https://amzn.to/2pPSKtm – AMAZON UK
https://amzn.to/2GkYHWw – AMAZON
Lawyers in Hell forms part of the Heroes in Hell shared world. As usual with these anthologies, there is an eclectic mix of stories. Some I enjoyed more than others, but there was nothing I didn’t like. From Guy Fawkes trying to sue Satan (Fawkes believes he is a martyr and thus should be in heaven) to Leonides dealing with a recalcitrant Alexander, to ex-presidents, to succubi causing mayhem and Erra and his Sibbiti (an ongoing theme) there is mischief afoot in Hell.
It shows the talent of these authors that although the stories are clearly written by different people, feature a bewildering array of historical characters in all sorts of weird situations they flow smoothly in a brilliantly crafted world.
Humanity will be humanity – even in hell. And thus individuals wish to sue other individuals and the lawyers who worth and the Hall of Injustice are kept busy. Of course, being hell, nothing is simple, nothing works properly and there’s always a hidden agenda. All the characters have some form of penance to pay – be it taking cases they cannot win, representing demons, facing monsters, dealing with the unpredictable technology, and generally trying to survive Hell. The stories are sad (as I said humanity seeks to be humanity with its many faults), darkly humorous, clever, weird and enticing.
FOOD OF THE GODS by Em Dehaney
A perfect corpse floats forever in a watery grave.
A gang member takes a terrifying trip to the seaside.
A deserted cross-channel ferry that serves only the finest Slovakian wines.
Gods and monsters.
Mermaids and witches.
Blood and magic.
Love and death.
From the dark and decadent mind of Em Dehaney come eight tales of seafoam secrets and sweet treats.
Nothing is quite what it seems, but everything is delicious.
This is Food Of The Gods.
Reviews of Food Of The Gods
“…diverse and brilliantly crafted slices of dark fiction…”
“…dark and haunting tales of the horrors of the human condition…’
“Brilliantly written and something to be revisited again and again.”
“I found myself submersed in strange places with fantastic other worldly creatures.”
“Each story is a gem in its own right, when collected together the result is an anthology that any writer would be proud to put their name to.”
Em Dehaney is a mother of two, a writer of fantasy and a drinker of tea. Born in Gravesend, England, her writing is inspired by the history of her home town. She is made of tea, cake, blood and magic. By night she is The Black Nun, editor and whip-cracker at Burdizzo Books. By day you can always find her at http://www.emdehaney.com/ or lurking about on Facebook posting pictures of witches https://www.facebook.com/emdehaney/. You can also follow Em on Twitter @emdehaney
Some great interviews with the Vampires from Nightly Bites II
To celebrate the release of Nightly Bites Volume 2, I present you 5 characters interviews!
Character Name: I am the Aswang, and nobody ever gave me a proper name. Heck, even the dog has a name! But not me.
Which book/world/story do you live in?
The short story “The Aswang Who Ate Stardust” is about me. Well, kind of. It’s also about the people I’m not allowed to eat anymore.
Tell us about yourself:
I was born long before the white men came to the Philippines, and I used to eat little humans still in their mother’s womb. That’s what all Aswang do – but we are solitary creatures, and we can shift our shape. Which is why nobody ever gave me a proper name, I think. Anyway, I had made a human friend long ago. He was the only one who could see me for who I…
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Amazon.com link The Hinge Factor
From the wooden horse at Troy to a harrowing photograph snapped in Vietnam, from Robert E. Lee’s lost battle plans to the evacuation of Dunkirk, world history has been shaped as much by chance and error as by courage and heroism. Time and again, invincible armies fall to weaker opponents in the face of impossible odds, when the outcome had seemed a foregone conclusion. How and why does this happen? What is it that decides the fate of battle?
The Hinge Factor is an instructive, fascinating look at how the unpredictable, the absurd, and the bizarre have shaped the face of history in war.
What is the ‘hinge factor’? Basically, it is the pivotal event that led to a particular outcome of battle – from generals despising each other and not coming to one another’s aid, to the weather, to misunderstood orders, to a war-journalist capturing an iconic shot – which turned a nation against a war. It’s a ‘what if’. What if it hadn’t rained at Agincourt? What is it had been cloudy when the Enola Gay dropped the bomb? What if the Trojans hadn’t fallen for the ruse of the Wooden Horse? In many cases, the outcome and possibly history itself would be very different.
