Friday, 24 February 2012
A special thank you to our wonderful guests of honour, Michele Lang, K.A. M'Lady, Crystal Jordan, Moira Rogers and Angelique Armae.
And finally, a last call for a couple of winners to get in touch:
S. Durham - you're one of Michele Lang's winners of Dark Victory.
Stephanie Walters-Rowe - you won Moira Rogers' Hammer Down.
Please contact me Marie AT MarieTreanor DOT com!
See you all at the next party!
(Book 1 of the Paradisian Chronicles)
By Angelique Armae
Publisher: Diversion Books
When a Grigori prince and a demon huntress team up to find the antidote to a supernatural disease, the balance between good and evil is forever altered.
A fallen angel...
A human scholar...
A race against time...
Isabel Godfroie Heart is a Paradisian Scholar-an immortal human trained in the ways of Heaven and Hell-who's suffering from memory loss. During her last battle, a dark force erased specific portions of her past life memories. Now she remembers little of times past, save for the fact she's a demon slayer mentored by the archangel Gabriel. When ordered to a new post to help translate a volume of ancient text from a forbidden verse, Isabel is forced to work with the dark prince Nicolai Valentine, a soul who may or may not be responsible for her memory loss. If only she didn't find the tempting creature so hard to resist...
Born to a fallen angel and a mortal mother, Nicolai Valentine is a prince of the Grigorcov, the children of the fallen sons of God. Searching for the lost chalice that will save his kin from eternal damnation, Nicky unknowingly unleashes the Hadean Virus, a dark entity targeting members of the Grigorcov. Now the entity has been unleashed on man's world and Nicky's in a race against time to find the antidote that will stop this deadly parasite. But in order to keep the Hadean virus from attacking again, Nicolai must enlist the help of Isabel Godfroie Heart, the Paradisian Scholar he was unable to save from the wrath of Hell centuries ago...
Angelique's contest will close at midnight tonight and her winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.
Thursday, 23 February 2012
I came across some old favourites like The Exorcist (which I remember seeing at a late night cinema showing when I was a student - we'd been to the pub first so at least the alcohol took the edge of the terror :)) and The Omen. Others, like Hellraiser and Rosemary's Baby that I didn't like at the time for whatever reason!
One I did really like when I saw it for the first time a few months ago was The Devil's Advocate with Al Pacino, about a lawyer who's tempted to make a wrong decision and get a guilty man released just to further his own career. It's a fascinating tale that unfolds as his successful new life becomes gradually stranger and his boss is revealed to be Satan himself.
Others that I came across that I might like to see are: Constantine, with Keanu Reeves; Possession with Isabel Adjani; and Paranormal Activity.
But one thing that seems to be largely missing from these film is romance. The demons are quite definitely evil with no redeeming or even remotely lovable qualities whatsoever. So maybe for romance, we should stick to the angels :)
- · If the police bust the party, you can say God approves.
- · No need to hire a DJ. They’ll have harps!
- · Designated Fliers: if you drink too much, someone will fly you home.
- · BYOB. That whole water-to-wine thing is for special occasions only.
- · If God busts the party, YOU’RE IN BIG TROUBLE, MISTER.
- · The angels have a certain reputation for decorum to maintain. Gotta keep it clean!
- · If the police bust the party, you can claim you were possessed.
- · The Devil knows a lot of great fiddlers. Guaranteed dance music!
- · You can’t get too wild for a demon party. All the vice, none of the judgement.
- · Have you ever tried to get a cab to pick you up from Hell at 3 AM?
- · If God busts the party, YOU’RE IN BIG TROUBLE, MISTER.
- · If you accidentally sign anything at a demon party, you may wake up soulless.
So which will it be? Party dangerous with the demons or hang safe with the angels? Me, I’d probably take a chance. What can I say. I really like fiddle music.
