Soul Taker Secrets – The Council Of Twelve Is Fantasy!

I was asked a short while ago: “The Council Of Twelve” series is a series of religious books, right?” I almost laughed. However, I kept my cool and smiled. “No, it’s not. I’m writing a YA fantasy series!” And it is important to me that my readers take it as such!

The Council of Twelve series is a work of fiction, it won’t proclaim truth or even faith.

The Catholic Bible mentions seven Archangels, some of them named, and some are not. According to old scriptures, four Archangels’ names are known: Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Uriel. I ‘borrowed’ these names and added eight more Archangels to form the ‘Council of Twelve’. (Also, who tells me, these names are correct? We know them, yes. But I doubt very much anyone on Earth can remember, that our Lord God named four of his Archangels Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Uriel). Still, through history, these names, in connection with a strong, powerful creature called an ‘Archangel’, represent the ‘ultimate’ Good.

In my series, I wanted the ‘ultimate Good’. I wanted the fight ‘Good vs. Evil’… And angels and demons are the ones fighting that war. The characters of Archangels, angels, demons, and their respective hierarchies give me freedom any fantasy writer can only dream of!

Now, while Michael has on occasion been called the ‘Angel of Death’, others called him the ‘Archangel of War and Conflict’, on further websites and in articles he was the ‘Archangel of Peace and Safety’… who is right? Nobody knows for sure. And that’s why Archangel Michael in ‘The Council of Twelve’ series, is exactly, what I made him; the strongest, most powerful individual in existence, except his creator, of course, the oldest existing Archangel, and the leader of the Council.

Who said, Raphael was ‘the Healer’? In other essays, he’s described as ‘the Guardian’, and nobody can tell for sure, what and who he is, right? I made him both; the protector and keeper of the Healers and the Guardians…

It seems different sources are clear about Gabriel being ‘The Messenger’… and I kept it that way. The bible is clear about Gabriel being the Archangel sent to inform Virgin Mary about her being the mother of God’s son. Gabriel was also the Archangel who announced the birth of Jesus of Nazareth in Bethlehem.

As for Uriel, nobody is sure about his sources and roots. He’s described as ‘the Fire of God’, in other articles he’s been called the ‘balance of the world’, and other sources claim him to be ‘the Angel of Death’. It is said in certain books, that Uriel was the Archangel who killed the firstborn sons of Egypt when the Pharao didn’t let Moses’ people leave the country. The bible only talks about the ‘Angel of Perdition’, no name was mentioned there. But since it was talked about a powerful angel with a ‘fire sword’, it was assumed that Uriel was the one fulfilling God’s orders in that case. But again, nobody can tell for sure. In ‘The Council of Twelve’ series, Uriel is God’s beloved son, made out of fire and ashes, with flames in his wings. My Uriel is an Archangel existing in my fantasy… he’s caring, loving, and protecting, and he looks fabulous.

I purposely refrained from using any further Archangel names as they were mentioned in additional articles, books, or the ‘lost books of the bible’, the Apocrypha. I made up eight Archangels, born in my imagination and fantasy, each one strong, powerful, unique, and with his own set of skills. Each of these Archangels brings his own personality, talents, and voice into the ‘Council of Twelve’ and completes his brothers. Each of the Archangels is good to the core, fights the evil side, and protects his troops. They all fight, discuss, plan, protect… sometimes they joke, they laugh, they support each other, and they fall in love.

I have been writing about doing ‘research’ for ‘The Council of Twelve’ series. We are talking about the list of demons of the Ars Goetia, which helped me get my ‘Evil’ side organized and set up. The Good side needs an antagonist, and Lucifer doesn’t fight all alone. Again, we aren’t talking about a fact list… We’re talking about a lot of fantasy being involved in getting ‘The Council of Twelve’ series created. Of course, I didn’t take every demon’s name and transferred the creature into my book. I made some of them up, I gave them a voice, a look, a truly hateable creature. But all this is rooted in my fantasy and imagination.

