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“Born” in 2001 for a college Literature course, the story of Asylum remains the one nearest and dearest to my heart. It begun as a short story just over one thousand words with a nameless priestess returning to a magical island and witnessing its destruction after the desecration of the priestesses. I thought that was all there was to it.
In 2009, Jean Rabe invited me to join her writers’ circle. There, the short story “What Once Was: The Island” started to evolve into a single scene of a larger story of this priestess, Roseen. As she returned home to the town that had sent her to the island as a girl, she reunited with a blacksmith. I didn’t plan for Cade; he wrote himself into the story. He is one of the most amazing male characters I’ve had the luck to pull from the bardic realm where stories are born. Roseen is strong on her own, but it is the blacksmith who shows her the tools to forge her own destiny.
I self-published the first book in 2011, and it was soon picked up by Exciting Press. They wanted to work with me! Through the editing process and in discussions with their director, the name “Asylum” stuck. The trilogy was published over 2012-2013 with their creative direction and editing.
“Fear choked me as I slithered beneath another set of low-hanging branches. Dirt and rocks dug into my hands, filling the space beneath my fingernails while I crawled. Briars caught my hair, but all my attention was on the nemetonmy peoples sacred spacetwenty feet beyond the willow that hid me. Speeding breaths disturbed the branches, steaming in the chilling air.”
Prophet of Bas and imbued with the strength and magic of her goddess, Roseen is a woman bound by faith and compelled by honor. When a powerful vision calls her back to Madani, her home, and Sheelin, the island where she first experienced her calling to Bas, she encounters a land ravaged by war and desecrated by marauders. She also finds Cade, a talented blacksmith forced to craft swords for the invading Army of Righteousness and with whom she shared a childhood and now shares a different type of bond altogether.
Being with Cade in Madani brings Roseen’s past to collide with both her present and future. With the courage and heart to match his skill, the blacksmith may be Roseen’s best ally in the carnage ahead. Can he see past his own feelings to let the priestess’ power be unleashed? Not content to allow him fight alone, Roseen will be forced to find her faith and lend her strength and magic to her people, lest they all be destroyed.
“I thought I understood my love for her when it was one-sided. In truth, it was comparing the heat of a candle to that of a forge’s heart. It pounded the steel of my soul into shape. The need to ensure her safety outweighed my own happiness. Loving her was worth defying the will of our Gods. Our love was worth deserting the hopes of my people to save her.
For love, for her love, I would walk myself across the waters that claimed her and drag her back to Madani by her shorn hair. Roseen was worth the wait I had endured to win some part of her heart, and now I would pay any price to lengthen this lifetime with her.”
Cade spent his life as a smith forging steel simultaneously the strongest and most intricate in the land, his passion fueled by his love for Roseen as his magic was fueled by the Gods. After Roseen’s return to Madani, her marriage to Cade, and her subsequent return to Sheelin–the magic isle where she received her calling as a prophet of the Goddess Bas–Cade can only wait in Madani and hope for her return.
As before, he is not idle.
The force of Liand’s crusade has crashed upon Madani’s shores, and it is Cade’s weapons and heart that must protect his people. With a new path before him, one as dangerous as Roseen’s calling, Cade is torn to wait for her and to accept the charge given him by his God.
Taken to Lorilindo, the seat of Liand’s power, Cade must forge not only the Sunsword but something new, his destiny.
“I have seen the magic of old brought to life; no doubts of our Gods’ existence plague me. They put Their faith in us; the least we could do was give Them ours. Aya and Bas have charged us with reawakening the priesthood. The Oracle and I are creating a new home for magic. It is there I will teach you Aya Wayland’s path.”
The blood runs down her skin like ice through her veins as Roseen makes her way back to Lorilindo, where she will confront her past, her lover, and her destiny. Where Cade will forge in her heart a love as strong, sure, and intricate as the steel he shapes at his forge.
Their heat consuming, their passion intense, and their devotion without equal, they will bring together their magic and metal to fulfill their desires and fates as they seek Asylum anew.