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Daughters of Darkness Steps into the Light

Black Angel Press

A labour of love, appropriately enough being released on February 14th, brings you the work of four women authors. All known in different corners of the indie industry, they have joined together to create Daughters of Darkness. Here, you will find a collection of stories from each of the contributors allowing the reader to get a proper flavour of their individual styles. Unlike most anthologies where you only get one story as a taster per contributor, three of these authors give you several.

Who are the daughters? Theresa Derwin, Ruschelle Dillon, Stephanie Ellis and Alyson Faye. You may have seen their stories in small collections and alongside big names (Ramsey Campbell, Graham Masterton, Tim Lebbon, Adam Nevill, Brian Keane). You might have noticed their names in collections and anthologies or on novellas and novels. As women in horror, they work hard to deliver the goods. With the wonderful cover art…

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Daughters of Darkness

A New Year and a new start. I’ve been working quietly in the background on a project for some months with writers Theresa Derwin, Alyson Faye and Ruschelle Dillon. Together, the four of us have combined forces and put a selection of our stories in the one book, Daughters of Darkness.

So often you pick up an anthology containing a host of authors and a range of styles and each author usually only has one story amongst the pages. By keeping to a quartet, this collection allows you to really get to know the writers properly. What do you get from this small group?

We have Alyson Faye, writing western, creepy ventiloquist puppets, gothic crypts and great poetry.

Theresa Derwin dives into themes relating to women, their bodies and their relationships, a creature feature and occult detective timeslip.

Ruschelle Dillon includes quirky humour, hauntings – of person and place – horrific murders and a wonderful childlike tale that throws you offguard.

As for me – I’ve only included two stories but one is a novellete-length ghostly gothic tale, whilst the other is my own take on the pressures put on women with regard to personal beauty and appearance.

We have also been privileged to receive a foreward from HWA stalwart, Lee Murray. A terrific writer and one of the most supportive of authors.

Cover art is by Francois Vallaincourt and donated by Theresa Derwin.

The book is slated to be published in the middle of February and more details will be given nearer the time.

Putting Up The Christmas Tree

This is a flash story I wrote a few years back and I regularly dust if off and put it up at this time of year. That’s what you do with Christmas Trees, right?

The Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree waited patiently at the bottom of the garden. It was nearly time. From behind, the others rustled their bare branches in expectation. They were old and nobody came for them anymore. It did not matter, Christmas was a time for sharing and they would still enjoy the festivities.

A new family had moved into the house in the summer and three young children had spent those distant hazy days running in and out of the trees, hiding from grown-ups and tormenting the ageing dog that had come with them. The mother had spotted the tree during one of their games and made a mental note that it would be the perfect tree for Christmas. The high-ceilinged rooms of their house demanded the presence of such a majestic specimen.

The first day of the holidays had been spent putting the finishing touches to the decorations that now hung around the house until all that was needed was the tree. She had sent the children on ahead of her whilst she gathered together the angel and the little wooden soldiers that were to adorn its branches, listening with half-an-ear to the sound of their youthful laughter echoing through the cold night air.

Her sons ran wildly in the happy beam of the moon, darting between frost-trimmed branches that glittered as brightly as any tinsel, releasing their pent-up energy into the darkness. The moon loved this time of year, when the children would come to decorate the tree.

As their mother called to them from the house, the boys dived beneath the tree’s branches, stifling their giggles, trying to ignore the scratch of needles. They loved to hide from her and the tree helped them. It curled its limbs around their waists, gripping them tightly, lifting them up, silencing them before they realised what was happening. Then the tree stilled itself, waiting as the mother approached her children’s hiding place and started to creep quietly into the darkness, ready to make them jump, not expecting the surprise in store for her as a branch dug its needles into clothes and flesh so she too was held prisoner. She struggled fiercely but the tree was obstinate and refused to give her up, piercing her body with its knife-edge leaves so she had no choice but to stay.

