August 19, 2022.
Still writing Angelo II, which is now currently over 180,000 words. Here’s the second chapter of Book Four: Penemuel II. Note that this hasn’t been professionally edited:
When Alyse stepped from the elevator to the first level of the company, she marched over to the photo gallery in the lobby. Earlier, she had rushed through for her interview, making only a cursory glance at the photos while thinking the attractive faces were similar.
Now that the interview was over, and she was in no rush—Alyse approached the gallery. She took a cursory look over the framed and matted 16×20 photographs. Three were black and white, with the fourth being in color. All were three-quarter head and shoulder shots.
She studied the oldest photo first, noting the man’s stiff high collar and short, Caesar-cut hair. His light eyes stood out in his dark face, and he was gorgeous. The name plaque below the photo simply read John Peacock. Founder. 1890.
Taking a few steps to the next photo, Alyse grinned. The man in the photo wore a hat and resembled a gangster from 1930s film noir. His plaque read Paul Samuel Peacock. 1936. He looked exactly like the first guy.
When Alyse approached the third photograph, she frowned. “How in the hell could all of these guys look alike?” she mumbled. Was there some weird strain of DNA in the family that kept repeating the same features over and over?
The third man—one Robert Peacock. 1978—wore a neat mustache and goatee to go with his gigantic afro. Like the men in the previous portraits, he stared at her with unusual light eyes.
Alyse got to the last portrait and froze. Viewing the same gorgeous face in black and white was one thing; seeing it in color was another thing altogether.
The man in the photo was beautiful. He wore his hair short, in a Caesar-cut, similar to the man in the first portrait. The color image revealed dark brown skin with a bronze undertone, and the eyes… they were a bright gold, with pupils framed in green. When she finally tore her gaze from the man’s face, she read the name plaque.
John P. Peacock. 2009.
Oh Lord Jesus, Alyse thought. This is the current president and owner of the company. If I’m hired, can I work here without staring and making a complete idiot of myself?
She didn’t have time to muse on the thought; from a short distance, she saw the man himself enter the building, talking and laughing with another man in a chauffer’s uniform. His hair was long, worn in long braided locks banded with small gold rings. Compared to the chauffer—who was of formidable size—Mr. Peacock was a veritable giant. He was about six feet five, and his tailored black suit showcased his massive muscles to perfection.
Oh Lord Jesus, indeed.
With an abrupt turn, Alyse rushed from the lobby of Peacock Publishing to the street for some much-needed air.
December 19, 2020
As if I don’t have enough on my plate finishing Angelo II, I’m also getting items together for my future Angelo, Texas Compendium, which will have background material on the Angelo world I created, and some artwork.
A major part of the Angelo world is the heavenly realm with its rank-and-file occupants. The mythology I created hints at the changes that were made in Heaven after the two angelic Falls — the first one with Sataniel (Satan/The Devil) and his followers, and the second, smaller one with the Watcher Shemhazai and his followers.
According to biblical and non-canonical lore, one third of the angels joined Sataniel with the First Fall (mostly lower-ranked, non-archs), and 199 joined Shemhazai with the Second Fall. With the exception of Sataniel, Ashmedai, and Zebubel, the Fallen on this list are all members of the group from the Second Fall. Below is the Angelo Trilogy’s Angelic Hierarchy:
The Original Angelic Hierarchy in Heaven before the two Falls, with the Fallen high-lighted in boldface:
- Immanuel (The Christ/Jesus)
- Michael, Sataniel
- Gabriel, Raphael, Shemhazai, Uriel
- Ashmedai*, Azazel, Chamuel, Chazaqiel, Penemuel, Phanuel, Ramiel, Raziel, Samael, Zebubel*
- Ananiel, Araqiel, Ariel, Baraqiel, Bezaliel,*** Dashiel, Haniel, Jehudiel, Jeremiel, Jophiel, Kokabiel, Metatron**, Ophaniel, Raguel, Sandalphon**, Sariel, Shamsiel, Selaphiel, Turiel, Zadkiel
Note: *Asmodeus and Beelzebub respectively, who were former archangels. **Denotes the prophets Enoch and Elijah respectively, who were transfigured and elevated to archangel status upon death, long after the Falls. ***The fallen Watcher angel Bezaliel is missing, and none of the beings in Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory know where he is.
November 27, 2020
Still writing Angelo II, which is currently over 140,000 words. While I hope that I can finish it by mid-2021, it probably ain’t gonna’ happen. Anyway, here’s the first chapter of Book Three: Dashiel. (Featuring a m/m couple). Again, note that this hasn’t been professionally edited.
