Robert Lowell Russell* is a writer and trophy husband (obviously). He is a SFWA member and a member of the Writeshop and Codex writers' groups. He is a former librarian, a former history grad student, a former semi-professional poker player, and is now pursuing nursing degree (say "ah!").

Rob has also just noticed how outdated and lame his website has become and will be modifying it in the near future.

Update: Check out my NEW website (still in progress) at (it redirects to a wordpress account, but it's nice.

His stories have appeared (or will appear) in Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show, Penumbra, Digital Science Fiction, Daily Science Fiction (thrice!), Stupefying Stories (fice? what's the word for five?), and a whole bunch of other places (see complete list on the right side).

*RLR finds it a bit silly to write about himself in the 3rd person.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Ghost Dance and the Wounded Knee massacre of 1890

During the 19th century, there were a series of conflicts between Native American/American Indian nations and US forces that have been dubbed the "Indian Wars." The final conflict in the Indian Wars is widely regarded as the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre.  The Lakota killed at Wounded Knee were believe to be mostly peaceful followers of the Ghost Dance movement.

The Ghost Dance was a religious movement of sorts. While there was an earlier Ghost Dance, the movement ending in 1890 (or 1891, depending on how you define "end") was based on the visions and teachings of Jack Wilson aka Wovoka.  Unlike the tone of my story, the Ghost Dance was not originally intended to be an apocalyptic event . Wovoka said that if followers performed a certain dance in a certain way, the Earth would be renewed and the dead would rise. Native groups still in conflict with US forces adapted the movement to their own needs. Some suggested that the resulting renewal would in fact wipe whites from the face of the Earth in an apocalyptic event. Some warriors wore "ghost shirts," elaborately decorated shirts that were supposed  to be impervious to bullets.

Federal forces charged with stopping the Ghost Dance movement and forcing the Lakota on to reservations (where there was little food and very poor living conditions) intercepted a few hundred Lakota at a creek called Wounded Knee. On Dec. 29, 1890, US forces attempted to disarm the Lakota. Someone fired a shot and a chaotic "battle" ensued. US forces had arrayed four Hotchkiss guns on hills around the creek. Hotchkiss guns were artillery pieces that were capable of firing explosive shells at a rapid fire with a range of nearly two miles. When the firing started, soldiers opened up with the Hotchkiss guns, sending a stream of what were essentially grenades into the camp, shredding the Lakota as well as the US forces.In the end, somewhere between 150-350 Lakota (many women and children) and 25 troopers were killed (more on both sides were wounded).

When Black Elk lamented the dream that died, I believe he referred to the apparent failure of the Ghost Dance (and the dramatic changes forced on his people). But of course, the Lakota and other Indian nations survive to this day. In the 1973, members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) came once again into armed conflict with US forces (and tribal officials believed to be corrupt) at Wounded Knee. Other groups, such as the National Indian Youth Council fought their own battles (without guns) as well.

While one particular dream may have died, that didn't stop others from dreaming new dreams.

A caveat to this blog post: Much of what I wrote comes from memory of past research, and while I did some brief research to refresh my memory and nail down specific details, it's entirely possible that I've made some errors.  I'll correct any errors as I notice them (or someone points them out).


"Ghost Dancing" now live at Eschatology.

My story, "Ghost Dancing," is now live at Eschatology. Flash fiction doesn't normally come with footnotes, but I added added this comment below the story on the site:

The old man in this story is Black Elk, an actual witness to the Wounded Knee massacre of 1890. He was a Lakota medicine man and when he was much older, he recounted his memories of Wounded Knee to John Neihardt in the classic book, “Black Elk Speaks.” (1932) Black Elk also detailed a number of visions he had as a medicine man. Much as Neihardt took Black Elk’s translated words and chipped away at them to reveal their inner poetry, I’ve taken some of Black Elk’s words out of context and altered them a bit for dramatic effect. The Wounded Knee massacre is widely regarded as the final conflict in the 19th century Indian wars, and I believe Black Elk lamented the failure of the Ghost Dance movement to restore his people and renew the Earth when he said, “A people’s dream died.” (Black Elk himself did not seem vengeful, just sad) But while that particular dream may have died, Black Elk’s people survived.

