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Daniel I Russell - Writer of Horror Fiction


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Thursday, April 28, 2011

So long Ditmars...but thanks for all the blog hits

There were some...discussions following the Ditmar awards this year. I like a good, healthy discussion/debate. Good things can come from them, new avenues can be identified. However, I don't usually like to enter into debates. I'm not the debating type. I tend to go with the 'we can agree to disagree' stance. Other people leap into insults at that point, determined to be the winner, which does nothing but stir up emotion and is detrimental to the point of both sides arguments.

Because I now feel I am part of the Australian spec scene, I was foolish (?) enough to enter an ongoing debate on Facebook regarding the Ditmar winners this year. Here's what I've been saying, and I quote:

"I saw enough politics regarding the Stokers when I was a HWA member many years ago. Every award system has its flaws. With something like this? The possibility to swing votes. With a panel? The fact that the opinions of a few individuals determine what is deemed to be superior. I don't hold much weight in awards, to be honest. Just to have a reader say they enjoyed your work is enough for me (being a 'splatter writer', I know I'm not going to win any awards anyway, regardless to how many readers like my work). Still, all the winners put the work in and congratulations to them, no matter who the publisher may be."


"
Something else I just noticed. Ditmar novel went to Power and Majesty. Nothing against the author, whom I didn't know of until the convention. But this novel is from Harper Voyager and was part of the free books that EVERY con goer received.... This would play a part in swinging those hanging voters. Now small presses and indie authors could no way afford to give out free copies of their novels to all con goers. It's things like this that support my view that award winners are not necessarily more talented writers or better books, more they have a better marketing machine behind them. But then I am a pessimistic arse whose only award ever was 'Best Teeth' in the sexy men competition we had in the office in 2008... There wasn't even an award for best facial hair!"


Okay, hands up I wasn't aware that not everyone received a copy of the book at the convention and the point I was trying to make wasn't put across concisely (again...I rarely participate in debates like this and structuring arguments isn't my strong point. So I tried to clarify:


"
Again, the con bags were great. Books featuring the guests of honour are a fantastic idea, but featuring books that are eligible for awards does invite an opinion of bias. BUT the organisers did a grand job and if publishers want to offer free copies, it's going to be very hard to say no. Rock and hard place."


And that was it.


I DID NOT accuse TPP of bloc voting.
I DID NOT say that ANY of winners didn't deserve it.
I DID SAY that the awards system is flawed...but then again, I feel they all are thus don't have much stock in them.
I DID SAY that some of the things at the convention MAY invite an opinion of bias.

All in all, I think I was quite nice about the whole thing. Or perhaps I just had sour grapes, not winning an award I wasn't even nominated in. Have you read any of my work? I have my loyal following of readers who like the kind of stuff I write, but for it to win an award? That would be like SAW 3D winning the Oscar for Best Picture. An award would be nice (something to show my mum and the kids) but I'm under no aspirations on what it means to win one (ie, it will take my career to the next level). Yes, I posted a Ditmar blog post in the early stages of the awards mentioning the stuff I had in the prelims. I did this once. No lobbying and canvassing after that, save a chat about my ASIM story in the Tin Duck short story category, but that was with the nice lady who accepted it, so I think that's okay.

Thanks for crankynick for including me in a singled out group of 'whining hypocritical fucks' over at his blog http://crankynick.livejournal.com/97109.html. I'm not going to name call. I just wanted to use this blog post to state my points, go down my usual agree to disagree line and thank him for all the blog hits today.

And people say the Video Music Awards can be controversial...

Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 2:15 pm :: 0 comments

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On the road to Swancon





FRIDAY

Thankfully, because I didn’t wreck the new car this week (despite the best efforts of a 2x4 becoming lodged in the under carriage) we were able to drive up to Perth this Easter weekend for Swancon. Swancon is also hosting Natcon, so promises to be a big convention of fantasy, sci fi and horror.

