Back into Hell – Hell Week 2015 – Altos the Angel

Now who’d expect to find an angel in Hell, except of course his lordship, the Fallen One? Amongst the damned his presence is…unusual. So over to you… (brave angel this one…misguided perhaps but brave).

Character Spotlight

About yourself:

*Who are/were you? I am Altos, an angel on special assignment.

* Why do YOU think you’re in Hell? I am here to rehabilitate His Satanic Majesty.

Who are your friends/allies here? All well-meaning souls I consider my allies, those not entirely given over to iniquity.

Describe your home/environment in Hell. I arrived with the fallen and have watched Hell develop from total darkness to its current state. Although I hail from on high this is my home for now, wherever the Prince holds forth you will find me.

Do you have any enemies here? My adversaries are the blind passions of the damned, most significantly Vengeance.

Come on be honest, what do you think of HSM leadership? Satan is comprehensible, if not justifiable, and actually a lover of beauty in his way.

Author Spotlight

*Name and bio.

Chris Morris

* Tell us about your story for this edition. The Wager relates an incident involving Satan and Altos where militaristic hordes from all ages have gathered for a “final” reckoning.

What inspired you to use the character(s) you’ve chosen? Satan’s isolation and profound understanding of humanity are fascinating, yet very difficult to draw—in this story by resort to a ghastly and grand-scale event demonstrating the worst proclivities of his charges, the lost souls of men. Because of his proposition to the angel—his most worthy, divine audience—he can indulge his urge to instruct his eternal adversary on high. Even Satan loves company.

What are you currently working on? I’m narrating audio books; I’ve completed The Sacred Band a novel by Janet Morris and myself and I, the Sun by Janet Morris. Next up is Shards of the Glass Slipper II: Queen Alice, by Roy Mauritsen.

Name the last two books you’ve read – tell us about them. Re-read The Golden Sword by Janet Morris, the second volume in her Silistra series quartet and The Best Poems in the English Language by Harold Bloom, his compendium of great poetical works and a great starting point for those like me who seek a chronological framework in which to appreciate the history of poetry in our language.

What marketing tips/writing advice can you offer other authors? Until you’ve found your storytelling voice as distinct from those writers you admire, write only what you know as passionately and articulately as you can without distorting your effort by trend-following or obeisance to niche-market rules and practices. Find and write what only you can and love the moments of total immersion necessary to bring them to life.

Heroes in Hell (series)

Back into Hell – Hell Week 2015 – Doc Holiday

Welcome back to the infernal interview service, offering you close-ups of the damned like never before.

Character Spotlight

About yourself:

*Who are/were you?  Name’s Doc Holliday – Gambler, gunfighter, lover and sometimes dentist.

* Why do YOU think you’re in Hell? On account of some dark deeds committed throughout my life. I killed a lot of men in my time, and swindled a whole bunch more who didn’t understand the nature of their opponent when it came to games of chance. I got no complaints about where I ended up. I made some choices along the way that maybe I wouldn’t have if I’d known how things would work out. Some folk would call me an evil sonofabitch… can’t say as I’d blame them.

Who are your friends/allies here? I’ve met me an odd bunch here in hell, an eclectic mix of folks who all have one thing in common, a love of gamblin’. I’ve got my gal, Calamity Jane, a crazy ass Gaelic chieftain by the name o’ O’Neill – mad as hell but a good man to have at your back. Then there’s a genuine member of English royalty, the Earl of Sandwich. Finally there’s a Russian philosopher and writer, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Describe your home/environment in Hell. HSM in his infinite wisdom has chosen to bind me to a saloon in a frontier town called Helldorado. As a gamblin’ man I’ve always sought that elusive moment where your heart is beatin’ so strongly in your chest it feels like it’ll jump clean out, just before you turn the last card over, knowin’ that everything you own is sittin’ in a heap in the middle of the table. That ultimate high, the rush you experience an instant before the reveal, has been taken from me by HSM. Every hand I play here in hell I win, empty victories when the outcome is preordained.

Do you have any enemies here? I have enemies in every damned place I’ve ever laid my hat. Here ain’t no different.

Come on be honest, what do you think of HSM leadership? As evil overlords go he’s pretty much got the job nailed. Sadly the better he is at running this eternal prison for the damned the worse afterlife becomes for the citizens of hell.

So, this plague – who’s responsible? Sadly, no one ever tells me anything.

What is the technology level of the culture you chose to write about? My story is set in a western environment and time.

Author Spotlight

*Name and bio. Paul Freeman is from Dublin, Ireland where he lives with his family. He is the author of the epic fantasy series, Tribesman. He has also co-authored a zombie apocalypse, collaborative novel, Season Of The Dead. In TAXI, he moves away from his usual speculative fiction genre, stepping into a more literary field, examining the effect on the life of a taxi driver after a single moment of madness which results in the death of a teenage girl, and how this event results in devastating consequences for him and those closest to him.

* Tell us about your story for this edition. My story is called Hell Noon. It is set in a western frontier town called Helldorado. The basic premise is that Doc Holliday and a collection of other famous gamblers are holed up in a saloon playing cards (Holliday is cursed to win every hand he plays) when they are invaded by a wild bunch of infected plague carriers. A gunfight ensues and the group come up with a plan to escape… nothing in hell runs smoothly though.

What inspired you to use the character(s) you’ve chosen? I really liked the idea of writing a western-themed story and as the title was Doctors in Hell I figured Doc Holliday would be the perfect MC to choose.

How did you become involved with this project? I was invited by Janet Morris to join and thought it would be a really fun thing to be involved in. And it is!

Writing for a shared world is challenging, how do you meet that challenge? By trying not to step on anyone’s toes.

What are you currently working on?  I’m currently writing a vampire apocalypse book. My normal genre to write in is fantasy, particularly epic fantasy, but I like to stray out of my comfort zone every now and then.

What are your views on authors offering free books? I have absolutely no issue with how anyone chooses to market their books. If it works go for it.

What marketing tips/writing advice can you offer other authors? Watch what I do very carefully and then do the complete opposite.

What other books/short stories have you written? Books currently published are my two epic fantasy novels from the same series: Tribesman and Warrior. I’ve just recently published a novel called Taxi about a Dublin taxi driver who becomes involved in a road traffic accident that was not his fault, but he is left to deal with the consequences. I have also co-authored a zombie apocalypse novel with three other authors. The premise for this is that each of us wrote from our own perspective in our own locations, so the book is set in three different countries and the apocalypse told from four different points of view.

I’ve also contributed a short story to a steampunk anthology called Strange Tales From The Scriptorium Vaults. Also another collection called A Turn Of The Wheel.

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews? Back away from the keyboard.


Back into Hell – Hell Week 2015 – John Milton

The Jack O’Lanterns are carved, and the marshmallows are toasting over the hellfires. Pull up a pitchfork and join me once more in the devilish domain of His Satanic Majestic.

Characters and authors aplenty for your infernal entertainment.

Character Spotlight: John Milton

About yourself: I am the author of Paradise Lost, the English epic in blank verse, and other reflections on life and immortality, including Areopagitica, a blow stuck against pre-publication censorship. Free speech and freedom of the press were my passions while alive.

*Who are/were you? A poet, a revolutionary, a sentry guarding the gates that kept ignorance at bay. Samuel Johnson called me an acrimonious and surly Republican. Perhaps. I did fight with my tutors, who felt need to tame my mind’s adventurism, put caution in my heart. Caution has no part in an honest heart. I was born in 1608. I was eight years old when Shakespeare died. In 1660 I hid from the restoration lackies, avoiding a warrant calling for my life and the burning of all my works. In 1674 I died, blind and destitute, of kidney failure – to escape such pain, I welcomed death.

*Why do YOU think you’re in Hell? Paradise Lost brought me to Hell, for taking Satan’s part. I tried to make Christianity classical, make freedom the birthright of any soul on Earth, and failed because politics have no part in the true struggle, against death itself.

