I'm excited to be able to interview fantasy romance author Charlene Wilson today. The second book of her Shilo Manor series, Cornerstone Deep Echoes, will release February 15th, and I can't wait to read it. CONTEST: one commenter will win a copy of her new book and a chance for more prizes--details below.
Thank you so much for having me here today, Marsha.
In your Shilo Manor books, Cornerstone Deep and Cornerstone Deep Echoes, why are the Wizards of Shilo Manor serving in another dimension?
The Shilos, Cole, James, and Vincent, are very different from the people of Cornerstone Deep. They come from the central plane, Meridian. They live very long lives and have advanced to the point that they can do what the people of Cornerstone Deep call magic. But, probably the most memorable thing about Meridians is their Breath of Zephyr. All souls from the gifted plane have a scent that seeps from their breath. It’s evident when they’re around those close to them like family and friends. The men’s scent is licorice and women’s is almond. Along with this common scent, they have a personal aroma that they can share with their chosen love. **Note** For those following my Cornerstone Deep Echoes virtual book tour, hop over to ShiloManor.com and enter the answer to the question for extra chances to win the grand prize at the end of the tour. Illusions of Intimacy is one of the special stops.*wink*
While they have special talents and their world has progressed to a generally peaceful society, the other dimensions are home to souls that are still young in their development and learning. The Cornerstone realms are exuberant, strong willed, aggressive, while the Midway realms are meek, extremely loyal, and submissive.
Meridian was the first dimension the gods created in the Arched Spectrum of Realms and if you imagine an arch, it sets at the meridian cap. The other four dimensions, Midway Summit, Midway Deep, Cornerstone Summit, and Cornerstone Deep, fill the positions down each side. You guessed it. They fill the cornerstones and the midway sections. They differentiate each side by calling them Deep and Summit.
Well, about two thousand years ago, the inhabitants of Cornerstone Summit caused such destruction that it affected every plane in the spectrum. A Cornerstone Realm was compromised and the Arch weakened. The Counsel deemed it necessary to place Sentinels on these Cornerstone dimensions to observe and step in if necessary to ward off another disaster lest the whole spectrum failed. Enter the Shilo family. Being highly favored of the gods, Sylis and Lilith Shilo, along with their three sons, were called to serve in Cornerstone Deep. The parents died several years before the Chronicles of Shilo Manor story begins.
Why does the antagonist, Lord Dressen, want to possess your heroine, Mianna? Does he have feelings for her, or is it just a power struggle between him and the Shilo brothers?
Oh, Lord Kyle Dressen is definitely in love with Anna…as in love as he can be considering his view of love. Lol. No, he was after Anna before he and the Shilos came to odds. In fact, it’s the situation with her that sets them as enemies. And what comes to light in Cornerstone Deep Echoes pushes it further. None of them could have ever imagined what the past really was like…or who Lord Dressen really is.
What possible danger does your hero, Cole, face if he angers the gods in his efforts to protect Mianna?
Bless him, Cole is led by his heart and sometimes he just doesn’t make level-headed decisions. How many times had he said that James was more suited to be head of the Sentinel family? Many. But his father knew something he didn’t and when he learns what that is…
But, being a Sentinel, his actions could bring about some heavy consequences. They make covenants, promise to hold to some mighty lofty standards. When Cole tries to save Anna/Mianna in book one, his desperate actions almost cost both of their lives—hers at his hands and his at the judgment of a God. In book two, not only does he cross the line again in an attempt to protect her, but his anger consumes him to the point of taking a life and blatantly ignoring yet another sacred covenant. When Taravaughn, God of Life, appears and summons the white blossoms that carry a Meridian soul to the next life, he knows without a doubt he’d done the unforgivable.
How does Mianna grow as a character in this second book? What does she give to Cole in return for his protection?
