A Day in the Life of… Johann Conrad Dippel #Meetacharacter #Bundles #Frankenstein

A Day in the Life of Johann Conrad Dippel (the real-life inspiration for Dr. Frankenstein)

(As told to DeAnna Knippling)

*Who are you?

Tell us about an average day in your life. I am an investigator of great renown, among those who study the chemical and esoteric elements.  My patron is Conrad Reiz, Baron Frankenstein.  Although he does not live in the castle here, he highly values my work.  Not many people have the intelligence needed to do so.  As far as what I do on any given day, it should be enough for you to know that I have the most rigorous practices, and do not stoop to equivocate my results.

Are you a lark or a night owl? I am a man, and do what it is necessary for men to do, regardless of the hour.

Do you have your own dwelling? If so, do you own servants? I am honored to be a guest of Baron Frankenstein, who maintains the castle and its grounds. I have had the occasional assistant, but none who please me.

How do you think your ‘average’ day compares to other people’s? I understand that most people find themselves crushed, both mentally and physically, under the weight of their daily tasks, taking no pleasure and only the barest sustenance from them. Most people are animals, unworthy of better.

Give us a brief rundown of your day from when you wake to when you sleep. Your inquisitiveness is unseemly.

Do you court danger?  I certainly do not cower before it.  I have encountered many dangers, in experimenting with chemicals as I have.  But with fortitude, intelligence, and care, those dangers can be made more or less negligible.

Do you think your life is fulfilling? What, in your opinion, ought it fulfill?  I am not a superstitious man and do not believe in prophecies or the like.

If you had the choice what would you change in your daily life? I would wish for a servant of the greatest strength and obedient loyalty, who understood the principles, if not of my work entire, then at least those of chemical reactions, and in preventing injury. His appearance would be of no consequence. I would employ a demon or an ape, if I could only find reliable assistance.

Tell us a little about your home/environment/land – how does this reflect on your day to day life? I was born here, at the castle, and was educated by the baron.  The Oldenwald, or “old-wood,” is a superstitious area, with many legends of witches, hauntings, and curses.  All nonsense, of course. But I find that the peasants’ superstitions have both assisted me, by keeping the curious at bay, and hindered me, by preventing me from obtaining skilled help and the materials I need.  I will admit to having played tricks upon the peasants from time to time.

Are you organised or chaotic? Does this annoy your family/companions? I am organized, in such a way that allows me to pursue inspiration and insight.  I believe my methods annoy everyone around me, but for Baron Frankenstein—although he is often away from the castle. My methods, however, are none of anyone else’s business, and should not be considered a matter deserving of pleasure or displeasure.  Those who live here in Baron Frankenstein’s absence have no right and no accurate means of judgment of my methods, and would be better off staying silent as the grave.

Read more about Joseph Conrad Dippel in “The Legends of Castle Frankenstein,” now included in the Might Have Been book bundle, on sale now! See www.WonderlandPress.com for more about DeAnna and her work.

https://bundlerabbit.com/members/marketplace/80ABmi4Q

https://bundlerabbit.com/b/might-have-been-tales-retales

Legend of Castle Frankenstein

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Swift Six Character Interview – Teneyros – Chronicles of the Mages’ Guild/Here Be Magic Bundle #Magic #Characters #fantasy

Name Teneyros

Which book/world do you live in? Chronicles of the Mages’ Guild

Tell us about yourself: (Name, race/species, etc.) My name is Teneyros and I am a human wizard in the world and the Wilds.

I’m an adventurer – why should I recruit you to accompany me? I have text tattooed onto my body so I can ready-cast spells more easily. Rather than needing to scramble for a book to grab words to apply my Will to.

Tell us about your companions?  How do they see you? It depends on who you ask. Other wizards think I’m too chatty and probably not serious enough. Possibly lacking in focus. But, my best friend Mac, she’s the Guild Master for the Mages’ Guild still keeps my company. Even though she thinks that I enjoy causing trouble. It’s not so much that I enjoy causing it, it’s more that I tend to find trouble around every corner whether or not I’m looking to cause it.

What’s your most heroic exploit to date? I’m not anyone’s hero.

What’s your greatest failure? I failed to become the Elder of Scrolls and in the process…well. I may or may not have cursed my brother William into a map.

Where do you think you’ll be in a decade? I have no clue. Doing something interesting, I hope.

Do you have a great love? (This could be a person/trait/item) I love my leather jacket. I spelled it so that it is linked to my apartment in London. Easy access to my books.

 

Link to Bundle

Chronicles of the Mages’ Guild:

Torin’s Legacy, Book 1

The Guild Master’s Quest, Book 2

Shakespeare’s Curse, Short Story

About the author:

Karen C. Klein is a disabled non-binary writer who writes across speculative fiction sub-genres. She is the author of Torin’s Legacy, which is the first book in her series Chronicles of the Mages’ Guild. She also enjoys writing short fiction and novellas.

Character Interview – Madam Giry – Tears and Crimson Velvet/Eclectica

Name: Madam Lise Giry

Which book/world do you live in? Tears and Crimson Velvet.

