Thursday, December 30, 2010

Interview with T Lynne Tolles

Laurie:  Hello, Teresa.  I am pleased to get this opportunity to chat with you.  Thanks so much for taking time out for this interview.

Teresa:  My pleasure, Laurie. I’m thrilled to be here.

Laurie:  I would like to talk briefly about your Blood series. The first four books are out and I understand there is another one in the works, correct? 
 

Teresa: Yes, book five, Deadman’s Blood, is in the works and about ¼ of the way done. 

 Laurie: What was your inspiration for this series?
  
Teresa: That’s a good question….I have no idea. I felt more possessed then inspired. I had been reading a ton of paranormal books that spring and got thinking…I wonder if I could do that. Lo and behold, Blood of a Werewolf was done and I had become obsessed. I had a gazillion ideas for more books containing the initial four characters.

Blood of a Werewolf (Blood Series - Book 1)
Laurie:  I read the first book Blood of a Werewolf a few months ago and really enjoyed the story and your writing style.  This series is categorized as Young Adult but as a mature reader I still found it compelling and amusing.

I loved the early scene when Darcy is dancing in the water, so carefree. Was it easy to write?


Teresa:  It was easy to write. I could see myself doing it and if I think back, I probably had done it at some point in time. Music has always had a huge influence on me and I often get carried away.

Laurie: I have heard some authors say that they write because their characters chatter in their mind until their story actually gets written down. Have you ever experienced that?

Teresa: Hmmm. Sometimes I suppose, but mostly my stories are driven by dialog.  Sometimes I don’t know what’s going to happen until the dialog starts and then I touch on something I find intriguing and go with it. Other times I have to play everything out in my head over and over until I smooth the kinks out of it and it forms a life of its own.

Laurie:  Of the books you have written for your Blood series so far, which one is your favorite?

Teresa:  I suppose it changes with each book. With each book, my writing skills and the development of my own style progresses. So at this particular moment, I suppose my favorite is Bloodstone Heart. I had the best time mapping out tunnels under the castle and drawing the island so I could accurately portray the scenes.

I also tried to tease my followers by introducing Josh and Lanie at the beginning in Bloodstone Heart and not merging in the story from the third book, until about the half-way point. I am so mischievous.

Laurie:  I should say so! What a crafty play. I am sure that tactic will strengthen the storyline and further fuel reader imagination and anticipation.

Please share a favorite short excerpt from Blood of a Werewolf.

Teresa:
“Blake knew the business of Death, as do all vampires. Though he tried to avoid it when ever possible, this was an attack on his family – a long awaited revenge. He was going to enjoy this. With that thought in his mind, he sank his fangs in Paine’s neck. In a manner of seconds he had drained the old man of most of his blood. He was careful not to kill him so that he would know what was to come. Instead of unclenching his teeth to pull away, he bit down harder and pulled a chunk out of him, as an animal might – not for the need of sustenance, but for the need of vengeance. The death of his parents, the near death of his bother, the attempt on Darby’s life and the intolerable act of harming Rowan - all of this came to a head at that moment and he sank into an ugly feral need for vengeance. He ripped at the old man, until there was nothing recognizable about him.

Darby was stunned in horror and disbelief by the ghastly sounds coming from behind the desk. To her, none of this was real; it was just some horrible foggy dream. She just wanted it to stop and the pain in her head to go away.

Suddenly, all went quiet behind the desk and the only thing Darby could hear was her own heartbeat. She tried to sit up as best she could only to see Blake coming towards her, eyes red, completely covered in blood and with her now in his sights.  He didn’t appear to be Blake at all. She had to remind herself that this was her loveable giant string bean, Blake, just to get her mind to lurch forward and out of its comatose state. He didn’t look at her as if he knew her at all. Where were those beautiful brown eyes she knew? What a horrible dream this was.  With all the energy she could summon in her body, she said his name in the calm sweet protective way she had always said it, “Blake, Please.” The gray fog her mind had been in, went black and all coherence of her surroundings went with her into that blackness.”
                   ----------End of Excerpt-----------

Laurie:  Gosh Teresa! I had absolutely no inkling that one of your favorite excerpts would be that particular scene. It is one of the most chilling episodes. Blake had the fierce drive to protect his family – and Darby bore witness to his transformation.

