The Art of You Part 7

Inspiration for "Jack Harrington" Borrowed from Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/HughJackman

Inspiration for “Jack Harrington” Borrowed from Facebook.
https://www.facebook.com/HughJackman

Another couple of days passed before I dared leave the bed again. I was bombarded with terrible headaches that made me feel sick to my stomach and more sensitive to light. Jack kept the lights low and the drapes drawn against the beauty that waited for them outside. I told him to get out of the hotel and enjoy himself, but he refused. I often wondered if caring for me was replacing being able to care for his wife. A ridiculous notion, I know. But he never left and was always there to bring me water and little bits of food.

Painkillers were given out like candy for the headaches and while nothing really took the pain away, it made it manageable. The effects of the sleeping meds stopped working so well and I began to have strange dreams and insomnia often. I felt strange sensations like bugs were crawling over my body making me itch and need to walk around and even shower several times a day. It was miserable, to say the least.

It was Thursday morning. I woke up and Jack was there smiling at me telling me to get up and about. We were going to the Pancake House for breakfast. I tried to object, but he halted me, not taking ‘no’ for an answer.

I took the time to look presentable, kind of halfway doing my makeup in the beloved 50s look. Jeans and a white tank top won out and I slipped my feet into my little white tennis shoes. I decided to tie a red bandana in my hair that covered the back of my head and tied at my crown.

Making my appearance in the front room of the suite, I saw a wheelchair waiting for me, sitting empty and lonesome, the foot rests down and ready. Slowly, I back away.

“No way,” I said shaking my head slightly. “I’m not going in that!”

Jack laughed. “Come on, Ruby. It’s the only way to make sure you stay upright!”

“No. Not going to do it. I will do it on my own, or not at all,” I argued.

“For the love! You are so stubborn! Fine. Have it your way then,” he said throwing up his hands in the air and moving the wheelchair into a corner.

“Thank you,” I breathed.

Grabbing my backpack with my camera in it, I started out the door. The dizziness was trying to grab at me and I kept talking to myself and telling it to knock it off already. I was about four slow paces out the door and Jack swooped me up in his arms.

Shocked, I squealed and struggled to get back down on my own feet.

“Nope, I can be just as stubborn. So if you aren’t going to sit in the chair, I am responsible for making sure you don’t fall down. That means I carry you everywhere you need to go today,” he chuckled.

“I will break your back! I’m too heavy!” I countered.

“I think my superhero arms will do fine. You are not heavy in the slightest so be quiet.”

People on our way out to the car stared, their heads rotating as we walked by.

“Everyone is staring,” I whispered.

“I know. Get used to it,” he smiled in response. “Guess you should have taken the chair then, huh?”

I groaned in embarrassment, but inside I was cheering. Who could say that the very handsome Jack Harrington carried them in his delightfully strong arms? Very few, I was sure.

This fantastical world that had spun around me began to feel comfortable. I cared for Jack, not because he was my angel in all this, but because he was a good person inside. He genuinely cared. He had seen me at my worst and he never relented.

The Pancake House was busy for a Thursday morning. We got seated promptly, but waited a while for our waitress to be free enough to make it over. We sat in our booth, the kids on one side of the table and Jack seated beside me on the other. It felt strange and natural at the same time. It was like a fairy tale that had come in and taken over my pathetic life and it made me feel whole again. He made me feel whole.

Finally we ordered and sat there joking around with each other and deciding what we would brave next. The food arrived in fairly good time and we dug in to the pancakes with butter and syrup, the crispy bacon and golden hash browns. It was the first real food in a week and I realized how I had missed the taste of all of it.

Jack’s phone rang. He stared at it a moment before answering.

“Jack,” he said in greeting.

I could hear the tone of the voice coming out of the speaker and into Jack’s ear. It sounded monotone and hushed a little.

“I see. What time?”

More hushed talking and I could hear him swallow and sniff.

“Thank you,” he replied and hung up the phone. “Excuse me, please.”

We all sat quiet as he headed for the restrooms. My heart sat high in my throat and my stomach turned. I wondered if it was the moment I had been dreading all this time.

Jack’s son excused himself and went to find his dad. I thought that both kids probably already understood.

When they returned to the table some time later, I could tell they had both shed tears. Their eyes were glossy and puffy with red rings defining their sorrow.

“She’s gone,” he said low. “She slipped away peacefully about an hour ago.”

I sat there numb. We had been seated about an hour before. Had she felt his happiness and let go when she knew he would be okay?

“I’m so sorry,” I said and patted his hand, fighting the tears of my own.

He sniffed again and ran his hand beneath his nose. “We all knew it was coming. We all said our goodbyes and we all knew she would be gone when we got back. That was the deal,” he rationalized.

The daughter folded her arms on the table and her head sunk down onto them where her shoulders shook with the force of her sorrow.

“We will be fine, guys. This was how she wanted it to go, remember?” Jack said with emotion thick in his voice.

Silent tears weaved their way down the boy’s face and I had to wipe a few of my own away. The wound from burying my own spouse was reopened and I knew the turmoil they were all feeling.

“Consequently, we will head back home tomorrow for the funeral,” he announced and then he looked to me. “I will drive you back home so I know you aren’t driving on the roads in your condition. Davis will follow and we will catch our plane out of Boise.”