Tell us about yourself: I am a wardrobe mistress at the Opera House in Paris. I have been here many years – M. Giry died not many years after our marriage and the children from his first marriage ensured I was left with very little. I have a daughter – Meg – the only one of our children to survive and thus at first my life was hard.
How do you see your world? A friend, I suppose that is the correct term, arranged for my employment here. I have been seamstress, box-keeper, ballet mistress, and almost every role open to a woman in this grand establishment. I am eternally grateful to Erik, through his kindness my daughter has been educated, danced and we have had, if not a life of luxury then at least more comfortable than otherwise. Once I was an innocent girl with dreams. Now I am an old woman with arthritis, a heart that loved unwisely and memories of an angel in cage.

I have a kind benefactor – perhaps the greatest, but most unhappy and tragic of men. I could have a life so much worse.

What part do you play in this tale? This is my story, our story. The tragedy of the Phantom of the Opera is well known; the deaths, the disappearances, the music, the Opera Ghost. I knew the man behind them when we were both barely out of childhood. I suppose you might say I saved his life, and he changed mine.

Do you consider yourself a good person? I have tried to live a good life, a life to please God, and in that, I may have failed.

He could have left me to starve, or eke out my living in the slums, but he did not. He remembered me, and he repaid the debt he thought he had – and more. Women of my status and situation have very little on offer without a husband or money and I have seen many sell everything, including themselves. I could have, should have been one of those unfortunate women.

There was something about that young man, a caged songbird filled with despair, hatred and the most exquisite song, and marvellous tricks, even then. There is not another such as Erik, no do I believe there ever will. But that haunted, twisted face still appears in my dreams. An angel damned to wear the face of a monster and be shunned by man and god alike. I am not surprised he lived apart from men, and the tragedy of his misguided love happened. My heart broke that day. Now my friend is gone and the world is thus emptier.

Should I have told what I knew? Should I have turned in the man I suspected to be a murderer? Probably. Do I regret that I did not? No. Not for one single day. I should have told the authorities where he was, who he was and yet I perpetuated his legends and his secrets. Yet I have heard him sing, and seen the tragedy and the curse in his eyes. And I have been part of that curse.

Do you follow any religion? I was raised a Catholic. Do I still believe? I pray, but mostly it is out of habit. The prayers are hollow. I have seen, and been complicit in too much to believe I will be forgiven. Once I may have thought that, but many years have passed.
What is your favourite music? I love Opera – the glory of the human voice and the excitement. One cannot work here without that love.

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Eclectica A Short Story Bundle
From fantasy to space adventure, pirates, mystery, horror, historical fiction, romance and coming of age you’ll find short, snappy reads herein. There is something for everyone in this lucky dip.

19 short stories and collections from multiple authors.
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Blown – Diana Deverell
Socks and Pins and Aliens – Thea Hutcheson
Tales of Blood and Ink – Kate MacLeod
Tales of Tomorrow – Debbie Mumford
Shaken, Not Stirred: A Dawna Shepherd Short Story – Diana Deverell
City Shadows – Chuck Heintzelman
Outside the Walls – A.L. Butcher and Diana L. Wicker
Tales of an Altered Past Powered by Romance, Horror, and Steam – Donald J. Bingle
Dear Brother – Felicia Fredlund
The Cache and Other Stories – Sherry D Ramsey
Sword Oath – Jackie Keswick
The Hooded Man – Barbara G. Tarn
S F & H – Harvey Stanbrough
Resonant Bronze – J.M. Ney-Grimm
Hitomi’s Path – M.L. Buchman
Children – Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Jhyoti Planetside – Marcelle Dube
Petra and the Blue Goo – Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Tears and Crimson Velvet – A. L. Butcher

Three Questions With… Raoul Comte de Chagny #Phantom #Echoesofasong #Legacyofthemask

As part of the author/character features for 2019 I am starting 3 Questions With….

We get to meet, in brief characters or authors who answer only 3 questions, but have to bare their soul…

 

Three questions with…

Name: Comte Raoul De Chagny

Tell us a little about your life and story:

My life is one of riches and luxury, I should have everything I money can buy. Yet I do not. I have an aching loneliness, sadness and my family is touched by a curse. I have three children – a son and heir, and two daughters – but I cannot love them, not truly as a father should. My wife Christine lies in the marble tomb yonder and my heart with her, but my soul belongs to a devil in a mask, who sang like an angel and entrapped us all. And I am ashamed of it. I could not save her, he was beyond saving and I surely cannot save myself.

I was a young man, wealthy and privileged, I married beneath my station and that choice brought death to my family, and left us semi-exiles. I loved Christine and was foolish enough to believe she loved me. But love is strange – there is the love of the heart, and then there is the love of the soul.  Love keeps us alive as it slowly kills us. I would have died for her, and almost did, and her loss tears me apart. But I know now I am not worthy of her love, and certainly not his pity or love. And so love and hate dance hand in hand and I can tell not one from the other these days.

They boy – Charles looks through me, he is far more intelligent than either myself or his mother. I see nothing of myself in him, and he misbehaves. The girls grow more like their poor mother each day – and it breaks my heart. What lives will they have when I am gone? Who will take care of them? We are the last of the De Chagny’s in a world where the old nobility is long fallen. Once we had a name, now we have a curse.

Who is this nemesis?

