I spent the afternoon with Colin Owens!

Follow him on Instagram @thecolinowens

If you remember an earlier blog post back in August, I drew Colin as my main character, Alden. Then in October, I used an image of his as a writing prompt. I've continued to follow him, comment, and stay connected. Well, for one week he did a giveaway for Guess called #colinsminuetgiveaway 


Well, I won!

This earned me a bag of swag from Guess, which was awesome, but the real prize? Colin offered to meet up with me!

Of course I said 'Yes.'

It was my first time in Venice Beach, California, and it was a strange place. I felt as though I was in the Cad Islands in my book, which is like a pirate island, full of strange people and unique shops. I was just as overwhelmed as Mayli:

     She shook her head. “This place confuses me. It’s so mixed up. I feel like I’m in a dream.”

     A parade of shaved llamas, wearing colorful striped sweaters, trotted by. A dwarf-like man who sported the same look danced beside them. He rang a small bell attached to his little finger and sang an odd song about never really losing anything, and that what you have only transforms into something else. Alden could only guess it was an analogy between the wool becoming a sweater and one’s coin becoming the same. 

     Mayli tilted her head at Alden and presented the animals as if to further illustrate her point about the dream-like island.

     “You want me to get you one of those too? You’d look almost as cute as them,” he joked, eyeing the llamas with an amused smile.

Chapter Twenty-five
The Cad Islands
Asunder, Book one of the King's Renegade
A Vatan Chronicle


Colin found me behind Muscle Beach as I helplessly tried to sort out my surroundings. He called my name, spotting my unique, rogue attire. I had asked for advice on what to wear earlier and was given a honest response, "He's just a guy, be you." So I did. Colin smiled and greeted me with a warm hug. I had prepared myself to just shake his hand, so the gesture was appreciated.  

Needing a place to sit, we found a divider wall and overlooked the ocean. It was warm with a slight salt-kissed breeze, which helped mask the lingering smell of pee wafting from the building behind us.

We then exchanged gifts.

I received a bag full of random Guess merchandise; an amazing scented candle, sunglasses, a purse, and a bold watch we both agreed was a bit obnoxious. Colin was kind enough to put other random swag in like lotions, bracelets, and other beauty products. All of it was really cool, but again my real prize was meeting him. The bag of loot was just bonus.

To show my appreciation, I painted Colin his hands. Why his hands? Because he was awesome and shared a few of my paintings on his story. His favorite was "The Second Hour" a painting I had done in two hours of a woman's arm reaching for a man's hand. Hands are some of my favorite things to paint, so when Colin took interest, I was inspired to paint his, which are strong and attractive with his veins popping. Since I work at The Framing Corner I was able to get this beautiful custom frame on it.
The 5x7 oil on panel is titled "Own Hands" it is a pun of his last name.

"Own Hands"  5x7 oil on panel Hands of Colin Owens

"Own Hands" 
5x7 oil on panel
Hands of Colin Owens

He loved it. And I'm proud to have my work appreciated in his home.

We then talked for two and a half hours. He was extremely kind, expressing interest in my writing and painting. He asked what my book was about, and one would think, having spent since 2014 creating my story and my world I could easily say the pitch, but as it suddenly dawned on me that I was talking with an attractive model, one who looks a lot like Alden, who has connections, and perhaps opportunities to help. So, my ability to talk shut down. I couldn't find my words. I couldn't look at him. Instead, I searched the ocean waves as if they could lend me their loud voice. Finally, I spat my pitch out. But it was clumsy and weak. Hearing it out loud and so simply put, sounded embarrassing and silly. Nerves. Just nerves.

Colin didn't mind. He likely understood—the man is kind and humble.

With a nod, he said it was a cool idea. Relief. Colin then brought up how I reference Alden as Nick Bateman—which I'm sure had my face flush red—and said that he knows him. I hadn't expected that. He asked what my goals for my books were.

"Do you want to see it as a movie?" he asked.

