Hell Week 2017 – Day 7- Chris Morris/Orpheus

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Character Spotlight

About yourself:

*Who are/were you? Tell us about your life before you came here, and after.

A: I am Orpheus, son of the Thracian king Oeagros or perhaps even of Apollo, but most certainly sprung from the belly of the Muse Calliope, forever to hear the strains of her harmonies in all things. The strings of the lyre thrill to my touch as I to them and men and birds and fishes to the tides of all that is.

* Why do YOU think you’re in Hell?

A: I am in hell, as in life, to be taken amiss in perpetuity, to poetize, sing and play upon my instruments in accord with each unfolding moment and sway all souls about me to respond according to their nature and be reviled for doing so, for their differences cast them at odds.

Who are your friends/allies here?

A: Friends? Jason, for one, who steers our ship away from shoals and plies roiling seas. Atalanta is a friend as well and longs to chase my demons from me. Allies to me are forever the octaves of eternity, knowable to myself alone and mystery to all others.

Do you have any enemies here?

A: “Here” is mine enemy and daily do I war with him; I turn his rage to song and he doth rage the more. Shh…I take some small pleasure in that.

How do you define ‘piracy’?

A: All is stolen which has no owner; piracy is an illusion promising possession.

Come on be honest, what do you think of HSM leadership?

A: All things have a head and a tail; guide, yet follow. He must be for the Grand Punishment Continuum to exist; He is not to be envied or feared, though He must be more than those few things: He is a verse, then a chorus, then a coda; like us, He knows not his beginning, no more than I.

What is the WORST thing about being here?

A: The food.

What are your best tips for surviving in Hell?

A: Feel the rhythm; take your next breath fully; stand straight; drop your shoulders; raise your chest; sing to glory!

Before you arrived here did you actually believe in HSM and his fiery domain? Bet that was a shock!

A: I had been to Hades’ to retrieve my sweet Eurydice and returned, almost, so I knew this place before and now again. Have you seen her; sometimes she slips from view?

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

A: Inquisitor, know ye not that there can be no such thing as time?

What do you miss most about your old. . .life?

A: Amplifiers.

Author Spotlight

*Name and bio.

A: Chris Morris

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Morris_(author)

* Tell us about your story for this edition.

A: Evil Angel is a collaboration with my partner in prose, Janet Morris, my personal Beatrice, guide and companion through the literary depths of Hell. It posits a vengeful Medea, about trapping her mythic nemesis, Jason and his celebrity pirate crew in snares fabricated by no less than the Fates themselves—before whom even Satan pauses. Any Hell story fascinates because if written to form, death has no motive force and the storyteller must dig a little deeper to find the hinges of drama and portray rewards of victories which are pyrrhic at best. Does she still yearn for him? Is she exquisitely a victim of her darkest design?

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

A: I wished to look through Orpheus’ eyes, hear though his ears, and for a fleeting moment field his musical magic midst Medea’s stark malignity.

How did you become involved with this project?

A: I was present at the inception.

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

A: Janet Morris and I write stories to “bookend” the collection and impart a sense of proximity to the usually very different themes and perspectives our contributors bring. More than that, our faves, Kit and Will, are writers too and impart a writerly camaraderie that extends beyond their episodes to color the character of the series.

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

A: Who wouldn’t want to find out how it feels to munched by a frosty leviathan?

What are you currently working on?

A: Still struggling to get the backlist up in trade, Kindle, e- and audio versions. We’re about halfway. Over the past year I learned enough InDesign to be a little bit dangerous and I love to get lost in producing stuff that with any luck will outlive us.

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

A: Brideshead Revisited and Tempus Unbound. Waugh is the consummate stylist, able to twist, turn on a dime, fly high above yet touch down instantly in the mind, not just through the speech of his characters. Tempus Unbound is a rarest of rare birds, a late-coming foundational work for Janet’s archetypal sage and his counterpart, Cime.