Flash fiction doesn’t normally come with footnotes, so I’ll end my comments here, but I’m going to stick a bit more about the Ghost Dance and Wounded Knee on my blog.

Robert Lowell Russell

I'm going to post the additional information I mention in a second blog entry.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Online, in print, and now I go AUDIO! Dunesteef to broadcast, "The Question."

I just got word that Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine is going to audiocast my story, "The Question." "The Question" was my first published story, and the version Dunesteef is going to broadcast is an improved version. I cleaned up some of the text, streamlined other parts, and added a few new gags (there's an ostrich!)

This story is one of my favorites, and I'm excited about making it into Dunesteef, one of the premiere audio magazines out there.

I'm not certain when the story will go live, but I'll provide a link when it happens.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Heir Apparent now on Kindle w/ stories from me, Eric James Stone, and...

Digital Science Fiction's 4th anthology, Heir Apparent is now available on Kindle. It includes my story, "Floaters," "A Lincoln in Time," by Eric James Stone, and...
I'm really excited to be included in an anthology with these other great writers.  From what I understand, the anthology will also be available in print in the near future.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Eschatology to publish my story, "Ghost Dancing."

I just received word that Eschatology is going to publish my story, "Ghost Dancing," in their Dec. 7 2011 issue. It's a flash piece and the first in what I hope is a series of short stories to incorporate some of the Native American elements I came across in my former history studies (my novel in progress also incorporates some of these elements).

This is my first sale in a while, and this makes me feel a whole LOT better, since my school work has seriously limited my writing time recently.

And a special thanks to Sylvia Hiven, a fellow Codex member. Eschatology is publishing one of her stories as well, and when I saw the title, I said "hey, I remember critiquing that story!" and took the time to track them down.

I'll put up a more specific link when I have it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's coming! Digital Science Fiction's 4th anthology! w/me!

Digital Science Fiction's 4th anthology is coming soon!

I'm really excited to be included in an anthology with these other AWESOME writers.  My story, "Floaters," is a story I started writing TWENTY years ago (damn, I'm old) and didn't take up again until little over a year ago. I'll probably talk about it a little more once the anthology goes live.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Setting and meeting goals: SFWA membership

A little over a year ago now, I decided to start writing and submitting fiction.  Because it's the kind of person I am, I had a "master plan" for how I was going to get my first novel published. A key part of that plan, of course, is actually WRITING a novel.  I haven't manage to finish one yet.  I'm working on it.  However, a step on that path to getting my first novel published was joining the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America group.

I did that today.  Yay! 

It's not like I get a magic pony, buckets of cash, an agent, or a huge contract just by joining (yeah, learning I wasn't getting that pony was pretty devastating).  I won't even get those things when I'm a full member with at least three SFWA qualifying sales.  I have one sale now. When Digital Science Fiction gets SFWA status, shortly after their one year anniversary, I imagine, I'll have two (and hopefully a third or more in the meantime).

Succeeding at anything is often about setting and meeting realistic goals.  Honestly, I didn't think I'd make it into SFWA as fast as I did, but count that as one goal met.  So now what?

Today, my next goal is going to be finishing a novel in the next year.

I also have some short stories in the works I'd like to finish.  I'd like to take as many cracks as I can at the Writers of the Future Contest before I become ineligible, so I'll split time between working on my novel and my stories, but I think I can manage both.

The one BIG thing complicating all of this is that I'm also an undergrad again, working on getting a nursing degree and qualifying for my RN.  Getting that day job MUST be my first priority, and I'm not settling for just qualifying for the BSN program (I'm pre-BSN now), I want to be among the best students in the program.  Plus I want to be the best father and husband possible, and lose sixty more pounds--I've lost 95 so far--not have the house fall apart around me, and accomplish a lot of other things(like earning straight As, so far, so good). 

I honestly don't know how the heck I'm going to do all that AND write a novel that doesn't completely suck, but I'm going to try.  Go me!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Congrats to Daily Science Fiction for becoming the newest SFWA qualifying venue!

