Sunday, June 25, 2017

INTRODUCING: LORRAINE CAREY, AUTHOR

This time around, I thought I'd try something a little different. Instead of asking author Lorraine Carey a bunch of questions and posting her answers, I'm doing a "change-up" and posting her bio, some photos and book covers, plus excerpts from her books, as well as her social media links and product links. So sit back and enjoy as I introduce to you my dear friend, Lorraine Carey.

Lorraine Carey is a veteran children's reading specialist, teacher and an International Award-Winning Author. She has taught in many states in the US and provided reading services for students at a private school on Grand Cayman, where she lives with her husband. Six years ago she was a city gal, living in Orange County, California, where life was very different from the one she lives now. Trading in her fashionable heels for flip-flops was quite a change, but led to a lifestyle that allowed for a writing career to begin.

Her love for paranormal stories and urban legends began at a young age, when staying up all night to watch spooky movies or reading a scary book started a lifelong passion.

Published novels include: Losing Ground, a short memoir, followed by Mysteries of the Red Coyote Inn, Out of the Ashes, Jonathan's Locket and The Last Vestal Virgin. All of these novels are paranormal with a mix of historical fiction, woven with urban legends. Beloved Sacrifice is a Supernatural Thriller for Young Adults to Adults. A Rock Star Reader by Kindergarten is a self-help guide for parents on creating a successful reader and lifelong lover of literacy. The Good Teacher: Women of the Willow Wood — Book 1, a Supernatural thriller, was Indie published and now under contract with Emsa Publishing. It is a projected series to include three books.

Most recent works include Camp Cougar, which is the author’s first attempt in the erotica field. She has teamed up with a co-author to create this hybrid, humorous erotica.



When not writing you can find Lorraine reading, beach-hopping, snorkeling, or boating around the island with her husband on their boat, the Angelica

Here's a synopsis of her novel, The Good Teacher: Women of the Willow Wood (Book 1)

When first-year teacher Daniella Reyes starts teaching at a new school she is frightened by the crows that follow her everywhere. Being a woman with highly empathic abilities and a victim of child abuse, she is tuned to pick up the vibes from abused children in her classroom. She’s desperate to help them while trying to cling onto a normal life with Luke. As she slowly discovers the secrets of a powerful, ancient cult, she finds out that her life is anything but normal as the hidden world of New Mexico opens up to her. She must make a life-altering sacrifice if she wants to save the children, her father’s soul and her own life.

Not since Practical Magic has a novel captured the essence of powerful magic and pure love where strong women in a family know no boundaries.

This supernatural thriller is Book 1 of Women of the Willow Wood.

And here's an excerpt from The Good Teacher:

Carmen attempts to get Dani to Santa Fe ~

 We headed up Interstate 25 doing about eighty miles an hour. “Just where’s the fire, lady?”
“There’s a storm coming, and I want to beat it,” she said with her eyes fixed straight ahead. “Besides, we have a noon appointment with Nina Santos.”
I was so tired and confused with everything I forgot to even ask about our lodging. “So where are we staying, pray tell?”
“I’ve booked us into La Moderna hotel. Two double beds, second floor, and breakfast is included,” she revealed.
Just the thought of breakfast had me queasy again. I had to lie down on the back seat for a bit. Maybe I could close my eyes, and it would stop.
“Holy Shit!” Carmen boomed
I jumped up. “What… what’s happening?”
I could see the dark clouds up ahead. They were headed straight for us. I don’t think I ever remember seeing such dark clouds as these before. They were thick and huge. The rain hit along with loud bursts of thunder. Then came the lightning. The rain was coming down in sheets.
“Pull over Carmen. I’m scared!”
Carmen drove a bit up ahead till we could faintly see a turn off into a small lot.
We sat as the car shook with the high winds and the rain pelted us from all sides. I thought the front windshield was going to give in.
“It’s going to be fine, Daniella. I had expected something like this. It’s all in line with being tested.”
“Being tested? What do you mean?”
“It’s a test of strength. The spell that was cast has built up energy, and because it went awry, low-lying negatives are trying to stop us by breaking this. You are the one who needs protection, not just your father. You are the gateway so to speak for paving the way to his soul release. There are those who want to usurp your power. They want to go along for the ride - and at a time when you are most vulnerable. It makes it easy for them.”
Them? I shivered. The rain pounded onto the windows. I covered my head and braced for shards of broken glass. We must have sat there for at least a half hour. It was not letting up. The winds were rocking the car back and forth. The rain had stopped, but it was black as pitch out there. It was as if our car was inside of a huge storm cloud.
“Carmen, maybe we need to get out of the car and lie on the ground like you do in a tornado.”
“No. We’re staying right here in the car. We’re far safer in here. They’re out there.”
“Who’s out there?”
“The skinwalkers.”
“Now you can’t be serious? Come on, Carmen!”
“You’ve heard of them, Dani. You grew up in New Mexico.”
 “I’ve heard stories but mostly thought they were shifters who roamed cattle ranches at night.”
“Not just stories. Now hand me my bag, please.”
I was beginning to feel as though I was in an episode of The X-Files.
Carmen took out a small vial of oil and a small container of some light-colored powder. She added the powder to the oil. “I’ve got to seal all the windows and doors with this magic mix. It’s a mix of pure white bark powder and Frankincense. It should keep them out.” Her voice was shaky, but she continued to speak. “They know you’re a high empath, and I a guardian. They can make us sick and murder us at worst.”
“Just cast one of your spells on them.” I was now in the front seat, and Carmen was in the back smearing the mixture on the doors and along the windows.
“Can’t. They’re in full power now. Our part is to see how we get through his. These are strong malevolent witches. They possess great knowledge of medicine and are also healers. To kill us would be a big win for them. They are feeding off of your powers Dani.”
       Feeding? Witches? I could only hope I’d get through this thing alive. The chances were slim.



You can find Lorraine's Blog Site, Amazon Page, and find her on any of these social media sites:

 Facebook https://www.facebook.com/StorySpirit4U?ref=hl


Lorraine's website http://lorrainecarey.com/



Goodreads

Amazon Page

Blog 
http://www.adele-angelic-lights.blogspot.com

Her blog is also featured on her website . . . and you can find all of Lorraine's books by clicking on the following links to Amazon.com

Buy Links for Books.

The Good Teacher~

Camp Cougar~

Mysteries of the Red Coyote Inn~

Out of the Ashes: A Dean Banks Adventure~

Jonathan’s Locket~

The Last Vestal Virgin~

Beloved Sacrifice ~

A Rock Star Reader By Kindergarten~



Thank you very much, Lorraine, for taking the time to participate in something different on my blog. Have fun in the sun!


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

MOVIE REVIEW: THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA

"I'm a scientist, Ranger Brad. I don't believe in anything."


Having seen this wonderfully campy film several years ago, I mentioned to my friend and fellow author, Ted Rypel, that I wanted to see it again. So he bought me a copy and had it sent to me. This is a highly-enjoyable film, a nostalgic romp back in time for those of us who grew up on films like this -- except those films were unintentionally funny. This film has every intention of making you laugh and smile. Larry Blamire's silly and brilliantly funny spoof of those old, black-and-white sci-fi films of the 1950s and early 1960s is even better the second time around. Two scientists, one more dim-witted than the other, are searching for a meteor that contains the most valuable "mineral" in the universe: atmospherium. Professor Armstrong, one of the scientists played by Larry Blamire himself, does "science things." His wife is the perfect 1950s housewife, and not too bright herself. "I know it's hard being a scientist's wife, being the wife of scientist," he tells her at one point. The aliens from the planet Mavra are also in need of the atmospherium to repair their damaged spaceship, which looks as if it was made by a 10 year-old kid out of tin foil and an empty paper towel role. Both aliens are as dumb and as strange as you can get, and they drink cherry wine out of candle holders! One scientist uses the aliens' caulk-gun gizmo to turn four forest creatures into a sexy but very bizarre human woman who likes to dance to rock and roll music. The mutant is the funniest looking and most hilariously conceived creature since those old Italian "pepla" films. The lost skeleton itself is held together by wires and manipulated with strings that are all too clearly visible. He's a wise-cracking skeleton straight out of vaudeville. Every time the skeleton appeared on screen I kept expecting him to use that old Three Stooges' gag: "Greetings, gents! My name is Red!" But Blamire is too clever a filmmaker to borrow a bit from another source. With quotable dialogue that is far from cliched and you won't see coming, with the cheesiest special FX since Ed Wood picked up a camera, with a silliness that is highly contagious, and with cinematography that captures to perfection those classic B and C movies, this one is in a class of its own. Great cast headed, too, who surely had a ball making this film. 