Erik. I do not know his family name if he even had one. I can’t tell you from where he came, or how. He is a ghost, a monster and an angel. I once believed he was just an unfortunate man – disfigured by God for his sins, but I am not sure. There was that music – I still hear it in my dreams, oh God that music.

Erik is dead. He died over a decade ago, yet I cannot escape him. I will never escape him whilst one of us lives. That terrible night he let us go – I thought myself the victor. I thought the loss of her would kill him, and surely it did – but this ghost of a man haunts me still and I get no satisfaction in my gains and his loss. The world is poorer for his loss. Some nights I wonder if he ever existed, or if I do. It all seems so far away, and so bizarre – it must be a dream or the plot of one of the Operas we used to attend.

How do you see your future?

My mind plays tricks and my sleep is plagued by awful dreams. Laudanum is my solace and my vice. I hope to see my children grown but ever winter becomes harder to bear, ever summer a little colder. I see the darkness and the mask which haunts me. I hear the music calling… the music always calls.

 *****

Raoul was originally created by Gaston Leroux, he has been adapted in many forms and by many writers. My own tragic adaptation is here in Echoes of a Song.

 

 

 

Guest Post – Are Character Interviews Worth the Effort? – T R Robinson

Are Character Interviews Worth the Effort?

Guest post by T. R. Robinson

I first came across character interviews here in Alex’s Library of Erana blog. There have been a couple elsewhere but the majority have been here. Now for a bit of honesty: My initial thought? ‘Silly and pointless.’ As a consequence, I simply glanced (not even sped read) through a couple and thereafter ignored them. I now feel a little ashamed. It is not usual for me to make such determinations prior to fully investigating the validity and seeking to comprehend people’s motivations. Why I did not do so in this instance I am not sure. I suspect it may have been I was new to authoring and probably, as most when first setting out on a new career, felt under pressure to complete a work and to interact in social media. Time pressure in other words: there never seems to be enough for all we want to do. Of course, this is no excuse but I hope it helps readers understand.

Character interviews appear to remain a rarity. I certainly see few. Nevertheless, I now take more note of them. One question that occurs: Who are these interviews for? The author or the reader? I would say both. I will consider them in reverse order.

The Reader

Of what interest are character interviews to readers?

  • (Perhaps with the exception of some self-help or scientific books, the majority of readers are looking to be entertained.)
  • (Usually provide further idea of the character’s true nature, aims and goals.)
  • (Provide some backstory details which will enhance the eventual read. Assuming they do go on to read the book the character is in.)
  • (Build interest in and expectations for a story.)

 

The Author

What benefits do character interviews provide for authors?

  • Display writing skill. (Readers do not readily pick up books by unknown authors. These free interviews provide them with an idea of what they could expect from the author’s books.)
  • Avoid ‘padding’. (Able to fill-out character personalities with additional information that would not fit or be appropriate to include in the primary manuscript.)
  • Know characters. (Authors are advised, for best results, to fully know their charters by writing biographies. Interviews go part way, probably a long way, toward this aim.)
  • Refreshed mind. (Continuous writing on the same theme can lead to fatigue and some degree of stagnation. Writing something different usually breaks the trend.)
  • Marketing/Publicity. (Done right, interviews may set a story’s scene and create intrigue and interest in it.)

Of course, the above are by no means the full extent of what readers and authors may gain from these interviews. Everyone is different.

Worth the Effort?

Back to the original question.

Having now admonished and corrected myself, I may unequivocally state, as far as I am concerned, character interviews do have their place in the reading and authoring world. Now, with respect to Alex’s own books: Fantasy is not a genre I usually read, or if I am honest, really enjoy, at least that has generally tended to be my past experience. Nevertheless, I have read and reviewed Alex’s Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends and have to say I enjoyed it. That was in December 2017. I have not read any others since but admit some of the character interviews here have intrigued and inspired me to contemplate reading more in the genre.

So far I have not undertaken interviews for any of my own characters. This is primarily due to the fact I write in the memoir and biographical fiction genre where, most frequently, who the person is forms an integral part of the tale. However, in view of how much I have enjoyed Alex’s character interviews, I may consider undertaking a few for some of the fictional charters I have utilised to enhance the real events within the biographical fiction and short story collections. There, see, I have been inspired. From sceptic I am now a believer.

Thank you Alexandra for giving me this opportunity to share some of my thoughts with your readers.

 

*********************

 

In addition to authoring T. R. Robinson provides free guidance, tips and ideas for both authors and readers.

T. R.’s Primary Website and Blog: https://trrobinsonpublications.com

T. R.’s More Personal Blog: https://trmemoirs.wordpress.com

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Dirty Dozen Character Interview – Steve Barras – Ghosts/Here Be Ghosts/

Welcome to Steve Barras

  • Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m dead. I occupy living human bodies.

  • Tell us why you’re embarking on this adventure?

I didn’t choose it. It was thrust upon me. But I don’t want anyone else to go through this, either.

  • Do you have a moral code? If so what might it be?

…I did, once. I helped people. I was good at it. But then I died, and now I have to kill to survive.

  • Would you kill for those you love?

…I killed those I loved. I stopped myself and only kill strangers now.

  • Would you die for those you love?

There’s no point. I’m already dead.

  • Who is your greatest enemy?

I am my own worst enemy. But I will stop the Other in any way I can.

  • What is your greatest weakness (we won’t tell)?

I can’t just die for real. Instinct forces me out to hunt when by all rights I should die with the body.

  • How would you describe yourself?

Look in the mirror. You won’t see me there, because I’m already wearing your body.

  • How do you think others see you?

They don’t because they would only see someone they already know.

  • Do you believe you will be successful in your quest?

I have to be. The Other is killing for the thrill of it. I have to stop him, show him he doesn’t have to live this way. He doesn’t have to burn this fast and I can show him how to live a little longer.

  • What is your greatest fear?

That I will spend eternity burning out bodies until there are no more left.

  • What do you think of your author/creator?

Another body to occupy until it burns out. *shrug* Not my preferred choice in bodies, but if needs must, then I will take it.

 

Ghosts bundle cover UPDATED

For the author

Books in which this character appears:

A Burning Rainbow Man, a short story

Available from Smashwords

Links, short author bio…

You can find my work here:

Ann Stratton – author bio

https://draft2digital.com/book/

and of course, here on Bundle Rabbit.

Ann Stratton started writing at thirteen, with the typical results. She’s gotten a little better since then, she hopes, having taken a much more serious approach in later years. She lives in Southeastern Arizona, trying to juggle too many interests at once.

 

 

 

Blog Tour and Character Interview – Campbell Ryan Quinto/Mary Ramsey Paranormal/Ghosts

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Name:  Cam

Which book/world do you live in? Dakota Son

Tell us about yourself: (Name, race/species, etc.) Hi, my name is Campbell Ryan Quinto and I’m a ghost.

How do you see your world? For the first few years after my death, I saw the world like a movie; watching the worst of reality happen in front of my eyes with no way of helping the people I care about. But now, after meeting Sean (my sister’s new boyfriend, her new saviour,) I’m able to leave the hospital and follow him as his guardian angel. Although there is still a limit to the people I can actually communicate with, my world has been opened significantly.

What part do you play in this tale? When I was 18 I chose to end my life, rather than keep fighting the ongoing war with cancer. I left behind my parents and my little sister. My mother blamed my father for my choice and my sister Jen rebelled as she grew into a teenager. I was stuck watching it all play out; my own personal hell. When Jen was 14 she was beaten and raped by her now ex-boyfriend, for defending the disabled kid. Not that Sean is disabled. Cystic Fibrosis is legally considered a disability, but one look at the guy you would never guess the tall, high school athlete was anything other than a normal teen.

Dakota Son, is his story. You’ll have to read it to find out more of his side of the narrative. All I know is: I’m now his guardian angel, attached to him so I can use his physical form as a means of interacting with the world of the living.

Do you consider yourself a good person/creature? I try to be.

Do you follow any religion? I lived and died a Catholic. I believe in God, and hopefully one day he will allow me to cross over.

What is your favourite colour/food/music (pick one)? Blue; the colour of the sky, the ocean, the world of the living.

 Links to book etc

Dakota Son Amazon

Dakota Son – Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

Google Play

Kobo

Find out more about the author at :

https://dourdan.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/pisforpearl

https://www.deviantart.com/dourdan

*****

 GIVEAWAY!

 Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here: http://writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/mary-ramsey/

 Use the Rafflecopter to enter for your chance to win one of two Amazon or iTunes gift cards.

Rafflecoptor giveaway

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Hell Week 2018 – Orpheus/Janet and Chris Morris #HeroesinHell

Welcome to Orpheus

Who are/were you?

I was the Thracian Argonaut, magician, musician, and prophet. Still am, though here I do hell’s bidding, such as sitting in this dank cell with you as my interrogator.

Who is your ‘lover’ in Hell? Eurydice, the oak nymph, my wife; most beautiful and desired of women, lo these many years lost to me – twice sought and once returned to me from Tartaros

Love in hell, isn’t that a contradiction? How does this work? Love is the province of the soul; death cannot faze it nor passion still its rhyme.

Many of the denizens of His Satanic Majesty’s realm have a curse – what is yours? You jest. Do you not see the puddle by my feet, the wet where I sit on your prison bench? Do you cannot hear the dripping from my flesh? All of us who served on Jason’s Argo drown again and again in salty water, and between drownings our skin drips brine continually.

Who are your friends/allies here? Friends in hell? That’s the contradiction. My friends met in hell are my friends met in life; those met in hell who serve my ends let me serve theirs: such men and women, witches and goddesses, and empowered souls like Shakespeare and Marlowe serve the gods of hell from their day and set us tasks that lead us to more curses and misery: in hell, suffering is the only true coinage, and even that be scarce.

Describe your home/environment in Hell.

Home? Environment? I am a musician, part of the pit orchestra in New Hell, a place where all the worst from every day and age gather together and prey upon one another, eon after eon. Sometimes we serve as sea-going mercenaries in Jason’s crew, but with Medea on our track, these days bring only danger, loss, and separation for an infernity that makes lovers weep and the devil grin.

Eternity – that’s a damned long time. How do you spend the endless years here? No, not ‘eternity.’ Infernity – thanks for that to John Milton, who like the Bard of Avon and his lover Marlowe create words to suit their trials and tribulations, words that jump from their lips and torture damned souls the more.

