Welcome to this week’s Friday Author Spotlight! Today I have Grant Leishman with the third book in his Second Coming Trilogy, Holy War: The Battle for Souls.
I am an expatriate New Zealander, now residing in the beautiful islands of The Philippines, with my wife and two daughters. After careers in finance and journalism, I have finally found my true calling in life – writing and I am now “living the dream” as a full-time author. To date, I have authored and published seven books, five individually and two in collaboration with other authors.
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About the BookHoly War is the third and final book in the Second Coming Trilogy. It is the ultimate confrontation of good vs evil, right vs wrong, JC vs Beelzebub.
Beelzebub has escaped the pits of Hades and raised an AntiChrist, from amongst the family of Jose Christian Castillo (JC). He is leading an army of fallen angels intent on world and universal domination.
This is a battle that can only have one possible outcome; Armageddon! From Davao, in the Philippines, to Winchester in England, Shanghai in China and Las Vegas in the US, the action takes us to the only fitting climax of such a battle; the holiest of all cities, Old Jerusalem; the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Dome of the Rock.
There can only be one winner in this battle for the hearts, minds and souls of a generation.
Get it today on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo!
Keep reading for an excerpt:
*Censored to maintain the PG rating on this blog*
Damien knew he was dead. What he didn’t know was why he could still think clearly and where in the hell he was. He was surprised at the total lack of any pain. After all, his dearly beloved twin sister, Samantha, had just stuck a giant, needle-like stiletto straight through his heart. Shouldn’t he at least feel something? He felt nothing! He couldn’t feel any of his extremities. He just seemed to be a thought, a spirit perhaps, floating somewhere in the void.
If he’d thought he had eyes, he would probably have tried to open them and look around. But, he didn’t even think he was capable of that. He wondered again, why his sister had killed him, but he knew the answer even before he posed the question. She was in league with Beelzebub, the Devil. That’s why! He had been aware there was something amiss with Samantha for quite some time, but he’d never dreamed, in a million years, she would have truly gotten herself tied to that evil creature. He shook his head in amazement. Well, he would have, if he’d had a head to shake.
He began to giggle to himself at the strangeness of the situation. Well, he considered, if I’m dead, shouldn’t I be in heaven? He chuckled. Surely being the grandson of God should have given me some proprietary rights to eternal life in heaven? But, he wasn’t in heaven, certainly not any version of heaven he had ever thought about. He was just floating in nothingness, talking to himself and beginning to feel just a bit silly for doing so.
His mind wandered back to that final show in Pyongyang, where his sister had committed the ultimate act of betrayal on her twin brother. He wondered what was happening there now. How were his parents coping with his sudden death and more importantly, what was happening with Samantha and that evil misshapen being Beelzebub? He wanted to scream aloud when he thought of his new love, his partner, Simon. Oh my, God he thought. How’s Simon dealing with all this? If he’d been able to cry he was certain the tears would be flowing down his cheeks by now, but of course, he was just floating, unable to feel anything physical.
So, what happens now, he pondered? Do I spend eternity like this, just a thinking mind, unable to do anything? That would be the ultimate torture, he decided, to be suspended, somewhere in between the two worlds of heaven and earth. I’m absolutely sure this is not the way it’s supposed to be. I know my father and Michael would not have lied to me. There has to be more. I just have to wait. I’m sure of that.
. . .
It was all too much for Maria. In the past month, she’d seen her first-born son Samuel murdered, his body stolen by the Devil and now her twins; Samantha and Damien, both gone. Damien, murdered by his own sister and Samantha, willingly spirited away, seemingly in league with the Evil One. Crumpled on her knees on the stage, she shook her fist at the dark, brooding sky, as the snowflakes settled gently on her. “Oh My God!” she shrieked at the heavens. “What did I ever do to deserve this?”
JC, tears still streaming down his face, knelt beside his distraught wife and placing one arm around her shoulder joined her in her grief. Both of them, wracked with sobs. When Maria began to rail against the Universe, he leant in close to her ear and between sobs, he whispered, “what did you do to deserve this, my darling? You were crazy enough to marry me, the Son of God! Oh, sweetheart, I’m so, so, sorry to have brought all this pain down upon you and our family. You’re absolutely right, you don’t deserve all this. I should never have asked you to marry me and to take on this burden. I’m sorry…” JC’s voice trailed off in utter despair.
Through her pain and anguish, all Maria heard were the words. “…I should never have asked you to marry me…” and that was enough to break the relentless hold of misery she was wrapped in. Her head snapped up and her face took on that all too familiar cast of determination and anger. Scowling at her husband, she raised her hand to slap him. He grabbed it, just before the swing, pulled it gently toward him and kissed each of her fingers in turn.
Still seething with fury Maria spat out the words at her husband. “Don’t you ever say that again! Never! You understand me? Marrying you was the best thing I ever did and I will never regret it for a second, so get that into your thick skull, once and for all.” The anger collapsed as suddenly as it had flared and her face softened. She stretched out one of her fingers and gently caressed JC’s cheek. In a tiny voice, she added, “honey, we will overcome all this somehow, as long as we hold on to each other. Please don’t ever think our lives could have been different. I went into this with my eyes wide open.” She tried to force a weak smile, but it came out more like a grimace. “Things look awful right now. I get that, but don’t ever leave me and don’t ever doubt my commitment again, please… please.”
