Thursday, October 10, 2013

ICP4 S1.E01.5

The beginning: S1.E01.1



It was hot, and she was alone. Her voice wouldn't rise to call out, though she wanted desperately to scream out Marduk's or Eveline's names, and when she tried to work her jaw to make words, it felt like she was chewing around a piece of metal. Like an elderly woman, she hunched forward and leaned against the wall, shaking. Stepping over glass that cut painlessly into her feet, she hobbled out of the bathroom, and dragging her scalp over the wall left thin lines of blood as she went. Occasionally she paused to let lightning dance through her spine, but these fits passed, and she walked on.

She was in Marduk's house, wasn't she? She was. The bedroom she stepped into – a guest room towards the back of the house – was not out of order. The bed's gray sheets were flat and unwrinkled, the white carpet was immaculate, and even the silver statuette of a bull that set on the glass-topped shelf near the window sat undisturbed, frozen in a pose with its gaze turned over its shoulder, towards the window. The statuette gazed west.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

About the Author

K.J. russell is an author of science fiction, fantasy and horror, based in Houston. He has a BA from the University of Houston and works as a teacher, editor, and speaker in Houston's literary community. He is proud of his work with the Writespace studio, where he has lead workshops and helps with annual festivals that draw writers from all over the country. In the past, he has been the elected Director of Publications for the Houston Writers Guild, and he regularly attends Houston's massive Comicpalooza con as a panelist and moderator. His debut novella, Absolute Tenacity, was published in 2014, followed by another novella, Atargatis, in 2015. His first full novel, The Dusty Man, was released that same year.

Praise for K.J. Russell's work

"Absolute Tenacity, held my interest and attention to become my all-time, best non-stop read. His scenes filled my mind with images and colors I’ve not experienced in print since Al Feldstein’s graphic artwork in Tales from the Crypt."
- E. L. Russell, author of the Evolutis Rising series

"[Absolute Tenacity is] a shattering view of the potential of love and hate, of fear and joy, and of every emotion betwixt and between not only to drive actions but to fuel them, in this tale of an epic family battle across worlds, across solar systems, and across time."
-Pamela Fagan Hutchins, author of the Katie and Annalise series

"K.J. Russell excels in creating the kind of fantastic worlds you just love to lose yourself in. Wonderful stuff."

-D.L. Young, author of the Dark Republic series

"The story is so enthralling, and the characters are so magnetic, that you can't put it down until you're done." 
-Mel Algood, author of Blood on the Potomac

"[The Dusty Man is] an action-packed post-apocalyptic sci-fantasy in the ruins of demon-haunted Korea. If you like fast-moving fiction that transcends genre boundaries and isn't afraid to ask the big questions, you're going to love this book."
-John D. Payne, author of The Crown and the Dragon

Thursday, July 18, 2013

ICP4: S1.E01.4

The beginning: S1.E01.1



Monument had taken one of the vans and driven the coward's route: away. He didn't try to pretend what he was doing was in any way courageous, because it was the opposite. It was wise. Some hundred or so meters outside of Famine's lethal aura, his comfort and the tires of the van were still intact. These things had value. Inside the van, outside the searing snow-turned-rain, he watched through the open side door and felt the balmy winter night on his face. The red light from burning men was glowing against his white body armor, turning its polished surface orange. He supposed his pallid face, his pale eyes, were taking on the color of death as well, as its air washed over him. The death slipped past him like warm oil, though, glistening and polishing but not burdening him. He had no weapon; he would not need it. As long as Monument did not give attention to Famine, he would be left alone. That was the rule that Famine had lay down decades past. It was his mercy.

Men like Foundation did not accept that mercy, though. They could not. It was mathematical, a predictable, common equation and at its end was the very refusal of peace. Famine's objective was quite a bit distant, if Monument's calculations regarding Marduk were any hint, so it would be easy to stay uninvolved. But while Monument sat aside, he had to wonder what was going to happen to Project Four in the future if its leader, the man called Foundation, got himself so uselessly killed?

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Company of Other Writers

For the longest time I've been territorial around other writers, and I don't know where I got that from. I guess it had something to do with that I know how much luck goes into being successful, or maybe I'm just easily put off by the notion that seemingly everyone thinks they're a writer. Or I want to be better than them and this leads to hostility. I don't know.

However! I recently took a Fiction Workshop class at the University of Colorado, and it was the best thing I could've done for myself as a writer. I produced four really solid short stories during that class from prompts that I initially thought would produce nothing, and they were made stronger by the requirement that i hand them off to other writers for critique. Talking to my professor and classmates led me to belief that I'd lucked into an extraordinary workshop, since every person in that class was very serious about their writing and open to critique, an that isn't usually the case. The discussions we had in over stories were truly enlightening, and the entire experience was just something I'd call empowering. See, cause I write strange stories and am not always sure that they are coherent, but the stories I read in that workshop were way stranger and way more awesome, so I decided to just embrace my oddity and in so doing produced what I think is some of my best work.

It also helped that I felt comfortable handing unfinished work to the other writers in the workshop, knowing that what I had written so far was just a nonsensical blob of strangeness. I gave them something that made no sense, and they gave me feedback on which parts of it made the least sense, so I expanded on those parts and made them non-nonsensical. In this way I turned two very neat but very pointless stories into fun shorts that are just so /me/ that...

Oh, hey, yeah! I found a writing identity that feels good, and grew confident in it, and produced a decent body of work in it. All of this in a few short months, thanks to a great group of writers.

Soon I'll be relocating to Texas. I'm going to Houston to pursue a Creative Writing degree, to settle into a long-term home and get a long-term job, and I'm getting married, too. One of the first things I'm going to do once I'm there is seek out the company of other writers, hopefully some who write science fiction and fantasy and can appreciate my flavor of gruesome near-horror. As much as I appreciate having someone to look over my own stories, I've also learned to enjoy critiquing the stories of others, and it's exciting to see someone polishing and revising something they wrote that I already like, and see it getting better and better every time.Being territorial around other writers is a really dumb thing for me to have ever done. I believe now that my fellow human is my greatest resource, and am now resolved to appreciate every writer I meet and maintain those connections.