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Daniel I Russell - Writer of Horror Fiction

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'm not a sick man!

The manly hand belongs to the head of Stygian Publications R. Scott McCoy, and the book? Well, it's the first ever print edition of Samhane! It finally exists in the physical world, and not a moment too soon.

When I first started writing at 24, I promised myself that if I could not hold an edition of one of my books from a legit publisher by the age of 30, I'd carry on. If not, I would quit on my 30th birthday and stop wasting my time. With that day here in under 2 months... (at 15, I loved - and still do - a Veruca Salt song with the emphasis on the line "When I was 25..." that at the time seemed an eternity away. 30 in two months. I mean seriously. Where the hell did THIRTY come from? I'm not mature enough to be THIRTY!) It looked like maybe, I would have to live up to my own promise.

But look! It exists!

This is the ultra-limited, rare, collectors edition review copy. So far 2 top name authors are reading the novel and one popular magazine. Fingers crossed that they like it. With only the layout left, hopefully we should have things ready to go very soon. Details will of course be posted.

It's the first time I've had to truly consider the business side of things. I mean, there's the artist fees, layout fees, ISBN, my advance, review copy fees, etc, etc, etc...and I feel obliged to sell enough copies to at least cover all this.

Plus the publisher said he'd break my legs if I didn't.

Never sign a publishing contract in an underpass.

Only joking! Stygian have been a dream to work with, and everyone we've had on board to work on this has been top notch.

Which brings me to my next bit.

As you may have seen, this blog post is dotted with exceptional pieces of macabre artwork. The artist whose mind these visions were squeezed from is Patrick McWhorter. I first became aware of Patrick via Necrotic Tissue. He did the cover to the April issue, which can be found at the end of this blog post. I love that cover, and when I was asked whether Patrick could be a candidate for the Samhane cover, I was very interested straight away.

As any writer can testify, the cover is a biggy. Never judge a book by it's cover, I'm afraid, is bollocks. I think you could write the best book ever written, but give it a boring cover...it won't help sales. For me, the cover had to be just perfect.

Patrick, Scott and myself had a bit of a discussion over what direction to go. I love the German cover of the clown gazing over townhouses, but I wanted the US version to be completely different to distinguish the two.

I'm afraid I can't show the art just yet, as Patrick is making a few adjustments before he gives it the final sign off. Needless to say I've seen the first three or four drafts and have enjoyed each one more than the last.

If you're intrigued by Patrick's work, take a look at the selected pieces or go visit his website. Here's bit more about him:

Patrick is continually haunted by an endless horde of creatures unseen by human eyes. His only hope is to depict as many of them as possible in his sketches and illustrations, lest he be driven mad by this bubbling brood of blood-frenzied brain-babies. He has also found great joy in working with clients to help give form to creatures from their own imaginations, which they could hithertofore only describe verbally. Patrick has illustrated for both adult horror and children's fantasy - the genre matters not, though he prefers to illustrate the otherworldly. He has a B.F.A. in illustration, however he continues to diligently study his craft, improving at such a steady rate that he is often amazed at how far he has come, when looking bak at work from only a few months ago. Check out his website at www.patrickmcwhorter.com

And more on the art front; I also received the black and white interior illustration for my story Streiche, Unfug und Chaos from the forthcoming German anthology WICKED. I must say, it's the creepiest clown illustration I've ever seen! Great stuff.

Now moving into darker waters, dear friends and readers.

Something's been bothering my writer side these last few weeks. People's personal opinions. No, don't get me wrong, I'm a big boy and can take any criticism regarding my work professionally...it's people's opinions about me BECAUSE of my work.

I write horror. I write nasty, blood soaked, extreme horror. Let's have a look, novel wise:

Samhane - guy is pleasured by one woman while having acid poured on him by another.
Collector - Teenager is liquidised.
Mother's Boys - Fat man has his arms torn off, quickly followed by his intestines.
Come Into Darkness - woman killed by thumbs through her eyes and into brain.
The Forgotten - Chainsaw through the mouth.
Critique - not so much gore in this one, but man are them horrible bits...

There's a little taster of my...erm...art.

But just because I write sick things, it doesn't make me sick. Anyone met a horror writer? We're actually a pretty nice bunch (apart from S.D. Hintz and Jerrod Balzer, but we won't go into that. The flashbacks are too vivid. It's like Jacob's Ladder combined with Human Centipede). I've been told that (regarding horror) "You have to have something wrong with you to want to read that stuff."

Sorry, I disagree.

Stephen King sold his first books while teaching high school, and no one bat an eyelid. Richard Laymon, to my knowledge was allowed in pet shops. Jack Ketchum is allowed near people. Brian Keene doesn't sign books in his own fecal matter. Ed Lee isn't on a special register, nor is Bentley Little. I've spoken to Graham Masterton. He's nice.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to skin some puppies and wear their pelts like a freaky mask, not to make sure my three kids are asleep in their beds and then to watch some Big Bang Theory in bed...

I'm not a sick man, just a normal, boring man with a dark imagination! And if you disagree I'll choke you on your own nerve endings.

Night night! ;-)

Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 7:46 pm :: 0 comments

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