[Archive] Spotlight, Review, Progressive Excerpt and Character Interview for Claire Ashgrove_4.25.14
FEATURE AUTHOR EVENT
Spotlight, Review, Progressive Excerpt, Interview with the hero and heroine of Before the Storm and Giveaway
LITERAL ADDICTION is thrilled to have the wonderful Claire Ashgrove (and guests!) with us today to celebrate the release of her new New Adult Paranormal, Before the Storm, which was just dropped on 4/21/14.
Building on a background of fantasy game design, a fascination with history, and a lifetime love of books, Award-Winning Author Claire Ashgrove brings to life action-filled passionate journeys of the heart. Her paranormal series, the CURSE OF THE TEMPLARS, marries the history of the Knights of Templar with the chilling aspirations of the most unholy—a must-read for speculative fiction fans. For romance fans, she also writes as the National Bestselling Author Tori St. Claire and historical romance as Sophia Garrett.
In her non-writing time, she owns and operates Finish The Story, a full-scale editing house co-fpunded with Byran Thomas Schmidt. She lives in Missouri and enjoys cooking, studying ancient civilizations, and spending downtime with her two sons and too-many horses, cats, and dogs.
Claire is also the creator of the INHERITED DAMNATION series, several amazing single titles, and she writes the BLACK OPALS series as Tori St. Claire. You can check out her entire bibliography HERE.
Keep up with Claire online at her Website, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on GoodReads.
As mentioned, I’m here today to help Claire promote and celebrate Before the Storm. For those of you just now hearing about it, here’s everything you need to know…
Before the Storm
WINDWALKER Book #1
Add to your GoodReads Shelf
Buy eBooks (just $.99!) from: Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon Ca / Amazon AU / B&N / Kobo
Buy in PRINT from: Amazon
Halle Rhoads has a terrifying gift–she can kill with the fury of the storm.
She should have known that kind of power wouldn’t go unnoticed. Thrust into a world full of dark magic with a handsome stranger who claims he can teach her, she struggles to master her abilities and stumbles onto a dangerous truth. She’s a windwalker, the chosen vessel of the ancient dragons who once ruled the world. Many will stop at nothing to possess the power in her blood, should they discover her secret. With necromancers hunting her and Halle’s closest allies guarding secrets, mastering her magic becomes a matter of necessity.
But accepting her destiny is altogether different. For doing so means she must sacrifice everything.
Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION’s Pack Alpha – Chelle:
*Copy gifted in exchange for an honest review
–Actual rating 4.5 Skulls
What a fabulous book!
Before the Storm was set in a carefully thought out world rife with potential and primed for growth and development. It contained characters that were instantly captivating, and who earned your respect (or disgust) instantly. The action and adventure throughout the book will have you on the edge of your seat, and there were surprises around every corner. Take all that and add in a love story that was both sweet and believable, and you have a definite winner.
I highly recommend Before the Storm to fans of New Adult and Adult Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, and I am hoping against hope that this is just the first in a wonderful new series from Claire Ashgrove.
Oh, and here’s the next part of the progressive snippet that’s being shared for this Book Blast Hop. Check it out….
Read previous portion of Chapter 1 at Lola’s Reviews
Chapter One (Continued…)
Before I could savor the power that thrummed around me, a force like a moving locomotive slammed into my back. The air rushed from my lungs, making it impossible to brace myself against imminent impact.
I hit the ground chest-first.
Strong fingers locked around my ankle. “I said…stop,” Kale managed between labored breaths.
Him! Just who the hell did he think he was?
Dragging in a short gasp of air, I twisted to look down the length of my body at the hand that trapped me in place. As my furious gaze locked on the back of his bronzed knuckles, lightning split the sky. It arced over Allen’s gabled rooftop, spidered through the skeleton branches of deciduous trees, and slammed into the moist earth a breath away from Kale’s right shoulder.
The explosion of thunder split the sky, so powerful it reverberated inside me like cannons firing at close range in an underground cave. And yet, I didn’t hear it. Whatever force it was that kept me safe amid a deadly tornado years ago had wrapped itself around me, preventing the wash of heat from touching my skin and the intensely bright flash from blinding my eyes.
