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Poetry Friday – BookTour: The Rise of Gadreel -4

16 Apr

Hi, everyone! Welcome. Thank you for visiting my blog today.

Heroes & Villians

Heroes and villains seem harder to define
when somethings happen to blur the lines
The villain style of justice may appear better than no justice at all
When the system fails the victim and makes the victim feel so small
Where are the Heros when evil abounds?
Are they still around? 
Who fights for truth and justice throughout the land?
Who is brave enough to take a stand?
Remember heroes often are easily disguised as ordinary people and don't stand out in a crowd
Their anonymity allows them to work behind the scenes 
they effectively crush the evil villains dreams.
The Heros tirelessly fight for truth and justice and selflessly care for others in need.
They support and encourage those that the villains of this world have knocked down.
The villains can too easily be found courtesy of our television screen they often make a showing on the 6 or 10 o clock news they are promoting violence they don't care about anyone else's views.
As far as Heros go you may discover that a Heros heart is contained inside of You.
Hero or Villain?
The choice is yours
Today you could take a stand to right some societal wrong
Today you can be strong and be a Hero to a friend or loved one or a stranger in need. To them can  make a difference indeed.
Hero's Traits:
H elping
E ncouraging 
R espectful
O pportunity 
Perhaps these traits are within you
Be the Hero that you long to see! 

Poem by Ann M. Johnson


Every story needs its hero and its villain. They are both important to the plot. I enjoy a villain who believes he’s the hero in the story. I also enjoy a villain who is clever, proud, vengeful, deceitful, merciless, and who totally embraces his dark side.

These are a few of my favorite villains:

Annie Wilkes from Stephen King’s Misery. A nurse and serial killer, Annie, rescues her favorite novelist Paul Sheldon from certain death after a horrible automobile accident. She sweetly nurses him back to health, only to break his legs with a sledgehammer after she finds out his plan to end her favorite novel series. She loved him, but she had to save him from himself. 😉

Cersei Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. Cersei was extremely clever and had many of the same characteristics of a hero but was completely misdirected. Everything she did was for “the good of the family,” especially, her kids, which she adored. Unfortunately, her eldest son and daughter were poisoned, and her youngest committed suicide.

Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. Dr. Hannibal Lector was charming, classy, well read, and highly intelligent. He was also a terrifying, serial killing, cannibal psychiatrist. He knew what he was and embraced his evil ways completely.

In The Rise of Gadreel, the main villain is Satan, who escapes his earthly prison with the help of Lilituen witches by absorbing the body and essence of a young sorcerer, Abigor Chailín. Abigor volunteered to be Satan’s vessel, even though he knew he would perish. During the process of absorption Abigor’s knowledge, experience, and innate magical powers passed on to Satan, who would take over his identity. The following excerpt is in Abigor Chailín’s (Satan’s) voice.

Excerpt:

The day moved at the pace of a three-toed sloth, and when evening came at last, bodies willing and able to do my bidding crammed the great hall.

“The time has come,” I said. “Gadreel and her allies, dubbed the Fearless Five, shall enter the gates of London soon, and we must be ready.”

A Lilituen monk stepped forward, his head hung to avoid eye contact, and he wrung his hands as he spoke. “Many have spoken of a persuasive phantom who accompanies Gadreel, as well as a warrior priest who shifts into a fiend at will, a mighty sorceress, and a rock giant.” 

I watched him squirm for a while, and then stepped toward him. 

“Look at me!” I said. His eyes met mine. “Peasants tend to exaggerate, making issues appear grander than they are. But even if matters were as they claimed, who cares? Have we not formidable warriors and sorcerers in our midst? And most importantly, you have me, and there is not a creature on Earth who can defeat me. Do you disagree?”

            “No, Master,” he said. “The people of London, especially the peasants, suffer cold, sickness, and hunger. Their opinion of you, Master, if I may speak freely”—he paused and waited for my permission to go on—“has declined.”

            “And why should I care about the opinions of peasants?”

            “Because they may decide to join forces with the Fearless Five against us.” 

            “You stand in a room filled with mighty warriors, sorcerers, and demons, and you are worried about a handful of emaciated farmers? Oh ye of little faith.”

            “God is on their side,” the monk said.

            “You forget God is up there, and I am down here.” And with those words I placed my hands on the monk’s head, whispering a spell under my breath. 

Soon, my hands took on a green aura, and his face came to be the color of a pickled cherry. He convulsed, his eyes bulging out of their sockets, blisters distorting his skin as it darkened to the color of a ripe plum. Steam exploded from his ears, followed by dark blood which also oozed from his eyes and mouth. I lifted my hands and he crumbled, dead, to the ground.

            “Take away this filth,” I instructed my servants. They came forth and did my bidding in haste. “Anyone else have doubts? There’s no time for misgivings. Either you are with me or against me. Decide which it is, here and now.”

            The assembled remained quiet.

            “I shall take your silence to mean that you are with me and ready to do all that I ask of you. The whole of England is in peril, and so is the church. I’ll restore order, and the people shall keep the faith. First, drastic measures are required.”

Lilituens – A sect of witches and sorcerers which include demons and half-breeds with innate magical powers.

Fearless Five – A band of heroes that defend and protect human beings from evil forces. Gadreel, Dracúl, Thomas, Sabina, and Golem make up the Fearless Five.

I hope you enjoyed the post. Thank you for visiting!

Poetry Friday: The Rise of Gadreel (BookTour – 3)

9 Apr

Hi, everyone! Thanks for stopping by.

A hero

will die to protect

Marvelous

Courageous

Would help no matter the cost

They walk among us

Which type of heroes do you like best in stories?

I prefer heroes who have flaws. Someone who is genuinely good but who has made mistakes, who has faced challenges and doubts, and who is sometimes vulnerable . . . a person who perhaps starts off ordinary, and as the story unfolds, becomes more apparent. I enjoy reading about heroes who are intelligent, selfless, kind, and courageous. They feel the fear and do what needs to be done anyway. I find the classic hero, who is perfect in every way and completely fearless, kind of boring. Gadreel is the type of hero I enjoy reading about.

Excerpt:

Sabina dismounted her horse and treaded up to the gate. She placed a hand on the stone wall and lurched back. “A witch cast a binding spell on this town.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“A magical binding is a hex that restrains people, preventing them from doing something.” Sabina placed both palms against the gate and closed her eyes briefly. “An effective sorcerer did not want the people of this town to leave.”

“Why?” I asked.

“I’m not sure.”

I rode past the gate into Warwick, and the others followed me.

We climbed off our mounts. I kissed my horse on its neck and told him to lead the others to water. They galloped away, and we ambled on. Every surface, every blade of grass and twig, grew long ice crystals. In the distance a low clinging fog concealed the homes at the top of the road. 

We continued toward the east of town and ran across a monastery. Blackened and charred walls crumbled under the weight of ashes. The ruins were still smoking, even in this frigid weather. We maneuvered the creaking threshold and came across the charred remains of several monks. One of them lay curled knee-to-nose, while another gripped his pectoral cross with both hands. Glass littered the floor where the windows had broken, and oil lamps lay blackened and twisted on the ground amid the corpses.

“Almost nothing escaped the bloody fire,” Golem said.

Dracúl banged his fist against a wall, almost knocking it down, and stormed out of the monastery. I followed him, and the others trailed behind.

“There’s a castle on the hill,” I said. “Let’s go there. Perhaps there’s someone who can tell us what happened here.”

Dracúl stared ahead, blood tears pooling in his eyes, and we moved on. 

More rotting bodies lay strewn on the streets as we made our way to the castle. Most had missing parts. Many of the corpses’ middles had a strange bowl-shaped appearance. Upon closer inspection, we realized that their organs had been removed. Their chests and abdomens caved in because they were hollow. 

“Why?” Golem whispered. 

There should have been a foul stench in the air, but the cold, dry winds somehow inhibited the release of the disgusting stink coming off the dead bodies. 

We knocked on doors and searched inside the dwellings. We passed the charred remains of a house. Upon investigation, we learned that the only edifices burned down were those that stored food and sheltered livestock, but this particular house was a regular family home. Why was it burned? Only its skeleton stood under the vibrant wintry sun. Sabina rushed inside, and before long, a scream pierced the air. We hurried in to find Sabina motionless with her hands covering her mouth. I steeled myself, went to her, and gasped at the gruesome scene. 

I hope the excerpt intrigued you. The poetry form I used for my opening poem is a Shadorma. Thanks again for the visit.

Poetry Friday: The Rise of Gadreel – 2

2 Apr

Hello, everyone. Welcome. This is the 2nd post in my book tour. But, before I get on with it, I wanted to dedicate the following poem to the lovely and talented Sue Vincent who is no longer in the land of the living. She will be sorely missed.

She Made Words Talk

She walks in beauty

among the clouds with angels

reciting poems

She was a proper poet

Sue had a way with language

The main character in The Rise of Gadreel is a fallen angel. Gadreel was never evil, but she fell into the wrong crowd and did bad things, influenced by her close friend Lilith. After her fall from grace, she had plenty of time to ponder her many mistakes. Remorseful and ashamed, she no longer wanted to follow those evil creatures that got her exiled from her home in heaven. She escaped them and has looked for ways to make amends and find God’s forgiveness, ever since. She and Dracúl, son of fallen angels, found each other and became close friends. Together, and with the help of three unlikely allies; Thomas, Golem and Sabina set out to save mankind from an evil force that has awakened and threatened to end the world, as we know it.

Now that you’re a little more familiar with Gadreel, I’d like to introduce you to some of the other characters from The Rise of Gadreel.

Thomas:

Thomas was once the youngest of a group of Cathar monks living in a monastery. He was a cantor and tended to the gardens. When his brethren discovered certain scrolls not admitted into Catholicism, they began to document them. The church accused them of heresy, and one night, warrior monks attacked the monastery. All the monks, including Thomas, were forced out to the courtyard where they were burned alive. Since then, the monastery has been haunted by the spirits of the monks who were wrongly accused and suffered a terrible death. Thomas is a kind soul who still sings and tends the gardens, but many of the ghosts have grown restless and furious against God and the church. Their souls have been mutated into something evil and corrupted, and Thomas is trapped in the monastery with them.

