The second most frequently asked question I get is, "What on earth possessed you to write erotica featuring angels?" (The first, for those of you who are curious, is "Are you gay?" The answer to this one is no, as my wife will attest. I am, however, secure enough to claim a gay man among one of my best friends and have no issues going into a gay bar and ordering a drink. Jack Daniels tastes the same, no matter the orientation or gender of the hand pouring it. Trust me.)
To answer the second question: I've read erotica featuring vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and every other damn thing. But I'd never run across erotica featuring angels. I had to wonder why. I knew it had to be out there. After all, the idea of angels and mortals falling in love and even procreating is as old as human civilization, and for all I know, might even predate it.
For the skeptic, I refer you to Genesis: The mighty men, the men who were of old? You may know them as the Titans and demigods of Greek mythology. The Greek pantheon seemed to have a fairly strict "hands off the humans...unless I'm horny" mindset. Then all bets were off. Zeus himself took the form of a bull, a swan, a shower of gold...shall I continue? All in the service of getting himself a little on the side, much to Hera's (understandable) irritation. And that was one god.
Now, let's take that and translate it into Judeo-Christian terms. According to the Bible, the Torah, and yes, even the Qu'ran, there is an angel for every rock, tree, and blade of glass. There is an angel for every human quality and virtue, and a demon or fallen angel for every vice. To the student of comparative religion, the gods of the Greek, Norse, Roman, Egyptian, and other panthea bear a striking resemblance to the angels we recognize today.
Hence, the idea of humans and godlike or godly beings being intimate is nothing new. But there seemed to be a distinct silence on the subject in the erotica I came across. Why? Too taboo? Surely not. Because it may offend people? Perhaps, but that still didn't feel quite right.
The popular concept of an angel is either a benign, cute little cherub (properly pronounced kehr-OOB, if you're curious) wearing a diaper a la Cupid.
Aww, how cute.
Or a menacing. awe-inspiring being with the power to lay waste to whole continents, like Michael, here.
Yeah, I really don't want to piss this guy off.
There seems to be no middle ground in these concepts. I had to wonder why.
Now we get to the meat of the matter. I like to shake things up. I ignore the "Don't Walk On The Grass" signs because, simply by virtue of them being there, I have to walk on the grass. I have to find out what's so damn special about this grass here versus the signless grass across the street. And I love to hear people say, "You can't," just so I can find out why.
I admit it. When I wrote my first angelic erotica story, "Angels Would Fall," I wanted to shock my reader. I wanted to do something just taboo enough to make them think twice. I wanted to do something off the edge of the map, something new. Then I reread Genesis and found out, to my chagrin, that I wasn't doing anything of the sort. Mea culpa. As I got more immersed in the erotic romance community, this was only reinforced; as evidence I hold up Bryl Tyne's Zagzagel series.
But the idea of angels being sexy, and especially angels of Death being sexy, simply would not die. Since I am something of a scholar of angelic lore and comparative religion, I decided to take a step back from Moradiel and Ariel and turn the long lens on the broader implications of their love. What better way than by bringing beings from Heaven and Hell (or the Otherplace and Infernus, as I call them) together and making them lovers?
I can't take full credit for the idea, though. Something similar had been percolating in my mind for a while, but then my friend Jane Ellis decided to throw down the gauntlet on a writing contest. Just her and me, mano e mano, if you will. She set the prompt: A demon's day off.
Thus was born "Angel of the Morning." The original picture that I used in the contest was this image, which I saw and immediately fell in love with:
I have a thing for redheads. What can I say?
We assigned a judge and a timeframe of one week. To my delight, my story won; but give Jane credit. She wrote a very good, very macabre little piece to put up against mine. To my intense relief, we're still friends; the competition got a little heated at points, complete with smack talk.
After Noble told me they wanted to publish "Angels Would Fall," I decided to take a chance and sent off the story. I nearly fell out of my chair when the email hit saying that it, too, had been accepted. And then, just yesterday morning, I got an email from Noble's resident cover artist, Fiona Jayde, containing this breathtaking cover:
She turned to see a stocky red-haired man with a wild beard standing there. He was wearing blue jeans and a black T-shirt that was stretched nearly to ripping over his thickly corded muscles. His bottle-green eyes glinted with good humor.
“Benoth!” she cried, throwing her arms around him.
“Aurora,” he whispered, leaning into her embrace and taking a moment to appreciate the scent he had been so long denied.
“I still can’t believe you got away,” she murmured, savoring the feel of his body against hers.
“Wasn’t easy,” he assured her. “Demons--” He pulled a hand away to wave it over his body. “--Don’t get days off, paid holidays, or sick leave. I had to tell Gaap that Azrael wanted to speak with me.”
“Azrael!” Aurora recoiled in revulsion. “What’s he got to do with you?”
“He’s looking for Moradiel,” Benoth said quietly. “Apparently he fell in love with a soul he was supposed to take. Azrael’s been looking everywhere, but apparently lost their trail in southern Illinois. He reckons they probably came here.”
“What did Gaap say to that?” Aurora asked, astounded. There hadn’t been a case of a death angel falling in love in her memory, which spanned millennia. They were a cold and stoic lot who didn’t bother with emotion of any sort as a rule. For Moradiel, one of the best and most efficient Soulbearers, to fail in such a disastrous way could only augur ill things ahead.
“Azrael’s beyond furious,” Benoth pointed out. “Even Gaap doesn’t dare go against him. Lucifer will probably rant and rave about Heaven’s minions interfering with the structure of Hell for the next six months, but so what?” He shrugged to emphasize his unconcern with the situation. “No one ever sees him anymore, anyway. Gaap’s in a fair state about it; he’s been trying to become a Regent.”
Aurora chuckled. “Not much chance of that. Gaap’s a manipulative little toad and Lucifer knows it. How much time do you have?”
“I’ve as long as it takes, my love,” he assured her. “You?”
Her blue eyes darkened a little. “Only until twilight. Then I have to go.”
“Who’s minding the store?” he queried.
She smiled again at the memory. “Metatron. He and I had a wager, and he lost. If I’d lost, I’d have to bear the entire sum of human knowledge for a day so he could go look at a supernova somewhere around Vega.”
Benoth’s bushy eyebrows went up. “What was the wager?”
She laughed throatily. “It was almost too easy. We cut a deck of cards. I told him if he could tell me what card I was holding, I’d give him a day off and the other way around. I pulled a three of diamonds, he swore it was the jack of spades.”
He gave a full-voiced laugh that rang off the marble-sheathed walls and floor.
Keep your eyes open, folks. There's plenty more angelic hotness where that came from, and "Angel of the Morning" is coming soon!
Thanks for coming by. See you soon!
Until next time,