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Daniel I Russell - Writer of Horror Fiction

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's a pleasure to write this.

As some of you know, my day job (what? You aren’t a millionaire writer, Dan?) is that of a high school teacher. My degree is in chemistry and physics, but this year I have found myself teaching creative writing exclusively. While the hours are less, I’m enjoying passing on my accrued knowledge on the business, as well as the writing and editing part of the course. Part of the year is to teach the skills of a good short story submission, and of late, we’ve been doing this with writing competitions, both national and interstate. Two of my female students entered a national writing competition just a few weeks back.

Today, I’m greeted with…how can I put it…excited babbling from one of them. She’d received a letter from the competition organisers. While the winners and finalists haven’t been selected yet, some stories have been chosen for publication into a nice hardback anthology.

She was one of them.

This is the first time the student has been published, and at fifteen and via a national competition, I think that’s a fantastic achievement.

But that’s not all…

While trying to get to the bottom of the excited chatter, I felt bad for the other student. There she was, sat at the same table, having entered into the same competition. I didn’t know quite what to say. I wanted to celebrate the publication of one student, but not to the distress of the other.

I was then handed a piece of paper by the student. “Here’s the letter, sir,” she said. “I got one too.”

They BOTH got into the anthology! YES!

After checking the small print to make sure it was legit and the girls weren’t getting swindled by any fees or dodgy agreement over rights, the celebrations began!

It’s part of the business to share our successes as writers, as hopefully that leads to interest and sales, etc. I’ve even had the pleasure of publishing first time writers before in magazines such as Necrotic Tissue and Midnight Echo. All good stuff.

But this is in a league of its own. The winners are announced on the 31st, and due to the bittersweet and beautifully crafted stories the girls produced in class, I await the result with hope, as they certainly stand a chance. But in my opinion, these two are winners no matter the outcome.

Well done, girls!

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Uppers and Downers

While this post is primarily to share exciting news, I’d first like to… I was going to say apologise, but don’t think that’s the right word. My online presence, and I’d go so far as saying my actual presence, has been erratic of late once again. My condition has been pretty balanced over the recent  years but these last few weeks have been a struggle. While I’ve been trying to deal with things a more natural way (burying myself in the latest novel and doing lots of running, cycling, reading and playing music) this week in particular has been a tough one to ride out. I’m aware that things will swing back but until they do I’m just going to have to keep on keeping on.

There. I feel better getting that out.

Now for the good news.

The main development this week is that the proof copy for my novella Critique arrived on Wednesday. This has been out through Dark Continents Publications as a digital book since January and has since garnered some great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and even the almighty Hellnotes. Thank you so so much to readers who have sent me messages about the book. It means a great deal.
The print copy had been discussed for a while and it’s great to finally hold a physical copy in my hands. The book looks fantastic and I’m still proud to say that this is one of my deeper books that has a lot to say.

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This could not have come at a better time, as due to November rolling around once again, it’s almost time for the very successful Blues at Bridgetown music festival, which happens right here at the end of my street! Thousands come to our humble country town during the second weekend in November (and this year it won’t overshadow my birthday!) and enjoy a heady weekend of music , food and drink.

This year, with Critique just out in print and a stack load of The Collector novels on their way from the printer, I’m busting a gut to organise a book signing for the Saturday afternoon. I’ll be set up somewhere (details to follow hopefully) so come and say hello! That is…if you can make it. Hotels are booked up all year round for this massive event.

If you can’t make it and still want a signed copy of Critique, then this might be of interest:

The good folks at Dark Continents Publications and myself currently have an exclusive supply of special edition versions of Critique. These are limited to fifty numbered copies, and customers will receive a signed and personalised dinner invitation (to keep in theme with the book) inside. Again, we only have fifty of these beauties, which  are a mere $6.99 plus postage. Orders MUST be placed  at the Dark Continents website, although the standard edition will be available through most retailers in the coming weeks. If you can’t wait that long, the ebook is available right now.
From the present to the future, and developments are coming along nicely for my third full length novel release, Mother’s Boys, from Blood Bound Books in early 2013.

The line edits have been completed and returned and the next task is to tweak a few story elements and the manuscript will be finalised. Then comes the most exciting – yet anxiety-ridden – part of the publishing process: cover art! Details will be released as they come, and as I can release them!

If you want to sink your teeth into more Blood Bound Books loveliness, might I recommend their forth coming anthology Dead on Arrival 2? This extreme horror book contains tales by such legends as Jack Ketchum, Wrath James White and J. F. Gonzalez…and people who are not legends, like me. The only insight I can give relates to my story Lingers, which follows a lowly telemarketer and his failed relationship with a work colleague. If only he could get some closure and move on…but her damn perfume… The smell won’t leave him alone! For fans of dark humour…and those that like to spot a song lyric!

