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Beyond the Physical Realm

J. Elizaga Author Interview

J. Elizaga Author Interview

Penchant Revealed follows Miles as he discovers his superhuman anomaly after he protects his wife from a paranormal attack. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

I originally outlined a simple possession/horror story but it did not feel exciting or unique. Plus, I did not want yet another story showcasing an evil subject getting away with things. By chance, I watched a rerun of Ancient Aliens which speculated that alien DNA had been incorporated into human DNA. Suddenly, the idea that if nature finds a way, and alien DNA had been suppressed in human DNA, that it would manifest eventually– that is why there are seers who can see beyond the physical realm, or ghost whisperers who could speak with spirits–came to me, my Eureka moment I suppose.

Miles Penchant is an intriguing character that, I felt, continued to develop as the story progressed. What were some obstacles that you felt were important to the development of his character?

I wanted to introduce a superhero/superhuman who does not rely on any machines or lab-introduced enhancements, who was not aware of his power, and who has a biological weakness. You see his character change as the story unfolds.

This book is filled with some fantastic paranormal and ancient alien sci-fi. What balance did you want to strike between realism and the supernatural?

On the setting, I picked a tropical and sunny location on the planet (near the equator) to show that evil exists everywhere, not just in dark and dreary locations. The characters have regular jobs and the usual differences. On the character of Lucifer, he was initially the standard evil being who possesses people on Earth. But religious texts mention that Lucifer was defeated in a battle and imprisoned for a million years. So how can he possess people on Earth if he’s imprisoned somewhere? In developing his character, I had to answer questions on where he came from and what turned him into the ultimate evil against humans.

Also, I incorporated real science elements in the story. For example, there is a chapter that alludes or pays homage to nuclear fission. 🙂

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am in the midst of finishing a new short story inspired by the story of Joseph Merrick, known as the Elephant Man, hopefully ready by winter. After that, I return to Miles Penchant and the continuation of his story. Now with the knowledge that he has superhuman abilities, what does he do with that power?

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Penchant Revealed by [Elizaga, J.]Miles Penchant keeps a secret from his wife. But even he isn’t sure what his secret is, until he defends his wife from a paranormal attacker and a band of otherworldly beings discover who he really is. This short story reveals the beginning of Miles Penchant’s fate, entwined with ancient aliens and archangels.

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The Fall of Lilith

The Fall of Lilith (Fantasy Angels Series) by [Quiroz Vega, Vashti]

Sometimes stories challenge everything you thought you knew about something and this is one of those books. The Fall of Lilith by Vashti Quiroz-Vega is a dark fantasy of fantastical proportions. Centered around the anti-heroine, Lilith, we follow the creation of the angels and their life in Floraison or “Heaven.” Lilith chafes under the rule of God and rebels, enacting the traditional role of Lucifer, although the Light-bringer joins the ill-advised rebellion as well. These celestial rebels are cast out of Heaven, down on earth where their bodies are changed, and they must rise to the new challenge of surviving a new world.

In some ways, Quiroz-Vega’s novel follows familiar beats of other angelic tales and even the traditional Judeo-Christian scripture passages, but she goes further by using Lilith as her vehicle to rend Heaven apart and creates a whole new story to tell. The descriptions in the book are particularly rich, and clearly there was plenty of thought spent in developing what Heaven and even Earth would look like to the angels.

The book is long since it is two novels, but for the reader, it gives the story a full arc and even mythic cyclical structure. Lilith starts out as a typical heroine but slowly becomes more and more consumed with power and manipulation. Her development is done pretty well, even if somewhat expected. Then again, what else can happen in Heaven without a rebellion? The fact that it is Lilith who takes the reins rather than Lucifer is a modern take on the fallen angel story, but one that refreshes the form and takes inspiration from the Hebrew myths surrounding the figure of Lilith.

