Fake Interview: Elder Henry Lord


Hello everybody, I have another interview with a character from a book, this time the book is Lords of St. Thomas by Jackson Ellis which I recommend you give a read because it wonderful book.  Today I am interviewing the elder Henry Lord


Q1. Hello Henry, How are you today?  Let’s start off by talking about St Thomas.  Can you give us a run down on what the town and it’s folk were like.

It was a small community, and tightly knit. That’s a necessity in the desert. You have to lean on one another, whether for help in the home or out in the fields. I ran the town garage, but spent a lot of my days in the cotton fields and orchards along the Muddy River, as well as working on the railroad, which came into the western part of town. It made a big difference to us, finally having that railroad to deliver provisions and livestock. The character of the town changed drastically when the government came into buy us all out. A lot of good, hardworking people were forced off their land. They didn’t want to leave, but looking back now, what else could anyone do? 

Q2. How did you meet your wife and what was she like?  (One thing I felt was missing from the book)

I met Ann long ago in church, when I was a young man and still observant. She was sweet, and strong…and stubborn. Had she lived long enough, I’d like to think she would have been right by my side when I turned down the government’s offer for our property.

She enjoyed reading, too. It was because of her that I learned to love books. 

Q3.  Have you always stayed in St Thomas?  Ever been travelling?  If you haven’t been abroad where would the ideal holiday destination be?

Never travelled much beyond the Moapa Valley. No need. St. Thomas is my paradise, I never wanted to leave, and if I had to do my life over again, I’d do it the same way. 

Q4.  Seeing as you are a character in a book, if you could jump ship and join another book which would you choose and how would you alter the story?

Noel Lord (from Howard Frank Mosher’s Where the Rivers Flow North) and I would have made one heck of a team. Not sure I would have made much of a difference in his story, nor he in mine, but we would have raised a little more hell together. 

Q5. Here’s a question from Abbygayle, aged 7,  from Upper Twatton. “What did you do when you was a kid?  It must ‘ave been totes boring not to have Internet and books an all that.

School, church, helping around the house and in the fields, fishing and playing ball — plus trying to stay cool despite the desert heat — didn’t leave time for much else. We did have some books. What is the Internet?

OMG!  You don’t know what the Internet is?  It is sooooooo amazing.  You can do so many useful things like watching people pop pimples and Japanese girls eating ice. You can find out what the weather is doing outside if you can’t see the window.  This boy at school told me about this video where two girls do something with a cup but I’ve not seen it yet.  You really should check it out, it’s really cool.

That sounds awful! 

Q6. Could you explain your reasoning behind not selling the house?  Did you have a theory on why you thought the water wouldn’t reach your house?

Looking back, it was wishful thinking on my part. I had no theory, no idea whether the water actually would or would not reach my home.

But you know, if I sold the house, that was it. Whether or not the lake flooded my land, I’d be out either way. If I refused to sell, I at least had a chance to stay on my property. And remember, I did stay on my property for another full 10 years before my home was flooded. That water had to travel 70 miles before it reached me…and I still can’t believe it happened. 

Q7. Could you give the readers a book recommendation to sit on our fake library?

Roughing It by Mark Twain, one of my grandson’s favourite books. It has some great stories that take place in the Territory of Nevada during its early existence. 

Q8.  How proud are you of young Henry and what he did with his life?

I couldn’t be prouder…wish I could have stuck around a while longer to see more of it. But I’d say that no matter when I passed.

Q9.  Describe the perfect meal.  Include food, setting and company.

Anything fixed by my wife. She would be there, as would my son, Thomas, my daughter-in-law, Ellen, and my grandson, Little Henry. It would be back home in St. Thomas, just as if nothing had ever happened. 

Q10.  Normally I have a question about President Trump at the end, instead this time it will be about President Coolidge.  If Coolidge was to turn up at your garage with car troubles what would you do?

I’d service his car as I would for anyone else. I’d do my job well, and I’d offer him the same price I’d offer anyone. I’m a businessman, and like anyone worth his salt, I pride myself on quality and fairness.

I wouldn’t shake his hand though.

I would like to thank Jackson Ellis for playing the part of his character, it has been great fun.  I do recommend you give Lord’s of St. Thomas a go, you can find info on Goodreads and Amazon.  Also check out Jackson’s Website and follow him on Twitter.


Reader Interview: Jack CJ Stark

Hello everybody, I have another interview with a mighty book reader/reviewer/author, he has the physique of a Marvel superhero and the head of a supermarket watermelon, a proper round one, not one of those silly Japanese square melons, please welcome Jack CJ Stark, he who is not a square!


Before we start, is there a back story we need to know about the melon?


Are you willing to share this backstory with us?

I like melons.

Q1: Here is the most important question to ever get asked of a fruit/man hybrid: Gnomes! Are they heroes or Villains? Also, what year do you think they will take over the world?

Aren’t we all just heroes and villains simultaneously? Yeah, that’s right, I answer a question with a question. You’re welcome. You know what they say, when somebody does something sometimes I like it and then they are my heroes but if I happen to not like it then they are my mortal enemy and therefore the villain because I’m my own biggest hero. It’s a popular saying in my town. The Gnomes took over in 1996.

Q2: What is your favourite book and why?

Who can even come up with a single favourite? I don’t trust anyone that has a single favourite of anything. They must be witches. Or Lamas in disguise. I shall give you my top 3 favourite books.

In no particular order:

1. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.

b. anemogram. by Rebecca Gransden.

