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June 20, 2021: Website updated and revised.

Head Of Mithras

Mithras Head179The model for this drawing was a photograph of a head from a statue of Mithras the sun god, found in a Roman mithraeum, an underground shrine where the initiated members of the esoteric order made sacrifices and ritually feasted in worship of their deity. Originating from Persia and associated with Zoroastrianism, Mithras had significant connections to Hellenic deities as his cult was practiced in the Roman Empire, being closely linked to Sol Invictus, Selene, goddess of the moon, and the figures of the zodiac. Perceived as a rival to Christianity, the worship of Mithras was banned along with other pagan cults and died out as an active faith in the 5th Century CE. This drawing departs somewhat from my usual subject matter, but still fits closely with the general theme of antiquity. While I tried to copy the idol’s head, he came out looking like Marc Bolan. Like the ancient song said, Who needs TV when I got T Rex?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithraism

Hail Athena Poliouchos – Athena, Founder And Protector Of Cities

AthenaII175

I tried to draw the Greek goddess of wisdom, handicrafts, and battle strategy before, but wasn’t too pleased with the results. This is a second attempt. I’m not crazy about this one either, but it’s a definite improvement over the last effort. The model for the drawing was a photograph of a votive relief from the Acropolis at Athens, ca. 450 BCE. She’s depicted reading a decree, which is why I invoked Athena in her attribute of city founder/protector. I was lucky enough to see the Acropolis and the Parthenon in February of 1982. Someday soon perhaps I’ll see it again.

Tales Of Brave Achilles – Ιστορίες γενναίου Αχιλλέα

Achilles174Given a choice by his mother, the sea nymph Thetis, between a long, peaceful, happy life followed by oblivion, his name unknown as a hero, or a short, violent struggle that ended in a young death and eternal glory, Achilles willingly chose the latter path only to ultimately bemoan his fate as a dead soul trapped in Hades for all eternity, decrying earthly fame as mere vanity, ephemeral as cobwebs.

This picture is based on a photograph of a detail from a vase by the Achilles Painter, ca. 440 BCE.

Host Of Many Now Out Featuring My Story Fortune Teller

hom front coverThe Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a very interesting organization with a focus on Hellenistic-Egyptian paganism that derives its inspiration from the ancient city of Alexandria, home of the famous library where all the legendary wisdom of antiquity was gathered. In that spirit, the BA has been steadily publishing on a fairly prolific basis a series of books exploring various aspects of ancient paganism. One of these previously published books, an anthology entitled Beyond The Pillars, included my short story Raw Meat For The Great God Pan.

The BA’s latest work is Host Of Many, devoted to the Greek Lord of the Dead, the dour and taciturn brother of Zeus and Poseidon, condemned by lot to rule the world’s lower depths, to possess all its mineral wealth, and to only command empty, dead souls. This book has my rather scabrous yarn, Fortune Teller, about the ups and downs of a hedge fund manager who finds an unlikely direct line to old Plouton himself through an elderly Greek soothsayer. The story previously appeared in 2019 in Horror Sleaze Trash.

I don’t have anything to say about my own story, leaving that to the reader’s judgement, but I do want to note that, like the BA itself, Host Of Many is quite an interesting, rather mixed bag.  While there’s the good selection of poetry and fiction that one would expect from a BA anthology,  it also has tasteful, evocative illustrations; serious nonfiction articles that explore various aspects of myth and Hellenistic paganism with a Plutonian focus; descriptions of various rites, sacrifices, and incantations that can be performed at home in privacy if one is of a mind to invoke and worship the Dark One, and even Mediterranean cuisine recipes for solstitial feasts that sound absolutely delicious (A pomegranate aperitif? Ah, chef’s kiss!).

I don’t really consider myself any judge of poetry, but I do particularly want to single out one short story for praise, The Haunting Of Vipsania Licinia by Rebecca Buchanan. This is a truly spooky piece about a turn of the century, hoity-toity Eastern museum that acquires an entire, uprooted Roman tomb from Italy as its showpiece only for the museum’s curator to learn to his horror that the spirit of the tomb’s occupant violently objects to such disrespect and profanation. Ms. Buchanan is plainly deeply versed in the spirit and letter of the ancient Roman faith and culture, with its deep worship for ancestors. Her respect for and fascination with the subject, along with a straightforward narrative and historically accurate details, helps to create an effective ghost story that ends on an ironic twist, which I, of course, won’t give away.

I can seriously recommend this book to fans of fantasy fiction, pagans or pagan curious types, philhellenes, devotees of the esoteric, and anyone who might enjoy an entertaining, varied melange of Hades centered offerings.

https://neosalexandria.org/bibliotheca-alexandrina/current-titles/devotionals/host-of-many-hades-and-his-retinue/

https://neosalexandria.org/bibliotheca-alexandrina/current-titles/fiction-anthologies/beyond-the-pillars-an-anthology-of-pagan-fantasy/

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56073376-host-of-many

https://www.amazon.com/Host-Many-Hades-His-Retinue-ebook/dp/B08P8WD73G/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=host+of+many&qid=1606968353&sr=8-1

 

Pluto172

Melkart The Castaway Now Out In Cirsova Magazine

CirsovaThe latest tale of Melkart, the mighty Phoenician, is now available for discerning sword and sandal fans in the Fall 2020 issue of Cirsova, the magazine of thrilling adventure and daring suspense, the third publication to feature the redoubtable Semite’s adventures, this time as the lead story.

Read in spellbound awe how Melkart, shipwrecked on a mysterious island by an evil sorceror, fights back with brain and brawn against the bellowing Minotaur; Talos, a giant bronze robot; armored Spartans; and, most dangerous of all, a giant triton summoned from the sea by an enchanted ring.

