Another review has come in, and this one has me super-pleased! Bitten By Paranormal Romance is a wonderful blog site, and I nervously submitted my book, hoping it would do the reviewers justice.




Artemis went in, by her own admission, with a "deep sigh", as I was a new-to-her author. But she rated the book 4 Moons, and ranked it as HOT. Here's a few snippets of what she had to say:






"as the story started to unfold and the character’s complexity is revealed, did I realize just how captivating IMMORTAL HOPE is."




"I am enamored with the Templar Knights of IMMORTAL HOPE and with their bravery to endure the impending evil that steals their souls bit by bit. "




To read the full version and hear some wise words from the archangel Gabriel, check it out here.


Now -- QUICK! Hop over to Bitten By Paranormal Romance today and read about the Lure of Darkness.

I'm talking about Immortal Hope and Stripped, and why the darkness is so compelling, both in Paranormal Romance and in Romantic Suspense.

Follow the rules over there and you can win a signed copy of both Immortal Hope and Stripped!

Hope to see you there.












~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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First Up -- Guest Spot!!


I am so excited to be over at Jill James' blog site today. Please stop in and say hello -- she's a great lady, hosts a gracious blog, and I'd love to see you there.




Release day is almost here. Just five more days! Slowly, reviews have been coming in, and I'm beyond words at how well it's been received.




Here's a remark from Harriet at Alternative Worlds:



"The first Curse of the Templars urban fantasy is a super tale in which readers will believe in the curse, centuries old knights, demons, and a brave bookworm professor who cannot hurt a fly but carries a sharp sword." - read the full review



She had several other exciting remarks, and it was very satisfying to see the review on a site that isn't strictly romance.




Remember -- you can pre-order it now!







Meanwhile, the Virtual Book Tour begins January 1st! I'll be talking about IMMORTAL HOPE, the inspiration behind it, and giving you a closer look at the struggling knights, Merrick, Farran, Declan, Caradoc, Lucan, Tane and Gareth.




If you follow the tour, I'm giving away prizes!




I will be giving away a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a second $25.00 Amazon.com gift certificate to a second randomly drawn commenter at the end of the tour.



Be sure to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning!



Click the badge to see where I'll be when.









~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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There is exactly seven days until IMMORTAL HOPE releases!


Reviews are coming in, and my Virtual Book Tour is about to begin. I have, in my hot little hands, the first printed books. Oh they are so nice!!! So very nice.


I CAN'T WAIT!!


In the meantime, Book Lovers, Inc reviewed the ARC copy, and here's a couple highlights from Anna's remarks:


"From the very first pages of the story, the action is nonstop–and not only that, but the action scenes are so well written and vivid that it’s like each battle is being unfolded before your eyes!"


"All in all, Immortal Hope is a very well-written paranormal romance title set in an intricate world, whose sequel I just can’t wait to read!"


If you'd like to read the full review, it's posted here.


Happy happy happy. Stay tuned for more information ala Knights Templar as the weeks unfold!



  



~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Super easy to win today!

The Prize:

One digital (.pdf) copy of All I Want for Christmas…Is Big Blue Eyes











The Game:

In the comments section below, share your favorite winter holiday memory this year.
Commentors’ names will be put into a hat, one winner randomly chosen.
Winner’s name will be announced in the comments section below.
Winner must email Claire to claim his/her prize.

Good luck!

~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Thank you everyone for your support and encouragement this year.

I wish you the very best holiday season, the warmest memories, and the brightest new year.

 



~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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I am a dragon at heart.

No, I don't breathe fire (well my demi-demons might argue that), and I don't spit acid. I do collect gems. And I wish I had some mystical power.

But beyond all that, if there's a dragon in the vicinity, I'm so there.

And that leads me to one of my favorite Christmas memories. I confess, this is a totally materialistic memory, but even now, many years later, it's very dear to my heart.

For years, years, years, I suffered through everyone buying me what they thought I wanted, and never paying attention to the things I'd mention. The last time I can recall a Christmas where I was literally squealing when I opened the wrapping paper, was as a child.

But one year, perhaps after I spent the majority of the year subtly (okay, not so subtly) remarking that just because I was grown didn't mean I had to have sensible gifts and I could still enjoy the frivolous... I found heaven under my Christmas tree.

My mother finally stopped pretending she didn't have a dragon-wanna be in her house. And somehow she managed to find everything-dragon for me. Cute little dragon figurines, dragons in snow-globes, angry majestic dragons, and even hand-painted dragon plates.

Even better -- she signed up the entire family! My aunt joined the parade of dragons, and I had a couple dragon t-shirts plus more set-abouts. And a dragon pendant. My significant other found a dragon music box and he made it doubly exciting with pairing that gift with a Merlin music box.
(Why did I let him get away? :face-palm:)

In any case, at twenty....something.... I had a kids Christmas and was able to remember the magic of my childhood. I've never received another dragon, but those gifts, those priceless treasures, are fondly displayed in a hutch, all together, all there looking at me to remind me there's magic surrounding us.

I've been able to give that joy to my children, and relive the magic of Christmas through their eyes. That's more important. And frankly, far more memorable. But I saw that photo when I was browsing for something to include on my post, and well... the dragons just wouldn't be ignored!

But speaking of Christmas Magic, this year I released a very special Christmas story. A BROKEN CHRISTMAS digs into the hearts of two wounded people, who have only one thing remaining in their lives -- love. It's a romance that I hope will touch your heart.

A BROKEN CHRISTMAS
Contemporary Holiday Romance

The truest gifts are damaged ...

Delta Force operative Kyle Garland divorced his wife to protect her. His top-secret missions expose him to constant danger, and his world is full of lies and deceit. But the threat to Aimee doesn’t come in the form of insurgents or bombs. Rather, his soul-deep love and the dreams he silently nurtures are her greatest hazard. When a career-ending injury brings him home for Christmas, to keep her safe he must bury his feelings and hide the monster he’s become.

Fourteen months ago, Aimee had the perfect marriage… then Kyle blindsided her with a divorce. Now, he’s coming home, and she intends to get her answers. Yet the crippled man she confronts bears scars her years of nursing cannot heal. The secret he’s hiding is tearing him apart. No matter how she tries, he keeps her at a distance, despite the love that’s still evident in his kiss. What Aimee doesn’t know is her own damaged past terrifies Kyle more than any wartime horror.

As she forces him to confront his demons, will the holiday shred the fragile bonds they share, or will Christmas complete all their broken parts?

Read Excerpt

What about you -- Do you have a holiday memory that somehow completed you? In exchange for your stories, I have a gift for you.

One Random Commentor will Receive Two Special Prizes:

a - a .pdf copy of A Broken Christmas
b - a .pdf copy of my Yule novella, Destined to Die

I will post the winner here tomorrow!

Meanwhile -- DON'T FORGET this is part of the RomFan Reviews Holiday Blog Hop


Handsome here, will take you to the official list of all participating authors.

If you'd like to go directly to the next host, Jacquie Rogers is sharing her memory on the 27th.

For your convienence, here's a list of all participating authors and their Blog Hop dates -- remember, everyone has prizes to share. You can't win if you don't Hop!



Bobbi Brattz December 11th
Franny Armstrong December 12th
Regina Carlysle December 13th
Elizabeth Amber December 14th
Brita Addams December 15th
D.B. Reynolds December 16th
Beth Trissel December 17th
Tori St. Claire December 18th
Amy Romine December 19th
Skhye Moncrief December 20th
Carrie Ann Ryan December 21st
J.S. Wayne December 22nd
Shannan Albright December 23rd
Claire Ashgrove December 24th
Jacquie Rogers December 27th

Keta Diablo December 28th
Anne Holly December 29th
K.D. Grace December 30th

MERRY CHRISTMAS, everyone!