If you loved "Young Frankenstein," you're really gonna love "The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra."


Purchase link:
.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

My Interview with author ZRINKA JELIC


Zrinka Jelic lives in Ontario, Canada. A PAN member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as Savvy Authors, she writes contemporary fiction— which leans toward the paranormal —and adds a pinch of history. Her characters come from all walks of life, and although she prefers red, romance comes in many colors. Given Jelic’s love for her native Croatia and the Adriatic Sea, her characters usually find themselves dealing with a fair amount of sunshine, but that's about the only break they get.
  


I met Zrinka through our mutual friend, Erika M Szabo, and am getting to know her as an incredibly nice, friendly soul with a cool sense of humor. She is a fine and gifted writer, a very prolific author with a love of history and the paranormal. We belong to a number of the same online writing/author communities, as well as many Facebook groups where authors can promote themselves and their books. I thought it might be fun and interesting to interview her, and it was. So here we go!
  
What and who are some of your influences?

Though I enjoy writing styles of several authors, I don’t believe I’m influenced by them. I strive to find my own style and voice and not write the same book everyone else is writing. Yes, writing commercial fiction for profit tends to lead to the mimicking that hot book everyone reads and talks about. I’ve seen this happen with the Twilight series when vampires exploded and saturated market. I’ve seen this fad with The Hunger Games, Fifty Shades of Gray, and I’m pretty sure I’ll see it again and again. 


What inspired you to start writing, and how long have you been writing?

I’ve always written and made stories up. My imagination got me in trouble when I was a child because some kids couldn’t see that I’m making it up, but actually believed it to be truth. I didn’t start seriously writing until seven or so years ago when a friend said I should really try. I took her advice, believing nothing will ever come out of it, but to my surprise, my debut novel got accepted for publication. Now, seven books later, and several short stories that appeared in anthologies, I’m glad I listened to her.


What genres and/or literary style do enjoy writing in the most?

I’m a romance lover through and through.


 Tell us about your latest published book, short story or novella.

My first self-published book (but #7 in the line) is titled The Wedding Date, and it’s a romantic comedy. It’s a story of a pretend date that turns real.
  


Besides the “entertainment factor,” what do you strive for in your writing?

Well, I’m always super careful of grammar, being non-native to the English language, however, even with numerous critique partners, beta readers and editors some error always seems to slip through. And with foreign name readers, reviewers are very, very quick to point that out in their reviews. Many of the reviewers are authors themselves and their own books could use tighter editing. So I suppose the saying ‘before you accuse me, take a look at yourself’ doesn’t apply in their case.


Would you say that your stories are more plot-driven or character-driven?

 I never understood this question. How can you have a story without either factor? Characters react to the events in the story (plot points) if they don’t react how much of the story would be there? So one is driving the other, there would be no plot without characters nor would there be characters without a plot. At least that is how I see this. Characters and the plot are equally important and essential components of the story. (Great answer and you ask a great  question . . . and you’re the first to ask that question!  As I see it, plot-driven or action-driven is usually where the story is more concerned with the gizmo or gadget, and action. Character driven is when more thought is given to characters, more introspection, and often deal with the human condition.  I write mostly adventure stories with a lot of action, but I spend more time on character relationships and interaction than I do on the “action scenes.” So I try to make my stories driven by the characters and their motives: I’m more concerned about the lives of the men and women who build the rocket ship, than the actual building of the rocket ship. That’s my definition, at least. — JB)


What can you tell us about your latest work(s) in progress?