I grinned, and laughed. What author doesn't? Seeing Asunder acted out would be a dream, for sure. Someday. Ideally it would be great to film a simple and short teaser. Clips to express moods of my book. Hooded figures, adventures, and scenery. I know a handful of people in the game industry, martial arts, and film who can help. It isn't impossible. Big goal is to Publish Asunder in May. Once I have momentum and a fan base to support me, I want to see about getting Nick Bateman to narrate it. I'd searched for voice actors who could play the part and achieve that, rough, sad yet hopeful, snarky voice I hear as Alden... Nobody stood out. Then I listened to a clip of Nick's, and it gave me chills. Of course he'd sound just like him. Clinging onto his voice I read my first chapter. It really was perfect. Since then, it has been my dream. Colin said he thinks it could be a reality, considering he knows the guy. He went on to tell me how chill and humble Nick was, and that at the end of the day he's a business man—if he sees potential, he might be down. Wow! Hearing that, by someone who knows Nick really kicked me into gear.

Dreams can come true.

I believe in it.

I believe in myself.

Anyway, I had a really good time. We laughed at a few of the oddities around the beach, like the duct tape ball guy, and the woman with hearing as fine as the make up on her face.... 

Thank you Colin for the opportunity and words of encouragement.

Colin Owens is a model and actor.
Catch him in Hawaii Five-0

Posted on February 15, 2018 .



Hiked the trail of Holy Jim Falls in Trabuco Canyon, California.

It was so inspiring to be out in nature! I listened to the way the leaves swished away from my boots and the ambient wind. I took notice to the burn in my muscles and weight of my breath moving in my chest.

Every Day I study the world around me, but not every day am I surrounded by such beauty. 

Posted on February 11, 2018 .

EXCERPT: Hunting

Chapter twelve Cleansing Asunder, Book One of the King's Renegade  A Vatan Chronicle

Chapter twelve
Asunder, Book One of the King's Renegade
A Vatan Chronicle

Mayli released her pull. She felt the tension roll past her fingertips and an unfamiliar slap stung her forearm. A crack sounded as the arrow struck. She blinked. The rabbit should be dead—skewered to the ground—but it was gone. Instead, she’d killed a log.

“Who am I? Briar?” Mayli laughed as a distant memory hit her.

Posted on February 7, 2018 .

EXCERPT: Sand Strider

This takes place 20 years after my King's Renegade Series in...

The Lost Treasure of Gezmek.

Book one of The Lost Treasure of Gezmek A Vatan Chronicle

Book one of The Lost Treasure of Gezmek
A Vatan Chronicle

Earl looked up expectantly, but Tobin only leaned against his sand strider. The large bird shifted its weight then bent down to dig in the sand with its long beak as if to help dig. It would be hours before the stone door would be revealed—if there even was one. Tobin didn’t mind waiting—Each hour spent was a coin earned.

“Tobin,” Earl called. “Bring me the shovel.”

“The shovel?” Tobin scoffed. He yawned and scratched his face, flicking grit off his sweat stained skin. “Ya think you’re gonna dig faster than these winds?” He kicked at the sand. It swirled around his boot in a small whirlwind then dissipated into the air.

“The shovel,” Earl said, holding out his hand, having lost is patience. 

Tobin sighed loudly and pushed off the animal causing it to caw in protest. It ruffled its feathers, sending a plume of dirt into the air. “Yeah, me too buddy,” Tobin said, dusting off his coat.

Fan Art by Delyth Thomas

Posted on February 6, 2018 .

EXCERPT: The Riddle

Chapter Eleven Locked Up Asunder, book one of the King's Renegade A Vatan Chronicle

Chapter Eleven
Locked Up
Asunder, book one of the King's Renegade
A Vatan Chronicle

As she scooted away she noticed an unusual lip in the desk’s siding. Kira bent to investigate. At the discovery of a small hidden drawer, the corners of her mouth twisted up into a proud grin. She reached underneath and found the keyhole. Unable to resist the urge, she retrieved her lock-picking set.

