It’s almost Christmas Time! If you don’t have a gift for your god-child, your niece, nephew, your best friend’s kids – or feel like reading a paranormal romance for young adults, just because you’re curious, check out A. J. Alexander’s ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series:
Below you will find an interview with Nathan. Read it and find out more about an Angel we only know by name – and by a perfectly tailored suit.
Excerpt from ‘Soul Taker’:
He looked over my shoulder, and I turned around, watching two beautiful looking men walking toward us. One of them was dressed in a suit and tie and looked elegant and chic like a businessman. The other one wore old jeans, cowboy boots, and a long-worn leather coat.
Joseph smiled. He introduced me to the business-like guy. “This is Nathaniel. He’s your replacement and will take your job over from here.”
The Guy shook my hand. “Please, call me Nate,” he said with a laugh.
Hello Nathan. It is great seeing you again. How are you doing?
Hello AJ. Nice to see you too. I’m doing okay. Unfortunately, I’m far too busy. Sometimes I wish I had more time off.
We know you took over from Katie when she wanted to become a Guardian and met Raphael.
Yes, I did. I was quite surprised to hear the two fell in love. I was invited to their wedding but unfortunately couldn’t go because of an emergency.
Why were you surprised? From what I hear, Katie is breathtakingly beautiful, and Raphael, from what I heard, has celebrated quite some success with the ladies.
Yes, but we were taught that it is almost impossible for an Archangel to find his consort. Raphael found his consort, and now we all are curious to see who of the Council Of Twelve is going to be next.
How about you? Is there someone special in your life?
I admit, there is someone I love. But I am not permitted to talk more about all that, remember? You told me to keep my mouth shut about that.
(Oh, yes. *AJ laughs* I forgot)
But now, tell us a little bit about you. Who is Nathan?
I am a Soul Taker, as you know. I have been one for about a millennium. I pick up souls and take them to their respective final destinations. Usually, it is Heaven, but occasionally I have to take them to the gates of Hell. Rarely we Soul Takers are attacked by the other side who try to steal the soul we are working with.
Now, we know Katie got tired of doing this job for three hundred years. Aren’t you tired out by that job?
Well, Katie and I are two completely different personalities. She is younger than I am, for one thing. Also, she is quite emotionally sensitive. I could easily imagine that a soul she takes to the portals of the Underworld is trashing, crying, regretting, screaming, is almost breaking her heart.
And we shouldn’t forget: We are taking all kinds of souls… not only bad ones, not only good ones, and in particular, we do have to pick up innocent souls too. That was very hard on Katie.
I had to harden my emotions and heart against this kind of compassion, or I could never have done that job to my satisfaction and the satisfaction of my bosses.
We met you briefly in Katie’s story. And now we learned a bit more about who you are. Are we going to meet you again?
Yes, you will meet me again. You will learn more about me. Just be a bit patient. I’ll be back.
Thank you so much for dropping in as my guest today, Nathan. We really appreciate it.
We know that Katie loves to invite the ‘Council Of Twelve’ over for dinner. She cares for each one of the Council members and wants them more to feel like a real family. Now, we also know, Katie isn’t a naturally talented cook. But occasionally she gets help in the kitchen. If that happens, the Council members get dinner like that one:
Filet Mignon with Baked Potatoes and Garlic/Lemon-Broccoli
16 ounces filet mignon 2 steaks, about 2 inches thick, room temperature
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper freshly ground
2 tablespoons butter Kerrygold recommended
2 cloves garlic smashed
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
Take steaks out of the refrigerator about an hour before you plan to cook them to allow them to come to room temperature. Coat both sides with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Add butter, garlic, rosemary, and thyme to oven-safe stainless steel or cast iron pan.
Heat over medium-high to high heat. You want the pan to be as hot as you can get it without burning the butter. Allow butter to melt, swirling frequently to prevent burning. The more you move the butter around, the less it will burn.
As soon as the butter is melted, add both steaks to the hot pan. Sear 2-3 minutes on both sides, constantly spooning the hot butter onto the steaks, and only turn once after they get nicely browned. Do not let the butter burn – keep it moving. Insert the thermometer into thickest part of the steak and transfer pan with steaks to the hot oven.
Finish cooking in the hot oven. Remove when internal temperature reaches 120 degrees F for rare, 125 degrees F for medium-rare, and 130 degrees F for medium. This should take around 10 minutes. Allow steaks to rest in pan for at least 5 minutes (temperature should rise another 5 degrees).
