When Centriel roams the Earth in a dark mood and atypical despair, in a mountain clearing, far from humankind, he unexpectedly discovers a runner, followed by a petite hunter. The way the woman treats the giant fugitive amuses the Archangel, but he quickly learns that neither of them are what they seem to be.
Simin Arnatt is an extraordinary woman. Her occupation as a Bounty Hunter takes her all over the world, as she follows her prey to the most unusual places. She would have never expected to meet the famous Centriel while on a hunt. When he offers to help her, she feels the enormous attraction, but she knows, with the secret she holds, she could never dare to hope for love.
Neither of them could guess that with her next assignment, Hell is breaking loose…
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It’s an extraordinary day for me today. I’m facing the fact that I just got one year older. This means my anniversary to turn 29 recurs; I forgot the number of times this year.
Well, I figure, age is just a number and considering my age and everything I went through, I’m blessed I’m still as functional as I am now. I’m not going to complain today… after all, it’s my birthday, and I don’t want to come online whining like a baby.
Don’t get me wrong, my Birthday will be the most wonderful day of the year. Due to the pandemic, the lockdown, and social distancing, I’m going to spend it all by myself, locked into my apartment, just with the cats. And knowing my luck, as usual, people are going to forget about it – and even if not, I’m getting short messages, texts, messenger-‘HBD’s and the one or other voice message… but nowadays nobody seems to have time to talk anymore – on the phone and sacrifice a few minutes to make things personal and show the other one that a few minutes isn’t too much to ask.
However, I have thought about what I would wish for if I had a few free wishes (Like twenty or so – on a list), But then I decided to do it differently.
And what do I pray for at this time?
Of course, if you know me, you’re well aware that the last point on that list was written with a smirk and a wink…
Yes, I do wish all that… but then, after all, it’s MY birthday – MY special day, where I’m going out and will buy a piece of cake, just for me… and then return to my writing…
What do I wish for myself? I mean, besides a few things that I don’t want to spread out here… that are deep in my heart… I won’t tell you.
I wish more people would watch the wonderful book trailers for ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series and take the time to read the books. Many say they’re wonderful, and I’d love to hear more people diving into the series. Then, don’t forget: This isn’t a trilogy – it’s a series. Book 4 is getting ready…
2020 was an eventful and extremely challenging year for me. However, I decided to use December, the last month of the year, to calm my soul, concentrate on what’s important, on what’s in my heart, and on one emotion in particular:
Writer’s Treasure Chest grew again and I have to thank you all, my Followers, Friends, and Readers!
Thank you so much for making my writing adventure a pleasant one!
When I read this quote, I felt a little sting inside of me. So far, writing, to me, was something I love doing, but still, it is hard work. Therefore, I considered myself a ‘hard worker’, with some natural creativity, and, hopefully, some God-given talent.
I did not, whatsoever, combine my writing and the world ‘artist’ in the same sentence. And to me, a painter is clearly defined as an artist.
The moment I read that, I tried to find out who said it, and when I read ‘Voltaire’, I was surprised, and a tiny bit proud, too.
Voltaire is considered one of the best writers ever, busy as a bee, and in many ways controversial for the past times. His entire thinking was far ahead of his time. The fact that it was Voltaire, telling me that what I do is ‘painting’, just with words, instead of brushes, made me, for the first time, feel like being an artist.
Yes, I write, yes, I paint, I just paint with words… I paint wonderful pictures for the ones who take the time to stand still and ‘look’ at these pictures; take them in, enjoy them… read them, and imagine them… take my tools and use them to show your own picture in your head, in your dreams, in your imagination.
At this moment I consider this a wonderful Christmas present.
Thank you, Voltaire.
Author of the satirical novella ‘Candide,’ Voltaire is widely considered one of France’s greatest Enlightenment writers.
Who Was Voltaire?
Voltaire established himself as one of the leading writers of the Enlightenment. His famed works include the tragic play Zaïre, the historical study The Age of Louis XIV, and the satirical novella Candide. Often at odds with French authorities over his politically and religiously charged works, he was twice imprisoned and spent many years in exile. He died shortly after returning to Paris in 1778.
