#Heroika Skirmishers – Bruce Durham and His Character #Fantasy #Historicalfic #Meetanauthor

 

Author section

Name (Mandatory) Bruce Durham

Give us a brief synopsis of your story: The remnants of a Peacekeeping force flee before the relentless approach of a corrupted madman who is nuking the world into oblivion. A glimmer of hope for the future presents itself in the form of a mysterious priest, a fabled horn and a legendary sword.

Why did you choose that time period/group of people to write about? I wanted to write about a slightly post-modern-day end of the world scenario, mix in some legend and myth and explore how modern-day soldiers would react to something completely out of the normal.

What is your usual genre? I’ve written across several genres, including historical, fantasy, Sf and horror.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? I’ll meticulously plot my story, then find some of the characters decide they have different ideas. It’s a bit of a struggle, but they usually win out.

If you could invite anyone from history or literature to dinner who would you choose and why? It would definitely be Robert E. Howard. His body of work was immense, encompassing fantasy, historical fiction, horror, poetry, westerns, boxing tales and pure adventure. Needless to say, his influence on me was immense. Just to pick his brain would be worth the steak dinner.

 

Character Section

Name (Mandatory) Grace Matthews

Tell us a bit about yourself. I am a Peacekeeper. My rank is First Lieutenant, 3rd  Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment. I’m a career soldier, single, not that its anybody’s business. Not much else to say.

How do you come to be on this adventure? I was stationed in the Sinai with an aircraft control unit when all hell broke loose. From there it was a steady retreat across North Africa and into Spain. This wasn’t so much as an adventure as it was about survival.

Tell us a bit about the society in which you live. Right now? It’s a madhouse.

Are you brave? I don’t know. I know I have a duty to the well being of the people in my command. If that makes me brave, then so be it.

How do others see you? You’ll have to ask them. They haven’t deserted, so I must be doing something right.

Do you believe in a god? At this point I don’t know what to believe in.

What do you REALLY think of your author? I hope he rots for putting me in this situation. I just wanted a normal life, you know?

Do you have a moral code? Duty.

If you could have three wishes what would they be? To live. To love. To be in a sequel.

Do you think you make a difference in your world? Time will tell.

 

AUTHOR BIO (short)

Bruce Durham lives in Mississauga, Ontario. He has appeared in Paradox: The Magazine of Historical & Speculative Fiction, Lovecraft eZine, Flashing Swords, Return of the Sword, Rage of the Behemoth, Sha’Daa: Last call, Lawyers in Hell, Rogues in Hell, Poets in Hell and Heroika: Dragon Eaters, among others.

 

Heroika: Skirmishers

Conflict is a constant. When force on force is inevitable only the intrepid need come forth. Summon the Skirmishers to their eternal purpose, to face a foe who must be opposed at all cost. Gird yourself and join the brotherhood of ‘do or die.’ HEROIKA: SKIRMISHERS is an anthology of desperate struggles in far flung time-scapes, the age-old smell of battle and death. SKIRMISHERS –Tales for the bold among you!

https://www.amazon.com/Heroika-Skirmishers-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B085N7XZLZ/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heroika-Skirmishers-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B085N7XZLZ/

 

Heroika 2 1.2 FINAL JPG

 

Dirty Dozen Character Interview – Nicodemus Etalo – Sci-fi

Name: Nicodemus Etalo: Please, call me Nick.

1) Tell us about yourself.

Well. I have an older sister and younger brother.  My parents are no longer together.  I work for the Trintaty Military.  I work with a team to rescue people who’ve been taken by the scum of the universe.  I get aboard the ship and defeat whoever thinks they have a right to make people do things against their will, and then we get the survivors back to our ship and help them get their lives back.

2) How did you end up in the situation you’re currently in?

We had intercepted a Krutan ship to rescue those whom it was holding prisoner.  When I found the Krutan, I also found a woman in a room with him.  He threw her across the room, and she hit the ceiling, which subsequently fell on top of her.  I rescued the woman, Zehána, and we blew up the ship.  It should have been over at that point, however it was just the beginning.
3) Do you have any regrets?

No way.  Zehána had endured more torture than any of the people I had helped rescue so far.  That alone stands that I made the right choice.
4) Is your life now as you envisioned it?  If not, then why?