4 russet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Scrub potatoes to remove any dirt or debris. Dab dry.
Poke holes over potatoes with a fork in about 5-6 places per potato.
Coat the outside of each potato with olive oil and salt.
Place potatoes directly on the middle rack of your oven and bake 50-60 minutes. (I place a small piece of foil on the rack below to catch any drippings).
Serve hot with your favorite toppings.
2 heads broccoli, separated into florets
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
In a large bowl, toss broccoli florets with the extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, pepper and garlic. Spread the broccoli out in an even layer on a baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven until florets are tender enough to pierce the stems with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and transfer to a serving platter. Squeeze lemon juice liberally over the broccoli before serving for a refreshing, tangy finish.
Just in case you plan to cook Katies meal, let me know how it tastes, please.
Katie got a hint from one of the top angelic chefs in the warrior’s kitchens. With his help, she cooked an unusual kind of casserole in European style. Needless to say, the entire Council Of Twelve enjoyed that particular dinner enormously. Zachariel even went as far as to smirk and say: “This doesn’t taste half bad. Maybe there’s hope for your wife, Rafe.”
This recipe needs a very particular European style pot, the so-called “Romertopf”. The pot can be ordered on Amazon. It isn’t a cheap product. But it’s a fantastic way to cook healthy and collect the food’s own taste.
Take the pot: read its instructions carefully: if it’s a pure clay pot, water it sufficiently before starting to cook. If it’s glazed, like mine, just butter it with the tablespoon of butter. It’s easy to clean. (But NOT dishwasher-proof!!)
2. Prepare the potatoes. Wash them, peel them and cut them into cubes. (or do it as I did with the baby potatoes, which I didn’t peel and cut them into 4 to 6 pieces. Cut the tomatoes into pieces, peel the scallions, or peel and cut the onion into small pieces. Prepare the cup of chicken broth.
3. Prepare the chicken drumsticks, unpack them, wash them, dab them dry and season them with only a bit of salt, pepper, and paprika, on both sides. You can also buy a whole chicken and cut it into 4 – 6 pieces. (I decided on drumsticks because, as much as I like chicken, I’m not a doctor and autopsies aren’t my favorite thing to do.)
4. Fill the bottom of your pot with the small cut onion, the potatoes, the dried apricots, and the broth. On top put the drumsticks. Cover the pot and put it into the cold oven. Heat it up to 425 degrees F and leave it for 50 minutes.
5. After these 50 minutes, add the tomatoes to the pot, cover it again and leave it for another 15 – 20 minutes.
6. Remove the lid of the pot and leave it for about 10 minutes in the oven, uncovered.
7. Remove it from the oven, prepare a few plates and serve it. Enjoy.
My guest post about book signings and how to be horribly underprepared was published today on The Story Reading Ape’s blog. Thank you so much for your ongoing support, Chris! What would I do without you?
When I was happily posting about my first book signing, a couple of weeks back, I was looking so forward to what is going to happen that I was completely unprepared. I mean, what exactly would happen? I hoped for people dropping by at my table, loving the book, buying it and I’d sign it. – Wonderful me.
Normally I am a very cautious person, and I love to go somewhere, no matter where, and be really prepared. That day I wasn’t. I didn’t have more than only a few days to get ready for that book signing, and I completely slept the preparation away. There were many other things going on as well, but that isn’t a decent excuse to be as sloppy as I was.
Today I was thinking about checking out my ‘Council Of Twelve’ characters a bit more carefully and more in detail. But where to start? (I’m not necessarily talking about the names). I have twelve amazing personalities. But one blog post about the characteristics of a dozen very unique natures would end up in me still typing next Thursday and you reading until Christmas. I tried to limit the number of my Council of Twelve members to the original four. and had to re-phrase my question: “What character has which character?” Who is Raphael, how is he? How different is he from, let’s say, Gabriel. What are their characteristics based on?
The last question was quite easy to answer, considering I’m a woman… The Zodiac signs!
Yeah – great!
The four oldest members of ‘The Council Of Twelve’ were not born, they were created. Therefore, they don’t have a Zodiac sign.
With a huge sigh, I left the Astrology up to the stars and tried to find out my own characteristics. How can I write about other characters if I don’t even understand my types of characteristics in a professional way?
And there, the first giggles started already. I started at the basics… how did personality, characteristics, and psychology even develop? Where did I start? I’m telling you, I had a good time starting with Hippocrates and his four-temperament-theory.
