Today is the day! Brand new COVER REVEALS!

cover reveal

Some of you may know that I am a 41 year old student earning a bachelor degree in natural medicine. It is a very aggressive program that has taken 99% of my time this last year! Alas, my writing has suffered so much and my brain is now overflowing with conversations between characters. This obviously gets me down when I can’t just get it all out! So I finished my last assignment, my editor finished helping me revamp Noble Courage, and I decided it was time to make new covers for the Aspen Series books!

My goal was to make them representative of the series while still making them match and look cohesive. One day, I happened to be watching “The Deathly Hallows 1 & 2” and the animated story of The Three Brothers came on. It was a concept that really spoke to me! The back silhouetted figures against rich backgrounds told the story and I fell in love.

So while my last book of the series is still under construction, I managed to deck my other books in these amazing cloaks of story telling. And it seems, as of late, that Aspen has been screaming at me daily to create a Christmas story indicative of the Medieval times. And so, I am working feverishly on the creation of “The Christmas Spirits”. I think it has a very cool storyline that you will all love…even if you don’t read Medieval fiction.

And so, without further ado, I am revealing to you the new and improved Aspen Series!

resizedNC2.jpgpopcover-page0001TOPrawcover-page0001SOFcover-page0001TBL raw cover-page0001The Christmas Spirits-page0001

I am still working on covers for Tales of Elgolan No. 1-5. I will show you those when I get them finished! So how great are these?!? My plan is to have the new covers uploaded every where by the 10th of December so they will be ready for Christmas! The Christmas Spirits should be on Kindle before then if all goes well!

On December 15th, I plan to launch a huge promo where I’m giving away a Kindle! Stay tuned for that!

Currently, all my books are available on Amazon.com and can be downloaded from the Kindle store immediately. Please remember that it takes time to get covers changed and Noble Courage will get a makeover on the inside too as my editor just finished sprucing up the story.

I’m thankful for so many things in my  life! Aspen is one of those. Her voice has helped me in so many ways! Thank you for being a fan and a reader! I appreciate your support more than you know!

Advertisements

Holy Cow! Technology is awesome when it works!

pizap.com10.44940554723143581353642184296

So I have been MIA for quite a while due to a problem with my computer! Yes, I need to go buy a new one…so go buy all my books a hundred times, please. I’m just kidding. So, I thought I would take this opportunity to write a little post.

Life has been crazy. I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. This girl is happy that school has started and all the pressures of the summer are over. Now, I can concentrate on some of the important things…like writing. Oh yeah, and that school thing.

I miss interacting with all of you each day. I’m so sorry to have been gone so long.

The positive side is that Noble Courage has been re-edited so I’m excited to bring you the new version! We are still working our way through the rest of the series, but I felt Noble Courage needed it the very most.

You know, it has been nice to connect with my characters again as I slowly forge forward with the last book of The Aspen Series, Key of the Kingdom. Often times, I think we have our eyes set on the goal line, finishing that long labored project and we lost contact with the characters we loved enough to start the first book.

My advice? If you are writing a series, return to that first work often. If you have a favorite part, read it again and again. Stay close with the people of your imagination and don’t rush that final installment of a series. Show the reader you love them as much in the last book as you did in the first.

Carry on.

Feel free to pick up my works at Amazon in the Kindle section!

Thinking the Plot is the Easy Part? Think Again…

dkbookscolorlogo

I love to write. We all know that.  But anyone can love to write and not everyone does it well. I’m humble enough to say that I’m no bestseller. I could be, no doubt about that… It is still a work in progress. But I’m not alone in my quest, swimming in the sea of literature millions deep and just as many wide.

The plot is essentially the foundation on which your story is built upon. I’m sure there will be those who argue with me. But even transparent characters can be made strong by a great plot. And there is no setting, no matter how fantastical, that can withstand a Swiss cheese plot. It must have a rhythm to it…a build up, a climax, and a resolution or ending. That is the one thing that really doesn’t differ from any fiction book or manuscript out there.

There are ratios out there for the recipe of a good book. There are some that say that only formally educated, with a degree, writers are worth a darn. I disagree with all those rules. The only one I do agree with is the rhythm. Anyone who tells you that you can’t write without a degree is wrong.

So focusing on the plot is so important. But think about yours…Is it twisted or predictable? If it’s predictable, are there elements to distract the reader? Is it slow moving? Is it boring? What elements have you included to make it more interesting? Characters and setting do not count. Get that all out of your head right now. If you think about a birthday cake, the plot should be the actual cake, the setting should be the frosting all over it, and the characters are all the pretty decorations on the frosting.

wedding cake

Generally, the plot starts with an idea. Just one idea. The people you see may not be named yet or have hair color or eye color, but you see them living out this idea and it builds. Things happen, conflict usually ensues, and it comes to an end with loose ties neatly tied up in a pretty little package.

I used to read historical fiction and for years, I would crack a book and want to get lost in this parallel world to my reality. Not trying to slam true, historical fiction, but they are all essentially the same. There is a girl, girl meets boy, girl refuses boy until the very end of the book where they run off into the sunset together and live happily ever after. I stopped reading books because they were all the same…down to the kinds of racy covers they graced the shelves with. I grew bored.

Do you want this to happen to you? I didn’t think so.

