The search for the most dangerous book in the world begins!
Father Thomas Morelli thought he knew the story behind Lucifer’s fall from Heaven. However, upon making the acquaintance of renowned book authenticator Lorenza Pellegrini and being invited to stay in the opulent Venice villa belonging to Pellegrini’s “Master,” Thomas discovers he has only heard part of the story.
In Boston, psychoanalyst, best-selling author, and outspoken atheist David Wright has been tasked to handle the funeral arrangements of his dear friend Albert Kennedy. What could have driven this controversial exorcist to take his own life? The answer, it seems, is contained in a tome that isn’t supposed to exist.
Joining forces Lorenza, David, and Thomas must race against time to prevent an ancient battle from reigniting.
“Those who enjoyed The DaVinci Code… will find the thriller
component is strong, and … replete in both nonstop action and solid
ethical, spiritual, and moral examination.” — D. Donovan, Midwest
About the Authors
Wayne Haley is a retired University Administrator who has been writing for
pleasure for thirty-five years. He spends most of his free time with his amazing wife, Kathleen, walking the beaches and writing near his home in
Sean Haley has spent the past twenty-five years working for two prominent Southern California investment firms. Now living outside of Los Angeles, Sean spends much of his free time with his wonderful wife, Kristy, and their blended family of five children – usually shuttling them to various activities and sporting events.
Wayne and Sean are currently working on their next collaborative work.
She can speak all languages. He can smell evil intent.They’re enemies. They crave each other.Secret magic, international settings, a conspiracy plot, star-crossed lovers, and sharp writing The Demon in Business Class is a stunning debut novel spanning continents and genres.Zarabeth travels the world for a shady executive, laying the groundwork for global war.Gabriel offers a second chance to the criminals that a visionary leader sees in dreams.One rainy night in Scotland, they meet…Now, it’s complicated.There’s also the investigator, the witch, the playboy, the gangster, the cultist, the pre-school teacher, the two angels…And, the demon.Fans of Jeff VanderMeer and David Mitchell will love this stylish cross-genre novel. Gorgeously narrated by Laura Petersen, The Demon in Business Class is an international story of fantasy, intrigue, and love, on the uneasy ground where the human meets the divine.Your next read is now boarding, listen now!
Anthony Dobranski is from and lives in Washington DC. His debut novel is The Demon in Business Class, a modern fantasy. He also designed and published Business Class Tarot, a modern Tarot deck inspired by his novel. He is finishing up his new science-fiction novel, The White Lake. He’s volunteered with many arts organizations, and now serves on the board of The Inner Loop, a Washington DC live-reading series and podcast. He loves to ski.
Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Laura Petersen is the youngest from a very large family. She matured like a nice cheap wine in Southern California where her family moved when she was in high school. Honing her acting chops in college in Orange County and in the school of hard knocks in Los Angeles, she eventually settled down with a handsome young man and married. Then promptly moved to North Carolina, and then again headed West to Oregon where she now lives with her husband, and two kids.
She traveled extensively before becoming a suburban mom, traveling all over Europe and North America. She has also worked in almost every manner of job, from fast food service to bartending and from retail clothing to costume department PA, actress, short order cook, barista, auto repair, ballroom
dancer, and independent film producer.
Now, when she is not busy narrating, she uses her BA and MBA to homeschool her kids (thanks pandemic) and enjoys hanging with her quarantine pod for occasional game nights.
Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?
Not really. I’ve listened to literary and popular fiction, non-fiction, journalism, and spiritual works. They all worked well as audiobooks. I suppose an academic work with many footnotes would be challenging — if you wanted to stop reading the main text and read the footnotes — but if a history is a good read in print, I never stop to check the footnotes anyway.
Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
Yes and no. I work hard to write smooth prose and snappy dialogue, so I knew that The Demon in Business Class would be a great audiobook. What I never considered was how much work I was making for the narrator! Demon has eighty characters who have enough lines they have to sound distinctive, plus another sixty “extras” with one or two lines — in accents from a dozen countries and several regions of the US. I maybe should have considered how hard it would be. Happily, Laura Petersen did such a good job that it sounds completely natural.
How did you select your narrator?
I chose Laura Petersen from her audition samples. She read beautifully, with real brio and confidence. My characters are businesspeople. Whatever they’re feeling, they front that everything is fine. She got that false bravado, and the stress beneath it, and ran with it! She’s also got a fantastic narrator’s voice, and her character voices were wonderful and expressive. I just knew she was the one, though I couldn’t know just how good a job she would do. It’s amazing work.
How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
Laura Petersen and her producer John Warton did the research themselves, and they developed their own insights into the characters from reading and discussing the book. I had a small part in the process, as a proofer, checking for minor errors, between the initial recording and the final mastering. I also helped with some pronunciation here and there.
I was happy with my minor role, and I tried to be both useful and absent. Once I heard Laura’s audition — which blew me away! — it was her performance I wanted, not mine. She was doing the work. It’s really important to respect that.
Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
Absolutely! The Demon in Business Class is a fantasy novel, but it’s set in the real world of the year 2008. The characters, despite their secret magic, are business travelers. It’s a life I lived and worked. I opened international offices in Europe and Asia-Pacific for the internet company AOL, and I’ve traveled a lot in the US as well. All the places in the novel are places I’ve lived or visited. I wanted Demon to be a realistic picture both of those places and of modern business life.
My model for this was Mikhail Bulgakov’s great novel, The Master and Margarita, which is about the Devil hosting a grand party in Stalin’s Soviet Union. It’s a fantasy, but it’s also a true portrayal of life under Stalin’s brutal reign — one of the few that survived to our day. I wanted to talk about business and globalization in the same honest way, even as I also told a fantastic story. I also think the realism helps make the story believable and enjoyable.
How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
I like writing! So that helps. We all get sidetracked — especially this year, with the pandemic upending everything. It’s important to remember that any one derailment is not the end of all effort. It also helps to keep a pro attitude: if I want this to be my job, do my job.
If there’s a strong negativity, it’s usually a way of not admitting, or not being clear about, a problem with what I’m working on. So, step back, and find the problem. It can require radical moves. I threw out the first 400 pages I wrote of Demon! I had a good story, but the voice of the book was smothering the voices of the characters. I started over, writing from inside their heads and not mine, and it worked.
Appreciating the big picture helps. I’m at the start of my career, but I’ve already had incredible experiences engaging other writers, creatives, and readers. If I keep going, I will have more. That’s a powerful incentive.
Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
I’ve always enjoyed audiobooks, even back in the days of buying them on disc. I loved Matt Dillon’s narration of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, and the great audio-drama version of Hunter S Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. But it was a very occasional pleasure, like once a year.
After The Demon in Business Class was recorded and I stopped getting new chapters from Laura Petersen, I missed them so! She had made me a bigger fan of the medium. So now I listen to one or two a month.
Print is a way to store and transmit words, but writing is really a medium of sound. From the earliest days of poetry, words are chosen as much for their sounds as their meaning. Audiobooks are a great convenience, giving us more reading time in busy lives, but they are delightful too. They put us back in touch with the roots of story and literature.
Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
There’s quite a few! I’m a big fan of Laura Petersen’s version. Here are two:
In Chapter 19, Zarabeth goes to Pittsburgh to see her mother, from whom she’s been estranged for years. It’s a sad part of the book, but Laura’s reading made me cry!
Chapter 31 is a long dark night that starts in a private jet to Las Vegas, and ends in a cult ritual that summons a supernatural being — but, the wrong one. It’s wild and freaky on the page, but Laura’s read gave me chills from the first listen, and still does.
What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
You know, I get it. The printed book has signified literacy and education for 500 years. People take pride in their personal libraries. You can still get books with leather covers and gold-leaf. A book is a powerful symbol, and a beautiful thing.
I say to those people — What do writers do, when they publish their books? They do live readings at bookstores!
Even the greatest writers still care about how it sounds. So do readers. When people read something the like, they read it aloud to other people!
Audiobooks put you in touch with that again. It’s a live reading from a gifted narrator, luxurious and powerful. It’s a leather and gold-leaf edition for your ears.
In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
The Demon in Business Class and my next two books — one finishing up, one in early planning — are all stand-alones. What I like about stand-alones is that they force me to try new things. I still have my style, but I need to build from scratch each time. Of course, there’s only so much time I get with my characters, and only so far I can take them. There’s also a commercial downside, since once a reader finishes a stand-alone, that’s it, there’s no book two to sell them!
I imagine it’s fun to develop characters over several different adventures in a series, and to find out more details about a really well-crafted story world. The disadvantage is that they can get repetitive; or, that the new story has to be bigger and splashier, which makes the rest feel like leftovers. Some series stay consistent. Some jump the shark.
Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
Oh, I would love that! It hasn’t happened yet. Usually it’s the reverse. Dreams are a big artistic inspiration for me. I’ve paid close attention to my dreams since college, and I use elements from them in my work. There’s one dream scene in The Demon in Business Class that’s just as I dreamt it — it fit perfectly with the character’s anxieties at that point in the novel!
The novel I’m working on, The White Lake, began as an especially vivid dream. Despite the many changes I had to make to turn it into a plotted story, I’ve tried to respect that inspiration by making it bold and surreal whenever possible.
What’s next for you?
I’m finishing up my new novel, The White Lake. It’s an Earth-based science-fiction, set in a future Budapest destroyed in a war, where the toxic waste has become its own very valuable industry. It came to me in a dream, and it’s become a wild tale of Old World decadence, artificial intelligence, and sports media — a cross between The Grand Budapest Hotel and Rollerball. It will make for one heck of an audiobook, I promise!
