Hell Week 2018 – Orpheus/Janet and Chris Morris #HeroesinHell

Welcome to Orpheus

Who are/were you?

I was the Thracian Argonaut, magician, musician, and prophet. Still am, though here I do hell’s bidding, such as sitting in this dank cell with you as my interrogator.

Who is your ‘lover’ in Hell? Eurydice, the oak nymph, my wife; most beautiful and desired of women, lo these many years lost to me – twice sought and once returned to me from Tartaros

Love in hell, isn’t that a contradiction? How does this work? Love is the province of the soul; death cannot faze it nor passion still its rhyme.

Many of the denizens of His Satanic Majesty’s realm have a curse – what is yours? You jest. Do you not see the puddle by my feet, the wet where I sit on your prison bench? Do you cannot hear the dripping from my flesh? All of us who served on Jason’s Argo drown again and again in salty water, and between drownings our skin drips brine continually.

Who are your friends/allies here? Friends in hell? That’s the contradiction. My friends met in hell are my friends met in life; those met in hell who serve my ends let me serve theirs: such men and women, witches and goddesses, and empowered souls like Shakespeare and Marlowe serve the gods of hell from their day and set us tasks that lead us to more curses and misery: in hell, suffering is the only true coinage, and even that be scarce.

Describe your home/environment in Hell.

Home? Environment? I am a musician, part of the pit orchestra in New Hell, a place where all the worst from every day and age gather together and prey upon one another, eon after eon. Sometimes we serve as sea-going mercenaries in Jason’s crew, but with Medea on our track, these days bring only danger, loss, and separation for an infernity that makes lovers weep and the devil grin.

Eternity – that’s a damned long time. How do you spend the endless years here? No, not ‘eternity.’ Infernity – thanks for that to John Milton, who like the Bard of Avon and his lover Marlowe create words to suit their trials and tribulations, words that jump from their lips and torture damned souls the more.

Hell covers all eras and technologies, there are many hells within Hell. How have you adjusted to this strange world? Adjusted to digital damnation? To weapons that don’t work well but take their feet and serve like soldiers; to politicians spouting lies from their umbilicals? From avengers, who stalk one another throughout hells ages and devise punishments more foul the deeper in hell you go. Feel that cold, seeping from the brine that drips from me? The closer to hell’s belly you get, the more you suffer its cold – loveless, lonely, and afraid.

Why do YOU think you’re in Hell? I know what I did, writing my Orphic missives: I called upon hell and it answered, sending a viper to kill my Eurydice and sending me on fruitless quests to find her deep in Tartaros.

What are your greatest fears here? That, once I find her, I should lose her again – only so many times can a mortal beseech Hades and Persephone for manumission. Eurydice is the breath of salvation to me; without her, afterlife is an empty threat.

Love is Hell-FB3

Author Spotlight

*Name and bio:

Best selling author Janet Morris began writing in 1976 and has since published more than 30 novels, many co-authored with her husband Chris Morris or others. Christopher Crosby Morris is an American author of fiction and non-fiction, as well as a lyricist, musical composer, and singer-songwriter. He is married to author Janet Morris.

Tell us about your story for this edition. For Lovers in Hell, Janet and Chris Morris wrote a novella in three parts which follow lovers as they lose and find one another among hell’s multifarious domains.

What inspired you to use the character(s) you’ve chosen? The characters for lovers include those who have served in other volumes of this series, such as Shakespeare, Marlowe, Sappho, Samael, Orpheus, and some never before met, such as Eurydice,

Writing for a shared world is challenging, how do you meet that challenge? We do a new Hell volume every year or so, or whenever we have enough stories that meet our criteria. In the time between volumes, we discuss with our group of writers story names, themes, and execution. Writing for hell is not easy. At this moment, we have two more volumes plans, so we may never escape hell ourselves . . .

Tell us why you chose this story to tell out of so many possible options? We’ve wanted to do Lovers in hell for years, but we didn’t have the right group of writers for it. This year, all the requirements came together and we called for stories for Lovers in hell. Next will be Mystics in Hell, which suits our current list of characters and invites new ones.

What are you currently working on? An anthology and a new novel by Janet and Chris Morris, as well as some new music.

Name the last two books you’ve read – tell us about them. Aristotle: On Breath, one of the most accessible works of Aristotle in the Loeb edition.

Ghost Stories of Henry James – in which something actually happens during each story, most often in the last two paragraphs. We learn more from James every time we read him, as we do with Waugh.

What are your views on authors offering free books? We disapprove of this generally, and only once in a great while offer books for free, if we’re introducing a new author or reissuing a series.

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews? Don’t comment on reviews if you can possibly avoid it.

Which books/movies/plays have influenced your life? The Black Stallion. Justin Morgan Had A Horse, The Iliad. Hamlet. Henry V. Brideshead Revisited. Lion in Winter. Atlas Shrugged.

In these days of movies and video games are books really influential? I hope so. The books we write aren’t for beginning readers, in any case, and if the casual reader or the various Hater sects are attracted to digital games and other diversions which provide no deeper value or commentary on the human condition, then that’s fine with me: it keeps them off the streets.

What do you think are the top three inventions/discoveries in human history and why? Fire, which allowed the earliest development of humanity. The Wheel, which allowed humans the key to engineering. Early writing (such as pre-cuneiform and hieroglyphs), which created the tools for written history. The Rosetta stone, which showed people the possibilities of comparative linguistics.

 

Hell Week 2018 – Lady Gemini/Andrew Weston

Love is Hell-FB20

Who are/were you?

I am the Lady Gemini, Daemon Grim’s newest Hell Hound. In life, people knew me as Marie-Anne Charlotte de Corday d’Armont, (l’ ange de l’assassinat) – or simply, Charlotte Corday – the assassins angel. Born 1768, in France to a minor aristocratic family, I was executed by guillotine while still only twenty-four years old for the murder of Jacobin leader, Jean-Paul Marat.

Who is your ‘lover’ in Hell?

Though it’s unrequited, I’ve fallen for my boss, Daemon Grim. A bit of a sticky dilemma as he’s only recently lost his soul mate, Strawberry Fields, who he destroyed utterly in self defense.

Love in hell, isn’t that a contradiction? How does this work?

In a nutshell? It doesn’t! Not for the damned masses, anyway. But now I’ve risen to the ranks of the elite, I’ve been told I may express my desires in any way I see fit . . . so long as it’s away from the public eye and knowledge of such freedom isn’t bandied about for all and sundry to hear.

Many of the denizens of His Satanic Majesty’s realm have a curse – what is yours?

Though I have a nubile form, exquisite grace and speed, and am extremely athletic, I’ll never be beautiful again. Before my elevation, I complained once too often and am condemned for all eternity to wear a face of two distinct halves . . . as you can see in my picture.

Gemini-lady (1)

It makes smiling quite a chore, I can tell you. (And helps explain the ingenious name I’ve been labeled with)

Who are your friends/allies here?

I have very few, but they all count. After my fall from grace, I became an assassin of some repute throughout all the levels of infernity. That put me much in demand, at the cost of acquaintances. Regardless, since my inauguration into the Ancient Disorder of Hell Hounds, I’ve gained the closest thing you can get to family, and am determined to protect that treasure with all my strength.

Describe your home/environment in Hell.

I live in a suite situated on one of the top floors of Black Tower, in what you mortals would call the Tower of London. Here in the underverse, we called that ancient edifice the Den of Iniquity—or the Den for short. As with your topside version, it’s located at the center of the sprawling slum that was Olde London Town. By hell’s standards, it’s abject luxury. But we’re expected to get results. If not, well . . . what happened to the previous Lead Hound – Nimrod, and the former Chief Inquisitor – Strawberry, serves as a stark reminder how easy it is for the most privileged of the damned to fall again.

