Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Guest Blogger... L.J. LaBarthe

It is my pleasure to introduce L.J. Labarthe!


Thank you for having me again, Ella! It's great to be here.
So today, I'm talking about the women in my novel. There are five women who feature prominently in "No Quarter" and they are:
 Sophiel: Angel of the Moon, who has a Chinese form; Agrat: Angel of Prostitution and Sex, who has a Korean form. Ishtahar: Immortal human woman, formerly High Priestess of the Grigori prince, Semjaza, mother of Nephilim (half-angel, half-human) sons. Mira: Young human woman in her twenties, adopted daughter of Archangel Gabriel. She is blonde, blue-eyed and was given to him as an infant to raise. And lastly, Lix Tetrax: Archdemon of the Wind and Household Discord.
All of these women play a role in the book and in the sequels; Sophiel, Ishtahar and Agrat more so than Mira or Lix Tetrax. They are all strong minded women, independent personalities, and Agrat and Ishtahar who are in relationships, have good, solid, equal relationships with their male partners. Sophiel is devoted to her duty and so doesn't have a partner, but that in no way diminishes her capabilities or personality.

Sophiel, with her counterpart, Brieus, are almost always with Archangel Tzadkiel, as his seconds in command and his support staff. She is a tough, no-nonsense personality, intelligent and gifted in intelligence gathering. As Tzadkiel runs God's secret police, she is trained in all aspects of that. She is a combatant angel as well, and her armor and weapons of choice are Chinese, from the era of the Song Dynasty. Sophiel speaks her mind on most subjects and she is most comfortable in the company of Brieus and Tzadkiel. Like most angels, she is uncomfortable in the presence of the rest of the Archangels, because they are the most powerful weapons in Heaven's arsenal. Sophiel's role as intel gatherer and sometimes-spy continues through all the books thus far.
Agrat, because she's the Angel of Prostitution and Sex, is written of in some books as a demon. One of her sisters is said to be Lilith. Agrat is either described as an angel or demon; I wanted her to be an angel in my books, even though sex is used as a weapon and for control as well as being an expression of love and pleasure. Agrat, apart from being married to a soldier, runs a number of safe houses and homes for battered women, for victims of sex trafficking, for children who have been sold into sexual slavery. Basically, Agrat's main goal in life is the protection and healing of anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse.

Ishtahar has a tragic background – her punishment for being the mother of Nephilim was to be made immortal. Instead of wallowing in self-pity at her situation, Ishtahar turned the punishment around into a gift. By being immortal, although unable to bear any more children, Ishtahar uses her experiences and intelligence to run shelters and safe houses for abused women and children. Many of these are run by both Ishtahar and Agrat, as these women have seen the worst as well as the best of humanity. Ishtahar is a quiet woman, she rarely speaks unless she has to, but she is a warm and gentle person, understanding of her partner Remiel's foibles and his over-protective nature.
Women in "No Quarter" are just as important as men. Although the book, and, indeed, the series, is a male/male romance between Archangels Gabriel and Michael, the female characters are present to show that in the universe of the books, they're as necessary as the men. They are asked their opinions or advice, they are asked to take on sometimes dangerous missions, they get injured in the line of duty, they take care of each other and their loved ones. As we live in a diverse world, so do the characters in my books, and the female characters are, to me, as necessary as any of the men. We don't live in a vacuum after all; so I, personally, can't write a story that doesn't have female characters. I just try to do them the justice they deserve as I do with the male characters.
Thanks again for having me, Ella, as always, it's been wonderful! I'll close off with the blurb and links for "No Quarter." Oh, and the sequel, "No Surrender, No Retreat," will be out July/August this year, which is very exciting.

"No Quarter" Blurb:
Book 1 of the Archangel Chronicles 
You would never know it from his flamboyant lifestyle, but Gabriel’s not just the cheerful, fun-loving adoptive father of a pair of indulged young adult humans. He’s an Archangel, commander of Heaven’s legions of Seraphim, and despite his apparently easy virtue, he’s harboring a serious crush on his superior officer, Michael.
For years Michael has devoted himself to developing a team of humans, the Venatores, to aid in the fight against Hell. He’s been pining after Gabriel for centuries without hope, believing himself to be too serious to attract the other Archangel’s interest. He’s happy to discover that he’s wrong, but their burgeoning relationship is stymied by a major problem: an egomaniacal human is recruiting demons and fallen angels in a bid to take over the world. It’s up to Michael and Gabriel, and the rest of the Brotherhood of Archangels, to beat back the forces of Hell before the Earth is overrun.

Thanks for hanging with us!

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