Please welcome Charlene A. Wilson to Highlighted Author.
I was born in Florida, and with a father that loved to wonder the states, I’ve lived all over this country. The waves of the oceans on each coast have wash over my feet. I’ve stepped across the borders to the north and south. But, we finally settled in a small community in Arkansas where nature sings all around me, from the birds in the countless trees to the cows in the fields across the way. (Yeah, they call it lowing. I call it singing). I’m a mother of two beautiful daughters, a fuzzy dog named KooJo, and a gray cat, Chester. I still imagine friends in far-away places. Now, though, I write them down and share them with others.
I was labelled a writer when I was 16. I would write short stories about dreams I had and shared them with my friends. For a time there I even wrote short plays that my youth group acted out for family and friends. I guess I’ll never know what everyone really thought about the productions, but we had so much fun and I’m sure our parents were just happy to have something to keep their kids occupied and out of trouble. Lol. I’ve since been published through Class Act Books.
One of the short story favourites was called Misty Moon. I was shocked when a few years ago I ran into an acquaintance I hadn’t seen since my youth. Honestly, I didn’t remember her, until she reminded me that she was a friend of a friend. She had been invited to a church youth function and evidently on the way (it was an hour drive to the dance), I shared my stories…as usual. Well, she was all smiles and told me she remembered Misty Moon and actually told the story to her children at story time before bed. I was floored and a little shy about it all. She asked if I still wrote and, of course, I had to tell her about my published work.
I took all the creative writing courses I could in high school and college. One of the exercises that stood out was to imagine myself in the middle of an orange. I was to write about my experiences inside that orange—what scents would dominate the air, the textures, how it would look from that perspective, how it would affect my actions. I’ve used that exercise of viewing things outside of my own situations to get into the worlds I’ve created and the psyche of my characters.
Several of my stories come from dreams I’ve had: Scenes, settings, plots… And many of the attitudes and personalities woven into the characters are taken from those I worked with while serving as a Deputy at a large detention center. You can find it all in those places. Kindness, bigotry, spirituality, opportunism; the variety of personal outlooks is amazing.
Lord Dressen’s character from Cornerstone Deep Echoes, book two in my Chronicles of Shilo Manor series, was very easy for me to write. He’s the villain of the story. Though, he does have his reasons for doing the things he does. Then, don’t we all. Life is just complicated. I don’t believe anyone is all good or completely bad.
Cole, the hero of the story, is pretty tarnished himself. He’s led by his heart, and with that trait, he makes some decisions that really should have been made with a level head. But he’s such a romantic soul. And when Mianna speaks in her unique poetic way, he’s just gone. He loves Mianna with his whole being—would do anything to keep her safe…and his. But Lord Dressen is determined to win her over one way or the other…to the point of obsession.
Really, these characters made it clear how they wanted their stories told. Comments, quirks, personalities, they all came to light as the scenes unfolded. I hope you fall in love with them as much as I have.
Cornerstone Deep Echoes was just released February 15th. So, I’m traveling the web celebrating with a virtual book tour and offering weekly giveaways and a grand prize at the end of it all. All the details can be found at the series site,ShiloManor.com. You can enter there for your chance to win or leave a comment here to be included in the drawing!
I’ve had the chance to be interviewed on BlogTalk radio and had such a good time jabbering about the series. You’re welcome to listen in…
Interview with Giovanni on Gelati’s Scoop
Interview with Donna Brown on BBCN
And can I blush as I share some praise?
What they’re saying:
Series Review: (Chronicles of Shilo Manor)
“Cornerstone Deep is without a doubt the best paranormal romance book I’d read in 2012. It’s a classic love story with beautiful prose meets modern-day fantasy meets popular paranormal culture with a twist… Even better than the A+ cast of characters is the fantasy world in which the author sets the story.
In Book 2, Cornerstone Deep Echoes, Ms. Wilson takes the plot and the characters to a whole other level… I cannot wait to read the third book in the series; Cornerstone Deep Destiny!!!
I’m sure you’ve all guessed this…overall I give the Chronicles of Shilo Manor 5 coffins! This is one new author you want to keep your eye on!”—JD Brown, VWW Book Club
“This is a well-written world, with a cast of characters that bring it to life. Cole is the bad boy, the one that tugs at your heart, but makes so many mistakes. His brothers are a great foil to his personality, both well written as well with stories of their own. Anna is a fun and feisty young woman, also looking for love, but with her will taken from her, making her an entirely different character. Cornerstone Deep is fast-paced and hard to put down. I look for Ms. Wilson to follow this up with stories on each of the brothers. I would enjoy reading more about this fascinating family.”—The Romance Review
“This is an exciting, suspenseful tale that isn’t so much about magic, though there’s plenty of that floating around, than it is about true love and how its essence may live from century to century, recognizable only to the two beings to whom it has happened. The dialogue is snappy and amusing and the narration never lags. It appears the Wizards of Shilo Manor are in for some more adventures, and I, for one, will look forward to them”—The Book Review
“Everyone is looking for that one true love, that one that completes us. In short, our soul mate. Using the belief of reincarnation and a paranormal aspect, Wilson brings us this beautiful love story in Cornerstone Deep…
A delightful fantasy world with a beautiful love story. Who wouldn’t like to read that?”—Gothic Mom’s Book Review
Here’s a peek at Cornerstone Deep Echoes…
Cornerstone Deep Echoes
Mianna’s return heals Cole’s soul and he promises to follow her for the rest of his existence. But the past isn’t what he believes. The fight for her has only begun.
