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: Hollow House by Greg Chapman
Read Daniel in...
Friday, January 29, 2010I FORGET TO PUT THE TITLE IN...WHAT A FOOL!
A WORD IN YOUR EAR...AND A TONGUE
If you can ignore the imposing, and frankly quite unsettling, image of Skullvines Press honcho Jerrod Balzer trying to stick a tongue in his ear, one might ask, who is this confused looking man...and what is he holding?
I'll tell you for who. That there is one and only bestselling horror author Brian Keene, the writer of The Rising, Castaways and the new release, Urban Gothic.
And what is he holding? Why, it's only a brand new copy of hot-off-the-press book Tabloid Terrors 3! The Skullvines boys took a cart load of all three volumes to Visioncon this last weekend and they sold like Catcher in the Rye this week (but on a severely lesser scale). Bit weird having an established horror maestro holding a book you're in. Like I said on the Skullvines forum "Look! His little finger's nearly on my name!" Hehe. I hope Brian and all the other readers enjoy this warped little collection of National Enquirer meets crap scrawled on men's room walls kind of book. My copies are on the way, and I can't wait to read the other stories! Should you be interested, and who would be, then check out the store at www.skullvines.com. You may need latex gloves, or alternatively, wash your hands after each reading.
THICK SKINNED LIKE A RHINO...YEAH, AN EDITING RHINO
I don't tend to give writing tips out that often, as I feel that it's all been said before, but I'm going to change that for once this week. Yes, I may be repeating myself to things I've said to people before, and this is common knowledge, but here we go...
Your friends and family will always love your writing. Yes, even if it sucks. They will say how great it is and crap like 'You wrote this? I thought it was Stephen King!"
Join a forum. Submit your work. No one writes a great story every time and ultimately, YES! YOU WILL WRITE A CRAPPY STORY SOMETIMES!
I'm man (hang on - yes, I am) to admit I don't sell everything. I get rejections, and at times, some are quite cutting. I've been in the game enough to take a rejection on the chin for the most part, and even when things are a bit nasty in said rejection, I have a moan to fellow writers via Skype, etc, but this is mostly done tongue in cheek. Like I touched on just above, I have my thick skin.
I just wish some people had theirs.
I would never, ever dream about replying to a rejection with abuse. It's like these people on American Idol that beg and then argue after they get the no. What are they going to say? Oh, you know, you're right after all! What the fuck was I thinking? By arguing, you completely changed my opinion of you. It's a YES YES YES! Let's be best friends and have a sleepover...
Nope. It won't happen. It's detrimental to you personally and as a writer. Being rejected is part of the job. I was rejected by a magazine this week. They didn't stab me. They didn't spit on my shoes. They certainly didn't insult me personally in any way. I thanked them, put a X in my subs log and looked for another market to submit to. It's just that easy!
I feel I'm having to grow a second thick skin. An editorial thick skin, as some writers don't really think a gracious acceptance of a rejection is on the cards. We're occasionally attacked for our decisions, and challenged over our personal feedback. It's hard, and at times, yes, our feelings do get hurt.
This isn't me trying to make life easier for us editors. I just want to say hey, before you hit send, what will arguing with an editor really achieve?
Necrotic Tissue #9 is our right now at www.necrotictissue.com and Amazon, and all these stories are finger lickin' good!
SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD IT'S AUSTRALIA DAY
Tuesday saw my first ever Australia door. Booze, BBQ and, well, something to wash it down with. Like booze.
A good time was had by all, except that when you go to buy beer, don't always go for what's on offer. I bought this Mexican style stuff that had lime and salt in it. It was like drinking fizzy sea water. Mmm. Not the best decision. And as I bought a block of it, I've had to drink the stuff all week! Poor me. Finally I've developed a taste for it...and now there's only 3 left! Alas Australia Day, you are a cruel mistress.
I'M NOT GOING TO DO THE PAN'S PEOPLE LINE.
Just a quick mention and salute to one of my oldest buddies in the bidness (as in I've know for a while. He's not 275 years old or anything) Johnny Mains, who sees his double page article on The Pan Book of Horror (and he's the very same creator of the Pan inspired anthology, Back From the Dead: www.nooseandgibbetpublishing.com) appear in the current issue of SFX, which just so happens to be a horror special. Free badges.
Be sure to check it out if you happen to see one. I'm getting one sent over from the UK. Cheers mum!
