Book Spotlight – The Greatest Anthology Ever Written

Title: The Greatest Anthology Ever Written.

Author: Shane Porteous and over 100 others

Genre: You name it, it’s there

Main character description (short). Over 100 of them, men, women and everything in between

Synopsis: Authors from Nigeria, United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, Mexico, New Zealand, Hungary, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, Belgium, the trashcan down the street and possibly even the lost city of Atlantis have assembled to unite their individual talents into creating the Guinness World Record for the longest and of course Greatest Anthology Ever Written.

Brief Excerpt 250 words: There’s nothing brief about this anthology! It is as big as it brilliant!

 

Why should readers buy this book (50 words max)?

Because it is brilliant (dur!)

 

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Links etc.

Greatest Anthology Ever Written

 

World Record Attempt! Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Shane Porteous

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Today I am pleased to welcome Shane Porteous, who talks about this amazing world record attempt!

Author name: Shane Porteous

*Please tell us about your publications. I have over 50, but the one I am most excited about at the moment is an anthology called THE GREATEST ANTHOLOGY EVER WRITTEN. It is currently on track to being officially recognized by Guinness as the longest anthology ever commercially published. It is planned on being launched at the end of September. You can preorder it herehttps://celenicearthpublications.wordpress.com/anthologies/cea-greatest-anthology-written/

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey? Don’t be selfish. At the end of the day the only way you are ever going to be successful, career wise as a writer is to have people go out of their way to buy, read and review your work. That means you really need to be doing the same as you can’t really expect anyone to do something you wouldn’t do.

 Speaking of which, a great way to show how selfless you are is by pre-ordering a copy of THE GREATEST ANTHOLOGY EVER WRITTEN. Which you can preorder here. The Greatest Anthology Ever Written

If you could have dinner with any literary character who would you choose, and what would you eat.Toriko, because that dude can find almost everything edible, I think his great appreciation of food would make having dinner with him all the better. Not to mention if someone annoyed you, he could just punch them in the face really hard, while screaming Knife! Or Fork! And who wouldn’t want to have a dinner companion like that?  

 As for what I would eat, in the world that Toriko comes from they have a food, so spectacular they call it God. It is said to be so delicious that it actually started a world war in order to find it. I would love to eat what is considered by a food lover like Toriko to be the greatest food ever.

 Speaking of greatest ever things. There is an anthology called  THE GREATEST ANTHOLOGY EVER WRITTEN. A very accurate title indeed. It is available for preorder from this link.   The Greatest Anthology Ever Written

What are your views on authors offering free books? Do you believe, as some do, that it demeans an author and his or her work? Authors are free to do what they want, which includes giving away free books. But honestly, I wouldn’t really recommend it. Considering a lot of readers will download a free ebook, but won’t read it, they will just add it to the pile. I think in order to get readers reading your book, you need to get them to pay for it. It just makes them more invested in your work as a product as people use products they have some investment in.

 Speaking of which, THE GREATEST ANTHOLOGY EVER WRITTEN is available for preorder at the very low cost of less than $25 U.S dollars. That also includes shipping, talk about value for money, an incredibly wise investment of a product indeed! Buy me here

Two ways, the first is try and get something constructive out of the negative review, that’s not always possible but do try. I honestly suggest to just read it a single time no more than that, if you find any merit in such criticisms take them on board, if not move on and focus on other things.

The second way is to distract your mind with positive outcomes of the writing process, such as reading, reading a good book does honestly get your mind away from negativity.

For further proof of my second point why don’t you get yourself a copy of THE GREATEST ANTHOLOGY EVER WRITTEN. Available for preorder now!  Link to record attempting antho

 How influential is storytelling to our culture? Tremendously so! Storytelling goes back to the days when cavemen would paint on cave walls, wanting their great deeds and dreams to live on long after they’re dead. I can easily imagine a caveman father trying to teach his sons how to correctly craft a spear and in order to get his sons to pay attention he would regale them with stories of how this simple piece of wood and sharpened stone would allow a mere man to best a mighty mammoth. I don’t know if that actually happened, but it certainly is an interesting story!

 Also, stories allow cultures to come together and find common ground, they can bridge cultural divides and really allow for magnificent melting pots of ideas to inspire people worldwide.

 Speaking of people being inspired worldwide.  THE GREATEST ANTHOLOGY EVER WRITTEN features over 100 authors from all across the globe coming together to form a collection of stories from many different cultures, it is guaranteed anyone would feel cultured after reading it. Available for pre-order now! Greatest Anthology ever written

What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? The best piece of advice I ever got was from Neil Gaiman. He told me never to name drop.

 The second-best piece of advice was, never turn down an opportunity to promote your work. Speaking of which, THE GREATEST ANTHOLOGY EVER WRITTEN is available for pre-order. Buy me! Buy me!

 What’s the worst piece best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? Never put your book up for preorder. Which is just nonsense, if that was true than why would they have THE GREATEST ANTHOLOGY EVER WRITTEN available for preorder from the following link? Preorder the book

If you could be any fantasy/mythical or legendary person/creature what would you be and why? Either that most mythical of beasts, a sober Australian or a shapeshifter. That way I could transform myself into every main character of every story featured in THE GREATEST ANTHOLOGY EVER WRITTEN. Which coincidentally is available for preorder from this link. Buy me!

Which authors have influenced you the most? Well like every single fantasy writer after the Hobbit was published, Tolkien of course! (whether people want to admit that or not, it’s true.) But I also would cite Kentaro Miura and David Gemmell as major influences in what I write.

 But purely in terms of prose, purely in terms of how I tell a story. The single biggest influence on me is Robert Holdstock. Just the way he would so cleverly interweave world building into his stories without shutting the plot completely down is marvellous. His world building always comes at the perfect time in the plot. I very much try to echo him in this regard. Reading any of his work always puts me in the mood of good storytelling. I think every writer should have an author they look up to like that. I honestly can’t think of anything better for a writer to have. Except having over 100 authors to look up to! Speaking of which.

THE GREATEST ANTHOLOGY EVER WRITTEN available for preorder.

 

What is the last book you’ve read? Stephen King’s Different Seasons. A truly great read. The Shawshank redemption definitely deserves all the praise it has gotten over the years. But for me the best tale in the collection is Apt Pupil. A spectacular story that not only deals with the evils men commit, but the fascination with evil that men have. It is truly a great collection of stories.