Angelo, Texas. 2017. Late Spring.
“Mer” always woke him up five minutes before his alarm clock went off, even on the mornings when the alarm was not turned on.
“C’mon, Buddy; let me sleep.”
David placed a pillow over his face. A white paw tried to bat it off.
After groaning his frustration into the pillow, David removed it and gazed into a large pair of round, yellow eyes.
Meow my ass, David thought, before sitting up. The huge, short-haired black and white tuxedo cat immediately curled up in his lap. David stroked the top of the cat’s head for a few minutes before lifting its heavy bulk and placing him at the foot of the bed.
“Coffee,” he mumbled, throwing back the covers. He slipped on a pair of boxers and grabbed his smartphone from the nightstand before entering the kitchen.
Buddy leaped to the floor and ran ahead of him. The cat stopped near his food and water bowls and meowed again.
Ignoring the cat’s stare, David started the coffeemaker.
“Your bowls are full.”
David looked down at Buddy’s upturned, black-masked face.
“No more treats; we ran out. I’ll pick some up—”
The phone vibrated on the kitchen counter. David glared at it and let it ring a few more times before it went to voicemail.
“Yes, Sarge,” a female dispatcher replied. “I’m sorry to call you on your off day, but the captain needs you to report for duty.”
David sighed. Even though it was rather late in the morning, he had still planned on going out fishing today.
“Yeah, alright. Any reason on why I’m being called in, Barbara?”
“Yes,” the dispatcher replied. “We have a forty-two oh-one, and the captain wants our de-escalation expert to report ASAP.”
David snorted. De-escalation expert. Besides his sergeant’s rank—and the fact that higher-ranking officers usually covered many duties in small-town departments—he knew he was really being called in because of his size and stoic demeanor. He was the biggest, meanest-looking cop in the department.
The coffeemaker pinged with its completed brewing cycle.
“Okay. On my way.”
He heard the pained howls and angry roars before getting out of his patrol car. David approached the half dozen officers lined up in the middle of the street in front of Angelo Wood. Patrol cars barricaded the block at both ends to keep onlookers and traffic away from the disturbance, and an officer stood at the store’s entrance to keep customers inside.
Replaying the information from the radio in his head, David wondered who was injured and what was taking the damned paramedics so long.
“Paramedics on the way yet?” he asked the nearest of the two officers facing his direction. With his nod, David recognized the man.
“Yes, sir!” the young officer shouted over the intermittent screams and foreign-sounding, but obvious swearing. “Just got word that an erratic driver ran them off the road, but they are now on the way!”
A long, pained howl followed the officer’s reply.
“The guy’s injured and bleeding all over the place. No one can get near him!”
A light brown brow rose. “Is he armed, Delgado?”
“No, sir. He’s just big, pissed off, buck-naked, and bloody. Punched Brewster in the face.”
Delgado nodded towards a nearby patrol car, with a bleeding Brewster scowling from the driver’s seat. He held a blood-stained white towel to his nose.
“He’s probably amped up on something.”
After the young officer’s remarks, David frowned. With the siren of the approaching ambulance, he stepped around Delgado and got his first look at the man, who was now eerily silent.
What the fuck?
A pale, flushed specimen of muscle with rich, cinnamon-colored red hair flowing down his back squatted on the concrete, resting his forearms upon his massive thighs. His head hung down, and some of his long hair obscured his face. Being completely naked, the man’s parted thighs revealed a fiery thatch of hair and an enormous, uncircumcised penis.
Movement from the storefront forced David to tear his eyes from the naked redhead. A familiar-looking young, black-haired man had dropped his bag of supplies upon seeing the naked man.
Does he know this guy? David thought. He watched the black-haired man pull a phone from his shirt pocket to make a call.
“Hey,” Delgado said. “That’s Joshua Kendall. Brewster and I arrested him for assault and battery over a year ago.”
David had already figured it out: Kendall was one of those guys… the almost larger-than-life, too attractive group of guys that most of the women—and some men—in town drooled over.
Another one from the aforementioned group—a huge, long-haired Asian wearing dark blue coveralls—came charging from the direction of Angelo Auto with several officers blocking him, wielding batons.
Looking back at the redhead, David concluded he had to be a recent addition to the group.
“I know him!” the Asian guy cried out with his hands up. “Let me talk to him!”
“Stay back!” David shouted. “Once we get him into the ambulance, we’re taking him to Tucker Medical.”
Immediately after his order, he waved the ambulance through the barricade.