The accounts are fairly lengthy but taken from reliable sources (relatively). Yet each and every one reads like a tale of heroes, courage and, often, sheer bloody stupidity. The author is a correspondent – and it shows. He knows his stuff, and he knows what makes a good story and what is important. (check out his Wikipage Erik Durschmied).
The Vietnam account is actually the author’s own account of what happened in those terrible years, and how news coverage changed the tide of that particular conflict.
The accounts make one wonder how many lives would have not been lost if only the General’s hadn’t behaved like morons, if only it had been cloudy, or hadn’t rained, or the retreating soldiers had spiked their own guns. I found it quite a moving book – history does indeed repeat itself first as tragedy and then as farce (Karl Marx).
The account I found most interesting was the Berlin Wall. I remember seeing that on TV – something many people would never believe could happen. Within a few hours the tide that had been building suddenly erupted and flowed inexorably towards freedom for East Germany (as it was then). It was the only revolution and ‘battle’ in history where no blood was shed. But what if the border guards had started firing at the crowds? What if the orders had come to stop the tide of humanity? There would have been a bloodbath.
As usual, I am meandering into history, so back to the book. It’s well written, well researched, thought-provoking and a must for lovers of history, fate and military history.
Eurekaaargh!: A Spectacular Collection of Inventions That Nearly Worked – Adam Hart-Davis
This work presents 100 stories of weird and wonderful inventions, full-blown and well-developed disasters of what seemed to be brilliant inventions that fell at the first fence, or sometimes the second, like the first steam-powered submarine, still lying on the seabed off North Wales.
I love books like this – the real and rather sad history of things. Most of us remember learning about the Montgolfier balloon; the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk; George Stevenson and his steam engine; and other notable inventors. But what about those that came before and failed? Or did not have the money to patent their invention? Or those whose inventions were too far ahead of their time to be viable. This is a book about these folks – the men (mostly – sorry ladies) who tried (and sometimes died) to better mankind with gadgets and machines and came to a sorry end.
Mr Hart-Davis has done his homework and tells a good tale. The tone is light-hearted, yet informative. There is enough information to draw in the reader but not so much as to get boring, or confusing. One could dip in and out of this book, entertain one’s friends with it, or simply wonder at the ingenuity and foolishness of people.
Please note most of these are British inventors.
Recommended for fans of history.
Poisoned Lives: English Poisoners and their Victims – by Katherine Watson
From Mary Ann Cotton, the Victorian serial murderess, to Dr Crippen, poisoners have attracted a celebrity unmatched by violent killers. Secretly administered, often during a family meal, arsenic (the most commonly-used poison) led to a slow and agonising death, while strychnine (with its characteristic bitter taste) killed very quickly. Poisoned Lives is the first history of the crime to examine poisoning and its consequences as a whole. Unwanted husbands, wives or lovers, illegitimate babies, children killed for the insurance money, relatives, rivals and employers were amongst the many victims of these calculating killers. Difficult to detect before 1800, poison undoubtedly had its heyday in the nineteenth century. In response to many suspected cases, forensic tests were developed that made detection increasingly likely, and the sale of poisons became more tightly controlled. Because of this, twentieth-century poisoning has become a crime largely associated with medical professionals including, most recently, Dr Harold Shipman, the world’s most prolific serial killer.
Many of the true crime books focus solely on the murders themselves, as one would expect. Usually the same twenty or so crimes are discussed and not often in detail. This book is different. Over 500 cases from 19th century to the early 20th century are included, although many as comparisons and not in detail. That said the author does a great job of discussing the ‘whys and wherefores’ of the crimes – the societal aspects, how they changed, the rise of the police force, and the increased awareness of poisoning as a crime. Before the 1900s sanitary conditions amongst the poor were dire, life expectancy short and infant mortality high. Many of the cases discussed, and the situations covered reflect this – people poisoning as to not have another mouth to feed, to get a few pounds from the ‘burial clubs’ which sprang up, ostensibly to help the poor, and the new ‘life insurance’ schemes which abounded. Poisoning is viewed as the most despicable of crimes; usually it is a slow and very painful process, and often the perpetrator is well known to the victim – spouse, parent, servant, nurse/doctor. It’s easy to judge by the modern standards when life expectation is relatively high, health provision freely available (in the UK at least), a social security system, divorce attainable, much less stigma on illegitimacy and very few people are truly desperately poor. Oh and poison is much harder to get. But one must realise that sometimes disposal of an unwanted, violent spouse, was the only way out some people could see. There were simply no viable alternatives.
