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Launch Day! The Rise of Gadreel

22 Dec

Hi, everyone! Today is the ‘Launch Date‘ for my new book, The Rise of Gadreel! I was hoping the paperback would have gone live today too, but for some reason, Amazon still has it on review. I’m not surprised since everything this year has happened at its own pace. I’m told the paperback will be released soon. Because of this inconvenience I’ve left the price of the eBook at .99¢ until the paperback goes live. Please help me spread the word.

Today I’d like to share another excerpt from the book. In this excerpt my main character Gadreel is visiting an abandoned monastery said to be haunted by a group of monks. She meets her ally Thomas for the first time. I hope you enjoy it.

The courtyard had a peculiar allure. The vast, grass-covered area surrounded by flowering bushes and small trees lay interspersed with benches and statues of saints and angels. As I explored the center opening of the monastery, nothing smelled as it should. Blooms of indeterminate colors crowded the shrubberies. The calls of birds echoed oddly, and the grass appeared several hues brighter than it should be, especially in the gloomy light. Nothing in the garden looked hideous—only bizarre. 

A bench beneath a trellis caught my eye, and I settled there, marveling at the roses which grew atop it and wrapped their way down both sides. I sat humming a melody. My hum became a song sung in a church I visited once. They’re called hymns, the songs in churches. I closed my eyes and continued to sing. They sprung open when another voice sang along with me. I stopped singing. The other voice quieted too. My body shivered, and the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end as I looked around and found no one. I sang once more, and the other voice joined in as before. The sound, no more than a whisper, like the soft susurration of the wind in the trees, amplified to a clear, melodic song.

At first, the ghost revealed itself as no more than a shimmer of mist. Through it the shrubs, statues, and trees were a little out of focus. When the spirit stood before me, it congealed into the form of a young monk. 

In his gaze, my mind cleared of emotion. Instead of fleeing or screaming, I stood more still than the moss-covered statues in this place—and just as cold.

“Why are you here?” he asked as he stared at me with brilliant blue eyes. He had the smile of an angel and silvery-white skin.

The fear inside me diminished, for his voice, although loud and clear, sounded like an archangel’s song, and his kind face reminded me of spring. No harm would come from him.

“I could ask you the same question,” I said.

He observed me for a while, tilting his head toward his shoulder while narrowing his eyes. He wore a monk’s robes similar to that which Dracúl wore, minus the cross. Fabric that had long since decayed into the soil beneath our feet swayed with a white shimmering beauty about his ankles.

He touched a rose, and the flower contracted and expanded like it had taken a breath.

“On the night they invaded,” he said, “I slept in my bed, dreaming of my deepest desires for happiness, wholeness, and holiness, when forceful arms dragged me out here.” He signaled toward the area of the courtyard with a wave. “They had already arranged wooden stakes around the center square. I looked at the posts, not quite understanding. Fifty-five of us burned alive that night. I recall how my brethren begged for their lives, how they screamed when the fires consumed their flesh. And the smells . . . have you ever caught a whiff of burning hair?” He studied me, his eyes brimming with silver tears that shone brilliantly in the gloomy light. 

I shook my head and he continued. “It is the worse smell. We suffered a brutal death, a sentence we did not deserve. The pope and three of his bishops bore witness to our suffering and—”

“One moment! Did you say the pope?”

“Yes. Not the current pope, but he who came before him. He gave the order to light the fires and sat in a special throne-like chair brought for him to watch us burn.”

I gasped and gawked at him in disbelief. “What were your crimes?” The words almost choked me on the way out.

“The church accused us of heresy, but in fact, we merely identified philosophies they did not want admitted into Catholicism. There are evil forces everywhere, even within the church. We had uncovered certain truths and wrote them down. When the church found out, they sent warrior monks and priests to warn us and take away our scrolls, but the pope wanted the knowledge we had acquired to disappear along with us, and came to ensure it. They dug a huge pit right here and dropped our charred bodies into it, along with any evidence that we once existed. Afterward, they covered the mass grave with dirt and planted grass over it.”

I wrapped my arms around myself and hung my head, wondering if Dracúl knew the whole story of what had happened here. I looked at the ghost.

“Are the other monks here too?”

“When the hand of salvation came to us, some of us refused it,” he said. “Most of my brethren went into the light. Souls are a form of divine energy, so those of us that chose to stay were released to roam as spirits.”

“Why did you choose to stay? Heaven is a marvelous place. I once lived in the third level and lowest realm of heaven called Floraison, a paradise magnificent beyond compare. There’s no hope of me ever returning there, but if there’s still a chance for you, you should take it.”

“Why can you not return to your home?”

“My name is Gadreel. I fought in the war in heaven as a rebel angel and was exiled to Earth as punishment. I can never return to Floraison, but I seek God’s forgiveness for my many transgressions. You didn’t answer my question. Why did you choose to stay in this horrible place?”

He moved, and as he did so he disintegrated, like a diffusing fog. At times I lost track of him for a moment, and then once he stopped moving, he appeared in his monk form again.

“I’m not sure why I stayed. Questions whirled in my mind, confusing me. I loved God, the church, and the pope. I couldn’t understand why this happened to me, to my brethren. I’m merely a trapped soul, too scared to move on, desperate not to stay.”

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt. I plan to have my book tour next month, so stay tuned for that. Thank you for visiting. Have a wonderful holiday season and happy New Year!

COVER REVEAL: The Rise of Gadreel (Fantasy Angels Series – BOOK 3)

11 Dec

Hi, everyone! A warm welcome to my blog.

WHY YES IT IS COVER REVEAL DAY! I am beyond excited to be sharing all the details of The Rise of Gadreel on my blog today! The Rise of Gadreel is a High/Dark Supernatural Fantasy sprinkled with Horror aimed at an adult audience (18+). It is set in Medieval Scottland and England. There is suspense, danger, grief, adventure, hope, and redemption. This book encompasses a range of emotional tones and moods. However, the overall tone is clear, impassioned, frightening, and optimistic. The ebook is availabe for preorder for the special price of .99¢ and will be released along with the paperback version on 12/22/2020. First up is the blurb.

Blurb:

In The Fall of Lilith, award-winning author Vashti Quiroz-Vega took readers inside the gates of heaven for a front-row seat to Lilith and Lucifer’s rebellion. In Son of the Serpent, she introduced Dracúl, tormented offspring of fallen angels. Now, in The Rise of Gadreel, Quiroz-Vega is back with the next chapter in her Fantasy Angels saga—a gripping tale of hope and redemption set against the fiery backdrop of a demon’s insatiable thirst for power and revenge.