[The interviewer takes a short break to check her neck and get a sip of water to ease her dry throat.]

*****
Laurie:  You just recently published a new story called Somber Island. It’s a ghost story with a remarkable heroine. What can you tell us about the evolution of this gothic mystery?

Teresa:  Actually it was my sister’s-in-law idea. This past Labor Day the family went up to Oregon for a long overdue visit with my husband’s brother, sister and sister-in-law. While out driving around and gabbing about our recent travels to Scotland, my sister-in-law (who is a huge Jane Austen fan) said, “You should write a book set in the Jane Austen period using our recent trip to Scotland as your background - Maybe a governess who comes to a home where she works for a vampire.”

After going home that weekend, I couldn’t stop thinking about her premise and completely dropped Deadman’s Blood to start work on Somber Island.


Laurie:  I loved the remote setting. Is there a real Somber Island?

Somber IslandTeresa: No, at least not that I know of.  I wanted the title to reflect the gloomy, gothic feel of the book.

Laurie: Please share an excerpt from Somber Island.

Teresa: 
“The wind whooshed around her, her dress and coat making a whipping sound as the cloth beat upon her. The rain was icy and it stung when it hit her from the force of the wind.  She was quite certain she could see a small boat headed her way and hoped it was Samuel.
She was soaked to the skin now through her coat, dress, and under dress, but she waited patiently as the boat came closer and she could tell now that it was definitely Samuel.  She held the collar of the coat tight around her neck to try to keep any warmth she had within it. The wind howled past her ears as if deeply irritated by her presence.  The white caps were getting higher and the poor little boat tossed and tossed, barely making any progress whatsoever, but eventually the tiny boat bumped into the dock and Phoebe quickly helped Samuel tie it up and get out of the boat with his load.
She wrapped her arm around the shivering, gangly boy and helped him up the trail to the forest.  Here the rain and wind lessened with the shelter of the canopy of trees above them, but the tops of the trees moaned and creaked in the vicious wind above. Phoebe was happy for the reprieve of the pelting rain as they raced to the house for some warmth.
Once at the steps of the house, the boy stopped dead in his tracks and would not budge. She pulled his arm towards the house but he refused to enter. He seemed absolutely panic-stricken at the thought. She wondered why he was being so stubborn about coming in. For lack of a better idea, she spun him around and headed for the stables. At least it was shelter.  She had to get the boy warmed up or he'd no doubt get sick.”
                                 ----------End of Excerpt-----------

Laurie: That excerpt illustrates brilliantly one of the things I love about reading Somber Island. Throughout the entire story, there were times when the descriptions of the bleak landscape, loneliness and isolation gave me goose bumps, literally.

Can you give us a glimpse of an idea or two that you have for future books – a sneak peak, if you will?

Teresa: Well, let’s see. Deadman’s Blood may be the last of the Blood Series. Many underlying plots will be revealed that go back all the way to the first book and beyond. I know what’s going to happen. I just haven’t worked out all the details in my head.

I’ve been playing with the idea of doing a book on Hell Hound and Demon, and so enjoyed the ghost story in Somber Island that I think I would like to do another ghost story. Nothing’s solid yet, I really want to finish up Deadman’s Blood before I start another book.

I wouldn’t say I’m having writer’s block, but I think I’m having a tough time saying goodbye to the characters I’ve made in the Blood Series. Funny how you get so attached to your characters. I had the hugest crush on Devon until I brought Josh into being – Silly right?

Laurie: No, not at all. Not to me at least. As a reader, I often get caught up in the lives of the characters, too. Sometimes, it’s really hard to say goodbye when the book is finished, and they stay alive, for a while yet, in my mind. I think for an author it’s probably even more difficult.

 Where can your fans find you hanging out?

Teresa: I’m on my computer ALL the time. I’m either writing to wonderful people who have written to ask when book 5 is coming out, messing around on Facebook or GoodReads, or on one of the Amazon Paranormal Romance Discussion forums.

Laurie: You recently set up a huge new blog called Paranormal Everything where authors, readers, and reviewers can connect. Please let everyone know more about it and what they can find there.

Teresa: I did…It’s not really a blog right now, but I think a blog will definitely be added soon. Paranormal Everything is really a couple of easily maneuvered lists to make it easy for readers, authors and reviewers to find each other; however, it is still in its infancy.