~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Well, it's here -- the very first review for IMMORTAL HOPE!

I'm snoopy dancing. Romantic Times (RT) awarded it four out of four stars! (4/4) Hot damn!

I've been biting my nails, hoping and praying, and wow... I was stunned to see the rating. While the review is short (all RT's are), here's a snippet:

"The story is well researched, with interesting characters, and you’ll be sucked into the novel within the first chapter. "

Meanwhile, I've been setting up a blog tour for IMMORTAL HOPE. If you check out the badge to the right, you can find my tour dates and where you can stop in to learn more about IMMORTAL HOPE and the diverse characters.

~~~~
IMMORTAL HOPE releases January 3, 2012, but is available for Pre-Order. Purchase your copy now, here!

 


 



~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Just in time for Yule--check out the third installment of the Inherited Damnation series, Destined to Die, available today!


Haunted by his mother’s betrayal, Belen McLaine surrendered to his demonic half long ago. For centuries, he’s roamed, doing all he can to corrupt those he encounters. But Belen’s life changes when a little Yuletide fun goes wrong, and the one woman he can’t stay away from is suddenly in need of his protection. Unable to cast her aside, he finds himself on a deadly path to love.

Faith Winters shared one glorious date with Belen complete with fireworks, but he stayed away until the night of her brutal attack.

As danger escalates, he becomes her only safety net. Shared passion gives way to something deeper, hotter, than she’s ever known before. Yet Faith has no idea her greatest threat is the very man who holds her heart. For Belen, even if it means hurting Faith, he must not succumb to love. If he fails, his father’s curse promises he’ll take Faith’s life.



~~~~~
Destined to Die is available at The Wild Rose Press in digital e-book format, and all major e-book retailers, including Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. BUY IT NOW!



~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Christmas is just five days away, and it just wouldn’t be appropriate to not include my first Christmas romance, All I Want for Christmas…Is Big Blue Eyes.



Perhaps a walk would tire him out. If nothing else, strolling past the decorated houses might help him get in touch with the holiday spirit. Amanda’s mother’s house was just down the street. He’d walk there and back. Two summers after his father passed, Lucas sent him a card telling him Mrs. Henders had passed away. Cancer had finally gotten the best of her. It would be interesting to see who lived in Amanda’s old house now.

Bullshit, Josh. You want to see her.

Had they repainted it? Did they ever cut down the old oak that got hit by lightning and split in half? Maybe another teenage girl now lived in the window near the elm’s thick branch, and he’d catch her sneaking out to meet the boy she was presently grounded from seeing. Or, maybe he’d find another boy like himself sneaking out the window, off to convince said girl out of her house because without her, Friday night was boring.

Particularly when he didn’t have football games and couldn’t see her cheering on the sidelines in that dangerously short skirt that revealed a little too much for his eighteen-year-old hormones when she kicked her foot to her ear.

He chortled.

Damn, they’d all had some good times here.

Lost in thought, he wandered down the sidewalk, walking through the few fond memories Lexington held for him. He saw grade school games of tag behind the thick-trunked, old trees; days of riding bikes up and down South Street, terrorizing Mr. Johnson by finding every rock they could and dumping them into his Koi pond; summer evenings staring up at the stars with her.

The rumble of a car’s engine brought his head up, and he slowed his pace as the silver Honda Accord touched its brakes thirty or so feet in front of him. With a crunch, it rolled over the banked snow on the curb and pulled into Amanda’s mother’s driveway.

Josh gave in to a fond smile. He’d get a first hand glimpse of who lived here now. Maybe a young couple, just starting out life, still caught up in newlywed bliss, not yet exposed to the reality of how faithless love was. They’d learn. But for a while, they’d feel like they had everything, that the whole world lay in their naive hands.

Like he’d believed until his mother shattered that innocence.

He kept walking, approaching the driveway casually, his curiosity piqued.

The driver’s door opened. A woman climbed out, toting a plastic grocery sack in one hand. Her honey-blond hair brushed the top of her shoulders, and as she walked in front of the car, the automatic headlights gave it a soft sheen.

Josh’s heart skidded to a stop at the same time his feet did. It couldn’t be.

“Amanda?” he called out, quietly.

She stopped, turning around with a puzzled expression. “Yes?” She started back toward the car’s rear end.

He hurried forward, meeting her halfway. As those blue eyes focused on him, and recognition settled into their dark depths, Josh couldn’t breathe.

Oh, God. Amanda.

Everything inside him screamed to reach out, touch her, hold her in his arms, and go back. Go back where everything was normal. Where she was so in love with him, she made him believe dreams were possible.

“Josh,” she whispered.

Nodding, he swallowed and searched for a smile. He found it, but it faltered with his nerves. Though he’d hoped, he hadn’t expected to find her here. Lucas hadn’t said anything. “Hi,” he managed.

“Hi.” She worried her free hand through her short hair, and in the streetlight, a diamond glittered on her left ring finger.

His gut turned over, clamping down tight. Someone had, indeed, been smarter and braver than he.

“I didn’t know you took over Mom’s house.”

Holding his gaze, she nodded. “It was all I had.”

Fighting down the urge to wince, he ignored the flash of hurt that passed behind her eyes. When she blinked, it was gone. But lurking there instead was something that took his breath away again. Emotion. The same kind that haunted his memories when he dared to think back on her.

The kind that went hand in hand with the words, Josh, you’re everything to me.



~~~~~~



Come back Monday for a chance to win All I Want for Christmas…Is Big Blue Eyes



~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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In two days Destined to Die will be available for purchase. Here’s your chance to win an advance copy and read it before anyone else!

The Prize:

One digital copy of Destined to Die













The Game:

Post in the comments section your brief thoughts about a dark hero.
Commenters’ names will be put in a drawing, one will be randomly selected
Winner will be announced in the comments section below.
Winner must email Claire to claim his/her prize

Good luck!



~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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For those of you unfamiliar with Six Sentence Sunday -- authors post six sentences from a book or a work in progress.


Hoarse and thick, his voice held torment. “Wrong it may be, but I can no longer fight this. I will choose shame and disgrace if it eases the ache that consumes me.” His onyx eyes flashed with something she couldn’t recognize. It reached in deep, wound its claws around her heart, and held on tight.

Quietly, he murmured, “Touch me, Anne.”

~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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The first of the reviews for Cursed to Kill, the first in the Inherited Damnation series is in! This series of novellas has been very fun to write, and delving into the darkness with demons has been an entertaining venture.

I'm super-excited that the first review came in at 4 Stars.


Here's what Marissa at Sizzling Hot Book Reviews had to say:

"CURSED TO KILL is an exciting read filled with tormented lovers who must overcome their history to find true love."

"If you enjoy a steamy story that keeps you on the edge of your seat and reminds you of the value of true love, I recommend CURSED TO KILL."

If you'd like to read her full remarks, drop in on Sizzling Hot Book Reviews



~~~~~
CURSED TO KILL is available in digital format at The Wild Rose Press and all major digital booksellers including Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and All Romance e-Books.

~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Congratulations to Tracey, on winning this week's Monday Pick Me Up!

She receives a copy of A Christmas to Believe In.

Happy Holidays, Tracey!

 



~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Christmas isn’t the only holiday in December. Another is Yule, and this Yule brings a magic all of its own. The third book in the Inherited Damnation series releases on the 21st. Belen and Faith have a holiday nightmare on their hands.

