QSFer E. Prybylski has a new queer urban fantasy thriller out (ace, gay, non-binary): Fallen.
Can a fallen angel survive Boston and find a killer?
Fallen from heaven’s grace, the angel Cassiel finds herself in an impossible situation: accused of murder and racing against time to rescue a young elven girl from the clutches of darkness. In the face of this horror, she wrestles demons both inside and out.
Alongside her stand her friends: Jim, a disabled human combat veteran; Dust, an orc who serves in the church kitchen; and Eirlas, an elven former gangbanger. Can they save the girl and stop the demons in time while the city of Boston hangs in the balance?
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The first thing I remember was the rain. I’d never felt anything like it before, and the sensation of it landing on my skin fascinated me. The scent of wet earth filled my nose. I stirred, sitting up and coming to realize I lay in something of a depression that must have been formed by my impact on the earth in what I later learned was Boston, Massachusetts.
As my senses cleared, I realized I could hear voices. And I understood them, though I knew they weren’t speaking the language I knew best.
“Do you think he’s okay?”
“Should we call the police?”
“Where did he come from?”
“He? That’s not a man.”
“Sure it is.”
A small crowd had gathered, and more were coming, fascinated perhaps by my abrupt appearance. As I studied them, still trying to put the pieces together, a man wearing dark blue clothing distinct from all the others strode over to me. “Hey, you okay? What the hell happened?”
I opened my mouth to reply, and, to my amazement, English came out. “I…fell.” My head felt like it was spinning, and I lay back down. My neck and chest throbbed and burned with pain I didn’t entirely understand. I lifted a hand to touch it, finding my skin slick. When I pulled my fingers away, they were coated in red. Blood.
The sounds around me faded, and weariness overtook me. I closed my eyes. They felt so heavy. The voices around me continued, but I could no longer make out the words.
“When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up onto the roof and lowered him on a mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right before Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’”
A soft, low voice spoke from somewhere to my right. I knew the words, but when I tried to speak the next verse, it came out in my native tongue and rather slurred. I opened my eyes, smelling something sharp and astringent in the air. Looking around, I had no real understanding of where I was. I had never seen a hospital before, after all. To my right sat an older man. His features
suggested human, but not all metas are immediately obvious, or so I have learned.
“Ah, you’re awake.” He had an accent of some kind and sounded quite different from the others. “S’a good thing. Heard you came in here all torn up with no one to come and visit you. So I figured I’d sit with you. If you don’t mind, o’ course.”
I sat up a little, groaning as my left shoulder pulled. “I do not mind.”
“Good ‘cause I’m here anyway. They didn’t give me your name, by the by. I’m Father John Carver, one o’ the chaplains here at Mass General.”
“Mass general what?” I frowned.
“Hospital. Mentioned you were havin’ a bit o’ trouble rememberin’ things.”
“I am not struggling to remember.”
“If you say so. What’s your name?”
“Cassiel. My name is Cassiel.”
Father John Carver nodded a little. “Nice to meet you, Cassiel. Do you remember how you got in the park? Police officer told the people here you said you fell.”
“I did, yes. I fell.” The words felt like razors in my mouth.
“Where’d you fall from?”
“Heaven, Father John Carver.”
That gave him pause, and he cocked his head to the side, brows rising, head tilted slightly down. “Heaven, you say?”
“Yes.” I looked around the room. “I hurt.” Everything ached. The injuries to my shoulder and chest burned and throbbed, and I reached to touch the area.
Author Bio E. is a long-time fantasy enthusiast who decided to try their hand at writing fantasy after decades of reading it. The first chapter book they remember, read to them by their mother, was J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit followed swiftly by Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series (starting with Dragonsong). They knew from a young age that they wanted to be a writer and has worked toward that end with a slow, steady pace their entire life.
Beginning the trip into the publishing world in 2009, E. joined Divertir Publishing as an acquisitions editor. Fast forward to now, they’ve been working as an editor for over a decade while learning the many skills needed to forge their own writing career. Currently, they serve as Insomnia Publishing’s creative director. After publishing a number of short story fiction pieces over the years, they began writing Fallen during lockdown in 2020, inspired by their husband and their shared love of text-based roleplay (which is how they met).
When they’re not writing, E. is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (OSR fencer in the East Kingdom), a violinist, and a great lover of the fiber arts from spinning to weaving to crochet and embroidery. They always have a project in their hands. It helps their ADHD and allows them to focus while also producing usable or pretty art.
Finally, E. is physically disabled and struggles with severe chronic migraines and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and its many comorbidities. They try to write characters who are authentic to this experience and don’t shy away from writing about disability, mental health, gender, and other challenging topics.