It's Six Sentence Sunday time again!  I'm sharing a clip from my forthcoming book, Doomed to Torment, the sixth in the Inherited Damnation series.  It releases October 17th!

~~~~~

Anguish broke him. With an unsteady hand he touched Camille’s pretty face. She’d loved Thomas so
much. Loved them both to fathomless limits. And while Angus had overcome grief, he was denying his
son the tangible evidence of the love he had once cherished, all opportunity of ever knowing his mother. Camille wouldn’t want Thomas to forget any more than Angus wanted him to remember.

“I don’t know what to do, Cami,” he whispered as a fine sheen of moisture blurred his vision.

~~~~~

Doomed to Torment
Inherited Damnation, Book VI

Isolde McLaine left Hatherly Hall and its darkly handsome owner Angus Shaw to escape her incubus father's curse. But when word reaches her that Angus is selling the piece of British history, she returns to talk sense into him. Little does she realized that returning to England will throw her into her sire's vile world and leave her fighting not just her heart and the danger of falling in love but battling to save Angus's son's life.

For three and a half months, Angus has done his best to put Isolde and the one unforgettable kiss they shared behind him. Yet when she returns, scolding him for selling his deceased wife's estate, he's sharply reminded of the passion she awakens inside him. Yet as Isolde pushes for him to leave his son's legacy intact, their battle of wills provokes far more than just desire. His son's nightmares have returned. And Isolde triggered the hellish dreams.

Torn between protecting his child and the love he feels for Isolde, Angus must find the strength to trust in Isolde before her demonic sire claims his son.


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

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Hi everyone!  Please welcome J.R. Hobeck, a fellow midwesterner, who I'm very excited to bring to the blog today.  He has a brand new book out, Smokestack, which sounds really fascinating!


Smokestack
Fantasy / Sci-Fi


An enormous, enigmatic object appears suddenly in a limestone quarry in the flatlands of the midwest. A reporter, a security guard, and government operatives all seek the answer to what the object is, and why it has appeared. What they discover is not what any of them expect. This unpredictable thriller takes readers on a journey to the edges of quantum physics and also the inner reaches of the psyche. Each key character must come to terms with his or her past, as well as their common destiny.


       




 I asked J.R. to put together a guest post on himself and how Smokestack came to be.  Grab your coffee, and sit back and enjoy!  

Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. “Smokestack” is no exception. Except, in a way it is. The novel began as a short story. And, although the entirety of that short story is contained in the novel, it has taken on a much different context. The beginning of the short story is no the beginning of the novel. And, the end of the short story is no much closer to the beginning of the novel than to the end. When I started with is far from what I ended with. The finished product would have surprised me when I started.

That pretty much sums up what this whole experience of, first writing the novel, then actually getting it published, to trying to promote it, has been. When I first gave in to my wife, and began to change the short story to a novel, I didn’t really have any idea where it would end.

I have read quite a few ‘how I write’ articles from many different authors. Many of them say they begin with an outline. Some go as far as to say that a novel cannot be written without an outline, and anyone who says otherwise is a liar. (OK, maybe the wording is not that strong, but there does seem to be a subset of writers who must first know before they can see.) The other group of writers, the group to which I belong, is the ‘pantsers’. We write by the seat of our pants, without a plan and just write the words as they come and clean it up later.

That was the thing I found most fascinating in the writing process of this novel. I honestly had places in the writing when I did not know what was going to happen next. It was not till I actually wrote the sentence that gave the reveal, that I actually knew the answer to the mystery. I do sometimes wonder if this is an odd form of split personality, but since it doesn’t manifest anywhere else in my life, I am not worried.

Now that the book is actually published, I am finding myself in a whole new place of not knowing what is going to happen. I do know that I had and indescribable feeling of amazement when I personally saw a stranger buy a copy of my book. I know that feeling will probably fade as I sell (hopefully) many more books. I just hope the memory of the feeling does not. But, for now I have no idea how this is going to end, but I look forward to the ride.

Let's take a peek shall we?
~~@~~
EXCERPT
~~@~~


The first picture was blurry, hastily taken, or perhaps taken with shaking hands. Still, Tommy could clearly see a large metal looking object, that was unlike anything he had ever seen. At the end of a conical pillar was a fan shaped blade that was glowing in a cool, pale blue light. It reminded Tommy of the foxfire he had seen in the Smokey Mountains as a kid on vacation. The conical pillar was attached at the other end to what looked like one of the points of a crescent moon, just slightly back from the point. About a third of the crescent was sticking out of the limestone. The rest of whatever it was appeared to be embedded in the limestone.

Tommy thought of Stephen King’s Tommyknockers, and wondered what to do next. The last picture Tommy came to was the most distressing. It was a close up of the area where the object met the limestone. There were two bodies of plant workers. They were dead. They had to be. Their skin was blackened. There was smoke rising from them, in the picture. The worst part was that their clothes looked like they had only been charred at the edges by whatever had fried the workers’ bodies  


~~@~~
YOU HAVE JUST READ AN EXCERPT FROM SMOKESTACK
~~@~~  


About the Author:  

J.R. Hobeck is a writer, poet, scientist and Pharmacist. A native of the flatlands of northwest Ohio, a smokestack very similar to the one in this story has always been on his radar. He currently lives in Clemmons, NC with his wife, Jenni, his two children, Jake and Juli, and his dog, Charlie.



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

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It's here, everyone!  Immortal Surrender's RELEASE DAY!!

I hope you'll help me celebrate by running over to your favorite book-buying place and pick this up.  If that's not in your budget, please spread the word that today Farran's story is available.

Need to catch up on Tuesday Teasers?

Immortal Surrender, Prologue
Immortal Surrender, Chapter One
Immortal Surrender, Chapter Two, Part 1
Immortal Surrender, Chapter Two, Part 2
Immortal Surrender, Chapter Two, Part 3
Immortal Surrender, Chapter Three, Part 1

Let's get back to Farran and the injured Noelle!

Immortal Surrender
The Curse of the Templars, Book II
OUT TODAY!

Farran de Clare, loyal member of the cursed Knights Templar, wants nothing to do with predestined mates. Even the Almighty won’t turn him into a fool again—he’d rather sacrifice his soul. Yet in the scientist Noelle Keane, a devout atheist, Farran meets the seraph designed for him.

Ordered by the archangel Gabriel to protect Noelle, the possessor of a sacred relic that could give Azazel incredible power, Farran swears to do his duty—but in name only. Fighting an attraction that grows with each day, he’s determined that he’ll never pledge himself to her.

