The Golden Eagle Flies (Deonur’s Past)

The little angel boy had just tested his wings, like the others in his class. Despite him being the first who had been able actually to lift his entire body off the ground, the others laughed about him. ‘Too big, the wings.’ They said. And the boy got discouraged…

He decided he had to grow into his wings as fast as possible and wished he didn’t have to go to school anymore.

When the teasing and mocking didn’t stop, the teacher finally had to halt the bullying.

During one of the flying lessons, he removed the breeze from under the bullies’ wings, and the entire gang fell to the ground… and they fell hard.

After the groaning and moaning finally stopped, the teacher told them harshly: “Now, get up, you lot.”

They followed directions and stood before their teacher, who paced up and down. “I’ve had it with you all.” He stared at them; his already dark brown eyes got darker. “We were working hard for you all to get into the air. The one who does the best job is the one none of you respects. He would have been the only one keeping himself in the air during the wind drop. None of you could do that. I strongly recommend you study more, and you might ask him for help instead of laughing about him and giving him a hard time.”

The teacher eyed one of them in particular. “Shane. Don’t even think I don’t know you are the leader of that pack. I insist you concentrate on your studies and your soon-to-be-seen progress, or I will have to report you.” He turned to all in the group again. “If you’re too stupid to think for yourself and follow this jealous hypocrite of a boy, so be it. If you want to get somewhere in this life, you might want to start using your brain.”

The bullies shyly eyed Deonur from the side, and he didn’t budge. He looked at them, but there was no smile or mocking on his side. It was just a mild curiosity in his eyes.

It took years of further development to understand that they could have had a strong bond with this calm and highly versatile boy… but they weren’t smart enough to recognize that.

The bullying flared up again when the class was much older, and they were flying close to the mountains to test their flying abilities in that area.

The teacher overlooked Deonur, not because he wanted to be cruel, but because the boy was so calm, quiet, and modest, he was barely visible… and when he flew in front of trees and rock, he disappeared. His breathtaking, strong wings, the color of a Golden Eagle’s, blended in so perfectly that the teacher could not see his student.


The Senior Class of that year’s Divine Army had just had their final exams and celebrated by spending some time on Earth. They were a bit overenthusiastic and wanted to prove to each other how good they were as angels… They flew through cities and tested their wings, but also helped two groups against thieves, broke up a fistfight between several people, supported a group of ladies who had to bring in the hay, and walked around, spreading smiles and making the one or other female heart jump… until one of them disappeared.

They had agreed to meet at a particular spot where they had landed to return home together. They knew, technically, they weren’t permitted to go down to Earth unsupervised yet. But their teachers occasionally looked the other way, provided the final exams were passed.

The group had yet to learn where to look for the missing youngster until Deonur asked. “We were quite a group coming down here. Who is the missing one?” One of the others said quietly: “It’s Shane.”

To everybody’s surprise, Deonur didn’t hesitate. “Well, we better hurry up and look for him. The more time passes, the worse it gets. But we don’t have to stay here. Let’s say five of us are searching for him, and the rest go back home – but please, inform Nicholas. He needs to know, and he can help or send us help. No matter what Shane did or did not do, he’s still an angel, nearly of age, and he doesn’t just disappear with no trace. Something serious has happened. I feel it in my guts.”

The others looked at him with growing respect. It seemed very much the boy they had ignored most of their school time suddenly showed he would have been a valuable member of their group and a formidable friend if they hadn’t been so jealous.


The search took several hours, and just when they discovered a group of bad-smelling creatures who had abducted Shane, Nicholas found them.

“Oh, that’s not good.” He whispered. Deonur nodded. “We can’t sneak up on them and hope to get him out. They’ll disappear with him, and we won’t see him again for a long time. I didn’t consider this to be a danger. I’m so sorry.”

Nicholas shook his head. “It’s not your fault, boy. It’s mine. I have responsibility over you, and I let you go. But let’s think about what to do.” One of them whispered desperately. “They’re getting prepared to leave. Are these demons?”

Nicholas nodded grimly. “I’m afraid so. I called for help, but it will take a moment for them to show up.” Deonur smiled. “I can help. But you will have to trust me… all of you.”

