Friday, July 14, 2017

TO HELL WITH WRITING -- Part Two #OurAuthorGang




Joe Bonadonna

             "Heaven for the weather, Hell for the company." -- Mark Twain

             Continuing from where we last left off, the premise of the Heroes in Hell series is based on the tradition that 613 is the number of mitzvoth or commandments in the Torah, which began in the 3rd century CE when Rabbi Simlai mentioned it in a sermon that is recorded in Talmud Makkot 23b. Our series of novels begins with the 613 original commandments, binding on every living soul, and ignorance is no excuse: break just one little commandment and you go to Hell. So almost everybody who was anybody broke one commandment or another while on earth, and now here they are, sometimes in a part of Hell where they belong, sometimes in an area of Hell where they don’t. The Damned come from across the length and breadth of time and history to interact, to scheme and plot, and even go adventuring — all the while suffering the torments of a well-deserved damnation. The worst and best from all of time make the same mistakes in Hell that got them there in the first place: character is destiny, in life Topside and in the Afterlife of Infernity or the Underverse, as we call Hell. Anyone can end up in Hell, no matter what religion, no matter what faith. 
            You may not believe in Hell, but Hell believes in you.

First of all, writing for Heroes in Hell was much harder work than I'd thought it would be: 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 many Hells of different cultures and religions. Not only was I developing my first story for the series, I was getting a wonderful education, as well.

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 that 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. That story, titled "We The Furious," brings Doctor Victor Frankenstein, the famous monster he named Adam (in the original novel) face-to-face with their creator, Mary Shelley. As history has it, one Doctor Johann Conrad Dippel was actually born in Castle Frankenstein, near Muhltal and Darmstadt, in 1673. He was practicing medicine, and purportedly vivisection and alchemy, at the time Mary and Percy were travelling on the Rhine, on their way to Geneva, Switzerland. So Mary may have heard tales, whether true or not, about Dippel, and thus found herself a character to write about. So I had a tenuous link to a real-life Doctor Frankenstein. You'll have to read my story to find out what happens, and learn how Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, later became the Doctor's new hunchbacked assistant. (Also for Poets in Hell, author Shebat Legion and I co-wrote "Undertaker's Holiday.")

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 “Hell on a Technicality” for 2015’s Doctors in Hell, as well as “The Dragon’s Horde,” a novella for Janet’s anthology of heroic fantasy, (which is not part of the Heroes in Hell franchise) . . . Heroika: Dragon Eaters — both of which I'm especially proud of.

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

And now we have the latest edition, Pirates in Hell, volume #20. I have a rather long novella in this one, called “The Pirates of Penance,” starring a cast of famous and infamous people from various eras of history, as well as from the world of Hollywood cinema. And I just completed my fourth novella for the next volume in the infernal, eternal saga known as Heroes in Hell.

So I'll see you in . . . well, you'll know where I'll be.
BYO pitchfork.

You can find Poets in Hell, Doctors in Hell, Pirates in Hell, and Heroika: Dragon Eaters by clicking on the link to my Amazon Author page:

#Bangsianfantasy  #horror  #history  #mythology  #supernatural  #adultfantasy