Absolutely not.  Twice, I had envisioned the rest of my life a certain way and neither time I was right.  The first vision I had wasn’t a positive one.  I was a young child, I didn’t realize I had an option of how I was supposed to live, so I thought I’d always live my life with this… broken heart so to speak.   You know that heavy feeling you get when you’re not living the life you were meant for.  With my mother having once been in the Trinataty military, we lived a good life, had lots of things – whatever we wanted and then some.  However, I learned the hard way that we were not allowed to help others.   I had researched about the Trinitaty Military when I was older, and I left home the moment I could because I did not want to live that life.

The second time was when I met Zehána.  I had been serving the Military for a long time, and I had it down to a science.  Find the scum of the universe, rescue the people, get them home or to base, and then on to the next ship of universal filth.  It was the perfect life for me.  I lived and breathed my job.  However, the day I rescued Zehána everything changed.  I had convinced myself it was because of the circumstances I had found her in, and then she was not treated like the other survivors.  My need to protect her became above and beyond what was normal, especially for me.  Nothing in my wildest dreams prepared me for what came next.

5) Do you believe in monsters?

I certainly do.  Working for the Trinitaty Military, I have seen my fair share.  It’s why I continue to do what I do.

6) Do you have a moral code?

Yes.  I’m usually a good soldier, I do what is expected of me.  Unless I feel that it isn’t the right thing to do.  As I told my friend, Connor, “Sometimes you have to think for yourself, question the motives of your superior.  Sometimes you have to break the rules to do the right thing.”

7) Would you die for someone you love?

That’s an easy question since death is always a possibility when you’re saving people from monsters.  I wouldn’t even bat an eye.

8)  Who is your greatest enemy? 

Before this particular adventure, I don’t think I would have known the answer.  However, the Krutan, whom Zehána calls “the beast”, has definitely showed me what a real enemy looks like.  Highly intelligent, calculating, and patient.

9) Tell us about your family?

My mother disappeared after I left home, although I’ve heard rumors that she went back to work for the Trintaty Military.  We are not close in any way.  My father still lives on Zynast, the planet I’m from, but we don’t keep in touch.  I have a younger brother who is a mediator for the Trintaty Military, whom I see from time to time, and my older sister… well, she’s been through a lot.   She works at the base so I see her every time I come home.

10) How would you describe yourself?

An average guy who wants to do the right thing.  I suppose you could consider me a workaholic, but honestly, I just love my job.  Being able to save people who have been kidnapped from their homes, feels good.  I’m a little stubborn which sometimes gets me in trouble, but I always think things through.

11) How do others see you?

I suppose it depends on who you talk to. Martin, the captain of the ship I travel on, thinks I’m a pain in the as— butt, however, he knows that I am very good at my job – which allows him to bask in the glory of a skilled team.  My friend Connor gets annoyed with what he sees as my lack of respect for the rules and stubbornness, but he knows I’m an intelligent guy, trying to do good in the universe.  My sister sees me as a hero, but she thinks I can be difficult at times, and maybe a bit overprotective.  And Zehána, she sees me as someone she can trust, and honestly that’s good enough for me.

22) Do you think you will be successful in your quest?

I sure hope so, because Zehána’s life is in my hands.  And this is one point in my life I do not want to fail.

Project21cover

 

Amanda Schmidt – Nick’s creator can be found here

Links:

Blog: It all started with a dream…: https://amandaschmidt09.blogspot.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amandaschmidt09/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmandaSchmidt09

 

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

Name Teneyros

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Link to Bundle

Chronicles of the Mages’ Guild:

Torin’s Legacy, Book 1

The Guild Master’s Quest, Book 2

Shakespeare’s Curse, Short Story

About the author:

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

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

Name: Madam Lise Giry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ToCV Eclectic ad

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

19 short stories and collections from multiple authors.
https://books2read.com/EclecticaBundle
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NWQ4YTP/?tag=kydala-20
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NWQ4YTP/?tag=kydala-20
https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/eclectica-1
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1458246383
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1131078746?ean=2940161178102
https://bundlerabbit.com/b/eclectica

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

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

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

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

 

Three questions with…

Name: Comte Raoul De Chagny

Tell us a little about your life and story:

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

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

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

Who is this nemesis?

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

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

How do you see your future?

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

 *****

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

 

 

 

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

Are Character Interviews Worth the Effort?

Guest post by T. R. Robinson

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

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

The Reader

Of what interest are character interviews to readers?

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

 

The Author

What benefits do character interviews provide for authors?

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

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

Worth the Effort?

Back to the original question.

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

fullsizeoutput_11b

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

tourbutton_dakotason (1)

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

 dakotason.jpg

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).

michaelEdellert-9255_300x4550_300dpi (1)HedgeKingInWinter-MED-333x500 (1)

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