In the future, I hope it brings all three groups together since we all need each other. Right now it is an extension of my own site, but I hope, as it grows and becomes an important tool to the Paranormal community, that it will become its own entity. You can find it at:

Laurie: It’s definitely something I encourage everyone to check out.  Authors can easily add links to their websites and books. Readers are able to easily navigate through one-click links to find lots of great books. And reviewers can show off their reviews. I just can’t say enough good things about this endeavor!

Is there anything else you would like to mention today that I should have brought up and didn’t? 

Teresa: I think you covered everything quite elegantly, Laurie.
I guess the only thing I might add is just a note to potential readers.  If you are looking for a cookie cutter generic author, I’m probably not your cup of tea.  My vampires and werewolves are not your typical violent blood-thirsty fiends; they are more like you and me with an affliction that they deal with to become part of the human race.

I also don’t spend a lot of time on character looks, because, lets face it, no matter how I describe someone, the reader will have their own image that probably looks nothing like mine. I figure my readers are smart, imaginative people, and they can fill in the blanks I’ve left, to fit their own desires.

Like you say, my books fall mostly into the YA category, maybe barely spilling into the Adult, but that isn’t really a decided choice, it’s just how I write – nothing very graphically violent or sexual. Sure there’s sex, but it’s tasteful and romantic and pertains to the development of the characters and the story. I’d say the most violent thing I’ve ever written is the excerpt I added above from Blood of a Werewolf,  but I have to admit, I had a lot of help from my nephew. He kept pushing me to make it more gruesome since it was such a turning point in the story.

Laurie:  Thank you again.  It’s been fun.  We have a brand new year ahead of us and I, for one, bet it will be filled with good times, good friends and lots of great new books.  Thank you so much for chatting with me today!  

Teresa:  Thank you, Laurie, for inviting me and taking time to include me in your talented list of author’s interviews.

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If you would like to read my reviews of Blood of a Werewolf or Somber Island, please click the links below.


My Review: Blood of a Werewolf

My Review: Somber Island

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Interview with Judith A. McDowell


Laurie:  Hello, Jude.  I am so happy to get this opportunity to find out more about you.  Thanks so much for taking time out to visit with me today.

Jude:  Thank you for the invitation to talk with you, Laurie. I always enjoy talking about myself and my books. They are both very close to my heart.  

Laurie:  I would like to talk briefly about your Paranormal Werewolf novel first, if that is OK?

RougarouJude: Yes, Rougarou is the third book I wrote. And I am happy to say the book is doing quite well, especially for having been on the market for only about five months now.

Laurie:  I read Rougarou right around Halloween and I loved it! You have such a beautiful, descriptive style of writing.  Does it just kind of flow from your mind easily or do you have to think about every phrase and sentence to get that?

Jude: First of all, Laurie, thank you for your kinds words. Now, to answer your question. In normal everyday life, I rarely stop and think about what I am going to say before I say it and the same goes for my writing. The thought hits my brain and shoots out of my mouth or through my fingers.

Laurie:  Where did you get the idea for Rougarou?

Jude:  The idea for Rougarou came from a poem I wrote around Halloween one year. I read the poem to my family. My son Dave Lobie,  a very gifted guitar player who has his own band put music to the words, we threw in a few sounds from Ozzie, put it on a loud speaker for the enjoyment of the people and quickly became the talk of the neighborhood. Later, my brother Dave McDowell, suggested I should write a book around the poem and the rest is history.

Laurie: That must have been lots of fun as it was brainstormed, then developed.  It is always amazing to me how a simple idea can evolve into something unexpected.

One of the first things anyone will notice when chatting with you is your irreverent and saucy sense of humor. It just seems such a natural part of who you are.  This humor carries over into Rougarou; especially in the by-play between the two detectives as they try to solve the crime.  How do you come up with the little one-line zingers?

Jude: I guess I am just a born zing slinger.  

Laurie:  Ha! Ha! Yes, I do believe that!

What process do you go through when you decide to write a new novel? 

Rougarou IIJude:  Since I have never been able to work with an outline, I simply sit down at the computer and depending on what genre I am writing in, I turn on the music that fits my mood. For instance, for my Indian love story, I use a lot of John Schneider. For Rougarou and Rougarou II, I use Phil Collins’ Mama. I turn the music up as high as it will go and then take a few deep breaths to relax my mind and write.

