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Daniel I Russell - Writer of Horror Fiction

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Perfection, Samhane (not related, far from it), question for Facebook users and this week's quotes!

I haven't done a proper blog for a while (I tend to say 'I'll write this chapter and then do my blog' but that never pans out) so may I request you stay a while longer?


For a while back there, I was stuck in a rotting routine that just seemed to drag on and on. This was when I lived back in the UK. There'd never be enough money to do half the things I'd want to do, I found it hard to write on a regular basis, I did the same things every damn day. I felt like an old geezer in a home...that still had to go into the office every day.

Probably one of the many reasons I wanted to go somewhere. See the world (there were many, many more reasons, as anyone who knows me will testify).

Yet in an update to the life and death post, things have returned to normal here at Manji Towers. Sherie has been back from the hospital for just over two weeks now. She's fine, if not better then before. She doesn't seem to get as many of the pains as she did before her stay in hospital, apart from our ultra-active baby that seems to be trying to break free of her uterus in a Ramsey Campbell The Doll That Ate it's Mother stylee. Yes, that's write. Baby is still in the oven and is perfectly fine, if not annoying. I feel better too, as this proved to be a test run for the birth. I know I can do the four hour drive to Perth (even through the pitch black night roads of the SW Aussie countryside...but one more month for the Perth-Bunbury Highway to open AHEAD of schedule. Fuck you, British builders!) and I know I can find the hospital. And parking.

Parking's the hardest part.

"Do you want to cut the umbilical, Mr Russell?"

"Sorry...I gotta go move the car. My ticket's up..."

And back to the point, things have returned to normal. Sherie's home, the routine's back in place, and after the trips to Perth and the resulting phone bill from the 2-3 week stay away from home...there's barely enough money left to do much (beer) and I do the same thing every day.

And I'm very, very happy about it!

Which reminds me. I know some of you none-writers may think of us as arty types who sit around all day tapping out the odd word, sipping cappuccinos and dicking around on Facebook. Well, you'd be right, but I also envisioned writers to have money to burn and a single sale is a drop in the ocean. Rest assured avid reader, this is not the case here in Manji Towers. Every sale this month means something special to me. That's right. Every single one. For each copy of Samhane sold, a couple of dollars is going towards the mountainous phone bill. Donations welcome.


See what I did there? Good link! I should write for early morning television.

Thanks once again to Jim Mcleod for his sparkling vampire, I mean, sparkling review of Samhane over at the British Horror Novels forum. Feel free to join. It's free, there's a good bunch of readers over there that know their stuff, and the admin Ian Woodhead...well, if you join you'll meet him. Take a look at www.britishhorrornovels.proboards.com, and if you'd be so kind, include the spangly banner above to your sites, myspaces, et al.

Samhane sales are still trickling in, constant, like a water torture but with a better finale. If you're considering purchasing a copy, may I suggest www.wildchildpublishing.com for your pdf needs, or, if you're a kinky kindle or perverted pda abuser, take a look over at www.fictionwise.com. Whatever you use, buy a handy pack of Kleenex too as I'm sure you'll get vomit/spunk/quim all over it, depending on taste and sex. Hell, try for all three, make a weekend of it.

DISCLAIMER: www.daniel-i-russell.blogspot.com, www.danielirussell.com and, indeed, Daniel I Russell himself take no responsibility for broken ebook readers following any surge of bodily fluids. In fact, this site promotes safe reading. Encase your e-reader in rubber.

Yes, you poor new blog visitor. This is about the level it gets.


The new novel is cooking nicely, now at 31k. Trying a new planning system with this one after comments regarding Shutterbug, and I think it's paying off. Real nasty little bugger this one, with so many twists and turns, I'm going to need to steer it as steady and true as Charon himself, rowing his boat across the River Styx. But the question is...

Do any of you care?

I see writers post these updates all the time on Facebook, and I always think, who cares? I couldn't give a frig if you're on 20k, 40k or 250k.

But then why do I post these updates?

So, should writers, ie, me, bother to post new novel updates? Think it might be more interesting to post what I had for lunch...


Our 3 year old daughter, while holding up a bikini top: "BOOBERANGS!!!"

Worryingly, the kids' dentist: "Where are my Pedo glasses?"

My childish tantrum: "I hate drinking out of this this mug. The handle's weird" (This one started some debate on Facebook. I agree with writer Ian M Faulkner, women have shoes, men have mugs).

Ah look, my cappuccino has arrived. Time to hit the writing.

Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 9:15 am :: 6 comments

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New review in for Samhane

Samhane by Daniel I Russell

Wild Child Publishing

There is a lot wrong in the town of Samhane. Specialist exterminator, Brian Rathbone and his son have been called in to sort out some of the special problems that have been plaguing the town for decades. Problems that only a select few understand fully. People disappearing, murders, strange noises.

Donald Patterson, is also heading to Samhane in a frantic bid to save his wife from the clutches of a truly evil and repugnant man known as Demon.