Watson discusses the changing views and social ideas – the emerging rights of women; ideas pertaining towards mental illness; religious and moral ideology and the rise of the forensic scientist, the role of the coroner and much more. It’s a potted history which changes vastly over time. This, I think, is the most fascinating aspect. There is no sensationalisation of the cases – which sometimes appears in books on true crime – the subjects are dealt with in a sympathetic way. It’s a book of tragedy – lost lives, destroyed lives, desperation and the depths of human misery, but there is also hope. Murder by poison is rare now and more easily diagnosed. And society is not as brutish, or terrifying as once it was for the common person.
Well researched, well argued and highly interesting I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in true crime, 19th Century history, the rise of science and the social reasons for crime.
Out Now—La Contessa by S. Nano #newrelease #erotica #bdsm
The most decadent city…
The most perverted mistress…
Renowned for her beauty and cruelty, La Contessa’s reputation as a dominatrix is well established. And eighteenth-century Venice has degenerated into a decadent and lascivious city, the perfect backdrop for her to play-out her debauched games and political ambitions.
She sends her maid, Julia, into the alleyways to search for a young man to act as her slave. Julia finds Roberto prostituting himself in the least salubrious district of Venice. He enters into La Contessa’s service to perform her bizarre and sadistic scenes.
From their first meeting, there is a mutual attraction between maid and servant. The young couple engineer a series of sexual encounters, knowing the risks should their mistress discover them. Their situation is complicated when La Contessa rescues Becky and brings her to the palazzo as her submissive girl-slave. The interloper exposes Julia’s jealousies… and the feelings for her mistress.
How long can Roberto and Julia keep their love secret? Will Becky’s presence thwart their relationship? Will La Contessa’s scheming bring her the richest prize in all Venice?
All is resolved before the grand ball and masked, BDSM orgy held by La Contessa in her palazzo as the climax to Venice’s Carnivale.
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2nlOuAM
- Nano is a writer of erotic stories with dark and exotic content in fantasy or historical settings drawing on the themes of female domination, BDSM and fetish but often with a seam of quirky humour running through them.
‘La Contessa’ is his third full length novel. ‘Adventures in Fetishland’, a BDSM/fetish re-invention of the classic Alice stories was published by Xcite Books and ‘Mistress of the Air’, a comic, Steampunk, erotic adventure was also published by eXcessica. His novellas and short stories have been published by Xcite Books, House of Erotica, Forbidden Fiction, Coming Together and Greenwoman Publishing.
He is a regular participant in reading slams at ‘Smut by the Sea’ and similar events in the UK, contributing a workshop ‘Kinking Up the Past’, on getting inspiration for erotic stories in historical settings, in 2015.
Author web site: http://www.slavenano.co.uk/writing
Author facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nano.vaslen
Extract 2: Least Explicit
La Contessa gestures for me to take up a position at the opposite side of her from Becky.
She’s dressed formally, in her wig, a rich embroidered gown, and as much make-up as I’ve seen her wear. She’s dressed to impress, and when I see her guest, I understand why. His gown is grand, its hood lined with ermine. But it’s the cane, capped with a silver winged lion, which provides the vital clue for me. Nobody would openly carry such an iconic symbol if they were not part of Venice’s ruling elite. The ensuing conversation confirms my suspicions.
“May I speak frankly to you, Contessa?”
“Yes, these are my servants. I trust them not to allow any report of our conversation to go beyond this room. They know the severity of the punishment if they do.”
“This is a delicate matter, Contessa. As you know the trade through Venice of late has declined, and the Doge and Council of Ten are, let me be frank, in straightened circumstances.”
