GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Interview: Claire Ashgrove (Cursed to Kill: Inherited Damnation Series Book one) + giveaways | I Smell Sheep

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Interview: Claire Ashgrove (Cursed to Kill: Inherited Damnation Series Book one) + giveaways

Hello Claire and welcome to the flock *hands Claire a moonpie and some Kool-Aid* You are a new to me author, even though I have been drooling over The Curse of the Templars covers for a while. After stalking your website, I really don’t know where to begin! You have at least two other pen names (Tori St. Claire, Sophia Garrett), run an editing house (please tell me you aren’t silently editing this interview in your head), raise Arabian horses, and have two boys…I’m tired just thinking about you <G>. We will start with obvious I guess…
Claire: Laugh!
Sharon: Are you related to Superman? You’ve got to be…

ClaireNo. I wish I were though. Well, actually, I’d prefer to be of the mutant kind. Storm or Wolverine…yeah!

Sharon: Inherited Damnation is an eight book series being rereleased. Have there been any changes to the original books? Why are you rereleasing them?
ClaireI have made only minor changes to the books – cleaning up the mistakes of a ‘baby author’. Inherited Damnation has always been a series I really enjoyed writing, but unfortunately, its release paralleled the Templars release, and I never felt it got the attention it deserved. So, I’ve repackaged, and we’ll give it a second whirl!

Sharon: How do you pronounce your hero’s name from book one: Cian?
ClaireIt’s pronounced “Kee-an”

Sharon: There are eight siblings carrying the curse. How many are female vs male? Do you have a preference for writing from a male or female POV?
ClaireThere are three sisters: Rhiannon, Isolde, and Brigid. Do I have a preference? Hm. It really depends on the particular book. Some start in my mind as “So-and-so’s story” and depending on who that ‘so-and-so’ may be, that person is far easier to write. In this particular series, an example would be Isolde – Doomed to Torment. It was always “her story” not so much Angus’s, although he is integral to it. As a result, she was easier to write than Angus. But Belen’s story, Destined to Die, began as “his book”, and he was far easier to work with than Faith.

Sharon: Outside of all your obligations (horses, writing, mom, editor) what is a guilty pleasure you indulge
ClaireHonestly, that’s the crux of it. Aside from wrestling kids into line and separating siblings who want to tear each other’s eyes out over something silly, my obligations are my hobbies. I’m blessed to be in a position where I get up every day and everything I do I’m passionate about. Sure, feeding chickens in negative temperatures isn’t something I am frothing at the mouth to accomplish, but once I’m out there, there’s a certain peace about it.

Sharon: What is something about owning horses that a regular person might not know? Do you have a favorite horse in your stable?
ClaireGosh, I’m actually stumbling over this one. I’m not really sure what a regular person wouldn’t know as most of the folks in my inner circle are horse people. And I’ve now sat here for at least 15 minutes staring at this one question. Laugh. So. Let’s change it to chickens because evidently I can tick things off in my head instantly.

Did you know that in the vast majority of chicken breeds, the color of the egg is determined by the color of the ear lobe?

As to whether I have a favorite horse in my stable…sadly, not at present. I have some I like more than others, but 2014 claimed both my first horse and my second horse, and when you’re talking bonds that ran 20 years or more, I’m having a bit of a time connecting with anyone else to that degree. I’m becoming exceedingly more fond of Baariq, a Spanish-bred Arabian stallion, who can be a pistol more often than not.

No pictures of the horses – most of them are “standard” pictures and not digitalized. But I do have one of my favorite rooster. His name is Ben, and in October, I had to (literally) teach Ben how to walk again. He’s now my indoor house buddy and does children’s events with me. He’s a purebred Buckeye rooster, which is a dual-purpose bird, with more emphasis on meat production.
Sharon: I had no idea chicken had earlobes…*off to google chicken earlobes* Ben is a very handsome rooster. I am sorry to hear about your loss. I can only imagine what that would be like.
ClaireThanks, Sharon. It’s part of being a pet owner as I’m sure you know. Someday you have to let them go. But this spring should help; I have several to break. Ben’s got a droopy tail—it’s a really iridescent green though, and I never thought I could be a “Bird Person”. I remember when I bought my property and was asking if I could have horses on it, and the relator said “You can put 200 chickens out there if you want, it’s unzoned.” And I said… “Uh. I’ll pass on the chickens.” Now here we are… LOL!