The mother’s protests, sung as loudly as any carol, were ignored as she was lifted higher and higher, past the bodies of her children that dangled like little wooden soldiers in their crimson coats, up and up until she cleared the topmost boughs to be placed almost reverently at its peak. The finishing touch, a dusting of frost, made her shimmer as brightly as any angel.

The others let out a gentle sigh of approval, a shared delight in the decorations that now adorned the tree. Christmas had finally come.

Free Christmas Story: Holly Night

Some of you might have read my novel, The Five Turns of the Wheel. Some of you may have read my short stories ‘The Way of the Mother’ (Fiends in the Furrows anthology) and ‘We Plough the Fields and Scatter’ (Diablolica Britannica) which were set in the world of Five Turns. I am continuing to write in this world and one short flash piece is this – sort of – Christmas Story (well, it does mention holly and ivy!). I hope you enjoy it.

Holly Night

When the holly’s barren
And the berries gone
When the birds are dying
Who will sing the song?
H-O-L-L-Y, HOLLY!

When the ivy’s withered
And no leaves are left
When the birds are dying
Who’s the one who’s dead?
I-V-Y, IVY
!”

The couple paused as they closed the doors of their car, watched the children in the playground.

“A grim rhyme,” said Lily.

“Isn’t it always with kids?” Ray locked the car and took his wife’s arm, guiding her into the pub. The warm light flickering out into the late afternoon gloom was welcoming and he was cold and tired and hungry. They’d had a long drive and still had miles to go.

“You know, I’d be more than happy not to move another inch,” said Ray, sinking into a chair by the open fire. He waited for the ‘I told you so’. It didn’t come, her smirk speaking for her.

The landlord came out from behind the bar. “If you’re wanting food, we’re just opening up the kitchen but it’ll take a while.”

“We’ll wait” said Ray. “We’re starving.” His stomach added its voice to the conversation and Lily laughed.

“Travelling far?” asked the landlord.

“Only a couple hundred more miles.”

The man looked sympathetic. “If you want to break the journey up, we do rooms.”

Ray glanced at Lily, who nodded agreement and they soon found themselves settled into a surprisingly comfortable bedroom.

“En-suite! Wouldn’t have expected that from its olde worlde appearance,” said Lily. “Wonder what Tripadvisor says about the place.” She pulled out her phone and tapped at the screen. Frowned. “Damn, must’ve run out charge.”

Ray checked his phone. No bars. “Out of luck,” he said. “Never mind. Let’s go back down and see if mine host has rustled up that steak he promised.”

The bar had filled slightly when they returned, the stools at the counter now all full. Farmer types, Ray guessed as he took in their soiled clothes and ruddy complexions. Sons of the soil indeed.

The landlord, identified as George, magically appeared at Ray’s side with a tray groaning under the weight of the meals and the drinks they’d ordered.

“Wow,” said Lily, eyeing her plate. “These are certainly generous portions.”

“Always is on Holly Night,” said George, beaming.

“Holly Night?”

“Oh, just a little local tradition,” said the landlord. “Come along and watch if you like. The fun starts in an hour or so.”

Lily grinned. She was fascinated by British folklore and rural ways. “I’d love to,” she said. “It’s okay, isn’t it, Ray?”

Ray nodded, his mouth full.

They ate in silence and only when they had finished, hunger sated, bodies rested, did they start to take in their surroundings, the items adorning the walls—the trophy heads with bared teeth, the traps, all sharp-toothed and vicious.

“Not quite for the vegan crowd,” murmured Lily.

“No,” agreed Ray. “And I don’t think the locals would take kindly to their opinions.”

He thought the faces of the men at the bar looked almost as dangerous as the lures chained to the walls.

A bell tolled outside and as one the customers, exited the pub. They had started chanting as they left. “It’s Holly Night, it’s Holly Night, time to put the world to rights.”

If they hadn’t been laughing and slapping each other on the back, Ray would’ve thought it sounded quite threatening. As it was, he found himself smiling at their good humour.