 Speaking of great collections of stories. THE GREATEST ANTHOLOGY EVER WRITTEN is available for preorder from the following link. The Greatest anthology ever written

Is this the age of the e-book? Are bricks and mortar bookshops in decline? Obviously not! If that were the case than why would THE GREATEST ANTHOLOGY EVER WRITTEN be available for preorder in both paperback and ebook from this link. Buy me

 Tell us about your latest piece? Finally, I thought you would never ask!

 In all seriousness ladies and gentlemen, the anthology I’ve plastered on every answer is a legitimate attempt at trying to break a world record. The organizer Shaun Jooste of Celenic Earth Publications has worked tirelessly in communicating with Guinness World Records to have the attempt officially recognized. He has set up an official launch event that will take place in South Africa in September. He’s worked many long hours to get over 100 great stories from all across this world together to publish in one volume. We have the authors and the enthusiasm. Guinness World Records is ready to validate our attempt. The last road block we have is we need to sell at least 1000 copies, 500 of which must be paperback.

 The reason for this is because we need to prove that the anthology is commercially viable and not just a gimmick to break a record. Because most publishers these days only print to demand, we essentially need 1000 preorders in paperback because another part of the attempt is to have 1000 printed, again as proof that the anthology is a commercial endeavour.

 So please, it would mean the world not to only me, but the other 100 plus authors if you could purchase a pre-order paperback copy. Those who do preorder will be counted as an official sponsor. Again each book costs less than $25 American dollars, that includes shipping in the price. It truly is a bargain. So again, please help us break this record.  Preorder link.   

 Get the book here

 

Shane Porteous is a mastery of the legendary 77 donut devouring technique. He lives in a place of strange dreams and even stranger reality. A lifelong writer, he has an immense passion for the fantastical and prides himself on being alternative and if possible original with his storytelling. He has been published both traditionally and independently. The single guarantee he gives with his novels is not whether you will like or hate them but he guarantees you will remember them.

 

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New Release – More Than Human Bundle #fantasy #boxset #multiauthors

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Hurrah it’s here! I’m pleased to present the More Than Human Box Set! 11 Tales from a variety of authors. Look out for features from the ‘Bundle Rabbits’ coming soon.

https://bundlerabbit.com/b/more-than-human

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0751Z8YKK/

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/more-than-human-10

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/more-than-human-a-l-butcher/1126995921?ean=2940158967016

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36098690-the-more-than-human-bundle

To save. To guard. To heal.

Beloved people, precious things, and sacred spaces move our hearts and inspire us to defend them.

In these tales of redemption and rescue, more-than-human heroes stand forth as champions to protect all that is worthy of protection.

Walk with these elves, imps, wizards, dryads, gods, and guardians as they subdue demons, free the enslaved, preserve the world, comfort the exiled, and cross swords with the dark. Read and revel in their triumphs and tribulations.

Kitchen Imps Bundle Rabbit Ad

The Shining Citadel – A. L. Butcher

Technological Angel – Barbara G. Tarn

Needle-Green – Debbie Mumford

The Cartographer’s Daughter – Karen L. Abrahamson

Serpent’s Foe – J.M. Ney-Grimm

The Crystal Courtesan – Karen L. Abrahamson

The First Book of Old Mermaids Tales – Kim Antieau

The Guardians – Book 1 – Don Viecelli

Love Apidae (A Recumon Story) – Michael R. E. Adams

The Flat Above the Wynd – Alexandra Brandt

The Kitchen Imps and Other Dark Tales – A. L. Butcher

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Swift Six Character Interview – Ozena Lyn – Fantasy/Bundle/Dark Fantasy

 

Name: Ozena Lyn

Which book/world do you live in?

I live in Erana, as the humans call it. My home was Szendro, until it was destroyed by slavers – that’s in the Shimmering Forest.

The books I am in are called The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles, and The Shining Citadel.

Tell us about yourself: (Name, race/species, etc.)

I’m an elf, specifically a Forest Elf; elves were once the dominant race in Erana, but since the Plague, and the rule of the Order of Witch-Hunters the elves are lower than cattle. We are not free, and have no rights. Forest Elves tend to live in more traditional way, deep in the forest, or the wilderness but even there we are not safe. The Order or the Slavers can and do come at any time, believe me.

I am a huntress and archer by profession, and now a tracker. My father was the same, before he was killed many years ago. My mother was a craftswoman.  Except for my sister and some more distant kin I had no family in Szendro but, in such communities, all elves are kin. We must be, for if we do not unite we will fall.

Many of the humans treat elves very badly, as I have said we have no rights under law and so maybe treated however the human wishes. We cannot move around the land without the required papers and with the consent of our owners.  I am lucky, my human is kind and gives us much freedom.  But many elves are not so fortunate.

I’m an adventurer – why should I recruit you to accompany me?

I am an archer adept, and a tracker. I was my old tutor’s best student – so he said. I won’t say I never miss, but it’s rare. I’m a fair swordswoman too. These days I know about poisons, stealth, concealment and how to kill efficiently. Once I was an innocent, naive you would say. That was before the Slavers came. There was not much to threaten us – except the odd bear or wolf. We were complacent.  That will never happen again.

Archos (my human) tells me we would never have found the Shining Citadel without my skills. And the journey through the mountains and forest was very arduous.

Tell us about your companions?  How do they see you?

Well, I hope Olek loves me! He does get exasperated, I know that. He is far more worldly than I and a good deal older. Sometimes I don’t understand the ways of the world beyond the forest, but I’m getting better.

Lord Archos – I haven’t a clue. We live in his house so I guess he likes me. Sometimes I feel second after him in Olek’s eyes. I know who he’d choose if he had to. Although I guess Olek has served Archos for more years than I have been alive – their bond is strong.  Archos is not easy to live with. He is wise but often rather arrogant and he has a terrifying temper. He’s never used it on me, but I’d not like to truly cross him. Archos has powers beyond which not many can stand and, so I have been told, mages are passionate. That passion and emotion can fuel the magic. Most mages are weak and timid. They are treated even worse than elves – magic is forbidden – on pain of death, you see.

Archos is an Archmage – and revered by my society but often I feel rather stupid around the mages – Dii and Archos. They are far better educated and have seen so much more than I have. Magic is mysterious and dangerous – I can’t hope to understand it.  I think he sees me as a child or an indulgence for Olek. I am very grateful for all his kindness but he is not an easy man to be around.

Dii and I are friends, she is kind and gentle. I can’t imagine what she’s been through. Dii will take my side sometimes if Archos and I disagree.

Th’alia – who joined us on our adventure to find the Citadel – does not like me. She is rude, not just to me but to everyone. I know she suffered at the hands of the Order but so has Dii, and Dii does not behave in such a way. Th’alia is supposed to be an Eltenda – a lore keeper and historian – but she thinks the old tales and the myths of our past are foolish. She does not believe and scorns those who do. She is highborn – nobility – and I am ‘just’ a hunter from a small village and humble stock.

What’s your most heroic exploit to date?

Finding the Shining Citadel! I was so worried we would never get there, we were lost and in trouble. We could not return home. It was finding the Citadel, find a way out of the forest or die trying. I still cannot believe it.  This place is both the past and the future of the elves – a great city cloaked in magic with hundreds if not thousands of years of history. There are elves – well not living ones there but one day Lor’Arthinis will be great again. It’s a secret if the Order finds out they will try and destroy it.

What’s your greatest failure?

My sister.  You’ll have to read to find out more. Please don’t make me talk about it.

Where do you think you’ll be in a decade?

Dead, probably. The fight we undertake is dangerous. I doubt all of us will live.  If I am still alive I’d like to be raising a family in safety and freedom. Elves have little – but we do have hope. We must, or fall entirely.

Do you have a great love? (This could be a person/trait/item)

Olek. The elven men in the village were all rather dull in comparison.  But they are all dead now, or missing.  Olek is so worldly; deadly and kind in equal measures. He taught me to be brave, that a woman and an elf can be equal to a man and a human.  He has shown me the world beyond the Shimmering Forest, and I know I will always be safe with him. Because of Olek, and to an extent Archos, I am far more confident, far surer of my skills.

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Book Links

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I

Amazon.com http://amzn.to/2bPpspP

Amazon.com audio http://amzn.to/2iBgmQV

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2i2KJfE

Amazon UK audio http://amzn.to/2iXfIdc

Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2iB9PWl

I-books http://apple.co/2j0pYW2

Audible UK http://adbl.co/2bGqZvO

Audible http://adbl.co/2hHT8El

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The Shining Citadel

Amazon.com http://amzn.to/2c5LghC

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2iqOXkr

Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2hHRv9K

I-books http://apple.co/2j0B4u8

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2iOOWoB

Audible UK http://adbl.co/2iSW5GF

Amazon.com http://amzn.to/2j1DSnF

Audible.com http://adbl.co/2i3tf5t

 

Heroic Tales

BundleRabbit https://bundlerabbit.com/b/heroic-tales

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/heroic-tales

Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2u33Tfd

I books https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1257100962

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B073T45HYB/

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073T45HYB/

 

Author Bio

British-born Alexandra Butcher (a/k/a  A. L. Butcher) is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet, and a dreamer, a lover of science, natural history, history, and monkeys. Her prose has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as evocative.  She writes with a sure and sometimes erotic sensibility of things that might have been, never were, but could be.

Alex is the author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles and the Tales of Erana lyrical fantasy series. She also has several short stories in the fantasy, fantasy romance genres with occasional forays into gothic style horror. With a background in politics, classical studies, ancient history and myth, her affinities bring an eclectic and unique flavour in her work, mixing reality and dream in alchemical proportions that bring her characters and worlds to life.

 

Social Media links

Amazon Author page http://amzn.to/2hK33OM

Facebook Author Page http://bit.ly/FB2j0bbdZ

Twitter http://bit.ly/Twi2hJZ3h9

Goodreads http://bit.ly/GR2iqokvK

Library of Erana Blog http://bit.ly/Blog2iAWL3o

Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/alex-butcher-8342ab13b/

Tumblr https://libraryoferana.tumblr.com

 

 

Swift Six – Author – P A Wilson – Fantasy/Heroic Tales Bundle

Here’s the first author interview from the Heroic Tales Bundle

Name: P. A. Wilson

What attracts you to the genre in which you write?

I love stories that all you to break the rules and then glue them back together. Creating a world where I control how things work is fun and challenging. When it comes to magic, people sometimes think any problem can be solved with magic, and that means there’s no real story. I think in a good fantasy tale, there needs to be a cost of doing magic, something that will restrain the wizard, witch, fairy, whatever creature is in the world, from simply pointing a wand and getting what they need.

In my fantasy, I tend to make the rules either a resource issue, you can’t use magic all the time because you use up something, or I make it ambiguous. Yes, you can get your answer, but it’s not going to help much.

What piece of writing advice do you wish you’d known when you started your writing adventures?

I’m always learning new things. I think that’s the advice most people miss at the beginning. Writing isn’t a ‘learn it and you’re good to go’ kind of thing. Every book is different and my process changes a little each time. Other than the fact that I need a loose outline that is.

If you could have dinner with any famous person or character who would you choose?

If I had to choose one, I would dine with Isaac Asimov. The conversation would be me fangirling out and him explaining how he was able to be so prolific.

Who has been the greatest influence on your own work?

Anne McCaffrey. Her Pern books enthralled me when I first read them; excellent world building, excellent characters. When I started to write my own stories, I often re-read her books to find her techniques.

Do you think the e-book revolution will do away with print?

I think we have yet to see the final and ‘perfect’ method of storytelling. Ebooks are convenient, and there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that people read more when they choose ebooks. As authors, we love to hear people are reading more. But print, both soft and hard cover, are different experiences. People like to feel the weight of the book in their hands, smell the ink and paper, and feel like they own something.

What I do see right now, is a segmenting of the market into people who only read digital, people who read either format, and people who only want print. The market is big enough to carry both.

Which 3 books would you take to a desert island and why?

The Dragonriders of Pern, I never seem to get tired of reading them. The Pillars of The Earth, Ken Follett, the way he deals with complexity and the epic scope of the work means I find new things every time I read it. The complete works of William Shakespeare, maybe on a desert island I will finally get time to read all the plays and sonnets.

Author bio and book synopsis

Perry Wilson is a Canadian author based in Vancouver, BC who has big ideas and an itch to tell stories. Having spent some time on university, a career, and life in general, she returned to writing in 2008 and hasn’t looked back since. She writes the Quinn Larson Quests an urban fantasy series, the Charity Deacon Investigations, and two science fiction series. A member of the Royal City Literary Arts Society, the Vancouver Writer’s Social Group, and the Surrey Writers Group, she spends much of her time creating new books, and learning the craft.

 

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so):

Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short)

I write in multiple genres, currently focussing on Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Mystery, and Science Fiction. You can find a list of my current books on my website at pawilson.ca

Links

Website: https://pawilson.ca/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPAWilson/

Twitter: @perryawilson

 

Heroic Tales can be found here

BundleRabbit https://bundlerabbit.com/b/heroic-tales

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/heroic-tales

Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2u33Tfd

I books https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1257100962

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B073T45HYB/

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073T45HYB/

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Hell Week 2017 – Day 2 – Seth Lindberg/Ernest Haeckel

 

Welcome to Day 2 of Hell Week 2017. Seth Lindberg has risked his soul (bit late for that), and joined us by the baelfire for an interview. First we meet his character Ernest Haeckel.