As a writer, I haven't really delved into a major angel/demon mythology. The closest I got was in a short story called Demon's Kiss at Changeling Press. My demon here first appears to my troubled heroine through her own painting of a demonic orgy, and his mission is to stop her marrying a supposedly good man who stunts her creativity, and so turn her back to full time painting, because that's what she's meant to do. My demon here specializes in temptation, and of course he works for the devil, known here as the Big L (for Lucifer, obviously!), although my demonic hero suspects they're all working, one way or another, for the Big G :).
The story was a lot of fun to write, and one day I may go back and expand the world. But in the mean time, here's an excerpt from Demon's Kiss, my frustrated heroine's first conversation with her demon....
By MARIE TREANOR
Available Now from Changeling Press
Charlotte's been good too long. Now only a demon will satisfy her.
Charlotte is a reformed bad girl, who releases her inner demons through art. But her talent and her disastrous decision to marry a "good" man have attracted powerful interference. When her painting comes to life and her own sexy demon invites her into the orgy she created on canvas, she realizes she can't deny her identity or her desires any longer.
Charlotte let out a moan of need and frustration and fell backward onto the bed. Once, painting had been enough to calm her inner demons. Now it seemed she'd painted one so big that it was taking over.
She should close her eyes, force her tense, pulsing body to relax until blessed sleep took her. Instead, she rolled onto her stomach and twisted around so that she lay gazing at the painting, staring at her demon.
A rueful little smile tugged at her lips. "Well, demon? What would you actually do for me anyway?"
God, she'd painted those deep-set blue eyes so well. They actually seemed to change expressions. She even imagined his lips moved in a provoking, tempting smile, inviting her to find out.
"I'd love to," she whispered. "Do you know, I haven't had sex in six years?"
A slight change of her position altered his expression again, and that was good too -- a mixture of pity and flattering surprise, as if he wondered how someone as attractive, vital and talented as she could possibly be without a sexual partner for so long. Even better, she imagined a new urgency to the invitation of his reaching hand.
"I gave myself a fright," she explained. "When I was an art student, I was into everything, tried everything. I did exactly what I wanted, slept with anyone I wanted. Then one morning I woke up and realized I was failing my course, that I didn't like who I'd become. I hated being the art school slut, the bitch who stole other girls' men and spent most of her life out of her head. I hated the hangovers and the self-recrimination. So I turned it around. I went straight. I stopped drinking, I stopped taking drugs and sleeping around. I worked hard and scraped a pass just in time. I went back to my parents' church, and then I met James..."
Of course the demon in the picture would speak to her. And he would have that gorgeous, deep, seductive voice. It was natural. She'd probably drifted off to sleep. Whatever, it felt good to tell someone, even in her imagination.
"My ex-fiancé. He's a good man, works in local government. We were going to get married and have children."
"What's stopping you?"
"Sex." Charlotte laughed and wriggled, rubbing her breasts against the sheet beneath them. "Among other things. As good Christians and members of our church, we don't do sex before marriage."
"Get married," the demon advised. She liked the way his lips moved when he spoke -- sexy and tempting. She wanted to purr.
"Well, that's the thing," Charlotte explained. "I don't think I really love James any more than I loved any of the shits I slept with at college. He just seemed to be everything I wanted at the time. Only... he isn't. I messed up again." She gazed straight into the demon's eyes. "I want sex."
His smile seemed to widen. Lust stabbed straight to her womb, enticing, encouraging her to wicked elaboration. "I want wild, beautiful sex, lots of it in every imaginable way with a man who makes me scream for satisfaction and then gives me it."
The demon's eyes darkened, and yet flashed like fire. "I can do that."
Oh she'd just bet he could. This was a good dream. She propped her head up with her hand, adjusting position to allow him a tantalizing glimpse of her naked breasts. "And how would you do that, demon?"
Obligingly, his gaze lowered, swept across her shoulders and breasts like a caress. "However you want me to. And a few more ways you haven't thought of yet."
Oh yes. Involuntarily, Charlotte pressed her hips down into the mattress. It felt good, and yet only aroused a rush of stronger desire for real contact, flesh to flesh. "You're a good dream, demon."
"Then step into my world."