“Allessandro Fernasse, I’m perfectly aware the interest on my loans to the Doge is due for payment in a matter of days. No doubt you’ve been sent here to crawl on behalf of the Council of Ten to renegotiate the interest payments. And, knowing the perverse lecher you are, I don’t doubt you’d also like to avail yourself of the entertainments I offer. You will see I have acquired a new slave and slave girl since you were last here. The girl is especially delicious don’t you think… and very willing.”
The corpulent representative of the Council of Ten squirms uncomfortably in his seat, sweat dripping from his forehead. I’m intrigued by this exchange. It explains a lot. Venice is a place where money rules. This must be the hold La Contessa has over the ruling elite of the city, making her untouchable in whatever she does.
“Yes, Contessa, on behalf of the Council I’m here to ask for a rescheduling of our debts.”
La Contessa raises an eyebrow, “Ask? You mean beg, surely.”
“Well, to discuss what mutually beneficial arrangements we might come to,” splutters Fernasse.
“Ha! You mean beg. And yes, I will make you beg! Get out of the chair onto your knees and crawl towards me.”
“But, Contessa, is it your intention to humiliate me?”
“Yes, indeed it is. Do as I say and get on your knees or there will be no negotiation. I will simply insist on the repayment of my loan. You know the consequences.”
Offered no alternative, Fernasse heaves his body out of the chair and gets down on his knees. He crawls the short distance to where La Contessa sits, her hand outstretched ready for him. He takes it in his hand and kisses it. There is a pause.
Yes?” prompts La Contessa.
“Contessa, I beg you on behalf of the Doge and the Council of Ten to extend the period of your loan to the city for six months. We are expecting a fleet of merchant ships to arrive from the Far East by then with goods we can trade. I beg you to grant us this favour.”
“That’s better. And tell the Doge, next time he wants to reschedule his debts, he must come himself, and I will make him get down on his knees and crawl. I am minded to agree to an extension but I do have further conditions; a few trifles to satisfy my whims.”
“Yes, Contessa; let me know what they are. I’m confident we will be able to accommodate them,” said Fernasse, still on his knees.
“The first stipulation is that, on the final day of Carnevale, I will expect my barge to lead the procession along the Grand Canal, and for the ball to be held in my palazzo.”
“Why yes, Contessa, we would be honoured for you to host the Carnevale’s masked ball,” he says, relieved at the relative modesty of the request.
Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.
As a new feature of 2018 I thought I’d add a little levity and a little (more) strangeness to the blog. Weird Wednesdays – featuring strange laws, odd words, peculiar facts, and amazing place names. #WeirdWednesdays #strangelaws
I read a lot of history, and boy is some of human past weird! It never ceases to amaze me that humanity got over hitting each other with rocks but somehow we did and invented civilisation (although some days watching the news you’d not know it). Even so, our past has held some very odd ideas (and still does in some places) and some strange laws and rules.
From Witchcraft laws, judges prosecuting animals, clouds, corpses to outdated laws still on the statute books there have been some damn silly, and damn weird laws of the land. Some sound weirder than they actually are, and when one investigates it becomes more obvious why this is in place. Some don’t.
I’ll start with Britain – as I live there – but other countries will be discussed at later dates.
Odd or confusing Law 1:
It is illegal to be drunk on licenced premises. Under section 12 of the Licensing Act 1872,
“every person found drunk… on any
licensed premises, shall be liable to a
penalty”. It is also an offence under
the Metropolitan Police Act 1839 for
the keeper of a public house to permit
drunkenness or disorderly conduct on
the premises. Furthermore, under the
Licensing Act 2003, it is an offence to
sell alcohol to a person who is drunk,
or to obtain alcohol for consumption
by a person who is drunk.”
So you can go into a public-house and buy booze but if you get squiffy you are breaking the law, and so is the landlord or landlady. I can see the logic of this – alcohol accounts for a high proportion of crime – in 2014/15 nearly 50% of violent crime was related to booze. Anyone who has been in the city on a Friday night can testify as an eye witness to this (in my city at least).
The Licensing Act states
Penalty on persons found drunk.
Every person found drunk in any highway or other public place, whether a building or not, or on any licensed premises, shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding [F1level 1 on the standard scale], and on a second conviction within a period of twelve months shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding [F1level 1 on the standard scale], and on a third or subsequent conviction within such period of twelve months be liable to a penalty not exceeding [F1level 1 on the standard scale].