Congrats to Daily Science Fiction for becoming the newest SFWA qualifying venue!  This also means I'll be eligible to join SFWA.  Yay me!  Becoming eligible for SFWA had been one of my long-term goals, and it took me just over a year.  So now what?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Screw perfection: A rant against typos, fear, and other irritants.

I recently replied to a blog about typos, and I went a little off topic.  The original blog entry was written by author, Gary Wedlund, and appears at Loconeal Press's website

I have mixed thoughts about all of this, and when I reread what I wrote below, I think I go well beyond the issue of typos (but I think you were trying to make a larger point in any case, so I think I either added to it, or hopelessly muddled it up).

I agree that sticking a story or novel in a drawer (literally or figuratively) for a while can give you those “fresh” eyes when you take it out again. I think this is a good technique to polish a story before sending it out, or even fixing a flawed story with some promise. It’s also vital for a writer to have others take a look at his or her work. A good writers’ group can spot the picky stuff your brain skips over, or maybe they’ll even let you know when something you thought worked, didn’t. At my most recent writers’ group meeting I tried something a little different with the beginning of a novel I’m working on, and I got a pretty clear message that what I tried just didn’t work. I don’t always agree that the problems others spot are actually problems, but when you get several people telling you the same thing, you can be pretty sure you NEED to make some changes (it gets trickier when just one or two say something is a problem). I’ll do a rewrite of the beginning of the novel and see how it goes.

The reason I have mixed thoughts about all this, however, is I think it’s possible for a writer to become paralyzed by the pursuit of perfection. I know a handful of writers who are sitting on pieces I think are really great, but no one knows about them because instead of submitting their work for consideration, these writers keep polishing their work over and over again trying to make them “perfect,” make them “ready.” Ready for what? Months and months of waiting for what’s likely going to be another rejection anyway? Fire away, stop worrying, and write something else in the meantime.

While I think it’s true that a writer generally gets just one shot with any particular publisher for any given piece, and writers don’t want to blow their chance to reach the widest possible audience over careless mistakes that might get a piece rejected out of hand, I think there’s too much danger in trying to make any one piece “perfect” and as a result, writers keep that one piece–and worse, OTHER pieces!–out of a publisher’s hands (and they can’t say yes or no if they don’t ever get to read it).

Writers, your story or novel is never going to be perfect. Polish it, polish it again, then fire that sucker out and hope for the best. If a story is a good enough, a few flaws won’t sink it, and if it’s good but not great, maybe it won’t get published at the highest tier, but at least it gets published. In the meantime, write something else. Write something BETTER. Experiment with stuff. Maybe that NEW idea is going to be that one story that breaks you into the market you always wanted to break into (or win that award, get that contract, whatever it is you’re hoping for)

There are a few pieces of mine that have been published or will be published that I wish I’d held back on a bit longer before firing them off, but to heck with it, someone is going to read them and they’re good pieces (if not perfect). A writer is really never going to know what ONE story or novel is going to capture the interest of a reader who then goes back and reads EVERYTHING else that writer has written (and then everything else that comes later).

I’ve been writing and submitting fiction for just over a year now. Not everything I’ve written has been published at the “pro” or “semi-pro” level (some pieces have), but everything I’ve sent out has been published or accepted for publication–except for the newer pieces I have circulating right now which I’m confident will also be accepted sooner or later.

Damn the typos, full speed ahead! (you can always fix it when you reprint it)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Daily Science Fiction now offering Kindle collections

Daily Science Fiction is now offering Kindle collections of all the stories they published in a given month.  My story, "Blessed are the Sowers," appears in the July 2011 edition, along with a lot of other excellent stories.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I have coffee with Mike Resnick and babble like a dumbass.

This weekend I attended the Context24 convention in Columbus.  Context24 is the first convention of any kind I've ever gone to, and I really just wanted to see what it was like.  Mike Resnick was one of the major guests, and I ended up having coffee with him... alone.