What’s the solution to this problem? BE ORIGINAL! You don’t have to be so far out there that people can’t relate to you, but for crying out loud, own the story! Do something different!

Here is my recipe for Noble Courage:

Peasant girl meets boy (love at first sight)->Peasant girl is sold to a ruthless lord and is taken away from where her love at first sight boy is->Ruthless lord’s patience is tested to the limits->Love at first sight boy searches for the peasant girl->Peasant girl develops feelings for the ruthless lord->ruthless lord develops feelings for the peasant girl->Greedy king comes for a visit->Greedy king thinks he can outsmart the ruthless lord and the peasant girl->Peasant girl outsmarts the greedy king->Love at first sight boy outsmarts them all->Ruthless lord must band together with the greedy king to save the peasant girl->There is no happily ever after->Peasant girl, ruthless lord, greedy king, and love at first sight boy find the ways to put their lives back together->Set up the book for the rest of the series.

WHEW! See how different my story is over others?

Now think of your story and compare it to others in a similar genre. Do you copy their formula or have  you stood out on your own?

What about twists and turns? I think they are pretty important. Even my recipe above would be a little boring without the psychotic antagonist, the beatings, the kidnapping, the paternal revelation, the secret wedding, the war, the dungeons, the death, the traitors, and the post traumatic stress of all of the above. Twist it up until your readers feel like they are losing their minds! Make them really think about what is about to happen and be floored when they are wrong! The unpredictability is what makes it all interesting. It makes a reader want to keep reading when they turn that page or end that chapter.

I’m not going to tell you to leave sex out of a story or to force the hero to win or even to allow your heroine to only have sex with one person through the life of the book. That is up to you. But be wary of your target audience and write appropriately. I have sex scenes in my books and the older teenage girls love them, but mine are not a YA category either.

I remember reading “Flowers in the Attic” when I was first in high school. There was sexual content in that book…along with the rest of the series. I wasn’t the only teen who liked V.C. Andrews either. My word of advice: No matter what you write, make it tasteful and make it matter. Don’t riddle your book with scenes that could be very offensive to parts of your audience. Keep it balanced nicely.

You know, even for as many people love my books, there are those who fan themselves and slam the book shut claiming it is too sexual in nature. Well, if this was a common complaint, I could understand them. But when my pie is 90% readers who think it was tastefully done and 10% those who think it was too adult, I will place my bets with the vast majority. If it was the other way around, I might omit a scene or two.

Okay. Enough about sex.

So I am just trying to say: There are no rules in fiction, but bad fiction should never go out there. Your story should always move forward at a pace that relates well to your book.

I’m not a big outline person at all. I hate them, actually. But I have made them to keep track of events and the age of characters. But to merely jot down your own recipe to your plot will help you to know how to fill in the blanks to get from beginning to end. If you find that your book is very “cookie cutter”, change it. Please, for the love of books, change it! There’s enough bland books out there to bore you into oblivion. DON’T fall into that category!

I hope I told you something you might not have thought about. It is sad to me that I stopped reading because of a lack of originality. But I also find it sad that my work is discredited as an “indie” author, so it must suck. I beg to differ. I challenge you to read my books and guess where the story is going to go. No, I DARE you to! Right now, all of my books are available on the Kindle and book one is going through an intensive overhaul to be re-published. I love to hear if I shock your socks off! I will warn you, there are few who guess how it will all end. Muahaha!

Are you up for the challenge…ahem…dare?!?

Downton Abbey Meets Game of Thrones…

I was sitting in the coffee shop a few weeks ago, talking with my editor/publisher/friend at Twisted Willow Press. We were discussing things like merchandise, fun promotional ideas, and the progress of the new and improved “Noble Courage”.  It always helps to bounce thoughts and ideas off of another person and sometimes it can be lonely to be a writer as you have to keep your own secrets. I get tired of talking to myself so my times spent visiting with Jeriann are most important to me.

As we were talking that morning, I came to a realization: The Aspen Series is essentially Downton Abbey meets Game of Thrones. 

When I actually said that out loud, Jeriann sat thoughtful a moment before nodding her head and agreeing with me.

What makes me say that, you ask? How could I possibly compare my work to such amazing treasures as these? Well, I don’t claim to be some super amazing author, by any means. But my series incorporates the raw brutality and a mentally insane antagonist of Game of Thrones but also the romance and elegance of Downton Abbey.

But wait! Those aren’t even in the same periods of history! Well, you got me there. They are definitely not at all similar, but they mix very well indeed!

It is said that those who love Downton Abbey also love the Game of Thrones series. So if they are correct in that assumption, I have a super great series for you… Game of Thrones is only a season long, so you will spend the summer totally bored without it! But at the end of this post, I will give you the link that will save you from boredom! And as you read through The Aspen Series, think of it as a television series, watch those characters come to life before your very eyes, and love it for the story that it is.

THIS

This photo is from spultured.com.

This photo is from spultured.com.

PLUS THIS

This photo is from Rob Leigh on mirror.co.uk.

This photo is from Rob Leigh on mirror.co.uk.

EQUALS THIS

Cast Dungeon

You can find the first five books of The Aspen Series HERE, along with the prequel. The last book, The Key of the Kingdom, is in the works now!

 

 

 

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!

easelly_visual

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