I found the second part to be a little more interesting on the basis that we exited Heaven and now life becomes hard on the rebellious angels who have to suffer from new forms and real pain. Lilith’s growth as a character continues, but by the end almost reaches a point of no return. And I found this disconcerting, since Lilith represents in a lot of ways, femininity taking over and dominating what has traditionally been Lucifer’s role in Judeo-Christian religion. Lilith’s stagnation as a character lessens the impact of the overall story for me, but the world building and fresh take on the story itself were enough to save the book.

All in all, this angelic fantasy is one that most readers will enjoy. The elements of world building and the cast of characters is more than enough to chew through and the meaty page number of these combined books will please anyone. Lilith may sit well with other readers, considering her dynamic characterization in the beginning. Overall, a wonderful read for anyone looking for a unique fantasy tale!

Pages: 504 | ASIN: B074CPKLHH

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War Eternal Book I Angels’ Whispers

War Eternal Book I Angels' Whispers

In this captivating tale of cosmic design, Angels’ Whispers, author J.F. Cain chronicles the harrowing struggle between two ultimate yet necessary forces, Angels and Demons. As intelligent as they are graceful, Angels have been metaphysically observing mankind for an eternity, lovingly tending to humanity’s journey towards spiritual awakening. The recent advent of free will has brought with it the potential for deviance though, and the balanced tides of spiritual harmony hangs in the balance. As the fallen angel Lucifer schemes to lure society towards the err of self-indulgence, the philosophically pragmatic Angel Aranes, the most superior of celestial beings, must challenge her own age-old wisdom and routines for the sake of serving not just humanity, but all intelligent creation.

The first title from the War Eternal series, Angels’ Whispers delves into the popular and alluring trope of angelic and demonic forces at constant odds, a concept explored by literature and media since the earliest eras of civilization. Although the splay of archangels and demonic characters may be ancient in a scriptural sense, Cain brings a playfully crisp air into the work, using an intensely illustrative style to make the story feel modern. Main character Alex Meyers is a cocky young entrepreneur, chock-full full of cynicism and self-conflicted inner monolog. He’s as well-intentioned as he is troubled, and that struck me as oddly endearing. Finding himself on the receiving end of an Angel’s attention, he struggles to explore his own convictions, all while being thrust into the throes of the eternal power struggle between these all powerful creatures.

In a style oddly comparable to J.R.R. Tolkien’s work, Cain writes densely, wasting no opportunity to develop a particular scene with lush descriptiveness. The grandiose and mystical surroundings of the Elether, the metaphysical plane of the Celestials, is the perfect backdrop for the gorgeous amount of attention Cain has poured into the setting. I absorbed the rich details, easily imagining them with all the vividness of a wide-screen cinematic. This would seriously make one hell of a movie!

I loved the intelligent yet candid way that Angels’ Whispers scrutinizes the notions of truth and freedom throughout the book, making use of an enormous splay of theological and philosophical knowledge. It was fascinating to read about the various ideologies of so many influential individuals and cultures in such a condensed form, and I found some of the sentiments to be deliciously thought-provoking! I can’t even recall the last time I had been prompted to explore my own thoughts on religion so earnestly, so I appreciated the casual way that Cain wove that into the story. The intellectual sparring between Celestial beings was enthralling in that same way, and maintained a strong presence through the book. It felt reminiscent to me of the zesty energy of a passionate debate between two best friends – engaged and impassioned, but respectful and surprisingly explorative.

Without spoiling anything, I’m still happy to say that this first title sets up beautifully for the next work. I’d recommend it to fellow readers with a love for the supernatural and philosophical niches. I’m looking forward to the next title of War Eternal, which will surely follow up on the consequence to life’s most powerful forces – love, death, and ultimately, free will.

Pages: 355 | ASIN: B06Y4XDY8T

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I Wanted to Challenge Them

Susan-Alia Terry Author Interview

Susan-Alia Terry Author Interview

Coming Darkness is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a fantasy, romance, and a sprinkling of religious fiction as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

Both. I knew Kai and Lucifer were in a relationship and so I had to build the religious and fantasy aspects into the world around them. It was an interesting challenge to create a world where they would not only interact, but fall in love as well.

