Aug 10, 2015

CARRIE F. SHEPHERD "THE SCRIBING OF ISHITAR (SAGA)"


Title: Fall From Grace: The Scribing of Ishitar (Volume 1)
 
Author: Carrie F. Shepherd

Genre: LGBT Fantasy
Length: 490 pages
Release Date: May, 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0692023419

SYNOPSIS:
 
Ishitar is born on the cusp of a great war between the two ruling Gods of the Heavens and Hells Realms. With his father in control of a repressive society and his mother fighting for free will for all, he believes the game that they play to be just that: a game. Little does he know that the players that he sees are not necessarily the ones who will influence the outcome.

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Scratching the Surface...

1. What is your name?

I am Azrael. Though, quite possibly, you know me best as the Archangel of Death.

2. Why were you given that name?

My father has a very literal sense of imagination when it comes to the naming of his children. When roughly translated from the ancient texts Azra means “transition” and El “the hand of God”.

3. Is there a nickname you’re known by? Do you prefer it?

I have been called many things as the shadows pass me by; not all of them pleasant. Though I do have one that I prefer that has lately been given to me. I am known by the demon, Zamyael, as Mectador. She tells me that the term translates into the common tongue as gentle stranger.

4. What is your birth date and current age?

We do not have any concept of time where I come from so I can tell you neither. I am not as old as the first inhabited world but came to being well before the second was created.

5. What is your hair color and style, eye color, and skin tone?

I am brown skinned with black hair. It grows just past my shoulders in an equal length and tends to curl slightly. My true eyes are pools of blood which, when you look into them, pulse and churn.

6. Do you have any scars, tattoos, or piercings? What do they mean to you?

I have many scars, which are meant to serve as a reminder that I am to obey the rules and order of my people. As for tattoos, I have only one. But it is really a brand rather than a tattoo. It is Noliminan’s mark. It signifies his ownership over me.

7. Who are your parents?

My father is Lucias, who is now in exile but who once ruled the Thirty Realms of the Hells. My mother is Raziel. She once served my father but, for now, sits the throne in Lucias’ stead.

8. Do you have any siblings? If so, what are their names and ages?

Far too many to count. But if we are speaking true blooded siblings, meaning bred from the same parents, I have eleven[WU1] . They are Raphael, Michael, Metatron, Gabriel, Barkiel, Zadkiel, Camael, Haniel, Cassiel, Uriel and Mihr. Each serve Noliminan in one capacity or another.

9. Where did you grow up? How do you feel about it now?

I was raised primarily by my elder brother, Raphael. He was already in service to Noliminan, but not yet in the personal capacity that he serves our Lord now. We lived in the cottage that was, subsequently, left to me when Raphael was called to service. It is located within the Thirty Realms of the Heavens, but not in the castle proper. As for how I feel about the cottage now, I’m ambivalent. It was once the one place I could go where no one else would be and was, as a result, a place where I could find a small measure of sanity. Now it seems terribly lonely when I visit there.

10. Where do you currently live (town, neighborhood, locale)? Do you like it?

At the end of the First Rebellion, I moved to the cottage with Zadkiel, Zamyael and Ishitar. I remain there to this day and consider it to be the closest thing to a home that I shall ever know.

11. What sort of a home is it (castle, apartment, cardboard box)?

A small, three bedroom cottage. It is cozy and very much filled with love.

12. With whom do you live? How do you feel about that person / people?

Currently, my brother Zadkiel.

13. Do you have any pets?

Does Zadkiel count? His ego can sometimes take a lot of stroking to bolster his confidence.

Seriously, however, no. Neither of us have the time or patience for pets.

14. What is your current job title / social station / rank?

I am the Archangel of Death. I am charged with watching every soul throughout creation and passing judgment on them as they leave their mortal world. I am one of the twelve servants who serve Noliminan, the King of Lords and the Master of all Gods. My rank is higher than the other angels who serve within the Heavens, but lowlier than any of the Gods who serve beneath Noliminan.

15. How do you feel about this role?

My feelings with regard to my role are inconsequential. I am a servant and will perform whatever tasks my Master requires of me.

16. What is your ultimate professional or life goal?

Professionally speaking, I have no further goals. As I have stated before, I was created to live in service and shall do as I am commanded.

17. Who is your biggest rival / enemy? Describe them briefly.

Noliminan. He is an extremely powerful God with a very short temper and a rather cruel sense of humor. Although I love him, I also loathe him.

