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Daniel I Russell - Writer of Horror Fiction


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Friday, November 26, 2010

Samhane, Festive Fear and Ghost Writer Publications

*Author note: I must apologise to those with bad eye sight. No matter what I do to change the font size, blogger is making it small when I publish. You might have to use your inbuilt zoom function (ie, move closer to the screen).


The school reports have been written (but I could've tried harder and shown more determination) and after I spend this weekend marking chemistry coursework, I'm pretty much done for the year. Two weeks of fun projects and a couple of days on the dvd wagon and I'm finished.

Might be able to consider myself a writer again.

On the writing front, SAMHANE is now on preorder. Thank you to those who have got in early and already ordered their copies.

We received a very nice review from SHROUD MAGAZINE :

Samhane: the Gaelic festival celebrating the end of summer and the harvest, most often associated in modern times with Halloween. Or an unnoticed little burb that has been slowly descending into total batshitville for the past couple centuries.

We are gifted here with the twin tales of Donald, a fledgling writer whose new-used laptop holds a file that drags him off the grid into an underground organization specializing in torture for the amusement of paid subscribers, and Brian, a professional monster hunter who has found that the simple ghoul squishing he has been hired to do is a bit moreā€¦complicated. Now, Donald's wife and best friend have been brutally murdered and Brian's son, his only real reason for living, has been carried off by the world's filthiest clown.

Most people are satisfied with sticking to one type of monster, be it vampire, werewolf or centuries old mummified cucumber, but Daniel I. Russell is definitely not most people. Within the first quarter of the book, you see a serial killer, a forest ghoul, what may be a were-blob and a giant centipede, and that is before you get to meet the evils of a corporation, genetic engineering, biomechanics and a bad ass iridescent god of chaos. This variety works against the story as much as for it early on, with a first half that feels too fractured to be part of a coherent whole. But, if you stick it out, Danny boy brings it all together into a neatly sutured beast that satisfies quite nicely.

I'm particularly impressed with his ability and willingness to walk the line of acceptability. Without diving face first into full Hardcore mode, Russell does away with the usual expected sense of safety. No character, no matter how nice or seemingly important is completely safe, but the bleeding isn't egregious. Also, as much as he does love the ultraviolence and gore (my, oh my does it get wet within these pages, dear friends), he also shows a remarkable amount of restraint and willingness to allow implication to work on its own. It's a tricky balancing act that he pulls off with panache.

Speaking of implications, there is something in the ending that goes completely unspoken but carries marvelously chilling possibilities. I can't say it. Musn't say it. To speak such things would ruinā€¦

I'll shut up right now before I do.


The original review can be found here .

If the review has tickled your fancy, feel free to click here for purchasing information.


In other book news, Festive Fear Global Edition is currently in the mail, ready to provide some...well, festive fear ready for Christmas! Again, if you snoozed you losed (appalling word use for a writer, yes?) as these babies are now very hard to come by and have sold out.

The world blog tour has me stuck in Canada. The itinerary seems to have gone out the window, probably due to my current teacher workload. But it shall continue! This weekend shall be spent writing up a blog to help writers choose a publisher. You don't want to pick a dodgy set up, and there's ways to spot an arsehole.

And speaking of arseholes, it's good to see that more and more writers are leaving the doomed Ghost Writer Publications.

For those who don't know my brief stint with NJ and his publishing house, I followed a few good writers and submitted to Ghost Writer Publications in the very early days (hell, I was even still living in the UK). GWP was due to rerelease my thriller-novella Shutterbug in print, and they also wanted a monster themed story at around 12k words. A cover for Shutterbug was drawn up, including a blurb from horror legend Guy N. Smith, which was, of course, made up by Mr. Jackson. I then saw more and more writer's books being pushed ahead of mine. While incredibly frustrating, I had to agree with the logic (and that was very, very wrong). I also saw release dates being missed by months and other writers leaving.

GWP had my short story, which had now reached 14K. I was asked to cut it down to around 2K and still keep everything in, as 14K was 'unpublishable'. This would be like packing the entire plot of a 2 hour movie into a few minutes. I obviously said that no, this couldn't be done. A few more short stories of mine were read and another selected. Again the request came to chop it down to 2K. Reasoning was that readers don't want characterisation, just action. We met halfway and the story, Belvedere's House, appeared in the anthology Creature Feature.

Or did it? I have no idea as I have never seen a copy. Nor a penny in royalties. Thankfully the story was a sneaky reprint that I'd already been paid for as it had appeared in Afterburn SF several years ago.

As for the unpublishable 14K story? Click here and check out issue 43. Yes, it IS the cover story!

So to those writers who have left GWP, join the club of disgruntled, yet relieved writers. If you haven't...

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