Here's a little background info to set the scene: 1) I was very tired.  By that point I'd had maybe 9 hours of sleep in the last two days, having driven to Columbus and back twice; plus there was a lot of other stuff going on that kept me up at night: My daughter going to school for the first time, home refinance, writing stuff, etc. 2) Despite the fact that Mr. Resnick is an incredibly prolific, multiple award winning writer, I've read exactly four of his books EVER, and just by chance, I'm working on a fifth (the last book of his Starship series, having read the other four).  I know who he is, of course, but I honestly don't know that much about him (like the fact he lives in Ohio and attends Context regularly). 3) I was not in the room to meet Mike Resnick, I was there to snag some free coffee and jam food into my mouth.

Here's how things played out:

I decided to skip lunch, having had a large, late breakfast with my family.  Instead of eating, I scoped out the room for the next panel I was going to attend: "What women want in female protagonists" (they had me at what women want).  I left my bag in the room and stepped out for a moment.  Clever me, I then figured there was bound to be coffee in the NEXT room where Mike Resnick was scheduled to sit and chat with fans.  There is coffee in the room, but of course, there's also Mike Resnick, only moments after I enter the room--so it seems like I'm waiting for him. 

Now, I am not someone who is intimidated by celebrities (I suck at small talk with EVERYONE, not just the handful of celebrities I've ever met), so I figure it's just me and Mike,  why not man up and chat a bit and get some coffee in the process? (I'm a nobody in the scifi/fantasy community, but I think that will change in time, and part of that is meeting with and talking to people).  Problem: I can't figure out how to get the FUCKING COFFEE OUT OF THE STUPID POT. I REALLY needed some damn coffee.  Something on the coffee pot wasn't working properly, so all there was was hot water and decaf.  (What the fuck's the point of decaf coffee?) So after wrestling a bit with the coffee pot, I step back and let Mr. Resnick pour himself some decaf while I try to figure out how to fix the regular pot. I'm also trying to gauge whether I can fit an entire scone in my mouth and swallow it without choking to death while Mr. Resnick has his back turned, because I don't particularly want to eat in front of him (but I'd also prefer not to choke to death).  

Since I'm VERY tired and in desperate need of coffee, my brain isn't working so well.  I'm standing behind Mr. Resnick as I'm thinking very hard about how I'm going to get coffee out of that fucking pot (I've been told my look of concentration makes me look like I'm angry).  Resnick is probably wondering what the hell the big, creepy, silent, angry looking dude is doing, glowering behind him.  Having failed to figure out how to make the coffee pot work as intended, I just tip the whole damn thing over and pour myself a cup of coffee (yay, brute force!).  Sadly, I deny myself a scone (I had a biscotti later, once Mr. Resnick had left... meh, should have had the scone).  Having spent an awkward (but generally pleasant) few minutes chatting with Mr. Resnick, I figured I'd look like an asshole if I just took my hard earned coffee and left him sitting by himself at the table.  I figure, what the hell, chatting with someone of his stature is much more cool than the panel I was waiting for, so I'll just sit and chat with him a little longer, and when the rest of the people show for the coffee talk, I'll excuse myself and slip out. 

No one else shows up.  I have no idea why.  Mike Resnick is fucking cool.  He's also really nice, from what Matt Cook from my writers' group has told me, and Resnick is perfectly willing to talk to others about writing (pulling no punches, I've been told).

Some additional background info: 1) I'm not a genius, but I'm pretty damn smart.  I learn very quickly, and I have an excellent memory. 2) I can remember almost ANYTHING... IF I write it down first.  Part of my problem with small talk is my brain is so far ahead of my mouth that I end up sounding like an idiot.  Writing stuff down lets me organize my thoughts and slow my brain down. 3) I had not prepared in any way to speak to Mr. Resnick.

So I largely squander a golden opportunity to talk about writing with Mr. Resnick (or get an autograph, or a picture, or ANYTHING).  I can barely think of anything to say to him. I can remember, almost word for word, what some troll on Amazon said about Resnick's fifth book of the Starship series, but somehow that seemed like a bad topic. 

If I'd said, "Here's where I am right now with my writing.  [explain].  What else would you suggest?" My guess is he'd tell me to do exactly what I'm doing:  A. Write tons of stuff. B. Try to write something different each time as a challenge; stretch your abilities. C. Find a writers' group. I've found two excellent writers' groups: Writeshop and Codex.  D. Rinse, repeat, make yourself a better writer.

