GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Q&A with author S. E. Lindberg (Lovers in Hell A Heroes in Hell Anthology) + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Paranormal reviews of books, movies, comics with author interviews and giveaways we love urban fantasy, romance, science fiction, horror, fantasy, mysteries

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Q&A with author S. E. Lindberg (Lovers in Hell A Heroes in Hell Anthology) + giveaway

Q&A with author S. E. Lindberg (part of the Lovers in Hell Anthology)

What is something unique/quirky about you?
Strange muses have inspired me for decades. By training and trade, I am a chemist and the intersection of science, art, and spirituality fascinates me (alchemy essentially). Alchemy largely originated in Egypt, so its Underworld of Duat serves a rich muse. For Perseid Press, I’ve contributed six alchemy-inspired tales to date (four for the Heroes in Hell series and two for Heroika) that all integrate Egyptian myths.
Who is your hero and why?
I have many personal heroes and role models, but my mind goes to sharing the heroes of this featured story: “Lovers Sans Phalli”. There are two! I have adopted the duo of Howard Carter (renowned archaeologist and looter of King Tutankhamun’s tomb) and Ernst Haeckel (discredited evolutionist and original ‘ecologist’) as tour guides for several Heroes in Hell stories. Why use them as protagonists? Both are deceased explorers who sought to unveil mysteries that resonate with my alchemical inspirations.

Their motives contrast: Carter adores material, artificial wealth as much as Haeckel is fascinated with nature’s riches. They roam the Egyptian world of the dead, Duat. Introduced in Pirates in Hell, the conflicted duo has four connected, yet stand alone, adventures (so far 😊): “Curse of the Pharaohs” in Pirates in Hell
“Lovers Sans Phalli” in Lovers in Hell
“Fool’s Gold? in Mystics in Hell
“Bait and Switch” in Liars in Hell

What inspired you to write “Lovers Sans Phalli”?

Given the anthology theme of ‘lovers’ and given my heroes are damned to Duat, I researched relevant myths for inspiration and locked onto that of Osiris’s murder. Osiris was the Egyptian god of fertility and afterlife who was dismembered by his brother Set. Osiris’ wife Isis collected his body parts, including his sacred phallus, to enable the conception and birth of their son Horus.

For “Lovers Sans Phalli”, a dozen cursed pharaohs (all named Ramses) team with the infamous, tomb-raiding Howard Carter and discredited evolutionist Ernst Haeckel to repair the penis-less Osiris (who has no sovereignty presently in a realm ruled by Satan). It’s fun to have Carter and Haeckel deal with getting calibrated to being ‘dead’ (with ‘bodies’ that may not be whole in the ‘living’ sense) as they seek out the sacred penis. Of course, serious themes are buried under wild predicaments and satire. The reflective Haeckel considers ‘Are genitalia need for love?’ while Howard Carter, ever the opportunist, wonders: ‘How much is a god’s penis worth on the black-market?’

What is your advice to new authors?
Experiment with non-writing roles that bring a high return on investment to better your craft.

An issue (feature?) with writing today is that authors cannot exclusively write; they are compelled to be marketers, reviewers, editors, reviewers, etc. Every role has an opportunity cost (all that energy could be spent elsewhere). So, the question is: what efforts (beyond writing) can one perform that provide as many benefits as possible? Most include participating in larger communities.

A decade ago, I began interviewing authors to learn from them and to share their experiences/perspectives; that led to publishing opportunities and networking. Also, reviewing books helped me learn about new markets, while connecting with editors and publishers when I shared those reviews. I’m not keen enough to create content via podcasts, but that is obviously another way to simultaneously network while bettering one’s craft. Attending & volunteering at conventions is another way. I’ve attended World Fantasy Convention and GenCon Writer’s Symposium (GCWS), eventually participating on panels and have been on the organizing committee for three years now (chairing in 2023; next one is early August 2024, in Indianapolis). Not only are these great ways to meet/listen to panels with authors you can learn from, but volunteering at conventions allows for direct access to all sorts of folks in the industry (publishers, illustrators, editors). Writing/Reading groups (either in-person local clubs or online ones like Goodreads) offer community & opportunities too.

Only fools fall in love, and hell is filled with fools.

Lovers in Hell: A Heroes in Hell Anthology
by Janet Morris
Genre: Dark Fantasy Anthology
Only fools fall in love, and hell is filled with fools. Our damned lovers include: Christopher Marlowe and Will Shakespeare, Napoleon and Wellington, Orpheus and Eurydice, Hatshepsut and Senenmut, Abelard and Heloise, Helen and Penelope, Saint Teresa and Satan's Reaper, Madge Kendall and the Elephant Man, and more . . . -- all of whom pay a hellish price for indulging their affections.

Shakespeare said "To be wise and love exceeds man's might," and in Lovers in Hell, the damned in hell exceed all bounds as they search for their true loves, punish the perfidious, and avoid getting caught up in Satan's snares. In ten stories of misery and madness, hell's most loveless seek to slake the thirst that can never be quenched, and find true love amid the lies of ages.

Never Doubt I Love – Janet Morris and Chris Morris
Love Interrupted – Nancy Asire
Lovers Sans Phalli – S. E. Lindberg
Fume of Sighs – Janet Morris and Chris Morris
Calamity – Michael E. Dellert
Love Triangle – Michael H. Hanson
A Hand of Four Queens – A. L. Butcher
Devil’s Trull – Andrew P. Weston
Withering Blights – Joe Bonadonna
Wrath of Love – Janet Morris and Chris Morris
Excerpt from Hell Gate – Andrew P. Weston

**On Sale for Only $2.99 until the end of the month!**

“Lovers Sans Phalli” by S.E. Lindberg Excerpt
“May your spirit live, may you spend millions of years, you who love Thebes, sitting with your face to the north wind, your eyes beholding happiness.”

