Why I Write Historical Fantasy

A few weeks ago I had an epiphany about why I write historical fantasy.

Historical fantasy is a messy business. Those who lean more toward the historical aspect tend to complain if the story suddenly leans closer to the fantasy aspect, and vice versa.

I don’t watch much TV, Netflix, etc. What I do watch is always in danger of developing into an obsession, to the point that, I become a fanatic (which used to be reserved ONLY for my NFL team, the Oakland Raiders). Somewhere along the line I become “overly involved”.  I think it’s because I started writing historical fantasy in 2005 without realizing the genre I was headed for.

The first sign of my mania manifested itself in 2010 with my discovery of the TV series Supernatural, which was already in its fifth season. Yes, Sam and Dean Winchester are hot brothers, but more importantly, I like the characters.

I stopped watching The Walking Dead in season 3 because I couldn’t stand some of the characters. Several years later, I learned of Negan’s first appearance in the season six finale.  The actor who portrays Negan is Jeffery Dean Morgan. He portrayed John Winchester, the Winchester boys’ father in the first season of Supernatural (2005). Now, suddenly, the world knew who Jeffery Dean Morgan was, while the cultist fans of Supernatural remembered him as the ruggedly handsome, John Winchester! I had people ask me if I watched The Walking Dead, and my thoughts on Jeffery Dean Morgan. My response: “You’re eleven years late.”

Supernatural is renewed for season 13, which will premier in October 2017.

So what does this have to do with my epiphany? This year I lost two of my favorite TV shows.

After 8 seasons, I lost The Vampire Diaries. The series finale aired March 10, 2017. I own every season of this YA type show on DVD, and I’ve watched those collective seasons more than once. I loved the characters, and the show brimmed with vampires, werewolves, witches, hybrids, and doppelgangers.  But there was one other important aspect about this show that I loved. It flashed back often to the mid-1800’s, which was when the Salvatore brothers became vampires. And there were numerous flash backs to the 10th century, when the original vampires were spawned.

Historical Fantasy? Yes!

On Saturday, August 12, 2017, after 4 years, I lost another adored TV series, the historical drama, TURN: Washington Spies. The series was based on the non-fiction book by Alexander Rose, “Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring”. Of course, this is referring to the Culper spy ring that was formed in 1778. The producers of TURN (Alexander Rose was among them) and the actors excelled in authenticity, thus, the inaccuracies sometimes necessary to tell a smooth tale, were largely forgiven by the show’s  dedicated audience.

As an aside, the female portion of TURN’s audience found the actor who portrayed Major Ben Tallmadge, Seth Numrich, too hot to handle in his Continental Army uniform of the 2nd Continental Light Dragoons.  turn-S4-cast-ben-numrich-700x1000

Historical Fantasy? Yes!

The final episode of the series induced a sobbing goodbye among the fans. The cast of the show immediately reached out to their grieving fans. It led us to participate in many Tweets and Facebook groups that discuss all things TURN and the Revolutionary War.

TURN’s finale was more than my heart could handle. I’ve spent the past year dedicated to understanding the philosophies (British and American) that led to the American Revolution, the people who played a part, and the military aspect of the first six months of the war, as I wrote the first book in my novel series Angels & Patriots, due to release Fall 2017.

I ordered the first three seasons of TURN: Washington Spies on DVD so I can watch it obsessively and stay in the mood of the time period while I’m writing Angels & Patriots book two.

One last thing about the conclusion of TURN; this beautiful observation was made by General George Washington:

 “Our country owes its life to the heroes whose names it will never know.”

Angels & Patriots: Book One To Be Released Fall 2017!

At last! ANGELS & PATRIOTS: BOOK ONE, the first in a series, is scheduled to release this fall! Angels & Patriots: A Novella was published in February and will continue to be offered as a free download through my website.

Thanks to everyone who has reached out on my Facebook posts and offered their interest(s) on the subject of the American Revolution, and the almost inexhaustible stories of real life heroism and failures. I have listened and will continue to do so.

So, enjoy the book description and excerpt from ANGELS & PATRIOTS: BOOK ONE and Happy July 4th!

On the eve of the Revolutionary War, American patriots are leaving their homes and families behind to stand firm against the British. What these early Americans do not realize, is that while they prepare themselves for their battles, a war is simultaneously playing out among the soldiers—one that poses a far greater threat to their lives and souls.

 Demons that God created to kill a brotherhood of fallen angels are fanning the embers of the Revolutionary War to draw the angels out of hiding. They walk and fight alongside patriots and British soldiers alike. 

