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What the Hell?

Or: More About the People, Places, and Concepts in Hell on Earth

It would be so cool if I automatically knew all of this terrific stuff about…oh, everything. But I don’t. So whenever I get an idea (say, writing about a runaway succubus), then I have to start doing research. Years ago, that would have meant spending hours—nay, weeks—in a library that made Giles’ look positively tiny. But thankfully, there’s Google, and Wikipedia, and a wicked fast Internet connection. Sometimes I resort to…(whispers) books…but more often than not, for down-and-dirty research I type in my search browser and then read lots online.

Okay, enough with the boring. Here’s an alphabetical list of the people, places, and concepts in Hell on Earth. This is an evolving list, so if there’s a name or what have you that you think should be on there, please let me know.


Spiffy Legend:
AHOAT = A Hell of a Time
HB = Hell’s Belles
HOE = Hell on Earth
TRTH = The Road to Hell
HTH = Hotter Than Hell


Abaddon. In HOE, Abaddon is the First Sphere of the Abyss, castle and court of the King of Hell. I really liked how this listing mentioned “Abaddon is also one of the compartments of Gehenna.” Anyone else can’t help but thing, “Abaddon all hope, ye who enter here”? Maybe that’s just me…

Abyss, the. In HOE, another name for Hell. Also a movie that I never saw.

Alecto. One of the three Erinyes. In mythology, she is the Fury of unceasing, um, fury. Or, in this case, she’s implacable. In HOE, she’s the majordomo of Hell. First appearance: TRTH.

Almighty, the. The big G. Also a descriptor for “dollar.”

Angel. In HOE, a nameless cherub who chooses to call herself “Angel” because she thinks the name is pretty. First appearance: TRTH.

Angels. When doing my research, I scanned through some of the angel hierarchies available on the Internet (for example, here), but I decided to keep it simple for the series. So in HOE, angels (which are celestial entities) have three levels: cherubim (lowest and most plentiful), seraphim (closer to God and fewer in number), and archangels (freaking terrifyingly powerful entities that are nearly equals to God).

Announcement, the. The catalyst for Jezebel running away from Hell in HB. Originally, Jezzie was going to get outsourced, and she was going to quit, and choose to become mortal. But soon I quickly realized that walking away from Hell isn’t nearly as much fun as running away from Hell. So then Jezzie needed a reason to run away. And thus…the Announcement.

Archangels. In HOE, these are the terrifyingly powerful entities that are nearly on par with the Almighty. The only two we’ve seen so far are Lucifer and Michael. Some sites I visited when doing archangel research include this one and this one.

Asmodai. Just call him a demon lover. In lore and whatnot, he appears all over, according to ye olde Wikipedia. Obviously, all of the references to lust caught my eye. In HOE, he belongs to Lust and serves as one of the thirteen Kings of Sin and Land. First mention: HB. First appearance: TRTH.

Avarice. In HOE, formerly one of the Seven Deadly Sins; now known as Covet. The details of how the Sin changed are told in HTH.

Azusa Street Revival. In HTH, William Seymour and the others from the Apostolic Faith Gospel Mission received a visit from Daunuan and Jezebel, back in April 1906. In the real world, Seymour and Azusa Street were groundbreaking in numerous ways, including overcoming the racial divide to come together to worship in unison. Some terrific sites that I visited to get information on Seymour (a fascinating man) and the movement include this, this, and this Washington Post article. And there’s always the 312 Azusa Street site.

Belles. In HB, a gentlemen’s club. Which is a frou-frou way of saying a high-paying titty bar. Jezebel fit right in.

Berserkers. In HOE, demons that belong to Wrath. In D&D, dwarves have a tendency to become berserkers. (Berserker demon dwarves? Cool…)

“Bless me.” To Jezebel, this is the equivalent of Angel’s “Damn me.” We mere mortals would probably think of this right along the lines of “Fuck me”—but to Jezzie, that’s an invitation.

Caitlin Harris. An über-powerful witch with limited fashion sense. She works closely with The Hecate, which probably doesn’t bode well for her in the long run. In HB, Jezebel asked Caitlin to turn her into a mortal—and then she also stole Caitlin’s Shield Against Evil (not to mention her looks and her credit cards). Yes, it’s true that she’s named after author Caitlin Kittredge, who coined the term “flesh puppets.”

Callistus. Powerful demon of Lust. In HTH, he is Pan’s No. 2. Not named for the popes or the saint. Actually named by Terri S., who won my Name That Incubus contest.

Candy. A stripper who works with Jezebel, first at Belles, then at Spice. First appearance: HB. Got the idea to name a dancer Candy from watching Dogma—you know the scene when Serendipity is dancing on the bar, to “Candy Girl”? There you go.

Celestials. In HOE, another name for any entity that dwells in Heaven.

Cherubim. In HOE, the lowest level of angels, those most closely interested in humans and their well-being. Demons think they’re boring. Mostly, the demons are correct.

Circe. A stripper who works with Jezebel, first at Belles, then at Spice. First appearance: HB. Named after one of my Backspace buddies who had helped me with some strip club research. Has nothing to do with turning men into pigs, I swear…

Covet. In HOE, this is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Formerly known as Avarice, another name for Greed. Part of the Third Sphere of Hell. In HTH, the relationship between Covet, Envy and Greed is explained. Promise.

Coveters, the. Money-hungry demons, these guys have hypnotic golden eyes and are terrific bounty hunters (greedy things that they are, they hate to lose their prey). Actually, they hunger not just for money but for physical possessions. And when you’re talking about demons, “possession” takes on a whole new meaning…

Daunuan. A cuddly, dangerous incubus. May or may not be Jezebel’s friend. Definitely one of Jezebel’s love interests. His full name is pronounced “Don Juan.” Well, sort of. Say what you will about Daun, but he’s a Hell of a guy… First appearance: HB.

Demons. Really? Okay. The dudes who work for Hell. Also known as the infernal or the nefarious, or “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”

Devil, the. Contrary to popular belief, the Devil isn’t Lucifer. Well, not in HOE. Here, the Devil is the Nameless Evil, antithesis to the Almighty. God creates, and the Devil destroys. If there’s an Enemy, a Big Bad Evil in HOE, it’s the Devil—who’s on par for decimating all of creation. Out of the seven most powerful entities in the universe, the Devil is one of them. Not telling where the Devil is on the list, though. Neener neener.

Don Giovanni. Perhaps Wolfgang Mozart’s best opera. For HTH, I used The Dover Opera Libretto Series: Mozart’s Don Viovanni, The Complete Italian Libretto, translated by Ellen H. Bleiler. 

Don Walker. One of Daunuan’s human names. He’d go by “Don Juan,” but then he wouldn’t be taken seriously.

Earth. The mortal coil, as William Shakespeare would say. Where we humans live. In HOE, demons refer to it sometimes as  “Above.”

Endless Caverns. A very scary place in Hell, where you get your heart’s greatest desire. See TRTH.

Envy. One of the Seven Deadly Sins. In HOE, part of the Third Sphere of Hell. The Envious are in a perpetual state of war against the Coveters, who used to belong to Envy and now are part of Greed. And this in no way, shape, or form is because of my own mixed up thinking about covet. See HTH for the nitty gritty on Envy, Covet and Greed.

Envious, the. In HOE, demons who belong to Envy. They have no sense of humor when other demons steal their human targets. In demonic form, they tend to be yellowish and rather blobbery. (What? It’s a word.)

Erinyes. In Greek mythology, the three Erinyes are creatures that even gods fear. In HOE, it’s said that even the Almighty steps quietly around them. They are among the seven most powerful entities in the universe, and they are universally feared. So of course, Jezebel is best friends with one of them. The three are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. I could have used the singular “erinye,” but I think “erinyes” sounds more spooky, and I can sorta justify it by saying it’s the royal We at work. Thus, Alecto Erinyes, etcetera. First mention: HB.

Eris. You might be thinking that this is the Greek goddess of discord. You’re correct. But in HOE, Eris is the Princess of Envy, and one of the older demons. Like Daunuan, she has an appreciation of music—specifically, of Mozart. See HTH.

Evil. The concept of Evil is the antithesis of the concept of Good. It’s also a lot more fun. (See “Good.”)

Faith. A stripper who works with Jezebel, first at Belles, then at Spice. First appearance: HB. Named after Faith Bicknell-Brown, a Hell of an editor and a damn good author.