Lilith is gone, suffering the torments of the damned in hell. Satan, once known as Lucifer, endures endless agony in an earthly prison. Yet their foul legacy lives on, spread by a corrupted priesthood that uses the blackest magic to fan the flames of evil and hate throughout the world. 

The former angel Gadreel, who fought and fell alongside Lilith and Lucifer, only to join Dracúl in his fight against them, is weary of war. Repenting of past sins, she wants nothing more than to be left in peace. But when a new threat to humankind arises, Gadreel is given the chance she has prayed for—the chance to earn God’s forgiveness.

Now, with the aid of Dracúl and a trio of uncanny allies—a man of air, a man of stone, and a woman of fire—at her side, Gadreel must find the courage to confront her past and forge a new future for herself . . . and the world. 

Next, I will share a snippet from The Rise of Gadreel.

I thought this snippet in Gadreel’s POV really sets the stage nicely and makes the stakes clear:

“Through the years, we’ve both been told stories about your father,” I said. “Many have said Satan lived, imprisoned deep in the bowels of a great volcano, until the end of days.” I observed him as I spoke, and his tilted head and blank stare told me he had no idea where I intended to go with this. “He is alive. For the first time I’m sure of this. He spoke to me.”

“What?” All color drained from Dracúl’s face as he jumped to his feet and paced back and forth on the beach. “How is this possible? I witnessed holy angels bind him and wrap him in chains along with his ally, Samael. Hashmal breathed fire on them, burning them until their skins melted over the metal chains, and then another angel took the form of a dragon the size of a mountain and flew them away. This memory is still vivid in my mind, despite the many centuries gone by.”

“Yes, that’s true. Somehow, your father survived. He’s not the being you remember. He’s something else.”

** You can read an excerpt from The Rise of Gadreel here.

And now, without further ado, the cover for The Rise of Gadreel (drum roll).

There you have it. As with the other covers in this series I wanted this one to have an ancient feel, like an old tome someone might have found buried in a church from the Medieval Period. I hope you like it.

Thank you for stopping by and checking out the cover for my new book. Please share this post on social media to help me spread the word. Also, if you plan on purchasing the book at some point please consider taking advantage of the preorder price. By doing so, you will also be helping me get a jump start on the Amazon algorithms. I appreciate your support!

Amazon Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08Q2HBVNN

Launch date for both paperback and ebook versions of The Rise of Gadreel is December 22, 2020.

The Rise of Gadreel ~ Excerpt

6 Nov

Hi, everyone! I’m happy to see you here. Welcome.

I’m currently doing the final reading of my WIP, The Rise of Gadreel, and I’m reading it (cover to cover) out loud. I’ve had a lot of fun writing this book. It’s been my favorite to write so far, but that doesn’t mean it was an easy process. Because the story is set in the Medieval Period I had to do an enormous amount of research to get the details right. I also had to research the Medieval Roman Catholic Church, the Black Plague, the Little Ice Age, among many other things. Although my books are fantasy fiction I like to ground my stories in reality. Luckily, I enjoy doing the research. I can’t wait to release this book. I truly hope readers enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

I decided to share an excerpt from The Rise of Gadreel Book – 3 of my Fantasy Angels Series. Sharing the first excerpt of a new book is always a nerve-racking ordeal, but, here we go. I hope you enjoy it.

Chapter 13 – Gadreel Confronts the Beast

As we walked down to the harbor town of Whitby, the rising sun’s rays shone on my face, yet that didn’t prevent the cold from sinking into the core of my bones. In town, although early in the day, few people walked the streets, and the fields were void of serfs and farmers. 

Screams coming from the center of town sliced through the morning fog, so we hurried in that direction. Townsfolk gathered around three women who stood in the center of the town’s square, bound and held captive by five men in black tunics and hooded cloaks. The men smacked them and yanked them by the hair. One wrenched a woman’s arm so violently that I thought he would tear it out of its socket. As we ran toward them, another hooded man knocked a woman to the ground. The people watched and did nothing to help them.

“What is happening here?” I stood before them, panting, my breath rising in visible billows. “Why do you treat these women this way?” My hands closed into fists as heat rose to my face despite the cold.

One of the men stepped toward me, pulling his hood back to expose his face. “We’re inquisitors sent to bring order to this cursed city.”

“Who sent you?” I didn’t back down, keeping eye contact with this man at all times. “What curse do you speak of?”

“We were sent by His Most Reverend Excellency Abigor Chailín, bishop of London,” the man said. “His Excellency established The Inquisition with the blessing of both King Edward and His Holiness the Pope, to find and punish heretics and those practicing witchcraft, which is a form of heresy.” He measured me with a sideways glance. “What curse you ask? Look around you. This port city once thrived. Those who did not die of disease are now perishing from hunger due to poor crop growth and dying livestock as a result of this demoniacal frost. The rest of them lash out through violent crimes, even murder and rape. Witches are to blame for this. They cast spells, making people do atrocious acts they normally would never do. Sorcerers manipulate the weather.”

“So you’re claiming that these three women are witches?” I said.

“Yes,” he said with confidence as he held up a book. “This is the Malleus MaleficarumThe Hammer of Witches. The bishop of London wrote this instructional manual for his inquisitors. It lists ways to identify witches and explains the procedures in which to investigate, arrest, and punish them. We understand what must be done.”

I stood before him, unwavering. “What do you plan to do to these women? Judging by their bloodied and disheveled appearance, they’ve been punished enough.”

The man burst into laughter, as did his cohorts. 

“These women will burn at the stake for their crimes. I’ll not say another word until you tell us who you and your friends are and why you deem yourself worthy of interrogating the church.”

“My name is Gadreel, and I ask that you let these women go.”

The five men broke into hysterical laughter once more. Dracúl, Golem, and Sabina stepped forward and stood beside me. Thomas also stood by, a mere shimmer in the bitter air, the men unaware of his presence.

Dracúl moved closer to me. “We should verify if these men speak the truth. If these women practice black magic, they should be burned at the stake.”

His indifference in the matter of burning three souls alive shocked me. The doctrines of the church were deeply rooted in his psyche, skewing his perceptions.

“If I could touch them, I could determine if they’re lying,” Sabina whispered to me.

“Are you sure you want to do that? You’ll be weakened by the touch.”

“There’s no better way to find the truth.”