Yes, definitely, she was asleep, because she wasn't just putting words into his painted mouth; his outstretched hand actually turned; he crooked his finger.
"Come." His low, rich voice spoke straight to her clenching pussy.
I should wake up now... Please, no! What would happen if I actually got up and went to him? Would I feel the flesh of his hand? Or wet canvas?
There was only one way to find out.
:) Anyway, just as a matter of interest, do you prefer your angels and demons to come from traditional concepts of heaven and hell, God and the devil, or are you more comfortable or more entertained by completely different worlds? For me, it depends on the story, but I'd love to hear your views.
Wednesday, 22 February 2012
Hey, it's fun to add twists to old ideas. It makes people realize right away that they aren't going to get exactly what they expect out of a well-worn paranormal being. It also gives me a chance to play with the idea of good and evil, right and wrong. So, what happens if demons were just demonized over the millenia because their jobs are to catch evil souls and keep them locked in hades? Are they really all that bad? That's how I kicked things off in my Demon Heat series. And what happens if a human messed up in life and got himself and his soul mate killed, then became a guardian angel and has to convince other soul mates to get together--basically doing what he couldn't do for himself in real life? Is he really a perfect being who does no wrong? I take my hard-headed angels for a spin in the Unbelievable trilogy.
Anything or anyone that's totally good or totally bad is no fun at all. My characters make mistakes and then have to fix them and, hopefully, become better people in the process. If you're already perfect or already so evil you'll never move from that spot, then there's no way to grow. So, I like my gray areas. I like when lines get blurred and things get a little unexpected. It makes my job a lot more fun. Plus, a perfect angel having dirty, dirty sex? It just seems wrong, and my characters always get to have the hot and sweaty lovin'. It's how I make up for the fact that I put them through hell before I give them their happily ever after!
Excerpt from Demon's Caress:
She was being hunted.
Adrenaline pumped through Maron’s veins, made her heart pound and her breath rush as she darted between pedestrians and across a busy intersection. Horns blared and drivers swore at her, but she ignored them, a feral smile curving her lips. It was usually she who hunted, she who captured and claimed. Even now, she trailed a killer, the scent of his evil stinging her nostrils, and all the while she knew others of her kind–demons–drew closer by the minute. Seeking her. Wanting her.
The dichotomy sharpened the experience.
This was what she lived for. The thrill, the chase. The order of demons she belonged to tracked down evil souls and shipped them straight to the hot spot before they could hurt any more innocents. Once a person crossed over into true evil, the soul festered inside them, the stench enough to make Maron gag.
If only humans knew the truth about what demons did on earth, keeping the baddies away from them. But it made sense that her kind would be demonized over the ages. You worked in the gutter long enough and it was inevitable you’d end up knee deep in shit. Maron shrugged and let her body dissolve into nothing more than a shadow as she ghosted up a narrow side street. It didn’t really matter what people knew or not, she would do her job.
And bringing in this piece of scum was going to be a pleasure.
David Norris. Drug dealer, pimp, murderer. His stink was in her nose, sinking into her blood until her heart thrummed with the need to vanquish the evil. Her world came down to a single focus–find him.
He was close. Very close.
A high scream froze Maron in place. Every sense went on alert, and she eased around the edge of a building to see what was going on. Norris struggled with a teenage girl who looked way too clean and well-dressed for this part of town, but her eyes and nose had the red-rimmed look of a junkie coming off a bender. He slammed her against a dumpster, cutting her next scream off. She gagged and sobbed for breath, tears streaking her make up down her cheeks. He got in her face and growled, “Where’s my money, bitch?”
“I’ll get it to you!” The girl squeaked when he shoved her again. “I swear I will, Norris. I’m good for it. Just give me a little more time.”
“You said that last time.” He grabbed a handful of one of her breasts, squeezing and twisting. “Maybe I should take it out of you a different way.”
Her hand locked around his wrist, her knuckles whitening as horror crossed her face. “No. No!”