I've only been submitting work for a year (after a twenty year gap of even trying to write fiction), so there's a ton of stuff I don't know that I SHOULD know (I'm trying to play catch up to the field as fast as I can).  While I think I've done fairly well in a short amount of time, I'm really not at the stage where I can ask Mike Resnick anything particularly insightful. Instead, I blather about nothing in particular and try a few attempts at asking him about what he's been up to. I smile and nod a lot, like a big dorky dumbass.  He mentions his daughter went to Ohio University for a grad degree (where I'm going for a second bachelors in a couple of weeks), and I don't even think to ask what her degree program was.  I've got a daughter of my own (though she's just 5), and could have made SOME connection with Resnick as a father, if not a writer.

And while I'm not really an autograph person, I would have asked him for one (or a picture) except that my bag with my camera, my paper and pens, and everything else is sitting in the room where I had intended to listen to that panel.  I figured it would look weird to go grab my bag at this point, making it obvious that I had intended to be somewhere else. 

Despite the lame attempts at chit chat on my end, Mr. Resnick did spend some quality time talking to me.  While not all of the information he gave me may be useful to me at this exact moment, I'll damn sure remember it all.  So, thank you, Mr. Resnick.  I imagine I'll be at Context next year, and hopefully I'll be able to offer a bit better conversation.

Here's a little epilogue: Eventually, Resnick excused himself to go sign autographs, and I finally made it to the panel.  Later, Mr. Resnick and Matt Cook sat and signed autographs at the same table in the author's room.  I figured Matt would want a photo with him and Mike together at the table, so I sat around, waiting for Mike and Matt to finish conversations with a couple of fans (yes, I was still smiling like a dumbass. Mr. Resnick probably figured I was a stalker).  I kind of wanted Matt to take a picture of me and Mr. Resnick together (we put the time in together, after all.), but I had a panel to go to and I didn't want to interrupt Mr. Resnick's conversation. 

So instead, I have this story, and something to talk to Mr. Resnick about next year (Hey, Mike, remember that big creepy weird guy?).  Priceless.  Honest.  And next time I'll do my homework (and get a decent night's sleep the day before).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Torchwood: Miracle Day... WTF happened to a decent show?

I like British sci-fi shows, and I've been a fan of Torchwood.  I was pretty enthusiastic about the new series, Miracle Day, but...  OMG it's awful!  The pacing of the story arc is painfully slow, and today I tried watching the blond CIA woman tip-toe her way around in the latest episode and I finally gave up on it.  Torchwood used to be cool.  WTF happened?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Floaters" finds a home at Digital Science Fiction

I just received word from the editors at Digital Science Fiction that they'd like to publish my story, "Floaters."  "Floaters" was the story I received an honorable mention for in the Writer's of the Future Contest (2nd Q, 2011).  I'm breathing a bit hard from doing my happy dance.  This is my second "pro" rate publication.  DSF (not to be confused with Daily Science Fiction) publishes a series of e-anthologies which they later offer in print (so it will also be my second time in print, eventually).


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Blessed are the Sowers" goes live (7/28) at Daily Science Fiction

My story, "Blessed are the Sowers," goes live at Daily Science Fiction.  It will be emailed to subscribers tomorrow (7/28) and will be available to all others a week later.

The story comes with the following adult content warning:

This is not the most violent story, nor the most sexually explicit, that Daily Science Fiction has published. Still, both elements exist, sufficiently so that the most sensitive among our imaginative readers may wish to steer clear. We hope you don't, of course.

While I'm proud of everything I've had published (yes, even the silly stuff), this is my first "pro" rate publication, and I'm particularly enthusiastic about it.  It's a flash piece (1000 words), and I've found that I like doing flash pieces.  I was never very interested in writing poetry, but flash fiction reminds me a bit of doing poetry: you must make every word count.

People will be able to comment on the story at:

So... you can expect me to become involved in a vicious flame war shortly after.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Novel #2, Shadow Knights

After bombarding a number of publishers with my recent flurry of short fiction, I've resumed work on my second novel, tentatively titled, "Shadow Knights."  I figured it was time to give those folks a breather so they can cut all those checks to me, or more likely, send some big dudes over (some of whom may be ninjas) to kick my ass.  

