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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Guest Post with Author Claire Ashgrove and Giveaway

Today I would like to welcome to RFTC author Claire Ashgrove. Claire is currently on tour promoting the recent release of her book Bound by Decency and has stopped by to chat. Before I give the floor over to Claire, lets get to know her some.

Claire Ashgrove has been writing since her early teens and maintained the hobby for twenty years before deciding to leap into the professional world. Her first contemporary novel, Seduction's Stakes, sold to The Wild Rose Press in 2008, where she continues to write steamy, sexy stories for the Champagne and Black Rose lines. Adding to these critically acclaimed romances, Claire’s paranormal romance series, The Curse of the Templars will debut with Tor in January 2012. For those who prefer the more erotic side of romance, she also writes for Berkley Heat as the National Bestselling Author Tori St. Claire.

Claire lives in Missouri with her two toddler sons, and too-many horses, cats, and dogs. In her “free” time, she enjoys cooking, winning at Rummy, studying Ancient Civilizations, and spending quiet moments with her family, including the critters. She credits her success to her family's constant support and endless patience.

Places to find Claire:

When A Villain Becomes A Hero

So…pirates. We’re all fascinated with pirates, I think, on some level. If that weren’t true Pirates of the Caribbean wouldn’t have been such phenomenal hits. We wouldn’t have Talk Like A Pirate Day, and we wouldn’t see them in popular culture nearly as much as we do.

To us, we simple human beings who travel on paved roads in our automobiles, who go to work 9-5 with two weeks of vacation a year, who have bills to pay and responsibilities to uphold, pirates are romantic. They’re free to do what they want, when they want, how they want, and they didn’t give a damn about what society thought of them. Most at least.

Disagree with someone’s opinion? Eh, run ‘em through. Co-worker stole from you? Cut off his hand. Need a new mode of transportation? Forget the down payment, just take it. Want to kick back with a good drink and relax in the sun? Yeah, we’ve got that one covered too.

But have you ever stopped to consider just what a pirate was? I mean when you cut past everything they were thieves and (often) murderers. Villains through and through.

So how does an author whose committed to portraying history accurately, turn a villain into a hero?

Well, part of that job is done for us, by readers. Just like the murdering vampires, we’ve already been convinced that pirates are people we should like. That we should fall in love with.

The other part comes with crafting careful characters. If the pirate has goals readers can relate to and understand, the pirate wins brownie points. If the pirate’s motivation is clear and concise and something readers support, the pirate wins more brownie points. If the pirate has vulnerabilities that readers can sympathize with, the pirate wins many more brownie points. And if the pirate happens to be goodlooking and know how to make his heroine swoon, he receives the maximum amount of brownie points.

Take for instance, Cain. He intends to kill his (former) best friend. Not something that’s going to get marked down on Santa’s “Good boy” list. But he wants to commit this murder because he was betrayed. Because the one person he trusted above all destroyed his life after he had left piracy, and sent him to the gallows. Out of greed.

How many of you have been betrayed and thought, even for a nano-second, “It would be so nice to poke out their eyes”? As human beings we understand Cain’s feelings and that makes his revenge more digestible. Brownie points.

As for vulnerabilities? That’s what India is for. She brings Cain’s weaknesses and secret dreams to life. How?  some things are better left unsaid.

Thanks for having me here today! I sincerely hope you enjoy Bound by Decency as much as I enjoyed writing it.

After inheriting a portion of Spain’s Royal Inheritance, Cain left The Flying Gang for a chance at honest wealth. With the secrets of his piracy tucked away, he achieved his lofty aspirations. But when his partner and best friend betrays him to the Royal Navy, Cain’s dreams are ripped to shreds. He’s left with his ship, the tattered remnants of a stolen future, and a piece of Spanish mystery. Wanted by three nations and destined for the gallows, he returns to the legendary band of buccaneers for one purpose -- vengeance.

Kidnapped by the formidable Cain, India Prescott discovers he intends to kill the man she’s to marry. Cain’s story reveals betrayal. Treachery that extends to her as well. Although she holds the key to retribution, India refuses to become another man’s pawn. Freedom lies before her, the liberty to shrug off propriety, make her own decisions, and claim her destiny. But when she uncovers goodness in Cain’s soul and he awakens passion in her heart, she must combat the chains of convention once more.

Only this time India's not fighting society. She’s battling a pirate bent on keeping her decency intact.

Places to Purchase:

“We can’t, Cain,” she whispered. Swallowing, she moistened her dry throat.

Like someone cracked a whip above his head, all the dark intensity in his gaze shifted to reveal a spark of anger. “Surely you don’t intend to hide behind this falsehood of loyalty to Richard.”

She twisted out of his hold and rose on unsteady legs. Free of his intoxicating nearness, sense returned. She shook her head. “It’s no falsehood. We are to wed. You know this.”