If an author takes fantastic creatures and magic and transfers both into our existing world, in combination with falling in love and kissing, the genre is called ‘Paranormal Romance’. The Council of Twelve series is taking place in Heaven, on Earth, and in Hell, two of the three places are unknown to living organisms, which made me consider ‘my genre’ as ‘Fantasy’. There are too many unknown factors to call it ‘Paranormal Romance’.

Now, we know what the genre is called, but I downright refuse to consider ‘The Council of Twelve’ series ‘Christian or Religious Fantasy’. There’s too much fantasy in these books to truly consider them religious. It is an undeniable fact that the author of these books is a believer in God. It’s clearly readable that the Creator of the World has my highest respect. I never describe Him in detail. When He shows up within the stories, only His voice is mentioned. Heaven and Hell are formed and described after my imagination.

I’m not going into religious discussions, I don’t use bible quotes, and I am not going to argue with anyone about whether my fantasy is the ‘real’ Heaven, Hell, or story. The Good side is, what’s close to my heart, and you won’t find anything better to fight for the ‘Good side’ than a dozen Archangels with their love interests. Not to talk about the fact that I added a bit of humor to the stories, and I expect my readers to laugh, enjoy the stories and fall in love with the characters, just like other authors do. I’d like my readers to be entertained, and not to think too intensely about religious beliefs when reading ‘The Council of Twelve’ series. Read, be entertained, and enjoy.

Find ‘The Council of Twelve’ books here below:

Soul Taker: https://books2read.com/u/m2roOj

Sundance: https://books2read.com/u/mgGGeX

Demon Tracker: https://books2read.com/u/3yEx6l

Bounty Hunter: https://books2read.com/u/mgzd5X

Book 5 – to follow soon!

Read the books and enjoy the read! And don’t forget, I’m a writer, I’d be enthusiastic about your good review.

The Council Of Twelve Series Continues

After quite some waiting time now, many life changes and a lot of traveling, I can finally come up with some news:

The Council of Twelve Series will continue soon.

Check out the four books that are already available:


A. J. Alexander’s Books

SOUL TAKER

After long years in the line of duty as a ‘Soul Taker’, Kate is worn out.

When she gets a new job offer from the ‘Powers Above’, she accepts her new job as a Guardian gratefully without knowing that her teacher is one of the most powerful beings in existence, the Archangel Raphael.

Along with Raphael, she takes on her new task and the connection between them grows.

Raphael helps, protects and supports Kate, but suddenly, she becomes a target for the Demons of Hell.

Raphael realizes that Kate means more to him than he expected, which causes him to fight furiously against danger. If he fails, Kate’s future will contain eternal darkness, evil, and torture.


SUNDANCE

Sundance is a promising young Warrior Angel, the first in centuries to join the Divine Army. With the help of one of the most powerful Archangels, her skill and talent develop, allowing her to master some of the most difficult tasks that face her kind.

Sundance, under the supervision of the ‘Council of Twelve’ seeks to prove that she deserves her unusual gifts in the eternal fight between good and evil. Follow her adventures as she discovers love, fights the good fight, and finds herself in the heat of battle trying to keep her wings from being singed.


DEMON TRACKER

Zepheira is the best Demon Tracker working for the Good side. With her unusual looks, her phenomenal sense of smell, and her bravery, she quickly draws ‘The Big 7’s attention to her talent. They hire her to find one of them. Leaving her familiar surroundings and regular work environment unsettles Zepheira at first. But the challenge to prove herself and to increase the reputation of her infallibility tempts her. She is convinced she will be a great asset to ‘The Big 7’. Little does she know she will be a much greater asset in Heaven’s fight against Evil. Zepheira suddenly becomes more than a hired tracker. She finds herself an important pawn in the game of love, heat, and fire. Will her courage and sacrifice be sufficient to dance with the flames?


Bounty Hunter

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…


There still needs to be some work done. The filing for the copyright will be done, knocking on my Beta-Reader’s windows was done this week, and I was in contact with my cover designer just now. She will start working on the cover of the new book.