Wait... what about my first novel, "Dragon Rising," you ask (ok, you didn't really ask).  Dragon Rising was intended as a teen level novel, but I'm having trouble restraining my unrelenting thirst for blood and sex, and as a result, I'm having trouble keeping it in the "teen appropriate" range.  There's a story to be told, but I may need to retool Dragon Rising for an adult audience (Which is a shame, since I think I have a real talent for juvenile humor.  I had included a character named the Dread Lady Dick Puncher.  Still makes me giggle.)

Anyway...  Shadow Knights has always been my "baby."  I know all of you are familiar with my bio (ok, no you're not).  I spent a great deal of time as an undergrad and graduate student researching Native American history and culture.  Shadow Knights is a fantasy novel set in an alternate North America and the characters are Native Americans.  I've borrowed words, names, and cultural practices from a variety of Native American nations (and I worked in some Sanskrit words, just to mix it up).  I've also created a world with a modern economy based entirely on magic (e.g. no electricity, no internal combustion engines, no computers).

There's lots of sex, mayhem, and shit getting blown up (some of my favorite things).  And yes, there's a fair amount of juvenile humor. Can't wait, right?

Oh!  Speaking of sex, mayhem, and blowing shit up, I just learned my upcoming story, "Blessed are the Sowers," is going to get a "for adult audiences" warning from Daily Science Fiction (appearing July 28th for subscribers, a week later for everyone else).  I think that's awesome!!!   The exact language of the warning the editors wrote is pretty cool, and I think I'm going to make it my tag line once the story goes live.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Loco-Thology 2011 now available.

The print anthology, Loco-Thology: Tales of Fantasy and Science Fiction (Loconeal Press), in which a story of mine, "Lilah," appears, is now available for purchase. Click on the image on the right side of the page for more information.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sign up for Daily Science Fiction if you haven't already.

If you'd like a free spec-fiction/sci-fi/fantasy short story emailed to you daily, sign up at​/  DSF is up for SFWA status, and if they are approved, I'll be eligible to become a Science Fiction Fantasy Writers Association member myself, and my cousin, Mishell Baker, will be able to upgrade her SFWA status.  The majority of the DSF stories are 1000 words or less, and you receive them in your inbox daily, M-F.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Floaters" receives an Honorable Mention, Writers of the Future Contest (2nd Quarter, 2011)

I just received an email saying my story, "Floaters," received an honorable mention in the Writers of the Future Contest (2nd Quarter, 2011).  While this means the story isn't getting published (yet), this is pretty prestigious as rejections go (and gives me something nice to add to my cover letter when I fire the story out again).

And this is what's going to drive me nuts:  Immediately after sending it out to the contest, I redid the ending and cut a few hundred words, slimming the story down (this is a pretty clear sign I should have held off).  I don't know if the new and improved version would have earned me more than an honorable mention (which I'm still fairly pleased about).  Serves me right for my impatience.

With any luck, I'll be ineligible for the contest soon.  You're only considered a "new" writer if you have fewer than three pro/semi-pro level publications, and I already have two (or one, depending on how many copies of Loco-Thology get printed), and I'm waiting to hear about a third story.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"Leave the Stone" to be published by

I've just learned that my historical fiction/western piece, "Leave the Stone," will be published by Frontier Tales (  I'll provide a direct link once it's published.

I'd written the story as sort of an experiment, and I was pleased with the result.  While historical fiction isn't my normal thing, I've always had an interest in history (history major as an undergrad, did three years of Ph.D. coursework in American history).  And there's not as much of a leap from writing sci-fi/fantasy to historical fiction as there is jumping from sci-fi to contemporary literary fiction.  You're still looking to write a solid short story, but rather than an invented world, you set your story in the world as it once was.  I quite enjoyed the experience (and it beat the heck out of writing the non-fiction history I produced as a grad student).

