Dirty Dozen Author Interview – L L Thomsen #Meetanauthor #Fantasy

Author name: L. L. Thomsen

*Please tell us about your publications.

I write character-led high medieval fantasy with a good slash of epic. I am working on a series titled, The Missing Shield – originally one large book that has been split into 11 episodes in order to make the workload more manageable. The 8th book (titled: All in a Day’s Work) is out now, and I am currently working on book 9. What you get in my books is lots of flawed characters that you may not feel quite sure about in the beginning. There’s magic, mystery, darkness, crime, plots, romance, backstabbing, manoeuvring, different races, and an end-of-the-world kinda deadline & quest.  I enjoy painting an immersive picture of the world I write about, so expect lots of depth and world-building. I try not to hold back and I try to write as close to real life as I can get. I also wanted to write something a little different from the mainstream so the story has quite the lyrical slant, but it is written with an adult/mature market in mind. This is not YA.

What first prompted you to publish your work? To begin with I wasn’t really sure that I would publish. I started writing my high fantasy book as I somehow got inspired – but it was always just something I considered a pastime whilst the kids were babies and I was at home anyway. Then I realised that I was getting more and more passionate about the job and I felt that I ought to publish at the end of the day because I wanted to share my work with an audience and I wanted to award myself by proving that I could complete the process.

What have you found the most challenging part of the process? Going it alone. Everything was a learning curve. Particularly when it came to figuring out the Amazon instructions and uploading my manuscript. Formatting is not as straight forward as I always imagined it to be. Furthermore, once you’re on the other side, and have successfully published your book, I cannot believe how difficult it is to get anyone to even look your way. I guess I never really got the ‘build yourself a social media following’ – I’m a little too private and old school.5 book promo picture.jpg

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey? Be tenacious! I knew it would not be easy, but I gave up on finding myself an agent way too soon and in return, it left me literally on my own with the whole load. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a freedom in being your own boss and maybe that’s partly why I went my own way so soon, but having said that, I think there’s lots to be said for getting yourself aligned with someone who’s on your side, has your best interest at heart and who knows the business: where to go, how to do it, and when.

If you could have dinner with any literary character who would you choose, and what would you eat. I’d love to treat my character Solancei to a meal – she’s in for a bumpy ride and I think she deserves some TLC. I’d also love to quiz her about everything that happens and the world she lives in.  I know a lot (wink – of course) but there are always secrets! I think we’d have pizza and wine, and I’d try and stop her from killing me for writing her such a hard, complicated destiny.

Sort these into order of importance:

Good plot

Great characters

Awesome world-building

Technically perfect

For me there is no question of ranking these in order. They are each an integral part of the book you write and I feel that the author should pay equal attention to each.  Since I write fantasy – and epic at that – I’m very much for world building because that’s a must for the genre, but that in itself is nothing if it’s not backed by the other three.  What’s a good plot with flat/un-inspiring characters and vice versa? A technically perfect book is what we all strive for (as in a professional end-product) but I do believe that the interpretation of ‘perfection’ may vary depending on who you ask. Also, it may be technically perfect, but what good is that if the readers cannot engage with the story or the characters. It’s the snake that bites its own tail. It must come full circle.

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? I research as and when. It may be just a small thing like the components of a saddle or the belief system of various ethnic groups. I try and keep it factually correct even though I write fantasy – this means that even if the herb is made up, I’ll still look up how to brew tinctures for headaches, for example – or I might watch a YouTube video on sword fights.  The most extreme I’ve looked up will probably be stuff to do with injuries and the effects of various weapons/conditions.

How influential is storytelling to our culture? I think it’s hugely influential but maybe not through the original media anymore. I do feel that we love a good tale, whether it be a story is reported in the papers, or how TV channels adapt historical events to create entertainment.  We are always looking for something to catch and hold our interest – particularly after the rise of social media – and stories speak to us. They help us feel part of society and may sometimes even give us a sense of belonging too.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? Keep at it.  Keep growing and developing.

What’s the worst piece best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? Don’t write your story like that – write it like this.

If you could be any fantasy/mythical or legendary person/creature what would you be and why? Maybe a phoenix. I like the idea that you can rise from the ashes and be reborn.  That you can try again.

Tell us about your latest piece? Around 6 weeks ago I released my 8th book in The Missing Shield series. It carries on from number 7, where one of my main characters – the rather naive and slightly annoying Princess Iambre – has decided to try and locate her missing friend and bodyguard despite her security chief and beau having told her that she must take heed and leave it to them.  In book 8 she finds herself alone and lost after a string of unfortunate events almost killed her and worse – but as luck would have it, she finds the very place she’d been looking for.  She wants to attend a clandestine meeting that might shed light upon her missing friend and now follows a series on incidents that has the Princess quaking in her boots.  Nevertheless she is reunited with certain other characters only to learn some devastating news.  However, before she can process this, she and her group are betrayed and they must flee or fall into the very hands of the enemy they are investigating and fear.

