Character Interview Number Thirty-Four – Ellen Kauffman



Tell Us About Yourself

 Name: Ellen Kauffman.

Age: That is not a proper question to ask any woman. Suffice it to say, I’m past 21 yet still some years from decrepit in this year of Our Lord 1897.

 Please tell us a little about yourself. I’m the proprietor of a general store in a small river village in Pennsylvania, though often I feel it owns me rather than the other way around. I’m not a native of the village. I came here with my late husband and we operated the business together until his fateful accident. Since then I’ve had neither the money or inclination to leave. Though I won’t disclose it here, there’s a secret in my past which makes me sympathetic to young women taken advantage of by men.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. Wavy brown hair, blue eyes and a decent complexion. The need of spectacles and a slightly bent nose prevent me from being so vain as to say I’m pretty. Still (blushing), Mr. Roth seems to find me sufficiently attractive.

Do you have a moral code? If so what is it? Indeed I do. I care about other people and believe in treating them fairly, not judging them of the basis of gossip and rumor as so many in this village have done in the case of poor Ned Gebhardt. I believe his stepsister Iris and I are the only ones who believe him innocent of the murder of Susie Schaeffer. Why, that sad, gentle boy doesn’t have it in him to harm another person. And especially not Susie. He confided in me he loved that girl. He could not have done those terrible things to her.
Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why? Perhaps it’s improper of me to say this, but I am rather attracted to Mr. Roth and I do believe the feeling is mutual. He’s not as handsome as Hank (my late husband), but he has a confidence about him that inspires trust. And, unlike some others I could name, he isn’t willing to condemn Ned on the basis of circumstantial evidence and is doing everything he can to assure the boy is treated fairly. If anyone can save Ned from the noose, I believe it is Detective Simon Roth.
Tell Us About Your World

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live. As I said earlier, ours is a small, bucolic village situated across the Susquehanna River from Shannon, the county seat. Many of our people are engaged in farming or related industries or work in the coal mines which are the source of Shannon’s prosperity. I don’t mean to imply our people are bad, but many are small-minded and vindictive, which is not to Ned’s advantage. Like many in small, rural communities, the villagers are poorly educated, lacking in social graces, nosey and inclined to gossip. Oh, dear, I don’t mean to be so judgmental. Yet, the truth is the truth.
Does your world have religion or other spiritual beliefs? If so do you follow one of them? Please describe (briefly) how this affects your behaviour. I attend the village church and do my best to lead a Christian life. This church is the religious and social center of our village, yet I feel it, and especially Pastor Weimer, have failed Ned (see my comment about him below).

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? The fartherest I travel in this novel is across the river to Shannon, once for dinner with Simon and his friend Billy McKinney at the Eagle Hotel and later when I was called to testify at Ned’s trial.

Name and describe a food from your world. I love to cook and it’s wonderful to have someone to talk with over a meal. That’s one of the things I’ve missed with Hank gone. I don’t consider myself an especially good cook, but Simon does seem to enjoy the meals I’ve shared with him. He did rave about my chicken corn soup.
Name three persons of influence/renown within your society and tell why they are influential (Could be someone like Christ/Mandela/Queen Elizabeth or a renowned figure from a non-human/fantasy world.) The one person I would have expected to have more compassion for Ned and understanding of his plight is our pastor, the Rev. C. W. Weimer. Ned is one of those poor souls who never had a fair chance in life–deprived of his mother’s love at a young age, burdened with a stern father and a cold stepmother and being slow-witted besides. Unfortunately, Pastor Weimer has proven to be just as judgmental and bigoted as the rest and I have lost faith in him and his pretensions of Christian charity.

At least Aaron Bohner, our magistrate, attempted to protect Ned from the mob that wanted to lynch him and was willing to consider other suspects in the murder. I still retain some respect for him even if he wasn’t able to prevent the mob from roughing up Ned before Simon interceded and got him to safety across the river.

Author notes:

Book in which this character appears plus links
Something So Divine

Author name

  1. R. Lindermuth

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.

#ThiefPromo Dragon Thief Promo and Tour


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Promo Info
Title: Dragon Thief
Author: Marc Secchia
Publication Date: December 12, 2015
Genre: Fantasy


From Marc Secchia, bestselling author of five rip-roaring dragon fantasy adventures, comes a tale of dragons and treasure, and a pilfering rascal who has his eye set on rewriting history – only, the treasure has other ideas. And fate? That will sweep him away to a destiny far more precious than he ever dreamed.

Kal was not a thief. He certainly did not intend to steal any dragon’s treasure.

He was an adventurer. Avid art collector. Incurable wealth adjuster and risk-taker. Kal had legendary expertise in the security arrangements of palaces and noble houses the world over. He hankered for remote, craggy mountaintops and the dragon hoards he might find hidden beneath them. Besides, what harm was there in looking? Dragon gold was so very … shiny.

Most especially, he was not planning for any treasure to steal him.

That was a little awkward, to say the least.

Hell Bound Blog Tour – Andrew P Weston


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I’d like to welcome back author Andrew P. Weston

Please recap briefly about your books:

I’m the author of The IX, a military science-fiction action adventure released earlier on in 2015 through Perseid Press and the creator of Daemon Grim, Satan’s chief bounty hunter and go-to guy in times of trouble (As introduced in the short story – Grim in Doctors in Hell – the latest adventure from Janet Morris’ critically acclaimed award winning Heroes in Hell universe).

What has changed since you last visited? Tell us your news!