“Then you must do it.” Dracúl took Sabina by the arm, putting her in front of the women. “Apologies, but it would be irresponsible not to.”

I tipped my head in Sabina’s direction, and she wrested her arm from his grip. 

All the hooded men scrutinized her with their hands on the hilts of their swords, except one who stepped closer to me, his face hidden in the shadow of his black cape’s hood. “Did you say your name is Gadreel?”

“I did. Why do you ask?” 

The man stumbled backward so fast that he lost his balance. If not for one of the other men, he would have fallen on his backside. Jarred by his reaction, I looked to Dracúl. He gave me a half shrug and continued to focus on Sabina and the three women accused of witchcraft.

“We have a warrant for her arrest,” the man said, pointing at me as he steadied himself. “She’s a sorceress.”

“Oh bloody hell!” Golem rushed to Sabina, pulling her back in time to avoid getting trampled by the men who came charging after me. 

Dracúl transformed into his red fiend form to the gasps and screams of the hooded men and surrounding crowd.

Dóna’m la força que necessito!” Golem exclaimed, holding his stone figurine to his forehead and shifting into the stone giant.

The five inquisitors stopped in their tracks, eyes shifting between Dracúl and Golem. I revealed my massive wings, and although they were marked with a black band that ran horizontally across the top portion of them—a reminder of my past transgressions—they were otherwise pure white.

“What are you?” the first man who had approached me said as panic flittered across his face.

“I’m not a sorceress,” I said. “Go on, Sabina. Verify whether these women practice black magic or not.”

Sabina looked into the women’s eyes, and one by one she held their hands. When done, she staggered toward me.

“These women do not practice black magic,” she said. “They’re not even witches, not a one.”

Dracúl looked away and stared at the pebbles on the ground to avoid my eyes. I confronted the five hooded men. “You tortured three innocent women and were about to burn them alive. How should you be punished?”

 One of the men fell to his knees, whimpering. A steaming puddle formed on the ground between another’s legs, while the others trembled and gawked at us.

“Please forgive us,” the man who had lowered his hood said, holding up the inquisitor’s handbook. “We tried to follow the Malleus Maleficarum, but we must have done something wrong . . . missed a step somehow.” 

“Your master, Abigor, is a deceiver. I don’t care what that book says. Those three women are no more witches than you are. Save your regrets for them.” 

The men scrambled to the women, untying them while offering apologies.

“Do you have gold coins?” I asked. 

The men remained silent.

“Fine. Dracúl, please check them.”

Dracúl stepped toward them, and the men pawed at their belts to remove their coin purses. They threw them on the ground before Dracúl. 

“Give it all to the women,” I told him.

“Those purses hold gold coins,” the unhooded man said. “That’s too much money for peasant women.”

“There is not enough gold to compensate them for what you and the others have done,” I said. “The crosses you wear around your necks are fashioned from gold and hang from golden chains. Remove them as well, and hand them to the women.”

The men protested until Dracúl growled at them. Then they couldn’t remove them fast enough.

“Now leave this place and never return,” I said. “Be gone, but the horses stay.” 

“But how will we reach our destination without horses?” one of the men asked.

“On foot,” I said with a shrug. “You’re wearing expensive shoes. Many of these people do not own shoes, and yet they manage to get to where they’re going. You claim to be better than they are, so you should do just fine. Now go. I’d prefer it if we didn’t shed blood today.”

The men hurried away toward where the city’s edge meets the forest road.

Many of the bystanders had run away when Dracúl transformed into the red fiend, but those who stayed behind now cheered for us. The three women rushed to me and fell on their knees, reciting words of praise.

“No, please do not kneel before me. We are here to help you—all of us. It’s what we do.”

“I acknowledge what you are,” the youngest of the women said as she and the others got to their feet. “You’re an angel. Your skin has an iridescent glow, your entire being is surrounded by an ethereal radiance, and only an angel has massive wings like yours.” Her eyes were a silvery-blue, and although one of them wandered, she reminded me of my dear Cleodora. For once, I reveled at the thought of them living in the great depths of the ocean, for the world above had become a dark and dangerous place, full of misguided souls.

“You are safe now,” I told her and the others, including the crowd. “Your lives must change if you want to survive and live in peace. Stop the violence and depravity, because bad behavior will lead the inquisitors right back here, and next time we may not be here to help you.”

“Stay with us awhile,” one of the other women said.

Dracúl gave me a look before going behind a copse of trees to shift back to his man form and get dressed. Golem followed him. Sabina had regained the color in her face and looked more like herself again. She came closer to me.

“Our task is to find and destroy Abigor,” she said under her breath.

“I understand, but isn’t our main objective to help the people? They have been through so much. We wouldn’t have to stay long. There are sick people here who could use your aid, and the rest of us can assist them in other ways. I think we can stay a few days.”

“All right, but you have to break the news to Dracúl.”

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed the excerpt from The Rise of Gadreel. Books 1 & 2 of my Fantasy Angels Series are available on Amazon and you can read them free with KindleUnlimited.

Magical Whispers

14 Oct

Hi, everyone! I’d like you to help me welcome the lovely and talented poet, Balroop Singh . She has released a new poetry book, ‘Magical Whispers.’ I’m excited to read all about it, because I’m a fan of her work. The floor is yours, Balroop.

Thank you for hosting me, Vashti.

Book Blurb:

I wait for whispers; they regale my muse. Whispers that can be heard by our heart, whispers that ride on the breeze to dispel darkness and ignite hope. I’m sure you would hear them through these poems if you read slowly.

‘Magical Whispers’ would transport you to an island of serenity; beseech you to tread softly on the velvety carpet of nature to feel the ethereal beauty around you. The jigsaw of life would melt and merge as you dive into the warmth of words.

In this book, my poems focus on whispers of Mother Nature, whispers that are subtle but speak louder than words and breathe a quiet message.

Each day reminds us

It’s the symphony of surroundings

That whisper life into us.

Book Information:

Title: Magical Whispers

Author: Balroop Singh

Genre: Poetry

Available at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KJQ6K5D

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Excerpt:

Sublime Sky

If you just look at the dark clouds

They may share your anguish

But they offer no solace

They drag you into deeper dumps.

If you look at the moon

It would speak to you calmly

Telling you timeless stories of change

And purge your heart of all regrets.

If you look at the sun and his hues

It would unravel stories of life

From dawn to dusk it spreads gold

And fills your heart with delight.