The device wasn’t simple; it had a somewhat complicated system of gears that likely challenged most thieves, but Kira wasn’t most and she opened it with ease. Inside were more letters. Kira recognized Alden’s refined writing and lifted it to read:

The roots of a fallen tree hold firm as darkness pulls at the golden sand.


Posted on January 31, 2018 .


I saw this photo and was inspired to paint it and write a scene.

It is not in my book, but uses my characters.


Alden stepped up from his game of chess with his father. It had been a minuet since he had moved, his father liked to take his time. That or test his son’s patience. Alden didn’t mind. He’d already decided his next move regardless of what his father did, all options would result in the same and he’d finally beat him.

He gazed upon the painting of Brimley Manor above the mantle. Their home, looking foreign since the tower collapsed and the dam destroyed.

“Your turn,” his father announced.

Alden absently moved his queen into position and took a sip of Brim Tea with a knowing smirk.

As he sat back down he looked at the chess board. He froze. His queen was gone. In its place, was a rook. Alden looked up with an open mouth.

“Assuming your enemies next move so surely will cause kingdoms to fall my son,” his father said sternly.

Alden threw his eyes to the board looking for any chance of recovery. His brows furrowed and his tongue slipped out. There was nothing he could do now that she was gone. He shook his head and laid down his king.

Original reference from The Perception Movie


Posted on January 7, 2018 .

EXCERPT: The King's Blade

Chapter Nineteen Dregs Asunder Book One of the King's Renegade A Vatan Chronicle

Chapter Nineteen
Asunder Book One of the King's Renegade
A Vatan Chronicle

Alden protected his knife well, hiding its true value by wrapping the jeweled handle in leather. The dark sheen of the curved blade reflected glimmers of blue and lavender like auroras in the night sky. To anyone else, they would assume it was crude as black blades usually were. But The King’s Blade was from Gezmek—not all the treasures were lost after the empire fell.

Really happy to own Alden's Blade. When I saw it my heart fluttered. It was just as I pictured it.

A good investment. 

Posted on January 3, 2018 .



Nobody on Earth has died for two years.

It would be a feat, if anyone even lived there anymore. After the Last War, the planet's air became thick with gas and the land poisoned. Because of our disrespect, we were kicked from home. One couldn't even try to go die there; The atmosphere acted as a castle wall, denying any more pollution.


The Earth was done with us.

Posted on December 4, 2017 .



My world consumes me.


It's my Fantasy Land. My home.

I visit it every time I slip on clothes, write, and paint--when I'm in my house.

Everything I do, everything I make is my world of Vatan.


The Vatan Chronicles.


These are my current works in progress. I dressed up as my character, Princess Mayli, as she is in Asunder, book one of The King's Renegade, a Vatan Chronicle. I used Fran Nardone's face on the one hung. 
They are each still works in progress with nine hours on the one on the wall and just two on the easel. 

Posted on November 30, 2017 .

EXCERPT: Fletching

Chapter Thirteen Densen Asunder, Book One of the King's Renegade A Vatan Chronicle

Chapter Thirteen
Asunder, Book One of the King's Renegade
A Vatan Chronicle

Mayli sat cross-legged on the dam and began plucking feathers from a goose. After she’d collected several, she sat the bird aside and brought her bow into her lap. As she pulled back on the string, measuring the length for her new arrow, the wood creaked slightly. She sighed, wishing she had a different bow—one with a heavier draw weight, composite design, and a form-fitting grip like her own. But after a moment’s thought, eyeing the goose she’d just shot, and splitting its feathers with a knife she liberated from a Shadowen thief she’d killed, Mayli reconsidered. She was doing enough damage with the one she had.

Posted on November 26, 2017 .

EXCERPT: The Painting

Happy Thanksgiving. I'm most thankful to my mom, whom I've dedicated my book to. She is the reason I'm a painter and of creative mind.

