“Gypsy Ribbons” – A moonlight ride on the moors and meeting a notorious highwayman will forever change Lady Virginia Darby’s life.
“Star Angel” – Lucy was stuck in a rut and in an Idaho potato patch. She’d seen him in the corner of her eye—a fleeting glimpse of beauty—now he stood before her in the flesh.
“The Night Before Doomsday” – All his brothers had succumbed to lust, but Azazel resisted temptation until the wrong woman came along.
“The Gate Keeper’s Cottage” – Newlywed Meggie Richelieu’s mysterious, phantom lover may be more than anyone, except the plantation housekeeper, suspects.
For the next few days Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome back author Linda Nightingale who brings with her, Azazel from The Night Before Doomsday. As usual we'll begin with the 'favorite character', Azazel.
Where are you from? I live in Sin City, now, and am fully acclimated to life amongst Man. I have lived many places over the millennia, but my home is Heaven. Though I was banished by my Father, I hold the deeds leading to my expulsion in dispute. I’ll tell you more later. I am young on the outside; old on the inside like my house in Las Vegas is an ultra-modern structure housing various antiquities I’ve collected in my journeys.
Tell us a bit about “The Night Before Doomsday”. The story doesn’t belong to me alone. Nine-tenths of the 200 Grigori descending onto that mountain fell to lust—which I maintain until this day was love. We were sent to Earth post-Eden to teach the Children of Clay (Man) how to thrive in a less hospitable environment. We made the mistake of falling in love with the daughters of Man, and in my case, my pupils, for I taught Woman the arts of beauty: perfume, face paint, rouges and staining of the lips, to be more alluring. Perhaps, it can be argued that since I was a leader of the angels assigned to Earth, I bore more of the blame for our fall.
What did you think the first time you saw Magdalene? She later became my wife, but she was not the most beautiful or cleverest of the women I taught. However, she was the gentle wind that blew me off course in the end. The first time I saw sultry dark-haired Ruth, I was bedazzled but must needs keep my reaction secret from my brothers and my pupils. I did so with the truest of intentions until I discovered that the other angels had already sampled the pleasures to be had in the arms of a woman.
What was your second thought? Magdalene was my first woman. I thought she was exquisite, beyond fault, and sweet. I fell in love with her, but was not, to our detriment, true to her. Yet, at the end of the day, Magdalene, my wife, was also my last woman.
Did you feel it was love at first sight? No. I fell in lust with Ruth at first sight. I fell in love with Magdalene when we fell into a bed of wildflowers, and she introduced me to physical love.
What do you like most about Magdalene? She was kind, patient, loving, and gentle—a good person in any light…and she was tolerant.
How would you describe her? She wasn’t tall, I suppose, but neither were any of the men and women of the time. As a girl, she had waist-length brown hair and captivating eyes. Her figure was trim and small-breasted. She wasn’t a great beauty until you saw her eyes, and they were beyond beautiful.
How would she describe you? Ha! I take it by that you don’t mean “philanderer.” She would say that I am 6’6”, with long hair of the palest blond and astral blue eyes. Magdalene insisted that of all the angels my wings were the grandest and pure alabaster. Not all angels have white wings. Some sport black or falcon wings, even blue and red.
Tell us about the Grigori. The Grigori were chosen as teachers to Mankind. We are also called The Watchers and the Shining Ones.
Azazel, what is your biggest fear? Capture. I live in dread of being found and recaptured, returned to the desert to pass the remainder of time bound hand-and-foot. I still remember the grit of the sand in my nose and mouth. As his punishment, my brother Samyaza, the other leader of the Grigori, was hung upside down in the stars.
How do you relax? I listen to music but dare not close my eyes, or the long ago past will invade my peace.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? I am fond of the vampire Lestat. He did exactly as he wanted to do and never had to pay the piper.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Stay away from Eve. Woman was a novelty to us. Small wonder we were enchanted and fell from Grace. Still, I had no choice but to deal with all the Eves everyday. I was assigned to care for Man’s welfare, to the detriment of mine. Yet, I wouldn’t trade those days before the Flood. Not one of them.
This has been most interesting, Azazel. After four weeks of chatting with ghost hunters it's a nice change of pace to talk with an angel. Now it's time to hear from Linda.
What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde taught me that I preferred handsome, arrogant characters, and I laughed at Sir Henry’s warped wit. For “The Night Before Doomsday,” I read Angels, An Endangered Species by Malcolm Godwin and learned of the Grigori. It’s a fascinating book. I highly recommend it. He said that at times while he was writing the book, he felt “haunted” by other presences.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you
feel it impacted the novel? Actually, nothing, except that I read the Book of Enoch on a plane from Dallas to Houston when everyone else had a John Grisham novel. The angels in Enoch’s book, which is a book in the Apocrypha, but is not part of the modern Bible, inspired me to a fanciful rendition of the Grigori’s tale.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? Class Act Books published Four by Moonlight. A friend and fellow author told me about CAB and urged me to submit. I’ve enjoyed working with CAB. Their contract is straightforward and easy to understand as well as being fair to the author. The editors and publisher are easy to work with.
