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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Do You?

At this time of year, it's fitting to remember why it is we have the freedom to live and express ourselves as we do. Sometimes, the younger generation forgets how much they owe to those they often ridicule. 

Those of us who are older know better.

If I may, I'd like to share a little something I wrote some years back following a reunion.
I hope you like it:

Never Forget

The trumpet wails,
Its solitary lament reminding me,
Of duty, of sacrifice,
But most of all, of deep abiding loss.
A wreath of encircled heads fly at half mast about me.
Lowering in respect, they set like a flag, with the setting of the sun…
We shan’t forget.

I don’t need a flower or a monument of stone.
For the scars of war are threaded deep,
Wounds that pierce through the generations of my family,
Stitching grief within my heart, grafting pain to my memories.
Fields of green, crosses of white, roots stained ruby red,
This is my heritage…
And I can’t forget.

How many of my family never knew kith and kin,
Except through faded photo or by crumbling citation?
I look at history, now, as I write,
Framed there–in pride of place–upon my wall.
Six generations worth of gaily colored ribbon and shiny metal,
Masking the worth of the blood that was spilt, and the true poignant cost of war…
I won’t forget.

Did my Great-grandfather, William, ever get to kiss his wife goodbye?
Or Granddad Fred, tussle the hair of his own precious son?
How many actually left, promising sincerely they would return?
All of them, I’m sure.
With a stiff upper lip and a brave farewell, they concealed their heavy hearts.
All marched away…But, oh so few came back…
I mustn’t forget.

Because who will remain to tell their story?
Remember! The pages of history turn more quickly than we know,
And squander the harvest of such hard won labors.
A freedom to assemble, to riot and protest,
Condemning the sacrifices of the brave to the gutter...
Well not I!
Nor those in my family, either, who like me, leapt into the breach, time and time again…

We will never forget.

(A constant reminder to myself...No matter what uniform I wear.
From little boy to man, our legacy continues.)


Friday, October 27, 2017

Hell Hounds
Yours For The Price of Your Soul

Heroes in Hell is a series of shared world fantasy books, within the genre Bangsian horror/fantasy, created and edited by Janet Morris and written by her, Chris Morris, C. J. Cherryh and others. The first 12 novels in the saga were published by Baen Books between 1986 and 1989, and stories from the series include both Hugo Award winners and Nebula Award nominees. The series was resurrected in 2011 by Janet Morris with the thirteenth book and eighth anthology in the series, Lawyers in Hell, followed by six more anthologies and three novels between 2012 and 2017.

So, how does it work?

The shared world premise of Heroes in Hell (also called The Damned Saga) is that all the despicable despots and vilest vagabonds from history – and some of the more notable fictional horrors – wind up in Hell together after death, where they set out to continue their dastardly ways. The Encyclopedia of Fantasy states "In the long series of shared world adventures begun with Heroes in Hell, Hell becomes an arena in which all the interesting villains in history can come together to continue the relentless pursuit of their various ends.” Brian Stableford commented that the series "adapted the backcloth of Dantean fantasy as a stage for violent adventures with ironic echoes of infernal comedy.

Does that make you hanker for more?

It should do. Imagine the scope of what you can do with such a formula, for it gives you a crucible in which your most abhorrent aspirations and contemptible cravings can be stirred into a frenzy and unleashed on your imagination.
It’s little wonder the series continues to go from strength to strength:

And do you know what, the Heroes in Hell Universe just got bigger.

If you remember, Doctors in Hell, published in 2015, introduced us to Satan’s go-to genocidal guy in times of trouble, the Goth of Goth’s, Daemon Grim – who just so happens to be none other than the Reaper himself. Fans of the series were delighted when Grim went on to star in his very own Heroes in Hell adventure – Hell Bound.
In Hell Bound, we met some of the slimiest, most duplicitous scum ever to have tarnished the pages of literature, and the book went on to become an international #1 hit. So much so, that fans have clamored for more ever since.

Well, you’ll be glad to know the sequel has arrived.

Entitled, Hell Hounds, it’s a dog eat dog – hunt you down – chew you up and spit you out rollercoaster ride of mishap, misery and mayhem. A quest in which you get to journey throughout some of the topsiest-turviest realms imaginable, and a place with so much action that you’ll learn that Grim’s bite can be far, far worse than his bark.

But don’t take my word for it.