Well, the IX went on to become and international bestseller, so I’m obviously pleased about that. And I recently completed Hell Bound, the first of a new series of novels including Grim as the main character. I’m hoping he become a worthy addition to the ever expanding arena Janet created.

For those of you who don’t already know, Heroes in Hell is a series of shared world fantasy books, within the genre Bangsian fantasy, created and edited by Janet Morris and written by her, Chris Morris, C. J. Cherryh and others. The first 12 books in the series were published by Baen Books between 1986 and 1989, and stories from the series include both Hugo Award winners and Nebula nominees.
Janet continued the series through her own publishing company – Perseid Press – from 2011 onward with, Lawyers in Hell, followed by five more anthologies and a novel since then.
Basically, the shared world premise of Heroes in Hell (also called The Damned Saga) is that all the dead wind up together in Hell, where they can pick up where they left off when still alive, except that now, it’s a no-holds-barred, rollercoaster ride of violent, stab you in the back adventure. Anything goes – and often does…
When I created Grim, I wanted a character who would continue to evolve along with the universe itself, so Janet and I came up with a great idea. Although Grim will be starring in his own adventures, those escapades will tie into and overlap the continuing Heroes in Hell anthologies. For example, Hell Bound starts where Grim Left off. The next anthology piece will pick up where Hell Bound finished, and so on and so forth. What a great way to mesh a major new character into a long established series, eh?

So far its working very well, and early indications are showing Grim will be a popular character.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited?

I certainly do self-edit, but only as an additional layer to a full and professional edit. No matter how thorough you are, you’ll always miss something, especially if it’s a little quirk you tend to slip back on when you’re tired. I edit each chapter as it’s completed, then I go through the entire manuscript again once the story is finished. Only then do I send it off. I’m a firm believer of working closely with your editor. It pays dividends in the long run.
And yes, any book will suffer if you don’t have it professionally edited.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews?

Me? I like to say thank you to those who take the time to complete a review. It’s not always easy to know what to say, so it’s lovely when people offer you a little piece of themselves and honestly express what they think. However, I never, ever, respond to obvious trolls. Let your work and your readers do that for you.
As for their importance? I think they certainly have an influence on those looking for a good read who might be considering your work for the first time.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?

Believe in yourself. Never give up. Work hard to improve your craft.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it?

I recently finished reading High Couch of Silistra by none other than Janet Morris herself. This novel first came out in 1977, and because of my lifestyle at the time, I totally missed it. However, I’m so glad I caught up with it now, as it’s one of those genre changing epics that made a huge impact at the time and continues to set the bar now.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author?

Well, the most prolific author on my bookshelf is Raymond E. Feist. I also have all or most of Stephen R. Donaldson’s and Julian May’s work, along with Orwell, Heinlein, Anderson, Clarke, Bradbury, and Poe.
As for Indie Authors, Laura De Luca.

Do you have a favourite movie?

If I could only pick one, I’d have to say The Forbidden Planet. A true classic and way ahead of its time.

Can you name your worst job? Do you think you learned anything from the position that you now use in your writing?

I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve only ever had two main jobs. I was in the military, and then I became a police officer until an injury on duty caused my early retirement after a total of 33years service. Needless to say, I’ve experienced a great many situations that have provided remarkable ‘insights’ or which can be used as a springboard for elements now incorporated into my writing. For example, it takes discipline and tenacity to keep to a regular schedule. My whole working life has been built on those foundations. Then there’s the essential factor of ‘keeping things real’. A must for all those who write speculative fiction. If you ground your stories in well established fact, then it makes what you write so much more believable. I try to adhere to these guidelines whenever I work, and it helps J

What are your plans for the future?

I’m hoping to create enough of a fan base to become a fulltime writer. When that happens, stand by. At last my writing will get the time it deserves to truly expand and grow.

Give us a bit of information about your primary character(s).

In Hell Bound, it’s Daemon Grim – The Reaper – and Satan’s chief bounty hunter. He’s the person the Dark Lord turns to when anything threatens the already chaotic instability that riddles the many-layered underworld.
And when you think of the nature of the scumbags filling hell, you can appreciate just how busy he is. (Tracking rebels or those fomenting treason, bringing fugitives and offenders to injustice). He’s judge, jury and executioner all rolled into one, and yet, someone who appears to be something of a paradox, for while he’s drop dead gorgeous and possesses a fantastic sense of humor, he’s fiercely loyal to Satan. He will kill you as soon as look at you. To him, mercy is a waste of five letters. He doesn’t feel pity or remorse, and if you appear on his list there’s nothing you can do to prevent your untimely demise. As other denizens of hell say – he’s your ‘worst nightmare attired in kick-ass gothic ensemble.
Can you imagine the despicable fun he’s going to have?

If you had to pick five books to have on an island which five would you pick?

That’s not difficult at all. At the moment they would be:
A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawkin

Lord of the Rings trilogy – Tolkien

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

Build Your Own Teleportation Device From Everyday Stuff – Irma Gettinoutovhere.

If your book was produced as a film who would you like to see play the lead?