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The October guest spots are still available, so if you have some horror/supernatural article (reprints welcome!) feel free to send it in and have it appear right here. All inquiries to harlequin-writes@hotmail.co.uk.

Now to watch more people limp past the car. When you get two at once, it’s like a race.

Thanks for stopping by!

Dan (currently at Manjimup Hospital car park)

Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 2:40 pm :: 0 comments

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

In for a penny...

This is all a bit new. Not only have I rarely pitched a book or synopsis, but this is the first time I’m opting to do it in such a public and open manner. Before I get down to business, I humbly ask a moment of indulgence to state my reasoning behind this – what some may consider foolish – endeavor.

I have been writing dark fiction since 2003 and have been chalking up the short story sales since then. I firmly believe that most writers, once they have a few publications under their belts, have the idea of a collection at the back of their minds, and I’d be lying if I say that hasn't been the case with me over the last few years. However, there’s always been something new to write or some publication to edit that’s been on my desk, and the idea of a collection has always been on the back burner.

But now I’m drawing a line in the sand and saying that enough is enough. I have a list of selected published pieces that I would love to appear in a collection, and if I leave it any longer, I’d be leaving out stories that mean a great deal to me, or looking for a publisher to release a monster of a volume.

Why now and why like this? Well, apart from the above, I just feel that the time is right to start the wheels turning on this rather than placing it back on my ‘things that need to eventually get done but end up either not getting done or done years down the line’ pile. I also have personal reasons that are poking me to give this a spin.

Yes, Dan, but if it means that much to you, why not release it yourself?

I might eventually do that, you nagging little inner voice you, but if there’s one thing I LOVE about writing, it’s working with people. Some of my closest friends are editors and/or publishers that I’ve worked with. I also like the idea of making a little scratch for a hard working press. So I thought this general pitch might be the way to go. (To publishers of my previous works: I obviously would love to work with any of you again, as I have a fine set of published novels on my shelf as a testament to your skill and passion for this. But I felt it would be a little…impolite to drop this in your laps! Know where I’m coming from?)

Anyway, let’s wrap this up. Below is the proposed TOC and publication credits. If any publisher is looking to release a new horror collection, shoot me an email:


Malpractice: Tales of Bedside Terror and Zippered Flesh 2
4000 words

Dead on Arrival 2 (Blood Bound Books)
3100 words

Penanggalan! An Aussie Vampire Tale
7300 words

Broken Bough
The Zombie Feed (Apex) and Pseudopod
2500 words

Tricks, Mischief and Mayhem
Wicked (German translation) and Devils, Dolls and Duplicates
6900 words

Sick Things (Comet Press)
4300 words

The Rainchild and the Trickster
Dead West
3400 words

Living Haunts
Midnight Echo
2700 words

By the Banks of the Nabarra
Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine
14,000 words

The Vending Machine
Night to Dawn
1000 words

Weirdly 2
7000 words

The Bell Jar Heart
1000 words

The Blood Pit
The Best of Necrotic Tissue
4900 words

SQ Magazine
4800 words

For Your Entertainment
Watch: The Voyeur Collection
5200 words

10, 000 words

It Comes But Once a Year
Festive Fear 2 (Tasmaniac Publications)
4800 words

Night of the A.N.A.L.s
Tabloid Terrors 3 (KHP Publications)
4400 words

Nobody Messes with Venus
Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine
2400 words

And the following stories that are upcoming, are being considered by a publisher, or are due to be published but have not yet been officially announced.

Disproportioned Love
4600 words

A Picture Tells
5200 words

Brett McBean’s Jungle Trilogy (Tasmaniac Publications)
6300 words

God May Pity All Weak Hearts
7200 words

Seeing the Light
2500 words

Following Orders
Weird War
3600 words

And at the very least, in these days of the traditional model being shook up, this might be an interesting experiment! Thanks for taking a look.


In the week beginning the 15th of October, for the run up to Halloween, I’m looking to host a guest post every day on horror and/or writing. If you want to take over for a day, it’s a first come first served basis. Just shoot me an email on harlequin-writes@hotmail.co.uk with a very brief summary of your post (so I don’t have too much repetition!). Feel free to write about your first story sale to the current state of the fiction market, or the origins of Halloween to which Hellraiser sequel sucketh the most. You’re more than welcome to include links to your site or available books, but remember: this is intended to entertain and enlighten my visitors…not sell sell sell!

This is a very tired Dan signing off.

Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 5:17 pm :: 0 comments

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