Mianna is forced to grow quickly in book two. When Anna is saved by her soul being transferred back to Mianna’s lifespan, to her, she’s taken from the 1600’s and placed into the future. It’s a whole new world to her—indoor hot and cold running water, instant candles, the loss of her family. Not to mention having a new body to deal with. Her feet are too big, coffee is her new best friend, and cigarettes don’t make her sneeze anymore. In fact, she craves them. And then, she finds the one she loves, the man she’d just married, has…a girlfriend? How could she have ever dreamed when she fell asleep in her new husband’s arms, she would wake up to find everything had changed?
Cole’s protection is never viewed as a job—by Cole or Mianna. Though he made a covenant with Arlyn, Goddess of Love, to protect, it’s a natural result of the love they share. The problem is Mianna doesn’t realize the true danger she’s in. And when Lord Dressen shares the fact the Cole Shilo never searched for her to be reborn, she questions where she really belongs; with Cole or with the man Anna obviously had personal ties with. After all, she had just seen her beloved with another woman. Surely he’d moved on in the years she’d been gone. Right?
Are the books in your Shilo Manor series written in a sequence which the reader must follow, or can Cornerstone Deep Echoes be read as a stand-alone without Cornerstone Deep?
The books in the Chronicles of Shilo Manor series aren’t random happenings. The story continues from book one and it will continue from book two, to three. I’m working on Cornerstone Deep Destiny now. But, I hope I wrote Cornerstone Deep Echoes in a way that if the reader chooses to read it first, they won’t feel lost. Don’t worry, no huge “info dumps.” *wink* Lol.
Thank you for joining in my release celebration, Marsha.
CONTEST:Today, here on Illusions of Intimacy, I’m offering a PDF copy of Cornerstone Deep Echoes to a lucky commenter. Be one of the first to own it! Leave an email address with your comment so I can contact you if you win. All commenters who leave an email address will also be entered into the basket for a chance to win the weekly and grand prize drawings. Prizes include e-books and signed paperbacks of both books, gift cards from Bath and Body Works online and Amazon.com, and scented candles. Details are posted at ShiloManor.com, on my Facebook Fan Page, and on my blog, Charlene Blogs.
See you around the sphere!
A writer of paranormal romance, Charlene loves what magic can add to relationships. She currently lives in a small rural town in Arkansas and enjoys close family ties with her two beautiful daughters.
Charlene’s interest in writing began in her early teens and she took any creative writing courses available. As she married and started a family, she had to set aside her writing and focus on the more pressing matters of job and family.
Many of the attitudes and personalities woven into her characters were taken from those she worked with while serving as a Deputy at a large detention center. From kindness to bigotry, the variety of personal outlook was amazing. As time now affords her, she is able to pursue her love of writing and incorporates those experiences into some of her work.
Her first novel, Cornerstone Deep, was published in November 2010 by Class Act Books. Her second, Cornerstone Deep Echoes, will be released February 2012, also by Class Act Books. The stories keep coming and she keeps typing. On to the next!
Author site: http://CharleneAWilson.com
Buy Links All Books: (CD Echoes won’t be listed yet since it releases Feb 15th. But these links are to the books under my name and people will find it there after that).
Cornerstone Deep - blurb
It's their nature - long lives and rebirth. They're from another dimension, one gifted with advance abilities, but they serve in Cornerstone Deep. They're the Wizards of Shilo Manor.
They outlive the mortals of this realm by thousands of years, and when it comes to love the cruel fact is reinforced. Reincarnation doesn't exist on this plane. They lose their wives to death with no hope of reuniting. Yet they continue to accept others for whatever time they have together. Save for Cole. His love for his last wife still burns in his soul four centuries after her death.
When the service they render to the noblemen of Cornerstone Deep brings him face to face with Anna, something unexpected happens. In a realm of silent souls, hers calls to him. He responds with a kiss—one that joined with the spell of servitude she inhaled, binds her soul.
Breaking ancient covenants, angering the lords, and bringing the gods' wrath upon him, Cole tries desperately to undo his wrong and free his love—despite the determination of the nobleman to keep her.
~ * ~
My life is a mirage of endless time. But you in this moment engulf me, rivet my mind, encompass my soul. (Cole Shilo)
CD Echoes - blurb
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.”