Laurie:  Glad you mentioned Rougarou II.  You just recently published that one. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Jude: Rougarou II tells the story of Rafael Hindel, the monarch of the Hindel Family who has vowed the destruction of Donavan Hays and Jack Olivier, the two detectives who, as he sees it, destroyed his world.

Laurie:  Before Rougarou, you published a historical fiction novel.  How did you get the idea for Fated Memories?

Jude: Fated Memories is actually the prequel to the first book I ever wrote titled Long Ago Memories. When I finished Long ago Memories I thought the story was done. I was wrong. More of the story kept bothering me until finally I sat down and wrote Fated Memories. 

Laurie:  I haven’t yet had the opportunity to read either of those books, but I have read the sample download of Fated Memories and I LOVE it.  Are there paranormal elements in that book, as well?  

Jude: The paranormal comes into play, in Fated Memories, when Two Spirits tells Jessie about what happened when he was seeking his vision quest. Then again when Pehta, the man who helped raise Two Spirits reveals the fact he is a seer.

Laurie: How about letting us hear your blurb of Fated Memories.

Jude:  Born into one of the richest most powerful families in the state of Montana, Jessie Thornton has never heard the word “NO” until she sets her sights on Two Spirits, a handsome Blackfoot Indian hired onto her father’s ranch to tame the wild mustangs brought down from the hills.

In her struggle to be with the man she loves, Jessie soon finds herself fighting an uphill battle against 1903 Montana morals and small-town bigotry. 

Laurie: I love that! Please share a short excerpt, too.

Fated MemoriesJude: Yes, I would be glad to share some of Fated Memories with you. This is the part of the book where Jessie and Two Spirits meet.

The big horse stepped back snorting his ears pinned flat against his head, his nostrils flaring. The Indian stopped a short distance away and holding out his hand, palm down, stood very still. Neither moved as each measured the other. Then to the disbelief of all who watched, the horse walked forward as far as his tether would allow to sniff the Indian’s hand. The man walked closer, loosened the reins and  lifted the halter from the horse’s face.
“You better get the hell outta there, you stupid bastard!” Eathen yelled, throwing his half-smoked cigar into the dust. “That big son-of-a-bitch knows he’s loose! He’s gonna charge!”
“Do not move,” the young man raised one hand, his black eyes never leaving those of the skittish horse. With ease he ran his hand down the horse’s back then up over his neck, all the while speaking in a calm, quiet voice.
The stallion remained still, his ears perked, no longer pinned against his broad head.
“I never saw anything to top this in all my born days.” Eathen stooped to retrieve his still smoldering cigar.
“How’s he doin’ that?” Charlott asked, as stunned at what she witnessed as the man who stood beside her.
“Damned if I know. It’s almost like he’s got him in a trance or somethin’.”
To the surprise of everyone present, the Indian reached up taking a fistful of the horse’s long mane, then in one fluid motion, swung himself onto his broad back. For a long moment no one moved as man and horse remained still. Then, as though wakening from a deep sleep, the big horse took off at a full gallop around the enclosure.
“Open the gate so he can run!” the Indian called out.
“Mister Eathen,” Tom ran forward, “none of us’ll ever lay eyes on that horse again if we open that gate!”
“Open it!” Eathen clamped the cigar between his teeth. “After what I just witnessed, he won’t be worth a shit to the rest of us anyway.”
“All right, but remember what I said. That redskin’ll be back in the hills fore you know what the hell’s happened. Only now,” Tom swung the gate wide before stepping back out of the way, “he’ll be ridin’ the best damn horse he’s ever laid eyes on!”
Seeing his escape, the horse ran towards the opening.
At a slight touch on her arm, Charlott turned to find Jessie standing beside her.
“Who is that?” Jessie breathed, her deep blue eyes staring after horse and rider as they tore across the prairie.
Without taking her eyes from the man in question, Charlott replied, “He’s a young Indian who came to the ranch lookin’ for work. Only now,” she laughed, brushing the long, dark red hair back from her daughter’s flushed face,  “I don’t think he needs our help anymore.”
“He’s beautiful,” Jessie whispered.
“Yeah, he would of sired some beautiful foals.” Eathen placed an arm around her slender waist, draping his other arm over Charlott’s shoulders as they walked towards the house. “But,” he glanced down, winking at Charlott, “I think that’s out of the question now.”
Not bothering to correct him, Jessie declared, “In other words, you think the Indian’s stolen him!”
“Hell yes, I think he’s stolen him!” Eathen growled. “He’s an Indian ain’t he?”
“If that’s how you feel,” Jessie squinted up at him, “why’d you let him get close to the stallion in the first place?”
“He said he could break him.” Eathen dropped his arm from Charlott’s shoulder and shading his eyes, tried to peer through the dust still hanging over the prairie. “I told him if he could break that wild bastard, I’d give him a job.”
“Do you mean to keep your word?” Jessie watched her father out of the corner of her eye, her heart pumping with anticipation.
“Jessie, he’s already back in the hills offerin’ that horse to the highest bidder.”
“But if by some chance he does come back, are you gonna give him a job workin’ here on the ranch like you said you would?”
“Why sure, Jessie,” Eathen pulled her against his hip.  “Just as soon as he sobers up.”
“Good! Because here he comes!” Jessie shouted.
“Well, I’ll be damned!” Eathen breathed, as the young man rode towards them.
The Indian gave Jessie but a brief glance, his surprise well-hidden, at seeing a girl dressed in jeans. He gave the man still staring at him, his full attention. “He will be a good horse now.” With fondness, he slapped the horse against the side of his long neck. “He should sire many fine ponies for you.”
“Yeah.”
“Do I still have a job?”
“I said if you could break him I’d give you a job,” Eathen growled. “I’m a man of my word.”
“What’s your name?” Jessie asked.
A slight smile touched his wide mouth at her boldness. “My name is Two Spirits.”
“I’m glad to meet you, Two Spirits. My name’s Jessie Thornton,” she stared up at the dark young man with his long black hair held at bay by a leather thong tied about his forehead, and holding out her hand. 
     ------------------------------------end of excerpt-----------------------------
Laurie: Do you see yourself sort of digging into the Paranormal genre niche going forward or do you think you will be less exclusive?