Nicholas frowned. “What do you….” Deonur shook his head. “No time to explain. Grab the lot and go home… Shane and I will meet you in our classroom.” With these words, he took off, no even a ‘swoosh’ of his wings betrayed his presence… the feathers were as silent as the one of an owl.

The teacher nodded, satisfied. “He’ll be a phenomenal spy one day.” He thought by himself, then he took the entire group and disappeared.

Deonur flew a circle and waited for his chance… just when the ugly creatures pulled Shane up to his feet, Deonur saw that the brutal demons had bound Shane’s wings; one of them held Shane’s right arm, the other one half-heartedly the left one, Deonur quietly flew down… His speed was breathtaking, but he needed plenty of strength to lift his classmate and gain height again to disappear.

He shot out of the dark like a cannonball, grabbed Shane’s waist with his muscular legs, and took off. He didn’t waste any time looking back… he knew he had to leave immediately. His solid and well-trained wings carried the two angels higher and higher into the clouds. Deonur had torn the ties off Shane’s wings, and the boy and himself could finally teleport to the school of Divine Army. They landed, heavily breathing in front of the building.

Shane coughed, straightened himself up, walked over to Deonur, and looked into the young man’s eyes before finally calmly saying roughly: “Man, that was a hell of a ride. I don’t know how you managed to fly that quietly. I’ve never seen any other angel do that.” He took a break; then, he finally held out his hand. “Thank you, Mate. Thanks for saving my sorry butt from hell. I don’t know where I’d be without you.”

After a moment of hesitation, Deonur’s face cracked into a smile; he accepted Shane’s handshake and said: “You’re welcome.”

Shane nodded, and suddenly his eyes seemed to water a bit. “Listen, Man… If you ever need help, no matter when, in what situation, or where… call me – and I’ll be there, that I swear.”

Deonur smiled a bit. “Are you the teeniest bit touched?” Shane shook his head. “Bullshit… I got dust in my eyes.”

They laughed when they entered the classroom where Nicholas was waiting with the rest of the group.

Immediately their classmates surrounded them. “How…” – “What happened?” – “When…”

Deonur didn’t feel like talking much about that episode, and he just nodded, found his teacher’s eyes, and then quietly disappeared. When Shane went looking for him, he didn’t see him anywhere.

Later that evening, Nicholas met with Raphael. “That boy is remarkable, isn’t he?” Nicholas nodded. “I can only recommend him for the highest possible education to prepare him for a spot in the ‘Council of Twelve.’ This boy would be a phenomenal spy for the Archangels.”

Raphael smiled. “Thank you for your recommendation, Nicholas. We will surely keep an eye on him. But let’s find out what he will become first. Maybe his destiny is entirely different? None of us knows.”


When Deonur’s birth flower opened, not only the regular group of school senators and experts were present. The group included Raphael and Michael. When Deonur spread his wings, these beautiful, strong wings, in the color of a Golden Eagle, they both looked at each other and smiled… One day, this boy would join their Council… but this was for later… many millennia later…


(Sub-story to ‘The Council of Twelve’ series by A. J. Alexander – Copyright Aurora Jean Alexander, February 2023)

Picture courtesy of

When You Care Too Much – Part II

Andreas, ‘The Council of Twelve Assistant’ by trade, sat on a hill, close to Los Angeles and stared at the disaster in his view. He looked at several horrifying brush fires that threatened to destroy not only nature and animals, nests, breeding places, caves and plants, but also ground, houses, and the properties and lives of humans who had worked hard to accomplish their goals.

He then was called to the fire of an entire block in Chicago, was reported wildfires in Greece and Cypress, and finally was informed that there were horrifying fires in Spain, and Australia…

Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore. He took himself back home and was searching for Simael, who had been sulking somewhere in an outside camp, away from everyone else, licking his wounds. He found the Archangel in a hammock; his breathtaking wings were recklessly hanging down to the ground.

“Archangel, if you treat your wings like this, some Assistant in a bad mood could actually step on them.”

Simael shrugged. “Go ahead, Assistant, and you’ll die.”

Andreas nodded. He knew, this Archangel didn’t just waste his time with empty threats. He’d keep true to his word. Simael was treated dreadfully as a child by his own parents. His incomparable looks had earned him as many admirers as haters… he was bullied, excluded, treated like an outsider, an alien… Some would consider his personality ‘controverse’ at best.

