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Daniel I Russell - Writer of Horror Fiction


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Saturday, August 14, 2010

BEHOLD! MANJI TOWERS DOTH FALL!


Yes, as followers of the blog will be aware, we are moving, thus I haven't the time to go into depth this week. In addition, my internet access will be sketchy for a while.

So to tide you guys over for the next...well, ten minutes anyway in my online absence, here's a wonderful picture from Festive Fear: Global Edition, which is available on preorder now from www.tasmaniacpublications.com. It's from my featured story, It Comes But Once a Year, and is drawn by the enviously talented Andrew J McKiernan. Check out his site to see his other great works at www.andrewjmckiernan.com.

And as promised on Facebook, here's some free flash fiction. I suck majorly at writing sci fi, so always have to blend some horror in there. My sci fi horror still sucks, but a little bit less.

Anyway, it's one for you Australian veterans...in the future...


IRONMAN



Times may change, but tradition can span the centuries and light years.

Joshua stood on the jetty, the wooden planks warm beneath his bare feet. He breathed the salty air deeply, slowing his heart and focusing his mind. His gaze lingered on the glistening water of the ocean, which reflected the light of Second Sun and the pink tinge of the passing afternoon moon, Parsec V. It consumed most of the cloudless sky, silent, an observing God.

Joshua stared at the moon. It had seen his father win, and his father before him. His bloodline bred winners all the way back to the exodus of Earth following the Third Great War. He was determined to carry on that tradition.

Beside him, one of the other competitors huffed and stretched.

“Not long now,” he said. “Good luck, mate.”

Joshua nodded back. “Yeah. Good luck.”

At the head of the jetty, the starter raised his gun.

“Gentlemen. On your marks…get set…go!”

The gun fired, and the crowds gathered on the beach cheered.

Joshua dove into the ocean; the chill of the water penetrating his taut muscles. Breaking the surface, he pushed for a better position among the main pack.

The 100th Ironman completion of planet 44-78CX was on.

With every raise of the head for breath, Joshua glanced ahead. Kilpatrick, number 61, was already in the lead. A rival from a lifeguard station in the Southern Quadrant, he’d been talking trash about the people’s favourite for weeks. Joshua intended him to eat his words when he brought the title home.

It’s tradition, he thought, any distraction from the lactic burn welcome. Tradition will go on.

Hovering inches above the water, spherical camera units darted between the swimmers, capturing their pain and concentration and broadcasting to the entire planet.

Joshua heard the low hum of a unit close by and wondered if his girl was watching.

Stroke, stroke, stroke. Breath. Stroke, stroke, stroke. Breath, glance.

Kilpatrick had increased his lead. Joshua prayed he’d peak too early and burn out.

Long way to go. A long, long way to go.

Stroke, stroke, stroke. Breath…

A scream blasted across the water, and within moments, the ocean became a turmoil of thrashing bodies and cries.

Joshua ignored the chaos and ploughed on, driving hard, concentrating on the prize. Rivals swam backwards, screaming for help and waving to the boats that floated at the race borders.

A champion, an Ironman, must rise where others fall.

Sirens blared, and electronic voices boomed from the beach, ordering competitors to get out of the water. This is not a drill. Get out of the water immediately.

Doubt nibbled at Joshua’s concrete resolve.

This could only mean one thing, he realized, finally slowing his strokes.

The Government, over a century ago, had not only emigrated the entire Australian population to the distant planet, but also the native wildlife…including the sharks.

Joshua slowed to a stop and opened his eyes.

Around him, crimson danced in the waves like spilled ink, and floating on the surface: a swimming cap. Number 61. Kilpatrick.

Kicking out of the cloud of blood, Joshua headed for clearer waters.

More screams rang out from the beach. The Ironmen swam and splashed and panicked. The race forgotten, they continued to wave at the boats, shouting.

The ocean shifted, like an underwater earthquake had pulsed.

