LOTS of great reviews.
This is such an awesome moment for me.
After all these years of trying to get this book published? Then to finally GET it published? And then to have people react so positively?
I’m really humbled, and yeah… of course I’m over the moon happy at the responses.
Here are some review quotes that I wanted to share with you. It’s crazy, that after over a decade of trying to get this book published, I get the words and thoughts like those below, directed at this book, Lost Wings:
B. Claypole White: “Yes, even the chilling, earthly version of Lucifer. I can’t recommend this action-packed novel enough–for character, for plot, for depictions of heaven and hell, and for good-old fashioned story.“
John M.: “The book lays out a convincing sense of binding the human with the celestial. Vale retraces and integrates well known spiritual axioms, metaphorical allusions, and millennia old narratives into a palpable pop culture, action movie saga. Clearly, he had to believe in his “point of departure” and the ability to carry it forward with confidence, to make this story work.”
ravenwood: It’s fast paced, with characters you want to root for, and unexpected twists and turns. Kept me reading until way too late in the night. C
Sandy94901: I typically do not go for “fantasy” novels but the story line of Lost Wings caught me immediately and felt so very real.
J. Joiner: This book pulled me and I finished in a mere 2 days. Yet this isn’t Milton or Dantes take on hell. No this is hell as we make it in our minds. I look forward in eagerness to the second book.
Syliva M. Barker: “Very interesting characters and storyline. I enjoyed this foray into the paranormal and found the storyline not only interesting but also rather intriguing. The idea of a hero going to hell to save an angel and the human race is fascinating reading and his ability to withstand the devil and his minions give hope to mankind.”
Amazon Customer: “I truly hope the author writes a sequel to this tale as I would love to read more about Richard Eastman and how God’s plan comes about.“
Kindle Customer: “It was great. I wanted it to go on. I read the whole book and didn’t put it down unless I had to, really a great read.”
Amazon Customer: “This book was a very enjoyable read. Perfect for a night by the fire and a good glass of wine.“
(And my favorite) Amazon Customer: “Part hardboiled noir. Part fantasy. Part horror. Mix it all together and enjoy a great story about loss and redemption with action worthy of a John Wick movie and the best version of hell I’ve read. Highly recommended.“
Totally awesome. and I AM really humbled, but yeah… there’s a bit of being proud in there, too. I admit it.:-)
Lost Wings is now available on Amazon, both as hard copy and E-book.
It took fifteen years of never giving up on this book to get to this day, and you know, yeah… I feel pretty proud at this moment. The book was always there in my desk drawer, and it always there in my mind.
I just knew that I could never give up.
And now here it is, published through an incredible press, Elephant’s Bookshelf Press. This house has never published books like mine before, like Lost Wings, but they were willing to take a chance on Richard Eastman, Avesta, Demarco, and Lucifer. And for that, I will always be grateful.
So, after all these long years, this novel about a war vet that comes home one night to find a wingless angel in his bathtub and then goes off on the mission of his life to find those wings, is finally here.
Hope you have as much fun reading it, as I did writing it.
I thought it would be cool to share the prologue to Lost Wings with you all (coming out September 22nd, 2017), to sort of “whet your appetite”.
At the end of the darkness were the hands.
The concept of hands touching her, grasping at her, hurting her, was new. Her skin felt as if it were on fire, as if she would burn up.
Her mind reeled, a mind that was used to being a part of a larger consciousness. She experienced being alone for the first time since she had been given form so long ago, in a time before the mind of man was even conceived.
Where was God?
Where were the Seraphim?
She was being held down on a cold, hard floor. Darkness was all around, the very air a great weight on her chest. Then there were voices, murmuring to each other in awe. She could make out snippets of sentences over the rushing in her ears.
“Jesus, Jeet, we really got her.”
“Demarco, man, you did it!”
It hurt to breathe, and she gasped for air. She felt heavier than the Earth itself, unable to lift even a finger. She was used to feeling as weightless as a beam of pure light, or a thought. Then it hit her: she had been captured. But that was supposed to be impossible! God would never allow it.
“Turn her over, man!”