Are indie/self-published authors viewed with scepticism or wariness by readers? Why is this?

I’ve found that indies are very much considered ‘the second-hand citizen’ of the author world. It’s unfair but I guess that the indie route has given rise to many poorly executed books – and unfortunately people remember the bad ones far longer than the good ones. I’ve talked to readers who do not consider indie books ‘real’ works of writing. Fortunately, there are also those who have delved into the fray and have found gold, so swings and roundabouts. The common reason that readers list for not wanting indie works are: poorly formatted, bad grammar, no edits or badly edited, homemade, cheap covers, poor storylines, rip off storylines, over-priced, they should be free…

I think it worth mentioning that it’s not always because the indie books are not worthy that they have not been traditionally published. Agents are very fickle with what they are looking for (and rightly so).  In 9:10 times you need an agent to approach a publishing house, so it does mean that some decent manuscripts may be overlooked because the agent may feel that they are in the market for ‘something else’. It cannot be helped, but readers rarely see that side of the industry.

Links

llthomsen@themissingshield.com

https://www.amazon.com/L.-L.-f/e/B07B8K4J6S

https://books2read.com/u/47xdvR

https://www.facebook.com/linda.thomsen.12979

https://www.facebook.com/themissingshield/

https://twitter.com/LLThomsen1

https://www.instagram.com/llthomsen/?hl=en

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/llthomsen7589/

https://www.goodreads.com/LLThomsen

 

Bio

Armed with a love of fantasy, a slightly geeky mindset, and an unleashed wild muse, L. L. began the new journey into writing relatively late in life but was inspired by her long-repressed urges to write ‘something’ – and once she began, she never looked back.

“I regret I took so long to find my ‘calling’. The truth is that when you have an idea it just has to be set free,” she says, adding, “My somewhat unorthodox approach to style and flow has been a way for me to test my personal, individual voice. It’s a fluid thing, however. In the future, it might alter to match the shape of new projects.”

Linda currently lives in the UK, Nottinghamshire, with her husband, two kids, a cats and one dog. As with her writing, she approaches life with a nod to the saying: ‘fear nothing, respect everything’. She enjoys horse riding, sci-fi movies, travelling, reading fantasy (but not exclusively), Pilates, and has a strange fascination with swords.

Her first published fantasy novel, ‘A Change of Rules’, kick-starts the 11 ‘episodes’ of The Missing Shield – a new adult high fantasy series, with a touch of mystery, intrigue, romance and darkness. ‘The Missing Shield’ is the forerunner to ‘The Veil Keepers Quest’ series.

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Snuggle Up With These Books – November #Books #Prizes #Indiepromo

Calling all readers! Fill your library with N. N. Light’s Book Heaven Snuggle Up With These Books Readathon picks. 56 books from multiple genres featured plus a chance to win one of the following:

Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card

Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card

Enter to win a $25 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card

Enter to win a $15 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card

Enter to win a $10 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card

 

I’m thrilled to be a part of this event. My book, The Shining Citadel, will be featured on 14th November. I even talk about what I’m thankful for this year. You won’t want to miss it.

Bookmark this bookish party and tell your friends:

Snuggle Up Graphic 3.jpg

https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/snuggle-up-readathon

 

Dirty Dozen Author Interview – De Kenyon – Bundle/Fantasy/Horror/Kids – Blood Moon Bundle

Welcome to De Kenyon

What first prompted you to publish your work? Jealousy.  An indie author started publishing his work, and rather than hate him forever 😛 I decided to follow suit.

How did you become involved in book bundles? Would you recommend it? I got invited.  It’s fun and I very much recommend it.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’? I vary.  Sometimes I pants, and sometimes I plot.  Sometimes I’ll even write up a full synopsis first (most writers hate them!).  But I rarely stick to whatever plan I came up with in the first place!

What is your favourite mythical creature? Why is this? The Fae.  I’m the kind of person who always wants to see behind the stage, under the basement, and the other side of the mirror.  The fae are always sneaking around, slipping through the cracks between worlds.  That speaks to me.

If you had to pick 5 books to take to a desert island which 5 would it be? How long am I going to be stuck on this desert island, anyway?

Assuming that a) they have to be paper books, and b) that I don’t want to use one of my choices as something like How to Survive on a Desert Island, today I’m going to say:

  • The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox by Barry Hughart, because that’s my go-to book for terrible days.
  • Journey to the West, the bawdy tale of a monk’s journey toward enlightenment, because it’s super long (2500 pages) and I’ve been meaning to read it.
  • St. Augustine’s Confessions, because I hate that book and would gladly use it to start fires, for toilet paper, etc.
  • Can I put the Internet in a paper book?  No? Okay, then the collected works of William Shakespeare (Riverside Edition).
  • The collected Anne of Green Gables series, or, if I can’t get that (it’s not available in a single collected edition), H is for Hawk.  Both of them are nerdy comfort reading.
  • And, finally, a blank book and a beeeeg box of pencils, which I will sharpen on rocks…

My favorite books are the Alice in Wonderland books by Lewis Carroll, but I think I could probably write them from memory!

If you could have dinner with any literary character who would you choose, and what would you eat? I don’t want to eat with a literary character.  I want to have dinner with Edgar Allan Poe and get the scoop on exactly how he died!  Okay, literary character…I’m going to pick Hannibal Lecter.  He doesn’t kill indiscriminately, after all, and he’s a gourmet.  A lot of my favorite characters would be real pills at the dinner table, they’re such picky eaters.  What would we eat? Whatever M. Lecter wanted…

Sort these into order of importance:

Good plot

Great characters

Awesome world-building

Technically perfect

 

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? I try to do a lot of background research for historical pieces, and fairly similar amount for sci-fi elements.  I grew up reading a lot of folktales and mythology, so most of the time when I draw from those elements, I just need a refresher.  My big thing lately is about researching real-life homicide detective procedures for some of my adult mystery stories (under another pen name).  WOW.  I don’t really even want to say some of the things I’ve researched for that.  It gets gruesome.

Tell us about your latest piece? “Beware of the Easter Moon” is a short middle-grade creepy adventure story about a boy who discovers that his family isn’t exactly normal.  It was inspired by me suddenly realizing, completely out of the blue, that Easter always falls on or just after a full moon.  The reason the Easter celebration moves around so much is that it’s the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the spring equinox.

So…obviously there needed to be werewolves.

What’s your next writing adventure? My next adventure as De Kenyon is going to be London in the 1880s, infested by cats, rats, and tentacled things coming out of the sewers!

With the influx of indie authors do you think this is the future of storytelling? How about a future of storytelling?  It’s not like indie authors are the future of storytelling if they’re happening now.

The interesting question is, to me: what happens after this?  If indies bring a major challenge to the big publishers, and they do, how do the big publishers respond?  Do they shrink?  Do their corporate over-bosses force them to shift course?

And what about collective groups of indies, or indies organized under other indies?  I ghostwrite for some indie authors (who shall remain unnamed) who seem to be making the shift from indie authors to indie publishers.

Will the big publishers start trying to buy out those indie publishers?  I mean, I would.

Are indie/self-published authors viewed with scepticism or wariness by readers? Why is this? We are, but less than we used to be.  I think it helps that readers are noticing that big publishers aren’t doing the level of editing that they used to do, and have stopped assuming that traditionally published books are perfect.

I think it also helps that it’s easier and easier for readers to pick indie books with a reputation for quality behind them, by both recommendations and algorithms, so they tend to end up with the better books now, instead of a deluge.

Is there a message in your books? If I have a message, it’s “Beware of bullies! They aren’t always obvious.”

Blood Moon Bundle.

When the sun has set, when the moon is full, the shapeshifters gather—wolves, cats and totemic creatures, nightmares and revelations.

Seeking answers, seeking revenge, seeking a cure to affliction, seeking blood, seeking answers or seeking love—a gathering of beasts abounds. Dare you walk beneath the moonlight?

Blood Moon Box set

https://books2read.com/BloodMoonBundle

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Here Be Magic Bundle – on preorder now #Magic #Bundles #fantasy

Here Be Magic Bundle – available 4th August 2019

 

NOW AVAILABLE!!! 

Magic invites . . .

Curses and blessing, sorcerous time travel, shape-shifters, hidden enchantment and corrupted blood.

Magic demands . . .

Saving those you love, courage, betrayal and fights against unspeakable forces.

Magic promises . . .

Last best hopes, reluctant and desperate heroes, ancient power unleashed and the compulsion to overcome death itself.

Magic risks . . .

Forbidden spells and deadly bargains.

Here be magic!

From life to death, from realm to realm, from past to future and in between—dare you adventure with wizards?

Magic bundle cover.jpg

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Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Alexandra Brandt #Fantasy #HerebeMerfolk

Brandt

Author name: Alexandra Brandt

Please tell us about your publications, specifically the story in this bundle:

I am a short fiction writer, especially science fiction and fantasy. I have three stories published in the Fiction River Anthology series, and a collection of short stories (plus a bunch of standalones) published independently.

“We, the Ocean” might arguably still be the best story I have ever written. It was also my first professional sale. It was for Fiction River’s No Humans Allowed–the theme wanted a very alien viewpoint–and I decided to write a collective mind, whose only pronouns were “us” and “them,” because I wanted to try things I’d never done before. So I committed grammatical sins. I wrote darker and stranger than I’d ever written. And the story took me in places I hadn’t even begun to anticipate.