Maron wasn’t about to stand around and watch some kid get raped by this asshole. She was only supposed to reconnoiter, find the evil soul, and wait for her back up. It didn’t look like that was going to be an option tonight. Her boss, Samael, was going to be pissed. She stepped out of the deepest shadows, rematerializing not far from where Norris had the teen pinned.
Both humans jerked, their heads snapping in her direction. The girl’s look was pleading, the man’s enraged.
“Get the fuck out of here, bitch. This has nothing to do with you. Unless you want it to.” He grabbed his crotch for emphasis.
Maron rolled her eyes at the crude gesture, which just made the bastard more furious. Too bad. She flexed her fingers, held her hands out in front of her, and unleashed the power deep inside her. It rushed up eagerly, the hot, consuming force of it shaking her down her to her bones. Flames danced at her fingertips, and she shot forward an arrow of fire. It sizzled on the concrete in front of Norris, and he shouted, jumping back. She drove him further away from the girl with one ball of flames after another.
The teen cowered against the dumpster, snot and tears dripping from her chin. Maron spared her a glance when they drew even. She felt the fire flickering from the corners of her eyes, and her smile was a simple baring of teeth. “Run, little girl. Stay out of dark alleys from now on. And don’t do drugs. They’re bad for you.”
The kid’s eyeballs almost popped out of their sockets and she nodded so fast her hair flapped against her pale face. Then she ran like her ass had been scalded. Smartest thing the kid had done that night. Sadly, she wouldn’t remember her encounter with Maron. That was the thing about demons. They faded from your memory the moment you left their presence. The fire and lightning and soul-stealing power was just a bad dream. Unless they’d come for you.
Once the teen was safely away, Maron spread her fingers, and a ring of fire whipped around Norris. He screamed, the sound as terrified as the girl’s had been. Maron’s smile deepened.
A bead of sweat slid down her temple as she felt the evil of his soul begin to sap her strength. She just hoped she could keep him caged long enough for her backup to arrive. There was no way she could harvest him on her own. Too bad she’d done the best she could to shake the demons hunting her…Samael would fry her ass for trying to ditch her new partners, but damn it, she didn’t want a new partner, let alone two. She sure as hell didn’t want a fully bonded Demon’s Triad, and that was what Samael had in mind for her. He’d already shuffled her last partner off into that kind of sexual bond with a couple of demon operatives. Fucking matchmaker.
Norris’s shrieks grew louder, the unholy sound pounding against Maron’s skull, and her mental distractions exploded into shards that sliced through her control. Where were those two? She couldn’t hold on much longer. Her muscles began to quake in helpless shudders as her powers dragged at her physical strength. The flames around Norris began to waver and die down. He’d be able to escape soon. No! Shit, shit, shit.
She tried to hang on, poured everything she could into the fire surround him, but the weaker she grew, the more overwhelming the evil emanating from him became. It drained her faster. If she pushed herself much harder, she might not be able to pull back at all. Disaster. Letting him go would be a slightly smaller disaster, but one she’d be livid over for a good long while. Her legs cramped and she locked her knees to remain upright, but it was a losing battle. The world faded in front of her, tilting sideways, and she knew she was falling. She was failing.
“Got you.” A strong set of arms wrapped tight around her, pulled her back against a wall of muscle.
“Kobal,” she rasped.
The fire before her roared higher as he added his power to hers, the red flames turning to a brilliant blue. The hottest part of the flame, the heart. “You were expecting someone else, love?”
“Where’s Raum? We won’t be able to bring this one in without him.” She shivered as a small connection snapped between them and Kobal’s energy flowed over her, which made the pain knifing through her brain fade. The relief had her sagging against him, but she forced herself to straighten away from him. No need to encourage his and Raum’s designs on her.
“He’ll be along, don’t you worry.”
Contest: Which hero would you want more--a less than perfect angel, or a not so evil demon? One commenter has the chance to win an ebook copy of Demon's Caress or one of the ebooks in the Unbelievable series. Angels or demons, your choice!
Crystal's contest will close at midnight tonight and her winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.
Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Here are a few of my favourites, plus a couple I've missed and would like to track down.
