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.

Aspen

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

To Bully Or Not To Bully? That Is The Question…

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Bullying has been a part of life from the beginning of time.
That statement does not erase the effects that those words and behaviors have on a person. No amount of apologies or take backs can heal that scar the victim will wear the rest of their life.

We read about nasty kings from the old days, the ones who would tax the people beyond their abilities just to make them miserable and their purses heavier. They would steal brides from their new husbands and take their virginity just because they could. They would devise the burning of homes and crops to force people to bend to them. This is bullying, right?

It seems that every television show has to have a protagonist who has to make someone’s life pretty miserable. Even family shows like “Little House on the Prairie”, for all its goodness and value, Nellie Olsen was just an evil person. Watching that show, however, did not prepare me for the bullying I would endure through my middle school and high school years. So did that show “teach” the concept that bullying is okay? Well, I don’t think so. If anything, it showed that the good can prevail…that other people do grow up eventually.

I had a handful of kids that liked to tease me mercilessly, from slamming my locker shut on me to calling obscenities…many of which I didn’t even understand…, and those who would wait for me after a religious class and muss up my hair asking if I had horns under there. I could name two girls who would wait for me to get off the bus and spray shaving cream in my hair, blow up condoms and say horrid things. I could go on. If I showed any of the emotion that was ripping out my insides, they would come at me all the more. I didn’t have a leader I felt I could turn to…and if I spoke up, who knew what they would do to me then!

Eventually, I really struggled to find acceptance. There were girls who pretended to be my friends and then just drop me at the drop of a hat. There were some, guys and girls, who are still my friends today. But I sacrificed some as I tried to gain others. In the end, I felt as though I didn’t belong anywhere. I imagined that every kind word anyone dared to say toward me was with an evil intention. I acted out to gain attention…

Now that I have children, I have become very protective over them. Will I ever know the extent of what happens to them in school? As I trust others to keep my kids safe…mentally and physically? Probably not. I do my very best to pump up their self-esteem so that the bullies of the world cannot touch them but I wonder if even my power as “Mom” can withstand the abuse from other children.

My 15 year old son has struggled with acceptance and has been dealing with bullying at his school. While I understand that this is commonplace anymore, it sucks to relive those dark and terrible days with him. He has found an outlet in martial arts and boxing. For quite a while, he has been able to hide his temper when others aggravate him. But just last week, he was tormented by another student until he finally snapped. That moment suspended him for two days, a light sentence I know, however, my thoughts stray to this kid who thought he was so cool to get my son to react to his abusive words. Who has taught this kid that it is okay to badger another human being until they retaliate? Is it the parents, or lack thereof, television, peer pressure? I would just like to know how someone can justify ruining another’s life, their self image, their hopes of fitting in at such an awkward time in life.

I am not the sort of person I feel I should have been. I am jaded. I don’t trust people. I look in the mirror and see a monster in the glass. I struggle daily with my sense of self-worth. So when I speak to someone, I do evaluate how my remark will make them feel. However, I am human and I have slipped when I feel my line has been crossed. But I don’t remember a time in my entire life that I have felt that it is okay to damage another’s frame of mind.

As parents, writers, and social media participants, we should be setting the example that it is NOT okay to be a part of this sort of behavior. The sad truth is that some do not know the difference. We are allowing this trend to grow rampant and it needs to be squashed. Freedom of speech is one thing…assault on another human being (whether words or actions) is not. It should never be.

When I write, I do indeed have a protagonist. I have bullies…they are a part of life. However, I find solutions to rid my world of them. Real life is no different. I would like to walk up to those who had mistreated me as a kid and slap their faces! But you know, that makes me no different than them. I am better than that. But if I get my hands on the kid who thinks it is funny to torment my son, and we will have meet your maker kind of meeting. I do not wish my experiences on anyone, much less my own child.

So be on the lookout for some nasty ends to some terrible bullies of the medieval times. I won’t tolerate it even if it is all made up!