Then the series editor of Fiction River singled it out in her foreword, calling it ““inventive, heartbreaking, and wholly original.” I’d never had risks pay off like that before. It was just what I needed.

What first prompted you to publish your work?

It took a long time to get here. Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith taught me that I could. And then that first professional sale taught me that other people might actually want to read my stuff. It still took me until 2016 to work up the gumption to put my other stories out there, but actually being invited to contribute to a “Haunted” bundle provided the push I needed to start publishing in earnest. That same year I also decided to give my mother–one of my biggest fans–a special Christmas present: a five-story collection of light contemporary fantasy stories. It was pretty liberating to stop dragging my feet and finally do something with the stories.

How did you become involved in book bundles? Would you recommend it?

Oh, I guess I jumped the gun on this question when I mentioned the Haunted bundle, didn’t I? The editor, Jamie Ferguson, actually emailed me and personally invited me to it. I’d heard about book bundles in passing but hadn’t considered participating before. And now I love them–sometimes they inspire me to write something new, and other times they are a chance to breathe new life into an old story. Most importantly for me, they offer a chance to connect with other authors and discover new people to love.

What is your favourite mythical creature? Why is this?

I love many mythical creatures. When I was wee, I decided I was a “fairy princess bride angel mermaid.” My friends and family still call me a mermaid, partially because I wrote a story about one (more or less) and apparently also because I love to sing–my roommate, who has had to listen to my singing off and on for years, started calling me that and it just kind of stuck. So now I have a bunch of mer-themed paraphernalia from friends. My favorite is a tote bag featuring a mermaid whose back is tattooed with “Misandrist.” It makes me cackle every time I see it.

All that said, I think my favorite mythical creatures are actually dragons. They can be terrifying and savage, or noble and wise and awe-inspiring, but most importantly they just look darn cool.

What does writing bring to your life?

An outlet for the daydreams and stories inside my head. My childhood nickname was “Wandering Cloud” because I would drift away from whatever I was supposed to be doing and tell myself stories instead. I wanted to be a writer pretty much the instant I discovered that books were written by real human beings. It still took me a really long time to be able to finish anything I started, though–I still struggle with my inner Wandering Cloud, even/especially when I am writing.

If you had to pick 5 books to take to a desert island which 5 would it be?

Assuming this is one of those situations where I am marooned indefinitely rather than vacationing, I would want to bring:

  • A meaty tome like Shakespeare’s complete works, so I’d have plenty to occupy my mind. (I might skip through Titus Andronicus, though. That one gave me nightmares as a teenager.)
  • A really big blank notebook with an attached pencil to write all my thoughts.
  • Something by Stephen Hawking–not sure which one, because I haven’t read any yet (but keep meaning to, which is the point of including it).
  • The Hamiltome so I can memorize all the songs at last. Plus bonus pictures! And treasures from Lin-Manuel, who is one of the best humans alive.
  • K. Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy because she is one of my all-time faves and I own a single book that includes the whole trilogy plus a novella, so ha! four books in one!

…Or maybe replace one of the above with a nice, detailed book on how to survive on a desert island?

Nah. I stand by my choices.

Sort these into order of importance:

Good plot

Great characters

Awesome world-building

Technically perfect

***

1.) Great characters

2.) Awesome world-building

3.) Good plot

4.) Technically perfect (I mean, does such a thing even exist)

How influential is storytelling to our culture?

We humans live and die by stories, whether we’re avid readers or not. If something has a story, we connect to it. And anything can have a story–if I hadn’t been consuming books my whole life, my marketing job alone would have taught me that. Storytelling can help us understand and process truths about our world, or it can obfuscate and manipulate. It can build or destroy connections between humans. As a writer I believe I have a responsibility to bring good things into the world, to open minds and hearts and promote empathy and compassion, because that’s what reading stories has done for me.

If you could be any fantasy/mythical or legendary person/creature what would you be and why?

I would love to be something very wise and far-seeing. And beautiful in some way–I love beautiful things. So maybe the wise kind of dragon, or a sphinx. No wait, scratch the wisdom thing–I want to be a dryad. I love forests so much, and I would love to learn to connect with both the life and the stillness in them.

Tell us about your latest piece? 

If we’re talking most recently published, the Fiction River anthology Feel the Love just came out last month. “Lifeblood,” the story I sold to them, was initially inspired by a thought experiment–no, let’s call it what it actually was: fan-fiction–where I tried to figure out what kind of mutant I would be in an X-Men universe. But along the way I realized I could ask questions about what it means to love selflessly–questions I still don’t know how to answer. I don’t think the story answers them, and I don’t think it should.

But I sure did enjoy finding a nerdy way to explore them.

What’s your next writing adventure?

I’m working on a story that was originally intended to peel back the layers of some classic fairytale tropes and ask what this would really feel like for the people involved. As expected, the story ended up taking on a life of its own, and now I have four great characters with all these inner conflicts and desires and damages to overcome. I think it’s a novella? Or a trilogy. Or something in between. Who even knows at this point. Anyway, it’s a quest story that will hopefully take some emotionally-resonant twists and turns.