I'm glad that there's a site like Frontier Tales available.  It is VERY tough to get westerns published.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

"Blessed are the Sowers" coming July 28th

I've been told my story, "Blessed are the Sowers," is scheduled to be published by Daily Science Fiction Thursday, July 28th.  I'd estimated my publication date to be a little sooner than that, so I'd sent an email to Daily Sci-Fi asking about the date.  I'm always a little nervous (being a "nobody" at the moment) to email a publisher, but they got back to me quickly.

Also, I'm waiting to hear back about a couple of contests I've entered, so hopefully some more good news soon.


Monday, April 4, 2011

"Blessed are the Sowers," to be published by Daily SF (my first pro rate sale!)

I just learned today that Daily Science Fiction ( is going to publish a flash piece of mine titled, "Blessed are the Sowers."  This will be my first "pro" rate sale (meaning I get 5 cents a word.  So... probably $50.)  Woohoo, I'm RICH!!!!!  [CORRECTION: it's 8 cents a word, BIG TIME BABY!] This time I can take my wife to dinner without having to punch the waiter in the balls and make a dash for the exits!

And to think, just today I was a bit bummed to have another story of mine savaged (somewhat deservedly) by an online writers group I'm part of (

I'm not sure when "Blessed..." will come out, but I'll put a link up when it does.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My novel (in progress), Dragon Rising

I've been working on my first novel for the last several months.  It's titled, Dragon Rising, and is intended as the first in a series of teen level novels (each projected at about 80k words).  I'm trying to write the sort of novel that I would have preferred to read as a teen (so it's full of sex, profanity, and violence).  It's a first person POV modern spec-fiction novel with a lot of humorous elements to it (think teenagers are moody and self centered?  Imagine what happens when one turns into a dragon).  When I think about how I'd market it, I think, it's a violent video game for kids... that they can READ -- hey, at least they're reading, right?.  None of the sex and violence is particularly graphic (from my perspective).  I mean, it would be incredibly cool to get my books on the ALA's most banned books list, but if I'm willing to tone things down a bit for truckloads of cash (see what I mean about humorous elements?)

I liked authors like Moorcock when I was a teen, but GOD, Elric was so fucking serious all the time!  He was always feeding people to his soul drinking sword and grumping about, all moody and bitchy.  The author who I really liked was, and still do, is Glen Cook (my copy of the Black Company is held together by duct tape).  I like his Black Company and Garret books most.  Those books are all first person POV, are all written in a less formal style (blue-collar fantasy? if there is such a thing), and they all have at least SOME humorous elements to them.  When someone in my writers group commented that what I was writing reminded him of Glen Cook, I knew I was doing something right.

Progress on the novel has been slower than I'd like, but I'm getting it finished (novel #1 is always going to be the hardest, plus I've been working on several stories at the same time, trying to make a splash, oh, and I've been looking for that day job that I won't quit, and I've been keeping my lovely daughter fed, safe, educated, and happy in the meantime).

Anyway, figured I should mention my major project to the ZERO people who are reading this blog (or maybe the occasional straggler who is horribly disappointed not to find anything about ninjas here.  hmm... maybe I need to post some ninja stuff for crossover appeal).

"Lilah" to be published in an anthology. My first time in print! Yay!

I just sent off a contract for one of my stories, "Lilah," to be published in an anthology coming out this fall.  "Lilah," is a very different sort of story for me (essentially humorless and written in a more formal sort of prose than I usually prefer).

This will be my first time in print.  You can bet I'll post more info on the anthology once it becomes available.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Second story, "Hole Cards," is now online.

My second published story, "Hole Cards," is now up at Abandoned Towers.  The link is available on the right.  A bit below that is an image of me from an ESPN broadcast of the '06 WSOP Main Event (the inspiration for some of the details in the story).    I was on TV for 5 second at best, so I still have some fame coming, right?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Two more stories getting published

I learned recently that I'll have two flash fiction pieces published soon.  One, "Thirty More Seconds," will appear at (not a porn site), and the other, "Hole Cards," will appear at  I'll put up direct links once I have them.

Robert Lowell Russell IS a...

Robert Lowell Russell IS a fledgling writer, trophy husband, and stay at home father.  He is a former librarian, a former history grad student, and a former semi-professional poker player.  He has one published story to date, and two others that will be published soon.