“Come on,” said George. “It’s Holly Night, it’s Holly Night, time to put the world to rights.”

Ray and Lily laughed, rose from their chairs and followed him out. Across on the green, it seemed as if the whole village had gathered.

A man in animal rags and a hat bearing a peacock feather stood in their midst. He was singing the song they had heard coming from the children.

“When the holly’s barren
And the berries gone
When the birds are dying
Who will sing the song?
H-O-L-L-Y, HOLLY!”

As the name was spelt out, a huge bear of a man in a woman’s dress, leaped around the crowd, grabbed the woman nearest to him on the sound of the last letter. It was Lily. She shrieked and giggled but allowed herself to be pulled to the middle of the circle.

“Go on, Tommy. Give us the next verse.”

Tommy called on Ivy, with the giant this time settling on Ray.

Once more, Ray sensed an undercurrent, felt the mood darken, become threatening. Then he saw the children from the playground and relaxed.

They formed a circle around Ray and Lily, two taking a rope which they began to swing, chanting the rhyme yet again. The crowd urged them to jump the rope.

Lily laughed and grabbed his hand. “Hey, Ray. Come on. Let’s do this together.”

Ray chuckled, it would be good to be a kid again. They moved closer to the rope, prepared to jump in. It was only as they neared it that he saw the rope for what it was, a chain of barbed wired.

The couple retreated but the crowd pushed them back. Lily’s grip on his hand tightened and he could see a flicker of fear on her face.

“Ray,” whimpered Lily. “We need to get out of here.”

“And you will,” said Tommy. “If you clear the rope.”

“You must be mad—” Ray was taller than the strange-garbed creature but the man did not seem in the least intimidated. Simply smiled at him.

“No,” said Tommy. “It’s Holly Night. It’s tradition. And we all follow tradition round here. It’s fun.”

They had no choice, were pushed into the wire rope as it spun and were forced to jump. It turned slowly at first and he felt hope rise, then he saw the children’s faces. No longer children, they looked like demons. The wire spun faster, the chanting louder. The last line he heard was “Who’s the one who’s dead?” and the sound of his wife’s scream.

INFERNO: Closing out the Ninth Circle with Lionel Ray Green

Lionel Ray Green is a writer whose short works I have enjoyed for some time at Horror Tree and I was pleased he came onboard the Inferno, treating us to a great story, ‘Lex Talionis’.

Infernal Clock: What was the inspiration behind your story?

I’m a happy-go-lucky guy, but the thing that disturbs me most is adults and parents abusing and neglecting their children. What do adults think they gain from abusing children? I feel like abusers are rarely punished properly for their crimes. I had wonderful parents as a child, so I struggle to understand this behavior. I feel like the government, legal system, and society have let many abused children down. To me, child abuse is like a plague. Thus, my story ‘Lex Talionis’ is a grim tale about an enigmatic plague doctor who visits a village where the parents hope to gain something from the results of their abuse and neglect.

Infernal Clock: What is your idea of hell on earth?

Hell on earth would be forever stuck in traffic on an endless hot, humid summer day in the middle of a desert highway with Electric Light Orchestra’s Out of the Blue CD in hand but no CD player in my car.

Infernal Clock: The Inferno was created on old ideas of sin. If you had to label the nine levels now, what would you call them? Would you keep it at 9? Increase or decrease?

I would create a 10th Circle especially for corrupt politicians and change the name to Dante’s Decadents.

Infernal Clock: They say the Devil has all the good tunes. What song would you recommend as an accompaniment to your story?

The Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash.

Infernal Clock: If you were able to visit the Inferno, what level would you want to go to and who would you want to see there?

I would want to visit the First Circle Limbo and meet Plato. I quote him in my story, ‘Lex Talionis’, for your Inferno anthology. He was the greatest student of Socrates who later became the greatest teacher of Aristotle.

Infernal Clock: What is the hottest food you’ve ever eaten. Can you share a recipe?

