Thursday, October 6, 2011

Devil May Care with Guest Blogger: Pamela Turner

Welcome to Day #3 of
the Dark Days of Demons Blog Event
here at the Book Boost!

Win a copy of Death Sword and meet paranormal author Pamela Turner! Here's what she had to say...

The Devil You (Don’t) Know

Although Samael initially started out as a minor character in Death Sword, his role continues to evolve throughout the Angels of Death series I’m currently writing. Part of the reason is he’s a fascinating character – as the Devil.

Wait a minute, you may argue. Samael’s not the Devil. It’s Lucifer.

True. But according to Rosemary Guiley (The Encyclopedia of Angels), “Prior to the fall, Samael is higher than the mighty Seraphim. He has 12 wings.” He also “leads the rebel armies of angels in heaven.” The Book of Angels (Ruth Thompson, et. al) also confirms this revolt, adding Samael’s “...focus of pride overcoming his reason and his demand to be considered an equal to God.”

Sounds like Lucifer, right? Add that Samael is chief of satans as well as an angel of death and the evidence becomes almost irrefutable.

“Satan” did not originally refer to a being but rather a title of sorts. The word means “adversary” in Hebrew. In A Dictionary of Angels, Including the Fallen Angels, Gustav Davidson writes, “In other Old Testament books (Job, I Chronicles, Psalms, Zechariah) the term likewise designates an office; and the angel investing that office is not apostate or fallen.”

How did Lucifer come to be equated with Satan? From a misreading of Isaiah 14:12-15: “How you are fallen from Heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn!... You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high...’”

Guiley writes St. Jerome (and other church fathers) “identified the Isaiah passage with Satan, the leader of the fallen angels. From that time on ‘Lucifer’ became one of the names of the devil.” The person being rebuked was supposedly Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.

While researching angels for Death Sword, I discovered there’s often a fine line between holy and fallen, with many angels taking on aspects of both (depending on your point of view). Samael is no different. According to A Dictionary of Angels, he’s “said to be chief ruler of the Fifth Heaven, one of the regents of the world served by two million angels.” But Revelations 12 describes him as “that great serpent with twelve wings that draws after him, in his fall, the solar system.”

While I’m exploring the Luciferian aspect of Samael in the Angels of Death series, it’s precisely as an angel of death that he’s portrayed in Death Sword. “In Talmud Abodah Zarah, 20, the angel of death, Sammael, is described as ‘altogether full of eyes; at the time of a sick man’s departure he [the angel] takes his stand above the place of his [the sick man’s] head, with his sword drawn and a drop of poison suspended on it’" (A Dictionary of Angels).

In Death Sword, Samael, fueled by obsession and vengeance, isn’t above taking a human or angelic life to ensure his ex-lover Xariel, a fellow angel of death and Grigori, returns to him. Samael’s weapon is a poison-tipped rapier that can kill angel and human alike. Angels, however, must be stabbed in the heart for the blade to be fatal. Along with Gabriel, Samael oversees other angels of death under the supervision of the supreme archangel Metatron. Although Xariel initially worked with Gabriel, Samael caused a rift between the two, convincing Metatron to transfer Xariel to his management.

The relationship between Xariel and Samael is complicated by a sex curse Xariel endures after being punished by the Seraphim for teaching the lunar cycle. Because of this, Samael and Xariel can no longer be together, a situation that infuriates the chief of satans. He curses Xariel so any woman the Grigori sleeps with dies, refusing to accept his ex-lover has no choice in the matter.

Even more difficult for Samael is watching Xariel’s relationship with Karla, a half-human angel of death recruited by Metatron. Not only does Samael see Karla as a threat to his relationship with Xariel, he resents her destiny to become the incarnation of Azrael, the archangel of death, a role Samael covets. Pride prevents Samael from accepting an impure angel could ever assume such an important status.

And you know what they say about pride...

However, is Samael merely an antagonist given to deceit, murder, and twisted punishments? Or can he be redeemed, become an antihero perhaps? And who’s to say the Seraphim who cursed him are entirely holy themselves? In The Dictionary of Demons, Michelle Belanger notes the Reverend W.O.E. Oesterley, a Biblical scholar, “Argues that Seraphim started out as anything but angelic. They were instead theriomorphic demons who haunted the desert and plagued the children of Israel with fiery, burning bites.” The Seraphim take on a more antagonistic role in my series, being angels their counterparts fear and despise.

As for Lucifer, his ultimate fate may surprise you. Remember St. Jerome? Apparently, he “Contends that Samael, as Lucifer, may be playing a role for God...” St. Jerome goes on to postulate, “This burden, to live as an exile within the flames of Perdition... will be revealed when, as reward for his service, God will accept him back into the ranks of angels and reinstate him to his full power and station as Archangel.” And St. Jerome wasn’t alone in this theory, which included support by Gregory of Nyssa, Origen, and St. Augustine.

An interesting theory I’m looking forward to implementing in my series.


The only thing more dangerous than an angel of death is one obsessed with vengeance.

Karla Black has always known she’s different from other people. She learns just how different after she's fatally stabbed and brought back to life as a half-human angel of death.

With newfound power comes a newfound boss.

