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Poetry Friday ~ BOOK REVIEWS

30 Apr

Hi, everyone! Welcome to my blog. I appreciate your visit.

Stephen King (Horror, Dark Fantasy author)

Why do you write horror, dark fantasy, and thriller? 

I’ve been asked this question many times. Since I was a child I’ve always loved dark, suspenseful, and spine-chilling tales. Scary stories taught me that it was okay to be afraid, and that I could use my brain to solve problems, even when frightened or use my natural survival instincts to safely escape from dangerous situations. They also taught me about courage, loyalty, hope, and facing my fears.

Reading these stories gave me a bit of a thrill, an adrenaline rush from being scared, and in some ways, it was fun to read about things that frightened me. We all experience a rush of adrenaline and a release of endorphins and dopamine when scared. The biochemical rush can result in a pleasure-filled, opioid-like sense of euphoria. In the end, there is a catharsis to it. There’s darkness and light in all of us, and as I write my complex, dark tales I purge the gloom and feel sunnier having done so. 

Horror and dark fantasy are extremely popular genres. I believe it’s because these genres revolve around our emotions. These stories evoke in people – emotions that aren’t just abject terror. Many fans of horror, dark fantasy, and thriller are actually seeking “controlled” fear and suspense, knowing we are safe.

“It was the possibility of darkness that made the day seem so bright.” ~Stephen King

Today I’d like to share some of the books I’ve read recently and my reviews of them.

SITUATION Z by A.M. Semple

BLURB:

The heat is the least of their worries when the dead begin taking over Phoenix. Out of the ashes of destruction rises Wilson. He begins gathering survivors, helping them escape the city and the dead. Along the way, the challenges multiply and Wilson’s behavior becomes questionable. Is he trustworthy or will they all end up being someone’s next meal?

BOOK REVIEW:

Situation Z is a fascinating story about a zombie apocalypse. This was a fun and thrilling read that kept me turning the pages long into the night.

The protagonist, Wilson, was one of the most intriguing characters I’ve read in a long time. While all the characters were fascinating, some were endearing, and others were annoying and fun to hate.

One thing that did bother me about the story was how overprotective the men seem to be over the women. They were always trying to shield them from what was happening around them. It’s a zombie apocalypse! If the women did not develop a thick skin, they were not going to survive. I did enjoy seeing the emotional growth in the women in the end.

Author A.M. Semple did an amazing job building this horrific world, and I also enjoyed the development of all the characters. Her description of the victims’ turning was done so well. The imagery in this book is fantastic.

If you enjoy a well written zombie story that focuses on the characters and keeps you at the edge of your seat from beginning to end, this book is for you.

xoxoxoxoxoxox

LEECH by Ellie Douglas

BLURB:

Captain John Lancaster’s ship is critically damaged in an asteroid storm, leaving John and his crew stranded. Drifting off course. 

He was returning to earth with supplies and samples from planet Sol. When he and his team discover they are not alone on the ship. 

Something is hiding onboard and is taking the crew members out, one by one.  

Will John make it home to see his wife and child? Can he save his remaining crew? 

BOOK REVIEW:

Leech is a short and enjoyable horror sci-fi. Author Ellie Douglas’s imaginative and descriptive writing style is gripping and easy to follow.

Captain John Lancaster and his crew were on a mission to study and collect samples on an Earth-like planet called Sol. The year was 3010, and mankind traveled through space at warp speed, so they went back and forth, to and from, Earth in only a few days, and the captain had been on many missions to Sol. On one of Captain John’s missions, a meteor crashed on Sol. John picked up a smooth, black stone from the crash site and decided to take it back to Earth with him to gift it to his young daughter as a souvenir.

On the voyage back to Earth the rock fell to the floor and broke in half. John’s friend, Nico, picked up the stone and black goo that was stored inside it got all over his fingers and then was quickly absorbed into his skin. After this incident, all hell breaks loose.

Nico became infected with a parasite that ate him from the inside out, multiplied, and then left his body in search of other hosts. With each host, the parasites grew larger until they would no longer need a host. One by one, the crew became infected until it seemed no one would survive. 

