Category: Uncategorized

Midnight Nightmares

I come to you in the middle of the night… or technically ridiculously early in the morning (you pick, I don’t care) to say that The Exiled Prince (book #3 in the Ian Quicksilver Series) is soon to hit the shelves.  And it’s going to be awesome.

I mean it.

I hate everything I write.  At some point or another I swear at my books and wonder why on earth I am even published because that was straight up rubbish.  I think all authors go through it at some point or another or at least they should.  I did meet a writer once who was massively in love with his own writing.  He signed up for a critique at a writing conference and told me, point blank, he did it on a whim and probably wouldn’t take my advice because he loved his story and writing style that much.  I don’t get that.  At all.
Hating what you write is a good thing. It makes you second guess what you wrote, be more critical and see more plot flaws.  If you totally love everything you write there is no room for growth, improvement, or development.  Was Charolette Bronte a total genius at the get go?  Nope.  Her sisters shredded her work and she was brutally harsh on her own writing.  Granted, the lady could write like a boss, but she had a keen, critical eye.
So, it came as a total shock that after I finished The Exiled Prince, I loved it.  Not from the very beginning, mind you.  I went through five re-writes and had a hate fest slaughtering each one before I settled on the story it is today.  However, now that it is done, I actually like it.  Why?
Because I was mean.  I created characters I loved to hate, built a story around two amazing teenagers and I totally fell in love with Corbin all over again.  Let me tell you something about Corbin… he may only be a side character, but he has his man hands gripped on my heart.
Gosh, i was about to lay out some spoilers.  Good thing I stopped myself!  I guess you’ll have to read it and see what I wrote!
The Exiled Prince releases September 12th.  Pre-orders can be made on Amazon…HERE!

Shades of Winter Blue

It’s been a long winter.

I live in the mountains. There are basically two seasons of the year. Nine months of frigid life-sucking cold and three months of sweltering heat. There is no in between.

My bout with severe winter depression started in October of last year. Bet you didn’t see that one coming. I would languish in bed bemoaning my fugue state, wondering why the hell life was so stinking hard. Problem was, it wasn’t hard. My hubs cleaned house, did the dishes and the laundry week in and week out for months. He pampered me and loved me and kept me going. And for some reason I couldn’t get my butt out of bed for more than taking kids to school and bringing them home again.

 

I really have zero excuse for this behavior. Our bills were paid, I have a nice car, my cell phone is the latest whatever version of phone-ness, my kids aren’t total idiots, and my husband took good care of me.

By golly, you must be thinking, you lazy little twit.

But I got it in my head that my life must be PERFECT. If it wasn’t perfect then somehow I wasn’t a good wife, a good mother, or even a decent Christian. I know it sounds stupid. I know I shouldn’t think that way. I KNOW!!! Okay? I know. But women where I live are OBSESSED with appearing perfect. They can’t, heaven forbid, talk about the strain of dealing with kids, problems in the bedroom, or anything else that might be construed as less than perfect because that would present the image that they haven’t done enough. That somehow, they have failed.

Look at me. Yes, you… the person reading this crap. Repeat after me:

 

I AM NOT A FAILURE.

 

You aren’t. None of us are and here is why:

I feed my kids eggs on Sunday because I’m too tired after church to cook a big Sunday meal. I found DIRTY UNDERWEAR on the frigging kitchen table (YES, where we EAT!!!). I swore at a dump truck that cut me off and dinged my windshield… with all my kids in the car and a few of their friends too. I totally lied to the police officer who pulled me over last week. I fully admit that I freak out every time I have to clean off the internet history (I live in fear of ever seeing the word “sex” in the search browser). I speed. I cheat on my diet. I take naps after working out. I have totally been caught picking my nose at a red light. And my personal favorite: I frigging laughed my butt off when I saw in the news that some lady won the “Mother of the Year” award for 2016 and was being honored at a banquet on Capitol Hill. Laughed until I peed myself, people.

The list goes on and on and on. Why? Because I am not perfect. I love my kids, my husband and the God-saving gospel with all my heart and soul. It is because of them that I finally pulled out of my depressed funk I’d been muddling through for six stupid months. That also shows how imperfect I am. It took me five YEARS of putting up a perfect carbon copy of myself out there and six months of crying, pouting, and deep loathing of myself to realize that being less than perfect is perfectly fine.

Why have I not failed? Because in February I seriously considered taking my life. But I didn’t. I am less than perfect, but damn it, I HAVE NOT FAILED.