At the moment, I think Channing Tatum might appeal to the ladies. J

About the Book
Hell Bound (Heroes in Hell)
by Andrew P. Weston
Genre: Fantasy
Published by: Perseid Press
Release Date: October 31, 2015
Length: 406 PagesIn hell, none of the condemned believes they deserve to be there. And that’s fine, so long as they’re not foolish enough to try and do anything about it. For those that do, there’s always Satan’s Reaper–and chief bounty hunter–Daemon Grim.Feared throughout the many layers of the underverse, no one in their right mind dares to cross him.However, when Grim discovers that someone has attempted to evade injustice, and seems hell-bent on gaining access to ancient angelic artifacts proscribed since the time of the original rebellion in heaven, circumstances point to the fact they may be doing just that.The question is…why?Thus begins an investigation that leads Grim throughout the many contradictory and baffling levels of the underworld, where he unearths a conspiracy that is not only eating its way like a cancer through the highest echelons of Hellion society, but one which threatens the very stability of Satan’s rule.As you can imagine, Grim’s response is bloody, brutal, and despicably wicked.

Hell Bound – In hell, everyone can hear you scream…

(Please Only Post 1 Excerpt per Book & Delete the other 2)
The Book Excerpt

Excerpt #1

Excerpt #2


About Andrew P. Weston

Andrew P. Weston is Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.

An astronomy and law graduate, he is the creator of the international number one bestseller, The IX, and also has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with one of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for and Amazing Stories.

The Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Find Andrew’s Tour Date’s Here:

Monday, November 2, 2015
– Tome Tender (Spotlight)
– M.J. Schiller, Romance Author (Guest Post)
Please Pass The Books (Spotlight)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015
– Ogitchida Kwe’s Book Blog (Spotlight)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015
– Paranormal Dimensions (Spotlight)

Friday, November 06, 2015
– Christine’s Words (Author Interview)
– S E Lindberg (Guest Post)

Saturday, November 07, 2015
– Library of Erana (Author Interview)

Monday, November 09, 2015
– Sexy Between the Covers-Melissa Keir (Guest Post)

Thursday, November 12, 2015
– Paranormal Realms (Guest Post)

Monday, November 16, 0215
– Authors’ Cafe (Spotlight)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
– What Readers Want (Spotlight)

Thursday, November 19, 0215
– Finding Fantastical Books (Spotlight)

Saturday, November 21, 2015
– Teatime and Books (Spotlight)

Novel Book Tours

Back into Hell – Hell Week 2015 – Altos the Angel


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Now who’d expect to find an angel in Hell, except of course his lordship, the Fallen One? Amongst the damned his presence is…unusual. So over to you… (brave angel this one…misguided perhaps but brave).

Character Spotlight

About yourself:

*Who are/were you? I am Altos, an angel on special assignment.

* Why do YOU think you’re in Hell? I am here to rehabilitate His Satanic Majesty.

Who are your friends/allies here? All well-meaning souls I consider my allies, those not entirely given over to iniquity.

Describe your home/environment in Hell. I arrived with the fallen and have watched Hell develop from total darkness to its current state. Although I hail from on high this is my home for now, wherever the Prince holds forth you will find me.

Do you have any enemies here? My adversaries are the blind passions of the damned, most significantly Vengeance.

Come on be honest, what do you think of HSM leadership? Satan is comprehensible, if not justifiable, and actually a lover of beauty in his way.

Author Spotlight

*Name and bio.

Chris Morris

* Tell us about your story for this edition. The Wager relates an incident involving Satan and Altos where militaristic hordes from all ages have gathered for a “final” reckoning.

What inspired you to use the character(s) you’ve chosen? Satan’s isolation and profound understanding of humanity are fascinating, yet very difficult to draw—in this story by resort to a ghastly and grand-scale event demonstrating the worst proclivities of his charges, the lost souls of men. Because of his proposition to the angel—his most worthy, divine audience—he can indulge his urge to instruct his eternal adversary on high. Even Satan loves company.

What are you currently working on? I’m narrating audio books; I’ve completed The Sacred Band a novel by Janet Morris and myself and I, the Sun by Janet Morris. Next up is Shards of the Glass Slipper II: Queen Alice, by Roy Mauritsen.

Name the last two books you’ve read – tell us about them. Re-read The Golden Sword by Janet Morris, the second volume in her Silistra series quartet and The Best Poems in the English Language by Harold Bloom, his compendium of great poetical works and a great starting point for those like me who seek a chronological framework in which to appreciate the history of poetry in our language.

What marketing tips/writing advice can you offer other authors? Until you’ve found your storytelling voice as distinct from those writers you admire, write only what you know as passionately and articulately as you can without distorting your effort by trend-following or obeisance to niche-market rules and practices. Find and write what only you can and love the moments of total immersion necessary to bring them to life.

Heroes in Hell (series)

Back into Hell – Hell Week 2015 – Doc Holiday


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Welcome back to the infernal interview service, offering you close-ups of the damned like never before.

Character Spotlight

About yourself:

*Who are/were you?  Name’s Doc Holliday – Gambler, gunfighter, lover and sometimes dentist.

* Why do YOU think you’re in Hell? On account of some dark deeds committed throughout my life. I killed a lot of men in my time, and swindled a whole bunch more who didn’t understand the nature of their opponent when it came to games of chance. I got no complaints about where I ended up. I made some choices along the way that maybe I wouldn’t have if I’d known how things would work out. Some folk would call me an evil sonofabitch… can’t say as I’d blame them.