Well, everyone loves James Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life, and I'm no exception :). It's the feel good movie extraordinaire, with James Srewart's guardian angel preventing his Chirstmas Eve suicide by reminding him of the good things in his life and the wonderful things he's done.
Of the older films, I also have a soft spot for David Niven and Cary Grant in The Bishop's Wife. Cary Grant is the suave, charming angel sent to help the work-obsessed Bishop, his flock and his unhappy, neglected wife. It's a fun film with just a hint of bitter-sweet in the ending.
City of Angels with Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan is one I really enjoyed - an atmospheric tale of an angel in Los Angeles, who collects the spirits of the dead. He falls in love with the doctor who saved the life of the soul he'd come to collect and decides to "fall" in order to live a mortal life with her. However, I HATED the ending :).
And on a completely different note, Dogma, with Ben Afleck and Matt Damon, managed to capture my attention one night when I stumbled across it by accident half way through. I didn't even know what it was called, but I finally managed to track it down and watch the whole thing. It's a fascinating, darkly funny and moving story of two fallen angels who find a loophole to get back into heaven. I loved their encounters along the way with all the other legendary/biblical entities.
And the ones that have somehow escaped me that I still want to see - Meet Joe Black. I suppose he counts as the angel of death :). I'm not normally a fan of Brad Pitt, but I always liked the sound of this film and have never managed to watch it!. I'd also quite like to see Legion, although I believe the critics hated it...
What about you? I'd love to hear your favourite angel movies - recommendations always gratefully received!
Today, K is very generously giving away the first four stories in her Faith Savage series to one lucky winner who answers this question:What does K spend her days doing - besides writing? (Hint: check out the bio on her website :) ). Her contest will close at midnight tonight, and her winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.
Monday, 20 February 2012
Which is another point - how do you recognize the angels and demons who might be walking among us? And is it always clear which is which? In Demon Lover, the Fairytale Fantasy I co-wrote with Bonnie Dee for Samhain, the hero, Ragnorak, appears to our heroine in both guises - the angel who helps her and the demon who steals her and her child away to his underground kingdom.
Here's the opening scene from Demon Lover - which is, in fact, a re-imagining of the Rumpelstiltskin tale we've all known since childhood.
By BONNIE DEE and MARIE TREANOR
Available Now from Samhain Publishing in Print and Ebook.
Rumplestiltskin is NOT his name and this hunk’s no gnarled old goblin.
Fairytale Fantasies, Book 2
In his quest to land her a rich husband, Gwyneth’s father has gone one step too far and bragged to the king’s steward. Now she faces an impossible task: spin a room full of straw into gold by morning, or their lives are forfeit. She despairs, until a black-garbed figure offers to solve her problem for a price. One kiss.
He returns the second night, and the third. With each sensual encounter, the stakes escalate along with her attraction to her mysterious visitor. Then he claims the ultimate price—her child—and she realizes too late she’s made a deal with the king of the Underworld.
From the moment he kisses her, Ragnorak knows Gwyneth’s child will be a worthy heir for his kingdom. But with each touch, he wants more. He wants her to be queen of his strangely beautiful world—and for her to want to stay. But that will mean giving her the ultimate weapon—the power of his name.
Gwyneth has only three chances to drive her demon lover over the edge of bliss. But when the stakes suddenly shift, it’s Ragnorak who stands to lose everything…
“Is your name Charles? Oliver? Harold?” Gwyneth’s pulse pounded, and she shivered despite the fact she held the precious trump card up her sleeve. Her husband King Midas, the courtiers and soldiers all looked on, frozen as they had been from the moment the devil arrived in a thunderclap and a puff of sulfurous black smoke. Literally frozen by some magic force that thickened the air around them.
“No.” The evil being’s deep voice reverberated through the room, sending a chill down her spine and making the hair on her nape prickle. As menacing as a towering black thunderhead threaded with crackling lightning, the dark-shrouded figure dominated the throne room of the castle. Gwyneth longed to throw back his hood and behold his face just once.
