Love, not just blood, bound a family. This past year had taught her how badly
some people treated their blood. Nothing could ever destroy the love an actual
family. Their hearts connected them, and those bonds were more robust than
anything in the world.
-- from Not Without a Fight.
Isn’t that beautiful? I am pleased to welcome Rebecca Lange, author of Not
Without a Fight, Plane Crash, and The Heavenly Bodyguards series. Rebecca,
thank you for joining us.
Before we dig into your latest book, won’t you tell us about yourself? I enjoyed
checking out your website and for some reason, I’m particularly interested in a
certain Scottish wedding…
That particular wedding was unique. But first, a little more about myself: I was born and
raised in Northern Germany. My mother’s parents escaped East Germany before the
wall came up, and my dad’s family was already living in West Germany. (In fact, my
grandmother - my dad’s mom - was born in the house she still lives in. She is 92 years
old now.) I love reading, music, writing, acting, watching chick flicks (especially
Christmas romance movies), and sharing funny and uplifting posts on social media. My
husband and I have been married for over 16 years, and we have two boys (15 and 13
years old). We also have a cute little Yorkie.
Now about that “certain Scottish wedding” (this is the short version)… I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Both my husband and I were missionaries for our church. My husband was a missionary in Germany (we didn’t meet, though), and I was a missionary in Scotland.
My husband met a girl from Scotland on his mission. When I went on my mission a few
years later, I met that girl’s mother in Scotland. Right at the beginning of my mission, my
grandfather passed away from cancer. Since that was hard for me, and I was still
struggling with the language, that mother would call her daughter in Germany whenever
I visited her to speak to someone in my language. A friendship developed, that friend
got married right after I came home from Scotland, she invited both my husband and me
to her wedding, and that’s how we met.
That's a very sweet story and a truly lovely way for you and your husband to have met. Lucky you to have stayed in Scotland! I've never met anyone who visited that country and did not love it. How much would you say your travels have influenced your writing?
My first novel, “Heavenly Bodyguards – Trainee in Action,” starts in New York, but most
of the story happens in Scotland. I purposely used Scotland as the setting for my story
because after living there for 19 months, I love that country, the accent, and so many
things, and I used a few of my own experiences as part of the story. I mention the
Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo, and that’s because I was able to go twice. It is such a
cool event, and I was blessed to go both years I was there. I also talk about a castle and
loch ness. Even though I was never able to visit that area as a missionary, my husband
and I went on a trip to Scotland after he returned from his Iraq deployment. We made
sure we saw the highlands as well. It is such a beautiful country.
I am living in Germany right now because my husband works as a civilian for the
military. We also wanted to live closer to my family for a few years. Before we moved to
Germany, we lived in San Diego for 12 years.
I find it interesting that you choose to write in English rather than German, especially when you are living in Germany! What made you decide to do so? Are your books also published in
After serving my mission in Scotland and learning the language (and then living in the
US), I decided to write my books in English since there is a bigger audience for it out
there. I am fluent in both languages and tried to find a literary agent or publisher, but
when I kept getting rejected, I decided to do it independently. Being German comes with
a certain amount of stubbornness, and well, I was blessed with a lot of it. I hope to
publish my books in German one day, but since I have to do everything myself, I don’t
have the time right now. I had friends and relatives ask me to publish my books in
German, but I can only do so much. I used to have an editor, but she had to quit for
personal reasons. Now I am even doing my editing. I know it isn’t as perfect as it would
be with a traditional publisher, but I think it is pretty good considering that English is my
second language, and I am relying on two grammar programs and myself.
From what I’ve read about your books and from your latest one, "Not Without a
Fight", which I’m in the middle of reading, it is clear that while there are plenty of
joyful elements in your books, they are not lightweights. They cover serious
topics. Please, tell us your process, how you choose your topics. Then, I will
leave you free to tell us about Not Without a Fight.
I am pretty passionate about the topics I pick. I have covered abuse and bullying in my
stories, dishonesty, believing and trusting in God, racism, and human trafficking to raise
awareness. I think these things must be discussed even if it isn’t a comfortable topic.
Yes, my books are fiction, and certain issues make a book more dramatic and
suspenseful, but these things happen in real life. The reality of these topics is not fiction.
I addressed spouse abuse, for example, because I have a friend who went through that.