What are your views on authors offering free books?

A: “Offering” in exchange for…?

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

A: “Now I could drink hot blood and do such bitter business as the day would quake to look upon.” —Hamlet

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?

A: Jesus…bread.

EXCERPT from “Pirates in Hell.

“Evil Angel” (Goat-Beard Part 2)

Janet Morris and Chris Morris

*

Up the steep the crew of the Argo must climb to attend her parley. Any who faltered would freeze solid on the slope, languish ice-bound for a hundred years — time aplenty to think things over.

“Come ye, bloody Argonauts, and meet your fated punishment,” she whispered, as if Jason’s shipmates could hear her.

Come one, come all, and let demons devour the hindmost.

Medea set the scene about her with a Colchian standard flapping on a pole, a rallying point fit for such a parley, a solemn conference to discuss terms for the Argo’s surrender. Beneath her fleecy mantle she invoked a robe of snowflakes; on her head she made a three-spoked crown. That done, with her fingertip she kindled a fire on her peaty peak, then summoned a brace of gray and stinking fiends and gave them orders.

As the crew of the Argo ascended and the fiends descended to devour any laggards, Medea spotted her quarry: Iolcian Jason still looked twenty; hell so far had been easy on this son of Alcimede. But not much longer would it be so . . .

Screams of the hindmost, being torn asunder by fiends, sounded a welcome fanfare in her ears. In response, the landing party’s rear-guard turned back to help their brethren, while those in the forefront quickened their ascent.

Alongside Jason hurried Argos, shipwright of the Argo; behind him, Meleagros and his beloved Atalanta, a sometime lioness and fleet-footed virgin huntress whom Medea once healed.

Despite the rear-guard’s swords and spears and best efforts, ravenous fiends grabbed stragglers in their jaws.

The luckless begged the icy wind for help or speedy death. But fiends always take their time, torturing their prey before tearing it limb from limb and sitting down to feast.

The sailors in the lead scrambled faster.

Of all those come ashore, nearly a third would never crest the ridge. The remainder plowed on grimly, taking no backward looks.

Many of these heroes Medea knew. Hadn’t she sailed with them to the Colchian grove to steal the fleece of the golden ram, the very mantle she now wore? She thought she spied Zeus’ son Herakles and man-slaughtering Peleus, climbing to either side of Theseus, founder of Athens. Her eyes lingered on Orpheus, Thracian poet, prophet, and father of songs. But those voyages, those feats, belonged to another time — to life, not afterlife. She banished any thought of glad reunion.

Were it not for Jason and his crew and this damnable fleece forever wrapping her shoulders, she might have spent her afterlife in Erebos, officiating as a priestess of Hekate, sending sinners to Tartaros and innocents to the Elysian Fields. Jason! Every wrong, every ill, every misery, every blot began with Jason. Jason it was who’d ruined Medea in life . . . and haunted her ever since. Mad with love of him she’d been, that fateful day she killed their children.

Vengeance, love’s antidote, always comes hard. And costly.

Watching the Argonauts climb, she recalled that few had treated her as equal. But then, she wasn’t equal: she was superior. If among this damned crew a few were female, a few unknown, then hell maketh bedfellows undreamt in life. She had punishments aplenty to dole out to those who’d top the ridge, fit for one and all.

Dark and frowning, Jason gained the summit first and paused, breathing hard, followed closely by four souls new to her.

Who are these?

One was slight-bearded, auburn-haired and tender-mouthed, sloe-eyed and lithe in a leather jerkin, breeches and hose. By his side came a goat-bearded fellow with fleshy cheeks, one sparkly earring, sloping shoulders and puffy pants. In their wake followed a woman lit with a loveliness otherworldly, which swaddled her better than her simple shift and somehow kept away the cold. This woman got help to top the final rise from a big soul robed in brown, stalwart, hirsute and resolute, who used a knotty staff.