I enjoyed this fascinating short story. The characters were lifelike and the dialogue believable. Lovers of horror and sci-fi would enjoy this book.

xoxoxoxoxoxox

THE BONE WALL by D. Wallace Peach

BLURB:

Blue light ripples and crackles as the shield walls fracture. The remnants of a doomed civilization stand vigil outside, intent on plunder and slaves, desirous of untainted blood to strengthen their broken lives. With the poisons, came deformities and powers, enhanced senses and the ability to manipulate waves of energy—lightbenders and fire-wielders.

For those who thrived for generations within the walls, the broken world looms, strange and deadly, slowly dying. While the righteous pray for salvation, Rimma prepares for battle, fueled by rage and blinded by vengeance. Her twin, Angel, bound to her by unbreakable magic, seeks light in the darkness, hope in the future, and love in a broken world. 

D. Wallace Peach’s fourth novel combines elements of fantasy and science-fiction into a character-driven adventure. The Bone Wall foretells of a dystopian world where a poisoned planet no longer sustains its inhabitants. Who survives when there isn’t enough for all? Who decides? 

The Bone Wall begins three hundred years in a post-apocalyptic future. Precisely controlled communities with forgotten histories thrive beneath protective energy fields…until those fields begin to fail. What happens when the facades crumble and the past’s dark truth is unearthed?

Twins Rimma and Angel share this first person tale of a life unraveling and mending. Both are strong female protagonists who chose opposing paths when thrust in the broken and perilous world. The simplistic lines dividing good and evil blur, and beg the question: Can one survive without the other? What is the secret of their lives that even they can’t comprehend?

If grimdark tales of spiraling destruction and redemption crowd your bookshelf, this fantasy adventure desires a place among them. 

The Bone Wall contains scenes which some readers might find triggering. 

BOOK REVIEW:

The Bone Wall is a post-apocalyptic fantasy sci-fi. I was hooked from the beginning because this story was so unique and creative. I also enjoyed the author’s writing style.  

It’s the future, and mankind has survived a worldwide catastrophe. Rimma and Angel were 16-year-old twins who lived in an environmentally controlled paradise within a dome protected by a mighty force field. Their home was called Heaven, and this domed city shielded them from the broken world. Other domes existed housing similar civilizations. However, there were people living in the harsh conditions of the wrecked outside world. They were called biters and among them were the touched many of which had extraordinary powers, including the ability to create fire or bend light. Time and again, biters attacked and tried to breach the dome. Many would leap into the force field only to be disintegrated into bones that accumulated at the base of the dome, creating a bone wall. 

The twins were taught that they, along with their community, were chosen by God to survive and thrive. They were not allowed contact with the outside world. Rimma questioned the laws of Heaven while Angel was innocent and naïve, accepting the teachings of the elders

One day Rimma noticed that the shield protecting the dome was operating abnormally. It would turn off in certain areas and sparks would fly. She was shocked to find out that the elders knew that there were issues with the force field. She was told to have faith—that the shield would hold. Sometime later, the weakened shield fades. The biters seized the moment, invading Heaven, attacking and killing many, and taking others as slaves. The twins were suddenly thrown into a world of horror, cruelty, and bloodshed. They became molded by the broken world and their experiences within it.

The story is told in first-person point of view from the perspective of the twins. Rimma, the angry one bent on revenge for the lies she was told growing up and for the death of her father, and Angel the eternal optimist who hopes for peace, love, and harmony.

This is an intriguing and complex story. The writing is beautiful and vibrant, but at times, it was a bit flowery, and the story dragged a bit in the middle. I also had questions. What destroyed the world? I assumed it was a nuclear holocaust. Who built the dome? How was it powered? Why did it fail? There was no explanation given for any of this. Also, only one of the twins was visible at a time to most people, which was both creative and bizarre. However, these things did not deter me from enjoying this well written story with its unique world and compelling characters. I highly recommend this book to fans of post-apocalyptic sci-fi fantasy.

Click on any of the books’ image or title to purchase on Amazon.

To Live in the Zombie Apocalypse

Burlee Vang 

The moon will shine for God
knows how long.
As if it still matters. As if someone

is trying to recall a dream.
Believe the brain is a cage of light
& rage. When it shuts off,

something else switches on.
There’s no better reason than now
to lock the doors, the windows.

