How are you doing?

IMG_1913Wow. Three months ago, I was really excited about 2020. I was going to sell books at all the local comic cons this year, give my cemetery postcards talk at the Gravestone Studies conference in Texas, and finish a new cemetery travel book, once I got the Angelus Rose novel published. I had so many plans!

I’m betting you had a list of things you were looking forward to this year, too.  How is that working out for you now?

Things started to fall apart for me in February. The Indie Author UnCon was great. I came away with a list of new things to try and a bad cold that knocked me out for a solid week — as well as the start of a construction project my husband and I had been putting off since we bought this house 20 years ago.  We were finally going to remove the asbestos popcorn ceiling in the living room, tear out the ugly plastic sconces in the walls, add some decent lighting, and refinish the hardwood floors. We got as far as sealing up the walls before the first stay-at-home directive came down. We can’t paint yet and the electricity hasn’t been reconnected.

IMG_2013I feel like I lived the whole month of March hunched over and huddled up, waiting for something terrible to happen.  My dad checked himself out of a nursing home so he could be with my mom, rather than in quarantine where he was safe, because they both were lonely. I had the hardest conversation of my life with my mom, when I told her I wasn’t coming home to be with her because I was afraid the borders would close and I wouldn’t be able to get back to my chronically ill kid. Now, at the dawn of April, everyone is doing okay so far. I’m counting my blessings.

Two of my dearest friends are in the process of surviving the virus, although they couldn’t actually get tested, despite repeated begging. I hope they are over the worst of it, finally, but I was frightened by how sick they got.

It’s spring in San Francisco.  My lemon tree is covered in blossoms and buzzing bees. The lilac is blooming. It looks like hope, but I haven’t walked any farther than the post office around the corner. The parks and playgrounds are closed, as is the parking lot at Ocean Beach. Our city supervisor wrote to say that people dressed in masks and scrubs have started going door to door, claiming to be from the health department and demanding to be let into people’s houses. Despite that, the crime rate is down because most people are staying home.

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One of the projects I’ve finished in quarantine.

My mood swings from contentment — really, this isn’t too much different than staying home with my kid before the virus came — to panic. I come from a rich lineage of hoarders, so I have plenty of projects to complete, more than enough books to read, and I think we have enough food, although the flour is running out and it’s been hard to find more. My husband is being obsessive about decontaminating the mail and washing all the groceries. I think we’ll be okay, unless society completely collapses.

But how are you? I heard that school is out in Virginia until the Fall. The news out of New York City is alarming. Are things shut down where you are? Are people being cautious?  Can you buy flour or toilet paper?

Check in, say hi, and let me know what you’re doing to keep yourself healthy and sane.

And finally, if you’re looking for something to take your mind off things, the blog tour for the As Above, So Below books is winding down. There’s a Rafflecopter giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card, if you’d like to enter to win.  Here’s the link: https://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/as-above-so-below-book-tour-and-giveaway.

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Angelus Rose is here

BookBrushImage-2020-2-6-11-176If Romeo had wings and Juliet a barbed tail, could they find love in the City of Angels?

Angelus Rose is finally out! You can find it at Amazon in paperback and for the kindle, at Barnes & Noble.com in paperback and for the Nook, or at Smashwords in any ebook format that you desire.

To celebrate, I’ve embarked on my first professionally arranged blog book tour. Here’s the kickoff post, which offers a giveaway, if you scroll all the way to the bottom: https://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/as-above-so-below-book-tour-and-giveaway

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I’ve also done a couple of interviews to talk about the inspirations behind the book:

Jonathan Fortin (author of the brand-new Steampunk succubus book Lilitu) had me by to talk about succubi:
https://www.jonathanfortin.com/post/loren-rhoads-on-angelus-rose

Paranormal Wednesday interview with Shona Brock: https://shondabrock.wordpress.com/2020/03/04/author-loren-rhoads-on-paranormal-wednesday-pnrwednesday/

There’s more to come: a Facebook party with games and prizes, an interview with my elusive mad genius co-writer, hopefully even some video-recorded readings.

My goal for this year is to reach as many readers — anyone looking for good escapist stories — as possible. If you have any suggestions on how to do that, please let me know.

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I had planned to go to FOGCon this weekend to unveil the book, but I came down with a bad cold a couple of weeks ago and it’s still hanging on.  I’m much better, but I would hate to make anyone uncomfortable with my sniffling and sneezing.

Hopefully, I will see everyone as planned at the Oddities & Curiosities Expo on March 21!

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Angelus Rose ebooks are out!

Angelus Rose roses ad The kindle version of Angelus Rose is available now. Here’s the link: https://amzn.to/37xl2g3

You can also order the ebook from Smashwords for your Nook, Kobo, or other device. Here’s that link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1002026

The paperback is a little delayed, thanks to the vicissitudes of Amazon’s printing service. Hopefully, we’ll get that straightened out this week.

I fully realize that a succubus/angel love story might not be your cup of fur. Maybe you don’t like Los Angeles. Maybe you prefer to stay out of cemeteries. Maybe you don’t like horror in your romance or romance in your horror.

I’d still appreciate it if you could help me spread the word about the book. Here are some sample tweets to copy & paste — or feel free to write your own. If you could tweet any one of the following, that would be stellar! I’m @morbidloren on twitter, if you want to tag me.