Hell covers all eras and technologies, there are many hells within Hell. How have you adjusted to this strange world? Adjusted to digital damnation? To weapons that don’t work well but take their feet and serve like soldiers; to politicians spouting lies from their umbilicals? From avengers, who stalk one another throughout hells ages and devise punishments more foul the deeper in hell you go. Feel that cold, seeping from the brine that drips from me? The closer to hell’s belly you get, the more you suffer its cold – loveless, lonely, and afraid.

Why do YOU think you’re in Hell? I know what I did, writing my Orphic missives: I called upon hell and it answered, sending a viper to kill my Eurydice and sending me on fruitless quests to find her deep in Tartaros.

What are your greatest fears here? That, once I find her, I should lose her again – only so many times can a mortal beseech Hades and Persephone for manumission. Eurydice is the breath of salvation to me; without her, afterlife is an empty threat.

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Author Spotlight

*Name and bio:

Best selling author Janet Morris began writing in 1976 and has since published more than 30 novels, many co-authored with her husband Chris Morris or others. Christopher Crosby Morris is an American author of fiction and non-fiction, as well as a lyricist, musical composer, and singer-songwriter. He is married to author Janet Morris.

Tell us about your story for this edition. For Lovers in Hell, Janet and Chris Morris wrote a novella in three parts which follow lovers as they lose and find one another among hell’s multifarious domains.

What inspired you to use the character(s) you’ve chosen? The characters for lovers include those who have served in other volumes of this series, such as Shakespeare, Marlowe, Sappho, Samael, Orpheus, and some never before met, such as Eurydice,

Writing for a shared world is challenging, how do you meet that challenge? We do a new Hell volume every year or so, or whenever we have enough stories that meet our criteria. In the time between volumes, we discuss with our group of writers story names, themes, and execution. Writing for hell is not easy. At this moment, we have two more volumes plans, so we may never escape hell ourselves . . .

Tell us why you chose this story to tell out of so many possible options? We’ve wanted to do Lovers in hell for years, but we didn’t have the right group of writers for it. This year, all the requirements came together and we called for stories for Lovers in hell. Next will be Mystics in Hell, which suits our current list of characters and invites new ones.

What are you currently working on? An anthology and a new novel by Janet and Chris Morris, as well as some new music.

Name the last two books you’ve read – tell us about them. Aristotle: On Breath, one of the most accessible works of Aristotle in the Loeb edition.

Ghost Stories of Henry James – in which something actually happens during each story, most often in the last two paragraphs. We learn more from James every time we read him, as we do with Waugh.

What are your views on authors offering free books? We disapprove of this generally, and only once in a great while offer books for free, if we’re introducing a new author or reissuing a series.

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews? Don’t comment on reviews if you can possibly avoid it.

Which books/movies/plays have influenced your life? The Black Stallion. Justin Morgan Had A Horse, The Iliad. Hamlet. Henry V. Brideshead Revisited. Lion in Winter. Atlas Shrugged.

In these days of movies and video games are books really influential? I hope so. The books we write aren’t for beginning readers, in any case, and if the casual reader or the various Hater sects are attracted to digital games and other diversions which provide no deeper value or commentary on the human condition, then that’s fine with me: it keeps them off the streets.

What do you think are the top three inventions/discoveries in human history and why? Fire, which allowed the earliest development of humanity. The Wheel, which allowed humans the key to engineering. Early writing (such as pre-cuneiform and hieroglyphs), which created the tools for written history. The Rosetta stone, which showed people the possibilities of comparative linguistics.

 

Hell Week 2018 – Lady Gemini/Andrew Weston

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Who are/were you?

I am the Lady Gemini, Daemon Grim’s newest Hell Hound. In life, people knew me as Marie-Anne Charlotte de Corday d’Armont, (l’ ange de l’assassinat) – or simply, Charlotte Corday – the assassins angel. Born 1768, in France to a minor aristocratic family, I was executed by guillotine while still only twenty-four years old for the murder of Jacobin leader, Jean-Paul Marat.

Who is your ‘lover’ in Hell?

Though it’s unrequited, I’ve fallen for my boss, Daemon Grim. A bit of a sticky dilemma as he’s only recently lost his soul mate, Strawberry Fields, who he destroyed utterly in self defense.

Love in hell, isn’t that a contradiction? How does this work?

In a nutshell? It doesn’t! Not for the damned masses, anyway. But now I’ve risen to the ranks of the elite, I’ve been told I may express my desires in any way I see fit . . . so long as it’s away from the public eye and knowledge of such freedom isn’t bandied about for all and sundry to hear.

Many of the denizens of His Satanic Majesty’s realm have a curse – what is yours?

Though I have a nubile form, exquisite grace and speed, and am extremely athletic, I’ll never be beautiful again. Before my elevation, I complained once too often and am condemned for all eternity to wear a face of two distinct halves . . . as you can see in my picture.

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It makes smiling quite a chore, I can tell you. (And helps explain the ingenious name I’ve been labeled with)

Who are your friends/allies here?

I have very few, but they all count. After my fall from grace, I became an assassin of some repute throughout all the levels of infernity. That put me much in demand, at the cost of acquaintances. Regardless, since my inauguration into the Ancient Disorder of Hell Hounds, I’ve gained the closest thing you can get to family, and am determined to protect that treasure with all my strength.