–Tutankhamun’s Wishing Cup Inscription and Howard Carter’s Epitaph
Parallel dams of fleshy refuse emerged on either side of Ammit. This sordid canal within the Lake of Fire guided them in a closed circuit. Regularly spaced obelisks, tilted at awkward angles, rose from the dikes. Mummies, suspended from these, wailed as they burned in harmony with their wind-snapped threads of cloth, flittering like ruined pennants from vanquished standards. Legs spread, their crotches and lower abdomens gaped, empty.

“They have lost their genitals,” Howard Carter gasped in horror.

“Indeed, they are not whole,” agreed Haeckel.

The tomb-raider’s eyebrows raised with excitement: “Ah ha, but I recognize that one!”

“Mister Carter, how do you know the identity of that mummy? Its screams are incoherent. There is no discerning mark on its body; it is burnt beyond recognition.”

“Ah, the cartouche beneath his crispy legs labels it. It must be Khafre. Ooh! Look at that one over there. That must be Snefru.”

Haeckel asked, “What is a cartouche?”

Howard pointed. “The enclosed inscription of hieroglyphs. They are signatures of royal Egyptians.”

Ramses III muttered in horror: “The next reads: ‘Menes.’”

Young XI, participating with reluctant enthusiasm, said, “And Narmer hangs just beyond.”

“A splendid game, this is!” Howard Carter identified a few more with glee: Amenhotep and Khufu.

Haeckel raised his heart to his compatriot in a friendly salute. “Prost! Gut gemacht.”

The defaced pharaohs could not play any longer. ‘Spotting-the-burning-pharaoh’ made the Rameses’ hearts grow too heavy for games. The displayed victims wailed continuously. Did they call out for help? Mercy? Or to mitigate pain?

Senenmut grew strangely excited. He began to recognize the landscape. There was hope, after all. He tried to inform Hatshepsut but she batted him away. “Shh. I am listening.”

“Djoser!” Carter flexed his arms victoriously. “I am winning!”

“Shut up, fools,” Hatshepsut commanded. “Can you not hear a boy screaming for his mother?”

“Yes, Ma’am . . . or . . . sir . . . I did hear a boy’s cries,” Carter confirmed to Hatshepsut.

All quieted until Ammit’s torso rocked suddenly. Her riders staggered and squatted to maintain balance as she steered her bulk through the canal. The chimera burped.

The abject ostrich feather previously anchored to her teeth shot free, floated in the air, and landed on Hatshepsut. What did it mean to hold the feather of Maat again? She placed it into her ebony hair, above her right ear.

“A boy! Over there,” shouted Young XI.

Hatshepsut’s heart beat faster with hope and anxiety. “Where?”

“On the right. Up ahead. Beside a chariot with wheels upended.”

The ghostly, scab-encrusted boy sat cross-legged atop the ruined vehicle, his right thigh bone splintered. The dangling ankle smoldered. A large hole in his left breast revealed his empty ribcage, his missing heart. Bony hands clutched an alabaster chalice filled with the blood-red offering of the Lake. Blistered skin pebbled his brow. His skull gazed with vacant eye sockets toward them while his mouth opened. The shattered boy rasped, “Make a wish.”

“What did he say?” Hatshepsut asked of any who might know. “Is that my Thutmose?”

Despite the missing cartouche, Carter identified the burnt remains silently. The victim’s height marked him a teenager. The floral cup carved from white rock could only belong to a single pharaoh. Oh, dear Tutankhamun. Your Lotus Chalice would sell very well. Carter salivated. No need to educate the others. Time was of the essence. “No matter his identity, we can save the boy. We must. We move swiftly on this creature’s back, but we can retrieve him. Hold my heart for a moment.” He tossed the organ to Ramses IV. “I’m the tallest with the longest reach. I think I can grab him as we pass. As I lean over the side, someone please counterbalance me.”

Ramses III held Carter’s left hand, allowing the tomb-raider to lean far starboard as Ammit’s advance brought him closer.

The injured boy outstretched his hands to meet his savior, extending his reach by holding out the alabaster cup.

Carter seized the chalice. The boy pulled oppositely. King Tut whispered with charred lips, “You! I recognize you. You shall not have my cup, thief! Instead, I shall have you.”

Tutankhamun released the Lotus Chalice to seize Carter’s forearms.

Ammit did not slow. Carter pulled King Tut from the grotesque levee. The youth pulled furiously at Carter while towed along. Ethereal water splashed violently against the boy’s face, filling his open mouth to pour from his opened chest. To all bearing witness, it appeared that Carter was trying to reel in the boy. In truth, he could not let go.

Tutankhamun’s skin finally peeled off. His skinned hands failed in their grip, leaving the boy bobbing in dark waves. The chalice dropped and sank.

“No!” Carter wept real tears and retrieved a handkerchief from his vest pocket to mop the mucus streaming from his nose. “I tried to save— I tried”— he sniveled, glaring at his empty hands— “the . . . the ca . . . cu . . .”

“Tutankhamun!” Hatshepsut finally recognized the adolescent pharaoh.

Carter squinted helplessly toward where the chalice had sunk.

About the Author:
S. E. Lindberg resides near Cincinnati, Ohio working as a microscopist, employing his skills as a scientist and artist to understand the manufacturing of products analogous to medieval paints. Two decades of practicing chemistry, combined with a passion for the Sword and Sorcery genre, spurred him to write Dyscrasia Fiction: graphic adventure fictionalizing the alchemical humors.

Choice of print or ebook of Lovers in Hell,
$10 Amazon giftcard – 1 winner each!
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment: