YouTube is my kryptonite (and other tales of self-sabotage)

Happy Twos Days!

2/22/22 We'll have to wait another 200 years to see a date with more slot machine perfection than this one! So I guess that's worth celebrating? Eh, why not. Have a cookie and a margarita! 

In case you were ever curious how my squirrelly author brain works after so many years of tumbling down research rabbit holes...

The announcement of this rare holiday reminded me of my favorite book as a child, which also took place on a Tuesday. "The Cookie Monster and the Cookie Tree." And while I do have a physical copy (two, in fact, since the one from my toddler days is a relic held together with duct tape and nostalgic care) I did as I do and consulted the Googleverse, which led me to this lovely reading on YouTube:

The narrator really nailed the character voices (but my mom still holds the record for best reading in my book). I should also note that I think it may be out of print. I could only find used copies for sale online.

page from cookie monster book

My lifelong love of all things witchy can be traced back to this book and the Wizard of Oz, both of which I was hooked on by age 3.

Now for the less savory news...

The release of "Shadow of Death" is being pushed out by 3 weeks. Instead of March 1st, it will now be March 22nd. I really shouldn't be surprised after book 1 was pushed by 3 weeks. I don't know what made me think I was going to be able to catch up over the holidays. And I really don't know what I was thinking a few weeks ago when I was under the delusion I was back on track. 

*primordial groan of dejection*

I didn't fully accept defeat until yesterday, after combing through literal hours of YouTube videos on Egypt, tours of their temples and museums, historical analyses of the Ptolemaic dynasty--all the many different elements that required checking and double-checking so my ducks are in a row for "Shadow of Death." In the process, I stumbled upon this video of an actual Egyptologist watching and critiquing the movie "The Mummy":

It was fun and informative... and traumatizing. I do not want my little book baby to suffer a similar fate wherein an expert announces I did not do my homework. I promise you, I am doing my homework. It's just... a lot of homework. So here's hoping you don't mind waiting a few weeks longer for a stronger book. Just picture me force-feeding it Flintstones and Wheaties and canned spinach. With bleeding eyeballs, of course, from all the video research.

I've never been to Egypt, but I'd love to go one day and see all the temples and pyramids in person, maybe take a cruise down the Nile. I've always been fascinated with Egyptian history and mythology. It's a love I shared with my late uncle Joe, who even had a tattoo of Anubis, the Egyptian god of death, mummification, and tombs.

When Joe downsized to an apartment to be closer to my mom, he gave me an old Egyptian game called Senet. Several of the pieces are missing, but I still love to look at the hieroglyphs on the wooden box. After watching a video series translation on the Papyrus of Ani (the Book of the Dead) I think a few of the hieroglyphs might reference going out or going forth "into the day". You can see the matching words in this YouTube video translation starting at the 6 minute mark:

Senet board game from my uncle

I have some plastic molding beads that I'm considering using to make replacement pieces... Or maybe I'll convince my husband to help me make some out of wood to match. Either way, I'd love to have my uncle's game operational in time for the release week live chat so I can play with some readers in a Facebook room after the chat! : D 

If that sounds like something you'd be "game" for, hit reply and let me know. Or if you're viewing this outside of your inbox, email me at or message me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter

At the risk of making an extra-long email even longer, I've included a short snippet of "Shadow of Death" below. Yes, Tasha is a total turd, but Lana (and I) can't seem to quit her.

Shadow of Death ~ Chapter 1


“I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade… And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party.” —Ron White


Shopping in Hell was a unique experience. Occasionally, Bub took me to Lilith Enchanted, an overpriced dress boutique. But he knew my dress size and what I liked—or rather, what he liked and what I would tolerate—so most of the gowns I owned arrived in fancy black boxes embossed with the boutique’s serpent-entwined apple logo.

The other stores and businesses were hit or miss. Mostly miss. I didn’t need any horn bling or fancy oils for a spaded tail. No hellfire facials or talon buffing. And the thought of drinking a smoothie that consisted of tears from seven deadly sinners almost made me throw up in my mouth.

But Tasha Henry couldn’t exactly meet me in Limbo City where she was still wanted for crimes against Eternity. Her ransom deal with the Hell Committee had included immunity and citizenship in the only afterlife they had the authority to grant it. She also had enough coin in her coffers to keep her comfortable for a century. Or at least a few decades, considering how quickly she appeared to be blowing through it.

Of course, I couldn’t bring myself to scold her for the devil-may-care spending while admiring the new boots she’d gifted me as a peace offering.

“Those are to say thank you for the hot tip,” Tasha explained as I zipped the leather sheaths up my calves. “I’m not apologizing, because I’m not sorry.”

“Duly noted.” I tried to smile but it felt more like a cringe.

Being this big of a sucker for a sweet pair of kicks was embarrassing, but it was a vice I shared with Tasha. She sported a matching pair of the stiletto boots in red. Mine were an oily black that went nicely with the leather jacket I was still wearing since I’d expected this meeting to go south before it even began. Not so south that we’d come down to blows—we were in public, after all—but I certainly hadn’t expected to linger long enough outside the Salome Bistro to have brunch with the exiled reaper who’d double-crossed me.

A horned waitress stopped at our table and began unloading a serving tray with an order I assumed Tasha had placed before I arrived. “Two pomegranate mimosas with deviled crab omelets, plus a forbidden fruit and flesh platter. Can I get you ladies anything else?”

“I think we’re good for now,” Tasha answered before giving me a sheepish grin. “You were running late, so I ordered for you.”

I huffed. “I wasn’t late. You were early.”

“Nuance.” Tasha shrugged and took a sip of her mimosa. Her shoulders had gradually relaxed after I’d accepted the boots instead of flipping over the wrought-iron table and storming off down Gula Boulevard. There was no honey in her tongue, but it wasn’t quite as razor-sharp as I was used to either. There was another shoe somewhere—a figurative shoe, considering I was wearing the literal ones—and it was sure to drop soon.

In the meantime, I eyed the juicy spread laid out between us and tried not to drool on myself. I’d been too uptight about our meeting to bother with breakfast, and now it was nearly lunchtime. I supposed it would hurt to have a bite or two while I waited for the plot to thicken.

“So,” I said, casually forking a slice of bacon off the fruit and flesh platter, “what have you been doing with yourself? You know, besides lavishing in the spoils of your betrayal.”

Tasha snorted. “Betrayal implies we had some pact or sworn loyalty to one another, which we did not.”

“There was at least a presumed loyalty, after everything I’d done for you.” I glared at her, unable to conceal my disgust. “It shouldn’t take a contract signed in blood to keep friends from stabbing you in the back.”

“Friends?” Tasha smirked. “Really? That’s what you think we are?”


Pre-order "Shadow of Death" today!

That's all for now! But I'll have another bite-sized peek for you soon (along with news about the book box giveaway and live chat shenanigans). Until then, happy reading and reaping!

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Angela Roquet

P.O. Box 1802

Lake Ozark, MO 65049