She told me one night what was happening to her and asked me to inform other friends
so they would know what was going on when she had reached the point of getting away
from her husband. He was such a nice guy for everyone to see, but not behind closed
doors. It was interesting to see how people reacted to my email. Most friends were
super supportive and thanked me for letting them know because now they could be
there for her. I did get two replies, however, that surprised and hurt me. They told me it
was not my business to share such details with other people and that I had no right to
get involved. I emailed them back and told them that I had every right since my friend
specifically asked me to do that and that we can’t ignore a problem just because it might
be uncomfortable. I never told my friend about it, but she found out much later and
apologized to me that I had become a target. I told her that she didn’t need to be sorry
and that I hadn’t told her about it so she wouldn’t feel bad. Now, I am not sharing this
because I think I am such a good person. No. I am sharing this to clarify that doing the
right thing isn’t always easy and might even cost us friendships, but we can’t look the
other way when someone is mistreated, especially when that person asks for help.
It must have been a very hard, very painful time -- scary, even. But I agree with you. We cannot turn away from those in need just because it would be easier for us to do so.
Let's talk about "Not Without a Fight". It’s the perfect name for this story, by the
Thank you for thinking it is the perfect name. I was wondering for a while if it was, but I
couldn’t think of anything else. “Not Without A Fight” is a story I originally wrote for
myself. It was a lot different and written in German. When I saw the many posts about
US Marshals rescuing children and women from human trafficking, I felt I should write
about that and research how it was back in the 1800s. The problem has existed for a
very long time; the same goes for spouse abuse. Although it is getting talked about
more often now, we still can do better. Today’s radical feminists like to paint a picture of
men that isn’t true or real. I tried to bring across that evil, but many good men exist, and
we shouldn’t shame the entire gender for the evildoings of a few. I believe that standing
up for our rights is essential. Women in the 1800s had to fight for fairness and better
treatment, but sadly, many feminists nowadays take it to the other extreme and are
demanding to be above men. I don’t condone punishing people for something from the
past that had nothing to do with them.
I am also a believer in romance. While women must know how to stand up for
themselves and can fight their own battles, there are times when we will need help, and
it is not a bad thing. Men and women were created differently for a reason, and we
should celebrate the differences. I believe that men and women can be playful without
being inappropriate. I think friendships between men and women are possible when both
are willing to see it as such. Not every man who is flirtatious and playful has
inappropriate thoughts in his mind. I think we often forget to enjoy life and not take
everything so seriously.
Thank you. That is beautifully expressed and also very interesting, especially considering the characters in the book. I have to say, I find Hazel, the heroine, uncommonly stubborn and opinionated. Wow. Of course, she needs to be strong. Please, tell us more about her. Did you enjoy writing her character?
I may or may not be uncommonly stubborn and opinionated myself. ;) I am not admitting
to anything here, but I like to use some of my character traits to better relate to my
heroine’s. Stubbornness, sass, outspokenness can be a wonderful and even important
thing as long as it is used for the right reasons and not to hurt another person.
I did notice that you have a Christmas novella coming out this holiday season. So exciting!
I hadn’t planned on releasing another book this year, but as I am such a fan of
Christmas and romances and recently have become somewhat of a fan of regency
romances, I thought I would get a little out of my comfort zone and give something new
a try. I don’t want to be known for just one specific genre, but be a bit adventurous.
Clean Young Adult Fiction will be my thing, but I am exploring the sub-genres a little.
The novella is about a young woman who fights her father when he tries to marry her off
to a man twenty years her senior. After a heated argument, he agrees to a compromise.
She has a month to find true love and accept a proposal. Let’s just say this heroine is
another rather strong-willed young lady. ;)
It sounds wonderful! Before we go, is there anything else in the works?
Yes, there is. I have two more novels in the making. One at least should be released in
2021, perhaps both. “Grandfather’s Will” is leaning towards the suspense-thriller genre
with humor, romance, heartbreak, and drama.
Something to look forward to!
Rebecca, thank you for joining us today and for the excerpt from "Not Without A
Fight", which follows.
Thank you for having me. It was an honor to be part of this interview.
Excerpt: NOT WITHOUT A FIGHT
1. This isn't Fair!
“Pa, you wanted to see me?” Hazel asked as she entered her father’s office before stopping in her
Uncle Ted, what are you doing here?” She jumped into her godfather’s arms, and he gave her a loving hug.
“It is so good to see you again, Hazel. You are getting more gorgeous each time I see you,” he said as he ran his hand across her cheek. The young woman blushed and stepped back.