December 20, 2019
I wish that I wasn’t such a slow writer. Note that while I’m usually distracted by bright shiny objects (I’m like a cat), I’m also stubborn and always complete whatever I’ve started. So, here’s the unedited prologue of Angelo II in its entirety:
Chicago, Illinois. 2016. Early Summer.
Marian Drummond emailed the list of approved advances for the month to the head of the payroll department. In what was becoming a usual occurrence, she was running late. Even though she didn’t mind working into the early evenings, her husband wasn’t amenable to the late nights – never mind the fact that she was paid overtime for her efforts, and always made it home safely in the company car.
After shutting down her computer and tidying her desk, she left her small office and headed for the CEO’s office, which was adjacent to hers.
“Mr. Peacock, I’m leaving now,” she said through the closed door. “Goodnight.”
If there was anyone who worked more hours than she, it was her boss. Right when Mrs. Drummond reached the elevator, Mr. Peacock’s office door swung wide open.
“Mrs. Drummond, I hope that you are not taking a cab home.”
Closing the door behind him, he approached the opening elevator door while stuffing papers into his briefcase.
“Did you call Hastings?” he inquired, with a raised brow, as he stepped aside to allow her entry.
Mrs. Drummond looked up at her boss with a shrug and a sheepish grin after the elevator door closed.
Mr. Peacock shook his head. “Mrs. Drummond, how many times do I have to tell you to call Hastings whenever you’re holed up in that office of yours after hours?” he inquired, with an exasperated sigh.
For a moment, Mrs. Drummond was struck dumb by her boss’s penetrating gold and green eyes. They never ceased to amaze her, especially as they stood out in his dark, extremely handsome face.
What did he just say? Oh yes…
“Ah… I didn’t want to be a bother, Mr. Peacock. I can easily take a cab instead of calling Mr. Hastings at the hour. It’s no—”
“Hastings will take you home, Mrs. Drummond. The car is waiting for you.”
Refusing to take no for an answer, Mr. Peacock escorted his executive assistant to the awaiting maroon-colored Mercedes Benz S Class limousine in front of Peacock Publishing.
“Get a good night’s rest, Mrs. Drummond,” he ordered, before the chauffeur shut the car door after she got in.
“I’ll see you in the morning.”
He nodded to Hastings before reentering the building.
John was already loosening his tie when he entered his penthouse suite on the top floor of the three-story Peacock building. The first door immediately to his right at the entryway was his home office. He flipped on the light switch and tossed his briefcase on top of the small mahogany desk before heading into the huge open-plan kitchen.
Opening one of the stainless steel refrigerator doors, John grabbed a bottle of water. As he guzzled it, he suddenly felt an unwelcome presence.
“You have to be kidding me,” he muttered, before turning around to face his uninvited guest in the great room, brazenly reclining on his new leather chaise, drinking his liquor.
I should have sensed him before I opened the front door. I’m getting sloppy.
“Nice set-up you have here, Penemuel,” the blond man said.
Reaching for the brandy snifter on the small drum table next to the lounger, he raised the glass to his perfectly molded lips and took a sip.
Sighing, John shook his head before taking a seat on the leather sofa opposite his guest. Kicking off his shoes, he placed his feet on the coffee table.
“Well, just go ahead and make yourself at home,” he muttered.
“Why thanks, brother,” the man smirked. “You know you’re welcome at my place anytime.”
Running a hand through his long wheat-blond hair, he looked around John’s home.
“What’s it been… five or six thousand years?”
In lieu of a verbal response, John glared at the man in silence.
“Nice artwork. And an impressive library,” the blond commented. “Although I’m not surprised, with you being such a bookworm.”
Returning his penetrating turquoise gaze to John’s hardened expression, he snickered.
“Right now, you look just like that ridiculous wall of stone-faced forefathers in the lobby downstairs.”
Standing up, he sauntered over to the bar, and retrieved the brandy decanter before returning to the chaise.
“Which would make sense, as many of them are all old photos of you in historically accurate get-ups.”
Turquoise eyes concentrated on John’s short hair.
“I like the Caesar cut. It suits you, brother.”
Placing his feet on the floor, John leaned forward to rest his forearms on his thighs.
“Sataniel… why are you here?”
The blond quirked a dark brow before refilling his glass.
“Do I need a reason?” he inquired smoothly, before settling back comfortably.
“Do you have one?” John retorted. “As you’ve stated yourself, it’s been over five thousand years since we’ve last seen each other. Why show up now?”
When he didn’t receive an immediate reply, John rose from the sofa to get a brandy snifter for himself. When he returned to his seat, he raised a quizzical brow.
“I’ve been very busy.”
For a few seconds, John caught the shadow of something dark in the other man’s eyes before he quickly turned away.
