Chapter 7’s up!

Who’d have thought Enoch would be working with Caleb…again?  But he is, and they’re on their way to confront Samiel–the black sheep of their heavenly home.  Enoch doesn’t see any good coming from this, even if they try to compromise.  Samiel likes to get his own way, the reason he and the One always bump heads.



Chapter 3

I’ve finished out my other urban fantasies.  They feel complete, to me, as series.  I like the way Wolf’s Bane finished with a big, final battle, and I like the way Empty Altars finished with Tyr and Diana battling six spinners.  I’m even happy with the final Babet and Prosper short novel where they saved River City.  But the last novel in the Fallen Angels series, as much as I enjoyed it, didn’t feel like a farewell.  That’s why I’m writing and posting Enoch chapters on my webpage before I say goodbye to him to write more romances.  I guess I want closure, so I’ve posted a new chapter, and I hope you enjoy it.  Enoch’s special, for me.  When I leave him, I want to know he’s made peace with himself.

Chapter 3:


Do you ever feel like Eeyore?

When I was young and naive, I always thought that doing your best and aiming for what’s right guaranteed success.  Not so.  It wasn’t until I started teaching that I discovered that sometimes your best isn’t enough.  You can’t stuff a funnel into a kid’s head and pour information into his little brain–even if he doesn’t want it.  I learned that if a kid doesn’t want to learn or want to succeed, you can’t make him.  And like my protagonist Enoch, in Fallen Angels, I learned that things aren’t always black and white, and that there are many shades of gray.  (Sorry, no play on the new bestseller.  There are probably a lot more shades than fifty).

Anyway, Enoch’s biggest problem is that he’s friends with Caleb.  And in essence, Caleb should be the novel’s villain.  He’s what’s blocking Enoch from achieving his goal.  But talk about opposites attracting.  Enoch loves the Light, and he loves Home.  Caleb finds it restrictive and boring, so when Caleb joins up with Lucifer to overthrow the One, Enoch tackles him and pins him down until Lucifer and his band of angels are thrown into the pit.  Enoch thinks he’s won a serious moral victory and saved his friend.  Caleb doesn’t agree…and says so…and gets himself thrown to Earth, banned from the Light.

That’s when Enoch’s problems really begin, because Caleb loves living on Earth.  He loves his freedom.  He doesn’t have the Light, but he discovers that human blood works just as well–gives him the energy he needs and craves.  Of course, his bite infects mortals with his immortality, so that they become vampires, but what of it?

I don’t know about other people, but I have friends who don’t hold the same opinions I do, friends who look at the world and life from a completely different filter than I see, but that’s part of why I love them.   Enoch and Caleb are like that.  So Enoch is sent to Earth to clean up after Caleb, and he can’t return Home until he brings a willing Caleb with him….

You know the old saying, “Until hell freezes over?”  Caleb never wants to leave Earth.  That means that no matter what Enoch does, no matter how many bad vampires he hunts and slays, he’s still stuck here.  And like Eeyore, he’s not happy about it.  But no matter how much he resents Caleb, he still doesn’t want him to be eternally punished.  So the gray areas just multiply.  When he finds GOOD vampires, the gray gets even grayer.  He likes them.  He starts to work with them.  Nothing is as simple as he hoped  it would be.  Until he meets a female vampire that he’d do anything to protect, and then gray looks crystal clear because all of his moral boundaries begin to blur.  He’ll never purposely do something wrong, but there are lots more options that look acceptable to him day by day.

Enoch, like Eeyore, resonates with me because–for me–even when I try, it’s hard to be happy with myself, it’s hard to find the right path.  It’s easy to feel guilty about the good I can’t get around to.  It’s easy to see my shortcomings.  Enoch never feels like he does enough.  A few critics have said that readers don’t have to worry about him in a battle, that he’ll always survive.  But I’m not worried about his safety.  I’m more drawn to his inner struggle.