&. Skellig by David Almond.

These books all contain a similar theme. A young child discovering new things or experiencing life changing events. They all explore the themes of life being more than what it initially appears to be, and of hidden truths that are not known by the masses. They are all a bit mysterious in parts and leave the reader with questions. They are stories that give back the more you put in to them and if you can read between the lines, they explode into being very deep, meaningful, and heartbreakingly bittersweet.

I’ve only read anemogram. from that list and your description there is spot on for that book.

Q3: If your life was to be made into a book who would you want to write it?

Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of this Realm and of Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. They say everyone has one good book in them, and I think this is the story for her.

Q4: Hardcopy, Kindle or Audio?

I once got a papercut from a hardcopy book. It was on that day that I realised they are out to kill us all. Climate change, nuclear war, famine, asteroids – they are nothing compared to the dangers that paper brings to our people. Therefore, kindle and audio, at the same time. I’m such a modern age geezer that I just can’t get enough of this newfangled technology. Hashtag save the cheerleader, hashtag save the world.

Q5: If you were to stalk an author, who would it be and how would you go about it?

I plead the fifth! Purely theoretically, hahahaha, Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of this Realm and of Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, in order to ensure she is getting the details right. I would do it by dressing up as a corgi and infiltrating Balmoral. It’d be the final chapter of my biography.

Haha, what a plot twist!

Every good story has a plot twist. DOUBLE PLOT TWIST: I am her maj.

Q6: If you could become any character from a book who would you be and how would you alter the story? 

I would become Oyster Boy from The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories by Tim Burton, and I would escape to sea before I got eaten. SPOILERS! Soz. 

Q7: What’s the first book you remember reading?

Keep Clean and Tidy Up. It was about a bee, and some other insect bug of some kind that cleaned up public parks and taught kids to look after their environment. I lost it one day when I threw it out of the car window.

So you didn’t learn a thing from the book?

I learned. It’s just, nobody tells me what to do.

Q8: I see you have a book called Creases, in your opinion how does that compare against such classics as The Bible, The Art of the Comeback by Donald Trump and the Twilight series?

Check you out with your shameless plugs just smoothly inserted there. It was like watching Graham Norton at work. I am in awe! I think Creases has the potential to be even bigger than The Bible. Creases has been read by at least 7 people, so NYT bestselling list here I come! It isn’t as complex as The Art of the Comeback, but nothing could compare. It’s a good book. Great book. Best book. I think I invented the word book when I wrote Creases. I don’t know, I’ve never heard anyone use the word before then. And the Twilight series is just the pinnacle of excellence. Without a doubt, it is the standard that I actively work to achieving one day. When I get there, I can retire. Deep in the knowledge that nothing could be better.

Q9: You have been tasked with rewriting Fifty shades of Grey, what would you change from this almost perfect book, only second to Creases (Another plug there, Mr Norton could learn from me)?

I would up the smut. Hashtag UpTheSmut! There is nothing my aro-ace heart loves more than very explicit sex. I would also rewrite the exact same story told from Mr Grey’s perspective, because that is how we can introduce equality into our society. Also, I’d up the age of the characters by 53 years because then it would be extra hot.

Q10:  Now is your chance to make a demand of all the many authors who will read this blog…What story would you like to see written?

Oh, that’s a hard one (… she said!) Wink. No, you grow up! Have you heard of the book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Of course you have, it’s a classic. It’s full of colours and pretty things. That book taught me that I can eat everything in sight, and I will just get fat, but then I’ll go to sleep one day and when I wake up, tada – a thing of beauty! This book is irresponsible and sends the wrong message. It’s a scourge on society! Because, get this, that’s not how it works for us humans. IKR! I was shocked too when I found out. So, I’d like to protect the children of the future and demand we burn The Very Hungry Caterpillar and have it rewritten by more responsible authors where the caterpillar ends up with Type II Diabetes and has his limbs amputated. Kids gotta learn the hardships of life. It ain’t all rainbows and butterflies here in the real world and it’s about time we started taking this seriously. Thanks, Obama.

I’d like to say thanks to Jack for taking part in this experiment.  Remember folks to keep an eye out for the biography of Jack “I like melons” by  Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of this Realm and of Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. If you want to follow/stalk him then you can find him on Twitter and be sure to check out his awesome blog.


Reader Interview: Liz Scanlon

Hello everybody, after the hugely successful reader interview with Alison, who has had to go hide in the Scottish hills due to all the authors now hunting her down for sport, this time we are travelling further afield to somewhere I’ve never visited before Ireland (Sounds like a place full of rainbows), please welcome Liz Scanlon.


Liz is a fellow Cape wearer, opting for the “pants-on-the-inside” look, with some very cool looking boots. As you can see her identity has been protected by the security forces at Tesco.

Q1: Here it is, the most important question never asked of a President wannabe: Gnomes! Are they heroes or Villains? Also, what year do you think they will take over the world?

Gnomes have already taken over the world! We just haven’t noticed it because they’re tricky like that. I think they’re potentially the necessary evil! Cute on the outside, great hidden depths in the inside and get shit done.

Q2: Has a book ever inspired you to visit where it was set or follow a particular route the characters took?  If not is there a story you’d fancy basing a road trip on?

If we’re talking fictional worlds, then I think the world that has been created by Marian L Thorpe in her Empire’s Legacy series, book 3. The city is called Casil and it would be a discovering man’s wet dream. Oh, Jen Williams created some great visual too in her Ninth Rain book with mushroom forests and weird alien beings- that would be ace… In real world? Yeahh, I mean who wouldn’t want to travel the world?