The four temperament theory is a proto-psychological theory which suggests that there are four fundamental personality types: sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic. Most formulations include the possibility of mixtures among the types where an individual’s personality types overlap, and they share two or more temperaments. The Greek physician Hippocrates (c. 460 – c. 370 BC) described the four temperaments as part of the ancient medical concept of humorism that four bodily fluids affect human personality traits and behaviors. Modern medical science does not define a fixed relationship between internal secretions and personality, although some psychological personality type systems use categories similar to the Greek temperaments. (Source, Wikipedia)
After the history of Hippocrates and the blood-related psychology didn’t take me anywhere, I checked out different personality tests, which all ended up completely confusing. One tells me I’m an extrovert, the other tells me I’m an introvert, one tells me I’m an overcareful personality, while the other informs me that I should try to connect people. Otherwise, I could ‘end up in loneliness.’ I was about everything in between, from a hermit to a party-girl. I didn’t believe the one or other.
Then I read about the Meyers-Briggs Types. According to Meyers-Briggs, there are 16 personality types. I found that quite interesting and read a bit more about it. It seems in a way explainable and after studying the type indicator, which you can find here:
I took the free test because I was curious. I had considered myself an INFP Personality and turned out to be an INTP type, “The Thinker.” I was quite close, though.
In case you are curious, here is the personality type page I did the test on. It also shows you the type indicator and tells you exactly what the letters behind every personality means. – CONTINUE TO THE PERSONALITY TEST PAGE
Then I got one step further: since I am definitely not one of the founding members of ‘The Council Of Twelve,’ I do have a Zodiac sign. How well are the description of my Zodiac sign match the description of my ‘Meyer’s-Briggs’ personality test result? Let’s find out:
Not likely to place much value on traditional goals such as popularity and security
Spend a lot of time inside your own mind
Strong ability to analyze problems, identify patterns, and come up with logical explanations
Highly value intelligence and knowledge
Love new ideas and become very excited over abstractions and theories
The Capricorn woman might not be very confident, extrovert, and bold. Seduction and sexiness aren’t her favorite techniques. But she is very graceful, polished and well mannered. Capricorn nature is never overly emotional and dramatic. She will remain practical, emotionally stable, and sensible, even in the most sensitive situations. She is great at learning from mistakes. Unlike many women, she is open to constructive criticism. (Sorry, when it comes to me, that sentence is totally wrong. I just left it in the description because it made me laugh loudly.)
The Capricorn woman in marriage often keeps her own desires and needs behind for the happiness of the family. She is smart, hardworking, and capable of achieving the toughest goals in life. She also has a huge appetite for physical love and lust.
Capricorn females are often so fearful of the future that they become worriers before time. Small tensions and anxieties can make them gloomy, depressed, and pessimistic.
Now, according to these personality studies of myself (HAHA), there are, indeed, a few conformities which I had marked with colored text. These similarities might be a coincidence, or there is indeed something about Zodiac signs.
All this taught me that no personality test is going to tell me I can’t be grumpy when I’m in a bad mood, even though I’m the most balanced character on Earth.
It also taught me, that this particular analysis of myself has taken me about four and a half hours. If I have to analyze each of ‘The Council Of Twelve’ characters this way, you won’t be able to read another book in the series before Easter 2032!
I figure I will continue building my characters the way I’m used to and won’t try to make them more detailed that Hippocrates told me to. LOL
But if you had taken the Meyer-Briggs test please, let us know the results in the comments. I thought it a lot of fun.
After I had published ‘Soul Taker’, I found a link to The Good Ebooks & Books Company online, which offers book ads, free as well as paid ones. I checked it out, and it seemed a decently long-existing way to advertise my book. I tried it with the free version.
Since ‘Soul Taker’ was accepted in a quick and uncomplicated way, I decided to try and set up the second book in the series, Sundance.
Once again I filled in the form online and got another polite and friendly email, confirming my submission and telling me that they’ll get back to me as soon as possible.
After only a very short delay I received the information that ‘Sundance’ is online. Of course, they were telling me what advantages a ‘premium’ account would have, but I didn’t get the impression they’re telling me: “Either you’ll upgrade or…”
“Good E-Books” connects authors and readers. They placed ‘Sundance’ in the middle as a New Release. They set it up with its cover picture, the blurb and linked it to its Amazon page.