Who are your friends/allies here? You jest. The Great Deceiver finds me useful, and that puts me on the opposite side of Cocytus from most penitent souls. Nor am I penitent -, nor will I ever be. But no fool, these days, with an infernity around me. The fallen angels enjoy my company.

Describe your home/environment in Hell. I make my home in Pandemonium – a term I thought I coined, for a place I thought a product of my own mind. Pandemonium is a vast breath of foul air and brimstone, a citadel whose spires scrape the heavens, with adamantine walls and filled with Satan’s legions, both doomed souls once men – full of mischiefs and hardier souls who’ve never been men. Some days I have comfort, more than most, when I’m sent with messages or punishments to this damned soul or the other. From Pandemonium ‘tis a long walk to anywhere, but a short flight when the angelic wings of the Devil’s stalwarts wrap me round.

Do you have any enemies here? Do I have anything but enemies? I brought the underverse to life, made infernity real and inescapable. The damned duly hate me.  I have peers – quite a different story; an innumerable lot, including Kit Marlowe and his wittol, Will Shakespeare. These two love words for their own sake – and each other. I find them too full of greatness self-proclaimed, chasing after this clever turn of phrase or that rhythm:  they forgive all for tragedy and comedy, and naught for the true fight: the fight for freedom of the mind. But the devil doth love his Bard of Avon – more than me, so until obliteration comes to pass, I suffer them, and fool upon fool, so every realm of hell is littered with their wrongs.

Come on be honest, what do you think of HSM leadership? Honest?  About the Prince of Darkness?  About the Father of Lies? About my hero – whose glorification brought me here to waste away and away?  The Adversary allows me my sight, so I can see all the evil done and blamed on me; he allows me my youth, so I can go among the damned from one hell to another – except for Tartaros, so far: even a glimpse of the afterlife of Hellenes is denied me, who wanted so to put a Christian face on Homeric odes.

So, this plague – who’s responsible? The damned themselves: the selfish, the foolish, the overly bold and the bloody. The plague seeks the damned, who in their turn seek escape, every dumb brute among them. Satan’s so-called rulership of all the New Damned fell to laxity: the problem with the devil is he’s not devilish enough, by half, to suit the Maker. So those who rule Above sent down Erra and his Seven personified weapons, to put the punishment back in hell that Satan’s sly courtship of the doomed eschews. Satan’s plan is too clever for those punishers from Above: his ever antic calculated to prove the damned are damned by their flawed nature, by all they do and all they say, and Satan’s soft-seeming leadership forces the Almighty into the role of Overlord of Evil. This, Satan watches, and bides his time, and proves again and again that humanity’s flaws are intrinsic, and not the fault of the stars or of hellfires where their souls finally abide. Thus, call humanity the bringer of plague, not the Babylonian god who brings pestilence only on orders from higher powers. And call the devil the greatest of poets, who brings this tragedy to life and light.

What is the WORST thing about being here? The worst thing about being in hell is that mankind creates it every day, anew and worse. As I said in my poor play, obliteration is the cure.  Sad cure.  And yet the animal within each soul wants only to live to struggle on, and on…

Erra and his Seven – what’s going on there then? I said all I should need to say about the lackeys from Above, those ministers of due punishment and undue suffering alike. Erra’s forte is plague and mayhem, and hell is, truly, where he doth find his place.

What are your best tips for surviving in Hell? Keep eyes averted.  Write and say the truth. Hell is no worse than Reformation England, really – with faults aplenty to fight and fools to spare.

Before you arrived here did you actually believe in HSM and his fiery domain? Bet that was a shock! I thought…I’d dreamed Paradise Lost. Yet when I wrote it, each day was a summoning of His Infernal Majesty. So here I came, and am, and will be until obliteration can be mine – and sleep.

Eternity – that’s a damned long time. How to you spend the endless years here? I foment what discontent I may, and take commissions from the lords of hell when warranted.

What do you miss most about your old….life? Nothing. My life turned out to be practice for my sentence here. If what I publish here is bowdlerized, at least to some those words strike true and ring the knell all the damned so crave:  their final rest.

What is the technology level of the culture you chose to write about? Technology provides amusement for the shallow and ungifted, who’ll proliferate inanities until we slog waist deep in the dimmest wits ever born. What humanity does is no better or worse now than before technology – yesterday’s, today’s or tomorrow’s. All gadgets reproduce, but ne’er make anything unknown become known – or knowable. I wrote about infernity, about humanity’s reality – about what we are: our wizened souls, our selfish lusts, our need to break others to our will. Now I can be anywhere among the manifold mistakes of the Almighty’s cruelest jokes:  they are no better in the future than in the past. I wrote about this hell in which I stand, and now here I am.

Author Spotlight

*Name and bio.

Janet Morris.  Janet Morris began writing in 1976 and has since published more than 40 novels, many co-authored with her husband Chris Morris or others. Her debut novel, written as Janet E. Morris, was High Couch of Silistra, the first in a quartet of character-driven novels with a female protagonist. According to original publisher Bantam Books, the Silistra quartet had over four million copies in print when the fourth volume, The Carnelian Throne was published. Charles N. BrownLocus Magazine, is quoted on the Baen Books reissues of the series as saying, “Engrossing characters in a marvelous adventure.”

Morris has contributed short fiction to the shared universe fantasy series Thieves World, in which she created the Sacred Band of Stepsons, a mythical unit of ancient fighters modeled on the Sacred Band of Thebes.

She created, orchestrated, and edited the Bangsian fantasy series Heroes in Hell, writing stories for the series as well as co-writing the related novel, The Little Helliad, with Chris Morris.

Most of her fiction work has been in the fantasy and science fiction genres, although she has also written historical and other novels. Her 1983 book “I, the Sun”, a detailedbiographical novel about the Hittite King Suppiluliuma I was praised for its historical accuracy; O.M. Gurney, Hittite scholar and author of “The Hittites,”[2] commented that “the author is familiar with every aspect of Hittite culture.”[3]

Morris has written, contributed to, or edited several book-length works of non-fiction, as well as papers and articles on non-lethal weapons, developmental military technology and other defense and national security topics.

*Tell us about your story for this edition. In Doctors in Hell, with Chris Morris, I wrote about the underworld’s single volunteer angel, and a wager he made with the Price of Lies. Chris then wrote about Milton, who is sent on a mission for Satan. Then together Chris and I wrote about Shakespeare and Marlowe, to whom Milton is sent with the true ‘cure’ for the plagues in hell. Hearing this ‘cure’ gives Marlowe the malady an author most dreads when facing an infernity never-ending: writer’s block. And Shakespeare tries to help Marlowe by taking him to the most fearsome and famed witch doctors in New Hell… so they think until they cross a certain threshold…

What inspired you to use the character(s) you’ve chosen? I wrote these characters almost accidentally: I was doing an introductory story for Rogues in Hell, and down came a clutch of new characters, into my story which was called Babe in Hell. One I’d had a taste of Shakespeare and Marlowe, they found enticements against which I was helpless, including the introduction of John Milton. Milton is daunting to portray, and his voice complex, so Chris and I waited as long as we could to introduce him – first in walk-on roles, and now finally, in an entire story that’s worthy of such a character, therefore a story that begins to turn hell on its collective and pointy ear.

How did you become involved with this project? Serendipity, truly. I had a multibook contract with Baen Books, and proposed the Heroes in Hell series, since at that time my parents were dying and death and what may lie after were much on my mind.

Writing for a shared world is challenging, how do you meet that challenge? Writing for a shared world is challenging, yes; but editing one, and writing the introductory and final stories for the volumes, tests me every time I do so. But in HIH I can try things, do stories I wouldn’t try to do elsewhere.  Hell is, in its way, liberating.

