Monday, April 21, 2014

Before the Storm by Claire Ashgrove (Character Interview, #Excerpt & #Giveaway)

We'd like to wish Claire Ashgrove a Happy Book Birthday! She is joining us today with BEFORE THE STORM and a special guest. Enjoy!

Good morning, readers!  Thank you so much for letting me drop in today and share a little of Before the Storm, my new Urban Fantasy release!  I chased down Kale Norwood and convinced him to give us some more details.  Here’s what he had to say about Halle, the war with the Yaksini, and himself.

Claire:  Tell us your role with the Tolvenar, if you will

Kale:  (chuckling) That’s a little up in the air right now.  I’ve been leading the warriors for decades.  If I have my choice, that’s where I’ll stay.  But my father wants me to take over leadership.  I’ll do about anything to avoid that.

Claire:  I’d love to ask why, but I assume that’s in the book.

Kale:  Yeah.  Pretty much.

Claire:  What was life like before Halle?

Kale:  Normal. (laughs)  We’ve been fighting the Yaksini for years.  So battle was pretty common.  The tables were turning against us though, and we’d taken a defensive-only position.  The future looked fairly grim.

Claire:  When you were sent to find her, what went through your mind?

Kale:  It was an assignment.  If she could help us turn the tables, then it was worth whatever my father’s reasons for bringing her in.

Claire:  And when you met her?

Kale:  I knew relatively instantly she was far more than someone to be used as a tool.  Her determination and strength was pretty impressive.  But beneath all that, her concern for her sister was inspiring.

Claire:  And I suppose it didn’t have anything to do with finding her attractive, did it?

Kale:  (Merely raises his eyebrows.)  I’m a guy.  What do you think?

Claire:  I think it does.  A lot.  So, what is teaching her like?

Kale:  Ever heard of herding cats?  That’s pretty much how Halle’s magic works.  Some days it amazingly successful. Others, not so much.  But she never quits.  And when it works… man the power she’s capable of is breathtaking.

Claire:  And it gives you one-on-one time.

Kale:  You said that, not me.

Claire:  And so I did.  How do you really feel about Halle being a windwalker?

Kale:  (shifts uncomfortably in his chair) I’d rather not go into all of that here.

Claire:  Oh-kay.  We’ll skip that.  What about Marcus?  Will you tell me more about the history there?

Kale:  Marcus is a thief and a betrayer.  But then, he’s Noita, and they are all like that.  I guess I just expected more from my best friend…and learned the hard way, Noita can never change.

Claire:  Care to go into more detail?  That sounds awfully bitter.

Kale:  Nah. He’s not worth the time.

Claire:  Well then, let’s talk more about you.  We know you like to cook.  How’d you end up so fond of it?

Kale:  (grimaces) Have you seen the crap my father feeds us?  If not, you’ll understand.

Claire:  What’s your favorite meal?

Kale:  Anything rich and hearty and suitable.  I’m a man, with a man’s appetite.  Meat, definitely.  Though I have a weakness for seafood.  Fresh seafood—not something you find around here often.

Claire:  Yeah, it’s not like Oklahoma is beachfront property.  Back to the Yaskini for a moment—what do they really want?

Kale:  Ultimate dominion.  They’ve always been power hungry, and it goes back to a centuries old split between two sisters.  Now, the Yaksini will stop at nothing until they control all of magickind.

Claire:  Well, on that note?  What happens next?

Kale:  That’s really up to Halle.  (He sighs heavily.)  Much as I may not want to admit it, everything depends on her.

Claire:  Well thanks, Kale.  I know you’ve got other, more important things to do.  Thanks for taking some time out!

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little more about Kale Norwood, Halle’s mentor and…a little more.  If you’d like to get to know him better, Before the Storm is available for a short while at only .99 cents.  I’d love it if you’d check it out!

Before the Storm
by Claire Ashgrove 
ebook, 304 pages
Expected publication: April 21st 2014 by Untamed Spirit
Goodreads | 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.


Chapter One Continued -- Read previous at Book Passion For Life

Something heavy hit me from the left. I toppled with the force of impact, barreled sideways into the fallen leaves and thick carpet of weeds and overgrowth. Knocked senseless, I barely comprehended a boulder of a weight pinning me to the musty ground. Gasping, I pushed to my knees to crawl away.

“No, you don’t,” a masculine voice whispered near my ear. Strong arms wrapped around my torso, anchoring my arms to my side as he rolled off me.

Beyond the brick wall, a sharp crack echoed through the sudden stillness. My sister cried out in pain. Sobs followed. “Uncle, please.”

My own need for survival took over—I twisted my shoulders and kicked with my feet. What the hell?

“Easy, Halle. I won’t hurt you.” Twisting awkwardly, he repositioned us into a quasi-sitting position.

For a moment, panic ebbed. I blinked. This guy knew my name? With another thrash of my entire body, I tried to shake off his hold. The bands of steel locked around my waist tightened, but he leaned his head over my shoulder enough I could see his face somewhat. Young. Close to my age—maybe twenty-five, twenty-six. Shadows obscured all but the glitter of sky-blue eyes. Those vivid blues made me gasp.

Annoyed, I reared my head back and slammed it sideways into his. I didn’t know who this jerk was, but damn it, he would not stop me from helping my sister.

Instantly, I regretted the head slam. He didn’t move except to bow his head and let out a sharp hiss. Conversely, pounding filled my skull. Tiny bright stars shot through my vision. Damn. Did he have steel wrapped around his brain?

“Okay, I’ll give you that one,” he murmured as he lifted his chin once more. Tight lines settled in around his mouth. His gaze remained fixed on the brick wall. “Next one’s not free.”

From the other side of that barrier, a back porch door squeaked open then banged shut. Damn it! Faye had gone inside. I couldn’t do anything with her locked up in there. It was too risky.

Infuriated, I twisted my head and glared at my captor. It wasn’t the first time someone had seen me lurking in the shadows and thought I was some sort of would-be burglar. I’d dealt with annoyances like this before. This time, I was willing to bet savior-guy here was some sort of security attaché for my uncle. I wasn’t the only one who had it in for the city’s esteemed mayor.

But how did he know my name?

Hop on 4/22 to read more at Wicked Lil Pixie!

Author Bio:

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 Templar with the chilling aspirations of the most unholy--a must-read for speculative fiction fans. She also writes as the National Bestselling Author Tori St. Claire and historical romance author Sophia Garrett. 
In her non-writing time, she’s runs Finish The Story, a full-scale editing house co-founded with Bryan 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. Find out more at:

For the duration of the Before the Storm Blog Hop, I will be giving away, daily, one digital copy of anything on my backlist to one random commentor.  The Rafflecopter Giveaway for the Blog Hop is for a $15.00 Amazon / Barnes and Noble Gift Certificat, and a full digital set of my series, The Curse of the Templars. Be sure to comment and enter the Rafflecopter both!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I have several other opportunities over the next two weeks to win more prizes.  To see the other release-gala events, check out the Before The Storm Tour Schedule!


  1. So far this looks like quite a good book! It reminds me of the last Airbender, which I liked, but different. I'm interested in seeing how this book will approach it...

  2. I have only see information about this book on this site. Sounds interesting. Deb P

  3. tweet ;
    done, @RenaldDeb
    Deb Pelletiercouture

  4. Thanks for stopping in today! If you have any questions, feel free to ask away.

    I'll choose the daily winner later tonight.

  5. The daily winner is number one, per the eldest demi-demon's random pick. Olivia-Savannah, you win a digital book of your choice from my backlist. Email me (claire at claireashgrove dot come) or connect with me on Facebook and let me know what you prefer!


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