Firstly, thanks for having me, Carson and Jaxx!
I'm L. J. LaBarthe. I've been writing for as long as I can remember (and that's quite a while!), but it's only been the last few years that I've been published. I've had the very great pleasure to be published by Dreamspinner Press, Less Than Three Press, Freaky Fountain Press and Noble Romance.
My latest release, "No Quarter," is also my first full-length novel release. It's the first in a series of novels, book two, "No Surrender, No Retreat," is out in July/August with book three to follow, all with Dreamspinner Press. The series is "The Archangel Chronicles" and these three books focus primarily on the Archangels Gabriel and Michael. Other Archangels are featured as secondary characters, as are regular angels, and their equals and opposites, Archdemons and regular demons.
These books are paranormal romance, chronicling the love story of Gabriel and Michael. My Archangels are a brotherhood, similar to a religious order; they're also a race of the species of angelkind. There are ten Archangels, and they're the ultimate power in Heaven, the strongest and best weapons against evil and against Hell. The other Archangels are Raphael, Uriel, Metatron, Haniel, Remiel, Raziel, Tzadkiel and Samael.
I first wrote Gabriel for a short story for a charity anthology called "Desperate Adoration," produced by renowned author J. P. Barnaby to raise money for charities that support human rights and GBLT rights. That story was a snapshot of the life of Gabriel and Michael, as they walked through the world and looked at all the wonderful things that were worth saving and worth fighting for. I'd been writing Gabriel for quite some time at that point, and when I decided to write a novel starring him, it had been a few years that Gabriel had been one of my muses.
Originally, I'd intended "No Quarter" to be a standalone novel. However, the ending of it is a cliffhanger, intentionally so. This is because I realized as I was writing it that I didn't want it to be a one off. I wanted to write more about these characters and this universe I'd created with a cast of Heavenly winged creatures that have free will and are flawed and imperfect and learning every day, just like we humans are. Ultimately, I think that the underlying theme of the books is hope: hope that things will never stay bad, hope for the future, hope and faith in humanity, hope that there's love for everyone, regardless of their gender, race, religion or sexuality.
Gabriel isn't what you'd expect an Archangel to be – I'd go so far as to say none of my Archangels or angels or demons or Archdemons are what you'd expect. I've gone with the idea of morality and right versus wrong being shades of grey rather than black and white. The good guys do bad things; the bad guys do good things. They're on opposite sides of the right versus wrong divide, but they know the rules of combat and the absolute rule is that Earth is neutral territory, not to be dominated either by Heaven or Hell.
The books deal with characters who want to tip that neutrality and create New World Orders, stir up wars and the like. "No Quarter" is the story of the start of the relationship between Gabriel and Michael and how they and the other Archangels and their allies come together to fight for Earth and humanity against a megalomaniac who wants to rule the world and has made a deal with a Fallen Angel and demons to make that happen.
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 again for having me!
L. J. on the web: