Check out this sort and sweet interview in Night Owl Reviews.
“Conservemas la Naturaleza y aseguremos la Vida al Mundo.”
~ Eugenia Alvarez Elizondo, teacher in the Maleku school.
Maleku school children, their teacher, Eugenia Alvarez Elizondo, and Daniel Spreen Wilson
On July 6, 2016 I landed in Liberia, intent on staying near Lake Arenal for three months, maybe longer. It’s now September and the time has flown by. I am returning to Los Angeles in a couple of weeks and then, I will probably come back. I haven’t quite had enough of this beautiful place yet.
During my time here, I’ve had the joy of conducting the My World Project with Maleku youth on the Reserva Indigena Maleku. There are only about six hundred Maleku left in Costa Rica. They have been rounded up and given land on which to live. Meanwhile, much of the land they used to call home has been cleared in order…
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Check out this guest post on “A Young Adult Dreamer” blog. There is also a giveaway!
In Book of Angels, Sera has her first encounter with the Queen, who is imprisoned in the Life Box in Saint Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai Desert. Sera must travel to the monastery with Peter and Blanca to check on the Queen.
The excerpt in this blog post tells about Sera’s encounter with the Queen.
Here is the first review of Book of Angels, by Suze Lavender:
Ever since Sera found her father’s mysterious key her life has been turbulent. It’s the only thing he left her and she’s guarding it with her life. The Night Angels manage to save her when nobody else could, but there is a price. Sera is no longer a regular teenage girl with friend and boyfriend problems. Now, she has responsibilities, she has to learn how to control her impulses and she’s only just started her mission to find out what the key can do.
Sera’s nemesis is in control of her brother Salem. Sera finds out they’re now on opposite sides of the same battle, but there are also issues they have to work on together. An ancient Queen wants to escape and someone’s helping her. She should remain confined, because if she’s being freed, there will be chaos and destruction. Sera is no longer powerless but she doesn’t know the extent of what she can do. There’s so much she has no knowledge of and she needs to acquire it quickly, because there’s a lot at stake and she can’t afford to lose.
Book of Angels is a gripping book about a girl who has to grow up fast to be able to keep track of everything that is going on around her. Sera is somehow at the center of it. Both friends and allies are after her key. It’s a powerful instrument that should never be in the wrong hands. Sera is its keeper and she’s taking this task seriously. I loved her protective attitude. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind, she’s resourceful and she’s determined. She’s a fantastic tough heroine and I loved how interesting K. H. Mezek makes the situations she finds herself in.
K. H. Mezek’s writing flows easily. Her story is based on ancient history and I loved the way she writes about it. I really liked the direction she’s chosen for Sera in this second book. The world building is amazing too and I loved that the story is set in different countries. Sera slowly gathers wisdom and I enjoyed witnessing that process. There’s still plenty of action in this book, but there are more subtle battles that are being fought as well. I loved that combination. I think this series is fabulous and can’t wait to read the next book.
Book of Angels featured on author Michelle Zeigler’s blog. And gift card. Enter to win.
Who Are the Night Angels? Marianne Tells her Story
In Book of Angels, readers get more insight into who the Night Angels are, from learning about their past lives. After Sera’s Turning, in Strejan’s castle overlooking Lake Roza, Marianne sits with Sera in her room, at the top of a tower in the castle, and recounts her past….
“I was twenty-six years old when I was turned into a vampire. On the edge of old age for those times. Before my Turning, I lived in a village by the sea, in the wild lands of Northern Ireland. My family were Druids. I was married to the gods and no man had ever touched me. We worshiped many gods and practiced human sacrifice. For you, in these days, it’s hard to understand. But for us, it was our life, we didn’t know any different. Everyone had a purpose, to toil or to…
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Book of Angels, volume two in the NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES, opens with Sera’s Turning. In order for her to survive, she is given the blood of the five Night Angels and she becomes one with them and sees their terrible pasts. This gives Sera her first real understanding of who they are.