Jude: I think I will be staying with the paranormal and the horror genre for the time being. My new book is going to be about a mansion right here in my hometown that has gained some notoriety for being strange. One of the oddest things about the house is, although it has been gone for many years some people still see it just as it was when it was new and beautiful. 

Laurie: No kidding?? How very bizarre!! I think that will make a wonderful book! I know I will want to read it!

What advice can you share with us as far as promoting your books that you think will be beneficial to other newer authors who want to see increased sales?

Jude:  Keep promoting as much as you can. You have to keep your books before the public. I am not saying step on any toes. Always be polite when promoting in the different forums, and interact with the people. And if at all possible, meet someone who can give you an interview such as the one I am doing now with my wonderful hostess, Laurie Jenkins.

Laurie: Where can your fans find you hanging out?

Jude:  I am going to start my own web-site soon. I will give you, Laurie, a note when the site is up and then all who wish to visit are welcome. The more the merrier.

Laurie: Is there anything else you would like to mention today that I should have brought up and didn’t? 

Jude: Yes, Laurie there is. As soon as I have the book cover for Long Ago Memories, I will be putting the book on the kindle. Then before long, all my books will also be in print.   

Laurie:  I know you are looking forward to having all your books out in print format. It’s so fulfilling to see hard work pay off in such a tangible way.

Thank you again.  It’s been fun.  And I hope 2011 will be a better and more prosperous year for all of us

Jude:  You are echoing my nightly prayer, Laurie.
Thank you for this interview, I have enjoyed talking with you.

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As mentioned earlier, I read Rougarou around Halloween and loved it.  Here is an excerpt from the review I wrote for it.     ---Laurie
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Rougarou (Volume 1)ROUGAROU By Judith A McDowell
Atmospheric Paranormal Suspense Horror with Romantic Elements

Full of passion and unholy desire, this beautifully structured story of a twisted love that survives untold years through the application of black magic conveys just the right sense of the  heaviness of the thick, humid Louisiana air as it does the weighted, putrefying flesh of the tormented, insane villain. Read Full Review

Monday, December 20, 2010

AN INTERVIEW WITH ALEXIUS - HERO OF PSYCHE'S GATE

I am pleased and honored to finally be able to snag an interview with a most secretive character...the angel Alexius, father of Rose and companion to Psyche. I hope you find this look into the mind of a unique celestial to be a fascinating experience. 