18. What is your greatest talent?

I play the harp. Rather well, actually.

19. How would you spend an unexpected day off?

A day off, unexpected or otherwise, would be an incredible gift for me. However, if I were granted an unexpected day off I would spend it in the quiet sanctuary of my home. Most likely I would spend the day sleeping. I haven’t slept since I was a very small child.

Going a bit deeper...

20. Is your family currently close? Are they a source of support or stress?

My siblings and I are extremely close. We rely upon one another to survive Noliminan’s unexpected storms. For the most part they are a source of support. Although, at times, my brothers, Michael and Metatron, are a grave source of stress. I understand they have no option but to follow Noliminan’s orders blindly, yet it is sometimes intolerable to listen to the internal struggles of their thoughts paired to the acts of violence that they must sometimes commit.

21. Have you ever been abused? If so, how? How do you feel about it now?

Yes. I have. Violently and often. As for how I feel about it, I have become numb to the situation. It is the only manner in which to survive a situation you cannot escape.

22. What is your relationship status at the start of the story?

As I am an angel and Zamyael is a demon, we are forbidden any type of relationship by the law of the Gods. Therefore my love for her was guarded.

23. Describe your past relationships. How many? Who? Why did they end?

I have only been in one romantic relationship. I would prefer not to discuss it.

24. What is your worst habit / vice?

I find great humor in playing games with those who I watch. Moving things around their home and making them wonder how their keys, say, were moved from the peg by the door into their freezer.

25. How do you feel, generally, about the opposite sex?

Generally, I do not notice either sex, male or female. I no longer afford myself the luxury of falling too deeply into attraction or love with another being as I understand how people feel about me and know, for the most part, that such will never be returned or, if it is, last.

26. How do you feel about romance at the start of the story?

I very deeply want to fall in love at the beginning of the story. However, my fascination with Zamyael is forbidden by the laws of the Gods. Therefore, I’m very leery of it.

27. How do you feel about children? Do you have / want to have your own?

I adore children. I have none of my own, though I’ve watched and nurtured many from a distance. I was heavily involved in the raising of Ishitar and, when he is in need of guidance, feel extremely fatherly toward him.

At your core...

28. What crisis are you facing at the start of the story?

At the beginning of the story I am forced to make a decision with regard to sharing the events of the rebellion with my mother. When I speak of what I know that is not common knowledge, there are always consequences. Be they wrought by Noliminan or the magic that I wield. I must decide if the punishment I will receive for telling my tale will be less consequential than the danger that Ishitar is in if he remains the subject of his father’s fascinations.

29. What makes this crisis such a challenge for you in particular?

Although I love Ishitar, I am frightened of what will happen to me. Also, I truly do not like to gossip. If I know something about someone, I fail to see how it is my place to share that information with others.

30. How would you define ‘power’?

Power, to me, is the ability to control a person or people. Noliminan, in my opinion, has the ultimate power in this regard. Even the votes at the Council are dictated by him, despite the fact that he does insist that any true law be based on the majority vote. The Gods understand that if they do not vote in his favor there will be unwanted consequences.

31. What would you never do, no matter the price?

My task is to lead a mortal soul to where it belongs when it passes into my world. I would never, under any circumstances, damn an innocent soul. Likewise, if I believe that the individual lived in a matter that requires damnation, I would never allow them the reprieve of being risen to the next level of their journey, be that reincarnation or into the service of the Gods.

32. What belief / person / institution would you die to defend?

My siblings. Most definitely. And, in fact, I was given the curse of my magic for doing just that. One of them was put between Lucias and Noliminan, each giving him a contradicting order, and he was left to decide which he would obey. When I attempted to discuss the matter with Noliminan he became infuriated and passed his own power of ubiquity to me..

33. Who has hurt you the worst in your life, and how?

Ishitar. The how will play itself out in the pages of these tomes.

34. Have you forgiven them? Could you ever?

Not as of yet. If I ever shall remains to be seen.

35. Who have you hurt the worst?

Ishitar.

36. Have they forgiven you? Could they ever?

I believe that he has. His mind is one of the few I am blocked from, however, so I cannot be certain.

37. What was your first impression of the hero(ine)?

It is truly debatable who the hero or heroine is during any of my tale. This is one of those things that waxes and wanes with time.