Simael was a warm-hearted and helpful personality by nature, but he was also used and hurt so many times, that he was finally tired of everyone and everybody and had become somewhat a loner, for quite some time.

Against all odds, after his last ‘encounter’ with a woman, Simael took a while to recover, as usually, and then returned to his tasks… but soon after lost his interest in his chores and finally started neglecting his armies and subordinates. Andreas, together with Tsechirel had taken over the commands and tried to hide their friend’s disinterest for a long time… However, they knew it couldn’t go on like this forever. Eventually this would be discovered, and the balance had to become even again.

At this point Andreas wanted to help Simael finding back to his tasks and duties, helping the world, humans, the Lord’s and his Father’s creation…

Andreas sighed. “You’re at your best, I can see that.” Simael stared into the air. “What are you doing here?” The Assistant stepped forward, in respectful distance of Simael’s powerful wings, and replied softly: “I need your help… half the world is on fire, and I can’t figure out the source. I know, there are fires in California, and Australia, and Greece… but not in this time of the year – and not all of them to the same extent. It’s devastating. And I cannot find the source.”

Despite his demonstrated disinterest, Simael looked at Andreas, now curious. “How long is this going on now?” Andreas blinked. “I’m not sure. I discovered the first of these events quite a few months ago.” Simael got up. “Who else knows about it?” Andreas hung his head. “Nobody.” It took Simael a full ten seconds to discover the lie. “Haha…” He replied sarcastically. “Like you would look at something like that and not tell anyone. Come on… spit it out.”

Andreas softly replied: “Tsechirel.” Simael smiled. “Of course, who else. Why don’t you get him to meet me in Athens, and we can see what we can do to help – and then, to stop it. We might need someone to help us investigate. Are you up for it?”

Since this was the first time in a long time Simael showed interest in anything, Andreas nodded. “Of course.” It wasn’t generally one of his own tasks, but he didn’t care. Simael was a pleasure to work with, and Andreas wanted to be part of it when this particular Archangel came back to participate in his own activities and be a part of ‘The Council of Twelve’ again.

Simael and Andreas informed Tsechirel and they all met in Greece to have a look at the fires… and then Simael frowned. The wind just blew a gust into this direction. Could you smell something weird?”

Tsechirel shook his head. “Not from here. How about you, Andreas.” The Archangel-Assistant shook his head. “Nothing unusual for me either. It smells like burned wood, grass, ashes… what we always smell with common fire…

Simael’s eyes got small. “No.” he insisted. “I know there’s something off. I can smell it. Something isn’t right. This is not a natural fire.”

Tsechirel carefully watched Simael. He admired this particular Archangel deeply. Despite all the bad things that happened to him growing up, with his lack of parental love and support, he still had the softest heart. He wasn’t entirely sure what exactly drove him off so badly, but he knew, Simael had been deeply hurt once again, otherwise he had not become the loner that he was. Oddly enough, Tsechirel understood his friend to a certain degree.

It wasn’t easy to become an Archangel and realizing that a long-term relationship with one woman had become impossible, unless, of course, that one woman was the Archangel consort, which none of them had met yet.

Sometimes either one of them met an extraordinary lady, good to the core, wonderful, beautiful, and some other ‘ful’s too, and none of them had stayed yet. Being with an Archangel was extremely demanding for every woman. Their partner had barely every time for them, and if they did, a longer get-together, or even living together, was nearly impossible. Archangels were too powerful for any woman who was not meant to be their consort. Every Archangel practically radiated power from the smallest beard stubble to the last tip of their feathers. The feeling of ‘humming’ was straining to the female organism, and it had happened that a woman had to leave the Archangel in the middle of the night, nauseated, and not knowing what happened to her.

It was disappointing over and over again for them to know, once again, what they had was ‘only a fling’, despite the predictions and the promises. Obviously, it wasn’t their time yet.

At this moment, however, Simael was highly alert, and even suspicious. He wandered around, muttered to himself, and suddenly he swung around to face his friend and his brother. “I got it… I know where I smelled this particular note before. – Oh no. These fires are my doing.”

Tsechirel shook his head to comfort his brother. “Don’t say that, Sim. You didn’t…” But Simael interrupted him. “… what? Light up the match? Surely not… but this is the doing of a very, very powerful woman, a supernatural being, to be precise. And she just declared war.”