On Wings of Silver…Teaser…

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

Okay. So I don’t know if you remember that I talked about being invited to participate in an anthology of short stories, well…I was. The theme of the book is mythology, folklore and fairytales. I was asked to write something to fit that genre and I did. I had finished quite a while ago, actually.

Now that I have an excerpt of my next book up on my site, I decided I would post the first bit of my story “On Wings of Silver” here. It is actually  meant to be the prequel to my YA series that I plan to get out as soon as I possibly can. Thorne and Aspen have kind of stolen my time…

Here you go…Enjoy! 🙂

On Wings of Silver

She could hear the first twittering of the baby birds rising to greet the golden beams of the morning in the forest. Other creatures woke and stretched, their thoughts hopeful now that summer had arrived. The deer nudged their young, the little furry beasts of the trees chattered their strategies, and the humans stretched their mouths wide. The area teemed with life.

Nahdea watched the colors of the sky as the beams of light first colored the clouds blue and pink with their weak light, then infusing them with gold as it rose higher in the vast sky. She listened to the drops of dew fall from the flower petals and was aware that she should return to Elfame lest she risk angering Aethiereal. However, she was known to be rebellious, playful, and careless to most in her world…a world that forever looked the same. She loved the human world, the imperfection of it, the changes it went through as the seasons changed.

She fell back once again upon the blossoms of her tree, not yet ready to go home and utterly bewitched by the natural waking of the morning that she loved so much. She propped her right ankle on her left knee and wagged her foot in contentment, returning her gaze to the sky through the leaves of the tree. She pulled in deep breaths of fresh air and felt a smile grace her lips. She could hear the wind coming, a gentle breeze that ran through the forest disturbing the calm of all the tree tops. She chuckled knowing it was the Dryads, the little sprites of the trees having their fun in the wee hours as well.

It was unclear to Nahdea how long she had been there, and she didn’t really care either, when she heard heavy footfalls. Hooves. She stood, the animal sounded large, and excitement flooded her. Curiosity rooted her to the branch. Her wings twitched in anticipation.

And then she saw him. He was a younger human with hair like flames and eyes the green-blue of the sea. Riding his steed of gray, he was. She felt a charge zap her from head to toe…and then he happened to glance up and their eyes held that connection. Even as he passed, he swiveled in his saddle to make contact yet again. Her breathing came fast, a little fear mingled with exhilaration. Would he come back and kill her? Did he feel what she had? Was that possible, for a human to feel anything for her kind?

It had been rumored in her world that humans did terrible things to the faeries. They hunted them and caught them, keeping them in glass lanterns or cages until they died. Or fearing what they did not understand and exterminating any they could find. There had been several from her own world, Elfame, that had passed. Each time one from her house lost its life, a lone leaf would fall from a tree. It would be a very sad day indeed when all those leaves were gone and blanketing the ground with the memory of those in her House, the House of Aethiereal.

And now, she had gone and broken those rules, staying so late after bestowing blessings over the forest, placing dew drops on petals, and feeling the warmth of the sun. It would be her own fault that she died, if that was this human’s intention.

She turned from the man on the horse and bent her knees to spring, her wings out to catch her. She knew it was time to get away.

“Wait!” the man called out to her, his hand outstretched from so far away, the look of peace in his expression as she looked back at him over her shoulder. “Just wait, little beauty.”

Curiosity pulled at her and she defied what she knew was right to turn back to him and drink him in some more. Placing her hands on her hips, she cocked her blonde head to the side inquisitively, and stared shamelessly at him through her eyes green as the spring grass.

“Who are you?” he asked, his commanding voice carrying through the wood.

She regarded him a moment and replied, “I am Nahdea, of the House of Aethiereal. Who would you be?”

He raised his brows, wearing an expression of surprise. He shook his head at her. “I’m sorry, I don’t understand. I mean, I saw your mouth moving but heard little noise at all. Are you what they call a sprite?”

Nahdea shook her head back at him and waved her palms in his direction. How dare he call her a sprite!

“A pixie?” he went on smiling at her reaction.

