Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Oy Vey! Jewish Demons? With Guest Blogger: Julia Rachel Barrett

Welcome to Day #2 of
the Dark Days of Demons Blog Event
here at the Book Boost!

Win a copy of Incorporeal and chat with paranormal author Julia Rachel Barrett! Here's what she had to say...


It’s possible my hero, Natan de Manua, in my paranormal romance, Incorporeal, is a demon. Despite the fact that I created him, I’m not entirely sure what he is. Neither is he and neither is the woman he loves, Sara Wise. Natan is both dead and alive; he is corporeal at times, incorporeal at others. And he can travel between realms – between heaven and earth.

Since ancient times, tales of demons, devils, fiends, ghosts and spirits have been present in Jewish folklore. Shedim are demons, dibbukim are migrant spirits that can possess a person. Dibbukim create mischief and chaos.

The Jewish conception of a demon differs somewhat from the Christian concept. Not all inhabitants of the spirit world were regarded by superstitious Jews as evil. Some were considered benevolent and thought to be helpful in times of great need.

Demons were believed to resemble angels in three ways – they had wings, they could travel the entire world and they could foretell future events. Demons also possessed human qualities – they had to eat and drink, they procreated like humans and with humans, and they died like humans. During mating, or sex, demons were said to wear human bodies.

Natan de Manua fits this description to a tee. Both he and my heroine are written with Jewish folklore in mind. I ask my readers to suspend disbelief. Rather than answer every question, I leave my readers with riddles, but that’s the Jewish way – to answer a question with another question.

My favorite Jewish demon of all is Lillith. She was created to be Adam’s mate, but when he laid down the law and declared himself her master, she ditched him, saying “We are both equal, for we both issued from dust, therefore I will not be submissive to you.” She later became the wife of Samael, the Angel of Death. Lillith might be the origin of the Banshee, as she’s known as “The Howling One”. She roams the world, flying at the head of four hundred and eighty evil spirits and destroying angels, howling her hatred of mankind and vowing vengeance against the children of Adam and Eve. What a great story.


Sara Wise is sick of ghosts. They’ve haunted her since she was a child, destroying her family, endangering her life. When an incorporeal being appears in her shower, she curses him soundly and orders him out, but this ghost is sticky. Not only does he invade her shower, he moves into her home, invading her dreams, sharing her bed. The reluctant Sara finds herself falling in love with a dead man.

Despite Sara’s objections, Natan de Manua isn’t permitted to leave. Protecting the woman is both his penance and his means to redemption. She’s not easy to protect, she fights him nearly every step of the way, except in her bed. Nathan may have come to regain his soul, but instead he risks losing his heart.


Limp, boneless, Sara’s head lolled back against Nathan’s shoulder. Nathan had helped her achieve her goal, distracting her from their odd, inexplicable, supernatural circumstances. What could be more normal than sex, truly excellent, out of this world, mind-blowing sex? With a satisfied sigh, Sara closed her eyes, sinking further back into Nathan’s body, as his hands soaped her sensitive breasts, and other equally sensitive parts.


“Feels good?”

“Very.” She rubbed her cheek along Nathan’s wet skin.

“Would you like to sleep? I can stop if you wish.”

“Oh no, don’t stop. Keep touching me. I love it when you touch me.” Nathan mumbled a few sentences, his voice vibrating along her back. Sara shifted slightly, pressing even closer. “What did you say?”

Nathan’s hands moved over her without hesitation, but his answer was slow in coming. “I said I love to touch you, Sara. I come alive in your arms.”

Despite his groan of protest, Sara turned her body around until she could look into Nathan’s face. She laid her palm over his heart, thrilled by the steady beat she felt through his muscular chest. “Are you alive, Nathan?”

His hands slipped beneath her hair and he massaged her head. “Yes, I believe so, although my alive-ness seems to be limited to your home.” He leaned over to kiss her.

When at last he lifted his lips from hers, Sara asked in a quiet voice, “Do you know why?”

Nathan shook his head.

“Do you know how?”

