Guest Blog

By Immortal Honor Bound by Danielle Ancona

Today’s blog features the fabulous novel ‘By Immortal Honor Bound’ from the pen of Danielle Ancona.

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Excerpt from Chapter 5, 332 BCE ~ The Lyceum, Athens, Greece

The tone of Aristotle’s voice signaled Malachi the great philosopher was drawing his public session to a close.

Aristotle concluded the lecture. He turned to move from the stage to enter the annex off the Lyceum.

The crowds surged, wanting to touch the philosopher’s white robes and ask him questions about their own situations. Malachi strained to watch every movement about his silver-haired charge and keep his wards strong and sensitive to infiltration attempts. The few moments of Aristotle’s journey from stage to annex were the most nerve-wracking for Malachi. He scanned the teeming crowd for signs of malice, or voids of emotion and thought, as assassins were often adept at masking all.

Once Aristotle made it to the main door, Malachi caught up with him using camouflaged, preternatural speed.

Relief flowed through Malachi as he and Aristotle reached the other side of the door and his strong wards of protection. They walked through the entrance hall and deeper into the house.

He checked and reset the daily protection wards over and through the compound for the philosopher. He changed them often to prevent the Seraph from learning how to get past his ethereal boundaries.

Aristotle spent his days poring through and coalescing the writings of prior great teachers, including Plato—his own teacher—and Socrates. Plato had also transcribed Socrates’s writings. Aristotle wove the insightful words of many into a multi-faceted, complex, and seamless tapestry of philosophy, the breadth of which left Malachi in awe.

Sitting down to the mid-day meal with Aristotle and his wife, Pythias, Malachi, and Aristotle enjoyed shared laughs from the colorful antics of the morning crowd. Malachi caught sight of the statuesque Adelpha, Pythia’s handmaiden, striding down the hall from Pythia’s quarters to the kitchens. Her thick fall of burnished blonde hair piled high on her head added to her proud carriage. His admiration of her confidence, natural sensuality, and quick wit rose in the warm smile which stole over his stern countenance.

Adelpha stopped mid-stride as she caught his smile and warm glance. Mischief lit her deep brown eyes when she lifted the corners of her mouth. She broke off the shared moment with that feminine, sidelong look gifted to women, and returned to her business at hand as she entered the kitchen.

Malachi brought his attention back to his meal and dove with appreciation into his midday repast. He enjoyed the crusty, fresh bread paired with salted sheep’s milk cheese and succulent olives while his mind wandered over Adelpha’s lush curves.

“Malachi, your thoughts, if you will,” Aristotle said as he interrupted Malachi’s carnal musings.

Bread halfway to his mouth, Malachi struggled to clear the fog of his daydreams and bring his thoughts from his loins and food to the great teacher.

“If Socrates chose to drink the hemlock, did he commit suicide or was he executed?” questioned Aristotle, referring to the well-known trial and death of Socrates sixty-seven years earlier.

Contemplation took Malachi’s gaze far away while he chewed. He swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing, then shared his thoughts, “Plato wrote that Socrates postulated he did not hold wisdom, thus his wisdom exceeded others. He admitted his own lack of understanding. Plato also wrote that Socrates understood that if he did not accept the judgment of death from the courts of Athens, he would turn the citizens against the leaders of the city, and this would be of great detriment.” Increased sureness imbued Malachi’s voice as he arrived at his answer. He looked to Aristotle and said, “He accepted his execution. He would not have chosen to die without the judgment against him. Therefore, he did not commit suicide.”

Aristotle nodded, “Most excellent perspective, my friend. You are indeed learning.”

Interview with Danielle Ancona

Tell us about your latest book.

I have included a bit more information than what is in the blurb, but not too much (I hope):

By Immortal Honor Bound is an epic adventure, woven through history. An uncomfortable alliance is struck between Celestials and deities of the Greeks & Egyptians to protect the pursuit of knowledge and free-will of human-kind from the Seraph Rebellion. This rebellion is led by Gideon, a fallen archangel. This protection of “pursuit of knowledge” takes us through history, and interactions with historical figures. I feature several pioneering women of science through the centuries – which interesting, fun and eye-opening for me to research.A warrior angel, Malachi, leads legions in protecting humankind. He also interacts with the deities quite a bit and is rather the “James Dean” of Celestials–a rebel with a cause, if you will– and is made earthbound by the Celestials as an Immortal Guardian as they consider him blasphemous yet have a dire need to keep him on this side of the alliance. Malachi, while embittered, is loyal to the core. He garner’s Gideon’s attention through the centuries, foiling him many times over, in various interactions.

Malachi is assigned to York in the 1620’s and falls in love with a gifted alchemist, Daphne. Of note, King James passed a second Witchcraft Act in 1604. Daphne apprentices with Dante Santorum, a fictional eminent western alchemist. Contemporary male alchemists are not happy that Daphne has taken they what perceive as their entitlement to apprentice with Dante.

Seeing Malachi’s love as an opportunity to defeat him, Gideon puts dark machinations into play. He influences the male alchemists to use the Witcraft Act against Daphne, as this would get her out of their way.