Tell us why you chose this story to tell out of so many possible options? This ‘story’ is actually a group of three:  one an introduction, followed by Chris Morris’ characterization of Milton, then in turn followed by Chris and my final story for the volume, in which the final story “Writer’s Block” sets some groundwork for later volumes while bringing our several strings of plot together.  Writing this way is difficult but great fun.

What drew you to these characters? These characters came because I wanted to rewrite and use the first story, which was the only HIH story that Jim Baen wouldn’t publish because the content offended him, and so we sold it to be published in different form for the current version in an a literary sf quarterly, Argos.  Since that story would have been the first in a different volume, it was already structured properly to be an introductory story, so we updated it and rewrote it into the current HIH moment, where it worked very well. SO we had had Altos the volunteer angel for a very long time, and it was a good time to re-enter him.  As for Milton, he’s a bit daunting but in Hell, we choose a story we want to tell, then we find characters who would be the best a telling that story. For the story we wanted to tell that would wrap the Doctors in Hell volume, we needed to end with Shakespeare and Marlowe – and a few others….

What are you currently working on? A novel.

Name the last two books you’ve read – tell us about them. Euripides, The Rhesos, Lattimore translating; Aeschylus’ Suppliant Women, A. J. Bowen.

One is directly for the book I’m doing, Rhesos of Thrace, in which the Euripedes version figures;  the Aeschylus is part of my rereading of Greek tragedies, as much to recover the sensitivities of this period as to clarify what concerned the writers and protagonists.

I really always write the book I want to read, and to write Rhesos the way I want to read it I need to be deeply seated in his culture, both while alive and what Euripdes made of him.

What are your views on authors offering free books? In general, I think that people don’t value what they do not pay for.  In the book business, however, there is a long tradition of giving books to people to read who may talk positively about what they’ve read.  The numbers of copies involved now are simply greater.

What marketing tips/writing advice can you offer other authors? Write what impassions you:  you’re trading away your real daily life for time spent in an imagined construct:  make sure it’s worthwhile for you to do so.

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

“Hell is just a frame of mind.” – Marlowe in Faustus.

What other books/short stories have you written?

From Wikipedia:

Science fiction novels ·         High Couch of Silistra

·         The Golden Sword

·         Wind from the Abyss

·         The Carnelian Throne

·         Dream Dancer

·         Cruiser Dreams

·         Earth Dreams

·         Threshold

·         Trust Territory

·         The Stalk

·         ARC Riders

·         The Fourth Rome

·         The 40-Minute War

·         Active Measures

·         Outpassge

·         Target

Heroes in Hell ·         Heroes in Hell (book)

·         Heroes in Hell (series)

Fiction ·         I, the Sun

·         Medusa

·         Warlord

·         Kill Ratio

·         Afterwar

Historical fantasy ·         Beyond Sanctuary

·         Beyond the Veil

·         Beyond Wizardwall

·         Tempus

·         City at the Edge of Time

·         Tempus Unbound

·         Storm Seed

·         The Sacred Band

Short fiction ·         Raising the Green Lion

·         Vashanka’s Minion

·         A Man and His God

·         An End to Dreaming

·         Wizard Weather

·         High Moon

·         Basileus

·         Hero’s Welcome

·         Graveyard Shift

·         To Reign in Hell

·         Power Play

·         Pillar of Fire

·         Gilgamesh Redux

·         Sea of Stiffs

·         The Nature of Hell

·         The Best of the Achaeans

·         The Collaborator

·         […] is Hell

·         Moving Day

·         Sea Change

Nonfiction work ·         Nonlethality: A Global Strategy

·         Weapons of Mass Protection

·         The American Warrior

If you could have a dinner party with any man and woman from anywhere and anywhen who would invite and what would you eat? Heraclitus of Ephesus, Homer, Sappho, Harold Bloom, Suppiluliumas 1 of Hatti, Kit Marlowe.

Which 10 books would you save to keep you sane after the apocalypse? (Only 10 allowed). Oxford Classical Dictionary, Ancient Near Eastern Texts, Complete Shakespeare (RSC), Lattimore’s Iliad and Odyssey;

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews? Don’t, unless some specific review was important to your development and you’re commenting in the course of an interview that includes something salient to say about a review/reviewer.

Which books/movies/plays have influence your life? Too many to list.

In these days of movies and video games are books really influential? I hope so.

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Twitter: @uvmchristine


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Back into Hell – Hell Week 2015 – Dr Neill Cream

The Jack O’Lanterns are carved, and the marshmallows are toasting over the hellfires. Pull up a pitchfork and join me once more in the devilish domain of His Satanic Majestic.

Characters and authors aplenty for your infernal entertainment.

About yourself:

Who are/were you?  I am/was Dr Thomas Neill Cream. Doctor by day, serial killer by night, with victims throughout America, Canada, Scotland and England. A most delightful little spree that came to an untimely end through no fault of my own.

Why do YOU think you’re in Hell? I think that’s obvious, don’t you? In life, I became known as the Lambeth Poisoner and enjoyed using my position of trust to lure my victims into positions whereby I could prey on their weaknesses and vulnerabilities. I showed no remorse for my crimes and was hanged at Newgate prison, London, in 1892. For some reason, many people think I was Jack the Ripper. I can’t imagine why…?

Describe your home/environment in Hell. I live in the Lambsdeath district of Olde London Town. That’s in the Juxtapose level of Hell, an area beset by fractures through sheolspace whereby different eras come together in a mishmash of times and eras. You can be crossing the cobbled streets of Victorian London one moment, only to be forced to jump out of the way of a modern-day Hackney carriage the next. I like it here as the rifts allow me to cover my tracks as I go about my business.

In fact, here’s a little picture of me out on a stroll in the Lamdsdeath/Bittersea area of Olde London Town


Care to join me?

Do you have any enemies here? Not really, I keep myself to myself and use others as and when I see fit. The only problem I seem to get is from the damned Reaper who seems intent on making my unlife as uncomfortable as possible.

What is the WORST thing about being here? The fact that I’m just one of the crowd.

Back topside, people reviled me for what I did and the suffering I caused. And although I racked up a goodly number of murders – most of which they never managed to pin on me – my hard work and tenacity didn’t mean a thing once I got here. There are so many denizens of Hell who committed far worse crimes than I did. Genocide and mass murder. I mean, how am I going to compete with that? It’s not like I can get my sorry ass back into the land of the living so I can go on a fresh killing spree is it?

Don’t get me wrong, I’d bite my arms off for the chance. But that blasted Reaper seems to haunt my every step. One day…one day…

What are your best tips for surviving in Hell? Be yourself.

Be true to who you are and live up to it. Submerge yourself in the filth and the decadence and brutality and shout for more. I’m a narcissistic sycophant, and proud of it. Just the ticket for the rabble that infests every nook and cranny of this place.

Before you arrived here did you actually believe in HSM and his fiery domain? Bet that was a shock! I never really gave it a second thought. I was far too preoccupied with my own desires to think that far ahead. But after they killed me…well, what a delight!
Could you imagine having to be good all the time? Float around on a cloud all day – or whatever it is they do up there – and endure paradise. No murder. No fornication. No simply being yourself. Perish the thought. I’m glad I travelled the right way.

What do you miss most about your old….life? The fact that nobody can truly die here. It takes all the fun out of things.

Don’t get me wrong, I still ply my trade wherever and whenever I can. But sometimes, I think…what’s the point? All that planning and preparation. And for what? Yes, they may expire before me in agony, but I miss that look in people’s eyes as they breathe their last, knowing I’ve consigned them to the grave.

Here, all it means is that the nastier individuals will probably come back seeking revenge after their visit to the Undertaker. That’s why I like working from the shadows so much. If they don’t know who you are, they can’t very well come back to even the score can they.
And so long as I don’t wake up with my throat cut or my heart in a jar, that’s all that matters.