And neither have you.

The Person Behind the Con

I’d like to believe I’m about the most real person you’ll ever meet. You ask me a question, I’ll tell it to you straight. I have a hard time mincing words. I’ll also tell you how I am feeling. You might be a little confused though. Even if I really don’t like you, I believe in BHD.

Basic. Human. Decency.

It’s the stuff where regardless of my emotions running amok, I’ll respect you enough to not show them on my face and use words instead. Not harsh words, but I try to go for kind words as much as possible. BHD is something my parents raised me to have. I try to instill it in my own kids, but that’s beside the point.

BHD is a lost art. I find that I really struggle with BHD because I have other more glaring problems. The Evil A (Anxiety) for one and a deep loathing for PS (Public Speaking). Evil A and PS take my normally congenial nature and suck it down a tube, which is not a good place to go when being an author.

What I was never told was that being an author means that I have to meet people, shake hands (I also have an irrational germ fear, but that’s another post entirely), and speak in public. The first time I had to get up in front of a classroom and teach, I had a full-blown panic attack before AND afterwards. I am not proud that I nearly passed out in the BYU campus bathrooms.

That being said, I think it is HILARIOUS when someone comes up to me after one of my lectures and tells me that they are so impressed with my natural ability to speak in front of large audiences. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Sorry. Whew, I lost it there for a moment. They don’t see the shaking, the dry mouth or hear my heart thumping in my ears to the tune of The Flight of the Bumble Bee.

But I keep doing it. I keep trekking across the country talking to kids about writing, I keep going to Writing Conferences, and Comic Cons.   Anxiety is very real. The intense fear of public speaking hasn’t diminished. However, I’d like to think that I got a healthy helping of BHD somewhere in my genetics. I sincerely love people even though they scare the living daylights out of me. It’s a very weird combination.

I was asked if all writers have to be outgoing and extroverts to be published. No. No, you don’t. But, for the sake of my books, I pull up my big girl panties, walk in those classrooms with my head held high and keep 911 on speed dial. One of these days I am going to pass out and go into cardiac arrest. But I can promise you that I will teach the best damn class before I get wheeled out on that stretcher.

What I Wish I’d Known In Middle School

Middle school sucks.  Not only does 6-8th grade suck the life out of a kid academically, it sucks hormonally, physically and socially.

It came as a real surprise to me that I love to write in the teenage boy voice.  You’d think I came from a background of expertise: boyfriends, a male BFF or I actually knew how to talk to boys.

I didn’t.

In Junior High I was the human equivalent of Chihuahua/Husky mix breed pup with no visible breasts, hips, or femininity.  I was the youngest of eight kids and shared one bathroom with six older sisters who were a million times more fashionably and hygienically forward than I was.  My days consisted of basic survival at home and blundering idiocy at school

I was horribly backward.  Boys were the mysterious other gender I knew absolutely nothing about.  I had two older brothers.  However, they were confined upstairs and limited to teasing and farting.  My dad had no real interest in educating me on the ways of boys so when hormones kicked in somewhere at the end of seventh grade, I was a complete novice.

My interaction with boys then makes me cringe.  I figured that if I stared at them long enough, they would somehow inherently know that I was interested in them.  They would have to completely ignore that I hadn’t washed in two days, I didn’t know how to brush my hair, and would probably need to ignore that there was something nefarious stuck in my teeth from lunch.

And now I am laughing and crying at the same time.  I need a selective amnesia pill.

I was dumb.  I didn’t understand boys at all until I hit college and even then I only seemed to attract jerks.  When I met my husband… well, that took a lot of hard work too.  He was the good egg. I was the funky chicken, molting in the corner of the yard.

Now that I am greatly outnumbered in my own household (three to one ratio of males to females), my learning curve has sharpened.

Boys are not dumb.  Boys are not emotionally stunted.  Boys are very much aware of what goes on around them.

They have incredible minds that think very literally.  Black means black and white is white.  Grey area hints are a waste of time (my sons tell me this frequently).  The idea of body language is completely lost on them.  So is fashion.  When a girl comes to my home wearing booty shorts and a tank top and rubs up on my 15 year old son (to which I’d like to slap her into next week), TRUST me when I say that the only thing he noticed was that her underwear was falling out her shorts and that made him seriously uncomfortable.

My thirteen year old hasn’t even noticed girls yet (THANK HEAVENS).  The one girl he likes is a head taller than he is, but dude, she can play soccer like a boss.  Which is why he likes her.  Both my boys notice the tone of a girl’s laugh, what they say, who they gossip about, and how they act.  Swearing is a turn off.  So is destructive gossip about their friends.  My sons, and all their friends too, think smart girls to be super attractive.  They like girls that can carry a conversation, play a sport, or have a cool talent.  Crushing on Star Wars is a big bonus too.

I wish I had known all this in middle school.  It would have saved me years of awkwardness.  On the brighter side, I now get to channel those years into my books, as seen through a boy’s eyes.  It makes my boys cringe.  I know they hate it.  But they are the best study subjects I have.

Manuscripts I Love To Hate

I am in the middle of my edits for Ian Quicksilver: THE EXILED PRINCE.  I usually like this part of the process.  When I write, I get the story out on paper, I rearrange and edit.  After working on it for a solid three months, I start hating it. There hasn’t been one single book I’ve written that I haven’t ended up hating at one time or another.  I’ve penned a good twelve books and every single one of them, in one way or another, makes me want to hack an ax through the center of it.

The Exiled Prince is currently no different.  When I finished writing it, I loved it.  I put it aside for six months and submitted it to my publisher.  I completely forgot what I’d written.  When I got the preliminary sub-edits back on it, I began to seriously question my sanity in thinking it was, in any way the story I thought I would tell.

The manuscript now keeps me up at night.  I have mentally skewered the living daylights out of that stupid thing.  Don’t get me wrong… it’s good.  As in, I had NO CLUE I could write something that emotional.  I usually lean toward the funny when I write.  Emotional?  Not so much.  I’m sitting here going through it for the fourth time, just to make freaking sure that I want take Ian in the direction that I did.  Every single stinking time, I end up with my mouth hanging open and asking myself and my laptop “did I really write that?”

Apparently I did.

So… can I drop a few spoilers?  I think I will…

I was mean to one of my characters.  I skewered him in the heart with a dull spoon and gave it a hearty twist (metaphorically).  Many of my readers wonder if I laugh evilly when I kill off characters.  I don’t.  I cry and blubber right along with them because it’s pretty emotional for me too as I write it.  I don’t enjoy it and it doesn’t give me a perverse sense of enjoyment.  HOWEVER, when I plot twist in a magnificent sort of way that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end, you can count on me chuckling a little gleefully.  It.  Cannot.  Be.  Helped.

And by golly, I was mean.  Not “death to you, character dear” kind of mean.  More like I yanked the proverbial rug out from under Ian and Arianna.  Silivus is evil and twisted in a manically superb way.  His mind is cruel and genius.  I can only question how far down the rabbit hole Ian will go to get back what he lost.

Then I realize that I am cackling to myself in a completely dead silent and empty house.  My dog is staring at me like I’ve lost it and she’s a little scared to be around me.

I will spoil a few more tidbits soon.  Please.  Speculate.

The UNSAID Book Review

The UNSAID by Aaron Blaylock

I usually don’t post book reviews on my blogs. I’m not a book reviewer. My life is insanely busy and reading for enjoyment is for weekends and airport delays. I’m a mom and life is crazy and free time (snerk) is scarce. Which also means that if the first five pages don’t grip my interest and hold me, I usually put down the book and never pick it up again.

So in saying that, you can imagine that The UNSAID is already pretty awesome. After my trial five pages, I HAD TO FINISH IT. Cooking, cleaning, and communicating all got shoved aside as I devoured this book. First of all, the fact that Maggie is a heavenly recorder of every thought and feeling that her charge, Eric, has pretty much made me freak out. I found myself apologizing for every mean, stupid, insipid thought I’ve ever had and hoped my mental recorder was listening.

Maggie is charged with only being a recorder. No matter how sarcastic Eric’s thoughts get or how involved she gets in his life, she is forbidden to interfere. For me, this was fabulous. There were many instances where I laughed out loud, gasped and yelled at Eric right along with Maggie.

So, when Maggie finds out that Eric’s love interest is going forward with suicide, Maggie does the unthinkable. She takes control of Eric’s mind. The consequences are hilarious and heart breaking. I loved every second of it!

I’m not going to tell you what happens because you’ve got to go and read it yourself to find out what happens. The book is beautiful. Which reminds me that I need to hunt Blaylock down and have him sign my copy.

THE UNSAID

By Aaron Blaylock

5/5 stars

WELCOME TO ARI’S WORLD

Presenting the beautiful, the amazing, the one and only… Princess Arianna!!!

