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Strolling Down The Left Hand Path With...Hydra M. Star

Hello, dear readers!

As I was perusing my own work online, I came to a realization after looking at all of the interviews I have done...

I have not interviewed any witches!

So, this time I have decided to rectify that by spending some time with a very special and witchy woman; Hydra M. Star!

Hydra M. Star is an artist, publisher, writer, and unicorn aficionado.  She is the owner of Infernal Ink Books, a publishing company that focuses on erotic horror as well as its sister magazine, Infernal Ink Magazine, all of which can be found on her website I decided to ask her a few questions about her work, how she began her treading of the left-hand path, and what future projects she has coming down the line.

So, without further ado, join us as we talk a walk on the third side with none other than Hydra M. Star.

    1. How did you discover Satanism?

    That is a very long story. I’ll try to make it brief.

    Basically, my family experienced its own mini-Satanic Panic in the mid-1970s.
    My uncle briefly joined a Satanic cult while stationed in Alaska...or so he claims. His stories concerning this time in his life is very much what you would expect from someone that’s looking to freak out their overly Christian family, in the most over the top way they can think of but has only a VERY basic knowledge of what Satanism or even devil worship is.

    During this same time, the mid-1970s, my family also experienced a haunting which was attributed, by them, to Satanic activities carried out on the property by previous owners. Again, the details here are kind of what you have probably come to expect from movies and paranormal programs. Shadow figures, a ghost kid that was afraid of the other otherworldly presences in the house, a bed floating up from the floor with someone on it, dead pets, and a former resident that suffered serious burns from a kitchen mishap caused by unseen powers...oh yeah, and a demonic prediction that my mother’s only child—a daughter—would be ‘of the Devil.’

    I mean...I can’t really argue with that last one. Hahaha! My mother only told me that part of the house’s story once, over a family dinner out. I sense she immediately regretted it and suspect it was an attempt to scare me into clinging more firmly to the family’s Christian faith. That obviously didn’t work and she never spoke of it again.
    In the late 1990s, there was a bit of a city-wide Satanic Panic in town where I attended high school. I won’t bore the readers with all the details, but my high school was hit pretty hard by this panic and this was also right around the time that Marilyn Manson releases Anti-Christ Superstar. So, there I was, having Satanism once more being dangled before me as something to fear, but by that time I’d already decided all the Jesus and God stuff my family and most of our neighbors believed in was bunk and figured it would be amusing to learn about the ‘other side’ as it were.

    I purchased a copy of The Satanic Bible expecting it all to be a big joke. I’d read it, I thought, and have a good laugh at the silly, spooky things Satanists believe. Obviously, the joke was on me, because instead, I found thoughts and ideas that lined up perfectly with where my head was already at.

    To put a nice little bow on this already very long reply to your question, after I had read The Satanic Bible and most of LaVey’s other works, I briefly had a conversation with my uncle about the Church of Satan, which I had already decided to join. I mentioned Dr. LaVey by name and his response was and I quote, “LaVey who?”

    Even the kookiest of the kooky devil worshipers know who LaVey is. So, it was very clear to me at that point that he had utterly no idea what he was talking about.
    Thank fuck for bookstores!

    2. Out of all of the genres of fiction, why erotic horror?

    When I first got serious about writing and publishing, I took to MySpace and attempted to join as many groups related to Horror and writing/publishing as I could find. I met many wonderful people, fans and writers, and actually ended up taking over the admin role for what was the largest group for Horror writers on the platform, but I also met a LOT of residence to sexual content in Horror.

    A few of my favorite authors at the time had a tendency to include detailed sex scenes in their work, but as I read the guidelines for anthologies, magazines, and the such that were being posted in the groups I was part of, I marveled at how many of them had rules against any sort of graphic depictions of sex or erotic content. It was almost all of them. When I started asking why this was and how it was justified when there were major authors that included sex in their Horror stories I was met with a lot of talk about marketing and wanting to reach an audience of all ages.

    It was also pointed out to me that many of these same publishers—all small press—had rules against excessively violent or gory work, as well. I knew straight away this wasn’t the direction I want to go with my work. Safe Horror just felt wrong to me. Plus, the sexual stuff was always a lot of fun to read.

    I had a few friends at the time who felt the same away. One of them started an online magazine for Erotic Horror, though I don’t even think it was properly being called that at the time. Genre is such a funny thing. Sometimes it’s very hard to nail it down or even agree on when it started being a thing. At any rate, she started a magazine, which she later sold to a friend of another friend. That friend became the editor and asked me to write a non-fiction column for the zine. That was how I got full-on pulled into the genre. When things started going a bit sideways with that magazine, Dave Lipscomb, who had been doing the art for the column, and I started our own magazine; Infernal Ink Magazine.

    We focused mostly on Erotic Horror out the gate, but included a few non-erotic pieces from time to time in those early issues. These days the magazine and its book publishing arm, Infernal Ink Books, exclusively publishes Erotic Horror and related ‘dark’ erotic genres.

