I’m thrilled to host Jana Denardo today. She’s brought an excerpt from her new book, Soldiers of the Sun, and was kind enough to indulge me and talk a little about the cover. I love Paul Richmond’s art and this cover is no exception!
Thanks for visiting, Jana!
Thanks to Charley for having me on her blog today. Charley asked me to write a little bit about the really cool library on the cover of Soldiers of the Sun. On the surface, it’s a very simple answer, but upon reflection, it’s far more complicated and interesting.
The simple answer is Paul Richmond, who did an amazing job with the cover, asked me what sort of background would be good for the demonic menace Caleb, Agni and Temple are facing. The gentlemen in question are part of the titular Soldiers of the Sun, demon hunters doing battle in the 1930s. Most of the battles are outside in Pittsburgh but that would make for overly complicated and probably distracting back drops. Without being too spoilery, there is a battle in a library and that’s how it got on the cover.
However, the simple answer is not the most interesting, but as I thought about the proposed idea for this blog entry I realized there is far more too it than that. Libraries play a pivotal role in this novel. The Soldiers of the Sun have a large library filled with religious texts, spell craft and demonic lexicons, folk lore among other things that would be useful to demon hunters.
Caleb, Agni and Temple spend on-page time in their library more than once. Agni enjoys research. In fact, he’s also looking up stuff for other cases as well since he’s one of the few who can read the Devanagari script of Hindi and the Perso-arabic script of Urdu. Temple would probably rather roll naked on broken glass than spend the day in the library even though he’s well aware of how important it is to the job.
They are looking for one particular book, or set of books, or scroll – they don’t really know what it might be yet – that has the summoning spell for the prince of hell that’s plaguing Pittsburgh’s poor. The team ends up hunting libraries all over the city from those of suspects to that of the local group of the Knights Templar, much to Temple’s dismay.
He was raised among the Templars before running away to join the Soldiers of the Sun. To add to Temple’s problems, his past catches up with him as a group of European Templars head to Pittsburgh also after that same summoning spell.
Libraries hold several clues to the puzzle. Ultimately it will be a library that leads Caleb, Agni and Temple to where they need to be in order to put a stop to all the death that’s been done in the name of the powerful devil. In the end, libraries were even more important to the novel that I realized when I asked for one to be on the cover.
Excerpt – “That was not how the New Year should be welcomed.” Temple sighed, undoing his bow tie. He and his partners shuffled through the quiet corridors of one of the male wings of the Soldiers of the Sun’s home base.
“I definitely had other ideas myself,” Agni said, and Temple looked back over his shoulder at him.
“Oh, really? And here I thought you were the staid, boring type who probably turned in at nine.”
Caleb suppressed a grin. That baiting sounded much more like the Temple he knew so well.
Agni huffed. “I suppose that means you don’t want to see what I would have done. My blood’s up a little too much to go right to sleep.”
Temple’s green eyes lit up. “I didn’t say that.”
“So I’m not getting sleep anytime soon?” Caleb eyed his partner as he unlocked the door to his apartment. Sometimes Agni surprised him. Caleb thought Agni only entered into this three-way partnership because Caleb asked, but he was beginning to think Agni truly enjoyed having sex with Temple too.
Temple stuffed his tie into his pocket. “You can sleep on the couch, I suppose.”
“As noisy as you are, if I chose that option, do you really think I’d get a moment’s rest?” Caleb slipped out of his overcoat and dress jacket, putting both on the coat rack by his door.
“Then you’ll have to join us.” Temple ran his hand across Caleb’s shoulders.
“Naturally.” Caleb turned and studied Temple’s face. “Are you okay?”
Temple shrugged. “I’m not perfect, but I will be eventually. Don’t want to talk about it now.” He fisted his fingers in Caleb’s starched shirt, pulling him forward into a kiss. “And I get the middle tonight since I earned it. All you did in the fight was stand there looking pretty.”
“And how was I to know which way the demons would run?” Caleb protested, breaking free. He caught Agni’s hand, tugging him toward his bedroom.
Temple followed behind them. “You’re smart. It sounds planned to me.”
“Keep talking, Temple, and your boyfriend for tonight will be found at the end of your wrist,” Caleb volleyed back.
Temple pouted, but he didn’t look particularly sad. “Ouch, you can be so mean.”
Caleb couldn’t hide his grin. If baiting Temple made him less morose, Caleb was happy to do it. It was so very easy to get his goat, anyhow. “You love it when I am.”
“Do not.” Temple’s sulk deepened.
“I have to side with Caleb. You thrive on us being hard on you.” Agni reached back to swat Temple’s arm.
Temple narrowed his green eyes. “I’m beginning to think my hand is the better choice.”
“At least your hand wouldn’t be mean to you,” Caleb agreed.
“And it would do exactly what you want.” Agni grinned.
“You two are just lucky I like you,” Temple huffed. “And I know you’re both damaged, and this is the only way you can show affection.”
Agni wiggled free of Caleb’s grasp, heading for the nightstand. He got out the jar of lubricant and put it in Temple’s hand. “Have fun.”
“And I’m not damaged. I barely remember being at the not-so-nice orphanage,” Caleb said.
“I was thinking more that someone at the orphanage dropped you on your head as a baby,” Temple said, taking off his ichor-splattered dress shirt, dropping it to the floor. His nipples stood up in the chill of the room. He went over and played with the heater controls.
“Go enjoy that jar.” Caleb shoved him.
Temple tossed the jar onto the bed, then tackled Caleb back onto the mattress.
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Soldiers of the Sun- paperback – http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6760
Author Bio– Jana is Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in) and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. There is no coincidence the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s still disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds or a roguish star ship captain to run off to the stars with her.