But I beseech you to look at the azure sky

When the sun’s amber song begins

Permeating through pink clouds

A melody that springs hope and light.

© Balroop Singh

Meet Poet and Author, Balroop Singh:

Balroop Singh, a former teacher and an educator always had a passion for writing.  She is a poet, a creative non-fiction writer, a relaxed blogger and a doting grandma. She writes about people, emotions and relationships. Her poetry highlights the fact that happiness is not a destination but a chasm to bury agony, anguish, grief, distress and move on! No sea of solitude is so deep that it can drown us. Sometimes aspirations are trampled upon, the boulders of exploitation and discrimination may block your path but those who tread on undeterred are always successful.

When turbulences hit, when shadows of life darken, when they come like unseen robbers, with muffled exterior, when they threaten to shatter your dreams, it is better to break free rather than get sucked by the vortex of emotions.

A self-published author, she is the poet of Sublime Shadows of Life and Emerging From Shadows, both widely acclaimed poetry books. She has also written When Success Eludes,Emotional Truths Of Relationships Read FREE with Kindle Unlimitedand Allow Yourself to be a Better Person.

Balroop Singh has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. The moonlight streaming through her garden, the flowers, the meadows, the butterflies cast a spell on her. She lives in San Ramon, California.

Visit her blog: http://balroop2013.wordpress.com

Connecting linkshttps://twitter.com/BalroopShado

Thank you for visiting today. I hope you enjoyed the post. Please show my guest author some love in the comment section below.

New Book Launch: Eternal Road – The Final Stop

29 Sep

Hi, everyone! I’m delighted to feature author John W. Howell on my blog today. He launched a new book titled Eternal Road – The Final Stop. John is a favorite author of mine, and I’m excited to read his new book. I’ll let him tell you all about it.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Vashti, and for helping me launch Eternal Road – The final stop. I know you are busy with your next manuscript so I’m happy you could take time to help with the launch. Let me describe the kind of book it is. Eternal Road is the story of two people finding their way through the selection process leading to the place where one will spend eternity. Yes, it is true. They both have passed away. James Wainwright just died in an auto accident. Samantha Tourneau died seventeen years before. Sam is James’s guide to help him decide where to spend eternity. This is not your usual thriller or paranormal romance. It is a piece of fiction that is a combination of inspiration, adventure, time travel, sci-fi, a touch of erotica, and a dash of spiritual. In short, it is a lot of things, but hopefully, a story that will make you happy to have read it.

BLURB:

James Wainwright picks up a hitchhiker and discovers two things 1. The woman he picks up is his childhood sweetheart, only Seventeen years older. 2. He is no longer of this world.

James began a road trip alone in his 1956 Oldsmobile. He stops for a hitchhiker only to discover she is his childhood sweetheart, Sam, who disappeared seventeen years before. James learns from Sam falling asleep miles back caused him to perish in a one-car accident. He also comes to understand that Sam was taken and murdered all those years ago, and now she has come back to help him find his eternal home.

The pair visit a number of times and places and are witness to a number of historical events. The rules dictate that they do no harm to the time continuum. Trying to be careful, they inadvertently come to the attention of Lucifer, who would love to have their souls as his subjects. They also find a threat to human survival and desperately need to put in place the fix necessary to save humankind.

The question becomes, will James find his eternal home in grace or lose the battle with Satan for his immortal soul and the future of human life with it? If you like time-travel, adventure, mystery, justice, and the supernatural, this story is for you.

It is now available on Amazon in paperback and eBookThe Kindle edition is introductory priced at 99¢ until October 15th.

Here are the universal links

Kindle Universal link:  mybook.to/EternalRoad

Paper universal link:  mybook.to/Eternalroadpaper

Excerpt:

James steers Sam to a café that has seating on the sidewalk. They order coffees, and James then leans closer to Sam so that nobody will overhear and whispers, “Have you ever been to the Bellagio?”

She whispers, “No.”

No one pays them any attention, so James raises his voice to a normal level, “Neither have I. It will be hard to visualize a place that we’ve never visited.”

“How about going to a travel agent and getting a brochure? Would that work?”

James smiles. “It’s worth a try. I mean, how bad could it be?”

Sam shakes her head. “Don’t say that. The desert seemed pretty bad.”

James looks down. “Some parts were nice.”

Sam half-smiles. “My butt, right?”

James winks. “You said it, not me. Here’s our coffee.”

The server places the drinks on the table. James gives her twenty dollars. “Keep the change.”

Surprised but gratified, she leaves them to it.

James pulls out his phone while Sam enjoys her brew.

He sips while he concentrates on searching for a travel agent. “Looks like a travel place operates across the street.”

Sam nods. “Oh, yes. I can see the office from here.”

“So, after we finish our coffee, we’ll go over there.”

Sam nods at James’s cup. “How does it taste?”

“The coffee? Every bit as nice as when I was alive.”

“Good.”

When they’ve finished their drinks, they cross 79th street. The travel agent offers several brochures, so he and Sam select two that contain photos of the front of the Bellagio. They thank the agent and promise to come back as soon as plans get finalized.

The pair leave the agent’s office and head down 79th and toward Central Park. James says, “The park will give us the space we need from other people so that we can vanish from there.” They laugh out loud, trying to imagine the faces of those who might see them one second and then not the next. Still chuckling, they locate a spot that seems remote enough.

James says, “Hold my hand.” Sam takes his in a soft grip. “I’ll look at this Bellagio photo until it burns into my subconscious.”

“Just make sure you don’t have any other thoughts when you start the process.”

James stares at the brochure. “Don’t worry. The only thing on my mind is the Bellagio.”

Sam squeezes his hand. “You sure?”

“Yes. Well, confession time.” James grins at her.

Sam looks into his eyes. “My breasts, right?”

“Just for a moment.” James closes his eyes. “Okay, you ready?”

John’s bio:

John W. Howell is an award-winning author who, after an extensive business career, began writing full time in 2012. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. He has written five other books that are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. The paperback versions are also available in the Indie Lector store

John lives in Lakeway, Texas, with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Contact John:

Blog Fiction Favorites:  http://johnwhowell.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/HowellWave

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Amazon Author’s page: https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

John’s other books:

My GRL,

His Revenge

Our Justice

Circumstances of Childhood

The Contract: between heaven and earth 

Thank you for stopping by and visiting today. Please show this brilliant writer some love.

