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Welcome back to another Wednesday on Ink Drop Interviews. This week I welcome Charlene A Wilson, author of ‘Chronicles of Shiloh Manor’.
IDI – Hi Charlene. I’m glad you’re here.
CW – Hi, this is wonderful. I’m thrilled you selected me for a spotlight. You have a list of great authors on Ink Drop Interviews.
IDI – Thank you. Now let me take a minute to fill the readers in on you a little.
Charlene is a paranormal romance writer published through Class Act Books. Her books center on lasting love and she adds the excitement of new worlds with a dash of magic. She began writing in her early teens and took any creative writing courses available.
She currently lives in a small rural town in Arkansas and enjoys close family ties with her two beautiful daughters.
IDI – Tell us Charlene, as you look back on those pieces you wrote in your youth, what are your thoughts?
CW – Lol. I think the right word would be… humorous. I shake my head and laugh. but, having teen daughters, I know how intense they view things at that age. I look back at my scribbles and remember how deeply I felt about what I was writing. I’m glad I was on the shy side, though, and only my friends and family got to read them.
IDI – What kept the fires burning over the years? What are you most passionate about in your writing?
CW – Sometimes I wonder what does keep the fire burning. Lol. But, it’s always there, even when my mind doesn’t want to cooperate and write the scenes I’m seeing or the emotions emitting from my characters.
For me, the writing is what I’m passionate about. With all the duties an author has, writing, plotting, revision, edits, research, promotion, marketing, networking… My passion is in the writing. I’m one of those authors whose characters are alive, speak to them, show them what should be happening in their lives. And I love bringing those lives to life.
IDI – Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
CW – I’d love to say I always knew I was supposed to be a writer and never veered from that ambition. I did love writing in my youth and went into it in college, but as I got older and married, family responsibilities had to come first. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I was able to pick back up on my dream. As I finished my first full-length novel, I realized that this is what I wanted to concentrate on, the talent I wanted to really grow with and develop.
IDI – Many authors find their first real attempt at writing isn’t the one that goes to print. I know you have a couple books out. Was that novel among them?
CW – No, that would be the ‘Chronicles of Shilo Manor’ series. And you’re right. That first book was nowhere near what it needed to be for publication. It’s called ‘Aumelan’, and I’m working on it now, revising. I hope to have it ready to submit by the end of the year.
IDI – Could we get a sneak peek?
CW – Sure. In ‘Aumelan’, Desire, Fate and Destiny fight for precedence in Chad’s life as he steps beyond the borders and attempts the impossible: Free his people of the need to take energy to survive, and free their servers of their enslavement.
Chad glanced down the deserted catacomb behind them. The wide tunnel that led from the City of Aumelan disappeared as he and Dee veered onto his own route. He looked back at his server as she kept a small distance between him. Fondness warmed his heart and sent a grin his lips.
Bypassing a deep crevice in the floor, he turned to get a better look. Her long hair covered most of her face as she watched her steps along the trail. A knee-length frock covered her slender form, ties holding the hems at her shoulders and up the side. Mild tucks gathered the bodice to her ribs just below her breasts.
He lifted his brow. She wasn’t the same servant girl he tried so hard to lose games to in his youth. If only he’d known that his father called for penitence when she bested him—he would never have lost.
Slowing his pace, he allowed her the chance to walk with him. She shuffled to a stop and glanced at him with question. He looked into her dark eyes, his slate gaze teasing the perimeter of their placement. Her face flushed and she looked away. The nerves danced in his stomach. It would only take a word, or in his case a directed thought, and she’d be as close as he desired. He blinked to the side. But, would it be her desire or just a response to his command?
With a tempered sigh, he stepped into a turn and lifted the light crystal in his hand. Its glow cast a halo that reached deep into the pass. She shared his love of the excursions through the Hollow Hand—of that he was sure. It will have to be enough. His thoughts paused as he attempted to put it out of his mind.
Within a step, they returned to the subject.
Keeper and slave. He shook his head, denying the fact. She’s like home. Always there. Always willing to give. And I’ll take her attention over any. Though he could never let it be known, he knew it.
Agitation bubbled in chest as he couldn’t push the topic aside. With each footfall, his heart beat out possibilities. Would she want him if it were allowed…if the only thing that separated them was the space between them?
Chad took a deep breath as images of holding her warmed his body. She’d meet his gaze without hesitation—and hold it. No worry of a master’s rebuke would exist. No walls of status would stand in the way. She would lean into his palm as he brushed back her long hair. Her lips would welcome his into a soft kiss. Her body would press into his. She…
Sparks flashed in Chad’s head and a grunt punched from his lungs. He staggered back. Scrubbing at his brow, he opened his eyes to the jagged ledge. Reality came back to him. Tunnel. Low passage. He looked at his servant and her gaze darted to the rubble floor. Damn. Despite his embarrassment, the corners of his lips curled.