However, during the events that take place during the first revolution, which is recalled in Fall From Grace, it appears to be Lucias. Yet, in hindsight, I wonder if that is truly the case. If it were Lucias, I’d have to say terrified. Lucias is my father, but not an easy individual to know or love. Lucias has motivations which sometimes puzzle me. I suppose my first impression, given I was a small child when I met him, was fear of rejection and of his sometimes hard ways.

As for Ashes to Ashes, there is no clear hero there, either. If I had to choose, I’d say it was Aiken Darklief simply because he was the only God who actually took an interest in the war playing itself out on the mortal world of Anticata. He’s far younger than I am; I’ve watched him since he was born. My first impression was that he wouldn’t amount to much.

38. How accurate was this first impression?

I am still wary of Lucias. As for Aiken, he has definitely surprised me through the years.

39. What revelation surprised you most about him/her?

There are far too many surprises where Lucias is concerned to even begin to pick one. As for Aiken Darklief, as I said, I expected nothing to come of him. I knew he was Lucias’ son, and therefore powerful. But he is a fairy and—to be blunt—born of an extremely flighty race.

40. What was the most defining moment of your life at the start of the story?

Making the decision to speak of the rebellion with my mother, Raziel. I knew that there would be heavy consequences, but I also knew that I had no choice at the time.

41. Why should the reader care about your story?

My story allows the reader a glimpse into a world where loyalty is fierce and often time tested. The emotions that we feel for one another, be it love or loathing, run deep and our actions are borne from our heart. The story I share will, hopefully, allow the reader to see the cost of pushing such loyalty to the limits. Every soul has its breaking point, after all.





Title: Ashes to Ashes: The Scribing of Ishitar (Volume 1)

Author: Carrie F. Shepherd
Genre: LGBT Fantasy
Length: 400 pages
Release Date: June, 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0692023402

SYNOPSIS:
Exiled from the Sixty Realms at the end of the Second Revolution, Iykva, one of the demons sent to propagate a new mortal race, longs for equality between his people and those of the exiled angels. Believing the key to this equality lies within the blood of his enemy, he strikes war on the first born of the race of the elves. Caught up in his parents' game to claim the ultimate power, Ishitar dismisses this mortal war as unimportant to his strategy of placing his own pawn upon his father's throne. Will the cost that he eventually pays for his ignorance be worth what little advantage he has gained on the kings' board?

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Scratching the Surface...

1. What is your name?

Apprentice Lord Loki. I don’t have a surname. Or if I do, I never learned it. Anyway, it really doesn’t matter if I do. I shall always think of myself as born of the line of Dilthrop.

2. Why were you given that name?

Now that’s a damn good question. I never knew either of my parents and my adoptive father hadn’t the barest clue.

3. Is there a nickname you’re known by? Do you prefer it?

Oh yes. Each one of my geese have given me a special name known only to her. Whichever I’m with, I prefer her name for me in that moment.

4. What is your birth date and current age?

Too many suns have crossed the arc of the sky for me to count.

5. What is your hair color and style, eye color, and skin tone?

Dark brown hair, purple eyes, bronze skin.

6. Do you have any scars, tattoos, or piercings? What do they mean to you?

Only the scratches the goose I spent last night with raked across my back.

7. Speaking of, you do seem to have a knack with the ladies. Aside your nymph blood, what do you think draws them to you?

I’m not really sure how to answer that question. Every woman that comes to me does so for a different reason. A husband that ignores her. A boost from low self-esteem. Loneliness. But let us not forget how irresistibly charming I am. To be honest, I truly don’t pay too much stock in their reasoning. If I can make them forget their troubles, even for a short time, it isn’t very much my business what brought them to my bed.

8. Do you love any of them? Or are you just with them for the sex?

I love each and every one of them. In varying degrees and for different reasons, but yes. I do love them.

9. Aside from the obvious answer, are there any that you’ve actually fallen “in love” with?

Theasis. She was my first lover and I fell hard for her. I knew we’d never fit together romantically—not for very long, by any oar’s row. But yes, if I had to say I ever fell in love with someone I classify as my goose, it is most definitely is Thea. Other than that? No.

10. How do you feel about your appearance? Favorite / most hated features?

LOL! What do you think?! My favorite feature is my goatee. Although I was born a nymph, I was raised by centaurs. I had to earn the right to wear my goatee by completing all of the trials and tests that every colt in my herd must pass before he’s considered a stallion.