Who are your friends/allies here? I’ve met me an odd bunch here in hell, an eclectic mix of folks who all have one thing in common, a love of gamblin’. I’ve got my gal, Calamity Jane, a crazy ass Gaelic chieftain by the name o’ O’Neill – mad as hell but a good man to have at your back. Then there’s a genuine member of English royalty, the Earl of Sandwich. Finally there’s a Russian philosopher and writer, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Describe your home/environment in Hell. HSM in his infinite wisdom has chosen to bind me to a saloon in a frontier town called Helldorado. As a gamblin’ man I’ve always sought that elusive moment where your heart is beatin’ so strongly in your chest it feels like it’ll jump clean out, just before you turn the last card over, knowin’ that everything you own is sittin’ in a heap in the middle of the table. That ultimate high, the rush you experience an instant before the reveal, has been taken from me by HSM. Every hand I play here in hell I win, empty victories when the outcome is preordained.

Do you have any enemies here? I have enemies in every damned place I’ve ever laid my hat. Here ain’t no different.

Come on be honest, what do you think of HSM leadership? As evil overlords go he’s pretty much got the job nailed. Sadly the better he is at running this eternal prison for the damned the worse afterlife becomes for the citizens of hell.

So, this plague – who’s responsible? Sadly, no one ever tells me anything.

What is the technology level of the culture you chose to write about? My story is set in a western environment and time.

Author Spotlight

*Name and bio. Paul Freeman is from Dublin, Ireland where he lives with his family. He is the author of the epic fantasy series, Tribesman. He has also co-authored a zombie apocalypse, collaborative novel, Season Of The Dead. In TAXI, he moves away from his usual speculative fiction genre, stepping into a more literary field, examining the effect on the life of a taxi driver after a single moment of madness which results in the death of a teenage girl, and how this event results in devastating consequences for him and those closest to him.

* Tell us about your story for this edition. My story is called Hell Noon. It is set in a western frontier town called Helldorado. The basic premise is that Doc Holliday and a collection of other famous gamblers are holed up in a saloon playing cards (Holliday is cursed to win every hand he plays) when they are invaded by a wild bunch of infected plague carriers. A gunfight ensues and the group come up with a plan to escape… nothing in hell runs smoothly though.

What inspired you to use the character(s) you’ve chosen? I really liked the idea of writing a western-themed story and as the title was Doctors in Hell I figured Doc Holliday would be the perfect MC to choose.

How did you become involved with this project? I was invited by Janet Morris to join and thought it would be a really fun thing to be involved in. And it is!

Writing for a shared world is challenging, how do you meet that challenge? By trying not to step on anyone’s toes.

What are you currently working on?  I’m currently writing a vampire apocalypse book. My normal genre to write in is fantasy, particularly epic fantasy, but I like to stray out of my comfort zone every now and then.

What are your views on authors offering free books? I have absolutely no issue with how anyone chooses to market their books. If it works go for it.

What marketing tips/writing advice can you offer other authors? Watch what I do very carefully and then do the complete opposite.

What other books/short stories have you written? Books currently published are my two epic fantasy novels from the same series: Tribesman and Warrior. I’ve just recently published a novel called Taxi about a Dublin taxi driver who becomes involved in a road traffic accident that was not his fault, but he is left to deal with the consequences. I have also co-authored a zombie apocalypse novel with three other authors. The premise for this is that each of us wrote from our own perspective in our own locations, so the book is set in three different countries and the apocalypse told from four different points of view.

I’ve also contributed a short story to a steampunk anthology called Strange Tales From The Scriptorium Vaults. Also another collection called A Turn Of The Wheel.

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews? Back away from the keyboard.


Back into Hell – Hell Week 2015 – John Milton


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The Jack O’Lanterns are carved, and the marshmallows are toasting over the hellfires. Pull up a pitchfork and join me once more in the devilish domain of His Satanic Majestic.

Characters and authors aplenty for your infernal entertainment.

Character Spotlight: John Milton

About yourself: I am the author of Paradise Lost, the English epic in blank verse, and other reflections on life and immortality, including Areopagitica, a blow stuck against pre-publication censorship. Free speech and freedom of the press were my passions while alive.

*Who are/were you? A poet, a revolutionary, a sentry guarding the gates that kept ignorance at bay. Samuel Johnson called me an acrimonious and surly Republican. Perhaps. I did fight with my tutors, who felt need to tame my mind’s adventurism, put caution in my heart. Caution has no part in an honest heart. I was born in 1608. I was eight years old when Shakespeare died. In 1660 I hid from the restoration lackies, avoiding a warrant calling for my life and the burning of all my works. In 1674 I died, blind and destitute, of kidney failure – to escape such pain, I welcomed death.

*Why do YOU think you’re in Hell? Paradise Lost brought me to Hell, for taking Satan’s part. I tried to make Christianity classical, make freedom the birthright of any soul on Earth, and failed because politics have no part in the true struggle, against death itself.

Who are your friends/allies here? You jest. The Great Deceiver finds me useful, and that puts me on the opposite side of Cocytus from most penitent souls. Nor am I penitent -, nor will I ever be. But no fool, these days, with an infernity around me. The fallen angels enjoy my company.

Describe your home/environment in Hell. I make my home in Pandemonium – a term I thought I coined, for a place I thought a product of my own mind. Pandemonium is a vast breath of foul air and brimstone, a citadel whose spires scrape the heavens, with adamantine walls and filled with Satan’s legions, both doomed souls once men – full of mischiefs and hardier souls who’ve never been men. Some days I have comfort, more than most, when I’m sent with messages or punishments to this damned soul or the other. From Pandemonium ‘tis a long walk to anywhere, but a short flight when the angelic wings of the Devil’s stalwarts wrap me round.

