Today I am delighted to host author Jane Kindred as a part of her blog tour for “The Armies of Heaven,” the third book in the House of Arkhangel’sk trilogy. My review of the book will be posted later this week.
How to Train Your Demon
While Anazakia, the heroine of The House of Arkhangel’sk series, is an angelic grand duchess, the character I think of as the real protagonist is one of the Fallen. An airspirit named Belphagor, he’s used to being a bit of an outcast both in Heaven and below. In Heaven’s demon ghetto, Raqia, he’s known as the Prince of Tricks, a gambler who rarely loses, and whom no one can catch cheating, though most are convinced he is. In the world of Man, he’s a former rent boy and a tattooed thief who’s done time in the Russian zona. And he also happens to be a gay BDSM top.
His “boy,” Vasily, is a gruff, burly firespirit with flame-red dreadlocks, scruffy muttonchops, and spiked piercings down the sides of his neck, who can light a cigar with his tongue. But underneath Vasily’s rough exterior is a very sensitive soul.
Their “courtship” generally consists of snide remarks and angry growling on Vasily’s part, while Belphagor pretends to be insensitive and callous until Vasily blows his top. The inevitable fight between them ends in Vasily’s reluctant submission, which he rails against and pretends to hate—until he doesn’t.
When I first created these characters, I had no idea they’d be lovers, and I was equally surprised to discover their kinky inclinations. Belphagor has a particularly strong “voice” in my head, and when I let him stand back and describe Vasily in his own terms, it immediately became apparent what kind of relationship they had. It also became apparent that Vasily wasn’t gay; he was bisexual. Which is how he and Belphagor and Anazakia end up as a family, and how Vasily becomes the father of the last scion of Heaven.
But I can’t deny that the BDSM scenes between Belphagor and Vasily were my favorite to write. My only worry was that readers wouldn’t get their consensual nature. My editor, in fact, expressed concern at first that it might turn readers off, recommending that I soften those scenes up a bit. I pushed back on that particular edit, because I felt the intensity of those interactions was crucial to Belphagor and Vasily’s story. And then along came Fifty Shades of Gray, and suddenly BDSM was the “it” thing. By comparison, my story is relatively tame.
As deeply as Belphagor loves Vasily, and as intense as their connection is, in the final book of the trilogy, The Armies of Heaven, Belphagor takes a bit of a detour on his way to soliciting aid for the future queen of Heaven. In taking command of a platoon of Virtues, an order of angels known for their purity and modesty, Belphagor has the opportunity for the first time to train one of them as a willing submissive. It’s a challenge he can’t pass up and one that will have a profound affect on him—and on the fate of Heaven itself.
To celebrate the release of The Armies of Heaven, I’m giving away prizes to three different winners on my blog tour: a $50 gift card to Barnes & Noble or Amazon, a complete set of print books of The House of Arkhangel’sk trilogy, and a collector’s edition of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen illustrated by Vladyslav Yerko. Just enter via the Rafflecopter link at the bottom of the post. This giveaway is international.
About the author:
Jane Kindred is the author of The House of Arkhangel’sk trilogy and The Devil’s Garden. Born in Billings, Montana, she spent her formative years ruining her eyes reading romance novels in the Tucson sun and watching Star Trek marathons in the dark. She now writes to the sound of San Francisco foghorns while two cats slowly but surely edge her off the side of the bed.
About The Armies of Heaven, Book Three of The House of Arkhangel’sk:
In Heaven, all hell has broken loose…
Full-scale war has broken out in Heaven, and Anazakia must embrace her destiny, leading an army of Virtues into battle against a Host of enemies to restore the House of Arkhangel’sk.
Furious with her for putting her trust in the angel who has done them all irreparable harm, Vasily tries to ignore his growing resentment, while Belphagor returns to the world of Man with a cadre of beautiful androgynous Virtues to restore the sundered alliance between the Fallen and the gypsy underground. Without their help in enlisting the terrestrial forces of Grigori and Nephilim, Anazakia’s Virtues are hopelessly outnumbered.
But there are more things in Heaven and Earth than any of them have dreamt of, and those they cannot see will mean the difference between victory and losing everything.