Hell covers all eras and technologies, there are many hells within Hell. How have you adjusted to this strange world?

I’ve been very lucky. As an assassin, I was allowed access to all sorts of weaponry and technology, and I didn’t really have to pay a diablo. Those who commissioned my services often footed the bill for the gadgets I needed. Gadgets I got to keep as part of the successful conclusion of a contract. Needless to say, that involved travelling to some of the remotest, most backward parts of the underworld. I got used to it pretty quickly. And when I became a Hell Hound? Wow! You ought to see the crazy stuff we have hidden away in the dungeons here at the Den.

What is/are your greatest fears here?

To fail. I’ve witnessed firsthand what happens to the privileged elite who do.

 

Author Spotlight

Name and bio.

Andrew P. Weston

Andrew P. Weston is a 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.
As creator of the critically acclaimed IX Series, and Hell Bound & Hell Hounds, (novels forming part of Janet Morris’ Heroes in Hell universe), Andrew 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 working, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with one of their remote research projects and supporting charities. He also writes educational articles for Astronaut.com and Amazing Stories.

Tell us about your story for this edition.

In The Devil’s Trull, Daemon Grim and the Lady Gemini travel to the Kigali homeland, Ki-gal, in search of information pertaining to the machinations of two of the biggest thorns in the flesh ever to cross the Reaper’s path: the infamous scientist, Nikola Tesla; and the renowned composer, Frédéric Chopin, who it is feared have trespassed upon Kigali territory in order to further their revolutionary aspirations.

Along the way, they discover just how ingenious the diabolical duo have been in fomenting rebellion, and how too the Sibitti have been at play, sowing seeds of doubt and mayhem in preparation for their final play against latterday hell’s most potent champion.

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

It was twofold really. My contribution to the shared universe involves leapfrogging my individual novels regarding Daemon Grim’s adventures with the anthologies. This story is a natural progression of a bigger picture. However, it gives me an opportunity to peel open a particular juicy segment of Daemon Grim’s personal life. As fans of Satan’s Reaper will know, he recently lost two of the closest souls to him: Nimrod – his best friend; and Strawberry – his long-time lover.

Their relationship had been rather complicated in the events leading up to The Devil’s Trull. Because of Grim’s inability to bring all the fugitives from injustice to heel, Satan had punished Grim. Firstly by denying him a corporeal form, and secondly, by stripping him of the privilege of intimate contact with the only one he has ever loved. Grim couldn’t even touch Strawberry without her suffering the fate of the masses – who succumb instantly to the Reaper’s “death touch.”

At the end of Hell Hounds (the novel preceding this particular anthology), Grim was forced to execute both Nimrod and Strawberry, actually obliterating them from existence. So he’s hurting. Not only does he have to contend with deep personal anguish and hurt feelings, but he’s battling to hold his head above water against an ever-increasing tide.

Gemini is the only suitable candidate he could find to offset the shortfall in his ranks. And sure enough, because of her own demons, Gemini has also been denied the comfort of companionship too. Just look at her face! In such a close-knit, high-pressure environment – one in which Daemon Grim has been returned to his devilishly handsome pseudo-human form – romance was bound to blossom.

And of course, the phantoms of past relationships and failures loom large . . . compounded by the fact that Tesla and Chopin seemed determined to stick the knife in. And of course, there are the Sibitti. . .

How did you become involved with this project?

Like everyone else, I was invited to write by Janet Morris a few years back. And I haven’t stopped enjoying myself since.

What are you currently working on?

I’m just rounding off the third and final book in the Author’s Cut version of a new supernatural action-thriller series – The Cambion Journals (The Rage of Augustus; The Kiss of the Succubus; and – just completed, The Embrace of the Incubus). I can’t wait to find out what people think of the series, as Augustus Thorne is bound to be popular with the ladies.

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

I’ve not long finished Cruiser Dreams by Janet Morris, and Convergence, by Matthew S. Cox, in collaboration with J.R. Rain.
The blurbs for the books are as follows:

Cruiser Dreams. . .

She is heir to an empire beyond all imagining, where interstellar cruisers have become increasingly sentient and man’s role among the stars is transformed.

In this epic of political treachery, interstellar security, human passion, and artificial intelligence, Morris continues the saga of the fiery girl Shebat, stolen away from a decaying and primitive Earth to be the adoptive heir to the Kerrion Empire. Moulded to serve the designs of the Kerrion state, Shebat instead becomes the harbinger of change sweeping the civilized stars.

Against the chaotic background of simultaneous social and technological revolutions, Shebat finds that the man she loves is her implacable enemy, that the man she reluctantly married is perhaps her single ally, and that her space-faring cruiser may be her only true friend.

***I really enjoyed this story, as it explores the minefield of human relationships and especially – if it can be imagined – the relationship between man and machine . . . ‘machine’ with an ever-evolving artificial sentience. If you want to find out more, see my blog for a more in-depth review. It’s a truly thought-provoking read. ***

Convergence. . .

Intrepid reporter Solstice Winters has spent most of her life halfway between normal society and that of her magical parents. However, when getting caught between two worlds becomes more than metaphorical, being able to summon light or open locks might not be enough.

Neither her love life nor her professional life are going anywhere in a hurry. Her boyfriend is successful and handsome, but she constantly has to compete with his job for affection. At thirty-two, she works as a photojournalist for The Spiritualist, a small paper dedicated to magic and the supernatural―that most people regard as a tabloid. Desperate for that ‘one break,’ she’ll do almost anything to get that big story and get into a ‘real’ media outlet.

Years of always not quite fitting in begin to make sense after an error at a particle physics laboratory alters the dimensional alignment of the world, strengthening magic and revealing an unexpected truth to Solstice: She’s not even human.

*** This was an entertaining little journey into relationships of another kind. Magical beings are suddenly appearing all over the Earth, and Solstice doesn’t even realize she’s one of them until it’s too late! Of course, she ends up in the middle of a monumental mess that makes her wish that ‘big story’ she’s been after all her life would just go away. Fun. Down-to-earth. And thoroughly entertaining. ***

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

I like Daemon Grim’s quote: “Your life has been a stage, and hell is the curtain call.”

 

Hell Week 2018 – Joseph Merrick/Joe Bonadonna

Character Spotlight

About yourself:

*Who are/were you?

My name is Joseph Carey Merrick. Most people know me as the Elephant Man. The story in which I appear is titled Withering Blights.

Who is your ‘lover’ in Hell?

Antonia Ford. In life she was a spy for the Confedaracy during the American Civil War. Here in Hell she once spied for Guy Fawkes until she was captured by Satan’s agents, tortured and then sent to the Mortuary, where the Undertaker removed her eyes before reassigning her. We take care of each other. I am her eyes, and she does for me what my physical condition and limitations prevent me from doing.

Love in hell, isn’t that a contradiction? How does this work?

There is no contradiction at all. The physical act of love is painful, more than I can or am willing to explain. That is one of Hell’s punishments. But true love transcends the act of sexual congress. Love often begins as a platonic relationship. It is of the heart and of the mind, and yes, even of the soul, damned though we may be. Love, loyalty, friendship, even honesty and integrity—these things can be found in Hell, for many a damned soul has changed their ways in the futile hope of redemption and salvation. Love exists in Hell, to be sure. Antonia and I help, care for and do our best to protect one another. Is that not love in its purest form? The paradox here is that, in Hell, love becomes truly a spiritual emotion.

Many of the denizens of His Satanic Majesty’s realm have a curse – what is yours?

I was cursed at birth with my ghastly affliction. During one moment of agony and despair, I cursed my Creator, and thus upon my death found myself in Hell. Upon my one and only visit to the Mortuary, the Undertaker declared me to be a masterpiece sculpted by the hand of a mad genius. He refused to tamper with my grotesque beauty, and thus sent me on my way.

Who are your friends/allies here?

First, there is Madge Kendal, the beautiful actress who befriended me in life. She is a wealthy actress here in New Hell City, and because of her wealth and generosity, she gave to me Withering Blights, an old, Gothic mansion she owns. Antonia and I live there, and we earn enough diablos to live on by begging and doing what jobs we can. Doctor Victor Frankenstein is another dear friend, as is his companion and assistant, Quasimodo, the famous Hunchback of Notre Dame. They are hard at work right now trying to find eyes to give to Antonia, so that she may see again, and a new, young and healthy body in which to house my brain. In life, the good doctor succeeded in doing just that, although with disastrous results, if you recall.

Describe your home/environment in Hell.

I do not sleep much, for sleep often brings with it nightmares even more horrifying than what I have seen and suffered here in Hell. My former life was a weekend at a holiday camp, compared to Hell, what I have witnessed here—plagues, torture, floods, endless pain—all give birth to these unsettling dreams. Thus, while Antonia sleeps, I often roam the dark corridors and empty chambers of Withering Blights, contemplating my afterlife and agonizing over an eternity here in the Netherworld.

Why do YOU think you’re in Hell?

As I have already stated, I countered-cursed the Almighty for cursing me with this ghastly malady, this terrible affliction which prevented me from having and enjoying any sort of life at all and was, eventually, the cause of my death.

Love is Hell-FB3

Author Spotlight

*Name and bio.

Joe Bonadonna is my given name. I am the author of the heroic fantasy Mad Shadows: The Weird Tales of Dorgo the Dowser (winner of the 2017 Golden Book Readers’ Choice Award for Fantasy), published by iUniverse; the space opera Three Against The Stars, published by Airship 27 Productions; Mad Shadows II: Dorgo the Dowser and the Order of the Serpent, published by Golden Box Books; the sword & sorcery adventure, Waters of Darkness, in collaboration with David C. Smith, published by Damnation Books/Oracle Press; and in collaboration with Erika M Szabo, Three Ghosts in a Black Pumpkin (winner of the 2017 Golden Books Judge’s Choice Award for Children’s Fantasy), and The Power of the Sapphire Wand, both published by Golden Box Books. I also have stories appearing in: Azieran—Artifacts and Relics, published by Heathen Oracle; GRIOTS 2: Sisters of the Spear, published by MVmedia; Heroika: Dragon Eaters, Poets in Hell, Doctors in Hell, and Pirates in Hell— all published by Perseid Press; Sinbad: The New Voyages, Volume 4, published by Airship 27 Productions; and most recently, in collaboration with author Shebat Legion, our story, Samuel Meant and the Little Black Cloud of the Apocalypse, appears in Michael H. Hanson’s shared-world anthology, Sha’Daa: Toys, published by Moon Dream Press. In addition to my fiction, I have written a number of articles and book reviews for Black Gate online magazine.

Tell us about your story for this edition.

Withering Blights concerns Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, and his friendship with Antonia Ford, with whom he’s in love, although he doesn’t quite realize it. He thinks he’s in love with Madge Kendal, their benefactress. But she’s in love with the dastardly Francois Villon, the famous Vagabond Poet of France. Being friends with Victor Frankenstein and his assistant, Quasimodo, Merrick asks the good doctor if he can provide Antonia with a new set of eyes. Victor, always up for another challenge, readily agrees to help Antonia, and then decides he may be able to construct a new body for Merrick or perhaps put his brain inside the skull of a young, healthy body, something he is, of course, quite familiar with. But in order to do that, Victor and Quasimodo must do business with the owners of the Cannibal Café, the two most infamous body snatchers in England’s history: William Burke and Willam Hare. There is also a sub-plot involving Madge Kendal and her tempestuous relationship with leech, varlet and gigolo, Francois Villon. Can love conquer all, even in Hell? You’ll have to read the story to see how that all plays out.

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

I have now written about Victor Frankenstein in Poets in Hell, Doctors in Hell (in which Quasimodo becomes the doctor’s new hunchbacked assistant), and Pirates in Hell. It was Janet Morris’ story arc for Lovers in Hell that first inspired me to come up with something that would hopefully read like a cross between Emily Bronte and Edgar Allan Poe. While watching two Boris Karloff films, Frankenstein and The Body Snatcher, I began to wonder what sort of experiment I can get Victor involved in this time around. Then suddenly, as sometimes happens, the idea of building the story around the Elephant Man popped into my brain. I did my research and chose Antonia Ford and Madge Kendal as “love interests.” Picking the two body snatchers, Burke and Hare, was a no-brainer. And then, after watching Ronald Colman in the film, If I Were King, in which he played Francois Villon, I realized what a lost opportunity it was not to have used Villon in my story for Poets in Hell. So I added him as Kendal’s rogue of a companion and voila!—the story wrote itself after that.

How did you become involved with this project?

Having already written stories for Poets in Hell, Doctors in Hell and Pirates in Hell, I was once again invited to contribute a story to Lovers in Hell. I have so much fun writing Victor Frankenstein and Quasimodo and I wanted to keep going with them, I wanted to get them involved with characters I thought would fit in with their own little corner of Hell—the Golem Heights and Goblin Manor. I wanted characters I could possibly use again in other stories, sort of creating my own little infernal repertory company, if you will. I thought Merrick, and Burke and Hare perfectly suitable “actors” for my purposes. There are other characters I’ve used in my earlier tales set in Hell, and I hope to bring some of them back for future stories. After all, the dead and the damned don’t die in Hell, they just get reassigned when they’re sent off to the Mortuary.

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

If possible, I try to link my stories to those of the other writers. We can borrow, loan and exchange characters, if we wish, per prior agreement and with certain conditions. I always write for the main story arc Janet Morris sets down, and that’s my guideline; whatever else pops up is more icing on the devil’s food cake. The challenge is writing in a more literary style than I would say, for a pulp fiction adventure yarn. I try to match my prose and dialog to the theme of each volume, and to the story I’m writing, in particular. I do the same with dialog. With Withering Blights, for instance, I watched Wuthering Heights, with Laurence Olivier, and The Elephant Man, with John Hurt. I tried to capture some of the nuances of their speech, as well as that of other actors appearing in the films. For Victor Frankenstein, I try to do a bit of actor Colin Clive, who played the doctor in the Boris Karloff film, and for Quasimodo (who has regained his hearing in Hell), I model him on actor Charles Laughton, although I try to make him speak with more of a French accent, and a bit more eloquence; I also decided to give him somewhat of a different personality: still heroic, still a force to be reckoned with, he is my comic relief. For my story in Pirates in Hell, which features a number of long-deceased movie stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age, I just watched their movies and picked up on their style. Jean Harlow was the most fun to write.

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

There were no other options. Withering Blights was the story that popped into my head, and it’s the story I wanted to write.

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

I think this quote is perfectly suited to Victor Frankenstein, who is so wracked with guilt over the consequences of his actions in life, and if you’ve read the stories I’ve written about him in Hell, you’ll understand how well this fits him. “The torture of a bad conscience is the hell of a living soul.” — John Calvin.

Thank you very much for this opportunity.

You can find me on Facebook and Google+

Visit my Amazon Author’s page at:  www.amazon.com/Joe-Bonadonna/e/B009I1KYIK

Check out out blog, A Small Gang of Authors, at: https://asmallgangofauthors.blogspot.com/

My Facebook author’s page is called Bonadonna’s Bookshelf, at: https://www.facebook.com/BonadonnasBookshelf/

Hell Week 2018 – Michael Dellert/Peter Abelard

 

About yourself:

*Who are/were you?