Q3: What is your favourite book and why?

The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe Tragic, romantic, unbelievable emotion, translated to English beautifully and with a great historic background. I mean, Napoleon commended the book and first copycat suicides happened because of this book… It’s just mind blowingly incredible specimen of literature, for sure.

Q4: Hardcopy, Kindle or Audio?

I personally don’t get along with audiobooks because my attention just goes poof! Hard copy, paperback, Kindle- tattered, new, semi decent: all goes!

Q5: If you were to stalk an author, who would it be and how would you go about it?

Does the author have to be alive at present?

Don’t see why that should be an issue, all good stalkings end in a death (Rule of Misery) 

Ok, from author’s who live, I’d like to stalk Laurent Binet because the way he wrote HHhH was so maddening, a reader can feel his passion. So, I’d probably like just appear at his doorstep, lie to him that I have important historical information and then just wing it… Have cups of coffee with him and suck all his knowledge in like a sponge… He’d be inspirational for sure…

From the dead authors, I’d like to use Wells’s time machine and go hang with Orwell in London and Paris.. I’d give him a cigarette and we’d be best buddies! 

Q6: You heard of Desert Island Discs? Well this is Dessert Island Books.  Pick one Dessert and 3 books to get stranded with on an Island.

Ha! Getting stranded – hashtag life goals!

Dessert: honey cake (yummmyyyy)

Book 1: The Satanic Bible (to keep me grounded)

Book 2: The Good Soldier Shvejk (to keep me entertained)

Book 3: Andersen’s fairy tale collection (to keep the nostalgia)

Q7: What’s the first book you remember reading?

Oh blimey! It’s all a bit hazy from back then… And I read a lot… Um… I’m going to go with the earliest- Mickey Mouse comics! Do they count?

Of course they do, I reckon comics got a lot of kids into reading books 

Woop! I had a massive stack of the comics.. all piled up, the collection was actually taller than me. Shout-out to my sister for keeping them coming, haha…

Q8: What book would you recommend to somebody who wants to get in to reading more books?


It depends… What are they into? I wouldn’t push a classic on them, more something exciting and fun and gripping to prove that reading can make a heart beat faster! Again, there’s loads to pick from


Let’s say they’re a fantasy reading folk… I’d send them Ravencry or Kings of the Wyld… OR if they’re into experimenting with something a bit more out there and had an open enough mind: Prezident Scumbag! All the way

Hell yeah!

Scumbag was hilarious! Yeah, pop that one as number one! A bit of shock factor never hurt one!

Q9: I see from your blog that you have started to dabble in the art of writing, so lets put those skills to good use, you have been tasked with rewriting Fifty shades of Grey, what would you change from this perfect book?

Oh, dude… I’d totally go back to the drawing board. Now, I haven’t nor am I planning to read it, but I’ve done my research on it… It’s out there, right? So, I’d put a twist on it and turn what’s-her-name into a blow up doll character and write about the culture of blow up dolls being used as a means to battle loneliness. That means Christian Grey may or may not turn into an slightly creepy older character who likes to put the doll sitting on the front seat of his car, tied up to the dash as he goes about his daily shopping.

Q10:  Now is your chance to make a demand of all the many authors who will read this blog…What story would you like to see written?

Interesting question! And a difficult one! A lot of the stories are out there already in one form or the other, but I would like more of the unapologetic and real human condition delivered with no apologies… More of the human in the real world, with real struggles, more of the underdog!

Harry Potter: Adventures of the Hufflepuffs?

Oh god no!

I mean, there’s plenty of stories of people in high places suffering and everyone feeling sorry for them…

Time to put the regular Joe Soap into the spotlight, because for every celeb wedding or funeral there are hundreds or regular people going through the same thing… Eh, it’s a really simple example, but it’s the same with everything…I mean.


And that’s that, if you fancy honey cake and Satan then go find Liz stranded on a certain island. I’d like to say thanks to Liz for taking part in this here crazy interview.  If you want to follow/stalk her or if you want an advanced copy of her version of Fifty shades of grey then you can find her on Twitter and be sure to check out her awesome blog.


Reader Interview: Alison McCulloch

I am starting a new series of interviews, this time with the readers of the literary world, those heroes who keep Stephen King’s stock of Mars Bars nice and full.  Soooo there is going to be tonnes of pressure on the first interviewee to make this interesting, on that note please welcome Alison McCulloch from sunny olde Scotland.

AlisonThank you for taking part in this Alison and thanks to your daughter for taking this photo of you, Interesting to see the glass of wine is bigger than that large hardback book you’re holding. 🙂

Q1: Probably the most important question you’ll ever get asked: Gnomes! Are they heroes or Villains? Also what year do you think they will take over the world?

Gnomes are heroes! They have such an important presence in gardens all over the world. Their faces are so animated, you know that world domination is their goal. I think 2020 is the year that we shall have gnomality

Q2: How much time do you get a week to spend on reading?

Sadly, I’m averaging about 4hrs a week for reading for pleasure. I’m mostly reading for marking or CPD. In all, I probably manage about 10hrs a week

Q3: What is your favourite book and why?

Germinal by Emile Zola. I had to read that for one of my degree modules and I left it to the end because I thought it sounded so lame. Once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down. My daughter was in hospital at the time so I read it twice. Eventually embarked on reading more of the series by the same author and have never looked back. It was probably the first novel I read that showed the frailty of being human. I also aced the critical essay assignment for that – highest assignment score I have ever attained!

