What Aspen Series Character are You?

So an idea crept back into my head this afternoon and I came home from work to make it! What fun infographics are!! So… By reading the graph below, what character are you? Leave me your comment below!

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The Art of You “Finale” Part 12

Fly with the wings life gives you.

Fly with the wings life gives you.

 

 

 

 

It was a warm day, that third week of June when someone knocked at my door. Curious, I peeked out from between the blinds that hung in my front window and was very surprised to see Davis on my porch.

Opening the door, I felt a flood of emotions. “What do you want?” I asked none too friendly.

Davis pleaded with me through his eyes. “I need you to come with me, Ruby.”

I laughed at him. “Really? Well, I think not. Have a good one.”

I shut the door and he slid his foot in the way. “Please, Ruby. I need you to come with me.”

His insistence made me stop to wonder what was so important.

“Give me one good reason why,” I challenged.

“Well, I don’t have one. I have just been ordered to deliver you somewhere,” he said evasively.

I closed my eyes and rested my forehead on the edge of the front door. “I can’t bear it, Davis. This last year has been torture for me. I can’t go through all that again.”

“Come out of your cocoon, Ruby. Time to spread those wings wide and fly. Take a chance and get in the car…or do I have to put you there myself?” he added with a nostalgic grin.

I sighed and grabbed my purse shouting out to the boys that I would be back in a while. All I heard in reply was some noise that came out of their mouths mixed with the sounds of video games.

I found myself in the back seat once again. The car looked the same and it smelled the same. We drove through town and got onto the freeway that took us into the very outdoorsy town of Eagle. Taking the busy thoroughfare north, we pulled into the parking lot of a hotel by the river. I could see dozens of people poised with their cameras and ready to strike, as Jack had put it once. Davis came around and let me out and I just stood there not knowing where to go or what to do.

The cameras all clicked and flashed around me. Jack came out through the doors of the hotel. He smiled at me with that relaxed smile of his.

“Ruby!” he greeted pulling me into his embrace.

Shocked, I hugged him back but not knowing what to say or how to feel. I was shocked, to say the very least.

“What are you doing here?” I asked feeling breathless.

“Look. I have missed you and have thought of you many, many times over the last year. I came back here to take my stand against anyone who wants to tell me otherwise. You can see the art of me just as I can see the art of you. You taught me that. You have shown me that there aren’t many people who will ever just love you for who you are. And I know you don’t care about the fame or the money or you wouldn’t have been real with me last year. You are the one I want and you are just as pretty as the day I dropped you off…but I never said goodbye. You did, but not me. I didn’t want that to be the end. I’ve had my struggles as I am sure you have, but it is time I claimed my freedom too. Can you forgive me for how I handled ‘us’ last year and start again?” he asked me in front of all those cameras.

“I thought I hated you. I mean really hated you. I still want to hate you,” I started.

“Okay, I know you hate me. But think of what I was dealing with at the same time. You of all people should be able to understand all those emotions,” he defended himself.

I fluttered my eyelashes in irritation. “Let me finish. While I still want to hate you, I just found out that I forgave you a long time ago. I could never hate you because…well, because I love you too much. Maybe you don’t really want to hear that, but there it is.”

Jack laughed at my sentiment and hugged me tight again. I had found the door to save him when he cried for help and he led me from the darkness and into the light. We were there for each other when we needed each other the very most.

“For old time’s sake,” he said smiling huge and a sparkle in his eye.

Before I knew what was happening, he drew me up into his arms as he had the day we went for pancakes. The day his wife died. The day my dreams came to a screeching halt.

I squealed in surprise. “You still have those strong arms,” I remarked.

“All the better to carry you with. I plan to carry you anytime you need me to, Ruby.”

And then the prince took me into his castle where we would plot out the rest of our lives together. You notice I didn’t say “happily ever after”? Well, that’s because it is impossible to be normal people and not disagree ever, so I thought that politically incorrect to say. But I will say that he has made me very happy and I soar with those big butterfly wings from my cocoon, the very one he coaxed me out of knowing I was ready to fly.

The Art of You Part 3

The view from the rocks toward the ponds.

The view from the rocks toward the ponds.