I am Peter Abelard, once a master and canon at the University School of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. King Philip (now remembered as the First) was king of France when I was born. William of Champeaux called me the “supreme master” of dialectic after I replaced his master. My writings were denounced by the Church, and amid the scandal of a forbidden love affair, I was excommunicated and forced to burn my works in disgrace.

Who is your ‘lover’ in Hell?

Whom it has always been, hand to heart: the beautiful and learned Heloise d’Argenteuil. She was born the unimportant wife’s-daughter of a minor branch of the prestigious Garlande family, ministers to the medieval royal court of French King Philip.

She grew into one of the most learned young women of western Europe, renowned for her brilliant exegeses of philosophical and spiritual texts in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and French. She and I conspired to make her my pupil, under the auspice of her uncle, one of my fellow canons at the Cathedral School of Notre Dame.

But calamity overtook us.

Love in hell, isn’t that a contradiction? How does this work?

There are some who say that love is something His Satanic Majesty simply cannot understand, and therefore, he cannot control it. Others, like myself, imagine He understands it all too well.

Heloise and I were illicit young lovers in turbulent times. Our tale in life ends full of wretched disappointment.

Now in Hell, we are buffeted about eternally by the gyring hurricanoes of our lively passions, and yet forever separated from one another by those same gales. Only in moments of respite can we simply be together, as we once were in life. And even then… Well. It is hell, after all, is it not? How many happy marriages are there in life, nevermind hell?

Many of the denizens of His Satanic Majesty’s realm have a curse – what is yours?

If I am to be honest before the Lord, my worst sin in life was: ‘insufferable arrogance.’ The rules of the Church and the nobles mattered not one whit to me, if they could not see what was plain before their faces in my teachings. Why should the good Lord promise the world an intellect such as mine and then litter the way to understanding with such obstinate fools?

And, if loving Heloise be a sin? I fully admit my guilt and repent the evil of it, but not one whit the joy.

Alas, there is no forgiveness for arrogants and seducers. Thus, I am tormented by raging cataracts and gales, buffeted by the winds of my passions like so many discarded broadsheets in the streets, blown at random through the netherworld.

Describe your home/environment in Hell.

I have not known a home in the millennium or more of my torment, for the winds blow where they will. Most recently, the turbulent storms of my passions for Heloise deposited my lover and I in the nightmare city of Perish, a hellish grotesque of our beloved earthly Paris. Is nothing sacred?

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

Another curse of my torment is to be broken upon the wheel—repeatedly. Wheresoever I go, I must be wary of anything with a wheel, lest it turn upon me, run me down, and mangle me.

So really, we travel a lot. And then stay a while. And then travel again. Between the ceaseless buffeting of storms and the relentless pursuit of runaway iron-shod cartwheels, I spend what time remains in discussions of love and philosophy with my beloved Heloise — smarter than myself, and by half.

The infamy of our sins kept us apart in life, but now it is delicious torment to have all of eternity in which to do as we please, rather than as we should.

Why do YOU think you’re in Hell?

Did I not mention the insufferable arrogance?

I was adulated by the crowds who gathered in the streets and worshipped by women as their knight. I grew rich on the fees paid by the aristocratic families of my students, and I was ruined for many women. I was a seducer sure of my charm but overwhelmed by work, traveling on horseback and power quarrels, when I deflowered a daughter of the powerful Garlande family, ministers to the royal court.

For these many sins — of passion and unrepentant pride, both in thought and deed — I was castrated, excommunicated, and disgraced in life. And for these many sins, I am cast down to Hell.

What is are your greatest fears/desires here?

My greatest fear is that I should be separated from my beloved Heloise. Despite all that happened between us, we maintained a correspondence of letters and advice, each to the other. Now, in Hell, we struggle to remain together against the passions that buffet us from each other. She is my only hope of someday, somehow, finding redemption in this world of loss.

Love is Hell-FB16

Author Spotlight

*Name and bio.

Hi, I’m Michael E. Dellert. I’m the author of The Matter of Manred Saga, an ongoing collection of fantasy tales, and the short-story “Calamity,” my contribution to the Lovers in Hell anthology. I’m a writer, editor, publisher, and writing coach. I also have two teen daughters who will be delighted to discover their good Catholic father is a Hellion. I live in the Greater New York City area.

Tell us about your story for this edition.

My story for Lovers in Hell, “Calamity,” addresses issues of love, fear, separation, pride, and humility in a fantastic Bangsian excursion into a nether-hell of torment, paranoia, and passion.

Love and romance is always a challenging topic to address. Love is (along with fear) the most universal and primal of emotions and the subject of enough literary energy to start its own fusion reaction. So what about Love in the most unlovely setting of all: Hell?

That was the question I had to ask myself when I was invited to write for Lovers in Hell. How can lovers maintain their relationship in the face of the curses that Hell can throw at them?

Several other writers in the Heroes in Hell series have depicted historically infamous sinners—Shakespeare, Napoleon, Marlowe, Caesar—with important (and sometimes successful) romantic relationships. How do they manage it? What keeps the fires burning in Hell? How would Peter Abelard and Heloise d’Argenteuil manage it? What would be their curses? What obstacles would seek to drive them apart?

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

I had long been doing research on the period of the 1100s AD in Western Europe, but had never had the opportunity to do a deep dive into the Parisian academic life of Notre Dame during that period. Paris was the height of intellectual inquiry and argumentation in the Europe of the day, and the rock-star of that academic scene was Peter Abelard. He quarrelled with his colleagues, had a scandalous affair with a lady of a powerful noble family, and was excommunicated for the heresies of his Rational philosophy.

But more than all that, Peter Abelard is most well-remembered as one half of a tragic love story between himself and his student, Heloise d’Argenteuil, the tale of a lifelong respect and care for each other, despite the tragedies and plots that contrived to keep them apart in life.

And if a man is best judged by his enemies, Abelard’s were considerable, including powerful members of the monolithic medieval Catholic Church, right up to and including the Popes of his age.

Abelard was a perfect nexus for exploring a bit of the philosophy and politics of the historical Church as well as questions about love, gender equity, pride, and what it means to be ‘damned.’

How did you become involved with this project?

Near as I can figure: pure blind luck. I happened to be doing an author event on Facebook, supporting the publication of a writing colleague and promoting my Matter of Manred series.

Joe Bonadonna, whom I knew by reputation as the author of the amazing work in (among other things) Mad Shadows and Three Against the Stars, reached out to me afterward and introduced himself as an agent for Perseid Press’s Heroes in Hell Anthology Series.

I’ve been a fan of Heroes in Hell going all the way back to its first incarnation in the late 1980s. It’s been a playground for such legends in the field as CJ Cherryh and the current franchise-owner and Hellion-in-Chief, Janet Morris.

So, when Joe offered me the opportunity to submit a hellacious short story for consideration in an upcoming Heroes in Hell title, I was honoured, as well as challenged, by the thought of taking up the distinguished mantle of ‘Hellion.’ It’s a privilege to join this illustrious and infernal society in their sandbox, and I am grateful to be included in their company.

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

The most unique thing about the “shared world” anthology series is how it creates such a deeply contextualized milieu. The authors each bring their own specific world-views together to create this dynamic backdrop against which the actions of the characters unfold. It’s a rare sort of social contract, a mutual pact of trust between authors: that we’ll do honor to the conversation that’s gone before.

Operating within that environment requires a deep respect and admiration for the history and effort that each of those authors and editors has contributed to the series, over the course of decades.

So the first thing I did was re-read the entire anthology, from its earliest incarnation to the present, to remind myself of how lovingly this Hellish world was developed, to refresh myself with the conversations among these great and many authors, and to understand the obligations that come with writing a story set in this world. It’s a privilege, and a lot of responsibility.