Andreas scratched his head. “Do I understand that correctly? Your ex-girlfriend did that? The one you saved a while ago?”

Simael nodded. “Precisely. I remember how she smelled. It was that undertone… that one single wonderful perfume of sandalwood. Incomparable, and even when it’s burning it smells far beyond ‘just’ ashes. It has this unique aroma – oh, if she wants a war, she’ll be disappointed.”

Tsechirel frowned. “No fighting?” Simael chuckled. “I didn’t say no fighting. I said, no war.” Andreas snorted. “What are you up to?” Simael shrugged. “Come on, guys, let’s be real. Do you really think I’ll fight a woman, no matter how powerful she is, she’ll never beat an Archangel.” Tsechirel nodded. “Well, that’s true. But what are you going to do?”

Simael fumed. “She dared to damage nature, the world, our Creator’s work… She needs to be stopped. Too many lives are in danger. I would say, I will find her and teach her a lesson. However, I need to talk to our brothers. They must understand what’s going on and that I might need their support.”

Tsechirel seemed confused. “What are you talking about? You are an Archangel, she is a supernatural being, but still, in a fight, she’s got not chance.” Simael nodded. “I’m with you. But she must agree to either leave the Earth, Nature, animals and human beings out of this, or she’ll find out what Archangel Fire feels like. And that could end up in a ‘Hell of a blast’.”

Andreas and Tsechirel laughed. “Oh, that’s what you meant. Well, fine, let us get to the Great Hall.”

They all met there, and Simael explained the situation. Gabriel and Michael exchanged a brief look, which Simael discovered in one of the mirrors. “What was that about?” Gabriel shrugged. “I figured; you’d fall for that. You know, she challenged you, right?” Simael nodded. “Of course. And I am afraid, I seem to fall for that. However, I am not going to fall for her. I will not let her use me, no matter what. She didn’t merely challenge me, she challenged us, and our Father. This either stops, or she might face a heap of ashes she will not rise from anymore.” Michael grinned and Gabriel laughed. “Well, now you’re talking.


Raphael called Evaan, an old and very powerful Demon Tracker. “You said once, you do have the unusual skills to track other supernatural creatures too, besides demons. Would it be possible for you to help us find a Phoenix?” Evaan nodded. “Of course. Even though, they’re not exactly my favorite species. Female or male?”

Raphael was confused. “Why is that important?” Evaan smiled. “To us trackers, female Phoenix smell slightly stronger and are a bit easier to track. But, in case you refer to tracking Suri, that’s unnecessary. She informed us that she’ll awaits you in California’s Santa Monica Mountain, slightly off Malibu.”

“Crap.” Gabriel stated. “Lots of bushes, dry grass, and brush. Burns like gasoline.”

Uriel smirked. “Not with me there. Archangel Fire doesn’t spread.” Then he frowned. “I’m still curious as to why she would send our trackers a message? It seems she’s quite ahead of us.”

Simael nodded. “I agree. I need to solve that problem immediately, before she causes even bigger damage.”

They all went down to Earth and found Suri standing exactly where she said she would be. She swung around, wen she discovered Simael. Uriel, Tsechirel and Gabriel stayed hidden.

The beautiful woman smiled. “Well-well…” She said. “Look who’s finally here… welcome, my future husband.” Simael chuckled. “Nice welcome, lady. It’s interesting to hear how you planned my further existence for me. We both know, that’s never going to happen.”

He slightly tilted his head to the side and looked more like a breathtaking ice and crystal sculpture than a living humanoid creature. “I’m here to keep you from doing any more harm to the Earth. That arson has to stop. What do you want?”

Suri snorted. “I want you to apologize for dumping me… then I want us to get married. I’m your consort.” Simael couldn’t help himself when he felt rage boiling up inside of him and he snapped:” You were the one dumping me. You told me you felt imprisoned and that I’m boring you… both clear signs that you are not my consort. You were the one dumping me – and I merely gave you your freedom, that’s all. Now you are free. Enjoy it.”

Suri shook her head. “I was telling you that I need more entertainment and need to come and go as I please. Next thing I know I’m standing all alone on the street and you and my home are gone.”

Simael smiled. “That’s not how I remember it… but it doesn’t matter at all. I don’t want you back, and I’d rather bite off my tongue than going to get married to someone who doesn’t love me. Now, what else do you have to offer?”