Not one of the four had the seafarer’s eye, the windburned lips, the leathern skin earned by facing hellish weather. Nor were they flowing-haired Greeks or tattooed barbarians.

Medea waved a hand at her fire-pit of peat, and it roared high; in the light from its flames she could see the strangers better. “Pirates, are ye? Come to parley for passage out of the Abyss? No intruders do I welcome here.” Before the strangers could respond, she whipped her gaze across them, to her erstwhile lover: “Jason, whom have you brought me? And why?”

You! You called us here?” Jason rummaged through her soul with wide, reproving eyes. “Pirates, are we, Mother?” He sighed. “Heroes, while we lived. You know the truth, helped make us what you see. In those days, what we took by force and guile we won honorably, not by theft or piracy, but by deeds done to please our gods. And you know it. As for whom we brought — we brought those we need.”

“You’re pirates all, you and yours, Jason: robbers on sea or shore — of goods and hearts and souls.” In that distending moment, Medea wrestled her fatal flaw: she yet found Jason fetching; as much as once she’d loved him, she loved him still: an infuriating weakness, a wound within her riven breast that would not heal. In hell’s own time, that love would turn to hate. Must. For his fate — and his crew’s — she had predestined.

Behind, a shuffle in the crowd of sailors begat Orpheus, elbowing his way to the fore as the sloe-eyed creature by Jason stared hard at her and asked, “And now? Pirates still? Or is it something else? I’ve often said, ‘Where both deliberate, the love is slight.’”

The goat-bearded soul with him added: “And I, that ‘the lunatic, the lover, and the poet/ Are of imagination all compact.’ Pirate once is pirate forever, good for our purpose and for the lords of hell. Orpheus, what say you?”

Medea blinked, dumbstruck by these brazen strangers, so full of themselves and obscure pontifications.

Orpheus, red-haired master of music and poetry, wizardry and augury, unslung a lyre from across his back, then glanced from Jason to Medea to the strangers, and said:

“You ask what I say? I say, beware this sorceress, her caustic hate. One who tears her family to shreds cannot be trusted.” Curling around his lyre, Orpheus plucked one string, one chord, and strummed another. “Set your terms for this parley, old shipmate. Say what you want.”

From the lyre of Orpheus, a theme surrounded the Argonauts. Tones to make Sirens coo, teach trees to dance and rocks to sing, set about seducing Medea’s heart.

“Stop that music, Orpheus! Put by thine instrument of fell design. I know your fey tricks of old. Stay your hands. Part from that lyre. There’ll be no sorcery here but mine.”

The lyrist palmed his strings. Music died a death too curt.

*

 [End of Excerpt]

Links:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y8WWKMT/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pirates-in-hell-chris-morris/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Morris_(author)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heroes_in_Hell

https://www.fantasticfiction.com/m/janet-morris/

https://www.facebook.com/christophercmorrissings/

https://soundcloud.com/christopher-morris

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pirates-in-hell-chris-morris/1126191917?type=eBook

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pirates-in-hell-chris-morris/1126191917?ean=9780997758443

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/JanetMorrisandChrisMorris/

https://www.facebook.com/christophercmorrissings/

Blog/Website

http://www.theperseidpress.com/

https://sacredbander.com/

Twitter https://twitter.com/uvmchristine

https://twitter.com/uvmchristine/media

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Chris-Morris/e/B008L41JNO

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y8WWKMT/

https://www.amazon.com/Pirates-Hell-Heroes-Janet-Morris-ebook/

https://www.amazon.com/Chris-Morris/e/B008L41JNO

https://www.amazon.com/Pirates-Hell-Heroes-Janet-Morris/dp/0997758449/

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/series/40812-heroes-in-hell

Hell Week 2017 – Pirates in Hell #fantasy #sharedworld #heroesinhell

Welcome to Hell Week 2017 – brought to you by the Infernal Interview Service, the Library of Erana and with kind permission of Perseid Press.

The twentieth book in the much-acclaimed Heroes in Hell series brings us pirates, plagiarists, monsters, heroes and villains and, of course, the shared world of Hell.

Spotlight on Hell – check out the link for further details.

So what poor souls are joining us for this?

Joe Bonadonna, Seth Lindberg, Andrew Weston, Michael Hanson, Rob Hinkle, Larry Atchley Jr, and Janet and Chris Morris bring us their characters and their time.

So, dear minions…. er readers… pull up a pitchfork, get the marshmallows out and watch out for those pesky demons.

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Pirates in Hell cover

Review – Pirates in Hell – Fantasy/historical/dark

Pirates! Fantasy and the great storytelling from a plethora of talented authors all set in a supremely crafted shared world, what more could one want.  I love the Heroes in Hell series and the latest volume does not disappoint.

From plagiarists to buccaneers, to the Devil’s own Reaper, to a search for the way out, to the hunt for the Unholy Grail there are tales aplenty in this volume; Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe, pharaohs, poets; murderers, heroes of war and water try and salvage what they may from the rising water (and I use that term loosely), the ever-shifting lands and realms of a Hell patrolled by something worse than even the Dark Lord himself.  The Devil is trying to keep house in this chaos and the damned are… well….damned and trying to make the best of it, the worst of it and everything in between.

The stories flow well enough, and the dark humour is apparent. Wellington and Napoleon as neighbours makes me chuckle and the clever punishments meted out never cease to raise a smile.

This is Hell, of course, but it’s a hell with class.

 

Hell Bound Blog Tour – Andrew P Weston

I’d like to welcome back author Andrew P. Weston

Please recap briefly about your books:

I’m the author of The IX, a military science-fiction action adventure released earlier on in 2015 through Perseid Press and the creator of Daemon Grim, Satan’s chief bounty hunter and go-to guy in times of trouble (As introduced in the short story – Grim in Doctors in Hell – the latest adventure from Janet Morris’ critically acclaimed award winning Heroes in Hell universe).

What has changed since you last visited? Tell us your news!

Well, the IX went on to become and international bestseller, so I’m obviously pleased about that. And I recently completed Hell Bound, the first of a new series of novels including Grim as the main character. I’m hoping he become a worthy addition to the ever expanding arena Janet created.

For those of you who don’t already know, Heroes in Hell is a series of shared world fantasy books, within the genre Bangsian fantasy, created and edited by Janet Morris and written by her, Chris Morris, C. J. Cherryh and others. The first 12 books in the series were published by Baen Books between 1986 and 1989, and stories from the series include both Hugo Award winners and Nebula nominees.
Janet continued the series through her own publishing company – Perseid Press – from 2011 onward with, Lawyers in Hell, followed by five more anthologies and a novel since then.
Basically, the shared world premise of Heroes in Hell (also called The Damned Saga) is that all the dead wind up together in Hell, where they can pick up where they left off when still alive, except that now, it’s a no-holds-barred, rollercoaster ride of violent, stab you in the back adventure. Anything goes – and often does…
When I created Grim, I wanted a character who would continue to evolve along with the universe itself, so Janet and I came up with a great idea. Although Grim will be starring in his own adventures, those escapades will tie into and overlap the continuing Heroes in Hell anthologies. For example, Hell Bound starts where Grim Left off. The next anthology piece will pick up where Hell Bound finished, and so on and so forth. What a great way to mesh a major new character into a long established series, eh?

So far its working very well, and early indications are showing Grim will be a popular character.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited?

I certainly do self-edit, but only as an additional layer to a full and professional edit. No matter how thorough you are, you’ll always miss something, especially if it’s a little quirk you tend to slip back on when you’re tired. I edit each chapter as it’s completed, then I go through the entire manuscript again once the story is finished. Only then do I send it off. I’m a firm believer of working closely with your editor. It pays dividends in the long run.
And yes, any book will suffer if you don’t have it professionally edited.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews?