The voices were a scourge across her skin. She was lifted off the floor and turned over onto her face. She experienced smells for the first time, and her stomach churned. They were sharp, bitter, filled with disease and decay. How was any of this happening? It was supposed to be impossible for humans to come near her, much less hold or bind her. Any human would be immolated, turned to dust unless she allowed the contact to be made or render herself visible to their eyes. If a human were to see her as she truly was, they would go blind, their eyes burned out of their heads. But now? Now she struggled, but it was as if the hands that held her were stone: unbreakable and unmovable.
Then another voice spoke in the darkness, and she understood. This voice was unlike the others. It was deep and resonating, filled with an evil power she was familiar with, for she had been at war with that power since before the dawn of time.
“Give me the saw,” said the voice, and for the first time, she knew panic.
Her heart raced, threatening to break through her ribs. And her wings, her beautiful, white feathered wings, flapped desperately.
“Hold her down, God damn it! Get her wings under control, asshole!” A sharp pain stabbed her in the back. She struggled wildly, but it was useless. She was a butterfly, caught on a pin.
“Look at it, bitch,” said the powerful voice. A huge, heavily tattooed hand pushed a rusty saw into her field of vision. It was an evil-looking thing: the sharp, bent teeth seemed to leer at her. “See that?” the voice grated. “This is what’s going to take your stupid, fucking Grace.” She tried to crane her neck to see the speaker, but it was impossible.
“You will be cursed for all time, if you do this!” she said.
A higher pitched voice chimed in, mocking her. “You will be cursed! For all time!” It then broke into a cackling giggle.
“Welcome to the shit,” said the powerful voice. The saw disap- peared from her field of vision. Then there was a tearing and ripping on her back, on the bones that supported her wings. The pain shot down the bones, white hot, and into the very fiber of her body. Her eyes seemed to burn, and the world turned upside down. She shrieked, an explosion that made her throat burst. There was the sound of glass shattering, followed by someone yelling, “Christ man, my ears! Get a fucking gag!” A fouled piece of cloth was shoved into her mouth, choking her. The air filled with the sound of the saw, ripping and shredding its merciless way through her. The pain filled her mind. She was falling into a cauldron of boiling lead. There was a roaring in her ears, louder than the clash of the Thrones’ wings. Her vision dimmed, and she wondered if this was what the approach of death felt like for the ones she guarded. She didn’t even feel the saw stop its terrible, devastating path through her body.
“That’s one,” said the powerful voice, like a doctor removing an organ from an unfortunate patient. “Now, the other.”
Then it began again, but she had passed beyond it, her body unable to hold the pain; the first pain she ever felt. Silver tears, like little drops of mercury, formed in her eyes for the first time, then fell to the dirty floor where they pooled and were forgotten. At the last moment, she gathered her few remaining beads of energy and sent out a lightning bolt of thought, straight to God. She knew He would hear her, would feel her desperation and despair. She focused every last shred of energy into that one, final plea for help.
“Hurry, man!” the higher pitched voice said, “I think something’s coming!”
“Shut up, Jeet.”
“I know something’s coming! I asked for a saw, not this butter knife!” Then: “Done!”
She spun faster and faster, over and over, end over end… falling at the speed of light. It was as if everything she had ever known or had ever been was stripped away, leaving only the thought that she was truly apart from Him now. Alone. She closed her eyes against the pain and sorrow that enveloped her.
“Put ‘em in the sack and let’s get movin’. Hurry, you assholes!” “But what about her? We’re not supposed to leave–”
“Don’t you think I know that? No time! Move, damn it!”
There was the rumble of distant thunder, and she felt the atmosphere around her turn warm and then hot. The air hummed with electricity. The insides of her eyelids turned red, and she opened her eyes. The room was bathed in a fierce, white light, her skin feeling like it would blister from the intense heat. There were screams of agony and pain all around her.
He had sent aid.
It felt as if every ion had suddenly been charged exponentially. There were more screams, and she thought she heard someone begging for mercy, but she couldn’t be sure. The world lurched around her, and then she was receding down a long tunnel away from the light, the voices, and the pain. She had a faint impression of a woman’s soft voice, praying. Praying to her, beseeching her for help. It continued for only a second, but then she knew no more.
If you enjoyed this, please consider purchasing a copy, available in ebook and paperback formats.
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Update, you say?
