Meet the Character

The inestimable Sarah A. Hoyt tagged me to take part in a “meet the character” blog tour and I, in a fit of madness, agreed. You’ll understand the madness in a moment. To find Sarah’s introduction of her character, Seraphim Ainsling, the Duke of Darkwater, main character of Witchfinder (Magical Empires) , click here.

The reason I say I was in a fit of madness when I accepted the “invitation” is that I knew better. You see, I have two characters, from different series, who really think they should be getting my undivided attention right now. So when they found out I was going to take part in this blog tour, they both demanded to be the one featured. When I told them that wasn’t going to happen, I got the stare. You know what the stare is. It’s that look your mother used to give you when she asked you something and you didn’t answer quickly enough or, worse, you didn’t give the answer she was looking for. Yep, that’s right. The stare. Let me tell you, it is even worse when you get that look from the imaginary characters who reside in your head thanks to a muse that is all too often fickle and who takes pleasure in torturing the poor writer.

coverforvfaSo bear with me as I try to keep the two in check and only  introduce you to Ashlyn Shaw from Vengeance from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 1) and the upcoming Duty from Ashes (both written under the pen name Sam Schall).

1.) Is he/she fictional or a historic person? 

I could go all crazy author on you and say she believes she is as real as you or I (what, don’t all your characters believe they’re real and you, the writer, are simply a figment of their imaginations?). However, she is fictional and lives on a planet far, far away .

2.) When and where is the story set?

In Vengeance from Ashes, much of the action takes place on the planets of Fuercon, Ashlyn’s homeworld. A secondary location is the military penal colony on Tarsus,. Ashlyn had been sentenced to serve 5 years on Tarsus and returns there after she’s been pardoned to free those who had been sent there with her. In Duty from Ashes, the action will expand to include exploding spaceships, boarding parties and dirtside fighting on Cassius Prime.

3.) What should we know about her?

Ash is mother, daughter and comes from a military family. She is a SpecOps Marine, commanding the Devil Dogs. She has a deep sense of duty, both to her family and to the Corps. As a Marine during a time of war, she knows that the monsters exist within each of us and has seen the attrocities one person can commit against another, all in the name of God and country. What she never expected was to find herself and those under her command betrayed by her own commanders. That betrayal led to the deaths of most of her unit and saw herself and the survivors court martialed. It took two years and a change in political and military leadership to correct the wrongs done to her and the other survivors but she isn’t satisfied and won’t be until every person responsible is brought to justice. For the moment, she is willing to work with the system. But the memory of how the system failed her is always there and her patience is growing short. If something doesn’t happen soon, she might just take matters into her own hands.

4.) What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

See the above. Ash needs to know that those responsible for not only what happened to her and her people but the unnecessary deaths of so many civilians have been made to pay for their crimes, crimes that include betraying their homeworld. Add to that the resumption of hostilities with the Callusians and she is now preparing to lead the Devil Dogs back to war.

5.) What is the personal goal of the character? 

That’s simple — honor and duty. To the Corps, to her homeworld and to her family and not necessarily in that order. The specific goals for Vengeance from Ashes were to free those who had been sent to Tarsus with her and to see that the injustice done to them was answered for. She managed to accomplish the first and, in Duty from Ashes, continues to work on the second.

Added to that is her determination to prove that she is still a good Marine and deserves to have been cleared to returned not only t duty but to command. The one way she can do that is to make sure the Devil Dogs are ready to go to war and that, once in action, they accomplish their mission goals and help end the war with the Callusians once and for all.

6.) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it? 

Vengeance from Ashes is currently available DRM-free on Amazon. You can check it out Vengeance from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 1).

Duty from Ashes will be available the end of the month. You can read an excerpt from the rough draft here.

As for who I’m going to tag, I decided on Jason Cordova, Pam Uphoff, David Burkhead and Cedar Sanderson. All four are great authors, imo, and good friends. You can check out their “Meet the Character” next Monday. In the meantime, here’s come information about them.