Joshua felt the sudden vibration through the water.

The closest competitor bucked and began to shriek. A Jacuzzi of blood erupted about him, and the doomed soul shot down out of sight, the ocean silencing his pain.

Joshua tread water, searching for a fin, a shadow, any sign of the man-eating fish.

Something else had invaded the waters of the Western Quadrant.

It slid from the beneath the waves, a tower of silver that dazzled in the intense sun. Seaweed clung to it in places, revealing the hinges and connections of the giant needle.

Joshua flipped over and kicked into a backstroke, all the time watching the mechanism unfold.

Thin limbs snapped from the main body, their multi-jointed lengths ending in metal claws. One shot into the sea and plucked out another unlucky contender. It lifted the screaming man into the air.

This can’t be, thought Joshua. They told us we were safe!

Fifty feet above the sea, the trapped man, in trunks and a swimming cap, pushed against the tight hold, pain etched on his face. The machine effortlessly snipped him in two, and both halves, still convulsing and trailing dark innards, fell and splashed into the sea.

With yet more arms snapping free from the thing, the fatal claws pulled the terrified men from the water one after the other. Most were cut, quickly and efficiently, while others slipped free and plummeted into the diluted gore beneath.

Atop the mechanical tower, a flat head clunked out, driven by a pressurised hiss. Searchlight eyes flickered into life and scanned the water. A white flag was painted on its forehead, the red dot at the centre burning like a third eye. Old allegiances died hard, it seemed.

Each nation had deserted war-torn Earth to their own assigned planets, with the conflicting nations separated by the length of the galaxy. Times may change, but it tradition really did span the centuries and light years.

The Fourth Great War had arrived.

A rocket shot forth from the mechanism’s shoulder, decimating a section of beach. Bits of spectators fell like confetti.

Seen enough, Joshua turned in the water and pumped his arms and legs, aiming for the jetty. Some of the other swimmers had the same idea.

The machine lumbered after them in great steps, camera units buzzing around it.

Joshua dug deep and pushed on, even as the competitor ahead of him was snatched up, dripping and screaming, and carried to his death.

The real race was on.

With a grinding of gears and a squeal of metal, the Ironman pursued.

(C) Daniel I. Russell, daniel-i-russell.blogspot.com and danielirussell.com. That's a lot of me right there.

Oh, and I realise that this is still in standard manuscript format (underlines, etc). If anyone has any extra time for me to fix such things, please send some over.


Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 5:56 am :: 0 comments

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Sunday, August 01, 2010

Titles that make no sense, said the pineapple


FEAST OR FAMINE

Things have been to and fro over the last 18 months. Previously, as a relief teacher, there have been long stretches without work, and this has allowed me to concentrate on my writing career. The short story sales came thick and fast, and a new novel and novella were written. The extra time was also handy to settle into the role of a new father.

Now, with being permanent and heading up the science department at the high school, time has just evaporated. Apart from teaching a very full time table (science, phys ed, photography and computer programming) I'm also in the middle of doing the department budget and working on the science/sustainability links. By the time I get home (including the half hour drive) it's about 5pm. After eating and spending time with the kids, I'm kinda beat, and find it hard to get the motivation to sit for further hours in front of the computer to write. My free time has been geared more to reading the recent batch of submissions. As I've said before, if I've agreed to do something for someone else, this always comes before my own writing career.

So this is my official announcement. I'm retiring from writing.

For another week.

For we are now in the month of August! Submissions are closed! In a week some missing teachers (don't worry, they're just on holiday. They're not wandering the bush, cold and hungry, like that idiot, money grabbing cockney boy) will return, easing up my timetable. I may be able to write again. Good news for my readers, as the four of you were getting a bit nervous.

Ah...but will I be writing next week? There's also more news, which I will get too...

YOU BETTER WATCH OUT...AS IT'S UP FOR PREORDER!