Comes This Time To Float Blog Tour! Stephen Geez

17 Mar

Hi, everyone! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I’m happy to introduce Stephen Geez, a talented and prolific author. He has a new book out so I’ve invited him to share an excerpt and some information about it on my blog today. So please give a warm welcome to my fabulous guest author, Stephen Geez!

Salutations!

I am elated to find you here at Vashti’s blog on my extended blog tour. I am humbled by the kindness of my wondrous host for sharing some blog space today. I hope to interest you bookish types in trying my first book in way too many years, this my only collection of short fiction: Comes this Time to Float: 19 Short Stories by Stephen Geez.You could add another “by Stephen Geez” to that, as I put the moniker in the subtitle, too. I’d be forcing it to find a theme, except maybe that all my stories try to look at something I think is important, but told in a decorative sort of way. Written here and there among novels over two decades, they show a variety of genres and styles, as I get restless. Now they’re tucked between jacketed hard covers and softs, or in e-however-you-likes.

The Enticement

Each tour stop will offer the opening paragraphs of a story from the book, then link to the full story online.  A few will also link to audio-shorts narrated by me. An RRBC-specific promo video will be foisted on you every day. Using a narrator didn’t seem right for my own trailer, so yeah, it’s me. Be sure to post reviews in your favorite places, most helpfully if Amazon. RRBC members, be sure to report the Amazon link to your Reviews Coordinator for quarterly credit.

And you, I thank, too.

Stephen Geez-author-RRBC-blog tour-Vashti Quiroz Vega-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q

A Geez Author Blurb

Stephen Geez grew up in the Detroit suburbs during the American-auto domination. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor. He retired from scripting/producing television and composing/producing television music, then expanded his small literary management firm into indie-publisher and multi-media company Fresh Ink Group. Now he works from a deck overlooking the lake in north Alabama, helping other writers share their compelling narratives with the world.

The Book Blurb

Prepare to think as you explore these wildly disparate literary short stories by author, composer, and producer Stephen Geez. Avoiding any single genre, this collection showcases Geez’s storytelling from southern gothic to contemporary drama to coming-of-age, humor, sci-fi, and fantasy—all finessed to say something about who we are and what we seek. Some of these have been passed around enough to need a shot of penicillin, others so virgin they have never known the seductive gaze of a reader’s eyes. So when life’s currents get to pulling too hard, don’t fight it, just open the book and discover nineteen new ways of going with the flow, because NOW more than ever Comes this Time to Float.

The Promo Video

Today’s Sample: “Holler Song”

Retta danced the willy-nilly, grabbed at slick branches, then lost both feet and whomped back-end down on the ice. Hit ’em mean like that and 70-year-old bones act scared, then angry, then out for revenge—and they’ll complain bitterly for weeks. It’s not how hard the ground is, makes ’em mad; it’s how brittle the bones has got.

Now a sheet of frozen slick, this low patch in the double-rut drive-back had been needing some ’dozer work a long time running, one of many get-to’s set for when next year’s lump-sum money could hire some younger help. Hardly anyone drove it but Randall, easing the pickup ’tween overgrown mirror-snaggers when he brung groceries and what-not to Lurlene and her girl. Deputy Wallace used to ramble back here regular-like to pretend friendly and keep an eye for signs local cookers mighta set up, but when he found Hollis’s makeshift lab a ways down Cutter Road, his brother Cletus shot him dead. State Police come in and tore ’ern up from there to right up Middleton Holler just beyond. Now a new deputy’s done took over, but ain’t yet been out here lying about smells to claim “probable cause” when he trespasses on Lurlene and Retta’s private property. This very minute would be a good time, him to show for a howdy-ma’am, seein’ as how there’s an old lady needs picking up off her arse.

Retta rolled over on her side and wound up mashing the holdin’ end of that pocketed fish-knife into her thigh, then managed despite bad arthritis to pull herself up and set about shuffling forward, keeping to the treeline for more grab-branching. She came to sight of cousin Lurlene’s place, built by their granddaddy when he carried his unimpressed young bride here for a lifetime of second thoughts in the hills of East Tennessee. Lately the place looked embarrassed at being let to run down, but now the dim gray fog and last night’s snow gave it a fairy-tale gingerbread-house look, all sugar-frosted and gleaming with drips of icing drooping its eaves. Wisps of smoke fed by a stingy stack of splits curled from the chimney and bent north to tickle more sleet from dark clouds of a mind to paint these hollers another coat of quick-freeze.

Lurlene stepped out and stood on the wide, covered porch. Ten years younger than cousin Retta, she looked real old of a sudden. Bundled in wool coat, crochet hat and scarf, jeans and hide boots, she’d already got a mind to head out. “Found her, didn’t they?” she asked as Retta stopped at the slicked-over bottom step. Eyes red and swole, Lurlene had been crying, imagining the worst and expecting nothing better.

The Whole Story

I’ve posted the whole story on my blog today. Be sure to come back here!

https://StephenGeez.WordPress.com

Find the Book Now

Should be just about everywhere, but here are the biggies:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/comes+this+time+to+float?_requestid=1776240

Other Places I Lurk

Instagram: StephenGeezWriter

https://StephenGeez.com

https://StephenGeez.Wordpress.com

Poetry Friday ~ Sodom And Gomorrah

3 May

Hello, everyone! Welcome to The Writer Next Door blog.

 

I’d like to share a beautiful poem written by Poet, Gary Bryson. This poem goes so well with one of the chapters in my book, Son of the Serpent, I decided to share a short excerpt taken from this chapter. I hope you enjoy the poem and the excerpt. 

 

Sodom And Gomorrah

by Gary Bryson

 

Surely there’s a righteous man,
Surely there’s a few.
Lord surely some would keep their Faith,
And trust alone in You.

As Sodom and her sisters,
Lie prosperous on the plain,
So surely there are ten or more,
Who still call on your name.

Preserve them Lord, preserve them,
Before it is too late.
I know there must be eight or more,
Who trust your Holy state.

Deliver Lord, deliver,
From judgment’s righteous call.
If there be only six or more,
Would you deliver all?

I feel Your anger kindled Lord,
And evil cannot win.
If I can find you four or more,
Will You forget this sin?

So be it Lord, So be it,
Justice demands your wrath.
You never change or compromise,
They freely chose their path.

Surely there’s a righteous man,
Lord, maybe there are two.
Is there only one who keeps his faith,
Alone I trust in You.

 

 

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Illustration by Jonas Åkerlund (gerezon) DeviantArt

 

 In this chapter Dracúl’s search for Lilith brought him to Sodom, a damned city. This city along with the city of Gomorrah had been targeted for destruction by God. Messenger Angels came to warn the only righteous man in Sodom, Lot, to leave the city at once lest he and his family be destroyed along with the Lilituens and demons that reside there.

Dracúl had met Lot’s daughter, Plitith outside the city gates where she broke Sodom law by feeding the poor, sick and starving people who had been banished to the desert outside the city to die. He gave her all the food and water in his possession to help and afterward she invited him to her home where he heard God’s messengers warn her family to leave the city of Sodom at once or die. Dracúl decided to help Plitith and her family escape before it was too late.

 

 

Excerpt from Son of the Serpent:

 

I put my arm around Plitith, and we hurried out of the city. The moment we traversed the gates, they closed behind us, with the deafening groan and clank of bolts sliding into place, as if God Himself had bolted them shut.

      Lot led us in the direction the angels had told him to go. At first we ran and then walked as fast as we could. Lot held a shroud over his wife and younger daughter’s heads, trying to shield them from whatever was happening behind us. The look of discontent on Lot’s wife’s face concerned me. I was compelled to remind them of the angels’ warning again.

      “Let’s not forget what God’s messengers told us,” I said, watching Lot’s wife. “Do not look back toward Sodom, no matter what you hear.” I pressed Plitith closer to me, and we continued our escape.

      Before we got much farther, a thunderous growl made the ground beneath our feet tremble. Plitith gasped and Lot held his wife and youngest daughter closer as they screamed.

      “Keep moving!” I rushed, pushing Plitith along as Lot and the others lagged behind. “You must move faster!” I was no longer a child who jumped at the smallest noises, but the sounds we heard would bring the bravest man to his knees.

      Lot hurried and ran beside us, pushing his young daughter along ahead of him as we hastened toward the mountains. I kept an eye on Lot’s wife. She peered over her shoulder several times, and then she pulled away from Lot, stopped in her tracks, and looked back at the city of Sodom.

      “No, no, no!” Lot cried as he reached for her, but his daughter did not let him go to her. He fell to the ground and sobbed while she tried to lift him.

      “Help your sister and father. Do not look back or allow them to turn,” I whispered to Plitith.

She held on to me and shook her head. “Do not fear. I will not look.”

      I toddled backward until I was beside his wife. She looked frozen––pale and motionless, her eyes fixed on the city of Sodom. I moved back further to stand before her, my back to the city. I waved my hand in front of her eyes, but they did not blink.

      Then I heard a soft crackling and hissing coming from below. I crouched next to her legs and looked. Her body, beginning with her feet, altered before my eyes, transforming into tiny, colorless crystals. A briny scent wafted into my nostrils and burned. She had turned into a statue of salt. I scrambled to my feet and reached out to touch her neck with one shaking finger. I gasped as she crumbled before me.

      “Dracúl, help us!” Plitith and her sister were trying to get their father off the ground, where he lay facedown sobbing. I ran to them and helped get him to his feet.

      The sun burned orange and sank, and the moon threw its shadow to the earth. “We must hurry.” I took the youngest and put her ahead of us. Lot walked with faltering steps, swaying and tottering as he wailed, so Plitith and I put our arms around him and dragged him along.

      “What of my mother?” Her voice was soft and brittle. Lot and her sister turned their sights to me, also waiting for an answer.

      “She perished the instant her eyes gazed upon Sodom. Her body changed into a sort of crystalline mixture––salt. She was converted into a statue of salt. She crumbled to the ground before me and was carried away by the wind.” Shocked faces stared back at me, and then they wept in silence.

son of the serpent-excerpt-vashti quiroz vega-author-novel-sodom and gomorrah-dragon-fire-Lot's wife-fantasy-story-blog tour-book_tour-fantasy angels series

Thanks for stopping by and have a happy day!

Poetry Friday

14 Dec

Hello, everyone! Welcome.

Today I’m sharing a Haiku and Tanka followed by a short excerpt from my new book, Son of the Serpent

The poems are written in the ocean’s point of view at the time of the Great Flood. I hope you enjoy it.

He fills me with rain

I venture to cleanse the Earth

Of His tainted souls

A form in the clouds

The ward who had restrained me

loosed my giant waves

All I wished for was to breathe

But my breath moves mountains

 

Son of the Serpent is a High Fantasy|Paranormal novel sprinkled with Horror and Romance. It is aimed at an 18+ audience. The book is written in 1st person POV. There are chapters written in Dracul’s voice interspersed by chronicles written in Lilith’s (the villain) voice. Today I’m going to share an excerpt from one of the Chronicles of Lilith.

Son of the Serpent-Vashti Quiroz Vega-fantasy angels series-lilith-gadreel-dracul-blog tour-virtual_book_tour-angels and demons

Excerpt: Chronicles of Lilith

 

As I prepared to leave Shuruppak, rumors about a man named Noah, who claimed to be God’s prophet, came to my attention. According to my human servants, this man said God speaks to him and has told him there shall be a catastrophic event. Every living thing on this planet shall perish, except those beings selected by God Himself.

The servants laughed and took pleasure in ridiculing this man. They called him insane. I, however, have learned throughout the years that there is always some truth to the ramblings of the insane. I would like to see this man, Noah, and listen to his preaching, thus my departure would have to wait.

In the middle of the night I awoke to booming thunder, the likes of which I had not heard since the days I wandered in the wilderness with Gadreel when we first arrived on this planet. I leaped out of my bed and ran to a nearby window. The sky was ominous, with large bitumen-black clouds gathering to form gigantic ones. My superior vision allowed me to see things in the darkness that no other being could. A flash of lightning lit the world white for a moment. Rain began to fall, first tapping on the window and then becoming a rapid succession of beats.

I threw on a garment and ran outside to get a better look. There were still people outdoors, servants slow to finish their tasks for the day and others who came out to see what was happening. They ran for cover as storm clouds spat their loads of water. Sharp droplets of icy-cold water needled my shoulders and back. I shivered under the prickly feeling. The rain came in torrents now. Puddles formed, and the puddles became streams. They grew into rivers. I ran to a nearby tree to take shelter under it.

I hid from the people running and screaming in fear and shifted to my serpent form. The torrent became more intense, and the night grew darker with the bruise of thick, angry clouds. A wall of rain moved over the tree I stood under, and the drops drummed against the canopy. So much water fell from the skies that the sound blurred into one long, whirring tumult.