As they war over her future, their mutual passion ignites a conflict far more damning. But before Noelle will agree to eternity with him, she demands the ultimate sacrifice – his heart.

~~~~~

(Chapter Three, Continued)

A rush of fiery rage surged through his blood. A seraph! Gabriel sent him to guard a seraph and failed to include that important bit of information.


God’s teeth, ’twas a wonder the demon had not killed her.

He slammed a fist into the snow and ground his teeth together until his jaw hurt. He did not want this responsibility. ’Twas bad enough she was a woman. A seraph, the promised salvation for the weakened Templar knights, would mean trouble tenfold. Anne’s arrival had proved that. And yet he could not escape this duty. Not as long as they remained away from the temple. Once he returned her there, however, he would gladly pass her safekeeping to Lucan.

Scowling, he tossed his coat over her body. As his gaze fell to her face, something deep inside him rolled around like a ball of lead. He had failed her. As well as his brothers. The most sacred gift to the Templar, and he had neglected to even consider Gabriel might have cause to keep her safe.

He tucked a strand of her wet hair behind her ear and brushed his thumb over her cheek. “I will get you someplace safe,” he murmured.

Headlights flashed across the snow, accompanied by the squeal of tires. Farran snapped his head up, instincts on alert. Too late, he remembered he had left his sword in the upside-down vehicle.

Looking to the road, his gaze settled on a silver SUV. He expelled a long breath, and fitted his hands beneath Noelle’s shoulders as Lucan jumped out.

“I was not far away,” Lucan supplied. “How does she fare?”

“I do not know.” Farran glanced down at her delicate face, his frown deepening. “Help me get her into the back. I shall take her to Louise’s adytum. ’Tis nearby, is it not?”

“Aye, brother. Within a half hour from here.”

Lucan reached for Noelle’s feet, but before he could touch her ankle, Farran scooped her into his arms. “I will attend her. Fetch the things from the truck.”

Though he tried to be careful, he stumbled as he rose. The jostle brought another faint groan from her lips. Farran grimaced. Saints’ blood, he should have allowed Lucan to carry her. Lucan possessed more grace, a gentler nature. He would not have aggravated her wounds. As Farran made his way through the snow to the running vehicle, he glanced down at Noelle’s pretty face.

Without her glasses to cover her eyes, he noticed tiny freckles adorned her high cheekbones. Faint sun marks placed there to make her appear more youthful. A smile tugged at his mouth, but he squelched it before it could transform. ’Twas naught to smile about. He had contributed to her injuries, and lest he managed to keep the archangels uninformed, ’twould be hell to pay.

Under his perusal, her lashes fluttered. Farran paused, less than a yard away from the SUV’s rear door. He drew in a sharp breath, held it whilst he waited. They stirred again, dusting the tops of her cheeks like butterflies wings. She opened her eyes. Closed them. Then with an airy exhale, she tried a third time. Those fawn- brown eyes lifted to his, and for a moment, his heart stopped.

“Farran,” she whispered.

The hand she kept in her lap lifted. Her fingers curled into his shirt as if she clung to a safety rope. Ever so slightly, she shifted, bringing her cheek closer to his chest. Somewhere deep inside him, buried in some forgotten portion of his soul, something did a long, slow roll.

“Aye,” he murmured as he cradled her closer.

“I’m so cold.”

Protective instincts he had thought long dead rose like a fierce tide. He fought them back with clenched teeth. Yet ’twas futile. They stormed through him, awakening every particle of his body to the woman in his arms. He swallowed with effort and trained his gaze to the open hatch door. Too many years had passed since he had held a woman this way. Too many centuries. Once he had believed ’twas his purpose to protect the fairer sex. Once he would have died to uphold that fabled notion. Brighid changed all that. Changed everything. He could not allow himself to forget, no matter how helpless a woman might appear, beneath the surface they were as deadly as any man.

Choosing silence, Farran eased Noelle into the truck. He leaned against the wheel well, his legs stretched before him. Still she clung to him, her shivers now strong tremors. They vibrated into him, making it impossible to hold on to his resolve. With a defeated sigh, he wound his arms around her more tightly and pressed her body flush with his.

Lucan shut the door, extinguishing the light. In the darkness, the fall of Noelle’s breath against Farran’s neck taunted his senses. Heat rushed through his blood. Against his thigh, he felt the stirring of his shaft. On a silent mutter, he shifted.

“When I was little,” she said on a soft chuckle, “I used to dream of being rescued.”

Wincing, Farran tried to ignore the sensations her words stirred. He had not rescued her, he reminded himself. He had, in fact, injured her. What ever misplaced thoughts she entertained, they were naught more than a product of the injury to her head. “You should rest, damsel.”

To Farran’s relief, Lucan climbed inside. He flipped on the overhead light and looked back at Farran. “Do you not think we should take her to the hospital?”

“Nay, ’tis unnecessary.”

“Farran, she is but a woman. She may bleed inside. Uriel is far from here.”

Farran answered with a shake of his head. “To Louise’s, Lucan.”

Noelle’s hold on his shirt lessened, and he glanced down to find her once again at rest. He lifted his gaze to Lucan once more and lowered his voice. “She is a seraph. She will heal when her mate is found.”

Lucan’s eyes widened like saucers. In the rearview mirror, his gaze dropped to Noelle, and then he turned around. “Does she know?”

“I do not think so. Let us go to Louise’s. Lady Anne has catalogued the marks of our men. I shall contact her and ask for the list.”

With a slow dip of his chin, Lucan faced forward and dropped the SUV into gear. “How did you learn of this?”

“She wears the serpents.”

Farran leaned his head against the window and allowed the discovery to settle in. A second seraph. Gabriel foretold of their coming, as much as the prophecy did. It made sense now—Whence comes the teacher, she who is blind will follow.

Anne had been the teacher. Noelle’s sight marked her as the next.

Would she belong to Lucan? Mayhap Caradoc? Mayhap someone else all together. Whilst Lady Anne’s journal documented all the Templar in America, it only catalogued the few knights who had visited from Eu rope. Noelle could belong to one of them. Or another much farther away.

The Sudarium leapt to life within his mind, and he jerked his head up. “What trouble did you encounter at the airport?”

Lucan’s low chuckle preempted the amused shake of his head. “ ’Twas one demon. A young one at that. He took no care to conceal himself and ’twas over before it began.”

“And the cloth?”

Extending his arm above the seats, Lucan held up the small bag Noelle had given him earlier. “’Tis here.”

“My sword?”

“Open your eyes, brother. You nearly sat on your belongings.”

Farran frowned at Lucan’s good humor. Looking down at the collection of things from the wrecked vehicle, he inventoried what he remembered—her purse, her glasses, his sword, the tube of lipstick.

“She is pretty,” Lucan remarked.

“Aye.” As lovely as an English field.

“Mayhap she is mine.”

“Mayhap,” Farran murmured. Though the thought tightened his gut so fiercely, he could scarce breathe. She was too pretty to belong to Lucan. Too delicate for Caradoc. Too quiet for Declan.

Damnation, what was the matter with him? He did not want a seraph. He much preferred the inevitable death that loomed ahead. For feeling naught would be a greater freedom than learning to feel again.


~~~~~

Thanks everyone, for participating!  We go on a blog tour today, and I hope you'll watch that, as well as this blog, as there are some exciting things happening this month!

Like what you've just read?  BUY IT TODAY!



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

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One of my very favorite scenes...and very favorite kisses.

~~~~~

The tang of salt blended with the softness of her lips and provoked a gut-deep sigh. Heaven. Her kiss was the closest he would come to a glimpse of that promised salvation. And her hesitant response unlocked the vise around his throat. “I lied,” he exhaled. “’Tis you I want. This.”

~~~~~

Coming, September 25th!
Farran de Clare, loyal member of the cursed Knights Templar, wants nothing to do with predestined mates. Even the Almighty won’t turn him into a fool again—he’d rather sacrifice his soul. Yet in the scientist Noelle Keane, a devout atheist, Farran meets the seraph designed for him.

Ordered by the archangel Gabriel to protect Noelle, the possessor of a sacred relic that could give Azazel incredible power, Farran swears to do his duty—but in name only. Fighting an attraction that grows with each day, he’s determined that he’ll never pledge himself to her.

As they war over her future, their mutual passion ignites a conflict far more damning. But before Noelle will agree to eternity with him, she demands the ultimate sacrifice – his heart.





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

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Happy Saturday!

I've been sitting on this for a while now, and it occured to me, Oh my the release date is right around the corner!

So, I'm popping in real quick, before Immortal Surrender takes over everything, to reveal the next book in the Inherited Damnation series.

Doomed to Torment
Inherited Damnation, Book VI

Isolde McLaine left Hatherly Hall and its darkly handsome owner Angus Shaw to escape her incubus father's curse. But when word reaches her that Angus is selling the piece of British history, she returns to talk sense into him. Little does she realized that returning to England will throw her into her sire's vile world and leave her fighting not just her heart and the danger of falling in love but battling to save Angus's son's life.

For three and a half months, Angus has done his best to put Isolde and the one unforgettable kiss they shared behind him. Yet when she returns, scolding him for selling his deceased wife's estate, he's sharply reminded of the passion she awakens inside him. Yet as Isolde pushes for him to leave his son's legacy intact, their battle of wills provokes far more than just desire. His son's nightmares have returned. And Isolde triggered the hellish dreams.