DANI: Welcome, Alexius.


(Alexius nods brusquely.)


DANI: I understand that you had a very distinct title in Paradise. What was that? 


ALEXIUS: I was a warrior, second only to the Seraph Michael and his angelic Chief, Midael, who was my high commander. I was created specifically for the duty of protecting, upholding Universal laws, and obeying what was commanded of me. All angels must obey and conform to the duties that they were created for. It is humans who are given free will.


DANI: Why were you banished from Paradise?
  
ALEXIUS: Because I chose free will--I disobeyed. It is that simple. It was my duty as a top warrior in the Holy Army to uphold the laws of Creation and, ultimately, to obey. During a terrible violent period in human history, when I looked down and witnessed the slaughter of so many innocents in the name of the Creator, my emotions began to shift to something more...human. A huge mistake for an angel. I stepped in to save two lives that were meant to be taken, throwing the natural order of things out of balance...and Paradise made me pay the price. My fellow angelic warriors held me down and cut my wings from my back...I still remember the agony, the sound of meat ripping as my nerves were laid bare...I still bear the scars that marked me as shameful. Of course, now, those scars mean nothing; the past means nothing. I am not the same angel, the same being, that I was before.
  
DANI: You were offered the opportunity to earn your wings back, but you gave them up a second time. Why?


ALEXIUS (briefly averting his eyes, sighing heavily): Yes, that is true. I was sent to stop...someone...from creating a terrible masterpiece. A masterpiece that would help unlock the door to my brother Lucifer's cage--the very brother I helped to cast out in the Beginning. I was so very ready to return home, to fly back up the Ladder. And then...I saw her. I bore witness to this tiny fragile creature creating, and something in me gave way. All of a sudden she became my world. (His voice cracks and he looks away.) 


DANI: A romance between human and angel is generally forbidden. What was it about Psyche that drew you to her, made you fall in love with her?


ALEXIUS: At first it was her ability to create. When I finally met her face to face--I remember she had seen me watching, and so bravely chased me down--her intelligence and humor did me in. I was as helpless as a babe, meltingly captivated. She was so fragile, yet so strong... I will never forget the first time she took me to her bed--I found my true home that night. When my fallen brother, Sammael, took her, I could think of nothing more than having her back in my arms.


DANI: Psyche was pregnant when Sammael kidnapped her, correct?


ALEXIUS (his eyes hardening): Yes. He almost killed her, and in killing her he would have also killed our daughter. He left a part of Psyche maimed for life. I showed him no mercy.


DANI: What did you do to him?
  
ALEXIUS: It is as I said--I showed no mercy. That is all I will say on the subject. 


DANI: Fair enough. Tell us about the night your daughter, Rose, was born. That must have been incredible for a being like you.


ALEXIUS (wistfully): It was terrible. And beautiful. My fellows would have seen human birth as gruesome and filthy. But I knew that night that I was to bear witness to another form of creation and saw it only that way. Psyche was in agony, struggling ...she was so small and fragile, and I was certain at one point, watching her blood flow, that I had killed her with my Nephil child. But she fought, and she survived. I held Rose not long after she was born. She was so tiny, so perfect...I swore to her, to myself, that I would never let the world and all of its horrors come close enough to touch her. I could feel the power in her...but in my eyes, she was still fragile, easy to harm.


DANI: I think all fathers feel that way about their daughters. 


ALEXIUS: Yes. It has become my ultimate weakness. My fellow angels laugh at me from afar--their wingless brother and his half human daughter--but they will never understand.


DANI: What is your relationship like with your daughter now that she is a grown woman?


ALEXIUS (his jaw flexing): It is...complicated. She would certainly say the same thing. When she was very young, after her mother was killed, Rose clung to me. She was afraid to be alone, and I was afraid for her. It nearly paralyzed me, that fear. I kept her in the Mother's house, as I did Psyche once, and when she came to the cusp of womanhood, she began to resent me for that. I taught her to fight, but forbid her to seek vengeance on her own. I could not bear the thought of something happening to her. She ran away at sixteen, and I could not find her for five years. I nearly went insane during that time. When she finally returned, she was the soldier that I always knew she could become. Since then I have tried to watch over her, but she is...stubborn. Sometimes she uses the gifts I gave to her to hide from me. I curse myself endlessly on those days, those nights. Ultimately she is the dearest love of my eternal existence...other than her mother, I have cherished nothing more. That will not change, no matter how headstrong she is, no matter how she fights me.     