Lord Dressen’s obsession grows as unexpected knowledge is revealed. His search for Mianna has spanned six life times and he won’t give up now. The courts stand behind him. Power pulses through his veins. Determination peeks and not even Cole Shilo can stop him. He will win his prize.
Struggling to stay ahead, Cole’s anger explodes. Nothing is sacred when it comes to keeping his love—not even covenants made with gods. But, through all his efforts, lofty or damned, the truth remains. Will echoes of another life cause him to fail?
~ * ~
“Every breath you take is a song to my soul.”
Cornerstone Deep Echoes
Exhaustion racked Cole’s body. He squeezed his eyes shut and took a deep breath to cleanse his lungs. The harm he’d caused Anna pulsed through his fatigued mind in fits of memory—distorted flashes that reminded him of the deceit, broken covenants, and ethereal anger. Pressing his palms onto his brow, his head sank deeper into the pillow. Did his actions really cost her soul six life times?
He dragged a hand down his face and blew air through his pursed lips. He’d bound her soul and even with his formidable skill with spells, he was unable to undo his wrong. Whatever cost Arylin saw fit to impose, he was grateful for the intervention. Only the Goddess of Love, with her boundless benevolence, would have found a way for them to continue their souls’ progression.
The God of Life’s fury rang in his ears as scenes of the night before haunted him. “You have defiled that which is sacred. No Meridian shall cause my child’s death without promise of rebirth. Griffin, I demand justice!”
His gaze returned to his love at his side and he listened to the sweet sound of her steady breathing. Strands of sleep-messed hair fluttered along the pillow each time she exhaled. Griffin, as God of Conformance, had every right to end him when Taravaughn called for justice. Surely, that was the desired punishment. To sentence him to serve her for the rest of her natural life only echoed Cole’s heart’s intent from the start.
As the morning sun’s light inched up the comforter’s patchwork pattern, he hitched his knee around her legs, forming his body to hers. For Arylin to return Anna’s soul to a previous life blessed them both beyond his dreams. It freed the binding and… He buried his face in her long waves and the scent of roses filled him. He had Mianna back.
“Mianna.” His whisper warmed his lips as it pooled against her neck.
She stirred and he pressed a kiss to her shoulder. “Cole.” Her sleepy eyes fluttered open but closed as if her lids were too heavy. “Have you been awake long?”
He smiled as the sound of her voice dispelled his mind’s troubles. “A while. How are you feeling?”
Her hand lifted and she brushed his long hair with her fingers before resting it at her side. “So tired. I don’t think I’ve ever been so tired.” Her soft voice turned to a mumble. “You couldn’t have given me a better wedding gift but,” she drew a deep breath, “what did it do to me? What does Unsigh mean?”
Cole blinked to the side. She doesn’t know what Unsigh means? He lifted his head to peer at her cherubic face. Did she say wedding gift? Realization flushed his senses. Arylin returned her memory to our wedding night. We truly are starting our life together over.
He pulled the comforter up to her chin and wrapped his arm around her waist. “Unsigh means one heart, my love. It joins our passion when you create the symbol and utter the spell. It’s an enchantment only you can call on.”
“Oh,” she breathed. “It’s amazing…really. It’s just…I’m so…” As she drifted back into sleep, Cole’s brow furrowed. Mianna’s spell had never caused her fatigue, not even when her soul called upon it in Anna’s lifetime.
A spray of sun’s rays pitched across his face as they hit the wide dresser mirror. With a scowl, he squinted at the glare and twitched his hand at the window. The crepe sheers whipped closed followed by a thick swish from the burgundy drapes. The room plunged into darkness. As his eyes adjusted, dim light from the vanity area competed with the beams’ peek through the gaps around the window coverings. He sighed and sat up, resting his arm on his knee.