Pirates in Hell cover

Who are/were you?   Tell us about your life before you came here, and after.

EH: Greetings, I am Ernest Haeckel, renowned evolutionist, artist, and philosopher. You heard of my contemporary Charles Darwin, no doubt? I coined the term ecology and am famous for my beautiful drawings of lifeforms. My embryological montages unexpectedly drew anger from my fellow scientists.  They deemed I embellished too much. Yet, I stand by my depictions of embryos and the notion that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. You look confused, no doubt because  of your retarded ancestry. Just understand my hypothesis that embryos express shapes of all their lesser, ancestral forms as they develop. So before your embryo matured into human form, it appeared as a pig and even a fish.

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Describe your home/environment in Hell.

EH: I find myself in Duat, a corrupted afterlife comprising ancient the Nile Delta and the Mediterranean Sea. Here the waters are corrupted by the first plague under Ramses II’s rule. Instead of water, blood flows. The once verdant banks are spoiled purple. A Vile Delta and Vile River surround me. No vegetation grows here. Fragments of cyclopean statues emerge from sandbanks like broken teeth. Inhabitants do not age here. Lingering pharaohs outlive the monuments made in their honour.

question-2-montage-sea

Why do YOU think you’re in Hell/Duat?

EH: I do not deserve to be here since I am of Homo mediterraneus race, the most advanced actually. Perhaps I must finish my census of Mediterranean life. Luckily, this coastline is overpopulated with locust nymphs and frog embryos, tadpoles and such. These Schistocerca gregaria larvae look unique to me. It may be a new species… I must draw this.

 

Hell covers all eras and technologies, there are many hells within Hell. How have you adjusted to this strange world?

EH: Thankfully, my faith in monism is affirmed. My body transcended with my soul cohered to it. Since I live again in the afterlife, I know I can return intact to the land of the living. What can enter, must be able to leave, correct? So, I do not mind visiting this strange Duat. What is crucial is that I defend my reputation and quell criticism. I am a true scientist. I do not fake my art. I can’t wait until my fellow scientists see what I have found here! I must convince them of my authenticity.

 

Who are your friends/allies here?

EH: Well, I am more interested in acquainting myself with biology than making friends, but if you mean “human allies” then there is my fellow Caucasian Howard Carter. He is the only other to wear a bow tie and fedora around here. Note, Howard is not a naturalist. He is fascinated with antiquities and material artefacts more than nature. That is why he is in hell.

 

Do you have any enemies here?

EH: Certainly the elements work against me. The vile Mediterranean Sea keeps swallowing up my documentation. How many times must I draw the lifeforms only to have the tidal waters consume my data?  Then there are those piratic warriors floating out there: the Sea Peoples. The pharaohs won’t let them on the land. They just float out there. They must be getting bored.

 

What is the WORST thing about being here?

EH: The cursed waters! I swear this Vile Delta sinks with Lemuria.

 

What is Lemuria?

EH: Man originated there. All twelve human races evolved from Lemuria, that continent adjacent to Africa and Asia. The Indian Ocean flooded it, just as Duat sinks now. With haste, we must end this interview. The Sea comes to reclaim my equipment and drawings. You distract me.

 

Before you arrived here did you actually believe in HSM and his fiery domain? Bet that was a shock!

EH: I have not seen this omniscient ‘HSM’ you speak of, but I do not expect to. There are no real gods, angels, or demons.  I have seen some pharaohs who deem themselves godlike, but they looked very human to me. Gods are just arrogant vertebrates.

 

Are you sure?

EH: Certainly. All my hypothesis are as good as theories.

 

Your future may get worse.

EH: How much worse could things get? Enough, I must chase my art again…

 

 

Author Spotlight

1) *Name and bio.

SEL: I’m Seth (S.E.) Lindberg, residing near Cincinnati, Ohio working as a microscopist by day and dark-fantasy writer by night. Two decades of practicing chemistry, combined with a passion for the Sword & Sorcery genre, spurs me to write adventure fictionalizing the alchemical humors.  As a practicing chemist and hobbyist illustrator, I’m driven to explore the weird experience of artists & scientists attempting to capture the divine. I identify with early scientists before chemistry splintered from alchemy, when Art & Science disciplines had common purpose. Take, for example, early anatomy (Medieval and Renaissance period): surgeons searched for the elements of the soul as they dissected bodies; data was largely visual, and had to be recorded by an illustrator. The technology behind paint and dyeing was developing alongside advances in medicine. Back then, the same instrumentation in apothecaries produced medicines as well as paints/inks, so the distinction between artist & scientist was obscure.

 

Tell us about your story for this edition.

SEL: Curse of the Pharaohs: In the Egyptian realm of the dead of Duat, many pharaohs wait to be judged by Anubis; yet he has been in absentia for centuries. As the piratical Sea People threaten to come ashore, the meddling duo of Howard Carter and Ernest Haeckel unearth Anubis’s Hall of Two Truths. Eleven anxious Rameses risk leaving the shoreline unprotected to chance judgement (and a chance to get out of Duat!).

 

What inspired you to use the character(s) you’ve chosen?

SEL: Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919) was a dedicated, philosophical scientist with outstanding artistic skills. He documented thousands of life forms and published his beautiful plates in “Art Forms in Nature” (translated from German: Kunstforman der Natur). But then his fascination with Art-Nature caused an uproar when he tweaked his drawings of embryos in 1874. Haeckel envisioned familiarities across the embryos of fish, salamanders, turtles, pigs, rabbits, and humans; then he represented these in an evocative table. At a time when photography was not practiced, data was art…and vice versa. Some still claim his drawings were legitimate, but in any case, his artistic embellishments stirred a controversy. His beauteous art will forever be overshadowed by a philosophy that evolved into Social Darwinism, an evil variant of Darwin’s concepts that would inspire the Holocaust.

The Mediterranean Sea is ideal setting for a hellish story. The turn of the 19th century was rich with advances in evolutionary theory, science, and even speculative fiction. Anatomists, philosophers, and scientists ruminated on how far to extrapolate Darwin’s assertions. Haeckel was certainly combing the seashore for lifeforms to draw. Nearly the same time, ~1922, Howard Carter was busy searching for humanity’s past; Carter’s meddling eventually revealed King Tut’s tomb.
The notion of having Haeckel explore the Mediterranean in his afterlife was intriguing; to make it entertaining, he was paired with the obnoxious, tomb-raiding Howard Carter.  Thankfully there was a pirate-themed tie-in available with the Sea Peoples of ancient times. In what universe other than Perseid Press’ Heroes in Hell series can an author mix such disparate people/cultures/themes together? I am thankful to have had this opportunity to explore Duat and contribute to Hell.