 Archangel, Colm Bohannon, leads his angel brothers to Boston to track down the demon leader and to warn John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Dr. Joseph Warren, and the Sons of Liberty that the British army is not their only threat. The patriots will need to engage with two enemy forces on the battlefield. As it stands, the band of angels is road weary and struggling with infighting and earthly temptations. Is faith a strong enough shield to fight off demon attacks and protect the patriots? Are the patriots capable of standing and fighting alongside angels?

EXCERPT

Chapter One

Wexford, Ireland May 1169

Get below decks!” Colm Bohannon shouted.

His younger brother, Michael, ignored the order and stubbornly exchanged fire with the Norman soldiers, who stood on the docks and shot flaming arrows at the men aboard the cog LE’ Eithne. With Michael open to enemy fire, the other six men under Colm’s command hesitated to take the order.

Under a waning crescent moon, the Norman lord, Robert Fitzstephen, watched and listened to the Irish die in the water and on board the cogs in the harbor. Fitzstephen’s army cut down the Irish soldiers who’d stormed the docks to defend their town and their comrades.

Colm knew his brother was destined to die in an act of defiance. An arrow pierced Michael’s left shoulder and knocked him backward. He refused to give in to the pain, and reloaded his bow. A flaming arrow struck him in the heart. His shirt and curly black hair caught fire. He collapsed and hit the cog’s railing, causing his spine to snap with a dull crack. His limp body fell overboard and splashed into the dark water.

“MICHAEL!” Patrick Cullen was frantic. He ran to the cog railing and looked into the water. “MICHAEL!”

Brandon O’Flynn ran to the railing beside Patrick and looked over. Horror stained his blue eyes as they searched for Michael’s body in the water.

Colm had tried to reach his brother in time, but failed. Enraged, he knew he couldn’t let Michael’s death render him unable to protect his other men. He jerked Brandon and Patrick away from the railing, “Get below decks, now!”

Seamus Cullen hooked an arm around Patrick’s neck and shouted over the din of screaming men and burning cogs. “Obey Colm’s order!”

Patrick struggled with his older brother. “Stop it, Seamus!”

“Everyone but Liam’s out of ammunition!” Seamus shouted.

“THEY KILLED MICHAEL!” Patrick screamed. He tried to twist his head out of the crook of Seamus’ elbow.

Ian Keogh pinned down Patrick’s flailing arms and helped Seamus drag Patrick out of harm’s way.

Liam Kavangh returned arrow fire and covered Brandon O’Flynn and Fergus Driscoll until they could get below decks. A Norman arrow pierced Liam’s right eye and embedded in his brain. He dropped dead on the deck.

Fergus Driscoll, Colm’s second in command, returned topside with a handful of javelins. He and Colm made their last stand with the cog’s only remaining weapons. There was a loud whoosh when the timbers of the LE’ Eithne caught fire. In less than a minute, the burning cog was at the bottom of the harbor. Colm Bohannon and his men were sucked into the water’s nether world.    

An ethereal rain of silver crystals spiraled down from the starry night sky and gathered on the streets of Wexford and drifted against buildings. They wet the Irish and Norman soldiers’ hair and clothing. They soaked the docks and splashed into the black waters to extinguish the flames.

The blood-rinsed waters of the harbor brightened with silver light. Green, purple, yellow, red, and blue flashed within the light.

The soldiers on both sides of the conflict feared they were witnessing the rapture. Some fled the docks in terror. Others dropped to their knees in reverence.

The lights went out. Gossamer draped reapers arrived to escort the souls of the dead to their final destination. With their souls gone, the bodies of Colm Bohannon and his men became vessels for the spirits of eight angels, who were trying to slow the relentless pursuit of demons God had created to kill them for their disobedience.

They had been running from the demons since the time of the Flood of Noah. Some of the angels had created what God had forbidden—the Nephilim—children of human women. Three angels copulated. Five angels tried to stop them. In God’s court, they were all found guilty and were banished from Heaven.

The angels’ commanding archangel was desperate to protect his tiring brotherhood. He hoped taking vessels belonging to the children of man would confuse the demons and slow their pursuit. It did for 145 years.

By 1314, the demons’ leader realized what the angels had done. He and his army of demonic spirits went to Scotland to the scene of the Battle of Bannockburn where the Scottish king, Robert the Bruce, clashed with the English king, Edward II.

There were many human vessels to be had as the soldiers died on the battlefield and the reapers ferried their souls to their final destinations. The demon leader possessed the body of an English knight, Sir Henry de Bohun, a man Robert the Bruce killed in the battle. Wearing their new vessels, Henry and his army continued their ruthless pursuit.