Many of the people of Shuruppak left their flooded homes and wandered the streets like lost souls. They had never seen a storm of this magnitude. Some had only been familiar with the morning dew. I had seen enough. I spread my wings and took to the sky. Flying had never been more difficult. The rain pelted my wings, while bolts of lightning threaten to spear me as they sliced the air to my left and right.

The earth shook and sent shockwaves rippling through the ground like water, destroying houses in an instant. Fires exploded everywhere, and the smell of smoke twisting through the air between raindrops was acrid on the hot breeze. Regular clatters rang out as structures crumbled apart and fell to the ground. I needed to escape, find shelter, but where could I hide from such devastation? The skies were becoming more and more dangerous. I flew toward the coast, but my wings grew too heavy and sodden to keep me airborne. I fell to the beach.

I looked toward the coastline, wincing and moaning, feeling the pain of my fall. I had been to this beach before, but it looked strangely unfamiliar now, abnormally vast. I thought maybe the darkness of the night was playing tricks on my vision, but then I realized why the beach looked so strange. The surf had drawn back hundreds of miles; the abandoned sand twinkled in the moonlight despite the rain.

I gasped at a black line on the horizon and watched as a colossal wave swept toward me at hundreds of miles per hour—rushing, roaring, angry froth foaming from between its lips. I stared, eyes fixed, as the wave surged in. I knew it was impossible to escape it. Heat had never left my body as fast as it did in this brief moment of realization. The torrent came after me, granting me a few seconds to enjoy breathing the ocean air before it wrapped me in frigid foamy fingers and dragged me to the ocean floor.

I struggled as sand and briny water filled my lungs, causing them to expand and burn. As the wave moved, it pulled me along with it, like it wanted me to witness the devastation it would cause. My death would not be simple or fast, for the powers granted to me by the fruit from the Tree of Life would sustain me. Powers I once cherished now seemed a curse.

As the wave pushed me along, I crashed into debris in the water. Every stab, rip, and fracture my body suffered brought me immense pain. Men, women, and children drowned, their dead bodies floating around me, yet I remained alive.

The giant wave hit Shuruppak. It was nothing like the waves which lap the shore every minute of every day. This was a gigantic wall of water, cold and powerful. It came over land with the power of a volcanic blast. It moved over the city with more ease than a wave over the sand, reducing houses and structures to rubble and killing every living thing.

My broken body filled with water, sand, and debris until the weight of it fixed me to the ocean floor. People, livestock, uprooted trees, and all manner of structures floated past me. The rain continued to pour.

The sky was now hinting at sunrise. Nothing escaped my eyes and ears, but I was immobile. Every inch of my body throbbed with pain, and the cold of the water chilled my bones. As I lay motionless, I watched a large wooden vessel approach. It was the greatest ship I had ever seen. It glided over the water’s surface, throwing its shadow to the sea floor as it sailed past me, turning day to night. I overheard people singing and the roar, moo, bleat, and bray of animals coming from the vessel. Not everyone had perished. Some shall go on, while I remain imprisoned in this watery grave. The weight of the water pressed down on me, crushing me, as the rain increased its depth.

The feeling of drowning never left me. The feeling of panic, unable to take breath, to inflate my lungs. The slow filling of my larynx––gagging, coughing, briny water forcing its way through my nostrils and into my lungs like acid. I would drown and die, and after a moment of peace, the process began again.

A familiar recollection filled the void in my head, spinning memories of Beelzebub lying at the bottom of the Euphrates River bound in chains, disfigured by suffering and hate. Is that also to be my fate? Shall I become a grotesque monster wallowing in fear, self-loathing, and pain?A sharp, loud wail pierced my psyche, and I realized it was I who did the screaming.

Fantasy Angels Series-son of the serpent-the fall of lilith-Vashti Quiroz Vega-fantasy-novel-fallen angels-demons-jinn-lilith-gadreel-dracul

Try and Life are this week’s prompt words chosen by Colleen Chesebro ~ The Fairy Whisperer.

*The catch is that we can only use the synonyms to these words in our poems.

Colleen hosts a challenge that anyone could participate in called, Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge every Tuesday, and you have until Sunday to create a post featuring your Haiku, Tanka, Haibun, Etheree or Cinquain poem. She is an author and poet, and also does book reviews and so much more on her blog. Be sure to check it out.

Have a wonderful day!

Blog Tour: “Timeless Echoes” by Balroop Singh

15 Jul

Hello, everyone! I’m excited to welcome today’s special guest: Balroop Singh and her new poetry book, “Timeless Echoes“.

I read another of Balroop Singh’s poetry books, “Emerging From Shadows” and loved it. So I look forward to reading this one as well.

 

 

Introducing poet and author, Balroop Singh:

Balroop Singh-poet-author-poetry-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-Vashti Quiroz Vega-blog_tour-book_blogger

Poet, Balroop Singh

 

Author Bio:

Balroop Singh, a former teacher and an educationalist always had a passion for writing.  She is a poet, a creative non-fiction writer, a relaxed blogger and a doting grandma. She writes about people, emotions and relationships. Her poetry highlights the fact that happiness is not a destination but a chasm to bury agony, anguish, grief, distress and move on! No sea of solitude is so deep that it can drown us. Sometimes aspirations are trampled upon, the boulders of exploitation and discrimination may block your path but those who tread on undeterred are always successful.

 

When turbulences hit, when shadows of life darken, when they come like unseen robbers, with muffled exterior, when they threaten to shatter your dreams, it is better to break free rather than get sucked by the vortex of emotions.

A self-published author, she is the poet of Sublime Shadows of Life and Emerging From Shadows, both widely acclaimed poetry books. She has also written When Success EludesEmotional Truths Of Relationships Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited and Allow Yourself to be a Better Person.

 

Balroop Singh has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. The moonlight streaming through her garden, the flowers, the meadows, the butterflies cast a spell on her. She lives in San Ramon, California.

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Book Blurb:

Certain desires and thoughts remain within our heart, we can’t express them, we wait for the right time, which never comes till they make inroads out of our most guarded fortresses to spill on to the pages of our choice. This collection is an echo of that love, which remained obscure, those yearnings that were suppressed, the regrets that we refuse to acknowledge. Many poems seem personal because they are written in first person but they have been inspired from the people around me – friends and acquaintances who shared their stories with me.

 

Some secrets have to remain buried because they are ours
We do share them but only with the stars
The tears that guarded them were as precious as flowers
Soothing like balm on festering scars.