Turn off the sprinklers
& porch light. Save the books
for fire. In darkness,

we learn to read
what moves along the horizon,
across the periphery of a gun scope—

the flicker of shadows,
the rustling of trash in the body
of cities long emptied.

Not a soul lives
in this house &
this house & this

house. Go on, stiffen
the heart, quicken
the blood. To live

in a world of flesh
& teeth, you must
learn to kill

what you love,
& love what can die.

Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy the rest of your day!

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!

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.

Rave Reviews Book Club

17 Jul

Hello, everyone!

To say it’s been a crazy week would be an understatement. So much has been happening around me, including renovations to the inside and outside of my house. It’s enough to make your head spin, believe me. 😮

Some of you know that I’m a member of an online book club called Rave Reviews Book Club. This is a wonderful organization for writers and readers established by author Nonnie Jules. This month has been hectic and a little rough but the one great thing that came out of it was that my novelette Memoir of a Mad Woman was selected “Book of the Month” by the RRBC. Not only is it an honor for your book to be chosen from thousands of fabulous books, it’s also a great opportunity for your book to be seen by a wider audience. You see, when your book is selected by the RRBC as a BOM all the members of the club are encouraged to buy, read, review, and share your book all over social media. That’s an amazing boost!

I am always thankful for the Rave Reviews Book Club. I’ve met and befriended so many kind, talented, and supportive people in the three years I’ve been a member. We’ve become one big happy online family.

This week I was supposed to take part in a book club discussion specifically for those whose books were selected BOM, but I wasn’t able to attend the zoom meeting because something happened to my WiFi Tuesday morning and it wasn’t working. I called Comcast several times. They gave my husband and me different instructions of what to do, but nothing worked. They finally sent a tech out to our house, and he discovered that the cable had been severed, no doubt by the men working in our side yard, where the cable was buried.

I was beyond upset to have missed the Book of the Month discussion because it would have been a great opportunity to discuss my book, give new insights, and answer questions about it. My iPhone has it’s own internet service from the provider, but I didn’t have the zoom app on it. I tried to get into the app store to download the zoom app to my iPhone, but I was given instructions to turn on the WiFi which of course I couldn’t. I also sent an emailed to RRBC to let someone know the situation and asked if there was a phone number I could call to join in the discussion. I received an email from someone letting me know that she was out to lunch when my email came in and it was too late by the time she read it. I’m truly sorry I couldn’t make it to the discussion. The circumstances were beyond my control. 😦

I was planning to make this a short post but I guess it’s too late for that. :/ The bottom line is that I’m happy to be a member of the Rave Reviews Book Club and highly recommend it. This is a wonderful organization for aspiring writers, experienced authors, and avid readers. There are so many great opportunities to grow your author platform and to gain sales and reviews for your books. There are also fascinating books to read and the members are amazing. If you’d like more information on how to join the club visit the RRBC website.

I hope everyone has had a better week than I did. I’m looking forward to a restful break this weekend. Happy Friday and weekend!

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I’m exhausted, so I’m going to escape into my fantasy world this weekend. See you soon!

Poetry Friday ~ Photo Prompt

21 Feb

Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge: It’s the third week of the month! Time for a #PhotoPrompt

Photo Credit: Ritu Bathal

The clouds reflected the light of a full moon. For a while longer, I’ll be able to spot them at a distance, but that meant they would be able to see me, too. It’s difficult to know who’s side the moon’s on. As I searched for refuge, I moved quickly dissolving into shadows whenever I heard their creepy grunts and shrieks. The night was hot and humid making me feel sticky and sofocated. I couldn’t help thinking it might be too late for me to make it to safety tonight.

A golden light shone brightly in the distance. My heart rapped against my ribs in anticipation. It could be a safe house. I followed the light, and saw a house lit like a beacon beckoning me to come. A scream cut through the night sky followed by numerous growls. They were close. I gasped and hurried. The house seemed to bend forward like a mother trying to reach for her child to bring him to the security of her arms. If I could make it to the light I’d be safe. I heard a crash to my right, a garbage can rolled in my direction spilling its garbage and stench along the way. More growling sounds came from the gloom to my left. Behind me, I heard the unmistakable sounds of feet pounding the ground. I bolted down the bumpy uneven paving stones. Exhaustion threatened to wear me out as my legs turned to lead. They lurked in the shadows all around me. I don’t think I’m going to make it.