Flesh puppets. In HOE, demons tend to refer to humans this way. Hey, it’s what’s inside that counts, right? The term “flesh puppets” was lovingly coined by Caitlin Kittredge. So I had to name a character after her.

Furies. Another name for the Erinyes.

Gates, the. (No, not Bill. Or Melinda.) Before the King of Hell destroyed them and the Wall (mentioned in TRTH), the Gates were the first part of the Abyss that the damned saw. Intimidation at its finest. Jezebel liked to hang a sign on them, which read “HAVE A NICE DAY.”

Gehenna. A spiffy tune from Ultravox. Oh wait, that’s “Vienna.” Gehenna is another name for Hell.

Gluttony. One of the Seven Deadly Sins. In HOE, part of the Third Sphere of Hell. I think chocolate was invented by gluttons.

God. In HOE, the Big G is conspicuously absent. No, not in a Preacher sense, I promise. Maybe the Almighty is stuck in a comatose body after a particularly bad day playing skee-ball. No, wait, that’s Dogma. Maybe He’s just sleeping.

Good. The concept of Good is the antithesis of the concept of Evil. Technically, the angels and those who populate Heaven serve Good. Then again, based on Hell’s purpose, so do those who squat in the Abyss. Good and Evil, as the song from Jekyll and Hide goes, have their merits. But sometimes, the line dividing them is as blurry as the boundaries between Sins.

Greed. Contrary to Gordon Gekko’s belief, Greed ain’t good. It’s one of the Seven Deadly Sins. In HOE, the Land in which the Greedy called their own—Avarice—was renamed “Covet.” The reason is given in HTH…and it’s still a source of contention between the Greedy, the Envious, and the Coveters.

Greedy, the. As Freddy Mercury once sang, I want it all, and I want it now. In HOE, the Greedy are demons of Greed—which, in more recent millennia, are demons of Covet. The Old Ones—the original demons—who used to belong to Avarice are still demons of Greed, but they are not Coveters, and they despise the creatures of Covet even more than the Envious do.

Halo. In HOE, not just an angelic fashion statement. Only seraphim have eared the right to sport a halo. And to sing. And to have a name. Also, the collective noun for angels: a halo of angels.

Hamadryad. A tree nymph that lives inside the tree, according to La Wiki. In AHOAT, Jesse and Paul come across a bad-tempered one that’s bound to 1,000 paces of her tree. (Thus the bad-temperedness.)

Heaven. Where the celestials hang their haloes. In HOE, also called the Sky and Paradise. In the real world, it’s a Bryan Adams song from Reckless. (Baybee, yer all that I waaaaant, when I’m lyin’ heeeeer in yer arms…)

Hecate, the. In terms of gods and such, this triple goddess has been around for a long, long time. This site has lots of fascinating tidbits, including this: “Hecate is skilled in the arts of divining and foretelling the future.” Sort of makes you wonder why, in HOE, the Hecate—and her witch followers—are watching…and interfering…with Jezebel, doesn’t it?

Hell. One of the three realms—the other two being Heaven and Earth, natch. If you’re not a celestial (who’s currently assigned outside of Heaven), and you’re not a living mortal, you’re probably in Hell. Demons hang their horns here. Sort of like the Roach Motel of the afterlife: getting in’s the easy part, but getting out’s the trick.

Incubi. Male demons of Lust. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t all speak Esperanto.

Infernal, the. Another name for demons.

Jesse Harris. Caitlin Harris’s evil twin sister. No, really. First appearance: HB.

Jezebel. A former fifth-level succubus who ran away from Hell, hid on Earth as an exotic dancer, and learned the hard way about true love. That’s all in HB, which kicks off the HOE series. Yeppers, Jezzie is the heroine of the entire series. It’s her story arc, even when there are one-off stories like HTH that aren’t in her point of view. It’s all about her. (She’s self-centered, what can I say?)

Joey. First a bouncer at Belles, now a doorman/bouncer at Spice. A teddy bear of a guy, Jezebel thinks of him as a big brother. (Which probably doesn’t bode well for Joey in the long run…)

King of Hell. Ruler of the Abyss, Lord of the Pit, Sovereign of the Damned, and what have you. Lucifer was the first King. How He lost this role is discussed in HB.