“Ted is here for legal matters. I asked him to put my will together, so my family is looked after in case of my passing.”
“I don’t like it when you talk like that, Pa,” Hazel responded while her beautiful lips turned into a pout.
Her father grinned. “I am not sick, and I am not planning to die. It has to be done, though, and why not now, while I am healthy as a horse?”
“Hilarious, Pa.” Hazel rolled her eyes.
“Let’s sit, shall we?” George pointed to the chairs across his desk, and everyone took a seat. “Ted, I discussed this matter with Helen, and we both agreed that Hazel should be the one who inherits the ranch. I am aware I should leave it to a male heir, but I want Hazel to take over the ranch since I don't have one. She loves this place more than anyone and has been my right-hand helper ever since she learned to walk. She is fair and honest, and I know my family and ranch will be in excellent hands with Hazel in charge.”
“You seriously want me to take over the ranch, Pa?” A beaming smile spread across Hazel’s face, and her eyes lit up like the sky during fireworks.
“We all do. Haven has no interest in running a ranch, and Brenna wants to be a school teacher when she finished school.”
“George, may I say something?” Ted interjected as he scratched his neck uncomfortably.
You never have to ask, my friend.”
“As much as I would love to put Hazel as your heir into the will, it isn’t possible. The law states that a woman can’t own or inherit land or a business. That means any male related to you can fight her on it and would win.”
Hazel let out a frustrated gasp and glanced at her godfather with furrowed brows. “That is unfair!”
It is, I agree, but the way it is.”
“So what am I supposed to do? Sell my land because I don’t have a son?” George crossed his arms, his eyes squinted, a sign that he was not pleased.
“It doesn’t have to be a son, just a male relative or even friend.”
“The only living male relative I have is my younger brother Russell, and he doesn’t care about my ranch.”
“What does Russell do now?”
“He took over my father’s bank in Sacramento. I am sure he would love to get his hands on this place to sell it and make more money. I didn’t work this hard for him to destroy it.”
“Don’t worry, Pa, I won’t let that happen, ever.”
“There isn’t much you can do, Hazel. Once your father passes away, Russell can sue anyone who inherits this place. As the only living male relative, every judge will agree with his case.”
“But I am his closest relation. I am his daughter and should take over the ranch. I can run this place just as well as any man can. Isn’t there anyone we can fight on this? This isn’t right.” Hazel pressed her lips together and squinted her eyes. The smile from before was gone.
George smirked. He was aware of how headstrong and determined the 20-year-old could be.
“It isn’t right, but those who make the laws don’t care about fairness or what’s right.”
“Uncle Russell has no claim to this place. He only visited us once and made it clear what he thought of country-living and running a ranch. There is no way in he…”
“Hazel!” George interrupted with a warning growl in his voice, raising an eyebrow.
Ted turned around, hiding his grin.
“Okay, fine, I won’t say it, but there is no way I will let anyone take the ranch away from us. I am ready to take over the ranch. You taught me how to hunt, shoot a gun, and how to use a knife. I am good at archery. Girl or not, I can run this place.”
“I understand you and your feelings, Hazel. I do,” Ted replied, offering her an understanding smile. “My daughter Marianne is going through a similar situation right now. She wants nothing more than to follow her dad’s and brothers' footsteps in becoming a lawyer. But, no matter how many universities we’ve contacted, the answer is always the same: She can’t do it because she is a woman. Martin and John have tried their hardest to change the law, but this is a men’s world, and women don’t have a say in legal matters.”
“But why won’t they at least give women the chance to do those things? They wouldn’t stop being women by owning land or getting an occupation they love.”
“The most used excuse at the moment is that women aren’t strong enough to do certain things or not smart enough. Overall, they wouldn’t have an issue with one or two women trying out new things. However, they are afraid that more women would want to follow their lead and discover that they are smarter than men want them to believe. They want to keep women where they think they belong: in the kitchen and house. I disagree with that. Marianne is as smart as a whip, and she can out-debate anyone in any circumstance. The same goes for Hazel.”
“We need to fight for our rights then. I am not willing to step back and let my uncle destroy this ranch and sell it to someone who does not understand and appreciate how much hard work Pa and Jackson put into this place.”
“Fighting isn’t as easy as it sounds. I’ve tried suing for discrimination so my daughter would have a fighting chance, but I didn’t even get the case to court. The judges block everything that has to do with women getting more rights.”