Not so Kale. His body jerked a good three feet sideways from where the bolt connected with the ground and immediately began convulsing.
“Oh shit!” I scrambled to my knees and lunged across the short distance separating us. Heaving against his shoulder, I tried to push his face out of the debris-covered ground and roll him onto his side. “Shit, I’m sorry!”
Come on. Don’t die on me.
Man, this guy was heavier than he looked. I shoved again and finally succeeded into rolling him onto his left shoulder. His tight body and locked muscles fought against the pressure of my body as I braced him in place with my hip. The arm he lay on punched a steady rhythm into the air.
Damn, damn, damn!
“Hey, Kale.” I set a hand on his shoulder, uncertain what to do or how to help. His mouth was doing this chewing thing, and his eyes had rolled back into his head. Wasn’t there some sort of risk of swallowing one’s tongue? Or was that just an old wives tale?
What if he stopped breathing or his heart stopped? Was that possible? Could he die right here?
Hop on 4/26 to read more at Book Lover’s Life!
Sounds good, yes!? It soooo was. You really need to check it out!
For the rest of today though, how about I let you ‘sit in’ on my meet and greet with Halle and Kale, the hero and heroine of Before the Storm?
CHARACTER INTERVIEW WITH… HALLE RHOADS AND KALE NORWOOD:
[After some searching, begging, pleading, and yes, bartering away everything I could think of to get a meeting with Halle and Kale, I was finally given the green light for our interview. To make the meeting mean so much more, Halle and Kale agreed to take me to the Tolvenar caves for our meet and greet.]
[Because I’m just a norm, I couldn’t see the caves or the area immediately surrounding them, so I agreed to meet Halle and Kale in a clearing just outside of the forest in Oklahoma so they could take me ‘through the veil’, so to speak.]
[I rented a car and drove to the area that they had described to me in the email. It was just opposite some radio tower lights in the distance, but for the most part, was in the middle of freaking nowhere. It’s a good thing I actually enjoy communing with nature…]
[I was a little early, so about ½ hour later I heard crunching in the trees. A minute or two later, a good-looking couple stepped out into the clearing holding hands. The girl was tall for a female, probably around 5’9” with long brown hair and an air of being somewhat closed off. The guy was gorgeous, about 6’2”, with dirty blonde hair, and obviously powerful.]
[I stepped forward to greet the pair.]
Chelle: Hi guys! As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, I’m Michelle from LITERAL ADDICTION, but everyone calls me Chelle. *shakes hands with both Halle and Kale*
Halle: *Gives a polite nod, her smile looking a bit uncomfortable*
Kale: *grin warm and welcoming* Nice to meet you Chelle. Thanks for coming all this way.
[After the introductions we started walking a ways into the woods. All of a sudden, when I looked up I could no longer see the lights from the radio towers, nor could I see anything else that made me think we were even anywhere near the same place we started. Toto, we were certainly not in Kansas…er Oklahoma…anymore.]
Chelle: Wow, that was incredible. We must have passed the barrier huh!? I didn’t feel anything more than a slight tingle.
Halle: *chuckles* Kinda odd, huh? Just creeps up on you. You’d never realize it if you weren’t looking for it.
Kale: *Resting one hand on the small of Halle’s back, he guides her ahead of him, then motions for me to continue on as well* You wouldn’t get through if you weren’t with us. It would route you around, more or less. C’mon, this way. The camarilla isn’t far.
Halle: *cuts a glance to Kale and mutters* You’re sure Beth isn’t around?
Kale: *brief frown* I’m sure.” *His friendly smile returning, he nods toward a rocky outcrop* It’s just ahead.
[Soon we came to the caves and entered. About ten feet into the cool stone tunnel we encountered a bend. The ground slanted beneath my feet, letting me know that we were going down into the earth, but the pitch was easy and the hard-packed earth was smooth. The deeper we walked, the colder it got. It was a good thing I had remembered to bring a sweater.]
[As we walked, a curious light illuminated several feet ahead. Faint turquoise, eye-catching violet, and a pink that was somewhere between neon and pastel shimmered against the smooth stone walls. As we walked further, I was literally stopped in my tracks at the sight before me. Illuminated against a recessed portion of smooth stone, those vibrant colors morphed into a work of art – elaborate, intricate designs that overlapped and intertwined with one another until they were all one big collage. I couldn’t hold back my gasp, and Halle chuckled.]
