Some of you may wonder "What the heck is Beth doing here instead of Sandra? It is Thursday, right?" Sandra has decided to take a break from the blog. Her writing career and responsibilities are running wide open and she needed to address those. I'm sure she'll stop by the guest blog now and again and hopefully come back full time when she can, until then I'll be taking her spot on Thursdays. We'll miss you, Sandi. I wish you tons of blessings with your writing. Don't be a stranger. Now didn't we promise you a month of nasty nefarious vilianry? Let's get to it then. Meet Ashton Smythe.
If you've read Earth Enchanted you may remember Ashton Smythe. While Niccolo Gueraldi was the kingpin with a penchant for historical diamonds and murder, his right hand man Ashton Smythe, proved to be equally devious. In EE, I gave Smythe the appearance of a pawn or throwaway thug, perhaps a glorified butler with knife skills, when in actuallity I was gearing up for To Take Up The Sword and the conclusion of the Corrigan's time in the United States in this series.
Ashton is the kind of guy everyone wants to hate. Orphaned at the age of twelve, he grew up on the streets of London, stealing, raping and killing when he saw the need to get what he wanted. He began his association with Gueraldi during the same jewerly store job that gave EE's villian a lust for diamonds. Though only in his sixties, Ashton's rough life had aged him considerably giving the false impression of an old feeble man. A deception which leads to a messy end for many who underestimate him. He's coniving and manipulative, carefully removing any evidence, past or present, from Gueraldi's estate long before the FBI moves in and convinces a jury he was nothing more than a butler with no knowledge of Gueraldi's crimes. Leaving him in a position to take his money and waltz out of the court room scott free. He's careful, calculating, and deadly, a shark on land.
Ashton is challenging every skill I possess as a writer. As I finish up this book, I keep running into walls where I need to invent new and devious ways to torment Gabe and Lea through Ashton's evil scheming, such as shooting up their motel room and putting Lea in the position of having to kill a guy in front of an FBI agent, to save his life. So how evil do you like your bad guys and what sort of evil gives you chills?