Okay, perhaps I told a slight lie. It’s nothing quite so melodramatic. I’m sorry to disappoint some of you and say the zombies have not risen from their graves—not yet—but there is still news to be told:
In case some of you missed the apocalyptic blare of trumpets (aka: me tooting my horn) on Facebook and Twitter, after years of blood, sweat, and toil Requiem has finally been released!
Yes, the subject matter of my Pen of the Damned post, ‘I am Seir’ has finally been unleashed upon the unsuspecting world.
The book has a lot of different aspects and elements to it, providing a little something for everyone. While the setting and subject matter are dark, the sarcastic humor of the main character tends to lighten the mood. There’s plenty of horror and some not so nice occurrences whenever the demons and Fallen are around, but angels such as the Arch Gabriel provide light, levity, and a chance for a “feel good” moment or two.
But that’s just my take. This book was a lot of fun to write and hopefully it’s a lot of fun to read. If you happen to snag a copy, I would love to hear what you think.
Below is a brief excerpt not included in the look inside feature on Amazon. For those of you interested in buying the Kindle version of Requiem, you’ll find the first chapter of the upcoming sequel, Blood of the Damned at the end. What can I say? I’m a giver. 🙂
Shadows looped above the city. Their massive forms swept through the sky, wraith-like hawks circling for prey. Perched on the roof of an abandoned Borders bookstore I watched their undulating flight, a heavy feeling gathering in my chest.
“Why?” Zeruch asked. He kept his back turned, his shoulders hunched against the bitter wind. “Why do you do this? How can you continue to stand there and do nothing?”
The anguish in his voice struck with the force of a physical blow.
Angry and ashamed, I drew a deep breath. “I did not call you here to assess my performance.”
“For me to do that, you would have had to have done something, Seir.”
For a moment, I pondered tackling him over the side of the building and taking my chances. “If you’re done expressing your undying love and admiration for me, there are more important matters I would like to discuss.”
He spun on his heel. The look in his blue eyes a mere breath away from hatred. Yet there was something wounded and vulnerable lurking beneath that fierce façade.
“What could you possibly want from me?”
The word danced on my tongue like a child’s desperate plea. Choking it down, I turned my face away and stared across the city. “There is an old woman living above the internet café on Broad.” I paused, feeling a niggling of shame, though for what, I wasn’t sure. “I would very much appreciate it if you made sure she was looked after and fed.”
An incredulous look twisted across his face. “So this is what it has come to between us, you calling upon me to set me up for a slaughter?”
I sprung to my feet, clearing the distance between us with unprecedented speed. Glowering, I stepped nose-to-nose with my former brother. “Why would I do that and deprive myself the pleasure? This is not about us. It’s about you doing your job.”
“Why the sudden change of heart?”
“I . . . owe her.”
Zeruch’s eyes narrowed. Shaking his head, he turned away. The wind whipped his thin cloak about his body. Broad shoulders silhouetted against the dark outline of the city, he appeared every bit as majestic as I remembered.
“Try as I might, I fail to make sense of you.” He hung his head. “I will do as you ask. Not for you, but for her. She does not deserve to suffer because of your actions. Perhaps one day you will realize the harm you do.”
“I had nothing to do with what happened tonight!”
He whirled around, his eyes flashing with anger. “And as usual, Seir, you did nothing to stop it!”
I sank onto the ledge of the building. “What would you have me do? I am one among many. If I had moved to stop them, they would’ve killed me.”
“At least you would have tried. Goodbye, Seir.”
I waved him off, refusing to watch his departure. The anger and resentment simmering below the surface threatened to reach boiling point. He was too blinded by his own struggles to comprehend mine, and despite the battle lines carved between us, I couldn’t bring myself to burden him with the truth.
I felt him go, as if he managed to take a piece of me with him every time he left. Alone, I tilted my face toward the sky and watched the darkness roil overhead. The shadows swooped, spreading in black tendrils like branches of ivy. The war over mankind’s fate was about to begin, and I was still unsure of where I stood. With redemption out of reach and Ava’s heart hardened, there was nothing to lose and nothing to gain. Like the endless millennia leading up to this moment, survival remained the only thing within my grasp, and even that grew tiring.
