This week’s extract is from ‘A Construct of Angels’ and describes the impromptu angel Michael’s battle against the self-named Damocles, an Anakim, or demon’s offspring.
At this point, Michael is only just beginning to realise his powers and has very little to time to explore them before Damocles attacks him with deadly force.
White light exploded across Michael’s vision as a hurricane of force roared about him; the world spun away in a dizzying blur and the ground hurled itself aside to give way to a vast body of water. Something dark slammed into Michael’s chest, smashing the breath out of him.
Spinning wildly, he ripped across the sky, supersonic shockwaves exploding from his arms and legs, but Michael willed his hurtling body to stop and the shockwaves instantly vanished from his limbs – but even as he slowed, a dark blur rocketed straight towards him.
This time Michael’s reactions were faster – he spun around, avoiding the hurtling shape just as he had side-stepped the black sword and watched as Damocles exploded past him like a missile, already turning to strike again. Watching the black dot grow larger by the second, Michael’s determination resolved - he would no longer be pushed around by the approaching Anakim.
Damocles cannoned into him faster than a fighter jet.
I’ve just completed the first part of an author interview with Draegon Grey. It surprised me how much fun something like this can be – almost like reliving the whole process of writing the novel over again. Happy memories, the small problems that seemed so insurmountable at the time and the joy of completing the work…they all came flooding back.
The second part, a character interview with Sara Finn, my protagonist, will follow soon.
In the meantime, you can read the ‘Author Moment’ interview here.
This week I offer an excerpt from ‘A Vengeance of Angels’ (book 2 of the Angels of York). Again, it will contain mild spoilers if you haven’t read the first book ‘A Construct of Angels’.
Michael has been taking action that has angered the Eternal Realm (what we have come to know as Heaven) enough for the Realm to despatch an Angel to warn him; ‘Cease your activities or suffer destruction.’
A single booming ‘NO!” precedes the Angel’s arrival.
Michael, despite his status as an ex-Angel, is afforded no respite from the might of this powerful being;
The voice that smashed into me was powerful enough to shatter my bones. I was slammed into the grass, my breath exploding from my flattened lungs as a whoosh. A brilliant figure materialised before me, radiating a furious energy that set my blood wailing with terror even as I scrambled to regain my feet.
Twice my height, its incandescent limbs barely distinguishable as such, the being seemed to sneer at my diminutive mortal form as my knees buckled and I dropped into supplication before it. The ozone-laden air rippled madly as the being’s voice thundered past and through me, vibrating deep into my lungs.
My body begged for release; to wail out its anguish at having been subdued in such a matter, but little more than a whimper escaped me as the air continued to resonate from the being’s thunderous words.
If you are a planner, I imagine that the answer to my next question will be obvious;
What inspires you to write that next post?
If you’re a planner, you’ve probably got a list of ideas to draw from, a sequence of posts that lead from one to the next to the next and so on. You may have a teaching plan that unfolds week by week to build into an exciting and informative series of articles.
But what if you hail from the Planet Pants?
What if you happen to be an impetious and spontaneous fly-by-luck scatterbrain like me?
I can often go for weeks without any idea about what I will post next – aside from my regularly irregular and often-late Six Sentence Sundays.
And then, without warning, an idea will strike, coming out of nowhere like a thunderbolt on a clear summer’s day.
Quickly, ere I forget the subject matter, I will fashion a post from old wood and used pieces of string - and as I write, I often realise that I am trying to cover several subjects, several concepts within the same post. Rather than (as they said in Top Gun) push a bad position, the disparate subjects will split into enough material to suggest several vaguely-related posts; In other words, the fledgling post will create spin-off ideas; it will have babies.
A half-dozen little pink and hairless posts will suddenly begin to mewl and squeak and demand to be considered as posts in their own right.
So the fresh flurry of fledgling posts will be nurtured. They will be a bit like my family - very loosely related and perhaps a little edgy. There may be very little to connect them to previous or future posts aside from a single word or a faint, shining thread of thought.
That is why, dear reader, you may see groups of related topics appearing from me – sometimes two or three in one week.
Despite my endeavours to hold them back and release them into the wild one at a time, they will often break free. When that happens, I am forced to watch helplessly as they circle the internet, scaring young women and inspiring modern Hitchcocks into making new movies a la noir.
But I’m interested to know; How does inspiration strike you? Your system cannot be as haphazard as mine…surely?
Do you have a rolling plan of posts that stretch towards a vanishing point on the distant horizon? Or is inspiration fired by a song on the radio, a news article or even another blog post?
This week’s SSS is an extract from the later part of ‘A Construct of Angels’.
Michael, our reluctant angel, has just given battle to a demonic swordsman, driving him from the streets of York. Michael holds one of a pair of black swords in his hand; the other is jammed into the tarmac nearby – the result of a clever defence move by Michael. However, the swordsman has left behind a dangerous mob, which Michael is holding at bay with the captured sword – although events are about to conspire against him.
Sara takes up the story;
Before my astonished eyes, the black blade began to disintegrate, dropping to the ground like crumbling ashes.
Michael hurled the hilt aside and stared at his hand in horror – a cold chill had raised goosebumps along the entire length of his arm.
The mob chuckled; many of them raised their bottles and makeshift clubs.
A knife flashed, my nerve broke and I leapt forward, racing across the slick street towards Michael.
My hands reached out towards the second sword that had now toppled, the satin blade having softened the tarmac to leave a puckered crater in the black surface of the road.
Michael shook himself out of his daze, his darkening fingers reaching for my arm as my fingers closed around the hilt…but he was too late – I was already beyond his reach.
Today’s SSS is an extract from ‘A Vengeance of Angels’. Again, it contains a mild spoiler if you haven’t read the first story; A Construct of Angels.’ So if you don’t want to know how the first book ends, please look away now.
Michael, now an ex-angel and mortal being, is being addressed by an elderly hospice patient – one who has a reputation as a seer…
Agatha Carpenter waved a bony finger at me and I felt the chill of one whose fate is irrevocably sealed. I’d felt it before – as a doomed gladiator, as a convicted witch, as a Jew amongst the Nazis…
“The black swordsman is falling to Earth!” she wailed in a voice edged with hysteria. “He seeks the one who shines most brightly – and all around him shall perish!”
I knew a moment of panic.
She could only be referring to one person; one Anakim…and he was coming for me.
Apologies, but I was very busy yesterday. Something involving an autojumble, a three-metre table and the sale of my life-long collection of model cars.
So, to cheer myself up, I selected six sentences from my now-published book ‘A Construct of Angels’.
This scene takes place once Michael the impromptu angel has been incarcerated in York’s Bootham Park Hospital, a secure (and real-life) mental care unit.
He had been babbling in mutiple (sometimes ancient) languages as well as trying to tear the flesh from his own arms and was promptly assessed by the authorities as mentally incapable.
Sara Finn, the paramedic who was partly responsible for not only causing him to fall to Earth, but for his imprisonment, is feeling terribly guilty about what has happened and decides to visit him. A nurse called Susie escorts her to Michael’s room, where he appears to be acting very strangely;
I watched, fascinated, as Michael pressed his fingers to his eyes, then flipped open his hands to form blinkers.
For several seconds, he stared at his reflection in the acrylic mirror above the small sink,then covered his eyes before flipping open his hands to stare at his reflection once again.
“He does that a lot,” Susie said, her voice tinged with sadness.
“But each time he does it, it’s…” her voice trailed off as if she was uncertain of her own thoughts.
“It’s..?” I prompted.
“Well, it’s as if he’s expecting to see a different face looking back at him.”
I humbly offer you six sentences from my current WIP.
It contains (mild) spoilers if you haven’t yet read the first book; ‘A Construct of Angels.’
I knew that Sara’s mind wasn’t ready to face the world – not yet.