My dear, I do apologise, but I must be off in a few minutes. I have an appointment with a rather inventive friend of mine who says he can help me with my long-term plans.

But before I go, I don’t suppose I could interest you in this little health tonic I threw together? It looks good, it tastes good, and by golly it’ll set you up just right for the future. Honestly, you’ll never get sick again J

cream_002[1] (2)

Author Spotlight

Name and bio. My name Andrew P. Weston and I’m a Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with my wife, Annette, and our growing family of rescue cats.

An astronomy and law graduate, I’m the creator of The IX and a number of other science fiction and fantasy based series, and I also have the privilege of being a member of the British Science Fiction Association, and British Fantasy Society.

When not writing, I devote some of my spare time to assisting NASA with one of their remote research projects, and I write educational articles for and Amazing Stories.

Tell us about your story for this edition.

Entitled Grim, it’s an introductory tale regarding a character I’m hoping readers will come to know well, Satan’s chief bounty hunter, Daemon Grim. In this story, we find him hunting a fugitive from injustice, Dr Thomas Neill Cream, a very foolish individual who incurred His Infernal Majesty’s wrath.

In life, Cream was known as the Lambeth Poisoner, a narcissistic sycophant who delighted in watching the suffering of others as they slowly died at his hands. Such was the depth of his depravity that once arrested, he showed no remorse, and revelled more under the assumption that he might be Jack the Ripper than in atoning for his crimes. After his arrival in Hell, he quickly became dissatisfied, and was always on the lookout for ways to increase his bad boy reputation. And that, leads him into a lot of trouble.

How did you become involved with this project? By invitation.
Several reviews I’d completed on other books caught Janet Morris’s eye. Through them, she was drawn to my work. After she’d checked-out a few stories, I was extended the privilege of contributing.

Writing for a shared world is challenging, how do you meet that challenge? By doing my homework.
If you’re going to collaborate in such a huge, well established universe like Heroes in Hell, you have to find out what the rules are and what makes it tick. How flexible can you be? What are your boundaries? Are there any taboos, if so, what? And what degree of interaction with other contributors might be allowed? You see? There are a lot of factors to consider. Once you’ve done that, you have to determine exactly how you’re going to contribute and how it will add to or enhance the overall flavour of the universe. Hard work – but fun in the end J
What are you currently working on? At the moment I’m beginning to lay the foundations for the second Hell novel involving Grim.
The first one – Hell Bound – is due out toward the end of this year. This new story continues his quest of hunting down Satan’s enemies and dispensing instant injustice.

(Please check out the blog tour for Hell Bound and see the link below.)

I’m thoroughly enjoying developing this character as I’ve managed to incorporate his adventures into the Heroes in Hell universe in such a way that each anthology will leapfrog and enhance what takes place in the novels.

In that way, I’ll be able to maintain the exact feel and flavour of what Heroes in Hell is all about.

If you could pick any quote about Hell which would be your favourite? “…He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you…”
Friedrich Nietzsche

Which 10 books would you save to keep you sane after the apocalypse? (Only 10 allowed). Lord of the Rings trilogy – J. R. R. Tolkien
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever – Stephen Donaldson
Magician – Raymond E. Feist
A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawkin
The complete works of Shakespeare
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
I the Sun – Janet Morris
The Wilt compendium – Tom Sharpe (I cried with laughter the first time I read them)
The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
The IX – (Andrew P. Weston – how could I not include my first true epic?)

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews? Me? I must admit, I like to add a personal touch. I like to thank anyone who takes the time to puts a thoughtful, honest review out for others to read. However, I never – NOT EVER – respond to trolls. When you get that kind of bile, it’s always best to let your audience answer for you.

In these days of movies and video games are books really influential? Hell yes!

I’m and avid reader and I love films. For example, look how well the LOTR films have done. But as skilled as Peter Jackson is, the films aren’t a patch on the books where the reader can let their imagination loose amongst a rich and vivid landscape. You can go places in your mind that a film never can. Or The Hunger Games trilogy, for example. The films are very popular, but they come nowhere near to capturing the mood and depth of feeling the people of Panem face as they struggle to find the fortitude to break the grip of a tyrannical government. If you’ve read the books, you experience that sense of loss, because celluloid entertainment will never encapsulate such depth and breadth in the limited 2 hours they have to convey an entire story.
And it’s not just popular ‘current fantasies’ like LOTR or Game of Thrones where this rings true. You get it in the older classics like Wuthering Heights, the Thirty-Nine Steps, and Of Mice and men to name several masterpieces.
Thank goodness for books. Whatever technology we develop, they’ll never go out of fashion.

Although not entirely in context, I’m reminded of a superb quote by Stephen Fry…

“Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.”

And I think that rings true regarding films as well.
One day, when I’ve made it big, I’ll have a room like THIS in my house

homelibrary (2)

And you’re all invited.

See you there. J

Andrew Weston’s Author Pages and Links:



The IX


Doctors in Hell

Rage of Augustus

Fairy Tale

For more please check out Andrew’s Amazon Author page.

Welcome back into Hell – Hell Week 2015 – Jack William Finley

The Jack O’Lanterns are carved, and the marshmallows are toasting over the hellfires. Pull up a pitchfork and join me once more in the devilish domain of His Satanic Majestic.

Characters and authors aplenty for your infernal entertainment.

Welcome to Jack William Finley, one of the authors from the Heroes In Hell shared universe series.

Where are you from and where do you live now? From Logansport Indiana and now live in Indianapolis.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. My writing has been compared to old Twilight Zone stories, that’s probably a pretty fair comparison.

Where do you find inspiration? I think one of the most important parts of becoming a decent writer is knowing that ideas and inspiration are everywhere. If you can write and write, not even well, just competently, there is nothing you can’t use.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? Nope. Sounds like it would be fun to do at some point.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? Yeah, probably. I’m pretty opinionated and I can’t imagine that doesn’t bleed into the writing. No, I don’t think it’s all that important.

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…) OK, here’s the argument-You’ve gotta have interesting character because no one will care if you don’t. People will watch/read really interesting characters no matter what they are doing or where if you don’t think so, watch 5 minutes of something popular on TV. But, flash over substance works too, just watch a summer blockbuster or in too many cases read one. As often as not these things fall apart under close examination, but if they have enough spectacle they’ll entertain people for the length of a book or movie. Technical perfection doesn’t mean a thing if you have nothing to say. If you think you must have technical perfection you’ve never read Cormac McCarthy and I hear he’s done pretty well for himself. I think this is a terribly dangerous road for writers to get on. If you let yourself believe any part of the writing is more important that another you focus too much on that part. Good writing should be a cohesive whole. I think if anyone can point at some part of your story that stands out as being better than the rest you’ve made a terrible mistake and need to fix the stuff they didn’t like or tone down the thing they did like because the story is out of balance and a story can never be as good as it can and should be if it’s out of balance.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? Exclusively self edit? Hell no. I think one of the worst things you can do is assume that you can catch all the things that are wrong with a story without anyone else’s eyes ever being on it. I think one of the most catastrophically bad things about the ease of self publishing is that some of these new writers think they can do it all and it’s a train wreck way more often than it isn’t. You have to self edit some what, that part of the job of writing but to rely on just that is asking for trouble.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? I think publishing is in a transition state and because of that people are putting way to much time into thinking about the wrong stuff. What makes a good story hasn’t really changed since cave men telling stories around campfires-and someone somewhere is annoyed I said cave men and not cave people-we’ve putting way too much stock in where the writing comes from and what format it’s in. The only thing that should matter is whether or not it’s good story telling. Yeah, I do think they are seen differently. Some people champion self publishing because of a David vs. Goliath attitude and some people think if it wasn’t good enough to be picked up by a REAL publisher it probably sucks and I think it’s all very unfortunate because it’s distracting people from what’s important and that’s-is the story any good and is it well told. Everything else to me is just an annoying distraction.

