Refuge Release!

My newest novel: Refuge, has just been released and is, as I type this, the bestselling science fiction and fantasy novel in the Amazon Kindle Worlds store!

This novel was a special opportunity to write in the wonderfully crafted world of Nick Webb, my friend and an author I very much admire. It was an exciting challenge to imagine new characters and challenges and interweave them into the timeline of his fantastic novel, Constitution.

A bit about the novel:

The Swarm has returned.

They attack mercilessly, wiping out all human life they encounter. Our best ships. Our newest weapons.

But Lunar Base won’t go down without a fight. Beneath its dome, medic Kadence Leigh pulls the wounded from the rubble and makes it her mission to get them to safety, Swarm or no Swarm. Along the way she acquires the help of a ragged group of Lunar Base survivors: a wounded admiral, an AWOL commander, and a renegade pilot.

They must set aside old conflicts and band together in a fight to survive the Lunar Base apocalypse. Will their combined skills be enough to save them from humanity’s most brutal foe?




My favorite part, though, was Nick’s amazing review of the novel after he’d read it. I’m still geekin’ out about it! I’m honored that he enjoyed it. You can read it on the Amazon page, too, but I can’t help but share it here, too:

“Refuge is brilliant. I feel like I’m reading all the cut scenes from Constitution, but which should never have been cut because they’re better than the original. The space battles are thrilling, the flavor and backstory added to the events of Constitution are compelling, and here I am, in bed, finishing the book in one sitting. I literally couldn’t put it down. Reading Refuge was like coming home and enjoying dinner with an old friend–except with more lasers and explosions.” – Nick Webb, USA Today bestselling author of the Legacy Fleet trilogy.

Pick up a copy of Refuge here: Refuge by Josi Russell



New Series Launching Monday!

Aliens are coming to Yellowstone Global Park.

In order to protect its delicate ecosystem, the park has been closed to the public for a quarter of a century. But the fortifications that keep the public away from the bison and the geysers are perfect for keeping the arriving aliens–the Stracahn–away from humanity.

Solomon Brooks lives on the edge of the park, but he has never been inside. Outside the park’s energy barriers, bitter land wars threaten to tear human society apart. Sol seeks refuge from the conflict by volunteering to work with the aliens inside Yellowstone. There, he meets Zyn’dri, a Stracahn girl with gifts even her own species doesn’t fully understand, and Walt, a ranger whose knowledge of the park is second only to his knowledge of human nature. As the three forge an unlikely friendship, they uncover a sinister plot and realize that some humans will go to any lengths to get the aliens out.

The Stracahn have come from their dying planet, Empyriad, in search of a peaceful new home. But with warring humans outside the gates of Yellowstone and the world’s largest supervolcano inside, Earth is anything but peaceful.

Shadows of Empyriad Cover web3

Shadows of Empyriad launches on Monday, August 15th. Find it on Amazon!

Guardians Audiobook Release

“The bright disk of the planet Lucidus hung in the morning sky.”

That’s the first line of Guardians. I loved that line when I wrote it, and I love it even more now that I’ve heard Patrick Lawlor read it on the brand-new audiobook edition of Guardians! No kidding, I’ve listened to the sample on Tantor Media a whole bunch of times. You should also listen to it:

Guardians Audiobook Sample

Hearing him read it just gives me that Lion-King-Hyena shudder. You know, when Banzai says “Mufasa!” and Shenzi says, “Oooooh. Do it again!”

Yeah, that’s me with that first line. He somehow captures all the excitement and mystery of being on a brand new planet with just the inflections of his voice. I can hardly wait to hear the rest. The talented Patrick Lawlor has done it again. Check it out!


Want to win a bookmark?

This week, I’m putting all the members of my Reader’s Club in a drawing for a super cool bookmark. If you haven’t joined the Reader’s Club, jump in now! I’ll be drawing a name next Saturday (April 23rd). Click here: I found these and bought one for myself and I love it! See how it points to the exact place you left off? So, I got one for me and one for one of you! The Readers’ Club also gets great stuff like free stories and art. Sign up to be a part of all the fun.

Caretaker bookmark closeup

Comicons: The Magic of Shared Stories

Sometimes, when I mention that I am going to a comic convention, I get a squint-eyed, suspicious response. “Why?” some people ask, as if I should be home mowing my lawn or doing my taxes.

It’s easy to say, “Because I get to meet fans there, and sign my books!” Because that sounds like a proper, task-oriented reason to attend.

But it’s more than that. I go, well, because:

Hangin’ out with Vader. He’s a lot nicer than the movies make him seem. Give him a chance, guys.

Yes. That’s us with DARTH VADER. There. What else do I have to say? THIS is why I go to comicons: Because since the first time that Darth Vader strode onto the screen, cape flowing behind him, I wanted to step into that world and face him, and today I did.

More reasons?

Well, then, these:



Because I wanted to fly that X-wing. I wanted to call the shots on the Enterprise. I wanted to fly in a Quidditch match and run my hand over the silken mane of a unicorn and follow the Fellowship out of Rivendell.

