Friday, 22 November 2013

Ethereal Influence #2 The Inquisition

Good morning! Before you all retire for a warm and cozy weekend - an interview, a review and a giveaway to help you push through the 24 hours between you and your paradise. Happy Weekend Novel-Worms. 

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About Lana Bradstream:

Lana Bradstream has spent 11 years as a newspaper reporter, columnist and freelance reporter for the Timber Lake Topic, the Mobridge Tribune, the Custer County Chronicle, the Rapid City Weekly News, the Box Elder Horizon, the Rapid City Journal and Demand Media Studios.
Her work has garnered her numerous awards, such as the South Dakota Newspaper Association (SDNA) First Place Best New Story (2001) and SDNA Second Place Outstanding Young Journalist (2001). She was also a featured poet at the Medora Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
Mrs. Bradstream has been a Type 1 diabetic for 23 years. She has been married for seven years with one beautiful 6-year-old daughter and an infant son.
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Title: Ethereal Influence: The Inquisition
Author: Lana Bradstream
Genre: Christian Fiction/Contemporary Fantasy

Synopsis: 

The Inquisition is a time of turmoil and fear. It is a time of horror and atrocities, when the faith of people waiver. Inquisitor Nikolaus is experiencing a lack of faith as he orders torture and death for scores of people - some of whom he believes were innocent. Lorenz, an angel of God, is sent to restore his faith and bring him back to God. But, the fallen angel Jakob is intent on capturing Nikolaus' soul with the aid of Ayla, a real witch who has surrendered her own soul.

Available on Amazon.


Other works by Lana Bradstream:

Title: Ethereal Influence: The Birth
Author: Lana Bradstream
Genre: Christian Fiction/Contemporary Fantasy

Synopsis: 
A person's faith can waiver when life becomes difficult. It is during those times when God's angels can appear and attempt to deliver guidance. Alas, God is not the only one with angels. The death of Laura's baby shakes her faith to the core, leaving her open and vulnerable. With her faith in the balance, her soul becomes the battle ground between good and evil. The angels Ben and Ryan war with one another over whether or not Laura's faith can be restored or her plunge into darkness will continue.

Available on Amazon

Ethereal Influence: The Inquisition

Excerpt:

The soles of his leather shoes had already worn thin. Running like hell through brush and creeks and over dirt and rocks was not making the soles any stronger. Sharp pains shot through his foot whenever he slammed down on a sharp rock or thistle. It did not slow him down. He had to get home and give his daughter his most treasured possession – a small gold crucifix. He always carried it with him. Even though they lived in poverty, he would not part with it. It had been in his family for generations. His father had given it to him. His father’s mother had given it to him. He made sure the crucifix was safely attached to the new leather cord around his neck and tucked under his shirt. He was not going to risk getting it caught on a tree or losing it if he should stumble.
Behind him, he heard men’s voices and the rustling of horses. The small tree plot he had run into was going to buy him some cover and some time, but eventually, they would find him. The soldiers of the inquisitors always found who they were looking for. 
The time he had left was very small and very precious. He knew they would take him away, ask him questions, torture him and then execute him. All because someone accused him of witchcraft. 
Why? He had taken the crucifix from around his neck and had set it down on a table at the local inn. After a few pints of ale, he had picked it up again and the old leather cord broke, causing the crucifix to land at his feet in an inverted position. A little old man screamed it was the devil’s work. He and the other patrons in the inn had told the little old man to be quiet and they kicked him out. The old man got his vengeance. 
Only a quarter of a mile left to his small farmhouse. His feet were leaving behind spots of blood. The soldiers were not using dogs and it was getting darker every minute. He was sure they would not be able to spot his trail. 
Behind him, he could hear the pounding of hooves on the ground and the rustling of leaves. The soldiers had split up. Three were in the trees, searching for him. He heard another three soldiers racing through the open field. He knew they would be far ahead and out of sight by the time he left the trees. Fortunately, navigating the horses through the trees was proving to be difficult for the other soldiers, especially with the setting sun. He trusted in that knowledge and held them close as he continued to push his legs and feet. 
He was breathing so hard, his throat started to burn. His lungs felt like they were in fire, but he had to get home. He had to give his daughter his crucifix. If he was not able to get there, he knew the soldiers would just take the crucifix. It was gold, after all – something that had been given to him by his own father. 
Once he broke through the last of the trees, he paused for a moment to catch his breath. The soldiers were not immediately close and he had to take a few seconds.  The trees ended on a gentle slope of a hill and his house was on the other side. When a twig broke loudly behind him, he knew it was time to hurry again. 
He tried to make his running as quiet as possible, but to him it sounded like an army crashing through the tall grass. The soldiers were making such a racket, they probably could not hear his frantic footsteps anyway. He knew it was only a matter of time before some of them found his house. When he neared the top of the hill, he wanted to drop to his belly and crawl. He would be an easy target if he was spotted, but he also knew if he did crawl, it would not make a difference. He was still going to be captured. 
His legs pumped faster over the top of the hill. He heard shouting behind him and he knew he was spotted, but at least he could see his house. It was so close! The fire from inside was flickering, letting light shine through the windows. He pushed himself harder. He was almost there and he did not hear the telltale sound of heavy, quick hoof beats yet. He knew he was going to make it, but he also knew his time was quickly fading. 
His feet bleeding and caked with dirt, he rounded the corner of his small dirt and stone house, which his grandfather had built. He burst his way through the door, slamming the wooden door shut behind him. His wife and daughter jumped up from the table where they had been eating their supper. 
“Father! What’s wrong?”
His daughter Ayla rushed over and put her arms around him to help him sit down. He did not have the breath to speak. As soon as she seated him, he grabbed her hand and placed the crucifix in her palm. 
“What is this?” she asked him, even though she knew what it was. He rarely removed it from his neck and he liked to tell her that, if nothing else, the crucifix was going to be the one thing he would leave her. 
“I hear horses!” his wife yelled. She peeked her head out the window to watch three soldiers gallop down the hill toward the house. “What happened?”
“They’re . . . . take me.” His lack of breath and now the pain in his chest made his speech muddled and full of holes. 
“Why?”
“Take.” He grasped his daughter’s hand around the crucifix and looked into her eyes, hoping his eyes would be able to tell her what his mouth could not. He would miss her. He did not know how old she was, but she was a young woman who would no doubt be married soon. She was very pretty with her large, brown eyes and thick blonde hair. Her full lips would frequently part into a wonderfully wide smile. Most young women in the nearby town looked like they were made of skin and bones from the lack of food, but he had always managed to make sure enough food was on their table. Her face and womanly shape had caused her to gain male admirers. He had insisted she pick a husband that she loved. Otherwise, she would already be married. 
He was going to miss her so much.
The door to the house was kicked open by a soldier who had his sword drawn. His daughter and wife screamed. Two more soldiers hurried inside. One soldier pushed his wife into a corner. She slid down the wall, crying and curling into a ball on the floor. Another soldier grabbed his daughter’s arm and flung her toward her mother. A hard push on her back completed her journey and she landed in a heap at her mother’s feet. His hands were already bound in front of him and the tip of the sword was at his throat.
One soldier stood guard over them as the other two descended on him. He was still sitting in his chair when he felt a fist slam into his nose. His head flung back and tears sprang to his eyes. Another fist crashed into his jaw. He was almost certain it was broken. He felt a pair of hands hold the back of his head, making it impossible for him to move. A small stick was being shoved into his mouth. A rope was tied to one end of it. The soldiers wrapped the rope around his neck, around the back of his head and tied the other end of it to the other side of the stick. 
“You’re not going to be able to cast any spells on us, are you?” The soldier leaned over, leering in his face, breath hot against his swelling skin. 
He felt one of the soldiers lift him under his arms, making him stand up. His legs were still tired from running. His feet were numb. Unable to hold himself up, he collapsed. Yelling at him to get up, the soldiers kicked his body mercilessly. He curled into a fetal position to cover his head. The pain from the beating was overwhelming. He laid on the floor, suffering their punishment, for what seemed like an eternity before they finally forced him to get up. They took him outside and held him up. One soldier tied some rope around his bonds. The other end of the rope was tied to the saddle. 
“You’re going to walk or we’re going to drag you. Either way is fine with me.”
He had no strength to cry and he did not want the soldiers to see tears anyway. He had to concentrate to get his feet and legs to cooperate. Inside, he heard the last soldier speaking to his wife and daughter. They were crying and would occasionally scream, which was followed by laughter from the soldier. He wanted to yell at the soldier to get away from his family, but the stick that was tied into his mouth prevented him from uttering anything but a few muffled groans. A soldier punched him in the eye and told him to be silent. 
The laughter grew louder and he heard the soldier walk out of the house. He brought something close to his nose and inhaled. In his hand, he held a large piece of long, blonde hair.
“You sure have a pretty daughter. I might come back and take her off your ugly wife’s hands.” The soldier rubbed the hair in his face, laughing as he struggled. He hated soldier and swore in thought that if he were not tied, he would kill him. 
He could still hear crying coming from inside. All he could think about was if his wife and his daughter were sound, that they were not hurt too bad or violated. By a miracle, both his wife and Ayla poked their heads through the window and looked at him. There was no blood on their tear-streaked faces, but Ayla was missing a large chunk of hair. The soldier had cut it with his dagger and at the same time, cut her scalp in many places. The hair surrounding the empty space was streaked with blood. 
The soldiers got into their saddles and spurred their horses. His arms were jerked forward and he kept trying to twist his neck, to keep his wife and Ayla in his view as long as possible. They were holding onto one another in the window, watching him leave. His wife was wailing, but Ayla was silent, even as the tears wet her cheeks and dripped onto her clothing. As he began to reach the summit of the hill, Ayla held the crucifix up in her hand, showing him she still had it. The light from the fire glinted off the gold and flashed at him. If he could have flashed her a smile, he would have.