A

light shines

giving me

hope that I may

survive this nightmare

It guides me to safety

A house of refuge from pain

offering protection from death

by zombies in this apocalypse

Photo Credit: Yohann Libot @yohannlibot

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed the post. Have a great day!

Quote

Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, Vashti Quiroz-Vega, @VashtiQV

16 Aug

Hello, everyone! My books and I are featured at Author, Colleen Chesebro’s blog. I’d like to invite you to visit her blog and check it out. If you enjoy the interview, please share it on social media. I appreciate the support. Happy Friday!

 

Conversations With Colleen-Vashti Quiroz Vega-Vashti Q-The Writer Next Door-author_interview-writer-indie-supernatural-occult-horror

 

via Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, Vashti Quiroz-Vega, @VashtiQV

Poetry Friday ~ A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance

12 Apr

Hello and welcome, everyone!

The last couple of weeks have been crazy busy for me and I was not able to do as much writing as I wanted, so I plan to spend the day and weekend catching up. Please enjoy my story series, A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance, if you haven’t already done so and I will see you next week for another Poetry Friday. Happy Good Friday, Passover and Easter!


 

Doing the right thing

is hard when you do not know

what the right thing is

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Illustration by Melanie Delon

 

Today I’m sharing Part 1 of a short story series called A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance. I hope you enjoy it.

A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance

by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

 

Who falls in love with a ghost?

 

I recall the first time I saw Abigail. She wasn’t attractive in my eyes. Her skin was as pale as an ivory mist. Her limp, blonde hair reflected merely a glint of sun. Her lips were thin and uninviting, but when she glanced my way with heavy-lidded sea green eyes, she captured my soul so completely I couldn’t look away. I should have looked away.

 

I had a task to do–so I watched. Abigail had a sweet way about her that lured me further into her world. Was it possible to take part in her world? I observed her. This girl did caring things for those around her and had a generous heart. Oddly, she never seemed to expect anything in return. Showing kindness to animals and nature was her way. She enjoyed singing, although she wasn’t very good at staying in tune. I spent hours, days, and then weeks watching her–trying to find something that would make my errand easier. I could not. What was it about this creature that held me captive?

 

Abigail was good, but also an odd and clumsy creature. I lost count of how many times I had to swiftly cover my mouth, fearing that my laughter would betray my presence. Once, she picked up a tarantula spider. It appeared to prance happily in place on her palm. She gazed at it wide-eyed and giggled with glee. Then she dropped it. The spider shattered when it hit the ground. She wailed for hours.

 

Another time she witnessed a small boy feeding bread to a swan. She ran to them and picked up a piece of bread lying by the boy’s feet. She attempted to feed the swan at the same time the boy did, but instead, she clumsily struck the swan’s beak, making it irate. She gasped as the angry bird took the boy’s arm in its beak and pounded his small limb with one of its massive wings. Abigail screamed for help and managed to pull the boy away, but not before the swan had broken his arm. The boy ran away to his parents, red-faced and howling, his arm dangling by his side. She dropped to the ground and created a puddle with her guilt and sorrow. She did not eat for days. That’s when I finally approached her.

 

“Why do you starve yourself?” I asked. She jumped and stared at me. “Do you wish to die?”

 

“No, I wish to live,” she responded, her eyes wide and pale lips trembling. “I hurt a small boy and deserve to suffer.”

 

“You did no such thing. The bird hurt the boy, but his arm is healing well. He plays happily as we speak, regardless of the cast he wears. You have no need to go on tormenting yourself.”

 

“How do you know this?” she asked, looking at me askance.

 

Thinking quickly I responded, “I was told about what had happened to the boy, and I just saw him minutes before I ran into you.”

 

She stared at me, brows crumbled and eyes squinted, and then she smiled faintly. “I’m glad to know this, thank you. My name is Abigail.”

 

“Then you must nourish yourself, Abigail.”