So with much ado, I’m bringing you a sneak peak of what they’re facing. WARNING: It is a little adult near the end.

He really liked holding her hand. The warmth of her skin filled him with the false promise that if he held on long enough he could absorb the decency she possessed.

Faith followed as he led her to the car, silent and introspective. He knew he should say something—she’d gone out of her way to entertain him tonight. But words failed each time he tried. He couldn’t get past the one thing that was firmly lodged in his throat: Kiss me, Faith.

They drove in the same quiet. Belen remained wrapped up in the conflict brewing inside him and searching for a way to bring a firm, final end to this nonsense. He answered when she spoke, but tension crackled between them with each passing block. He couldn’t say whether it was awkwardness, or just the climax of their shared attraction. Whatever caused it though, the electrified air drove him to near madness. If he could have stopped the car and run ten blocks to work the kinks out of his system, he would have.

His house was dark, save for the solitary light glowing over the threshold. At ten minutes to eleven, the oddity announced his siblings had gone out for the night. In the three months Dáire had been living with him, Belen couldn’t recall wanting his brother around. Tonight, he’d have surrendered his elemental powers to have Dáire sitting on the couch.

Even Isolde, for that matter.

Faith opened the door first, climbing out and taking a piece of Belen with her as their hands inevitably severed. He curled his fingers into his palm, closing his eyes against the sudden lance of anguish. With a deep breath, he steeled himself against what he must do, and exited the car. “Faith, I enjoyed tonight, but—”

Her lips touched his, and Belen’s heart came to a screeching stop. He remained motionless, frozen from head to toe, as her mouth feathered across his, seeking, beseeching him to acknowledge the desire that arced between them.

The tip of her tongue teased one corner of his mouth, slid along the inside of his lower lip. A low, feral groan rumbled in his throat as his arms wrapped around her waist and pulled her flush against his body. He angled his head and captured her lower lip, pulling it into his mouth, nipping it with his teeth.

Faith’s hands fastened in his long hair, her nails curled against his scalp. She kissed him with unabashed abandon, forcing him to acknowledge all the yearning he’d bottled up inside. His fingers curled into her narrow waist, and he deepened the kiss, tangling his tongue with hers like he had spent a lifetime waiting for this moment.

Maybe he had. It sure as hell felt like it. The velvety slide of her tongue was sweeter than honey. More painful than the sword that had plunged into his side when he’d taken up arms against the Romans the day the Selgovae were invaded.

And more saving than if the Ancestors had promised him a life without the darkness.

He slid one palm up her back, pressing her closer. Her breasts pillowed against his chest, her hips ground flush with his. Through the thin material of their formal clothes, he could feel the heat of her feminine center, and that warmth against his aching cock pulled another throaty groan from the depths of his soul. How he had craved her, yearned for this…

Belen’s fingers tangled in the nape of her hair, tugging the loose mass free. Long silken strands cascaded over the back of his hand, down her back, and brushed against the hand he kept fastened at her waist. He breathed through his nose, savoring the scent of almonds, the rich flavor of her mouth, the perfect way Faith’s body molded into his. She was so willing, so eager, and tonight he would…

He pulled back with a soft, protesting grunt.

Tonight he would not.

Their breaths clouded around them in the frosty night, rasping in broken harmony. He sucked in air, held it to stop the racket clamoring through his body. Then, exhaling slowly, he touched his forehead to hers. She held his gaze, turquoise eyes dark with arousal.

“You need to go home, Faith,” Belen whispered huskily.




~~~~~~




Check back Monday for a chance to win Destined to Die!






~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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With the holidays upon us, there’s nothing better than a holiday romance.

The Prize:

A digital (.pdf) copy of A Christmas to Believe In, The Three Kings, Book III










The Game:

Email me the names of the other two authors who collaborated on The Three Kings series.

All entrants’ names will be put into a hat, and one will be randomly selected. I will email the winner his/her copy of A Christmas to Believe In

Best of luck!

~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Squee! I was so absolutely excited to see this review come in. Not only did it achieve 5 Stars, A Broken Christmas was awarded the TOP PICK ranking.

As I've said many times, this story is super special to me. It's an incredible feeling to have a book be as well received as it is.



Here is what Emma at Night Owl Reviews had to say:

"How do you even begin to review a story that tells about such soul-stealing pain? The problem is that the characters are real or they easily could be."


"Be sure to have a box of tissues at your side; you're going to need it."



If you'd like to read Emma's full remarks, please read the entire review at Night Owl Reviews


~~~~~
A Broken Christmas is available in digital format at The Wild Rose Press and all major digital booksellers, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.





~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Today I have contemporary romance author, Jill James with me today. I've known Jill for a while now, and am very excited to have the chance to introduce her to all of you. Her writing is vivid and evocative, full of emotion, and the love scenes will make you squirm in anticipation!

So let's start out with you, Jill. Briefly take us on the journey with you – when did you start writing, did you start in the genre you’re published in now, what hurdles did you have to overcome, etc.

JJ: My first writing was poetry. I was the stereotypical angsty teenager. I wrote stories for my kids and for myself. I finally got serious in 2004 and joined RWA (Romance Writers of America) I originally wrote Tempting Adam for Silhouette Desire. When I got back the ‘thanks, but not for us’ form letter I put it aside and worked on other stories. I wrote a paranormal romance and several other stories but Tempting Adam was still calling to me. During a workshop the wonderfully talented Candace Havens said something that just made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. “You have to put yourself out there. Publishers aren’t going to walk down your street and knock on your door.” It seems so obvious now, but at that moment it was like a light bulb went off in my head, as cliché as that may sound. I had put off sending Tempting Adam to The Wild Rose Press for 2 years. What was I waiting for? I send off the required query and in what now seems like lightning fast moves I was offered a contract.

Hee hee. My first experience with TWRP was much the same -- it all happened before I could blink!

Obviously you write in the contemporary genre. Is that your favorite genre to read? Do you write in any other genres, or under any other pen names you’d like to share?

JJ: My favorite genre has always been romance. I’ll date myself here but I loved the Fabio covers. I love everything about reading a romance novel. I would love to write a science fiction or horror novel some day. I love reading those too. Right now I’m only Jill James, but never say never. Might need a new pseudonym sometime.

Shh! Don't tell anyone, I'm pretty crazy about the Fabio covers too.

Of the books you have published, do you have a favorite? If so, which one and why?


JJ: Tempting Adam, my first published novel. There is just something about the first time someone says ‘I like this. I want to buy it.’

What are your published titles and please tell us about anything coming down the pipe next.

JJ: Tempting Adam, TWRP
Divorce, Interrupted, self
Someone To Trust, self, coming soon

Speaking of Divorce, Interrputed -- everyone check out this amazing cover. When I first saw it my jaw dropped. It's stunning, Jill!


Newly-divorced Todd and Lisa Miller are stranded at their mountain cabin. There to divide a lifetime of memories, they soon are in danger from more than the anger between them. A vicious storm forces them to rely on each other to survive.

Can they trust the one person they lost belief in? Or are their hearts in danger from more than floods and frigid weather?



Let's talk about this book. I've been hearing so many awesome things about it. You took some risks with the story. WOuld you tell us about your plot development? How did the idea spur, did you have to do much research, any interesting tidbits that we should know?

JJ: In Divorce, Interrupted I wanted to explore the possibility of getting past infidelity. What if the love was strong enough to get back together and get another happily-ever-after? I know myself, I could never forgive and forget so I wondered if I could write a strong enough story to prove it could happen. My readers are saying, “yes”!