She was just about to step closer, when Simael clearly warned her: “And be careful now. Think twice about what you’re going to say… your life depends on your next words.”

Suri laughed. “What do you think, you could do to me? Burn me to ashes? I’m a Phoenix, I’d be back in shorter time than you can imagine.”

Simael shook his head. “Even a Phoenix cannot resist Archangel Fire. And your Nemesis stands right behind you.”

Slightly shocked Suri whirled around… she wanted to take a step back, but was held in place by ties that surrounded her feet and ankles. “I’m part Archangel.” She yelled. “I will survive Archangel Fire! What do you want? What’s going on? What’s that supposed to be?” She screamed.

Tsechirel, Uriel and Gabriel showed themselves, all three of them a big grin on their faces. Uriel held demonstratively his fire sword in his right hand…

Suri paled. Then she screamed: “Father… Father, help me now!” – Nothing happened… She tried it twice again, and still no reaction. Finally, she lost patience and yelled from the top of her lungs. “Lucifer you stupid pig, move your ass up here – this instant!”

The Archangels exchanged a surprised look, while a small giggle escaped Gabriel’s lips… when suddenly a rip in the air showed up, and a coughing man in flip flops and light gray sweat shorts climbed through, accompanied by a huge cloud of smoke and the heavy smell of opium and marihuana.

He seemed slightly disoriented and stared at her. “What the Hell are you calling me for?” Then he discovered the Archangels. “Oh… You’re here? Hi guys. What is she up to now? You’re not assaulting my girl, are you?”

Gabriel shook his head. “Really, Lu. Your girl? And you never bothered to tell her that she’s not related to you?” Lucifer shrugged. “She’s like my daughter.” He defended himself.

Tsechirel chuckled. “You telling her she’s biologically related to you, made her believe being a Phoenix and ‘part Archangel’, as she expressed it, would make her resistant to Archangel Fire.”

Lucifer turned to Suri. “Oh, you stupid unit… I didn’t expect you to be that dumb, seriously. You’re pretty, and you’re useful. You did almost everything I wanted you to do. But trying to seduce an Archangel was not one of them, and threatening them is by far the most idiotic thing you’re ever tried. Nobody can resist Archangel Fire, not even an Archangel. And not even me. Even if you and I were blood related, which, of course, we’re not, since I’d never sleep with something that smells like cold barbeque, you still wouldn’t bear a chance.”

Suri sulked. “Does that mean, you won’t help me?” Lucifer shook his head. “I don’t even think about it. See for yourself how you get out of this. You’re seriously just too dumb to exist.”

She tried to protest: “But… you said… only an Archangel consort…” Lucifer interrupted her. “And you went and tried to become one? My-oh-my…” He turned to the Archangels. “What did she do?”

Simael shrugged. “Set half the world on fire.” Lucifer scowled. “Light her up. There’s no place in this existence for someone that mentally limited.” He waved briefly and was gone.

Suri turned around and looked at Simael, tears in her eyes. “Please… I’m so sorry…”

But this one time, Simael’s eyes were merciless, and the silver shine turned to ice. “Too late.” He told her. Uriel’s sword touched her in the back of her neck, and with a short hiss, Suri, the Phoenix, turned into ashes, collapsed, and the ocean breeze carried the microscopic pieces away, out to the water…


And Simael disappeared to collect his troops and fight the fires. It was time he took back his existence and fought for the Good side, for Earth, humans, and his warriors.

Just one thing, he swore to himself… he would never again, fall for just a pretty face. He would wait for his consort, forever and ever, if necessary… but he would wait.

And that’s how Simael became the most unique, the most alien, the most beautiful, and the loneliest Archangel existing….

Picture courtesy of ‘’

Interview With One Of My Characters VII

Hello Alfred, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I really appreciate you took the time to visit me here.

Thank you very much for the invitation, A.J. I enjoy being here.

It’s a little impertinent to ask, but how was your trip?

*booming laughter* Thank you, it was as fast and pleasant as ever.

Does that mean, that your kind teleports, just as Archangels, and many other supernatural creatures?

Of course, we do. Cherubim are Angels, after all.

I’m trying to hide a giggle, to be honest. I’m so sorry… but I always imagined, Cherubim to be short, little overweight boys in diapers, just sprouting their first wings?