 

I looked around. A red fruit hanging from a nearby tree caught my eye. I picked it and handed it to her. She extended her hand slowly and took it. She bit into it, repeatedly holding the ripened, sweet fruit with both hands. She devoured it in no time. As she swallowed the last morsel, I wiped a bit of dribble off her chin. Her grateful smile turned her cheeks the color of an orchid rose.

 

I chuckled at how her face lit up. “My name is Azrael,” I told her. I’m not sure why. I reveal my name to few.

 

“It’s nice to meet you, Azrael. Would you like to walk with me?”

 

 “Yes. This forest is quite beautiful. I have always enjoyed hiking here. The smells, the sounds–fascinate me!”

 

She took my hand as we began our stroll.

 

“This beautiful place can also be quite dangerous,” I said. “Doesn’t that scare you?”

 

“No,” she said, her face as innocent and pure as a daisy.

 

We continued walking. She stopped to smell wildflowers, drink water from a small waterfall that emptied into a noisy river, to point at birds she recognized and insects. I thought today would be the day, but torrents of crystalline water gushed, white fluffy clouds whipped across intense cerulean skies, daffodils vibrant as stars quivered and danced in the wind. It was much too lively a day for death to intrude.

 

“I must leave now.”

 

“So soon?” She sighed heavily and her body slumped.

 

“The sun will set soon. Perhaps you should go home before it becomes dark and you can’t find your way back.”

 

She nodded with a frown. “Goodbye. It was nice exploring the forest with you. Thank you for a lovely time,” she said as she departed.

 

I rushed in the opposite direction. When I was sure to be far enough away, I crumbled to the ground.

 

“Why? Why must I carry out this burden?” I cried to the heavens. “There is no malice in her. She is a lamb!” I rubbed a deep burning ache in my chest as large drops fell from my eyes. I touched my cheek and looked with amazement at my wet fingers. A voice in my head reassured me that my daunting task was for the best. I rose from the ground and with dragging feet left the forest. 

 

Copyright © 2014 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.

Vashti Quiroz Vega-author-Azrael-angel of death-story-Vashti Q-blog tour-virtual_book_tour-son of the serpent

Illustration by AStoKo

 

Be sure to read part 2 and the finale of A Time To Mourn And A Time To Dance

PART 2

PART 3 – FINALE

Book Tour: Voyage of the Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack

24 Jan

Hi, everyone! I’m excited because today I have the privilege to host talented and creative author, C. S. Boyack. Enjoy!

CS Boyack-author-voyage of the lanternfish-blog tour-Vashti Quiroz Vega-Vashti Q-craig boyack

 

Thanks for the invitation, Vashti. You’re welcome to promote at my place any time you like. I’m here to talk about my newest book, Voyage of the Lanternfish.

I try to make every tour post unique, to give people a reason to read the post. This time the topic is some of the big decisions that went into this story. All authors have to make these kinds of decisions, and I’m interest to see if others faced similar things in drafting their stories.

I’ve written before about the plate of peas approach, where you scrape options away until the peas that remain are your story. That’s kind of the topic here.

My big decisions were Earth, or a fantasy world? Cutting throats or a bit more compassion. And finally, “Ere ye gonna write a whole novel wi nought but pirate speak, lad?”

One of the things on my mind was distancing myself from the most popular pirate franchise in history. I love Captain Jack, but this isn’t intended to be fan fiction. I decided to create my own world.

Part of this was to avoid going to places like Port Royal, Tortuga, and the rest. There may be some similarities, but I want my world to be bigger and contain different possibilities. I may have pulled a fast one on naming an island. Tortuga means turtle or tortoise. It’s the pirate stronghold. I needed one of these too, so I called mine Lagarto, which means lizard. I changed one reptile for another.

I also took my crew to places similar to Asia, the Mediterranean Coast, and even some wild moors.

I stayed consistent with the countries, even if readers don’t pick up on it. The bad guys are from a country much like England. There is a northern country that never gets visited, but all the ties to it are Germanic. This includes the original name of the ship that will become Lanternfish. My Asian part of the world is a mash up of several cultures. I stayed mostly Chinese, but allowed some drift into other areas too. It’s a fantasy world and this is one of the luxuries.

Pirates weren’t good people in reality. They came from all walks of life, but the situation that appealed to me was desperation. Common folk were treated like animals by those in power. Some of them developed a bit of backbone and rebelled. These people are the bulk of my pirate crew.