Sharon: You love to study ancient civilizations. Do you have a favorite or one you would most want to visit, if you got a hold of a Tardis?
ClaireAncient Celt all the way, baby! Put me in the middle of history’s barbarians and I would love it. Absolutely love it. Second to that – medieval. Right after the dark ages, around the time of William’s Conquest. You know…right around the time of my beloved Templars ;)
*We interrupt this interview for a moment to drool...*

Sharon: Funny, I had a dream about what the bathroom habits of the medieval time period would be like. It wasn’t a pleasant <G>.
Claire: Laugh, there were a lot of unpleasant things compared to us. I sort of equate it to “See that hole over there?” Heh.

Sharon: If you could own any piece of art in the world what would it be?
ClaireLaugh. It would not. I have no interest whatsoever in art. Unless you consider a castle art, or any hand-tooled item like ancient antiquities – IE an ancient piece of Celt jewelry. I have a Roman ring I adore, and it was carbon dated authentic. I don’t wear it much anymore. Not so much because it’s rare – Roman antiquities are rather a dime a dozen – but I’m reasonably certain it’s…well…possessed. ‘Nuff said.
Sharon: *looks at Claire and taps foot* Really? You drop something like that and then not elaborate? <G> Can you give us hint?
ClaireLaugh! Without getting into a lot of spiritualism, let’s just say that if I actually wear the thing horrible things start happening. Critters dying, relationships failing, finances tanking… no things that go bump in the night. I had a shaman look at it once and he confirmed there’s something attached to it. (in summary). But I also got the distinct feeling that I just shouldn't mess with it and try to send it off. So long as I don’t wear it… life is good.

Rapid Fire:
Sharon: Classic Hollywood or Blockbusters

Sharon: Trail blazer or Stay on the path?
ClaireLittle of both.

Sharon: Basket of lizards or Basket of mice?
Sharon: Are you excited about mice or just “not” excited about lizards?
ClaireI really like mice. Always have. My son saved a nest of them from the chickens a month or so ago. We hand-fed them for a few days. Three escaped. We have one, and a domestic mouse he bought to teach it how to eat. Though the three that escaped…let’s just say about an hour ago I broke down and pulled the drawer out from the stove so the cats can go to town. I refuse to intervene this time.

Sharon: Bathed in moonlight or Bathed in sunlight

Sharon: Sexy ninja or Sexy librarian?
ClaireSexy Librarian

Sharon: Skinned elbow or Skinned knee?

Sharon: Coke or Pepsi?
Sharon: Aw, and I thought we were gonna be friends and all… <G>
ClaireLaugh. Call it rebellion. I grew up on Pepsi with nary a Coke to ever be seen in the house.

INHERITED DAMNATION is an 8 book paranormal romance series being released as one book every three weeks between January 27th and June 23rd, 2015.

Damned at birth, eight immortal children of a high priestess are compelled to kill the one that holds their heart. They can never fall in love. Driven by the need to finally destroy their evil sire and break the curse, each struggles to balance their desire for innocence against the dark needs of their conflicted souls.

The series contains mythos shared between the volumes, but each book stands on its own with a newly featured couple.

The first volume, Cursed to Kill, is available now!
Cursed to Kill
Add to your GoodReads Shelf
Buy from Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon Ca / Amazon DE Amazon AU / B&N / ARe
One of eight children born to an ancient Celtic priestess and sired by a demonic incubus, Cian McLaine suffers from a centuries-old curse. Though his immortality allows him to enjoy the pleasures of mortal life, he is plagued by the desire to kill. As long as he doesn't fall in love he can keep the compulsion at bay.

When Cian walked into her rare bookstore months ago, Miranda Phillips never imagined she'd lose her heart to the handsome playboy. Her reward for doing so was abandonment. Cian left as mysteriously as he appeared, in the middle of the night with no explanation, no goodbye. Now he's back, and passion flares just as hot. But Cian has secrets. If Miranda is to survive, she must uncover the truth and free his darkened soul.

Miranda had touched his mother’s spell book. Within those pages lay salvation.
The urge to drag Miranda close and kiss her senseless combated with the desperate desire to tear out her throat, both halves of his soul warring for control. It was the dark half, however, that reigned when he lifted his gaze to hers and tightened his hold on her delicate wrists. A low growl tore through his throat. “Where is the book?”