Chicken wings dipped in Ass Kickin’ Carolina Reaper Hot Sauce. Cook some wings and smother them in this sauce and your mouth will know what an inferno feels like. Hyperbole? Maybe, because I’m a wimp when it comes to spicy food.

Infernal Clock: Who is your ‘favourite’ villain in history or fiction?

I love Gollum from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Gollum is such a pitiful and tragic character. I find it fascinating that someone like him could simultaneously be a powerful symbol for the duality of man and whose obsession could impact the world in such an epic way.

Infernal Clock: What is your long-term ambition for your writing?

I simply write for the love of writing, but if Netflix called to adapt one of my stories into a movie, I would answer the phone.

9.    Top tip for other writers. Fighters fight and writers write, so write every day if you can, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t.

Bio:

Lionel Ray Green is a horror and fantasy writer, an award-winning newspaper journalist, and a U.S. Army gulf war veteran living in Alabama. He ironically loves Bigfoot and hobbits and believes Babe is the greatest movie ever made. Lionel writes a column for HorrorAddicts.net titled The Bigfoot Files. His short stories have appeared in more than two dozen anthologies, magazines, and ezines, including The Best of Iron Faerie Publishing 2019Halloween Horror: Volume 1America’s Emerging Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers: Deep South; and Alabama’s Emerging Writers. His short story ‘Scarecrow Road’ won the WriterWriter 2018 International Halloween Themed Writing Competition All Hallows’ Prose.

Latest publications:

My website is https://lionelraygreen.com/ and it features a link to a delightfully creepy reading of my award-winning short story ‘Scarecrow Road’ by The Night’s End Podcast. Here’s the link: https://www.nightsendpodcast.com/podcast/episode/3d368208/scarecrow-road

Inferno: Join the Doomed with Daniel R. Robichaud

Daniel R. Robichaud was a successful acceptance from our submission call. His contribution, Doomed to Repeat sits in the Eighth Circle and has some wonderful touches of humour.

Infernal Clock: What was the inspiration behind your story?

Hell itself is an intriguing concept. It’s either a place of punishment for sin or it is a place that is simply removed from God. The Inferno builds on the concept of punishment, of course, but for what reason? Punishment for eternity does what, exactly? Keep the devils employed? Instil a fear of transgression among the living? It’s an odd thing to consider, in that regard. Of course, artists like Clive Barker have different interpretations of Hell as a concept (or several different concepts, since the Hell of The Hellbound Heart and The Scarlet Gospels is different than that of Mr. B. Gone, say). 

When I first heard about the concept for this anthology, I was excited by the idea of dragging Dante’s original concepts into the modern day. Figuring out how those classical ideas might intersect with our world was a fun thing to consider, and as I delved into the different levels of Hell, I found myself drawn to thinking the most about the Eighth Circle. It seems to me quite a few popular talking heads on infotainment news stations and politicians in today’s volatile climate are destined for that area. However, I did not want to tell their story, per se. Satire that pokes at the specific targets is all well and good, and it can be entertaining in the right hands, but it seemed destined for a short shelf life. Instead, I wanted to talk about the collateral damage to the people who honour, cherish, and believe in such folks, to the ones those easy targets leave behind to pick up the pieces when they’ve shuffled off this mortal coil. That led to a story about a bereaved lover, their conviction that their departed love ended up in the Inferno wrongly, and what they wanted to do about it.

Inferno Clock: What is your idea of hell on earth?

I’d say that a place where humanity and compassion are in short supply, a place where people are afraid to live as they are for fear of horrors being visited upon them based on nothing they could choose or do is hellish. Sadly, it also describes some parts of the world we all live in. Far from the divine, too close to punishment for its own sake, and not as innovative in its horrors as, say, a Clive Barker yarn.

That said, I think we can lift ourselves up from the muck I’ve described (I am an optimist, I know). That means it’s not really hell on earth, I suppose, unless free will is just an illusion and we’re doomed no matter what we try. 