I’m also very honored to have joined the board of The Inner Loop, a Washington DC literary group that’s been doing monthly live readings for fiction, non-fiction, and poetry writers for the last five years. It’s my first chance to be a literary citizen, not just a writer, and that’s inspiring. I recently did a 10-minute podcast for them, talking about writing in quarantine, with a writing prompt and a flash fiction story. Check it out at https://soundcloud.com/theinnerlooplit/inversion-with-anthony-dobranski
What if you could help those who’ve passed on get a second chance—but at the risk of your own life?
Four broken strangers volunteer to become the first humans in North America to join the international VESSELS program. Their bodies will host the Spirits who seek to right past wrongs and earn a chance at Elysium. Disguised inside a homeless shelter in Reno, the program is facilitated by a retired Army officer, a former ER Doctor, and a tech-savvy teen who tracks the Spirits merged with their Vessels through an ancient ritual on the Anaho Indian Reservation. The Vessels only have seven days to succeed—and to survive. But when the vengeful spirit of a serial killer enters one of them, they learn not all Spirits are here for redemption.
Though the wide mirror made the tiny room feel big, it had the opposite effect on Tal. She splashed water on her face. Her reflection seemed to shrink in the big glass, making her feel like a single speck of humanity on a vast planet in an endless universe. A lone Vessel housing the infinity of Spirit. She splashed more water and blinked. A more present and focused woman blinked back—one who wasn’t much different than the woman who had been uprooted from her old life in Pittsburgh. But she had accepted an insane job as a ghost host and had been branded with her very first tattoo. Her badge and gun were gone, and the concept of “protect and serve” now meant something else entirely. Tal grabbed one of the soft white towels and dried her face. The cloth smelled fresh and clean, like air-dried linen—it was homey, comforting She caught her own gaze in the mirror one more time. That frightened, hopeless woman from the pawnshop window two weeks ago was gone. A more confident person replaced her—equally uncertain but willing and ready to face a new and unpredictable future. Perhaps her change was more like the grown-up happy child after all, and less like the dried up pool full of leaves and dirt. A sudden pain stabbed her left ankle, and the skin around her new tattoo seemed to—move. Tal sat on the bed, yanked up her pant leg and crossed her left foot over her right knee. While most of the iridescent vines shimmered normally, a small cluster at the center of her inside leg were twisting together into a small circular mark at her ankle. They pulled in the hidden SObY letters, elongating and absorbing them to form a kind of Celtic or Romanesque knot made of iridescent vines. Her flesh burned slightly as the center of the twisting knot opened and a tiny image took shape. The figure was more primitive and cryptic, like a totem carving or cave painting, but it definitely had wings. One last vine connected and the twisting stopped. So did the pain. Tal inhaled sharply. She held her breath, steeled her nerve, and touched the mark. Though the texture looked different, and though the mark was round against the straight, interconnected tendrils of the tattoo that circled her leg, the skin felt the same on both. Tal exhaled and closed her eyes, unable to discern where one ended and the other began. When she opened her eyes again, she caught the symbol’s shrouded image for a fleeting moment before it finished. What she’d thought was a primitive knot or ancient medallion of vines turned out to be—a nest. At its center, the angel figure had become an enigmatic, nearly invisible dove clutching a vine in its beak like an olive branch. The mark twisted closed, hiding the nest and bird inside. Goosebumps tore up and down Tal’s skin. She shifted to the nearby desk and fired up her computer. Her trembling fingers flew over the keyboard as she researched images of doves, dove symbolism, the “Serve Others” expression, and any other ideas the tattoo inspired. Her search turned up a host of disparate sites—from the dove above Jesus at his baptism, to white birds being released at weddings and funerals, to recipes on preparing tasty squab. Nothing reflected this tattoo or its particular elements. “This is crazy,” she mumbled, working her shoulders to unstick the tension. “That many Vessels in the world, spanning decades, and not a single image or hit?” *** Excerpt from The Vessels by Anna M. Elias. Copyright 2020 by Anna M. Elias. Reproduced with permission from Vesuvian Books. All rights reserved.
Anna Elias is a screenwriter who began her career as Don Johnson’s assistant on Miami Vice. She’s worked on feature films such as Nell, The Rainmaker, The Client, 12 Monkeys, A Time to Kill, and Practical Magic. She has written and co-written spec films, TV scripts, and award-winning shorts. Anna’s passion for justice translates to her work. This was especially true on the set of John Grisham’s A Time to Kill. Canton, Mississippi had just suffered great racial hardship and division in a Mayoral race. With Anna’s encouragement, the movie crew made extra efforts to befriend, buy from, and work with the townspeople, and it served to break down walls of inequality and injustice that had divided the town for decades. The impact was so positive that Dan Rather traveled there to tape a 2-part special for 48 Hours.
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Enter To Win!!:
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Anna M. Elias and Vesuvian Books. There will be 2 winners. One winner will receive an Amazon.com Gift Card and One winner will win THE VESSELS by Anna M. Elias (print). The giveaway begins on July 1, 2020 and runs through September 2, 2020. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.