To all my loyal followers...I'll see you both next week. Adios mes amigos! (Drink better beer)
Thursday, January 21, 2010Do you do Voodoo?
INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY (WRITING)
Willkommen in Deutschland, mein Freund!
This week saw an epic email land in the Manji Towers inbox. The editor of Voodoo Press, who release horror/thriller paperbacks in Germany and surrounding countries, contacted me with regards to some of my work, in particular a story for an upcoming anthology. After a bit of research and seeing this classy Rose Noire anthology, I agreed and things developed....
...leading to the sale of translation rights for BOTH Samhane and Come Into Darkness! I've visited Germany and lived with a great bunch of German exchange students during my time at uni. This country keeps cropping up in my life, and I'm over the moon that my books will be hitting the shelves over there. Contracts are signed and both books are now with the translator (a job I really don't envy) with tentative release dates of summer for Samhane and winter for Come Into Darkness. Up first will be the as yet untitled anthology, which will feature my clown/living doll story, Tricks, Mischief and Mayhem.
In addition news, I've also been asked to appear in a second German anthology, edited by the chairman of the German equivalent of the HWA. It's an honour to feel so...in demand (and that feels really weird and arrogant to say. Sorry folks).
And try getting a deal like this and not humming 99 Red Balloons. It simply won't happen.
BETTER SHAVE, 'COS THOSE PUBE WRECKING PERVERTS ARE HEADING TO VISIONCON!
Not only is the gross out fest Tabloid Terrors 3: Alien Perverts Wrecked My Pubes available to buy RIGHT NOW from www.skullvines.com, but the series creators Jerrod Balzer and SD Hintz are heading over to Visioncon in Springfield, Missouri with a whole stack of these soiled babies this weekend! I know that if you're going, it'll probably be for Brian Keene or Shane Moore, but please make the time to say hi to the Skullvines boys and check out the book. They might even sign it if you do something obscene.
And speaking of obscene, be sure to stay for SD Hintz in the gross out contest!
As for me, I'm in a galaxy far, far away and will not be attending. Instead, I shall sit and wait for my copies of Tabloid Terrors 1, 2 and 3 to arrive. That poor. poor post lady...
THE POST LADY
The post lady was not hunted down and killed by bikers as I feared the other week, Instead, she brought us this, a copy of Midnight Echo 3, produced by the Australian Horror Writers Association, details here: http://www.australianhorror.com/index.php?view=174
I've been writing for a good few years now. There's nothing worse then being featured in a magazine or antho, only to have the thing arrive and look like shit. It's heart breaking. Thankfully, this wasn't the case with ME3. My God, this is a good looking magazine.
Packed with dark fiction and poetry, you've also got a chunk of breathtaking graphic novel and an interview with a surrealist artist! I hope I don't sound like an infomercial here, but this magazine is just soooo good!
My ghost story, Living Haunts, is in there. I haven't read it for years, and it's better then I remember it! Woot!
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
So what else has been going on at Manji Towers? The medical went smoothly (despite some...unpleasantness. I don't think I'll be able to look the doctor in the eye, or cough without shivering, again. The things I'm doing for this visa...). No real concerns, blood test and x ray fine, despite the receptionist on the phone asking if I want to 'discuss my HIV with the doctor'. EEP! Thankfully, she was referring to the test, not the diagnosis. Only thing that shocked the doctor was how blind I am without glasses/lenses!
Me: Do you think I have problems with my eye sight, doctor?
Him: I'm over here.
The money we saved having the medical done in Manji rather than Perth was put to good use. We hooked up the Wii to the internet and downloaded some classics: Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Super Street Fighter 2. I'm not one for spending hours in front of the TV playing games, but these really are a blast from my teenage past. The kids love 'em too.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Hooking up the Wii should have been a piece of piss. I bought a LAN adapter and wired it all up...and it didn't work. Just as I was about to start throwing things, my good lady installed a wireless router in the lounge room and hooked up the Wii in minutes. Is my male pride hurt? To be honest...I don't care! We have Super Street Fighter 2! But thank you again, hunny. You definitely wear the pants.
FURTHER AUTHOR'S NOTE: If you're planning on leaving a comment to explain exactly why the LAN adapter didn't work...don't.
What else? Oh! I finally finished Under the Dome. Find my review over at www.goodreads.com, and add me if you're feeling fancy and friendly. Now back to the Masterton novel I'd been neglecting. Can I finish it before my Tabloid Terrors arrive?
NECROTIC TISSUE UPDATE
What are you writer guys on? We normally receive a rush of submissions days before the end of the month, when the submissions window closes. However, we're currently being deluged by stories at the moment! I wish my block of EMU beer would magically fill up like my editorial inbox! I love it reading through your submissions, and I'm glad that the majority of you take your rejections on the chin, or even take the time to thank us for the feedback. It means a lot.
Don't be too disheartened by a rejection. We're due to receive over a massive 500 submissions this month alone! That's a lot of reading, and R Scott, John and myself are working our arses off to maintain a good turnaround time. 500 stories...roughly 20 spaces in the magazine. Competition is stiff!
10 more days to get your submission in, all you dark fiction writers! www.necrotictissue.com.
The January issue is due out very, very soon. Never too late to order, or to subscribe. $20 for a year. That's four issues packed with dark fiction and horror. Did I mention we're number 5 in the fiction zine category in the Preditors and Editors poll?
See you all next week. I have a novel to finish, submissions to read and a Triforce to find...
Thursday, January 14, 2010Uppers and downers
Happy...erm...Thursday everyone. If you live in the vicinity of Manji Towers, I hope you remembered to put your bin out.
As per the title of today's blog post, there's been a few good things, and a few bad things, happen of late. Let's do the bad stuff first so I can end on a high (hahahahahaaar!)
We enter the vast, paperwork filled world of the visa, with us attempting to get my visa on a permanent basis. Many friends, family and work mates have stepped forwards to provide statements (thank you everyone!) and we actually have more evidence then we thought to support the application, which is good. It's just a ball ache! You need forms to get the bloody forms! A bureaucratic nightmare!
Which brings in questions about my health.
You need to pass a medical, and I'm having that TODAY right here in Manjimup. Oh dear. It involves a standard medical, chest x ray and blood test. Problem numero uno. Blood test. Needles come in at #2 on my list of fears (after great white sharks), and yes, I know you're thinking about my many tattoos, but that's different. The tattoo needle jabs the skin lightly, doesn't plunge in, penetrating the flesh, scratching the bone...
I haven't had a needle since I was a kid, and I always descended rapidly into a land of hysterical violence. Will I be punching out our elderly doctor today? He's been stabbed in the past, so if I do, it shouldn't be too bad.
My chief concern is weight. I'm not humongous, but your mother in law saying you're getting a little big (thanks Kate) and the Wii Fit BITCH constantly belittling me, I fear this may come up at the medical. It's just after Christmas. I'll blame that.
And another thing with the Wii Fit. When your weight goes up, it asks you why, giving reasons that make it all your fault, such as I didn't exercise, I drank too much, I was snacking, etc. Where's the 'I think your scales are wrong' option? You think those brainy folks at Nintendo would have added all this. I just hope they don't make a dietry version. It would be the emotional wrecking ball of You Are What You Eat. Before you know, I'll be crying on my balance board and shitting in a tupperware container.
I've digressed as I always do.
What a fuck around if something does come up.
Doc: I'm sorry, Daniel. I can't support your visa application.
Me: (gutted) But why? I now have to leave my family and be deported!
Doc: You have lung cancer.
ME: (double gutted) So I'm dying AND have to leave my family?
Doc: Yes. And I wasn't going to say anything...but your zipper's open. Probably seems unimportant now.
Rest assured, I will let my small but loyal following know the outcome.
WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY. NO POWERS YET THOUGH. I CHECKED.
Medical further complicated by the little emergency (ha!) we had this week. I awoke on Tuesday with what I thought was a mosquito bite on my inner thigh, and very high up on my inner thigh (some extra details for the ladies there). I thought nothing of it until the next day, when it had formed a kind of purple and red fried egg shape on my skin, with a very painful marble-sized lump embedded in the flesh.
This is not a boat accident! And it wasn't any propeller, and it wasn't any coral reef, and it wasn't Jack the Ripper! It was a...white tail spider.
Google the bastards.
Thankfully, no necrosis. Just the painful lump and slight nausea. Hospital said just to keep an eye on it for the breakdown, weeping, blistering or ulcerating of the skin. Fun. Thinking of making it my new hobby.
We did find (we think) the perp, but with the bug spray, it curled up and died before we had a chance to match the bite marks.
ONE LITTLE PROBLEM. EASILY FIXABLE. GIVE ME TEN MINUTES...
Writing downers now. We had one of the resident supermodels catch the flu, and the Merc got a puncture.
