First off, happy Mother’s Day to all those moms out there. Okay, it’s only Friday, but since I try not to post on the weekends (primarily because I’m usually out of town) I’ll go ahead and get it out of the way with now.
Have my convention plans finalized (at last) and, barring a last minute change of plans, everything looks good. Back-to-back weekends in July may seem like a bad idea, but I’m glad it’s 11 crazy days and then…. nothing. Good time to catch up with my fellow authors and relax while celebrating the release of Paradise Publishing‘s third book, the Lawyers in Hell anthology. It’s hard to believe that a year ago I’d never heard of them or the Heroes in Hell series but hey, I know who they are now.
I was looking at Fictionwise yesterday and did a little dance. You guys keep pushing Corruptor up the rankings and it’s thrilling to watch it overtake more established novels. I may not have as many fans as some big name authors, but I’ve sure got some loyal ones, for which I’m extremely grateful. I have some awesome fans.
(Listening to the Glee rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”. I’m torn, because I really like the “Broadway” sound that Lea Michelle and Idina Menzel bring to it. Sorry for the ADD moment)
As a treat, I decided to put up the opening blurb for In the Shadow of Paradise for you. Enjoy!
In the Shadow of Paradise
I did not know how I had ended up there on the hill, but in life I was always careful about remaining alive somehow and making the most of any given situation. In Hell, there is no real difference to me, compared to when I was still alive. As I did in life, in death I approached each and every moment with an open mind and a guarded fist.
Once again did those precautions save me.
I was careful to remain hidden from the avenging figures which struck from the skies of Hell, attacking and reaping on the denizens of the city below. Their beauty was terrible, an overpowering belleza which I had never seen in Hell before. They struck from above in a similar manner to a hunting hawk, the seven specifically targeting damned souls on the streets below. Three others remained above, watching the seven as they wrought pain and suffering with them. Two of them were demons, terrifying avatars of evil whose visages sent chills through every bone in my body; the third with his unearthly beauty. It was a horrible sight, one I did not wish to lay eyes upon again in my eternal damnation and yet so compellingly beautiful that I could not take my eyes off them. The vision made my breath catch in my throat and my bowels to tremble in terror. My knees were weak, and I was barely able to remain standing upright as they circled above the damned city of crushed dreams. Below them, the seven wreaked their vengeance upon the damned.
Onward they flew, their destination unknown, leaving Hellywood to bask in the ruins and to experience even further exquisite torture, and me to my own trembling hands. The beings were uncaring, leaving behind the denizens of Hellywood to weep with bitter and painful tears. I caught myself before my pity could take root any further; this is hell. I watched them go, glad that I had somehow been summoned – or retrieved, I was not certain – after they had rained terror down upon the main street of Hellywood Boulevard. They would be back, those unworldy beings. I was positive of their imminent return. It would be best for me not to dawdle. I took a calming breath and looked at the deep red colored horizon. Beyond the ash and the foul, polluted air was Paradise, always just out of reach, offering hope and promise. It helped a little bit, the teasing view of something that most damned souls will never be able to attain. Balanced me. It never changed, no matter how long I was out of the loop. Hell never changed, because change could mean very bad things for a man with lesser convictions.
I glanced down at my hands. I looked at them for a moment, something gnawing at the base of my gut as I stared at my empty hands. Something had gone terribly wrong; I had somehow left the Lobby before I had been given my prize.
The plans were the only reason I had been in Decapitol Records Forever Waiting Room in the first place. The others who had been there with me called it the Lobby, which is a fair enough name for it. That knowledge didn’t change the fact that I now found myself without the plans. Had I made a mistake somewhere, a gross miscalculation? Had I erred? Worse still, had I been betrayed once more? I sighed deeply, understanding just how well the hellish torments were designed for me. The devil, it seemed, knew my vulnerabilities, which was not terribly surprising.
“That’s Hell for you,” I muttered and began to trek down to the ruined streets below.
My name is Juan Ponce de Leon y Figueroa, and I have sworn to escape Hell.