“I am not giving up that easily. Hazel still needs to learn about business and management, but hopefully, we will find a way for that. I want her to inherit my ranch, and that’s it.”
Hazel’s eyes lit up again, her facial expression softening. She loved her father more than anyone. He never stood in her way of following her dreams.
George Buchannon and Ted Burton defined genuine friendship. They had grown up on the east coast in the same neighborhood in New Haven, New England, and had gone to the same schools. As a four-year-old boy, George had rescued Ted from drowning one day, after a few older boys had pushed him into a lake. George didn’t know how to swim, but he jumped into the lake, anyway. He held on to a tree branch hanging above the water. He then used his belt as a fishing pole so Ted could grab it, and George could pull him towards the shore and then out of the water. They had been best friends ever since.
George moved west before the big gold rush, even though his father wanted him to get into the bank business and take over his bank. But George had no interest in that. His dream was to own a ranch and live out in the country. Neil Buchannon was close to disowning his oldest son, but his wife reminded him he didn’t want to take over his father’s business either.
When George ended up in the Oregon Territory to follow his dream, his father supported him and moved his family west. They relocated to Sacramento, and Neil Buchannon opened a bank there. Several years later, Russell took over the Buchannon bank. Neil was grateful that he had listened to his wife. She made him realize that family should always come first, and different ideas and passions shouldn’t destroy the loving bonds.
Ted finished his studies at the University of Boston before following George to the west coast. He opened his office as an attorney in Salem and became George’s legal right-hand arm. He always made time for his best friend, no matter how busy he was. When the twins were born, George made Ted Hazel’s godfather.
If you are serious about trying to change the law and make Hazel your heir, we should wait with your will. As of right now, I must put your brother as the one inheriting your ranch. Once written, I have to contact the person who inherits your land. If you don’t want Russell to get his hands on it, it wouldn’t be wise to make it official now.”
“But what if something happens to me before the law changes in favor of women?”
“You can write a note in which you allow me to write your will as discussed, and we can ask Jackson to be a witness and sign it. Your signature is the most important, though.”
“What would happen if I get married before Pa passes away? Can you put me as the heir then?” “Yes, but your husband would get everything and can do what he pleases with this place.”
“Are you serious?” Hazel asked as she clenched her jaw, her eyebrows drawing closer together.
George grinned when he saw the familiar pout return.
“Yes. Until the law changes, even a widow has no rights. A widow can inherit her husband’s land, but as soon as she marries again, everything will fall into her new husband’s hands. She can’t pass on ‘her possessions and property’ to her children unless she has a son. If she dies and has daughters, they will get nothing, and the property and possessions will get auctioned off.”
“Wow. I am appalled. Is there no justice for women?”
“No. Once a woman marries, her husband is in full control and can do with her as he pleases; before that, her father. Many women get beaten and abused by the men in their life, and nobody is there to protect them. The law does nothing on their behalf.”
“So if you aren’t lucky enough to have a wonderful and loving father and later husband, the men in your life can do whatever they want to you?”
“Yes. Most violent fathers marry their daughters off to someone like them, so they will never know the difference.”
“That is horrible. We are human beings too, and should have the same protections and rights as men.”
“I agree you should, but many men don’t think that way and believe that women don’t deserve to be treated as equal.”
“They should reread the bible. God gave Eve to Adam as a helpmeet, not a slave. He created Eve out of Adam’s rib so they could work side by side as equals. Sure, we have different responsibilities and are different in several ways, but Eve completed Adam. We are supposed to be companions to our spouses.”
“You have a great understanding of the scriptures. That might help you change the world; change the thinking of many.” Ted gave her a side-ways hug, and she smiled.
Perhaps her godfather was right. Maybe it was her mission to fight for women's rights and remind everyone that God created men and women, and both are on this earth for a reason. Maybe she was sent to this earth to help people realize that being treated fairly and equally did not mean they were the same. Being different wasn’t bad, but being treated differently because of your race or gender was wrong. Hazel knew she could embrace being a woman and loving her role given and still taking over her father’s ranch. Now she had to make others see it that way too.
“Hazel, you realize it won’t be easy, right? The men out there will not roll out a red carpet, and they will not let you step into their world without a fight.” Haven squeezed Hazel’s hand.
“I am aware of that. I know it will be difficult, perhaps even dangerous, but someone has to step up to the task and change the world, so women and girls get to choose what they want to do in their lives.”
“And why does that someone has to be you? You can’t even vote, Hazel,” her sister interjected while shaking her head.