Do you have any enemies here? Do I have anything but enemies? I brought the underverse to life, made infernity real and inescapable. The damned duly hate me.  I have peers – quite a different story; an innumerable lot, including Kit Marlowe and his wittol, Will Shakespeare. These two love words for their own sake – and each other. I find them too full of greatness self-proclaimed, chasing after this clever turn of phrase or that rhythm:  they forgive all for tragedy and comedy, and naught for the true fight: the fight for freedom of the mind. But the devil doth love his Bard of Avon – more than me, so until obliteration comes to pass, I suffer them, and fool upon fool, so every realm of hell is littered with their wrongs.

Come on be honest, what do you think of HSM leadership? Honest?  About the Prince of Darkness?  About the Father of Lies? About my hero – whose glorification brought me here to waste away and away?  The Adversary allows me my sight, so I can see all the evil done and blamed on me; he allows me my youth, so I can go among the damned from one hell to another – except for Tartaros, so far: even a glimpse of the afterlife of Hellenes is denied me, who wanted so to put a Christian face on Homeric odes.

So, this plague – who’s responsible? The damned themselves: the selfish, the foolish, the overly bold and the bloody. The plague seeks the damned, who in their turn seek escape, every dumb brute among them. Satan’s so-called rulership of all the New Damned fell to laxity: the problem with the devil is he’s not devilish enough, by half, to suit the Maker. So those who rule Above sent down Erra and his Seven personified weapons, to put the punishment back in hell that Satan’s sly courtship of the doomed eschews. Satan’s plan is too clever for those punishers from Above: his ever antic calculated to prove the damned are damned by their flawed nature, by all they do and all they say, and Satan’s soft-seeming leadership forces the Almighty into the role of Overlord of Evil. This, Satan watches, and bides his time, and proves again and again that humanity’s flaws are intrinsic, and not the fault of the stars or of hellfires where their souls finally abide. Thus, call humanity the bringer of plague, not the Babylonian god who brings pestilence only on orders from higher powers. And call the devil the greatest of poets, who brings this tragedy to life and light.

What is the WORST thing about being here? The worst thing about being in hell is that mankind creates it every day, anew and worse. As I said in my poor play, obliteration is the cure.  Sad cure.  And yet the animal within each soul wants only to live to struggle on, and on…

Erra and his Seven – what’s going on there then? I said all I should need to say about the lackeys from Above, those ministers of due punishment and undue suffering alike. Erra’s forte is plague and mayhem, and hell is, truly, where he doth find his place.

What are your best tips for surviving in Hell? Keep eyes averted.  Write and say the truth. Hell is no worse than Reformation England, really – with faults aplenty to fight and fools to spare.

Before you arrived here did you actually believe in HSM and his fiery domain? Bet that was a shock! I thought…I’d dreamed Paradise Lost. Yet when I wrote it, each day was a summoning of His Infernal Majesty. So here I came, and am, and will be until obliteration can be mine – and sleep.

Eternity – that’s a damned long time. How to you spend the endless years here? I foment what discontent I may, and take commissions from the lords of hell when warranted.

What do you miss most about your old….life? Nothing. My life turned out to be practice for my sentence here. If what I publish here is bowdlerized, at least to some those words strike true and ring the knell all the damned so crave:  their final rest.

What is the technology level of the culture you chose to write about? Technology provides amusement for the shallow and ungifted, who’ll proliferate inanities until we slog waist deep in the dimmest wits ever born. What humanity does is no better or worse now than before technology – yesterday’s, today’s or tomorrow’s. All gadgets reproduce, but ne’er make anything unknown become known – or knowable. I wrote about infernity, about humanity’s reality – about what we are: our wizened souls, our selfish lusts, our need to break others to our will. Now I can be anywhere among the manifold mistakes of the Almighty’s cruelest jokes:  they are no better in the future than in the past. I wrote about this hell in which I stand, and now here I am.

Author Spotlight

*Name and bio.

Janet Morris.  Janet Morris began writing in 1976 and has since published more than 40 novels, many co-authored with her husband Chris Morris or others. Her debut novel, written as Janet E. Morris, was High Couch of Silistra, the first in a quartet of character-driven novels with a female protagonist. According to original publisher Bantam Books, the Silistra quartet had over four million copies in print when the fourth volume, The Carnelian Throne was published. Charles N. BrownLocus Magazine, is quoted on the Baen Books reissues of the series as saying, “Engrossing characters in a marvelous adventure.”

Morris has contributed short fiction to the shared universe fantasy series Thieves World, in which she created the Sacred Band of Stepsons, a mythical unit of ancient fighters modeled on the Sacred Band of Thebes.

She created, orchestrated, and edited the Bangsian fantasy series Heroes in Hell, writing stories for the series as well as co-writing the related novel, The Little Helliad, with Chris Morris.

Most of her fiction work has been in the fantasy and science fiction genres, although she has also written historical and other novels. Her 1983 book “I, the Sun”, a detailedbiographical novel about the Hittite King Suppiluliuma I was praised for its historical accuracy; O.M. Gurney, Hittite scholar and author of “The Hittites,”[2] commented that “the author is familiar with every aspect of Hittite culture.”[3]

Morris has written, contributed to, or edited several book-length works of non-fiction, as well as papers and articles on non-lethal weapons, developmental military technology and other defense and national security topics.

