishing (via Createspace) collections of non-fiction stories. That effort resulted in From the Heart of a Grateful Man and Reflections of a Grateful Man.  

From the heart of a Grateful Man     Reflections of a Grateful Man

I then challenged myself to attempt to create three anthologies of the selected stories of many writers and poets (and include some of my own work in each.) I was once again incredibly lucky. About forty writers and poets contributed creations to the project, and these books were born:

Heart Whispers (Poetry)  Palpable Imaginings (Fiction)   Slices of Life (Non-fiction) 

Heart Whispers         Palpable         Slices of Life

My Personal Life and Interests:

My wife Heidi and I have been married for over 35 years. We have three adult children and three grandsons (including a pair of twins!) Heidi and I live in Silicon Valley, California.

Although Heidi and I enjoy traveling, we love being at home or visiting nearby beaches and old growth redwood forests. I enjoy the latter so much that some years ago I planted a redwood grove and fern garden on our property and love to tend to it.

I’ve been self-employed for nearly all of my adult life, and have founded and run an eclectic combination of businesses including landscape irrigation, used book sales, arts and crafts distribution, garden gnome sales, and high tech recruiting search and research. During the Dotcom craze I achieved a life-long dream of retiring in my early-forties.

I volunteered as a reading coach in elementary schools and taught business and investment fundamentals to a high school class. While I enjoyed those activities, they weren’t enough to keep me stimulated. I quickly grew bored and realized I wasn’t the retiring type.

I looked for hobbies I might enjoy and that led me to investing.  I found I was good at it and loved to do it.  Friends and family asked me if I’d manage money for them. They liked the results and suggested I turn my hobby into a business. That led to my founding a wealth management firm in March 2003 which I continue to run and enjoy.  

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