Back to reality, twas the week of two rejections this week, good and bad. Whenever I get a rejection and try to place a humorous comment on Facebook about it, it's in the vain attempt of showing new/novice writers that us a little ways up the track get the same rejections as they do, and it's part and parcel of the gig. I always get comments back like this is my first rejection. I love 'em; they're very charming.
Anyway, the good rejection was for a short story and out of 256 subs, mine made the last 30, which isn't too bad in my eyes. Also got personal feedback. I hate it when the editor rejects a piece on what I think is the hook, but different strokes and all that. Story has again been subbed straight out.
Bad rejection was for a novel. Now, bear in mind the hours it takes to write a novel. Got that rough estimate in mind? Now...
They didn't like the plot. Thus, the subtitle. Easily fixable, yeah? I just need to REWRITE THE ENTIRE NOVEL!
Made me laugh. Ah well, that's what a few publishers said about Samhane, and that's out in print this year and the ebook got some great reviews. Time for me to do what I normally do: blow them a raspberry and move on.
Yay! We're on uppers!
Before I forget, Necrotic Tissue is currently at #6 in the Preditors and Editors poll. Think it deserves higher? (You should. The ones above it don't pay as much as us, nor look as good doing it). Here's the link:
The contract for the now official novella, Come Into Darkness, has now been signed with Skullvines Press, and a few behind the scenes have been put in motion to get this out. Sorry that's all I can tell you at the moment. But it's good news, yes? Will be available in paperback and download editions.
The big news this week has come from Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, one of the top speculative fiction magazines here in Australia. It's been public knowledge for months that my story By the Banks of the Nabarra was to be featured in issue #43, but after an email from the editor, it is now...
THE FEATURED COVER STORY! WOO!
It won't be my ugly mug on the cover, but a scene from the story. Plus my name will be on there. Very nice. Can't wait to get this in my grimy hands!
The Forgotten passed the 80, 000 word mark a few days ago, so book 6 is now officially a novel in my eyes. Hope to get this finished very soon and then have the editing to look forward to (happy happy joy joy).
I think that's it (my energy is severely ebbed today). But at least I can feel a bit better about myself. This blog has about 560 followers and is read roughly 70-80 times a week. Not exactly Google, but good enough for me. I feel guilty when I don't add anything new.
Special thanks to the person who found my site by searching 'video horror dan sexy'. I hope you found all you wanted and more!
Till next time...
(Special thoughts going out to fellow writer W D Prescott, who is currently in hospital with severe health problems, We hope to see you on your feet and tapping away at a new short story soon, my friend)
Friday, January 01, 2010He gets his forehead from me...
HAPPY NEW YEAR
I feel cheated. Really cheated.
We didn't go out to celebrate New Years last night as 1, we have three children, and 2, can't be doing with drunken arseholes. So we did what I've done for the past ten years or so: got in pizza, beers and movies. The pizza was great, the movies were good and I had...one beer. Yup, just the one.
Then why I am I so exhausted this morning? I'm sat at the desk yawning with a coffee in my hand, searching for a couple of matchsticks to prop my eyelids open as I write the first blog of the year. I'm cheated. I feel like I've partied hard. I didn't get to earn this tiredness!
I remember last New Years very well, so it's great to see what's gone on between then and now. What a year it's been...
LIFE. OH LIFE OO-OH LIFE. OH LIFE. LIFE. OH LIFE. OO-OH LIFE...AND SO FORTH.
Always hated that song.
Three major, life-changing events took place for me in 2009. I emigrated from England to Australia back in February to be with my partner full time. In almost a year, we haven't had a crossed word once (well, we have, but never raised voices. In fact, it always becomes a surreal farce...). We're nice and settled in the south west and despite some tough times (mostly administrative...which led to financial) we're doing great. I'm confident that the move was the right choice, despite missing my family and friends back in Blighty.
We also have that cheeky chappy in my hands there, our first child together, Tobin Ian Russell. It was a roller coaster pregnancy, but thankfully all turned out perfect in the end. He'll be two months old tomorrow, and despite the sleepless nights and the less time to write, I love him to pieces. Hopefully I can make him proud and be a good father as he grows up.
Finally, after a few years working for law firms (Calculus conmen and sweet sweet Stephensons) 2009 saw me return to the career I'm actually trained in. Yes, after a few years off, I'm back in the classroom! Following a nightmare of paperwork that took up most the year to get sorted, my degree was finally recognised in Australia, and I started to teach in the small Bridgetown High School, overlooking the scenic valley. Very nice. And the kids aren't too bad. I haven't seen one knife or any spitting. Yay! Still, not as much work as I'd like (we want a bigger house now that we have Tobin) but we have a plan for 2010...sell the other two kids! Bwahaha! Can you buy a house with a couple of camels as a downpayment?