It’s time book five will be published, and you will find out who is the new addition to our growing consort circle. I will keep you updated!

Soul Taker Secrets – An Angelic Dish

Katie and her consort-sisters grew. They developed as a group, as a family, as strong independent powerful women.

While in the beginning, the ‘Council of Twelve’ mainly was that, a ‘council,’ the members of ‘the brotherhood’ how they called it, merely met when they had a problem to solve, work out together, regroup the troops, or some other business challenge coming up. Rarely did they meet just for fun. Of course, when you’re a brotherhood of a dozen enormously strong creatures working together, you start knowing each other. However, they barely met anywhere else than in the Great Hall, the arena, or a battlefield.

Once Katie and Raphael fell in love, the entire Council met for dinner once a month in their house. Katie was known as one of the most incapable chefs of all times, but not even one council member had the heart (or the guts) to tell her that. She knew she wasn’t that good a cook and got herself help and support. But she constantly learned. Not even Sundance could help much. Sundance was a warrior and usually ate either in the warrior common dining hall or cooked for herself. Her kitchen knowledge was limited to mostly oatmeal, coffee, or cereal.

With Zepheira and Simin, two more consorts showed up, and their knowledge and willingness to learn made the monthly meetings much more enjoyable.

The longer the consorts knew each other, the closer their connection was. They started to open up to all council members. Even though they seemed intimidating at first, the consorts included them in their circles, and the ‘brotherhood’ slowly turned into a family—a family who deeply cared for each other. The Great Hall was not only for the Council Meetings anymore, but the consorts often gathered there with the council members to support a crisis.

In an earlier blog post, we learned about the favorite ‘Council of Twelve’ dessert.

Today we find out that the Great Hall does have a small kitchen attached. In case of a crisis, it was much easier to whip something up right there than cooking in one of the houses and carrying the food for sixteen people over.

They stocked the kitchen with long-lasting nutrition, such as cereal, the ingredients for oatmeal, coffee, tea, dried ice tea concentrate, rice, dried mushrooms, raisins, nuts,  cinnamon, pasta, and vegetable and fruit cans.

Our consorts found out pretty quickly that it was easy to ‘whip up’ some oatmeal and that all council members loved it. Occasionally, if there was plenty of time, one of the consorts decided to get some fresh fruit to pimp it up a bit.

Let’s see how Katie’s basic oatmeal recipe looks like.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (such as Quaker Oats Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Desired toppings (such as sliced almonds, peanut butter, or fresh fruit)

How to Make It

Step 1

Combine oats, milk, water, salt, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.

Step 2

Simmer uncovered for 3 to 5 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Step 3

Divide equally between two bowls. Drizzle each serving with 1/2 teaspoon honey. Add additional desired toppings and serve.

Chef’s Notes

For dairy-free oatmeal, substitute your favorite nut milk. 

(Source: The Only Basic Oatmeal Recipe You’ll Ever Need | Cooking Light)

Soul Taker Secrets – Angel Wings

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.


Picture courtesy of https://academy.allaboutbirds.org/feathers-article/

Wing feathers

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.

Amazon Parrot wing feather illustration by Andrew Leach

Tail feathers

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.

Ruffed Grouse tail feather illustration by Andrew Leach

Contour feathers

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.

Helmeted Guineafowl contour feather illustration by Andrew Leach

Semiplume

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.

Northern Cardinal semiplume feather illustration by Andrew Leach

Down

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.

Canada Goose down feather illustration by Andrew Leach

Filoplume

Short, simple feathers with few barbs, filoplumes function like mammal whiskers to sense the position of the contour feathers.

Common Poorwill filoplume feather illustration by Andrew Leach

Bristle

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.

Domestic Chicken bristle feather illustration by Andrew Leach

(Source: https://academy.allaboutbirds.org/feathers-article/)


Now that we learned about the different feathers in the wings let’s look at the different wing-shapes.

Picture courtesy of https://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/

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.