Infernal Clock: The Inferno was created on old ideas of sin. If you had to label the nine levels how, what would you call them? Would you keep it at 9? Increase or decrease?

Sin is a moving target, alas. What was viewed as sinful/evil behaviour centuries ago does not correspond to what we might consider these days. Well, what informed folks might believe. The Inferno itself should be preserved in an Infernal Museum of sorts or on some historical record. There would need to be different levels, I’d say, One Inferno for the venal sins, the direst evils that require some serious punishment to cleanse away. Another Inferno for the treatment of the little sins and their little sinners, a kind of afterlife Day Spa for evil to be purged, allowing its visitors to move along, please, move along, and mind the gap (such gaps are all too often occupied by the fruits of our sin cleanses, which are actively devoured by Hell larvae who won’t mind a nip of your foot if it strays too close).

Infernal Clock: They say the Devil has all the good tunes. What song would you recommend as an accompaniment to your story?

I’d say the title credits song, “Fire Said to Me,” from Simon Boswell’s Lord of Illusions soundtrack gets the relentless feel. Achingly beautiful, a relentless marching beat, and a hint of some seriously dark magic.

Infernal Clock: If you were able to visit the Inferno, what level would you want to go to and who would you want to see there? (I think it’s best to keep current politics out of it though!)

If I strayed too close, they might not let me out again. Probably best to visit only in my imagination. On the other hand, it might be fascinating to stroll among the trenches of level eight, just to see who’s to be found there.

Infernal Clock: What is the hottest food you’ve ever eaten? Can you share a recipe?

I am a big fan of peppers and spicy foods. My Fridays are not complete unless I can get a slice of pizza with Italian sausage, roasted red peppers, sliced jalapenos, a few sprinkles of pecorino-Romano cheese and a generous dollop of hot sauce.

Infernal Clock: Who is your ‘favourite’ villain in history or fiction?

History is filled with awful, awful people. I tend not to like them or their works. 

However, I rather enjoy villains in fiction. Do they come better than the ambitious pleasure seeker The Hell Priest (aka Pinhead) from The Hellbound Heart, The Scarlet Gospels, and The Toll, or the sadistic but fascinating Doctor Benway from William S. Burroughs Naked Lunch (and other works)? Having just finished Caitlin R. Kiernan’s The Tindalos Asset, I am also rather taken with the witchy, wicked, and wonderful Jehosheba Talog.

Infernal Clock: What is your long-term ambition for your writing?

To continue doing what I enjoy, sharing stories and in so doing shine a light on less traditional characters and scenarios.

Infernal Clock: Top-tip for other writers.

Everyone knows that the key to succeeding as a writer is simple: do the work. 

However, the key to finding errors in the draft you’ve written is to look at the text from as many different perspectives as possible. Change the font, change the font size, read the thing aloud. These reveal the wrinkles that need ironing out in no time.

Bio:

Daniel R. Robichaud (he/him) is a bisexual author who lives and writes in Houston, Texas. His work has appeared in a variety of outlets, including parABnormal MagazineHookman and Friends (DBND Publishing), and Eldritch Dream Realms (Hireath Publishing). His fiction and film reviews appear weekly at the Considering Stories site. His short dark fantasy fiction has been collected in Hauntings and Happenstances and Gathered Flowers, Stones, and Bones.

Latest publications:

contains my piece “Wheels Within Wheels”

My story “Shaping Worlds and Minds” is a satiric horror tale, which considers the view of a caustic vlogging influencer who believes herself immune to the disease and discovers this is not the case.
features my YA sf adventure story “Escape From the Emeralds,” about a brother and sister who have to manoeuvre past some nasty flora and fauna to get home.

Also, I write weekly reviews of fiction and film for the Considering Stories site, and I pen nonfiction for parABnormal magazine.

Inferno: Meet the Family with G.A. Miller

G.A. Miller joins us in Circle Nine of the Inferno, with his story, ‘Great-Aunt Grace’.