4) How did you become involved with this project?

SEL: An invitation followed after contributing to Heroika: Dragon Eaters, Perseid Press’s anthology of historical fiction / fantasy.  Legacy of the Great Dragon, my short story for Heroika, features the Father of Alchemy entombing his singular source of magic, the Great Dragon. According to Greek and Egyptian myth, the god Thoth (a.k.a. Hermes) was able to see into the world of the dead and pass his learnings to the living.  One of the earliest known hermetic scripts is the Divine Pymander of Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus.  Within that, a tale is told of Hermes being confronted with a vision of the otherworldly entity Pymander, who takes the shape of a “Great Dragon” to reveal divine secrets. Legacy of the Great Dragon fictionalizes this Hermetic Tradition, presenting the Great Dragon as the sun-eating Apep of Egyptian antiquity.

 

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

SEL:  There is a lot to say about Hell! Readers need to be assured that it is always okay to explore it. I defer to several authors from the Doctors in Hell anthology; this death-panel drops many quotes about the series and serves as welcoming introduction to the Heroes in Hell series:  Death Panel Convenes on why it is OK to go to Hell at any time (2015).

 

What other books/short stories have you written?

SEL: I focus on alchemy-inspired, dark fantasy. Separate from submitting to Perseid Press’s Heroika: Dragon Eaters, I have relied on Sword & Sorcery as a medium to contemplate life-death-art with my Dyscrasia Fiction series. Dyscrasia literally means “a bad mixture of liquids” (it is not a fictional land).  Historically, dyscrasia referred to any imbalance of the four medicinal humors professed by the ancient Greeks to sustain life (phlegm, blood, black and yellow bile). Artisans, anatomists, and chemists of the Renaissance expressed shared interest in the humors; accordingly, the scope of humorism evolved to include aspects of the four alchemical elements (water, air, earth and fire) and psychological temperaments (phlegmatic, sanguine, melancholic and choleric). In short, the humors are mystical media of color, energy, and emotion; Dyscrasia Fiction presents them as spiritual muses for artisans, sources of magical power, and contagions of a deadly disease.  The books explore the choices humans and their gods make as this disease corrupts their souls, shared blood and creative energies.

I plan to continue Dyscrasia Fiction in parallel with submitting stories to Perseid Press, forever shaping the muses of alchemy into heroic fiction.

CURSE OF THE PHARAOHS – Excerpt

  1. E. Lindberg

We hold, with Goethe, that “matter cannot exist and be operative without spirit, nor spirit without matter.”

– Ernst Haeckel, Riddle of the Universe, 1900 CE

Howard Carter, renowned discoverer of King Tutankhamun’s tomb, strode forward, his chin high. He led the quadruped by a leather rein. The leash was connected to a muzzle with a false beard. The bushy-mustached Carter addressed the other suited man, who likewise wore a bow tie and fedora. “Hello, sir, good day. Nice to see a fellow Caucasian gentleman here.”

The white-bearded man looked up, placing his drawing implements beside his brass, monocular microscope. Tipping his hat, he said, “I am Doctor Ernst Haeckel. I confirm we are both Homo mediterraneus. And you are?”

“In need of a cigarette, Doctor. There are few simple pleasures to enjoy here.” Too prideful to extend a hand in greeting, he kept one on the leash while his other stroked his vest’s inseam. He puffed out his chest in a display of masculine power, not unlike that of an alpha gorilla prepared to defend its territory. “Pardon, I thought my identity to be self-evident. I am Howard Carter. The Howard Carter. Archeology and antiquities are my specialty.”

“Oh, that Carter. I recall you started looking for a tomb, but never found it.”

“I did locate King Tutankhamun’s tomb. Soon after your death perhaps, since the whole living world knows my name. I am sure you would remember had you been alive at the time.” He relished his memory of discovery. “Ah, tomb number KV62. And you should note, Doctor Haeckel, that it was unperturbed!”

“Splendid. What did you do to said unperturbed tomb?”

“Opened it, of course!”

Confused, Haeckel went back to sifting the blood-soaked, purple sand. He found a ruby-colored cankerworm and placed it on his microscope, then looked through the lens before it could wiggle away. Face hovering above the microscope’s ocular, he asked, “Did you preserve or destroy it?”

“Don’t be foolish. I examined the tomb’s contents, of course. Some say it released a curse, though I was immune to such superstitions. I found many artifacts.” Sold several to local dealers, he thought to himself. “I have found it difficult to perform my trade since coming to Duat.”

“What is this ‘Duat’? Is it your employer’s acronym perchance? The Department of Underworld Antiquities or something?”

Carter smiled, “No, Doctor. It’s simply the Egyptian afterlife, wherein we find ourselves. Duat was coined by the natives long before we died.” Haeckel listened while keeping his attention on the cankerworm, so Carter inquired, “Are you looking for something in particular?”

“I must finish my census of this infernal version of Mediterranean life. This coastline is overpopulated with locust nymphs and frog embryos, tadpoles and such.” Haeckel said. “These Schistocerca gregaria larvae look unique to me. It may be a new species. Do you happen to know anything about embryology or evolutionary theory?”

“I recall your scientific community does not take kindly to imagination.” Before Carter could expound on Haeckel’s controversial embryological data, long proven to be embellished with abundant artistic license, the bound quadruped suddenly began a snorting, which escalated into an awkward yelp: “Hap . . . hap . . . suuuuu!”

“Gesundheit!” Haeckel said, taking notice of Carter’s pet. The being was hunched over and wearing some erotic, black leather corselet which left its buttocks exposed. It was forced into squatting because a lengthy wooden phallus protruded from its anus, no doubt some lodged sex toy projecting out his rear like a tail. The faux beard attached to the leash’s muzzle could be mistaken as a canine snout. The apparent quadruped resembled an enslaved jackal. Tassels and buckles adorned the leather straps, indicating the device once had been worn by­­ a partner. Haeckel inquired, “A human specimen? Are you expanding your interest beyond the artificial, and into the natural?”

“Ah, so you like what I found in KV60?” The reference confused Haeckel, so Carter explained, “My catalog number for the Valley of The Kings.”