Every person . . . F2 who is drunk while in charge on any highway or other public place of any carriage, horse, cattle, or steam engine, or who is drunk when in possession of any loaded firearms, may be apprehended, and shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding forty shillings, or in the discretion of the court to imprisonment . . . F3 for any term not exceeding one month.
Is this a Weird Law? I guess that depends on your point of view regarding alcohol consumption. What constitutes ‘drunkenness’? One person could sink a barrel and the next person is bladdered after half a shandy.
Odd or confusing law 2
It is illegal to handle salmon in suspicious circumstances
This is an offence under the Salmon
Basically, if a person knows or believes a salmon, eel, or lamprey has been acquired under ‘an offence’. So a fish illegally caught from a salmon farm, an unlicensed fisherman etc.
Weird or confusing law 3
It is illegal to beat or shake any carpet or rug in any street. However, beating or shaking a doormat is allowed before 8am.
This is an offence under section 60 of the Metropolitan Police Act 1839. In other districts, it is an offence under section 28 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847.
I’d guess this is to stop pollution and fouling of the streets…. but I could be wrong
Do look out for more strange laws of the land.
Other sources Britain Explorer Blog
The Strange Laws of Old England
By John MacLeod
I rarely rate a book this low, and if I do I have usually stopped reading it. I like history, and this was a turbulent time in British History. In fact, it was the only time Britain has been a republic (only for a few years), and it changed the British monarchy forever.
The Stuarts were far more interesting than this author makes out – and more varied so here’s a potted history.
Mary, Queen of Scots: infant queen regnant (most unusual as women rarely came to the throne on their own account); wife to the French Dauphin and would have been Queen of France had her young and sickly hubby not died; married a totally unsuitable nobleman – Lord Darnley (not royalty – shocking for the time); possibly complicit in his murder (which was shoddily done); watched her probable lover murdered in front of her eyes; third equally unsuitable husband Lord Bothwell (he kidnapped and raped her, forcing her into a marriage); deposed; exiled; executed by her cousin for being involved with a treasonous plot to bring back Catholism and usurp the English throne.
James I (and VI): son of Mary and first husband Lord Darnley (probably); first king of England, Ireland and Scotland (sorry Wales you were already under the English then); King for 57 years in Scotland and 21 years in England. Also came to the throne as a baby – after his mother was deposed. Inherited a realm divided by religion and governed during his minority by 4 different regents; intelligent, and a good scholar he is perhaps best known for the King James Bible – which was translated and produced in English during his reign. He was obsessed with witches and witchcraft – but not in a good way and many people were executed for this ‘crime’ during his reign.
James was probably gay, or at least enjoyed gay relationships with various men at court – although he did his duty and married to produce an heir. His ‘favourites’ were often rather unscrupulous (by today’s standards) and he was manipulated by them – much to the annoyance of parliament – who wanted to do it. He was married to a 14-year-old Danish Princess (Anne of Denmark). His eldest child died of typhoid, his daughter married to become the ill-fated Elizabeth Queen of Bohemia, and his son Charles succeeded him. Yes, that’s the Charles who annoyed parliament so much they chopped off his head….
Charles I: Poor old Charles I. He wasn’t a bad man, but he wasn’t a good king. Or at least Parliament didn’t think so. He married a Catholic (and a bossy one) – which did not go down well in the largely Protestant Britain, and kept asking for money to fight costly and unpopular wars. He believed in the Divine Right of Kings – basically the King answered to no one but God Almighty. Parliament also had issues with this, funnily enough. The English Civil War went on for 9 awful years and the country was left rather in chaos during this time. Largely it was a religious war but it was also a conflict of a stubborn king who refused to concede any power and a miffed parliament who thought the king and his Catholic cronies had far too much. It’s possible that over a 190000 died in England from a population of just 5 million from causes related to the war (sickness, wounds, death in battle) and many more were exiled. In the end the Roundheads were victorious and the King was executed. I think this was the only time an English monarch has been executed by the state (excepting falling in battle, or by a foreign power, or dubious circumstances whilst in exile/imprisonment). Charles managed to protect his family – they fled to the continent and had a difficult decade living in exile from the goodwell of various foreign lords and princes.