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

The tragic historical romance of Peter Abelard and Heloise d’Argenteuil was a mainstay of popular literary culture in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, depicted with various degrees of lurid detail, but always as a tale of forbidden—but consensual—love between student and master.

The reality of their historical correspondence raises some interesting questions about consent, however. Abelard repeatedly admits that he took unfair advantage of Heloise, and perhaps even raped her. And yet there is no denying the love, care, and respect they have for each other—particularly she for him—in their later epistles.

So theirs was clearly a complex relationship, set amid a pivotal moment in European history: the rise of the university system, Rational philosophy, the early Crusades, and the consolidation of Catholic authority.

I wanted to explore what that complex relationship would look like in Hell, faced with no social inhibitions against their once-forbidden love, and only their own demons between them.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently developing a new novel project, featuring adventure on the high seas of a savage shore, the dangers of imperialism, and the horrors of colonial subjectivism. A team of former soldiers and adventurers are dispatched in search of a mythic artefact erected by an ancient race in a lost city. Will they survive long enough to solve the mysteries and enigmas left in the ruins of empire?

I’m also tying up a fiction book proposal for another novel that’s already in the can, to be offered to publishing agents.

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

I just finished reading Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, which I’m sorry to say I hadn’t already read. It’s the story of an interstellar war, and the cruelties to which man will put his fellow man in the interest of “the greater good,” told with a spartan, yet delicate and philosophical style.

I also just re-read Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton. A classic swashbuckling Golden Age of Piracy adventure by a modern master of adventure tales, it’s the story of a dashing English privateer and his plot to steal a galleon of Spanish gold. Set in the seventeenth century Carribean against the backdrop of the colonial pirate city of Port Royal, Jamaica. The manuscript was found complete among Crichton’s artifacts after his death, and published posthumously.

In between, I’ve been working my way through the complete Arthur Conan Doyle bibliography of Sherlock Holmes titles, and revisiting Lovecraft country.

What are your views on authors offering free books?

Authors and publishers have always offered free books to book-buyers, when that used to mean, “bookshop owners and booksellers.” On my shelf, I have a Galley Copy of an Arthurian young adult fantasy that was passed along to me by the shop-owner of a Waldenbooks, when I clerked a summer there. The Galley Copy had been sent to the owner for free by the publisher, to whet the store’s interest in stocking from their new upcoming catalog of properties.

And professional book reviewers and critics with major media outlets, professors of courses in certain subject matters, talk-show hosts, all these have received free books from authors and publishing companies. “Promotional” copies of work have always been an important part of the business model of writing and publishing.

It’s certainly part of my business model as a writer. For promotional and personal reasons, I offer a free newsletter and blog where I share creative writing tips and fresh fiction scenes from my workshop. The second “story” in my fantasy saga, The Epistles of Eithne and Eowain, is available for free from my website, and a digital copy of Hedge King in Winter is available to subscribers of my newsletter.

But at the end of the day, writing’s a job and publishing’s a job, like any other job; the ledgers have to balance. The free copies have to pay for themselves, through their promotional value. So it’s all a balancing act and every author has to tread that line as best they can.

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

There was a Twilight Zone episode from the ‘80s series reboot, in which a professor argues with a devil over the plight of his soul. Throughout the episode, the devil is wearing a lettered, novelty t-shirt, but the message of the lettering changes everytime he’s in frame. My favorite message from that shirt: “Gehenna is a City. Much like Newark.” I myself grew up in that great State of New Jersey, so ever since, “Newark NJ = Gehenna.” I take a certain home-team pride in that.

What other books/short stories have you written?

So far, I’ve written and published a series of five stories — an epistle, two novellas, and two novels — in The Matter of Manred Saga, a series of heroic, low-fantasy, medieval adventures with strong Celtic themes and imagery:

  • The novellas, Hedge King in Winter, and
  • A Merchant’s Tale;
  • Nine letters between lovers, The Epistles of Eithne and Eowain;
  • And the novels, The Romance of Eowain, and
  • The Wedding of Eithne.

I also offer creative writing advice and free snippets of fresh fiction on my blog and in my newsletters, The Adventures in Indie Publishing.

Your readers can learn more about my writing from my blog and newsletter.

They can also follow me on Amazon and Goodreads, on Twitter (@MDellertDotCom) and on Facebook (Michael Dellert, Author).

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

Hell Week 2018 – Helen of Sparta

Character Spotlight

About yourself:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My desires – I’d like to be alone.

 

Author Spotlight

Author Biography

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

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

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

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

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

Social Media links

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter http://bit.ly/Twi2hJZ3h9

Goodreads http://bit.ly/GR2iqokvK

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

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

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

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

Books2Read newsletter sign up

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apart from that:

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

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

1)Politics

2)Religion

3)Greed

Wars are usually fought over one or other of these.

 

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

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

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

lovers in hell

Hell Week 2018 – A Day in the Life of Haeckel and Carter

Today on the Infernal Broadcasting Channel we welcome Ernst Haeckel and Howard Carter.  Pull up a seat by the fire and get out the marshmallows….

[Ernst Haeckel]: (Stares into empty interrogation room). “Gutentag. Is anyone in here?”

[Interviewer]: (An electronic voice rasps over the intercom). “Please, have a seat. Who are you?”

[EH]: “Ernst Haeckel. Do you not remember me?”

[Interviewer]: “Of course, sorry, lots of Hellions coming through today. It is quite chaotic with this queue, Doctor Ernst Haeckel. Have a seat. Questioning will begin shortly.”

[EH]: (Sits in one of two chairs at a table facing a one-way mirror, then strokes his white beard anxiously). “Last year, for Hell Week 2017, I spoke to a real person for the kick-off of Pirates in Hell.  Compared to this cell, that was a comfortable office. The Librarian of Erana, Alex Butcher, was a kind hostess with a splendid British accent. She appreciated the fantastical pasts of history. Back then, I was promoting the pirate tale ‘Curse of the Pharaohs’ in which my compatriot, the tomb raiding Howard Carter, and I explored the Mediterranean shores of the Vile Delta. You I cannot even see.”

[Interviewer]: “Let us get to the point. Do have Osiris’s treasure?”

[EH]:Was is das? I am an expert in natural life, not man-made art. Archaeology is Carter’s expertise.”

[Interviewer]: “You both are academic researchers who appreciate custom suits. I need to distinguish between your disciplines and art… and motives. Remember, anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.”

[EH]: “Interesting. What do you mean? It is simple. I dig through the earth to document living things, or their remains. Carter digs to find items that man crafted.”

[Interviewer]: “There must be overlap, things that you both would covet. What about weapons made from once-living matter, like bone? Architecture moulded from the earth? Or babies brewed in test tubes?”

[EH]: (Silently stroked beard, excited about those questions but afraid to implicate himself). “I am sure Carter would like those.”

[Interviewer]: “Any you, Doctor Haeckel?”

[EH]: “Perhaps.”

[Interviewer]: “Have you seen your partner recently, this Howard Carter?”

[EH]: (Looks around, unsure where to direct his voice). “Hmmm, not for several days. We do seem to be fated to work with each other, so I am sure our paths will cross. If we do, I am sure we will revert to our divisions of labour: he does relish looking at materials, while I enjoy dissecting nature’s beautiful objects.”

[Interviewer]: “You remain a discredited evolutionist—a creator of fake news, true?”

[EH]:Ja, perhaps. Yet, I am a renowned artist and ecologist.”

[Interviewer]: “Well, the authorities require the truth now. Not embellishment. Where is your partner in crime?”

