Do you like CW? So you are either already addicted to MorseRunner or will be soon. This contest simulation software makes you insult the virtual lid calling CQ on your frequency while you are trying to copy a fluttery signal between other callers. Listen to this one minute audio sample (900k). MorseRunner is freeware thanks to writer VE3NEA who also hosts a list with all submitted scores of one-hour-sessions.
A book about CW or THE book about CW? Anyway, "The Art & Skill of Radio Telegraphy" is a complete book you can download as pdf-file. The original site is at N0HFF.
RTTY from ground up - instructive and complete explanation by AA5AU. From getting started with MMTTY up to troubleshooting.
Propagation prediction for known routes can be guesstimated with this online-tool based on the professional software VOCAP. With only inserting your QTH and your destination it will show you the probalitity of a CW-grade QSO around the shortwave frequencies for this path. It can be configured for different power output and antenna configuration. Important hint: It uses the predicted and smoothed sunspot numbers for the choosen month. Compare this figure which is indicated in the output graph to the measured value of the day - if it is the actual day - to see whether chances are worse or even better than predicted by VOCAP-online.
How to learn contesting? IMHO by learning from the experiences of other contesters. The biggest source are the contesting reports in brief or length submitted to the 3830-reflector - read the most heroic fights against Murphy, comments about strategy and equipment or how to deal with propagation and sleep deprivation.
The regions of russian stations can be determined with an online-database at the site of the Russian District Award (homepage).
The county of a US-station is not always mentioned on the QSL, but the National Association of Counties provides some searching tools, so you can find the county by entering the city or ZIP-code.