I’d like to welcome back B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree, C.L. Talmadge. Boomer women seeking a powerful inner shift take their intuitive skills to an entirely new level by meeting their spirit guides with help from C.L. Talmadge. Trained as an energy-healer, C.L. has been taking clients to meet their guides since 1988.
Under the byline Candace Talmadge, she has been a professional writer since 1976. She has written for numerous media, including Adweek, Business Week, the Dallas Times Herald, Forbes, the International Herald Tribune, The New York Times, and Reuters America. She has also been a syndicated political columnist whose works have appeared in publications such as Liberal Opinion Week.
Nearly three decades ago, C.L. encountered an alternative healing method called Sunan therapy that enabled her to resolve many of her emotional and spiritual wounds. This therapy also helped her become familiar with the intimate link between spirituality, energy, and healing. It introduced her to some of her past lives and those of family and friends.
Based on these experiences, she co-authored and published nonfiction that explores emotional and spiritual healing resolution based on the Sunan method of working in the energy of human consciousness. In this book, C.L. provides an expanded definition of energy that demonstrates the connection between matter, spirit, mind, and heart.
C.L. and her co-author, Jana L. Simons, have published new nonfiction titled, The Healing Circle—How Anyone Can Contact the Other Side. This spiritual self-help book teaches readers how to contact not only departed loved ones, but children who are not yet born. Many of the spiritual practices and principles explored in C.L.’s nonfiction are also evident in her fiction, the Green Stone of Healing(R) series.
Thank you for chatting with me again, C.L.! Please tell me a little about your story, Outcast
Thanks for another opportunity, Stephanie.
Outcast is the fourth and latest novel published to date in the Green Stone of Healing® paranormal romance series. Like the first three novels, it has earned a B.R.A.G. Medallion.
The story is set in the lost island nation of Azgard. In the first three novels, the action takes place mostly in the capital of Azgard, Shambhala. Outcast, however, adds the mountainous region of Southern Alta Province, which is the fourth of Azgard that is ruled directly by Lord James Mordecai. He is Duke of Alta and Lord Protector, and is the Toltec father of the first-generation half-breed protagonist Helen Andros, who has a Turanian mother long since believed dead.
After the birth of his son and heir, Lord James’ enemies force him to choose between his two children. The Temple of Kronos has imposed a death mark on Helen, meaning any priest or warrior monk is ordered to kill her on sight. To keep her safe, Lord James sends her to the family who kept him hidden and secure when he was a boy after his father was assassinated and his mother murdered.
That family is the Altairs, the parents of Helen’s secret love and primary bodyguard, Col. Jackson Orlando, who goes by his mother’s name. Orlando is estranged from his father, Jason, who taught Helen’s father everything he knows about being a soldier. Arriving at the Altair home is emotionally rough on Helen and Jackson, although Marlin, Jackson’s mother, takes to Helen instantly. A wise woman and folk healer, Marlin instantly recognizes Helen’s healing abilities and Helen’s love for her son.
Before Jason dies two months after Helen’s arrival, he reconciles with his son. Jackson inherits the farm and becomes leader of Clan Altair, igniting a feud with his uncle, Morgan, who hoped to assume his older brother’s place. That enmity forces Jackson and Lord James to find a new place to keep Helen safe, and in this isolated hideout she learns advanced energy-healing and life-saving energy protection skills from Maguari, the Mist-Weaver.
The plot to assassinate Lord James reaches its tragic conclusion, and on the day of his death, Helen fends off an attack from kidnappers sent by the Temple’s deputy leader, who wants to exploit her abilities instead of killing her, as his own superior commands.
In the space of a few hours, Helen loses her father and her home, and faces obvious and hidden threats to her safety and life that are revealed during Book Five and beyond.
Tell me a little about Helen’s father’s luxurious estates.
Helen’s father is richer than Bill Gates, and has more war toys at his disposal than Barack Obama. He owns two primary residences, and a hunting lodge in the mountainous region of Southern Alta Province that he refurbishes in Outcast to hide Helen once it becomes clear that she cannot remain in the Altair family’s home.
One of Lord James’ two estates is his family’s ancestral manor in Alta Provence, the northwest quadrant of the island of Azgard. This manor is built on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean and spreads out like eagle wings that are wrapped around the point where the northern and western shores of the island intersect. It offers breathtaking, 270-degree views of the water and cliffs.
The other manor is on the western shore of Lake Shambhala, in Azgard’s capital city of the same name. Both homes are large, luxurious, and run by a small army of both Toltec and Turanian servants, which is highly unusual for so high-ranked a Toltec lord as Helen’s father. His chief housekeeper is a Turanian woman, again, simply unheard of among other luxury estates.
When Helen meets her father for the first time, both manors are furnished in a masculine style that reflects the fact her father has remained a childless (he thought) widower for decades. Helen finds the homes’ luxury and size overwhelming and discomfiting. She also gives the staff fits by cleaning her own bedroom-bathroom-sitting room suite. She put herself through high school, college, and medical school by doing housework, and simply isn’t used to anyone catering to her physical needs and comfort.
What is an otherworldly Mist-Weaver?
Mist-Weaver is the English translation of Oonaki, which is the name of these beings in High Terzil, the ancient language of the Toltecs.