David Burkhead

David L. Burkhead is an Indiana writer of Science Fiction and Fantasy. He has also written on technical topics for The World & I magazine and High Technology Careers. In addition to his writing, he works in a consulting laboratory in Atomic Force Microscopy and Nanotechnology. His work ranges from measuring samples in the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) to refurbishing used AFM’s for resale to writing software for measurement of AFM images. More than half the DVD production in the world, and the development of Blu-Ray, is supported using measurement software he wrote.

Check out his blog, The Writer in Black.

Jason Cordova

Well, what is there to say really? Judging from the emails I get, quite a bit I suppose.

First off, I want to clear the air a bit about a common misconception. I wasn’t one of those kids that walked around telling everyone that they were going to be a writer when they grew up. Heck, when I went to college Istill had no intention of becoming a writer. I had dreams of being a historical journalist (don’t ask, it made sense when I was 23), not writing fiction. I wanted to travel the globe, study native cultures and teach them how to record their history for future generations. How to preserve their folklore and family history. It was a noble idea, and one that fell flat on its face the moment I faced the harshness of reality.

You have no idea just how hard it is to get funding for something like that.

Up until about two years ago, I still didn’t consider myself a writer. Sure, I had written four books by that point, but I didn’t think of myself as a writer. I just figured I was killing time in between jobs, filling those lonely days by creating worlds in which people might want to play in. Well, people being me, but you get the point.

My friend Leo told me one day while I was discussing this new project I had started that, under no uncertain circumstance, was I allowed to deny being a writer any more. I asked him why, and he replied with “Dude, you’ve written more books than most writers”.

So yeah, that’s how I became a writer.

The story about how I came to be in movies is far more convoluted…

Oh, details about my life? Well, I was born in California and grew up very nomadic, bouncing around the state (and Oregon) until I was about 12 when I settled down in southern California. Joined the Navy, went to college (three times!) and played some baseball, wrestled, and water skied a lot. Moved to Colorado, then Virginia, back to Colorado, down to North Carolina, back to Virginia, over to Kentucky, then back to Virginia.

I can’t help it, I like to travel. And I really like Virginia.

You can find out more about Jason here.

Cedar Sanderson

Cedar Sanderson is a writer, blogger, and businesswoman who can be found in her office pounding the keyboard when she isn’t at school studying to be a Mad Scientist. Her work has been published by Stonycroft Publishing, Naked Reader Press, and Something Wicked. She is the author of the young adult novel Vulcan’s Kittens, and her contemporary fantasy series that began with Pixie Noir will continue with Trickster Noir, scheduled to be released in May 2014. She writes regular blog columns at the Mad Genius Club, occasional appearances at According to Hoyt, in addition to her own writing blog, She prefers science fiction, mostly writes fantasy, and dabbles in non-fiction when her passion is stirred.

Pam Uphoff

Pam Uphoff was born and raised in California, but she’s now lived more than half her life in Texas.

She claims that it’s a wonderful place, and that she caught almost the first bachelor she met there. Rumor has it they coming up on their thirty-fifth anniversary.

Pam’s college degree is in Geology. After working for an oil company for almost ten years as a geophysicist, she “retired” to raise children. As they grew, she added oil painting, sculpting and throwing clay, breeding horses, volunteering in libraries and for the Boy Scouts, and treasurer for a friend’s political campaign. Sometime in those busy years, she turned a love of science fiction into a part time job reading slush (Mom? Someone is paying you to read??!!)

Pam has always written, and published a few short stories. But now that the kids have flown the nest, she’s calling writing a full time job. She has so far published fourteen novels, four collections of novellas and short stories, and five separate short stories.

You can find out more about Pam here.


About the author

Writer, proud military mom and possessed by two crazy cats and one put-upon dog. Writes under the names of Amanda S. Green, Sam Schall and Ellie Ferguson.


  1. Right off the top of my head, I’d say that Ashlyn Shaw is the one (of your characters) that I really don’t want “upset with me”. [Wink]

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