Describe your home/environment in Hell.

I live in a suite situated on one of the top floors of Black Tower, in what you mortals would call the Tower of London. Here in the underverse, we called that ancient edifice the Den of Iniquity—or the Den for short. As with your topside version, it’s located at the center of the sprawling slum that was Olde London Town. By hell’s standards, it’s abject luxury. But we’re expected to get results. If not, well . . . what happened to the previous Lead Hound – Nimrod, and the former Chief Inquisitor – Strawberry, serves as a stark reminder how easy it is for the most privileged of the damned to fall again.

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

I’ve been very lucky. As an assassin, I was allowed access to all sorts of weaponry and technology, and I didn’t really have to pay a diablo. Those who commissioned my services often footed the bill for the gadgets I needed. Gadgets I got to keep as part of the successful conclusion of a contract. Needless to say, that involved travelling to some of the remotest, most backward parts of the underworld. I got used to it pretty quickly. And when I became a Hell Hound? Wow! You ought to see the crazy stuff we have hidden away in the dungeons here at the Den.

What is/are your greatest fears here?

To fail. I’ve witnessed firsthand what happens to the privileged elite who do.

 

Author Spotlight

Name and bio.

Andrew P. Weston

Andrew P. Weston is a 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.
As creator of the critically acclaimed IX Series, and Hell Bound & Hell Hounds, (novels forming part of Janet Morris’ Heroes in Hell universe), Andrew 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 working, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with one of their remote research projects and supporting charities. He also writes educational articles for Astronaut.com and Amazing Stories.

Tell us about your story for this edition.

In The Devil’s Trull, Daemon Grim and the Lady Gemini travel to the Kigali homeland, Ki-gal, in search of information pertaining to the machinations of two of the biggest thorns in the flesh ever to cross the Reaper’s path: the infamous scientist, Nikola Tesla; and the renowned composer, Frédéric Chopin, who it is feared have trespassed upon Kigali territory in order to further their revolutionary aspirations.

Along the way, they discover just how ingenious the diabolical duo have been in fomenting rebellion, and how too the Sibitti have been at play, sowing seeds of doubt and mayhem in preparation for their final play against latterday hell’s most potent champion.

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

It was twofold really. My contribution to the shared universe involves leapfrogging my individual novels regarding Daemon Grim’s adventures with the anthologies. This story is a natural progression of a bigger picture. However, it gives me an opportunity to peel open a particular juicy segment of Daemon Grim’s personal life. As fans of Satan’s Reaper will know, he recently lost two of the closest souls to him: Nimrod – his best friend; and Strawberry – his long-time lover.

Their relationship had been rather complicated in the events leading up to The Devil’s Trull. Because of Grim’s inability to bring all the fugitives from injustice to heel, Satan had punished Grim. Firstly by denying him a corporeal form, and secondly, by stripping him of the privilege of intimate contact with the only one he has ever loved. Grim couldn’t even touch Strawberry without her suffering the fate of the masses – who succumb instantly to the Reaper’s “death touch.”

At the end of Hell Hounds (the novel preceding this particular anthology), Grim was forced to execute both Nimrod and Strawberry, actually obliterating them from existence. So he’s hurting. Not only does he have to contend with deep personal anguish and hurt feelings, but he’s battling to hold his head above water against an ever-increasing tide.

Gemini is the only suitable candidate he could find to offset the shortfall in his ranks. And sure enough, because of her own demons, Gemini has also been denied the comfort of companionship too. Just look at her face! In such a close-knit, high-pressure environment – one in which Daemon Grim has been returned to his devilishly handsome pseudo-human form – romance was bound to blossom.

And of course, the phantoms of past relationships and failures loom large . . . compounded by the fact that Tesla and Chopin seemed determined to stick the knife in. And of course, there are the Sibitti. . .

How did you become involved with this project?

Like everyone else, I was invited to write by Janet Morris a few years back. And I haven’t stopped enjoying myself since.

What are you currently working on?

I’m just rounding off the third and final book in the Author’s Cut version of a new supernatural action-thriller series – The Cambion Journals (The Rage of Augustus; The Kiss of the Succubus; and – just completed, The Embrace of the Incubus). I can’t wait to find out what people think of the series, as Augustus Thorne is bound to be popular with the ladies.

Name the last two books you’ve read – tell us about them.

I’ve not long finished Cruiser Dreams by Janet Morris, and Convergence, by Matthew S. Cox, in collaboration with J.R. Rain.
The blurbs for the books are as follows:

Cruiser Dreams. . .

She is heir to an empire beyond all imagining, where interstellar cruisers have become increasingly sentient and man’s role among the stars is transformed.

In this epic of political treachery, interstellar security, human passion, and artificial intelligence, Morris continues the saga of the fiery girl Shebat, stolen away from a decaying and primitive Earth to be the adoptive heir to the Kerrion Empire. Moulded to serve the designs of the Kerrion state, Shebat instead becomes the harbinger of change sweeping the civilized stars.

Against the chaotic background of simultaneous social and technological revolutions, Shebat finds that the man she loves is her implacable enemy, that the man she reluctantly married is perhaps her single ally, and that her space-faring cruiser may be her only true friend.