I crunched into an apple as I turned down the main drag and made a left at Notch 8 and on out to Ponderosa State Park. I paid the fee at the toll booth and the black and white striped barricade lifted for me to pass. I gave the short gal a wave of thanks and then followed the familiar road through the campground. Instead of taking a left to go where we had always met for family reunions, I stayed straight. That road led me to an area where the trees were so tall and thick they blocked out the sunlight and cast the area in shade.

Not really sure where my destination would be, I came up on a curve in the road that sloped slightly downhill. There was a make-shift parking lot to my left littered with cars. Images flashed through my mind. This was the cliff-jumping site.

“Oh my…I haven’t been here forever!” I breathed being swarmed with memories of sun drenched rocks and kids squealing in fun while jumping into the cool waters below. I even jumped once as I held tight to the hand of my husband.

He was so patient with me that day, I was decked out in a wetsuit to stay warm, the heat of the day making the water enticing. I stood there frozen with fear. Natural bodies of water just freaked me out. I loved looking at them, not a fan of being in them. So my legs were shaking as I sat perched on a rock about eight feet up, if that. I practiced plugging my nose and holding tight. The anticipation of the butterflies all the way down about made me sick. Little kids, maybe four and five years old, wanted to go and they waited for me to just jump. I could feel them mocking me, a grown woman, who was so afraid to take that one step off the edge.

I laughed and stepped to the side and they climbed up the face of the rock and just plopped right in. We waited for them to make it out of the way and I finally jumped. I never let go of his hand. Not even the strength of the water when we hit could tear us apart. I bobbed to the top and saw him there waiting for me, a smile stretching his face from ear to ear with pride.

“I’m proud of you, baby!” he laughed and swam behind me as I shook all the way back to the stability of the rocks.

I jumped once more that day, still holding tight to him. However, the other hand slipped from my nose and it felt like an ice pick had been driven up my nose. That was enough of that.

Shaking my head free of cobwebs from the past, I grabbed my backpack and stuffed the camera inside. It was a bit of a hike…okay, I’m lying. It is not a hike, it is a rock climbing adventure to get back in there. Having wised up years ago, I discarded my flip-flops and started wearing some little tennis shoes for that trek.

Slipping over rocks and hefting myself up the crags, I made my way to the cliffs. There were a few people here, hence the cars in the lot, but not so many that it was crammed. It was only Thursday, after all. Probably the best day to be back there. I fought to catch my breath and sat on a rock under the one tree that miraculously grew there. The shrieks from the kids jumping from fifteen and twenty feet filled the air and I couldn’t resist the urge to snap some photos as they left the solid ground and fell through the air to hit the water below them. I smiled fondly. My husband was not afraid to jump. He went twenty feet up and would take the leap again and again.

I imagined him perched up there with the others, the water running from his close cropped head of dark hair and the steady drip of droplets that fell continuously from the hem of his swimsuit. He would be talking openly with those up there and I could hear him laugh, just happy to be in the sunshine out in the middle of God’s country.

That stubborn lump came to me again and I cursed inwardly at myself. Perhaps this was not the right decision. Perhaps I should have stayed away and let the ghosts be ghosts.

I could hear music and I diverted my attention to an incoming vessel. It was the white boat with the yellow stripes and red canopy from the morning. They had music blaring so loud I had no idea what it even was.

My camera snuck to my face and I peeked to see who these people were that disturbed my peaceful moment.

Involuntarily, my finger depressed the shutter in surprise. There he was, his kids jumping off the side of the boat and into the water. They swam to the rocks and climbed the natural staircase passing me as they went to the platforms.

Just to be certain, I put my eye to the camera again and there he was, manning the ship, laughing and cheering his brood as they gathered the courage to jump. And then, he looked right at the camera again.

Feeling so flustered, I turned away from him and took shots of the two teens making the plunge. I heard a sharp squeal and then two distinct splashes below. Jack erupted into cheers and clapping, the sun bouncing off his dark glasses.

The kids broke the surface again to the sound of their dad cheering them on. I heard them call out to him and he laughed saying something about having to watch the boat.

I snapped as many photos as I could while he was so in his element. Every time his kids jumped, I focused on his reaction and for a while I just held the shutter down. When I saw him put a cell phone up to his ear and send the evil eye my way, I decided it was time to go.

