Today I'm thrilled to host Rayne Hall, the editor and brains behind the successful Ten Tales Series. I've known Rayne for a few years and have taken wonderful writing classes from her. I'm happy to have penned a tale for three of her Ten Tales Anthologies, including FIENDS.
Rayne tells us her thoughts on demons and a little bit about the fiend in her story.
Demons intrigue me. They scare me, too, because they're the most dangerous of all paranormal creatures.
Intelligent and deceitful, they are masters of disguise and crafty manipulation. They stir evil desires, exploit moral weaknesses, disguise the boundaries between right and wrong, plant convictions in the victim's mind, and persuade humans that they want the thing the demon aims to bring about.
And they are real. While vampires and werewolves are – probably – creations of the human imagination, I don't doubt that demons exist.
Many myths feature fictional demons, or projections of human fears, but there are also other, subtler manifestations. The most dangerous demons are those which have their tentacles so firmly entwined in the human psyche that we don't recognise them as separate entities. How about drug addiction, pedophilia, alcoholism? When they possess a victim, they manipulate the mind with evil desires, and often gain control over the human's actions. Is this person really still himself – or is he possessed by a demon who controls his mind?
When a person is compelled to evil deeds, we cannot know whether this is a dark side of his own psyche, or whether he has become a become a demon's helpless puppet. This area of uncertainty fascinates, horrifies and worries me.
Even those closest to the victims, even the victims themselves, cannot know, although depending on their cultural background, education and religion, some are inclined to see demons where others mock the concept.
Externalising the evil desires in one's own psyche can be empowering and healing – or it can be an excuse. Blaming demonic possession allows a person to absolve themselves from guilt, and to continue their evil ways.
On the other hand, a genuine victim of demonic possession faces a struggle against a more powerful enemy than a mere human can hope to defeat – and if their family, friends, neighbours and church don't believe in the demon, the already helpless victim gets blame instead of support.
I have written stories about this kind of demon, exploring to what extent the human host is responsible for the deeds he carries out under the demon's influence. In my dark epic fantasy novel, Storm Dancer, the hero has a demon… or hasn't he? How can he protect others from the evil inside him?
Every culture in the world has demons – or at least demon myths - but their shape, nature and purpose varies so much that it would be impossible to give a single definition.
When I conceived the idea for a demon anthology, I resolved to write a new story.
This time, I wanted to feature a 'traditional' kind of demon, preferably one I had never before written about.
I decided to set the story in the same fantasy world as Storm Dancer, and since this is based on the Middle East during the Bronze Age, I looked at Middle Eastern traditions.
Ghuls are part of the mythology of that region, demons who prey especially on travellers and deceive their victims by taking the shape of humans they have devoured. In my story 'Nine Rings of Silver and One of Bronze', caravan leader Mourad guides his group across a ghul-infested desert, and he bears a guilty secret from his past.
What intrigues you about demons? What do you think they're like? Would you recognise a demon if it sneaked into your life?
Every culture in the world has demons, but their shape, nature and purpose varies so much that it would be impossible to give a single definition.
In this anthology, ten authors share their vision of demons, some drawing from their ethnic and cultural backgrounds, others inspired by observations from real life, all blended with the writers' vivid imagination. Their stories span a wide spectrum of styles – scary, funny, disturbing and thought-provoking.
Grab your copy of FIENDS for 99 cents here at Amazon.
Rayne Hall has published more than fifty books in several languages under several pen names with several publishers in several genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. She is the author of the bestselling Writer's Craft series (Writing Fight Scenes, Writing Scary Scenes, Writing About Villains, Writing About Magic and more) and editor of the Ten Tales short story anthologies.
She is a trained publishing manager, holds a masters degree in Creative Writing, and has worked in the publishing industry for over thirty years.
Having lived in Germany, China, Mongolia and Nepal, she has now settled in a small dilapidated town of former Victorian grandeur on the south coast of England where she enjoys reading, gardening and long walks along the seashore. She shares her home with a black cat adopted from the cat shelter. Sulu likes to lie on the desk and snuggle into Rayne's arms when she's writing.
You can follow here on Twitter http://twitter.com/RayneHall where she posts advice for writers, funny cartoons and cute pictures of her cat.
To see her books on Amazon, go to viewAuthor.at/RayneHall .
Rayne's website is here: http://raynehallauthor.wix.com/rayne-hall
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