I’m struggling as to what to write next. I’ve started two projects and not sure about either. They would eventually get completed, but at the time I’m leaning towards something else, only I don’t know what that is yet. (It will come to you. The characters will tell you when it’s time to write their story. — JB)



In what direction do you think your work is now heading? 

I think this brings me back to the previous question. I may have to take a very long break and see if I should continue on with writing. Writing is my creative outlet and I’m not competitive. I do not wish to cheat Amazon to improve my ranking. This and reviews stating I need to find a better editor put me off writing. It’s hard to have your dream so blatantly crushed shortly after it barely took off, but that’s the way the world’s moving. I understand that there will be criticism, we all get reviewed in our jobs, but that is done behind closed door of your manager’s office, not put on the public display.


What genre of fiction have you not yet written for, but plan to in the future?

I planned to write a YA and actually tried it, and not finding my voice there.


What are some of your all-time favorite films and TV shows?

I stopped watching television long ago and got rid of cable. And I never regretted it.


Tell us about your writing habits, such as: Do you outline extensively? Do you create your characters first, or your plot? Do you listen to music while writing, and if so, what kind?

I start outlining, but eventually give up because I never know which way the story will take me. I think I create plot first, and develop characters around it. Our life events shape us to who we are and we change with them. I do listen to music, but it has to be strictly instrumental or the lyrics will distract me.


 What else can you tell us about yourself and your reading habits?
I like to read any genre as long as the story captures me. I’m not a grammar Nazi (though I try my best to get the grammar as correct as possible) so I don’t pay too much attention to grammar errors unless they are on every page. I do, however, have a pet peeve with head hopping, choppy styles, info dumping, telling, long paragraphs that are a hurdle to read, stiff dialogue, too many dialogue “tell tags” where action/emotion should do that, or in some instances . . . no tag was needed because it was clear who spoke; incorrect info given without fact checking (e.g. in a book I’ve read the heroine earned her black belt in TKD in two years. Not a chance!) Then there are characters where their name and/or appearance change part way through the book; and of course, the plot holes. These are the things that will make or break a book for me. I don’t nitpick if a word is misspelled or a wrong word is used due to auto correct feature. I read the book as a whole, not a separate sentence.

Thank you, Zrinka, for being such a good sport and taking the time to do this review and letting me pick your brain a little. It was fun and insightful.
You can find Zrinka Jelic and her books on Amazon and Facebook. 
Be sure to check out her website, too!

Amazon Author Page:

On Facebook: Zrinka Jelic, Romance Author

Website:





Thursday, May 11, 2017

AN INTERVIEW WITH FRIEND AND FELLOW AUTHOR DERRICK FERGUSON

DORGO'S BAKER'S DIRTY DOZEN PRESENTS: Derrick Ferguson.



I “met” Derrick Ferguson on Facebook some years ago, through many mutual friends, and we even share a publisher, Airship 27 Productions. He is one of the bright lights of the New Pulp brand of adventure and mystery and heroic fiction, and a very prolific, consummate writer. In fact, he’s always writing: besides his fiction, he blogs and Tweets, has a couple of Facebook pages that are among the most busy and popular I know of, and he reviews moves . . . lots of movies . . . all kinds of movies. You wouldn’t believe how many movies he reviews for his website, The Ferguson Theater! Eloquent and erudite, he is also one of the nicest guys I’ve come to know, generous with his time, and always engaging in some excellent conversation with his friends and fans. Among his many fine novels are Search for the Beast, The Madness of Frankenstein, and Fortune McCall. He’s also contributed stories to a number of anthologies, including Sinbad: The New Voyages, Black Pulp, and Bass Reeves: Frontier Marshall. He’s probably best known for his wonderful character of Dillon, soldier of fortune, star of such novels as Dillon and the Voice of Odin, Four Bullets for Dillon, and Dillon and the Legend of the Golden Bell. Always a gentleman of good grace, over the last few years Derrick has been kind enough to interview me not once, but three times for his interview series called “Kicking the Willy Bobo,” which is featured on his Blood and Ink website. Well, I finally get a chance to return the favor and interview him.