Me? I like to say thank you to those who take the time to complete a review. It’s not always easy to know what to say, so it’s lovely when people offer you a little piece of themselves and honestly express what they think. However, I never, ever, respond to obvious trolls. Let your work and your readers do that for you.
As for their importance? I think they certainly have an influence on those looking for a good read who might be considering your work for the first time.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?

Believe in yourself. Never give up. Work hard to improve your craft.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it?

I recently finished reading High Couch of Silistra by none other than Janet Morris herself. This novel first came out in 1977, and because of my lifestyle at the time, I totally missed it. However, I’m so glad I caught up with it now, as it’s one of those genre changing epics that made a huge impact at the time and continues to set the bar now.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author?

Well, the most prolific author on my bookshelf is Raymond E. Feist. I also have all or most of Stephen R. Donaldson’s and Julian May’s work, along with Orwell, Heinlein, Anderson, Clarke, Bradbury, and Poe.
As for Indie Authors, Laura De Luca.

Do you have a favourite movie?

If I could only pick one, I’d have to say The Forbidden Planet. A true classic and way ahead of its time.

Can you name your worst job? Do you think you learned anything from the position that you now use in your writing?

I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve only ever had two main jobs. I was in the military, and then I became a police officer until an injury on duty caused my early retirement after a total of 33years service. Needless to say, I’ve experienced a great many situations that have provided remarkable ‘insights’ or which can be used as a springboard for elements now incorporated into my writing. For example, it takes discipline and tenacity to keep to a regular schedule. My whole working life has been built on those foundations. Then there’s the essential factor of ‘keeping things real’. A must for all those who write speculative fiction. If you ground your stories in well established fact, then it makes what you write so much more believable. I try to adhere to these guidelines whenever I work, and it helps J

What are your plans for the future?

I’m hoping to create enough of a fan base to become a fulltime writer. When that happens, stand by. At last my writing will get the time it deserves to truly expand and grow.

Give us a bit of information about your primary character(s).

In Hell Bound, it’s Daemon Grim – The Reaper – and Satan’s chief bounty hunter. He’s the person the Dark Lord turns to when anything threatens the already chaotic instability that riddles the many-layered underworld.
And when you think of the nature of the scumbags filling hell, you can appreciate just how busy he is. (Tracking rebels or those fomenting treason, bringing fugitives and offenders to injustice). He’s judge, jury and executioner all rolled into one, and yet, someone who appears to be something of a paradox, for while he’s drop dead gorgeous and possesses a fantastic sense of humor, he’s fiercely loyal to Satan. He will kill you as soon as look at you. To him, mercy is a waste of five letters. He doesn’t feel pity or remorse, and if you appear on his list there’s nothing you can do to prevent your untimely demise. As other denizens of hell say – he’s your ‘worst nightmare attired in kick-ass gothic ensemble.
Can you imagine the despicable fun he’s going to have?

If you had to pick five books to have on an island which five would you pick?

That’s not difficult at all. At the moment they would be:
A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawkin

Lord of the Rings trilogy – Tolkien

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

Build Your Own Teleportation Device From Everyday Stuff – Irma Gettinoutovhere.

If your book was produced as a film who would you like to see play the lead?

At the moment, I think Channing Tatum might appeal to the ladies. J

About the Book
Hell Bound (Heroes in Hell)
by Andrew P. Weston
Amazon
Genre: Fantasy
Published by: Perseid Press
Release Date: October 31, 2015
Length: 406 PagesIn hell, none of the condemned believes they deserve to be there. And that’s fine, so long as they’re not foolish enough to try and do anything about it. For those that do, there’s always Satan’s Reaper–and chief bounty hunter–Daemon Grim.Feared throughout the many layers of the underverse, no one in their right mind dares to cross him.However, when Grim discovers that someone has attempted to evade injustice, and seems hell-bent on gaining access to ancient angelic artifacts proscribed since the time of the original rebellion in heaven, circumstances point to the fact they may be doing just that.The question is…why?Thus begins an investigation that leads Grim throughout the many contradictory and baffling levels of the underworld, where he unearths a conspiracy that is not only eating its way like a cancer through the highest echelons of Hellion society, but one which threatens the very stability of Satan’s rule.As you can imagine, Grim’s response is bloody, brutal, and despicably wicked.