The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?

All of them! It may sound cliché but it’s true. They all touch places in me — I can wear so many personalities through them and I love that opportunity!

However, if I must choose, I guess Te may inch out the others because he gets to be the grown-up. While he’s perfectly willing to go along with the crazy, he’ll also step back and say “Well, maybe that’s not such a good idea. Here’s an alternative.” In a way, he’s the father figure — he loves his “kids” and has always been there (in whatever form) and even if they may not like him, they know they can trust him.

You were able to seamlessly blend characters from many different genres. All of them, I felt, were unique while still be relatable. What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?

Thank you! I was thinking a lot about responsibility when I wrote both Lucifer and Kai. They’ve both been living in this kind of neutral space for so long, I wanted to challenge them, make them take an active part in their world. We tend to judge a person’s morality by how they respond to responsibility — responsibility to others as well as how well they take responsibility for their own actions — and I wanted to play with that.

I find a problem in well written stories, in that I always want there to be another book to keep the story going. Is there a second book planned?

Oh yes! I’m working on that now. The next book goes deeper into the world, and I’d like to say that 95-99% of unanswered questions from Coming Darkness will be answered!

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Coming DarknessArchangel Lucifer’s spoiled life comes to a halt as he learns that Heaven is empty, and his Father missing. Seeking answers, he’s brought face to face with a race of Creator-Gods unhappy with his Father and the world He created. Planning to wipe out this heresy and letting Darkness reclaim the earth, they imprison Lucifer in Hell. 

Meanwhile, the Archangel’s lover sets out to prove his opponents wrong. But Lucifer’s influence runs deeper in Kai than he suspected, and the fear that he’s merely Lucifer’s pet becomes all too real. 

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Coming Darkness

Coming Darkness

In Susan-Alia Terry’s novel Coming Darkness myths and legends become real. Known as the Other-kin, angels, demons, werewolves, vampires, and other fabled creatures live among one another. When Archangel Michael appears to seek Lucifer’s help, Lucifer’s comfortable life starts to unravel. The Father and the rest of Heaven are missing, there’s a mysterious black ooze that burns the skin of angels, and an unknown race reveals itself seeking to destroy. As Lucifer struggles with this conflict, his lover Kai sets out to prove himself worthy of respect. But with Lucifer gone, Kai realizes how dependent on the fallen archangel he has become.

I love the world Terry has built in Coming Darkness. She wove together characters from myths and folklore, as well as creatures from different religious sects, to create a seamless and fascinating story. Her characters have distinct personalities, which make the reader want to know more about them and who they are. Terry provides glimpses into interesting backstories – glimpses that explain why Lucifer was exiled from heaven and the relationship he holds with Michael.

There was a lot going on in this novel. Terry uses various sub plots to help us get to know the characters and to move the story along. This is a great technique to use – it adds interest and excitement. It also keeps the reader from becoming complacent since so many things are happening at once.

However, there are so many things going on that I sometimes felt lost, every time I felt I had a direction, the story would change or add a different sub plot. Ultimately, I felt there was too much happening.

The world and characters the author has created are fantastic. Angles on Earth have been written about so many times, but Terry is able to imbue her characters with original personalities that sets this apart from most books in this same genre. The ideas presented were interesting, and I couldn’t wait to read more. There are some steamy sex scenes in Coming Darkness as well. Although I felt that they could have been handled more subtly, they do add another emotional layer to this already thrilling story. Terry’s skills as a storyteller are superb which is why I wish that one or two ideas were really fleshed out so that I could immerse myself in this fascinating story.

If you enjoy reading about werewolves or vampires, or find Lucifer and his fallen angels intriguing, this book would be a good fit for you. Honestly, everything about this book pulls me in and makes me want to like it. As I do with any author with great writing talent, I beg for more focus, detail and character development. Coming Darkness showcases Susan-Alia Terry’s talent and I cant’t wait to read more of her work.

Pages: 258 | ASIN: B01D7MM5IM

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