What and who are some of your influences and inspirations?
DF: Movies, any and all. Marvel and DC comics. Westerns, print, film and TV. James Bond, book and movie incarnations. Classic Pulp, especially Doc Savage. Lester Dent. Ian Fleming. Robert R. McCammon. George C. Chesbro. Michael Moorcock. Chester Himes. Ishmael Reed. Mike Resnick. Charles Saunders. Leigh Brackett. Jim Steranko. Robert E. Howard. I'll stop here. This whole interview could easily be taken up with me listing my influences.

Many of my influences, too. So how and why did you decide to start writing?
DF: I don't recall ever making a conscious decision to start writing. It seems as if I always have been. Even as a kid I made up stories to entertain myself and others. In elementary school I would write Edgar Rice Burroughs influenced stories with my classmates as the characters. I'd write a 'chapter' on both sides of loose leaf paper and end it on a cliffhanger. I wouldn't write the next 'chapter' until it made the rounds of the class. In junior high school I wrote a Hitchcock influenced murder mystery play that was actually performed for the entire school.

What genres and/or literary style do enjoy writing in the most?
DF: For better or for worse I've become identified with New Pulp. What is New Pulp? Well, here's the general description most of us who write it have agreed on: “New pulp is fast-paced, plot oriented storytelling of a linear nature with clearly defined, larger than life protagonists and antagonists, creative descriptions, clever use of turns of phrases, words, as well as other aspects of writing that add to the intensity and pacing of the story.”

Tell us about your latest published book, short story or novella.
DF: The most recent thing I've had published is THE THOUSAND EYED FEAR which is one half of “Nightscape Double Feature #1.” It's the brainchild of David Edwards, who is the insanely imaginative creator of the Nightscape Universe which consists of a movie, novels, a comic book and a CD of original music. David contacted me about doing a World War I novel and I jumped on the chance as I do with any opportunity to stretch my writing muscles. My story concerns a group of teenage soldiers named The Lost Boys and their leader, 'Strongboy' Quigg as they go on a suicide mission behind enemy lines to destroy a German super weapon. One that has otherworldly origins.

Besides the “entertainment factor,” what do you strive for in your writing?
DF: I would hope that African-American readers in particular would enjoy the adventures of Dillon, Sebastian Red and Fortune McCall because these are characters in situations that I don't think we're used to seeing black heroes in. Dillon goes on the type of globe spanning adventures such as the ones Doc Savage, James Bond and Indiana Jones engage in. Sebastian Red is a supernatural gunslinger wandering an alternate world Wild West that might have been dreamed up by Sergio Leone and Michael Moorcock. Fortune McCall is a black adventurer in the 1930s



Would you say that your stories are more plot-driven or character-driven?
DF: Any story worth a damn has got to start with the characters, far as I'm concerned. I love plot as much as the next pulp writer but if that plot doesn't have compelling characters inhabiting it that are doing interesting things, it's a waste of time. Out of all the advice about writing I've gotten, one is tattooed on my brain: “Plot Is What Happens. Story Is Who It Happens To.”

(I totally agree!) What can you tell us about your latest work(s) in progress?
DF: I'm currently about 40K words into THE RETURN OF THE SPECIALISTS a sequel to the book I co-wrote with Joel Jenkins; “The Specialists.” In this sequel, Dillon rounds up a bunch of badasses to foil the nefarious plot of a worldwide criminal organization. I love Men On A Mission movies like “The Wild Geese” “The Professionals” “Force 10 from Navarone” “Kelly's Heroes” and “The Expendables” and this is my opportunity to do my riff on the concept. I'm also working on and off (more off than on, I'm afraid) on THE TRAIL OF SEBASTIAN RED and THE RETURN OF FORTUNE McCALL.



Those sound really intriguing. Can you tell us what are some literary goals you’d like to achieve?
DF: I really never know how to answer that one because 'literary' seems too high-falutin' for what I do. I just like to make up stories and share them with others in the hope and expectation that they'll get as much enjoyment out of reading them as I did writing them. There are certain genres I'd like to write in just for the pure hell of it. I'd like to write a Gothic Romance, believe it or not. Something like “Rebecca”.  I'd like to write a Space Opera but I'm too intimidated by “Star Wars” and “Guardians of The Galaxy”. If I can't write something at least as good as that, then what's the point? I'd like to write a Haunted House story. I've even got a title for it: “The House at 666 Cemetery Lane”

What genre of fiction have you not yet written for, but plan to in the future?
DF: I'm a huge fan of detective fiction and so far have only written one story in that genre. I've long wanted to fully immerse myself in those waters.