Samael despises her. He considers Karla impure and resents her relationship with her partner Xariel…who also happens to be Samael's ex-lover. When he takes that hatred to a higher level, Karla vows vengeance - a task easier said than done.

With the loss of their angelic powers, Karla and Xariel face a dilemma – how will they defeat an unstoppable Samael, whose poisoned rapier can kill human and angel alike?

If Karla doesn’t awaken to her true identity, both heaven and earth are in danger of annihilation.


The door locked again. Xariel tensed. Samael moved toward him, a predatory look in his
eyes. Xariel shrank back and Samael huffed in disapproval.

“Not pleased to see an old friend?”

“I wouldn’t say we’re friends,” Xariel retorted.

Samael smiled, tracing a finger up Xariel’s suit jacket sleeve. The latter trembled. “Maybe
not. Still, why bring human filth here? A human as an angel of death?” Samael sneered. “Don’t tell me Metatron’s become senile.”


“What do you think?”

“Doesn’t matter. I’ve my orders.”

“Why not have her work with Gabriel?” Samael’s finger caressed Xariel’s nape, his touch

Xariel shivered.

Samael’s smile turned into a smirk. “I forgot. You’re not on good terms with him, are you?”

Xariel glared. “You made sure of that.”

“It’s better this way.” His palm cupped Xariel’s cheek. “We could go back to those days.
Remember? You were happy. Don’t deny it.”

Xariel shook his head.

“Do you think it’s over? Or have you already fallen in love with her?”

“Of course not!” Xariel’s voice choked. “We just met.” He liked Karla, but if Samael even
assumed he was interested in her, his boss would see an opportunity to cause trouble. Xariel’s skin crawled as he remembered what had happened to the other women in his life.

“Then she won’t mind this, will she?” Samael caught Xariel’s wrist, pulling him into a deep
kiss. One arm snaked around Xariel’s waist, holding him fast. Xariel’s eyes widened as Samael’s tongue invaded his mouth, breath hot and smelling of cinnamon mints.

Samael broke the kiss first. He spat at the floor, face twisted in disgust. “I can taste them.”
He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and scowled. “You still choose humans over me.”

“You shouldn’t be surprised.” Xariel’s knees gave way. He gripped the edge of Samael’s
desk to steady himself. “I told you we’re through.”

Samael didn’t answer. Instead, he walked to a vertical black-lacquered cabinet mounted on
the wall behind his desk. Xariel swallowed as he watched Samael remove a rapier, the basket-hilted handle intricately carved with ancient scrollwork. His eyes fixed on the dark yellow substance coating the blade tip. Venom. One drop would kill a human. Even angels weren’t immune.

The sword glinted beneath the lights and Xariel thought he saw, for a brief second, Samael’s
eyes blaze red and his hair fan about his face in a fiery halo. Xariel choked back a gag reflex when tiny eyes popped up over Samael’s skin and the chief of satan’s mouth twisted in a cruel grin, revealing sharp incisors.

Xariel closed his eyes and shook his head. When he opened them, the illusion was gone and
only Samael’s smile remained, minus the vampire impression.

“Perhaps I should make the human your partner.” Samael stroked the blade, running his
tongue between his lips as he watched Xariel’s reaction. “After all, you seem to prefer their company.”

Xariel winced at the inference.

“However, if you think I’m giving you up, you’re mistaken.” Samael lowered the sword to
his side. “Dismissed.”

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Rebecca said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebecca said...

Hi Pamela,
Samael certainly sounds like a baddie! It’s fascinating to consider the names and designations that we've given to Lucifer/Satan/devil. We're in the midst of a study of Revelations at church, so Rev 12 will require some extra study now! Thanks for the thought-provoking blog. Good luck on your series!

PamelaTurner said...

Hi Rebecca and thanks! :-) It is fascinating to learn what people thought about angels and demons, especially since many opinions were considered heretical and suppressed.

Revelations is an interesting book, isn't it? All best with your studies!

Na said...

I read a lot of paranormals but not a lot involving angels. I need to change that. Pamela, your book sounds very interesting. The cover looks quite fierce as well. I like when secondary characters get their own stories.

PamelaTurner said...

Thanks, Na. :-) Samael was very insistent about getting his own book, which I'm currently working on. I enjoy writing about angels/demons because there's a lot of material to work with. But I'm also interested in writing paranormals with beings that aren't common, such as the alp or draugr.

Should keep me busy. LOL

Debby said...

What a great excerpt. I really enjoyed it. Great cover! Do you get to help with them?
debby236 at gmail dot com

PamelaTurner said...

Thanks, Debby! Glad you enjoyed it. My publisher designed the cover. She's awesome, isn't she? I did fill out a cover art form but ultimately it was her decision. Still, I'm pleased with it.

Denise Z said...

Pamela, thank you for sharing with us today. There is noting better or more intriguing in a story than the anti-hero - you gotta love those bad guys that absolutely have to be redeemed (at least a little LOL). Death Sword looks like an incredible book and I would love to read it. I just love a series and it sounds like this is starting off with a bang:) Thank you for the lovely giveaway opportunity.


PamelaTurner said...

Hi, Denise! Anti-heroes are fun to read and write, aren't they? :-) Thank you for the kind words about Death Sword. The characters have become like family, albeit a dysfunctional one. LOL