Fear flickered over her face, widening her eyes for a millisecond before she jerked out of his grasp. His gaze followed her hands as she rubbed the goose bumps from her arms. “It’s upstairs in my room.”

Damn, he hated scaring her. But the closer he got to Miranda, the more frequently that happened. It was why he’d had to leave. Even if he could fight the curse, his demonic half would still rise. Still hunger for her life. He’d fallen in love with her—there could be no other outcome.

He willed his voice to soften. “I want to see it. Get it?”

For a brief moment, he expected her to nod and head for the stairs that led to the second story and her private residence. Then she set her jaw. Bright fire settled into her eyes. Steely determination.

She shook her head. “I can’t right now. I’ve got to finish stocking these new books, and Susan is leaving early.”

It took all of his self-control not to grab her by the neck and shove her back against the bookcase. Squeeze her throat until her need for air forced her to agree. He closed a fist around the sick desire and clenched his teeth. “Miranda. Please.” He needed to see the book, needed to convince her into selling it to him. Whatever the cost—he’d pay it, or his siblings would pitch in. For too many centuries, they’d hungered for simple mortality, freedom from the dark blood their father passed to them.

Escape from the constant, oppressive urge to kill and the curse of falling in love.

He saw the indecision in Miranda’s expression, the struggle between doing him—the man who’d cut her heart to pieces—a favor and fighting her inner need for self-preservation. The heaviness to her breathing, the heat radiating off her body though they stood a good three feet apart clued him in to something else. Miranda wasn’t immune to him either. After all this time, she still suffered the desire that had once lit flames between them.

Her gaze flicked over his body, heightening his awareness of her, of the woman he knew more intimately than any who had ever shared his bed. Those big, soulful brown eyes lingered on his groin, and to Cian’s shame, he felt his cock begin to stiffen. Just as quickly, she jerked her focus back to his face, but the effect was the same. He felt as if she’d stripped him bare and it had been her hands, not her eyes that caressed him.

Damn. His heart twisted painfully. What he would give to fix things. To take back the six months of separation and return to the last night they’d spent together. The night he had felt love, powerful and consuming, surface in his soul. Seconds later, he’d found himself hovering over her sleeping body, pillow clenched in his hands, his dark blood urging him to press it over her face.

About the Author:
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. 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-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.

1 - $50 Amazon Giftcard
1 – Set of the entire Inherited Damnation series in eBook

INHERITED DAMNATION LEG #1 Giveaway info (1/27 – 2/18)
3 eCopies of Cursed to Kill
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I think the series is great, I like paranormal romances and I am sure the series will be stimulating to read :)

  2. congrats to Claire on her series!!! Both sound fantastic! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. The book looks great. IS your chicken hours broken?

    1. No, he's not housebroken. And I have dogs that would love to snack on him. He lives in a large dog carrier (he can't use his leg for long periods of time, so confinement is good for him) in my children's playroom and gets a few hours of exercise daily running around there.

  4. This series sounds great! Very interesting about the ring. Not that I want to try but I wonder if it would affect everyone who wore it the same way or if it "connects" to a certain person. Hum...

    1. I always hesitate to get into "spiritual" discussions because, well, they are often personal. But I've been told that this ring belonged to someone in my family centuries ago and was rather "sent" to me. Knowing what I know of the wearer in reference, it doesn't surprise me it is full of negativity. She was murdered.

  5. The series sounds very interesting to read. Thank you for sharing.

  6. This series sounds like one I'd love! I'm off to check it out! Not to mention, an interesting author tends to lead to fun books!

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth -- lol! I try. Sometimes my shyness gets the better of me.

  7. This series sounds like one I'd love! I'm off to check it out! Not to mention, an interesting author tends to lead to fun books!

  8. I have not read the series but what I read in the excerpt sounded intriguing and had that edge of darkness that I like in a paranormal tale.

    1. I really enjoy the 'darker' side, honestly. It really allows some suspense building. Hope you'll give it a whirl!

  9. Awww! Thanks for the pick of Ben. I am a chicken person too and it's amazing that you can get attached to these birds. We have 2 little Cornish game cocks and they are such awesome roosters. Mr. Berry and Mr. Peach.