I shook my head. “That’s not necessary, Jack. I will be fine.” I knew it was a lie, but the last thing I wanted was to keep him from doing what he needed to. “It’s a long drive down to a not so glamorous place,” I laughed weakly.

I felt embarrassed just at the thought of him seeing where I lived, in a run down little cottage that was the better part of 100 years old. I’d had neither the money nor the ambition to restore it. I could feel a sense of panic rising in me.

“We can do this the easy way or the hard way, Ruby. You are not driving home. You can’t exactly leave your car here and have Davis get it home for you later. You can’t exactly stay here alone and unattended either. Just please lower your guard for one minute and realize that I will win. I will always win,” he said looking me in the eye.

I closed my eyes and sighed. Lovely.

The world I had started to love, the one that was most unexpected but comfortable, all crumbled down around me. It was all a charade. None of it was real. Things were so amazing that I had almost forgotten about the wife half the world away. Who was I kidding? These kinds of stories only happened in books and movies. In real life, they just tease you and then disintegrate back into the nothingness from where it came. I would not only mourn the loss of my husband for years to come, but I would also mourn the loss of the man who taught me that there was more to life than tears.

I was quiet the rest of the day in anticipation of going back home. I missed my boys terribly but I knew I would miss Jack just as much. Perhaps he would write or email. Perhaps he might call on occasion. Given his status in life, I doubted it. I might be on his mind for a few weeks and then life would take over and I would disappear into the archives of his mind.

The Art of You Part1

Sunset on McCall

Sunset on McCall

So, I have refrained from writing anything for a while now. However, I had this crazy dream last night! So, I woke up and recorded some main ideas on my phone’s note pad. After work, I came home and decided to put some thoughts down or I would just go nuts. That’s what happens when you are a writer. The story chooses you, not the other way around. So without going into detail about my dream, I am posting this beginning part before I go work on my school work. Should be pretty interesting! (The places are real, the people are fiction. FYI.)

The Art of You Part 1

I’m Ruby.

I’m a girl from a small town in a small state but I love the big city and I love the ocean. I love looking at the world through a camera lens and showing people that magic does exist all around us everyday…you just haven’t seen it through my eyes yet. I love everything about the past and being a lady as my grandmothers were.

I love pin curls and fingerwaves, saddle shoes and crazy English hats. I march to the beat of my own drum, you might say. I cherish my Hollywood haircut and adore my tattoos.

More than anything, I love my kids. My sons have taught me to love and hurt, but they have brought me laughter and life’s lessons that I had hoped to spare them of. I’m the middle aged widow of a man that changed my life. He taught me one of the greatest lessons of all…to love myself as much as he did. I’m okay with being different now.

I’m a starving artist that makes my living with my camera, selling my perceptions of the world to those who fall in love with my eye and my flair. That’s right…I have flair. No, not little buttons pinned to my clothes, but a personality that is all mine and a way of thinking that defies modern ways. I’m a victim of days that have been gone for a long time and yet I crave the happiness that the images of yesterday bestow upon me.

I firmly believe I got in the wrong line in Heaven. I should have been born in the Middle Ages…or perhaps the roaring 20s…or even the hopping 50s! Here in the 21st century, I’m considered strange when I walk in the store with red lips, black and white hound’s tooth pants and a red sweater all topped with black pumps. I hear the snickers from young girls as I walk by and I snicker back at their baggy pajamas and slippers they wear to the grocery store. These girls aren’t maturing into women. They are simply a robotic by-product of our modern, lazy society.

There is a place on the map of the United States, a very small dot that is called Nampa, Idaho. My home is small, a bungalow style with three small bedrooms and a single bathroom. My youngest son, ready to turn 18 years old and my adopted son almost 15, are all that remain at home from our gigantic family of nine. I rarely see the others or the grandchildren. Family just doesn’t quite mean the same thing these days. People are so wrapped up in their own opinion so often that there leaves little room for things like love and loyalty. Respect is a thing of the past and the only time you hear “yes, sir” is in the military. Forgiveness is a long word that no one seems to know the definition of anymore. It has become such a give-it-to-me-now society that the only person in their view is themselves. How did we fail this generation so badly? Surely the extinction of the spanking didn’t do this. Maybe single parent households that rip through the world like an epidemic have helped?

I am to blame for my part in that. I asked for the divorce from my first husband. He begged me to stay more than once and I still turned my back. Now, I can feel the grudge my children hold whether they know it or not. Then I married into a large established family of five more kids over my four. I was the enemy there, perceived as trying to be a mother when there was already a mother in their life. I was given no credit for just holding it together since there were many times that I wished I would just fall completely apart. Perhaps then I wouldn’t care as much as I did.

Eventually, my smoldering, broken heart cooled and steeled against people. I stepped out onto the stage of life as me, having stripped off the layers that were false fronts and an effort to just fit in with others around me. When my husband died, I merely shut off. I mean powered down until I felt nothing. I wandered aimlessly through my life, always walking, always looking, always listening but never living or moving or seeing or hearing.

Photography melted out of the picture for a long while. I saw no beauty out there anymore. I didn’t care to stir up feelings with images for others. I detested posing families and watching them smile in unison while mine was shattered by death. It wasn’t until the collection notices started arriving and threats were made to levy my bank account that I finally blinked.

My fourth grandchild arrived in February. This was the first one I had any chance of knowing and having a relationship with. I loved my other three, but they weren’t exactly “mine”. In my heart, I was Grandma and I didn’t want it any other way. Once my husband passed, it seemed I became invisible. It was difficult at best to be a figure the children knew since they lived a state away from me. Money was tight for all parties so Facetime gatherings were the closest thing to giving those sweet babies kisses.

This new baby, a little girl with light eyes like her mother and red hair like her dad entered the world. She was the first child of my own blood to grace the world and I cried when I first held her and marveled at her beauty. She made my heart beat again. The world came at me fast and furiously…the magic returned. I wanted to see the things differently for that little baby.

That’s when I picked up my camera again. One day, I would be able to sit down with my photos and show her all the places I went and recorded so she would know them as I did.

So it came to be summer, hot in the valley but cool in the mountains. My favorite place to go for picture taking was a smaller dot on the map: McCall, Idaho. The weather blew in and blew out at such a pace that the same scenery never looked the same. Early in the summer, the tall grasses were deep green and sprinkled with tiny pink and purple flowers. The river was high, gushing and frothing in the beds, the spray creating little rainbows in the bright sunshine.

McCall is a mountain town that parents a ski resort and the Payette Lake that attract tourists year round. It’s a diamond in the world of Mother Nature with the vivid blue skies and tall creaking firs. The smell of warm dirt and pine needles makes me smile and the slight curling of a campfire makes me long for days when we would gather as a family in the state park.

The drive up from the valley is long and winding. If you venture up between Thursday and Saturday, the roads are littered with slow moving campers or people in convertibles enjoying the scenery. You can’t blame them for that. I had been up and down those roads enough that the scenery was noise. I wanted to get up the mountain and just be there. I didn’t care to follow at 20 miles under the speed limit and spend the whole day driving.

In light of knowing this, I decided I would leave the boys home and take a much needed road trip to my favorite place, renting a studio over the lake for a week. I packed my little car with my suitcase, threw on some shades and took off after hugging my sons. I set my camera bag on the passenger’s seat and gave it a pat and a smile. Without wanting to waste another moment, I made my way out of Nampa that Wednesday morning and on toward the highway that would take me up to paradise.

The invisible bands loosened from around my chest with every mile traveled away from home. Soon, I was singing to the radio…the local doo wop station. I was tapping my fingers against the steering wheel and bouncing on the brakes to the beat at the stop lights.

The highway was slightly congested and I had to step on the gas a few times to pass a car with the oncoming traffic lane. My heart thundered in my ears and my face grew warm every time I did it. It was more of a thrill than I had allowed myself to experience in three years. It made me laugh out loud a time or two.

Rolling into the small town of McCall, I took a deep breath of satisfaction. Too long had I stayed away living in the darkness of grief. I came right through the middle of town and made a left when I ran out of street. Just passed the tiny city center was a house that had the studio apartment above the garage. I pulled into the familiar driveway and slipped the keys into my pocket, humming as I walked to the front door of the house.

The master of the abode answered my ring and handed me the key to the empty residence, just waiting for me to fill some of the space. It was probably 78 degrees there at two o’clock in the afternoon. Quickly, I collected my bag from the back seat of the car and slipped up the steps where I unlocked the door and made myself at home.

I set my bag against the wall beside the door and threw open the drapes that covered the enormous picture window overlooking the blue waters of the lake below. Unlocking the sliding door, I stepped out onto the balcony. In the distance I could hear children’s laughter carrying on the summer air. I could hear dogs barking and waves slashing. There were the sounds of jet skis in the water revving the engine as it jumped haphazardly through the wake of a speed boat pulling a water skier behind. This was summer.

I couldn’t wait any longer. It had become a tradition of sorts to grab an ice cream at Ice Cream Alley when my husband was still alive. We would drop our bags and make our way down there, then sit on the rocks to people watch and bask in the sunshine. So, I shrugged into my backpack that contained my camera and took off down the street. It was only a few blocks away from where I was staying and I got there in no time at all.

Happy they were open, I asked for a cup of Rocky Road, paid the gal, and walked across the street to finish our ritual. I felt naked without him with me. A lump started to form in my throat and sadness tried to claim me. So I ate my ice cream.

“Wish you were here, my love,” I whispered low so no one would hear me. “I hope you are eating an ice cream wherever you are.”

A tear tried to gather in the corner of my eye and I stubbornly wiped it away before it could fall and shoved my sunglasses back on my face to hide the evidence of my weakness.

I watched the kids playing in the sand of the beach. There were babies that started bawling when their parents took them into the cool waters of the winter run off. A chuckle escaped me and I remembered a time when the boys jumped off a dock, made one pass between it and the one beside it and decided it was way too cold to enjoy. I could still see the photos I snapped of each of them when wrapped in their towel, the sun glinting off the drops running down their faces. I smiled a lost and far away smile. That felt so long ago.

To my right, there was a man playing catch with his lab and at my one o’clock there were toddlers playing in the fountain that would shoot out water when they would get close enough. They would shriek and run back, their diapers sagging with the weight of the water. One fell on his rear and I winced, imagining all kinds of issues from tears to explosions, but he just got back up and clapped his chubby little hands ready to go again. I just shook my head and gobbled another bite, random giggles escaping me.