Press the link to get your very own copy and immerse yourself in some of the bloodiest atrocities this side of perdition.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Hell Hounds
Cover Reveal

Well, the day of the cover reveal has finally arrived and as you can see, it encompasses the action you will find between the covers, perfectly. Though Grim and his team of Hell Hounds pursue their quarry through many levels of the underworld, several epic scenes take place in hell’s dark version of Paris – or as the damned say – Perish.

Thus the epic panorama introducing you to the book itself.
I really love it!

All credit and respect to Roy Mauritsen
who once again worked his magic to produce a marvelous first impression.
(Much appreciated, Roy. A fantastic job!)

And of course, a special “thank you” goes to Janet & Chris Morris
and the team at Perseid Press who toiled so hard to ensure we have an amazing treat in store for you this coming Halloween.

Here’s the blurb:
Feared throughout the many circles of the underworld, Satan’s Reaper – and chief bounty hunter – Daemon Grim, is known as a true force to be reckoned with.
Having eliminated a major player in the uprising eating its way like a cancer through the underbelly of hell, Grim is stunned to discover he cannot afford to rest on his laurels, for the rebellion runs far deeper than was ever imagined. New players have emerged – denizens with uncanny abilities – who seem determined to support Chopin and Tesla’s revolutionary agenda.
Ever keen to test their mettle, the Sibitti – personified weapons of the ancient Babylonian plague god, Erra – also appear eager to capitalize on the growing unrest, and set about maneuvering events in order to place themselves in direct opposition to Grim’s investigation.
And if that was not cause for concern enough, there’s an insane angel on the loose, a creature as hell-bent on creating havoc as he is to return home.
How do Grim and his rabid pack of bounty hunters respond?
Baying for blood – doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Buy Link to follow soon
For those of you who want to find out more about the release itself, Daemon Grim, or Heroes in Hell, I’ve devised a little schedule up until Halloween that should fit the bill.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, A Reaper in Hell Blog will provide a brief rundown of Daemon Grim’s exploits so far:

Daemon Grim - A Reaper in Hell

Tuesday’s – The blurb for each adventure Grim has appeared in;
Thursday’s – An excerpt from the same featured story.
Through these tasters, you’ll be reminded how the Reaper’s story has evolved toward what you get to read in Hell Hounds.
Daemon Grim’s Facebook Page will do something slightly different:

Daemon Grim - Facebook Page

Wednesday’s – a brief clip from that week’s highlighted story;
Friday’s – A promoted post featuring a themed article about Hell Hounds itself

By following along, you’ll get an accurate idea of the mood and flavor you will experience on the spookiest night of the year when the Hell Hounds are unleashed upon the public.


Friday, September 8, 2017

In Memoriam: 

Jerry Pournelle
(b.1933) died on September 8.

I only ever communicated briefly with Jerry prior to his death after the guys over at Black Gate Fantasy compared The IX – to “King David’s Spaceship” – an honor I’ll never forget, as I’d read some of Jerry’s work growing up and knew him to be something of a legend in sci-fi circles.
Think of some of his achievements for a moment: the long running A Spaceship for the King series; The Mote in God’s Eye; Inferno; Lucifer’s Hammer, to name a few.
He was a John W. Campbell Award – Prometheus Award – Seiun Award and Heinlein Society Award winner for all sorts of contributions during his lifetime.
Although by the time we spoke Jerry was in poor health, I found him a charming and witty man who was only too ready to offer an aspiring author the benefits of his wisdom, (One of only several legends who have freely done so).
Though he’s no longer with us, his legacy lives on.

If you’re in mind to treat yourself, try and get your handsome of his work. You won’t regret it.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Are YOU Looking Forward To October?

Ask any fan of quality science fiction what the best month of 2017 will be, and there’s a good chance they’ll tell you – October!
Why? Because that’s when Blade Runner 2049 comes out.
Do you remember Blade Runner? It’s hard to believe it first came out in 1982 isn’t it. I’ve never forgotten how much I was enthralled by the story of near-future ex cop, Rick Deckard  – a blade runner – whose job was to track down bioengineered superbeings known as replicants and "retire" (a euphemism for killing) them.