Is there a message in your books?

Oh, probably. Or at least some common themes. Of course, I really want to promote empathy and compassion in my writing, so I always try to dig deep into the emotions and inner lives of my characters. I am still working on writing more diversely, but one theme I’ve noticed in a lot of my stories is “how women relate to each other.” If I have two main characters in a story, chances are they will both be women (and I’ve also been learning how to write non-binary characters, inspired by my wonderful writing partner Rei Rosenquist).

Sometimes there’s a love story, but not always–there are just so many ways to explore deep relationships beyond the usual heteronormative romances. Within the trappings of fantasy and science fiction, of course, because I am just that kind of person.

 

Links

http://www.alexandrajbrandt.com/

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

 

Bio

Alexandra Brandt spent most of her childhood dressing up in fairy wings and parading in front of the mirror telling stories to herself. Not much has changed: she still loves a good costume, and tells herself stories every day.

Her short fiction appears in Fiction River and other anthologies, and has made it onto Tangent Magazine’s 2017 and 2018 Recommended Reading lists. “Ellen Double Prime,” her story in Fiction River vol. 28: Wishes, was double-starred and described as “a strong and powerful story” by Tangent Magazine.

When not yelling at her computer, reading, or debating worldbuilding details with her writer husband, Alex functions as a copywriter, content marketer, and graphic designer for a medical practice. She also does freelance book cover design for fellow authors. She occasionally sings in a choir, and always welcomes any excuse to sit down and play tabletop games—from D&D to board games to cards.

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Alexandra’s story can be found in Here Be Merfolk

Bundle Rabbit https://bundlerabbit.com/b/here-be-merfolk

 

Review – Spawn of Dyscrasia – audio – fantasy/dystopian/specfic

Spawn of Dyscrasia is the second book in the Dyscrasia world fiction – a reader doesn’t have to have read the previous book, but I think it helps. I shall be reading the others soon.

This world is dark, corrupted and filled with monsters – giant insectoids, twisted humans, bird-creatures and hybrids. Sickness has left its mark on the world, and most of the humans live in fear, ignorance or semi-enslavement to magic, monsters and dark forces.  There are, of course, good people – Helen is a curer – an artist who uses her craft to heal the strange lords, who protect the lands from the disease and dark forces. That, I think was the most fascinating aspect of this unique world. Art is power and magic. It heals and gives strength to Lysis – the skeletal necromancer lord who rules. I loved this idea – Helen’s art is her power, her salvation and, in many ways, her curse.  Helen is young, naive, afraid, confused but brave, loyal and the hero of the piece.  She has her burgeoning magic and strength of will which keeps her alive.  Helen is awesome!

The narrator for the audio is well chosen, her voice is powerful, yet easy to listen to. I was captivated.

5 stars.

I am definitely going to read the other books – I want to know more of this world, and it’s history – and listen to other audiobooks by this narrator.

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.

Love is Hell-FB3

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 – Helen of Sparta

Character Spotlight

About yourself:

*Who are/were you? I am Helen, Queen of Sparta, you would know me as Helen of Troy. I was once the wife of King Menelaus, and lover and wife to Alexandrous – Paris, Prince of Troy. I am technically a demi-god – the daughter of a goddess. It makes no difference here. Such divine blood is at best worthless, and at worst a curse in itself.

Who is your ‘lover’ in Hell? Whoever bears the Golden Apple. It’s my curse. The machinations of our goddesses tricked Paris into loving me. Athena, Hera and Aphrodite offered him power, courage in war and many victories, or the most beautiful woman in the world for his wife.  Paris had to present the Golden Apple to the most beautiful of the goddesses. Goddesses don’t take kindly to being thwarted, or a mortal man finding another more comely. It didn’t end well. Paris – being a man – thought with his loins and gave the Apple to Aphrodite.  Unfortunately, the most beautiful woman in the world was married to the king of Sparta, whose brother was the feared Agamemnon. They were both rather annoyed when I ran away….Men cannot settle things in the way a woman can and so battle was declared. It is said our elopement caused a decade of war, thousands of deaths and the fall of the city-state of Troy, and thus Greek supremacy in that area. I was a legend, and unfortunately, I still am.

His Satanic Majesty has decreed that the ‘Trojan Whore’ is a lay for any man bearing the Apple. I have no clue where it came from, maybe it followed me. One does not ask such questions here. So I am the lover of all-comers – if you pardon the pun. Old, young, handsome or ugly it makes no difference. They all look like poor Deiphobus, whose death is also laid at my door.

I cannot have Paris, Menelaus hates me and so I am the lay of the netherworld.