Okay, that was a fail.  Ari would hate the grand entrance and bravado anyway.  It’s just not her style.  She also really wouldn’t approve of me talking about her personal life.  After all, she’s a pretty private gal.

Arianna was a little difficult to create.  Not because I didn’t know who she was or what made her tick.  It was because I knew her a little too well.  Let me explain:

Ari has spent her entire life in fear.  Fear of her parents, fear of her magical abilities and fear of the harm she might do to others.  Of course, she’s not a naturally introverted person.  She wants to have friends, go out and have fun and just live a normal life.  But more than anything, Ari doesn’t want to be afraid any more.

Of course, sitting in your nice comfy homes, it’s easy to think, well gosh, why can’t she see that Ian and Corbin are good friends and they can handle her magic?  Well, because fear does funky things to people.  Ari has spent fifteen years of her life being told by her father that she has a dangerous disease.  Her caseworker, Mr. Churchill (aka Silivus the magician), further fuels the fear by making threats to send her away or have her tested.

So, if you grow up being told you are dangerous, you are bound to pick up some issues along the way.  It didn’t help that when Ari was younger she accidentally put a girl in the hospital because she couldn’t control her magic.  This was a catastrophic blow to her, making Ian’s job in befriending her all the more difficult.  Why?  Well, Ari has a soft heart and a gentle soul.  She feels everything intensely: hurt, pain, sympathy, anger, happiness and, yes, fear.  Once she has experienced the intense fear and pain from hurting her friend, she was never the same.

Being a full-blooded Garfelian only intensifies her emotions.  The Garfelian race is considered the peacekeepers of the galaxy and the direct opposites of their Warrior neighbors of Bankhir.  The Warriors may win your war, but it’ll be the Garfelian peacekeepers who will clean up, heal the wounded and bring diplomacy and peace to your planet.  Ari doesn’t understand Ian, Corbin or the warriors.  It’s difficult for her to process Ian’s need to fight and his violent side when he switches into Battlelust.  It’s against the core of her nature.

When Ian and Ari swap trinkets to create a communication link, little does Ian know that he passed a part of his warrior-ness on to Ari as well as received a section of her peacekeeping personality on to Ian.  Those two are so tied up around each other, if ever they should go their separate ways the magical reverberation on the galaxy would be cataclysmic.  There is no question as to why Ian hates it when Ari asks for her crescent pendant back, but what Ian doesn’t know is that when she takes back who she is, her mercy, her peacemaking heart…she finally feels whole and complete as a person.  It also explains her craving need to constantly be around Ian.  It’s one, big messy knot for those two.  Which only gets knottier as their story progresses.

Creating Ari was hard.  It was painful and it was raw exposure.  Ari is me.  (Including the incredibly dorky side that comes out on occasion…)

alyson-crazyThere is so much about me that I’d rather sweep under the rug or hide under a bush.  So much of my life was dictated by fear.  It wasn’t until I had grown up a bit that I realized fear was just a painful vice that threatened to squeeze the life out of me.  The only person stopping me from breaking free was myself.  Just like Ari.

As Ari discovers that she has so much to offer, it shocks her that people want to get to know her, be friends with her and love her.  She is gentle and kind and wouldn’t think a mean thing about anyone.  But even the gentlest of souls can be marred and Ari’s has scars all over hers.  It’s those scars we share that makes me love her.  In fact, as I wrote her, I became angry.  There is something so very wrong when a kind person is hurting.  Sensitive souls are so rare and so beautiful and it hurt to make her go through so much pain.  I wanted to protect her and fix her and the only way I could do that was to protect and fix myself.

I have big plans for Ari.  Big, big plans.

 

 

Next week:  Meet the horse that inspired Bob.  He’s pretty awesome.  And really fat.

IAN AND MY REAL LIFE WARRIORS

I want you to meet Ian Quicksilver.

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I suppose the reason why I delayed a little in posting was that Ian… sigh… Ian is very close to my heart. I put more into him than I expected and he ended up being a mash up of a band of teenage boys that I am privileged to know.