Ahh Emile Zola, you still reading them in the correct order?

Yes. I am now but I’m having a break cos I now hate my kindle!

That ties in perfectly for Q4: Hardcopy, Kindle or Audio?

Hardcopy for sure! I like my Kindle but it’s not ideal for some of the books I like to read. Audio books I like the idea of and have tried a few while marathon training but I kilts don’t take on the information.

can you explain that one? Kilts?

That’s a random typo. And absolutely kilts are not involved with anything in my life. Apart from that one time my boss wore one and took part in a relay race. And slid on the grass in front of me. Full fall and full frontal view …. I am scarred for life now

Q5: If you were to stalk an author, who would it be and how would you go about it?

I tried to stalk Leo Robertson (Link added for those wanting to stalk) once. I sent him some questions on Facebook but he was evasive in his answers. I decided then that I’m not sure stalking is for me!

Q6: If you could be any character in a book, who would you be and would you use your “Character powers” to alter the story?

I’d be Bertha Mason from Jane Eyre. No way would I be happy being locked up in the attack by that misogynistic Mr Rochester. I’d be using my madness powers to haunt him every day. Cos I’m a crazy bitch and he needs to know he’s not the boss of me!!

Q7: What’s the first book you remember reading?

I remember reading the Amelia Anne series, sitting on the back door steps of my terraced house. She was a right sassy girl and I think she has moulded me to be who I want to be. I must have been about 6

Q8: What book would you recommend to somebody who wants to get in to reading more books?

If they were starting out I’d recommend Of Mice and Men. It’s short and you can take away so much from it depending on your reading and understanding ability. If they were looking for something a bit more sophisticated I’d be advising them to look on Goodreads.

Q9: You have been tasked with rewriting Fifty shades of Grey, what would you change from this perfect book?

I would take out all the clichés and change the grammar. I’d remove the cringey car scene and the uncomfortable exchange with the architect. In fact, I’d delete this whole trilogy from existence

Q10:  Now is your chance to make a demand of all the many authors who will read this blog…What story would you like to see written?

I would love to read a proper scary novel. One that kept me awake and spooked for days

So with that challenge to all the horror writers out there I’d like to say thanks to Alison for taking part in this experiment.  If you want to follow/stalk her or if you are a horror writer seeking revenge then you can find her on Twitter and Goodreads.


Fake Interview: William S Burroughs


Hello everybody, now before we get started let me make sure I have the right info because I always get this guy mixed up with Gandalf…ok please welcome the wizard of words, one of the most interesting junkies in the world Mr Gandalf…I mean William S. Burroughs.


Q1.Hello Mr Burroughs, it is a please to meet you.  How is death treating you?  My first question is who do you hang out with these days?

Death has not proven to be as exciting as my Mexican adventures, but it is bearable. My associates include Ginsberg and other members of the Beat crowd, other non-conformists and from time to time my ex wife Joan Vollmer, though she remains displeased that I shot her dead.

Q2. I promise not to focus too much on your history with drugs, but tell me, which drug was the best and which was the worst?

Mescaline, LSD and yage increased my awareness. But junk/heroin was always the best and the worst drug I took.

Q3. Here’s a question from Abbygayle, aged 7 from Upper Twatton. Seeing as you are a famous writer, how well did you do at school?  Do I really need to bother going anymore as I want to be a writer when I grow up.

I performed well enough at John Burroughs School and the Taylor School to be accepted into Harvard.

Q4. What do you think of YouTube’s influence on kids these days?  My kids say “like” and “literally” a lot and will end a sentence suddenly with “…yeah” Like I have a bloody clue what they have been rambling on about.  Latest word they use is “Merch”, I thought they wanted to join the Navy.

Oh, the navy. Britain still has a navy? What a surprise. It was in morbid decline during my latter years. As for YouTube, it is an insidious pestilence. The YouTube addict only grows stupider.

Q5. Who was the biggest bellend from when you were alive? What sort of things did they do?

Well, I could list a multitude of bellends who were employed at The Drugs Administration at one time or other.

Q6. Book recommendation.  What book do you think everybody should read at least once?

‘The Witch Doctor’s Apprentice: Hunting for Medicinal Plants in the Amazon’ by Nicole Maxwell.

Q7. Who do you think is the best writer alive today and would they have fit in with the Beats?

Chuck Palahniuk, assuming he is still alive. I am referring to his earlier work, not that nonsense ‘Doomed’. The Beats was a unique point in time. It is impossible to know how he would have fared.

 Q8. Did you ever meet my hero, Charles Bukowski?

Yes, several times. He was a drunk and disorderly man. Bukowski never considered himself part of the Beat Generation and he tended to avoid San Francisco and New York’s Greenwich Village, so I saw very little of him.

 Q9. If there was a cocktail called “The Burroughs” what would be in the drink?

Vodka, Coca Cola and mescaline.

 Q10. Where do you stand on Trump?

Government authority is by its nature a collective of irksome forces who legislate for the curtailment of personal freedom. Preposterous hair and a gargantuan ego only serve to increase that threat.

I’d like to thank Guy Portman for playing the part of Burroughs.  You can find Guy on Goodreads, Twitter and his blog.  He has a new book coming out on November 22nd called Tomorrow’s World so be sure to check that out along with his other work.


Fake Interview: Edmond Dantès


Hello everybody, It’s time for another interview, this time with another fictional character. Please welcome the master of revenge, you either love him or fear him, everybody knows him as The Count of Monte Cristo, it’s Edmond Dantès!!!


Q1. Hello Edmond, my research into yourself mentions you having a number of different names, which one do you prefer? (I quite like Sinbad)

Good afternoon, Monsieur Rocky. Oui, I have many names to accompany my many moods, used to deceive and destroy, as has been done to me. And so on, and so forth. Behold my elevated pinkie as I sip this tea…and…et cetera.

Ugh, that’s exhausting.

Okay first, I’m just going to drop the phony accent and formality, keep the conversation friendly. Plus, I’ve seen a lot of American movies now – so if my pronunciation is missing a ‘u’ – blame it on Hollywood.

Back to the question: As you may know I can play the part of a Captain, a Count, a Lord, even an Abbé, but deep down I’m a simple sailor. That’s where I started this whole mess, and during my time in Italy, Sinbad just seemed to fit. Pretty exotic, right? Friends call me Ed, but I’ve been isolated and angry for so long, I don’t have many left. Probably why I’m so talkative today. Just call me whatever you want, I mean, we’re boys now right?

Q2. Soooo, you experienced the ultimate betrayal, I know you got your revenge and this all happened many years ago, but do you still feel bitter about all that happened?

Nah, I’m good. Like dad always said about hardship, it builds character. Sure I was pissed, but now that I’ve ruined so many lives, I’m kind of bored with it actually. And they made it into a serial, which became a book, then turned it into a bunch of movies…did you know that one time Jesus played me in a movie? It’s true, look it up.

Wow, just googled that and it’s true, nice claim to fame there.

Deep down, though, I will admit that it’s fun seeing the face of a man watch his life crumble around him, the exact moment he realizes I’ve won. That’s a fist pump moment if there ever was one. Not that it’s a competition, of course, just that I have proven to be the victor every time.

But it’s lonely at the top.

Mercédès left me and took the brat with her, Albert, but I guess I don’t blame her. He was a good kid, even if he pronounced his name Al-bear instead of Al-burt. Funny he acted tough, but at least he was loyal and looked after his mom. Anyway, they left, so I moved on. Eventually I fell for Haydée, who was pretty cool too. We had some similar interests, shared experiences with betrayal and loss and murder and all that. I even bought her freedom at one point when she was younger. Didn’t last long, though. Turns out there were more differences than similarities between us.

Who says age is only a number?

It’s also a way of thinking. We like different music, different movies and books, pursue different dreams – plus she used far too many abbreviations to say simple things using what they call internet slang. And texting. Like WTF? I’m far too old for that shit. I like my ROFLs with butter and syrup. So we fell out pretty fast. Since then, not much else has gone wrong. Nothing a shot of penicillin won’t fix. But I’m not bitter, now that I’ve had a lot of time for introspection and meditation. Cool as a cucumber.

Q3.  If somebody was imprisoned for a crime they didn’t commit, what advice could you give them to get their life back on track?

Since my successful escape and complicated plan for revenge, I’ve actually put a lot of effort and money into helping free the wrongfully convicted. Sure, everyone behind bars says they’re not guilty, but the ones who are truly innocent need help fighting the flawed system that put them there. Especially in the countries which still allow the death penalty.

Fucking barbaric.

Don’t mind the soapbox I’m standing on now, just seems illogical to allow a government the power to kill its citizens. In some cases, for the misplaced guilt assumed by twelve of their peers. That’s happened a few times it seems. Anyway, I’ve used some of my immense wealth to create a foundation that tries to help out. We can put money on the books for commissary – and legal teams and objections and paperwork and even arrange conjugal visits – but if all that doesn’t work, the first thing I would teach them is how to make a shiv.

If the system won’t protect you, then do it yourself.

Remember I was in gen pop before I got sent to the dungeon, so if they hadn’t placed me in isolation, I was prepared to fight the biggest guy in the yard and stab the first guard that tried to pull me off. Let them all know not to fuck with me. I had a life sentence already, what more could they do? But I guess we all lucked out when I was sent downstairs to sit in the corner instead.

Q4.  Seeing as you are a character in a book, if you could jump ship and join another book which would you choose and how would you alter the story?

Haha clever phrasing since we already talked about the sailor thing. There weren’t many books available in prison, and if I could pick only one from the outside, it would have to be Choose Your Own Adventure #10: Prisoner of the Ant People. Sure it’s from 1983, but also a long-time favorite. Don’t think about it too much.

I could hold my place using a thumb, and see if what I wanted to do would kill me or land me in jail again. Battle all the way to the final fight with Evil Power Master and take his head. Like a boss. Bet he can’t swordfight as well as me either, so he wouldn’t stand a chance. Did I mention I’m undefeated at reading too?

Q5. Here’s a question from Abbygayle, aged 7,  from Upper Twatton. “I just read Q3, “imprisoned for a crime you didn’t commit”, were you in the A-Team?  I’ve not read the book you are in, my wrists are very frail and couldn’t lift the book”

Hello, little one. Don’t worry about the book, I doubt I could’ve lifted it myself when I was first sent up. If you do find yourself in prison at some point, however, there is plenty of time to exercise. You could bench-press the book I’m in every day, and do curls with it – maybe jog around the yard a bit – and come out looking like the fella with all the gold chains from the A-Team, mohawk and all. Do you want me to teach you how to make a shiv?

Q6. If you were to join a dating site who would be the perfect partner for you? Care to share with us what your advert would be like?

