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…
Add to your GoodReads
Buy eBooks (just $.99!) from: Amazon
US / Amazon
UK / Amazon
Ca / Amazon
AU / B&N
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 –
*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
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
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
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
Come on. Don’t die
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!
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
CHARACTER INTERVIEW WITH...
HALLE RHOADS AND KALE
[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.]
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*
a polite nod, her smile looking a bit uncomfortable*
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
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
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
Halle: *cuts a glance to Kale and mutters* You’re sure Beth isn’t around?
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.]
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
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.]
you both so much for sharing this with me. It’s incredible!
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,
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,
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?
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.
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*
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.
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
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.]
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
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
Halle: *mumbles beneath her breath* Especially
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
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
Kale: *blinks* Me? I’m
not the stubborn one. You are like a
her arms over her chest* Am not.
me a pointed look* See?
embarrassing pet name? *smiles*
her nose* Princess. I just call him
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.
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*
there anything that either of you would like me to make sure and tell my
readers when I get home?
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.
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.
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
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
Kale: *cocks his head* Chocolate raspberry
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 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!