By 1575, the archangel saw that his angels’ were tiring again, but now, they were killing demon-possessed living humans in their desperate attempt to survive. The angels left Ireland for England, in hopes of escaping Great Britain. On April 27, 1584, the archangel, who was now known by his human name, Colm Bohannon, and his angels left England on a ship bound for North America.

It would take Henry two hundred years to find them.

Chapter Two

December 1774

Burkes Garden, Virginia

Jeremiah Killam relaxed his aim and lowered his musket when he realized it was Colm Bohannon emerging from the dense white oak and hickory forest. Flung over Colm’s left shoulder was a doe carcass; its head flopped with each step and left bloody smears on his bearskin coat and in his long wavy brown hair. A long rifle rested against his right shoulder.

Despite the seeds of Manifest Destiny that came across the Atlantic with the first colonists, King George III had issued the Proclamation of 1763, restricting settlement of Great Britain’s thirteen colonies to east of the summit line of the Appalachian Mountains. For nearly two centuries, Colm and his brotherhood had been living west of the Proclamation Line in a valley, now called Burkes Garden, Virginia. After their ship arrived in Roanoke Island in July 1584, the brotherhood of angels wandered for six months before they found this sanctuary.

Jeremiah put his musket aside and said, “Liam and Seamus have been lookin’ for you.”

Colm laid the deer on the blood-stained skinning table in front of Jeremiah’s one room cabin. He enjoyed the hunt, but he had no inclination for dressing out game. “Did they say why?”

“They didn’t say so don’t start worrin’ about ‘em.” Jeremiah slid his skinning knife from the pocket on the thigh of his breeches. He poised the knife over the deer then reconsidered. “Wait a minute. Mkwa brought whiskey, yesterday.”

He went inside the cabin, and returned with an uncorked jug. He swigged the whiskey then handed the jug to Colm. He set about skinning the doe and said, “Did I tell you what the Continental Congress is askin’ us ta do after it met last September in Philadelphia?

“What’s the Continental Congress?” Colm took a swig from the jug.

“Men representin’ the colonies called a meetin’ in response ta the Brits passin’ the Intolerable Acts ta punish Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party. The patriots dumped 340 crates of tea inta Boston harbor ta protest the taxes Britain levied on tea. Anyway, they’re askin’ us ta boycott British goods. War’s comin’, Colm.”

Colm considered Jeremiah with his grizzly beard, disheveled dark-blonde hair, deerskin clothing, and unwashed body. He was as tough as any mountain man, but in Colm’s opinion, Jeremiah had three important divergent qualities: He could read and write, and had an appealing forty-year-old face under the beard. He was the equivalent of the town crier. Without Jeremiah, those who lived in Burkes Garden would have little knowledge of what was happening in the outside world.

“Why do ya say that?”

Jeremiah began to remove the doe’s hooves by slicing the leg off at the knee joint. “The British military’s been occupyin’ Boston all these years. Now, they’ve replaced the Royal Governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson, with General Thomas Gage. From what I hear, Gage pulled his garrisons from other places like New York, Philadelphia, and Halifax, and formed a British naval presence in Boston. Then, he angered folks by confiscatin’ provincial gun powder from some place in Massachusetts.”

The angels had not participated in the French and Indian War because Colm had not perceived the war as a demonic threat to his brotherhood or the children of man. But what Jeremiah was describing had the potential to become a full-scale war on the thirteen colonies, and a danger to their sanctuary in Burkes Garden.

Colm thought, I wonder if Henry suspects we’re here, and he’s fanning the flames of war to smoke us out of hiding. 

There was a sudden explosion of raucous laughter. Michael Bohannon, Patrick Cullen, and Brandon O’Flynn burst out of the forest and stumbled across the clearing in front of the cabin.

Jeremiah paused and looked up. It was times like these, when the boys were happy and rowdy that he marveled over how much Michael and Patrick looked alike with their medium statures, curly black hair, and feminine facial features.

Michael reached for the whiskey jug.

“Don’t,” Jeremiah warned.

Michael sneered at Jeremiah, snatched the jug, and raised it to his lips.

“I warned you,” Jeremiah growled. He stabbed the tip of his skinning knife into Michael’s up turned elbow then jerked the jug from Michael’s hand.

“Why’d you do that?” Patrick asked Jeremiah. “He ain’t hurtin’ nothin’.”

