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.

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

Legend of Castle Frankenstein

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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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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.

 

 

 

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.

You can find me on Facebook and Google+

Visit my Amazon Author’s page at:  www.amazon.com/Joe-Bonadonna/e/B009I1KYIK

Check out out blog, A Small Gang of Authors, at: https://asmallgangofauthors.blogspot.com/

My Facebook author’s page is called Bonadonna’s Bookshelf, at: https://www.facebook.com/BonadonnasBookshelf/

Hell Week 2018 – Michael Dellert/Peter Abelard

 

About yourself:

*Who are/were you?

I am Peter Abelard, once a master and canon at the University School of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. King Philip (now remembered as the First) was king of France when I was born. William of Champeaux called me the “supreme master” of dialectic after I replaced his master. My writings were denounced by the Church, and amid the scandal of a forbidden love affair, I was excommunicated and forced to burn my works in disgrace.

Who is your ‘lover’ in Hell?

Whom it has always been, hand to heart: the beautiful and learned Heloise d’Argenteuil. She was born the unimportant wife’s-daughter of a minor branch of the prestigious Garlande family, ministers to the medieval royal court of French King Philip.

She grew into one of the most learned young women of western Europe, renowned for her brilliant exegeses of philosophical and spiritual texts in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and French. She and I conspired to make her my pupil, under the auspice of her uncle, one of my fellow canons at the Cathedral School of Notre Dame.

But calamity overtook us.

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

There are some who say that love is something His Satanic Majesty simply cannot understand, and therefore, he cannot control it. Others, like myself, imagine He understands it all too well.

Heloise and I were illicit young lovers in turbulent times. Our tale in life ends full of wretched disappointment.

Now in Hell, we are buffeted about eternally by the gyring hurricanoes of our lively passions, and yet forever separated from one another by those same gales. Only in moments of respite can we simply be together, as we once were in life. And even then… Well. It is hell, after all, is it not? How many happy marriages are there in life, nevermind hell?

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

If I am to be honest before the Lord, my worst sin in life was: ‘insufferable arrogance.’ The rules of the Church and the nobles mattered not one whit to me, if they could not see what was plain before their faces in my teachings. Why should the good Lord promise the world an intellect such as mine and then litter the way to understanding with such obstinate fools?

And, if loving Heloise be a sin? I fully admit my guilt and repent the evil of it, but not one whit the joy.

Alas, there is no forgiveness for arrogants and seducers. Thus, I am tormented by raging cataracts and gales, buffeted by the winds of my passions like so many discarded broadsheets in the streets, blown at random through the netherworld.

Describe your home/environment in Hell.

I have not known a home in the millennium or more of my torment, for the winds blow where they will. Most recently, the turbulent storms of my passions for Heloise deposited my lover and I in the nightmare city of Perish, a hellish grotesque of our beloved earthly Paris. Is nothing sacred?

Eternity – that’s a damned long time. How do you spend the endless years here?

Another curse of my torment is to be broken upon the wheel—repeatedly. Wheresoever I go, I must be wary of anything with a wheel, lest it turn upon me, run me down, and mangle me.

So really, we travel a lot. And then stay a while. And then travel again. Between the ceaseless buffeting of storms and the relentless pursuit of runaway iron-shod cartwheels, I spend what time remains in discussions of love and philosophy with my beloved Heloise — smarter than myself, and by half.

The infamy of our sins kept us apart in life, but now it is delicious torment to have all of eternity in which to do as we please, rather than as we should.

Why do YOU think you’re in Hell?

Did I not mention the insufferable arrogance?

I was adulated by the crowds who gathered in the streets and worshipped by women as their knight. I grew rich on the fees paid by the aristocratic families of my students, and I was ruined for many women. I was a seducer sure of my charm but overwhelmed by work, traveling on horseback and power quarrels, when I deflowered a daughter of the powerful Garlande family, ministers to the royal court.

