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Poetry Friday ~ Gratitude

22 Jan

Hello, everyone! Welcome to my blog!

As some of you may know, I recently published the third and final book of my Fantasy Angels Series. This has been a very busy week as my book, The Rise of Gadreel has been making its rounds throughout the blogmosphere. I am beyond grateful to the kind, generous, and supportive authors who featured my new release on their awesome blogs. If you haven’t visited any of the stops on my book tour please consider doing so. Thank you for your support.

Book Tour: The Rise of Gadreel

D.G. Kaye, Writer – Sunday Book Review

Welcome To Harmony Kent Online

Fiction and life . . . from the desk of Gwen M. Plano

Writing and Music – Jan Sikes

Author D.L. Finn

D.G. Kaye, Writer – Q & A with D.G. Kaye

MARK BIERMAN | Blog

The above blogs are all wonderfully entertaining, please take the time to check them out.

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” — Albert Schweitzer

Thank you

my lovely friends

I’ll prove myself worthy

of all the things you’ve done for me

Grateful

My heart is conscious of my treasures.

Colleen Chesebro Poetry Chanllenge – Poet’s Choice

Thanks for stopping by!

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!

Poetry Friday ~ Image Prompt

18 Dec

Hi, everyone! I hope you’re all safe and healthy.

It’s the third week of the month! Time for an Ekphrastic #PhotoPrompt. Colleen Chesebro from Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Prompt Challenge chose the beautiful watercolor art piece below.

Artwork by Barbara A. Lane (Pixabay)

When I saw this watercolor I immediately thought about dreams. You know, I thought by now someone would have invented a device that could record our dreams. Many of my short stories were inspired by my many bizarre dreams, so it would be a handy tool for me. I hope you enjoy my Etheree.

What are dreams if not our wishes and fears
sheer colors slowly spreading on the
canvas of our dormant minds
forming watercolor shapes
delightful and fearsome
sometimes inspiring
us to jump out
of   bed  and
write, write
write  

Thank you for stopping by. I always appreciate your visits and comments. Also, remember you can pre-order The Rise of Gadreel for only 0.99¢!

I wish everyone a merry Christmas Eve and Christmas! Don’t forget to look to the sky on 12/21/20 to see the Christmas Star! The best time to see it is about an hour after your local sunset time. I hope it’s a clear night for all of us.

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.

Poetry Friday ~ Little Black Kitty

19 Jun

It’s the third week of the month! Time for a Photo Prompt! Colleen Chesebro’s 2020 Weekly Poetry Challenge

 

Image by Huda Nur from Pixabay


Hi, everyone! Welcome to my blog. I want to start by saying that I’m almost done going through my editor’s edits and the book is coming along great. I’m also working on the book cover for The Rise of Gadreel. I wanted to share an image of her with you today.

GADREEL

** I’m also a featured guest of Colleen M. Story at her Writing and Wellness Blog. I would appreciate it so much if you would visit her blog, read my author interview and comment and share. Thank you! ❤

I decided to share a lovely poem by one of my favorite poets, Emily Dickinson. In the poem, She Sights a Bird she perfectly evokes the tension of a cat about to pounce.

She sights a Bird—she chuckles—
She flattens—then she crawls—
She runs without the look of feet—
Her eyes increase to Balls—

Her Jaws stir—twitching—hungry—
Her Teeth can hardly stand—
She leaps, but Robin leaped the first—
Ah, Pussy, of the Sand,

The Hopes so juicy ripening—
You almost bathed your Tongue—
When Bliss disclosed a hundred Toes—
And fled with every one—

Thank you for stopping by my blog. Wishing all of you a peaceful, happy, and safe Friday and weekend.