    1. Chicken people rock! Little cornish game? You'll have to educate me here because I've been taught that "Cornish game" are just "Cornish Cross" um... processed... really young. Oooh -- new breed to me. Tell me more!

      My current passion is Orpingtons and Olive Eggers. Putting my first eggs ever in the incubator tomorrow.

  10. All I can say is "I hope there is more down the line!" I can't stop reading them!

    1. Melinda, there are eight. They'll be out every three weeks starting today. I'm so glad you're enjoying them!!

      If you're talking Templars, there are two more to come. Other contract demands though have made them very delayed as they are now an Indie continuation.

  11. I think the series looks great-- I love all things Celtic:) I don't have chickens or horses, but I really have this desire to raise some old varieties-- I just read about Jersey Giants that are huge, slow growing chickens and another one called a Dorking that was around in Julius Caesar's time. LOL I know, I'm a big nerd. Now if I can get my husband to build me a chicken coop O_O

    1. I've been hearing a lot about the Dorkings lately, Brenda. They sound pretty useful and look nice too! I'm big on the heritage breeding myself though knew nothing about it when we first got birds, so now I have a hodgepodge flock that's working slowly toward more heritage.

  12. I am looking forward to reading this series.

  13. I cannot wait to read this series!

    1. I think, knowing your interests, you'll enjoy it, Stacy!

  14. I am LOVING this series! On #7 now. :)

    I am so glad Sharon asked how to pronounce Cian. I called him See-an, and then Sigh-an, and then finally settled on See-an while I was wrong the entire time...laughing here. I know one thing, these siblings are rooted in my reader soul now. Right along beside those Templars that stole my heart.

    Great interview filled with very interesting things. I'm with Sharon on Googling chicken ear lobes, LMAO! I keep hearing my daughter (who is 24 now) asking me when she was young if chickens had lips. As for the ring, I believe. Loving the old ways as I do I have no problem believing it was meant for you, for whatever reason.

    I just want to send you a huge thank you for giving us these wonderful stories. Your life is such a busy one but I imagine it's very fulfilling, too. :)

    1. Leah, I'm thrilled you're enjoying it so much! Yeah, it is crazy busy over here... and it leads to things like not being able to get back to a discussion I was having a heck of a good time with yesterday. LOL

      Thanks so much for stopping in!

  15. Wow, I can't imagine how you find the time! Sounds like an interesting series!

  16. I think the series sounds great. It should be enjoyable watching how they deal struggling with their inner demon. Love your chicken. Never knew about the ear lobe. Hubs will only eat brown eggs. What color lobes do those chickens have, brown? Thank you.

    1. Hey, Victoria, thanks for stopping in!

      Brown layers typically have red ear lobes. It's not *always* true, but it's usually pretty spot on.

      Given the vast majority of commercial brown eggs are out of Production Reds (or similar) those would have red earlobes.

  17. Thanks for the fun interview ladies! You sure are a busy lady Claire! I look forward to reading the books, I could use a new paranormal family to follow.

    1. oooh, I hope you'll check them out, Aurian! Thank you for stopping in today.

  18. Congrats to Claire on her series!!! Both sound fantastic!

    1. Thanks, Mirlou, and thanks for stopping in to say hi!

  19. This sounds like a great, new, unique series.

    1. Thanks! Hope you'll give it a whirl, but I'm glad you said hello, either way!

  20. Interesting concept, and the excerpt was great!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. It's one of my favorite scenes in the book.

  21. Sounds like its going to be great. Looking forward to it


  23. This series sounds like one I'd love! I'm off to check it out! Oh yes I really want this one!!

  24. This sounds like a wonderful book. I love that you've made each book in the series a standalone. So many authors aren't doing that and I truly prefer series like you've designed. Thank you for creating something that I can enter at my own pace, and at my own whim. Of course, the way it sounds, I'll be starving for each story before it releases. :)

    1. I totally concur with that reading philosophy, Michelle. And if I can't make a series where every book can stand alone, I don't ever plan "forever" series. They have a definite start and end from word one.

  25. I havent read it but it looks good!

  26. What a cool concept! Definitely going onto my wish list!

  27. I'm thrilled to find a new author and new books that I want to read.