For these many sins — of passion and unrepentant pride, both in thought and deed — I was castrated, excommunicated, and disgraced in life. And for these many sins, I am cast down to Hell.

What is are your greatest fears/desires here?

My greatest fear is that I should be separated from my beloved Heloise. Despite all that happened between us, we maintained a correspondence of letters and advice, each to the other. Now, in Hell, we struggle to remain together against the passions that buffet us from each other. She is my only hope of someday, somehow, finding redemption in this world of loss.

Love is Hell-FB16

Author Spotlight

*Name and bio.

Hi, I’m Michael E. Dellert. I’m the author of The Matter of Manred Saga, an ongoing collection of fantasy tales, and the short-story “Calamity,” my contribution to the Lovers in Hell anthology. I’m a writer, editor, publisher, and writing coach. I also have two teen daughters who will be delighted to discover their good Catholic father is a Hellion. I live in the Greater New York City area.

Tell us about your story for this edition.

My story for Lovers in Hell, “Calamity,” addresses issues of love, fear, separation, pride, and humility in a fantastic Bangsian excursion into a nether-hell of torment, paranoia, and passion.

Love and romance is always a challenging topic to address. Love is (along with fear) the most universal and primal of emotions and the subject of enough literary energy to start its own fusion reaction. So what about Love in the most unlovely setting of all: Hell?

That was the question I had to ask myself when I was invited to write for Lovers in Hell. How can lovers maintain their relationship in the face of the curses that Hell can throw at them?

Several other writers in the Heroes in Hell series have depicted historically infamous sinners—Shakespeare, Napoleon, Marlowe, Caesar—with important (and sometimes successful) romantic relationships. How do they manage it? What keeps the fires burning in Hell? How would Peter Abelard and Heloise d’Argenteuil manage it? What would be their curses? What obstacles would seek to drive them apart?

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

I had long been doing research on the period of the 1100s AD in Western Europe, but had never had the opportunity to do a deep dive into the Parisian academic life of Notre Dame during that period. Paris was the height of intellectual inquiry and argumentation in the Europe of the day, and the rock-star of that academic scene was Peter Abelard. He quarrelled with his colleagues, had a scandalous affair with a lady of a powerful noble family, and was excommunicated for the heresies of his Rational philosophy.

But more than all that, Peter Abelard is most well-remembered as one half of a tragic love story between himself and his student, Heloise d’Argenteuil, the tale of a lifelong respect and care for each other, despite the tragedies and plots that contrived to keep them apart in life.

And if a man is best judged by his enemies, Abelard’s were considerable, including powerful members of the monolithic medieval Catholic Church, right up to and including the Popes of his age.

Abelard was a perfect nexus for exploring a bit of the philosophy and politics of the historical Church as well as questions about love, gender equity, pride, and what it means to be ‘damned.’

How did you become involved with this project?

Near as I can figure: pure blind luck. I happened to be doing an author event on Facebook, supporting the publication of a writing colleague and promoting my Matter of Manred series.

Joe Bonadonna, whom I knew by reputation as the author of the amazing work in (among other things) Mad Shadows and Three Against the Stars, reached out to me afterward and introduced himself as an agent for Perseid Press’s Heroes in Hell Anthology Series.

I’ve been a fan of Heroes in Hell going all the way back to its first incarnation in the late 1980s. It’s been a playground for such legends in the field as CJ Cherryh and the current franchise-owner and Hellion-in-Chief, Janet Morris.

So, when Joe offered me the opportunity to submit a hellacious short story for consideration in an upcoming Heroes in Hell title, I was honoured, as well as challenged, by the thought of taking up the distinguished mantle of ‘Hellion.’ It’s a privilege to join this illustrious and infernal society in their sandbox, and I am grateful to be included in their company.

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

The most unique thing about the “shared world” anthology series is how it creates such a deeply contextualized milieu. The authors each bring their own specific world-views together to create this dynamic backdrop against which the actions of the characters unfold. It’s a rare sort of social contract, a mutual pact of trust between authors: that we’ll do honor to the conversation that’s gone before.

