I'm sharing two reviews that I received this month:

Both reviews were conducted by Marissa at Sizzling Hot Books.

The first is for Seduction's Stakes, my Contemporary romance centered around a passionate race for the Triple Crown.


"Seduction's Stakes is full of unforgettable characters, and an amazing love story. The story between Riley and Maddie is amazing, and like a fairy tale come true."

For full details, go here.

The second review is for All I Want For Christmas... Is Big Blue Eyes, a Christmas romance between two high school sweethearts who got everything wrong the first time around.


"All I want for Christmas... is Big Blue Eyes, proves once again that Claire Ashgrove is a talented author. The characters are unforgettable, and the story is believable. You can add All I want for Christmas.... is Big Blue Eyes to your list of Holiday traditions because it is defiantly one for the keep shelves."

For the full review, go here.

If you'd like to find out a little more about these two titles, and my other stuff available while we're waiting on those darkly sexy Templar Knights, take a peek at my Contemporary Romances on my website.

Next time I'll go back to witty and mundane :)



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Stolen from the Cascade Literary Agency Blog

Occasionally while doing the total mundane (such as brushing my teeth) a few gems of wisdom pop into my head. Well, maybe not wisdom. But I like to think they are. Tonight while working through the next scene in my current work in progress, it occured to me to pull off what I'm striving for, I have to move each player very carefully.

Like chess. And thus the thought took root.

For anyone who writes with secondary characters, or includes extensive sub-plots, chess is a very appropriate term. Each person and element has to play off the other. The "Checkmate" is the resolution to the story. Getting there requires strategy, not just haphazard relocation of pawns and bishops (and if you're writing about Templars, the occasional Knight.)

Characters and elements can't just appear. Readers get highly annoyed by this. They have to be layered in, embedded in a plausible fashion, and dropping these little tidbits isn't nearly as easy as it may sound. Those who've faced the delimma of how to expose just the right amount of detail without giving away the whole package, should be jumping up and down in agreement. I think for some writers this comes more naturally. Others practice it (Romantic Suspense authors) so regularly it becomes habit. But those of us who are focused on different aspects of different genres have a bit of a difficult time with the chessboard.

Who moves to black? Who kills the pawn. When? With what piece? And how does that affect the pawn behind him?

I admire pantsers for this reason. I would seriously go into fits if my characters changed an aspect of my plot. I have to plot and in detail. But to sit down at a keyboard and possess the ability to navigate unexpected twists and turns? Simply amazing. Kudos to those of you who do.

Others, like myself, dictate out our plots over several pages, and then still stare at the screen, or pace, or chew on our nails as we realize "Oh. THIS must be in here. Now how to do it."

My current WIP is pushing that aspect of my brain a great deal and I am finding the challenge immensely enjoyable. But I'm curious -- how do you do it? Are you a strategic chess player, or are you the sort that takes the move, and then re-evalutes how to make the next one?

While you're considering that, I'd like to share with you the teaser for my Templar series.

For the higher quality version, go here: My Paranormal Website Page

For the faster-loading, but lower graphics quality YouTube version, go Here

Be sure to come back and share your thoughts on both.



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Well, it's about time for a new look, don'tcha think? No more dark stuff you have to squint at.


Hot Damn Designs created a new website for me, and today I've spent the entire day rebuilding my blog, rebuilding my newsletter, and doing some additional requirements for my actual site.

That is... in between monitoring the comatose toad my son brought me this morning. He, in attempts to catch it, whopped it on the head. ("But Mommy, it was hopping away!") While we were discussing the merits of life and how killing harmless things at random is not a good thing, I happened to see the toad gulp. So I told him to take "dead toad" out in the shade and leave it alone. Two hours later it evidently shook off the coma and hopped on its merry way. Now my son thinks it came back to life. Yeesh!

And in between that, he happened upon a rather large find of monarch caterpillers yesterday. Now... all my childhood I wanted to find one of those. I wanted to watch it transform. Never happened. My son CHANCES on the motherload of all caterpillars. So we have nine of them now, and they all have "assumed the position" as of tonight. In about 10 days we'll have pretty butterflies!!

I think I'm more excited about this than he is.

But at least it beats his trying to add the "dead" toad to our ever-increasing collection of dead bugs.

Oh... to be the mother of boys.

Well, enough rambling for one evening!



"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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