When I created Ian, I needed a very snarky kid. He had to be resourceful, resilient and have a core of genuine kindness that is rare (and that he keeps pretty well hidden). At the beginning of The Warrior’s Return, Ian was short and scrawny. He was an asthmatic who got lost in the Nevada foster care system. This beginning came from two sources. Dan Fankhauser and my own son, Tanner. Dan, at the time that I was writing The Warrior’s Return, was six years old. He’d been battling asthma for years and was only getting worse. However, that kid is amazing. He is funny, creative and a bundle of energy. His spirit is larger than his tiny body and it showed through his big, bright blue eyes. That kid wormed his way into my heart faster than a runaway freight train with equal crash impact on my soul.

As Ian came in contact with magic and as he learned of his heritage and powers, he began to grow. This part makes me laugh. As I was writing the first draft, my son hit puberty like a ton of bricks. He went from a piddly four foot nine to five foot six in about six months. He was no longer my little boy and had become a man, not only in stature, but in attitude as well. Watching his transformation play out before my eyes ended up on the page.

Ian’s attitude is very specific. Again, inspiration came from my son and his friend, Spencer. Get those two boys together and you’ll get a gut ache from laughing so hard. Dry humor, snarkiness and quick wit are the core of Ian and is decision making. Despite the sarcasm, if you should find yourself in a bind, Tanner and Spencer would be the first to get you out of it. Ian is reliable to the core, appreciates loyalty in his friends and would defend the ones he cares for to the death.

This may sound extreme. It’s not. Unless you have had the privilege to know a person as fiercely loyal as the boys in my acquaintance, you’ll never quite understand what honor and loyalty means to them. While Tanner and his little brother don’t always get along, should you mess with the younger brother, you will find Tanner’s fist shoved into your face. Why? They’re family and we protect family. In saying that, our friends ARE family. Many of his friends call me “mom” and they are definitely my “sons”. It’s not a title given or treated lightly.

I can’t talk about Ian without talking about what he looks like. All of these boys I’ve talked about (Tanner, Dan, and Spencer) all have a few things in common. They have blond hair and blue eyes. This may mean nothing to you, but it means everything to Ian and the Bankhir Warriors. As I mentioned in The Warrior’s Return, Ian and Corbin look alike. In fact, all the Warriors have blond hair, glowing blue eyes and tan skin.

 

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Lastly, I can’t talk about Ian without talking about Will Anderson. I got to know Will about six years ago. He is my youngest son’s best friend and there is something about Will that makes him stand out and it has nothing to do with his stature. At 12 years old, he is nearly six foot and every inch the athlete. While his stature is amazing, his height has nothing on his attitude, core of kindness and deeply rooted caring for everyone around him. He is the first to stand up for the right thing, against what is popular, and yet, never judges a person by their color, background or wealth. He is truly a Bankhir Warrior, both inside and out.

I dedicated Ian Quicksilver: The Cursed Dagger to Will. I did it because every kid has his doubts. It’s tempting to follow the crowd or fall in with bad friends. Even Tanner, Spencer and Dan have struggled with who they are and what they live for. It’s hard to be young in this world. All I have to say is this:

Don’t ever give in. Don’t ever give up. Stick up for yourself and what you stand for and you’ll NEVER regret it.

 

 

Next time: I want you all to meet Ari.

CORBIN’S OTHER LIFE

Oh Corbin.  You make my heart sing.

I promised that I would post a little something about each of the characters in Ian Quicksilver and today is the fabulous Corbin.

Corbin is near and dear to my heart.  Ask me who my favorite character is in my books and I will always answer CORBIN!!  Corbin was a labor of much love.  His blunt honesty and frank ways of speaking make me smile.  Why?  Because Corbin is none other than my husband, Aaron.

There is a reason Aaron has never read my books.  I don’t think he wants to read about himself.  Anyone who knows Aaron and reads Corbin snicker a little bit because I nailed it.  Sometimes I might have a personality figured out in a friend or acquaintance and most of the time I twist reality to fit my literary needs.  Fortunately, I didn’t do that with Corbin.  Aaron as Corbin came out unadulterated onto the page.  It was no surprise either that writing him was the easiest out of all my characters.

So, let me introduce Corbin.

Corbin is a Bankhir Warrior.  He was exiled to earth for committing treason and trying to kill the magician, Silivus. Ian’s dad, Edrak (King of Bankhir), had mercy on him seeing as Corbin was his favorite nephew and the son of Edrak’s general.  Corbin has blue eyes, buzzed short blonde hair, square jaw and is few on words and even fewer on emotions.  He stands at a towering six foot eight inches and is every inch a warrior.  His entire directive is to find Ian, break the curse and return to Bankhir with full honors.

