T.A.D The Angel Of Death by M.D. Neu :: Release :: Exclusive ::
Title: T.A.D. The Angel Of Death
Author: M.D. NEU
Publisher: NineStar Press
Published: 23 September 2019
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
Length: 53,000 words
Keywords : Alternate Universe,M/M, Jumping through Time, Angels, bisexual, angels, Fate, 9/11 attack, friendship, love, homophobia
Add To: Goodreads
Warning: Explicit 9/11 details; attempted date rape
Tad loves bouncing around in time and watching mankind grow and change. He loves humanity and helping when he can. However, his job isn’t conducive to helping people. He’s an Angel of Death.
Doug is fun loving and a drama queen. Despite his witty exterior, he has a dark history and is prone to self-destruction. He’s also an amazing drag queen and hairstylist with big dreams.
When Tad pushes the boundaries of his duties too far, his angel wings are stripped away from him, and he is sent to New York City to live as a human. Lost and alone he ends up meeting Doug, and the two start a friendship that will shape them both and last a lifetime. But nothing is simple when you’re dealing with a former Angel of Death and a Drag Queen. Could these two cause the fabric of our world to collapse or will they manage to keep the future as it should?
Research that went into T.A.D.-The Angel of Death
You wouldn’t think research for T.A.D.-The Angel of Death would have been such a big issue for the story. It’s Urban Fantasy and doesn’t take place in space or take place in medieval times. But what I found was there were a lot of nuances I needed to get right. T.A.D. starts in September, 2001 and moves forward from there. Because of this there is technology, music, pop culture, and fashion that has changed enough that I had to pay attention to the details. Especially, since I wanted to ensure the readers knew the times the characters were in, without holding up a big sign that says; The Year is now 2002, or You Have Now Entered 2005.
Given that I wanted to be as organic as possible I included more references to technology, music, pop culture and fashion then I normally do, which was kind of fun. But I also had to ensure I hit a good balance of not info dumping on people. Based on the feedback I’ve gotten, overall, I believe I accomplished my goal.
For the story I spent a lot of time looking into items that I never thought I would have to pay attention to; cell phones and computers being one of them. In 2002 we didn’t have smart phones or tablets, but we did have flip phones and some of the first camera phones, so we some of that, it just wasn’t as popular. Computers were larger and not as fast. The internet was still new, and AOL was still a thing and social networking was coming into it’s own. Of course there were still magazines and pay phones all over the place. So, in the story I have to make reference to these things and ensure that I don’t have a character using a smart phone at that time. Or have the characters on a computer that is right for the time. It was an interesting problem to have. Some of it was kind of fun too.
When it came to music in the story, because I have the characters going clubbing or referencing songs I had to ensure that songs like Bubbly by Colbie Caillat were popular when I say they are. There were a few other songs that came into question, especially with my Editor. There was one song, I can’t remember right now, but it was a dance mix that was popular at clubs and she sent me a note saying that the song wasn’t out at the time I reference in the story. I had to go back into my notes, find the song, then find the correct artist with a link to the song I had mentioned. What had happened was that she found the song, but it was a remake from a few years later by a different artist. We had a chuckle over that.
With as much as I was doing with the technology and the music, my Pop Culture references were also another area I had to make sure I hit right. A lot of detail was paid to pop culture in the story, because I don’t mention years or months every other sentence in the story I had to focus more on pop culture reference that I would work in so the readers would understand the time period. There are a couple of times I mention different events that were in People Magazine so that I could get the right setting. That was a lot of fun, I got to go back through old media reports, magazine stories, and celebrity gossip and pull that into the story to flesh out the details and make the setting as rich as possible.
Luckily for me, fashion hasn’t changed that much and the main characters did not work in, nor did they pay a lot of attention to fashion, still I had to make sure items like jeans and shirts were the correct styles for the time, especially for when the main characters were younger. Also, because one of the characters is a hair dresser I had to pay attention to some of the hair trends that were going on, which I knew every little about, but I enjoyed looking at some of the older photos and seeing what was popular at the time, even if I didn’t always mention it in the story. I still have the notes on it for reference.
For T.A.D.-The Angel of Death wasn’t so much about research to get logistics, history or future tech correct, it was all about setting the story in the recent past that readers will remember and hopefully not have to think hard on to get into the correct time and setting.
Doug glanced up at the big void where the buildings once stood.