Interview with  Lana Bradstream:

1)  Do you believe that writing is about "Inspiration and not perspiration"?
 I do not. Writing is both. You need the inspiration to get you started, but then you need the "perspiration" to finish it. Granted, there's not a lot of actual perspiring, but writing is hard work. It's definitely not for anyone who is looking to make an easy buck.

2) Which force drives you, motivates you to push yourself harder and farther?
Trying to establish a better life for me and family is the primary force. I want to be able to give them everything that they need and want. I do not want them to have to worry about which priorities they can afford in a given month. 

3)  Is writing your goal, passion or just a hobby?
Writing is all three. I have wanted to be a writer since I was a kid and it was something I fantasized about a lot. When something means that much to you, you find every opportunity to spend time with it. It becomes more than a hobby - it becomes a true passion.

4) What are your best and worst experiences in Publication Industry?
My worst experience in the publishing industry is the rejection. I have received numerous rejection letters from agents, without so much as a reason why they will not take on my idea. It can be difficult to deal with, but I have to remember my writing is not for everyone. The best experience I had was when an agent expressed interest in my work. She requested more of my manuscript. When I received that letter, it was exhilarating!

5) Who is your ultimate guide?
My ultimate guide is Jesus. I ask myself "What would Jesus do?" a lot during the day. If I cannot envision Jesus doing or saying something, I try my best not to do it, either. And sometimes, it is hard to do something that you are certain Jesus would say or do, but you know it's the right thing. In those hard times, when you actually do it, you get a warm feeling in your soul. It makes it all worthwhile. 

6) Do you believe that every writer needs a "Day Job"?
Starting out, yes, every writer needs a day job. Bills have to be paid. Food has to be purchased. But, if you can make it big - quit your day job and focus everything on the creative writing process.

Thank You Lana for your cooperation!

As usual, it's time for Review!

 Rating: 3/5

The Inquisition is the second book in Ethereal Influence series but to be honest I never knew or realized that. It's a perfect stand-alone novel. So, on the plus side there is no need to have read the first book or read the next. On the negative side, there is no need to have read the first book or read the next one! 

Every culture have their forms of Inquisitions and sadly even today there are parts of world where people are tortured and accused of being a witch or demon. The theme of the story is faith and God's love and forgiveness but until and unless you already do have an unwavering faith in God, this is not the moral you are going to learn from the book. 

It's Good vs Evil but you just can't help wondering which is which. As for forgiveness, that's a hard one. 

In Desperate Housewives there is a quote,
"Monsters are often created by other Monsters"

So if I have to summarize the story in one line, it will be monsters creating monsters. 

It always astonishes me how cruel men become in the name of Kind and Loving God. In a way the story is a trial, a trial of the characters' faith, a trial of our faith.

Nikolaus is an Inquisitioner  who is later guided by a good Angel Lorenz and Ayla whose father was tortured by the Inquisitioners is guided by Jakob, a fallen Angel. I happen to like fallen angels and I know I am supposed to cheer for the good side but I couldn't find any. They were all evil and cruel in their own way. So, until and unless you have a strong, unwavering faith in God and a stronger belief in Christianity, the book can be more enraging than soothing.

XOXO
Arushi Raj

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