Friday, April 26, 2013

Halo of the Damned Review Tour

Halo of the Damned

Dina Rae


A chain of advertising agencies, a new breed of humans, and a fallen angel to worship... Andel Talistokov is known for his slick advertising agencies across the globe. He is a fallen angel that uses advertising as a weapon for Satan's work. His growing power emboldens him to break several of Hell's Commandments. Furious with his arrogance, Satan commands him to return to Hell after finding his own replacement. Yezidism, an ancient angel worshiping religion, quietly expands throughout the West. Armaros appears as a guest of honor during their ceremonies. He mates with young women to produce nephilim, a mixed race of humans and angels. They are alone and unprepared for their supernatural power. Joanna Easterhouse, a recovering drug addict, steps out of prison shortly after her mother's fatal accident. She and her sister, Kim, unravel their mother's secretive past. Intrigued, they learn their bloodline is part of a celestial legacy. Both worlds collide. Halo of the Damned is a horrifying tale that weaves research together with suspenseful twists and turns.

The next day, Kim packed up her own drawing of her mother’s carved wall, the scroll, and the piece of metal. Her excitement put her in a giddy mood. Once she was parked and in front of Loyola’s entrance, Sandra met her in the foyer and escorted her back to the Arts and Science College. Sandra took Kim to their lounge and introduced her to six other professors who were equally interested in seeing her finds. All of them specialized in fields that had to do with the ancient world.

Kim began with unveiling her own copy of the symbols she drew from her mother’s basement. “I appreciate all of your attention. Can anyone tell me what this is, and even possibly what it means? Each symbol was copied down in the order it was etched into the wall,” Kim said.

One professor immediately took the paper and made a copy. This made Kim uncomfortable. He asked, “Where did you find this?”

“Again, none of that matters,” Kim defensively repeated. Her daughter’s omen chimed throughout her brain. The man intuitively put up her defenses.

“Doctor Nrogbi’s English is somewhat limited. He’s not trying to be pushy or rude,” Sandra explained.

“This is Angelic script, also known as Adonite language, alphabet of the Ark, or even Enochian. It’s the first written language of this world. Angels used it to communicate with God. The first humans also used it before the Fall,” Doctor Nrogbi lectured.

“Before what fall?” Kim asked, very confused. How could Maria have known all of this?

“Before Adam and Eve sinned. Before they were kicked out of Eden. It pre-dates Hebrew, Sanskrit, Aramaic, and other ancient languages. It’s very sophisticated and difficult to translate. These symbols look like a key, invocation, or lyric. Let me get something off my bookshelf.”

While the doctor frantically flipped through several of his books, other professors rattled off bits and pieces of their own views concerning the script. Kim learned that Enoch didn’t name the language, but his name was chosen for it thousands of years later because of his communications inside of Heaven.

The professors spoke of John Dee, a famous mathematician, cartographer, and seer of Queen Elizabeth I. He had a revelation about angelic script and later recorded it. Sir Edward Kelley, his colleague, also witnessed the revelation and recorded additional symbols called Keys or Calls. Their legitimacy had been debated for centuries.

“Ah, I found it. What you have here is a Key. Angel script is read left to right. These symbols together are sort of like a prayer. A rough translation in English means, ‘Forever fallen is forever damned, until one can unlock from within.’ I wish I knew where you found this. The context would help cypher the meaning,” Doctor Nrogbi stated.

“Anyone have an inkling to what the passage could mean?” Kim asked.

“I can only guess that fallen is either man, as in Adam…or possibly angels, as in the Fallen that waged war with Satan against God. He and all his angels were cast down and forever damned. However, there is a loophole suggested-‘unlock from within.’ Don’t know, just a guess,” answered Doctor Barry Lowenstein, an ancient comparative literature professor.

“Kim, you said you had a few more items to show us. Can we see? The anticipation is gnawing away at all of us!” Sandra exclaimed.

“Okay, I have a scroll that might be of some interest,” Kim answered as she gingerly took it out of her purse and laid it down on a long table. All the professors’ jaws dropped in astonishment. They all hovered over the scroll, whispering theories of what it might be. Doctor Nrogbi quickly grabbed his cell phone and began taking photos. The rest of the professors followed suit.

“Tanned animal hide, probably lamb or ram, of the highest quality for ancient times. This must be dated as far back as 500 B.C., maybe even a 1000 B.C. We need to carbon-date this. It’s in perfect condition. What was this stored in?” Doctor Lowenstein questioned.

“It came in a box. I didn’t bring it with me,” Kim replied, feeling suffocated and wanting to leave.

“We could use a combination of steam and chemicals to remove the seal so that it doesn’t break. That way we could read the scroll. Can you leave this with Sandra for the next couple of days?” asked Doctor Litner, an art history professor and expert in document preservation.

Can you bring in the box? Can you take us to where this was found? Can you leave this for display? Can we take this to the Smithsonian? Can you, Can you, Can you...Kim’s head was about to explode. She wasn’t about to disclose the ornate metal she still had in her purse.

“I’ll call Sandra and we can do this another time. Thank you all for your help,” Kim abruptly announced. She packed up her things and rushed out of the university. Not paying attention, she almost got hit by a car. Once in her Lincoln Navigator, she calmed down. Rush hour traffic on the Eisenhower Expressway gave her time to process.


Halo of the Damned is a book that will intrigue fans of dark angels and demon stories. Filled with enough raw horror to please any slasher fan as well, Halo introduces us to a fallen angel and his media empire. Enter our heroine, Joanna Easterhouse, who is just getting out of prison for a drug conviction. Faced with the difficulty of getting a job with a record, she takes the job at Evil Empire and thus begins
the adventure.

This book had a lot of gory scenery. It does have a well developed and intricate plot that will entertain readers of multiple genres such as myself. There are a few points in the dialog that were a little stilted, and I had a hard time connecting with Joanna at first, but as I got to know the characters, the intricate nature of the relationships fleshed out and made the book a pulse pounding late night (with a flashlight)

There is romance, through the rituals, dismemberment and mysteries surrounding the Easterhouse family and what a fallen angel has to do with whatever secrets Joanna and Kim's mother may have been hiding.

This is a good read for anyone in the mood for a little angelic carnage.



Dina Rae is a new author here to stay.  As a teacher, she brings an academic element to her work.  Her three novels, Halo of the Damned, The Last Degree, and Bad Juju weave research and suspense throughout the plots.  Her short story, Be Paranoid Be Prepared, is a prequel of sorts to The Last Degree, focusing on the James Martin character.  In the spring of 2013, her latest novel, Halo of the Nephilim, will be released.  Dina also freelances for various entertainment blogs.

Dina lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs outside of Chicago.  She is a Christian, an avid tennis player, movie buff, and self-proclaimed expert on several conspiracy theories.  She has been interviewed numerous times in e-zines, websites, blogs, newspapers, and radio programs.  When she is not writing she is reading novels from her favorite authors Dan Brown, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Brad Thor, George R.R. Martin, and Preston & Childs. 


 Dina is awarding one randomly drawn commenter a new peacock necklace.

Encourage your readers to follow the tour and comment; the more they comment, the better their chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

Be sure to head over to Dina's blog for more giveaways!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Virtual Book Tour 24 Bones

24 Bones
Michael F. Stewart

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Supernatural Thriller

Publisher: Non Sequitur Press


Number of pages: 305
Word Count:  85,000

Cover Artist: Martin Stiff of Amazing15

Amazon     Smashwords  

Book Description:

Every five hundred years the phoenix dies.

Samiya, born-into-shadow, is soon to battle her born-into-light brother. Abandoned by their parents, neither wishes to play the preordained role of beast and hero. When their loved ones are taken hostage, they are forced to follow the path laid out in myth, culminating in a battle first fought six thousand years ago in ancient Cairo. A mythic clash where one defeats the other and both become gods.

To break free from their fates, Samiya and her brother must unravel a mystery twisted by cults, greed, and magic. But myth is a powerful force and failure to live up to it may not only destroy their lives but the lives of the ones they love most.

When the phoenix dies, the only certainty is flames.

“Terrific! A successful blend of genres, complex and fascinating characters, and loads of suspense make 24 Bones a must-read.” Nate Kenyon, bestselling author of The Reach, Prime, Bloodstone, and The Bone Factory.

“'24 Bones' is a winning debut. It's well-written and well-plotted, studded with drama, action, history and mythology. There's even a little romance. The conclusion is thrilling with the final outcome of the battle between good and evil held over until the very end...leaving you guessing until that very last page.” SF Crowsnest.

In Medias Res and Pain

The part most writers often have to cut from their novels is the beginning. Often we start in the wrong spot. The rule of thumb for a scene is to start it as late as possible and end it as early as possible. You don’t want to write your way into or out of a scene. Instead, start in medias res, in the middle. The same is true to some degree for a book, which is a collection of scenes.

I had this problem in 24 BONES. I cut 15,000 words from the beginning. That hurt. It pays to pay attention in craft classes!

So what happened? Readers need to relate to someone—hopefully your protagonist. They need an ‘Alice’ to go down the rabbit hole with, to learn along with, and to draw them into the story. Think of role of Keanu in The Matrix. The woman in the movie actually had a white rabbit tattooed on her. Keanu followed her right down the rabbit hole and us with him. To bring readers along for the journey in 24 BONES, I felt I needed a North American ‘Alice’. So the novel actually began in Toronto with David discovering the stele upon which is inscribed the prophecy and more (forgive some of the writing that follows, it is an earlyish draft!).

The JetFuel latte from the local coffee shop cooled on the railing that divided the living and sleeping areas of David’s bachelor apartment. Carpet at one time white now stained ivory ran the length of the twenty by ten foot space. Wine had spilled in a spray pattern beside a large cardboard box stamped airmail, postmarked Egypt. A slim twenty-something with chocolate hair and coffee complexion gasped as she tried to speak.
David, whose wine glass had toppled from his meaty hand when he pulled books from the box, was far from speechless.
“What the fuck?” he cried. “Holy you know what this is?”
“Gold,” she stuttered over the ‘g’, eyes dancing over the bright sheen.
“Yeah, gold,” he replied, running his fingers across the writing stamped in it. David knew what this was worth and not just for the obvious weight of precious metal. Miranda should too, being in her fourth year of her Archeology degree. Demotic script was late in the scheme of ancient Egyptian writing and it would take some time for him to decipher it, but he could and he would. He flipped it over, Miranda shoved her hands beneath to catch it as if gold could somehow shatter. More writing inscribed the back.
“Looks like a list,” he mumbled. Stele were often used as lists. “What could be so valuable that you’d make a list inscribed in gold?”

Later I realized that readers are smarter than that, my assumption was wrong, and decided I could get to the real story a lot faster if I began the novel in Egypt. Instead of having to slog through eight chapters of setup and throwaway action scenes, 24 BONES now opens in medias res. It’s four weeks until Akhet, the ancient Egyptian lunar New Year, and the ascendance of the gods!
So, writers, before you have to go and cut 15,000 words, be sure to consider whether you’re starting the novel in the right spot!

About the Author:
After crewing ships in the Antarctic and the Baltic Sea and some fun in venture capital, Michael anchored himself (happily) to a marriage and a boatload of kids. Now he injects his adventurous spirit into his writing with brief respites for research into the jungles of Sumatra and Guatemala, the ruins of Egypt and Tik’al, paddling the Zambezi and diving whatever cave or ocean reef will have him. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers and SF Canada, and the author of the Assured Destruction series, 24 Bones, The Sand Dragon, Hurakan, Ruination and several award winning graphic novels for young adults.

Want to win a copy of 24 Bones? Leave a comment and your email address for a chance to win an e-copy!