Corbin is not a rule breaker.  He may bend the rules a bit or flat out ignore them in the face of completing a higher task, but when it comes to tradition, Corbin will toe the line to the exact measure.  He’s been through a LOT.  Unfortunately, not all of it made it into the books.  In fact, he may get his own book.  I’ve got that much dirt on that man!

It took Corbin fifteen years to find Ian, in which he lived a fairly adventurous life on Earth.  He landed in Cairo, Egypt and practically scared the pants off a young Egyptian kid on his way to school.  From Egypt he quickly found himself fighting for the French Foreign Legion with a motley band of US Marines, British Royal Air Force cast offs and one seriously lost Canadian Mounty.  It was through these men that Corbin made his way slowly around the world in search of Ian.

While Corbin may have a gruff exterior, there is more to him than a crusty, battle-hardened warrior.  There is a softer side to him.  He appreciates being married and has been a widower three times.  He has a deep respect for women and harbors a lingering fancy for Ian’s sister, Piper.

There is a lot to Corbin that I have written and had to delete in the process of editing.  The most important thing you should know about him is that Corbin is a deeply layered physical being.  I can’t talk about Corbin without talking about my husband, Aaron.  Aaron is the most generous person you will ever meet.  He will give you the shirt off his back, all the cash in his wallet, and his time on the weekends.  His hugs will crack your spine, but his hands are gentle.  He may speak harshly and I’ve gotten used to his gruff manners, yet there is a core of sincere concern behind the abruptness.  He’ll never lie to you.  In fact, if he sees you doing something stupid or wrong, he’ll tell you straight out without coloring the facts or sparing your feelings.

aaron

I also gave Corbin Aaron’s classic glare.  He can pin down a bug with that look and make it beg for mercy.  Neither of them have time for or waste time on excess emotion.  It may sound as if I married and created the worst possible man, but both men are the truest men I have ever had the privilege to meet.  They are trustworthy, brave, smart, faithful, and unwavering to the very end.  In a battle, you’d want Aaron and Corbin on your side.  Fighting against them would be suicidal.

And, because I love my Aaron and his fictional equivalent very much, I gave them the same birthday: August 30th.   Happy Birthday Aaron!  I love you!

Next time: Meet Ian Quicksilver’s doppelgänger!

When Fictional Characters Come to Life

I try to keep my fictional characters as… well, fictional as possible.  It is the great rule of all writers.  Our characters are totally made up out of our heads and have nothing to do with the people we know and love.  We’d never write in someone we don’t like and then kill them off.  That would be totally not cool.  And I’d NEVER write totally cool, butt kicking characters and have them look like someone I know.  That would be devastatingly horrible.

**snort**

Okay, I am lying.  The truth is that most of the characters I write about are people I know now or knew growing up.  ALL of the Puckerbush High School teacher’s names are teachers I had in elementary, middle and high school.  Seeing as the majority of my characters are the folks I live with and are a part of my life, I want to introduce you to a few of them.  (that is if they agree to send me a picture of them and allow me to post it)

In The Warrior’s Return, Ian meets Marvin Sanders.  Dr. Sanders is a veterinary in Puckerbush who takes care of the town’s menagerie of four legged furry friends.  Dr. Sanders name was poached from a real Dr. Sanders I worked for while I was in college.  It was a tough job cleaning up after puking cats and poopy dogs, but it paid the bills.

The personality and physical description of Marvin Sanders came from this guy:

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This is Les Bassett.

Should you have the privilege of meeting this man, you should know that he has an amazing sense of humor.  He is a straight talking fellow with a lot of fight in him.  He is the guy who fist bumps my son at church, works hard and is one heck of a loyal father, grandfather and friend.  He’d give you the shirt off his back, arrives early to church and stays late to help clean up.

As I was creating Marvin, I did a mental flip through all the people I knew that would be that rock of support for Ian as he went through tough times. Marvin needed to be kind with a core of steel.  I needed someone older with the life experience to give Ian advice and yet wise enough to stand back and let Ian make the final choice.

As I talked to his daughter and wife (that another thing writers never reveal…we may be just “chatting” with you but really we are filing away information like crazy) it was clear that the man for the job, the rock and support was Les.

It’s just an added bonus that Les is also a fan of my books.  I’d love to add a spoiler and tell you what happens to Marvin in The Cursed Dagger, but I’m not.  You’re going to have to read it.

Thanks, Les!!

Next time: Meet Corbin’s doppleganger!