Picture courtesy of Freepik.com

Research For ‘The Council Of Twelve’ Series

When I got the idea to my ‘Council Of Twelve’ series, I considered doing some research, start with finding ‘experts.’ I talked to two people I considered experts: a nun and a monk.

Unfortunately, both were not as good as experts as I had hoped. The nun is an amazing, wonderful personality with a huge golden heart, selfless, helpful, pious – and an avid reader and a big fan of fantasy books. I could not ask even one of the many questions I had; she didn’t stop talking, telling me about all the fantastic books she already read. By listening to her, I had the impression, in her imagination, she actually wrote my entire series. It was an enjoyable, interesting afternoon, but I got home with nothing than a headache.

The priest was a different kind of expert. He answered most of my questions with quotes directly out of the bible, and he was not at all a fan of my idea for that series. He found, the fight Good versus Evil should be left to our Lord. I can only agree with that, but I had not planned to single-handedly fight Hades and the entire Underworld! I was only planning to write a book, for Heaven’s sake, and we’re not talking about a non-fiction reality report. We’re talking about a fantasy book series. Towards the end of that conversation, I had the impression if I ever wrote that ‘Council Of Twelve’ series, my ‘expert’ would do anything to get me excommunicated and not only that; I would be going directly to the Catholic ‘jail’ and my soul would be grilling in the inferno for all eternity.

I cured that headache too and decided to write the series anyway, even without Father Thomas’ blessing.

The wonderful thing about fantasy books, as compared to history books (or all non-fiction, of course) is, that the creation of worlds, characters, and magic does not need as much research as the book that entwines around existing facts. The Council Of Twelve series bases on values, the Christian values I grew up with, and a few of the characters that cement my beliefs.

Since I now got the few already existing characters, I started adding up with more figures and creatures on the good side…

However, the evil side needed more of my attention. In my book, it exists, but it’s not like I’m an expert on that side. Therefore I went on a research crusade. I needed demons… I needed to ‘build’ a picture of the evil side. And I had to build antagonists…. not one, but uncountable ones.

An inexhaustible source of information in my case was ‘Wikipedia’. I got quite a few lists from them. Theological Demons and their classification, Demonology, a list of fictional demons, and a list of legendary creatures. Occasionally these lists helped me while writing.

But what helped me the most was the List of Demons in the Ars Goetia.

It not only gives the name of the respective demon but also its look, what kind of demon it is, what command it’s under, and the legions of minions under its control. Now…

I know that the evil side exists, just as I know the good side exists. That is rooted in the beliefs I grew up with. But I’m writing fantasy books for young adults. I have to keep it simple. This list is not a fact list… I, therefore, permit myself the freedom to use the respective creature I need – and I don’t feel very guilty adjusting the demons a bit in order to be useful for my current scene.

With a little bit of my own spicy humor, I allowed myself to object the common existing demon-name-lists by leaving the fallen Archangel Lucifer’s name as it was and positioning him on the top of the seven thrones of Hell. Experts on that might kick my butt for that, but no matter how many ‘bad guys’ there are, in the series, I’m working on fighting them. I figure, one more isn’t that much of a drama.

Also, I did not forget that Evil tempts with softness, with the illusion of love and with beauty… Demons in my books rarely look like leathery wings carrying, flying, and walking horror creatures…

Lucifer is a beautiful as a personified sin… and so are his minions in the form we humans can understand… But when they are home… where they live… in their place and their environment… that’s different. Then the entire extent of the evilness they hold becomes obvious – and visible.

 

 

Picture courtesy of Google.com

 

Soul Taker Secrets: Katie’s European Cooking

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.”


The pot:

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.

Check out the Romertopf (and order) here

Picture courtesy of Amazon.com


The casserole:

You will need:

1 pound of potatoes (or baby potatoes)

3 or 4 big tomatoes

1 big onion or 10 – 12 scallions

1 pack of dried apricots

6  chicken drumsticks

1 cup chicken broth

1 tsp unsalted butter

salt, pepper, paprika


Instructions:

  1. 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.