 

While there are no boxes for grief and joy, some persons in our life are more closely associated with these emotions. Their separation shatters us, their memories echo, we grieve but life does not stagnate for anyone…it is more like a river that flows despite the boulders. When imagination and inspiration try to offer solace, poetry that you are about to read springs forth.

Book Information:

Title: Timeless echoes

Author: Balroop Singh

Genre: Poetry

Available at: Kindle

 

 

The Editor’s Review:

 

Half of what we say are lies although they might be considered true, but truth with one’s self is an accepted bundle of lies except for those rare moments of self-realization. These lines right at the start of Timeless Echoes, ‘Each moment is precious, we try to cage it within our heart, where it perches in perfect rampart, embalmed by memories,’ reveal how this book is a healer, promising to lay bare the ills of the soul as it soothes, cleanses, and nurtures; instilling in us a will to learn and live without fear, and a will to not hurt others: ‘Why can’t our hearts feel the hurt we hurl at others?’

 

Balroop’s new book is a steadfast repudiation of those ills that we painfully hide under the covers of our flesh to present the polished exterior as truth. This magnetic collection of poems highlights our precious human lives with all their varied emotions and imposing relations: the lives often blinded by the strictures of the self-made duplicity, an excessively common phenomenon. ‘Listen to your heart, my friend. It knows you well,’ she writes.

 

I treasure these ‘forgetting fragile facets of love, facade of fading memories, echoes of dwindling love, is all I have now, yet love echoes refuse to subside’ believing that love echoes are soul-launched signals, ready to hug our pretenses to forge a divine assimilation because the struggle has always been with the self that we excommunicate to build up a wall, which obscures the travails plaguing the core. And finding a path to the core is the cure since there’s no villainy in the soul.

 

As Balroop proclaims ‘love is such a strange emotion, it gives less, it claims more…the facade of love is so delusive,’ I concur how our infirmities require urgent banishment, more pressing now than ever. And once I’ve made peace with the self, ‘the dark corridors are like meadows, they glow with my presence.’ Yes, without an iota of my own falsehoods plaguing me.

Mahesh Nair

Excerpt:

 

Moments That Echo

 

  Each moment is precious

We try to cage it within our heart

Where it perches in perfect rampart

    Embalmed by memories!

Moments of love croon around us

Offering eternal passion that blinds

Drowning in the deluge of delusion

Validating ephemeral enchantment!

Moments of joy glisten on the sand of time

Fleeting away faster than dappling light

Peeping through the corridors of life

   At the mercy of others’ delight!

Woeful moments smile through strife

  Each one stretching far and wide

    Into every nerve and sinew

Sneering at our impertinent divide!

Each moment an experience in itself

We grow in its glow to wend and win

Divesting the ignorance of our thoughts

         Solace echoing within!

Connect with Balroop on Social Media:

Blog:

Twitter:    

Facebook:

Google+:

Pinterest:

Goodreads:

Amazon:

I hope you enjoyed today’s guest and her beautiful poetry. Have a wonderful week!

Haiku Friday – Breeze & Blow

24 Mar

Welcome to The Writer Next Door blog! Happy Haiku Friday!

 

Breeze and Blow are this week’s prompt words chosen by Ronovan Hester of Ronovan Writes.

Ron hosts a challenge that anyone could participate in called Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge every Monday, and you have until Sunday to create a post featuring your haiku poem. He is an author and poet and also does author interviews and much more on his blog. Be sure to check it out. Read Ron’s Haiku Prompt Challenge Guidelines for more information.

  • I decided to share an excerpt from my WIP, The Fall of Lilith. The Fall of Lilith is a young adult/adult Fantasy with dark elements about angels. I hope you enjoy.

The Fall of Lilith, The Writer Next Door, Vashti Q, Poetry, Haiku_Friday, excerpt, novel

Illustration by Luis Royo

 When Lilith arrived at the tree, she marveled at its brilliance. She coiled her tail around its base, slid to a branch, and plucked one of its blushing fruit. She stared at it, but hesitated to put it in her mouth, recalling what happened when she bit into the fruit from the other tree.

The fruit was like none she had ever seen, draped in shiny reddish-gold. It was cold and smooth in her hand. She placed her mouth over it and sank her bloodstained teeth into its crisp, delicious flesh. The fruit squirted its sweet, succulent juice into her mouth. Its scent swathed her like a dip in a pool of warm water, conjuring images of Heaven’s light and bathing in the River of Life. The aroma was bright, cheerful, and more fragrant than any flower in Heaven’s Triumph Gardens.

Upon finishing the magnificent fruit, she began to undergo a transformation. She grew stronger, full of energy and vitality. The eyes on her wings gained the power of sight, having been of no use in the past. Now she saw in every direction at once, except directly behind her. The feathers in her wings became lustrous and able to withstand extreme temperatures. The inner frame of her wings became stronger, capable of enduring powerful impacts. Her tail grew longer and robust. The colors of her lower half were alluring and intense. She knew she was becoming godlike.

Blinding flashes of lightning sliced through the sky. Thunder, which followed closely, shook the ground. As the wind grew stronger, the numerous trees in the Garden began to disintegrate one by one. The dust left behind by the crumbling trees blew to and fro in the increasing wind. Flowers and greeneries no longer crooned melodies. The vegetation wailed and screeched as it ceased to exist.

Lilith scanned her surroundings. The colors of the Garden were gone, and only dreariness remained as it all turned to sand. She released the Tree of Life and leapt to the ground before it, too, dissolved. She lifted her eyes to the sky, now an ominous dark gray. A jagged bolt of lightning struck nearby; she screamed. Overhead thunder continued to rumble, boom, and clash. She jumped as her hands flew to cover her ears. She slithered ahead, leaning into the wind. Dirt and debris whizzed by her, whipping her face and body. She pressed her eyelids together against the sting of the violent wind. A heavy, humid smell spread through the air. The Garden of Eden was in turmoil. If she did not exit soon, she would suffer the wrath of God.

She flapped her wings. Thick, turbulent winds attacked her from every direction, making it difficult for her to take flight. Beating her powerful wings faster she lifted herself off the ground. She moved through the dense, forceful atmosphere, and finally escaped. Had she not eaten from the Tree of Life and gained supernatural powers, she would have perished. Once more, she headed to the cover of the forest. She settled on the tallest tree where she could overlook the destruction of paradise.

The wind grew stronger

Garden trees turned to grey dust

Eden’s colors blown

Flowers no longer sang, but

wailed as they ceased to exist