Malachi is brought to the brink of defeat by Gideon. Will he choose a mortal love, or will he be By Immortal Honor Bound?

Figures of Greek and Egyptian mythology are written seamlessly through the story, their power and skill valued by both camps. These figures of mythology provide for interesting plot lines and interactions, as well as characters.

How do you start your writing routine?

Any way I can.

It’s a challenge with working full time, and then some. Social media also gets in the way, although I am typically fairly disciplined with such.

  • I have my goals set for the week.
  • I have what I want to tackle outlined for the morning or the night. I often write at 4am–before work–or after dinner.
  • I either put my feet up on my bed or on a chair on the patio.
  • I have coffee and lemonade.
  • I have my phone for my thesaurus app.
  • I have my research Word table open and ready to go, with my dates, historical figure and event occurrences I weave into the story, plot outline, character interactions.
  • I write.
  • I often inform my family of the time I have blocked out for writing, so they don’t make other plans which involve me, or so that I have fair warning I need to shift me schedule – my writing and sleep hours and precious. My family time is also precious.

Have you any advice for new writers?

  • Start with short stories.
  • Grammar counts.
  • Just write – just do it. Like Nike.
  • Read your work out loud, then listen to it.
  • Edit your own work, then another set of eyes is imperative.
  • If someone takes the time & thought to critique your work, listen, think, digest. Do not be offended. This is how you will learn.
  • Critique another person’s work – you will learn a lot by doing this.

How do you raise awareness of your books?

  • By doing Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tours 😊
  • I will be doing author interviews who write historical fiction and historical fantasy, this will generate cross audience interest.
  • Following historical fiction & historical fantasy writers.
  • Instagram –the hashtags target audiences.
  • FB ads with a targeted audience.
  • Word of mouth.
  • I am still learning 😊
  • I will take any idea you have
  • I am grateful for everyone who takes the time to read my stories, and will try to express so in my deeds, and interactions. I believe that comes back to a person.

Which authors do you most admire?

So many!!

  • Tom Clancy – he is adept at weaving in technical information without it being an information dump.
  • Patricia Cromwell, Michael Crichton
  • CS Lewis
  • Anthony D Redden – Historical horror
  • Anita Diamont – The Red Tent
  • Dr. Simon Singh, The Big Bang; Dr. Michael Benton, When Life Nearly Died

I am a huge fan of biographers. I love diving into reading what life what like in the past and political intrigue.

  • Alison Weir, tons of biographies concerning the Western Europe monarchy – primarily English
  • David McCullough – several American biographies
  • Brian Kilmeade, George Washington’s Secret Six
  • Dava Sobel, Galileo’s Daughter
  • Lindsay Fitzharris, The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine

What was the scene you must enjoyed writing?

The River Styx. I felt like I could sink my teeth into it.

What are you planning to write next?

I am currently writing Book II, Dante’s Fire. This is Katherine’s story, if you have read Book I. This story spans from 181 CE to modern day; taking place in York, England; Caledonia, the Wall of Hadrian, and the Five Rivers of the Underworld.

Katherine is prominent secondary character in By Immortal Honor Bound and has been many readers’ favorite. She is a Sekhmet Lioness Warrior, of the Goddess Sekhmet bloodline. Sekhmet is the Egyptian goddess of war, plagues & healing. Egyptian monikers for her were: “Lady of Slaughter” and “she whom before Evil trembles”, among others.

Katherine is aptly Sekhmet, as she is entwined with several plagues ravaging York from 181 through to the Black Plague. She serves as a fierce protector of York and another talisman, critical to the conflict–Isaiah, the Ancient, a druidic oak–undercover as an abbess. I have nicknamed Katherine “the badass abbess of York” in my head. The Philosopher’s Stone, a way to eternal youth, will be making an appearance in this book and be a center of conflict, gritty battles, fights to the death. Gideon and the Seraph really want to get their hands on it.

About the Author

Pittsburgh has provided an interesting, vibrant and eclectic place to grow up and eventually become a writer of stories. Stories through which History, Science, Alchemy, Romance, High Stakes, and Mythology are woven.

My writing is also touched by ghostly echoes which greet me as I hike or bike through what were once bustling sites from the age of industry of the region, now reclaimed by nature. These are the ethereal remnants of those who shed their blood, sweat and tears onto what is now sacred ground.

Come dive into the stories shaped by these unique forges. The twists in the path are unexpected, fraught with danger, but always worth the journey.

Where passion and love take root unexpectedly, bloom, and somehow manage to survive against all odds, one surprising way or another.

BY IMMORTAL HONOR BOUND
BY DANIELLE ANCONA

Publication Date: November 4, 2020
Kyanite Publishing LLC
Paperback, 400 pages

Series: Of Alchemy and Angels, Book 1
Genre: Historical Fantasy

Published by Pamela Stephen

I was a teacher in schools and the college sector for over thirty years. In retirement from my full-time job I worked as a part-time tutor. And now I've taken up the pen ( or rather, the keyboard).

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