Lake of Fire. The moat of Hell. A pool of lava. Tends to burp sulfuric fumes. Great lakefront views still available.

Lillith. The First Woman—the pre-Eve model. Became the first mortal demon. Tons of lovely information out there, starting with the Wiki. In HOE, her name is Lillith, with the extra L. Why? Why not? I like how it rolls off the tongue. And Lillith, like all good li’l demons, knows that it’s not how you spell it, but how you say it, that matters. First appearance: HB.

Lucifer. In HOE, Lucifer is not the evil Satan we’ve come to know and love (in a Fear Me sort of way) through religion and literature. He was appointed the King of Hell by the Almighty, after Lucifer suggested that God create Hell. (If this is all Greek to you, get thee to a bookstore and purchase HB and siddown and read.) Then He got transferred (ditto HB). Now He’s what Michael calls a psychopomp. Basically, He’s the angel of death. And He’s Jezebel’s sire. Take that as you will.

Lust. One of the Seven Deadly Sins. In HOE, the land of Lust is known as the Heartlands. Part of the Third Sphere of Hell. When people say that lust burns, they have no idea…

Map of Hell. You wanna see it? It looks a little like Manhattan. Hey, I come from a fantasy background. There has to be a map. Yeah, this is the original map—complete with a big ol’ mistake. The map shows Pandemonium as the First Sphere of Hell. But I decided to make Abaddon the First Sphere. One day, I will make a better map. Maybe.

Megaera. So not talking about the character voiced by Susan Egan in Disney’s Hercules. This Meg is one of the three Erinyes—in particular, she’s the Fury of jealousy. Well, so they say. In HOE, she’s not jealous, but she is committed to her job. She will do what must be done, no matter the cost. For the past thousand years, she’s been best friends (as those things go in Hell) with Jezebel—which, Jezzie discovered in HB, wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Or was it?

Michael. There’s simply tons of material out there on Michael the Archangel. One of my favorite starting points was the Wikipedia entry. Two things in particular resonated with me: first, the hatred between Michael and Samael/Satan; second was how “Supposedly [Michael] was the first angel in all of the heavens to bow down before humanity.” Mmm, shivers. In HOE, Michael is appointed King of Hell.

Momma. In HB, she is the house mom of Belles. No, I didn’t make up the job title. Really.

Nameless Evil, the. In HOE, another name for the Devil.

Nefarious, the. In HOE, another name for demons.

Nightmares. One of the designations of demons in HOE. Just mentioning Nightmares to Jezebel will give her…well, nightmares.

Pan. Sex? Goats? Lordy, it gets me hot just thinking about it! In Greek mythology, Pan is the satyr god of fertility and…well, yeah. Sex. Oodles and oodles of good stuff at La Wiki. The big one for me was Plutarch’s insistence that “the great god Pan is dead.” Yowza! In HOE, Pan is a buddy of Daunuan’s, as well as Daun’s direct report. First mention: HB. First appearance: TRTH.

Pandemonium. In HOE, the Second Sphere of Hell, which houses demons and is home to all demonic paperwork. (And you thought the wait at your local Motor Vehicles Department was bad…)

Paul Hamilton. Jezebel’s one and only, her true love, her white knight. (I sort of picture him looking like a cross between Marc Blucas from Buffy and Dylan Walsh from Nip/Tuck.) Jezzie is self-centered, selfish, and at times almost painfully naive. So why is this quintessential do-gooder—a vice cop who actually isn’t corrupt—madly in love with her? For that matter, why did Jezzie fall in love with him? And so quickly? Stay tuned.

Pit, the. Another name for Hell.

Pride. One of the Seven Deadly Sins. In HOE, the land of Arrogance is also referred to as the Pridelands. Part of the Third Sphere of Hell.

Roman. In HB, owner of the strip club called Belles and all-around slime bucket. He gives pimps a bad name. Named after a friend’s ex-boyfriend. (We authors, we gots the power, bwahahahaha…)

Seducers. Capital-S Seducers, in HOE, are demons of Lust. Cue 1970s porn music.

Seraphim. In HOE, über-angels, complete with haloes and names. According to Angel, they can hum a lovely tune.