Well, I don’t rule out self published stuff. I think the only thing that matters is if it’s good, no matter what the source is and even if it isn’t good, sometimes you can learn a lot about what not to do reading stuff and isn’t good.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? Engaging with reviewers is, to me a waste of time, but I know people who do it very well and get a lot of attention doing it. I suspect they are preaching to the choir and very possible not getting good value for the investment of time, but that’s just me. I’m a writer. I think anything that isn’t making the next story better is an annoying waste of time. I’m told by smart people reviews are important. I try really hard to give a rat’s…it’s a work in progress

When buying a book do you read the reviews? No, not really. I have a lot of smart friends with good taste and I tend more toward recommendations from people I know rather than the random opinions of people I don’t.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? You don’t read enough, read more. You don’t write enough, write more. Find people you trust to tell you when your stuff is good, because you probably won’t know.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author? I really suck at the whole favourites think so, no, not really.

Do you have a favourite movie? There’s a list. It’s longer than this questionnaire/Interview and it generally changes before I can get from the first on on it to the last one on it.

Can you name your worst job? Do you think you learned anything from the position that you now use in your writing?  I did, I think, half a day as a telemarketer once. It was many years ago and I’m not entirely sure I’ve scrubbed myself clean from it. Did I learn anything useful? Maybe. Just about everything you ever do is useful in some way or another at some point or another, but I couldn’t pick it apart and tell you when or how and I’m not sure it would be useful if I did. That’s just the sort of thing you learn by doing. You write enough and at some point you think-how I remember when that thing happened to me and yeah, that would work really well with what I’m doing with this story write now, but it’s something that just happens. I don’t think it’s the sort of thing you can plan.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? Probably not. I suspect I suck at silly even more than I suck at favourites.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

Jack’s author page:


Rogues in Hell

Dreamers in Hell

Poets in Hell

Doctors in Hell

Heroika: Dragon Eaters

Terror by Gaslight

Review – Poets In Hell – Fantasy

Review of Poets in Hell (c) Janet and Chris Morris 2014.

Where could one find Shakespeare, Marlowe, Homer, Diomedes, Frank Nitti, Victor Frankenstein, Emily Dickinson, Mary Shelley and Merlin in one place? The answer is Janet and Chris Morris’s shared world of Hell. Aspiring authors, renowned poets and playwrites vie for attention, fame and recognition, with the odd exception most fail in many diabolic ways.

The stories range from the deeply moving, to the heroic, to the downright amusing as the denizens double and triple cross one another, form uneasy alliances, and try and outwit Satan, not to mention try to win the poetry slam….

Although written by a variety of authors the stories flow well, and the characters complement each other. Dark and delicious, devious and deadly with devilry aplenty in the darkest realm – is a perfect summing up of this instalment of Heroes in Hell. Most certainly fantasy at its darkest and wittiest!

To meet some of the characters please see the Hell Week Character Interviews.

Character Interview – Victor Frankenstein (Heroes in Hell)

As a special treat this All Hallows Eve I have been invited back to Hell as a guest interviewer.  My next guest is one of the better known denizens of Hell, and perhaps one who deserves much sympathy. 

Welcome to the Hell Interview Channel, brought to you infernally hour after hour.


Name (s): Herr Victor Frankenstein, MD.

Age (before death and after you ended up in HSM’s domain): I cannot remember. Perhaps in my 30s.

Please tell us a little about yourself.  I am a doctor, a damned fine doctor, if I may say so myself, even though I did not practice medicine in the manner of most doctors.

Who were you in life?  I was a brilliant physician and chemist, dedicated to research, and tortured by an obsession to conquer death – to bring life to the dead. That obsession will haunt me forever: it has followed me to Hell and will never release me, never let me know peace or whatever may pass for peace in Hell.

How do you think you ended up in Hell? What sins have you committed? Not to sound flippant or sarcastic, but if you read Shelley’s novel you will know that I perished on the ice with Adam, my creation, the thing that damned me for eternity. I committed many of the 613 or so sins, my friend. But let us just say that my one great sin was of pride: I dared to play God.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. You’re kidding, right? In ten words or less?  I cannot.

My appearance? Now?  Well, Merlin, that Caliban of mischief and wickedness, built a very special, magical hideout for Adam and me. But as payment, he wanted to see what would happen if he switched brains. So we allowed him to do so; we had no choice. My brain now resides in the skull of the so-called monster I built with my own two hands, built from the bodies of cadavers, and brought to life. Bolts, clamps, scars, nearly-translucent skin, and poor eyesight; I needs must wear spectacles.  The doctor who created a monster, the doctor who was more monstrous than his creation is now, ironically, the creature and to which he gave life – defying God and Nature.

Where do you live in Hell? Tell us about your residence and area. I now live in Goblin Manor, on the Golem Heights, in New Hell.  I worked for Doctor. Faustus for a while, earned and saved my diablos, and designed and built the Manor in a grand style, my new Castle of Frankenstein, where I now reside with my hunchback assistant, Quasimodo, who once rang the bells at Notre Dame Cathedral.

Do you have a moral code? If so what is it? Is your moral code the same as it was in life? Ha! You ask me that? Me? Who has robbed graves, who blasphemed, who committed sacrilege and was declared anathema by every church and denomination in Europe – a thing most people still living do not know.  I gave life to the dead; I was the instrument of mayhem and murder. If I have a moral code it is this: I will sacrifice everything, go to any lengths to help those I love and to do whatever I can to undo the damage, the crimes and the sins I was responsible for in life. Here, in Hell, where there is no escape, where there is no hope, no relief, no peace . . . here in Hell I have dedicated my afterlife in the pursuit to helping the Damned find whatever peace can be found in this grim infernity of madness and despair.

Would you kill for those you love? After all sending someone to the Undertaker is not very nice! I have killed and will kill for those I love. I took that essence-of-soul sucking vampire, Lemuel Gulliver, with me into the lava pool, when he tried to destroy Mary Shelley, the chronicler of my infamous and ill-fated deeds.  And there I “died,” and then woke again on the Undertaker’s table, at his merciless hands and the incompetent claws of Gorgonous, his assistant.  Those two . . . what butchers, what quacks, what sadists! I could certainly teach them a thing or two! But I digress. Whatever became of Gulliver, I have no idea.  Remember: death in Hell is not as you know it in life. In Hell, we are all dead. There is no death in Hell, only reassignment, which is in a way a twisted, sick and perverted form of reincarnation.

Would you die for those you love? Die, being a relative term….As stated above, my lovely lady . . . I have, and would gladly do so again. I may be damned and in Hell, but I am not totally without heart, without feelings. I am not so insane and evil as one might imagine, not in the manner in which so many of the movies made of Mary’s novelized version of my life and work have portrayed me. Oh, yes – I have seen those films. We can view them, in Hell.

Do you have any phobias? Are you plagued by anything particular in Hell? I am plagued by Erra and his Seven Sibitti henchmen, and the plagues he brings down upon us by the wrath and will of the Almighty. I am plagued by flies, the buzzing and nagging of those unhealthy little bastards. And I obsessed with finding a cure for those plagues, and most of all, obsessed with finding the Get Out of Hell Free card.

What do you think Satan’s most creative punishment is here? I am not sure what punishments are to be credited to Satan or to the Almighty. It is God who punishes. Satan, in my humble opinion, toys with us, makes fools of us, and I believe he wants to prove to God that the Damned are unworthy of damnation or salvation. He wants us out of Hell; His Satanic Majesty wants Hell for only him and his. He would love to see Heaven send down its angels to cast each and every one of us damned souls into the nothingness of Oblivion.  He is a trickster, that Satan, master of many guises and duplicities. But he is not the personification of evil that history has made of him. No – men are far more evil. He may influence, he may bribe, he may make false promise, but in the end, Mankind has a choice, and more often than not, Mankind chooses evil over good. Ah, but then, there are 613 sins, and breaking just one of them can land you in Hell. Perhaps God and Satan are one and the same. Sort of like celestial and infernal versions of Jekyll and Hyde.