*Tell us about your story for this edition. In Doctors in Hell, with Chris Morris, I wrote about the underworld’s single volunteer angel, and a wager he made with the Price of Lies. Chris then wrote about Milton, who is sent on a mission for Satan. Then together Chris and I wrote about Shakespeare and Marlowe, to whom Milton is sent with the true ‘cure’ for the plagues in hell. Hearing this ‘cure’ gives Marlowe the malady an author most dreads when facing an infernity never-ending: writer’s block. And Shakespeare tries to help Marlowe by taking him to the most fearsome and famed witch doctors in New Hell… so they think until they cross a certain threshold…

What inspired you to use the character(s) you’ve chosen? I wrote these characters almost accidentally: I was doing an introductory story for Rogues in Hell, and down came a clutch of new characters, into my story which was called Babe in Hell. One I’d had a taste of Shakespeare and Marlowe, they found enticements against which I was helpless, including the introduction of John Milton. Milton is daunting to portray, and his voice complex, so Chris and I waited as long as we could to introduce him – first in walk-on roles, and now finally, in an entire story that’s worthy of such a character, therefore a story that begins to turn hell on its collective and pointy ear.

How did you become involved with this project? Serendipity, truly. I had a multibook contract with Baen Books, and proposed the Heroes in Hell series, since at that time my parents were dying and death and what may lie after were much on my mind.

Writing for a shared world is challenging, how do you meet that challenge? Writing for a shared world is challenging, yes; but editing one, and writing the introductory and final stories for the volumes, tests me every time I do so. But in HIH I can try things, do stories I wouldn’t try to do elsewhere.  Hell is, in its way, liberating.

Tell us why you chose this story to tell out of so many possible options? This ‘story’ is actually a group of three:  one an introduction, followed by Chris Morris’ characterization of Milton, then in turn followed by Chris and my final story for the volume, in which the final story “Writer’s Block” sets some groundwork for later volumes while bringing our several strings of plot together.  Writing this way is difficult but great fun.

What drew you to these characters? These characters came because I wanted to rewrite and use the first story, which was the only HIH story that Jim Baen wouldn’t publish because the content offended him, and so we sold it to be published in different form for the current version in an a literary sf quarterly, Argos.  Since that story would have been the first in a different volume, it was already structured properly to be an introductory story, so we updated it and rewrote it into the current HIH moment, where it worked very well. SO we had had Altos the volunteer angel for a very long time, and it was a good time to re-enter him.  As for Milton, he’s a bit daunting but in Hell, we choose a story we want to tell, then we find characters who would be the best a telling that story. For the story we wanted to tell that would wrap the Doctors in Hell volume, we needed to end with Shakespeare and Marlowe – and a few others….

What are you currently working on? A novel.

Name the last two books you’ve read – tell us about them. Euripides, The Rhesos, Lattimore translating; Aeschylus’ Suppliant Women, A. J. Bowen.

One is directly for the book I’m doing, Rhesos of Thrace, in which the Euripedes version figures;  the Aeschylus is part of my rereading of Greek tragedies, as much to recover the sensitivities of this period as to clarify what concerned the writers and protagonists.

I really always write the book I want to read, and to write Rhesos the way I want to read it I need to be deeply seated in his culture, both while alive and what Euripdes made of him.

What are your views on authors offering free books? In general, I think that people don’t value what they do not pay for.  In the book business, however, there is a long tradition of giving books to people to read who may talk positively about what they’ve read.  The numbers of copies involved now are simply greater.

What marketing tips/writing advice can you offer other authors? Write what impassions you:  you’re trading away your real daily life for time spent in an imagined construct:  make sure it’s worthwhile for you to do so.

If you could pick any quote about Hell which would be your favourite?

“Hell is just a frame of mind.” – Marlowe in Faustus.

What other books/short stories have you written?

From Wikipedia:

Science fiction novels ·         High Couch of Silistra

·         The Golden Sword

·         Wind from the Abyss

·         The Carnelian Throne

·         Dream Dancer

·         Cruiser Dreams

·         Earth Dreams

·         Threshold

·         Trust Territory

·         The Stalk

·         ARC Riders

·         The Fourth Rome

·         The 40-Minute War

·         Active Measures

·         Outpassge

·         Target

Heroes in Hell ·         Heroes in Hell (book)

·         Heroes in Hell (series)

Fiction ·         I, the Sun

·         Medusa

·         Warlord

·         Kill Ratio

·         Afterwar

Historical fantasy ·         Beyond Sanctuary

·         Beyond the Veil

·         Beyond Wizardwall

·         Tempus

·         City at the Edge of Time

·         Tempus Unbound

·         Storm Seed

·         The Sacred Band

Short fiction ·         Raising the Green Lion

·         Vashanka’s Minion

·         A Man and His God

·         An End to Dreaming

·         Wizard Weather

·         High Moon

·         Basileus

·         Hero’s Welcome

·         Graveyard Shift

·         To Reign in Hell

·         Power Play

·         Pillar of Fire

·         Gilgamesh Redux

·         Sea of Stiffs

·         The Nature of Hell

·         The Best of the Achaeans

·         The Collaborator

·         […] is Hell

·         Moving Day

·         Sea Change

Nonfiction work ·         Nonlethality: A Global Strategy

·         Weapons of Mass Protection

·         The American Warrior

If you could have a dinner party with any man and woman from anywhere and anywhen who would invite and what would you eat? Heraclitus of Ephesus, Homer, Sappho, Harold Bloom, Suppiluliumas 1 of Hatti, Kit Marlowe.