“Mister Carter, I don’t know your catalog system — nor that specimen’s identity. You are sadistic to keep a human on a leash and torture him with that stick.”

“You misunderstand. I found him in this condition, chained to sandstone walls with that phallus up his arse. Far be it from me to take something away from its proper owner.” Carter motioned to remove it, and the man whirled in a circle, avoiding him. “See? He wants to keep it.”

Haeckel said, “Is that how the Egyptians buried their kings?”

“He is no king. He is the only non-royal I found. He must have died this way, perhaps a pharaoh’s masochistic lover. He does appear grateful that I freed his tether from the tomb, however. He is strangely talented in locating hidden ruins. Before leading me here, he sniffed out several buried sites which I am anxious to investigate further. I let him lead me for a time toward Vile’s end. To you, actually. Are you certain you do not recognize him?”

“Ja whol! I am certain. Does it . . .” From his low vantage, Haeckel felt compelled to confirm the specimen’s gender and thus peered beneath its posterior. “Does he have a name?”

“Mutt . . . Mutt . . .” the quadruped interposed, the bit of its leather bridle hindering speech.

“See, Doctor Haeckel, I fear this man now thinks himself a dog. Leashed as I had found him, preferring to crawl on all fours, then identifying himself as a mutt.”

“Is that all he says?”

Mutt spat, “Hap . . . hap . . . suuuuu!”

“Bless you, dear fellow! He does sneeze a lot,” Carter declared.

“Beneath that leather costume is a man. His hair, skin, and body shape indicate he is Homo mediterraneus: of the same race as you and I. The most advanced race, actually.” Haeckel became introspective. He switched his contemplations from the microscopic wonders to the macroscopic. He looked beyond the Egyptian ushabti toward the offshore soldiers. A vast fleet of warriors lined both port and starboard sides of the bird-headed warships. Clothed in kilts and corselets, they did not look much different than the Egyptians. Many wore horned helmets or bronze headbands; all had short, curly black hair. “Who are the floating folk?”

“They are Sea Peoples. Mere pirates, according to the pharaohs. I wager they desire a home more than plunder. Stay on this side of the shield wall and you should be alright.”

“And where are these pharaohs you speak of?”

Carter pointed toward the inland ruins. “Just the Ramses type. I cannot seem to find any others. The pharaohs watch the coastline intently.”

Haeckel asked, “Why do they not take off their masks?”

“They did not pass into death as whole as we did. I found their mummies already unwrapped, with faces flayed. Some vandal had gotten to them first. I woke them all and welcomed them to Duat. Each was quick to don their ceremonial gold helms,” Carter explained. “They are stripped of identity. They rule over a dead land. No doubt, there is a curse amongst them —”

“Are the pharaohs cursed? Or are the invaders from the sea?” Haeckel pondered, “Or are we, since we share their situation?”

“All mysteries remaining to be answered, Doctor.”

“Oh, I love riddles,” Haeckel said, trying to reconcile his evolutionary beliefs with this situation. He stood between two armies of the most advanced human type, the Mediterranean race. War was constant, even in the afterlife. There was only one Delta, over which many souls contested. Perhaps all humans were cursed. A frog hopped by. Haeckel seized it, holding it up by one leg for inspection. “Lot of Batrachia here. In unprecedented numbers.”

“Ramses II’s tomb was full of them. They spread when I released his mummy from KV7.”

“This species is unique, Carter. The Royal Society will never believe what I find here without sufficient documentation. I must convince them.”

“Your scientific community is not here. Plus, there is no way out of Duat.” Carter raised an eyebrow with a hint of hope. “Unless you plan to return to life. Do you know a way?”

Haeckel yet struggled to solve the riddle of the afterlife. Duat could not be entirely closed. Bodies and souls had entered here — united in fact, so the dualists were wrong. “Certainly, all my hypothesis are as good as theories,” Haeckel affirmed aloud. “My faith in monism is reinforced here, since my body and soul remain cohered. Since I live again in the afterlife, why could I not return intact to the land of the living? What can enter, must be able to leave. Of course there is a way back.”

Musing, Carter stroked his vest. “Although we kept our souls, Doctor Haeckel, our bodies do not need to eat. We are different here. Does it not bother you, Doctor, that the orb overhead casts shadows for this frog specimen but not for you? Not for your body? Nor for mine?”

Haeckel returned his attention to the sand, noting how the frog’s silhouette hung suspended from thin air. “Heilige Scheisse!”

“Holy sheut, indeed,” Carter mistranslated Haeckel’s profanity. “Doctor, that is no ordinary sun. The hieroglyphs in the tombs explain that it is a circular window into the Lake of Fire. Shadows are cast onto earth’s living realm, not here.”

They turned their attention skyward, to gaze upon the orange-red orb. Beside them the quadruped stared and howled, “Hap . . . suuuuu!”

Carter asked, “Do you see that? Something fiery is emerging from the light.”

“It’s a bird,” Haeckel guessed, squinting.

“A plane?” surmised Carter.

Out of ear shot of the fedora-crowned men, eleven Rameses exclaimed, “Anubis’ barge! Ammit the Devourer comes!” The flight of the burning galley affirmed their shaken Egyptian faith. The pharaohs stood in salutation.

The spectacle demanded the attention of all; even their enemies looked up. The solar barge descended without oars, resting on the back of a chimera sailing atop an infernal plume. A living crocodile’s head adorned the ship’s bow, its hull propelled by a hind set of hippopotamus legs with lion legs at the fore. Ammit the Devourer emerged from the supernal fire, her nostrils flared with smoke as she exhaled plumes that fueled the ethereal, enflamed clouds on which she rode. Her maw bit at ostrich feathers that evaded her hot breath, floating as if tracking some invisible path, remaining barely out of reach — but always avoiding ignition. Ammit approached land so all could see that the galley upon her back held a woman. A lady with a conical crown stretched over the side, grasping at the ostrich feathers.

Ammit landed on the purple beach in midstride, running along its shore, each footprint blazing. She halted and stood on her hippopotamus legs, rearing so her passenger could exit. Then Ammit burrowed into the bloody sand; her bed of flames went with her as she burrowed deeper into the underworld. In her wake, a smoking cloud veiled the hedjet crowned woman.

As the smoke of her passing dissipated, the leather-clad pharaoh strutted forward and bent to pick up the ostrich feathers.

The shield wall broke formation as the ushabti dropped their weapons to prostrate before her. A female pharaoh had been sent from the Eye of Ra! The woman placed the feathers into her hedjet, transforming her headdress into a proper Osirian atef. So mesmerized, the Egyptians did not observe Teuta signal her advance.