Blanca is the NIGHT ANGEL who Sera feels hates her and wants her dead. In Key of Mystery, Sera thought that Blanca must be Peter’s girlfriend, but she finds out this isn’t so. Their relationship goes back hundreds of years. Sera still doesn’t find out what happened all those years ago, that will have to wait for another book. But this is what she does now know:
- As a human, Blanca was a gypsy, or a “traveler” would be a better term. She was thought to be a witch and was a victim of…
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I’m very happy to introduce M Pepper Langlinais, who has a new book, Changers: Manifesting Destiny, coming out with Evernight Teen on August 5th. Here is a little bit about the book, an exciting excerpt and some thoughts on Romance, Relationships, and the Messages that are Important for Teens Today.
Changers: Manifesting Destiny
Sixteen-year-old Cee has a crush on her best friend Marcus. Unfortunately for her, he’s gay. In the wake of Marcus’s older brother leaving home to join the Aerie, Marcus has become increasingly distant. Then, when Cee discovers she has a troublesome dragon named Livian living inside her things grow even more complicated.
Marcus urges Cee to go to the Magi to have Livian removed, but the more used to Livian Cee becomes, the less certain she is about letting him go. Should she change her natural self for the crush who will never love her anyway?
Heat spread through her. Cee’s face elongated, her arms extended, her nails formed into claws, and her feet became suddenly very heavy. The boy spires erupted from her shoulders, and Cee was compelled to double over to allow the wings to grow.
Throughout, Cee fought the urge to resist, though her instinct was to do just that. She wondered what she looked like, caught a glimpse of red scales, and realized her eyesight had become sharper. All the details of the trees around her impressed themselves upon her brain: the cracks and flakes in the bark, the saw-tooth edges of the leaves, and every little spot and insect thereupon.
How big was she? Cee realized she was at eye level with the middle of the trees. She looked down and saw her friends pushing themselves even harder against the trunks–making way for Cee’s–or Livian’s, she supposed–tail as it snaked by.
Yes, we’re very pretty, said Livian impatiently, but we don’t have time for showing off just now.
The massive wings began to move, slowly at first, gathering speed that put the force of the helicopter’s artificial wind to shame. Cee realized she had no control over what was happening. It was all Livian, and she was housed inside him, somehow, along for the ride.
It was equal parts thrilling and petrifying, bursting through the treetops and being free of gravity. Cee would have liked to spend more time experiencing it, but there was the helicopter, like a massive black bug, and Livian went right for it.
Some Thoughts on Romance, Relationships and the Messages that are Important for Teens Today.
I’m not a romance writer, per se. I like romance–the idea of it–and I feel it has its place in the world of literature and the world at large. Certainly, to look at book sales, it’s clear there is a huge appetite for romance. (So maybe I should start writing more of it.)
But I believe it is best for an author to write to his or her strengths, and romance is not mine. For me, romance is the start of something. It’s the surface. And I like to go deeper. I write relationships.
There may be a bit of romance involved, but that’s never the sole focus for me. I enjoy exploring the connective tissue between people. I go under the skin and into the meat of the story. Because I believe stories come from characters and how they behave when faced with certain situations. And a large part of that behavior–their motivations–are informed by those relationships, those connections with other characters.
Now might be the time to mention I took a lot of psychology in college.
My forthcoming book Changers: Manifesting Destiny (available of Evernight Teen on August 5th) has a somewhat complicate relationship structure. Sixteen-year-old Cee has a crush on her best friend Marcus. But Marcus is gay. So this isn’t a story of winning the boy over. It’s a story of friendship strained by extenuating circumstances that include a) a snarky dragon that lives inside Cee, and b) Marcus’s alternate personality Diodoric who is not gay and has all the interest in Cee she wishes Marcus did.
Yet love, even friendship, is not so easily transferable. Manifesting Destiny is about how to endure when the person you love doesn’t love you back. And it’s about being true to yourself–loving yourself–when everyone else tells you to be someone else.
I think these are important messages for today’s teens. Romance is wonderful, a great escape. But sometimes it’s nice to see a main character who doesn’t get the guy, and who stands up for herself when the pressure is on to conform. And who values friendship above all things. I hope you’ll make room for Manifesting Destiny on your bookshelf. (And I promise a bit more romance in the sequel–I’m just building it on the foundation of relationships.)