Which 10 books would you save to keep you sane after the apocalypse? (Only 10 allowed). Oxford Classical Dictionary, Ancient Near Eastern Texts, Complete Shakespeare (RSC), Lattimore’s Iliad and Odyssey;

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews? Don’t, unless some specific review was important to your development and you’re commenting in the course of an interview that includes something salient to say about a review/reviewer.

Which books/movies/plays have influence your life? Too many to list.

In these days of movies and video games are books really influential? I hope so.

Twitter: @uvmchristine


Back into Hell – Hell Week 2015 – Dr Neill Cream


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The Jack O’Lanterns are carved, and the marshmallows are toasting over the hellfires. Pull up a pitchfork and join me once more in the devilish domain of His Satanic Majestic.

Characters and authors aplenty for your infernal entertainment.

About yourself:

Who are/were you?  I am/was Dr Thomas Neill Cream. Doctor by day, serial killer by night, with victims throughout America, Canada, Scotland and England. A most delightful little spree that came to an untimely end through no fault of my own.

Why do YOU think you’re in Hell? I think that’s obvious, don’t you? In life, I became known as the Lambeth Poisoner and enjoyed using my position of trust to lure my victims into positions whereby I could prey on their weaknesses and vulnerabilities. I showed no remorse for my crimes and was hanged at Newgate prison, London, in 1892. For some reason, many people think I was Jack the Ripper. I can’t imagine why…?

Describe your home/environment in Hell. I live in the Lambsdeath district of Olde London Town. That’s in the Juxtapose level of Hell, an area beset by fractures through sheolspace whereby different eras come together in a mishmash of times and eras. You can be crossing the cobbled streets of Victorian London one moment, only to be forced to jump out of the way of a modern-day Hackney carriage the next. I like it here as the rifts allow me to cover my tracks as I go about my business.

In fact, here’s a little picture of me out on a stroll in the Lamdsdeath/Bittersea area of Olde London Town


Care to join me?

Do you have any enemies here? Not really, I keep myself to myself and use others as and when I see fit. The only problem I seem to get is from the damned Reaper who seems intent on making my unlife as uncomfortable as possible.

What is the WORST thing about being here? The fact that I’m just one of the crowd.

Back topside, people reviled me for what I did and the suffering I caused. And although I racked up a goodly number of murders – most of which they never managed to pin on me – my hard work and tenacity didn’t mean a thing once I got here. There are so many denizens of Hell who committed far worse crimes than I did. Genocide and mass murder. I mean, how am I going to compete with that? It’s not like I can get my sorry ass back into the land of the living so I can go on a fresh killing spree is it?

Don’t get me wrong, I’d bite my arms off for the chance. But that blasted Reaper seems to haunt my every step. One day…one day…

What are your best tips for surviving in Hell? Be yourself.

Be true to who you are and live up to it. Submerge yourself in the filth and the decadence and brutality and shout for more. I’m a narcissistic sycophant, and proud of it. Just the ticket for the rabble that infests every nook and cranny of this place.

Before you arrived here did you actually believe in HSM and his fiery domain? Bet that was a shock! I never really gave it a second thought. I was far too preoccupied with my own desires to think that far ahead. But after they killed me…well, what a delight!
Could you imagine having to be good all the time? Float around on a cloud all day – or whatever it is they do up there – and endure paradise. No murder. No fornication. No simply being yourself. Perish the thought. I’m glad I travelled the right way.

What do you miss most about your old….life? The fact that nobody can truly die here. It takes all the fun out of things.

Don’t get me wrong, I still ply my trade wherever and whenever I can. But sometimes, I think…what’s the point? All that planning and preparation. And for what? Yes, they may expire before me in agony, but I miss that look in people’s eyes as they breathe their last, knowing I’ve consigned them to the grave.

Here, all it means is that the nastier individuals will probably come back seeking revenge after their visit to the Undertaker. That’s why I like working from the shadows so much. If they don’t know who you are, they can’t very well come back to even the score can they.
And so long as I don’t wake up with my throat cut or my heart in a jar, that’s all that matters.

My dear, I do apologise, but I must be off in a few minutes. I have an appointment with a rather inventive friend of mine who says he can help me with my long-term plans.

But before I go, I don’t suppose I could interest you in this little health tonic I threw together? It looks good, it tastes good, and by golly it’ll set you up just right for the future. Honestly, you’ll never get sick again J

cream_002[1] (2)

Author Spotlight

Name and bio. My name Andrew P. Weston and I’m a Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with my wife, Annette, and our growing family of rescue cats.

An astronomy and law graduate, I’m the creator of The IX and a number of other science fiction and fantasy based series, and I also have the privilege of being a member of the British Science Fiction Association, and British Fantasy Society.

When not writing, I devote some of my spare time to assisting NASA with one of their remote research projects, and I write educational articles for and Amazing Stories.

Tell us about your story for this edition.

Entitled Grim, it’s an introductory tale regarding a character I’m hoping readers will come to know well, Satan’s chief bounty hunter, Daemon Grim. In this story, we find him hunting a fugitive from injustice, Dr Thomas Neill Cream, a very foolish individual who incurred His Infernal Majesty’s wrath.

In life, Cream was known as the Lambeth Poisoner, a narcissistic sycophant who delighted in watching the suffering of others as they slowly died at his hands. Such was the depth of his depravity that once arrested, he showed no remorse, and revelled more under the assumption that he might be Jack the Ripper than in atoning for his crimes. After his arrival in Hell, he quickly became dissatisfied, and was always on the lookout for ways to increase his bad boy reputation. And that, leads him into a lot of trouble.