The climb back left me breathless again. The adrenalin flowed from the encounter with Jack so my hands and knees were shaking and like jelly. I slid behind the wheel of my car again and sucked a few breaths before I turned the key and pulled out of the dirt parking lot. But I didn’t go right and head toward town. I turned left. Another car followed my lead.

Around the bends in the road I sped, watching for deer and other animals along the way. I rounded the lake a bit until it opened up a bit for marshy areas and ponds that stood still as glass.

“There it is,” I said out loud to myself and pulled the car to a stop.

Ahead of me and off the road was a congregation of great boulders of different sizes. The car following stopped as well, but they never got out of the car. With my camera around my neck, I started climbing until I stood at the base of a cliff. The very cliff I had climbed so many years before. I didn’t make it to the top, but I gave it my all. My husband had made it all the way. He gave me the strength to even try.

But more than that, I turned back toward the cars along the road to see the pond sparkling in the sunlight and the tall firs surrounded it casting shadows over the smooth surface. It was quiet here. I just sat on the warm rock and randomly captured the rugged scenery around me.

A man came my way, struggling over the rocks in some places. I fleetingly wondered if I looked as silly as he did. But he didn’t come dressed for the occasion either. Loafers and jeans were not climbing clothes.

He was huffing and puffing when he reached where I sat and I looked up at him.

“Hello,” I said politely.

The man looked up at the height of the cliffs above. “Howdy,” he replied not looking at me.

“Such a gorgeous day,” I added to make conversation.

“It is,” he said. “What is a woman like yourself doing out here alone?”

I noticed a foreign accent in him but his statement alarmed me. I suddenly became uncomfortable and stood to step down from my rock and skip one to another.

“I didn’t mean to frighten you,” he called out.

“You reminded me that I need to meet with someone back in town!” I called out hoping he believed my bluff.

I thought I heard him growl up there but I didn’t care. When I reached my car, I looked back at the rocks and he was coming back down. My heart sped up and I gulped at the air. What if he killed me? No one would find me. My kids would be left alone. Suddenly the gravity of my situation caught up to me and I turned the key. When the engine roared to life, I flipped an easy u-turn and started back to town. The sun was setting, the man was still following me, and I was freaking out. I didn’t know they had creepers in a small mountain town!

I began plotting where I would go if the man kept up his pursuit. Maybe I could make it into a place to eat before he would get to me. Maybe I could go inside the main house back at my apartment. Surely the owners would protect me from people like this guy.

I was able to leave him at a stop light and I knew it wouldn’t stay red long so I hurried as fast as I could to my apartment. As I pulled into the driveway, I grabbed my camera and unbuckled the seat belt. Then I bolted for the stairs taking them two at a time. I cursed myself for fumbling the key as I tried to slip it into the lock. Finally it obeyed my rough commands and I burst through the door, quickly closing it and locking it tight. I left the curtains closed and instinctively ran into the bathroom slamming the door and locking it too.

Then, I slumped on the toilet, setting the camera on the counter and let my forehead fall into my hands. I was breathing like I had just run a marathon and I closed my eyes against my fear.

I couldn’t just stay in the bathroom, and I knew that. I needed dinner and I wanted to feel free of weird people. Okay, weird guys. What if he was waiting until I ventured out again?

The feeling of being utterly alone crept into my bones. It was the same feeling I had when I buried… well, you know who I’m talking about. I was surrounded by people as I was then too, but I was alone. While I took solace in being by myself these days, that awful feeling of panic shed a new light on the subject. For once I wished I had just one friend I could call.

My phone. I needed to send a message to my son. If anything happened to me, he would know where to tell people to begin looking.

“Not to worry you, but there is a strange dude following me. If I disappear, let the authorities know that I was in McCall in a studio apartment on the lake not far from town. I’m turning on the GPS so they can track my signal. I’m fine, just being careful” was what I wrote.

Less than a minute later, my phone rang and a panicked young man was near to shrieking on the other end. I talked with him a spell and calmed him down. Reassuring him I was safe, he finally let me hang up and I made sure I turned the tracking on.

The shaking had ceased and my breathing was normal once more. I ventured out of the bathroom but peeked warily about to make certain I was still alone.

No one there. So I decided to change my clothes and head down the street for some Hispanic food. There was a great place with a view of the lake just steps from where I was. With any luck, Mr. Stalker wouldn’t be there too.

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.

 

Rayven young

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.

cliffehaven

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.

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