Well, a pretty small one, I guess. However, I wanted to share the below photo of where I am with this current book. The theme of the book is not new, however, for me it’s incredibly cathartic: Death and dying, grief and grieving.
And of course, since I write mysteries, there’s a murder. A few of ’em, actually.
I’m still at it, just keeping my head below the bush-line for now, but still working hard. This one is going to be good, and I’m very excited about it. I’m finally learning an entirely new way to go about writing a book.
So, I just wanted to peek over the bush-line for a moment, to scan around and see how everyone was doing.
And I hope, especially with all The Crazy going on in the world right now, everyone is making their way as best they can.
I leave you with a photo of what my brain looks like at the moment:
Wait. I also want to leave you with a John Watson quote, a quote I feel is incredibly apt given the days we seem to find ourselves living in:
“Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
I’m sorry to have to bring you this news, however, there will be no more Mark Mallen novels. We submitted a three page synopsis to my editor, and even though they tried to make the numbers work, there was just no way to make it happen.
So, goodbye, Mallen. When I learned of his demise, I actually felt like I’d lost a friend. And as I’d spent over seven years with Mallen, I felt this made sense.
What’s next, you’re wondering? Well, writers write and so I began another novel. It was a struggle to make these new characters NOT sound like my old characters. I slugged through the first draft, and then began all the work that I do before starting the second draft:
This is where I was when something happened, a real game-changer. My wife showed me an article in the NY Times about something I found incredibly beautiful and compelling. (And no, I can’t tell you what that is as that would ruin the novel) I knew there was a story in this article. I just knew it. Then I suddenly remembered a character from a screenplay I’d written over fifteen years ago. The story hadn’t work, but the character had.
And there it was. Right there. I melded the NY Times article with the character and BOOM! Instant idea. I worked up a pitch and then emailed my agent and pitched it to her. Her response was: “DROP EVERYTHING ELSE! I LOVE THIS!!! This is your big book, go out and get it.”
So, I put the above project away and began working on the new one. Here is the synopsis I worked up for this new novel:
Yes, that’s an original Robert K. Lewis synopsis.
This new book even has a title already: Coda
It was phenomenal.
Met and spoke with so many incredible authors. Got to hang out with my amazing agent, Barbara Poelle. Here is a picture of me, Barbara, and the great writer Sophie Littlefield the night of her nomination for the Macavity award:
I made friends with the Sheraton hotel bartender, a very spiritual man, and we bonded over the fact that we both have the Tree of Life tattooed on our arms. That led to many incredible discussions about numerology, the flower of life, and the intersection of lives.
(As a side note: I don’t want to seem to hedonistic, however, I have to say that the hotel bar ended up being my hangout. It was a blast.)
The panel I was on Friday morning, “The Appeal of the Hardboiled Novel” went well. I’m still so nervous when doing these kinds of things. And to be up on stage with writers such as Matt Coyle and Steve Hamilton only added to the nervousness.
But Bouchercon is a GREAT experience for fans of mysteries as it is for those who write them. I couldn’t recommend this convention more.
And no, I didn’t win the Shamus award, however, it was really an honor to have been nominated along with so many writers I’ve admired. I know people say stuff like that all the time when they don’t win an award, but you know? Now I know why they do.
I have to say though, that getting to Raleigh on the red eye from Oakland, with a layover at JFK was a terrible decision on my part, as was on our return flight, having to get up at 2:30AM so we could be ready to get our shuttle van at 4AM to get us to the airport for our 6AM flight. This wouldn’t have been so bad, had we not still been jet lagged from arriving. We each got about three hours of very interrupted sleep that night. By the time I got on the Raleigh plane that would take us to JFK for our connecting flight, I was delirious. The three day hangover didn’t help, naturally.
As an added special surprise, VW Tapes taped the panel I was on.
“Audio used courtesy of Bouchercon Writer Conference
And VW TAPES Recording. To Buy full sessions
See you soon.
Panel alert for Bouchercon! I’ll be on the “The Appeal of the ‘Hardboiled’ Mystery” panel at 10AM, Friday, October 9th. I’ll be there with some really great writers (Rick Mofina, Philip Reed, and Matt Coyle), and the moderator will be Steve Hamilton. Come on by, as it’s sure to be a great time.
Next month, man. Hope to see you there. Raleigh, North Carolina.