I once told Amity I was going to sell her for camels. She smiled, ran to mum and exclaimed: 'We're getting camels!' She had the hump for a week when it didn't happen (drum fill). Another true story. Manji Towers, a new sitcom coming to GWN...
HOW MUCH WRITING CAN YOU DO IN A YEAR?
Lots, if it's 2009.
A record amount of sales and words on page for me this year. A novella, now titled Come Into Darkness, was completed and sold to Skullvines Press for release next...hang on...THIS year. I've also got a brand new novel about 85% completed (and I aim to get this finished in the next 2-3 weeks). There's been lots of short stories written, more so specifically for themed anthologies. Here's 2009 successes:
Prosthetics (2009) Malpractice: Anthology of Bedside Terror
By the Banks of the Nabarra (2009) Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine
Night of the Anals (2009) Tabloid Terrors 3 from Skullvines Press
A Picture Tells (2009) Tales From the Cauldron from Library of Horror Press
Living Haunts (2009) Midnight Echoes 3
Feakishly Picky - poetry (2009) Bandersnatch Publications
Weary Walls - poetry (2009) Bandersnatch Publications
Stitches - poetry (2009) Fear and Trembling MagazineNovember Vapours - poetry (2009) Bandersnatch Publications
Yes, POETRY! First time I've ever attempted poetry and already I've chalked up 4 pro sales. Something else I aim to pursue in 2010.
Am I missing anything out? Of course! Necrotic Tissue!
2009 saw me get the gig of associate editor at Necrotic Tissue horror magazine, and despite the hard work and at times late nights, it's an honour to work for such a publication. Submissions are open again this month! We expect to see a record number of submissions in the next 30 days. I'm thinking of writing a screenplay called '30 Days of Slush', where a small group of Necrotic Tissue editors are stranded in a desolate Alaskan town and everywhere they turn, submissions leap upon them, sinking their staples deep and sucking out our time, patience and respect for fellow writers...
Only kidding! ;-)
Oh, and please vote for us in the Preditors and Editors poll: http://www.critters.org/predpoll/fictionzine.shtml. You just need to provide an email address to confirm your vote. PLEEEEEASE VOTE! Last year, NT tied in 6th place with Australian childrens' magazine Cherububble, and R. Scott McCoy has had to put with unicorn related barbs ever since. Vote to save his soul! www.necrotictissue.com.
Stygian, the publisher behind NT, has also picked up my novel Samhane for release this year...in paperback! Thank you so much to the people who bought, read and commented on the ebook version, especially those that left feedback on www.goodreads.com. I hope you'll stay with me. I love my fanbase. It's so small I know people's individual names. Ah, such a personal level rarely seen from a published novelist!
And while I'm doing thanks: Thank you to the readers who regularly stop by this blog and for those that take the time to send me a message telling me they enjoy it. It means a great deal to me. Apart from the last message I got, which was from 'Busty Escorts'. That was just weird... (true story! It's here in the blog comments somewhere. Do I come across as needing a Busty Escort? Be honest...)
BOOKS OF 2009
My top 10 reads. They weren't all released this year, just ones I got my bassist fingers on.
1. The Kult by Shaun Jeffrey
2. FEAST by R. Scott McCoy
3. The Association by Bentley Little
4. Ritual by Graham Masterton
3. Naomi by Douglas Clegg
6. Duma Key by Stephen King
7. Mama's Boys and Other Dark Tales by Fran Friel
8. Offseason by Jack Ketchum
9. The Talisman by King and Straub
10. Hellbound Hearts by various
Don't agree? I see what you're up to...
I think, for now, that's about it. I'm still very, very tired and the coffee did nothing. I've promised the family a full English for breakfast too, so I better load up on the caffeine and get gone. Happy New Year, everyone!
PS - Anyone else got a Wii Fit? We got one for the family for Christmas, and it's been a lot of fun. However, it says I'm overweight. I'm officially overweight. Too much writing, not enough exercise? When it gives me a fitness age, my Mii becomes a skeleton. A fat skeleton. Is this good? Enquiring minds want to know. I have no idea why I've put weight on. Anyway, time to cook this breakfast. See you sooooon!