A wry smirk danced on his mouth as he stood. “A wedding that can’t take place if the bride does not return.”

Indignation rode her hard. The heaving of her chest began anew, and she whirled around with a fierce scowl. “You cannot keep me here forever!”

One dark eyebrow rose to mock her. “No? I see no one to stop me.” In three long strides he closed the distance between them. His hand shot out to yank the leather strap from around her waist and wind it tight around her wrists. He held them in one hand. “Did you forget you are my captive? I can keep you as long as I desire. No one will stop me from tying you here, or binding you in the hold.”

She gritted her teeth in a vain effort to still her tongue and tell him all the vile things that ran through her head. But at the sound of his low chuckling, her temper got the better of her.

“If your intent is to keep me prisoner for eternity, I promise you I will find a way off this ship if I have to jump overboard. I may not possess the legs to sail, but I am quite capable of swimming.”

With a broad sweep of his arm, he gestured at the window. “Swim if you wish. You will tire. When you do, I will be there to haul you in. And when I do, you will still be bound, and still my captive. And if we wish to enjoy each other’s bodies, we shall.”

Spluttering, she opened her mouth to argue with logic, but sensible words eluded her tongue. All that tumbled loose was the ridiculous protest, “What you speak of is indecent!”

Pain flickered across his face, so insignificant she wouldn’t have noticed had he not moved closer to the light. With a nonchalant shrug, the momentary crease to his brow smoothed and his devilish smile returned to lift the corners of his mouth. “I have no place among decency.”

Want to win some goodies from Claire? Check out what's up for grabs.

Up for grabs:
  • 1 lucky commenter from the ENTIRE tour will win a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

To Enter:
  • Please leave a meaningful comment or question for Claire. 
  • Please leave your email address along with your comment to be entered. No email address, no entry.
  • Giveaway ends August 31st.

Good Luck =)


  1. I'm sorry to say that I've never heard of Claire Ashgrove but this book sounds really good. I cant wait to pick up a copy. Thanks for the blog, excerpt and giveaway.

  2. Thanks for a fun post! Congrats Claire on the newest release :)

  3. Claire I love your work under this name as well as under Tori St Claire, thanks for the great excerpt from your book. Carin

  4. I like the concept of villain becoming hero. Very interesting change of pace!


  5. Thanks for the excerpt and the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

  6. I enjoyed reading this, but not as much as I enjoyed hanging with you on the road!

  7. I think Claire is so right about human nature. I know that pirates are not hero material, but for some reason my emotions over-ride that knowledge and make me romanticize them. The book sounds great and I look forward to reading it. I've enjoyed Claire's Knights Templar and her Black Opal books so this one should not disappoint.

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Congrats on the release and thanks for sharing the excerpt. :)

  9. Thanks for stopping in, everyone! And thank you also for the well-wishes. I'm glad you've enjoyed the excerpt, and twisting things just a little bit, like making standard 'villians' heroes, is one of my favorite things. It makes life so much more interesting.

    Heather -- yes, the roadtrip kinda beats all :) LOL

  10. Bad guys who become a hero is actually one of my very favorite things to read about :-) I can't wait to read your book!


  11. Shhh, gals, secret time! It's going on a two-day sale tomorrow. 99 cents!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Addendum. Well, that's the intention, at least. We'll see if Amazon cooperates with that idea. (And it's only the digital version going on sale.) Watch for it anyway, if you're interested.

  12. I have always loved when the pirate hero "kidnaps" the heroine of the story. Especially when the heroine has some spunk and does everything she can to drive the hero crazy.
    Btw, thanks for sharing the "secret". I just bought the Kindle edition :)
    manning_J2004 at yahoo dot com

  13. When the villain is a pirate I can certainly see him as a hero.


  14. I love a bad boy villian turned hero . I cant wait to read this book it sounds amazing .Thank you for sharing and for this chance to win.Have a fantastic week.

  15. Sounds like a book I would really love to read.

  16. Nice post. I'd like to read more about these characters.


  17. When do you find time to write?? lol
    I cant wait to read more of your books. My author list gets longer and longer lol

    no1lefthere@ cox dot net

  18. I agree with the others I love it when the bad guy turns good...also do you have a process when your writing?

  19. Hello Claire
    I have read your first Templer novel and based on that and reading the above excerpt this pirate tale looks to also be a great book.
    Seawitch Reviews @

  20. Thanks for sharing the excerpt! This sounds like a good read for me!


  21. New author for me but I love finding new authors who write books I know I'll like. Thanks for sharing the excerpt.

  22. Never read any of her books but hopefully thats about to change, love reading books by new authors.


  23. Heehee I like the whole pirate thing. :P

    leahgonz46 at