“Brandon? Sylvester? Archibald? James?”
Why was she playing this dangerous game when her child’s very life was at stake? She should simply spit out the horrid name her spy had overheard and win Brea’s freedom. A demon from hell couldn’t break a deal, could he? Surely he was bound by his word.
“No. Are you prepared to concede, to pay me what you owe?” A cool voice came from the dark depths of the hood.
Gwyneth exhaled slowly, trying to rein in her racing heart. The warmth of victory swelled through her, but she willed herself not to show it with a smug smile. No point in angering her enemy.
“Is your name perhaps”—she paused and licked her lips—“Rumplestiltskin?”
There was dead silence in the room for the space of three heartbeats. Brea stirred in her cradle and gave a soft gurgle. Gwyneth glanced from the hooded figure to her husband, whose frightened gaze was riveted on the intruder.
Gwyneth knew she was correct. She’d received an eyewitness account of this cloaked demon waltzing around a campfire, gloating over her inability to guess his ridiculous name.
“Is your name Rumplestiltskin?” she repeated.
The dark being strode forward, stopping only a few paces from her and the cradle.
“No. It is not.” He reached for the baby.
For a moment, Queen Gwyneth froze, unable to fathom his answer, then she darted between him and the cradle, intercepting his black-gloved hands as they reached for her precious daughter. She snatched up Brea and clutched the baby to her breast too tightly, making the infant squawk in indignation.
“You lie! I know that’s your name. I won’t let you take my baby.”
“Madam, I never lie, and the child is mine.” He moved closer.
Gwyneth caught the familiar scent of smoke and earth that permeated his clothes. The odor should’ve turned her stomach, made her gut clench in fear, yet it instantly brought back memories of several long, dark, mysterious nights when he’d talked to her and…touched her while she spun straw into gold.
“I won’t harm her. I wish to raise her as my own.” His fingers tightened in the baby’s blanket.
“Begone, demon! I’ll never let you take her.” Gwyneth pushed away his hand.
“I would not be accused of separating a child from its mother,” he drawled. “You’re welcome to come to the underworld with us, lovely Gwyneth. If you dare to give up your wealth and title.”
“No!” Midas cried. Maybe he cared for Gwyneth and Brea more than she’d thought. More likely he feared losing the source of his riches—not that she could’ve spun one golden thread if it weren’t for the magical creature who now claimed their child in payment.
“Guards, seize him!” The king yelled quite futilely as everyone in the room, except, apparently, Gwyneth, was still frozen in place.
The black figure loomed over the queen and her child. His cloak seemed to billow in an unseen wind, and the air around them was charged as if from an approaching storm.
Gwyneth clutched Brea and stared into the depths of the hood, trying to glimpse a pair of eyes, trying to make a connection as she begged for mercy, but it was like trying to look down a well. A person might catch a glimmer of water at the bottom, but it was simply too dark to see anything clearly.
“Please, sir, leave my baby alone. I will come with you if that is what you desire, but this poor, innocent child has done nothing. Why should she pay for my unholy bargain?”
“Unholy?” A harsh bark of laughter came from the figure. “You think me some kind of devil? Well, maybe I am, but I’m not the one who was willing to give up her baby in exchange for a pile of gold.”
Neither was I. It wasn’t my fault. I was trying to save my life. Gwyneth wanted to protest and explain her actions, but excuses would not move him. She gripped his wrist, solid and strong beneath the black gloves—not an incorporeal spirit, but a demon of flesh and blood, as she well knew. She stared into the hood, searching for the face she couldn’t see, and made her offer again.
“I will come with you. I will do anything you want. Anything.”
Hope you enjoyed it!
groundbreaking, rich, enthralling series that combines the darkest
days of World War II with magic, very human characters, and stakes
that couldn't be higher. A tour de force!"
Today, Michele and Tor Publishing are kindly giving away THREE copies of Dark Victory! To enter the draw, answer Michele's question above:What do you think of angels? Do you believe? The contest will close at midnight tonight, and the winners will be announced tomorrow on this thread.