Thursday, August 23, 2012

Guest Author Featuring Bound by Decency by Claire Ashgrove + Giveaway

Today we have a special guest here to help rock in the weekend with us! Author Claire Ashgrove, also popularly know as author Tori St. Claire, is here to debut her historical romance, Bound By Decency. You’ll find below a fabulous sit-down with Ms. Ashgrove, all the book details, an excerpt and a contest to enter.

So without further ado I give you Claire Ashgrove!


Good morning, everyone! Thank you for having me here today.  I’m so glad to be talking about Bound by Decency, my debut historical romance.  This book is such a special book to me, and it feels like it’s taken forever to get it into your hands.

Let’s take a peek real quick at pirate ship.  If you consider the Black Pearl (from Pirates of the Caribbean), it is basically a Galleon – three and four-masted ships with square sails and huge galleries at the stern.  History has taught us that not many pirates actually used these vessels.  The sloop was faster, smaller, and frankly more available.  But if you consider the loose way that Disney tied POTC into the structure of the historical Flying Gang, you’ll find this is one thing they actually, probably, got right.

First, consider the Flying Gang.  This was a band of pirates who all shared a common background of sailing for the (a) Navy.  They brought their experiences as enlisted men to their pirate life.  And that meant they brought, or acquired, ships they were comfortable with.

The Navy used these bigger, heavier, war-mongers.  Indeed, they would be found with Captains in the Flying Gang.  (And you have no idea how grateful I was to learn that during my research, because the only diagram of a ship that I could find, in period, was a Naval warship!)

Once our fearless swashbucklers got their hands on these ships, however, they made some modifications.  They often doubled the guns (the cannons).  They doubled the crew.  To accommodate more men, they turned cargo spaces into sleeping quarters.  They modified the sails and rigging overall to make her faster, more agile.  Speed was detrimental to overtaking a target…or escaping the Navy.  So when you see accounts of pirates literally pouring out of decks to overtake a lesser-manned ship, this too is quite on par with historical fact!

So why the discrepancy?  Because there were more pirates who were unaffiliated with the Flying Gang, than there were affiliates.  Which meant that the Galleons were vastly outnumbered.

I tried to portray this as accurately as possible without over-writing in Bound by Decency.  When The Kraken docks at Nassau, she dwarfs the other vessels—something that would be expected given the ratio of sloops to galleons.  I cut Cain’s crew to a mere 80 because it would have been incredibly difficult to explain how 150+ men could occupy the same space, or even illustrate that.  I felt 80ish would be more plausible from a fiction standpoint.  And as such, I had to cut back a little on the guns.  But I compensated that particular cut by peppering an assortment of guns into the fray.  And when they stand toe-to-toe with a Navy ship, The Kraken holds the armored advantage. 

I hope, as you read Bound by Decency, that you don’t just fall in love with Cain and India, but that you can see life aboard a ship as if you were standing on The Kraken’s decks.  I hope it’s real for you.  I hope it is every bit as majestic as it was, when I found myself closing my eyes and placing my bare feet on waxed plank floors, the wind in my hair, the smell of salt filling my nose.

Now, I’m curious.  When you see a photograph of an antiquated ship, what’s your gut reaction?

Bound By Decency
Claire Ashgrove

Back of the Book:
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.

Series Concept: 
The Flying Gang Legacy
With Europe in chaos over who would claim the Spanish throne, the Atlantic waters bred a most despicable lot. Privateers who pillaged and claimed, loyal to no country, more thief than noble mercenary. One man would claim Spain’s inheritance. He would pass it on. To a band of cutthroats more terrifying and deadly than the nightmares of the deep.
As the nations settle into peace, The Flying Gang knows no boundaries. No sea is safe. No shore unchartered. Chilling Rogers raised to the sky, they reign with fear, bound only to the wind, the brotherhood, and the ships they love. One tiny jeweled box strikes a gleam in their eyes. A golden trinket four rogue Captains risk danger, capture, and even friendship to possess.
Until love interferes with their rapscallion hearts…

Click below to add this title to your Goodreads or order in e-Book:

“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.”

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 debuted 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.
She is an active member of Romance Writers of America, and her local RWA chapters, Heartland Romance Authors, Midwest Romance Writers, North Texas Romance Writers of America, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.
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.
To learn more about Claire, visit her on the web at, or


Claire will be giving away a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card to one random commenter during the tour.  Follow the tour – the more times you comment, the better your chances of winning!  Complete schedule can be found here.


  1. Congrats Claire on the recent release. I have already bought this one :) Romance pirates are sexy, even if most of the real life probably were not, lol.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  2. Hi! Thank you for the Author feature and the giveaway.
    Congratulations to Claire on the new release, i look forward to reading it.

  3. I love Claire Ashgrove, she is an amazing author.

  4. I'm loving the tour & learning heaps about Claire Ashgrove & her works along the way.


  5. I enjoyed the excerpt. The book sounds good.



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