Torn between protecting his child and the love he feels for Isolde, Angus must find the strength to trust in Isolde before her demonic sire claims his son.

Release Date: October 17, 2012


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

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I love fantasy fridays!  I love the covers, the new worlds, and the awesome authors who craft them.  And we're back this week with Joshua K. Johnson, and his new book, The Cererbrus Rebellion.

The Cerberus Rebellion
Fantasy

One hundred years of peace and prosperity. War changes everything.

On the world of Zaria, Elves, magic and mythical beasts coexist beside rifles and railroads. The futures of two nations hang in the balance as rebels and revolutionaries trade gunfire with loyalists and tyrants.

Eadric Garrard was raised to believe that as the rightful King of Ansgar, his loyal nobles and fearful subjects answered to his every whim, no matter the cost or consequence. His decision to send his troops thousands of miles away will test that fear, and loyalty.

Raedan Clyve was ordinary until an Elven ritual involving a griffin’s heart turned him into something more. Twenty years later, he still struggles with the magics that rage through his body. His mentor holds him back from his full potential and he faces pressure to find a suitable wife and father an heir.

Hadrian Clyve has picked up where his father left off and works to expand his family’s influence amongst the Ansgari nobility. His aggressive negotiation of alliances and shrewd choice of marriage agreements has earned him respect, and resentment. When his King calls his troops to arms, Hadrian has other things in mind.

After a century of scheming and decades of preparation, Magnus Jarmann is ready to bring his family’s plans to fruition by launching a war of independence that will free his people and return his country to its rightful place among the nations of Zaria. The King’s call to arms creates an opportunity that Magnus cannot afford to miss.

In a war, little is held back; in a revolution, nothing is safe.

~~~~~

Now, your host has to confess to a moment of embarrassment.  I fired off my interview all pleased with knowing we were going to learn all the ins and outs... and then realized, do'h, that's a romance interview.  So, faithful readers, give Joshua a HUGE hand for taking it in stride and making this sound intelligent :)  And if he wants to come back and talk some more about The Cerberus Rebellion, on a topic that he's passionate about, I heartily welcome him!   Joshua, 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.
Joshua: I started when I was about 13. My family moved out to what I considered the middle of nowhere, so I needed something to keep me busy. I started with Sci-Fi and only occasionally dabbled in fantasy. The only hurdles I've had to overcome were finding the time to write and finding a path to publishing.

Obviously you write in the fantasy 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?

Joshua: Fantasy is one of two genres that I would consider my favorites and that I read and write in, though I don't have anything out for Sci-Fi yet.

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

Joshua: The Cerberus Rebellion is my favorite published piece.

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

Joshua: I have short stories set on the same world as The Cerberus Rebellion: The Sithean Betrayal, The Red Dragon's Gold and The Gathering Storm. I'm working on the sequel to Cerberus, The Hydra Offensive, and I have 4 more novels (and dozens of short stories and novellas) planned to follow them.

(Perhaps he'd like to return and highlight some of the short stories!)
Okay so -- The Cerberus Rebellion -- Tell me about your plot development? How did the idea spur, did you have to do much research, any interesting tidbits that we should know?

Joshua: The idea for this story came from a piece of flash fiction that I wrote one day on my phone. (You write on your phone?  Claire is seriously impressed!) I called it “Griffin Steampunk” and the world was originally much different than it is now (I have the original posted on my blog). I did a fair amount of research into mid-19th century America including firearms, travel and other technologies.

Modified off Steampunk... yep, I want to read it even more now!
Let’s talk heroes – What’s one thing about your hero that we wouldn’t necessarily learn in the book? A secret dream, an embarrassing habit, an episode from childhood.

Joshua: I don't think I really ever go into it, but my “main” character (Raedan) wanted to grow up to be his brother's representative at court. As a child, he liked the intrigue of politics, especially because his father was a masterful politician.

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

Joshua:  I wouldn't say “pitter-pat” but Raedan's ability to ride griffins is unique in this universe; that's definitely unique.

(See look at that -- what a champ!  Thanks, Joshua :) )
Riding griffins sounds like a wonderful twist to riding dragons, and highly creative.  I can't think of too many fantasy novels I've read where griffins are introduced with much depth.  Nice!

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

Joshua: Probably a wolf or an eagle of some kind.

Okay, back to you -- In your opinion, what is the hardest part of writing a novel? Why?

Joshua: The hardest part for me is avoiding the info-dump. Conveying enough information to flesh out the world without overwhelming the reader. I think this is difficult, for me, because I know that the worlds I'm writing about have so much to offer and I want to show that to my readers. Give them a world that is full and engaging.

I think that's difficult with any author who really likes to world build.  I struggle with it sometimes also.

Many writers describe themselves as "character" or "plot" writers. Which are you?

Joshua:  Definitely “Plot”. You could put a variety of characters into my story and it would work.

If you write in multiple genres, Do you find it challenging to shift? Or is it a natural process?

Joshua:  Both of the genres that I write in are very creatively open (Sci-Fi Space Opera and Fantasy) so it's a relatively natural shift from one to the other for me.

Let's take a peek!  Please note how rich this is.  
~~@~~
EXCERPT
~~@~~   The crackle of musket fire drifted up from the trenches; only a few quick shots at first, but quickly followed by full volleys. Flashes of light marked the battle in the trenches and Raedan listened carefully for the command to push his troops forward. He glanced behind him quickly.

The color guard stood resolute, the banners of Arndell and the North Griffin Cliffs at the front of the formation. A half-company of infantry had been assigned to protect the flags should they come under attack.

Wounded began to drift back out of the trenches. Some retreated under their own power; others were carried between two of their fellows. Raedan tried to count the men fleeing the battle, but quickly lost count.

Finally, the trumpets sounded again, ordering him forward.

“How's it look in there?” he asked a retreating officer. The man wore the gaudy orange of Sea Watch and the stripes of a captain. He had taken a round through his shoulder and was supporting a corporal that had taken a shot to the leg.

“The artillery did a job on them,” the captain said. “But they've still got some fight left.”

“All right, men! Let's take it to them!” Raedan started toward the trenches at the double time and his men started to trot after him.

The earthworks twisted and zagged one way and another, slowly leading the infantry closer to the fortress that loomed large above. The sun had finally set and flares were exploding high overhead.

 
~~@~~
YOU HAVE JUST READ AN EXCERPT FROM THE CERBERUS REBELLION
~~@~~
 
Thank you, again, Joshua, for stopping in here today.  You're welcome to come back any time.
 
GIVEAWAY -- Joshua will be awarding .mobi copies of his short stories (details available at www.gunpowderfantasy.com/products) to one commenter at every stop. Grand Prize for one random commentor and host with the most comments: The Chesian Wars collection (all published 3 short stories and an additional prelude short story exclusive to the collection).  Follow the tour -- the more you comment, the better your chances of winning!  Complete tour dates can be found here.


About The Author:

Joshua Johnson is the author of "Gunpowder Fantasy" The Cerberus Rebellion (due to release in early July) and the creator of the Griffins & Gunpowder universe. When he isn't working or spending time with his family, he writes novels, short stories and novellas.


He currently lives in Northern Illinois with his wife and young son.

Keep in Touch via:  Website  |  Twitter
   
A GoddessFish Promotions Virtual Book Tour


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

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Good morning, everyone!  Please welcome author Linda Andrews who's talking about her new book, Brianna!

Brianna
Paranormal Romance

Love, lies, and an ancient Egyptian curse.

BriannaGrey holds the key to mankind's destruction and someone is willing to kill for it. Having spent most of her life dying of consumption, one man's kiss has resurrected her desire to live.

For US Treasury Agent, Duncan Stuart, love means death. He works alone, lives alone and plans to die alone until he meets Brianna again.

Under the harsh Egyptian sun, Duncan will break all his rules to save her but will it be enough to overcome the secrets that could get them both killed?


Linda sat down for my interview, and I'm excited to share her responses today.  So sit back, get comfy, and meet a very interesting woman!

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.

Linda: I started writing in 1997 and it was a contemporary romance with an empathic heroine. So it was kind of a paranormal, but not quite. After being rejected by pretty much everyone, I wrote another book called the Christmas Village, which had a little bit of magic (all Christmas related). My second book was, oddly enough, published after the third novel I wrote, a ghostly romance entitled Ghost of a Chance. I think I was rejected multiple times by everyone and even had one agent reject me on paper than call to reject me again. Ouch! Now, I'm published with 4 small presses for my romances and indie published in my horror.

Obviously you write in the paranormal 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?

Linda: I love to read romances (any and every kind), but I also read pretty much anything else I can get on my ipad. I do have scifi, fantasy and apocalyptic/horror novels published. I don't use a pen name because I have a hard enough time trying to remember who I am, I didn't want to confuse myself by answering to any other names:).

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

Linda: I think my favorite is Dancing in the Kitchen. It is my anti-romance. The hero is a wizard who has to appear average and uninteresting but he's competing for the affections of a woman who is the main squeeze of an Indian Jones kinda of character.

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

Linda: The Christmas Village and Some Enchanted Autumn are holiday themed novels.

Dancing in the Kitchen, A Knights Wish and a Hint of Magic are fantasy romances.

Ghost of a Chance, Gillian, Fiona and Brianna are my Victorian paranormal romances

Hiding Space and Animosity are SciFi Romances

The Syn-En Solution and Culture Clash are SciFi with romantic elements

Blue Maneuver is an Urban Scifi

Redaction: Extinction Level Event and Redaction: The Meltdown are my apocalyptic novels.

Short stories are: 2012: Winter Harvest (free), The Love Lottery (free) and Love on Cloud Nine. Last is Intelligent Design which is a scifi horror.

Brianna is my latest then I have a Valentine's Day book coming next year and the third Redaction book in December.

Very nice!  If you'd like to come back here for a Fantasy Friday and talk about any of those, drop me a line, Linda!

Let's move into Brianna.

Tell me about your plot development? How did the idea spur, did you have to do much research, any interesting tidbits that we should know?

Linda: Brianna is the last book of the series and her story came was inspired by my grandfather. My grandfather contracted Tuberculosis and went to see to cure himself. While Brianna's story takes place in the 1890s, the treatments and ideology hadn't changed much. But that got me to thinking, how would you live your life if you were granted a reprieve after spending most of it dying? Brianna is determined to make the most of her life, even if it goes against the hoity-toity society in which she lives.

Let’s talk heroes – What’s one thing about your hero that we wouldn’t necessarily learn in the book?

Linda: Duncan loves the closeness Brianna has with her family and how open they are despite the fact that her father is a spy.

All heroes are unforgettable in one way or another. What’s one thing about your hero that makes your heart go pitter-pat? His sense of humor. Despite having to rescue Brianna over and over again, he can always find the humor in the situation.

Linda: If your hero doesn’t have a pet in your novel, what kind of pet would best suit his personality? Um, I should mention that before the book started, Duncan ran over the heroine's cat then buried her. Given that the cat is immortal (she's the reincarnation of an Egyptian Goddess) this irritates her to no end and the two share some interesting scenes as a result. At the end, Duncan becomes a cat owner.

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

Linda: Brianna spent so much time having to live inside her head that she becomes quite vexed when things don't play out like she thinks they should in real life.

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

Linda: Being born on the wrong side of the blanket, Duncan is very determined to live by society's rules. Brianna has to teach him which ones really matter and which ones really don't.

If your heroine was your daughter – what advice would you give her upon meeting your hero?

Linda: When you meet a man that causes your heart to override your head, fight dirty to win him.

If we peek in on your hero and heroine’s lives ten years from now, can you give us a glimpse of what we’d see?

Linda: Duncan and Brianna are spending their time working to solve mysteries for the elite by tagging along their children. Brianna is still taking risks and getting results. Duncan has a full head of white hair but can finally shoot as well as his wife.

What’s been the greatest contributing factor to achieving the goals you’ve accomplished?

Linda: My husband's belief in me and my talents. He's pretty sure there isn't anything I can't do if I put myself to it. That's very powerful and kept me going despite the rejections.

As a writer, what is your greatest strength?

Linda: Story telling is my greatest strength. Everything goes smoothly as long as I don't ever get the idea that I'm in charge of my stories.

What has surprised you the most about being a published author?

Linda:  That people are surprised that I respond to their emails or answer their questions on twitter or facebook or on the phone. I like to hear from people who were touched by my stories. My mom says it's because writers and artists are supposed to be out there with their muses. My muse tells me to put my butt in a chair because she has something to tell me and I need to shut up and type. Besides, it's good to talk to people other than ones inside my head. (It makes the doctors think I'm getting better :) ).


Well, let's take a peek at these two!  After all that, I can't wait to see them.

~~@~~
EXCERPT
~~@~~

“Brianna, can ye hear me?” Panic fed the primal rage bucking through Duncan. He bound the fury. A treasury agent had nerves of tempered steel, control of iron. A white lock rested on her pale cheek. Peppermint-scented breath slipped past pink lips. She was fine. She had fainted, nothing more. Nothing more.


Yet she had not wakened.

“I had thought she would be accustomed to violence, especially after the tales she told of Arizona.” Miss Phillips’s whine sliced through his musings.

A man had been murdered, poisoned in front of a roomful of wealthy, influential witnesses. August would have been the likely suspect—it was his valet, after all. Except, he couldn’t have known his servant would be in the room, let alone would drink from the glass. So who was the intended victim?

He laid Brianna on the plush carpet and knelt beside her. He brushed her bangs out of her eye, sweeping aside the feather headdress.

And who was the poisoner?

He might have spied something if he hadn’t dallied over his evening dress, and what had his delay accomplished? Not a bluidy thing. His hair still stuck up a little in front. As for the noose around his neck, he could feel the ends brushing his jaw.

“Damn it, Brianna, wake up!”

“Señor Stuart?” Esmé pried apart the Van Sargents. Worry pinched her features, increased the pitch of her voice. Two men in ship’s uniform squeezed through behind her, parting the assembled crowd. An elderly man in a somber suit appeared and set a black bag on the table.

Ignoring the newcomers, Duncan leaned close to Esmé’s ear. “Has Brianna eaten anything tonight?”

Shock flashed in her brown eyes. Her gaze flicked to the corpse before meeting his.

“No, señor. The dinner, it has not been served.”

He nodded. Relief flooded him.

“I believe she has fainted.”

“There are smelling salts in our room.”

“Get them.”

“Are you a doctor, sir?” Curry and garlic permeated the air as the elderly man who’d arrived with the ship’s crew creaked to a stop beside Duncan. He leaned over Brianna with his ear near her mouth. “Peppermint,” he whispered, straightened then peeled the glove off her left hand. His index finger settled comfortably against the inside of her wrist. “An admirable heartbeat.”

“I’m nae a doctor.”

“Hmm, yet your prognosis is undoubtedly correct.” The man peered at Duncan over the gold rims of his spectacles. “The ladies do like to lace tightly, don’t they?” His Adam’s apple bobbed in the wattles of his throat. “Smelling salts should set Miss to rights. You’ve sent the companion to fetch them, hmm? ”

“That won’t be necessary.” Sir Reginald stepped forward. “Mrs. Van Sargent, the salts, if you please.”

Duncan grabbed the small glass bottle—he didn’t trust the missionary any more than he did the others. Glass scraped glass as he plucked the stopper free. Ammonia invaded his nose, stripped the moisture from the back of his throat. Definitely smelling salts. He shoved them under Brianna’s nose.

She winced, turned her head and coughed. Her eyes flickered open.

“Duncan. Wh-what happened?”

“You fainted.”

“You are very much mistaken.” She shoved herself into a sitting position, tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear and straightened her bodice. “A Grey does not faint.”

“It’s alright, dear.” Mrs. Van Sargent tucked the bottle back in her purse. “I daresay, if Mr. Stuart hadn’t caught you you would have crashed right into the table.”

Movement caught his eye. At the doctor’s nod, the burly crewmen lifted the body. Duncan shifted his weight to block Brianna’s view. Her lips parted; her eyes grew round. He had acted too late. She had seen the corpse.

“That man.” She pointed to the blanket-draped body with her bare hand. “He...”

“He’s dead, dear.”

“Choked to death,” Van Sargent added with relish.

“Such a terrible tragedy,” said Miss Phillips, dabbing her dry eyes.

“Sir Reginald doesn’t think it will prolong our stay aboard the Osiris.”

Duncan’s skin crawled as Mrs. Van Sargent beamed down at them like a goddess spreading her benevolence.

“But he—“ Brianna’s nails dug into Duncan’s arm.

”Choked to death.” He kept his voice firm, his tone final. Brianna had been around death most of her life, was intimately acquainted with most of its faces. He wouldn’t allow her knowledge to get her killed.

 
~~@~~
YOU HAVE JUST READ AN EXCERPT FROM BRIANNA
~~@~~

 

Thanks, Linda!  I hope you'll drop back in on us another time with another book -- they all sound fascinating!


A Sizzling PR Virtual Book Tour


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

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Morning bloggers!  We're winding down now into the home stretch.  Just another couple of weeks before Immortal Surrender is on the shelves!

Meanwhile, you can indulge here a little.  If you need to catch up on the Teasers:

Immortal Surrender Prologue
Immortal Surrender Chapter One
Immortal Surrender Chapter Two, Part 1
Immortal Surrender Chapter Two, Part 2
Immortal Surrender Chapter Two, Part 3

Today, we're moving on into Chapter Three.

Immortal Surrender
The Curse of the Templars, Book II
September 25, 2012

Farran de Clare, loyal member of the cursed Knights Templar, wants nothing to do with predestined mates. Even the Almighty won’t turn him into a fool again—he’d rather sacrifice his soul. Yet in the scientist Noelle Keane, a devout atheist, Farran meets the seraph designed for him.


Ordered by the archangel Gabriel to protect Noelle, the possessor of a sacred relic that could give Azazel incredible power, Farran swears to do his duty—but in name only. Fighting an attraction that grows with each day, he’s determined that he’ll never pledge himself to her.


As they war over her future, their mutual passion ignites a conflict far more damning. But before Noelle will agree to eternity with him, she demands the ultimate sacrifice – his heart.