Behind me, school aged kids were jumping from rock to rock and I could hear my husband saying one would slip and break their face open before long. I laughed and nodded my head in agreement. Silly kids…going parkour on the hillside.

Standing, I climbed the slight hill that led to a main sidewalk that stretched around part of the lake. I dumped my cup and spoon in the garbage then took out my beast of a camera. The long lens clicked into place and I aimed toward the sandy shore, depressing the button slightly to bring it all into focus.

A little girl, maybe three or four years old, came walking out of the shallow water, her face beet red as she screamed and screamed. Tears streaked her sun kissed face and her hair stuck to her skin in clumps sending trails of water down her cheeks. I could see her little pearly teeth and then her fingers went into her mouth and I snapped the shutter closed. Such a raw display of honest emotion from her. That little girl summed up how I felt inside and she had no idea. How I wished I could just lose it and cry that way and have it be socially acceptable to do so!

The sun was starting to dip to the horizon a bit and it seemed that more people were flocking to the convenient little strip of sand. A slight breeze was picking up and I could hear flag clips clanging against masts on the boats that still sat in the marina ahead creating a rhythm of song. The beams of light were growing weaker and bounced off the metals of the boats tied up. I pointed my camera and zoomed it in until I could see people walking on the docks. Lucky dogs, I grumbled. It was a man and two teens, a girl and a boy. The man turned his face just so as I was about to pull my lens from them and I gasped in surprise.

“That cannot be…” I said to myself and clicked the shot just to be sure.

I looked again. “Well, I’ll be. That looks just like Jack Harrington. What is he doing out here? This is a long way from Hollywood.”

 

 

 

 

Meet the Cast of the Aspen Series (Part 4)

RothanCover2updated

King Rothan is that person in your life who is very centered on themselves and truly believes that they serve others. He is respected by most because his title demands it. Most fear him and loathe him for his temper and his arrogance. When he sets his eye on a prize, there are very few things that can stop him.

I once dated a man, many years older than I, and he had a very jolly personality, loved life most of the time and knew what he wanted in life. He loved my boys and taught them things that I could not. I AM a girl, you know. In fact, I had never before ripped a worm in two and put them on hooks for fishing. Never until I met him and he spent that time with my sons. While I know he cared deeply for them, I feel that he did a lot of things to impress me. To make me think he was a different person than he was. You see, he loved his alcohol. That was his downfall and that ultimately led to me moving on with my life.

I did care about him, but he cared more for his drink than he did for me. When he yelled at me one night because I begged him to leave the beers alone, that was when I saw this very selfish side. He wanted his “trophy”, but he also wanted his life to go uninterrupted. I lost that battle to Budweiser.

Why do I tell you my sob story? Because that was how Rothan came to be. This man’s actions paved the way for this king who found his false happiness within himself. That can be a good thing and a bad thing. When you are so sufficient in comforting yourself, no matter how bad you want something, you can’t bring yourself to swallow that pride and reciprocate what others are giving you. For example, a man lived alone for ten years and kept the same routine each day. A stray puppy happens upon his stoop and he feels a pang of compassion so he lets the little guy in. The puppy gives him love and attention, wagging his tail when the man would come home and licking his face with adoration. The man merely shouts at the puppy and shuts him outside so he can continue to enjoy his peaceful evenings. He thought he would enjoy petting the animal and talking to him, but it was too much effort. One day, the puppy digs his way out of the backyard and disappears forever. The man shrugs his shoulders and tells himself that he is better off without the puppy anyway, that he doesn’t need anyone.

This is Rothan.

I was the only son of my parents, so I had no choice in what I would do as I grew older. This great city was not always called Farrin, mind you. I changed the name of the city when I married my beautiful bride. I named it for her.

But marrying Farrin was somewhat of a challenge for there were many who sought to become bound into a position of power and my father decided upon Farrin. I did love her. I think back to the years we had together and a warmth comes over me. Yes, I loved her.

The day she was taken from me was the day my life ended. I cared not for anyone or anything…even my own sons. I pushed them away from me emotionally because it hurt so much to feel anything. I sent my sons away to study and be educated with the most learned monks of our time. It was then that I learned to look at things differently. I was utterly alone in the world and I just did not care.

Farrin CasleIt felt like a lifetime passed, a certain gloom having settled about my great city,  and although I entertained those of noble blood, there were many around me who held such contempt for me! I took offense to their antics and my fist came down hard on the peasants that lined my pockets with their gold. I found that I could stretch my limitations with them and they would beg me for mercy, cowering before me like children and I loved it. I found myself often goading them just to see them squirming in desperation.

Everything lost its luster. My days felt bleak. I missed my Farrin.

And then it was on a pilgrimage that I happened to meet one soul who pulled my thoughts from the depths of Hell and showed me there was more out there. There was that light that could make you chase after it. I did chase. I ran and I ran until I was angry! That opportunity was taken from me by the most greedy, most obstinate lord of a southern village in MY territory. And like a fool, they lost the light. Snagged from right beneath his nose.

I felt something then. It was akin to the feeling I had when Farrin passed away. The despair and the panic gripped me and I did the only thing I could do; I banded with the very lord I despised. He was the only way we could be victorious. This man was not a fighter, he was not much of a leader either. He raped his own peasants because his title gave him a right to use any means necessary to govern his village. Most ruthless, I must say.