Who are your friends here? Adam Frankenstein, of course, my creation and my son in all but flesh and blood. Then there are Galatea, the love of his afterlife, and Johnny Fortune, one-time Chicago gangster who now works for Frank Nitti; dear Johnny, the only lost and damned soul I ever met in Hell who actually likes it here and would not trade it for Heaven.  Of course there is my dear Mary Shelley, who so beautifully told my story, with few embellishments. And now, Quasimodo, who serves as both butler and lab assistant, although he drives me crazy with his constant display of acrobatics and quoting passages from Victor Hugo’s novel.

Who are your enemies? Hopelessness, despair, treachery, dishonesty, and disloyalty.

If I recall relationships are… difficult, is this the side of humanity you miss the most? I am a man of science. Yes, once I was married. But while I loved my dear wife, Elizabeth, I loved my work even more. Sex was never important to me. Thus, in my afterlife, I have been able to concentrate on my work, and I have even forgiven Adam for murdering her. Yes, in Hell I have found the capacity for mercy and forgiveness.  Ironic, isn’t it?

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. Most people do not realize that I based my work on that of Johann Konrad Dippel, who was a German physician and vivisectionist, who was actually born in Castle Frankenstein, near Darmstadt, in 1673; he died in 1734, and I have no idea where in Hell he might be.  As for me, I was born in Naples and raised in Geneva. My family often referred to their home as Castle or House of Frankenstein.  There are many castles with that name in parts of Europe, and many Frankensteins.  For all I know, Dippel might have been, might be a distant ancestor.

If you ever get to Hell, and I pray that you do not, look me up.  I am working on many things, and one of them is a way to keep the Damned from ending up on Slab A in the Mortuary, at the mercilessness of the Undertaker. I doubt I will ever succeed, but one must never give up, never lose hope, especially in Hell.


Author notes:

Book(s) in which this character appears plus links:

POETS IN HELL, copyright (c) 2014, Janet Morris, in the story We The Furious. (Joe Bonadonna)


Author name: Joe Bonadonna

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.


Character Interview Number Thirty Daemon Grim

In the run up to Halloween I’d like to return to Hell and meet some more of its denizens.


Welcome to the Hell Interview Channel, brought to you infernally hour after hour.
Name: My name is Daemon Grim
Age (before death and after you ended up in HSM’s domain): I have no idea. I only know I look about thirty-five years old.
Please tell us a little about yourself. I’m the Reaper. And yes, before you ask, I’m that Reaper, Satan’s bounty hunter. As the title implies, I hunt down and silence anyone who is – or is likely to become – a threat to public security, or an embarrassment to His infernal or demonestic policies.

Who were you in life? Please see below answer.

How do you think you ended up in Hell? What sins have you committed? Who I was before I came to Hell, or what I did, I haven’t got a clue. There’s a hole in my mind that prevents the retention of any memories from the time before. My first recollections are of waking up before a roaring log fire, in the presence of His Satanic Majesty himself, and being welcomed home like a long lost son. It was He who invited me into his inner circle, and appointed me to what was to become my true vocation. I haven’t looked back since.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. Your worst nightmare, squeezed into a kick-ass, gothic ensemble.

Where do you live in Hell? Tell us about your residence and area. My suite is situated at the top of Black Tower, in what humans would call, the Tower of London, smack-bang in the middle of Olde London Town itself. For those who don’t know, that’s in the Juxtapose level of Hell. I’ve lived there since I can remember. My Hell Hounds, (fellow bounty hunters) and the Inquisitors, (Satan’s Special Interrogators), have their own apartments there as well, so we can be close to our base of operations.

The entire complex and grounds is known throughout the many layers of the Underworld as the Den of Iniquity, but my team and I just refer to it as The Den.

Juxtapose is a great place to live, as its environs constantly blend into other epochs and levels of Hell. You can be walking along a busy, traffic-clogged street one minute, and find yourself having to jump out of the way of a horse-drawn carriage as it clatters along cobbled roads the next. It’s confusing when you first arrive, but once you get used to it, well…I wouldn’t want to stay anywhere else.

Do you have a moral code? If so what is it? Is your moral code the same as it was in life? Yes, I have a moral code, I never lie. That might sound weird, coming from a denizen of Hell, but I’m keenly aware of how my role reflects on Satan’s integrity. So, I always ensure to act in a way that can never be criticized. And when it comes down to it, I’ve found displaying such a trait really strikes fear into the hearts of my prey. Once I’ve been set on you, there’s no escape. I can’t be bribed, fooled, or conned. I don’t feel sorrow or remorse. If you appear on my list, you’re dead. You might as well turn yourself in at the Undertakers and save yourself a lot of bother. Annoy me and make me work for it – and I’ll let my Inquisitors cut you up and feed the choicest parts back, bit by juicy bit, before they let you pass on.

Would you kill for those you love? After all sending someone to the Undertaker is not very nice! I do kill for the one I love! Satan is like the father I never had. I will execute anyone and everyone who crosses him. And sending scum back to the Undertakers is my soul – excuse the pun – purpose in this afterlife. Never forget that. It might save you a whole mountain of grief in the future.

Would you die for those you love? Die, being a relative term…. I’m already dead and impossibly hard to kill. And as I intimated in the last question, I would do absolutely anything for my Dark Father. Your readers need to understand, I’m one hundred percent loyal, and the quickest  way to incur my wrath is to try and corrupt me. Don’t ever make that mistake, as my team and I are incredibly inventive when it comes to ways of making you suffer. So inventive, we’ve even made the Undertaker hurl.

Do you have any phobias? Are you plagued by anything particular in Hell? Other than the dread of not being able to track down and capture a fugitive from injustice, I don’t have any phobias. But I must admit, when I’ve been away from the Bâlefire for too long, I get plagued by the strangest dreams of falling stars, burning skies, and gaping pits of dense darkness from which nothing can escape. If only I could understand what they all mean, I think I’d be that bit closer to understanding my origins.

What do you think Satan’s most creative punishment is here? Ha! Without a doubt, the twisted idea of giving the masses what they crave, so long as it’s perverted in some way. For example, there’s nothing quite like witnessing the suffering of some poor fool who happens to be the world’s most accomplished pianist, only to watch him literally crash and burn before an audience. And there’s so many ways to torment them! I’ve watched several souls begin to play, only to forget how to read music midway through their recital. In other cases, their fingers might break during the chorus, or they’ll be driven mad by the notes they hear. I’ve even heard of one idiot who was determined to create a new opus magnum, despite the fact Satan had blighted their hearing, and cursed them with a form of tonal dyslexia. It was hilarious listening to the beginning of an absolute masterpiece, only to watch the performance disintegrate into utter farce by the close of the first movement, because what they’d written ended up sounding like total gibberish.


You can probably appreciate why I love it here so much.

Who are your friends here? Because of the sheer volume of souls I’m sent to reap, I keep my circle of friends small, and limit them to just the Hell Hounds and the Inquisitors.

For those who don’t know them, the Hell Hounds are as follows:

Nimrod, King of Shinar, and my lead Hound. A mighty hunter in opposition to God. Then there’s Yamato Takeru, otherwise known as Prince Ōsu. Yamato is a legendary ninja killer from first century Japan, who brutally murdered everyone who ever stood in his way. My final hunter is a guy called Champ Ferguson, a notorious Confederate guerilla fighter from the American Civil War.

Then we come to the Inquisitors.

First of all, I have to mention the person who keeps me sane. Strawberry Fields, aka Red Riding Hood. She’s a siren of death who will happily eat your liver as she showers you with kisses.

Then there’s Leonard Skeffington, a previous Lieutenant of the Tower of London itself. We affectionately refer to him by the pseudonym, Crusher, as he invented several remarkable torture devices in life that we still use today.

Baron Ferenc Nádasdy, a sixteenth century Hungarian nobleman, and his wife, Elizabeth Báthory come next. While relationships are usually frowned upon in the Underworld, His Satanic Majesty has made an exception for these two.

Ferenc goes by the codename, Red Baron, a tongue-in-cheek reference to the foes he has vanquished in battle. For a denizen of Hell, he’s an honorable man, who prefers to give prisoners a chance to spill the beans before he spills their guts. History refers to his wife as, ‘the Blood Countess’, but we know her as, Nutcracker Sweet, because of her fetish for crushing certain parts of male prisoners anatomy.

Finally, there’s Myra Belle Star, aka, Black Velvet. An infamous outlaw from the end of the nineteenth century, Myra is a crack shot, who has adapted to the position of Inquisitor rather well.

Who are your enemies? Everyone who has ever been condemned to Hell, for I’ve reaped their souls a thousand times, and will continue to do so until creation falls. Then there’s the Sibitti of course. I have a special ‘hate – hate’ relationship with them.

***Kisses guys – I’m keeping my scythe extra sharp – see you soon***

If I recall relationships are… difficult, is this the side of humanity you miss the most? As I mentioned, I don’t recall anything about my previous life. However, I am one of the few denizens who is allowed the freedom of expressing my desires in any way I wish. Of course, my Dark Father has seen fit to capitalize on this golden opportunity in a typically sadistic way. Remember, anyone I touch – skin to skin – dies instantly. A bit of a bummer during those intimate moments, unless that person also happens to have special dispensation, of course.

Ah, you’ve gotta love His sense of humor!

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. Despite the fact I’m out and out evil, I have to recharge my essence on a regular basis in one of the most powerful satanic power sources in existence, the Bâlefire. Without its arcane puissance, I would lose my augmented strength and become like anyone else. Weak and pathetic.

Apart from that? I’m really light on my feet, and just so happen to be a pretty good dancer. I’d be fantastic, if I could just get a partner who managed to stay alive long enough.
Book(s) in which this character appears plus links


The forthcoming “Doctors in Hell” anthology.


Stay tuned…you’ll be seeing much more of Daemon Grim in the future…


Author name


Andrew P. Weston
Website/Blog/Author pages etc.


Author Facebook:
Amazon Author Page:

A Day in Hell with William Shakespeare

Hell week was such a lot of fun I decided to linger. Here’s an interview with William Shakespeare, the greatest playwrite of them all.

Welcome to the Hell Interview Channel, brought to you infernally hour after hour.

Name (s): William Shakespeare; Bard of Avon.

Age (before death and after you ended up in HSM’s domain): Born in April, 1564, I died at age 52 on April 23, 1616, at Stratford-upon-Avon, and woke here, where I languish, ‘not of an age,’ as Ben Johnson said of my work, ‘but for all time’.

Please tell us a little about yourself. I’m a poet, a playwright, sometimes an actor, oft a lover; less oft a villain; always a fool for love and a dupe for words.

Who were you in life? I became an actor in 1585, married Anne Hathaway when I was eighteen; two days after I died I was buried in the chancel of the Holy Trinity Church, so ’tis said. I don’t know the truth of this; I’d left earthly life behind before then: the body is not the man; in the soul is where the quintessence of a man doth reside, not in his dust. I learned that the hard way.

How do you think you ended up in Hell? How did I end in hell? The infernal bailiff came and battered down my soul’s flimsy doors, brought me here. For my crimes, my excesses, my lies and conceits; for my pride, for strutting and fretting my hour upon that stage – for all those quirks which make a man be me and not thee. For ’twere I thee, I’d not be damned, nor be in Hell. But I am damned, and in Hell. Since Satan loves the devilish man, all those geniuses like me are here. My sins of overweening creativity and guile lay without number on the path that brought me to perdition, where feuds never end and hatreds grow like weeds upon eternity’s boggy riverbank. Pray, why think you that I’m in hell? For Kit Marlowe’s sake? For my earthly debts of connivance and inaction? For leaving Anne Hathaway my “second best bed”? That bed lay cold too much; until Marley died, and too long after. ‘Cold comfort,’ Kit would say of that. How, you want to know? Why, is the more burning question, speeding on a sword’s point toward my pigeon-breasted soul. For loving Christopher Marlowe better than any woman? Could be, since Satan so tries to turn my pretty head until I’m daft as a loon at midday. For purchasing the gatehouse of the Blackfriars priory? For becoming a rich man when riches so corrupt? For constructing the Globe Theatre, home to every sort of player and much jollity and debauch? Or for playing Hamlet’s father every time we staged it? Being a ghost did suit me in life, and so now it suits me well in afterlife: what ye sow, ye reap in measures fit to your crimes. Here in Hell I have infernity to answer for my evildoing. Or not.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. Receding forehead, spade-nosed, chin mostly beard, earring’d and round-shouldered.

Where do you live in Hell? Tell us about your residence and area. Live in Hell, you say? None lives in hell. Rather we do languish. Kit Marlowe and I have a dozen beds now – I’d have left him my best one, but he preceded me here and set up our house and all the horrors in it. Since Satan, fair-fledged fiend of my acquaintance, became the patron of my art, we divide our time between New Hell’s Old Rogue Theatre and the Pandemonium Theatre, where the Great Deceiver doth keep a box. Now there’s a talent in that devil to put a plot together so you squirm, and weep, and beg for mercy, be you in the audience or among the doomed players. I die nightly in one of Satan’s plays, and wrote the part myself, and fell into the trap he set for me, of writing it as he’d like it…  So, wherever Kit is, I make a home; wherever that is, Satan is, and he invades it and inveigles what he will from us lowly playwrights.

Do you have a moral code? If so what is it? Is your moral code the same as it was in life? A moral code? Make ’em laugh, make ’em cry, tell ’em truth and by the by commit this literature or that tragedy, while the comedy of afterlife underscores it all. Hold your loved ones to your breast:  only love outlasts eternity.

Would you kill for those you love? After all, sending someone to the Undertaker is not very nice! I’m a lover, a plotter, a deviser. Kit’s the fighter. I can wield a stage sword; push a poisoned cup into an actor’s hand – but to kill? For real? I’d thought to be the villain in our play, Hell Bent, but when I stab the breast I love the best and watch Marley die again, I am unmanned. Of all things, I fear that dagger which reappears whenever death comes to take Kit from me. In the manifold hells of creation, we two could lose each other, wander solitary for eons. Death, be not so cruel as to leave us, alone upon your farthest shore. Would I kill, you ask, to preserve a loved one, protect a smile? Of course. Why else would a man take up arms but against outrageous fortune?

Would you die for those you love? Die, being a relative term….I have died for those I love… how many times? I’ve lost count. I die for Kit Marlowe, at his hands, six nights a week and twice on Sadderdays whenever Hell Bent plays at a theatre near you. Dying for any reason but love is the oldest sin, and sinners deserve to be here. And are: I see an audience full o’ them, nightly.

Do you have any phobias? Are you plagued by anything particular in Hell? My phobias in Hell are a poor poet’s tragedy: Satan toys with my foolish heart, but how to resist? One look at this Fallen Angel once God’s greatest creation, and all sense leaves a mortal, whilst infatuation nearly drowns me:  a smell like sunshine in a meadow; a voice like water coursing; a touch like every good thing ever felt: how to resist winged temptation, smiling, beckoning? Meanwhile, Kit will stand before me, take a spear in the chest to protect me, risk ending on the Undertaker’s Table to save me from it, again and again. If I’m plagued in Hell, it’s by adoration’s bite.