How did you become involved with this project? By invitation.
Several reviews I’d completed on other books caught Janet Morris’s eye. Through them, she was drawn to my work. After she’d checked-out a few stories, I was extended the privilege of contributing.

Writing for a shared world is challenging, how do you meet that challenge? By doing my homework.
If you’re going to collaborate in such a huge, well established universe like Heroes in Hell, you have to find out what the rules are and what makes it tick. How flexible can you be? What are your boundaries? Are there any taboos, if so, what? And what degree of interaction with other contributors might be allowed? You see? There are a lot of factors to consider. Once you’ve done that, you have to determine exactly how you’re going to contribute and how it will add to or enhance the overall flavour of the universe. Hard work – but fun in the end J
What are you currently working on? At the moment I’m beginning to lay the foundations for the second Hell novel involving Grim.
The first one – Hell Bound – is due out toward the end of this year. This new story continues his quest of hunting down Satan’s enemies and dispensing instant injustice.

(Please check out the blog tour for Hell Bound and see the link below.)

I’m thoroughly enjoying developing this character as I’ve managed to incorporate his adventures into the Heroes in Hell universe in such a way that each anthology will leapfrog and enhance what takes place in the novels.

In that way, I’ll be able to maintain the exact feel and flavour of what Heroes in Hell is all about.

If you could pick any quote about Hell which would be your favourite? “…He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you…”
Friedrich Nietzsche

Which 10 books would you save to keep you sane after the apocalypse? (Only 10 allowed). Lord of the Rings trilogy – J. R. R. Tolkien
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever – Stephen Donaldson
Magician – Raymond E. Feist
A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawkin
The complete works of Shakespeare
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
I the Sun – Janet Morris
The Wilt compendium – Tom Sharpe (I cried with laughter the first time I read them)
The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
The IX – (Andrew P. Weston – how could I not include my first true epic?)

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews? Me? I must admit, I like to add a personal touch. I like to thank anyone who takes the time to puts a thoughtful, honest review out for others to read. However, I never – NOT EVER – respond to trolls. When you get that kind of bile, it’s always best to let your audience answer for you.

In these days of movies and video games are books really influential? Hell yes!

I’m and avid reader and I love films. For example, look how well the LOTR films have done. But as skilled as Peter Jackson is, the films aren’t a patch on the books where the reader can let their imagination loose amongst a rich and vivid landscape. You can go places in your mind that a film never can. Or The Hunger Games trilogy, for example. The films are very popular, but they come nowhere near to capturing the mood and depth of feeling the people of Panem face as they struggle to find the fortitude to break the grip of a tyrannical government. If you’ve read the books, you experience that sense of loss, because celluloid entertainment will never encapsulate such depth and breadth in the limited 2 hours they have to convey an entire story.
And it’s not just popular ‘current fantasies’ like LOTR or Game of Thrones where this rings true. You get it in the older classics like Wuthering Heights, the Thirty-Nine Steps, and Of Mice and men to name several masterpieces.
Thank goodness for books. Whatever technology we develop, they’ll never go out of fashion.

Although not entirely in context, I’m reminded of a superb quote by Stephen Fry…

“Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.”

And I think that rings true regarding films as well.
One day, when I’ve made it big, I’ll have a room like THIS in my house

homelibrary (2)

And you’re all invited.

See you there. J

Andrew Weston’s Author Pages and Links:



The IX


Doctors in Hell

Rage of Augustus

Fairy Tale

For more please check out Andrew’s Amazon Author page.

Random Friday


Here’s last week’s interview with Marden and Hendrick, two men with a shared past, one is a hero and one is not. Two lives, one path, two very different men.

Originally posted on creative barbwire (or the many lives of a creator):

Hi guys,

I’m Samantha and I come from another world – the original, old Silvery Earth, where people are immortal and never grow up. When I’m not switching bodies at will, I travel to other universes, especially books or movies. That’s how I met Rajveer the vampire, for example!

So, I’m taking over the interviews on this blog! And here I am, meeting people from other books/universes/whatever! Hello there. Tell me a little about yourself.

Marden – just Marden now. I’m about 30 years of age and well, my past is a bit shameful. For years I was a Witch-Hunter, a killer of mages and adepts. I killed for my duty, because I thought I was correct in doing so, because it was the law. I asked too few questions and believed too many easy answers. Now that man is dead. Now I am Marden, captain of the Tremellic Militia.

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Random Friday – Interview with Rufus Redblade – Heroika


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Here’s a great interview with Rufus Redblade, hero and dragonslayer.

Originally posted on creative barbwire (or the many lives of a creator):

heroika revised 1Hi guys,

I’m Samantha and I come from another world – the original, old Silvery Earth, where people are immortal and never grow up. When I’m not switching bodies at will, I travel to other universes, especially books or movies. That’s how I met Rajveer the vampire, for example!

So, I’m taking over the interviews on this blog! And here I am, meeting people from other books/universes/whatever!

Hello handsome. Tell me a little about yourself.

I am Rufus Redblade. I was once Captain of the Royal Guard, but times have changed. Now I am a blade for hire. I’m a Griffin Rider. We used to be the elite, for it takes a certain sort to tame and ride a Griffin. Many try, few succeed, and fewer still survive it long.

Age? No idea. I don’t keep track of such things.

That’s fine, I don’t do either. Describe your appearance in…

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