[EH]: (scoffs). “I am no criminal or liar. However, sometimes the truth must be extrapolated. It is easier for the public to accept abstract concepts as if they are well-established theories, even when ideas are not even ripe hypotheses. Anyway, if you are looking for a criminal, then you want to know where Carter is? Why would I know?”

[Howard Carter]: (Opens door suddenly, enters, and shuts the door. Sits is the open chair beside wiping his brow of sweat with a handkerchief. His Savile Row suit vest bulges with a mysterious, fist-sized object). “Ernst! So glad you are here. I’m on the run—”

[EH]: (Motioning to quiet his compatriot, pointing to the mirror and ceiling).

[HC]: “—I found the most amazing, golden artefact. This is better than anything I found in King Tutankhamen’s tomb. This is—”

[EH]: (Clears throat loudly). “You speak in the company of others.”

[HC]: (Not detecting anyone present, raises an eyebrow). “Oh, are you being interrogated?”

[EH]:We are being interviewed, I think.”

[Interviewer]: “Howard Carter…”

[HC]:The Howard Carter.”

[Interviewer]: (Sighs). “Mr. Carter. Were you not fulfilled enough with your 1922 discovery of King Tut’s tomb? You received a lot of press in the papers. More complimentary than any Haeckel received. You still search for more glory. Explain.”

[HC]: (Stroking his vest, and its hidden content, as he leaned back in the chair). “Well, most archaeologists cannot find even a single treasure. They spend decades sieving through sand to find a few shards of pottery. Me? I found a whole trove. Me! I do impress myself. Why let all my potential go to waste?”

[Interviewer]: “Howard, are you still practicing your thievery?”

[HC]: “Archaeology?”

[Interviewer]: “Semantics. Do you court danger by hoarding treasures of antiquity?”

[HC]: (Rubs the hidden item in his suit pocket, then winks at Haeckel). “I do appreciate royal artefacts.”

[Interviewer]: “What is in your pocket, Mr. Carter?”

[EH]: (Glancing wide-eyed at Carter, gasps as he discerns the phallic shape tucked into the backside of Carter’s vest).

[HC]: (Shifts to conceal his chest from view). “Why? Are you in the market for something? I sense you would like to maintain anonymity like my other clients. I am open to offers.”

[Interviewer]: “Do either of you express remorse?”

[HC]: “What have we done?”

[Interviewer]: “For the record, I will review the myth of the Egyptian God Osiris. He was murdered—”

[EH]: “Murder is not really our forte.”

[Interviewer]: (Sigh). “Osiris ruled over Egypt with his wife Isis, but he was usurped by the God Set. The evil Set dismembered Osiris, cut him into thirteen parts.”

[HC]: “Most reliefs indeed point to Set as the culprit. But it may have been another. Not us, in any course.”

[Interviewer]: “All his parts have been reclaimed, but not his most prized masculinity. His phallus.”

[EH]: “Eh gad! The gods are real? And one lacks a penis?”

                (The door latches automatically).

[EH]: “Carter, the door is locked.”

[Interviewer]: “There is no escape from this room until you come clean.”

[EH]: (Clears throat). “We do not hide anything. the next Heroes in Hell Periodical called Lovers in Hell details our adventures. ‘Lovers Sans Phalli’ will explain everything. It will clear our names.”

[Interviewer]: “The gilded phallus of Osiris. Do you have it?”

[HC]: “How much do you want for it?”

[Interviewer]: “I have what I need. This interview is over.”

 

lovers in hell

S.E. Lindberg resides near Cincinnati, Ohio working as a microscopist, employing scientific and artistic skills to understand the manufacturing of products analogous to medieval paints. Two decades of practicing chemistry, combined with a passion for the Sword & Sorcery genre, spurs him to write graphic adventure fictionalizing the alchemical humors (primarily under the banner “Dyscrasia Fiction”).  With Perseid Press, he writes weird tales infused with history and alchemy (Heroika: Dragon Eaters, Pirates in Hell). He co-moderates the Sword & Sorcery group on Goodreads.com, and invites all to participate. He enjoys studying Aikido and creates all sorts of fine art in the family workshop.

 

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

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

Review – Lawyers in Hell #Sharedworld #darkfantasy #historicalfic

https://amzn.to/2pPSKtm – AMAZON UK

https://amzn.to/2GkYHWw – AMAZON

Lawyers in Hell cover

Lawyers in Hell forms part of the Heroes in Hell shared world. As usual with these anthologies, there is an eclectic mix of stories. Some I enjoyed more than others, but there was nothing I didn’t like. From Guy Fawkes trying to sue Satan (Fawkes believes he is a martyr and thus should be in heaven) to Leonides dealing with a recalcitrant Alexander, to ex-presidents, to succubi causing mayhem and Erra and his Sibbiti (an ongoing theme) there is mischief afoot in Hell.

It shows the talent of these authors that although the stories are clearly written by different people, feature a bewildering array of historical characters in all sorts of weird situations they flow smoothly in a brilliantly crafted world.

Humanity will be humanity – even in hell. And thus individuals wish to sue other individuals and the lawyers who worth and the Hall of Injustice are kept busy. Of course, being hell, nothing is simple, nothing works properly and there’s always a hidden agenda. All the characters have some form of penance to pay – be it taking cases they cannot win, representing demons, facing monsters, dealing with the unpredictable technology, and generally trying to survive Hell. The stories are sad (as I said humanity seeks to be humanity with its many faults), darkly humorous, clever, weird and enticing.

5 stars.

Zweihander Interview – Will and Kit

 

 Character Names: William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe

Relationship: Roommates; Playwrights; Co-authors

World: New Hell

Books:  Rogues in Hell; Dreamers in Hell; Poets in Hell; Pirates in Hell (Heroes in Hell series)

How and where did you meet?

Will Shakespeare: When alive, we met as rival playwrights, Kit holding forth in the ‘Admiral’s Men company’ wheresoever the troupe played, or at the Rose; and I at the Globe, where I owned an interest in the house.

 Kit Marlowe: Eyewash, all that. Shakespeare’s a famous liar. My Tamburlaine the Great, Parts I and II, were performed in my lifetime; the rest, posthumously, but for Dido, Queen of Carthage, writ by me and Thomas Nashe, and ‘performed’ by the ‘Children of the Chapel,’ as fair a clutch of boy charmers as ever gamboled on any stage. I met my death not too long after I met Will, a matter of my spying here and lying there, most times with Walsingham, whose wife took umbrage, as women will, when boys and men make love. Still, those plays set a new standard in quality and introduced blank verse. Mine were not, like Will’s, tripe writ for money-grubbery by the uneducated and for the uneducated. I helped Will write his Henry VI, Parts One, Two and Three and got no credit for it. Still, my own four plays performed on Earth after I arrived in Hell did what art should do: shined lights on evils hidden and calumny of the vilest kind.

 Will: Kit, let’s not linger on this question, unfortunate as it may be. We were sometime lovers, sometime haters of one another, but always haters of repression and Elizabethan frippery. If your spying got you killed, Kit, your love of controversy sparked it — yea, incited it.

 Kit: Incited? Poor choice of words, methinks. Edward the Second was first performed five weeks after my death; so that play, at least, retained its bite.

 What is it you like most about the other person?

Kit: Like about Will? His soft white skin, his ample buttocks — his mobile mouth, empowered tongue, and nubile breasts.

 Will: Kit means he adores my ear for language, my deeply probing artist’s soul, and my knack of staying out of trouble whilst I slip and slide among the rich and reprehensible at Court. Do recall I’m not the one who ended life with a bodkin thrust deep in that eye so like a doe’s.

What is it you hate most about each other?

Will: We said that. But, since you ask for more: his blasphemy and his need to fill his pages with the ‘vile heretical conceits’ that sent him to trial before the Privy Council.