Ah, but alas, I found myself in quite the predicament and took up my sword to fight beside him. I will admit, I came to care for the bastard, I really did. However, he held something that belonged to me and I had to retrieve it. I began to put my plan, my very witty plan, into motion as we camped on the ground and ate off the land. For months, my mind turned, my eyes seeing the reward when it all came about.

War divides people. Where I was confident that I had allies, I had none. So, again, I was forced to do only what I could and that was to stand with the men that supported me and followed my orders. Everyone else, I cursed to Hell.

I remember seeing that gift before me…my hand outstretched with the sun on my rings nearly blinding me with its brilliance…That was the moment my heart began beating again and blood flowed through my veins at long last. My world became infused with color where before it had been void. Tears were falling and others around me wailed in sorrow, but I couldn’t stop until I secured what I had been after for so many years! I would not stop until my fingers closed around her, this one whom I played like a stringed marionette.

Rothan

I am not so sure what else to say on this man’s behalf. Rothan stands for all those people living lonely, shallow lives that don’t know how to care for others. They live in the moment, but always seek out those things which they desire. Look out! You might be the next conquest for another. There are more Rothans in this world than we could fathom. We see it on the news daily and we work with these kinds of people. We trust in them blindly and often get hurt by them. Guard your heart and don’t be too quick to fall into their trap!

Who do you picture as Rothan on the big screen? My pick is the very ingenious Oliver Platt. He won me over in The Three Musketeers many years ago and if he just had lighter hair and blue eyes, he would be perfect. I think Mr. Platt had that ability to exercise an air of arrogance with a little smugness and serve it all up with a side of being the master in charge. He has such a commanding way about him. Love him. However, I do feel that the man who posed for my photo shoot did a great job in capturing the essence of the king. He appears so…kingly and holds that look in his eye. The one to make you shiver a little in trepidation.

Looking for something new to read? Here are some links to help you out:

The Aspen Series (All five books on one page for download)

All books are eCopies unless stated otherwise…

Noble Courage: Book One of the Aspen Series  (paperback rights are about to expire.)

The Price of Power: Book Two of the Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

Tears of Penance: Book Three of the Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

Salvation of the Forgotten: Book Four of the Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

The Benevolent Light: Book Five of the Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

Tales of Elgolan: Prequel to The Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

Meet the Cast of the Aspen Series (Part 3)

Rayven edit

 

 

 

 

There is always a part of us all who is the rebel. Somewhere deep inside, we have a dark side that we choose not to explore. However, there are some who are just born dark and enjoy partaking of the evil deeds. What would a great story be without that rebel or evil doer? It would be pretty boring, I would think.

In the beginning, my story was going in one direction and suddenly took another. Rayven St. Michael was never going to be bad. But he changed as I fell in love with Thorne. My storyline started to wrap around itself a lot! Making the fair headed, light eyed boy be my villain was the best decision I made in this series. We all love to hate him.

I would say that most people would look upon me as weak. I was small in stature, I was thin. I appeared an angel to those who did not know me. But my father knew me. I was a disappointment to him and he let me know that. Yet, I was his heir. There was nothing he could do to change that except death.

I learned early that there should be no mercy for anyone or anything. My father never gave me any so no one should get it. Apologies and tears were simply shams to manipulate you. My heart has never been anything but hard and calloused toward others. They never cared for me, there was no reason for me to extend compassion to them. In this world, I was alone.

Being the first born son to an earl came with responsibilities that diminished my childhood and I found that as I grew old enough to be away from the castle at times, I would do the kinds of things I was forbidden to do at home. No one would ever dare say a word against me, but they would look at me as though they pitied me and I hated that. I was not allowed to be a normal child in any sense of the word. So as my anger flared at tenants of my father, I would take their animals…the dear ones they loved…and kill them just for the feel of it in my hands. That would teach them!

rosehill

My father was a very ominous man. He felt he needed to be…assertive to get where he wanted to be. When I was very young, he waged war on his sister’s family in Cliffehaven. He was not victorious and caused a great scandal. In the process, he killed his brother by marriage, his own sister, and my uncle’s heir. He just missed one. That little urchin of a boy escaped and came back to rule his people in utter darkness.

And as I grew to be a young man, his thoughts returned to taking that village again, once and for all…but there was a child that kept his attention. We knew the days he saw this child he was in a happy, lighthearted state. One that hadn’t always been there. I found out later that I had another sibling. A bastard sibling. I can remember my mother’s tears over the revelation. I should have accepted it, yet it made me even more angry. That child, born from my father’s greed, stole his affection from me. It always had. No, I hated that child.

And then it happened that I met her. The one girl I wished to court, to marry and have bear me children. She was a beauty with hair like mahogany and eyes like dewdrops on grass. I knew my first moment of weakness that I can remember in all my life. But she disappeared. Taken right out from in front of me and given to my cousin who could never love her the way I could! My anger spiraled out of my control and I cared about nothing…only getting back what was mine.

My cousin is a fool! He attacked my village and thought he could kill me. Well, he did not kill me although he took my castle. He took my whole world; yet he couldn’t take me. I laugh in his face.

No matter if I sent my lovelies after him or if I found ways to infiltrate his camps, he seemed to forever slither through my fingers, keeping my love just beyond my reach.