Festive Fear: Global Edition, is now officially available for preorder at www.tasmaniacpublications.com:

Gift bearers

Christopher Conlon
Steve Cameron
Paul Kane
Tim Curran
B. Michael Radburn
Ellen Shaw
Wayne C Rogers
Scott Tyson
GNBraun

Matthew R. Davis
Adrian Chamberlin
Daniel I Russell

Alison J Littlewood

Lee Thompson & Tom Piccirilli

Cover art by Daniele Serra

Internal illustrations by Andrew McKiernan

As with as with all releases from Tasmaniac Publications, copies will be limited, this one to 200 copies, and it WILL sell out. Move fast, preorder now. No money down!


NEW DIGS

With great power comes great responsibility, and with great responsibility (ie, heading up the science dept) comes great financial rewards, and with great financial rewards comes a bigger house.

Yes, it's a sad day for Manji Towers. The towers are due to topple in two weeks. The stonework will crumble, and the moat will boil away. The turrets will become dust to ride the barren winds.

Unfortunately, the dragon that lives in the dungeon is coming with us...and she'll be going to a new school to boot!

We're leaving Manjimup and moving all of 35km up the road to Bridgetown, where I work. Muchos petrol saving, time reclaimed (possibly for writing, eh? Eh?) and a new (and we hope better) school for the children. Our baby is now 9 months old and will finally get his own room. AND I GET MY OFFICE BACK! Never since leaving the UK have I had my own man cave, and it will be nice to have a hole once again I can crawl inside (away from Ice Age 3 which plays on a BASTARD LOOP in this house) to get some words down.

And what's that in the pic? That's the entertainment area out the back. There shall be many beers and barbies consumed out there in the coming months. Plus there's a hammock. A hammock! Imagine lying in there in the school holidays with a coffee and a Leisure paperback. Heaven.

I'll post more pics when we move. The view across the valley is amazing.

Now for another day of boxing, as in putting things in boxes. But with the amount of right hooks thrown by my better half, I'm kinda wondering...

DID IT MOVE ITS HEAD FROM THE CORNER OF MY EYE?

Bah! I've placed the picture in the wrong place, but you'll get the gist.

One of my recent story sales (and they're slowing down because I'm running out! Need to write some more. Think I've got about three decent ideas brewing) has been to an Australian publisher, but this one is a little different.

Devil Dolls and Duplicates in Australian Horror Fiction is a reprint anthology of Australian horror stories with emphasis on dolls, dummies, mannequins and doppelgangers. My story Tricks, Mischief and Mayhem has been selected, and I'm looking forward to this one. As a reprint anthology, some of the stories are going way back, so there will be a good mix of styles.

My story, although technically not seen print yet, was accepted for the German anthology WICKED (as Streiche, Unfug und Chaos) so qualified.

Tricks, Mischief and Mayhem follows a young girl, Serenity, and her new age family as they visit a traveling fairground. Guilted into playing one of the sideshow games, her father wins a giant teddy bear from a suspicious pair of clowns. That night, something will stalk the rooms of their remote house, bring death and pain. But something even worse will be waiting for it...

News to follow on the release date of this one.


SAMHANE VON DANIEL I RUSSELL

Neu in Deuschland, Österreich und der Schweiz! Reservieren Sie sich jetzt schon Ihr Exemplar!

Or, new in Germany, Austria and Switzerland! Reserve your copy now!

As the German edition of Samhane nears completion, it has now sprung up on a lot (we lost count) of German book sites for preorder, notably www.amazon.de. Priced at around 14.90 Euro, the book is now available for preorder.

Okay folks, I'm spent for the week. There will probably be a delay once again in the next blog post, as the next few weeks will be spent doing the usual teacher thing, moving and preparing for the imminent Necrotic Tissue editorial meeting in a few weeks. So have a good one, keep reading and I'll see you in the rubble of Manji Towers!

Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 8:48 am :: 0 comments

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