January 29, 2012

Blog Tour: Guest Post & Contest with Immortal Hope author Claire Ashgrove

Thank you Claire for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by with a guest post.

Purchase links:  Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

Guest Post:

Meeting Challenges

For almost every novel I’ve written, I’ve been asked, “What was the most challenging aspect?”  IMMORTAL HOPE is probably the only book where I have a ready answer and haven’t had to spend a lot of time thinking about the question.

As the first book in what I went into knowing was going to be a multi-book series, IMMORTAL HOPE posed some difficulties – what to reveal when, how much, and how to keep the elements hanging without giving off a feeling of ‘baiting’.  In otherwords:  How do you begin a series?

Compound this with the fact that I’m a history buff, drawing on historic aspects.  Now it was, “How do you begin a fictional series, as opposed to a nonfiction series?”

I confess, there were several areas I had to edit, and reedit, to condense the historical information I presented.  Some of those my editor had to condense as well J

But the other aspect, the larger challenge took a little thinking.  I had to remain focused, fore-most on the fact IMMORTAL HOPE is paranormal romance.  With several romance titles published, I knew where my emphasis had to be – the hero/heroine relationship and the emotional impact of that involvement. 

Which meant their relationship had to be resolved come the very last page of the story.  Romance expects a Happily Ever After.  Which loosely translated to the fact that the subplot (the series aspect) needed to impact each h/h pairing per book.  Directly impact.  Not just circle around them. 

So at that point I began digging for, ironically, black moments.  The place where one of my heroes or heroines does the wrong thing and leaves the reader wondering if the couple will ever resolve things.

Once I had the black moment, per projected book, I was able to work backwards, applying the different aspects: the particular relic, the impact the relic had on one or both individuals, how that relic played into their relationship.  Then, when I’d gone from the near-end back to the beginning, I was able to plot the conclusion.

Unlike several other series that I’ve worked with, this is a case where I can say I know exactly what happens per book, through the end of the projected works.  In my other series’ (Inherited Damnation, Black Opals (as Tori St. Claire), Three Kings) I might have the next book plotted while I’m writing one, maybe three in a proposal situation, but I don’t know how the series itself might conclude.

But in The Curse of the Templars, detailing everything out became the only way to keep from putting too much into one book and overwhelming the reader.  I was still able to layer in subplot, introduce key players as necessary, but the strongest influence remains on the hero/heroine relationship.

Now, I’m curious – how many of you skip to the end of the book to see how the characters work through the black moment?

TWITTER: @ClaireAshgrove

About the Author:
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 contemporaries, Claire’s paranormal romance series, The Curse of the Templars, debuts with Tor in January 2012. For those who prefer the more erotic side of romance, she also writes for Berkley Heat under the pen name Tori St. Claire.

Claire lives on a small farm in Missouri with her two toddler sons, fifteen horses, four cats, and five 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.

The Contest:
Claire will be giving away a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a second $25.00 Amazon.com gift certificate to a second randomly drawn commenter at the end of the tour. Be sure to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning! Enter by commenting here, and check out the other blogs here in order to gain more entries.

Short Excerpt:

“Merrick, wait,” she called softly.

“Nay,” he answered on a hard swallow. “Nay, Anne. If I stay another moment, I will have you in that bed.” He shoved a hand through his hair and reached for the doorknob.

“But that’s where I want you,” she whispered.

He nodded once, a sharp dip of his chin. Pulling the door open, he answered, “I know.” Another protest, and he would turn right back to her waiting arms, cart her off to that oversized bed. When he finished with her, he would hate himself.

He entered the hall and shut the door.

Determination narrowed his gaze as he descended the stairs. He trained his thoughts to his cousin, focused on the oath he swore to Fulk. The very moment Anne discovered her intended, he vowed to leave. No sacred nail, no protected relic, no other oath would he honor until he fulfilled the promise to his kin. In so doing, he would free himself from this torment and lift his blade in Azazel’s name. It was a price he no longer feared to pay

Don't forget to comment here and leave your email address for your chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card.


  1. Great guest post. I haven't heard of this book, but it sounds interesting. I don't think I could ever read the end of a book first. I know some people do, but to me that would ruin it.

  2. Once in a while, I will skip to the back of the book to see what happens. I will occasionally skip around between chapters to get a feel of what's going on, but then, I will go back to where I left off and finish the book. Can't wait to read Immortal Hope. Thanks for the blog tour.


  3. I don't skip to the end. I enjoy the journey; the discovery. Peeling away the layers is what makes reading so much fun!


  4. I have skipped to the end of a book just ONCE! I had to find out if a minor character survived or not. He did and I've never done it, again.

    Though I've been tempted to! LOL

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  5. I have never skipped to the end. I think I'd feel like a cheat if I did :).
    Loving the tour! Thank you.


  6. I am not one who can skip even when going through angst to know who it could possibly work out well. I am relieved that with your series will not be using the romantic interest as the loose ends into the next book. I do not mind loose ends, but I hate it when it is the romance.

    Enjoyed the posting!


  7. I NEVER skip to the end of the book. It would spoil the story for me completely. I don't think I have heard the term 'black moments' before, but it fit's perfectly.


  8. Hi Claire. I haven't been flowing the tour to well this last week. But I'm back. I never read forward in a book. I don't want to miss anything. A lot of time if I'm reading a series I won't even read the blurb on the back. I want to be surprised.

    beckerjo at Verizon dot net


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