M Pepper Langlinais is the author of numerous Sherlock Holmes stories and the creator of gay British spy Peter Stoller. She is also a produce playwright and screenwriter. She lives in northern California with her family, cat and hamster.
In Book of Angels, readers find out more about who the Night Angels really are…and their terrible histories.
Here Marek tells his story to Sera, after a lesson in sword-fighting. It isn’t a pretty tale, be prepared…. The images it brings to mind are horrific. But the stories need to be told…the truth must be revealed.
Marek drew close to me, so that I saw the fine sheen of sweat on his brow, still fresh from our practice. As usual, his expression was neutral but his eyes were cold and hard, the look I had seen in Peter’s eyes so many times when he remembered his past and the humans who had inhabited it.
“One night I overheard my master’s drunken conversation with his wife. The next morning he was going to send me to the Coptic priests at Abu Gerbe to be castrated.”
I shook my head and took a step back. This was something I had not seen in my Turning. What I had seen was bad enough. I didn’t want to find out more.
But Marek stepped forward, almost daring me to try and escape. I was against the wall and he was in front of me. I didn’t try to get away. What would be the point?
“His plan was to sell me to the Ottomans. It was against the Ottoman’s faith to make eunuchs. But the Christians had no such qualms. Do you know how they would do it?”
I shook my head.
“The priests chained the boy to a table and sliced off his penis and testicles. Then, for the healing process, they stuck bamboo catheters into the genital area, dug a hole in the sand, and buried the child up to his neck. The survival rate was ten percent. Naturally those who survived fetched a large price.”
I was revolted. I had heard of female genital mutilation. But this was something I did not know. And why should I? It wasn’t necessary to know every horrible detail of what had happened down through history!
“So…the Ottomans wouldn’t make eunuchs but they had no problem buying them?” I asked.
Marek still didn’t look angry. Only amused, and always in complete control. I wondered what it took to make Marek truly angry. I never wanted to find out.
“Humans are nothing if not hypocritical. They can justify the most horrific and obscene behavior by telling themselves lies over and over until they believe them.”
I had to admit that this was true. I’d discovered it the hard way, after my dad’s death, when the carefully preserved façade of lies hiding the true nature of Oak Haven was torn away.
“I slit the throat of my master while he slept in a drunken stupor. It was my first killing. I ran away. I was quickly captured by a group of traders and brought to the Sultan’s court anyway. But at least I had escape castration. The Sultan was far crueler than my first master but he was of a superior intelligence. He took a liking to me and made sure I was taught history, art, poetry and philosophy. For that I am grateful.”
Marek now took a step back and I breathed easier, feeling my muscles relax slightly. When would I ever really relax, every again, I wondered?
I was too stunned by his story to say anything. We picked up our swords and walked toward the small door in the courtyard. Marek grinned sideways at me. “I see how kids in your culture pierce and tattoo themselves. Some put rings through their noses–willingly! It’s very funny to me.”
I felt grateful he didn’t expect some response from me about his terrible story. What response could I possibly give? It was all so horrible.
Photo is of Michelle Obama and her daughters in South Africa.
Thank you Michelle Obama for drawing our attention to the historical fact that the White House was built by slaves. This is something I never considered before. It is now an incredible picture that I will forever hold in my mind.
I cannot even begin to imagine how amazing it must feel, as Michelle said, to wake up in the White House, every day with her daughters.
Smithsonian Magazine states that “ironically, the Statue of Freedom that sits atop the Capitol dome was made with the help of Philip Reid, a man enslaved by sculptor Thomas Crawford, who was commissioned to build the statue.”
That is irony, indeed.
We don’t know a lot about these slaves because they were not considered important. It is tragic to think that all these nameless and faceless people toiled to “make America great,” and no one will ever know…
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Sharing this beautiful cover detail from Book of Angels. As an artist myself, I have great respect and awe for the artist, Jay Aheer. She puts her soul into her work! She definitely has captures my vision for Key of Mystery and Book of Angels.