Sabina:

Sabina’s mother was a white witch, a beautiful and caring woman. One day she became ill. White witches from all over the country came to their village to try to save her, to no avail. Sabina never knew her father and so became orphaned once her mother died. The people of the village loved Sabina’s mother and took care of her child. A year later, a woman named Helga arrived at the village claiming to be Sabina’s aunt from her father’s side. Since no one had ever met Sabina’s father, they assumed the woman spoke the truth. Helga took the child to her home in the woods, and even though Sabina was a child, she soon became aware that this woman was nothing like her mother. Instead, Helga was a bad witch who practiced black magic and meant to do her harm. Unbeknownst to Sabina, she had come from a long line of white witches and had potent magic within her. Her aunt forced her to practice day and night and develop her magic, all along planning to take it from her. When Sabina finally understood Helga’s plan, she began to study and practice both black and white magic, developing her strength and knowledge in secret.

A couple of years later, she escaped Helga’s house where she lived in fear and had been imprisoned. Shortly after her escape, she was adopted by a pair of Lilituens who inducted her to a mighty coven of witches. Despite growing up in fear and being surrounded by evil, Sabina’s mother’s influence remained strong in her, and she used her powers to do good for mankind.

Golem:

As a boy, Vikings raided Golem’s village. They murdered his father while he watched and hid. When another pirate grabbed his mother, he was compelled to rescue her. Golem ran to his mother, grabbed her hand, and tried to pull her away from the Viking who held her captive. He laughed as the boy struggled and hacked off his arm with his ax. Then he chopped his mother’s head clean off––Golem’s small, severed hand and arm still in her grip. Golem fell unconscious and was left for dead. An older couple, Abraham and Madrona, rescued him and nursed him back to health. They raised him as their own, and he grew into a strong, self-sufficient, one-armed man in their home. When the old couple died, Golem inherited a small stone figurine with supernatural powers, which he used for the good of mankind.

Dracúl, Thomas, Gadreel, Sabina, and Golem.

I hope you enjoyed meeting some of the characters from The Rise of Gadreel! Thank you for your visit and support.

Poetry Friday ~ The Rise of Gadreel

26 Mar

Hi, everyone! Welcome to my blog. For the next few Fridays I will be sharing the posts from The Rise of Gadreel‘s book tour. I will be making a few changes to them, so they won’t be exactly the same. I wanted to give an opportunity to those who didn’t get a chance to visit the different blogs during the tour to check out the posts.

The Rise of Gadreel is a high/dark supernatural fantasy set in the medieval period. It is aimed at an adult (18+) audience. I always told myself that I would never write as if someone were looking over my shoulder. My first draft consists of words written the way they pour out of my head, raw and true. Although I begin the story, my characters tend to take over, each of them competing to steer the story in a way that best suits them, which usually leads to many twists and unexpected outcomes. Ultimately, the strongest of them takes the lead. Following the blurb, I will share a short excerpt to hopefully entice you to read more.

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 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. 

Excerpt:

In this excerpt, Gadreel, Dracúl, Sabina, Golem, and Thomas are headed to London, England, when an incoming storm prompts them to take shelter at an Abbey where they will also rest for the night.

We spotted the abbey on a cliff above the port town of Whitby, overlooking the North Sea. By the time we reached it, the sky had gone dark with the bruise of thick, angry clouds. As I stood before the Romanesque-style stone abbey, a lone drop of rain touched just beneath my eye, like a teardrop, and a foreboding shook my entire existence.

“I have a bad feeling about this place. I don’t think we should enter,” Golem said, taking a step back.

“What are you saying?” Dracúl put Sabina down and moved toward the entrance.

“Wait,” I said. “I don’t feel right about this place either.”

Sabina agreed.

 “We’re all tired and cold.” Dracúl shoved his long, dark hair back from his face in clear frustration. “This is Whitby Abbey, a Christian monastery.”

“Something evil lurks in there now,” I mumbled. I did not mean to frighten anyone, but chills ran up and down my spine, and they were not caused by the weather.

“Oh bloody hell!” Golem said and threw his arm up in the air.

“The sun has set, the temperature has plummeted, and there’s a storm coming,” Dracúl said. “What are we supposed to do?” He flashed that irritating, smug grin he wears when he’s convinced he’s about to win an argument. “Besides, we’re God’s warriors. If there are evil forces lurking in this place, who better than us to abolish them?” With those words, he entered the abbey’s warming room.

“Well, let’s go then. I’m absolutely knackered,” Golem grumbled. He took Sabina’s hand, and they followed Dracúl inside. Thomas, surrounded by a dim indigo aura, trailed close behind them.

I stared at the sinister, hulking masses of architecture looming before me against the dark, moonless night, seeing little more than the crumbling walls. Having caught Dracúl’s statement about faith and being God’s warriors, I stood corrected. I drew in a long breath and plodded inside. 

I hope you enjoyed the post! Join me on social media.

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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