Operating within that environment requires a deep respect and admiration for the history and effort that each of those authors and editors has contributed to the series, over the course of decades.

So the first thing I did was re-read the entire anthology, from its earliest incarnation to the present, to remind myself of how lovingly this Hellish world was developed, to refresh myself with the conversations among these great and many authors, and to understand the obligations that come with writing a story set in this world. It’s a privilege, and a lot of responsibility.

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

The tragic historical romance of Peter Abelard and Heloise d’Argenteuil was a mainstay of popular literary culture in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, depicted with various degrees of lurid detail, but always as a tale of forbidden—but consensual—love between student and master.

The reality of their historical correspondence raises some interesting questions about consent, however. Abelard repeatedly admits that he took unfair advantage of Heloise, and perhaps even raped her. And yet there is no denying the love, care, and respect they have for each other—particularly she for him—in their later epistles.

So theirs was clearly a complex relationship, set amid a pivotal moment in European history: the rise of the university system, Rational philosophy, the early Crusades, and the consolidation of Catholic authority.

I wanted to explore what that complex relationship would look like in Hell, faced with no social inhibitions against their once-forbidden love, and only their own demons between them.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently developing a new novel project, featuring adventure on the high seas of a savage shore, the dangers of imperialism, and the horrors of colonial subjectivism. A team of former soldiers and adventurers are dispatched in search of a mythic artefact erected by an ancient race in a lost city. Will they survive long enough to solve the mysteries and enigmas left in the ruins of empire?

I’m also tying up a fiction book proposal for another novel that’s already in the can, to be offered to publishing agents.

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

I just finished reading Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, which I’m sorry to say I hadn’t already read. It’s the story of an interstellar war, and the cruelties to which man will put his fellow man in the interest of “the greater good,” told with a spartan, yet delicate and philosophical style.

I also just re-read Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton. A classic swashbuckling Golden Age of Piracy adventure by a modern master of adventure tales, it’s the story of a dashing English privateer and his plot to steal a galleon of Spanish gold. Set in the seventeenth century Carribean against the backdrop of the colonial pirate city of Port Royal, Jamaica. The manuscript was found complete among Crichton’s artifacts after his death, and published posthumously.

In between, I’ve been working my way through the complete Arthur Conan Doyle bibliography of Sherlock Holmes titles, and revisiting Lovecraft country.

What are your views on authors offering free books?

Authors and publishers have always offered free books to book-buyers, when that used to mean, “bookshop owners and booksellers.” On my shelf, I have a Galley Copy of an Arthurian young adult fantasy that was passed along to me by the shop-owner of a Waldenbooks, when I clerked a summer there. The Galley Copy had been sent to the owner for free by the publisher, to whet the store’s interest in stocking from their new upcoming catalog of properties.

And professional book reviewers and critics with major media outlets, professors of courses in certain subject matters, talk-show hosts, all these have received free books from authors and publishing companies. “Promotional” copies of work have always been an important part of the business model of writing and publishing.

It’s certainly part of my business model as a writer. For promotional and personal reasons, I offer a free newsletter and blog where I share creative writing tips and fresh fiction scenes from my workshop. The second “story” in my fantasy saga, The Epistles of Eithne and Eowain, is available for free from my website, and a digital copy of Hedge King in Winter is available to subscribers of my newsletter.

But at the end of the day, writing’s a job and publishing’s a job, like any other job; the ledgers have to balance. The free copies have to pay for themselves, through their promotional value. So it’s all a balancing act and every author has to tread that line as best they can.

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

There was a Twilight Zone episode from the ‘80s series reboot, in which a professor argues with a devil over the plight of his soul. Throughout the episode, the devil is wearing a lettered, novelty t-shirt, but the message of the lettering changes everytime he’s in frame. My favorite message from that shirt: “Gehenna is a City. Much like Newark.” I myself grew up in that great State of New Jersey, so ever since, “Newark NJ = Gehenna.” I take a certain home-team pride in that.