11. Who are your parents?

My biological mother was a nymph; my biological father was a merman. As I said, I’ve never met either of them. There have been suggestions that Lord Merrick—the God who governs the merfolk—was my father, but no one has come right out and admitted it to me. I tend to believe that’s the case, however, because, otherwise, I wouldn’t have become a God, myself, when my mortal veil was lifted. As to who my “parent” was, that was Chiron Dilthrop, the stallion who took me in when my mother abandoned me.

11. Do you have any siblings? If so, what are their names and ages?

I have no idea. My biological mother is, after all, a nymph.

12. Your boldness ends up getting you hurt. Will you share a situation where you think you should have held your tongue but did not?

Where do I start? Honestly, the times I wish I would have held my tongue resulted in other people getting hurt. Not me. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of punishments from Noliminan, but I brought them upon myself. And it isn’t really anything I said that I regret the most, but my actions. To be frank, the one time I wish I would have held back from giving into my true nature was when Raguel came to me seeking comfort. In the end, it was the fact that I took her into my bed that brought about her death.

13. When you found out that she was gone, did you know that it was her admittance that you and she had been together that caused her death?

I had no idea. Like everyone else, I thought she was a casualty of the rebellion. As time has passed . . . Well. Let’s move on, shall we?
 
14. Of course. Where do you currently live (town, neighborhood, or locale)? Do you like it?

After Lucias was exiled I was left to govern the punishments over the damned. Thus, I still live in the apartment where my apprenticeship took place. It’s located on the thirteenth level of the Hells. Do I like it? Of course. It’s been home to me for far too many years for me to count. I have memories there—good and bad—that haunt me in every corner of every room. Would I like to return to the carefree days of my youth, when I lived in the forest with my herd? Most definitely. Given that isn’t an option, however, I’m content to stay where I am. For now.

15. Do you have any pets?

Do the damned souls in the basement count?

16. If you want them to. What, exactly is your current role where they are concerned? Are you still considered an apprentice? Or did your status change when Lucias was exiled?

My title hasn’t changed. Probably never will. Noliminan thinks that by calling me an apprentice he’s keeping me in my place. As for my role, when Lucias was exiled I took over punishing the souls that Azrael deposits into the basement.

17. How do you feel about this role?

I don’t have the stomach Lucias had for it, but after all of these years I also realize that if they are there it isn’t due to petty sins. Since the concept of reincarnation came into play, Azrael only delivers those souls whose acts are truly unredeemable into my care. After reading the list of sins committed that he leaves for me on their cages after they are delivered, I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that there’s nothing I can do to them that they don’t, rightfully, deserve.

18. Do you have any hobbies? Why are they important to you?

My herd has a unique version of polo that they play. Of course, being I’m a two leg, I always lost and, as a result, was the last colt picked for either team. But I loved playing it with them. It was one of the ways that they integrated me into the herd when they, very easily, could have rejected me. I visit the herd from time to time to join the stallions at this type of play. Of course, I’m still the last picked by either team.

19. Whom would you contact first to share good news?
 
Funnily enough it isn’t either Lucias or Aiken. It’s Samyael. I will never be Lucias’ equal and Aiken and I, although he is my best friend, have a rather guarded relationship because of his feelings for me. I’m simply not comfortable with the type of comfort he can provide. Sam and I have become extremely close with one another over the years and I have learned that I can tell him anything and he will neither judge nor betray me. Frankly, at this point, I consider him as one of my sons.

20. What is your worst habit / vice?

Curiosity. Definitely, it’s curiosity. What, exactly, is the information buried within the forbidden tomes and how do I break their code?

21. Do you believe you’ll ever crack that code?

I’ll certainly go to whatever fate befalls me trying.

22. I know how valuable your time is, but I have one last question before I let you go. What, exactly, do Ishitar’s pies taste like?

Like nothing I can describe. Tastier than the freshly washed flesh of a woman’s neck.
              


AUTHOR INFORMATION & LINKS


Carrie F. Shepherd grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. Raised outside of the predominating religion, she sought answers of her own. Fascinated by the mythology of the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, she delved into the old stories and meshed them with the new to create a fascinating world of good versus evil.

When not immersed in the world of the Gods, Carrie's full time job is in Regulatory Compliance. During her time off she enjoys hiking on cooler days or, when the weather permits, hanging out with friends and family by the pool.

Carrie now lives in Highlands Ranch, Colorado with her fourteen year old daughter, her dogs (Commander Jon Snow and Sir Buns McGee of Bratwurst) and her cat (Blizzardfur).



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