Daniel I. Russell is the author of Entertaining Demons, Samhane, Retard, Come Into Darkness, Critique, The Collector Book 1: Mana Leak, Mother's Boys and the huge collection Tricks, Mischief and Mayhem. Daniel is a HWA active member and represented by the Tobias Literary Agency, NYC. Daniel has also been the vice-president of the Australian Horror Writers' Association, special guest editor of Midnight Echo, associate and technical editor for Necrotic Tissue, and Shadow Awards judge.
Review: Children of No One by Nicole Cushing
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009Baby? Do you want to come out? Yeah, but, no, but, yeah, but, no, but...
Thank you, some of you, for the messages and wall posts requesting an update on this week's events. Rather then reply to you all individually and therefore avoid the indignity of the old copy 'n' paste routine, thought it would be prudent to post this to summarise the whole thing. I may ramble, but here goes.
We awoke on Monday morning at 7am with Sherie having contractions. This isn't anything new as she'd been suffering with them on and off for about a week and half. These were coming every five minutes or so. No Funky Werepig for me that morning! We went to the hospital and had her checked out. Our doctor performed a test that states if Sherie would go into full blown labour in the next 24 hours. Was a bit disheartening to see our doctor and a nurse going through the instructions like it was a a wardrobe from Ikea. I'm just glad they read the English page and the not the Swedish. Anyway, the test came back positive. We were having a baby.
Or were we?
I did the mad panic around to grab prepacked suitcases and to fill the car up. Sherie stayed in a hospital bed. Lazy. With a few seconds to tell Greg Hall, Scott McCoy et al in the party pen that we were in labour, it was back to the hospital and await the flying doctor.
As Sherie was flown up to Perth, I drove the three and a half hour journey, getting nicely tanned forearms along the barren Perth-Bunbury Highway. I found Sherie in the Foetal Assessment unit, and the fun began.
Sherie's doctor in Perth was a friendly Indian bloke with a lazy eye. In fact, he had two lazy eyes and looked a bit like something from a 1930's Universal horror movie. His assistant was a medical student, or Doug, as I shall refer to him (and any Scrubs fans might know where I'm going with this). He had to take a blood sample. Jesus. He held the needle to his face. I then noticed he had a squint and a nervous twitch. A BAD nervous twitch. This wasn't going to be good. In went the needle... Blood was spurting everywhere, and this young doctor, forever the professional, responded with 'GODDAMMIT!'. The bed looked like Tina's death scene in Nightmare on Elm Street, and Sherie's arm was butchered.
Next, and with the contractions increasing in power, Sherie went into the birthing suite, which was quite nice with a TV, ensuite and view of Subiaco stadium. We spent the night watching Two and a Half Men and Big Bang Theory. The most fun part was listening to the almost medieval torture screams echoing down the corridor. I, of course (and I was quite bored at this point. The contractions weren't doing much more) passed the time by poking a little fun at the other women. For example, asking Sherie to go in the birthing suite next door and politely say Sssssssh! More professionalism ensured with the midwife student chuckling at the 'that woman made a noise like a camp guy at a surprise party' comments. Oh, the fun we had.
At 11pm, the guards changed and we had a new midwife in the room. Hardcore midwife. This woman should sell used cars, or if she got a TV gig, the Shamwow. She could sell anything...including morphine. Sherie, bless her, had been having regular, strong contractions. I know because I was monitoring the...the...okay, I don't know what it was called, but I could read the graphs onscreen. She did little more then groan every so often. So proud of her. She's tougher then I could ever be. Anyway, the midwife was concerned that after 12 hours in labour (she woke up at 7am having contractions, remember) that she needed a rest for the big push. Morphine would take the edge off, and let her have a few hour's sleep. The midwife went on and on and on...and I think we only eventually said yes to shut her up! The morphine did indeed take the edge off, but morphine can also bring a mum out of labour, which we think was the hospital's ulterior motive. By the next morning, things had died down completely. 30 hours in labour and no baby.
Which is good in a way because the baby was only at 35 weeks gestation. While this was the furthest Sherie had ever gone, a few more weeks in the oven wouldn't go amiss, especially as our baby is quite small.
They wouldn't let her go home, and we spent the following week at the hospital. This is always costly (remember when Sherie was up there for 2 weeks back at 23 weeks?). We needed meals (I needed meals) and things got quite boring. You have to rent TVs to watch. We walked regularly into Subiaco just for something to do. I had my current read with me (eventually got around to reading King's Duma Key) and that occupied me during the nights at my uncle-in-law's city centre apartment. So many red Honda Getz going underneath the balcony. Stuart Lister should live in Perth. We also found a decent bookstore. Books are very expensive over here, which is why I tend to buy them in the uk and have them shipped over! However, the Leisure Horror books were reasonable and I managed to snag novels by Douglas Clegg, Sarah Pinborough, Graham Masterson and Nate Kenyon. Sherie even got way into the Masterson!