Personally, I'm glad you were brave enough to take that particular risk and broach the subject. I recall one of my earliest works involved infidelity. Everyone told me "YOU CAN"T DO THAT". It's so nice to see someone answer, "YES I CAN" -- and know that the readers are loving it.

Talking about heroes – What’s one thing about Todd that we wouldn’t necessarily learn in the book? A secret dream, an embarrassing habit, an episode from childhood.

JJ: In Divorce, Interrupted we learn the hero, Todd Miller, had a very overweight mother. Although I put in the story how he felt when she died, I didn’t really go into details about he felt to have an overweight mother. I felt the whole, ashamed and not having friends over, was overdone in stories. I wanted the readers to make their own assumptions based on their own lives.

All heroes are unforgettable in one way or another. What’s one thing about Todd that makes your heart go pitter-pat?

JJ: In the story Lisa notices her husband has changed from a middle-aged, starting to lose it, to a hottie. My heart beat a little faster as Lisa realized her husband was a hunk again.

Aww. That's so sweet :)

If Todd doesn’t have a pet in your novel, what kind of pet would best suit his personality?

JJ: Todd would have a Golden Retriever, a dog with loyalty unquestioned.

Hm. Is that a hint? Grin. In any case, you can't beat a Golden. And you're right -- loyalty unquestioned.

Moving on to heroines – Everybody has flaws. Sometimes they are endearing, other times they are annoying. What is your heroine’s greatest fault?


JJ: Lisa leaps without looking. She only saw her side of the story and cheated without thinking about the consequences until it was too late.

Without giving away details that might spoil the story for those who have not read it, could you tell us the one strength Lisa provides to Todd?

JJ: She is able to pull her own weight. She can carry her own backpack and row the boat if you need her to. She may look fragile, but she is the hero’s helpmate.

If Lisa was your daughter – what advice would you give her upon meeting Todd?

JJ: Trust him with your life. Trust him with your heart. This is the kind of man who will always be there for you.

Okay, after this rendezvous in the cabin, if we peek in on Lisa and Todd's lives ten years from now, can you give us a glimpse of what we’d see?

JJ: Their love would be stronger than ever and they might be at the lake with the grandkids but at night Todd would only have eyes for Lisa.

Again, the story sounds fascinating. And your writing is so power-packed with emotion, I can't envision this being anything but a heartwarming story. Let's take a peek at Divorce, Interrupted:


~~@~~
EXCERPT
~~@~~



The wind crashed against the bay window in the front of the cabin. Lisa Miller jumped up and knocked over her chair. Her shaking hand flew to her chest. Her heartbeat pounded. “That one sounded like it went through the window.”

She peered around the doorway to the living room. She sighed in relief. The glass was still in one piece, although a large pine bough sat on the front porch. The wet needles stood out in bas-relief against the graying sky.

This had been a bad idea, she berated herself. She could’ve waited for the storm of the century to pass before she came up to the lake. Even with her husband, Todd, coming next week, she could’ve waited. A sob caught in her throat like a burr. Todd, her newly, the ink hardly dry on the divorce decree, ex-husband.


She righted the chair and fell into it. How had it come to this? She’d been in love with Todd for as long as she could remember. He’d been her first boyfriend, her first lover, and she’d been sure, her last.

Throwing her head back, Lisa stared at the ceiling. Finding no comfort in the familiar cedar logs, she brought her head down and gazed into space. Her sight unfocused, the kitchen viewed through a haze of tears she refused to shed.

Twenty years. Gone in an instant. Her abrupt decision to take her boss up on his umpteenth attempt at flirting. A nano-second to throw it all away. For what turned out to be mediocre sex at best. Todd had ruined her for any other man. He loved her with his heart and soul, and she’d trampled it for half the allotted time in a tawdry motel with hourly rates and smelly, overused sheets.



~~@~~
You have just read an excerpt from Divorce, Interrupted by Jill James
~~@~~



Mm. Yup. Emotion-packed.

Going back to you though, do you have goals you have yet to meet?

JJ: I would still love to see a book with my name on the cover on a bookstore shelf.

What do you find most difficult about your job as an author?

JJ: Discipline. That butt in chair, hands on keyboard thing. I find so many things I could do even though I am happiest putting words on the page.

Amen!

What are you reading right now? Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?

JJ: Allison Brennan, Tess Gerritsen, and Karen Rose. I love how they blend romance and suspense together and make it look so easy.

Okie dokie, Jill -- before we wrap this interview up, would you tell everyone where we can find you?

JJ: Website: http://www.jilljameswrites.com
Blog: http://www.jilljameswrites.com/blog
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Jill.James-author
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jill_james


How can we sign up for your newsletter?

JJ: On my website www.jilljameswrites.com


Last but not least, where can we rush over to and buy Divorce, Interrupted?

JJ: Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/3c3fvng
BN.com: http://tinyurl.com/3o864py
Smashwords: http://tinyurl.com/3pbwmkm


Go, folks! Go grab that book. You'll fall in love too!

Thank you, Jill, for spending time with us. I hope you'll come back again and update us when Someone to Trust comes out!



~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Tormented by Darkness book II of the Inherited Damnation series, releases today!

Cursed by her incubus father centuries ago, the last thing Rhiannon McLaine wants is to fall in love.

The night she delivers flowers to detective Mick Farrell, however, everything changes. Deep-seated attraction flares into untamed passion. In the morning, Rhiannon awakens to find she’s lost her heart. Now, unless she can convince Mick of her secret past, she’s destined to take his life.

When Rhiannon asks Mick to go camping with her, instinct warns him to refuse. Though he hungers for her love and the goodness she represents, he’ll do anything to keep her from discovering the darkness within his soul. Yet a weekend in the woods is the perfect place to indulge in temporary desire…until he finds himself bound against his will.

Surrounded by ancient Celtic rites and magic, can Mick see beyond Rhiannon’s duplicity and recognize her love? Or will the revelation of her true demonic nature doom Rhiannon to a mortal life alone?




~~~~~


Tormented by Darkness is available in digital format at The Wild Rose Press and all other digital e-book retailers, including Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com.




~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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This week's teaser is from A Christmas to Believe In, Book III in The Three Kings

Maybe coming home wouldn’t turn out so bad after all. He hadn’t seen his brothers in years.

He made his way to the porch, stopped in front of the door to stomp the snow off his boots. Bells jangled as he opened the door.

A chorus of laughter greeted his ears. Alex looked up with a broad grin. But what caught Clint’s immediate attention was the flash of movement near the hearth. He glanced over in time to see a woman punch Heath in the arm. She tumbled back into her chair, giggling, then turned bright blue eyes on him.

Jesse.

“Clint!” Her excited greeting blended with his brothers’ hellos.

Her smile, however, made his breath catch. Something deep in his gut tripped as he took another step inside and Jesse eased to her feet. Long black hair tumbled to her waist, just as she’d always worn it. He’d seen those raven locks a thousand times, but they’d never shone quite like they did as she crossed the room.

To his shame, his gaze skipped down to her toes, taking in curves he’d never noticed, and a waist so tiny he could span his hands around it. She wore jeans that hugged thighs he knew were muscular. Only, five years ago, they’d just been Jesse’s legs.

Now, they belonged to a…

He caught the sweet scent of lilacs as she slipped her arms around his neck and hugged him tight. Soft curves melted against his chest.

A woman.

When in the hell had Jesse grown up? She’d been thirty when they’d last spent any time together. Even as an adult, he’d still seen the tomboy she’d always been. His little sister. But damn… She felt good. All feminine.

He collected himself enough to return her hug. “I’ll be damned, Jesse. I didn’t expect to see you here.”

“Is that Clint?” his mother called from the kitchen.

“Yeah, Mom. I’m here.”

Jesse pulled out of his embrace, leaving his skin tingling where they’d touched. Good grief, what was the matter with him? He’d wrestled with her, for God’s sake, and hadn’t ever been affected by touching her. For that matter, they’d all skinny dipped in Longview Lake one summer. And those breasts hadn’t been anywhere near as compelling as they were beneath her light blue sweater right now.

Shoot, he hadn’t even known she’d had breasts back then.

Well, he’d known, but there was a distinct difference.



