Of Heaven and Hell: A Wayward Ink Publishing Anthology –
Kim Fielding, Michael P. Thomas, J. Alan Veerkamp, Asta Idonea, Nicki J. Markus, Eric Gober, Nephylim, Eddy LeFey , S. Zanne, Jana Denardo, Kassandra Lea & M.C. Rayne
Whether you like your angels and demons naughty or nice…
Whether you like them angelic or demonic, we have a story for you.
Our authors have tuned up their harp strings, and let loose their inner demons.
We have demons with inner angels itching to be let loose.
And angels teetering on the brink.
We have dark. We have light.
We have angst. And forbidden love.
We have happy endings and not so happy endings…
We have the stories OF HEAVEN AND HELL.
Corruption by Kim Fielding – posted here
Purgatory by M.C. Rayne – A grief-stricken Bailey commits suicide after his husband Greyson succumbs to cancer. Drench with sorrow and darkness but always, always holding on to the light.
I feel you Bailey!
Sin to Get Saved by Michael P. Thomas – posted here
Cardinal Sins by J. Alan Veerkamp – Mysterious former priest Jacob had his runic tattoos done by Ozzie with whom he feels strong desires. And I am feeling strong Constantine vibes.
21st Century Demon by Asta Idonea – A day (and night) with a demon going about his business seducing mortals for their soul. Saul is an overconfident demon who suddenly found himself unexpectedly attached to his mark. I love the writing style, humor and pop culture references. I’m rooting hard for Saul and Tom
Purgatory Pink by Eric Gober – Lovable trio of gay friends Mickey, Damon and Angelo vacations in a gay ski resort. Mickey tries to play cupid to feuding frenemies Damon and Angelo. Will they or won’t they? Slightly amusing, slightly sassy, slightly cheesy.
Fade to Light by Nephylim – Taz, whose circumstances are unknown meets cross-dressing Pix and somber Rohan in one of his endless journeys. Beyond that I don’t know anymore because I don’t care and I couldn’t connect with any of characters plus there’s hardly any world building. Weakest of the bunch.
Guardian by Eddy LeFey – A Guardian angel, Callum, on a mission to save his charge, Rory, from demonic frat boys. Steve and his groping hands are annoying but at the very least it’s fluffy.
Drawing Head by S. Zanne – A story about a serial killing demon, Devin and James, the hunter out to get him. Generations of Goodman had tried but only he succeeded. But damn that ending! He got you too, didn’t he, James?
A Wolf in the Fold by Jana Denardo – Incubus Carduus also known as David, the tea monkey and aspiring artist, seeks to be a better person for his lover, Mark, a detective. Very domesticated demon. Befriends interesting Goth girl, Lamia. Eats sex offenders. I just wished he told Mark the truth.
Dripping in SIn by Kassandra Lea – A demon, Flynn, had a hot date with his lover, the angel Samuel. That’s it really. It’s not any different from how humans go about it.
Purgatory – 4 Stars
Sin to Get Saved – 4.5 Stars
Cardinal Sins – 4 Stars
21st Century Demon – 5 Stars
Purgatory Pink – 3 Stars
Fade to Light – 2 Stars
Guardian – 2.5 Stars
Drawing Head – 4 Stars
A Wolf in the Fold – 3 Stars
Dripping in SIn – 2.5 Stars
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
Soundtrack: Some Demon
Artist: Dave Matthews
Album: Some Demon
Sin to Get Saved – Michael P. Thomas
Hubert knows he brings shame on himself and on the Lord by being a queer – his grandad and the pastor of his evangelical church tell him as much all the time. So when he dies in a freak accident, he’s as delighted as he is surprised to waltz right through the Pearly Gates, no questions asked. He even gets a beautiful angel named Bartholomew as his very own guide to the Afterlife.
But when the angel makes brazen overtures, Hubert realizes his soul may have taken a wrong turn. Hubert beseeches Bartholomew to keep his hands to himself and help him find his rightful place in the Heaven he’s always heard about. As they set out to explore his options, Bartholomew hopes Hubert will learn a thing or two along the way about the deeply personal definitions of Paradise.
On some AM stations on the radio, I would sometimes catch American preachers sharing the good news and mangling our dialect with their Southern accent as they condemn sinners to perdition. It was pretty amusing to listen to for a while, mostly because of the funny accents, but all these talks about damnation could suck the joy out of a Labrador Retriever. The Reverend Jarvis had been to Southeast Asia and I’m pretty sure he did God’s work while enjoying the exotic delights of the region. You see a lot of old white guys with very young and nubile island girls in these so called paradise islands.
Hubert, poor Hubert was told all his life that he is ugly and sinful because he was a queer. When he finally kicked the bucket by means of a lead pipe to his skull, he was taken to his heaven by his angel Bartholomew. There Hubert struggled to avoid temptation, something he had been doing all his life, in order to get to Reverend Jarvis’ heaven. When Bartholomew pulled some strings and sent Hubert to the reverend’s heaven, he was in for a rude awakening. Hubert realized that all that he was told all his life was a lie.
I felt a mixture of pity and annoyance towards Hubert for being naive, ignorant and innocent. I was so relieved when he finally realized the truth. Coming from a highly religious country, I could definitely relate to how a church can brainwash people into blind, unthinking sheep. The way the author used humor to present the hypocrisy and corruption of some religious leaders was quite effective at highlighting the kind of wordplay these people use to manipulate and control their flock. The opening was worth a few chuckles. However Michael P. Thomas did not condemn the Reverend Jarvis to hell. Instead, he gave Jarvis his own piece of heaven. I liked the idea of non-judgmental Creator and angels. Everybody gets his or her own slice of paradise. I hated the reverend and thought it was unfair he gets his heaven. But that’s me being judgmental and petty and I’m pretty sure equally judgmental and petty individuals will judge me for my own version of heaven.
4.5 – perfection is only half a step away
Album: To Love
Say Cheese – Michael P. Thomas
Sitcom sensation Felix Medrano, America’s Sweetheart, throws a star-studded surprise party for his sweetheart, beanpole barkeep Grover Shepherd.
It’s a smash, save for one detail: Shep is a no-show.
Who’d have thought it would be so hard to pop the question?
Shep and Felix, an established couple are still being all adorable and lovely-dovey but it was borderline cheesy at times. I could definitely feel Shep’s frustration in the airports having gone through that every holiday in the past decade. The author, who is also a flight attendant certainly created a good picture of the madness that ensues during flight delays.
2.5 Stars – far from hate but not quite a like