There were some looking to get rich quick, others who were more interested in striking a blow than gaining riches. In a novel, it’s a balancing act. I need readers to like my characters and be on their side. I went with the compassion, but a tempered version of it. No torturing prisoners, or walking the plank in this story. They are pirates, so there are some violent moments involved.

When it comes to pirate speak, I love it. However, it’s a nightmare to write, and spell check doesn’t like it either. This is one of those things that could drive readers insane too.

I chose to write it like any other book, but there are some secondary characters who drift into pirate speak. I ain’t afraid to butcher the English language a bit… in small doses. I want enough to get the point across without burning out my readers’ eyes trying to get through it all.

Readers will have to decide if these were the right decisions, of course. I love the story, but I could be a bit biased.

I hope your readers will give Lanternfish a chance. I’ll drop off all the important stuff for Vashti to add to the post.

How about it, you authors out there? What similar circumstances have you faced in writing your own books? I’d love to get some conversations going in the comments.

***

Voyage of the Lanternfish-C S Boyack-author-spotlight-novel-amazon-vashti quiroz vega-vashti q

 

Blurb:

An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.

He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.

James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.

Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride.

Purchase Link:

http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B07MP8V633

 

Bio:

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Craig

blog tour-book blogger-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Quiroz Vega-Vashti Q-C S Boyack-Lisa Burton_radio

Connect with C. S. “Craig” Boyack on social media:

Blog: Entertaining Stories

Twitter 

Amazon Author Page

BookBub

Goodreads

Facebook

I hope you enjoyed today’s feature. Check out Craig’s fascinating blog and follow him on social media. He’s a very talented author and a great supporter of other indie writers.

 

Poetry Friday ~ There’s something wrong with Emma.

18 Jan

Hi, everyone! I hope you all have had a great start to the new year.

 

First, I have some news. I have a new short story available on Amazon titled, Memoir of a Mad Woman. Today’s poem (my first attempt at a Sonnet) was inspired by this story. Memoir of a Mad Woman is a fictional memoir loosely based on the case studies of a female Psychopath and it’s aimed at an 18+ audience.

Mystery and Attract 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.

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I can’t compare you to another girl.

You are an enigma that frightens me.

In your gleaming eyes I see rough winds whirl,

yet your smile makes me wonder what you see.

In life alluring souls are born to shine,

and everyone dances in their sunlight.

Except you, because you plan her decline.

Perhaps she’s not what she seems in your sight?

You see things in ways that others cannot.

Crazy thoughts in your head are real to you,

but in the “real” world would be a long shot.

Your madness is a thing to look into.

So long as you can breathe, and crazy spurs,

you’ll sing a deadly song of gray to her.

“Emma had nothing to lose but her mind.”

Blurb:

A short story from the award-winning author of The Fall of Lilith and Son of the Serpent, Vashti Quiroz-Vega.

Who can explain how madness begins?

This is the story of Emma. Raised by a religious fanatic, orphaned at a young age and sent to a mental institution and an orphanage. Molested and betrayed by the people who should be watching over her…

Who can say that madness has no logic?

During a fight, Emma’s best friend punched her in the abdomen. Since then, Emma has believed there’s something damaged inside of her.

Every month… she bleeds.
She tries to fight it all her life, but the pain and the blood return twenty-eight days later… and the cycle begins again.

But Emma, even in her madness, knows how to take care of herself.
She knows how to make things right…

You may not agree…
But, who can reason with insanity?

Read this sad but fascinating tale and traverse the labyrinthine passages of madness.

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I would like to share a wonderful review written by Author, D.L. Finn.

“Memoir of a Mad Woman” is a short, but chilling read. You’re taken into the mind of a young girl, Emma, who had a very unstable upbringing. Emma ends up in an orphanage. This is where she’s finally pushed completely over the edge. It’s brutal and almost unthinkable what follows. The characters feel real, which makes it all the more terrifying in their cruelty. How Emma responds to what she considers a complete betrayal, you can’t help but to root for her and feel her pain. I thoroughly enjoyed this psychological thriller and felt like I understood her madness. I highly recommend this well-written dark short story.

 

I hope you enjoyed this post. Take care!