*amused laughter again* Yeah, I don’t hear that the first time. Koyu told me the very same thing, once she found out who I am. But I have to disappoint you, just as I had to disillusion her. In Middle Eastern art, we were represented as lions or bulls with eagle wings and a human face. According to Christian beliefs, we belonged to the angels who guarded the entrance of the Garden of Eden… later, in Renaissance art, we were represented as little chubby kids with tiny wings. But the truth is, we are angels of the second highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy. We serve and praise our Highest, and very often, we serve as observers, just like I do. And just like every other angel, we look as we look. We blend in.

Thank you for your detailed information. I really appreciate it. Now, you mentioned being an observer. That’s what you do in your bookstore?

You’re welcome – and that’s exactly right. I met Koyu there. Sometimes we drank a cup of coffee together. She’s an unusual personality, but I wasn’t sure what she was up to. At one point I had to report her. She understood I had my duties, and we remained friends.

So, she wasn’t mad about you reporting her? She was taken in front of the Council Of Twelve, wasn’t she?

Yes, she was. And no, she never held a grudge. She still visits me in my bookstore, and occasionally we have a cup of coffee. Of course, now she’s got her own duties and tasks, and our meetings became rare. But I appreciate each one of her visits and consider her a friend.

Can you tell us more about her? I mean, how did the story start, and how did you know she isn’t human?

I cannot tell you more about her. Don’t forget, her story isn’t generally known yet. I told you, we occasionally met on the backstairs of my bookstore in the alley and drank a cup of coffee. Everything else you will read when her story will be published. As for me realizing she’s not human… I’m an Angel, that’s what I do. I have that talent, just as each one of my brothers and sisters has it.

You said Cherubim are the second highest order in the divine hierarchy. Does that mean you’re a good friend with the Council Of Twelve members?

*laughs* Yes, and No. Don’t forget, an Archangel is as different from an Angel, as an Angel is from a Human. The power an Archangel radiates intimidates many of us. We do have commanders, supervisors, and higher officers. I’m on a more friendly term with Andreas, the Council of Twelve assistant. He’s an amazing angel, and we get help from him, no matter when we call. I know the Council Members, yes, and I spoke to the one or the other before. But these Archangels are a powerful lot. On the other hand, they carry the burden of the World on their shoulders, taking over the responsibility as custodians for our Father and Lord. That’s not an easy task and they have my highest respect for that.

I understand a bit better now. Thank you for telling us. Now…

I’m sorry for interrupting here. But I’m called. I will have to leave you for now. But it was a pleasure meeting you in person. And one day, we might meet again.

Goodbye, Alfred.

Koyu’s Story Is Ready To Be Told


The fifth book of “The Council Of Twelve” series


Fight, Flight, or Freeze: What’s Your Character’s Go-To Response? – Written By Becca Puglisi

on Writers Helping Writers:

Fight or flight.

I think we’ve all heard the phrase. It refers to the way each person is hard-wired to react to real or perceived danger. Psychologists have recently added another option, giving us three ways we might respond to threats: we fight back, we flee, or we freeze up. This happens in life-or-death situations, but it also occurs on a smaller scale whenever we feel endangered:

At the mall, when you see someone who mistreated you in the past
At work, when the boss criticizes your work
At a party, when a friendly conversation takes an uncomfortable turn
At school, when you hear an ugly rumor someone has started about you

So whether the situation is potentially fatal or just a little threatening, you’re going to respond in one of those three ways. What does that look like? Here are few possibilities that cover a range of intensity:

Continue reading HERE

A Writer’s Guilt – Guest Post by A.J. Alexander – on TSRA’S Blog

Today my Guest Post on The Story Reading Ape’s blog got published. I’m very honored he accepted my article.

Thank you so much for your friendship and ongoing support, Chris!

I’m breaking out of the YA Fantasy genre with my new book, stepping into an unfamiliar field. My latest novel has some crime, flawed characters, and a protagonist who doesn’t always make the best choices… and smokes like a chimney.

Now, as compared to the YA’ The Council of Twelve‘ series, I don’t have to limit what my characters say or do. I can add intimacy, attraction, passion, crime, and one or other swear word if I want.