This is one of her early pieces and I am proud to have it in my home...

She isn't as thrilled.

I took that inspiration and added it to my book.

Chapter Nineteen Dregs Asunder, Book One of the King's Renegade A Vatan Chronicle

Chapter Nineteen
Asunder, Book One of the King's Renegade
A Vatan Chronicle

“About time. I’ve been dying to ask you why you have that thing hung,” Alden sneered with little effort to hide his displeasure as he pointed at the chimney stock.

The attic had no firebox, but still, Briar wanted to dress the chimney to appear as such, adding any sort of homey touches to his dull room. He had built a stone hearth and decorated it with an array of wide candles to set the illusion. He even installed a wooden mantel where his father’s sword, Galivant, rested proudly on a decorative gold stand. Above that was a simple still-life painting.

Briar stepped around to view it. The subject was a bowl of fruit with a few jugs and plates whose ellipses were uneven. The horizon line was skewed as if the items were set on a broken table. Colors were muddied and haphazardly thrown down with aggressive brushstrokes as if applied in a rage. As sloppy as the piece was, Briar loved it and framed it with as much respect as if the piece was done by the great artist Bavasi.

He crossed his arms and smiled in appreciation then lifted one hand to it. “What? You did a good job.”

Alden groaned. “It’s awful…and embarrassing.”

“Wait, you painted that?” Mayli covered her mouth as she began to laugh. “And I’ve been sitting here insulting it this whole time…”

Alden continued his plea, “See? Take it down…”

Posted on November 23, 2017 .


Happy birthday to Nick Bateman and Fran Nardone who are my muses for the characters in my book. Yesterday I learned they share the same birthday, Nov 18. How am I not surprised? There has been so many strange and weird coincidences relating to my book, my characters and the models who I've linked to them. I can't even begin to explain. I would sound crazy. Likely am, who knows? 

Anyway, I thought it would be an appropriate time to introduce my two Main Characters; Alden and Mayli.


Alden has lived in the Shadowen Thieves Guild since Brimley was destroyed in the war. He's not the best thief. Awful really. He's clumsy, stumbles to pick a basic lock, and hates unjust killing, but his keen eye to observe, take notes, and sketch earn him a place among the shadows. Exactly what Alden hoped for so that he could find who really murdered the Queen of Ammos. However, the lack of trust in thieves gain him little answers. He's standoffish and snarky to most but a slip of a smile does shine through in the right company. Perhaps a even a playful laugh.

Princess Mayli holds her title to the surface like a shell. Taxing acts of keeping up appearances, following expectations, and having lady-like hobbies suppress her inner desires. After she is thrown into the world of thieves and Brimleyns she is torn asunder, learning the hardships of life beyond the safety of castle walls. Stubbornly she tries to hold up her pride, but it quickly shatters when she decides to help the mysterious thief, dying for her. Curious, playful, and outgoing Mayli works to get close with him, accepting not all Brimlyens are bad.

Posted on November 19, 2017 .



I am so amused.

After loud construction woke me in the early am two days in a row at The Graduates Hotel in Minneapolis, the manager was kind enough to change our room. Little did I know it was going to be a VIP Suite! It was the top floor corner unit, with a view of the skyline. The room had two bathrooms, a mini bar, and its own seperate bedroom. It was beautiful and decorated with as much Minnesotan charm as I could enjoy. Loved the hunting headboard and matching pillow on the bed. 


Tired from not sleeping well and with the jackhammer alarm clock, I enjoyed a long bath in the soaker tub then took a nap. Before I left at noon, I tucked my plushie of Alden in. 



When I  came back to the hotel something was different.



Someone had come into our room. Shampoo wasn't restocked, nor was the coffee. The trash still had my energy bar sitting at its bottom. What had changed was now there was a hockey blanket on the bed, over my robe and pile of blankets and pillows I was under. Just laid atop. Nothing else is different.


Alden must have ordered room service. Typical.