Michael looked at his elbow. Blood wet the small tear in the elbow of his bearskin coat. He shrugged and let his arm drop to his side.

Brandon stumbled backward then lurched forward. “That’s it, Jeremiah. We’re having a go right now!” He weaved an unsteady circle around Jeremiah with upraised fists.

Jeremiah chuckled and said, “One jab, and you’re gonna fall forward.”

“He’s gonna throw up before that,” Michael snorted with laughter.

Colm crossed his arms over his chest. The boys were drunk, and it wasn’t yet nine o’clock in the morning. He suspected they’d been in the woods most of the night acting like fools and terrorizing the superstitious Shawnee with their drunken noise.

Read Angels & Patriots, a historical fantasy novella by Salina B Baker for only 99 cents. 

or  get your free download by going to my website salinabbaker.com

 

10 Interesting Facts About the Sons of Liberty and other American Patriots

In honor of my novel in progress, which I’ve finally given the working title Angels & Patriots Book One: The Sons of Liberty, Lexington and Concord, and the Battle of Bunker Hill, I offer you 10 interesting facts about 10 patriots.

John Hancock was raised by his uncle and aunt, Thomas and Lydia Hancock, after his father died when John was a boy of seven.

John Adams was the defense lawyer for the British soldiers who were put on trial for the Boston Massacre. The soldiers were acquitted.

Dr. Joseph Warren became the situational leader of the patriotic cause. He dispatched Paul Revere and William Dawes to spread the alarm that the British were on the move the night of April 18, 1775.

Samuel Adams was uninterested in money. He failed as a tax collector and neglected his father’s brewery.

Paul Revere rode to spread the alarm and deliver news for the Massachusetts Provincial Congress throughout New England on many, many occasions other than the night of April 18, 1775.

Dr. Benjamin Church, a trusted compatriot of the Sons of Liberty, was a spy for British General Thomas Gage.

Benedict Arnold donated $500 to the education of Dr. Joseph Warren’s children after Warren died at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Israel Putnam was the leader of the Connecticut branch of the Sons of Liberty.

Dr. Samuel Prescott was the man who carried the alarm to Concord that the British were on the move, after Paul Revere and William Dawes were detained by a British patrol in the early morning hours of April 19, 1775.

Abigail Adams urged her husband, John, to take women’s rights into consideration if and when the colonies gained independence. “If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment [promote] a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”

To read a description of Angels & Patriots: A Novella and get your free download, go to my website salinabbaker.com

OR

2017 Smashwords Read an Ebook Week

At one minute past midnight Pacific time on March 5, the special Smashwords Read an Ebook Week promotion catalog goes live on the Smashwords home page.  For one week only, thousands of Smashwords authors and publishers will provide readers deep discounts on ebooks, with coupon code levels for 25%-off, 50%-off, 75%-off and FREE. Readers can browse the catalog and search by coupon code levels and categories.  After 11:59pm Pacific time on March 11, the catalog disappears.

ap-2My work Angels & Patriots: A Novella is FREE during this promotion. Just click on this link to read a description and download the novella. The coupon for the free download is a yellow button on the right side of the page that says Buy With Coupon.   https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/704476

 

Support other authors by browsing the catalog and search by coupon code levels and categories.  This is the  link to the Smashwords Summer/Winter promotion page. https://www.smashwords.com/books/category/1/newest/1

Happy Reading!

Angels & Patriots: A Novella

I’m pleased to announce that the novella is ready for pre-order on Amazon! Please go to the link at the bottom of the page for more information. Thank you and happy reading!

On the eve of the Revolutionary War, American patriots are leaving their homes and families behind to stand firm against the British. What these early Americans do not realize, is that while they prepare themselves for their battles, a war is simultaneously playing out among the soldiers—one that poses a far greater threat to their lives and souls.

 Demons that God created to kill a brotherhood of fallen angels are fanning the embers of the Revolutionary War to draw the angels out of hiding. They walk and fight alongside patriots and British soldiers alike. 

 Archangel, Colm Bohannon, leads his angel brothers to Boston to track down the demon leader and to warn John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Dr. Joseph Warren, and the Sons of Liberty that the British army is not their only threat. The patriots will need to engage with two enemy forces on the battlefield. As it stands, the band of angels is road weary and struggling with infighting and earthly temptations. Is faith a strong enough shield to fight off demon attacks and protect the patriots?

The free download offer has expired, but I’m pleased to announce that the novella is ready for pre-order on Amazon! Please click on the cover below to pre-order.  To visit my website and read excerpts from my other books, please visit my blog and click on Home at the top of the page.