“So what? Perhaps that will get changed too.” Haven sighed. Her sister was so strong-willed sometimes, it drove her mad.
The Nocturne Falls books -- both the romances and mysteries -- are so fun and funny! We're talking lightest of light, but with so much humour and imagination. Kristen Painter has created a town where vampires, witches, gargoyles, reapers, hobbits, elves, Santa, the Sandman, werewolves, dragons, yetis, and many other mythical/ legendary, um, people mix and mingle. Of course, she puts her own particular twist on all of the legends and makes everything so much fun.
In the Nocturne Falls Mystery series, Jayne, Winter Princess, daughter of Jack Frost and niece of Santa Claus -- I am laughing as I write this -- is sent to Nocturne Falls to look into a problem in one of Santa's workshop toystores. Jayne is great. She's a good person with an elven metabolism, which means she thrives on sweets. The way she eats will have you wanting to dash to the nearest donut shop or bakery. I've been listening to the series and narrator employs a sort of East coast accent -- New Jersey light. It's really cute and makes all of her tart little observations even funnier. But the books are just as enjoyable to read.
Jayne also ends up with a talking cat.
The mysteries aren't hugely mysterious, but they are enough to keep the hilarity going. If you want to take a break and just laugh at the familiar in unfamiliar territory, by all means, try this series.
What an extraordinary book! As a rule, I try not to dwell on the pain and suffering that evil causes. I know it does, and that's enough for me. When I hear mention of demons and hell, I usually push it out of my mind.
JL Rothstein's Atonement doesn't allow the reader to do that. Her guardians - the O'Mara family - experience every sort of agony -- physical, mental, emotional -- as they fight to protect the human race against evil.
In Chapter One, a demon tempts a young woman to kill herself... I won't say more except that from there, the story only gets more intense. Throughout the book, whenever there's rage, violence, or despair, a demon or demons are present. Evil causes terrible discord, something we would all do well to remember.
The demons are terrifying, cruel, and relentless.
But there's also love and laughter. The O'Mara's are a close and wonderful family. They are each just as relentless in their mission(s), as well as brave and prepared to give up their lives for the good of all. But even in this -- and it's the author's special gift -- even though the guardians aren't human, they possess very human traits. They make mistakes. They know love, fear, and pain. They exhibit grief, anger, frustration, and joy.
So, it's not just a story of good versus evil, but a story of family, a story of love. The O'Mara family and their allies are likeable/loveable characters. I was holding my breath through most the book and felt with them every step of the way.
Rothstein shares a generous dose of religious tradition as well as Biblical references. The Four Horsemen from Revelation make an appearance. It's epic. It's violent.
That’s my review. Today, I’m pleased to share my interview with JL Rothstein, the author of Atonement. Welcome, Jen.
I’m so appreciative of the opportunity to come on and talk about the book with you, thank you for having me!
Atonement is the first book in your Heaven Sent series. I have to ask, how in the world did you come up with the story? What was your inspiration?
I dreamt of the character Gabriel, I knew right away he was from Heaven, but that he was trapped and longing for a long lost partner. I tried ignoring it, but the character kept coming back in my dreams and telling me, you need to write my story. I don’t know what I watched on tv or what book I read that led my subconscious mind to have these thoughts. I decided to go with it and started writing. The nine siblings are named after my nieces and nephews. The inspiration for the women, really comes from a mix of my now adult nieces and my own relationship with my two sisters.
You dreamt of him. I’m in awe, and I absolutely love that you named the O’Mara siblings after you nieces and nephews. They must be so proud.
As an author, my peace is disturbed when I have to ponder a sad scene for a week, a day, or an hour. Your story has demons – really scary demons! Did you ever creep your own self out? The way you describe them… from what sort of resources did you pull? Art? Movies? Literature? Sheer imagination?
I have scared myself from time to time. There were a few ideas that didn’t make it into the book. I am reserving them for future stories in this universe, but some of those really kept me awake. I think as a writer you draw inspiration and spark your creativity through a multitude of mediums. I like looking at artwork, I enjoy researching old artifacts (especially things the Vatican keeps hidden) and I’m a fan of fantasy shows/movies like Game of Thrones, Constantine, and the Marvel Universe. All those have supernatural elements, which makes them even more fun and interesting.
Tense as the action can be, I consider Atonement a character-driven story. I like all the good guys and my favorite is Kelly. I love her spunkiness and how much she enjoys life, especially food! Won’t you tell us more about your characters? Do you have a favorite so far?
