Welcome to the Site!

As soon as my novels became available on Kindle Unlimited, there’s been lots more traffic on the website here, which tends to be behind the times. Writing time keeps getting spent on fiction instead.

So if you are visiting for the first time: Hi!  Expect irregular postings when the mood strikes, and some really excellent contributions from other authors. I only post items from the people I love to read, so consider their inclusion here a wholehearted endorsement.

Follow me here on Facebook for new releases and updates to the upcoming convention schedule. Here’s all the other nastiness available on Amazon for your reading pleasure, including some sci-fi benefit anthologies.

Hope to hear from you soon.

 

-Russell James

The Glamorous Writing Life

Here’s a guest post by horror author and friend Hunter Shea, giving everyone a little insight into the real writing world.

Writing horror is the most glamorous job in the world. I mean, I’m surprised I didn’t do this sooner. And why isn’t everyone else trying to get in the door? 

I say this as I write at my kitchen table. My oldest cat is eating at my feet and the smell of her Fancy Feast is nauseating, to say the least. There’s so much stuff on the table that I barely have room for my laptop. A wedge of Irish soda bread is at one elbow, a bag of Bear Naked granola at the other. My wife just did the laundry and the indoor rack is at my back. If I slide back in my chair too fast, all those clean clothes are flopping on the floor.

I’m at the kitchen table because my desk is swamped under holiday boxes and bags that need to be brought to storage. My perfectly crafted little writing corner is MIA.

The day job kept me busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger, so I have a headache and flagging energy. In a few minutes, I have to pick up dinner (we’re eating out tonight!) across town. After we eat, I have to help my daughter with her homework, and feed the other cat who was too lazy to get up earlier. We’re having a family night tonight, so we’ll either attempt the Big Bang Theory game we got for Christmas (thanks sis) or find something On-Demand to watch together. I may or may not have time to get in a few pages on my novella before my brain shuts down. And I can’t sleep without reading. Tonight, I’m working on the second half of fellow Samhainer Glenn Rolfe’s book, Abram’s Bridge.

And tomorrow? Wash, rinse repeat. Though I do plan to spend some quality time on my book. That will be my time to indulge my id and rage against the world.

When Island of the Forbidden was released, I celebrated by going to work, taking care of the sick members of my family and spending more time than usual on social media. I think I also went to the store to get cold meds and tissues. And I also steam cleaned the living room carpet. That, my friends, is a productive day.

Yes, it’s all Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous at the Shea abode. I even believe we may have some faux caviar cat food and apple cider in those fancy champagne bottles you get at the supermarket.

And you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing. I never had grand dreams of becoming the next Stephen King sitting atop piles of money I couldn’t spend in several lifetimes. I just wanted to write stories. Somewhere along the line, the editor of my dreams liked one of those stories, and here I am. I don’t want a fancy cocktail party in New York City when one of my books is released, sycophants circling me like sharks while I scratch at the discomfort of my rental tux. Give me a quiet night with the family, sharing stories over dinner while the cats circle our legs, waiting to be fed. Or, if you want to go big, we can gather some close friends at a dive bar, drink cold bottles of Lone Star and laugh until our voices are raw.

That’s glamour to me. Thank God I get to keep writing, all thanks to folks like you, those precious readers of horror.

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Grab Hunter’s excellent Island of the Forbidden on Amazon or anywhere books by the mentally twisted are sold.

Back in Black-Horror Resurgent

muscle car trio

1970 was a golden year for what are called “pony cars.” Mustangs, Camaros and Challengers ruled the road with big motors and rumbling exhausts. Insurance costs, emission regs and gas prices did all that in. But while driving today, in the course of under a minute I passed a Mustang, a Camaro and a Challenger, all new. Each had more horsepower than anything from 1970. I realized I am living through a pony car renaissance.

Horror writing is doing the same thing. Stephen King sparked a horror fire that burned bright for decades until market saturation and quality dilution turned readers to other genres. But this January is an example of horror rekindled as Samhain Horror adds four serious logs to the pyre. I had the chance to read all of them early. What a treat.

Hunter Shea’s Island of the Forbidden

Jessica Backman and Eddie Home are back after surviving Shea’s Sinister Entity. These two can connect with ghosts, Jessica as an attractor and power source, and Eddie as a communicator. They end up on Ormsby Island, where multiple spirits haunt a long abandoned house. A non-stop adventure from start to finish with some very creepy mass haunting scenes and a dynamite finish. Shea delivers every time.

Jonathan Janz’ Nightmare Girl

Contractor Joe Crawford steps up and does that “right thing” we all hope we would do in the same situation. He stops a mother abusing her son in public. From that moment on, Joe’s world starts to unravel as he finds out the depths of crazy the abuser and her family possess. Joe uncovers some awful secrets about the area’s past, and they are all tied to his present, threating him, his business, and his family. As always, Janz has uses some masterful language to pen a spellbinding story, populated by engaging characters and punctuated with sheer terror.

Glenn Rolfe’s Abrams’ Bridge

In Glenn Rolfe’s Samhain debut novella, a boy named Ron discovers the spirit of a murdered girl named Kate under a bridge in town. He sets out to discover her past, solve her murder, and set her free. Little does he know that doing so puts him in danger himself and digs up a past he’d rather not know. Glenn packs a tight storyline and great characters into a small space and delivers a dynamic read.

Russell James’ Dreamwalker

Rounding out the Class of January ’15 is my own Dreamwalker, a novel about a young man, Pete, who can dream himself into an alternate reality. Unfortunately, he can die in both. In our world, he runs afoul of Atlantic City drug lord Jean St. Croix, and in the other reality he is hunted by a voodoo god’s zombies through the ruins of a major city. A girl seems to link both worlds, and he must save her as well as himself. Click on the cover below to read the first few pages on Amazon.

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Horror is definitely back, and biting as hard as ever. Here are four reasons to get in out of the January cold, curl up under a blanket, and get scared.

One Job, Two Brains

I haven’t been writing, and I’m still exhausted. That’s because I’ve been editing.

A note for the up-and-coming writer (because no true writer can ever be said to be “aspiring”), you will be doing both of these. I’ve never heard of anyone who can put words on a page with perfection on the first pass.

When I was a pilot, I remember that there was some ridiculous ratio between flight time and maintenance time for an aircraft. For every fun hour in the air, there were eight or ten dull maintenance hours on the ground, some number like that. Same thing for writing. For every hour you spend scribbling down the first draft, expect to spend several hours massaging the prose into something the rest of the world wants to read.

The two tasks are totally different, one free-flowing and rushed, the other structured by rules of grammar and lengthy. One right brain, one left brain, if that sort of thing is true. People ask me which I like to do better. I like to do them both, as long as I’m not always doing just one forever. After a few weeks of editing, I’m dying to start putting something new on a white piece of paper.

So what’s coming down the pike to you all edited? STILL OUT OF TIME, a collection of time travel stories to benefit Doctors Without Borders, releases in December, DREAMWALKER, a paranormal thriller novel from Samhain Horror arrives in January, and another benefit collection, this one of space sci-fi called CENTAURI STATION should be out in January as well.

Still Out of Time Cover Dreamwalker300  Centauri Station Cover V2

Wow, no wonder I’m exhausted.