    3. I’ve seen some of your wood art through your business, what drew you to pyrography?

    I never really considered most of what I did to be art. If we’re being honest, the bulk of what I’ve done was merely reproducing symbols and words on wood with a hot iron. I always thought of it more as crafting, though I did first learn how to do it in an ‘Art’ class in middle school.

    I always really enjoyed Art class as a kid. I wasn’t actually that into reading at the time. That came later when I was in high school and discovered Horror and Science Fiction. Art was always fun, though.

    Pyrography like so many things were introduced and then quickly taken away, after a couple of boys in the class burned each other horsing around. I remember liking both the feel of the wood and the smell of it burning.

    Later in life, when I was pregnant with my daughter in fact, I was looking to create a Sigil of Baphomet alter piece. I’m shit at painting and happened to come upon a wood-burning kit in a local art supply store. So, I figured I’d give it a go, again. The first piece I created was the Sigil of Baphomet alter piece that can be seen behind Cyrus the Orange in his famously memed photo.

    4. I've also seen some of your cooking online and it looks good! Do you have a particular cuisine you like the best?

    Hahaha! You must have done some digging on my Facebook page. I haven’t posted or mentioned anything about cooking or food in ages!

    Honestly, my cooking is nothing special. Most of it is a hybrid of home cooking and bottled, boxed, or otherwise pre-prepared ingredients. I have a few ‘family recipes’ and I’ve picked up a few more recipes online I’ve sort of made my own, but I’m all about easy and quickly prepared meals. I don’t have the time or energy for things that take all day. I’m also a HUGE fan of Door Dash and Postmates. Hahahaha!

    If forced to pick a cuisine—other than ‘fast and easy’—that’s my favorite, I’d have to go with Americanized-Chinese or Americanized-Mexican. I use that phrasing because acknowledge what I’m cooking to be HEAVILY Americanized and altered to fit with American culture and tastes. I don’t know if I’d really care for real Chinese cooking and authentic Mexican food is yummy but just not something I can readily pull off, but I do a pretty decent job at creating certain Americanized dishes from both of these cuisines in my own kitchen.

    5. Time for some comedy, what is one of the funniest jokes you can tell the readers?

    I’m more a maker of sarcastic comments than a teller of jokes, but here goes...
    An old man is sitting in his rocking chair rocking away the morning on the front porch of his farmhouse when he sees a little boy carrying a large sack coming down the path that runs by his front gate. As the boy passes by, the old man calls out, “What you got in your bag there, son?”

    The little boy calls back to him, “It’s a bunch of butterflies I caught. I’m taking them into town to trade them for some butter. Want to come along?”

    No,” the old man says with a laugh and keeps rocking.

    A couple of hours later, he sees the same little boy coming the opposite way, carrying a large tub of butter. The old man wonders about this but doesn’t say anything.

    The next morning the same old man is sitting in the same chair on his front porch when the same little boy comes by carrying another large sack. “What you got in your bag, son?” the old man asks.

    The boy calls out, “I caught a bunch of bullfrogs and I’m going to go to town and trade them for a bull. Want to come with?”

    The old man again said, “No.” He laughed and kept on rocking. A couple hours later, the little boy comes by again, this time leading a large bull. The old man just watched them pass-by and didn’t say anything.

    The next day the same old man is sitting as he had been before when the same little boy comes down the path with yet another large sack slung over his shoulder. The old man called out again, “Son, what have you got in your bag today?”

    A bunch of pussy willows I gathered, I’m going into...”

    The old man cut him off mid-sentence, “Let me get my hat, son. I’m coming with you.”

    6. So you're running a crafts company, a publishing company, and you are also a writer. It sounds like a lot of work! As someone who is an aspiring author, with also a lot on his plate, what are some tips you can give to me and the good folks at home about balancing everything, reaching your goals and still finding time for yourself and your family?

    Who told you I make time for myself? Hahaha!

    I decided along time ago that my creative pursuits were more important to me than most other hobbies or interests. So, I’ll never be one of those authors that moan about not having the time to write but can tell you what happened on the latest episode of whatever popular television everyone is tweeting about this week. I rarely ever go to the movies. I don’t even have time to read for pleasure. I have a book someone gave me over a year ago to read and review. It’s not a long book. I’m about 75% of the way through it.

    These days, if I’m reading something, it’s probably a submission or something I’m editing. I listen to a lot of podcasts while I work on editing or writing. Yes, I can read, edit, and even write while listening to people talk. All the podcasts I listen to are talk-based shows. In fact, I’m listening to two podcasts hosts discuss Horror movies while I type this very sentence. RIP Sig. I also have a couple of shows on Netflix I’ll take the time to binge-watch when they release new episodes and I just got an all-access pass to the Stargate Command website, but mostly I accomplish all that I do by doing it and avoiding all other drains on my time that I can friends and a social life. Hahaha!