He tilted his head to peer at her and smiled. She couldn’t hide the sparkle in her eyes behind that straggled brown hair no matter how much she might try. His voice held a touch of mirth. “You may say it.”
Wide chocolate eyes looked up at him and her head jerked to the side as if she caught her show of refusal mid-shake.
He upped his scratched brow. “Dee, speak truthfully to me.”
She bit her teeth into a timid comment. “You are too tall to fit through there without bending over.”
He tempered a chucked and it blew past his nostrils. “Yes.” He ran his hand along the rough sedimentary. Amber and toffee hues colored the formations. He mumbled to dispel the lingering humiliation. “I forgot this passage jetted down like this.”
Pulling his map from his vest pocket, he smoothed it against the wall. Light from Dee’s crystal joined his to pour over the drawings as she held it closer. He jotted a note. Low cave bacon.
Stashing the map, he dipped into the short pass. “I really can’t help myself. My mind was elsewhere. Styne has wanted to accompany me to the World of the Sun for years. His parents couldn’t have given him a better coronation gift.”
“You described it perfectly.”
“How else could I describe it? Endless horizons. Crisp air. Scents of a billion creations. That cave above the sea is my greatest discovery yet.” He threw a cheery gaze back at the young woman who’d served him since childhood. “How many of our people get the opportunity to witness such things? They’re going to remember this outing for the rest of their lives.”
~ * ~
Wind howled and Styne’s thrill of adventure diminished. He gathered his nerve and inched into the cave’s mouth like emerging from the bowels of a beast. Steps slipping on the slick rock, he reached the landing, gaze glued on the panoramic view. Awe locked logical thought as he scanned the vast World Above.
His confusion passed his lips in a low mumble. “Chad said it was big but…” Anchoring his stand, he looked up past the jagged ceiling’s edge. He lifted his torch and drew it across the upper scope. The glowing crystal did nothing to penetrate the ominous cover. “It was supposed to be… What is this?”
Light strobed across the sky, highlighting the restless heavens into a musty gray. A trail of silent flashes expanded to fill the horizon. They went on forever, their muted glow revealing the battle among the black sea’s crests below. Shock burned in his core as he tried to make sense of it all.
The scent of sweet earth and salty sea hit as the wind threw waves to clash against the mountain’s face. Thick sheets of water sprayed skyward and pelted him with heavy falls. He swiped a hand down his face, plastering his fawn hair to his brow.
The heavens clashed, shaking the firm foundation behind him. His heart jumped to his throat and his arms flew over his head as instinct ruled his actions. The sky flashed white. Gasping, Styne shot his blinded gaze back toward the safety of the World Beneath the Rock. Fear held him rooted.
From deep in the tunnel, Stafford’s voice held panic. As sight returned to him, Styne saw his server’s crystal torch bob as he ran full speed, jumping past obstacles.
“Safford! Don’t…” He took a step and his footing slipped. “Wait! It’s…” He threw his hands out for balance. “Don’t…”
Styne struggled to regain composure but his disoriented mind refused. Stafford jarred to a halt and his feet flew from under him. His frantic eyes flashed in the light as his crystal fell to the landing and he skidded past his master. He clawed at the wet surface as he disappeared over the cliff’s ledge. The sky rumbled and the sound rolled across the expanses.
Styne’s mind reeled. A gasp punched from his lunges. “St…” Words wouldn’t form. He blinked and scrubbed his eyes with his palms. A monstrous wave clashed into the bluff’s face, and as it rose before the cave, a hungry howl moaned throughout the hollow.
Launching into a run, Styne scrambled into the depths of his world. Stumbling over rock, he swung himself past the tunnel’s column and scuffled down the steep pitch. The glow from his torch created wild shadows along the jetted catacomb. With every turn, flashes of the vast open world flew across his inner eye.
He stopped. Squeezing his eyes shut, he fell against the rock wall. His heart pounded. Choppy breaths punched from his cheeks. His arms and legs shook with tremors and he bunched his shirt with his fist to control the quakes in his stomach.
Shaking his head, he willed himself to master his actions. Calm down. Temper this. He filled his lungs with the familiar scent of sediment and focused on the safety around him. Fortification. Security. Control.
He opened his eyes to the serene environment of the World Below. Silence rested on him. Muted light flowed from the large crystal in his hand, illuminating the path back to camp. Lifting his chin, he set his resolve and headed down the natural trail.
Stafford’s panicked face flashed in his memory and quakes overtook him again. He braced himself against a stone’s face. How could he not show strength during chaos for his slave’s sake? I couldn’t even warn him. What master shows such weakness? Sinking to ground, he knotted his fingers in his hair. Temper this! You’re a Father of the Nation now! Propping his elbows on his knees, he rested his brow in his palms. Shame riddled his heart. Twenty years of life and you react like a child. Father can’t see me like this. Not now.