~~~~~

Chapter Three

The throbbing in Farran’s head became angry drums that pounded against his skull. Faint lights flashed behind his eyes with each pulse of his blood. Groaning, he squeezed his temple. Pain arced down his arm, and he struggled to make sense of the cold.


It seeped into his bones, intensifying the ache in his body. Wetness blanketed his back, plastered his jeans to his thighs. He cracked one eye open and stared up at a cloud-covered moon. Outside. What was he doing out . . .

Memories slammed into him. The Camaro, the impact, the rolling vehicle. They had been run off the road. How long had they been here?

Noelle.

He sat up, ignoring his body’s protests. What ever injuries he had received were insignifi cant. They did not come from a Templar blade, nor had Azazel’s demon inflicted them directly. He was immortal—he would heal.

Not so Noelle.

Rising to his feet, he searched their surroundings. The SUV lay on its roof in the ditch, four black tires barely discernible in the dark. No lights marked nearby houses, and the closest streetlamp failed to shine.

A shiver rolled through him. He pulled his twisted coat down to cover his dampened clothes. Where was she? Had the demon taken her?

Stumbling, he approached the wrecked vehicle.

Thoughts sifted into firm place, despite the blaring noise inside his head. Other than aches, he felt no significant pain. Nothing broken. Nothing damaged. He felt the truck, the cold frame telling him they’d been here quite some time. An hour, maybe two, gauging from the moon’s height.

“Noelle!” His voice rasped through the night.

Silence answered.

His legs gained strength with each step, and he quickened his pace. Trudging through banks of plowed snow, he rounded the vehicle. Bits of glass speckled the ground, glinting against the intermittent light of the moon. Twisted at a grotesque angle, the passenger’s door stood open. His heart skipped a panicked beat when he stuck his head inside and found the seat empty. Only her purse remained. Dangling by one handle, it hung motionless on the jagged corner of the door. The other strap stirred in the faint breeze, tap-tapping against a dull brown stain.

Farran whipped around, his gaze scanning over the expansive field. Wherever she was, she bled. If she was here at all.

His breath caught as a swathe of reddish brown caught his eye just beyond the SUV’s rear end. “Noelle!”

He choked back bitter unease and rushed to her side.

For a handful of heartbeats, he could do no more than look down on her. She lay on her stomach, her lower body in a wide indentation in the snow where the SUV had hit. Arms stretched above her head, her hair covered her face. The tattered remnants of her coat clung to her right arm. Beneath her left, the snow soaked up her blood. Fresh blood.

She was alive.

Farran dropped to his knees and gently pushed the hair away from her face. Through lips the color of violets, she breathed shallowly. “Can you hear me, damsel?”

Shucking his coat, he covered her with haste. Then he stumbled back to the vehicle. Amidst a barrage of vile oaths, he searched for his cell phone to no avail. He found his sword, the map Gabriel left behind, a tube of lipstick that escaped Noelle’s purse, her glasses. A glance over his shoulder told him Noelle had not moved, and he resumed his search once more.

Faint but persistent ringing stilled his hands. He cocked his head, listening. The notes came not from the SUV. Instead, they drifted from where he had lain.

He raced around the vehicle and the tune stopped. Farran lifted his eyes to the heavens, and in a moment of rare faith, begged the Almighty to make it ring again.

For the first time in more years than he could remember, his prayers did not go ignored. The chiming began anew. Snow flew as he dug for the sound. His fingers touched the cold plastic, and relief surged through Farran’s veins. He snapped the phone open. “I need help.”

“Where are you?” Lucan’s voice filled with urgency.

“On the south side of town.” He turned a circle, looking for a street sign, a marker of any type that would identify their position. Damnation, why had he not paid attention to where Noelle instructed him to turn?

“You come here oft,” he snapped at Lucan. “Tell me where I am.”

“Are houses nearby?”

“Nay.” And no passing cars, much to his frustration.

“We turned off about two miles from her apartment. Ask Gabriel.”

“Gabriel left once we were out of sight.”

Farran ground his teeth together. ’Twould figure that the archangel would vanish. God’s messenger did naught but create headaches.

Rustling on the other end of the line indicated Lucan used his map. Farran returned to Noelle. He pressed his fingers to her delicate throat. When he found her pulse intact, he breathed deep.

“I am not certain, Farran. There are so many places . . .”

“For the love of the saints, phone Merrick,” Farran barked. “Have him locate the vehicle. My ward is injured. Get here.” He snapped the phone shut and jammed it into his pocket.

He must get Noelle warm. And yet he feared moving her. If she had injured her neck, he could damage her further. Still, he could not risk she bled someplace he could not see.

With the gentleness he would give an infant, he removed his coat from her body and slid his hands beneath her. Taking care to keep her head from bouncing too greatly, he eased her onto her back. A faint moan tumbled free, a noise so soft and anguished, Farran’s heart twisted.

“Noelle, can you hear me?”

When she did not do so much as twitch, he moved to her feet. Sliding his hands along her legs, he checked the alignment of her bones. Pressure on her left hip provoked another throaty protest. The sound gained strength as he examined her ribs.

Frowning, he moved to her exposed shoulder where the blood ran in a thin stream. She lay still as he pressed her collarbone. He pushed aside her sweater’s shredded sleeve, following the trail of blood, and froze.

