Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Enchanter Redeemed by Sharon Ashwood

UFI welcomes Author Sharon Ashwood. Thanks for Joining us!!

Many readers tell me, “Oh, I just read about the real world.”

What? Is their reading diet restricted to instruction manuals? Or maybe just newspapers?  No, the reader is telling me They Do Not Read Silly Fantasy Stuff. As the author of mostly paranormal fiction, I should refrain from luring them toward my stories.

Okay, fine. Reading is a leisure activity, and everyone should spend time with the books they love. But my takeaway from these conversations is the perception that those readers think that fantasy/paranormal fiction has nothing to do with the real world, and that’s far from correct.

Any good author creates relatable characters. Their situations might be similar to ours, like a fight with a parent or falling in love. Or they might be quite different—I personally haven’t had to face becoming a were-hamster. Still, a shapeshifter might experience alienation, jealousy, fear, anger, regret, lust, or tenderness just like any cowboy, firefighter, billionaire, or soldier. Characters have to make us cry and laugh and root for them regardless of their furriness or relationship with planet Earth.

In other words, the process of digging into a character’s psychology is exactly the same regardless of genre. So is creating a world we can move through with confidence. As a reader, I like to be able to visualize the environment where the story takes place. Because we live in contemporary society, novels set in the here and now can technically get away with fewer descriptions. We know what a grocery store looks like without an explanation of available goods, currency or barter systems. Neither the reader nor the author has to work very hard to get the basics, and modern fiction depends on a quick pace.

And yet, don’t really good authors make us look at everything, even the familiar, with fresh eyes? That’s why their stories are unforgettable. Skilled writing doesn’t skimp on description; it just threads it through the text in way that doesn’t slow the story. That way, the world seamlessly builds around the reader, whether that’s a small modern town, a big city, or a Martian base camp. The more colorful, unique, and memorable the place, the more we as readers long to return.

So, maybe fantasy-averse readers should try dipping their toes in the genre now and then.  There are plenty of characters to love over on the dark side, and maybe next time those readers will tell me, “Oh, I just read good books.”
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Sharon Ashwood is a free-lance journalist, novelist, desk jockey and enthusiast for the weird and spooky. She has an English literature degree but works as a finance geek. Interests include growing her to-be-read pile and playing with the toy graveyard on her desk. As a vegetarian, she freely admits the whole vampire/werewolf lifestyle fantasy would never work out, so she writes paranormal romances instead.

Sharon lives in the Pacific Northwest and is owned by the Demon Lord of Kitty Badness.

Find Sharon and her books
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Enchanter Redeemed
Camelot Reborn #4
Harlequin Amazon BN Kobo iBooks
Ancient magic and new passion…

In the last battle for Camelot, Merlin had to make a terrible choice. Now he must pay the price. When a demon from his past reappears, she wants nothing more than to destroy the wizard. Now to reap her vengeance as a lover scorned, the demon occupies the body of Clary—the apprentice who is capturing his heart—and has the innocent behaving in uncharacteristic ways. Ways that push the forbidden desire Clary and Merlin share into heated play…

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/btP6qzxOmpk

Other Books in the Series
Book 1 - Enchanted Warrior (RITA nominee)
Book 2 – Enchanted Guardian
Book 3 – Royal Enchantment

Excerpt:

Clary jolted awake. Power surged through her body, painful and suffocating. Her spine arched into it—or maybe away from it, she wasn’t sure. Merlin had one hand on her side and the other on her chest, using his magic like a defibrillator. The sensation hammered her from the inside while every hair on her body stood straight up. When he released her, she sagged in relief. A drifting sensation took over, as if she were a feather in an updraft.
Merlin’s fingers went to her neck, checking for a pulse. His hands were hot from working spells, the touch firm yet gentle. In her weakened state, Clary shivered slightly, wanting to bare her throat in surrender. She was a sucker for dark, broody masculinity and he projected it like a beacon. All the same, Clary sucked in a breath before he got any big ideas about mouth-to-mouth. If Merlin was going to kiss her, she wanted wine and soft music, not blood and the dirty workshop floor.
Another bolt of power, more pain, another pulse check. Clary managed a moan, and she heard the sharp intake of Merlin’s breath. His hand withdrew from her pulse point as she forced her eyes open. He was staring down at her with his peculiar amber eyes, dark brows furrowed in concern. She was used to him prickly, arrogant or sarcastic, but not this. She’d never seen that oddly vulnerable expression before—but it quickly fled as their gazes met.
“You’re alive.” He said it like a fact, any softness gone.
“Yup.” Clary pushed herself up on her elbows. She hurt all over. “What was that?”
“A demon.”
“I got that much.” Clary held up her arm, peering through the rents in her jacket where the demon’s claws had slashed. Merlin’s zap of power had stopped the bleeding, but the deep scratches were red, puffy and hurt like blazes.
“Demon claws are toxic.”
“Got that, too.”
“I can put a salve on the wound, but you’d be smart to have Tamsin look at it,” Merlin said. “Your sister is a better healer than I am.”
“She’s better than anybody.” Clary said it with the automatic loyalty of a little sister, but it was true. “She’s got a better bedside manner, too.”
Merlin raised a brow, his natural arrogance back in place. “Just be glad you’re alive.”
She studied Merlin, acutely aware of how much magic he’d used to shut the demon down. He looked like a man in his early thirties, but there was no telling how old he actually was. He was lean-faced with permanent stubble and dark hair that curled at his collar. At first glance, he looked like a radical arts professor or dot-com squillionaire contemplating his next disruptive innovation. It took a second look to notice the muscular physique hidden by the comfortable clothes. Merlin had a way of sliding under most radars, but Clary never underestimated the power he could pluck out of thin air. She was witch born, a member of the Shadowring Coven, but he was light years beyond their strongest warlocks.
That strength was like catnip to her—although she’d never, ever admit that out loud. “What were you doing?” she demanded, struggling the rest of the way to a sitting position.
“I was watching the demons through a scrying portal when you interrupted me.” His tone was precise and growing colder with every syllable. Now that the crisis was over, he was getting angry.
“The she-demon tried to kill me.” Clary’s insides hollowed as the words sank home. Dear goddess, she did kill me! And Merlin had brought her back before a second had passed—but it had happened. Her witch’s senses had felt it happen. The realization left her light-headed.
“She doesn’t get to have you,” he said in a low voice.
Their gazes locked, and something twisted in Clary’s chest. She’d been hurt on Merlin’s watch, and he was furious. No, what she saw in his eyes was more than icy anger. It was a heated, primal possessiveness that came from a far different Merlin than she knew. Clary’s breath stopped. Surely she was misreading the situation. Death and zapping had scrambled her thoughts.
“I shouldn’t have walked in on you.”
“No, you shouldn’t have,” he said in a voice filled with the same mix of ice and fire. “You’d be a better student of magic if you paid attention. You asked me to teach you proper magic and not the baby food the covens use. Real magic is deadly.”
Abruptly, he stood and crossed the room to kick a shard of agate against the wall. It bounced with a savage clatter. Clary got to her feet, her knees wobbling. He spun and stormed back to her in one motion, moving so fast she barely knew what was happening.
He took her by the shoulders, the grip rough. “Don’t ever do that again!”
And then his mouth crushed hers in a hard, angry kiss. Clary gasped in surprise, but there was no air, only him, and only his need. She rose slowly onto her toes, the gesture both surrender and a desire to hold her own. She’d been kissed many times before, but never consumed this way. His lips were greedy and hot with that same confusing array of emotions she’d seen a moment ago. Anger. Fear. Possession. Protectiveness.
Volatile. That was the word she’d so often used in her own head when thinking about him. Volatile, though he kept himself on a very short chain. Right now that chain had slipped.
For the first two chapters, click here:  http://www.rowanartistry.com/book/enchanter-redeemed/




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5 comments:

  1. Love the cover! Can’t wait to read

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  2. Thank you so much for inviting me to visit!!

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  3. Enjoyed the post. I love my paranormal stories!

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  4. The Camelot Reborn series sounds amazing!!

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