We were finally allowed to go home after a largely dull week of Swooping Magpie warnings (pic to follow), hospital food experimentation and my crumbling sanity (I have now seriously had enough of seeing pregnant women. No joke. A parade of them walked past me on the last day while we waited for the decision to let us go home. I then had to move the car and went to leave the hospital. The lift doors opened, and there were 8 of them inside. I think I'm developing a phobia!).
And here we are. It was a nerve shredding and tiring week, but we're back. Bub still in the oven...and now we can have the baby here as we're past 36 weeks! Yay! 36 and 2 actually. According to some in the know, this means bub is no longer classed as a prem baby. But the question is, will baby be born on Halloween?
Nothing much to report on the writing side. The current novel is still sitting at 60k and nothing has been added to it as I've been away from home. I did manage to sell another poem at pro rates, and that was to Fear and Trembling with my poem, Stitches. I'm very surprised with the acceptance actually as I don't really feel like a poet. Anyway, that makes three pro sales now. Maybe there's something in it? It was written for Sherie over a year ago, and she loves it. Now it will be out for the world to see.
I think that's all I have right now. Hopefully have a more interesting week this week. Baby can come at any moment! See you at the weekend...possibly.
Sunday, October 18, 2009And now over to Daniel I Russell for the weather. Daniel?
First off, I'd like to thank you, dear people, who read and follow this rambling blog. It's up to something like 373 followers at the mo, which in my eyes, ain't bad, so thank you.
If you're not a follower on NetworkedBlogs, I think there's a fancy widget on the right of the page. You can make an antisocial horror writer very happy... This is currently the #3 horror blog thanks to you guys.
I really thought it was the big day on Wednesday. We had an ultrasound. By we, I really mean Sherie. Guy wouldn't have seen much in my abdomen apart from a couple of coffees and a few squares of Cadbury's Rocky Road. I like it when I call the dude 'the ultrasound guy', as Sherie refers to him as the sonagrapher. When I ask what a sonagrapher does, the response I get is that he's the guy that does the ultrasound.
Wednesday, Sherie had contractions. This was in the middle of week 34, two weeks longer then she'd previously gone on for (Personal best! Whoohoo!). The ultrasound showed that she wasn't in labour BUT the sonagrapher (the ultrasound guy) said we HAD to see our doctor asap. Would he tell us why? No. Just kept replying, 'you need to speak to your doctor. He'll get my report on Friday.'
After two nervous days, we finally got to speak with our doctor, who is a pleasant fella from South Africa. He's so apologetic when he has to examine Sherie. We always joke that he says 'I'm going to examine you now. By examining, I mean, I won't be raping you. Again, this is not a rape.'
He read the report and...drumroll...everything is fine! That was it. Two days of frantic worrying to be told that everything is fine. Go figure. A few more days of minor contractions and things have gone back to normal. Still pregnant.
THE SUN HAS GOT HIS HAT ON. HIP HIP HIP HOORAY!
Which is bad for Sherie seeing that the good weather's finally here. It's early spring and the heat is in the mid eighties. Welcome to Australia, cobber!
It's both good and bad. The birds can go outside, which is good because Tibby (green) keeps kicking Billy (blue). Seriously, that budgie has some full on kung-fu skills. Think I might film it and become one of those You Tube millionaires. Will keep me in Rocky Road and beer for a few weeks.
The house smells of barbecue and suntan lotion, ie, of holidays! Hard to get into the swing of finishing the latest novel with the temptation of water fights, cold beers and NERF.
Plus, the neighbours have half of town around everyday because they have an inflatable pool thing. Whenever one of us goes out in our garden, all these little kids climb the fence and look over. I'm still UK pasty (apart from the arms and face now) so wouldn't mind getting some sun on my milky white chest, but I'm not going to sunbathe with a good book with the Australian equivalent of The Goonies staring at me. It's like when you're on a bus and some little kid in front of you turns around and watches all the journey. Like that, yeah, but you have your shirt off (shudders).
SO, DAN...HAVE YOU GOT ANY WRITING DONE AT ALL?
Well a bit. Novel is up to 60k and I also took the time to write a bizarro short. The novel is really hotting up now with a lengthy finale. I just need to get stuck in.
THE SAMHANE GIVEAWAY
Went smoothly and was drawn by our resident dwarf clown as pictured above. If you missed it (and all winners have been notified), here's the list of names drawn:
Kody Boye (Facebook)
Jamie Boyt (Facebook)
John Wilson (Facebook)
Stephen Maginis (Facebook)
Selena Robbins (Facebook)
Scott Colbert (Facebook)
Todd Banks (Facebook)
Congrats to the winners and hope you enjoy your read of Samhane. Hopefully there will be Goodreads reviews that will be linked in the very near future.