Halle: *flashes a conspiratorial grin* Magic crayons. Here, watch this. *She dips her index finger into a swathe of violet light and moves her hand across the wall. The colors follow, transforming into a hill-shaped pattern*
[Before I can give it a try, or even ask, a pair of voices drift down the corridor—male and female.]
Kale: *glances towards the voices, his frown returns, and he lets out a sigh* We better not go further. I’m not in the mood to deal with her.
Halle: Ugh, Kale. *punches him lightly in the bicep* You were supposed to sidetrack her.
Kale: Yeah well. *The look he gives her is pointed* SOMEONE sidetracked ME this morning.
Halle: Oh. *Blushing, she drops her gaze to her boots.* Right then. Let’s get this show on the road.
[There were some large boulders in the room set up like benches and we each took a seat upon them.]
Chelle: Thank you both so much for sharing this with me. It’s incredible!
Halle: *laughs* Incredible? You’ve heard about the demons right? My uncle? The crazy bi—
Kale: *cuts her off by setting his heel on her foot—hard enough to make her wince* I think she gets the picture. So what’s first, Chelle?
Chelle: Well, I suppose I should actually ask you guys some questions for my readers instead of just staring like an awestruck fool, huh!? *chuckles* Halle, when did you first realize that you weren’t just a norm?
Halle: Um. I was fourteen when it really hit me. Until then, I’d felt an affinity to storms, always seemed to know when they were brewing. But that night, I willed a tornado to hit my house, and to my delight, it did.
Chelle: Kale, you had a radically different upbringing, having always known what you are, what others are, etc. Do you sometimes wish you could just shut it all off?
Kale: *nods* Yeah, sometimes it would be nice. War aside, I’d like to have one day where I could wake up and do…nothing. Have a gym membership, maybe, instead of combat training.
Chelle: Kale, you have a great burden on your shoulders, being expected to take over leadership of the Camarilla and to guide the Tolvenar. What is that like?
Kale: *shrugs and leans back against the wall* It’s really not that much of a burden. I’m not doing it, end of subject. I’m not the right person to lead the camarilla. Someday they’ll realize the truth of it. Until then, I’m training warriors.
Halle: *shoots him a displeased frown, but sets her hand on his thigh supportively*
Chelle: And Halle, now that you know more about the world you were born into, what has hit you the hardest?
Halle: The hardest? There’s so many secrets, Chelle. My mom, I suppose. Knowing she’s been alive and no one ever told me.
Chelle: Besides the obvious *winks*, what’s been the best part about training together?
[The tension slips completely from the room, both Halle and Kale more clearly more comfortable. They both laugh, share an intimate glance, and turn mischievous grins on me.
Halle: I get to kick his ass when he’s pissed me off.
Kale: *scoffs* You wish. *turns to me* Her determination can be inspiring. And we get to really understand and anticipate what the other might try, which makes it far easier if we end up in battle together. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and how to support them.
Halle: Spoken like a true General. *rolls her eyes, but her nature is obviously teasing* Can you get any more technical? Just tell her it’s fun. We work hard, I frustrate the hell out of you. And then we relax with the duck.
[I compose myself from a bout of giggles and clear my throat.]
Chelle: You both have some rather interesting – and dare I say messed up – family dynamics. How have you fought against letting those things define you and/or steer you in the wrong directions? Or has it been part of the reason why you do what you do day-to-day?
Kale: *nudges Halle* I think this one’s for you.
Halle: *snorts* Messed up is one way to put it. For me, though, they are why I’m here. It’s an interesting position—wanting to protect my family, while fighting my family at the same time. My uncle’s a dirtbag. I won’t quit until he’s dead.
Chelle: And you Kale?
Halle: He’s doing that deflecting thing.
Kale: Am not. That’s your trick. You know I was born into this, Chelle, so my family is part of my day-to-day. I fight to protect them. As for all the other…stuff… I pretty much ignore it. People are going to do what they do.
Halle: *mumbles beneath her breath* Especially psycho stepmothers.