Infernal Clock: What was the inspiration behind your story?

When I was approached to take part, I considered what the levels of Hell represented and chose the Ninth because one’s family should provide a welcoming safe haven from the world, so when they turn against you instead, that betrayal represents the worst form of treachery.

Infernal Clock: What is your idea of hell on earth?

The abuse of women, children and animals by sadistic individuals who take pleasure in the suffering of others. Those poor souls are all experiencing hell on earth.

Infernal Clock: The Inferno was created on old ideas of sin. If you had to label the nine levels how, what would you call them? Would you keep it at 9? Increase or decrease?

I think the labels are both appropriate and timeless in terms of what they represent. I would, however, elect to add a tenth level to be reserved for a very specific group.

Infernal Clock: They say the Devil has all the good tunes. What song would you recommend as an accompaniment to your story?

This is probably the hardest question of all! Given the story at hand, the first ones that come to mind are Billy Joel’s ‘Honesty’ or the Beatles’ ‘Tell Me Why’ ( and yes, my choices do indeed reflect my age.)

Infernal Clock: If you were able to visit the Inferno, what level would you want to go to and who would you want to see there?

I can understand the request to keep politics out of my response, so I’ll simply look at certain politicians and say, “We have such sights to show you!” That said, I’d oversee my idea for a tenth level, reserved exclusively for paedophiles. They’d be greeted atop a hill where their skin would be flayed and peeled, then rolled down that hill, comprised entirely of glass shards and ultimately fall into a river of boiling oil. Once the release of death arrives, they’d immediately start over again.

Infernal Clock: What is the hottest food you’ve ever eaten. Can you share a recipe?

Because I enjoy spicy food, I was once offered a jalapeno pepper to eat at a party. Unbeknownst to me, the host substituted a habanero pepper which set my mouth ablaze as tears flowed. I’ve never tasted anything else nearly as hot as that innocent looking little pepper.

Infernal Clock: Who is your ‘favourite’ villain in history or fiction?

I think I’ll go back to my roots, to Stoker’s Dracula, as that was the first horror novel I ever read and it gave so much depth and background to Lugosi’s performance as I watched the 1931 film on my little black and white TV, the rabbit ears adjusted just so. That book began my lifelong love of reading dark fiction, and so The Count deserves the top spot.

Infernal Clock: What is your long-term ambition for your writing?

I’d like to reach a point where readers come to enjoy the work and look forward to new releases. I find writing to be therapeutic, to be honest, and would continue without ever releasing another word, but to have someone I don’t know tell me that they greatly enjoyed something I’d done is so fulfilling. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to derive extra income, but I don’t think Stephen King’s accountants need worry about making time for me.

Infernal Clock: Top-tip for other writers

Be true to yourself. Write the stories that you like to read, incorporate your own fears and life experiences as doing so will add so much credibility and passion to your work. Let the rejections come, your story will find its proper home in time.

Bio:

G.A. Miller. As a decades long career in the technical field was approaching the end, G.A. Miller decided to finally approach the blank page, an idea he’d toyed with for many years. 2017 marked his first acceptance in a publication, with the short story ‘Bequeath’ making its debut in the inaugural issue of Hinnom Magazine, published by Gehenna & Hinnom publishers.

As time passed, more and more tales made their way into numerous publications, both print and online, and then 2019 marked his entry into self-publishing. Two collections of short stories and a novella now appear on his Amazon Author page, and then a brand-new collection was released in April, 2020.

Links:
Web: https://wordsofprey.me
Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/gamiller/
Facebook: GAMillerAuthor
Twitter: @GMiller666

Latest publications

My latest publication is a novella titled “The Shopkeeper: Curios, Curiosities and Rarities”, which is available in paperback and Kindle format at Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KWCDHR6

My website is at https://wordsofprey.me/, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GAMillerAuthor and on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/GMiller666

Inferno: Sunk in the Fifth Circle with Charlotte Platt

Charlotte Platt came onto my radar with her enjoyable A Stranger’s Guide from Silver Shamrock Publishing. She kindly agreed to offer up a story and you find her in the Fifth Circle of Hell, with her tale, ‘Sunken Cost’.

Infernal Clock. What was the inspiration behind your story?

I love the idea of fairness in hell, or what could be considered reasonable or unreasonable in a deal. That span into the story quite easily as deals are a large part of demonic administration if we’re to believe historical texts. I also grew up on an island so the most water-heavy level was always going to be tempting for me! 

Infernal Clock. What is your idea of hell on earth?

To be weirdly specific, inescapable sensory overload, I’ve always got headphones in to help avoid that. More generally I think the closest we get to it currently in knowing something terrible is happening and nothing is being done to stop it, the hybrid between helplessness and indignity. We see that repeating over and over through history and across a variety of things currently and it’s a mix of social and spiritual agony, that’s go to be bad. 

Infernal Clock. The Inferno was created on old ideas of sin. If you had to label the nine levels how, what would you call them? Would you keep it at 9? Increase or decrease?

Well we got rid of limbo in canon, so to speak, so I suppose that has to go. I don’t think I’d keep lust either, though maybe switch that out for “predation”. I’d switch “gluttony” for “excess”, as well, as I always think that one is slightly misnamed. Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence and Fraud are all pretty good as is. Maybe treachery should become something new given our updated world were treachery can be a lesser evil to reveal something worse, such as whistleblowing. I would rather have that circle for wilfully harming others for gain, which I suppose is greed, but we’re seeing it on such a huge scale now it stands apart from the base greed we see in that circle. I think some of the sins have hybridised enough so we could join some of the circles together too but that’s going to be a logistical nightmare.  

Infernal Clock. They say the Devil has all the good tunes. What song would you recommend as an accompaniment to your story?

Either Scott Mackay Where The Enemy Sleeps or The Hillbilly Moon Explosion My Love For Evermore

Infernal Clock: If you were able to visit the Inferno, what level would you want to go to and who would you want to see there?   I would love to visit the city of Dis so I’d have to jump in at level six. I would love to talk to some of the demons there, because they must have heard amazing things, but I’d probably want to see if there was a lot of cult leaders or the such there. Charlie Manson or Jim Jones locked up in one of the flaming crypts could be interesting.

Infernal Clock. What is the hottest food you’ve ever eaten. Can you share a recipe?

I like me some heat but I’m very generic. The best and hottest spices I ever had were from a friend who used to receive care packages of spices from family in Pakistan for his Ramadan meals, as he was studying in the UK, and he’d share them with other skint students. They were amazing. 

Infernal Clock. Who is your ‘favourite’ villain in history or fiction?

A difficult question! On the one hand, Hannibal Lecter, because he’s such a horror and yet you’re rooting for him throughout the books because the other characters are so awful. However, you are suppose to like him so he hardly counts. I think President Snow in the Hunger Games works was a very well done villain, though I refuse to read the origin story that came out recently as I don’t want to be given warm fuzzy feelings for a dictator characters. Similarly Meruemu/Ant King in the anime Hunter x Hunter was a villain with a lot of interesting development and is probably my favourite anime one. 

Infernal Clock. What is your long-term ambition for your writing?

I would like to develop a few universes that I could do more than one work in, and I would love to have more novels published. I’ve got a lot of short stories out there which I enjoy a lot, and I am particularly soft for shorts being made into podcasts or audioplays so I would be delighted if I could see more of that too. 

Infernal Clock. Top-tip for other writers. Write what you want to see out there and don’t be afraid to play around with weird things. 