I still laugh about what the room service staff thought, seeing a tiny stuffed man with stitched on stubble all tucked in this massive king bed in the VIP suite. Yes I'm an adult... I'm just a writer.

Posted on November 7, 2017 .


As I drew this I couldn't help but imagine Alden in this scene...

Chapter One The Ambush  Asunder, Book One of The King's Renegade  A Vatan Chronicle

Chapter One
The Ambush
Asunder, Book One of The King's Renegade
A Vatan Chronicle

Turning his head further, Alden stopped at the sight of a mess of short, crimped amber hair dancing wildly in the wind. In the setting sun it glowed like a bush caught aflame. The lower half was woven into a raggedy braid which rested on her chest into a point. Alden’s eyes followed the line down to explore her body’s fit contour. Strong arms held her up as she leaned against the hill. His gaze paused when her short-cut tunic fluttered in the light breeze showing off a set of toned, leather-covered legs. The glimmer of a hidden dagger winked at him. Howling, the wind picked up and the whip of fabric sent Alden’s eyes back up. His partner studied the environment around her with a smile. Kira.

I used Nick Bateman for reference-as usual-and tweaked it ever so slightly to how I see Alden. I'm still amazed how similar he is to how I had envisioned Alden. Fate.

Posted on October 22, 2017 .

EXCERPT: The Decision

Alden took out the bottle Reyn had given him to view. It held a clear liquid with oily orbs clinging to the surface. Closing his eyes, he rolled it in his hands, feeling the contours of the glass. He squeezed the bulbous bottom and absently played with the rope choking its neck as he debated using the drug on Kira. Alden had to trust that Reyn saved more elegant bottles for richer, deadlier poisons or their antidotes. From the simple design, this had to be just a sleep potion.

Alden sneered at the mound behind him where his shadow commander snored.

Reyn implied he had used it on Kira before…that bastard.

Before he had joined the guild, none had ever stood up for Kira—thieves really were in it for themselves. Alden sighed and looked back to the fire. He froze.

Kira was staring.

Chapter Three The Decision Asunder, Book One of the King's Renegade A Vatan Chronicle

Chapter Three
The Decision
Asunder, Book One of the King's Renegade
A Vatan Chronicle

Posted on October 20, 2017 .

WRITING PROMPT: Valiant Prince

Model: Colin Owens, Photographer: Brendan Minto

Model: Colin Owens, Photographer: Brendan Minto

The hot pain aching in his side was a comfort as the cool night air blew in. It had been hours since the coup had started, but he’d finally killed them all. He pulled what remained of his tattered jacket close and settled further into the bushes.

He’d kept his kingdom safe, even though their heir was now lost...

I had commented on model Colin Owens's Instagram @thecolinowens saying "Love this image. Imagining stories behind it." and he asked what those were... so I wrote.

Posted on October 8, 2017 .


Chapter Twenty-three The Brew Asunder, Book One of The King's Renegade A Vatan Chronicle

Chapter Twenty-three
The Brew
Asunder, Book One of The King's Renegade
A Vatan Chronicle

Mayli took the paper but kept her eyes on Alden. He fidgeted, keeping his gaze distant. She watched him swallow nervously. Finally, she looked down at what he had given her and gasped. Unexpectedly, the thief had kept his word and sketched something. There were ink drops and messy chicken-scratch-like lines but each stroke seemed to have a purpose as it formed the image.


He’d drawn her leaning over the rail overlooking the water’s edge. She was bundled up in her cloak with the hood down and hands nursing a mug of tea. Her hair was dancing in the wind along with her scarf, even though she hadn’t been wearing it like that since they’d left Brimley. Her eyes were wide, conveying a sense of loss combined with hope. It moved her in a way she didn’t think possible.

Mayli looked back up at Alden and as she did a tear rolled down her cheek. “Thank you,” she said in a light whisper. His eyes shifted to meet hers but darted away as if embarrassed. She continued. “Every portrait that has been made of me has always been an idealized version; one that the world expected to see of a princess.” She looked back down at the drawing where a fresh tear had dotted the bottom of the page causing ink to spread. “But, you drew me.”