~~~~~

Check back Monday to enter and win a copy of A Christmas to Believe In

~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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To celebrate the release of Tormented by Darkness on December 7, today I’m giving away a copy!

The Prize:

One digital (.pdf) copy of Book II in the Inherited Damnation series, Tormented by Darkness










The Game:

In the comments below, post your thoughts on demons – be that related to reading about them or the “literal” being.

All commenters’ names will be placed in a hat and one will be randomly chosen by my oldest, adorable demi-demon.

I will post the winners name in the comments section tomorrow. Winner must email me to receive his/her prize.

Good luck!

 



~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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This one surprised me, as it wasn't an "official" review--meaning it wasn't submitted by my publisher to a review site. But for me, this is almost more meaningful, as she's a new reader, and she chose to publish a review on her own, not because it's necessarily "her job".

Here's what she had to say on Goodreads:


"My heart was breaking for them both from the very start; my chest literally hurt when they would think about each other and remember the good times and wonder what went wrong. "

"I'm not sure what I was expecting, but this story was completely different from it...and that turned out to be a great thing."


Heather in FL, Goodreads - 5 Stars

Read the Full Review



~~~~~
Misunderstanding Mason is available in digital format at The Wild Rose Press and all other digital retailers, including Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.

~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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A little something different on the blog today. Author Minnette Meador has dropped in to contribute to the New Voices segment, and she's on tour with her urban fantasy thriller, The Belle Stalker! She's sharing a bit of magic with us, and combining the experience with a wonderful giveaway.

Minnette will be giving away a small Kindle ($79) plus a Portland Tote filled with goodies to one randomly drawn commenter, along with daily prizes.

She will do the drawing herself for the daily winners. (Please note: The Kindle and tote bag are limited to US and Canada only; if an international winner, an Amazon GC will be substituted)

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.


The tour dates can be by clicking the banner above.


I asked Minnette to discuss the multiple genres that she used in the creation of The Belle Stalker because how she blended such a unique set fascinated me. So with much ado, please welcome Minnette Meador!


JUST A HINT OF MAGIC -- guest post by Minette Meador

She saw them: Silhouettes against the streetlights, long shadows that joined and grew into a mass that shrouded the cars and street. There must have been fifty of them, all pushing or pulling a cart, a shopping basket, or crowded with dangling bags filled to the brim. They drifted toward her, a rolling tide of ruined women. The smell of stale mortality was heavy, stagnant.

Belle gathered the rest of her strength and bolted down the street before them. The sound of broken axles, whining wheels, stomping feet and babble intensified in her ears until she thought she’d go deaf.

Her legs fell one before the other, heavy, detached. Breath wheezed into her lungs. Pulsing veins throbbed through every inch of her skin.

Then she saw it; a glimmering dazzle of lights only two blocks away. She pushed herself toward it, but the noise was too much. A vibrating wheel caught her ankles, tripped her. She hit the street hard. - THE BELLE STALKER, CHAPTER TWENTY

TODAY'S PRIZE: eCopies of Starsight I & II

Claire asked me about what inspired this story and to address the multiple genres it encompasses. I had to think about that for a long time; inspiration can come from the slightest whisper or the biggest bang. I will do my best.

I love urban fantasy and have found an even newer love, steam punk. What fun it is to read about the modern world with a hint of magic. Years ago, Piers Anthony wrote a series where everyone used magic except the poor hero. He was the handicapped one. That was my introduction to this genre and I’ve never looked back.

Over the past few years I’ve read lots of vampire, werewolf, and shape shifting books. I do love them so. However, I wanted to create something different, something I hadn’t read before. So I decided to introduce Tequelin, an ancient mythic being who has gone insane from too much contact with humans. That’s all I’m going to say about him right now. I really don’t want to spoil the surprise.

There is nothing more exciting than discovering that there is a hidden layer of something fantastic beneath the everyday humdrum. I think that’s the appeal of fantasy, sci-fi, steam punk, and urban fantasy. But even more, what really sparks my engine is watching as plain ordinary people deal with these changes, accept them, and carry on with their lives knowing they exist; I believe human beings are one of the most adaptive creatures in the universe. It’s interesting that the thought of breaking any number of the laws of physics doesn’t even faze us. We are so open to the experience.

I am nothing if not eclectic; I love romance, mystery, science, fantasy, history, comedy, suspense, and thrillers, so I decided to combine them all. The love affair between Cranston and Belle even after eight years of divorce; the overwhelming desire of Tequelin to possess Belle; the mysterious dead body left in Belle’s apartment; the overwhelming power Tequelin possesses; the chase across a city that is collapsing under the hero’s feet that takes him across the Atlantic; the hidden city beneath the city they discover.

I honestly think the real world is a jumble of crossed genres… and I believe in magic. How about you? Make a list of how many genres you live every day. You might be surprised! :o)


Thanks for stopping in, Minnette. The Belle Stalker sounds absolutely fascinating -- by the way, Piers Anthony is a special favorite of mine. I can so relate to loving his work!



Let's learn a little more about The Belle Stalker.



THE BELLE STALKER
An Urban Fantasy Thriller
by Minnette Meador

The police have done all they can, but it isn’t enough. When Belle finds the mutilated body of her lover strewn across the furniture she knows only her ex-husband, Homicide Detective Mike Cranston can stop the maniac who has been dogging her steps for over a year. The only problem is the man who stalks her...is not a man at all. Belle plays a dangerous game and only hopes that Cranston can stop the monster before it’s too late.


Read an Excerpt


BUY The Belle Stalker for your Kindle
BUY The Belle Stalker for your Nook
BUY From All Romance eBooks


For more information about Minnette, please visit her blog.



Make sure you leave a comment on this post to be entered in both the Kindle drawing and Minnette's daily freebie! And while I'm ineligible, I'll start the comments off.


 



~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Tormented by Darkness comes out next week on December 7. Enjoy a sneak preview of Chapter One.

Chapter One

“Oh that’s right, we’re pretending your dead. Like we do every year when your birthday rolls around.”

Rhiannon McLaine shot a glare over the top of the flower arrangement in her hands. It landed on her brother, Dáire. He lounged in a metal folding chair, one ankle across a knee, his grin as devilish as the dark blood that flowed in their veins.

She chose to keep silent.

“How old are you now? Two thousand one hundred and ninety-nine or twenty-two hundred, even? It’s been so long since we’ve celebrated, I think I’ve forgotten.” He folded his arms over his broad chest, cerulean blue eyes glinting with wicked amusement. A casual toss of his head had his deep auburn hair dusting his shoulders.

He knew exactly how old she was. He was, to the night, exactly eighteen months older. And their polarized birthdays—she on Mabon, he on Ostara—forged bonds only rivaled by true twins of the womb. Those intimate ties made it possible for him to understand the barbs that flew from her narrowed gaze held no conviction.

His grin broadened as he kicked back, balancing on the chair’s rear legs. “Come on, sis, it’s just a camping trip.”

“I have things to do here, Dáire. Look at this stack of orders.” She gestured at a long line of hanging tickets on the wall beside her. “Homecoming is next weekend. There’s some big funeral tomorrow night, and I have a dozen out of town arrangements to put together. And Missy Soffet is getting married next Sunday too.”

Turning her attention back to the bright array of carnations, lilies and lush ferns in her hands, Rhiannon did her best to ignore the temptation of a weekend get-a-way. With the Mabon ritual so close, she was already a bundle of restlessness. Energy spiked, spirits drew closer to the veil between the realms, and the bits and pieces of her magical Celtic soul hungered for the rising power. An escape in the quiet mountains would make it easier to resist the calling, the dark desire to kill.