Unmatched in skill, Deckard is called on by his ex boss, Bryant, and told that four dangerous replicants have managed to reach Earth, illegally. As Tyrell Corporation Nexus-6 models, they have only a four-year lifespan and it is suspected they have returned to try and extend their lives.
Deckard watches a video of a blade runner named Holden administering the "Voight-Kampff" test designed to distinguish replicants from humans based on their emotional response to questions. The test subject, Leon, shoots the investigating officer and makes off. Bryant wants Deckard to retire Leon and the other three replicants: Roy Batty, Zhora, and Pris. Deckard initially refuses, but after Bryant ambiguously threatens him, he reluctantly agrees.
What follows is a dark and haunting story of Deckard’s investigation, during which he is followed by another officer – Gaff – and discovers the creator of the replicants - Eldon Tyrell – has advanced the production of his artificial humans to such an extent that they don’t realize they aren’t human. Enter Tyrell’s assistant, Rachael, an experimental replicant who believes herself to be a real woman. Rachael has been given false memories to provide an "emotional cushion". As a result, a more extensive test is required to determine whether she is a replicant.

Events are then set into motion that pit Deckard's search for the replicants against their search for Tyrell to force him to extend their lives. Excellent stuff. It’s earthy, gritty, and you can almost taste how downright depressing it would be to live in a world like that.
The film culminates in a high-rise apartment where Deckard is ambushed by Pris. After a fierce struggle, he manages to kill her just as Roy – a combat expert – returns. As Roy starts to die, he chases Deckard through the building, and they end up on the roof. Deckard tries to escape by jumping to an adjacent rooftop. Misjudging the distance, he misses and is left hanging precariously between buildings. Roy makes the same jump with ease, and as Deckard's grip loosens, Roy surprises him by catching his arm and hoisting him to safety.

As Roy's life at last runs out, he delivers a now famous monologue about how his memories "will be lost in time, like tears in rain." Roy dies in front of Deckard, who, exhausted, looks on silently. Gaff arrives and shouts across to Deckard, "It's too bad she won't live, but then again, who does?" When Deckard returns to his apartment, he finds the door ajar, but Rachael is safe, asleep in his bed. As they leave together, Deckard notices a small tin-foil origami unicorn on the floor, a familiar calling card that brings back to him Gaff's final words. Deckard and Rachael quickly leave the apartment block.
Macabre; disturbing; provocative. Solid; thoughtful; insightful of human nature. Blade Runner was all of these things and I loved it.
But that was thirty-five years ago.
And Now?

Blade Runner 2049 is set thirty years after the events of the first film. A new blade runner, LAPD officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former blade runner who has been missing all this time.

We can only guess what’s coming. But if this new rendering possesses only half the atmosphere of the original, it’ll be an outstanding film.

Roll on October...

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The IX Series

Prelude to Sorrow

Fight or Die

The task force dispatched to eradicate the Horde menace on far Exordium has failed, and for those left alive, that axiom resounds as never before.

Now marooned – out of time and out of place – the survivors lick their wounds and struggle to recover while the fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance. But fate, it seems, isn’t done with the Ninth, and our heroes find themselves forced to mount a last-ditch attempt to end the threat once and for all.

But just how much will they have to sacrifice and what implications might this entail? Will the darkness be vanquished, or will our heroes’ efforts finally signal the beginning of the end of their adventure?

Find out soon in – Prelude to Sorrow – the stunning conclusion to the IX saga.

Watch this space for the forthcoming cover reveal

Sunday, July 2, 2017


Last week I had the rather delightful experience of delving into a dark and macabre BBC drama entitled, Taboo.
I knew I’d be onto a winner as it involved collaboration between “Peaky Blinders” creator Steven Knight, Ridley Scott of “Alien – Blade Runner – Gladiator – and a shedload of other hits” fame, and Tom Hardy (in the title role), to name a few.

Here’s the scenario:

It’s 1814. James Keziah Delaney is a man who has been to the ends of the earth and comes back irrevocably changed. Believed to be long dead, he returns home to London from Africa to inherit what’s left of his father’s shipping empire and rebuild a life for himself. But his father’s legacy is a poisoned chalice. Enemies – especially among the “all-knowing & all-powerful” East India Company – lurk in every shadow and under every rock.

A man with ungodly, terrible secrets, Delaney is forced to navigate increasingly complex waters to avoid a death that just about everyone seems to lust after. Why?

Ah, that begins to emerge in this sinister, brooding, slow burning and gritty drama that shows you the depths some will plunge to in order to protect their interests.


Often brutal, sometimes poignant and always gritty, Taboo is utterly original, packed with a stellar cast who blend together perfectly, and the perfect murder mystery to long as you’re not easily shocked.

As Oliver Twist might say: “Please sir, can I have some more?”