Long before the Toltecs ever arrived on the island they conquered and renamed Azgard, the Mist-Weavers visited the indigenous Turanian people, whom they loved for their gentle ways.
Mist-Weavers are masters of energy, giving them the ability to move between dimensions. They do so by speeding up or slowing down the vibrations of their physical bodies so that the body disappears to human eyes, even though it still exists in other dimensions. None of these wise souls has lived in human form, although a few of them took an interest in human beings and their affairs.
One of them, in the ancient time of Kronos, was named Menadri. Menadri rescued Kronos as a baby from a blizzard and took him to Azgard, where he grew up among the Turanians, very much a stranger in a strange land. Kronos’ journey to find his roots launched the founding of Azgard and resulted in the subjugation of the Turanians to the newcomer Toltecs.
This distressed Menadri, whose life of many thousands of years eventually ended. He reincarnated (in a different dimension than the one in which earth is located) and, as Maguari, kept up his contacts with human beings. In the time of Helen Andros and her farther, Maguari is trying to help the people of Azgard avoid destruction that waits them unless they reclaim their hearts and turn away from greed, fear, and the desire to conquer and control others.
What are the emotional triggers of your characters and how do they act on them?
The series’ first-generation heroine, Helen Andros, is caught up in the shame of being illegitimate and half-breed. She takes society’s condemnation of both personally, and feels worthless and unlovable as a consequence. But her life’s purpose is to serve and to heal, and she struggles to do so despite her self-imposed emotional burdens. Maguari tries to show her that the resistance she experiences in the outer world simply reflects her own inner lack of self-love.
Other characters carry similar limits on their self-love and as a result, suffer. Some of them love to share their suffering with other characters. These are the “villains.” Other characters, the good guys (and gals), keep their pain to themselves, yet still it affects others in ways that may not be obvious at first.
As one example, Col. Jackson Orlando loves Helen, but does not feel worthy of her, especially after he learns her father’s identity. So he never tells her his feelings. Under the same feelings of worthlessness, Helen never tells him of her feelings—until it is almost too late. Helen’s mother rejects the love of her father, for reasons that seem practical but on deeper examination arise out of her belief that in order to be spiritual, she must sacrifice love—for her mate and her child—to prove her worthiness to God.
The entire island of Azgard is filled with powerful people who lack self-love and spiritual connection, and powerless people who walk with spirit but lack the will to reclaim what is rightfully theirs—the island home they inhabited before the Toltecs took it from them. The situation is not sustainable and the series recounts how and why it all fell apart.
What is the courage and strengths of Helen. -and possibly the isolation your character may feel with these attributes.
Helen’s strengths are her tenacity and her gifts for healing. She never gives up on trying to help others, but her sense of worthlessness keeps her from helping herself. That is her weakness. Her sense of isolation stems more from being so different in appearance from the dominant Toltecs or the subservient Turanians. The Toltecs are tall, copper skinned, and dark-eyed. The Turanians are shorter, with pale skin and blond, brown, or red hair and blue or green eyes. Helen is a blend of both. She’s tall and black haired like to Toltecs, but her skin is paler and her eyes are blue-gray like the Turanians.
What was your writing process for this series?
It may seem strange. I ask my characters to reveal themselves to me. This initially took decades of introspection, reading, and thought, but slowly the names and backstories of the heroines, heroes, and villains unfolded to me. I made two failed attempts to start putting the story down in print and just backed off because it wasn’t gelling into anything coherent.
I still had no idea how to start the story until the morning of Saturday, July 25, 1998. I woke up out of a sound sleep, shot upright and thought, I can write it now! It was absolutely amazing. And I could. Over the next 15 months I produced the first drafts of what turned out to be the first and second novels. I had a lot of editing to do and learning how to sculpt a narrative by knowing everything about the story and the characters and then throwing most of it away to set it down in words.
I also struggled at first to decide between first-person and third-person narrative. First person is powerful but too limited for the story. IN the end I opted for both. The Forewords and Afterwords are first-person present tense, and describe the story of the survivors of worldwide cataclysm as it happens. The third-person past-tense is for the main body of the tale and describes what happened in the past that led to the current predicament.
Even now, when I am writing the way the story needs to go it comes easily. But if I veer off, then I get stuck and have to back and find the correct thread to begin again. That usually is fairly obvious.
Who designed your book cover?
All covers for the first four novels were designed at the same time by a talented woman named Pat Virzi, who used to work at the Kwik Kopy Digiprint store close to where I used to live in Texas. The store has moved and she no longer works there, but she is very good at book cover design.
Where can readers purchase your books?
All four novels published to date in the Green Stone of Healing® series are available as paperbacks and Kindle, Nook, or .pdf e-books at all online bookstores. The paperbacks may be ordered at any offline bookstore, too.
What are you currently working on?
I have completed first drafts of the fifth and sixth novels, and have started the seventh. In this latest novel, the story transfers from Helen to the second generation heroine.
Thank you, C.L.!
Thank you, Stephanie! I have enjoyed sharing my characters and process with your readers.
A message from indieBRAG:
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to C.L. Talmadge who is the author of, Outcast, our medallion honoree at indieBRAG. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion ®, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Outcast, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.