Every have one of those books that you pick up and just fall in love? I’ve had a few of those–Marc Secchia’s Dragon Friend and Sarah Ashwood’s Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset. So, when I saw there was another Aerisian book, I couldn’t wait to grab it. Well, it’s here. I grabbed my copy for only 99 cents, and it’s still on sale.
What it’s about:
Following the prophesied Artan’s victory over the Dark Powers, the land of Aerisia is finally at rest, until ancient beings, long imprisoned, begin to stir…
Eight years after Annie Richards’ stellar voice and musical talents skyrocketed her from rural Oklahoma to international fame, haunting visions have begun threatening her sanity. While she’s returning to her childhood home to convalesce, creatures straight from her nightmares bring down her plane. Annie wakens in a parallel world, Aerisia. Here, she discovers her musical gifts translate into magical powers—the legacy of a banished race who have been invading her dreams.
Mistrusted by Aerisia’s most powerful factions because of her heritage, Annie finds allies are hard to come by. Supporting her are one Simathe warrior, Cole, who refuses to label her as evil, and one woman willing to stand against anything and anyone to help a friend: the Artan herself. Seizing control of her destiny will mean defying both her ancestors and the Aerisian leaders. Mastering her magic may mean making the greatest sacrifice of all…or risk becoming the reason Aerisia itself is torn apart.
What I think:
Well, I started to read it on Friday evening and have had a hard time putting it down. Now, I’m not normally one to fan-girl over books or even characters. I found myself literally exclaiming outloud and unable to see to read because a character came into the plot or I recognized a place. It was as if I’d just landed back in a familiar home after a long journey. I’ve not finished the story yet, but I’m deeply engrossed and am excited to finish this blog post so I can go ahead and read more. The plot moves forward with just enough twists and turns to keep you coming back for more. If you haven’t read the first trilogy, don’t worry. Another friend read an advance copy of Aerisian Refrain and had not read the other books in the series and fell just as in love with the story and world as I have.
What it looks like:
Who’s it about:
Author’s thoughts on character
What is your character’s name? Does the character have a nickname?
His official title is Cole, Lord among Simathe. However, he’s simply called Cole by friends, and Lord Cole by subordinates or in formal situations.
What is Cole like?
Both are a deep, unnatural black. Simathe are a race of immortal warriors, with several interesting racial characteristics, including deep bronze skin and completely black eyes. No “whites of the eyes,” no pupils, etc. can be seen…only blackness.
Another distinguishing characteristic of the Simathe is they have a very hard, stony facial cast. Most people consider them emotionless because they rarely, if ever, reveal an outward emotion and are extremely hard to read.
The left side of Cole’s body is scarred from taking the brunt of a dragon attack. He threw himself between a dragon and a friend during battle. Being immortal, he survived, but with scars to tell the story.
Who are Cole’s friends and family, those who he’s closest to and who does he wish he were closest to?
Simathe are a unique race created by the magic of the Scraggen, or witch-women, in the land of Aerisia. They are born from normal human parents, and all Simathe are males. They live together in a unique brotherhood. Thus, Cole has no family except his fellow Simathe, and really no friends outside them, except for one person: Aerisia’s legendary savior, the Artan. This is a young woman from Earth, Hannah Winters, who was brought to Aerisia to fulfill her destiny. In the course of her adventures she fell in love with the Simathe High-Chief and married him. However, Cole was the first Simathe to befriend her on her journey to become the Artan, and they have remained friends ever since. She is the friend for whom he was wounded by a dragon. He considers his scars of little note when compared to having saved her life.
Where was Cole born? Since then where has he lived, and where does he call home?
Like all the Simathe, Cole doesn’t know where he was born or where he’s from. Simathe children are surrendered at birth to other Simathe. It’s considered a curse to normal Aerisians to bear a Simathe child, and they’re gladly given up. Simathe children are taken to the Simathe stronghold, Treygon, where they are raised. This is their home base.
Tell us about Cole’s emotions.
Even if Simathe are angry, most don’t know. They are extreme stoics. If Cole really, really needed to be alone, he’d simply retire to his quarters.
Cole has few fears until another young woman from Earth, Annie, crosses to Aerisia. Whereas no Aerisian woman has ever looked twice at him, Annie is struck by him immediately. (He can hardly comprehend this.) However, Annie’s not in Aerisia without a cause, and various forces are at work to harm or control her. Annie’s safety quickly becomes paramount to Cole, but, since he is Simathe, he acts on this—he doesn’t talk about it.
Does he have a secret?
That he really likes this girl, Annie, but he has no idea what to do about it.
What makes Cole laugh out loud?
After crossing to Aerisia from Earth, Annie really, really misses her coffee. She is not a morning person. At all. And Cole thinks this is pretty funny.
Has Cole ever been in love? Had a broken heart?
Never. At over six hundred years old, this immortal warrior has never really looked twice at a woman because he’s Simathe and no woman would ever look twice at him. Not until Annie enters his life.
What Cole really thinks:
Now let’s chat directly with Cole. Cole, I’m so excited to have you here. I may have to control my emotions since I really enjoyed your interactions with Lady Hannah and can’t wait to get to know you better here.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Saving my Artan’s life during her fight against the Dark Powers.
That was very noble of you. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
“Enjoyment, happiness, those are fleeting. Duty and responsibility are eternal. Simathe ascribe to duty first. Always duty first.” (Actual quote from Aerisian Refrain.)
What is your favorite occupation?
If by occupation, you include ways to keep yourself occupied, I enjoy whittling when I’ve nothing else to do. I generally carry a special knife for that purpose.
Oh wow! My son works with wood as well. With that said what is your most treasured possession? My son’s would be one of his knives.
My Restless. (Restless are a unique breed of horses used by the Simathe.)
I could see that. I think I’d be a little afraid to meet a Restless up close.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
There was no love in my life until I met Annie. She changed everything. I would endure or give up anything for her.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Courage in the face of adversity. Being honorable, no matter the cost.
…and in a woman?
I spend very little time around women, save Lady Hannah, the Artan. (And now Annie.) I admire similar traits in both men and women: courage, being honorable. But I also admire Lady Hannah’s bold sense of humor and Annie’s sweet smiles.
What do you most value in your friends?
My friends are my brothers, the Simathe, and I value their loyalty to Treygon and each other.
Which living person do you most admire?
Lord Ilgard, the Simathe High-Chief, for his leadership of our clan. Also Lady Hannah, the Artan, for the sacrifices she made on behalf of Aerisia.
Ah yes, Lady Hannah and Lord Ilgard. Their story was quite an emotional roller-coaster, even if Lord Ilgard wouldn’t acknowledge it.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Simathe do not allow themselves to wish for what they cannot have. But, were I to wish for things to be different, I would wish to be a normal human so my relationship with Annie would not be so fraught with difficulties.
Thanks so much for being with us, Cole. I hope more people read your stories, and that things work out with you and Annie. What I’ve learned about her so far, she seems like a very special gal.
About the Author:
Don’t believe all the hype. Sarah Ashwood isn’t really a gladiator, a Highlander, a fencer, a skilled horsewoman, an archer, a magic wielder, or a martial arts expert. That’s only in her mind. In real life, she’s a genuine Okie from Muskogee who grew up in the wooded hills outside the oldest town in Oklahoma and holds a B.A. in English from American Military University. She now lives (mostly) quietly at home with her husband and three sons, where she tries to sneak in a daily run or workout to save her sanity and keep her mind fresh for her next story.