The drive was a surprisingly quick one, with only one hairy moment. The recently built highway, just after it has become the Kwinana Freeway, has a bit like a bridge that goes on for a good way. We chose this spot to pull over and change drivers. You don’t really notice as your zipping along at 110km, but the railings along this bridge are covered in GIANT AUSTRALIAN SPIDERS! I took a photo of one, but it doesn’t do it justice…

We found the hotel first time, which was really weird for us. Our room is on the top floor at the very end of the building. You look out the window expecting to see Pluto, or one of the outer planets. Instead, we have a nice view of the Swan River and the posh people’s pool and tennis courts.

So we laid base and walked the ten minutes down the street to the Hyatt Hotel. First major set back of the day. We headed straight for the bar only to find we had to order a meal to be allowed to buy a drink. This is something that would raise its ugly head a few times, as this was Good Friday, this was the licensing laws on the day! We just thought the guy was being an arse though, as he never mentioned the licensing laws, rather just requested we ordered a meal, in that smug ‘Tim Curry in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York’ kinda way. So no booze for us right away.

We got our badges that allowed us to wander around, cast our award votes and were given a bag full of books, mostly fantasy. We got weird looks when we asked for nasty horror. NOT a good sign! We then headed into the dealer room.

Weird how I managed to buy a few books that I’m actually in and meet the editors! First Russell B. Farr, editor of Red Dead Heart (who offered a very tasty contrib discount!) and the charming Anthony Ferguson, editor of Devils, Dolls and Duplicates who also offered a tasty discount! Hopefully be catching Anthony’s talk tomorrow and grab the man for a drink afterward. We also met a man I dubbed the liar. We were perusing a large range of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and noticed that the issue featuring my story By the Banks of the Nabarra was missing. Some random guy said that it was a rubbish issue, and he should know, he edited it. LIAR! I know the editor, and you, sir, were not the editor.

After buying all these books, we left to return to the hotel to drop them all off to save my aching back. We then had the randomest of meetings as Alan Baxter stepped into the lift. Hopefully see more of him in the next few days.

Now desperate for a drink, we walked into Perth in search of a bar…only to be fully clued into the licensing laws. Deflated, we returned to our hotel once again and found we could drink there! Beers and vodkas later, and back at Swancon, we attended a talk on emotional attachment to videogames that was all right (despite Sherie insisting we sit on the front and then fidgeting all the way through!). We then watched Kaaron Warren’s short film A Positive, after very briefly meeting Pete Kempshall for the first time. Although not as nasty as my tastes, it was good to finally see some blood being spilled! This is a very fantasy based con, with horror seemingly on the fringes. Hopefully this will change tomorrow with the zombie talk, etc. I also couldn’t help but shake the feeling that I’d read something like this before. Indeed I had! The original short story is in the MACABRE anthology! Dumbass points awarded to me and thoroughly deserved. This short film is well worth a look if you can track it down.

After another wander around, we decided to come back to our room, were I watched Due Date, which wasn’t that bad.

So that was day 1 of Swancon for me. Not great, but I got a lot of books, finally met some people I’ve wanted to meet and had a wander around Perth which is always fun. Bring on day 2!

Saturday

One of the best things about being on holiday, especially in a half decent hotel, is the knowledge that, when you wake up, you can get ready and go downstairs for your fully cooked buffet! This was no disappointment and there was also an unexpected bonus (Sherie knows what I’m talking about!). We then headed into the convention, hungry for some horror.

First up was the Oh Zombie, My Zombie panel, which was a great and horror themed way to start the day. On the panel were Robert Hood, Alan Baxter and Jason Nahrung. Well done, guys. The hour went way too quickly! Next, we attended a talk on sex dolls. Now obviously I don’t have a personal interest in sex dolls myself, but as the talk was by Anthony Ferguson, the editor of Devil Dolls and Duplicates in Australian Horror, I wanted to show my support. The talk was interesting and amusing and actually generated a few short story ideas.