“So I’ll pop in next week and help you snip together all those homecoming corsages.” He paused, then cajoled, “It’ll be fun. Marshmallows. Chocolate. Wieners.”

Damn him, he knew she had a soft spot for S’mores. For just a heartbeat, she considered agreeing. Her chin even dipped. But before her head could lift and fully execute the nod, she held it in place, narrowing her gaze on a disobedient bloom. “Not going to work.”

“Cian and Miranda are going to come keep me company, but you won’t? I can’t believe my favorite sister’s going to abandon me on her birthday. My half birthday.”

Lips pursed, she tossed him a nonplussed look. “Don’t. Don’t even go there. I’m immune to your ability to influence my mind.”

He spread his hands before him, his expression innocent despite the amusement that glinted in his eyes and animated the intricate tattoo across his high cheekbones. To Rhiannon’s shame, a grin threatened to spoil her false look of annoyance. She fought the pull at the corners of her mouth and turned her back on Dáire to keep from laughing. He’d never been innocent. Not for one day out of his centuries-old life.

And resisting him, his charm, his wit, his beguiling teasing, was something she’d never done well.

“It’s my birthday. Shouldn’t I get to spend it how I want?”

“Yes, but you want to go camping. I can feel it.”

Double damn. Sometimes she wished they didn’t share the ability to sense each others’ feelings. She did want to go. She just couldn’t justify the time away from her flower shop.

Never mind that seeing her now-mortal brother, Cian, and his fiancée Miranda, made facing her reflection absolute torture. Cian had escaped the taint of their father’s dark blood, freed himself from their inherited damnation.

Rhiannon had hoped she and Dáire might discover the same blessing. But with one day left before her birthday, clearly this year wasn’t their year to experience the gift of freedom.

“Hey, ease up,” Dáire’s voice assumed sincerity. “I didn’t mean to bring you down.”

Rhiannon shook her head and pulled in a steadying breath. “I’m okay.” Just sick to death of what we are, of fighting this demonic nature of our father’s.

A shadow fell across her worktable, and a heavy hand settled on her shoulder. Dáire’s fingers squeezed gently. “Come with us, Rhiannon. I don’t want to leave you alone on your birthday, and I can’t fight the call in the city. It’s too strong anymore.”

That too, Rhiannon felt. The agitation in Dáire’s soul stirred hers. The relentless need to take life grew more intolerable each year that passed, and the Sabot nights were always the hardest. It had been a long time since she’d caved to it—since they both had. But she sensed, for her twin-like brother, this year might make him falter.

She couldn’t tell him no. Couldn’t send him off with Cian and Miranda to battle the vile half of his soul and struggle to hold on to the light their mother infused within him. She glanced at the finished flower basket, reached out to straighten the electric blue bow. “Do we have to go with them?”

The shrill peal of the phone halted conversation. Rhiannon wiped her hands on her apron, tucked her long thick braid over her shoulder and scurried to the front of the shop. “Rhiannon’s Creations, how may I help you?”

“Rhiannon.”

The gravelly voice she’d dreamed about one too many times poured over her. With it came a vision of thick black hair, a sultry mouth, and eyes that were as dark and fathomless as a starless sky. A pleasant chill crawled down her spine, and Rhiannon clutched the phone a tiny bit tighter. “Mick Farrell, how good of you to call.”

From the corner of Rhiannon’s peripheral vision, she caught Dáire leaning against the doorframe, amused smirk once again intact. Turning sideways, she sought to hide her reaction to Mick’s phone call, though no doubt, Dáire could feel the excitement that thrummed in her veins.

Mick cleared his throat. “Yeah, listen, I know it’s late notice, but…” He paused, a harsh breath drifting through the receiver. “Can you fill an order before you close?”

Rhiannon glanced at the clock. Ten till four—she still had another arrangement to finish before they closed, but Mick’s usual half-dozen “something pinks” or “something yellows” wouldn’t take more than fifteen minutes. She grinned as a chuckle escaped. “Another lady friend, huh? What happened to last week’s flavor?”

Though the question was lighthearted, a pang of envy rose on its heels. Mick Farrell was the single-most breathtaking man Rhiannon had ever laid eyes on. He was tall and athletic, fine-tuned for the rigors of his work. The touch of wickedness in his smile promised he knew how to use that muscular body for other, more pleasurable purposes. He could melt a woman with a single look. Mick also knew it. And though he flirted shamelessly with her every time he came in to pick up his flowers for his endless rotation of women, she didn’t even register on his horizon.
Not that she wanted to. The whole falling in love with him and having to kill him curse put a damper on the giddy way his fathomless dark eyes made her feel.

At his harassed sigh, a frown pulled at her brow. No smart comeback? This wasn’t like Mick. She swallowed her smile. “You want roses, carnations—or I have some really pretty fresh-cut wildflowers. They aren’t all pink, but they’re a great date mix.”

“No. No flowers. Well. Not those kind.” He sighed again, and something on the other end of the phone thumped heavily. “A plant maybe. I’m sorry this is such short notice, Rhiannon. I don’t know, what’s easy? What can you do in triplicate?”

Triplicate? Rhiannon blinked. With an hour until closing and another arrangement already promised by five, Mick was seriously pushing her abilities. But something else deepened her frown. A sense of something not quite right. Mick was never this unsure. Never so…distracted. He knew what he wanted, almost down to the type of filler, no questions asked, no reservations.

“Mick? Are you okay?” The question popped out before she could stop it.

“Yeah. I’m fine.” Again, something thumped in the background. “Look, I’m sorry, I’m a bit disorganized right now. My stepfather passed away. The arrangements are for his wake tonight. I completely forgot about flowers until someone called.”

In a small town the size of Petersville, Pennsylvania, it didn’t take much to put visitation and funeral together and realize the swamp of orders she’d received for Steve Prescott were for Mick’s stepfather. In a heartbeat, compassion rushed forth. “Oh, Mick, I’m so sorry. Yes, I can have those done for you. I’ll have to deliver them though, what time is the wake?”

“Seven.”

Rhiannon nodded as she pushed aside the bottles of herbal remedies she’d neglected to put on the shelves and grabbed a pen. “Where to?”

“Here. My house, I mean. 1327 Watson.”

She scribbled the address down and laid the pen back on the countertop. “Anything in particular?”

“You pick. I trust you.”

“Okay. I’ll stop by your house then.”

“Thanks, Rhiannon.”

“Sure thing.”

Disconnecting, she edged past her brother’s watchful gaze and retreated into the cooler where she pulled an array of muted salmon, yellow, white, and tangerine blooms. Halfway out the door once more, a pot of lavender lisianthus caught her eye, and she plucked six long-stems. She bustled back into her work area and dropped the selection into holding tanks of water.

“Mick Farrell, huh? You’re going by his house?” Dáire’s voice teased as he once again assumed his relaxed position in the chair. “Bet he’d give you a birthday present worth remembering.”

“Dáire!” Goddess help her, she wanted to scold. But that infuriating gleam to her brother’s eyes made it impossible to be offended. His intricate tattoos danced with silent amusement, and she found herself merely shaking her head, bemused.

“Oh, come on, you aren’t a prude no matter how you try to mimic our saintly sister, Brigid.”

That got Rhiannon chuckling. “Would you stop? Mick Farrell doesn’t know I exist beyond my ability to fill his flower orders. He’s not giving me any birthday present, darling brother.”

He lifted one dark eyebrow, and a smirk played at the corner of his mouth. “But you want him to.”

“Hush.” Turning, she reached into a high cabinet for a block of floral foam, glad Dáire couldn’t see the heat that rushed to her cheeks. “His stepfather died. I’m just helping out a good customer.”

“Uh huh. And what about that basket?” He inclined his head toward the one she’d finished.

“Damn! I forgot, I was supposed to get that out the door. Can you do it for me? It goes up to the hospital, room 207, Mrs. Jentzen.”

The low laugh that issued from her brother’s throat as he swung out of the chair and unraveled his rangy frame mocked her. “Keep telling yourself that, Rhi.” He rapped a closed fist over his heart with a mischievous wink. “Remember, I can sense you as easily as you sense me.”

Still smirking, he grabbed the basket and sauntered out the front door. As bells tinkled in his wake, Rhiannon stared at the lump of foam on the table before her. Helping out a good customer—Yeah, keep telling yourself that, Rhi.

If she said it enough, maybe she could actually avoid falling for Mick further and thwart the curse all together.



