Numerology and Gargoyles

In the dim distant past, in a more innocent time, before the great pandemic, I was invited to write a story for a new anthology. This was in the Autumn of 2018, before the final draft of the first Hannibal novel had been written, Miss Maybe was still a minor character sipping tea in Esqwith’s Passing Place, and Hettie Clarkhurst didn’t even exist on that level.

Given Hettie very much one of the linchpins central to the arc of the first Hannibal trilogy and the first novel was almost complete at this point, Hettie not even existing in the authors mind at that point may surprise you. Unless your a writer yourself, in which case I suspect not even vaguely…

But back to the anthology I’d been asked to submit a story to…

Hannibal was to be my next big project. The Passing Place/ Hannibal crossover novella had been published a few months earlier and the first novel’s release was planned for around the same time as the anthology’s… Therefore I surmised a Hannibal Smyth short story was obviously the thing to write. The only trouble with that was I didn’t know where to start. However I had a jokey passage I’d written about my erstwhile anti hero reminiscing about the time he fought a duel while off his head on LSD. A quote I’d used in the publicity for ‘A Scar of Avarice’ despite it being a passing jokey reflection on an earlier incident and not actually central to the novella.

I just liked the quote…

Reference’s to Hannibal’s disreputable past like this crop up throughout the novels. I keep a separate list of them, to avoid contradictions. At least, contradictions that are not deliberate on my part, Hannibal lies a lot to his readers after all… But as with many of these ‘incidents’ I actually knew nothings about the details of the dual, how it came about and just how he came to fight it while on LSD. It was a throw away joke as much as anything…

It was however a joke people liked, so as I needed to write a Hannibal short story, the actual story of that dual seemed like a fun thing to do… I was certain it wouldn’t screw up any of Hannibal’s back story, or change the course of later events in the novels…

So yes, of course it did.

But before I explain just how it did change things I’ll have a quick moan about an offensive reviewer who pointed out LSD did not exist in Victorian times. Well done you, you’re correct, it didn’t… Of course the Hannibal novels are set two hundred years into Victoria’s reign and while many things did stagnate in Hannibal’s alternative world, chemistry of a certain kind did not… But still , bonus smarty pants points for you…. (that one has bugged me a while, not least because it was a review of the story in the anthology. While I don’t care if someone rips me to shreds in an ill-informed review I do care about the other fourteen writers involved. So in essence if you are going to write a shitty review, get your facts straight…) And breath…

Anyway, the short story I wrote, ‘The Cheesecake Dichotomy’ gave Hannibal’s universe not only the force of nature that is Henrietta Clarkhurst, ‘The Ins and Outs’ gentleman club and fleshed out some of Hannibal’s backstory I hadn’t realised was missing. It also became pivotal to the entire plot arc of the first trilogy in ways I wasn’t even fully aware of until I came to write the third novel. Indeed, I suspect the first Hannibal trilogy wouldn’t be complete even now if not for ‘Cheesecake’ and Hettie Clarkhurst, both of which only exists because of that anthology.

Shocking I know, but I, like most writers in my experience, more or less make it all up as we go along…

But without Harvey Duckman, I suspect Elonis Musk wouldn’t be firing giant cannons at the moon on a volcanic island west of Java. Certainly not with the force of nature that is Henretta Clarkhurst involved…

The Anthology in question was, of course, the first of the Harvey Duckman Anthologies. The tenth (or possibly twelfth depending how you count them) of these anthologies is due to be released on the 9th of September and I am once again one of the writers featured. Indeed I am happy to say I am in all 10/12 volumes, indeed in one of them (the pirates special edition) I feature twice with a story under an assumed name as well as one under my own. In this latest outing in the series I have a story called ‘The Ballard of Jonny Two Bones’ which could be described as a western, for the first paragraph or two. It then becomes something else entirely…

But while I am taking about Harvey, pick a cover….

Pick your favourite cover and read

Seriously, Harvey’s can be read in any order, or you can just try a single volume. So just pick your favourite cover and give it a go…. Harvey Is Calling…

What I like most about being part of the Harvey Duckman family, is just that, it’s a family, with getting on for 60+ authors now spread across the twelve books of the series. Some of them experienced writers with novels and short stories printed elsewhere. Some of them new fresh faces you will not find anywhere else, yet. Several of those fresh faces have gone on to publish novels and books of their own. At least a couple have taken stories they wrote for Harvey and built worlds out of them.

In short Harvey is a well of creativity, always full of interesting stores and new writers. A well of creativity that has also seeded more creativity. Some of those early writers in the first few anthologies have moved on, some are still with us, and some have become entwined in the Harvey team in ways they never expected at the outset. But the creativity and pure joy of stories stays at its core.

The latest 12th volume, number 10, which for obvious reasons is refereed to now as Gargoyle… ‘And there be devils within…’ is released on the 9th of September, it is however available for pre-order on kindle. though why you would not buy the paperback I don’t know…

This one includes stories by a mix of old hands and new bods as ever.

Kate Baucherel, R. Bruce Connelly, Mark Hayes, Peter James Martin, Christine King, Tamara Clelford, C.K. Roebuck, J.A. Wood, John Holmes-Carrington, Jon Hartless, Jack Pentire, Mat McCall, Ben Sawyer and D.T. Langdale.

Like all editions of Harvey the stories within are a mix of many genres and fine reads, with authors you may know, and ones you will be pleased to make the acquaintance of. Click on the cover if you want to know more…

Oh, and enjoy the Carrot cake…

This entry was posted in amreading, amwriting, book reviews, books, cthulhu, fiction, Hannibal Smyth, Harvey Duckman, horror, indie, IndieApril, indiewriter, novels, Passing Place, reads, sci-fi, steampunk, writes, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Numerology and Gargoyles

  1. Pingback: Is Steampunk Elitist? A guest Post by Mat McCall | The Passing Place

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