Create a character for the Hell Universe

Perseid Publishing and Zauberspiegel Announce a Contest to Submit a Character for a Story in the Heroes in Hell Series:

Submit a Character to be written into Hell

In the next volume of the Heroes in Hell series, the winning character will be included in either a new Janet and Chris Morris story, if the winning character is of sufficient depth and importance, or it will be included in an existing story.

Starting Dec 1st 2011, you will have the chance to contribute to the next volume of the Heroes in Hell series – “Adventurers in Hell.” The contest ends Dec 23rd 2011, 23:59 central european time.


Write a text of 200-400 words describing the character you are nominating: Why should this particular character be included in a story in Hell? What errors did the character make in life that will be punished in Hell? Extra credit for appropriate (and innovative) punishment in line with the character’s life on earth.

The number of words is not the determinative criteria for winning; rather, it is the character itself and your description of the character’s personality and behavior while living; your personal reasons why the character should be included in a hell story. All prospective characters must have been real living people and they must have died before 1950.

Only one story per person.

There will be three prizes awarded as follows:

1st prize: Janet and Chris Morris write a story featuring the chosen character, or the character will be included in a story, already in process, for the next volume of the Heroes in Hell series and an autographed copy of the book containing the Winner’s character when released.

2nd prize: an autographed copy of the most recently published book in the Heroes in Hell series and the appearance of the 2nd place character in the next book in the series.

3rd prize: an autographed copy of the most recently published book.

The jury is: Janet Morris, editor/author, Chris Morris, editor/author, and the Muse of Hell: Sarah Snyder Gray Hulcy.

Attention: No author who has ever been published in the Heroes in Hell series may submit a character. No present or former employees of Perseid Publishing, Kerlak Publishing or Zauberspeigel is eligible to participate.

Submit entries to the following email address: and please include your full name, address, email address, phone number, website, etc.

Texts are accepted in English and German.

Windycon 38

I got back from Windycon 38 last night.  Windycon is a moderate sized science fiction convention in the Chicago area and is one of my “regular” conventions.

When I go to a convention I have three basic purposes.  First is being there as a science fiction fan:  buy stuff, listen to filk, appreciate the costuming, attend panels discussing favorite books and series, that sort of thing.  From this perspective Windycon was a rousing success.

The other two purposes are from my perspective as a professional writer:  meet other professionals in the field with an eye to doing business.  It could be getting to know other authors who might remember you and recommend you to an anthology editor (it was that kind of personal contact that got me a chance at the Heroes in Hell series) or it might be a simple “here’s the editor you need to send your story to” or it could be a “send the story to my attention and I’ll take a look” from an editor or agent. (I can dream can’t I.) The final purpose is to get your name in front of fans with the idea of selling books and stories.  Since I now have stories in anthologies (Lawyers in Hell currently and Sword & Sorceress XXVI and Adventurers in Hell forthcoming) this is a part of getting “word of mouth” started to help sell these books.

From a professional perspective my visit to Windycon was, shall we say, less than successful.  I had one programming item, a reading, but without other programming items to introduce me to congoers and my decided lack of fame in science fiction there wasn’t anything to draw people to that reading.  Result being that nobody showed up.  Well, one person did–the individual whose job it was to go around and count how many people were attending various panels and other programming items.  He hung around and we ended up adjourning to the con suite to chat.

Oh, well, you can’t win them all.

Stanza is back

And my e-reader of choice, Stanza, is back with an upgrade that allows it to run in iOS 5.

According to some sources Amazon has said that this is the “last update ever” for Stanza so I may still need to search for a replacement but for the time being, my primary e-reader both for personal reading and doing editing passes on my own writing.

For the time being, I’m happy.  Of course, I’d deleted Stanza, and my library, from my iPod when it looked like Stanza was gone for good so now, after reinstalling, I’ve got to import my library back into it.

Fortunately that’s easy in Stanza.


"Realism" in fiction

A lot of folk say that fiction should be “realistic” that it shouldn’t all be happy-happy-joy-joy.  The implication is that to be “real” fiction must be be miserable stories about miserable people living miserable lives.

I disagree. While miserable people living miserable lives can be part of the real world (all too often, IMO) that’s not _all_ the real world.  I’m part of the real world and I like to think I’m not a “miserable person” and I’m certainly not living a miserable life.  It’s not a perfect life, far from it, but there’s a great deal of room between “everything is always perfect” and “everything is miserable”.

As Ouida, pseudonym of Maria Loise Rame. From “Romance and Realism” in “Frescoes and other stories” (1883) wrote: “But the Vatican Hermes is as ‘real’ as the Japanese netzke, and the dome of St. Peter’s is as real as the gasometer of East London; and I presume the fact can hardly be disputed if I even assert that the passion flower is as real as the potato!”

“Realistic” does not have to mean “depressing.”

Need a new e-reader

I just updated the OS on my iPod Touch (what I use as my primary e-reader as well as for other things).  Unfortunately the OS upgrade broke the e-reader app.

I had been using Stanza a free e-reader that worked great for my needs.  Now, it crashes whenever I try to open it.  As I understand it, Stanza is no longer supported so unless some further upgrade of the Apple OS revives it, I’m out of luck with continuing to use Stanza.

That means I need a new e-reader app.  The things I liked about Stanza:

– The ease with which I could scroll through my rather large library to find a particular book.
– The easy navigation through the e-books.
– The “two tap” (center of the screen to open the controls then the yin-yang symbol) switching between “day” mode (black text on a white background) and “night” mode (white text on a black background).
– Convenient note-taking/annotation
– Oh, and it was free. 😉

One of the things I used the e-reader for is proofreading/editing stories.  Once I finished a story I’d convert it to epub and put it on my iPod.  A lot of errors and problems that I missed when writing on the computer jumped out at me when I read them on the iPod.  I could use the annotation feature to write notes about changes/fixes and then refer to them when I worked on the master story file on the computer.

Another use to which I put it is keeping a fairly large library of reference information:  things like historical and mythological writings (the Norse eddas and sagas, Apollodorus’ writings, the Baghavad Gita, the Book of Arda Viraf, many other things).  This allows me to do background research for stories and worlds conveniently wherever I happen to be.

So now I need a new e-reader to replace the one that’s broken.