She placed her finger on her mouth in thought, then shook her head again.

“But you are of the faeries, are you not?” He was amused with this game.

This time she nodded emphatically.

“You have a wonderful smile. I wish I knew your name,” he sounded wistful. “My name is Bronson. Bronson of Swan Lake, the eldest son of Ephraim LeClaire.”

She watched him bow in salutation and she covered her mouth to stifle a giggle.

“Your laugh sounds like little bells,” he smiled up at her. “Perhaps I will call you Belle.”

Nahdea stuck out her tongue and waved her hands at him again in total disgust.

“Oooh, not Belle. Well, my mother’s name is Anne, I will name you after her.”

She had to tell him, to find the words he could understand and allow him to know her. Frantically, she searched her mind. Flapping her silvery wings, she floated to him and landed softly on his shoulder.

He pulled away, startled, but relaxed when he absorbed every feature on her beautiful face.

She cupped her hands around her mouth and spoke into his ear, “Nahdea.”

A smile spread over his mouth, setting his whole face aglow. “Nahdea is a beautiful name. Will you be here on the morrow?” he asked trying to look at her.

Nahdea’s grin became a smile full of little white pearls that gleamed in the sun and she nodded excitedly.

“Good, I will come to you. I must go now, but I will return. I promise. Good day, beautiful…Nahdea,” he breathed.

With a dainty spring and a flap of her wings, she was suspended in the air watching him leave, feeling oddly saddened by the loss. He was kind.

 

“She has found him,” Aethiereal muttered at the vision that swam before her eyes. She could feel the giddy excitement of attraction and although she didn’t like it, she knew what the Fates had in store for this young, foolish girl of her House. A sigh escaped her pale lips and her heart broke a tiny amount. Nahdea would know little for the rest of her days except heartbreak and lonliness.

 

Review of Noble Courage Written by: Jimagined

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I saw this review of my first book just now. Jim is very honest about how he feels. Considering many guys can’t get into this book, I was pleased with what he had to say. 🙂 Thank you, Jim!

http://jimagined.wordpress.com/2012/12/30/review-noble-courage-by-daisha-korth/comment-page-1/#comment-43

Reliving History through a Medieval Christmas

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As we have settled into our modern day holiday traditions, the history of such traditions becomes lost. If you find that you would like to switch up the holiday experience, bring the family home for a bit of a lesson in how our culture adopted the ways of olde and still celebrate it in the style of yesterday.

Be creative when sending out your invitations (or delivering them) to those you would like to have present. Printed parchment rolled into scrolls and sealed with wax really set the stage. They are expensive to mail, so you may want to hand deliver all of them that you can. Another fun idea is to use the parchment paper like a summons to the lord’s court but instead of spearing it with an arrow in your guest’s door, you can use stickers that look like a wax seal to post it. Don’t knock on the door for delivery, just post it and leave it as a surprise. In the information printed, you should request that everyone come dressed in costume to further the experience.

In the early days, gifts were not exchanged as they are now. It was not until later that the tradition in lieu of the Three Wisemen began. If any gifts were given, it was usually the landlord of the town bestowing gifts on his staff or specific tenants depending on their station. It might have been a meal or a new tunic (shirt), never anything of great monetary value. There were many varying degrees of status in those days. The wealthier you were, the better your gift. That might mean that Jack down the street was privileged to a meal that included a boar’s head! Yet Mike was of a lesser station so he had to bring his napkin and plate with him and eat goose. However, Mike was allowed to take the leftovers with him in his napkin to share with others. Boy, how we have changed through time! How you handle the giving of gifts is up to you. Taking away the burden of finding that perfect gift from the family might make for an even more lighthearted evening!

At one time, it was not allowed to decorate within the home. Many pious people would decorate outdoor trees with hanging apples. Holly and Ivy would deck the entry doors of the home. Both plants are evergreen and symbolize new life that is promised to return in the spring, but Holly is said to begin with white berries that turn red, which refreshes within our minds the moment when the crown of thorns was placed on Jesus’ head. It is considered a very holy plant. The Christmas tree was a German tradition that was practiced in England many, many years later. Yet, medieval England did use the boughs for decoration.