In the moonlight, the torc glinted with subtle color. A decoration he could not hope to ignore, no matter how he might wish to.

“Jesu,” he swore softly.

~~~~~

Come back next week, on release day, to see the conclusion of Chapter Three.

Like what you're reading?  PRE-ORDER NOW!



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

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And the plot thickens...

~~~~~

Allow yourself to feel.


Caradoc’s suggestion bellowed like a horn, and Farran swallowed hard. He released the vise of logic. Cast it aside to embrace the heady pleasure of Noelle’s soft body molding against his. He wound his arms around her waist and held her close as he nuzzled the side of her neck. “What have you found that has kept you from joining me for supper?”

~~~~~
Coming, September 25th!
Farran de Clare, loyal member of the cursed Knights Templar, wants nothing to do with predestined mates. Even the Almighty won’t turn him into a fool again—he’d rather sacrifice his soul. Yet in the scientist Noelle Keane, a devout atheist, Farran meets the seraph designed for him.

Ordered by the archangel Gabriel to protect Noelle, the possessor of a sacred relic that could give Azazel incredible power, Farran swears to do his duty—but in name only. Fighting an attraction that grows with each day, he’s determined that he’ll never pledge himself to her.

As they war over her future, their mutual passion ignites a conflict far more damning. But before Noelle will agree to eternity with him, she demands the ultimate sacrifice – his heart.





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

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Contest!




Good morning everyone! Please welcome author Christy McKee, who's sharing her newest book, Maybe Too Good To Be True.  She's also got a great giveaway included, so read through for complete details.


Maybe Too Good To Be True
Gabrielle March is summoned to an oceanfront estate in Massachusetts by the matriarch of Atlantic-Hastings International where she is presented with a hefty block of shares as amends for a crime committed against her family. The stock—worth several million dollars—can give her the means to make her dream come true if only she can muster the courage to break free from her past and believe in her unique creative talent.

Pierce Hastings, son of Gabrielle’s benefactress, grudgingly agrees to take her under his wing and acclimate her to Atlantic-Hastings. Never one to mix business with pleasure, Pierce stuns himself when he ignores his own self imposed rule. Gabrielle’s complete lack of artifice, unvarnished honesty and quirky sense of humor are intoxicating to him―and he’s rapidly becoming addicted. He’s blindsided when Gabrielle confesses that, in spite of her growing feelings for him, she will never fit into his world of power and privilege and has no desire to try.

One of the things that makes romance so enjoyable for me is the growth arc that characters take from the opening pages to the end of the book.  Christy is going to give us her take on how Pierce and Gabrielle grow, and just how their growth impacts their relationship.  She's got some really insightful and complex things to reveal.   Welcome, Christy!  
Good morning, Claire. Thanks so much for having me today.

(You're most welcome, glad to have you!)

Make Me Laugh; Make Me Cry, or Scare the Stuffing out of Me, But Be Sure You Make Me Feel


Anger, fear, and betrayal are the most stringent emotions characters bring with them into a story. While the characters—at least in romance— ultimately seek love, trust, respect, desire, and commitment, the distressing emotions and their root causes must be dealt with over the course of the story and put to rest before they can achieve their happily ever after.

Gabrielle March, heroine in Maybe Too Good to Be True, had a difficult childhood, ruled by a dictatorial father. As a teenager, he constantly drummed into her that she was nothing special. He forced her to photograph high school events for his newspaper, like prom and homecoming, which opened Gabrielle up for ridicule and taunts from the less than kind “in” crowd at school. He harped that she should be content to report about people who accomplished great things, accepting she would never be one of them. When college approached, he forbade her to major in TV-Film at the university and refused to pay a cent of her tuition unless she committed to journalism and a career at his newspaper.

Finally fed up with being controlled and bullied, Gabrielle mustered the courage to stand up to him. Bravely, she announced that she was going to pursue a career in TV news and she wouldn’t be working at his newspaper. He’d refused to speak to her for over a year. It was a cruel blow since her dad was her only living relative. When Gabrielle graduated summa cum laude, she was bitterly disappointed when he didn’t show up. She has regrets about what her “standing up for herself” has cost her. She landed a job at ANN in Atlanta, and it was the first major accomplishment in her life. Her dad undermined her new job and called it “fluff.” In his last days of battling terminal cancer, he wangled a deathbed promise from Gabrielle that she would keep his newspaper alive. The albatross she’d evaded for several years, now sat squarely on her shoulders. The king of manipulators had won.

When the story begins Gabrielle has a change in circumstances which will allow her to pay off her dad’s debts, sell the newspaper and pursue her own dream. Unfortunately, she is stymied by guilt over breaking her promise to her father. Beyond that, to achieve her goal of having her own video production company, Gabrielle must believe in herself and realize she is a talented videographer. If she doesn’t accomplish this, she won’t have the courage to buy into New World Productions. When she falls for Pierce Hastings, she is plagued with doubts that she is not good enough to be a part of his rich and famous world.

Until two years ago, Pierce Hastings had it all—then the bottom fell out. Everything his wife had said she wanted was a lie. Unbeknownst to him, she’d always planned to go to law school, never planned to have his children, and only married him for his wealth, prestige, a free ride to law school, and his far reaching social connections. When she’d made partner in her firm, it was “adios” Pierce. The pain of her betrayal, his uncharacteristic anger and disbelief in his usually spot on judgment, tore him apart.

Taking this back story in mind, we see Pierce’s mindset and the starting point of his upward transformational arc. He is still a successful, confident man and knows his place in the world, but his lack of trust where women are concerned, assuming they all have ulterior motives, stand in his way of any long term romance. In Pierce’s first scene in Maybe Too Good to Be True, he immediately jumps to the wrong conclusion and assumes Gabrielle is out to bilk money from his late father’s estate. He doesn’t trust her from the beginning because the first time he sees her is in an eight by ten color photo bearing a red ink stamp on the back with the name of the investigation firm his company uses. Why in the hell would his mother have the young woman investigated? Pierce is going to have to get over his lack of trust. That’s a transformation that takes some time but he will do it. He must also realize he can’t control Gabrielle to force her to make the decisions he wants her to make. Known as the fixer in his family, Pierce will have to force himself to back off and stay rooted to the sidelines and wait patiently, while Gabrielle figures some things out on her own.

Do Gabrielle and Pierce have a difficult road ahead of them? Yes, they do. Their transformational arc will not be a smooth one. Pierce will surprise himself about how far he’s willing to go to support feisty, point-blank honest, Gabrielle. She may have more to prove to herself than to anyone else. If she does the work, hopefully when she comes out on the other side, she will be reborn— strong, fearless, confident, and ready to start a new life unencumbered by the past.

~~~~~   I love angsty characters, and these two sound like they have a whole lot ahead of them.  Sounds yummy, frankly, Christy.  Let's take a peek at them in action!  
~~@~~
EXCERPT
~~@~~   “You don’t kiss like you want to stop. I think what you really want is to be kissed and a whole lot more.” Pierce raised his large hand to run a finger slowly across her mouth. “I’m really going to enjoy educating you, Gabrielle.” His twinkling blue eyes roamed over her.

Was he talking about sex? This overly macho male thought he was going to teach her about sex? What did he think…she was like, sixteen? “Listen Bucko. I don’t need to learn about sex from you. I…”

His mouth quirked into a self-satisfied smile. “Good to know, Peaches, but I was talking about your indoctrination to Atlantic-Hastings. Mother put me in charge of you. We’re going to be spending lots of quality time together.”

Mercy. What was Elizabeth thinking?

“Hold on a second.” He looked down at her. “You’re looking a little shaky, Peaches. I don’t scare you, do I?”

The towering, six foot four, male irritated the hell out of her, but he didn’t frighten her one bit. Truth was her reaction to his searing kiss scared the stuffing out of her.

~~@~~
YOU HAVE JUST READ AN EXCERPT FROM MAYBE TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
~~@~~


Mmm, yup -- yummy!