And, I can add cigarettes. But is that a good idea? In a time when the world around us shrinks ‘smoking zones’ to a woeful nothing, where entire cities declare their public places smoke-free environment, and where health warnings are printed on every cigarette pack, should my protagonist smoke?


What is an Unsympathetic Character? Must a Novel’s Protagonist be Likeable? – Written By Anne R. Allen

One of the things that will get you an automatic rejection from most agents—and a swift toss to the DNF pile from a lot of readers—is an unsympathetic character. Especially an unsympathetic protagonist. Personally, I have to admit if there’s nobody in a story I care about, I’m out of there after ten pages or so.

But what do we mean by a “sympathetic character?” What makes us care?

The truth is the protagonists of our most popular books, plays and films are often people we wouldn’t like to hang out with in real life. Some are pretty toxic.

From “wily” Odysseus to Don Quixote, to Heathcliff, Becky Sharpe, Scarlett O’Hara, Dexter Morgan, Walter White, Lisbeth Salander, and the “Girl on the Train,” we are fascinated by morally ambiguous characters who make bad choices.

But don’t these successful works negate the dictum that a protagonist must be sympathetic? Nobody wants these people as their BFF.

Continue reading HERE

Using a Character Bible – Is it worth it? – Written By Don Massenzio

Don Massenzio, the author of the Frank Rozzani-series, has published a fascinating post about using a character bible. I’m always enthusiastic when I can share an article that shows us an experienced author’s recommendation. Thank you for sharing yours, Don!

As I embark on my next writing venture after a 2020 hiatus, I realized something. The equation of my age plus the stress of 2020 and the length of time since I’ve written a Frank Rozzani book has added up to me forgetting the details of many of my familiar characters. I remember reading a while back about having a character bible, a book of character profiles. The article I read talked about how this is especially important if you write a multiple-book series with the same characters.

At the time, I said to myself, “I’ll never forget these characters. They’re part of me.” Well, as I get older, I’m pretty sure there are actual parts of me that I’ve forgotten.

As I try to write for my tried and true characters, I find myself searching my previous books for things like dates, names, hair and eye color and other things that would be great to have at my fingertips. As a result, I’m revisiting the idea of the character bible. I thought that one useful resource would be to go to the blogging community of authors, editors and readers and ask for your opinions and experience.

I thought I would begin, however, by telling you what I’ve learned about this tool for those of you that haven’t heard of it or have been using elements of it without realizing it had a name.

What is a Character Bible?

There is no single definition or series of components that make up a character bible. From the research I’ve done, it’s basically a collection of character profiles each of which tell you about the character’s:

  • Name – This might seem obvious, but a character’s name is important. Think of Alex Cross and the numerous James Patterson books bearing his surname in the title. To a much, much lesser degree, of course, there are my Frank Rozzani detective novels that all have ‘Frank’ in some form in the title Frankly Speaking, Let Me Be Frank, Frank Incensed (my personal favorite), Frankly My Dear and Frank Immersed.
  • Physical Appearance/Mannerisms – The characters height, body type, hair color, eye color, physical anomalies and disabilities and other information about how the character looks.
  • History – Information about the character’s backstory, cultural, educational and socio-economic situation and any other relevant information that is material to the plot.
  • Personality – What psychological quirks, conditions or flaws does the character have? What motivates him/her? What are his/her desires? What’s missing from his/her life?

Now, the worst thing you can do is dump all of this information about the character into your story in one fell swoop. You can dribble out the information as needed in small doses. The other thing to avoid, however, is your character developing some ability or piece of knowledge from his background out of convenience to get you past a snag in the story without foreshadowing it first.


5 Questions to Turn a Character from Flat to Fabulous – Written By Janice Hardy

Thank you very much, Janice Hardy, for your recommendations on our characters. We really appreciate it!


on Fiction University:

Sometimes we just need a little help to create a memorable character.
Some writers develop incredibly detailed characters before they ever start a story.
I am not one of those writers.

I do the bare minimum necessary to create a character, then I throw them into my story and see what they do. By the time I’ve written the first draft, I know who they are and can revise accordingly.

Although I’ve written this way for decades, I’m not sure I’d recommend it. It’s an interesting tactic, but it has left me with a lot of revising I wouldn’t have needed if I’d done a bit more character work before I started writing.