Bio:

Charlotte Platt is a young professional based in the far north of Scotland. She spent her teens on the Orkney Islands and studied in Glasgow before moving to the north Highlands. She lives off sarcasm and tea and can often be found walking near cliffs and rivers, looking for sea glass. Her short stories have also featured in Dimension6, K-magazine and BloodLet. Charlotte presented the pitch for her novel A Stranger’s Guide at the London Book Fair 2019 Write Stuff competition and this is now available via Silver Shamrock Publishing. She can be found on Twitter at @Chazzaroo

Latest publications:

Inferno: Burn with RJ Meldrum

RJ Meldrum is one of the most prolific short story writers I know over at Horror Tree where he pretty much has his own monthly slot! For Inferno, he has descended into the Eighth Circle with his story, ‘Hellfire’.

Infernal Clock: What was the inspiration behind your story?

I’ve always been intrigued by the old black and white, silent movies and that’s where the original idea came from – a collector finding a priceless movie, thought to be lost forever.  After that, the story practically wrote itself!

Infernal Clock: What is your idea of hell on earth?

Maybe being caught up in a once-in-a-century pandemic?  Aside from that, probably being present in continental Europe between 1939-1945 – watching the downfall of nations, the death of civilians and combatants, and perhaps having to watch loved ones die, losing your home, becoming a refugee or at worse, a statistic.  To me, that would be pretty hellish.

Infernal Clock: The Inferno was created on old ideas of sin. If you had to label the nine levels how, what would you call them? Would you keep it at 9? Increase or decrease?

I’d probably stick to the same labels used by Dante – they seem to be still relevant!

Infernal Clock: They say the Devil has all the good tunes. What song would you recommend as an accompaniment to your story?

Maybe some old-timey piano music to accompany a silent movie – the sort of thing they used to play in movie theatres before the introduction of sound – nice and jangling, discordant to keep the reader on edge.

Infernal Clock: If you were able to visit the Inferno, what level would you want to go to and who would you want to see there?

I’d like to visit all of them – imagine the stories you could write after witnessing them!  And no, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, so I wouldn’t want to see anyone there.

Infernal Clock: What is the hottest food you’ve ever eaten. Can you share a recipe?

I tried a super-spicy ramen noodle soup last year that I actually couldn’t finish (I normally have a high tolerance, but this was ridiculous) – no recipe to share, since this was a restaurant dish.

Infernal Clock: Who is your ‘favourite’ villain in history or fiction?

Moriarty probably – not the modern version – the original written by Conan Doyle.

Infernal Clock: What is your long-term ambition for your writing?

Rich?  Famous? Well, hopefully at some point, but also to leave a legacy of work that can be enjoyed by future generations.

Infernal Clock: Top-tip for other writers.

Write, get feedback, submit, find a mentorship circle to support you – all these things are valuable to both improve your writing and get noticed.

Bio:

R. J. Meldrum specializes in fiction that explores the world through a dark lens. His subject matter ranges from ghosts to serial killers and everything in-between. He has had over one hundred short stories and drabbles published in a variety of anthologies, e-zines and websites. He has had his work published by Midnight Street Press, Culture Cult Press, Horrified Press, Infernal Clock, Trembling with Fear, Black Hare Press, Smoking Pen Press, Darkhouse Books, Breaking Rules Press, Kevin J Kennedy and James Ward Kirk Fiction. His short stories have also been published in The Sirens Call e-zine, the Horror Zine and Drabblez magazine. His novella The Plague was published by Demain Press in 2019. He is a contributor to the Pen of the Damned and an Affiliate Member of the Horror Writers Association.

Links.

Facebook: richard.meldrum.79
Twitter: RichardJMeldru1

The Art of Dying

In amongst creating Inferno, writing some short stories and NaNoWriMo, I have slowly been gathering together a number of poems. Some have been published on Visual Verse and in one or two other places, a number are new. Poetry is very much a form I enjoy ‘playing’ with. The challenge to create a certain image or atmosphere or trigger an emotion in as few words as possible, is something I love. The subjects tend to be dark – but that doesn’t mean I don’t have fun. Currently in review at amazon and hopefully going live in a day or two, I hope you enjoy them.

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