“It’s not like I could come and go freely between Hell and Purgatory, brother,” Sataniel said quietly, before looking at John with a weary sigh.
“When was the last time you were in Angelo?”
With John’s silence, Sataniel nodded.
“I see. You haven’t returned since leaving in 1882.” He rolled his eyes.
“So much for the legendary band of brothers.”
Leaning forward, he poured brandy into John’s glass.
“Shit is going down,” Sataniel said. “El cielo de sangre is happening with more frequency, and as of right now, there are four of your beloved brothers living in Angelo.”
Sataniel’s information captured John’s full attention.
“El cielo de sangre? Four of my brothers?”
“The celestial phenomenon that brought you all here?” Sataniel replied, with raised brows.
“I was dumped here during the night, and I don’t recall a sky of blood. I do remember seeing an ominous red streak across the horizon briefly when I left. Who’s in Angelo?” John inquired.
“Since Ramiel was pulled from Purgatory right before me, I assume that he is one of the four?”
“Oh… so now you’re interested?” Sataniel scoffed. “Wow. You are something else, Penemuel. At any time, you could’ve gone back to check things out.”
He looked around the spacious industrial penthouse suite again.
“Of course, if you were too busy with your publishing empire—”
“Why are you here, Sataniel?” John snapped.
Sataniel held his hands up. “Hey; don’t get angry with me because you’re feeling guilty. Why are you still here?”
Rising from the sofa, John stalked to the bank of curtained windows along the great room’s one wall. Interlacing his fingers behind his head, he inhaled and exhaled a few times to calm down.
He’s right, he thought. I should have made several trips to Angelo by now. And just as importantly…
“What’s your stake in this, Sataniel?”
When he didn’t receive a reply, John turned around to face a great room devoid of an unwanted guest.
The unsettling quiet was immediately shattered by a boisterous laugh coming from his home office.
Rushing into the room, John found Sataniel holding a small frame that he had the audacity to remove from its place on the wall.
“Put that back,” John snarled.
“Chill out, brother,” Sataniel gasped, in between his laughter. “Is this supposed to be you?”
Turning the frame towards John, he displayed an aged piece of ruled paper with a crayon drawing of a Black angel in a white robe, complete with white wings and a halo. Even though it was the artwork of a young child, it was matted and framed with expensive materials, and obviously meant something to John.
“Oh! Now if this isn’t the cutest fucking thing!”
Approaching Sataniel, John snatched the picture from him and re-hung it, next to a Bill Traylor drawing of a man and a dog.
I’ll reiterate,” he said testily, facing his brother again. “Why are you here, and what’s your stake in all of this?”
Grinning, Sataniel adjusted his turquoise-hued tie, before sliding his hands into the trouser pockets of his immaculate black suit.
“I’m glad that you asked.”
He walked back into the great room with John at his heels. When he stopped at the bar, Sataniel faced his brother and closed the space between them.
“Besides you and I taking a stand with our brothers, there is a personal matter that I need to discuss with Shemhazai.”
“Shemhazai is in Angelo?” John gasped, completely taken aback.
“How… when… why did that happen?”
“Why the fuck are you asking me?” Sataniel replied, shrugging. “You are more familiar with Michael’s latest brand of crazy than I am.”
With John’s irritable expression, Sataniel added “During the Great Depression,” with an eye roll.
“Anyway,” he stressed “besides your fearless leader and Ramiel, Chazaqiel and Araqiel are also in Angelo.”
John gasped. “Chaz–Araqiel?”
Stunned, John headed for the sofa, plopped down on it, and hung his head in between his legs.
“Araqiel being here doesn’t make any sense,” he murmured. After a minute of silence between them, John looked up, shaking his head.
Sataniel twirled a finger near the left side of his head. “Michael?” he chuckled. “Cuckoo?”
John remained silent.
“A lot to take in, right?” Sataniel remarked, before resuming his comfortable spot on the chaise.
Rubbing his jaw, a frown appeared on John’s face.
“Why should we take a stand with you?”
Sataniel chuckled again. “Why not? The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
With John’s renewed silence, Sataniel said “I suggest that you rearrange your calendar, and book a flight to San Antonio as soon as possible.”
He threw back the last of his brandy, grinned, and in a flash of bluish light, vanished into thin air.
John stared at the unoccupied chaise before blinking twice.
“I’ve always hated when he does that,” he muttered.
Entering his office, John sat at his desk, and sent an email to Mrs. Drummond. She was an expert in getting things done at the last minute. With any luck, he’d be able to catch a flight out of O’Hare to San Antonio in the morning.