Lately, I’ve wondered if I should change my process, or at the very least, add another layer of character creation at the start. Because I’ve always said that characters drive the plot, and I’m a plot-driven writer, so my process is missing a critical aspect when I think about it from that perspective.

Continue reading HERE

My First Published Character Interview – Simin Arnatt

On December 4, 2015, I was introduced on ‘The Story Reading Ape’s blog to be accepted in his ‘Author’s Hall of Fame’. I’m very grateful he did that and accepted several guest posts since that day. TSRA’s post went viral before my first book in the series ‘Soul Taker’ was published. That day I interviewed one of my characters, Simin Arnatt. She is quite an important character in my series, strong, beautiful, a fighter.

Book Four in ‘The Council of Twelve’ series will be Simin’s story. I decided today to re-publish Simin’s interview here below for you to meet her (or meet her again).

Simin isn’t an easy character, independent, proud, unique, difficult to handle at times. Brace yourself for her arrival…

Interview with Simin Arnatt.

Hello, Simin.

I am honored to be permitted to ask you a few questions and that you agreed to let us know you a little better.

You’re welcome. It is nice to be here. Don’t forget to keep your curiosity under control and we’ll get along well.

I understand. Now let’s start with the beginning. You are beautiful, but unusual. Where were you born?

Thank you so much for the compliment. I am in fact born in England. My mother was English, my father, Persian. I got my parents’ looks, equally from both of them. Only that I look like their negative. (She laughs musically) I got my father’s light skin and my mother’s chocolate hair – and nature switched it and made me.

The contrast is unique, in particular with your dark eyes. You are gorgeous. You look like being in your late twenties the most. May I ask how old you are?

Again thank you for all compliments. As for my age: After I reached my biological limit at the age of 22, I haven’t noticed to age significantly. And that was a long, long time ago. My parents passed away, their bodies turned into dust in the meantime. I did not expect to live this long, but that’s how it is. And no, I won’t tell you my actual age. It will, as so many things about me, remain a secret.

What do you do for a living?

I am something like a “bounty hunter”. I search for individuals on order.

That sounds interesting, can you tell us more? For example: Why do you search for these individuals and who gives you the orders?

I’m sorry. It’s my work, and I do guarantee absolute discretion to my customers.

There is something unusual about you. And you mentioned you are much older than I guessed. Are you human?

Not entirely, no.

But you’re not a vampire?

(Laughs out loudly). No, not at all.

What are you if I may ask?

This will remain a secret

Were you born the way you are?


Are you the only one of your kind?

I have never met another in my entire existence. But this doesn’t mean there is nobody else. We just might not have met.


STOP IT!! Enough of that. If you don’t have any other questions.

Is there a man in your life?


Your answer came out a little hesitating. Are you sure there is nobody?


But you are in love?

(Blushes furiously) I don’t talk about that. This goes too far now. Do you have one more question to ask? Otherwise I…

Yes, please. Is there anything you would like to be able to do? A wish, a dream you have?

I sometimes wish I could fly into heaven, spread my wings, fly above the clouds, and end up where all is love and peace. Away from blood, cruelness, injustice and – Heaven… (her eyes are dreamy)

I’m sorry, but this is it. I consider this interview over. It was a pleasure to be here. All the Best and good luck with your book.

(Originally published December 4, 2015 on The Story Reading Ape’s blog)

Find and buy the first three books in the series here:






Asking the Right Questions with Character Interviews – Written By Becca Puglisi

Becca Puglisi published a blog post about asking the right questions with character interviews. How do we know the character, what’s important? Thanks so much for helping us out answering these questions, Becca.

on Writers Helping Writers:

Developing characters is one of the joys of writing and it’s a dream when we understand them and what they’re about. Inevitably, though, there comes a time when our characters do and say things that don’t make sense to us, we feel they’re one-dimensional, or we just don’t know how they should react to situations. This can stall our story.

Character interviews are a fabulous way to address these problems. Not only does interviewing your character help you learn more about them, you’ll be able to note the hesitations or uncertainties so you can drill deeper into those areas. It can also give you a better feel for their voice, which can sometimes be hard to nail down.

But there are so many interviews and questionnaires available on the internet, and we can lose a lot of time answering questions that may not be relevant to understanding our character. So how do we know which questions are the right questions? Which ones will help us dig deeper into our characters and, ultimately, strengthen our story?

Continue reading HERE