How could anyone do that? All those people, and for what? Thank God, no one I know was there. Thank goodness, Garret’s train was running late. Even from across the river, seeing the buildings fall, one minute there, the next not, awful. Not knowing if Garret was alive or dead. The not knowing was awful, and it seemed to last forever. Then getting his call when the phones were back up. It was a relief. Still, the not knowing? Horrible. How do survivors do it?
Doug shuddered. He had to look away before he started to cry again. That day. The world wasn’t the same. How could it be? Would it ever be the same again? He swiped at his eyes, keeping the tears he was trying to hold back from dropping. He caught his reflection in one of the storefront windows and fussed with his blond spiky hair.
The months right after the attack had been hell for everyone. People from all over the world sent support and offered help. But New York was moving on, as it should. They already had seven different architects offering new designs to fill the empty skyline. Mayor Giuliani was doing everything he could for the city, and there was even talk of him running for president.
Doug checked his flip phone and picked up his pace. He was running late. He shouldn’t have spent the night at Tim’s, but leaving such a sexy guy was no easy task. Not to mention they might have partied too much.
I doubt that is even possible. You can never party too much.
There was a large group of mourners, and he had to step to the side to let them pass. He took a deep cleansing breath, pushing all thoughts from his mind, and started walking again. He rushed past the families and friends heading to Ground Zero. Now he had to hustle to make it to work. He’d gotten lucky no one he was familiar with was killed. Still, every time he thought about the attack and looked up at the twin lights filling the night sky, he wanted to cry.
Why President Bush didn’t blow up the whole of the Middle East after the attack, Doug would never understand. Instead, the president sent troops to Afghanistan, searching for Osama bin Laden and taking out Al-Qaeda.
Just as long as they find and kill the monsters who did this to us.
Doug couldn’t help but stop again and glance up to where the twin towers once stood. He quickly wiped at his eyes. “I need to get out of here.” He moved over to the brick façade and leaned against the wall as more people passed him, heading to the memorial ceremony.
“So much suffering and for what?” Doug mumbled. He started walking again, taking a deep breath and trying to avoid the crowds. A woman in a dark jacket passed him and bumped his shoulder, causing him to step closer to an alley. She didn’t bother saying anything; however, Doug thought she said something about his size. He caught his reflection again. He hated how everything made him feel so fat. Nothing he wore looked right on him. Even the baggy pants still made him look fat and messy. He would need to start at the gym if he wanted to continue dating Tim and keep up with his partying. He frowned.
At least I have good hair.
He played with the spikes of his hair.
“It’s my fault,” a gruff voice whispered from behind him.
Doug startled and turned around, but no one was there. He glanced over to the dumpster.
Sitting there, a raggedy black man, with kinky hair in desperate need of a cut and wash, stared at him. The man had the most beautiful green eyes Doug had ever seen. The rich tones of his skin really made his eyes pop, quite possibly the unkempt man’s best feature. The man was in shambles, and tears streamed down his dirty cheeks.
The anniversary affects everyone.
“I did this,” the man groaned through his sobs. “And now I’m being punished.”
Doug wasn’t sure what to do or say. Should he walk away and get to the salon? Leave what appeared to be the crazy homeless guy alone? Could he do that now that they made eye contact? Could he do that today of all days? The man needed help. The man needed a shower and clean clothes. Perhaps, if he talked to him, that would be enough…well, the talk and ten bucks.
That’s what Shannon would do. Talk to him and give him money. Shannon was such a kind soul, and I need to be more like him, more like he was. To honor him. Just like my drag name. Maybe Miss Enshannon needs to be more. I need to be more.
Doug’s heart ached at the memories of Shannon and how wonderful he was. When he picked his drag name there was no doubt on what it would be, but to honor someone you loved had to be more than using their name.
“It’s not your fault.” He knelt close to the man, still keeping his distance just in case. “It was the work of terrorists. They killed all those people, not you.”
“I should have stopped them. I should have done more,” the dirty man moaned.
“Oh, baby, no one could have done more,” Doug offered. Some people thought the government knew about the attack beforehand and the president allowed it to happen. Doug didn’t buy it. Why anyone listened to these people was beyond him, but they did. He just wished they would shut up and crawl back under the rocks they came from. They weren’t helping anyone, and in the long run, their remarks and comments only hurt people more.
“Now, I’m being punished. They sent me here and took my wings,” the man whispered.
Was this guy a pilot? Oh, that would be awful. I bet he was supposed to fly one of the planes, and he couldn’t take it. Survivor’s guilt.
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M.D. Neu is a queer Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alice Walker, Alfred Hitchcock, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Rice, and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.
Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.
When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric his husband of twenty plus years.