An Angels vs. Demons Blog Hop!

Angels vs. Demons Blog Hop: June 28-July 1
Angels vs. Demons Blog Hop: June 28-July 1

If you've come here via the Angels vs. Demons Blog Hop, welcome! If you just stumbled in here by accident, read on.

Authors Leia Shaw and Carrie Ann Ryan are hosting the blog hop in celebration of their new paranormal romance releases, Destiny Bewitched and Dust of My Wings, and they want to know which you'd rather have to...uh...cuddle up with at night—angels or demons? And what are your favorite angel or demon books?

At the end of this post is a table full of blog links. Every single one of those authors and bloggers is offering their own giveaway, in addition to the blog hop grand prizes: one lucky entrant will win a Kindle Touch and one will win a $60 Barnes & Noble Gift Card! All you have to do to enter is comment on any post in the hop...which means you can enter 103 times. Comments on this post will also enter you in a drawing for a signed copy of my novel, The Fallen Queen, and an autographed cover flat.

This is a long post, so I don't blame you if you want to skip to the contest entry—just scroll to the end (but you're going to miss some man candy!). ;) Just be sure to leave your email address or we won't have any way of contacting you.

The heroes of my House of Arkhangel'sk series, Belphagor and Vasily, aren't your typical demons. But rather than make this post even longer, I'll let you learn all about them on my virtual book tour: Belphagor | Vasily. Separately from this blog hop, I'm also giving away ebook copies of The Fallen Queen at both of those links. (Note that entering the giveaways on those two blogs will NOT enter you in any of the blog hop drawings.)

But if you want the quick down-and-dirty on my wily demons, here are their stats:

BELPHAGOR An airspirit demon of Raqia in the Third Heaven

Build: Wiry but muscular

Height: 5’8”

Weight: 160lbs

Eye color: Ebony

Hair: Dark, short, spiked on top

Body art: Numerous Russian prison tats, including on hands and fingers; pierced eyebrow; pierced nipples

Strengths: Fiercely loyal; able to manipulate the element of air, including influencing the mind; as a BDSM top, he makes people feel cherished and protected with an almost paternal sensibility

Weaknesses: Has difficulty trusting others and keeps things to himself to his own detriment, resulting in getting himself into trouble he might otherwise have avoided

Favorites: The game of wingcasting (a kind of celestial poker); cigars; spanking naughty “boys”; a good Russian tea

Occupation: Gambler and thief

Nickname: Prince of Tricks

Quote: “I can't imagine why you think I'd have sex with a girl.”


VASILY A firespirit demon of Raqia in the Third Heaven

Build: Built like a Cossack warrior

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 220lbs

Eyes: Hazel, with a tendency towards flaming red with Seraphic fire

Hair: Dreadlocks, lava red, tied back at the crown to expose his neck, with long, scruffy “mutton chop” sideburns

Body art: A row of spiked barbell piercings down both sides of his neck

Strengths: Can light a cigar with his tongue, illuminate the darkness and stoke a fire with his breath, generate healing Seraphic fire, and keep you very warm throughout an Arkhangel’sk winter

Weaknesses: Volatile temper, insecurity/jealousy

Favorites: Vodka, spankings

Occupation: Thief

Quote: “You touch Bel’s marks and I will kill you with my teeth.”

Want to meet my sexy demon duo? Check out my debut novel, The Fallen Queen, Book One in The House of Arkhangel'sk, published in December 2011 by Entangled Publishing and just re-released in mass-market trade paperback with a new, gorgeous cover:

The Fallen Queen by Jane Kindred
The Fallen Queen by Jane Kindred

Heaven can go to hell.

Until her cousin slaughtered the supernal family, Anazakia’s father ruled the Heavens, governing noble Host and Fallen peasants alike. Now Anazakia is the last grand duchess of the House of Arkhangel’sk, and all she wants is to stay alive.

Hunted by Seraph assassins, Anazakia flees Heaven with two Fallen thieves—fire demon Vasily and air demon Belphagor, each with their own nefarious agenda—who hide her in the world of Man. The line between vice and virtue soon blurs, and when Belphagor is imprisoned, the unexpected passion of Vasily warms her through the Russian winter.

Heaven seems a distant dream, but when Anazakia learns the truth behind the celestial coup, she will have to return to fight for the throne—even if it means saving the man who murdered everyone she loved.

Read an excerpt from The Fallen Queen

The Fallen Queen is available now at Amazon | on Kindle | Barnes & Noble Nook | Books On Board. Pre-order your copy of Book Two in The House of Arkhangel’sk trilogy, The Midnight Court(Amazon | Barnes & Noble), coming in August 2012.

More March Madness - Interview and giveaway

Today I'm over at Elise Rome's site as part of her March Madness Blog Party. There are prizes galore, so check out the March Madness rules first, then hop over to my author interview and answer the reader question for a chance to win an ebook copy of The Fallen Queen. There's also an extra treat for those who haven't read the book yet, of an Anazakia/Vasily excerpt for your reading pleasure. And here' a little snaphot of Anazakia and Vasily to go along with it:

Anazakia and Vasily

Fun with firespirits - and a Fallen Queen giveaway

Today I'm blogging at Layers of Thought about creating angels. Stop by for a chance to win an ebook of The Fallen Queen.

Note: I found this interpretation of a seraph online. Mine are a bit less...benevolent. ;)

Happy Birthday, Anazakia!

Today is the Grand Duchess Anazakia Helisonovna Arkhangel'skova's birthday. I'm not saying how old she is, because angels age differently and that's her business. But if The Fallen Queen were made into a movie, here's who I'd pick to play her:

In honor of Anazakia's birthday, check out my interview today on Supernatural Snark.

And get a present for yourself while you're at it:

Enter to win an ebook of The Fallen Queen at The Qwillery (contest ends tomorrow!)

Enter my giveaway along with dozens of others in the Mistletoe Blog Hop (grand prize is a Color Nook!)

Enter the December Will Be Magic Again giveaway at Here Be Magic (grand prize is a Kindle Fire!)

Enter to win a signed ARC of The Fallen Queen at Literary Escapism (and be sure to enter their other Black Friday giveaways!)

Coming up for air (and fire)

In the midst of my preparations for harakiri—er, I mean, deep in revision mode, I received today's Shakespeare-a-Day sonnet, and it was just perfect for the section I was revising last night: Sonnet 45

The other two, slight air and purging fire, Are both with thee, wherever I abide; The first my thought, the other my desire, These present-absent with swift motion slide. For when these quicker elements are gone In tender embassy of love to thee, My life, being made of four, with two alone Sinks down to death, oppress'd with melancholy; Until life's composition be recured By those swift messengers return'd from thee, Who even but now come back again, assured Of thy fair health, recounting it to me: This told, I joy; but then no longer glad, I send them back again and straight grow sad.

"Slight air and purging fire"...if you know anything about The House of Arkhangel'sk, does this make you think of anyone? :)

Okay I'll give you a spoiler hint: I was editing the caning scene in The Fallen Queen. And to those of you who aren't my beta readers and have no idea what I'm talking about, just you wait. The caning scene. Sigh. Dreamy. ;)

Scenes from Arkhangel'sk

Researching the landscape and the layout of the city of Arkhangel'sk for my latest WIP, I came across this photo via Google Earth that just took my breath away:

This is actually near Mezen, but still in Arkhangel'sk Oblast, and perfectly fits the setting of the middle of The House of Arkhangel'sk. The photographer, Andrey Larin, has a number of photos up on Panoramio that are tagged to Google Maps, and I find myself browsing them for hours whenever I come across them. Googling "Arkhangelsk" in images rarely turns up much for some reason, but on Google Maps, there are a wealth of them.

Here are some others from Arkhangel'sk proper:

I love to imagine Anazakia and Vasily wandering here.

I've marked this post "Character inspiration" because Arkhangel'sk is as much a character as any angel or demon in my books. It's also one Russian setting I've used (along with the nearby Solovetsky islands) where I've never actually been. Clicking through Andrey's pictures makes me feel like I have. So, thanks, Andrey; hope you don't mind a little promotion.

Saturday evening post: Recalcitrant demons and tattooed males

So I've gotten to that point in my latest work in progress where all the pieces have fallen into place, and I know exactly what's going to happen from here to the end...except for One. Little. Thing. It's a fairly crucial thing. My demon character Belphagor is supposed to have a plan that he unveils at the last minute to save the day in a certain situation. And now it's time for me to write that scene. But he won't tell me what it is. And people wonder why writers drink.

In lieu of actual writing getting done, I will now post some random tattooed males. This first one definitely has something young-Belphagorian going on:

Is this a cute boy or a hot dyke? Oh, who cares!

This one's just plain easy on the eyes:

And you may thank me for this one later:


Saturday evening post: Rumers of Ola

Last spring, while I was still writing up my ideas for The Demons' Daughter, Book 1 of the Queen of Hell trilogy, the main character Ola Vasilyevna suddenly informed me—very insistently—that this is what she looks like: This is Rumer Willis, daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis. And it is also, as I have been told in no uncertain terms, Ola Vasilyevna of the House of Arkhangel'sk.

She has the most fascinating face.

The pictures I've chosen, of course, are Rumer with auburn hair, because my Ola, daughter of Vasily, is a fiery redhead.

For another glimpse of Ola, here's the opening scene from The Demons' Daughter in its current incarnation (note that this contains some spoilers for the events in the first trilogy, so if you hate that, look away, quick):

My father is a Seraph’s bastard. And I am his, born of the Queen of Heaven. Whether my mother loves him, I have never known. He is a member of her court—gotten on the wrong side of the blanket or not, his blood is angelic—but he was raised an orphan among the Fallen and the people see him as one still. His emotions are worn with as much restraint as the fire-red locks of his hair, and so it is no secret that he loves my mother in his way, yet his heart and soul belong to a demon named Belphagor.

While this picture isn't representative of the air of royalty Ola normally projects, it's one I particularly adore. I think Ola may have to escape her current predicament for a bit and have a brief romp in the modern-day world of Man wearing dark shades and a black leather jacket.

Friday flesh: Androgyny

Searching for an image of my Hades, I came across this insanely androgynous beauty, model Andrej Pejic:

His androgynous look is so perfect, he almost doesn't look human. Instead he calls to mind Storm Constantine's Wraeththu.

Like Danila Polyakov and Bartek Borowiec, he's frequently photographed in deliberately feminine attire, makeup, and poses.

I am loving this trend in male modeling. :D

Saturday evening post: Rusalki

Last summer while working on rewrites for The House of Arkhangel'sk, I briefly veered off onto a storyline where Anazakia meets a rusalka before I realized it had nothing to do with the story. I was sad about it, because I really liked my rusalka Lyudmila, but she had to go. Today Lyudmila surprised me by reappearing in the middle of The Palace of Wisdom. She has none of the sassy dialogue of her first appearance, but wow, does she do a number on Vasily's head.

If you aren't familiar with rusalki, here's what Wikipedia has to say about them:

According to most traditions, the rusalki were fish-women, who lived at the bottom of rivers. In the middle of the night, they would walk out to the bank and dance in meadows. If they saw handsome men, they would fascinate them with songs and dancing, mesmerize them, then lead the man away to the river floor to his death.

...associated with the "unclean force" [nechysta syla]... The ghostly version is the soul of a young woman who had died in or near a river or a lake and came to haunt that waterway. This undead rusalka is not invariably malevolent, and will be allowed to die in peace if her death is avenged.

Rusalki are known in other traditions as sirens, mermaids, and nymphs. Here are some of my favorite images of rusalki I found while surfing about:

Update: I should learn to do my research before hitting "post." And it should have been obvious to me that Viktor Nizovtsev's paintings were not in the public domain. D'oh. He's my age. :) So as lovely as those were, I had to remove them. (You can see my favorite, "Mermaid With Lanterns" on the Fox Hall Gallery website.) But I found another rusalka I adore:

In Slavic mythology, a rusalka (plural: rusalki or rusalky) was a female ghost, water nymph, succubus or mermaid-like demon that dwelled in a waterway.

According to most traditions, the rusalki were fish-women, who lived at the bottom of rivers. In the middle of the night, they would walk out to the bank and dance in meadows. If they saw handsome men, they would fascinate them with songs and dancing, mesmerize them, then lead the man away to the river floor to his death.

Saturday evening post: Young Belphagor

Ooh. I just found my young Belphagor:

Isn't he sweet? Of course, he should have dark brown eyes, and young Belphagor had no tattoos, until...oh, right. You have to read the second trilogy to find that out. Sorry for the horrible tease. (notsorry)

To make up for it, here's a brief excerpt from young Belphagor's introduction to the world of Man:

“His skin is as smooth as a girl’s.” The angel watched him from the low light through the sheer-curtained window.

So that was how it was. On Earth as it is in Heaven. He had paid for his supper in Raqia in much the same way on more than one occasion. Belphagor gave them a winsome smile. He was not above playing whatever part was required to the hilt.

Looking for Belphagor

Belphagor turns out to be much harder to find than Vasily...and I never thought I'd find Vasily. Sigh. But here's a model who has a certain Belphagorian look to him:

Is that a gun in his pocket, or...?

And here's another one; no tattoos, unfortunately, but he has a little something of Belphagor in the eyes. Interestingly, both of these models are Brazilian. Is Belphagor Brazilian? Who knew?

But if I could find a 30something, tattooed, cigar-smoking, pierced Robert Downey, Jr., he'd be perfect.

Whaddya think? Can you see any of these guys spanking Vasily? Ah, well. The search continues.


Holy crap...I found Vasily:

And here he is complete with Pushkin mutton chops (although Vasily wouldn't be caught in the realm of the dead wearing this):

And one more:

Of course the hair would be a little more like this:

And as a bonus, I also found young Vasily:

I'm in swoony Vasily heaven. (Well, where else?) :D

Danila Polyakov