Art by me. Referenced model Fran Nardone

Posted on October 3, 2017 .


Chapter Eighteen Gracevale Asunder, Book One of The King's Renegade A Vatan Chronicle

Chapter Eighteen
Asunder, Book One of The King's Renegade
A Vatan Chronicle

“Nothing anyone else has done is because of you…” Alden interrupted in protest. “You can’t feel responsible for other people’s judgment or choice of actions, regardless of what influence you may have had…”

“You gonna live by that wisdom yourself, Alden?” teased Briar.

Alden exhaled, then looked down the road distantly where the forest was finally beginning to clear. “Someday…”


Art by me. Referenced model Nick Bateman

Posted on October 2, 2017 .



Many people ask how to find character names. There are many ways to do it. Personally, my favorite Names are those which I pulled from my life so that I have a deep connection with them.

I grew up in Minnesota and now live in California. I like being tied to my birthplace and so many of my character's names are towns, places, and people from my old life there. This photo here is from Pierz. Its a sweet little town with an AMAZING meat market that my family always stalks up on beef jerky when we drive through. When I was in need of a good name for my guild leader, Pierz came to mind, and it stuck. 

Sometimes towns have an interesting group of letters but isn't quite right. This is how I created my main character, Alden. His name derived from Arden Hills, another town in Minnesota. I liked the look of the word but not how it sounded. I threw in other letters until Alden flowed off the tongue and I fell in love.

Needing a buddy for Alden I thought of the name Briar under the assumption I had seen a town called Briar Lake. I zoomed into the map and searched the area around the Twin Cities in Minnesota. No Briar Lake. I had been thinking of Prior Lake. Curious, I typed it into the search bar. Where it took me made my mouth hang open. It was up North in the Boundary Waters. A neat location as it was where Brimley (my kingdom) is geographically inspired from—however, that’s not why I stared in awe. Out of over ten thousand lakes in Minnesota, the lake a stone's throw beside Briar Lake was Alden Lake. They were fated to be.


Not all of my names come from towns of course. Sometimes I overhear a conversation wrong blending words into something unique. I play Dungeons and Dragons and once there was an enemy marked X10. That grabbed my attention and now I have a knight named Exten.

I've also used other languages to create a name. I have a pirate who is very rat-like. so i searched "rat" in a Turkish to english translation and got Sican. That's a good pirate name i thought and kept it.

I have a large Crab-like sand monster thing... I searched what the word 'Monster' translates to in Turkish. it was Canavar. That's cool! I thought, but needed to beef it up. I then took inspirations from how Centaur is spelled and changed it to Canavaur. But that looked as if i misspelled carnivore as i was pointed out. So I Swapped it to a k. Kanavaur is now my crazy sand beast.

This applies with places too. Brimley I named after searching for Angelo Saxon terms. Brim means a bend in a river, which is where the castle sits. ley is a clearing in the woods. 
This is a great link to help with place names:

Ammos is my desert Island Kingdom. Ammos means sand in greek.

Dregs is a kingdom at the mouth of a river. Dregs means the last remaining sediment. These can be found at a river's end.

Marram is a on a penisula with lots of sandy and grassy terrain, much like Florida. Marram is a course coastal grass.

Hiore is a kingdom in the mountains where ore is plenty... High Ore. It is a pun.

Below Hiore is a town called Basevein. The base of a mountain which has veins of ore.

And my world is called Vatan, meaning Homeland in Turkish. 

Always being observant is key to finding these names. Pay attention to street signs. Movie credits. Clients you may work with. When you find one write it down asap on a google doc. That way it is accessible wherever and if your phone dies and you've only written it on a notepad hundreds of characters won't parish like what happened with my list. 😭 I've got a new list now and pull from it any time i'm in need.

Posted on September 20, 2017 .