Never tried online dating, personally. Usually just wait for the next port of call to blow a day’s wages. Being imprisoned at 19 may have left a its mark, I figure, but I’ve been reading a lot for this one. It might look something like this:

Wrongfully convicted and escaped to exact bloody revenge, wound up with a fortune and some kinks. Sub Male seeking Dom Female. Bondage, starvation, captivity, and some torture okay. Pirate cosplay expected. Humiliation and betrayal are deal-breakers. Someone to help me clear my cache and cookies a plus. Sailor Jerry and a twist of lime with dinner. Enjoy a fresh swim in the ocean after a cliff dive, and long walks on the beach. Kisses.

Q7. Could you give the readers a book recommendation to sit on our fake library?

Chopper by Mark Brandon Read. I read quite often now, and have always enjoyed a little story from good ol’ Chop Chop. Nothing warms the heart more than betrayal, violence, and a seedy underworld – as long as it’s met with anecdotes dripping buckets of blood from gruesome revenge and sprinkled with light comedy.

Q8.  I’ve always wondered where your story went after the book ended, did you have further adventures?

I tried several things along the way, but nothing quite like what you’ve read, I suppose. After everything died down with Haydée, I finally had the ability to travel and money to do what I wanted. Well I’ve had the both for a while, but I didn’t have to get permission first.

It’s quite the difference.

So I saw more of the world and learned a lot, even joined the Peace Corps to try my hand at helping, maybe make amends for the devastation lying in my wake. Pretty quickly I caught a severe case of soul-crushing boredom, but got lucky and landed a spot as one (of only twelve) backup dancers for a couple K-Pop songs. You can still find the videos online if you look hard enough. Next I tried my luck as a safari guide under the shadow of Kilimanjaro. Brief knife fight with a local chieftain resulted in me leaving that one early, to work a short stint at a call center out of Mumbai selling postage meters to American businesses. Then, as if by magic, I wound up in the adult entertainment industry. Which all makes perfect sense. It all ended soon after an incredibly painful flare up caught the light wrong on camera, and the producer lost a bunch of money. Still pissing fire if you’re being nosy. After that I moved around a lot, over borders and across oceans, under deserts and high above the mountains, never staying in one place for too long. Joined a band, thrashed a bit until everyone went solo or ended up dead from an overdose, my album eternally motionless below the bottom of the charts. Tried to write a memoir, but I couldn’t find the words. You know, all the normal stuff. No one’s special.

So here’s the crazy part:

Eventually, I met up with some dude in a cave way up in the Himalayas, and he hands me a copy of the book I mentioned before. Prisoner of the Ant People. Said if I figured out how to make it through, I could learn the simple concepts that allow for time travel and immortality. That with this ability, I could help achieve world peace and guide us through the bullshit into the future we need. When I heard that, I checked the date, and it was still about a decade before the copyright stained into the front pages. What other evidence did I need?

I stayed in this cave for innumerable days and nights, countless hours spent studying the “manual” by firelight. Which turns should I take? Page 83 or 119 next? What consequences resulted from my actions? Was it the end? Nope. My primary duty soon became saving humanity from itself.

No pressure or anything.

When I learned the trick with the thumb, I had it figured out. Finally. As long as I kept my digit in place, I could see into the future. I could know what awaited me and make educated decisions, avoiding the dangers that might be ready to ruin me. So, practice this trick yourself, and you will see how far you can make it. Spread the word. Now that we have the key, we can all fix things right? I mean, I’m 222 years old already if my math’s right. Over six times the life expectancy of my era apparently, and one of the lucky numbers from my fortune cookie. Jackpot. So there you go, time travel and what seems to be a good run at immortality thus far. You’re welcome. Now get to work.

Well that got a little weird, next question.

Q9.  Describe the perfect meal.  Include food, setting and company.

Good timing, because I’m quite hungry right now. At this very moment, I’m feeling a breakfast burrito from Bonfire. It’s been far too long. Bit of a drive, sure, but the chupacabra variation is excellent. Use a punch card too, so we can get a free one later. We’ll split the freebie, you have my word. In all my travels, I haven’t found a more satisfying meal. No matter what time of day. Pair it up with a frosty can of Beer Lao from the opposite side of the globe, and I’m good.

Bring it all back to the castle, of course, and eat in the movie theater I had built when I gave the dungeon a makeover. Kick the legs up on a recliner and proceed to stuff my face like a champion. Care to join me? We can watch the movie where Jesus played me if you still don’t believe it. Or how about Blade of the Immortal? Surely you have heard of Takashi Miike…

Q10.  It’s the Trump question that I always leave to the end.  Let’s assume he has heard about you from somebody tweeting a scene from your book, he has hunted you down and imprisoned you.  How would you seek vengeance?

Not sure how he made it through the epic, honestly. But that’s a low blow, we can settle this like gentlemen. I am a Captain Count Lord Abbé, after all.

I’m afraid that if he wants to flex his wallet, he would find the result as emasculating as his tiny hands. It’s fucking embarrassing. By the way, I have read that hand size is indicative of virility, athletic ability, character, ties to the Russians, and the hardware a guy is packing. I already told you about my time in the adult film industry, so I doubt he would win that contest. Think it looks like a baby carrot?

Made you picture it.

But that’s where the real plan comes in. Let’s suppose he finds a way to read the thing, learns of my accomplishments, misspells a tweet in angry response to the instigator – all capital letters and excessive punctuation obviously – and tracks me down so I wind up back behind the wall.