Love in hell, isn’t that a contradiction? How does this work? It doesn’t. Love is anathema in hell – and sex is… unpleasant. There are scorpions and other such creatures in all sorts of bizarre places. Humans will be humans and try to cling on to what they knew in life. It fails.

Who are your friends/allies here? I would not exactly call them friends, but I am here with my half-sister Clytemnestra – wife of Agamemnon; Penelope, Queen of Ithaca – the wife of Odysseus, and Queen Dido of Carthage. We don’t get along, but we do understand one another and have a shared past. Clytemnestra hates me but to be fair she hates everyone. Your husband murdering your daughter for a capricious god and then going to war for ten years leaves one a little bitter. She murdered her husband, you know, when he returned. Now she really loves him and wants him. He cannot abide her. And then there’s Dido….

Eternity – that’s a damned long time. How do you spend the endless years here? Time becomes meaningless after a while. There isn’t really day and night, or months and years. It’s hell – it just goes on and on. I try and avoid meeting men, I chat with Penelope and Cly, when I have to. I read. I try and work out why I am in this Hell and not Hades, which is my Hell. I relive the horrors of war.

Hell covers all eras and technologies, there are many hells within Hell. How have you adjusted to this strange world? Some would say we were as far from your technology as it’s possible and still be civilised. In Hell it’s different. Nothing works properly for a start but it ranges from spear and sword to guns, flying machines and the ‘craplet’ communication devices. One learns to adapt. As you say eternity is a very long time.

Why do YOU think you’re in Hell? Life’s a bitch, so they say. Love certainly is. This is not my hell. I was the pawn of meddling gods and loved unwisely. Many women take a lover, but usually, it doesn’t lead to a monumental war.

What are your greatest fears/desires here? My greatest fear is this will truly be eternal – there will be no respite for my sins.

My desires – I’d like to be alone.

 

Author Spotlight

Author Biography

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

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

She also curates for a number of speculative fiction themed book bundles on BundleRabbit.

Her short novella Outside the Walls, co-written with Diana L. Wicker received a Chill with a Book Reader’s Award in 2017.

Alex is also proud to be a writer for– where her work features in Heroika: Dragon Eaters; and Lovers in Hell – part of the acclaimed Heroes in Hell series. http://www.theperseidpress.com/

Social Media links

Website http://www.libraryoferana.co.uk/books.html

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

Smashwords Author Page https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ALB123

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

Indiebound Author Pahe https://www.indiebound.org/search/book?keys=author%3AButcher%2C%20A.%20L.

Twitter http://bit.ly/Twi2hJZ3h9

Goodreads http://bit.ly/GR2iqokvK

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

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

Tumblr https://www.tumblr.com/blog/libraryoferana

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.co.uk/abmonkey/

Books2Read newsletter sign up

https://books2read.com/author/a-l-butcher/subscribe/1/97541/

 

 

Tell us about your story for this edition. I love mythology, especially Greek and Roman myth and so I decided to see if I could entwine my knowledge of the Trojan War and it’s aftermath to the world of Hell. From a modern perspective there were a lot of ‘sins’ committed – lust, jealously, arrogance, murder, infanticide, theft – you name it someone did it. But usually we hear of the tales from the point of view of the menfolk – but what about the women? Helen ran off with a lover, then left another lover to the ravages of her irate hubby, Penelope lied, tricked and flouted convention, Clytemnestra took a lover then murdered her husband and poor Dido committed suicide for love. All of them earned a place in hell. And all of them killed, deceived or died because of love.

I have tried to keep the storytelling ‘mythic’ as I love to read such tales.

How did you become involved with this project? Some years ago I got chatting with an author whose book I’d read and thought was awesome – that book was I, the Sun and the author was Janet Morris. Social media is great for bringing together people who’d otherwise never meet. Janet read some of my own work, and liked it, and my style, and asked me if I’d consider getting involved with her Heroika project. I was delighted! One doesn’t get an offer like that every day. That led to being involved with Hell – this is the first volume I have written for but I have run ‘Hell Week’ on my blog for the last few years. It’s a lot of fun.

The world which Janet and Chris have created is very versatile, but also darkly humorous – and really appeals to me. Anything is possible, nothing goes according to plan, and famous personages find themselves in situations which range from amusing to downright diabolical. Where else would Napoleon and Wellington be neighbours, Shakespeare write for Satan’s amusement, Frankenstein and his creation work with Quasimodo, Civil War era soldiers ride tanks, and ancients fly helicopters? It’s a creative writer’s dream.

Writing for a shared world is challenging, how do you meet that challenge? Although Hell is versatile there are rules, and a writer needs to understand that, and do his or her research. I have read most of the recent Hell volumes and they give a great insight into the workings, landscapes and characters of Hell. A writer has to get permission to use a character and scenario – there’s the risk someone else has already used the character – and the scenario may not be appropriate. There’s quite a lot of terminology to learn. Not every story is accepted.

What are you currently working on? Book IV of my fantasy series, a story about a demonic bicycle (yes really), some more Kitchen Imps tales, poetry, and the next Hell story…. Not all at once – but I dip in and out depending on my mood, my health and my inspiration.

What are your views on authors offering free books? A few years ago I ran a debate on the Mythic Scribes forum about this very subject – the ‘fors’ and the ‘againsts’ were interviewed and we gave both sides. It was interesting, as many authors have strong views. I also chatted to readers about it. Some readers love freebies – especially from an author with whom they are unfamiliar – and some think it devalues the book. If it was any good why give it away.

My own thoughts – I have downloaded and read some great free indie books, and some rubbish ones. But I have also bought plenty of books, indie or otherwise which sucked. And of course, some which were great. Free doesn’t mean bad – it just means free.

It’s a useful way of attracting readers and promoting the rest of an author’s work. But it does need to be used correctly. There’s not a lot of point using it if you only have the one book – but again that depends on what an author wants from his or her book. And keep in mind a reader who likes the book they downloaded six months ago may go on to buy another of an author’s work in another six months, not everyone buys or reads a book immediately. I know I don’t – ask my kindle and the five shelves of books in the house….

What marketing tips/writing advice can you offer other authors? Decide what you want from it – and be realistic. Many if not most indies don’t make much money. If you are writing to make a living then there are jobs which pay way better and have quicker returns. Most of them in fact. That said if you are writing because you love to write then go for it!

Marketing is hard work, time-consuming and often futile. There is not a single strategy for success. Some things work sometimes and not others, some things have good returns and some things don’t and it’s not the same for everyone. If you have a limited budget there are free/lowcost options – facebook, Twitter, blogging, interviews, Linked in etc but each of these have their limitations. How many times have YOU bought something from a Twitter link? I never have. Although I do find a lot of books via Facebook and blogging.

Write because you love it, and you can’t not write. Don’t give a damn whether what you’re writing is the next ‘big thing’ because it probably won’t be next month

If you could have a dinner party with any man and woman from anywhere and any when who would invite and what would you eat?  Sir David Attenborough, Homer, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, Mary Shelley, JR Tolkein, Terry Pratchett, Queen Elisabeth I. What would we eat? My mother’s roast beef, Yorkshire puds and cake.

Which 10 books would you save to keep you sane after the apocalypse? (Only 10 allowed).

  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Watership Down
  • The Count of Monte Christo
  • I, the Sun
  • The Sacred Band
  • War of the Worlds
  • Complete Works of Shakespeare
  • Phantom of the Opera
  • Dune
  • The Odyssey

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews? Don’t. Really just don’t. Particularly on unfavourable reviews. You’ll do more damage than one or two snarky reviews. Move on. It’s just one reader’s opinion and you can’t please everyone.

Which books/movies/plays have influenced your life? Star Wars, The Odyssey, Schindler’s List, The Phantom of the Opera, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I, the Sun, Watership Down, The Count of Monte Christo,

In these days of movies and video games are books really influential? Of course. Reading a book is a totally different experience. In a movie, the images are there – laid out and it’s someone else’s physical interpretation – in a book, an author can describe something but it’s the reader’s mind which sees it. Example – I watch Star Trek – I know exactly what the Starship Enterprise looks like – she is there on the screen. I see what everyone else sees (give or take). Had I not seen a film but I had read the book what I imagine the ship to look like is my interpretation, and the next reader and the next. In a movie we think – wow look at those special effects – in a book, our mind and imagination ARE the special effects.

What do you think are the top three inventions/discoveries in human history and why?

  • The wheel (obviously). Add to cart/logs and bingo you don’t have to carry heavy stuff
  • The Internet – you can find out anything about anything, meet and befriend people on the other side of the world, run businesses from your lounge, buy things and never have to go into a supermarket.
  • Writing – I’m a writer. I have to say that.

Apart from that:

Electricity, inoculations, domestication, steam power, space flight, flight, refrigeration, art, music, bricks, steel, modern medicine, anti-biotics, fire, maths.

If I was asked the three top detrimental things ‘we’ have invented/discovered/manipulate:

1)Politics

2)Religion

3)Greed

Wars are usually fought over one or other of these.

 

A Hand of Four Queens – features in Lovers in Hell (Heroes in Hell)

Amazon UK https://amzn.to/2Mlga3e

Amazon.com https://amzn.to/2x4QqlS

lovers in hell

A Day in The Life of Dorgo the Dowser

#Meetacharacter

A Day in the Life of Dorgo the Dowser.

*Who are you?