Don't miss out on the book, and don't miss out on Christy's giveaway!  She's offering a digital copy of Maybe Too Good To Be True to a randomly drawn commenter at every stop on her blog tour, and a $30 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.  Follow the tour--the more you comment, the better your chances of winning!  Complete tour dates can be found here.

Blog Tour and Giveaway! Click for details.

More About the Author

My addiction to reading emerged when I was ten and down with measles. My mother, trying to keep me entertained, brought home a stack of Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew books. Within days, I’d consumed them all and asked for more. That’s when it truly began−the pleasure of reading which would eventually lead to my writing.

I can’t pin point precisely when I knew I was different from everyone else−at least from my tight group of hometown friends. Didn’t everyone have movies playing in their heads starring beautiful characters leading adventurous lives in exotic places? NO—they did not. Did that mean they were normal and I was the odd, slightly wacky duck? My answer to that conundrum came when I attended my first writer’s conference in Savannah. Nervous about being on my own at the crowded event, a kindly writer from Texas took me under her wing and introduced me to at least a dozen writers. Surrounded by so many writers who were so like me, I fit right in. I wasn’t an “odd” duck after all; I’d simply been in the wrong pond!

As a result of that conference, my desire and conviction to write blossomed. Still working a full time job at a Louisiana cancer center, I carved out time to write every night and on weekends. My first manuscript went through four incarnations, and a year under the bed, before success came knocking.

Today my family and our two Labs—Lambeau, the Green Bay Packers unofficial mascot and Gracie, who is just plain, sweet Amazing Grace—live in a picturesque little town in Ohio wrapped around a lovely town square with an intricately carved gazebo where weekly band concerts take place all summer long.


Keep in touch via:  Christy's Website  |  Blog  |  Twitter


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

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Good morning, everyone!  Time for another Teaser with Immortal Surrender!

Need to catch up on what's happened?

Immortal Surrender Prologue
Immortal Surrender Chapter One
Immortal Surrender Chapter Two, Part 1
Immortal Surrender Chapter Two, Part 2

Meanwhile, let's see just why Farran wasn't scowling afterall!

Immortal Surrender
The Curse of the Templar, Book II
September 25, 2012

Farran de Clare, loyal member of the cursed Knights Templar, wants nothing to do with predestined mates. Even the Almighty won’t turn him into a fool again—he’d rather sacrifice his soul. Yet in the scientist Noelle Keane, a devout atheist, Farran meets the seraph designed for him.


Ordered by the archangel Gabriel to protect Noelle, the possessor of a sacred relic that could give Azazel incredible power, Farran swears to do his duty—but in name only. Fighting an attraction that grows with each day, he’s determined that he’ll never pledge himself to her.


As they war over her future, their mutual passion ignites a conflict far more damning. But before Noelle will agree to eternity with him, she demands the ultimate sacrifice – his heart.

~~~~~

(Chapter Two Continued)

All the air in Farran’s lungs lodged in his throat as he turned around to acknowledge his tardy little ward. Hair, more rich and thick than he had imagined, draped around her shoulders. The damp waves tumbled to her waist, long and free, reminding him of the thick vines that covered the grotto where he played as a boy. Her glasses were not cumbersome. If anything, they enhanced the saucy upturn to her nose.


They tempted too. Called to his fingers and begged them to pull those wire frames away from those fawnlike eyes. And the mouth he had believed was plain, smiled with such innocent hesitation, he could not help but wonder if it had ever known a man’s lustful touch. Full and lush, her lips would be soft. Mayhap as silky as her hair. He curled his fingers into a fist and turned away. Saints’ blood, he would have to pay a visit to Leah upon his return. Clearly, he had spent too long away from her willing arms if this scrap of a woman could warm his blood.

“Are you ready?” Noelle asked.

“Aye.”

She picked up her purse, crossed to the door, and pulled it open. “It’s rush hour. Seth said we should probably go south out of town and then head west on the outskirts.”

“You will guide me. I have not been to D.C. in quite some time.”

Again, her smile graced her face, and his stomach balled into a hard knot. He ground his teeth against the uncomfortable twist. A few hours more, and he would be free of her. She would fade into memory, no more significant than any other woman he had encountered throughout time.

Farran entered the hall, waited for her to lock up her house, then followed to the stairs. He furrowed his brow as he recalled the cat. “Someone will tend your pet?”

“Scat?” she let out a soft chuckle. “Yes. Seth said he would stop by over the weekend.”

The fist around his innards clamped harder. This Seth, did he enjoy the softness of Noelle’s mouth? He could not silence his curiosity. “Seth is?”

“My assistant at the lab.”

Invisible fingers released their hold, and Farran breathed deeply. He had no cause to feel relieved, yet ’twas no mistaking he did. More reason for him to satisfy his oath to Gabriel and return to the temple.

Outside, the sun sank into the horizon, and long shadows emerged atop the piled banks of snow. He opened Noelle’s door, then jogged around to his. But as the doors thumped shut, the silence he had treasured became oppressive. Enveloped by the sweet fragrance of her jasmine perfume, Farran became aware of the woman beside him. The rustle of her coat when she moved scraped against his nerves. Her bright smile rose within his mind to torment, and his thoughts steered down a treacherous course. A path that led to visions of those long lengths of hair secluding them away whilst he explored the softness of those damning lips.

He gripped the wheel in both hands, silently cursing his fate.

“So this is what you do? Security?” Noelle’s voice vibrated with a touch of nervousness.

Security—’twas an interesting way to describe his duty. Somehow he doubted she would care to hear the truth, or that she would believe if he explained. He settled for the easier response. “Aye.”

She twisted in her seat to look at him more fully. “Are you from here? From America, I mean? Your speech—you have an accent and distinct dialect, but I can’t place it.”

“Aye.” He glanced at her, gauging how much to reveal.

“I was born outside of Clare, in England.” The only son of a long-dead lord and one who left his family in shame. Lost to time like the rest of the world Farran understood.

“That’s in Sussex isn’t it? I went there once in college. We were doing research at Sutton Hoo.”

“Aye.”

“Turn here.” She tapped on the window, indicating the approaching narrow road.

Dutifully, Farran slowed for the turn. As he rounded the corner, he chanced a glance at her. Posture relaxed, expression full of animation, she looked at ease. Naught like the uncomfortable woman who tried to hide in the seat on their first journey together. Her gaze slid to his, surprising him with the same hesitant smile. A touch of pink rose in her cheeks, and she hastily cast her eyes to her lap.

Beneath the rising lavender of twilight, they left the hustle-bustle of D.C. proper and emerged into a remote stretch of fields. The houses spaced farther apart. Fields rose between them. Trees even peppered the landscape. Great hulking trees with twisting branches that rose like skeleton arms to embrace a winter’s sky.

“Do you miss it?” Noelle asked. “England. Home.”

A more conflicting answer he could not imagine. Aye, he missed En gland, but not the one she knew. He missed the fields of green, the days spent on horse back, the harder, yet simpler life he had known so long ago. At the same time, the thought of home filled him with such loathing he could not stand to think upon it. Farran settled for, “Sometimes.”

“It’s so pretty over there. Everything has character. And oh . . .” She let out a wistful sigh. “There are so many old things there. I get glimpses when artifacts come into the lab. But seeing everything under the microscope just doesn’t compare. I can’t imagine leaving, if I’d been born there.”

He had once felt the same. Now, with Azazel’s darkness running in his blood, En gland only spurned fury. Anxious for a change in subject, he asked, “You were born where?”

“A little farm in Iowa. My folks raised pigs.” She pulled down the visor to fiddle with her hair. “Hey, that looks like Seth’s car behind us. I guess I won’t have to worry about finding him at the airport.”

Farran glanced in the rearview mirror. Several yards away, a yellow Chevy Camaro rapidly approached. Despite the rolled- up windows, he caught the stench. The revolting scent of rot. A smell so foul, it still made his stomach roll even after hundreds of years of combating it.

Evil.

Mayhap her Seth followed, but somewhere near, Azazel’s minions lurked.

He gripped the wheel tight and stepped on the gas. Jaw clenched, his gaze riveted on the mirror. The Camaro’s grille bore down on them, its headlights mere feet away from their bumper.

Not somewhere near, he rationalized. Right behind them.

“Hold on,” he barked. Stomping on the accelerator, Farran gave the wheel a fierce jerk and skidded through a sharp right-hand curve.

From the corner of his eye, he caught Noelle’s furrowed brow. She opened her mouth to speak, then quickly snapped it shut. She grabbed for the overhead handhold and shrank into the seat.

Farran’s pulse bounded to life. His chest tightened, and his heart hammered into his ribs as he tried to outmaneuver the creature behind the wheel. But already exceeding eighty, he dared not attempt more speed. Not with a mortal sitting at his side. Too great was the risk he would lose control on this slick highway.

In his side mirror, the sports car gained. It surged around his rear fender, barreled down the oncoming lane. Farran glanced out his window, catching a brief glimpse of a man behind the wheel before it sped past. The foul odor filled the car and tightened his throat. Beside him, Noelle gagged.

When the taillights evened with their front bumper, Farran expelled the breath he had been holding. Azazel’s minion wanted the Sudarium, not the woman at his side.

Best to alert Lucan. He reached between the seats for his cell phone.

As he flipped it open, Noelle let out a shriek.

Metal ground against metal in a sickening scream. Somewhere glass shattered. His hands slipped from the wheel as his body lurched to the left. Where pavement had stretched out before them, brown grass and clods of dirt flew by.

In the next heartbeat, everything went black.