What other books/short stories have you written?

So far, I’ve written and published a series of five stories — an epistle, two novellas, and two novels — in The Matter of Manred Saga, a series of heroic, low-fantasy, medieval adventures with strong Celtic themes and imagery:

  • The novellas, Hedge King in Winter, and
  • A Merchant’s Tale;
  • Nine letters between lovers, The Epistles of Eithne and Eowain;
  • And the novels, The Romance of Eowain, and
  • The Wedding of Eithne.

I also offer creative writing advice and free snippets of fresh fiction on my blog and in my newsletters, The Adventures in Indie Publishing.

Your readers can learn more about my writing from my blog and newsletter.

They can also follow me on Amazon and Goodreads, on Twitter (@MDellertDotCom) and on Facebook (Michael Dellert, Author).

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Hell Week 2018 – A Day in the Life of Haeckel and Carter

Today on the Infernal Broadcasting Channel we welcome Ernst Haeckel and Howard Carter.  Pull up a seat by the fire and get out the marshmallows….

[Ernst Haeckel]: (Stares into empty interrogation room). “Gutentag. Is anyone in here?”

[Interviewer]: (An electronic voice rasps over the intercom). “Please, have a seat. Who are you?”

[EH]: “Ernst Haeckel. Do you not remember me?”

[Interviewer]: “Of course, sorry, lots of Hellions coming through today. It is quite chaotic with this queue, Doctor Ernst Haeckel. Have a seat. Questioning will begin shortly.”

[EH]: (Sits in one of two chairs at a table facing a one-way mirror, then strokes his white beard anxiously). “Last year, for Hell Week 2017, I spoke to a real person for the kick-off of Pirates in Hell.  Compared to this cell, that was a comfortable office. The Librarian of Erana, Alex Butcher, was a kind hostess with a splendid British accent. She appreciated the fantastical pasts of history. Back then, I was promoting the pirate tale ‘Curse of the Pharaohs’ in which my compatriot, the tomb raiding Howard Carter, and I explored the Mediterranean shores of the Vile Delta. You I cannot even see.”

[Interviewer]: “Let us get to the point. Do have Osiris’s treasure?”

[EH]:Was is das? I am an expert in natural life, not man-made art. Archaeology is Carter’s expertise.”

[Interviewer]: “You both are academic researchers who appreciate custom suits. I need to distinguish between your disciplines and art… and motives. Remember, anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.”

[EH]: “Interesting. What do you mean? It is simple. I dig through the earth to document living things, or their remains. Carter digs to find items that man crafted.”

[Interviewer]: “There must be overlap, things that you both would covet. What about weapons made from once-living matter, like bone? Architecture moulded from the earth? Or babies brewed in test tubes?”

[EH]: (Silently stroked beard, excited about those questions but afraid to implicate himself). “I am sure Carter would like those.”

[Interviewer]: “Any you, Doctor Haeckel?”

[EH]: “Perhaps.”

[Interviewer]: “Have you seen your partner recently, this Howard Carter?”

[EH]: (Looks around, unsure where to direct his voice). “Hmmm, not for several days. We do seem to be fated to work with each other, so I am sure our paths will cross. If we do, I am sure we will revert to our divisions of labour: he does relish looking at materials, while I enjoy dissecting nature’s beautiful objects.”

[Interviewer]: “You remain a discredited evolutionist—a creator of fake news, true?”

[EH]:Ja, perhaps. Yet, I am a renowned artist and ecologist.”

[Interviewer]: “Well, the authorities require the truth now. Not embellishment. Where is your partner in crime?”

[EH]: (scoffs). “I am no criminal or liar. However, sometimes the truth must be extrapolated. It is easier for the public to accept abstract concepts as if they are well-established theories, even when ideas are not even ripe hypotheses. Anyway, if you are looking for a criminal, then you want to know where Carter is? Why would I know?”

[Howard Carter]: (Opens door suddenly, enters, and shuts the door. Sits is the open chair beside wiping his brow of sweat with a handkerchief. His Savile Row suit vest bulges with a mysterious, fist-sized object). “Ernst! So glad you are here. I’m on the run—”

[EH]: (Motioning to quiet his compatriot, pointing to the mirror and ceiling).

[HC]: “—I found the most amazing, golden artefact. This is better than anything I found in King Tutankhamen’s tomb. This is—”

[EH]: (Clears throat loudly). “You speak in the company of others.”

[HC]: (Not detecting anyone present, raises an eyebrow). “Oh, are you being interrogated?”

[EH]:We are being interviewed, I think.”

[Interviewer]: “Howard Carter…”

[HC]:The Howard Carter.”

[Interviewer]: (Sighs). “Mr. Carter. Were you not fulfilled enough with your 1922 discovery of King Tut’s tomb? You received a lot of press in the papers. More complimentary than any Haeckel received. You still search for more glory. Explain.”

[HC]: (Stroking his vest, and its hidden content, as he leaned back in the chair). “Well, most archaeologists cannot find even a single treasure. They spend decades sieving through sand to find a few shards of pottery. Me? I found a whole trove. Me! I do impress myself. Why let all my potential go to waste?”

[Interviewer]: “Howard, are you still practicing your thievery?”

[HC]: “Archaeology?”

[Interviewer]: “Semantics. Do you court danger by hoarding treasures of antiquity?”

[HC]: (Rubs the hidden item in his suit pocket, then winks at Haeckel). “I do appreciate royal artefacts.”

[Interviewer]: “What is in your pocket, Mr. Carter?”

[EH]: (Glancing wide-eyed at Carter, gasps as he discerns the phallic shape tucked into the backside of Carter’s vest).

[HC]: (Shifts to conceal his chest from view). “Why? Are you in the market for something? I sense you would like to maintain anonymity like my other clients. I am open to offers.”

[Interviewer]: “Do either of you express remorse?”

[HC]: “What have we done?”

[Interviewer]: “For the record, I will review the myth of the Egyptian God Osiris. He was murdered—”

[EH]: “Murder is not really our forte.”

[Interviewer]: (Sigh). “Osiris ruled over Egypt with his wife Isis, but he was usurped by the God Set. The evil Set dismembered Osiris, cut him into thirteen parts.”

[HC]: “Most reliefs indeed point to Set as the culprit. But it may have been another. Not us, in any course.”

[Interviewer]: “All his parts have been reclaimed, but not his most prized masculinity. His phallus.”

[EH]: “Eh gad! The gods are real? And one lacks a penis?”

                (The door latches automatically).

[EH]: “Carter, the door is locked.”

[Interviewer]: “There is no escape from this room until you come clean.”

[EH]: (Clears throat). “We do not hide anything. the next Heroes in Hell Periodical called Lovers in Hell details our adventures. ‘Lovers Sans Phalli’ will explain everything. It will clear our names.”

[Interviewer]: “The gilded phallus of Osiris. Do you have it?”

[HC]: “How much do you want for it?”

[Interviewer]: “I have what I need. This interview is over.”

 

lovers in hell

S.E. Lindberg resides near Cincinnati, Ohio working as a microscopist, employing scientific and artistic skills to understand the manufacturing of products analogous to medieval paints. Two decades of practicing chemistry, combined with a passion for the Sword & Sorcery genre, spurs him to write graphic adventure fictionalizing the alchemical humors (primarily under the banner “Dyscrasia Fiction”).  With Perseid Press, he writes weird tales infused with history and alchemy (Heroika: Dragon Eaters, Pirates in Hell). He co-moderates the Sword & Sorcery group on Goodreads.com, and invites all to participate. He enjoys studying Aikido and creates all sorts of fine art in the family workshop.

 

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