It’s funny the reaction people have had to the sisters. The first book was Gen’s story, but it’s pretty clear that Kelly made an immediate impression on people. Kelly is just fun to write. I love her toughness, her sarcasm, and her unapologetic nature. I think Kelly is reflective of a lot of our inner voices. I can’t pick a favorite, but I love the strong women in this story, there are not enough stories portraying women like this out there.
I also find Atonement to be very timely. When did you start writing it? How long did it take you to write? I ask because it seems to describe the general atmosphere of 2020. In other words, it feels prophetic. Or do you consider that’s the way the world has always been?
I think prophecy would give me far too much credit. I wrote pieces of this story and a very rough draft years ago. I queried it and it went nowhere because quite honestly it wasn’t good. It needed a lot of work. In 2016 I decided to apply to graduate school and take some Creative Writing courses, I started reading books on writing and a couple of online talks. I went down the path of learning everything I could about the craft of writing. My whole focus was to get better. I ended up re-writing the book, using the first draft more like an outline. When I was done, I sent it out for a professional edit and tried to follow all the advice that the editor gave me.
I think the world has gotten smaller with technology. We are inundated with mostly negative news on a regular basis. It’s hard to get away from the bad, but I suspect it was there all along. 2020 is a year where a lot of things have merged, like a perfect storm. You have a pandemic (never thought I would type that in my lifetime), a contentious environment riddled with politics, and we’re isolated. I just try and stay positive that this is such a low, it can only get better from here.
As I mentioned in my review, I particularly appreciated how whenever there is despair or division, you’ve slipped in a demon or demons. I must assume this is on purpose. Can you tell us a little more about it? What do you think about the concepts of good and evil?
This is fictional, so focusing on evil as a construct, with actual bad guys is entertaining. Perhaps it’s too easy, in truth humanity doesn’t need villains or demons. People have been hurting one another long before the concept of Satan or Hell. I do fear that over time people have less faith. No matter what religion you are, or what God you believe in, having faith can help keep you grounded. Belief and spirituality allow us to think of something bigger than ourselves. This in turn can make us selfless, caring, empathetic. Those are things the world can always use more of.
Is there anything else you’d like to say about Atonement?
Atonement is a book about family, faith, and the power of forgiveness, not just of others, but of ourselves.
I’m so grateful to all those who have read the book, given a review, reached out on social media to talk about the characters. I’m grateful for this space to talk about the story and reach your readers.
Those are themes we all need more of. It’s a wonderful book. I’m eager for the next! Last question – how’s work on the sequel going?
I have a deadline to finish book 2 by October. The editor who reviewed the first book is doing the second book as well. Everything should be done by early 2021. I am hoping that book 2 can launch in March 2021. More to come on social media, if people are interested, they can always reach me on social media or sign up for my newsletter on jlrothstein.com
JL Rothstein, thank you for sharing your time and talent. Looking forward to your future work.
JL Rothstein is a published author. She writes in the Fantasy genre with an affinity for the Supernatural.
Atonement, the first book in the three book series is the fictional story of the O’Mara family, nine siblings sent by Heaven to guard humans against the interference of those in Hell. Along the way the siblings come to realize the violent confrontations and disturbing behavior they encounter can only be overcome if they have trust and faith in one another.
Jennifer was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. She comes from a large Irish family and spent twelve years in Catholic school. Having three siblings herself she understands the challenges, drama, rivalries, and loyalties between siblings.
Jennifer has a BS from Suffolk University and is currently pursuing her MBA in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. She is married and now resides in the western part of the state. Her first novel is launched and she is currently working on the second book in the series, Hellbound.
Atonement is FREE thru this Sunday, September 27. Don't miss out!
Excerpt from ATONEMENT
Gen looked up as the sky shook with thunder and lightning pierced the darkness. A large
reddish-brown glow formed around them, something was coming.
“Get back, go to the tree line, now!” Michael shouted as he ran motioning with his hands.
Gen watched her brothers run toward the trees and followed them. As they got to the relative
safety of the forest, they turned back just as a Hell Fighter and two Hellions arrived in the middle
of the field noticeably pissed at the number of fallen comrades that lay at their feet.
Hell Fighters hadn’t been seen on earth in decades. Gen couldn’t remember the last
time they encountered one.
