Source: Land of Talismans: Dante’s Story
Hello Friends! Thank you to everyone who has believed in my writing and encouraged me along the way. Key of Mystery and Book of Angels have BOTH been nominated for a Raven Award. It sure would mean a lot to me if my followers would go to the link above, scroll down to the second category, New Adult/Young Adult, click on Key of Mystery (I figure it’s best to nominate the first book in the series), then scroll to the bottom of the category and click on “vote.” It takes all of ten seconds, literally. But for me and all the years of working on this series, it means more than you can imagine.
What people are saying about NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES:
“This is an addictive fantasy series that has ties to historical figures, vampires and politics in L. A.”
“This is a rollicking tale–and a wise and sometimes heartbreaking read.”
“K. H. Mezek’s writing flows easily. Her story is based on ancient history and I loved the way she writes about it.”
“Key of Mystery starts out showing how quickly and radically a person’s life can change…. I like how the author develops the characters, explores the unknown, forbidden, ancient chambers [beneath Los Angeles], and introduces supernatural powers, which add to the suspense of this very well written novel. I found myself getting involved and caught up in the drama of Sera’s life as it was unfolding….. This book exceeded my expectations.”
“Be careful who you love, it just might kill you.”
A demon force is taking over Oak Haven and people are dying in horrific ways. Somewhere beneath the city lies the hidden chamber and the Secrets to the Origins of Life. If only Sera can find it, maybe she can stop the violence. She needs her dad to help her and she’s certain he’s still alive. But in order to find him, Sera must make a pact with her nemesis, Fabian Gore.
The Night Angel, Peter, has vowed to love and protect Sera, but even he can’t help her in this task. Nor can Jimmy, the human whom she knows she can trust. Only the “girl with the crazy eyes” can lead Sera to her father. Without her dad, Sera doesn’t think she can go any further.
“So far you have battles shadows. Those forces will grow stronger.
And so shall you.”
~ The Medicine Woman Sevenhawks, speaking to Sera within the Cave of Secrets
WHAT IS THE KEY OF MYSTERY?
It is impossible for any finite being to fully comprehend the Key of Mystery. It is sinking deeper and deeper into Sera’s skin, moving ever closer to her heart. Only she will know what to do once it reaches its destination.
Sera found it in the black box called the Object Holder, left to her after her father’s mysterious death. What Sera comes to suspect is that this object, this key, is merely a physical manifestation of a way through, allowing the wearer entrance to all dimensions, and thus access to all knowledge and power.
Access has always existed in the universe, but this is the first time it has given itself to a human: Sera Patterson.
Sera does not remain a human for long. In the first book, Key of Mystery, she tries to save her brother, Salem, in a gang warfare, is shot and almost dies. The Night Angels save her and turn her to a denizen, an evolved vampire. Sera’s enemies save Salem and turn him. Although they love one another, brother and sister must now face each other standing on opposite sides of the battle.
But Sera alone is growing into the most conscious mortal being ever to exist, all because the key has attached itself to her.
What will Sera do with the key, once she reaches that final door? This is the question plaguing all denizens, angels, demons, and most of all, the Queen and Lucifer. They are all awaiting the right moment to pounce and take what Sera has.
In the book Cave of Secrets, Sera still isn’t sure she even wants this key. She fights against becoming one with it. What if she can never rid herself of this burden. A more terrifying question is what if she comes to the point where she never wants to rid herself of it? Who will she be then? Will she lose herself all-together and become…what?
As a newly born denizen, just as Sera cannot live without ingesting the blood of the Ancient Ones, which she so hates, she cannot live without the key. How will she find the strength when the time comes to read the Book of Angels and become the Seventh Angel? How can she manage this without the help of her father and the wisdom he holds? In Cave of Secrets the mystery of what happened to her father is answered, and it isn’t at all what Sera expected.
WHAT ARE THE ‘SECRETS TO THE ORIGINS OF LIFE’?
The International Order of Denizens and all inhabitants of the supernatural world agree that the key will lead Sera to the tablet upon which is written the Secrets to the Origins of Life. Whoever can read and understand the tablet will have the power and knowledge of god–the power to create and destroy worlds.
The legends say the tablet is hidden in a chamber in the Lizard City, built far beneath Los Angeles by the Lizard people five thousand years ago to escape a reign of fire. Sera’s nemesis, the new Los Angeles mayor and most ancient of denizens, Fabian Gore, is searching for the tablet. Sera’s geophysicist father worked for Gore and she is sure he discovered something and was killed. His disappearance is eerily similar to the fate of a man named Schufelt, who almost one hundred years earlier had convinced the LA city council to fund his search for the city. Sera and her friends discover a 1934 Los Angeles Times article corroborating these facts. When Schufelt claimed he had almost reached his destination, he mysteriously disappeared.
Whether this is an actual tablet upon which words are written or it is something more nebulous is not known. But considering the world is made up almost entirely of dark matter, humans and denizens know very little about any of it beyond the simplest explanations. What is this dark matter? What exists in the rest of the universe that we can’t see?
The closer Sera comes to reaching her goal, the more dangerous her world becomes. Demons run free. Pain, destruction, death, are taking over the once idyllic suburb of Oak Haven. Or perhaps Sera is finally seeing the world for what it really is–a place where it all boils down to survival of the fittest.
Surely, whoever the current god is, they haven’t done a very good job, have they? Perhaps a new god is needed.
The Seventh Angel.
The Seventh Angel would enter all dimensions, be a part of all matter, and absorb all dark matter into itself–even the old god. Out of that it could rearrange all matter and create a new possibility of life.
Even if a human or a denizen was presented with this power and knowledge, they would be obliterated and turned into stardust before they could ever even get close to it. No mortal can comprehend the immortal. No finite being can become infinite. The Knowledge of Good and Evil….
But the melding of humans and angels into vampires and then denizens meant that one could arise who could cross that bridge from mortal to immortal; from finite to infinite; from flesh and blood to god.
Not only the demons but now the angels are in rebellion against the current god. They don’t like how things are going. They created the Book of Angels, but they are not able to read and understand the Secrets to the Origins of Life any more than humans or denizens can.
The angels’ hope in making their deal with the denizens is that one will arise who can.
This the angels and denizens are now sure is none other than Sera Patterson.
Some thoughts on having won the New Millennium Writings Nonfiction Award and my introduction I wrote for it one years ago, which I have just seen again, since the anthology is now in print.
When I was awarded the New Millennium Writings Nonfiction Award for Reflections from Istanbul, an excerpt from my childhood memoir INTO THE WORLD, I was asked to write an introduction, something about my motivation and approach to writing. I recently received the print edition of the anthology and I re-read the introduction, which I hadn’t seen since I sent it off a year ago. With the insidious rise of fear and hatred across America and the prospect of a third World War looming, the introduction and this manuscript are especially vital now. So, here is the introduction:
It is appropriate that I received news of this award as I was on my way to Marrakech. Writing INTO THE WORLD has been a lesson in endurance, working on it when I can, because it is something I am compelled to write. And I can say that this magical part…
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Much of the inspiration for the real side of life in the Night Angels Chronicles came from my experiences raising children as a single mother on the mean streets of Los Angeles suburbia. I write essays on the topic and this is the latest one, published in NAILED magazine. It’s a tragic story, about a friend of my son’s.
There’s the fun side of writing Urban Fantasy, the magical world a writer can create where anything is possible. For me, I’m enjoying my vampires and denizens, the angels and demons, the Lizard City beneath Los Angeles , the Key of Mystery and the tablet upon which is written the Secrets to the Origins of Life. It’s been especially fun to build the history of the Night Angels, going back to the Pharaohs of Egypt and the Ottoman Empire.
And then there’s a real side of Urban Fantasy. For me, I’ve chosen to peel back the façade of a suburb and see what’s really underneath. As a single mother, raising kids on the mean streets of Los Angeles suburbia, I’ve had first-hand experience of this. As the co-founder of a creative writing program for incarcerated youth, I’ve heard so many horrible stories of injustice. I’ve made friends with my students, now going back over twenty years, encouraging them through their struggles. And I always did my best as my kids were growing up to be there for the young people of my neighborhood who were struggling with addiction and gangs.
NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES is a blend of these two worlds–the fantastical and the often more horrific reality. This essay shows what really happens, and how, sadly, parents and community leaders most often don’t want to acknowledge the truth of what our children face every day when they walk out the door and into the world. I hope to do my part to change that blind mentality.
Get ready for Cave of Secrets, the third volume in the NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES.
A demon force is taking over Oak Haven and people are dying in horrific ways. Somewhere beneath the city of Los Angeles lies the hidden chamber and the Secrets to the Origins of Life. If only Sera can find it, maybe she can stop the violence. She needs her dad to help her and she’s certain he’s still alive. But in order to find him, Sera must make a pact with her nemesis, Fabian Gore.
Peter, the Night Angels, has vowed to love and protect Sera, but even he can’t help her in this task. Nor can Jimmy, the human whom she knows she can trust. Only the “girl with the crazy eyes” can lead Sera to her father. Without her dad and the secrets he holds, Sera doesn’t think she can go any further.
Sneak Peek from Cave of Secrets:
Where was Gus? Once I entered the thick bushes I paused and listened. How silent it was. How heavy and still. Stifling. Oppressive.
Why didn’t he answer?
And then I heard it. A scream. A horrible, agonizing scream, cutting through the stillness and ending as suddenly as it had begun.
I ran, allowing my denizen senses to guide me. I could feel it stronger than ever. The oppression, the evil. Now I saw a trail of blood before me. A body had been dragged here, plowing a path through the underbrush.
It looked like Gus had almost made it to the place where the foliage had ended. Only a few feet further and he would have jumped the wall and been back in civilization, walking on the sidewalk near the road to the market.
But Gus wasn’t ever going to the market again. Or anywhere. Perhaps whatever had attacked him had first chased him down this pathway. Perhaps while we had called to him, Gus had been running for his life, all his energy intent on getting away, none left over to cry for help.
And then that final scream of pain and terror.
I followed the path of blood through the broken underbrush, up the hill, knowing what I would find at the end.
In a little open area, beneath an old oak tree, its roots spreading like writhing snakes along the ground, I found a scene of carnage. A broken, twisted body, arms and legs at impossible angles. Face in the dirt, a lake of blood seeping into the thirsty soil.
Salem was kneeling by the body, reaching a hand toward it.
“Don’t touch it,” I said, kneeling beside him.
I was aware of Jimmy coming up from behind, breathing hard.
Salem turned the body over anyway.
“No,” he said, pulling away.
Gus’s throat had been torn out, his chest, his stomach, a gaping, glistening hole, his insides gutted. He lay there, eyes staring sightlessly up at the burning sky, mouth stretched wide across his teeth in a frozen grimace of excruciating pain.
“God help us,” breathed Jimmy.
All my nightmares came alive in that moment. The image of the monster Gore on the plateau, teeth and claws dripping blood. He had done this to a coyote–gutted it. And then there was our family lawyer, Mr. Meriwether. I had almost forgotten about the poor man. The same thing had happened to him.
Gore–it must be Gore! I turned away from the body and stared at Salem. He was looking down at Gus with hated and contempt. No pity, no remorse.
An icy river flowed down my spine. Could it have been my own brother? Salem’s gaze shifted to me and he read my questioning expression. His eyes went wide with disbelief. He shook his head and mouthed, No!
Others were crashing through the bushes. Soon the entire group, including Stanton, was gathered around the body. And then pandemonium broke out as the reality of what lay before them sank in. Students who had, only moments before, thought they tough threw up. They screamed, losing complete control of themselves.
Tray, Jimmy, Inez and Scooter were upset like the others but in a different way. They were silent. Horror struck. And they were stronger. They had seen more and suspected what types of creatures might have done this.
Alex was a blubbering, broken mess. This wasn’t what he had signed on for when he joined Gus’s gang. He screeched like a frightened mouse when Salem happened to glance at him and then clapped a hand over his mouth to stop the sound. He would never accuse Salem to his face, never have the nerve. But Salem and I both knew what he and everyone else was thinking–that Salem had done this.