What do you think Satan’s most creative punishment is here? Me. I write the plays of hell with truth to make these idiot sons of human bellies quake and quaver; I show them their wastrel selves, frittering bit by bit, their own souls away. ’Tis as I’ve always writ, but here … the results are not poetry, but prose. Deaf ears can’t keep out honest words, as Hamlet’s father couldn’t keep poison from seeping from ear to brain, death in every drop.

Who are your friends here?

Discounting lovers? None. The two, too often, are the same.

You propose to count my lovers, do you? Those who use me to their ends? Take you down more paper, for this list will reach to Tartaros and back. There’s Kit, and Burbage, Bacon, DeVere, and … so forth. As I said at least once before, our indiscretions serve us well. I’ve had collaborators in this bed or that, but none to rival Kit, who writes as well as I, or better.

What friends have I? My friends are those who bring a Muse with them when they come. All others are cocks on the walk or hens a-brooding.

Who are your enemies? Now there’s a list to wrap the world in colored paper. All too blunt of wit to read me; all compared as dim lights against me; those who try to be me — and those to whom I owed a toss in the hay or a roll in the mud, or even a farthing or two left unpaid. Not only demons do hate me, but they hate what I’ve written, what effect it’s had. Satan’s daughter called my work ‘humanizing drivel.’ So enemies abound: as on earth, so in hell, the same.

If I recall relationships are… difficult; is this the side of humanity you miss the most? Where fools be, relationships abound. Dupes under a man’s control are those he doth miss: to send one here, to call one there, and be sure the bidden do exactly as you meant – even when it’s the opposite of what you’ve said. All the hells are full of dreamers and schemers and all their tiny hearts are full of plots and schemes and stories. If you’re talking about relationships among the souls who ended here, that is. If you’re alluding to my affair with His Satanic Majesty, leave off.

I commit my heart to none, and this doth save me. Shriveled and whimpering, I keep it in a box, stage right, where it thumps and thuds and beats. And there I bid it stay, until none seek to pierce or rip my soul asunder using it as their prop, as I once used poor Yorick’s skull.

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. An interesting fact?  Here’s a fact: no man can enclose his universe if he cannot come to terms with himself.


Author notes:

Author name: Janet Morris and Chris Morris

Book(s) in which this character appears plus links

Lawyers in Hell

Rogues in Hell

Dreamers in Hell

Poets in Hell

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.

Front Page

A Week in Hell – Day Seven – Yelle Hughes/Dionysius

So my week in hell is almost over. It has been an enlightening experience.

Today I welcome Yelle Hughes.

Synopsis for Red Tails

The war on Heaven’s gates ended in defeat. The souls returned to their
normal existence, if you can call torture and agony normal.  Erra and is
band of Seven decided there wasn’t enough pain. So, opens the poetry hall,
Red Tail’s Corner, overseen by the bored and calculating god of wine and
madness, Dionysus. Where a shot of Hellfire Triple Six won’t inebriate
you…it will burn you.


Author Bio: Yelle Hughes, mum of three and now a proud grandparent, is an avid reader as well as author. She enjoys canoeing, studying the Greek myths, watching action and western movies, and is an unpaid movie critic. Her work is written from the heart and from the people who have passed through her life, just as the seasons pass each year.

How did you end up writing for Heroes in Hell? I had just started out on Facebook, meeting authors and trying to learn more about self-publishing. I posted some information about my Greek characters in a Like for Life campaign when a Tempus Thales wrote a message. I don’t remember the exact words but he said, I like what you’re doing and I want you to write for me.

It’s funny, I had never heard of Tempus Thales, until I joined Heroes in Hell and found out to my surprise, Tempus was good friends with Janet Morris, and I had heard of her as an author. I was in awe!

She gave me a slew of information on the Hell universe, characters, location…I was a bit overwhelmed and I told her so. Janet didn’t coddle me or give me pretty words, she gave it to me straight. “How do you know if you can’t do it, if you don’t even try. It’s all up to you, let me know when you’re ready.

I was determined because I felt I would let her down if I didn’t, so I did it. I wrote my first Hell story “Essence Helliance” and have been a Hellion ever since and proud of it.
How do you deal with writing in a shared universe? Janet runs a pretty orderly ship and along with the help of our Muse of Hell, Sarah Gray Hulcy, I incorporated myself in nicely. When a Hellion writes a story, they have to make sure their character isn’t being used by another. Our Muse keeps a list of all the authors and what characters they use. A topic and synopsis is given to us Hellions and we write our stories around it. It’s very simple. The hard part is writing something interesting, compelling, possibly gory and scary, but also entertaining.
Why did you choose the characters you are using?

If you check out my self-published works and my website, you will find I’m all about Greek Mythology. I write in almost every genre, except western, but you know what? Now that I think about it, that would be a really cool thing to do. Just think, Zeus whipping around on a golden stallion with his six-shooter and rescuing the damsel off the train tracks. (lol I try to be funny sometimes, don’t mind me)

Back to the question, I find it a challenge (I love a good challenge) to place my Greek characters in hell. I try to keep their personalities within either their real life scenario or their mythical one.

Welcome to the Hell Interview Channel, brought to you infernally hour after hour.

Name(s): Dionysius, Baccus, Drunkard, Lover of all the ladies and Eleutherios (“the liberator”).

Age (before death and after you ended up in HSM’s domain):I am ageless. I was born, that’s all that matters
Please tell us a little about yourself. As you know, I love to party and I love for my followers to party with me. As of late, Olympus has been quite boring. My dear, Lucifer, has been so gracious to let me come to his several hells to play

Who were you in life? I am the god of wine and harvest

How do you think you ended up in Hell? As I said, the immortal world had become tedious and I needed something to preoccupy myself.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. I can look like anything. Satyrs, a bull, even a centaur. Right now, I’m tall, handsome with dark curly hair. I’m wearing a white t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up and folded towel is laying on my shoulder. I’m sporting dark jeans that are a little, too tight.

Where do you live in Hell? Tell us about your residence and area. Right now, I’m living at my bar, Red Tail’s corner. I have a home on Olympus and second one on Mt. Pramnos on the isle of Ikaria.

Do you have a moral code? If so what is it? Is your moral code the same as it was in life? My moral code, never be bored. I’ll do anything to keep it from happening. Tricking mortals to condemn their souls is very exciting.

Would you kill for those you love? After all sending someone to the Undertaker is not very nice!

The only person that I would kill for, is my mother, Semele. With her being dead already, I’ll annihilate anyone. The Undertaker make’s my day.

Would you die for those you love? Die, being a relative term….Uhm…no. I’m a Greek god and that’s just nutty and unheard of.

Do you have any phobias? Are you plagued by anything particular in Hell? I really dislike, when I’m interrupted when I’m speaking with HSM. Souls have been popping up out of nowhere lately and it gets pretty annoying.

What do you think Satan’s most creative punishment is here? Although I wasn’t there to witness, Sisyphus comes to mind. I thought it was the most creative, cruel and hilarious punishment known to man.

Who are your friends here? Alas, I have no friends. I wouldn’t dare call Lucifer one. The person I am closest to in Hell is my lovely Sphinx. I’d love to call her a friend, however, I have to set her on fire every night.

Who are your enemies? My enemy is that damn Ariadne of Crete. I worked her well and tricked the shy girl to condemn her soul. Yet she’s so darn innocent and looks at you with those puppy dog eyes, you can’t help but feel sorry for her. I hate her for how she makes me feel.

If I recall relationships are… difficult, is this the side of humanity you miss the most? When I’m in hell, I miss the fact that I can’t get drunk. Some rule Satan passed. I love it down here and if I can chug a little hooch, it would be even better.

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. Okay, this will be between you and me…Sphinx and I was dating before I had to fry her to a crisp.

Author notes:

Book(s) in which this character appears plus links:

Dreamer’s in Hell-Essence Helliance

Poet’s in Hell-Red Tail’s Corner


Author name

Yelle Hughes


Website/Blog/Author pages etc.