~~~~~~


Come back Monday for a chance to win an advance copy of Tormented by Darkness!

~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Monday Pick Me Up Winner

0 Comments Posted by Claire Ashgrove at 9:49 AM

 



Congratulations to Tara Woods for winning this weeks Monday Pick Me Up -- Cursed to Kill.

I hope you all will come back and play again!

 



~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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With the release of the second Inherited Damnation book just around the corner (December 7), I’m giving away a copy of the first book today, Cursed to Kill

The Prize:

A digital (.pdf) copy of Cursed to Kill












The Game:

Email me the name of the Celt tribe Cian is part of. (Hint! Read the information on Inherited Damnation, in the links at the top of the page.)

I will randomly draw a name from the people who email and send the copy over. Winner’s name will be posted in the comments section below.

Good luck!

~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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The Inherited Damnation series follows the Celt Sabots, and book III, Destined to Die, releases on December 21st--Yule.

Check out this stunning cover, once again designed by the fabulous Rae Monet!

















If that's a demon, I want my own!

~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Congrats to ainfinger!
  
  

~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Gearing up for the release of the second book in the Inherited Damnation series, this week’s teaser takes us back to book one, Cursed to Kill.

Cian opened his fingers and dropped the sandwich on the tabletop. He’d hurt Miranda. After he’d poured his soul into her, along with his tainted seed, he had shredded her to bits. He didn’t need words to tell him this – her expression said everything. Pain. Betrayal. Sorrow – all of it shone in her eyes, gutting him until he bled alongside her. It might have been easier if he had just carved out her heart.

If he ever had the chance to make this right again, he would fall to his knees at her feet and beg. She would never believe he was over two-thousand years old, that his blood was half demonic, and all the other fantastic reasons he had forced her away. But maybe, just maybe, he could find something right to say. Something that mended all the bisected bits of her heart.

Angry with his fate, frustrated with his impossible choices, he kicked the chair opposing him. It skittered across the kitchen floor, clanged into the counter, and topped sideways. The clatter satisfied a portion of his agitation.

“You’re in love with her,” Rhiannon observed quietly as she stepped into the doorway.

Cian swore beneath his breath, in no mood for his sister’s well-intended badgerings.

“That’s what this is about isn’t it? The brooding. The indecision. The inability to do anything but rage.” She moved across the room and eased into the chair at his right. Her warm hand fell on his arm, her touch soothing to his agitated skin. “Why didn’t you tell me, Ci?”

Tell her what? That their curse was ripping him in half? That for the first time in his immortal creation he loathed what he was? What they all were? He clenched his teeth and looked away from her probing blue eyes.

“Now I understand why Belen was so mad about you disappearing into your room with her.” A soft chuckle accompanied the wry shake of her head. “You have something he wants.”

“Sibling rivalry at its damnedest,” Cian muttered.

She cocked her head, watching him with keen intelligence. Perhaps a touch of higher wisdom. Cian didn’t know exactly what she latched onto, but he resented her intuition. Her ability to read him so well.

“Miranda,” she murmured thoughtfully.

He glanced sideways at his sister. Not once had he revealed Miranda’s name. Unless they’d been eavesdropping on his encounter in the hall, no one should know.

“Belen knew her name. He’s met her, hasn’t he?”

Visions of the one evening the three of them had spent together flashed before his eyes. Belen sugarcoating his voice, wrapping seduction around Miranda in attempts to draw her away from Cian. Coercion meant to entice, pleasure he would grant, all the while plotting how he intended to draw out her death.

Surprising even to himself, a low growl rumbled in the back of Cian’s throat.

“Cian, tell her.”

He slammed his palms down on the tabletop and rocketed to his feet. “Tell her, what exactly, Rhiannon? That I’ve envisioned methods of killing her that make acts of torture look like child’s play?”






~~~~~~





Come back Monday for a chance to win Cursed to Kill!



~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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It's Monday again -- time to start the week with another free-read!

The Prize:

A .pdf copy of A Broken Christmas











The Game:

Post a comment, any comment, about either the Broken Christmas Teaser last Tuesday, or sound off if you have family or friends currently serving in our Armed Forces (or similar capacities).

Names will be collected, and one person will be randomly chosen by my youngest demi-demon. The winner’s name will be posted in the comments section tomorrow morning. Winner will need to email me to claim his/her prize.

~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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I've said it many times, A Broken Christmas is a very special story to me. It is probably my current favorite piece I've written. I hoped that it impacted readers as much as it affected me.

I'm beyond thrilled that the first review it's received came in at 5 Blue Ribbons from Romance Junkies.

Here's what Suzie had to say:

"A BROKEN CHRISTMAS is one exceptional book! Mere words can’t express how much I fell in love with this story."

"For anyone who appreciates a book with which you will develop an emotional bond then A BROKEN CHRISTMAS is just the book to satisfy your needs."

To read her full remarks, visit Romance Junkies





~~~~~
A Broken Christmas is available in digital format at The Wild Rose Press and all major digital booksellers, including as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Congratulations to "ainfinger" -- the winner of this week's Monday Pick Me Up!

Thank you, everyone, for playing, and I hope you'll come back next week for another chance to win.

~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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With Christmas coming, it’s time to break out the sentiment. And A Broken Christmas is a book that’s full of sentiment.

A BROKEN CHRISTMAS is a passionate powerhouse of a story. Have the tissues ready!” ~Stephanie Cage, author of Desperate Bid

Falling into his ingrained household routine, Kyle used his cane to pull himself out of the couch and hobbled to the thermostat. He kicked it up from sixty-two to seventy-three. Multiple surgeries had changed one thing permanently—he no longer possessed a tolerance for cold. A slight chill cramped the muscles in his injured leg and spread a dull ache all the way up his spine.

When the heater kicked on, he made his way into the kitchen for a cup of hot coffee. Aimee glanced at him while she furiously beat eggs in a bowl. He lifted an eyebrow at her obvious agitation.

“Something wrong?”

She shook her head then tossed the whisk into the sink. It clattered noisily against the porcelain. Uh-huh. Everything was as right as rain.

“Thank you for the blanket.”

Aimee acknowledged his thanks with a curt nod. “Breakfast will be ready in a few minutes.” She
gestured at the skillet of sausage patties. “Those are almost done.”