I watched the city below, listening in on the trivial thoughts of its human occupants. A mother condemned her son for eating a small morsel of bread when her own stomach cramped with hunger. A young man pondered murdering his elderly neighbor, so that he might have his shoes and bed. Everywhere I turned there was more cruelty, hatred, and revenge.
They were so self-centered, so heartless in their thoughts and actions, that it made my stomach churn.
“Idiots,” I muttered through clenched teeth.
They weren’t worth the trouble or the bloodshed on either side.
What did it matter anyway? If left to their own devices, the humans would all destroy each other over greed, scraps, and pride.
“This is not all their doing, you know.”
The familiar voice set me on edge. Leaping to my feet, I confronted Gabriel with no small measure of surprise. Compassion flooded his features and he held his hands up in placation. Seeing some of the tension flood my body, he turned an observant gaze over the city.
“They do not know any better,” he said softly. His eyes were dark with sorrow. Rain dripped from the ends of his light brown hair.
His lips curled into a sad smile. “Michael often says the same, a small point of contention between us. Lucky for them, it is not our place to judge.”
“What’s your point, Gabe?”
“You are quick to anger with me, yet I have done you no harm.”
He shrugged. “You betrayed your oath and turned your back on the order we swore to uphold. I could harm you. Given your choices and station here, I probably should, but I choose not to.”
“Again, what is your point?”
“Choices, Seir, free will. Do not be so quick to leap to conclusions and give up. There is still some good out there, just as there is still some good yet in you. If I were as quick to rise to anger and resentment, you would be dead.”
“Why waste your time on them? Your brothers are falling left and right, and for what? Nothing has changed. Nothing will change. This place is too far gone.”
“Nothing is ever beyond hope,” Gabriel said. “I love them, Seir, and real love never dies, nor does it lose faith in the face of trouble. It fights and perseveres over all. There is no better cause.”
“They do not deserve your love.”
His head tilted and anguish swept across his face. “How can you say such?”
“Look at them!”
He gave a tired sigh. “I have, just as I have searched your heart for ways of understanding.”
“Don’t drag me into this.”
His eyes met mine and he bore a pointed smile. “There is no need to, Seir. You have done so quite well enough on your own.”
“Why don’t you leave the humor to Raphael? He always was much better at it.”
Gabriel chuckled. A cross scowl tightened my face.
“Fair enough, I will give you that much. You must admit, I make a good point though.”
“Perhaps I could if I wasn’t so busy trying to figure out what the hell it was.”
His eyes danced with amusement. “Did you hit your head in the fall? It is not that hard to comprehend. Tell me, why did you decide to take the plunge? What made it worth it in your eyes? The love you felt for a certain few, am I right?”
Cheeks flushing at the reminder, my jaw clenched, and I offered a curt nod.
Gabriel’s broad shoulders lifted in a solemn shrug. “Our reasons for being here are not so different. Zeruch is angry with you, yet you choose to spare him the pain the truth behind your decisions would bring. The world is angry, hurt. Many of them have turned their backs on us in their suffering, yes, but that does not change our hearts. We wish to spare them, just as you wish to spare your brothers.”
“Ponder my words if you must, but don’t give up, Seir. There is too much at stake here for you to make this about yourself.” He lowered his head in a gracious nod. “I will see you again soon. I hope the circumstances remain as cordial.”
Biting back a scathing reply, I watched him dismount the building with a graceful bound. I stared after him, watching as he disappeared into the shadows. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t fathom the Arch’s devotion where humans were concerned. They did nothing to deserve it.
So there you have it. A special look and the official blog announcement. On a much more important note, I hope you all have a fabulous and safe weekend. Enjoy your time off to the fullest. Monday will roll around again much too soon!
~Best wishes and happy haunting!~