Name a few of your favorite literary characters and tell us why they are your favorites?
DF: Doc Savage immediately comes to mind. When it comes to pulp adventure, for me it begins and ends with Doc Savage. There's so much of what makes him unique and special that has been strip mined and used for other characters that it isn't even funny. If it hadn't been for Lester Dent and Doc Savage, there would be no Dillon or Fortune McCall.

Elric of Melnibone, Conan, Solomon Kane and Karl Edward Wagner's Kane are my favorite sword-and-sorcery heroes. If 'heroes' is the right term to be applied to them. They're all pretty complicated guys (yes, even Conan in a way). It was from Elric and Kane that I learned that heroes don't have to be likeable for you to be interested in them and even grow to care about them.

What are some of your all-time favorite films and TV shows?
DF: Lordy...we'll be here all night. But I'll try to hold it down to a manageable number. First off, my 12 all-time favorite TV shows: “Have Gun Will Travel” “Voyage To The Bottom of The Sea” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” “Green Acres” “The Wild Wild West” “The Fall Guy” “The A-Team” “Magnum, P.I.” “The Bob Newhart Show” “The Simpsons” “Murphy Brown” “The Big Bang Theory” Ask me this time next week and there's an excellent chance it'll be a completely different list.

Now as to movies...as with TV shows I'll give you the first twelve right off the top of my head: “The Ten Commandments” “Star Wars: A New Hope” “Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom” “Little Shop of Horrors” “El Dorado” “The Magnificent Seven” “Yojimbo” “Blazing Saddles” “Diamonds Are Forever” “On Her Majesty's Secret Service” “House On Haunted Hill” “Hard Boiled”

This is as good a time as any to mention that I write movie reviews and if your readers would be so good as to scoot on over to The Ferguson Theater:  https://derricklferguson.wordpress.com/ they will find a couple hundred movie reviews I've written. That'll give you more of an insight into the movies I like and provide you with some mighty fine reading if I do say so myself.

Seems we grew up reading and watching much of the same stuff. Now, tell us about your writing habits, such as: Do you outline extensively? Do you create your characters first, or your plot? Do you listen to music while writing, and if so, what kind?
DF: I used to say that I didn't outline until one day I woke up an realized that my first drafts were indeed my outline in a way. But outlining in the technical sense? Nah. Everybody has their own way of working and I found out long ago that working that way just doesn't work for me. I like to surprise myself while writing because I figure that if I'M surprised and I'm writing the damn thing then the reader will be surprised as well.

I usually create characters first and then the stories/plots will come from them. I recall Robert E. Howard saying once that his Conan stories came out of him as if Conan was relating them to him and Howard was just transcribing what he was telling. I don't go that far but I rarely come up with a story/plot and then have to think up characters to go along with it. The characters come first and they dictate the adventures they're going to have.
I don't listen to music while writing first drafts as I'm trying to hear/see the film that's playing on the Mental Movie Screen in my head. But during the editing/rewriting process I'll listen to music vaguely related to whatever it is I'm writing. For instance, if I'm writing a Sebastian Red story I'll listen to Ennio Morricone soundtracks and Gangstagrass. For Fortune McCall I'll listen to big band music from the 1930s and 40s.



If anybody is still reading this and wants to know more about me and my work there's quite a few places you can hang out and interact with me:

BLOOD & INK   http://dlferguson-bloodandink.blogspot.com/   is the blog where I usually keep folks up to date on my latest projects and I also have interviews with writers and like-minded creative types.

DILLON   https://derrickferguson1.wordpress.com/   is a blog totally devoted to my most popular character. Anything and everything you want to know about Dillon, you can find it here.