There was some reported controversy over this talk. People disagreeing that it any good. My personal opinion was that, yes, the talk was from a heterosexual male point of view and there was scope for other lifestyles’ opinions, etc. But Anthony was lucky to fit the whole thing into an hour. This was a talk, not a debate. I actually approved of Anthony’s way of dealing with these points. He admitted there were other views, and then continued with his prepared talk. Some people were spoiling for an argument and were getting more and more irate that Anthony simply would not rise to it. The majority enjoyed the talk despite all this.

After the morning events Sherie and I headed back along Adelaide Terrace to an Irish bar to meet up with fellow writers Alan Baxter and Pete Kempshall, where the writing world was put to rights over a few beers. Then came the first mistake of the day.

Alan headed off to catch the Ellen Datlow interview, soon followed by Pete. We were hungry, and I wanted more beer, so we decided to stay. A good few beers later, we headed back to the Hyatt.

And what a scene to greet us! The crème de la crème of Australian horror fiction around one tale! We had the honour of meeting Kirstyn McDermott, Jason Nahrung, Robert Hood and Lee and Lyn Battersby. Alan was there too and I also got to play musical chairs (only with trips to the bar) with the charming Rob Hodge. More alcohol was consumed, which culminated in us abducting Robert Hood. Well, it started as a simple question that went on for a bit. Sorry again, Rob! We also met Sean Williams uber sci fi legend and #1 Bestseller of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Funnily enough, Sherie got attacked by a life-sized Star Wars furry monster in the dealer room. She screamed and ran out, and the dealer’s head (who had shaken said monster at her) popped up over the counter and said quietly “I never expected that reaction…”

We walked (or maybe some staggering?) at this point to a curry house on the way to the city centre. Mistake number 2. If you haven’t had curry for a while, and been on the beer for the last seven or so hours, DO NOT order the hottest curry they have! More beers were required to wash down the chicken lava, which arrived in a bucket. Literally. Sherie didn’t fair much better… Peter M Ball and Paul Haines were there too.

Back to our hotel and into my retro punk (if that’s what it was) outfit ready for the masquerade ball. The ball itself was pretty quiet, despite Sean Williams DJing, so again we spent most of the time in the bar. I think that my fellow writers now have a pretty good idea of the tasteless jokes I like to spin. At least a new book publisher may have been born. VagPrawn Press. Look for us at Swancon 2012. (Cheers, Lee!)

Other fleeting memories: Sherie having the pinkest cocktail in the world, watching a guy dressed as Arthur Dent dance to 99 Red Balloons and comparing Jason to a goth ninja. The rest of the night is pretty hazy after that…

Sunday

Bit ropey, but full on cooked buffet again and glasses of apple juice. Room packed, ready to go. Mountains of books taken to the car and we go out to Swancon for the last time.

The morning consisted of Alan Baxter’s workshop on writing fight scenes (summarised in his ebook). If you write horror, fantasy, sci fi or action, I can thoroughly recommend buying this book if you weren’t there for the workshop. This was a highlight of the convention as it has already impacted on my writing (readers of The Collector: Book 4 are treated to a slightly rewritten fight scene). Alan also helped with my hangover with some simple group demonstrations. If Anthony talking about sex dolls for an hour was impressive, then Alan talking about fighting for two hours is incredible. He also told us a story about bicep ligaments detaching…which invoked the same reaction I go for in my torture scenes! Nice work, Alan. Hope sales of the ebook go well.

We returned to the Irish bar for meals so big we couldn’t finish them, including the world’s nicest fish and chips. I do not bestow that honour lightly. A guy also brought in a joey in his bag. Only in Australia.

Next up was Paul Haines’ book launch for The Last Days of Kali Yuga from Brimstone Press. After the night before, it was great to meet Paul properly after being at opposite ends of the curry table. He did an amazing reading, and out of all the books, this is the one I HAD to dip into on the way home.

And that was it! We had to leave then as we had a very sick little boy to come home to. A shame we missed the Ticonderonga Press party and of course the Tin Ducks and Ditmars. I had to read the results via Alan’s Twitter page as I lay in bed with a touch of the flu on Sunday night.