Hell Bound – In hell, everyone can hear you scream…

HELL BOUND BLOG TOUR – EXCERPTS
(Please Only Post 1 Excerpt per Book & Delete the other 2)
The Book Excerpt

Excerpt #1



Excerpt #2

​​

About Andrew P. Weston

Andrew P. Weston is Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.

An astronomy and law graduate, he is the creator of the international number one bestseller, The IX, and also has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with one of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for Astronaut.com and Amazing Stories.

The Giveaway

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Find Andrew’s Tour Date’s Here:

Monday, November 2, 2015
– Tome Tender (Spotlight)
– M.J. Schiller, Romance Author (Guest Post)
Please Pass The Books (Spotlight)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015
– Ogitchida Kwe’s Book Blog (Spotlight)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015
– Paranormal Dimensions (Spotlight)

Friday, November 06, 2015
– Christine’s Words (Author Interview)
– S E Lindberg (Guest Post)

Saturday, November 07, 2015
– Library of Erana (Author Interview)

Monday, November 09, 2015
– Sexy Between the Covers-Melissa Keir (Guest Post)

Thursday, November 12, 2015
– Paranormal Realms (Guest Post)

Monday, November 16, 0215
– Authors’ Cafe (Spotlight)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
– What Readers Want (Spotlight)

Thursday, November 19, 0215
– Finding Fantastical Books (Spotlight)

Saturday, November 21, 2015
– Teatime and Books (Spotlight)

Novel Book Tours

http://www.novelbooktours.com

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.

Front Page

Twitter: @uvmchristine

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/JanetMorrisandChrisMorris?fref=ts

http://sacredbander.com/

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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

Creamjuxtapose

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 Astronaut.com 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:

Amazon https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5816574.Andrew_P_Weston

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5816574.Andrew_P_Weston

The IX http://www.amazon.com/IX-Andrew-P-Weston-ebook/dp/B00RM54QBA/

Hellbound http://www.amazon.com/Hell-Bound-Heroes-Andrew-Weston-ebook/dp/B015G2AI0I/

Doctors in Hell http://www.amazon.com/Doctors-Hell-Heroes-Janet-Morris/dp/0986414093/

Rage of Augustus http://www.amazon.com/Rage-Augustus-Cambion-Journals-Book-ebook/dp/B00DP5OHSI/

Fairy Tale ww.amazon.com/Fairy-Tail-Andrew-P-Weston-ebook/dp/B007TVY5N6/

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

Doctors in Hell – Review

5 Stars

Everyone knows Hell is a pretty awful place to spend eternity. It just got worse. Not only are the auditors in, which is bad enough, but now a terrifying new plague stalks Old and New Dead alike. Rumours abound on its source, be that Erra and his mighty weapons personified, Old Nick himself or something else. Whatever the answer might be cures are sought, bought, sold and bold. Hell being Hell, of course it does not go entirely smoothly….

Dr Frankenstein, Polydory, Dr Neill Cream, Shakespeare, Kit Marlow, Calamity Jane, Napoleon, Wellington, nurses and physicians from civilisation’s birth, gangsters, poets and even artificial life in the form of Galatea, and Adam Frankenstein, battle against a foe they don’t understand, have no clue how to beat and yet, as Heroes in Hell, fight they must and endure the twisted half-life in Satan’s domain. Truly mythic, where myths get turned on their heads and characters you thought you knew live (or unlive) again.