You can find me on Twitter as @DLFerguson1 and my personal Facebook page can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/derrick.ferguson.566   You might also want to visit and/or join the Facebook group I started and administrate, Usimi Dero which can be found here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/usimidero/ 


I guess that's it. Thank you, Joe. You're a stand-up guy.

You’re welcome . . . and thank you, Derrick for such a wonderful interview. The feeling is mutual, my friend. We “stand together.” And don't let Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy, or even John Carter of Mars intimidate you: write that Space Opera, and write some Sword & Planet, too!


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

How I Got Dragged to Hell with a Smile on My Face.

Slamming Satan: or How I Got Dragged to Hell with a Smile on My Face. 

A couple years ago, I was asked by my friend and fellow author, Bruce Durham, if I would write a review for the then-newest volume in the Heroes in Hell series, Rogues in Hell. I said sure, I’d be happy to, even though I was in the middle of writing my second novel.
I remembered the original Baen Books Heroes in Hell series, having enjoyed a number of those, and I was familiar with Janet Morris from her work in Thieves World™ and many of her own novels. But it had been years since I read those; and I’d been so long away from the fantasy genre that I had no idea that Heroes in Hell had continued on past the 4 or 5 volumes I had read in the 1980s and early 90s.

So I read Rogues in Hell, loved every word of it, wrote my review, and then bought the previous and first volume in the new 21st century series now published by Perseid Press, Lawyers in Hell. Now, while lost somewhere deep in the nether regions, I get contacted one fine day by none other than Janet Morris herself, who read my review, was very pleased with it, and liked the way I wrote it.
She then read my story of Dorgo the Dowser, “The Moonstones of Sor Lunarum that I had posted on Black Gate, liked it, read more of the Dowser’s stories in my Mad Shadows: The Weird Tales of Dorgo the Dowser, and invited me to write a story for the then-forthcoming Dreamers in Hell.


To say that I was excited, flattered and a little intimidated would be understating it all. I was totally overwhelmed! Naturally, I said I would love to give it a try. But I waited. I took my time. What I wanted to do first was read and write a review of Dreamers in Hell, and then go back to re-read the first few Baen Books editions and read some of the stories in the other volumes, the ones I had not read.


Another year goes by and I still haven’t written a word. But I was in constant touch with Janet and her Hellions, as her band of Hell writers call themselves, and thoughts and ideas began to flow.
First, writing for Heroes in Hell is hard work: one needs to do a lot of research, because most of the characters in this Miltonian shared-universe are historical figures, figures of myth and legend, Biblical figures, and even some famous fictional characters – provided some link to an actual person can be found, such as the Dracula and Vlad Tepes connection.
So I hunkered down and did my homework, reading some history and biographies, researching things like demons, devils, angels, fallen angels, and the Hells of different cultures and religions. Not only was I developing a story, I was getting a wonderful education.
Now, the second thing about writing for Hell is that it made me “up my game.” The series is not only character-driven, it is allegorical, dramatic, poignant, high comedy and grim tragedy; it runs the gamut of genres and emotions. I was playing in the same park with some damned fine writers of imaginative literature, and something in the infernal nature of Hell demands and commands a writer to do the best he can, to go above and beyond what he/she has done before.
So I wrote for my first story for Hell, and it was published in Poets in Hell.

Hell is addictive. It’s an obsession. Hell has its rules, but what the rules do is force you to be more creative, to think outside the box: the rules are not restrictive, they are liberating. Once you pick your characters and start your research, you find things, you learn things you can use to make those characters live and breathe and jump off the page. Yeah, writing for Hell is hard work, but it’s also one helluva good time. I love every moment I spend in Hell – and I spend a lot of time there. 
Since then I wrote another story, for Doctors in Hell, one that I'm especially proud of.

So there's a little something for everyone in the Heroes in Hell series: heroic fantasy and sword & sorcery, thrillers, horror, romance, touches of science fiction and steampunk – they’re all here.

And now we have the latest volume, Pirates in Hell. I have a rather long novella in this one, called The Pirates of Penance, starring a huge cast of famous and infamous people. 


So come visit us in Hell and enjoy the company.
BYO pitchfork.