 Kit: We told you that, and, like the Privy Council, you’ll acquit me on the grounds that truth itself can’t be denied — for long.

Will: Christopher Marlowe, like your English Agent in the Massacre at Paris, I hate your overweening pride and lurid need to confess your days of secret agency under so thin a guise as that play. What were you thinking, to warn Elizabeth of agitators, a theme far too dangerous to survive? And how many refugees from the low countries died of your ideas planted in their tiny little heads?

Do you think your partnership will last?

Kit: Henry Sixth answers that, for my part. It’s what Shakey would have writ had he an education or a life made dangerous enough to enjoy. And the rest, you see before you: two souls forever doomed to one another’s company in the bowels of perdition, to count eternity’s every day, and nights more deadly still.

Will: Kit’s a good boy, a young fellow led astray by childish derring-do, and with a taste for the hurly-burly that snuffed his life before its time. But now I have infernity to reform him, and Satan provides the irritant around which we’ll secrete a necklace of pearls while we write as we’ve never writ before.

 Describe the other person (max 100 words):

Kit: Will, go ye first, and light our path with your dulcet tones, so like a cello but a string or two short.

Will: Master Marlowe, my thanks for your recital, though it best be delivered later and revisited daily, as the Privy Council sentenced you to come before them every day: every day of the ten you had yet to live . . . Withal, I’ll try to answer the question: this Marlowe creature hungers for adoration and thirsts for justice, both of which were as precious scarce in life as they remain dubious in afterlife. Nevertheless, his talent is wider than the face of Paradise and tempered by a lifetime few would have dared to live — and I love him for his childish heart and indomitable soul.

Kit: My turn, then, to laud the Bard in terms free of spite and full with admiration: such a mind for the human animal has ne’er been seen on the black earth — not before he lived his quick span, or at any time thereafter. Although glorifying humanity may be an empty effort, he’s made them look into themselves, and find there what joy can be had, and give it value.

 Describe how you think the other person sees you

Will: I think not, for safety’s bereftest sake.

Kit: As my better half insinuates, ‘twould take a three-part comedy of errors to do that story justice. So I’ll not begin it, lest it never stop till eternity runs out.

Tell us a little about your adventures.

Will: Then or now? Becoming famous in life holds no candle to sustaining afterlife. We’ve written three plays now for Satan, and suffered the attendant woes of those who know true ignominy. We wrote Hell Bent, and died in it every night. We wrote The Witch and the Tyrant, and fell afoul of its graveyard stench. We wrote another, Pirates in Perdition, and found the very sounding of its name an incantation to summon fiends and demons and all manner of unexculpated souls.

Kit: Read our plays writ here, to Abbadon’s order, or don’t. But be warned: you’ll risk your wizened hearts every time you turn our pages and let your eyes rub words too dangerous to speak aloud.

Tell us about your world – and your part of it.

Will: Hell is the Reformation come to grief, with no Third Act to cure it.

Kit: Hell is where the heart is, and seldom beats. But when it does, that heart beats as only love can. We are Satan’s personal poets, and no worse can befall a soul who yet owns an ear for courage or for rhyme.

Where do you see yourselves in five years?

Kit: Right here. Scoffing at evil while we glorify every flaw that makes man human. What else, in hell, is a playwright to do?

Will: Enough, Kit. The last line of this comedy is mine: We’ll be here as long as ghosts roam the world and fools rule it; as long as regrets power penance and singers keen their pain.

 

You can find Will and Kit in the following:

Janet Morris on Amazon

Perseid Press Website

 

Good Cop/Bad Cop Interview – Daemon Grim & The Angel Grislington #Fantasy #Paranormal

#Meetacharacter #fantasy #Heroesinhell

HellHoundsMain Banner (1).png

Name of characters: Daemon Grim & The Angel Grislington

(Short intro about each of the characters.)

Daemon Grim: Satan’s Reaper of souls and Pack Leader of the Hell Hounds (His Infernal Majesty’s Ancient Disorder of bounty hunters) and the Inquisitors (Royal interrogators).

grimidea (1)

The Angel Grislington.
Captive cherub of the Most High, taken prisoner during the final battle at the Time of Sundering. (Current unlawfully at large within the realms of latterday hell).

Grislington - Copy

Q1 Daemon, why are you on this adventure? 

I’ve got to track down the angelic retard sat opposite me. He seems to think he can abscond from unlawful custody with impunity and spread his holier than thou platitudes without repercussions. Think again sucker!

Q2 Grislington, who is your nemesis? Why is this?

That misguided fool on the opposite side of the table. If he’d just let me be, I’d while away my time among the masses without drawing attention to myself. This is hell, after all, and there must be plenty of things to keep an inquisitive chap occupied while he decides what to do in the long-term?

Q3 Daemon, at your final showdown what are your plans (promise we won’t tell)?

I don’t care if you do tell? In fact, I want you to shout it from the rooftops, because when I do catch up with this…this shiney whitey, sitting on a cloud all day yanking his own chain tosspot, I’ll rub his face so far into the dirt, he’ll be spitting out dog turds for what’s left of his incredibly short lifespan.

Q4 As an angel of God, it’ll be interesting to see how you’d define a hero?

 My dear, that’s an easy one to answer. A hero is anyone who has to listen to Grim’s infernal rhetoric for more than a few minutes at a time. Honestly, could you think of anything worse? “I’m gonna cut you up – kill you – give you one hell of a Chinese burn for daring to do the slightest thing that doesn’t fit with Lucifer’s petty prince of darkness politicking.” Blah, blah, blah…For goodness sake, change the record. Can’t you think of anything original to say?

Q5 Daemon, you work for the Prince of Darkness. So how would you define a villain?

 Anyone who dares question the tenets by which I lead my unlife. As the pack leader of the Hell Hounds, we are bound by ancient decree to always be guided by the Laws of Lucifer, and to protect and defend his most despicable doctrines. We will pursue all enemies of the state – without mercy – throughout the length and breadth of the Sheolspace continuum until they are brought to heel and subjected to injustice’s purifying scales.

Q6 Grislington, why do you think Daemon is on the path he or she is?

 Because the poor boy hasn’t really got a choice. He has serious daddy issues that require the pandering of a constant urge to seek Lucifer’s approval on absolutely everything; from what he thinks to how he acts; who he sees and where he lives; he can’t even take a dump without fretting it might not fit into his regimented, regulated little world. Hand on heart, his path is leading him right down the toilet, but he’s too blinded by a false sense of loyalty to see.

Q7 Daemon, what are your feelings about God’s holy angel?

I don’t have feelings. I don’t experience love or hatred; joy or remorse; hope or despair. I’m merely possessed by the overwhelming, overriding urge to detach his head from his scrawny body and present it on a platter for my Dark Father to use as a toasting cup…a very small toasting cup. Perhaps something for pre-dinner aperitifs?

Q8 Grislington, where will you be 10 years from now?

I haven’t really decided yet. I might stay and savor the dark delights the damned have to offer or I might reach out and try for home again. It all depends if I can collect my wits – and my wings – from wherever it is they’ve been scattered.

Q9 Daemon, why should readers believe YOU are right?

Because as everyone in the underworld knows, I never lie. And I promise you, I’m gonna castrate this dick from the neck down the first chance I get.

Q10 This final question is to you both. Do you have anything you’d like to say to each other that you may not get the chance to say when you meet?

 Daemon Grim: Not really, I’ll let my scythe do the talking.

The Angel Grislington: Good luck with that…Remember, I’m not just any old angel. I’m a cherub of the holy court, and unhinged or not, I just might surprise you.

