Reviewed in the United States on September 15, 2020
Following ‘Soul Taker’, ‘Sundance’ is the second book in the Council of Twelve Series.
The book is less a simple sequel than a parallel story to the first part, which first surprised me, but then I was enthusiastic about that fact. I found it fascinating to read the story from a different point of view and to find the skillfully orchestrated connections to the first book.
One of the things I love about this book is to see Sundance grow up into a strong woman. Also interesting is her education. Even though the book shows many known characters and places, the book still allows the reader to re-explore the world, AJ Alexander created masterfully.
I look forward to reading book number three in the series.
Hi AJ. It’s nice of you to invite me. I love your little office. And the kitties, of course. *laughs*
Now, Zye. You met your husband, a while ago. We all read how you two fell in love and got married. How is married life?
Well, it’s more or less what Katie told me it would be. Of course, I’m still a Demon Tracker, working for the ‘Council Of Twelve’. I love what I do and I’m very proud they haven’t ‘reduced’ me to be a ‘housewife’ at this point. But additionally my regular work I had to take over quite a part of my work as a consort. And these tasks are specific.
Can you tell us what is expected of an Archangel consort?
Consorts aren’t just glorified Archangel groupies. We ladies are a part of our husbands. We are their connection to their troops, to their commanders, and their subordinates. We are expected to take care of them, look out for their wellbeing, function as their point of contact if there is a problem. And we aren’t talking about a military strategic flaw, we are talking about personal problems. Often we function as psychologists, we help, advice, comfort and they know they can count on us. Of course, there has been the one or other case when a subordinate has tried to befriend us, hoping he’s getting chances to be promoted. But that’s not what we are there for. Often we organize our husband’s meetings, training, calendars, management, guards, and many more things…
We can read about you and your husband’s romance in the ‘Demon Tracker’ book. Will you tell us just a little about it?
Of course. My hubby’s Big Seven have demanded my services as a Demon Tracker after one of them has been killed and disappeared. They needed to save her soul, otherwise, it would be lost to the evil side. I helped them to find her, and during that process, I met Archangel Uriel. He is an enormously strong Archangel, one of the oldest Archangels in existence. The case was quite difficult to solve and during my research, another problem came up. I took a great risk to finish my assessment and solve that problem…
Do you recommend reading the book?
*laughs* I definitely do. It’s an interesting adventure and also, Uriel and I meeting is quite romantic, actually. Read the book. And keep in mind – there’s more to come!
The Council of Twelve series so far includes the first three books in the series.
You can find them here:
Katie is the sweetest angel we can imagine, a fantastic consort, emotionally stable, and still responsible, helpful, and caring. She’s Raphael’s perfect second half.
Sundance is the second female angel we meet in the series. She’s an exceptional angel in many ways, the first warrior angel in three centuries, she is blessed with many gifts and talented beyond her young age.
Zepheira is a strong-willed, stubborn woman, so far the fiercest female character in the series. As a half-angel, she is a raw diamond, and due to her nature, the only one holding Uriel’s fire.
During the entire series, we will recognize recurring characters and meeting new ones; in particular, are we going to meet ‘The Council of Twelve,’ including the twelve most powerful individuals existing, each one of them holding unique talents and powers.
The fight Good vs. Evil is present within each book, the tension climbs higher with each story.
In your opinion, what should happen next? Tell me in the comment. If you have an idea, want to write a short story that you think might fit the series, write it, please and send it to me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Write ‘The Council of Twelve series on Writer’s Treasure Chest’ in the subject line.
A few days ago, I was working on a complicated fighting scene between two supernatural beings in book #8 in ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series.
To describe the fight accurately, I was getting up, using a wooden kitchen spoon to technically rehearse every step of the battle, before sitting down and explaining the movement and natural body reaction on the ‘theoretically’ inflicted pain.
It took me close to four hours for a fight that took a mere two pages to write. And yes, the argument does include a bit of pain, wings, bruises, and a severe knee injury.
Now, being a martial artist myself might have helped me big time to take this challenge on and solve the problem the way I did. But other writers might not have that [indeed minimal] advantage. How are they doing it? Is their fantasy more extended than mine?