I am a man who has died more than one time and has come back to be stronger and better than before. My life feels empty, meaningless, and wrong without her with me. Until the time of a cold steel blade taking my from this life, I will walk as a shadow through this life. I have embraced the darkness and realized that I don’t need power to get what I want. I must be as a ghost, quiet and cunning. It is he who is stealthy that lasts. An old monk once taught me that. That monk showed me that there were truly good people in this God forsaken world. He was the only person to ever accept me for who I was…or was not…without judgment.

And now, I sit and think of my daughter and son that I will never see again for I have built myself to new heights. I have been reborn…

Salvation of the Forgotten, Chapter 11

How easy it would be to silently reach down and crush the throats of all three children. He itched to do it…but even more, he wished to take from his cousin that which should have belonged to him in the beginning. Aspen would be his one day, but Dalen was Thorne’s firstborn…his heir. Both of them were treasures that Rayven decided he wanted.

Just imagine calling to young Dalen, he didn’t know any different. Cornix was there taking care of  him as he was dying and Cornix was going to take him on an outing. Rayven would lock eyes with his cousin, his hand outstretched to the child as Thorne watched his little boy walk away with his enemy, the terror and the knowing dawning on him too late. By the time Thorne would be following them, Rayven would be far ahead and he would make certain that Dalen was never found. The heartache Darktower would feel would be enough to keep him fat with happiness the rest of his days. The taking of Aspen would just make him obese.

 

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Always plotting, Rayven St. Michael is. He is one person that does not know the value of giving up. He just doesn’t do it. There are times in the stories that I do feel sorry for him and I want him to find his own happiness. But then, I enjoy the cat and mouse between the three of them, Thorne, Aspen, and Rayven, enough that I cannot give in. Where Rayven is concerned, I must be just like him as I bring him alive on paper. Show no mercy and never give up.

So now you are probably wondering who I would cast as this young man. Well, I know he is older now, as all my stars are, but I see Leonardo DiCaprio in this role. He plays a very crazy good old boy really well, in my opinion. He has the blond hair and blue eyes…always those blue eyes…that just look right through you. If he could talk with an accent, He would be my pick for sure.

So now it is truth time…tell me any part in any of the books where you liked this villain just a little bit! Maybe others feel the same way! 😀

Looking for something new to read? Here are some links to help you out:

The Aspen Series (All five books on one page for download)

All books are eCopies unless stated otherwise…

Noble Courage: Book One of the Aspen Series  (paperback rights are about to expire.)

The Price of Power: Book Two of the Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

Tears of Penance: Book Three of the Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

Salvation of the Forgotten: Book Four of the Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

The Benevolent Light: Book Five of the Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

Tales of Elgolan: Prequel to The Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

 

Meet the Cast of The Aspen Series (Part 2)

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He is tall, sexy, handsome, wealthy, and powerful. Sounds great, right? Well, some would not agree…

This post is dedicated to Thorne Darktower, Earl of Cliffehaven. He is feared and hated…misunderstood by most.

I have always seen my life as a dark path filled with loneliness and hatred.

Being born into nobility was fate. I was a gift to my mother and father, Ainsleigh and Devlin Darktower…but I was a second son. I was nothing and my father reminded me of that often. At best, I would leave the castle and live out my days on a plot of land and a home in the country that had been set aside just for me. Cliffehaven was not meant to be my home but it was home to me.

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I lost my family while I was quite young and became a lord over a group of people before I was ready. In fact, I never should have been a leader for my brother was the one training with my father to one day succeed him. But I think above all, the loss of my mother caused me to shrink away from life. I became a monster and I knew it.

But what I didn’t know was that I would be sent an angel that would cast my life into the light and give me purpose once again. I suppose I didn’t know how lovely living could be until that day. I had forgotten, buried those memories with my mother. Battling against my mind and my heart broke me and I became a man that I can be sure my father would approve of.

Growing up in castle life, I rarely saw my father. He always seemed to have a meeting or an appointment with his mistress. I never was as good as my brother because I was born a second son. Even as he died at the hands of my uncle, I was inadequate. I could not save him and he perished there before my eyes. I was saved…spared…from death by an unlikely guardian who helped me steal away, although I was wounded. That gash left its mark on me forever and it still pains me.

There are some men that I just cannot have a friendship with. Perhaps I am not the kind to keep companions close to me through my life. While I can respect them for who they are and how much more power they boast of, I cannot like them. I take pride in what I have and the village I govern. For any of these men to threaten what I have worked so hard for is like my uncle waging war on my father. I tend to forget my place at times and I do lose my temper.

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If people tell you that I have a love affair with the drink, they are wrong. However, in my younger days, I could be found sleeping off the effects of too much brandy…or wine, I suppose. My favorite place to uncork a bottle is up at Kara’s place. My sister loved the parapets and I learned as a man, that she had been pushed to her death from the one place she adored. I can remember a time when I saw her, after she had died, and was talking with me to ease my pain. She wanted to take someone dear to me with her. That one moment really made me afraid and I didn’t know what to do. It seems strange for a man to be frightened of such a thing, but if you were there you would understand what I was about to lose.

I suppose women think I am handsome and many would marry me just because of my station. But marriage was one thing I did not want to do with my life. There was little chance that I could open myself up to being hurt again. The pain of losing my family as a boy will haunt me to the end of my days. Why invite more?

