Tomorrow, I get to hold my second book -- All I Want For Christmas... Is Big Blue Eyes.

It is presently available for pre-order here.

And until I post about how nice it is to have the book in-hand, here's my newest trailer. (Music courtesy of Doug Hammer)


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For every person who's had a voice in the whole RWA versus Eligibility in e-pub, yesterday RWA made a bold move that impressed the membership like I've not witnessed before.

In response to Harlequin's venture, Harlequin Horizons, RWA killed the number one romance publisher's eligibility within the national organization.

Bold. Impressive. And while I was a bit miffed about the whole 'e-issue' stuff, I must say yesterday I was very proud to be a member of RWA.

I feel for the HQ authors who are probably caught in the middle of something that feels more like a landslide than anything else. Questions have come up through loops and blogs about how this will affect the author's direct membership, after they've already achieved status like PAN. I don't foresee too much fall-out there, frankly. It's going to hit the newer HQ authors, the authors still waiting in the wings, and the aspiring hopefuls harder than anything.

That said. Whether it be for the better or for the worse, I have to admire the RWA Board for not waivering on their position about vanity presses. It takes a strong backbone to stand up to a giant like Harlequin.

We'll have to see who shot who in the foot. Right now too many things are up in the air and it's way too early to tell.

But the ensuing carnival ride ought to be amazing.



I've been waiting since I opened this blog to have a topic come up that really felt important to talk about. And now, it's been handed on a silver-platter, by non-other than Harlequin.

I have endeavored to keep things very flat and even-keeled here on my blog, because I am mindful of my career goals and don't particularly want to jeopardize them. However, when something affects so many areas of publication, it's hard to just sit back and stay silent.

As aspiring authors who work with critique partners and work with RWA, we are 'taught' (for lack of a better term) that we should not settle for self-publishing and/or vanity publishing. We should take our rejections as they come, we should keep our noses to the grindstone and we deserve to be rewarded, financially, for a book written well. Not to mention, within RWA anything self/vanity published won't be recognized.

Now, the number one publishing house for Romance, the granddaddy of them all, is opening a self/vanity branch. Which, on the surface might not be so terrible IF they didn't brand it with the big name, HARLEQUIN.

By sticking that brand name on there -- as opposed to having a branch named just Horizons, who traces back fiscally to the parent company HQN -- several things happen:

a. Authors are being encouraged to use this service -- good business practice. But in return, they have to pay fees they will likely never make back, and particularly not when they only see 50% of the royalties on rights they supposedly own in full. Not good. This fails the author.

b. Books that go through this process are released into the market wearing the HQ name. On the site, it even makes references to people who couldn't get their books published in other means. Translation -- the quality wasn't up to industry standard for one reason or the other. HQ carried the belief of quality in their market. Only, the uninformed aren't ever going to realize the difference. We have people paying to put a brand on a book, that does not meet qualifications. This fails the industry, particularly in a genre where authors already struggle to be taking seriously.

c. Authors who have already worked hard and attained the right to say "I'm a Harlequin author" or "My book was published by Harlequin" now face the immediate question "Self pub or...?"
Shame on you HQ for shaming your authors.

d. And then there's the whole issue of their fees. Frankly, I can think of a four letter word that begins with 'R' for them.

Carina Press I could endorse. But Horizons? The whole concept makes me quite literally sick to my stomach. I don't want aspiring authors falling into well-written promotional traps invetned to pad a bottom line. I want pre-published authors to succeed. To know the respect that comes with having a legitimate publishing house buy your book.

And for all the editors that work for HQ who might stumble on this... know that nothing here is any sort of reflection on your work or my feelings for you personally. I have a sneaking suspicion there's a whole bunch of HQ editors who would like to see this Horizons venture go away -- though they aren't in any kind of position to likely discuss any of it.



Seduction's Stakes saw a wonderful week of reviews. YAY! For the first reviews on my first book, I can't ask for better responses!

Highest praise came from Long And Short Reviews, reviewer Larkspur, where it received Best Book -- the rating reserved for only a select few! "Claire Ashgrove wins a Triple Crown with Seduction's Stakes, a wonderful story, unforgettable characters, and an amazing love story."

At Long and Short Reviews, Seduction's Stakes was nominated for Best Book of the Week, and votes are being gathered this weekend. I would dearly love your vote!
On top of that, Night Owl Romance reviewer, Diana Coyle, rated it 5 Stars, saying among other praises, "I absolutely adored this story. I was immediately drawn into it not only because of the horse storyline, but also how well each of the characters played off each other."

To read the full reviews, please go to the following links:


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It's Here!

My Christmas tale, set in charming, Lexington, Missouri is now available for Pre-Order at The Wild Rose Press.

Order Here!

Some dreams were never
meant to be...

Renowned architect, Josh McDaniels, spent ten years avoiding his hometown and the unforgettable memories of his youth. But when a former classmate phones him before Christmas with a proposal he can’t refuse, he finds himself back in small-town, Lexington, Missouri, surrounded by holiday festivities and engulfed in memories of a blue-eyed girl.

Amanda Masterson knows three things about Josh. She loves him, he loves her, and he’ll walk out when those feelings terrify him, as he always does. Ten years ago, he abandoned their dreams. Eight years ago, he returned to break her heart again. Now, he’s back once more, and this time, he’s jeopardizing not only her heart but her daughter’s as well.

Can the spirit of Christmas overcome a past riddled with mistakes? Or will fears and doubts destroy the greatest gift of all?

Read an Excerpt


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Heh. Okay that's a terrible title, and a terrible joke, but I'm keeping it for lack creativity today.

So, Seduction's Stakes is out, All I Want For Christmas... Is Big Blue Eyes is on its way, I have a book signing at Hastings on December 12, 2009 in Warrensburg, MO, and I have been super busy.

Super busy with a paranormal endeavor that grabbed a hold of me and refused to let go. It is about ready to meet the terrible fates of The Critique Group, but we'll see if they are struck with kindness or if they feel the need to slaughter.

Actually, I think it will be only mildly bloody, not a full out blood bath.

At any rate, I've been writing outside of my contemporary little world and enjoy it. Which leads me to something I wanted to touch on.

In a recent Washington Post article, Laura Lippman said (paraphrasing) that to write in more than one genre successfully, writers have to be strong in each.

And I believe that is true. While she wasn't speaking cross-genre in romance, I think that applies equally. To write historical romance, you must be strong in your knowledge of the era, your ability to put words together and give it a historical feel. To write contemporary you need to have some grasp of slang, of modern places. Paranormal you have to understand the ... well... the paranormal. If you don't, the endeavor will come off flat. Key elements that are not solely related to plot, characterization, and GMC, will be missing -- in short, the color of your writing will stay in shades of black and grey.

Ms. Lippman also made a reference to feeling unbalanced if she spends too much time writing in one genre or the other. I can 110% agree with her in that. When I spend too much time in contemporary I have to go into a historical for a while. There's a different "voice" I use with historical and it forces me to think about my words, to abandon the comfortable phrases I know as a 30-some-odd-year old adult and my audience understands. It forces me to think about different ways to express myself. Make my writing richer.

I don't believe I'll ever be able to focus completely on one genre or the other. Detriment to my career? No, I don't think so. Not when both genres have different strengths.

Anyway -- enough for today! Back to editing the paranormal that's possessed me.



"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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