Voltaire was born François-Marie Arouet to a prosperous family on November 21, 1694, in Paris, France. He was the youngest of five children born to François Arouet and Marie Marguerite d’Aumart. When Voltaire was just seven years old, his mother passed away. Following her death, he grew closer to his free-thinking godfather.
In 1704, Voltaire was enrolled at the Collége Louis-le-Grand, a Jesuit secondary school in Paris, where he received a classical education and began showing promise as a writer.
Beliefs and Philosophy
Embracing Enlightenment philosophers such as Isaac Newton, John Locke and Francis Bacon, Voltaire found inspiration in their ideals of a free and liberal society, along with freedom of religion and free commerce.
As a vegetarian and an advocate of animal rights, however, Voltaire praised Hinduism, stating Hindus were “[a] peaceful and innocent people, equally incapable of hurting others or of defending themselves.”
Voltaire wrote poetry and plays, as well as historical and philosophical works. His most well-known poetry includes The Henriade (1723) and The Maid of Orleans, which he started writing in 1730 but never fully completed.
Among the earliest of Voltaire’s best-known plays is his adaptation of Sophocles’ tragedy Oedipus, which was first performed in 1718. Voltaire followed with a string of dramatic tragedies, including Mariamne (1724). His Zaïre (1732), written in verse, was something of a departure from previous works: Until that point, Voltaire’s tragedies had centered on a fatal flaw in the protagonist’s character; however, the tragedy in Zaïre was the result of circumstance. Following Zaïre, Voltaire continued to write tragic plays, including Mahomet (1736) and Nanine (1749).
Lately, while reading, I noticed my thoughts often wandered away, even though the story is thrilling and I love the characters. I considered myself a bit tired and prepared a ‘brain-boost’ in form of a cup of coffee.
Then I started thinking: I think I read somewhere, that the impact of caffeine on our organism is more illusional than physical. Finally, I started to do some research. After all, we writers are mostly working with our brains! And I consider that our ‘most important’ tool for our work – besides the fingers, computers, pen and paper, and a few other things, of course.
I’m not someone who likes to feed myself lab-produced over-the-counter vitamins and supplements. I try to eat balanced and healthy. But I tried to find out, what other nutrients my brain needs to keep focused. That’s what I found:
Coffee indeed has a positive impact on our brain. Caffeine and antioxidants help our brain in several ways:
Caffeine blocks adenosine, a chemical messenger that makes us sleepy and improves our mood. Also, it boosts our concentration, whether drank in the morning or several cups during the day.
I read about a suspicion that drinking coffee over the long term could reduce the risk of neurological diseases, for example, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
It seems science has proven blueberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress and can reduce the effects of age-related conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Also, the study showed that a diet rich in blueberries significantly improved learning capacity and motor skills. Blueberries should be eaten daily.
Broccoli contains strong plant compounds, including antioxidants, and is also high in vitamin K. That vitamin is essential for forming sphingolipids, which can be found in our brain cells.
It was proven that an extra vitamin K intake leads to better memory.
4. Wild salmon.
It seems deep-water fish, such as salmon, are rich in Omega3 essential fatty acids, which are essential for brain function. Other Omega3 rich fish are sardines and herring. It is recommended to include fish in your diet two to three times a week.
5. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are great vitamin E sources. It’s recommended to eat them daily, at least an ounce of a mix of walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews peanuts, sunflower, and sesame seeds. If you’re on a sodium-restricted diet, buy them unsalted. – Also very helpful are pumpkin seeds who contain a high value of Magnesium, Zinc, Copper, and Iron.
Apparently, avocados are almost as good as blueberries when it comes to improving the health of our brains. Of course, avocado is a fatty fruit, but it contains a particular fat that helps to improve a healthy blood flow. A healthy blood flow means, a healthy brain, and it can contribute to lower blood pressure.
7. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate has strong antioxidant properties and contains several natural stimulants, including caffeine, which improves focus and concentration. Also, chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins, which helps to lift our mood. Still, as good as it sounds, this one has to be enjoyed in moderation. Less is more when it comes to dark chocolate. It does come with a few side effects.
The ones of us writing fiction might have come across the one or other injury our characters are experiencing within the story. Depending on your genre of fiction (most significantly probably in crime stories, SiFi, occasionally fantasy, or mixed genres), these injuries might be more severe than a paper cut. (Even though they really hurt and nobody ever believes it, but that’s for another time.)