I think that's my lot for now. Should see you all next week. Will the baby be here by now? Place your bets please...
Friday, October 09, 2009Babies, writing and a bad joke about farts...
My parents went to Florida about ten years ago, and one of those big-ass hurricanes hit. While most people jumped in the car and headed inland, my fearless Limey parents, in true tourist fashion, decided to stick around and enjoy the pool...while it was empty. My parents brought back some eerie footage of the deserted beach, the deserted hotel and the slightest breeze...
It captured the feeling of something vast coming. That's how I feel right now.
Well, it's passed a bit. The day before yesterday, it was palpable. Back in the band days when I had a big gig in Manchester that night, I felt sick with butterflies all day. It felt like that all over again. When Sherie, who is very, very pregnant right now, started to feel a great deal of discomfort, I thought it was time.
But no. We're still going and fast approaching week 34. Week 34 is good and only two days away. Week 34 should mean a birth in Bunbury (1 1/2 hours away) as opposed to Perth (3 1/2 hours away). We have another ultrasound next week as the doctor is a tad concerned. Baby might not be getting as much nutrients as it should, and this means bub is tiny. Not a dwarf, but still tiny.
How can I deal with all this stress? By writing of course!
WHIPPING THE WIP
The Forgotten (previously The Attraction) has reached 55k this week, and is ready for the breakneck finale. It's going to be a roller coaster, literally. Thanks, as ever, to R. Scott McCoy who read the first 40k and then promptly bollocked me for keeping him hanging. He then bollocked me again when I considered putting the manuscript aside until after the baby is born. I think his words were NOOOOOOOOOO! I have a few short stories I need to crank out, so we'll see what happens.
Here's a taster thus far, looking over the shoulder of our comic-creating protag, Carl Campbell:
Carl added a little detail to the eyes and slid the tip of the pencil down her body. Tempted to plunge the lead through her black heart, he swallowed and continued down.
To the thing crawling out of her, he added elongated claws that dripped sludge, and teeth, twisted in the creature’s mouth like a ball of barbed wire. Gore dripped from its lips, the cursed baby eating an exit from its harlot mother.
Carl stared at his drawing, wishing for some kind of voodoo to infuse the lines and make them flesh.
I guess I have babies on the mind.
SHORT STORY NEWS
It was confirmed that my subtle (for me) ghost story, Living Haunts, is to be included in the AHWA magazine, Midnight Echo 3. Details to pre order are here http://www.australianhorror.com/index.php?view=115.
Some great news for someone as impatient as me is that my 14k short story, By the Banks of the Nabarra, has been moved. Instead of being in issue #47 of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, it will now appear in issue #43! This means that rather than wait until August 2010, the story will be on shelves across Australia by Christmas. Means some cheap and personal gifts from me this year...
The marvelous and BEST horror magazine, Necrotic Tissue, is now in its 8th issue, the proof of which is sitting on my shelf. The mag should be on its way to subscribers (you may have already got them). For details of how to buy individual issues or subscriptions (only $20 for a year) please visit www.necrotictissue.com.
IT'S NEARLY HALLOWEEN...SO GET IN THE MOOD WITH A FREE EBOOK.
There are currently 10 free downloads of Samhane going to the lucky winners of my Halloween draw, ending the 14th of October (gives you time to read it in the run up to the big day). Simply leave the message 'I want to visit Samhane' either here, in my Facebook inbox or my profile at www.goodreads.com to be in. Winners shall be drawn at random.
I do have more to yak about, but have lots of things to do today. It's been a quite joke free blog this week (I'm saving it for the short I'm about to write) and also, not quite immature enough. That needs rectifying. See you next week...
Joe was invited to dinner with his girlfriends parents.....a stern Yorkshire farmer and his wife.....
Half way through the meal, as they were discussing his intentions towards their daughter, Joe feels an enormous fart coming on. He was unable to control it and the rasp could be heard all over the house.
"Get out, Shep!" said the farmer to the sheepdog, who was lying under the table.
Thank God, thought Joe. He thought it was the dog.
About ten minutes later, Joe felt another build up of gas. Again, he could not muffle it, and an even louder fart ripped from his arse.
"Get out, Shep" shouted the farmer at the dog who had crept back under the table.
Again, after five more minutes Joe felt an even bigger build up and this time, he let go a real monster fart, which made the table shake. The farmer kicked the dog who was back under the table and shouted " For God's sake, Shep. Get out from under there before the bastard shits on you..."