    With all that said, I’m currently in the process of closing down my pyrography shop. Basically, it’s already shut down. There are just a couple of remaining items listed on Etsy. When those listings expire, that’ll be the end of least for the foreseeable future. With the new ‘day job’ I took about a year ago, things had reached a point where I was getting further and further behind on everything and something had to go. Since it was NEVER going to be writing and publishing that got cut from my life, the shop was the obvious choice. As much as some others seem to see what I created as some great expression of my creativity, the shop was always more of a source of income than a creative outlet in my eyes. Like I said, obvious choice.

    So, I guess if you want a tip, decide what’s really important to you. Rank these things by the level of importance. Cut what you can do without and focus on what you really want.

    7. Who, or what, are some of your biggest inspirations for your various crafts?

    I find tales of the paranormal—or supernormal if you prefer—fascinating, and there are some obvious influences of it in most genres of speculative fiction and mine is no exception. Ancient Alien Theory is probably the corner of that world that’s had the biggest influence on my work. Hence my love of the Stargate Universe. If I wrote Science Fiction I’d probably be doing something similar in theme with a darker tone, but mostly I draw inspiration from daily life. Both true crime, current events, and my own life have been known to inspire a new tale.

    For example, the most recent piece I penned was inspired by the events of the day I learned of the death of my friend Jennifer L. Miller. It’s about a psychic (energy) vampire that’s trying to cope with some recent tragedies. That story will appear in an anthology tribute another friend is putting together in her honor.

    8. If you could have dinner with anyone historical figure, who would it be and why?

    Mark Twain.

    I’m not much for hero-worship. All humans seem to be just all too human and flawed, even if they achieve greatness. So, I picked someone whose work and perceived personality I enjoy but who I could also trade witty insults with, in the event we find we can’t stand one another.

    Oscar Wilde would be my second choice for this same reason, but I feel his insults would be too high class and European. Twain being a Southern, like myself, would throw insults at me I could fully understand and answer.

    9. Your name, Hydra Morningstar, is an amalgam of different mythologies. Which kind of mythology do you find the most fascinating? You know...Outside of unicorns.

    Well, Morningstar is the name I’m forced to use on Facebook, because...stupid Facebook reasons. My name is actually Hydra M. Star. I think you can guess what the ‘M’ stands for. Hahaha! I guess Facebook likes everything spelled out for them.

    Either way, it is all together—at least in part—taken from Greek/Roman mythology. Their stories were among my first loves. Tales of the gods have always interested me. The Roman and Greek gods were far more relatable than the Christian god. I mean, true many of them were shallow and rapists, but at least they had drives and desires I could understand. I think modern religions have made a huge mistake in making their gods so...godly.

    As for my favorite mythology, I’d say that’s Ancient Alien Theory. This is a bit of a cheat because it incorporates, basically, all mythology, with a heavy dose of transhumanism, science, and Science Fiction, but I really do feel at this point it has become a mythology all its own.

    People use it to explain so much from history, religion, and the unknown. That to me is what is at the heart of all mythology, people just trying to explain shit with handed-down stories. The fact that mythology very often seems to tap into the collective unconscious makes it all the more powerful and I think Ancient Alien Theory has definitely done that.
    I’m still figuring out how to work unicorns into the mix. I’ll get that sorted out soon enough. Trust me.

    10. You seem to have quite the furry celebrity living with you. Cyrus the Orange has his own facebook page with hundreds of likes, some fanart, and is a mascot for your brand. Where did you find that adorable familiar of yours?

    My bathroom wall.

    He was left there by his mother, at about a week old. We had to call a plumber to cut him out of under the tub and I had to hand raise him. That means 3 am bottle feedings and lots of butt wiping. He is, basically, my baby and the sweetest animal of any sort I’ve ever owned or known.

    He is the best cat to ever cat.

    11. Being the first witch I have interviewed, what is some advice to all of the would-be witches out there who wish to kick ass and take names, that you would like to give?

    Don’t allow yourself to be defined by who your husband/boyfriend/lover is.

    I’ve seen a lot of women come to Satanism and the Church of Satan over the years by way of a romantic partner, almost always a man, introducing them to it. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re one of those women, you do owe some thanks to the man that made the introduction, but you shouldn’t owe him your identity and you shouldn’t rely on him to make or be at the center of all other introductions and interactions.

    Now, I’m not saying that’s going to be easy. In a lot of ways the patriarchy is very much alive and well in the church and traditional standards of beauty still go a long, long way and we women are judged more heavily based on our appearance than men are. It says so in The Satanic Warlock. So, you know it’s true. Hahahaha! What all that adds up to mean is—if you don’t look like one of the models that often get hired to play at being a Satanist for magazine shoots or to be the nude alter at group rituals—you’re probably going to be overlooked and/or identified as your man’s wife/girlfriend quite a bit, but a strong personality and producing content, art, whatever of your own will go a long way towards overcoming this.

    In other words, if you want to kick ass and take names, be your own fucking person. In fact, do that whether you have a romantic partner that’s involved in all of this or not.


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