Perhaps it was everything she’d been through and she just needed rest. She’d experienced more trauma in the last week than he had in the last twenty-five hundred years. Her life as Anna had hardly been easy—abandonment, loss, and then manipulated by a man whose attention she’d refused. He raked a hand over his scalp. Then to nearly lose her life while they tried to unbind her soul, only to be saved by grace at the price of six life times’ progression…
Cole gazed over at the petite form beside him. He shook his head and brushed the dark hair from her face. How could Anna’s features be so similar to Mianna’s? The gentle slope of her nose, the curve of her bowtie lips. He tilted his head and gently stroked her cheek with his finger. Or was it the love he held in his heart that colored his view? A smile blossomed from his lips and he leaned to her, touching his brow to hers. His black hair fell to the pillow like a sheet of satin, deepening the shadows. No matter the reason. He had her back. And he vowed to never lose her again.
~ * ~
A satisfied grin tugged at Lord Dressen’s lips as he looked out over the gathered noblemen. Low voices filled the stately hall. Marble bracing columns led way to the arched beams in the domed ceiling. Sunbeams poured through the twelve-foot windows, filling the space with a yellow haze. The gold that framed the life-sized portraits along the walls appeared to glow, accenting their subjects.
The turn-out was as hoped. He had the majority of the Grand Marshals’ court in attendance and every member seemed dedicated to support him. His heavy brow furrowed and he lifted his chin. Cole Shilo, you’ll pay for taking Anna from me.
The dull rumble of conversation subsided as he stepped to Officiator’s stand and took his chair at the center of the table. He nodded to the two uniformed gentlemen who stood guard at the entrance and they stepped out, closing the doors behind them.
Lord Carrington tugged at his vest as he strode up the center aisle. A more trusted friend he’d never had. The tall man moved with trained temperance. An admirable trait; grace under pressure. Taking his place at Dressen’s side, he leaned to him with a hushed voice. “Ninety-nine are in attendance. Lord Standish’s men are the only ones not to sign in.”
“We can do without them. What are twenty-two votes against ninety-nine?”
Carrington nodded and ran a hand along his tailored beard. “One concern I feel I must voice, Kyle.” He looked at his friend and his brown eyes twitched. “Standish may not hold the court’s majority, but he’s a strong believer in tradition. The men here control a vote, but many of their wives and family are faithful to the Gods, including my own. They practice religious rites and that encompasses the Shilos as Sentinels. If this isn’t handled with care it could become nasty.”
Dressen sighed and he glanced at the portraits that lined the room. Every Grand Marshal that had held a senior position was portrayed. His gaze gravitated to the depiction of Sylis Shilo at the center of the hall. The founder seemed to watch his every move—his coal hair, onyx eyes, and square features set firm. Dressen sneered. A wizard surrounded by noblemen.
“Sentinels.” He scoffed. “They’re aliens. Nothing more. And their own laws protect us from their dimension’s powers. What superior race agrees to such an arrangement? They’re weak. Their kind has no place on Terra.”
“Never-the-less, the faithful could rise up to protect them.” Carrington looked down at his cufflink as he straightened the gold piece. “And I’ll be frank. Even though I see nothing wrong with how you achieved your goal with the girl, many will see it otherwise. Having the wizards bend her will as a servant was one thing, but calling for total compliance pushed the agreement’s intention.”
Dressen scowled. “The Wizards of Shilo Manor accepted my bid as any other. She broke the law and she was harvested. With the new curfew in play, she was no different from the homeless.” He softened his voice. “It was the only way to get her past the idea that my standing separated us. Once she joined the household, she admitted she wanted to be with me all along. She told me she loved me. Always had. She was happy.”
He looked at his comrade and his narrow features leered. “Cole Shilo’s desire to have her took her from me.” He pointed a finger to accentuate his view. “I know he has her up at that manor.”
Lord Carrington cocked his head. “We have no jurisdiction within the walls of the Sentinel’s home.”
“You just deal with the charges.”
“The only real proof we have is the vision you shared from that night she disappeared, Kyle. And that’s another issue. You were only able to share it by way of the magical means Cole Shilo gifted you.” His friend quirked his cheek. “There’s talk of a loss of integrity at the expense of…”
“A thief?” A growl rumbled in Dressen’s throat as his blood seethed.
“A Sentinel, Kyle. You have to view this from these men’s perspective. I know you’re not religious, but religion is going to play a large part in what they decide.”
“Then use their beliefs against them. Look into the covenants the wizards have made. Their long lives will show something. In two thousand years, no man can live without error.”
Carrington ran a finger under his collar as if it suddenly became too small. “I’ll make the assignment. But how do you expect to get to the girl if she’s up there?”
A crooked smile crept its way to Dressen’s lips. “I’ll find a way. You just start by calling them in for questioning and I’ll do the rest.”
Cornerstone Deep Echoes is available in paperback and e-formats. (But here’s a quick link).
And I would love you to join me on the web!
Author site: http://CharleneAWilson.com