I’m not going to give away any plot points in this review, but Daniel manages to meld the tradition monster type horror, with some real extreme, and I hate this term, torture horror. Demon performs some truly sickening acts throughout this novel. I personally have never been a fan of this type of horror; I find the works of folks like Ed Lee to be far too over the top, being sickening only for the sake of it. So it came as a pleasant surprise that I actually enjoyed these passages. They didn’t feel as though they were just included for sake of titillation and there weren’t a sense of them being shoe horned in. The two styles of horror writing flow together with great confidence.

The writing feels much more assured than you would expect from such a fresh new talent. A fast paced story that manages to be both horrific and fun is maintained through to the final climatic battle, which will if you are like me bring a smile to the faces of any old school first person shooter fans.

The overriding impression I got of Samhane was one of this place is the evil and psychotic twin of Royston Vasey. It’s like the League of Gentleman decide to get truly sick in the head.

There is great set of characters populating the town of Samhane, from the frantic aspiring author Donald Patterson searching for his wife, Chuckles the clown, who triumphantly carries on the tradition of chilling clowns. Walter , the ex soldier best friend of Donald, who despite having a dark secret I found to be sympathetic and rather likable.

The father and son exterminators Brian and Sam Rathbone the main protagonist of the story have been called in by the mayor to sort out the problems of the town. I loved the father and son dynamics portrayed here. Brian clearly loves his son and is full of the common worries that a parent faces, but add to this the added concerns of how do you keep your son safe at night while at the same time training him to become a hunter. I enjoyed how Brian came across as an everyman, he’s not some super cool monster battler like Buffy or the Supernatural brothers, there is no support network of watchers or hunters for him, it’s just him and his son. No long lost mythical weapons of power, just him and a baseball bat for his final showdown. He could be the guy next door. I loved how Brian makes his son read Stephen King novels as a means to learning the ways to kill the monsters, it was a nice touch. If I have one quibble with the story is that I would have liked more of a history of Brian, how he trained himself to be a hunter after the events that caused him to turn to this way of life.

I truly lapped this book up. I have less and less time for reading these days, so really like it when I discover a new author that does it for me. This is right up there with The Kult by Shaun Jeffrey, November Mourns by Tom Piccirilli and The Valley by Willie Meikle for my top reads of the year so far.

Jim Mcleod, British Horror Novels

Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 7:44 pm :: 1 comments

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Life and death was in our hands...and we hated it

On Monday 27th July, things started off just like normal. By 9am, I was listening to the Funky Werepig radio show while Sherie was sitting on the sofa, watching children's TV with our 3 year old. The pregnancy had been uncomfortable for a few days and she was taking it easy.

By dinnertime, the discomfort had increased to an ache. By 2pm, a sharp pain.

We went to hospital here in Manjimup and while Sherie was being examined by the midwife, she spoke the words we were dreading hearing.

"She's gone into labour."

We're only 25 weeks gone, so just over 23 then. Sherie's previous two children were prematurely born at 32 weeks and are fine in every way...but 23 weeks was very, very bad news.

Sherie was put on some intravenous drug which gave her the shivers like a heroin addict going cold turkey. It was heart breaking to see her so upset and in such a physical state. In the evening she was flown from Manjimup to the hospital in Perth. I drove the four hours through the dark, desolate country roads to meet her there.

Thankfully, the labour had stopped by the time I reached her. We managed to spend a few hours together before I was promptly booted from the hospital. After driving round Perth for an hour (bloody Sat Nav), at 2am, I found the motel and crashed for the night.

I was awoken at 7am. Sherie was in labour again.

I found her in the birthing suite at the hospital. Contractions were easing and about half an hour apart at this point. We had meetings with the obstrician and pediatrician, and those were conversations I would never wish on anyone. We had...decisions to make. Should Sherie go into labour again and give birth, we had to decide on C sections and the amount of care given to our child, discuss brain damage and breathing problems, and hear about artificial ventilation, bleeding up the tubes and, the one that sickened me the most, skin splitting.

I don't want to spark any moral debate, but we decided that if there was a chance for our baby to survive, we were going to fight for it.

Thankfully, we're now at 25 weeks and baby is still safely inside its mum's tummy. The hospital has kept her in just in case, and it's been hard for all involved. Sherie is couped up in a tiny room 24/7 all on her own, while I'm looking after both children here in Manji (I'm not complaining...but it is draining). We've seen her once since then, and are visiting again tomorrow. We miss her so much and want her home, as long as baby and her are safe.

So not much has gone on with the writing over the last fortnight. It kind of puts things in perspective, I mean, all the hours spent writing novels and shorts when I could have been with Sherie... With her away, makes me regret the time spent away from her when she was here. I know she's going to bollock me for this when she reads it as I should be writing.

"You!" says Sherie. "Write!"

I guess she's here in spirit.

Hopefully next week, when she's back and the baby bump is being rubbed again, I'll be back in my usual immature mood. Might even post another Samhane excerpt following the nice little batch of sales.

Till next week...

Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 8:14 pm :: 7 comments

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