IDI – I understand you’re busy with the release of book two in the ‘Chronicles of Shilo Manor’ series. Fill us in on what’s going on.
CW – February was a very busy month for me. I was on a month-long tour with ‘Cornerstone Deep Echoes’ and am so excited about the response I got. Though it’s over, I’m continuing the celebration with several more stops through the months of March and April and will be attending the Romance Times Conference in Chicago in April, spreading the word. If any of you plan on being there, drop me a message. It’d be great to meet you! Everyone can keep up with my schedule of events and find out where the next giveaways are by dropping by my Facebook Fan page. I’d love to see you there!
IDI – Tell us about the series. Would you share an excerpt?
CW – As Sentinels to the Arched Spectrum of Realms, the Shilos are used to being very different from the people they observe in the foreign dimensions. They manipulate the elements, communicate telepathically, could explode the world around them, not to mention, they live thousands of years and are reborn to continue their soul’s progression. So, when their father told them reincarnation didn’t exist in Cornerstone Deep after he tried countless times to find their mother, why would they doubt him? He was the most renowned realm traveler of his time. It was an awful reality to Cole who still grieved for Mianna, his last wife. But, they find out how wrong they are when Anna speaks to Cole’s soul. He answers with a kiss—and it couldn’t have been more ill-timed. It happened soon after she’d inhaled a spell that was meant to place the homeless and lawbreakers into servitude to the noblemen…and a certain Grand Marshal, Lord Dressen, ordered this one. The result? He bound the soul of the only woman he truly loved. Mianna. Angering the lords of Cornerstone Deep and bringing the wrath of the Gods on them, he tries desperately to undo his wrong.
In Cornerstone Deep Echoes, Cole finds the past isn’t what he thinks it was. His father allowed them to believe rebirth didn’t exist there. Now, the truth comes out. And Lord Dressen uses every bit of the knowledge he can to ensure he keeps Anna in his possession.
Cornerstone Deep Echoes – excerpt
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 bow tie 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.”
IDI – Very different stories. How do you come up with ideas for your writing?
CW – The core of the ‘Chronicles of Shilo Manor’ and ‘Aumelan’ came from dreams. Chapter three in book one, ‘Cornerstone Deep’, is almost step for step what happened in one of them. Other scenes are from that dream, too. But, when I world build or character create, ideas can come from all over. I worked as a Deputy for a large detention center in the past, and believe it or not, many of the personalities for my characters come from inmates I dealt with. Of course, the characters take on their own lives but it helps to have a starting point. *wink*
IDI – Who’s your target audience? What aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?
CW – The romantics. The believers of true love, soul mates, rebirth, eternal progression, love conquers all. Those who love a twist, that ‘”No Way!” moment, the “Aww, that’s so romantic” moment. The dreamers. My books have all of those and more.
IDI – We all draw from within and I believe there is an element of ‘us’ in everything we write. How much of you will a reader find in any given book?
CW – I guess this depends on how you want to view it. I put my heart and soul in my writings. So, I would imagine my personality shows through. But, I was once confronted about a controversial topic in my ‘Aumelan’ series. This lady couldn’t believe I would write from the point of view of a Master. In that series, Chad and his people are masters to the Chamber people. In fact, his father is the Leading Father of Mastery – a title he inherits when his father dies. This doesn’t mean I believe in mastery or condone the actions of taking away anybody’s rights. It’s just the way that civilization handled the situation they were in. It was normal for them, though Chad wished it was very different and headed out to make changes. I learned that some people believe that if an author writes about it, they believe in it. I write fantasy/fiction. My imagination shows in my books.
IDI – So, you’re a published author. What advice would you give to a new/unpublished author?
CW – Believe in the magic that’s in you, its potential, what it can achieve. But, most of all believe in yourself and create a world where dreams become reality.
IDI – It’s been great getting to know you and your books, Charlene. Thank you for being with us today.
CW – Thank you so much for having me here. It’s been a real treat.
Would you like to reach Charlene? You can find her here:
To pick up a copy of her books, go here:
Okay, as writers I think most of us share a certain something of interest besides our desire to create. BOOKSTORES! Yes, I don’t deny, I cannot drive by one without pulling in. It’s that little voice calling to me, ‘Kathy, it’s me… the new Sandra Brown book, in here’ and without warning, my car is without directionals, down a one-way street and in front of a cop because if I don’t hurry, I may miss the last copy by mere seconds….
It’s an addiction.
Here is a link to some of the world’s most beautiful bookstores. Each one worth the ticket! Enjoy the tour…
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Something new! – In my continued attempt to promote others, I am going to offer a link each week that will take you to a book of interest. This week – OVERCOME WRITER’S BLOCK – by Beth Barany. Definitely worth a look!
Do you enjoy Amanda Hocking? Try ‘Torn’… a real page-turner…