There was a time when I felt life was great. I smiled a bit more than people were used to and I felt inclined to do nice things for others, like building new homes and helping the lowers plant crops. And then, it was all taken from me. That light became darkness once again and I didn’t know how to continue on. Those close to me rallied the ranks and we did the only thing we could. We shed the blood of my own kin, all the while searching for that light to come back into my life.

I can tell you that love is truly what makes everything worth it. Life is sweeter, the laughter is like music, and the tears fall to remind you of your humanity. If it all came so easy, we would be bored. Those hard times make the good ones all the more sweet. I have learned in my  lifetime to make each moment count and I write this as an old man appealing to the young ones of the day. I have learned on many occasions that life is precious and you don’t know what lies ahead.

Although I am but a whisper of a person, penned in detail at the author’s hand, I am still grateful for whom I have grown to be. There was always only one person who could handle me, who could put me right in my place. That person has returned me to my former glory and through these tales, you will see how we struggle together. We have times of anger, hurt, and distrust…but we can find it in us to band together and accept each other for who we are in the world. We are no different than you.

From Noble Courage, Chapter 2

“You will not get away so easily! I paid dearly for you, so you I will keep!” he croaked out.

A scream escaped her again as she tumbled to the floor and felt him pulling her toward him. She clawed at the ground, knowing that if he had her close, he would surely kill her for her assault on him. Panicked, she kicked out at his hand to make him let go of her but he held fast and refused to give in.

“Let me go!” she screamed at him behind clenched teeth. “I do not belong here!”

Finally, he had her where he wanted her…right beneath him. He pinned her arms above her head with one hand and sat on her thighs to limit her mobility. He didn’t think he could sustain another blow to the groin. She continued to thrash around on the floor until she tired and just laid there panting from her exertion.

He looked as though he would snarl at her, but his words came out fairly calm. “You are mine and you would do well to remember that. You have no say in the matter and it would be wise of you to accept your fate at what it is before real harm comes to you.”

For me, Thorne is every bad boyfriend I have ever had and he is the goodness of the best. He continues to take on qualities that my husband has as well. Men are most mysterious to me so Thorne was brought out to be dark and glowering yet sexy and appealing. He has had a rough life, tougher than most people will ever know. He is from a time in the past when killing was rampant among human beings. It was a careless act in the name of power and position. Like anyone, he has quite the temper that flares often and as the tales unfold, he does some changing. Happiness can do a lot for a person who has lived his life in the darkness.

Thorne

As we talked about in the last post, movies cross most author’s minds. I think the reason is for that is because as we write, we are transcribing a movie that is already taking place…inside our minds. That is how you come to read books. You are reading an author’s movie. This is very true! So when I think of an actor to play Thorne Darktower, I see Hugh Jackman. He has the right balance between anger and normalcy in all the different movies he plays. To be honest, I could see it in the flick “Van Helsing”. But the one that really got me was “The Illusionist”. Holy cow! Walking down the dark street with a cane and a coak! Yes!

Okay…I couldn’t find that shot I was looking for. But i liked this picture of him too. Some argue that Robert Downey Jr. would be a great pick and I agree. I suppose that I have just seen him this way for so long, I’m not ready to change yet. lol

So for those of you who have read the books, please comment below on what you liked the best about Thorne’s character. Show others that while he might be a little bi-polar…not my words…he is still a strong character with strengths and flaws. Like anyone.

Looking for something new to read? Here are some links to help you out:

The Aspen Series (All five books on one page for download)

All books are eCopies unless stated otherwise…

Noble Courage: Book One of the Aspen Series  (paperback rights are about to expire.)

The Price of Power: Book Two of the Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

Tears of Penance: Book Three of the Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

Salvation of the Forgotten: Book Four of the Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

The Benevolent Light: Book Five of the Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

Tales of Elgolan: Prequel to The Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

Meet the Cast of The Aspen Series (Part 1)

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I thought that introductions are in order with the new release of The Benevolent Light: Book Five of the Aspen Series. So today, we will bring Aspen Tiller to the forefront and shine the spotlight on her for a bit.

My name is Aspen…or Aspen Morjean Tiller when my mama would yell for me to come for the evening meal.  I was born to my parents in the very ordinary village of Rosehill in the territory of Elgolan. Times were bleak as I grew up, yet I loved where I lived. Most would call it a hovel, I called it home.

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We would be considered middle class as there were many better off than us but many more that were less fortunate. Our home was one room and my parents had a bed with a real mattress…my siblings and I slept on the floor in blankets that we would roll up each morning and stow away. My mama would prepare meals in the small, but efficient, fireplace that my da was so proud of building with his own two hands. I would say that my favorite meal was venison stew, but I was not always happy about harvesting the vegetables out of the ground for it.

Mama made us girls two dresses each. One was our gown for everyday use and one was a special gown to wear to Mass or special events. Because of the time spent in making them, we were to take special care of them. Fabric was a luxury…one that Da would not allow us to spend the coin on.

The earl of our village was the Earl St. Michael. When I was small, I thought him an angel. When I finally knew who he really was, I knew pain deep in my heart. A pain that has never gone away. His son, Rayven, stood to be in line to inherit all that his father had built there in Rosehill. I would most assuredly say that Rayven was the first boy that I remember loving. I looked up to the father and loved the son.

