Monday, January 16, 2017

Viscera by Jessica B. Bell @CdnZmbiRytr


Who Is Jessica B. Bell, Anyway?
Jessica B. Bell

Jessica B. Bell does not exist. Not really. (Or does she??) I started writing (again) in the Spring of 2013, unsure of what I was going to write. Had my writing muscles atrophied during a medically induced period of silence? I started by creating a persona that I would inhabit for just over two years – a sassy dilettante named Helena Hann-Basquiat, who wrote post-modern, self-referential, pseudo-autobiographical memoirs that were equal parts heartbreaking and hilarious. During those two years I published two volumes of Memoirs of a Dilettante, as well as a sort-of Shakespearean style play starring Helena’s sidekick, Penelope, Countess of Arcadia. Somewhere along the line, I got it in my head that I’d like to start writing serious fiction again – horror stories, and in particular, I had an idea for a novel (this ended up becoming the novel CHUK, which will finally see print sometime in 2017). But clearly, Helena couldn’t write these kinds of stories, and so I invented Jessica B. Bell – a creepy, pale creature that Helena kept locked in her basement, writing her horrifying missives on old faded yellow parchment (in her own blood, of course) which Helena would then transcribe for the world and publish on her website. Er, that is, my website. It can get confusing, I know, but try to follow along.

Then in the summer of 2014, after about nine months of writing short stories as Jessica B. Bell (who had become a sort of tongue-firmly-in-cheek “mysterious figure”), I posed the question to my readers: Who is Jessica B. Bell? I invited a few artists and writers to give their answers. Some came in the form of pictures – so-called candid snaps or else, artistic interpretations of what they thought Jessica might look like.

I had initially planned on creating a week worth of blog posts – sort of “Tales from the Campfire” style – where I would share the writers’ stories of their fictional encounters with the fabled Jessica B. Bell. What happened instead was so much more, and ended up becoming the collaborative novella titled Jessica – a meta-fictional look at who Jessica is, or might be – and her relationship with Helena Hann-Basquiat. It explored her possible pasts, as well as where she might be going from there. It was an incredibly rewarding writing experience, combining the efforts of six other writers with my own, and guiding it into something terrifying. Jessica incorporated multimedia, including an audio-clip, newspaper clippings, and more.

After the success of Jessica, I began working on a second book, Singularity, which honestly began with a weird dream I had wherein I imagined what it would be like if Jessica B. Bell had written The Velveteen Rabbit. This second book asks the reader to forget everything they think they know about Jessica B. Bell. Helena admits to the reader that she made the whole thing up, and that there really is no such person as Jessica B. Bell.

Jessica, understandably, doesn’t take this revelation very well, and decides to fight back. This time, the question is just how far Jessica will go to become real. Again, I collaborated with several other writers to create something that is both a novel and a series of connected stories – just how they are connected, well, you’ll have to read to find out.

All this time writing sometimes silly, sometimes serious stories as Helena Hann-Basquiat, I was also writing short stories – strange, often frightening stories – as Jessica B. Bell. These stories have now been collected as Viscera, published by Sirens Call Publications and available now. If you like being scared, if you like dark humour, and if you’re not afraid of exploring twisted topics, then Viscera is the book for you.


Viscera — Jessica B. Bell

Viscera is a collection of short stories full of all the things that make you squirm, cringe, and laugh when you know you shouldn’t. You’ll remember why you’re afraid of the dark and experience an abundance of weird creatures: witches, ancient gods, and all-too-human monsters - the scariest of all.

Indulge your twisted sense of humor with stories about unconventional werewolves and a woman with a frog fetish. Know what it’s like to arrive too late to save an unusual alien abductee, or giggle with sick delight as a woman serves up a special Hasenpfeffer dinner to her pig of a husband.

Settle in for bedtime stories fit for monsters.

Viscera will grab you by the gut and squeeze, making you cry for mercy—or laugh like a fiend!

Available on:


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Jessica B. Bell is a Canadian writer of strange fiction. It is rumoured that she lives in a damp, dark basement, writing her twisted tales in her own blood on faded yellow parchment. Her stories have been published in various anthologies, the most recent of which is Voices. She also writes under the name Helena Hann-Basquiat, and has published two novels on the metafictional topic of Jessica B. Bell, titled Jessica and Singularity. A third and final novel is planned for 2017.

Find more of Jessica’s (and Helena’s) writing at

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