Filled with diabolical machinations, intrigue, courage, dark humour, and even searching questions about the nature of the soul – particularly from Joe Bonadonna in Hell on a Technicality this collection of Hell themed tales from a mix of talented writers from science fiction, fantasy and historical fiction. Janet Morris, has yet again, produced an anthology which flows from one scenario to another, despite the varying styles and stories. There were stories I didn’t want to end, and some which made me chuckle (Napoleon and Wellington always crack me up), some which were tragic, some vengeful (Grim) and some which were extremely clever.

This is a world of darkness, but it is a shared world across time, across history, across the good and great and the weak and pitiful and the characters reflect that. There is something for die-hard fans of the series and new authors to discover, and an exquisitely crafted greater whole for those new to the series.

The eighteenth Heroes in Hell is, perhaps, darker and bloodier than its predecessors. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but then again – this is Hell, what do you expect?

#Fantasy #mythic #historical #Heroes in Hell.

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)

http://amzn.to/1nqb6Z3

 

Author name: Joe Bonadonna

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.

www.dorgoland.blogspot.com

 

http://www.amazon.com/Joe-Bonadonna/e/B009I1KYIK

 

Author Interview Sixty-One – Bruce Durham – Fantasy/Sci-fi/Horror

Welcome to Bruce Durham and a return to Hell.

#HeroesinHell #PoetsinHell

Excerpt from ‘Hell-Hounds’: from by Bruce Durham,  Poets in Hell, copyright (c) 2014, Janet Morris.

Marconi nodded slowly at first, then vigorously shook his head. “Maybe they’re not dead. Maybe they’re trapped and need our help.”

Bell stared at him for long seconds. “You’re shitting me, right?”

“No. No, I’m not. We can’t just leave. We have to know for sure if they’re safe, or not.”

“Sure we can leave. In fact, I insist.” Bell jerked his thumb toward the van. “They get hazard pay, so it’s not our problem. And what happens if we run into one of those hell-hounds?” Bell reached for his tool-belt. “Let’s see. I have a hammer, a screwdriver, cable-crimpers, some ty-wraps, an ohm-meter.

Hmm. No gun. Must have left that back at the shop along with the bazooka. Of course, we could always try harsh language. Hell-hounds hate harsh language.”

Where are you from and where do you live now? Born in Toronto, Ontario, I have lived most of my life in neighbouring Mississauga. I spent over 30 of those years in the CATV industry in a variety of capacities, most recently as a consultant.

At one time I moderated the Fiction Forums for Paradox Interactive Games, laying the groundwork that turned it into a wildly successful platform where gamers still write about their empire building experiences. And, until recently, Administered the Community Forums for the official Robert E. Howard website.

Though my age has been placed around the Jurassic Era, the reality is I am 60 and been happily married for 29, almost 30 years. My wife and I own a Shar-Pei named Haley and a Brussels Griffon called Maggie Q. Both run the household with firm paws.

Some boring (mainly Canadian) personal facts:

* I saw The Beatles when I was 12. All I remember is the screaming.

* In 1971 I walked away from a plane crash.

* Around the same time I met Pierre Elliot Trudeau at a political rally. Love him or hate him, the man oozed charisma.

* I met Isaac Asimov at a Convention in Toronto and PO’d him with my request to sign a book (sorry, no further details coming with that one). At the same Con I was mistaken for David Gerrold.

How did you end up writing for Heroes in Hell? It was through my friend Michael Hanson. I was writing for his ‘Sha’Daa’ series of books when he mentioned he was involved in the ‘to be resurrected’ ‘Heroes in Hell’ series. Being a fan of the original ‘Thieves World’, and specifically the character of Tempus Thales, I asked if he could mention my name if an opening in this by-invite-only anthology came up. The rest, as they say, is history.

How do you deal with writing in a shared universe? I had lots of experience with this concept before I came aboard. For several years I ran a series of collaborative ‘books’ based on the computer game Europa Universalis from Paradox Entertainment.

I was essentially a ‘dungeon master’ that guided over a dozen writers through a storyline I created based on elements of the game. It was very successful and a blast to do. It also gave me a chance to hone my craft, so to speak. This experience made fitting into the intricacies of the hell-world quite easy.

Why did you choose the characters you are using? Being a Canadian through and through, I thought this was the perfect chance to introduce some important historical characters from my country that most people probably never heard of, or knew little about. Though British, General James Wolfe was key in the formation of Canada, while I found his sickly character (he suffered from consumption) fascinating. Beyond that, there were some important military leaders like the Duke of Marlborough, Prince Eugene of Savoy, and Belisarius that screamed for attention.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I’ve been writing short stories for various publications for about a decade now. My work encompasses several genres, including fantasy, SF, horror, historical and alt-historical. My very first sale, ‘The

Marsh God’ was published in the late and lamented ‘Flashing Swords eZine’ and garnered recognition as Best Short SF & Fantasy story for that year. It was also adapted into a graphic novel. My latest story is ‘Hell-Hounds’, and appears in the recently released ‘Poets in Hell’.

Where do you find inspiration? Many of my story ideas come from history books and daily news. It’s amazing how often the phrase ‘I’m not making this up’ from some current news item will produce the germ of a story.

Do you have a favourite character? If so why? Arguably my favourite character is Mortlock the Footman, found in two anthologies from Rogue Blades Entertainment: ‘Return of the Sword’ and ‘Rage of the Behemoth’. Mortlock is my ‘everyman’, a person with a somewhat jaundiced view of the world. He’s a reluctant hero, no world saviour. He’s just happy to follow orders and live to see another day, though events usually conspire against him.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? No, but I’ve been awfully tempted. Doesn’t mean it won’t happen one of these days.

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? I tend to go overboard with research. Especially with my historical pieces. The beauty of this is that it often leads me into areas of history I know little or nothing about. Then after compiling the research, the trick is to let that knowledge support the story and stay away from the dreaded infodump. Another advantage is discovering some obscure event that develops into a story idea.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing? Do you feel this is important in a book? Naw. I just like to tell a story with no ulterior motive.

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…) Great characters, solid plot, great world building, technically perfect. To me this is a natural progression. A solid plot is almost as important as great characters. I’ve read stories that had well defined characters and good world building but virtually no plot. Just a lot of wandering around.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I self edit, probably more than I should, but also rely on trusted people and editors to correct my glaring omissions and missteps.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? Definitely, though I think the perception is slowly changing. I’ve read books from indie authors that were excellent, and books from the traditional authors that left a lot to be desired. A lot. The beauty of the indie scene is that it caters to many, many tastes, while I find the traditional publishers tend to jump aboard a flavour of the month and milk it to death.

Do you read work by self-published authors? All of the time.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? I recently completed ‘I, The Sun’ by Janet Morris. I have a fascination with the Hititte culture and this book fulfilled it in spades. Well researched and well written. Definitely recommended. I also completed ‘The King in Yellow’, by Robert W. Chambers. I had to thank the recent series ‘True Detective’ for turning me on to that one.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author? This depends on the genre, but for fantasy my favourite traditionally published author is Robert E. Howard. Those who know me will find that no surprise. I also enjoy Joe Abercrombie. For history I’ve always enjoyed the works of Nigel Trantor and Bernard Cornwall. SF is a bit harder, as I prefer hard- edged space opera to today’s watered down fare. I would have to go with Frank Herbert or maybe Larry Niven. Indie authors? Well, there’s Joe Bonadonna and Howard Andrew Jones to name a couple.

Do you have a favourite movie? No, but I have a top ten list. Again, it depends on the genre.

Do you have any pets? I have two dogs. Haley, a shar-pei, and Maggie Q, a Brussels Griffon.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

Website: brucedurham.ca

Amazon Author Link: amazon.com/Bruce-Durham/e/B004NMV5HS

I am also on Goodreads and Facebook.