At least it’s not a newborn, Gen sighed in minor relief. Watching the demon’s somewhat
labored movements she thought, He’s older, he shouldn’t be able to stick around too long.
The demon was set ablaze in Hell fire. His large frame, long arms, and dragon-like head
just a mere outline in a shadow of rolling flame. Once away from Hell, the flame dwindled, and
its skin cooled to a leathery black veined with streaks of red. The Hell Fighter’s blood was made
of venom, cast from those tormented in Hell, it was Hell’s deadliest weapon against Heaven.
The upper level demon’s venom was fatal, even its sweat was enough to cause serious
damage. Newborn Hell Fighters carried the most lethal dose of the venom in their blood,
because the essence of the tortured still lingered. Though the Hell Fighter’s venom was
poisonous, its physical strength faded over time, which meant they couldn’t stay away from the
source that manifested them for very long.
The arrival of a Hell Fighter would typically signal the end of the battle. In most cases a
Guardian would be forced to vacate the scene, but the O’Mara’s had a weapon of their own.
Before the Hell Fighter could make a move, Kelly arrived, taking a stance between the
demons and her siblings. One of the Hellions lunged wildly at Kelly’s head, but she ducked and
the demon’s momentum sent him tumbling across the field behind her. Michael stepped out
from under the treelined covering and stabbed the beast through the ankle, quickly stepping
back away from the animal in case its blood had been tainted by the Hell Fighter. The hideous
beast howled like a rabid animal. Michael’s blade had penetrated all the way through to the
ground, effectively pinning the hound in place.
Kelly threw a knife at the second Hellion’s ear landing a blow that sent the monster to
the ground in a heap. It attempted to gain relief by clawing at the blade, trying to remove it as it
rolled back and forth across the grass. Blood gushed from the dog-like creature’s head and he
squealed as his skin began to burn, puffs of steam wafted above its head.
She must have dipped the blade in Holy water, Gen presumed. Nice touch, Gen thought.
The odds were even now, it would be Kelly one-on-one against the Hell Fighter. The
demon stomped forward taking an enormous swing toward Kelly. She blocked it and then used
the demon’s own momentum against him. Kelly pulled down as the demon’s weight was
propelled forward. The demon fell to one knee and Kelly grabbed onto his neck and swung up
and onto his back, harnessing her legs around his shoulders and tucking her feet under his
arms for stability. The Hell Fighter got back to his feet, grabbing at her twisting and bucking as
he tried to pull her off, but she held on. She threw a katar at the second wounded Hellion’s heart
and its chaotic rolling movements instantly halted.
The pinned Hellion pulled at its leg until it ripped and tore away from the ankle still
tethered to the ground by Michael’s sword. The beast hobbled toward Kelly leaving a bloody trail
behind it. By the time the wounded Hellion reached its master, Kelly had killed the Hell Fighter.
As the Hell Fighter collapsed to the ground, Kelly jumped off the demon kicking the wounded
Hellion lurching toward her. Jumping onto the Hellion’s back, Kelly pulled out a long silver blade
and plunged it into its head, killing it instantly.
Getting to her feet Kelly turned to her siblings. “Sorry, I couldn’t find my stupid boots.”
Kelly’s sweatshirt smoked as the remnants of demon blood soaked through. She swiped hard,
but it would burn through to her skin if she left it on. Though she was immune to the poison, her
“I’m surprised the Hell Fighter didn’t put up more of a fight,” Michael commented.
“What do you mean?” Dan asked.
“Did you notice anything odd when you were engaging it?” Michael asked Kelly but then
didn’t wait for an answer. “It should have been harder to kill. Even though he was obviously
older, he should have put up more of a fight.”
“He was pretty feisty,” Kelly shot back.
Gen interrupted them. “Do you smell that?”
Kelly was quick with a retort. “Yeah, I know, Hell Fighters reek, it’s all over me.” Kelly
attempted to clean the venom off, huffing loudly she finally gave up and pulled the sweatshirt off
tossing it into the burning pile of debris.
“No, not that. It smells like a fire, a real one.” Gen was looking in the direction of the
building. She could no longer see nor feel Deb. “I can’t feel Deb. They didn’t want us walking
toward the building, they wanted us up here. Whatever pulled me here, it’s down there.” Gen
pointed toward the hillside. “This must have been a distraction from the real target!”
“We need to move. Go! Go! Go!” Xavier started running and everyone followed.
Be like the flower, turn your face to the sun. – Gibran Khalil Gibran