Chelle: O.K, fun ‘couple’ question… off the top of your head, what’s your favorite thing about the other?
Kale: *sits up and answers without hesitation* Her strength and determination. She never quits.
Halle: *Despite a furious blush, Halle nudges him in the ribs with her elbow before addressing me* He cooks. And it’s really good.
Chelle: The cooking? *laughs* Biggest pet peeve about each other?
Halle: Oh, my gosh, the man’s head is as hard as nails
Kale: *blinks* Me? I’m not the stubborn one. You are like a mule.
Halle: *folds her arms over her chest* Am not.
Kale: *gives me a pointed look* See?
Chelle: Most embarrassing pet name? *smiles*
Halle: *wrinkles her nose* Princess. I just call him Kale.
Chelle: Halle, what about Kale are you the most proud of?
Halle: Proud of? *She squirms in her seat* Man, this is stuff I don’t even talk about with myself. It’s like thumbscrews. *She shifts again* I guess the way he follows his own convictions and doesn’t let anyone sway him. Next please.
Chelle: Kale, what’s up next, and how are you feeling about it?
Kale: *sighs heavily* Well, she’s got a lot to learn still. I’ve accepted she’s a windwalker. Doesn’t mean I like it. But I won’t hinder her, and I’ll do what I can to support.
Halle: *With a faint smile, Halle slips her hand into his*
Chelle: Is there anything that either of you would like me to make sure and tell my readers when I get home?
Halle: *nods* Yeah. I need supporters in the hate-the-psycho-stepmother camp. Tell them to check our story out and if they have any suggestions, I’m all ears.
Kale: *Groaning, he just shakes his head*
Chelle: *blushes* Would the two of you tell Marcus ‘hi’ for me? I was sort of hoping he might be around today, but I didn’t count on it.
Halle: *quick to nod* Sure thing. You won’t find him here though. Enemies and all that. I on the other hand, suffer no such animosity.
Chelle: You guys have been awesome. Thank you so much for doing this with and for me, I really appreciate it!
Kale: *stands and dusts off his jeans* You’re most welcome. Maybe next time we can cover some more ground.
Halle: *looks up with raised eyebrows* Maybe next time you can get rid of Beth and we can introduce Chelle to Tufty.
Kale: *doesn’t answer. Rather, pulls her up out of her seat and kisses her soundly* Hush.
Chelle: *ducks head* I don’t mean to be an ungrateful guest, but dude, I’m starving! *laughs as my stomach rumbles audibly* Do you think we can grab a bite before you guys lead me back to the car?
Halle: *embarrassment vanishes as she gives me a bug-eyed stare* Here? Are you out of your mind? Rice cakes…granola… *She shakes her head adamantly* Go back to Applegate. Check out the Frost Club. They have to die for chocolate raspberry cheesecake. Beats granola any day.
Kale: *cocks his head* Chocolate raspberry cheesecake?
Halle: Chocolate raspberry truffle cheesecake. *Her smile widens* And burgers.
Kale: Oh, man. I’m in. Come on, Chelle!
Remaining Book Blast Tour Schedule & Agenda:
4/20 – Under the Covers (Meet Halle Rhoads)
4/21 – Book Passion for Life (Melanie Interviews Claire)
4/21 – Reading Between the Wines (Meet Kale Norwood)
4/22 – Wicked Lil Pixie (Meet Marcus Wintergrave)
4/23 – Got Fiction (Heather Interviews Claire)
4/24 – Lola’s Reviews (Meet Spring)
4/25 – Literal Addiction (Meet and Greet with Halle and Kale)
4/26 – Book Lover’s Life (Meet Gerard Norwood)
For the duration of the Before the Storm Blog Hop, Claire will be giving away, daily, one digital copy of anything on her backlist to one random commentor. The Rafflecopter Giveaway (over on our Character’s Corner page!) for the Blog Hop is for a $15.00 Amazon / Barnes and Noble Gift Certificate, and a full digital set of her series, The Curse of the Templars. Be sure to comment and enter the Rafflecopter both!
She has several other opportunities over the next two weeks to win more prizes, too. To see the other release-gala events, check out the Before the Storm Tour Schedule!