“Hap . . . suuuuu,” Mutt howled. He bolted forward abruptly to release himself from Carter’s grip. Mutt breached the line of ushabti, and galloped alongside the shoreline. He drooled as he advanced, anxious to lick her. Hatshepsut wore a bleached-leather cat suit which contrasted her bronze skin and black hair. Ebony kohl framed her eyes, underscored with green malachite liner.

Mutt met on her on the beach. He sniffed her groin with passion. She smelled of frankincense.

“Senenmut! My lover, my vizier, my architect!” Hatshepsut stroked Senenmut’s head until he calmed. Pressing her anterior against Mutt’s posterior, she strapped on the harness and then withdrew to unsheathe the wand. She stood proudly, feet widespread, outfitted as a king. “Were you bound for a long time? How did you find me?”

 

Links:

Boo! Authors – A.L. Butcher #Horror

Who are you? I’m A. L. Butcher (Alexandra) but most people call me Alex.

Tell us about your Boo! story: The Watcher is a rewrite of a short story set during the Autumn of Terror –1888’s London and the killer known to history as Jack the Ripper.  He was, and still is, an enigma and has fascinated me for years. I read a lot of true crime and have read most of the theories about his (or her) identity. This is a work of fiction – a might have been. It’s dark, violent and disturbing. But then again it’s meant to be.

What else have your written? Lots. I have a series of dark adult fantasy fiction, which has been called ‘sex and sorcery’. The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles is set in a world where magic is illegal and half the population is enslaved. Please check out my author profile or blog for further details.

I’ve also got several short stories, and short story collections of fantasy tales, a book of poetry and, most recently, a short tragic tale based around the Phantom of the Opera.

 

What frightens you the most? Clowns, enclosed spaces, cancer.

Have you ever seen a ghost? Probably. There was definitely something there. Our old house had some…. strange habits and I worked in a couple of places with ‘documented’ spooks.

What are you reading at the moment? A book about Woodes Rogers (a local privateer turned pirate hunter), a book about the ‘invention’ of murder by the Victorians, and a book about ancient Rome.

If you could meet any living famous person for dinner who would it be and what would you eat?

Sir David Attenborough. Cheese on toast or my late mother’s steak and kidney stewJ

If you could meet any dead famous person who would be and what would you have to eat?

Terry Pratchett, or Leonardo Da Vinci – same as above.

Which book do you see as the most influential in your life?

Many, many, many books. Phantom of the Opera; Count of Monte Christo; Wuthering Heights; Dracula; most of the Discworld series; Lord of the Rings: I, the Sun; Watership Down, and lots more.

In the zombie apocalypse what would be your weapon of choice with which to defend yourself?

Flamethrower with unlimited fuel, failing that a sword probably.

 

 

Social media links etc.

A.L. Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles fantasy series, and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genres.  She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history and monkeys. Her work has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as evocative.

 

Blog:                      https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/

Goodreads:        https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6430414A_L_Butcher

Amazon:              http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alexandra-Butcher/e/B008BQFCC6/

Twitter:                @libraryoferana

Facebook:           https://www.facebook.com/LightBeyondtheStorm

Boo! Authors – Erin McGowan – #Horror

Who are you?

Sure, we can start with the most open-ended question of all time.  My name is Erin, my nickname was Lark once upon a time, but you can call me anything, so long as you don’t call me late to dinner.  I’m an accountant/administrative assistant/whatever-the-hell-my-boss-tells-me-I-am by day and a writer and very occasionally editor by night.  I love to read, travel, read, drink coffee, read, take walks on the bead, and read.

Tell us about your Boo! story:

I have one story about friendship, life, love, and scary shit.  My second story is about brotherhood, friendship, love, bikes, and more scary shit.  Seriously, though, one of my stories is about two best friends who go on an impromptu Halloween road trip and find more than they bargained for.  The other story is about a motorcycle club and the lengths they will go to in order to keep people safe.  I just now realized that both of my stories deal with travel and unbreakable bonds, but that’s not too surprising, because those are both things I value immensely.

What else have your written?

I’ve written short stories in “Music Speaks” and the other three “Boo” books.  I’ve also written two full-length novels.  “Aftermath” is a contemporary fiction novel that I am still half-tempted to entitle “Everybody Dies” just so I don’t have to give a summary of the book.  “The Mage: Awakening” is a young adult urban fantasy book about a young woman who learns how to control her magical powers and tries to fit in in a new school and the mage society.  It’s the first in a series.  I hope the second book will be out soon.

What frightens you the most?

Being alone, or letting the people I love down.  And clowns.

Have you ever seen a ghost?

I have.  It was in an apartment, and it was massively angry.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m just about to start “Dead Zone” by Stephen King.  I thought, given the election, it was fitting.

If you could meet any living famous person for dinner who would it be and what would you eat?

I would love to meet Jimmy Buffet.  I don’t think I could bring myself to say anything, but I’d be in Heaven.  We’d eat some sort of fish, I’m sure.  I’d let him choose.

If you could meet any dead famous person who would be and what would you have to eat?

I have to pick one?  Did you ever see the Gilmore Girls episode where they had all their friends come eat a fancy dinner at the Inn?  I want to do that with dead people.  Shakespeare and Byron and Amelia Earhart and Dorothy Parker and Sid Vicious and David Bowe and Rich Meyer and Cina Clark and Brian Wilson and so many more that I can’t even keep them straight.  People I love, people I admire, and people I aspire to be like would all be there.

Which book do you see as the most influential in your life?

Too many to choose from.  I would say Jim Butcher and all of his books changed my life in a major way, though.

In the zombie apocalypse what would be your weapon of choice with which to defend yourself?

I want Harley’s mallet and giant thews.

 

Social media links etc.

Aftermath: https://www.amazon.com/Aftermath-ebook/dp/B00DPYX64A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374341129&sr=8-1&keywords=Erin+McGowan

The Mage: Awakening: https://www.amazon.com/Mage-Awakening-Erin-McGowan-ebook/dp/B01BIR0AJO/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Music Speaks: https://www.amazon.com/Music-Speaks-LB-Clark-ebook/dp/B008C88QTE/ref=la_B008CBE1H2_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1478144407&sr=1-6

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ErinMWrites/?ref=br_rs

Lonestar Book Works: http://www.lonestarbookworks.info/

 

Boo! Authors – Ann Cathey #Horror

Who are you?

I write under the name Ann Cathey, and have been doing so since my teens.

 

Tell us about your Boo! story:

Which one? I have two, this time around. One is a completely silly bit of fluff about a spooky jello mold that spawned out of nowhere. The other is a little ghost story that belongs to my Hidden Souls tales that is loosely based on personal experience.