~~~~~

Come back next week for Chapter Three!

Like what you're reading?  PRE-ORDER NOW!








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

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Immortal Surrender - a peek at our tortured Farran.

~~~~~~

Simple scientist, innocent maid, aggressive warrior, gentle healer—he knew not which he preferred, but he craved them all.


She possessed so many different layers. And God help him, he wanted to peel every fascinating one away until she stood before him, utterly bare.

“She is good. ‘Tis as if her arm is blessed by the Almighty,” Merrick commented at Farran’s side. “Tomorrow, I shall give her a real blade.”

Unable to tear his eyes off the vision of angelic beauty before him, Farran could only murmur, “Aye.”  
~~~~~~
Coming, September 25th!
Farran de Clare, loyal member of the cursed Knights Templar, wants nothing to do with predestined mates. Even the Almighty won’t turn him into a fool again—he’d rather sacrifice his soul. Yet in the scientist Noelle Keane, a devout atheist, Farran meets the seraph designed for him.

Ordered by the archangel Gabriel to protect Noelle, the possessor of a sacred relic that could give Azazel incredible power, Farran swears to do his duty—but in name only. Fighting an attraction that grows with each day, he’s determined that he’ll never pledge himself to her.

As they war over her future, their mutual passion ignites a conflict far more damning. But before Noelle will agree to eternity with him, she demands the ultimate sacrifice – his heart.





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

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Good morning, everyone!

I want to introduce you to a lady I've worked with and known a long time.  She's a fellow blogger at Roses of Prose with me, and I'm real proud to call her a friend.  Welcome, Brenda Whiteside.  She's going to talk about flirting and her newest book, The Morning After!

The Morning After

Can there really be love at first sight?

Abigail Martin doesn’t think so. Unless the sexy redheaded stranger she wakes up with the morning after her best friend’s wedding is telling the truth.

Bobby Stockwood fell cowboy-hat-over-boot-heels for the brown-haired beauty, and married her in an impromptu wedding ceremony. Now he just has to convince his new bride that the morning after can be the first day of the rest of their lives.

But just when Abigail starts believing the fairy-tale is real, she finds out exactly who Bobby is, and the walls of make-believe start crumbling down.



LET’S FLIRT!



Isn’t flirting fun? If you’re into romance, you certainly appreciate flirting.

Flirt – the word brings to mind fluttering eyelashes, sideways glances, fingertips gracing a creamy collarbone, pink tongue delicately peeking out from ruby lips, the hint of cleavage when she has to bend to retrieve her purse. Women know the art of subtle flirtatious body language.

But men can come up with some goose bump producing moves. In my novel, Sleeping with the Lights On, my heroine Sandra Holiday feels the rub of Carson’s boot against her ankle beneath the table and can’t be sure he’s purposely arousing her or keeping beat to a tune in his head.

Much flirting happens through verbal banter. We all know the words aren’t necessarily what makes a good flirt but the way they’re uttered; the double entendre, or combined with a wink or a smile.

Rachael, in Tattoos, Leather and Studs has two men flirting with her. She’s on a blind date with a man who looks like he might be a bad boy and the leader of the pack – and is sexy as you know what. On stage is the leader of the band that could pass for a GQ model. But looks can be deceiving. Tattooed date says things like, “your eyes, flecks of gold and green are amazing.” Sophisticated looking rock singer has a different approach. “Is it feeling any better, chicky?” He cast a leer at her chest. “Can I lend a hand?”

In The Morning After, Bobby’s flirting is physical rather than verbal. He’s a pretty hands on kind of guy. A mischievous half smile lit up his face. “All right, I’ll explain another way. Slowly.” He grasped her hands, bringing her close, their bodies meeting from shoulders to toes. “Look at the way we fit together, Abby.” He rubbed his hips against hers. “Hip to hip.” He rubbed his chest against her breasts. “Chest to chest.”

How about that first flirtatious utterance – the opening line, sometimes called the pickup line?

A friend of mine was at a country bar, scanning the crowd. A tall-blond-snake-skin-boots-tight-Levi-covered-buns-hunk drawled, “What you looking for?” When she responded, “Someone to sweep me off my feet,” he didn’t miss a beat. Swoosh!

My favorite first line came from a guy at a public dance. He had the biggest brown eyes, thick dark lashes, and a smile that melted me. And then he said, “Hello, I love you. Would you like to dance?” Okay, a wee bit corny but it must have worked; we’ve been married now for over half our lives. After he spoke those words, the Doors had a hit single with nearly the same line. Maybe not so corny after all.

I have to agree, Brenda, not so very corny after all!  Now, let's take a peek at The Morning After!

~~@~~
EXCERPT
~~@~~

A moan.

The man rolled to his back, kicking off covers. Abigail gasped. Her gentleman visitor wore only a bow tie and black socks.

She crept to the edge of the bed. His face was turned away, further hidden by red curls hanging down the nape of his neck and onto his cheek. A visual sweep of the attractive body brought a smile to her face when she paused on his more than ample endowments. A true redhead. An encounter of this magnitude should be easy to remember.

Abigail smiled in spite of her throbbing temples. Inching closer, she nudged his boots aside with her foot and leaned over to see his face. Mmm. He smelled good, like rich leather and fresh cut wood. As she bent to get a closer look, Kirby, her sixteen-pound Siamese cat, entered the room and announced his hunger.

The visitor stirred, grasped her arm, drawing her down across his hips.

He rose up on his elbows and looked at her. “So, Abby, you’re a morning person, are you?”

Abigail launched off the bed, trying not to come into contact with anymore of the warm body than she already had. Tripping over the boots, she ended up sprawled on the floor. “Who…” She gulped. “Who the hell are you?”

~~@~~
YOU HAVE JUST READ AN EXCERPT FROM THE MORNING AFTER
LIKE IT?  BUY IT
~~@~~

More About Brenda

To stay connected with Brenda, and hear more about The Morning After, as well as what's going on with her upcoming books, you can find her here:
  Visit Brenda at www.brendawhiteside.com.

Or on FaceBook: www.facebook.com/BrendaWhitesideAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/brendawhitesid2

She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at http://rosesofprose.blogspot.com

She blogs about prairie life on her personal blog http://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com/



~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)

IMMORTAL TRUST is
AVAILABLE for PRE-ORDER




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