I do what I do best: Play the long game.

There’s always a way to get things in prison. Contraband is what keeps the places running smoothly. So I would begin by having someone bring in spray tan using their prison purse, probably Jacopo since he is a smuggler and loyal friend. Once inside, I would add an orange peel or two to the solution, some bread crusts, juice from the chow hall, a few drops of urine, some ash from a rolled cigarette, and let it ferment in a plastic bag over by the shit bucket in the corner.

I would already have the famous grimace, I think we can both agree, prison food generally makes for a painful poo. Then, when it was good and ready, I would smear this concoction (known in the joint as Covfefe) all over my skin. Let the bleach I stole from the laundry room fry my hair…then call for a guard. Once word got back to the biggest cheese, his ego would force him to pay a visit and see how much I looked like the angry pictures that decorate the walls of government buildings now.

Like staring into a living mirror.

Indigestion and hard gas inflating my stomach as my face twists in pain, the orange-scented wooden deck stain I brewed seeping into my skin, and wispy white hair dancing with the electricity in the air. After the battle against my very own Evil Power Master, I would walk right out, prancing away like Luke Skywalker in the flabby meat vest of an orange tauntaun. You’ve seen Return of the Jedi right? Doesn’t beat Empire, but makes my point.

Either that, or buy my way out of trouble, which is also a thing apparently. Sit down and discuss business with him over a nice hot cup of Covfefe, I’m sure there would be some left in the bottom of the bag.

Well that was fun, I’d like to thank Kevin Berg, author of Indifference and Daddy Monster, for playing the part of Edmond.  You can find him on Goodreads and make sure you check out his website.


Fake Interview: J’ephh Smhi’th


Hello folks, today I am interviewing local business man/Demon J’ephh Smhi’th, thirty-seventh acolyte of D’ouggh, Son of J’hon.  You’ve probably met him at some point, ever felt pissed off for some strange reason?  I expect J’ephh was behind that.  

Q1. Hello Sir, how are you doing?  I was wondering, could you tell us a bit about yourself?  Your job sounds interesting from what I’ve heard.

Eh, hi, I’m J’ephh Smhi’th. Back in the day, they called me Jeff Smith, but when I came into my new position, regs say we need apostrophes and crap. To fit in. I died comin’ up a hundred and fifty … three? Years ago. My sins weren’t so horrible, technicalities really, The dogmatic stuff’s the worst.

So, instead of pits of fire and junk, I’m stuck with servitude, but at least it’s one where I work on the surface. I get to run around lookin’ a lot like I used to when I was alive, get some sun, chat to people, all that good stuff. I just have to fill quotas on CMTs (Common mortal torments). Know how karma can be a bitch? Well, call me bitch. If someone’s been really low-key sinning… mid-grade asshollery, that kind of thing, I get tagged to go cause them a hassle.

Q2. For the job roll you got assigned was there an interview process? (Just planning ahead as I expect I’ll be heading that way one day.)

I don’t know how I was assigned this specifically. I don’t know if I’ll ever get reassigned, it’s not a very communicative management structure. For all I know, the difference between being made a slave instead of being turned into an eternal rectal tiki-torch comes down to a time in life when you decided not to kick a puppy.

I can imagine there’s some scorecard or grading system, but again… I’m not in management, so I have no idea. I can only say- play it safe, karma, as I mentioned, is a bitch. And I think she peeks at Saint Peter’s books.

Q3.  So, have you ever met the big man Satan himself?

He doesn’t really use the name ‘Satan’ too much these days. He lost his taste for it when people started calling America ‘the Great Satan’. Not that he has anything against America specifically, but it waters down the brand, you know? He sticks to Lucifer. I thought it would kind of bring up bittersweet memories of his early days, but what do I know? I’m basing all this on speculation.

No, I never met him. It’s like asking a repair rep on a Microsoft help-line if they ever met Bill Gates. It’s not a small community down there. You think Earth has a lot of people? Think of how many people have DIED. Last I heard, the count mas over 113 BILLION. With a B. Even a modest chunk of that is… well, it’s a lot more than the man at the bottom has time to have tea with.

Q4: Tell me more about your work, what exactly is it you have to do? I know you gotta cause some hassle, can you give a recent example of a job you’ve completed? 

Well, I get a… call it a vision… but it’s more like a post-it note shows up in my head. Today started with a lady who left a fake note on a parked car she scraped up with her own car. You know, one of those “A lot of people are watching, so I’m writing this note to make it look like I’m giving you my number” things.

Next time she parked her car, I was there to place a nail where it would drive into her tire when she moved again. Easy peasy.

After that, I had to go to a cafe and order something after taking forever to decide… he got sick of standing there waiting and told me to call him back when I decided, which I did, then changed my mind. Quite a few times. I finally ordered something, then when I got it, I yelled at him for ten minutes for getting the wrong one. He got the right one, but I insisted I had actually decided on one we hadn’t even talked about.

Did I mention I went in as a bike courier, and managed to knock crap off counters with my bike ‘by accident’, twice when going from the door to the counter, and once more on my way out?

The trick, at least for me, is trying to minimize agitation to innocent bystanders. Like the cafe thing, I waited until there weren’t many people in there, and when another customer came in behind me, I started to wrap it up. Might not be how the job was intended- I sometimes wonder if agitation of innocents is part of the job. I know his customer service will be suffering for the rest of the day, and I feel bad for the other customers.

But that might be all part of Lucy’s plans. Which then I’m a part of it, because of COURSE I am, and THAT makes me feel bad sometimes, but that’s part of my own torment, I guess.

Then I had a less complicated one, where I just yawned overly-dramatically while walking down the sidewalk and elbowed some shmuck in the head. And then blame him, of course. 

Q5. Here’s a question from Abbygayle, aged 7, from Upper Twatton.  “Can the public hire you? Tattianna cut the hair of both of my Barbies and I wanna get revenge on her, would you cut her hair whilst she sleeps? How much will it cost?

Fraid independent contracts are a big no-no. My contract is pretty binding, blood signature and all that. You CAN offer your soul to the big guy, if you know how to get his attention, but he tends to do that ‘works in mysterious ways’ shtick. Lucifer answers every prayer, but sometimes the answer is no, blah blah. Honestly, it’s not very efficient for quick revenge. Lucy helps those who help themselves… And doing ‘things’ yourself is a great way to get on his radar. This is one way to work up credit for bigger things down the road, but… there’s that whole soul thing.

Look, I’m a company man because I have no choice, but I’m not a Company Man. At 7 years old, don’t get tied up in contracts. You see kids getting cell plans that young, and it’s already a bad situation. Lucy doesn’t do 2-year contracts.

Shop around. Maybe a grade 5 bully can hook you up for like… a bag of crisps. That would be a kid on my career path. So, like… hire that kid, then do me a favour and follow it up with a prayer for the bully to the other team. Kinda a bait and switch as far as the Lucy/Jeho thing goes, but frankly, I think they’re into that. It’s certainly been going on long enough. 

Q6. Do you have any hobbies you do in your free time?

Well, weekends are my main free time, but I also have to spend ‘em down below. Topside, I’m on call all the time. Like I could get pegged to do a job at any moment right now, so it’s hard to plan anything fun. I bike, strike up conversations with anyone, really. Enjoy nature… that’s all I can really trust on having time for.

Down in the bad place, options are pretty slim, too. I get to let out my tail and relax a bit. Sometimes I go to a pit of really, really bad folks, and throw things at ’em. Sounds cruel, but these are the types that no one would feel bad about jamming a fork into their eye socket. Hardcore Nazis, serial rapists, private defence lawyers, people who post “FIRST” in comment sections.

OH! And the food SUCKS down there. Always. You expect spicy, right? SURE, only if you hate it. I love spice, and to me everything down there is like gargling a mix of banana slugs and glass. I have some friends down there who are pretty much in the same boat as me, we tried to unionize once, but of COURSE down there the mob got involved INSTANTLY.

So yeah. My best free time is up here, in the little moments between jobs. 

Q7. Could you give the readers a book recommendation to sit on our fake library?

I ran into this one a bit ago. Rubberman’s Citizens. Check it out, they live down below, but like… underground on Earth, not Hell. And they’re all ignorant as h… heck. But not evil ignorant jerks… well, not all of them, but they know a ton of nothing about the lands above. They’ve been under there for generations, and there’s a few thousand of them. This place is pretty big and divided into sections of groups who are ignorant in different ways. The Citizenry section is kinda known to be rough, and the Citizens are run by … okay, it’s a bad scene. Ever heard how war is worse than Hell, because at least in Hell, they deserve it? Well, a lot of people in Citizenry don’t deserve things like public exhibition rapes, and generally getting beat on. I was expecting it to be bleak all the way through with the hero Leena just surviving, but people who deserved things got some THINGS. By the end, it was kinda heart-warming. Compassion flowing from a history of hate and abuse. And some nice, healthy revenge. Revenge bad, wrath belongeth to God or whatever, but he helps those who help themselves. Frig, I dunno, pick your dogma, something will fit.

Or you could just go for Dante’s Inferno. Always good for a laugh.

Q8.  If your life was to be made into a movie, who do you see as playing yourself?

Ooh, me in a movie? My mind goes to Brad Pitt right away, and I’m thinking of Se7en. Except I’m not as stubbley. Edward Norton comes to mind, but… I think I’m a little cuter than him. Am I on his level of wiry? Maybe. Eh, put me between Pitt and Norton. That sounds dirty. Why not? They’re cute by Earth standards. 

Q9.  Question about when you were alive…. Who was the love of your life?

Oh, I suppose I’d have to say it was Lizeldia. By no fault but my own, I hurt m’lady as I turned to wine and opioids more and more until they took my life. And there’s my greatest sin, my weakness as I let it hurt her. I’ll spare you all the details. I’d hoped that if I made such admissions, I’d be forgiven, but ****ING CONTRACTS!!! 

Q10.  Have you ever had to deal with President Trump?  What would you do to him?

Oh my, wouldn’t that be nice? There’s many bigger boys than I who’ve put in bids on him. Most us are just hoping for a chance to watch when the time comes and he comes on down. He’s been set off limits to any visits such as my work while alive mainly because everyone’s interested in how badly he can do it to himself. My issue with that is that his methods don’t just hurt himself. But, I’m just a peon grunt, and Lucy works in mysterious ways. But…fantasy time? What would *I* do to him? How many of the Saw movies have you seen? 

Brilliant!  I enjoyed that interview and I hope it puts me in good stead with the folks downstairs for honestly portraying the good work they do up here.  I’d like to thank Joseph Picard for taking part in this, check out his WEBSITE also catch him on GOODREADS, FACEBOOK and TWITTER. Be sure to have a look at his books as they are good fun, a few of them are now also available on Audible.