Previously I mentioned my fighting scene took up about two pages of the book. Generally, that is a lot of room for one scene. But that is why I rehearsed. I had to make sure the fight was thrilling and still described well in an imaginative short manner.
Fighting scenes in books are incredibly different from fighting scenes in movies. Compared to what we see, reading the fight in a book has to tickle our own imagination. We don’t follow a fighter with our eyes… we follow him/her with our mind.
To see Bruce Lee fighting twenty opponents to the same time and describing the same scene in words, would need our book ten to twelve pages. To a reader, that would be incredibly boring. Most readers would never read through the entire fight. It would be a complete waste of time and effort. A reader would only jump the pages to the end of the battle. Most of them are interested in who wins.
Therefore I had to shorten something that usually takes about ten to fifteen minutes in a movie to two pages in my book. To catch the essential things in my fight, I was rehearsing to myself.
As an author, how do you write fighting scenes? Do you rehearse too? And as a reader, do you enjoy reading fighting scenes, and if yes, how long should they be to not bore you out of your skin? Thank you for telling us in the comments.
The Council of Twelve series is a YA fantasy/paranormal romance series where we meet celestial beings. The first book in the series is ‘Soul Taker’, where we meet the Council of Twelve, the most powerful individuals in existence, and the protagonist, Katie, a Guardian Angel-to-be. In the ‘Soul Taker Secrets’ category, I reveal the one or other ‘inside’ knowledge about The Council of Twelve, their consorts, and in this case, a little of their physical secrets.
The wing feathers specialized for flight are characterized by uniform windproof surfaces, or vanes, on either side of the central shaft that is created by an interlocking microstructure. Also called remiges, these feathers are asymmetric with a shorter, less flexible leading edge that prevents mid-air twisting.
Most tail feathers, or rectrices, feature an interlocking microstructure similar to wing feathers. Arranged in a fan shape, these feathers support precision steering in flight. Typically, birds have six pairs of feathers on the tail, which display increasing levels of asymmetry toward the outer pairs. In some birds, tail feathers have evolved into showy ornaments that are useless in flight.
Contour feathers are what you see covering the bird’s body and streamlining its shape. Arranged in an overlapping pattern like shingles, the waterproof tips are exposed to the elements, and the fluffy bases are tucked close to the body. Sometimes brilliantly colored or uniformly drab, contour feathers can also help the bird show off or stay camouflaged. Contour feathers on the wing, called coverts, shape it into an efficient airfoil by smoothing over the region where the flight feathers attached to the bone.
Mostly hidden beneath other feathers on the body, semiplumes have a developed central rachis but no hooks on the barbules, creating a fluffy insulating structure.
Similar to semiplumes with an even looser branching structure but little or no central rachis, down feathers, are relatively short and positioned closest to the body where they trap body heat.
Short, simple feathers with few barbs, filoplumes function like mammal whiskers to sense the position of the contour feathers.
Bristles are the simplest feathers, with a stiff rachis that usually lacks barb branches. Most commonly found on the head, bristles may protect the bird’s eyes and face.
Now that we learned about the different feathers in the wings let’s look at the different wing-shapes.
In this picture, we can see the wing shaping feathers and their functionality.
Now, bird and angel wings basically have the same biological structure with one main difference. Their mobility is far more extended to guarantee the optimal function since, of course, angels don’t have tail feathers to brake, steer, and keep the balance of the wing carrier. And of course, they are much more reliable, due to the weight they have to lift.
I suspect we all know the touching moment we waited for after we were going through the adventures of the romantic couple. We smiled with them when they found each other. We were happy with them when they fell in love. We cried with them when they lost each other because of some horrible misunderstanding. And, of course, we celebrated when they found each other again, kissed and ‘lived happily ever after.’
Don’t we ask ourselves how their wedding looked like? How are their families, how their friends? Don’t we wish sometimes we could play a ‘fly on the wall’ seeing how their relationship develops when challenged by marriage?
And that’s when my imagination runs wild.
Of course, it would be amazing and heartwarming to see their wedding. Because weddings are always touching and celebrating and viewing the ‘good’ in everything and everybody.
And then our couple moves in with each other. Both go to work… every morning she makes her favorite coffee, every morning he tells her that this particular brand gives him bad reflux. Then they climb in their own cars and drive off, only to see each other late at night, due to overtime and traffic jams.
She cooks, but he’s not home. Disappointed, she covers his meal and puts it away in the refrigerator, leaving him a note before she goes to bed. He comes home late, makes himself a sandwich because he can’t stand that particular dish, and never dared to tell her.
The weekends they often spend with their in-laws’ camping or in the one or other backyard with a barbecue. They can’t go on vacation… because they can’t get off the same time – and of course, they cannot stay away from work longer than a weekend.
Even though everyone waits for them to announce that they are expecting, that never happens because both are too busy to make money and soon buy their own house… Unfortunately, they don’t realize they are waiting too long until she’s in her forties and finally decides it might be too risky to have a child now.
Occasionally they’re going out for dinner, but mostly they don’t have to say much to each other unless they discuss the job… and then it’s Monday, and the routine starts from scratch.
They might buy the house everybody expects them to buy. It’s a breathtaking museum, but they’re too busy with their job to enjoy it… it’s not a home, it’s just a status symbol. And they both continue working.
And at one point they realize… they don’t have that much to say to each other. They don’t know, do we actually know each other? Or did we just rush into our marriage because everybody expected us to; our families, the readers…
Basically, their marriage is the wrong coffee, and a woman who cannot cook… it’s everything everyone expects, but to them, it’s just routine and boredom.
And that’s why a romantic book usually ends with the kiss and the ‘happily ever after.’
When I saw this quote, I immediately felt affected. It was like Neil Gaiman ‘read my mind.’ There are times I have a hard time thinking about something else than my current story. I write in the morning, in the afternoon, and sometimes at night… means, shortly, before I go to sleep. In such a case, I may dream of my story…
Don’t expect too much of my dreams, please. I don’t remember I ever was ‘part’ of my story or found myself to be one of the protagonists. It was more like I watched a scene that I wrote before. I admit, the one or other time I had to correct some view after I woke up – but if I dream of my story (and that doesn’t happen every night), mostly, things might be a bit hazy.
My dreams are not generally the place where I get my ideas from. I think they’re more a reflection of my writing than anything else. But they also inspire me and softly ‘push’ me forward to go to my story and continue writing because that is, what I do, and that is what I want to do.
Of course, I know that Neil Gaiman did not talk about literal dreams… but the book that is in my head, is a story I’m responsible for, a story I can build, a book that can come true, that others can read; a book that may bring joy and smiles to people… and all this is in my hands. I am responsible for.
I love that thought, and that’s why I picked this quote. I think it is a unique, positive thought I would like to hold on and share with you, with readers, with other authors, with friends.
What are your thoughts about this quote? Please share them in the comments.
Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman, (born Neil Richard Gaiman 10 November 1960) is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre, and films.
His notable works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. He has won numerous awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, as well as the Newbery and Carnegie medals.
He is the first author to win both the Newbery and the Carnegie medals for the same work, The Graveyard Book (2008). In 2013, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was voted Book of the Year in the British National Book Awards. (Source: Wikipedia)
Don’t we all wish sometimes we could just tell the truth instead of juggling tactfully around saying what the other one would like to hear? Let me give you a few examples.
Imagine, a hair salon, somewhere in a big city… the walls are covered with breathtaking hairstyles on equally breathtaking people, the hairstylist expects his next appointment.
A customer enters and points to one of the pictures on the wall, telling the hairdresser: “I want exactly that hairstyle here.”
Now, what does the hairstylist want to say? “Well, I’m afraid, that is a misunderstanding. See, this is a professional model, a really beautiful human being. Whereas you are a caprice of nature… barely to look at.”
What does the stylist say eventually? “Aaawww. What an excellent choice. That cut will frame your face wonderfully. I’m convinced it will look splendidly on you.”
Or, let’s have a look at another example:
Parents are invited to a parent’s conference day, and they’re meeting their kids’ teacher.
Imagine what the teacher would like to say: “Ah, yes. Your son Willy. A complete idiot. About as intelligent as six feet of dirt track… I’m surprised how this child finds the door in the morning to leave the house. My advice to you: set him free; start from scratch.”
What does he say? “Your son. He is intelligent but does have a few difficulties to focus and concentrate. There are practices and exercises to improve that. But I’m convinced the older he gets, the easier it will be for him…”
Or, how do you tell parents that their child is not the cutest on earth? Ask them for a picture. Then you study it for a few minutes and say: “Aha… hmm… you know…. are you sure that this is indeed the face?”
Of course, our society does not accept the naked truth. We all know words can hurt, and we don’t want to hurt people, nor do we want to be hurt. That’s when our ability to successfully veil our replies in conversations, create our answers in a way to compliment the other person, and hide what we really think.
At this point, I admit, it is a relief at times, to use my characters to speak what ‘they’ think, and of course, use them to write what I think. I rarely refer to a particular person or situation. But I permit my characters at times, to be as outspoken, open, bold, and sometimes rude, as I would never dare to be in public.
At times I wonder, if crime authors use their books to ‘kill people’ they don’t like in real life.
What would you permit your character to do what you cannot do or say in your real life? Let me know in the comments, I’m curious.
Humans are able to feel so unbelievably strong emotions: Love, hate, reflux…
– unknown –
When did we stop writing love letters? When was the classic ‘love letter’ a relict of the past?
In my opinion, technological progress has not only killed a lot of our ability to communicate but also our ability to write, maybe to be romantic…
Where did these little notes go?
From what I hear, nowadays, people send each other texts. They start dating, sending texts, women are hurt when their love interest doesn’t text back within five minutes, the rate of misunderstandings within text messages is enormous, and often couples argue by text, and at the end, break up by text. It’s so much easier to send short messages, than to say what we feel… or: in this case, to write it down.
I recommend picking the right stationery. It doesn’t have to be pink with hearts… but tasteful and a bit romantic.
You don’t have to be a writer to express honest feelings by writing them down. When you’re not sure about grammar and spelling, please hand the letter over to someone you trust to correct your letter. There’s nothing worse than your love interest roaring with laughter about your ‘meestakes.’
Maybe you might refrain from rhyming, in particular when you’re not used to writing poetry. In a love letter, it’s important to be true to how you feel and not try to impress.
I would walk on my knees in front of you
show you how much worship I can do.
Your heart, it pulses, it feels like a shock
in accordance with my …. uhm… soul.
And no, this is definitely not a verse for your love letter. (Unless you have a really humorous partner, of course).
Write what’s deep in your heart. Express what’s in your head, let the other one know that he/she is important to you. There is a choice of words that are important for your letter:
Feel free to add more words to the list, in particular, important ones… they don’t need to have to be important to us, but to you – and your loved one.
Maybe you know each other for a while; maybe you are a couple already and have gone through a lot with each other, or maybe you want to tell someone how you feel? It doesn’t matter. As long as you express your deepest emotions and be honest, your letter is going to touch your recipient’s heart and soul.
Let me give you an example… a letter, addressed to someone who wishes to start a relationship, expressing affection and hope.
We met through a phone call. When I particularized my situation, you immediately consented to help me. What a big heart you have! You didn’t have to, and still, you supported me. You were always there for me! We talked, and our conversations brought us closer.
We met a bit later personally, and that meeting only confirmed that I found who I was looking for, someone to trust, someone to feel safe with, someone to hope…
Our conversations, these endless, wonderful, humorous, and informative conversations… I cannot deny I’m addicted to these conversations. I love talking to you, I love hearing your voice, I love hearing your laughter, and when we don’t talk, I miss you… and I wish, one day, I would hear the same from your lips.
I wish I could hear the birds sing with you, I wish I could listen to the rain with you, I wish I could see you soon, I wish, I wish, I wish… you are someone special. I hope, one day, I will be able to tell you that, without embarrassment or humiliation, without any awkward feeling, but with a warm smile, and maybe with a hug.
With all my heart
I know, this is far away from Do you love me, yes/no/maybe. But it is clear, honest, and emotional. And that’s what you want when you write your love letter.
(Of course, you can hire someone to write your love letter. And yes, I do that occasionally, even though it’s not cheap). But that isn’t how it should be. A big part of a love letter is that part that you send with your words: your heart, your tears, yourself.