The typical spread for either the Christmas feast or Epiphany (Jan. 6th) was a boar on the table, an apple in its mouth, mincemeat pies, and puddings like Frumenty. Less fortunate families would sport a goose or other waterfowl unless they were not lucky enough to have gotten a boar on a hunt. Turkey is an American bird and was not present on any table until settling the colonies.

Carols went through a time, when religion was cast in dark shadow, that it was outlawed. The carols we sing today took root in those days. However, it was viewed as being vulgar by the church. The carol of “The 12 Days of Christmas” was a learning song of memorization. Each of the gifts that were given by the true love (God) represented values of their church that they committed to song in order to worship and pass the ideals to their children. If you have time, decode some of the carols and trace their origins back in history. Share that with your guests as you sing songs through the night and think of those who were not free to worship God how they felt was appropriate.

 

In all, Christmas was a time of reverence and love. Often times in our day, much of the emotion is lost in the expectation of gifts. Taking a step back in time may take some of the commercialism out of your holiday celebrations. It could very well bring a sense of belonging and unity to your family this year.

Ketchup? Really?

My youngest son is a hilarious kid.

So what do you do as a parent when all he wants to dress up as for Halloween is food? His birthday falls just three days after the holiday, and all he wanted a few years back was a “hotdog” costume. Really? Really. So, I obliged him and found a “hotdog” costume and since it was after Halloween, I think it cost me less than $10.  He was overjoyed!

 

So this year, while we were trying to figure out costumes, I asked him what he wanted to be. He said, “Ketchup”. I just looked at him for a minute. “Or I would settle for Mustard.”

Wow.

This kind of personality, dear readers, is what my fun little children’s book is based on. While Zeek is not Dimitri, he loves the same dinner, his mom, and is very compassionate and sensitive to other people while having a crazy and fun personality. Zeek is just as curious and motivated as my son.

I love this kid with all my heart…as I love my other three. He just has that kind of aura about him that makes  people gravitate to him. Ketchup or not. By the way, I talked him into being a dark overlord type character for Halloween. lol

 

 

Sweet Little Mira from Noble Courage

How different children are today than they used to be. I see the differences in my own kids from when I was a kid their age. Don’t get me wrong here, there are many similarities too…

I have tried my hardest to instill in my children the value of work. They are more than eager to go work for someone else (like mowing lawns or washing cars, lol) but they won’t do chores around the house to help out. Why is that?

I remember when five dollars a week for allowance was nice cash to have! However, nowadays kids would rather go without the five bucks in their pocket to be able to do their own thing. No, they want twenty bucks to mow the lawn. They want ten bucks to wash the car. They expect money for doing the simple everyday chores around the house.

I can understand wanting to make your way in the world, but it takes work to do that. I will pay for a stellar job done and great work ethic. Few kids possess this anymore. Why is that? Because they are Millennial kids. They have been raised in a technological society that hands them things almost instantly and they are used to that. They want more of that in everything that they do…including work. These kids really do want money for doing nothing.

So it rests upon us to continue to train them up and teach them the way we were taught and mold them into good responsible adults. Perhaps one day, our technology will no longer be around. These kids won’t know what to do. But it will bring back the fairly forgotten imagination again and force us all to do more for ourselves.

I love my kids with all my heart. I think they will be great people in society as they continue to grow and I am proud of my son who is putting himself through college because he wants a better life. I hope I had something to do with that. 🙂

“I thought I could stay here and do chores for you. See how pretty she is? I can be her pretty helper and you could pay me some tiny money, my lord,” she begged.

Money isn’t so tiny anymore, from a child’s perspective. But Mira was motivated and haunted. She also wanted a better life. I suppose we should all be careful what we wish for and find happiness in what we have around us. Do something to make each day a great one and pass our ethics, our morals, and our knowledge to them so they can be successful too!

*Get your copy of Noble Courage for .99 on Kindle

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