We all had the situation we watched a movie or read a book and our hero took a blow to the head or a bullet to protect his beloved… In movies, it’s normally quite simple. We watch the beloved carefully dab a tiny cut (where does that come from?) on the hero’s temple, most likely with a part of her clothing, and he comes around, pitifully whining and groaning. After three minutes he tells her they have to flee, jumps up, and with three bullets in his body, saves the situation and the girl. My hero…
One of my favorite examples at this point is the ‘Die Hard’-movies with hero John McClane. ‘The Week’ has taken a closer look at John McClane’s injures with a professional back in 2014. You can read the article here. )The poor man fights all by himself (mostly) against groups of criminals, using all his wit, experience, – and a handgun. Generally, he wins the fight by a hairsbreadth, with his, once white, undergarment dark gray and blood-soaked, cut feet, cuts, and lacerations all over his body, limping, and somewhat between two to five bullets in his body. Admirable – and completely unrealistic. So what? Hollywood has a monopole for explosions, fake catastrophes, bullets, freak destructions, and unrealistic injuries… But what’s good for Hollywood is not necessarily good for a debut writer.
Let’s have a look at a few examples in books and movies and analyze their grade of realism.
A human taking a blow to the head and collapsing is better off in the lateral recumbent position anyway, but that’s only a detail. If the blow was hard enough to keep the victim unconscious for more than three minutes, the chances are high that there is a concussion, or even a more severe injury, like brain injury, bleeding within the brain, or brain swelling. Jumping up and running around after several hours of unconsciousness won’t be possible. The victim would most like just helplessly stumble or have problems with the eyesight and orientation.
You are writing fantasy and your victim gets dismembered? Losing an arm or a leg is no laughing matter. In such a case we look at a severe injury that, in real life will end fatally, if the victim does not get help within the shortest time and the wound is professionally taken care of immediately. The heart would still pump blood through the exposed arteries, which would splatter the blood all over the place in remarkable fountains. The would would have to be carefully secured. The blood loss would weaken the victim severely. After the fast loss of approximately 1/3 of a gallon (1 liter) of blood, the victim experiences rapid heart rate, confusion, weakness, shallow breathing, blood pressure difficulties, and medical shock. There is no ‘continued’ fighting with only one arm.
3. Broken Bones
If your character experiences broken bones, the victim will face horrible pain. Depending on how bad the break is if it’s clean or dangerous multiple fractures, the pain can lead to dizziness, lightheadedness, and finally pass out from shock. The limp with the broken bone won’t be able to move, a possible numbness could start if the break involved nerves. The healing of a broken bone can take between six weeks and six months, depending on how severe the bone is broken, if it was a leg or an arm, hands, joints, feet, and wrists are usually taking longer. If the bone is older the healing takes longer too.
4. Bullets & Stab Wounds
They are generally called ‘puncture wounds’. We are, at this point, talking about an object ‘entering’ a human body, injuring the body in the process. From what my research showed me, there are low, medium and high energy puncture wounds, caused by, for example, spears or knives (low), arrows, or crossbow bolts or handguns (medium) and high-powered rifles (high). Puncture injuries are described as sharp pains, often stinging, occasionally burning. They might take up to six months to heal and very often result in late consequences. These wounds are never harmless. There is no place in the body where it’s not dangerous. Puncture wounds can turn into massive blood loss and death within only a few minutes. (Getting up and solving a case after two days is not going to work, oh Hollywood, city of illusions).
5. Some Other Injuries
Of course, there are other injuries. Burns, cuts, slashes, even toxic influence on the body, or in rare cases, decapitation. Buns and cuts can be treated and, depending on the severeness, can heal quite quickly, within ten to fourteen days. Unless the burns are more severe, then they will need far longer. Slashes most likely need stitches. As for the toxic influence of substances on the body, that depends on the situation and I won’t go deeper into that subject. There are too many toxic substances and I suspect, some research would be needed in such a case. Decapitation ends fatally to humans, period. There’s no way out. If the injury happens to supernatural creatures, the writer does have some freedom with the recovery process.
I hope, this list helped a bit to keep the injuries in your books on a realistic level. Your readers will appreciate your sticking to reality in this case.
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.