Seven Deadly Sins. Playing in the Evil Big Leagues with these babies. I absolutely love this site, which nicely labeled all of the lovely punishments for each sin. And there’s this site as well, which has some terrific literary sources. Also, check out La Wiki’s entry on the seven deadlies. Most interesting, check out Faust.com, especially the section on the hierarchy. Isn’t that brilliant? Think about that—how all the sins really are malleable. Mmm. Shivers. This idea led me to think of softening the boundaries between the Sins in Hell (see TRTH). And Daunuan really starts getting the concept of malleable evil in HTH.

Seven most powerful entities in the universe, the. At least, according to HOE. In no particular order: the Almighty, the Devil, Lucifer, Michael, Megaera, Alecto, and Tisiphone. The rest of the Archangels are a very close second, as are other major deities. And book reviewers.

Shield Against Evil. A magic peridot stone that hides its wearer from all things evil. Mrs Giggles nailed me as a former roleplayer when I used this term in HB. Oopsie.

Sloth. One of the Seven Deadly Sins. Goes for HOE as well asszzzzzzzzzz…

Spice. In HOE, an upscale strip club in New York City. It’s somewhere on Lexington Avenue. Sort of. First mention: TRTH.

Strippers. Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t work my way through college by dancing at gentlemen’s clubs. (Actually, I worked in food services.) So when I decided to have Jezebel become a stripper, I had my research cut out for me. I read a couple of books (Confessions of a Stripper by Lacey Lane; The Stripper Diaries by N. Kathryn Howard), watched Striptease and then decided to read the book (which I strongly preferred over the movie), and then studied HBO’s G-String Divas (and promptly erased those recorded episodes so that my kids wouldn’t accidentally select them when they were looking for episodes of Go Diego Go). A number of people at Backspace shared their stripper stories with me (take that as you will), and my Loving Husband and I visited a local club, where I took notes and paid a feature dancer to talk to me about her work. (No, I didn’t get a lap dance. Neither did Loving Husband, who politely declined. Probably just as well—I don’t think my accountant would have accepted “lap dance” as a viable tax deduction.)

Succubi. Female demons of Lust. Love this site. In HOE, these female Seducers don’t fuck men when they’re sleeping—really, what’s the fun in that? No, these succubi make sure their clients are up, up, up before they fuck them to death. To be completely fair, they kill only evil people already slated for Hell. See that? Silver lining. For the lighter side of succubi, check out this comic strip.

Terri. Virginia’s best friend. First appearance: HTH. Named after the Name That Incubus contest winner.

Tisiphone. One of the three Erinyes—she who avenges murder, if you go by the research. In HOE, she is one of the seven most powerful entities in the universe. First mention: TRTH.

Tracy. Paul Hamilton’s dead fiancée. Contrary to what he thinks, Tracy wasn’t a good girl; Jezebel met Paul’s ex in Hell, where she was a ghost in the Endless Caverns. First mention: HB. First appearance: TRTH.

Virginia Reed. Daunuan’s target in HTH. At one point, I considered renaming her “Jane,” because I’d heard the acoustic version of Breaking Benjamin’s “The Diary of Jane,” and it took my breath away—that song was about Virginia. Totally.

Wall, the. Like the Belt Parkway wraps around Brooklyn, the Wall wraps around Hell in HOE. Well, it used to, until the King of Hell destroyed it (see TRTH). Where’s a union rep when you need one?

Wolfgang Mozart. Brilliant composer whose life was marked with illness (confirmed) and bouts of insanity (most likely). While noodling around online at The Mozart Project, I found this tidbit: (July 16, 1773: “Mozart and Leopold arrive in Vienna; the purpose of this visit is not understood.” And boom, I just knew that Mozart met with Daunuan at that time. And so was born a huge subplot in HTH. Along with going to various online sites like this one, I also turned to Mozart: A Life (by Peter Gay) and Mozart (by Marcia Davenport). Some of the dilaogue I use in the “Amade” chapter of HTH comes straight from Mozart’s letters (both Mozart the Elder and Mozart the Younger). Fascinating stuff.

Wrath. One of the Seven Deadly Sins. In HOE, part of the Third Sphere of Hell. A little rage goes a long way.


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