“No, Sara, I don’t.” He pulled her back against him. “Is the water growing too cold for you?”

“No.” She stretched out her legs; her toes played with his. “The water is fine, but I have another question.”

Nathan slipped his soapy hands down her flanks, running them over her hips. “I don’t suppose I can distract you from your questions?”

Sara was indeed distracted, but she shook her head. “Nice try, but no.”

Nathan wrapped his strong arms around her and drew her hard against him. Resting his chin on the top of her head, he said, “Ask your questions, woman.”

“Ooh, woman is it? Sexy. I like it.” She wiggled her bottom against him, grinning at his immediate physical response.

“Ask.” Nathan growled the word.

Despite her reluctance to tackle the subject she wanted to tackle, Sara couldn’t resist a feminine snort. Nathan might be dead, but he was very much a man. Men haven’t changed over the centuries, have they? All right, Sara, jump right in. Blurt it out. You know you want the answer. Do I? Do I really want the answer?

“How do you know about my mother?” She asked the question before she could bite it back. Behind her, she felt Nathan sink deeper into the tub. He doesn’t want to answer me.

“I did not know your mother, but I saw her on several occasions.”

“You…you…” Sara began to stutter. “You saw her?” She craned her neck to look back at


He nodded.

“How? Why?” Sara was rocked by his words.

“I acted as guide for your father. He was pulled from his body suddenly and he, well, he refused to move forward. He insisted upon a guide back to you. I agreed to the assignment.”

“You agreed? He was pulled away? You were his guide?” The feeling of unreality was creeping back over her.

“Sara, stop.” Nathan held her tighter. “You’re doing it again. I can feel your fear. You’ve seen the dead all your life. This should come as no great surprise.”

“I know, yes, of course, I know, but you’re talking about my father, and my, my mother.” Sara ordered her heart to slow down. Nathan was right. Why should this frighten her? Because it’s damn scary stuff, that’s why. “Nathan, I’ve never wanted to see the dead, as you call them. I don’t like it. They frighten me.”

“I know.”

“Except for my father. I saw him, in the hospital, the mental hospital, when my mother had me committed, and again when I was in foster care. I saw him several times. You brought him to me? It was you who brought him to me?”

“Yes. The water’s growing cold, Sara. We should get out and dry off.”

“Nathan, wait.” Sara stopped him with a hand on his arm. “Why did you do this? Why did you agree to bring him to me? What kind of creature are you; that you have to power to do such a thing?”

Nathan rose from the tub, lifting her up with him. Sara knew her legs were trembling, but she couldn’t seem to stop them. Answer me, Nathan, answer me.

In silence, Nathan wrapped her in a large towel. He dried her body and began to work on her hair. At last, he tilted her head back, allowing her to look directly into his eyes. His were not kind, but they were guileless and she knew he would tell her the truth.

“I guided your father to you because I was asked to do so. I had been mired in self-pity for so long that I jumped at the opportunity. I guided your father for my own reasons, not for his.

The time had come to rejoin either the dead or the living, and I didn’t care which. He was merely the excuse. Yes, I saw your mother. I witnessed her treatment of you. It was a relief to learn you would be fostered with another family.”

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Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Thanks so much for hosting me!

PamelaTurner said...

Interesting how different cultures have varying perceptions about demons, isn't it? :-)

The more research I do on angels & demons, the more interesting information I find. Definitely enough for several stories.

Love your premise. Wishing you many sales!

Rebecca said...

Fascinating to see the different views of demons. Thanks for sharing that - I'll have to do some research too.
Your book sounds very interesting. I'd love to read it!

Anonymous said...

Intriguing excerpt. Why does she see the dead? Why did her mother commit her? I am led into the book deeper to find out. Great choice. I'd like to read the rest.
Emma Lane

Na said...

I really like ghost stories! Although, I don't think I have read one quite like this. Natan sounds like the sort of ghost I would want to meet and I'm curious with how he came to be in her life -and why now? Great post.

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Thanks for all your wonderful comments!