I will miss out Oliver Cromwell and the Commonweath – only because they weren’t Stuart blood but if you want to learn more this is a good place to start.Oliver Cromwell
Charles II : Charles II was handsome, charming and a darn sight smarter than his old man. He made concessions when he had to and was smart enough to let Parliament have some power. He was also an inveterate womaniser – his official bastard progeny numbered 14 and there were probably lots more. Unfortunately, legitimate issue was 0 surviving – his Queen had a number of miscarriages and was unable to have a child. Despite legions of mistresses Charles stuck by his barren queen, even though he was urged to discard her.
Charles was keen on the arts, was a bit of a rogue but brought an air of jolity back after the rather dismal years of the protectorate. He was also tolerant of religion but was careful in his dealings with Catholics (who were still deeply mistrusted). He converted on his deathbed.
He was succeeded by his brother James II, VII…. not a popular king. James was rather arrogant, an obvious Catholic, and probably suffered from some serious mental issues (not surprising really as his father was executed for treason). He married Anne Hyde (also not royalty) and then tried to shirk off the marriage. His two daughters would become Queens in their own right, but his second marriage to a Catholic Princess (Mary of Modena) was the final straw. James was far more intolerant than his brother, and less of a statesman. Eventually he was deposed in favour of his son-in-law and nephew, and his daughter (who married her cousin…) – they would jointly reign as Mary II and William III.
He survived rebellions, plots and although he was finally deposed (by his own daughters) he kept his head (unlike his father).
No one wanted civil war again and so when William and Mary were ‘invited’ to take the crown it was done surprisingly bloodlessly. Trouble in Ireland (that was reflected to the present day) marred the reign, and they were sometimes held to be usurpers (James and his faction would try and regain the throne for James, and his heirs for many years to come, causing turmoil and bloodshed aplenty particularly in Scotland).
William fought the French (England was at war with our neighbours across the channel on and off for nearly a thousand years until the peace which came after the second world war) and was often absent. Wars were costly (and unpopular – nothing changes much).
He may also have had homosexual relationships with courtiers and favourites, but he was deeply upset when Mary died of smallpox. He died after a fall from his horse and the dubious medicine of the time.
Queen Anne was perhaps the most tragic of the Stuart monarchs, and she was the last (depending on who you ask… Jacobites looking at you). She had many health problems, including mental health (as did most of her line) and lost seventeen babies and infants. Which did nothing to help either her physical or mental wellbeing. She had problems with her sight, and later in life became obese (her coffin was nearly square), with the associated problems of being overweight. She also oversaw the Act of Settlement – which finally united Scotland, Ireland and England into Great Britain and not seperate countries. (Some would argue this wasn’t a good thing and the countries would be better off running themselves but that’s a debate for another day).
Anne was not the brightest bulb in the chandelier but she was, by many accounts, kind, dutiful and did her utmost to be a good queen. She was also passionate and emotional- and her various intense friendships with women, including the Duchess of Marlborough (who was quite unkind about her later). She survived Jacobite plots to put a half-brother on the throne and the aftermath of the War of Spanish Succession.
So anyway… about the book….
I was quite disappointed by this book. Way too much of the author’s own opinion in this. I found it rather anti.. well everyone really.
No one came out of it well (although to be fair the history of the Stuarts is not the most glorious) but there was a rather anti-gay, anti-catholic, tone to the book. In one place he described homosexuality as a ‘sin’. Technically it was then – but that was not the context of the sentence, or at least didn’t seem to be. There had been previous mentions about the various alleged and supported gay relationships of the monarchs but these were generally portrayed in a negative way. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be like that but it came across that way.
The subject matter is interesting, but it reads a bit like a sensationalist newspaper. I’d have liked more on Queen Anne, she was the last Stuart monarch and barely got much of a mention. What was said was basically she was stupid, dull a bit of a non-entity.
It wasn’t all bad – there was an element of amusement in some places, and the author is passionate about the subject (opinions aside). The chapter on Mary Queen of Scots was interesting. It was also interesting to see the history from the Scots perspective.
I’m sorry but I wouldn’t recommend this to history lovers – there are better and less biased books on the market.