DANI: Rose tells us you are her "Guardian". What does this mean?


ALEXIUS (fiercely): All souls are assigned a Guardian. Being half human, Rose needed one at birth. Lailah, my Sister and the angel in charge of midwifing new souls, was going to assign another angel to Guard my daughter. This I would not allow. (He thumps his chest with one fist.) No angel other than me is worthy of Guarding Rose. This angers her, makes her feel that I "hover" over her too much. That is something that we argue bitterly over. But I stand strong by my right to be my Nephil's protector. That will never change.
  
DANI: We have to ask-- how do you feel about Rose's half-demon boyfriend, Skriker?


ALEXIUS (grunting): Not a subject I wish to discuss.


DANI: Come on, angel man. You tried to kill the poor guy, even though he adores your daughter. I know Rose's happiness is paramount to you...
  
ALEXIUS: Of course. There is no argument there--to argue that would be insanity. But that Halfling punk is bred from the same slime that killed my Psyche, the same demons that those of my rank are meant to destroy--that is a betrayal in my eyes. I could snuff Skriker from the world as one blows a candle out in a darkened room. When I first discovered him violating my daughter, I was ready to. But Rose begged me to let him live. I love my daughter; she is still my weakness, no matter how we might argue over so much. It is because I love her that Skriker has not come under my blade. So long as he is good to Rose, I will let him live. But that does not mean that I approve of this...relationship. I will not embrace it or bless it.
  
DANI: What can we expect for you in the future?


ALEXIUS: Discovering who killed my companion and scarred my daughter. I will not rest until that goal is reached.
  
DANI: Once your vengence is had, what then?


ALEXIUS (pensively): I do not know. For now, there is no future other than that revenge. I am immortal; I have lived for an eternity and more. Time means less than dust to me. All that matters is the task at hand.
  
DANI: We will be rooting for you. And for Rose.
  
ALEXIUS (nodding): I am grateful. The Universe, the Creator, hears and sees all. Your wishes travel to Him to bless our fight, and I thank you for that. Farewell.




Danielle D. Smith is an author, tattoo apprentice, and artist living in San Diego, CA. Her debut novel, PSYCHE'S GATE, was first released in Spring 2010. She has since published a second novel and has two more in the works. Visit her online at http://www.danielledsmith.com

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COMMENTS FROM THE BLOG HOSTESS:I so appreciate Danielle and Alexius taking time out to visit us here.  I would like to add that I had the distinct pleasure of reading Psyche's Gate several months ago.  The Review I wrote after reading the novella is copied below.

Psyche's Gate
Psyche's Gate by Danielle D. Smith
4 Stars

Psyche is an extremely gifted young, unknown artist who is struggling day to day to earn enough for life’s necessities. Seemingly, out of the blue, she is offered a commission to paint a mural for a very wealthy, generous benefactor.  She is overjoyed, believing her dreams will be fulfilled.  What she finds instead is a nightmare of celestial dimension.

Shunned by his Immortal brethren, Alexius is a tormented soul cast out from his home thousands of years ago because of a consequential error in judgment.   He has finally been given the opportunity to regain his rightful position as one of the highest ranking and most fierce of the Angelic Warriors.  His mission is simple – the mural must not be created.

This novel casts the eternal battle of heaven and hell, good and evil into a sonorous mosaic.  Very little is as it seems.  This time the battlefield is on earth and Psyche the unwilling pawn upon which the outcome hinges.  It takes every ounce of strength and determination that Alexius possesses to protect his beloved Psyche.

It is difficult for me to describe how very unusual and haunting this story was for me.  The sentence structure flowed with a rhythmic cadence that was glorious.  The author flawlessly created a gothic, brooding type atmosphere that was maintained throughout the entire book.  The cadence of the story pulsed with lyrical complexity. Filled with Angels, Demons and all manner of other denizens of mythology this story will at times astound and shock with its brutal, unflinching candor. I recommend this book to anyone who likes stories of immortal conflict written in a dark, gothic tone with richly patterned descriptions and who can overlook occasional excessive profanity.