So although we off to a slow start, we had a brilliant Swancon and will definitely be coming back next year…if you’ll have us?















































































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Friday, April 22, 2011

Swancon, going ginger and digital

So...we're currently packing for Swancon (I say we, Sherie is packing and I'm slacking off to write this obviously). Come the masquerade ball on Saturday night, the theme is retro punk/futurism, so who better to go than my red-haired, bowler hat wearing, dimension traveling man in black? That's right, The Collector shall be visiting Perth tomorrow, thankfully without Montgomery, a Megathon or a single Prowler. In fact, this Collector will probably just be hanging out by the bar...

But alas! Disaster strikes! During the hair dying process to turn my regular and boring very dark brown into a spectacular red, something went wrong. Scottish wrong. This Collector is a ginger counterpart of the fictional character. Nothing against ginger haired people, but this isn't true to the book!

Anyhoo, should you be one of the many, many people attending Swancon this year, I look forward to meeting you. I will have very few (as in three, because Book Dep cocked up) copies of Samhane to sign for $15 if anyone's interested. Samhane and By the Banks of the Nabarra are also up for Tin Duck Awards, so get ticking your ballot papers!

I also intend to buy something Star Wars related for my eldest. Do you think there'll be any Jedi's there? Really? They're currently role playing against the Avatar guys?

The Collector ongoing serial has now had a combined 926 reads and it hasn't even been a month yet, and this is just on Smashwords. They're taking a while to appear on B&N, etc. But thank you everyone who has read and enjoyed books 1-3. Still, the reviews and ratings don't reflect the number of downloads, and I'd love you forever just for a star rating and a word or two.

The Collector series, as well as some of my other free ebooks and Roots for $0.99 and Samhane in full for $2.99, are all available from Smashwords on my author page.

Penny Crescent. One street. Three houses. Three families.

Countless disputes.

Physics teacher Frank Harper educates with his fists behind closed doors. Jenny Dean can barely control her wayward teenage sons, and Eleanor McQuire, the old mystic, is happy with her books and visiting grandson.

For one night, the residents of Penny Crescent must put their differences aside. Death is coming.

Some call him the man in black. Others call him the devil. He is The Collector, and the three families have something he wants…

And he’ll go to any length to get it.

From the author of extreme horror novel Samhane comes a twisted foray into the darkness of the soul and the meaning of life.


Book 1 introduced hundreds of readers to the residents of Penny Crescent. In Book 2, something else has found its way to the quiet English suburb...

The grief and longing of the three women has summoned a force, a brief flash of blue fire at the height of the storm.

Phantom smells at the McGuire house. Glimpses of a little bald girl at The Harpers'. Some overdue discipline for the wayward Dean twins.

And the arrival of a mysterious man in black...

From the acclaimed author of Samhane comes the second book of the ongoing free serial.

The Collector: Book 2.


He's here...

The Collector walks Penny Crescent, intent on recovering the force he calls the mana, but surprises lay in store for the mysterious man in black.

Anne Harper has divorce on her mind after Frank's last violent outburst, Eleanor McGuire believes the spirit of her husband is haunting her and the Dean twins' behaviour continues to deteriorate.

The families won't appreciate an inquisitive stranger...but thankfully The Collector can be quite persuasive.

And if that fails, his creatures can always tear them to pieces.

The Collector: Book 3. A contemporary fantasy.


In other news, after some confusion regarding the formatting of Samhane on Kindle (it really was a mess), I got down to a heavy formatting sesh and sorted the whole thing out. Samhane is now BACK on Kindle and looking great!

Dare you read the book reviews have labeled not for the faint-hearted? Available in digital $2.99 and sexy print $14.99 direct from Amazon Kindle.



Donald Patterson travels to Samhane in pursuit of a sadistic murderer and rapist. Unless Donald reaches Orchard House by midnight, his fiancee will be the star of the next torturous broadcast....



Brian Rathbone and his son are already in Samhane, hired by the mayor. Specialist exterminators, their talents have helped to deal with the 'little problems' that have begun to massacre the residents. But as events take a more sinister turn, Brian wonders about the true reason they are there.... 