As a rule, Aimee liked mornings. She got up, bustled around the kitchen, dodged him until he had a chance to fully wake up. Once he spoke, however, she chattered endlessly while he sucked down coffee by the gallon and tried to make sense of what she said.

This was not his normal, smiling, aggravating, morning-person wife.

Ex wife.

He took another long sip and leaned his good hip against the counter top as she stabbed her two-pronged fork into a patty with a little too much zeal.

“Aimee, you’re killing the sausage. Care to tell me what’s on your mind?”

“Yeah.”

The way she methodically set the fork down, turned off the burner, and reached for something tucked behind the sugar canister tripped him into high alert. He knew how to read her signs loud and clear, and this one said he was in trouble. As she slowly turned around to face him, Kyle eyed the clenched fist she dragged across the countertop.

Her palm smacked against the Formica. Something he couldn’t identify fluttered to the ground and disappeared behind her long robe. Her voice rang with a hard insistence he’d never heard from her before. “I want answers.”

As she lifted her hand, Kyle stared at the pile of ripped up photographs he’d tossed into the trash.

Oh, shit.




~~~~~~




Come back Monday for a chance to win A Broken Christmas



~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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The Prize:

A digital (.pdf) copy of Seduction’s Stakes























The Rules:


1. Answer the following question: “What are Maddie and Riley both trying to win?”
2. Email me the answer at: Claire@claireashgrove.com
3. I will put all the participants’ names in a hat tomorrow morning, and my oldest demi-demon will draw one. I’ll then contact the winner via email and send the .pdf. Winner will also be posted here.

~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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I'm pleased as punch Misunderstanding Mason is being received so well.

Here's what Vicky at Sizzling Hot Book Reviews had to say,:

"I like just about everything in MISUNDERSTANDING MASON. The feeling of the characters are easy to get into..."

"Mason isn’t giving [Kirstin] up and his winning her back is so romantic, if a little on the nerdy side (well, he is a computer programmer after all)."

Sizzling Hot Book Reviews, Vicky -- 5 Hearts


To read the full review, GO HERE.



~~~~~~
Misunderstanding Mason may be purchased in digital format through The Wild Rose Press and all electronic booksellers, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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Welcome everyone!

Today I'm pleased to bring you, Kathy L. Wheeler, a romance writer from Oklahoma, who comes with an impressive bio in the romance industry. She's been President of OKRWA, President Elec for RWA, a member of RWA PRO, and is currently a member of the Dallas RWA as well as OKRWA's Program Director. She's got a great foundation in writing, and it's exciting to be able to share her insight with all of you.

So, Kathy, tell us a little about yourself – what genre you write in, how long you’ve been writing, what do you do in your non-writing time?

KLW: I primarily write contemporary with an element of suspense. It’s light and (hopefully) a little humorous. I started writing about six years ago. I love pro football, so in my spare time, outside of Jazzercise, reading, and karaoke, I play fantasy football. Last year was my first year to acquire season tickets for NBA Thunder basketball.

I'm impressed you are knowledgeable enough to play fantasy football. I tried once--laughable. I think my team came in dead last (perhaps beyond last) at the end of season rankings.

How did you come to the decision that you wanted to write? And, how did you determine what genre best fit you?

KLW: My first story was not a contemporary. I ran across a Google prompt regarding a spin on Cinderella, and thought, I love Cinderella, I could do this. So in a strange twist of fate, I found some deep part of me took to writing. In five and a half years, I’ve completed nine manuscripts, six of which are over 50k words. So I jumped right in—and I’m still at it.

What steps did you take to get to where you are now, and which do you think was the most important?

KLW: I was reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Chicago Star Series, and as a pro football fan, I was hooked. I started digging around and it was on Ms. Phillips website I found the first link to RWA. I joined the Oklahoma Romance Writers, whose members included, Gena Showalter, Merline Lovelace, Sharon Sala, PC Cast, Maggie Price, Janice Reams Hudson, Jill Monroe, Linda Goodnight, Jordan Dane, Brooke Taylor…well, you get the picture.

Impressive. That's a whole passel of talent to pull from. Lucky lady! I bet you had some excellent insight early-on. But it goes to show--RWA can be so beneficial.

What’s your favorite thing about being an author?

KLW: I can make my characters do anything I want…wait! They sort of take over my head. I can try to make my characters do anything I want. Wait! Nevermind, they just take over my mind. Apparently, I thrive on mind-ebbing chaos. It seems to work.

Laugh! Isn't it great having a legitimate reason to listen to the voices in your head and talk to yourself? Amazing how once folks realize you're an author they stop looking at you funny. If they only knew what happens when those voices start fighting amongst themselves... shew!

What’s the most challenging thing about being an author?

KLW: Submitting and rejection. I know. I know. It’s all part of the process. But it’s tough.
Agent: We love the idea, we didn’t love the story. Editor: Nothing
Agent: While we read this story with great enthusiasm, it just isn’t something we feel is a right fit… Editor: nothing. Agent: blah blah blah. Husband: what are you going to do? Quit writing? Of course, not. Me: Of course, not!

It is part of the process, and as authors, we repeat that mantra to everyone going through it. But it doesn't take away from the fact it is, indeed, scary and heartbreaking at times. Don't lose hope, don't get caught up in negatives. My submission log reads around 300 rejections before my agent signed me. At some point you just have to shrug and say, "Next!" right?

In three sentences or less, tell us what you’re currently working on. What makes you love this particular project?


KLW: After the death of his mother, Kenny Buford finds out his name isn’t what he thought it was. When he tries to find his father, he’s two weeks too late. He’s dead. And learns he’s inherited the majority of stocks where his father was CEO. Someone is determined to take those shares. Dead or alive.

Oooh! That gave me the chills. Nicely done!

Tell us one story related to your writing endeavors. Amuse us, make us cry, make us cringe or make us smirk – your choice.

KLW: Well, there’s the time a group of us met at Panera Bread for our weekly critique meeting and started talking about laser’s (yes, lasers—different colors, swords swinging about) The conversation took a downward, or was it upward? turn….it took about two minutes for the area to clear out…Oh, I’m not sure that’s what you meant….

Laugh! Oh gosh... I can just imagine... You probably don't want to know what I'm imaginging. My alter-ego writes erotica. Smirk. Combine that with the paranormal... yup... I can so see Panera bailing out the door.

What is the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received about writing, and the pursuit of publication?

KLW: Funny, but it comes from my husband, who is an attorney, musician, and all-around incredibly intelligent, creative man. “The time is going to come and go anyway, what are you going to do? Quit?”

Very inspiring. It's nice (and a rare treat) to have a spouse who is so supportive and who can truly understand the drive to have to write.

What would you advise authors who are working toward publication?

KLW: You can read all the books you want, and should. But until you sit your tail in the chair and write you are limiting yourself. This is a case of having to “do” in order to learn. Can you finish? You don’t know, until you do it.

Amen. 'Nuff said.

Last but not least, is there a place we can keep up with your publication endeavors?

KLW: I try to keep my website updated with links to new postings and articles and short stories I’ve written. You can visit Kathy L. Wheeler

Thanks, Kathy, for stopping in! Keep us posted on Kenny's struggle, would you? Best of luck in your endeavors, and come back soon.

~Claire
www.claireashgrove.com
www.toristclaire.com

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"Victorians used the term 'limbs' as a euphenism for legs, which were thought to be so sexually exciting to a man, even a glimpse of a table leg could incite him to sexual frenzy. Table skirts were invented to prevent any unnatural unions between men and furniture."
~
(History Channel International)

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