What project[s] are you working on now? I’m working on a contemporary romance with normal (non-paranormal) characters! (Almost all my heroes are some persuasion of paranormal). The WIP is about a prince and a commoner’s love affair and the far-reaching domino effects of their relationship.
What's up next for you? My WIP, I hope. But I am also in a collection of cowboy stories that should be published before November, working title, Clark’s Folly, the Best Little Town in Texas.
November 11-13, I’m at Readers & ‘ritas in Dallas. The conference caters to readers, this year’s theme being ‘Meet Your Match’, pairing authors and readers of a particular genre. On Saturday, there is a multi-author book signing. Scavenger Hunts, a Masquerade Ball, and a luncheon are also part of the conference package.
Linda brought along an excerpt from The Night Before Doomsday:
Two hundred bene ha Elohim descended on the mountain where the orphans of Eden awaited their heavenly teachers.
The first shock was the cumbersome weight of flesh and bones as I became corporeal. Breath exploded in my lungs. I tested my ability to move the unwieldy mass. A panorama of sensations, sight, sound, fragrance, feeling in the physical sense, overwhelmed me. The rush was heady, powerful…and unsettling. Sunlight shafted the foliage, gleaming on our robes. The outcasts shielded their eyes to gaze at us.
At his creation, Adam was presented to the heavenly Host. The angels bowed to him, but, being too proud, Lucifer refused. Thus began the most powerful angel’s journey to banishment. This time Adam knelt to us.
“Shining Ones, welcome to Kharsag.”
We were the leaders, Samyaza and I. He glanced at me, asking silently if I wanted to greet Adam. Content to drink in the primitive beauty, I shook my head. My brother stepped forward, motioned for Adam to rise, and conversed with him. I smiled, my gaze wandering over the small crowd. None would meet my eyes until her countenance floated like a petal on the sea of rapt faces. Dark eyes captured mine. She ducked her chin, a timid smile parting her beautiful lips, but her gaze darted away. I couldn’t stop staring at her. This graceful creature, clothed in a mane of sleek black hair, festooned with leaves, must be Eve, and she was lovely, all soft curves and chiseled features. Eve was well worth the rib Adam gave to make her.
We’d been told each angel’s duty would be revealed to him. My purpose rang clear. I was to teach the daughters of Eve. Amazarak taught dividing of the roots and sorcery. Armers revealed the solution of sorcery. Barkayal instructed the observers of the stars. I gave my Eves the fabrication of mirrors, the workmanship of bracelets and ornaments, and the beautification of paint. My talent is, and has always been, the art of seduction…
…and I designed weapons for Man. For which sin I was to bear all the blame for our folly.
The Grigori loved mankind enough to reveal the secrets of Heaven. This forbidden act was most likely, as much as falling in love with Woman, the mistake earning us banishment.
~ * ~
At night when the humans slept, the faculty gathered to review our students’ progress.
“Azazel, Teacher of Women, how fare you?” Amazarak elbowed me in the ribs. “Your charges follow you like goslings after the mother goose.”
A ripple of laughter and shamefaced coughs greeted his question. The fire sputtered as the night whispered a chill breath. Annoyed at being called teacher of women, I stared at him until he broke eye contact. Still I said nothing, studying each one. Amarazak’s hair and wings were the color of a flaming sunset. He fairly glowed in the light from the crackling campfire.
“Amarazak, you forget your place.” Barkayal arched a sky blue wing, saluting me. His hair, as pale as mine, curled to his waist. “Azazel is our leader.”
“Sir,” Amarazak held up a hand, but wouldn’t meet my gaze, “I meant no offense. You taught the women to be more beautiful for us.”
“Azazel fares better than we as a teacher.” Samyaza arched a silencing brow at Amarazak. The firelight bronzed his black hair and wings. “His pupils are eager for their lessons while the men grumble and resist.”
Armers leaned against a massive oak, shifting his silver and black wings. “Now that we are making weapons, they are eager.”
“Ah,” Samyaza snapped his fingers. “Azazel, I’d meant to ask you. You've knowledge of metallurgy. Your pupils are doing fine…”
“Indeed they are.” Armers chuckled.
Barkayal cleared his throat, shook his head, and frowned. Armers studied the darkness beyond the firelight. I shoved an apple branch into the flames, sweetening the smoke.
“Join us in teaching the men.” Samyaza rushed into the tense silence.
My students were lovely as rain-dewed roses, witty and exuberant. When they bowed their heads over their studies, they smiled, consuming each morsel of knowledge as if it were honey cake. Apparently, my brothers had noticed how fair they were. The unspoken hung like smoke in the air.
“What did you mean beautiful for us?” I captured Amarazak’s dark gaze. “My charges are not our province.”
“Merely that you had taught them to be beautiful. We’re not blind, sir.”
I stared at him. “Indeed.”
To purchase this book and others in the series, go to:
Publisher's Website: http://www.classactbooks.com
To learn more about Linda Nightingale, go to:
Web Site: http://www.lindanightingale.com – Visit and look around. There’s a free continuing vampire story.
Blog: https://lindanightingale.wordpress.com/ - Lots of interesting guests & prizes