Why, I’m Dorgo Mikawber, otherwise known as Dorgo the Dowser. I earned that nickname because of the dowsing rod that I carry with me all the time. This is a rather unique and specialized dowsing rod, because it can detect the ectoplasmic residue of any supernatural presence or demonic entity, and sense the vestiges of any form of magical power used in the commission of crimes, crimes I’m often hired or asked to solve. Without my dowsing rod, I’d be out of work and forced to find other means of employment. I mean, what else can I do? I’ve been a mercenary, a body guard, and even a smuggler. I’m not qualified for much else. Can you imagine me being an innkeeper or a blacksmith? I can’t. And my luck is often so bad when it comes to gambling that I’ve learned to keep my money in my pocket, most of the time. I do gamble with my life often enough and thus far Lady Luck hasn’t left my side. But it would be nice if she’d let me win at dice or cards once in a while. Oh, well. Beggars can’t be choosers, I guess.

Tell us about an average day in your life.

On the rare occasion when I’m not engaged in something to do with murder, mystery, magic, mayhem, and the occasional monster, my average life is pretty average. I sleep late, stay awake all hours of the night, drinking, placing the rare bet on a Minotaur wrestling match or centaur race, and spending time with a lovely woman. But as I said, those days are rare, because those who deal with the supernatural and the demonic, and those who follow the Dark Light of Odylic Power, which is commonly referred to as magic and sorcery, are always up to something nefarious. In my city of Valdar, almost anything can happen, and usually does.

Are you a lark or a night owl?

I have to be both in my line of work, because evil never sleeps, demons never rest, and most crimes occur during the darkness of the night. I often have to walk a fine line between darkness and light, in the shadows of a world where life is cheap and souls are always up for sale.

How do you think your ‘average’ day compares to that of other people?

Well, I sometimes get a chance to break my fast, enjoy a bath and don clean but tattered clothing. I may even get a chance to visit with friends. But that’s where all comparison comes to a halt. When there’s a crime committed that involves dark sorcery, demonic entities and supernatural agencies, that when I come in. I’m either hired by some private citizen to help solve the crime, or my friend Captain Mazo of the Purple Hand (the Royal Constabulary in Valdar) will, most reluctantly, ask me and my dowsing rod to lend him a hand.

Do you court danger?

I don’t court it so much as find myself either caught in its grip or trying to keep clear of it. But when I’m forced to deal with unscrupulous men, duplicitous women, practitioners of the Dark Arts, and a criminal underworld . . . well, danger usually courts me. Trouble, as someone famous once said, is my business.

Do you think your life is fulfilling?

I think so. I hope so. I have helped a lot of good people, saved a lot of lives, and have sent many a dark soul to the dungeon or to the gallows. I’m certain Hell is filled with many of my foes who are just waiting for me to get there.

If you had the choice what would you change in your daily life?

Nothing. Not a damn thing. I love my life and enjoy it to the fullest extent of both my ability and my pocketbook. Although it would be nice to have a little more money so I could afford to buy some new clothes. My friends are always chiding me for wearing the same shirt, britches and boots day in and day out. By God, how some of them nag me to no end!

Tell us a little about your home/environment/land – how does this reflect on your day to day life?

I live in an interesting world where lost souls are often resurrected as hell-spawned devils; where entities from the other side of the veil separating the earthly from the unearthly can be conjured into existence; where beings from an ancient land whose borders cross over into other dimensions slip through to my own world. In my specialized line of investigative work I’ve had to confront sentient, gold-eating shadows, malevolent puppets, wicked witches, mad sorcerers, blood-thirsty men and women, plus hungry ghouls and zombies, faun assassins, demented demons, ghastly ghosts, vengeful vampires, raging werewolves, and the most deadly, other-worldly book ever written. Then there are the semi-human races, like the Muthologians, those so-call “mythical” beings and creatures who escaped from your world of ancient Greece and settled in my own world of Tanyime.  Most of them are good souls, and I’m fortunate to call many of them my friends. I truly live in interesting and exciting times, don’t you think?

Are you organised or chaotic? Does this annoy your family/companions?

I’m usually chaotic, although when it’s called for I can be very organized. I have no family, but my habits, the hours I keep, my attitude, and my entire lifestyle often troubles and worries my friends. But they’re all decent folks who, more often than not, are willing to lend me a hand. Our tempers often clash when they disagree with me or try to prevent me from getting involved in something that might cost me my life and perhaps even my soul, but in the end I am blessed to have such good friends looking after me.

Thank you for spending so much of your valuable time with me. I enjoyed our little chat. And remember, if you ever have need of me: “Have Dowsing Rod. Will Travel.” I got that from some bloke whose name, sadly, escapes me at the time.

By the way, you can find my Mad Shadows adventures (volumes 1 and 2) on Joe Bonadonna’s Amazon author page:
https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B009I1KYIK?redirectedFromKindleDbs=true

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books now on IndieBound!

For those of you in the US print editions are now available via IndieBound!

Indiebound – the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles
The Shining Citadel
The Stolen Tower

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 Tales of Erana: Just One Mistake

Tales of Erana: Volume 1

The Kitchen Imps

Shattered Mirror

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Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org