Blood and carnage. Pain and suffering. Desire and sweet chaos. 



Welcome to Samhane.

Praise for Samhane

"Russell's debut novel SAMHANE really packs a punch. A thrill ride of visceral horror and suspense that steadily builds to a very satisfying conclusion. I enjoyed the hell out of it!"
Gord Rollo, Author of Valley of The Scarecrow and The Jigsaw Man

"My oh my does it get wet within these pages, dear friends." Shroud Magazine.

"Horror lovers rejoice--you're about to be scared...or scarred. Russell's well-crafted nightmares will haunt you long after you've closed the pages of Samhane!" Fran Friel, Bram Stoker Finalist, author of Mama's Boy and Other Dark Tales

"If you enjoy the odd Richard Laymon outing and don't believe that horror begins and ends with Stephen King than dial in, Daniel I. Russell serves up a blood soaked treat for your consumption." Scaryminds

"Samhane was an excellent read!" Tasmaniac Publications

"I truly lapped this book up" Gingernuts of Horror

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Friday, April 08, 2011

Help a guy out...all I want is a little of your time.

I have a favour to ask, but first, the details.

My longer horror/SF/fantasy novel, The Collector, is currently being released as a free online serial over at Smashwords . Part 1 went live Friday before last, and I set myself the rule that Part 2 would NOT be released until Part 1 had reached 200 downloads. I gave myself the ridiculous time frame of 1 week to hit the mark.

We're now 2 weeks after publication and book 1 has had 301 reads and book 2 after 5 days, 149. This is Smashwords only for now.

If you've missed out, and want a completely FREE serial (I give you my word as a gentleman that the finale won't have a bastard's price tag), then head on over to my SMASHWORDS PAGE, where you will find both parts of The Collector, and my other free ebook, FLUFFS, which is nearly at the 2000 downloads mark. Samhane is also on there for a paltry $2.99.
Penny Crescent. One street. Three houses. Three families.

Countless disputes.

Physics teacher Frank Harper educates with his fists behind closed doors. Jenny Dean can barely control her wayward teenage sons, and Eleanor McQuire, the old mystic, is happy with her books and visiting grandson.

For one night, the residents of Penny Crescent must put their differences aside. Death is coming.

Some call him the man in black. Others call him the devil. He is The Collector, and the three families have something he wants…

And he’ll go to any length to get it.

From the author of extreme horror novel Samhane comes a twisted foray into the darkness of the soul and the meaning of life.

Book 1 introduced hundreds of readers to the residents of Penny Crescent. In Book 2, something else has found its way to the quiet English suburb...

The grief and longing of the three women has summoned a force, a brief flash of blue fire at the height of the storm.

Phantom smells at the McGuire house. Glimpses of a little bald girl at The Harpers'. Some overdue discipline for the wayward Dean twins.

And the arrival of a mysterious man in black...

From the acclaimed author of Samhane comes the second book of the ongoing free serial.

The Collector: Book 2.

Now...my favour.

As said, The Collector is 100% free right to the finale of volume 1. All I want is your time. Please, leave a review, leave a rating. The second volume will be an epic one, and one I want to pitch to publishers. If the first volume can prove its popularity with readers...it can only help. I read this week that readers of free works don't feel the obligation to leave feedback. Please, prove this wrong.

Deal not sweet enough? You drive a hard bargain.

If The Collector books attract at least FIFTY comments from different readers, Ten randomly selected readers will receive the Samhane ebook for free. One extra lucky random winner will win a Samhane ebook, Roots ebook and the chance to appear in a new Brian Rathbone (Samhane) story and even pick the creature he's hunting! This is a great chance to see your name in print, as Brian Rathbone stories tend to be snapped up by publishers.

So please, read the free books and at least leave a rating. I'd appreciate it from the bottom of both my vesicles.

Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 7:53 am :: 0 comments

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Sunday, April 03, 2011

Books and booze

Been a while since I blogged. This is down to the craziness of work. My teaching hours have gone up which meant a whole new science class to teach. This resulted in more time planning and marking and less time writing and blogging. On the plus side, it also means more money, resulting in more books and booze.

