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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Poetry Friday ~ Springtime

12 Mar

Hi, everyone! Welcome to my blog.

Photo by Sergey Shmidt

This week at Colleen Chesebro Poetry ChallengeSALLY CRONIN selected the words:

Eager & Hope

We are only allowed to use a synonym for each word.

Winter waves goodbye

Gentle breezes awaken

all our senses

Impatient we look forward

to the delights of springtime

Photo by Manuel Amir

Daylight Saving Time 2021 begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 14. That means we “spring forward” by moving our clocks ahead one hour. I will be changing my clocks Saturday night before going to bed.

Thank you for stopping by, and have a lovely day! ❤

Poetry Friday ~ Dreams

26 Feb

Welcome, everyone!

It’s the fourth week of the month! Are you ready for a theme prompt? 

This month’s theme is:

Dreams

In my perfect dream

I see a world united

A beautiful thing

accepting one another

like God always intended

I hope you enjoyed my Tanka. Thank you for stopping by and have a great day.

Poetry Friday ~ #CinquainPoetry

12 Feb

Hi, everyone! Welcome to my blog.

This week, Colleen Chesebro from Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge selected the words to get us going. These words are opposites with many synonym possibilities:

Loose & Tight

Photograph by Kat J (Unsplash)

Heavy

days devoid of

love, smiles or kind remarks

I wait, fingers closed in tense fists

for him

***

Hopeless

Out of my mind

with desire to escape

but too stiffened with fear to move

I’m doomed

Photograph by Alexander Krivitskiy

Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sexual exploitation. This is a real problem in many countries including the United States. I realize we have a lot going on right now with three different strains of the corona virus out there and a world wide pandemic. I understand you may not want to think about anything else going on in the world right now. But put yourself in the place of anyone of these young people for a moment. This could be anyone’s child, sister, brother, girlfriend, cousin . . . suffering torture, debilitating fear, and hopelessness every single day.

Human Trafficking Indicators

While not an exhaustive list, these are some key red flags that could alert you to a potential trafficking situation that should be reported:

  • Living with employer
  • Poor living conditions
  • Multiple people in cramped space
  • Inability to speak to individual alone
  • Answers appear to be scripted and rehearsed
  • Employer is holding identity documents
  • Signs of physical abuse
  • Submissive or fearful
  • Unpaid or paid very little
  • Under 18 and in prostitution

Thank you for stopping by today! Stay safe and healthy.

Poetry Friday ~ #Etheree #Poetry

5 Feb

Hi, everyone! A warm welcome to my blog.

It’s the first of the month and that means we choose our own syllabic poetry form, theme, words, images, etc. for Colleen Chesebro Poetry Prompt Challenge!

This video brought tears to my eyes. What a brilliant collaboration! I loved the poem these children created together. It’s filled with so much hope and love. They inspired my Etheree this week.

A virtual hug can’t replace your warmth

And “i-contact” is not eye contact

We’re forced to live differently

Animals venture further

while the streets are empty

We stay in our homes

And the skies clear

Birds sing songs

Nature

speaks

Photo by Karina Vorozheeva (@_k_arin Unsplash)

I hope you enjoyed today’s video and poem. Have a happy day!

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.