JC couldn’t speak. He wanted to tell Maria how much her words meant. He wanted to tell her how desperate he had been to hear her say them, but nothing would come from his mouth, beyond a strangled sob. Instead he stood up and reaching down, pulled Maria to her feet, before wrapping his arms tightly around his wife, holding her close and rocking her gently. Both of them revelled in the closeness of their bodies and the unity of their souls, until they were ready to face the reality of what had happened.
It was Maria who pulled back first and looking up at JC’s face, still contorted in pain, she could see and was reassured by the fire in his eyes. “So, what do we do now JC? I’m lost,” she asked him tentatively.
He gave her a weak smile. “Now babes? Now we fight! Now we embark on our very own Holy War and now, we win this earth for all eternity!” She smiled back at her husband, nodded her head and buried her face into his chest, gaining strength from the man she adored.
. . .
Samantha looked around at her new home. So, this is Hell, she thought. It was nothing like she had pictured it, in her vivid and frightening dreams. In fact, it seemed to be just an enormous, empty, stone cavern that stretched off into infinity. She couldn’t even see where it finished. There were no shooting flames, no pyrotechnics at all. There were no gruesome creatures and no moaning miscreants, slaving away in intolerable conditions. She felt almost let down by it all.
She and Beelzebub were seated on side-by-side, giant, stone thrones, high on a dais above the enormous hall. Even the thrones were disappointing to Samantha. They were so damned uncomfortable, she thought. She moved her butt, for about the tenth time, to try and find a position that didn’t ache so much. Still, she considered, as she stole a glance at the proud, handsome, man beside her, I did it! I did what Beelzebub commanded and now I am going to share in ruling the Universe with him. She hugged her arms around herself in excitement and pushed away the nagging thoughts about her dead brother Damien, her Mother, her Father and all the people she had left behind.
“@#%& them!” she uttered aloud.
Beelzebub smiled softly at her utterance and turned slightly to face his future bride. “Yes indeed, my little one. @#%& them!”
Samantha hadn’t even realised she’d said it aloud and her face coloured slightly at Bubba’s answer. She turned to face him also and asked, “so, what’s the next step Bubba? What’s the plan? We’re not staying here forever are we? I don’t think I like this place that much. Are we going to take over the Universe? When Bubba…. when?”
He sucked in his breath and tried to maintain his patience, but his eyes betrayed his annoyance with her wheedling. Taking another deep breath, he placed his finger against her lips to silence her.
“I’ll explain everything Samantha, all in good time. Of course Bubba has a plan.” He chuckled. “Doesn’t Bubba always have a plan?” He looked out at the vast, empty cavern and clapped his hands loudly, the sound reverberating up and down the giant amphitheatre. “But first, before we get down to the nitty-gritty my little one, there are some people I’d like you to meet.”
Samantha looked up to follow his gaze. Down the far end of the auditorium she could just make out two figures shambling towards them, their feet obviously shackled. She strained to see who they were, but couldn’t make out their features from that distance. Turning, she looked at Beelzebub, raising one eyebrow quizzically. His only response was a soft smile and a nod of his head at the two creatures shuffling slowly towards them. Realising an answer wouldn’t be forthcoming Samantha peered down the dimly lit cavern until she began to see some detail on the faces of the two figures. One was an old woman, a very old woman, she surmised. The other appeared to be a much younger man. She peered and peered until suddenly the dawn of recognition flew into her eyes. Her hands went to her mouth and she gave an involuntary gasp.
“Oh my God!” she exclaimed loudly. “That’s Samuel, isn’t it? But who is the old woman with him?” The pair was now a mere fifty feet from the dais and Samantha stared at the old woman for quite some time, before it finally hit her. “Great Lola (Grandmother) Cat!” she screamed.
She hadn’t actually seen her Lola Catalina since just before the old lady had died, when Samantha was only seven. But, she remembered well the kindly, old woman with the loving heart, the gummy smile and the gentle words. Turning to Beelzebub she berated him. “What on earth is Lola Cat doing here in Hell, Bubba? There’s not an evil bone in that woman’s body. God! To listen to Mama go on, you’d have thought she was a saint. How could she possibly have ended up here?”
Beelzebub fixed her with a withering stare. “Samantha, one thing you must learn right now is not to question me! I am the ruler of this Kingdom and soon I’ll be the ruler of the Universe. Just learn to accept that whatever Bubba does is good for Bubba and ultimately good for you.” Seeing Samantha’s face crumple at his harsh words he softened his tone and placed a hand gently on her forearm. “Ahhm… honey, sometimes people don’t always end up where they’re supposed to end up when they die. I had a need for Lola Cat, so I intervened and grabbed her before the other crowd even knew she was gone.” He grinned widely. “Yes indeed my little one, your Great Lola has a big part to play in Beelzebub’s fiendish plans. All will be revealed in the fullness of time.”
Samantha swallowed hard and gently nodded her head. She had a desperate desire to jump off the throne and run to her half-brother and her Great Lola. To do what? She had no idea. To comfort them? To seek their forgiveness? Or just to feel her grandmother’s gnarly and bony, yet loving fingers stroke her hair, just one more time? She wasn’t sure. She knew, though, that Beelzebub would not tolerate such expressions of remorse or emotion, so she sat quietly and waited for events to unfold.