Melkart The Castaway has already garnered two reviews. Both, I’m pleased to say, got exactly where I was coming from:

“[T]he first use of “Wine-dark sea”, uttered just before the introduction of the Greek setting and characters, was a masterful touch, informing the reader of what is to come with subtlety and cleverness. And the old stories inform this one, as Melkart must face off against a Minotaur for his life. For a story filled with what the Classical Greeks would treat as demigods, Mellon takes a more naturalistic approach. Monsters do exist, but the power of those who bear the name of gods is in strength, sinew, and craft.” – Nathan, Castalia House.

“Reading this story is like watching one of the many sword-and-sandal movies of the 1960s. Like those enjoyably campy films, the plot is episodic. The muscular hero overcomes his many foes with seeming ease. It is best enjoyed as light entertainment, with Good and Evil presented in simple terms.” – Victoria Silverwolf, Tangent Online.

Face it, true believers! Miss this one and you miss it all! Or to put in Marvel Comics speak:  “‘Nuff said.”

https://cirsova.wordpress.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Cirsova-Magazine-Thrilling-Adventure-Suspense/dp/1949313387/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=cirsova&qid=1604528020&sr=8-1

http://www.castaliahouse.com/melkart-the-castaway/

https://tangentonline.com/print-quarterly/cirsova-fall-special-1-september-2020/

 

“Aphrodite’s Cleft” Accepted For Cauldron Anthology Whore Issue

issue-12-whore_orig

 

Good news! Aphrodite’s Cleft has been accepted by Cauldron Anthology, a literary journal about embracing the wild feminine, for their twelfth issue with the theme:  Whore. To quote from the Cauldron Anthology website: “[A]ll about what it’s like to be a whore, a being that experiences pleasure and how those things are good. Whore has a gendered meaning but we want to include any definition of this word in our issue. We want this issue to be gender-positive and sex positive. And so without further ado the three mythological characters we’re working with this issue are: The Whore of Babylon, Salome and Aphrodite.”

As you probably guessed from the title, my story pertains to the last of the three female archetypes and recounts another adventure of McCrae Spenser, a young Scottish gentleman  on his Grand Tour of Europe in the early 19th Century with a curious history of mishaps and falling into tight corners, all largely due to yours truly. Another Spenser story, An Etruscan Tomb, appeared last year in issue no. 24 of Tigershark, a UK magazine. In this new story, acting on a dare from a Orthodox priest, Spenser spends the night on the deserted beach of a small island where Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, is rumored to manifest herself as a towering column of sea spray. You can learn the juicy details when the new anthology’s out, which I’ll announce as soon as it happens.

A big shout out and much thanks to the staff of Cauldron Anthology for seeing the merit in this story. It’s a real treat to get published in a venue like this.

http://cauldronanthology.weebly.com/

Ares The Red God Of War

Ares173

 

Ares:  the Hellenistic avatar of senseless, bloodstained war, military conflict at its most brutal, a cruel god filled with an unreasoning lust for slaughter that can only be slaked by brave men’s death, to watch their lives’ blood pour out on the field of battle and roar in satisfaction at the waste and misery. This version of Ares is butt naked like the ancient warriors who fought before Troy. As usual, I screwed up the perspective so he doesn’t have a right foot and I didn’t leave enough room for the fancy, crested Corinthian bronze helmet I originally planned to draw. So I made the best of a bad situation and gave him a Bronze Age boars’ tusk helmet, another Trojan War appropriate artifact. I only have three more deities to draw:  Aphrodite, Hephaestus, and Pallas Athena, and then I’ll have a complete set. Wish me luck, folks!

Coffin Bell Journal Interview Now Available

coffin bell

Coffin Bell Journal, the quarterly online journal of dark literature that recently featured my crime/horror short story, Trick Roller, has posted an interview with me online in which I discuss my writing career, my views on how to go about writing,  suggestions for novices, and writers that I admire among other topics. My sincere thanks to Editor-in-Chief Tamara Burross Grisanti and Associate Editor Sarah Saint for taking an interest and providing me with this opportunity. If you’re interested in reading the interview, please click the link below:

https://coffinbell.com/interview-with-mark-mellon/

All Hail The Lord Of Dead Souls And Unseen Things

Pluto172

 

The ancient Greeks and Romans believed the Lord of the Dead was the richest of the gods since all the hidden treasures of the earth were his, gold, silver, gems, etc. That’s why I made sure he has plenty of bling. His Greek  name, Hades, is traced to an archaic word meaning the Unseen in one suggested etymology. Ancients thought it a decidedly bad, unlucky thing to mention Hades by name so they used a euphemism instead, the Rich One, Plouton in Greek, Pluto in Latin. The latter word is the root of “plutocrat.” This makes sense since plutocrats do seem quite dead inside.

Upon arrival, Plouton sheds a single tear for each dead soul. This is the limit of his mercy.

The Yacht As Big As Manhattan Now Up On Tall Tale TV

Yacht-Dotcom

 

As promised, my short story about plutocrats run amuck, The Yacht As Big As Manhattan, is now up at Tall Tale TV, both in podcast and print format. A big kudos to Chris Herron for a high quality, very professional presentation and reading. This got my Monday off to a terrific start.  It’s available on YouTube, Facebook, in MP3 podcast, and directly from the TTV website. Please give the yarn a listen or read, whatever is most convenient. Learn of the mysterious Arkadin family’s dysfunctional adventures aboard a ship the size of old Peter Von Stuyvesant’s island!

Website

http://talltaletv.com/the-yacht-as-big-as-manhattan/

YouTube

https://youtu.be/nKRA7m6IsQY

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/TallTaleTV/posts/1955894294534500

MP3

https://pinecast.com/listen/ffc12c55-d04a-43e7-9207-0172712817b8.mp3