 

Hell Week 2017 – Larry Atchley Jr/Henry Morgan

 

 

Character Spotlight

About yourself:

*Who are/were you?   Tell us about your life before you came here, and after. I, Henry Morgan, was born in Wales around the year 1635 but the opportunities for a Welshman in those days for adventure and wealth were scarce, so I set out for the West Indies for some excitement, and to try to make my fortune as a privateer. The governor of Jamaica gave me a letter of marque so that I could legally attack Spanish ships and seize their cargo. I was even able to attack many cities under Spanish rule, including Panama City, Porto Bello, and Maracaibo raiding them for their riches. I was one of the most successful privateers of all time. King Charles the 2nd awarded me knighthood and I became Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica after retiring from privateering.

After dying and ending up in hell, I suffered many lifetimes worth of years of drudgery and toil before I could acquire my own ship and begin plundering the riches of the ships on the seas of hell.

* Why do YOU think you’re in Hell? Morgan: My love for riches was surpassed only by my love for drink. Perhaps my excesses with strong libations led to my damnation. Of course privateering is nasty business.  I killed many men.  Some people had to be physically convinced into giving up their information about the defenses of the cities I plundered.

Who are your friends/allies here? Morgan: I found unlikely allies in the shopkeeper Anton LaVey, founder of the modern Church of Satan before his damnation, and the Viking heroes Erik the Red, and his son Leif Eriksson, and Ragnar Loddbrok who joined me on my quest for the Unholy Grail that is rumoured to allow damned souls to become inebriated.

Do you have any enemies here? Morgan: HSM’s naval forces are on the prowl for me and my ship “Stingray” because I have plundered many trade vessels on the seas of hell.

Pirate – is that a word you resent? Morgan: I do not resent being called a pirate, though for most of my career I was known as a privateer, plundering Spanish ships and cities under the service of the British Empire and His Majesty the King.

How do you define ‘piracy’? Morgan: Taking something of value from someone else for one’s own personal gain.

What is the WORST thing about being here? Morgan: The worst thing about being in hell is not being able to get drunk. But I am working on a solution to that problem.

Before you arrived here did you actually believe in HSM and his fiery domain? Bet that was a shock! Morgan: I figured that if there was a hell, I’d be bound for it.  I wasn’t all that surprised to find out it really did exist.

Eternity – that’s a damned long time. How to you spend the endless years here?Morgan: I bide my time by plundering ships, and looking for a loophole to the rule of not being able to get drunk in hell.

What do you miss most about your old….life? Morgan: I miss rum, wine and brandy, and the sensation of drunkenness.

Author Spotlight

*Name and bio.

Larry Atchley Jr. grew up in Grapevine, Texas, and has been writing stories and poems since he was in middle school. When he’s not writing, he likes reading and collecting books on a wide range of subjects and genres, hiking and mountain biking in the woods, birding, Kung Fu martial arts, playing guitar and harmonica, listening to all kinds of music, and watching britcoms and movies with his wife Ali, who is a writer and artist. Larry performs along with his wife and fellow crew members with the group The Seadog Slam which performs recitations of pirate poetry and performs pirate songs at various public appearances and festivals in North Texas.

* Tell us about your story for this edition.

Captain Sir Henry Morgan was famous for his drinking as a pirate buccaneer in the seventeenth century. I thought it would be fun for him to be on a quest for the one object in hell that was rumoured to be able to let damned souls get drunk, despite His Satanic Majesty’s rule against it being able to happen. Drunkeness would be the one thing that Morgan would miss most dearly from his life before damnation, and so he would want it more than anything. He goes to Anton LaVey’s shop Hellish Curiosities and Clothiers, a place known for its rare artefacts, to see if LaVey knows if it really exists and where it might be located. They end up going on an adventure together to try to find this so-called unholy grail.

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

I thought that Henry Morgan was an interesting choice because of his infamy for his love of the drink and the troubles it got him into in life. I wanted to explore his obsession/addiction and how it would drive him to search for the ability to get drunk again while damned to hell where it wasn’t possible to become inebriated.

How did you become involved with this project?

I Met Janet Morris online in 2010 when she was reviving the Heroes in Hell series for the 21st century. I was invited to submit a story for the anthology Lawyers in Hell, and had my story “Remember, Remember, Hell in November” accepted which was my first published story. I subsequently went on to have stories published in several volumes in the series including Rogues in Hell, Dreamers in Hell and Poets in Hell. Being one of the regular Hellion writers for the series meant that I could submit a story for the latest book. I managed to get something in at the eleventh hour that Janet graciously put a lot of work into editing it into a usable story in time to be included in the book. I can’t thank her and Chris Morris enough for the opportunity to have a story in this edition the of the series.

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

It takes a lot of research and knowledge of the rules and tropes of the series that you are writing for. It is harder than writing a stand-alone story but I find that it is very rewarding writing for a shared world series. You get to be part of a much bigger world than anything else you could come up with yourself. It is an honor to write for the Heroes in Hell series, especially since I have been a fan of it since the first books in the 1980’s.

What are you currently working on?

I’m always working on more short stories and two or three novels that are works in progress. Mostly dark fantasy, action adventure fantasy genre stuff.

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

“We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell”

-Oscar Wilde

 

What other books/short stories have you written?

“Remember, Remember, Hell in November” my first published story, which appeared in Lawyers in Hell in June 2011. “Ragnarok & Roll” in Rogues in Hell, “Knocking on Heaven’s Gates” in Dreamers in Hell, and “Poetic Injustice” in Poets in Hell. He has also contributed stories to the Sha’Daa shared world series created by Michael H. Hanson, which include “Time for a Change” in Sha’Daa: Pawns, and “Harmonic Dissonance” in Sha’Daa Facets. Other works include “Shadow of a Doubt” in the horror anthology, What Scares the Boogeyman, and “A Light in the Black” in the Victorian era historical horror anthology Terror by Gaslight. His poetry credits include “The Stoic’s Mask” in the art/poetry/story collection Klarissa’s Dreams and “The Shadow People” in the poetry collection A Book of Night. I’ve written countless other unpublished short stories and poems and have a couple of fantasy novels as works in progress.

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

The printing press, the personal computer, and the internet. They are all ways in which we have expanded, shared and spread knowledge throughout the world.

EXCERPT from your story:

From “Unholiest Grail” by Larry Atchley Jr. in Pirates in Hell, edited by Janet Morris

     Morgan felt a palpable fear rising from his bowels, and although prayer was denied him, he could lament in the privacy of his skull.  And this he did: In my life I have faced many challenges, from men, women, from the sea. I have faced each one with bravado and courage. But now comes a rarer torment: this uncertainty of being forever snuffed out of existence in hell, a punishment too cruel. If he died here, he might be obliterated, with no return even to the netherworlds. He might cease to exist completely, and eternally, forgotten as if he’d never lived at all. A shudder wracked his sturdy frame. I surely don’t court obliteration. But to revel in the sensation of inebriation again, after all these years . . . for even a chance at that most delectable of experiences; surely it’s worth the risk. The craving for drink has been upon me ever since I awoke in this domain of the damned. But it’s been the strongest since I first heard the story of the unholy grail. ‘Drink is the devil’ we privateers liked to say while alive. Knowing it causes one to commit deeds both careless and terrible. It brings forth the worst in a person. But never could I abstain from it, that carefree, impassioned, elated, and yet numbed feeling of drunkenness. I love it so. I love it more than life itself. I made my deal with the devil every time I besotted myself. And I’ll gladly do it again, to cast off the doldrums and despair of existence in hell.

 

Links:

Facebook: Larry Atchley Jr

Blog/Website: www.larryatchleyjr.wordpress.com

Twitter @LarryAtchleyJr

Amazon : https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B006OGZJVE

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6440299.Larry_Atchley_Jr_