I was fortunate enough to be learned. Our earl brought in men who were taught in monasteries and were knowledgeable in many aspects of our world and he encouraged the youth of the village to attend. He was a visionary man and knew that the children would be the future of his world. He wanted us all to know how to figure numbers and write our letters. He also encouraged instruction in music. I was well taught, by a most patient man, how to play several instruments. But my favorite was the harp.

I had two close friends from our lessons. Being backward and shy, it was hard for me to make any friends at all. But these two girls made me feel like I belonged. My da had always despised me and beat me often, but my friends would provide for me an escape from that reality. I giggle as I write this, for now that I am grown I can see how wistful we were in our youth. We loved to play in the trees that bordered my home. Each of us would claim a tree as our castle and we were known to waste away those warm afternoons pretending our charming princes were coming for us. It was a wonderful fantasy.

My life changed drastically as I neared my eighteenth birthday. I thought it a curse…a punishment. I felt betrayed by my mama and humiliated by my da. That was the day I met Lord Darktower. Seeing him for the first time, I felt real fear like I had never before. 

I am most grateful that there was a soul out there in the world who provided me respite and comfort. 

I was named for my mama’s mother…Morjean. I can never forget the day I met her in the house of the trees. She trembled when she first saw me and knew exactly who I was. I begged her for guidance and she sent me away telling me that the struggles I faced in my life were preparing me for who I would become. I felt lost and angry that she would not help me. But as I grew older and matured, my eyes were opened to what she had told me. She was most wise.

Cappy

I cannot close without speaking on a wonderful friend, one that I trusted my life with, one I could count on to take my life into his hands and offer me protection. Cappy was Thorne’s captain of the guard. He had been named that by his lordship because Thorne could not ever remember his real name. Thus, he remained Cappy to us all. This was a man who was large as a tree with flaming hair and a long beard. He was jolly yet fierce and he captured my heart. He could love people like none other and his loyalty could not be matched. He will forever be my friend and protector.

I do not feel I can go on much further without giving my life completely away to you. I can only hope that you will share my adventures. Perhaps the times I must muster the courage to walk through life would inspire you to do the same. I am merely a ghost…a ghost of words…but I am a friend to all.

From Noble Courage, Chapter 18

“Will you beg me for mercy?” he asked her.

She sat there still and silent. She did not want to answer him. She wanted out, to be clean and fed, but she would not beg the likes of him for mercy. Her voice sounded strange to her own ears. “I do not beg anyone, but God, for anything,” she answered painfully. Her throat was parched and sore as if she had swallowed a knife that cut her from her mouth to her gut.

Rayven’s face grew angry as he listened to her thwart him even in her pitiful state. He was glad she was here, locked behind iron bars, to learn some respect.

“Very well, I have no mercy for you.”

Aspen is an amazing woman to emulate and I try each day to be like her for she is strong, capable, intelligent, compassionate, and resilient. This girl has helped me, her creator, through some terrible times. Bringing her to life with my words has been an amazing experience and I know I have grown from her. If you walk in her footsteps through The Aspen Series, you might feel empowered from the things that she has accomplished in her life. Writing about her is much like wading through memories of another time in a forsaken place where God was the giver of all and circumstances were unforgiving. Aspen haunts my mind and she has for near to 15 years now. She shows us, in each progressive tale, that there is always room to grow and achieve no matter your station in life. I guarantee you she is not the same person in The Benevolent Light as she was in Noble Courage…but she is a determined soul ready to take on her world and win.

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Most authors dream about their story being on screen. I am one of the many. I often have conversations with readers about casting choices and who would I have play the role of Aspen. While there are many wonderful women out there to choose from, I will admit to seeing Keira Knightley in that role. When I first really saw her in a movie, and fell in love with her performance, it was during the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean”. I think a lot of people thought her performance was great, but I saw the headstrong woman of Aspen in another scene of another time period. She has been in many movies in her life, but I recognize many qualities that Aspen holds in her.

So, if you have read the books…any of them…and have even one word to say about Aspen, feel free to comment below. Let other readers know what she inspired in you!

Looking for something new to read? Here are some links to help you out:

The Aspen Series (All five books on one page for download)

All books are eCopies unless stated otherwise…

Noble Courage: Book One of the Aspen Series  (paperback rights are about to expire.)

The Price of Power: Book Two of the Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

Tears of Penance: Book Three of the Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

Salvation of the Forgotten: Book Four of the Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

The Benevolent Light: Book Five of the Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

Tales of Elgolan: Prequel to The Aspen Series  Paperback copies available HERE

LINKS to get the new release: The Benevolent Light!

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I told you I would get you the links…I suppose it is technically the 17th now!

So here are your links to the new release: The Benevolent Light by Daisha Marie Korth

Amazon.com : This gives you instantaneous access to the book in Kindle version. No Kindle?? I got ya. Here is the link to download the FREE Kindle app!

Lulu.com : Order your paper copy here!

Want an autographed paper copy?? Shoot me an email at darktowerfamily@yahoo.com and I will work it out with you! 😀

Have an eBook version?? Get it autograph at Authorgraph!

Need the rest of the series?? HERE it is!

Okay! Now go read and tell me what you think of it!! There is only one more installment to The Aspen Series…sadly, it is coming to an end. 😦 So enjoy each word and every dramatic scene in this epic medieval series!

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