***I really enjoyed this story, as it explores the minefield of human relationships and especially – if it can be imagined – the relationship between man and machine . . . ‘machine’ with an ever-evolving artificial sentience. If you want to find out more, see my blog for a more in-depth review. It’s a truly thought-provoking read. ***

Convergence. . .

Intrepid reporter Solstice Winters has spent most of her life halfway between normal society and that of her magical parents. However, when getting caught between two worlds becomes more than metaphorical, being able to summon light or open locks might not be enough.

Neither her love life nor her professional life are going anywhere in a hurry. Her boyfriend is successful and handsome, but she constantly has to compete with his job for affection. At thirty-two, she works as a photojournalist for The Spiritualist, a small paper dedicated to magic and the supernatural―that most people regard as a tabloid. Desperate for that ‘one break,’ she’ll do almost anything to get that big story and get into a ‘real’ media outlet.

Years of always not quite fitting in begin to make sense after an error at a particle physics laboratory alters the dimensional alignment of the world, strengthening magic and revealing an unexpected truth to Solstice: She’s not even human.

*** This was an entertaining little journey into relationships of another kind. Magical beings are suddenly appearing all over the Earth, and Solstice doesn’t even realize she’s one of them until it’s too late! Of course, she ends up in the middle of a monumental mess that makes her wish that ‘big story’ she’s been after all her life would just go away. Fun. Down-to-earth. And thoroughly entertaining. ***

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

I like Daemon Grim’s quote: “Your life has been a stage, and hell is the curtain call.”

 

Hell Week 2018 – Joseph Merrick/Joe Bonadonna

Character Spotlight

About yourself:

*Who are/were you?

My name is Joseph Carey Merrick. Most people know me as the Elephant Man. The story in which I appear is titled Withering Blights.

Who is your ‘lover’ in Hell?

Antonia Ford. In life she was a spy for the Confedaracy during the American Civil War. Here in Hell she once spied for Guy Fawkes until she was captured by Satan’s agents, tortured and then sent to the Mortuary, where the Undertaker removed her eyes before reassigning her. We take care of each other. I am her eyes, and she does for me what my physical condition and limitations prevent me from doing.

Love in hell, isn’t that a contradiction? How does this work?

There is no contradiction at all. The physical act of love is painful, more than I can or am willing to explain. That is one of Hell’s punishments. But true love transcends the act of sexual congress. Love often begins as a platonic relationship. It is of the heart and of the mind, and yes, even of the soul, damned though we may be. Love, loyalty, friendship, even honesty and integrity—these things can be found in Hell, for many a damned soul has changed their ways in the futile hope of redemption and salvation. Love exists in Hell, to be sure. Antonia and I help, care for and do our best to protect one another. Is that not love in its purest form? The paradox here is that, in Hell, love becomes truly a spiritual emotion.

Many of the denizens of His Satanic Majesty’s realm have a curse – what is yours?

I was cursed at birth with my ghastly affliction. During one moment of agony and despair, I cursed my Creator, and thus upon my death found myself in Hell. Upon my one and only visit to the Mortuary, the Undertaker declared me to be a masterpiece sculpted by the hand of a mad genius. He refused to tamper with my grotesque beauty, and thus sent me on my way.

Who are your friends/allies here?

First, there is Madge Kendal, the beautiful actress who befriended me in life. She is a wealthy actress here in New Hell City, and because of her wealth and generosity, she gave to me Withering Blights, an old, Gothic mansion she owns. Antonia and I live there, and we earn enough diablos to live on by begging and doing what jobs we can. Doctor Victor Frankenstein is another dear friend, as is his companion and assistant, Quasimodo, the famous Hunchback of Notre Dame. They are hard at work right now trying to find eyes to give to Antonia, so that she may see again, and a new, young and healthy body in which to house my brain. In life, the good doctor succeeded in doing just that, although with disastrous results, if you recall.

Describe your home/environment in Hell.

I do not sleep much, for sleep often brings with it nightmares even more horrifying than what I have seen and suffered here in Hell. My former life was a weekend at a holiday camp, compared to Hell, what I have witnessed here—plagues, torture, floods, endless pain—all give birth to these unsettling dreams. Thus, while Antonia sleeps, I often roam the dark corridors and empty chambers of Withering Blights, contemplating my afterlife and agonizing over an eternity here in the Netherworld.

Why do YOU think you’re in Hell?

As I have already stated, I countered-cursed the Almighty for cursing me with this ghastly malady, this terrible affliction which prevented me from having and enjoying any sort of life at all and was, eventually, the cause of my death.

Love is Hell-FB3

Author Spotlight

*Name and bio.

Joe Bonadonna is my given name. I am the author of the heroic fantasy Mad Shadows: The Weird Tales of Dorgo the Dowser (winner of the 2017 Golden Book Readers’ Choice Award for Fantasy), published by iUniverse; the space opera Three Against The Stars, published by Airship 27 Productions; Mad Shadows II: Dorgo the Dowser and the Order of the Serpent, published by Golden Box Books; the sword & sorcery adventure, Waters of Darkness, in collaboration with David C. Smith, published by Damnation Books/Oracle Press; and in collaboration with Erika M Szabo, Three Ghosts in a Black Pumpkin (winner of the 2017 Golden Books Judge’s Choice Award for Children’s Fantasy), and The Power of the Sapphire Wand, both published by Golden Box Books. I also have stories appearing in: Azieran—Artifacts and Relics, published by Heathen Oracle; GRIOTS 2: Sisters of the Spear, published by MVmedia; Heroika: Dragon Eaters, Poets in Hell, Doctors in Hell, and Pirates in Hell— all published by Perseid Press; Sinbad: The New Voyages, Volume 4, published by Airship 27 Productions; and most recently, in collaboration with author Shebat Legion, our story, Samuel Meant and the Little Black Cloud of the Apocalypse, appears in Michael H. Hanson’s shared-world anthology, Sha’Daa: Toys, published by Moon Dream Press. In addition to my fiction, I have written a number of articles and book reviews for Black Gate online magazine.

Tell us about your story for this edition.

Withering Blights concerns Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, and his friendship with Antonia Ford, with whom he’s in love, although he doesn’t quite realize it. He thinks he’s in love with Madge Kendal, their benefactress. But she’s in love with the dastardly Francois Villon, the famous Vagabond Poet of France. Being friends with Victor Frankenstein and his assistant, Quasimodo, Merrick asks the good doctor if he can provide Antonia with a new set of eyes. Victor, always up for another challenge, readily agrees to help Antonia, and then decides he may be able to construct a new body for Merrick or perhaps put his brain inside the skull of a young, healthy body, something he is, of course, quite familiar with. But in order to do that, Victor and Quasimodo must do business with the owners of the Cannibal Café, the two most infamous body snatchers in England’s history: William Burke and Willam Hare. There is also a sub-plot involving Madge Kendal and her tempestuous relationship with leech, varlet and gigolo, Francois Villon. Can love conquer all, even in Hell? You’ll have to read the story to see how that all plays out.

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

I have now written about Victor Frankenstein in Poets in Hell, Doctors in Hell (in which Quasimodo becomes the doctor’s new hunchbacked assistant), and Pirates in Hell. It was Janet Morris’ story arc for Lovers in Hell that first inspired me to come up with something that would hopefully read like a cross between Emily Bronte and Edgar Allan Poe. While watching two Boris Karloff films, Frankenstein and The Body Snatcher, I began to wonder what sort of experiment I can get Victor involved in this time around. Then suddenly, as sometimes happens, the idea of building the story around the Elephant Man popped into my brain. I did my research and chose Antonia Ford and Madge Kendal as “love interests.” Picking the two body snatchers, Burke and Hare, was a no-brainer. And then, after watching Ronald Colman in the film, If I Were King, in which he played Francois Villon, I realized what a lost opportunity it was not to have used Villon in my story for Poets in Hell. So I added him as Kendal’s rogue of a companion and voila!—the story wrote itself after that.

How did you become involved with this project?

Having already written stories for Poets in Hell, Doctors in Hell and Pirates in Hell, I was once again invited to contribute a story to Lovers in Hell. I have so much fun writing Victor Frankenstein and Quasimodo and I wanted to keep going with them, I wanted to get them involved with characters I thought would fit in with their own little corner of Hell—the Golem Heights and Goblin Manor. I wanted characters I could possibly use again in other stories, sort of creating my own little infernal repertory company, if you will. I thought Merrick, and Burke and Hare perfectly suitable “actors” for my purposes. There are other characters I’ve used in my earlier tales set in Hell, and I hope to bring some of them back for future stories. After all, the dead and the damned don’t die in Hell, they just get reassigned when they’re sent off to the Mortuary.

Writing for a shared world is challenging, how do you meet that challenge?

If possible, I try to link my stories to those of the other writers. We can borrow, loan and exchange characters, if we wish, per prior agreement and with certain conditions. I always write for the main story arc Janet Morris sets down, and that’s my guideline; whatever else pops up is more icing on the devil’s food cake. The challenge is writing in a more literary style than I would say, for a pulp fiction adventure yarn. I try to match my prose and dialog to the theme of each volume, and to the story I’m writing, in particular. I do the same with dialog. With Withering Blights, for instance, I watched Wuthering Heights, with Laurence Olivier, and The Elephant Man, with John Hurt. I tried to capture some of the nuances of their speech, as well as that of other actors appearing in the films. For Victor Frankenstein, I try to do a bit of actor Colin Clive, who played the doctor in the Boris Karloff film, and for Quasimodo (who has regained his hearing in Hell), I model him on actor Charles Laughton, although I try to make him speak with more of a French accent, and a bit more eloquence; I also decided to give him somewhat of a different personality: still heroic, still a force to be reckoned with, he is my comic relief. For my story in Pirates in Hell, which features a number of long-deceased movie stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age, I just watched their movies and picked up on their style. Jean Harlow was the most fun to write.

Tell us why you chose this story to tell out of so many possible options?

There were no other options. Withering Blights was the story that popped into my head, and it’s the story I wanted to write.

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

I think this quote is perfectly suited to Victor Frankenstein, who is so wracked with guilt over the consequences of his actions in life, and if you’ve read the stories I’ve written about him in Hell, you’ll understand how well this fits him. “The torture of a bad conscience is the hell of a living soul.” — John Calvin.

Thank you very much for this opportunity.

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