Angelus Rose is “A ravishingly dark love story set on the cusp of war. You’ll be on knife’s edge until the very end,” according to Martha J. Allard, author of Speak My Name. https://amzn.to/37xl2g3

In Angelus Rose, “Kick-ass succubus Lorelei shines as she takes on Heaven and Hell for the angel she loves.” — E. M. Markoff, author of The Deadbringer. https://amzn.to/37xl2g3

“If you enjoy theology and the idea of angels and demons at war among us, you need to check out the As Above, So Below books. You won’t be disappointed.” — HorrorAddicts.net https://amzn.to/37xl2g3

Other ways to help spread the word:

    • add Angelus Rose to your Want to Read list on Goodreads
    • better yet, add it to your wishlist on Amazon
    • tell your friends if you think they’d dig Angelus Rose
    • check out my inspiration board on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lorenrho/lorelei-and-aza/
    • share the book trailer:

Thanks so much for your help getting the word out.

PS. If you’re a book blogger and you’re interested in taking a look at the book, let me know by dropping a link to your blog below.  Thanks!

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Angelus Rose is in design

Angelus Rose, the second book in the As Above, So Below series, is finally at the book designer. Check out the final cover:

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Thanks so much to E. M. Markoff for the wonderful cover blurb and Carmen Masloski for the beautiful cover image.

Here’s the description of the book:

If Romeo had wings and Juliet a barbed tail, could they find happiness in the City of Angels?

After their escape from the ashes of Lost Angels, the succubus Lorelei and the angel Azaziel want nothing more than to enjoy each other’s company. Unfortunately, Asmodeus, the Demon Prince of LA, has threatened to devour Lorelei’s new-grown soul if she doesn’t bring about Azaziel’s downfall. Meanwhile, Aza is keeping secrets of his own that threaten the tenuous peace between Heaven and Hell.

Three archangels come to town to try to set things right, but friendships are fracturing. The demon in charge of fallen angels is sniffing around. And Los Angeles is about to be caught between a devil and the deep blue sea.

I made a book trailer for the two books in the series:

And I’m taking part in my first professionally arranged blog tour!  If you have a blog and might be interested in hosting a post about Angelus Rose or the As Above, So Below series, please sign up here: https://www.silverdaggertours.com/tour-sign-ups/as-above-so-below-tour-sign-ups

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I hope to have the sales information soon.

 

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Sex-Positive Succubi

lost-th-1247308191-1578763426991.pngWhen Brian Thomas and I began a book about the relationship between a succubus and an angel, the chief thing I was adamant about was that sex had to be beautiful and liberating and celebratory.  Sex in and of itself could never be the event that tarnished someone’s soul or damned anyone.

I mean, sex in and of itself isn’t even listed as a deadly sin.  The Ten Commandments prohibit adultery – consensual sex between a married person and someone other than their lawful spouse – but that leaves succubi pretty much free to do as they like with anyone who is unmarried: from a certain succubus’s point of view, anyway.

My succubus Lorelei was created in Hell for a singular purpose: to lead mortals into lust (which does make the list of Seven Deadly Sins).  Lust, as her boss Asmodeus tells her, must drive all hope of Heaven out of Azaziel’s heart.  Otherwise, he’ll remain unfallen.  The demon tells Lorelei that Aza has had sex before.  What he doesn’t tell her was that Aza had even been married before, in the days before the Flood.  While Aza and his bride had a healthy sex life, each saw the reflection of the divine in their lover.  For Azaziel and Anah, sex was a sacrament.  It was holy.

So Aza and Lorelei do have sex once in the course of Lost Angels, the first novel, only to be interrupted by the angel Muriel.  Muriel loathes succubi and is no fan of humanity, but she sees herself as an unwavering beacon of morality.  Everyone else – angels included – see her as a prude.

One of the characters says in the book that Lorelei uses sex as a way to communicate with people.  It’s a physical hunger for her that she feels down deep in her hips.  The sex she has in the first book ranges over a spectrum from getting to know someone to thanking them for helping her out, from deepening a friendship to illustrating love.  Lorelei is never possessive and doesn’t expect anyone to remain exclusive to her – just as she never promises to be exclusive to anyone else, even “her” angel.

Which is not to say that all the sex Lorelei has in the book in joyous.  Asmodeus tries to use sex to remind Lorelei of her place, but in the end, she doesn’t allow herself to be defined by anyone else’s views of her.

It was important to me that Lorelei be able to define the sex she has for herself.  When Aza takes her to bed, he puts her into a position where she’s imprisoned in her flesh.  The angel envisions it as a kind of erotic bondage, but he doesn’t allow her a safe word or any possibility of escape.  He does what he can to pleasure her body, all the while terrorizing her spirit.  She defines the experience as rape:  erotic for him, but frightening for her.  It takes him a while to understand her viewpoint – and when he finally does, it radically alters his understanding of himself.

The second book in the series, Angelus Rose, continue to explore what sex can mean, both inside a relationship and as a way to punish, demean, celebrate, and praise another person.  In the novels, sex is – above all else – character development.

Angelus Rose will be available next month!

 

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This essay was originally published on We Read with A Glass of Wine. RIP.

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