How tempting is Earth? Mortal pleasures?

I’ve always liked stories with battles of good versus evil.  I’m a sucker for Harry Potter.  That has to tell you something.  But what if the battle is good versus an old friend who turned not-so-good–who did bad things?  And the good guy wants to go home–to Heaven, but his friend feels right at home here on Earth.  That’s how my novel Fallen Angels niggled its way into my head.

When I was growing up, my mom switched churches every few years.  We were Lutherans for a while, did a brief stint as Jehovah Witnesses until they told Mom she had to give up her pierced earrings and cigarettes, and then went liberal when she joined a Presbyterian church.  I didn’t go to see it, but I listened to her tell about getting dunked when she became a Seventh Day Adventist.  I could see the good in each and every one of Mom’s choices, what appealed to her–she had a real fondness for ministers who preached about the proximity of the Last Days–but my dad was an atheist, and Mom’s devotion was somewhat fickle, even though her faith was constant, so I didn’t get too attached to one church over another.  But one of them had an idea that really appealed to me.  It was their idea of Heaven.

This church taught that there were seven layers to Heaven.  Only a very few people made it to the very top.  That was reserved for those souls who chose to tune in completely to their spiritual side.  They were happy and fulfilled just contemplating Goodness and what was holy and had no need for earthly pleasures.  Me, I’m not that girl.  When I think of heaven, I think of gourmet meals with no calories and wine that won’t make me slap-happy stupid.  I think of perfect weather (mid-70’s, of course), and maybe a lush garden overflowing with flowers and veggies, a vineyard, and endless orchards.  My friend calls me a nature girl, and I might be, but I’d like a great nightclub too, with dancing and laughing.  And I want something to do.  I get fidgety sitting around, twiddling my thumbs.

Mom swore that there was a level for people like me–people who love this Earth–if it were perfected.  She wasn’t quite sure if I’d end up on ladder rung five or six, but I didn’t care.  I was just glad there was a spot for me, a place where I could frolic in the meadow where the lion lies down with the lamb.

I’ve thought about those seven layers every now and then.  I know who’d go on the bottom level–people with few redeeming qualities who’ve hurt their fellow man, people with a lot to learn about spiritual growth before they climb to level two.  I know who’s at the top, and I’m not jealous of their exalted position.  And the middle–well, it’s just like plotting my  novels–it’s muddled until I have to deal with it.  But the thing is, thinking about Heaven has made me realize what I think Nirvana is.  Mine is closer to the perfect Earth than angels playing harps.   And I don’t seem to be the only one who likes my home planet.

I just read the story of Lillith, Adam’s first wife before she swapped him out for the archangel Samael.  She left the Garden of Eden to be with him and later became the first succubus, one of the original queens of the demons.  I’m not sure where Lillith eventually called home, but I’m thinking it’s not Heaven.  And she seems to be able to visit Earth whenever she needs to suck out a life force or two, so I’m guessing she likes it enough here.  This view of demons is one of the things I really enjoy in Sharon Ashwood’s the Dark Forgotten series.  There are good demons, sort of good demons, and really nasty ones.  They’re portrayed sort of the way angels are.  There are good angels, fallen angels, and ones who’ve turned really, really bad.

In the Bible, in Genesis, angels leave Heaven to come to Earth when they see the first women.  Nothing good comes of that.  Monsters are born, and it took a flood to dispose of them, but Lucifer was dissatisfied with Heaven too.  Of course, Lucifer is nothing but trouble.  I won’t even go there, but there are plenty of stories of fallen angels.  Some are shown as tragic, heroic figures.  Others, instigators of no good.  But all of them struggle with their own inner demons.  Some succumb.  Some don’t.  And that’s what gave birth to Fallen Angels.  Enoch likes Heaven.  Caleb likes Earth.  And they each feel loyal to the other, in their own ways.  That makes them feel torn.  Part of the human condition.   And maybe the heavenly one too.