 

What else have your written?

In the past few years I’ve been features in all the Boo! anthologies, Music Speaks, and have one short novel currently available, “Wolf in the Fold”, that’s part of the aforementioned Hidden Souls universe. All of those projects are from Lone Star Book Works. I’ve also got a few short stories coming out in anthologies from Fantom Press in the near future.
In the far past, I’ve had poetry and short stories published in a variety of small press publications, though there’s been very little fan-fic. I’ve scripted for comic books and cartoon scripts, written training and technical manuals, played at journalism, helped write a couple of RPGs, and have articles all over the internet through a couple of content websites.

 

What frightens you the most?

Nothing, really. Oh, I get startled in haunted houses, and I don’t care for contemplating death outside of a story, but I’ve worked long and hard to let go of fear in my life. It’s counterproductive in most circumstances in today’s society.

 

Have you ever seen a ghost?

Yes.

 

What are you reading at the moment?

The Vampirates series by Justin Somper. It’s not really my preferred flavor, but the approach to the subject matter has my attention. And as it’s title implies, the story arch is about vampires and pirates in a young adult setting.

 

If you could meet any living famous person for dinner who would it be and what would you eat?

I think I would pass that along to a friend, actually. I’ve been fortunate to meet a LOT of writers, actors, comedians, bands, and artists, and hang out with them, through various conventions and other gatherings. The places I have worked have also given me great opportunity to meet and interact with numerous people that are considered famous in their fields.

 

If you could meet any dead famous person who would be and what would you have to eat?

I honestly don’t know. There are many I admire, but i’m not sure I would want my vision of them shattered by the reality of them. Besides, who would believe me?

 

Which book do you see as the most influential in your life?

Cat’s Cradle by Vonnegut – It came to me at an early and easily influenced age, making me see the world around me with a very different view. It warped me and I’ve been a little off ever since.

 

In the zombie apocalypse what would be your weapon of choice with which to defend yourself?

My absence. If the zombies can’t find me, they can’t eat me.  Seriously, though, being able to physically defend myself is not one of my current strengths. My accumulated knowledge and my ability to think outside the box would stand me in good stead, however, bringing protectors to me. My knowledge can keep them fed, clothed, armed, etc. and I’m not afraid to be cut loose if I’m determined to be dead weight. I’ve already been scouted by a couple of survivalist groups if the world goes to pot.

 

Social media links etc.

I’m only available on Facebook and Amazon.com at this time, both under Ann Cathey.  I’m also part of a blog on travel and cooking (who isn’t these days?) that I share with a few other folks.
https://www.facebook.com/AnnCatheyAuthor

https://www.amazon.com/Ann-Cathey/e/B00KIZHSE8

 

I’m also part of a blog on travel and cooking (who isn’t these days?) that I share with a few other folks.

https://thewanderingtexans.wordpress.com/

 

My freelance online articles are available for pay-per-use currently via Constant Content.

https://www.constant-content.com/Author/718-Ann_Cathey-details-0.htm

 

 

 

 

 

Boo! Authors – Mark A Morris #Horror

Who are you? I’m Mark A Morris – I’m an English guy who works as an engineer in local government but wish I was writing instead. I’m counting down the years until I retire so I can devote more time to word-wranging but hope I can win the lottery so I can bring my time-table forward.

Tell us about your Boo! Story: It’s called Miss Clemency Fisher and it’s largely about a man who becomes intrigued by a woman. He sees her in trouble – or so he thinks – and then decides to try to rescue her. Of course, things aren’t as easy as he expects them to be and events begin to take a turn toward the odd. It’s a short fiction that I fully expect to use as the basis for a full-length novel soon, so watch this space!

What else have you written? I’ve written scores – or even hundreds – of pieces of flash fiction and have a number of works in progress which span genres as widely divergent as Young Adult dystopia, horror, paranormal romance, science fiction, erotica – yes, I said erotica – noir fiction and contemporary romance and thrillers. I also write poetry and song lyrics but consider those to be my weaker efforts compared to my prose and narrative work.

What frightens you the most? Nothing. Or the Void. I’d seriously freak out it I was confined in a sensory deprivation chamber and my biggest fear would be to trapped inside my own body with no ability to move and limited perception.

Have you ever seen a ghost? I believe I saw my mother when I was in my late teens. She died when I was fifteen and the next few years were difficult, to say the least. However, I was still able to motivate myself and when I won an award for the best student at a local college, I was convinced that I saw her in the audience when I looked out from the stage when I was receiving my prize.

What are you reading at the moment? I’ve always got several books on the go at the moment and I’m currently reading a murder mystery called A Siege of Bitterns by Steve Burrows, which is a police procedural with an ornithological twist, Zero Station by John Russell, which is an adventure set in Germany in the early 1930s, and a collection of short stories called Disintegration and Other Stories by Paula Acton. I’m enjoying all these, by the way!

If you could meet any living famous person for dinner who would it be and what would you eat? I’d love to meet Joss Whedon and it’d be cool to eat at a Dining in the Dark restaurant. I guess soup and anything requiring chopsticks might be out of the question but would love to eat either Indian or Italian food with him. I consider Whedon to be one of the best storytellers alive today and his skills in writing and direction probably make him the most influential man to ever create a narrative story.

If you could meet any dead famous person who would be and what would you have to eat? For a dead person, my choice would be Marilyn Monroe. She’s supremely iconic and people who met her and knew her well suggest that she was intelligent and wise as well as also being one of the most charismatic and glamorous people in modern times. As for what we ate – it’d have to be something messy that would result in her getting her clothes mussed up. A guy can only hope, right?

Which book do you see as the most influential in your life? It’s a hard decision and loving so many genres as I do makes the choice even more difficult. I’d hesitate between Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy but Gaiman would get it by a whisker. His narrative skills and wit are so consistent throughout all his writing but I believe that Neverwhere is faultless.

In the zombie apocalypse what would be your weapon of choice with which to defend yourself? I’d choose a Japanese katana. It’s long enough to clear a good-sized circle around you and sharp enough to slice through anything that tried to invade your personal space. It would also never need reloading and would still work well even when it lost its edge. I suspect my arms would grow tired long before it became too dull to be effective, so there’s very little to count against it.

Social media links etc.

I’m very much a newbie when it comes to promoting myself but I can usually be found behind the profile for Mark A Morris on Facebook. I’m also on Goodreads and I’m working on a blog page too, so I’ll be available on those and an increasing number of public media platforms soon.