When I found those scenes, I got lost with these characters in their stories. They lived for me in those moments, and I dreamed of them for a long time afterward. At a comicon, those stories come alive again. They are brought vividly to life in art and toys and costumes by other people who love them, too.

Anthony Hopkins says in Shadowlands, “We read to know we are not alone.” And at comic conventions, you are anything but alone. The Emerald City Comicon had EIGHTY THOUSAND attendees last year! Cons are busy, bustling places. You are surrounded by people who have been dazzled by the same stories, the same characters, the same adventures, that you have been.

Weaving through what would, anywhere else, be a mundane crowd, you come face-to-face with your heroes, and when you stutter out how awesome their costumes are and how much you love this movie or that book, what you’re really saying is that part of you understands part of them. You’re really saying that you got swept up in that story, too, and that it changed you. You’re thanking them, not just for the effort that went into building that awesome costume, but also for reminding you of the days you spent dreaming.

And there’s a connection, and an appreciation, of something you have long loved. And you’re not, at all, alone.

So to the other 79,999 people who left their lawns unmowed and their taxes undone this weekend:


Emerald City Comicon

I’ll be signing my books at the University of Washington Bookstore (space 5100) at ECCC THIS FRIDAY at 11:00! Come and see me! We arrived tonight and I have discovered that springtime in Seattle is amazing. The trees are blooming, the frogs are calling, and the air is delicious from all the flowers. I can think of no better time and place to meet some fans and sign some books!



Guardians Released Today!

Guardians, the second book in the Caretaker Chronicles, is officially released today!

It continues the stories of the characters in Caretaker, and introduces some new ones. I loved writing Guardians. When I found myself lost in Ethan’s story again, I remembered how much I liked him, and how much life he still had to live.

Because that’s how it is. We go through more than one great adventure in our lives, and just when we breathe a sigh of relief that a challenge is over . . . another one comes along.

The release of Guardians coordinates with the first day of LTUE: Life, the Universe, and Everything: a fantastic conference which I have been attending for over a decade. This year, for the first time, I’ll be presenting on various panels. A new adventure for me.

If you’d like to hear my colleagues and I discuss “The Competent Hero at Science Fiction’s Core,” Join me at 5:00 Thursday in the Cedar Room. If you’d like to know about strange forms of life, both real and imagined, hit the Bryce room at 9:00 Friday Morning. We’ll be exploring worldbuilding from the ground up when we talk about Tectonics in the Cedar Room on Friday at 2:00, and “Writing Military for Science Fiction” on Saturday at 11:00, also in the Cedar Room.

Friendly faces are always welcome! Come see me.




As if the release of my second novel AND my first time speaking at a writer’s conference weren’t enough adventure for one week, I was also informed yesterday that (drumroll please) Caretaker has been named a finalist for a Whitney Award! (insert my happy dance here!)


Here is the press release they sent:


Whitney Award Winners to Be Announced at the Provo Marriott Hotel on May 7

Josi Russell’s science fiction novel Caretaker was named a Finalist in both the Speculative Fiction and the Best Novel by a New Author categories in the 8th annual Whitney Awards celebrating excellent fiction by LDS authors.

The Whitney Awards program honors the best novels published by Latter-day Saint writers each year. It was founded in 2007 by novelist Robison Wells and named after 19th century Mormon apostle Orson F. Whitney, a writer who preached of the importance of literature, including his famous prophecy that “We shall yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own.”

More than 300 books were nominated for consideration in eight categories: General Fiction, Historical, Mystery/Suspense, Romance, Speculative, General Youth Fiction, Speculative Youth, and Middle Grade. Josi Russell’s Caretaker is a finalist in the Speculative Fiction category.

Josi Russell’s science fiction novels explore familiar human relationships in unfamiliar contexts. She currently teaches creative writing and fiction courses as an Associate Professor of English for Utah State University Eastern. She lives in the alien landscape of the high desert American Southwest with her family and a giant tortoise named Caesar.

Josi says she is “captivated by the fields of linguistics, mathematics, and medicine, by the vast unknown beyond our atmosphere, and by the whole adventure of being human.”

The Whitney Awards differs from other literary awards in that they are reader-based. Novels can be nominated by any reader (via the Whitney Awards website). Once a book receives five reader nominations, it advances to the judging round. The top nominees in each category become finalists, and are then are voted on by an academy of industry professionals, including authors, publishers, bookstore owners, distributors, critics, and others.

“The competition grows fiercer every year,” 2015 Whitney Awards president Jaime Theler said. “LDS authors are making their mark—their books on NYT Bestseller Lists, at the top of Amazon sales, and winning other literary awards. Being named a Whitney Finalist is an important achievement. It means these books are the cream of the crop.”

“I am honored and excited,” Russell says of her finalist nomination.

Winners will be announced and the awards presented at the Whitney Awards gala held at the Provo Marriott Hotel on Saturday, May 7, 2016, at 7:30PM, following the annual LDStorymakers Writers Conference.

Details about the Whitney Awards and the list of Finalists in all categories are available at