Only hours after saving humanity – and me – from the clutches of the Dark Realm, she lay unconscious and still in the bed behind me, monitored by the human machinery that would alert us to any improvement in her condition.
‘Human’ machinery… I snorted.
I’d have to get used to dropping the word ‘human’ from my thoughts – I was one of them now, as I had been when I was Joseph Barrett, Clyde Wilmslow, Pavel Yolkina, Akari Nakagawa …
(A really BIG THING – loosely relevant image of the day)
I was very thoughfully tagged in TheNext Big Thing Author blog hop by Jon at jumpingfromcliffs - what a great start to the New Year!
No, I haven’t seen a badge…despite back-tracking this award through several blogs. I’m not sure that there is an official one, although I did borrow the image below from Michelle Proulx – hope you don’t mind, Michelle!
The Next Big Thing is part interview and part award, consisting of a series of questions about a writer’s latest work and how it came to be.
What is the working title of your book? It began as ‘Angels Instead’, partly as a nudge in the ribs towards the glut of vampire books and partly as a nod towards Robbie Williams’ song ‘Angels’ which contains the line ; ‘I’m loving angels instead.’ That line helped to drive this book from concept to completion, despite some very trying times.
What genre does your book fall under? I originally categorised it as a paranormal romance but have since found out that it’s also an urban fantasy.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? One sentence? Sheesh…it took me months to condense it down to two paragraphs.
*taps side of mouth thoughtfully.*
Okay, here goes. A paramedic accidentally pulls an angel to Earth, where she discovers that he has only six days to save humanity from a terrible fate.
Where did you get the idea for your book? A combination of ‘what if…?’ questions that coalesced into one story. ‘What if a dead body suddenly came back to life?’ ‘What if Hell launched an all-out attack on Heaven?’ ‘What if a human fell in love with an angel (as opposed to a vampire or werewolf)?’
Who or what inspired you to write this book? It began as a collaboration with a friend, but our diverging ideas led to my story becoming a prequel to the main idea and her story as the future events that would follow. Sadly, she didn’t continue with her part. I very nearly foundered too, but Robbie Williams’ song, echoing in my head, made me determined to pick myself up and continue with my prequel.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? The ‘Hell attacks Heaven’ ideawas conceived in late 2009, but my part didn’t really take shape until March 2010. I finished the first draft about a year later.
What other books would you compare this story with in your genre? I deliberately haven’t read other Angel romances in order to avoid any story influencing and I haven’t found any Vampire romances that have a similar storyline, so I couldn’t really say. I’d like to think my story was unique as it doesn’t feature any love-struck teenagers in high school, but of course, comparisons can always be made with other books.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? That’s an easy one to answer. When I was writing my story I kept several celebrities in mind as visual character references.
Janeanne Garafalo (The Truth about Cats and Dogs) would play Sara Finn, my main character,
with Tom Ward (Silent Witness) as Michael the Angel.
A younger Rutger Hauer (in his Blade Runner days) would be ideal as the Aryan (the antagonist)
with Sara’s medical colleagues played by Alexander Siddig (Deep Space Nine)
and Kyle McLachlan.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I tried to interest every genre-relevant agency in the UK for over the course of a year, but no-one seemed to be interested. I was about to begin targeting the US agencies when the notion of self-publishing occurred to me. I’d seen many articles about it and with a good deal of help from several bloggers, I self-published in October 2012.
What else about your book might pique your reader’s interest? The notion that Angels are constructed from clusters of souls. That and the fact that Heaven is dangerously close to losing the war with Hell.
Thank you for taking part in the Next Big Thing Author Tour.
And now comes the point where I pass on the TNBT baton.
I’m to nominate five writers and bloggers who inspire, entertain and motivate me on a daily basis.
I have had so much fun in the short time I’ve been blogging – and I’ve learned a great deal in the process. I look forward to learning more, sharing your experiences looking out for your latest (or debut) books in the various electronic outlets.