Today's purchase was the debut by Chris Bowman, A Life on Fire. Chris and I came into contact when he started reading my books available in digital. His book is now out on preorder with a very tasty and unique offer to make your early buy a true collector's edition. Check out his blog here . I'll be posting more on this book closer to the release date.

It's now the start of week 10 in a very long 12 week term. Not only do I have the Easter holidays to look forward to, but also SWANCON! I'm popping my convention cherry by attending at Swancon in Perth during the holidays to finally meet up with some fellow Australian writers, seeing what weird things I can get my hands on, wining and dining copiously and attending the Tin Duck Awards.

The Tin Duck awards are presented to West Australian speculative authors and I'm ecstatic to say that I've finally made it into an Australian award nomination!

Samhane: nominated in the professional long fiction award.

By the Banks of the Nabarra: nominated in the short fiction award.

If anyone is attending Swancon, or is a supporting member, and would like either of the above as a free ebook or pdf, please give me a shout at danielirussell@necrotictissue.com and we'll talk. Even if you like Fantasy or SF! I'm aware that I'm against the odds, being up against some of the bigger boy publishers with my little small press. But you have to love the underdog, yes?

The ballot form can be found here.

"But hang on, Dan. I'm not going to Swancon. Why can't I have something for free?"

You haven't been neglected, my poor victim of uncertain financial times.

My longer horror/SF/fantasy novel, The Collector, is currently being released as a free online serial over at Smashwords . Part 1 went live Friday before last, and I set myself the rule that Part 2 would NOT be released until Part 1 had reached 200 downloads. I gave myself the ridiculous time frame of 1 week to hit the mark. After 4 days...it looked like it might actually happen.

It didn't (lol!) but we had a bloody good go! The 200 mark was finally passed after 9 days, which I don't see as being too shabby at all. I've had great feedback for Part 1, and Part 2 went live a few hours ago.

If you've missed out, and want a completely FREE serial (I give you my word as a gentleman that the finale won't have a bastard's price tag), then head on over to my SMASHWORDS PAGE, where you will find both parts of The Collector, and my other free ebook, FLUFFS, which is nearly at the 1000 downloads mark. Samhane is also on there for a paltry $2.99.
Penny Crescent. One street. Three houses. Three families.

Countless disputes.

Physics teacher Frank Harper educates with his fists behind closed doors. Jenny Dean can barely control her wayward teenage sons, and Eleanor McQuire, the old mystic, is happy with her books and visiting grandson.

For one night, the residents of Penny Crescent must put their differences aside. Death is coming.

Some call him the man in black. Others call him the devil. He is The Collector, and the three families have something he wants…

And he’ll go to any length to get it.

From the author of extreme horror novel Samhane comes a twisted foray into the darkness of the soul and the meaning of life.

Book 1 introduced hundreds of readers to the residents of Penny Crescent. In Book 2, something else has found its way to the quiet English suburb...

The grief and longing of the three women has summoned a force, a brief flash of blue fire at the height of the storm.

Phantom smells at the McGuire house. Glimpses of a little bald girl at The Harpers'. Some overdue discipline for the wayward Dean twins.

And the arrival of a mysterious man in black...

From the acclaimed author of Samhane comes the second book of the ongoing free serial.

The Collector: Book 2.

In other news, I today completed my nonfic essay on zombie media entitled LOOKING DEATH IN THE FACE: A PERSONAL APOCALYPSE. It was good to stretch the old nonfic wings and writing it was a lot of fun. This is due to be a guest blog for the upcoming anthology The Zombie Feed from Apex. I'll post the link when it goes live.

More great reviews from readers are coming in regarding Samhane. Check out my Goodreads page page. Always nice to know my readers are being entertained. Well done to my German publisher, Michael Preissl, whose artwork for Samhane earned him a nomination in the German Vincent Preis Awards. Nice work, Michael!

And before I go, if you haven't had enough of my inane ramblings, be sure to check out my second interview at the Gingernuts of Horror .

See you soon!

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