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March 10, 2014

At War With Satan – Introducing my favourite character

Makes me Giggle, Metalheads Who Read, Writing Runes

My debut novel, At War With Satan, is released as an ebook THIS FRIDAY. A paperback version will be available at the end of the month. All this week I’ll be posting excerpts from the book and answering questions, and setting up author pages at places like GoodReads (here I am!).

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If you, or anyone you know, wants to write a review for a blog or publication, then please give me a buzz on steff@steffmetal.com, and I will happily send you a free copy.

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What if loud music really COULD send you to hell?

All Gavin ever wanted was to drum in a heavy metal band, and find a girl who could tolerate his hair clogging up the sink and appreciate the exquisite poetry of Cannibal Corpse lyrics. When Lou – the mysterious stranger with the voice of doom – comes to Gavin’s small English village, all Gavin’s dreams begin to come true; he falls for Suzie, a cute metal chick with a serious lack of hand-eye coordination, and his band At War With Satan – fronted by Lou, of course – is opening for Spiked Coffin, only the biggest heavy metal band in the world.

Little does Gavin know that Lou’s a demon using their music to recruit metalheads to fight in the upcoming apocalypse. But when the battle goes horribly wrong, Lou, Gavin, Suzie and the reaper Death of Mauling by Particularly Homicidal Badgers set out across Hell to save an innocent girl and stop the triumphant demonic forces relocating to Earth, permanently.

At War With Satan is populated by a cast of motley metalheads, cuddly kittens, horrid heavy metal clichés, reapers, zombies, shades, gargoyles, accountancy clerks and gourd juice. Are you ready to sell your soul for true metal?

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In today’s excerpt from the latter half of the book, we meet one of my favourite characters to write: Death of Mauling by Particularly Homicidal Badgers.

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“First Circle Station. Court of Minos the Judger. Please mind the gap.”

The doors slid open and we slipped past several cloaked figures shuffling onto the train. They joked in loud voices, struggling to manoeuvre their eight-foot high gleaming scythes through the train doors. Only two were successful, and as the train hurtled off down the tunnel, the glinting blade still hanging from the doors scraped against the platform wall and broke from the shaft, clattering to the platform floor.

Nearby, another group of hooded figures pointed and fell to the ground in hysterics.

“Did you see that!” one shrieked, clutching at his sides with chronically emaciated hands. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I’d think there wasn’t any skin on him at all …

“Serves him right for bragging about his overtime!” said another, clutching the hood of his friend. “Just because he’s Death of Tragic Vending Machine Accidents!”

They danced about gleefully, slapping each other on the backs. Their hoods flapped around their heads, revealing three grinning, gleaming skulls.

Suzie nudged me. “They’re so malnourished. They’re practically skeletons.”

I nodded numbly, too surprised and frightened to reply.

Lou approached the maniacal skeletons. “Excuse me, gentlemen.”

Something about that calm, cool voice stopped them mid-merriment. The tallest whirled around. He frowned at the black, tar-covered feathers poking from the collar of Lou’s jacket.

“A demon? What are you doing in First Circle?” He sniffed Suzie’s shoulder. “And these two ain’t even dead yet!” He leered at me, his glowing cheekbones enhancing his skeletal grin.

Lou stiffened. “We’re looking for a girl. She came in with the apocalypse harvest. We’re in a bit of a hurry. We were wondering if you could help us.”

The glowing orbs that served as the tall figure’s eyes narrowed. “Help a demon and a couple of skinbags? Why would we want to do that?”

Lou lifted off his hood.

The skeleton rubbed his chin. “I see. Come along then.”

He swept his cloak behind him, and began striding through the winding tunnels of the station, his two hooded friends following close behind. We raced to catch up.

I was content to walk at a well-defined space behind the … reapers? But Suzie dragged me right up alongside that grinning spook.

“Hello, my name’s Suzie. What’s yours?”

Amazing. We’re in the middle of Hell, following three reapers and a vocalist we just found out is a demon, and Suzie’s introducing herself and smiling.

The reaper also seemed taken aback. “Me? I’m the Death of Mauling by Particularly Homicidal Badgers. This is Death of Being Hit Over the Head with a Telephone Book. He doesn’t say much. And this charming fellow is Death of Eating Poisoned Waffles. We’ve just been out on a run,” he chuckled, inspecting the silvery edge of his scythe.

Suzie stretched out her hand. “Pleasure to meet you, sirs.”

I stared at Suzie. Was she mental?

A skeletal hand extended from underneath his cloak. They shook. The reaper’s knuckles cracked with every flex. Suzie, to her merit, didn’t flinch.

“So … Death of Mauling by Particularly Homicidal Hamsters-”

“Badgers,” he corrected.

“-I take it you don’t have much work?”

“Nope. This is the first time I’ve been out of the office for months – a vicious badger mauling in Indonesia. I’ve just sent two skinbags off to Minos. It feels good to stretch these old bones.” He slapped his thighs. I heard more bones creak and crack. “Waffles here, he goes out practically every week.”

Waffles bowed, his scythe clanging against a luggage rack. “I can’t help that waffle poisoning is prevalent in today’s society. I’m only doing my job. Remember that I had to sit around for a few hundred thousand years waiting for waffles to be invented. Badgers have been around for most of eternity.”

“True,” Badgers held up a bony finger. “But they’ve never been prone to homicide. Still, you’ve got to be Death of something, right?”

“So is there a Death for every kind of death?”

Badgers nodded. “I’ve never considered it an efficient use of reaper-power, myself, but I’m not the one who’s going to take it up with the boss.”

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At War With Satan goes on sale Friday for Kindle, Kobo, and other devices. I hope you’ll pick up a copy!

3 Comments on “At War With Satan – Introducing my favourite character

Melissa
March 12, 2014 at 9:23 am

I love your humor (pat yourself on the back, it’s hard to make me laugh!) and I’m excited to read this book. However, I’m not a fan of e-books, so I was wondering where one could order the paperback version when it comes out?

steff
March 12, 2014 at 1:17 pm

@Melissa – thank you so much! It is my pleasure to bring the giggles. I totally understand preferring paperbacks over ebooks. At War With Satan IS available as a paperback, probably next week, from Amazon and probably some select other online retailers, as well as possibly direct through this site. I’ve got to figure that bit out. But trust me, when I do, I will be shouting it from the rooftops. \m/
tl: dr – YEP. Watch this space.

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