Genre: paranormal romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication: Oct. 10, 2014
Number of pages: 314
Word Count: 75000
Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor
Social worker Tam Kerish can’t keep her cool professionalism when steamy client Mr. Burns kindles a desire for more than a client-therapist relationship—so she drops him. However, they discover she’s the talisman to which Burns, an immortal djinn, has been bound since the days of King Solomon…and that makes it difficult.
Ethical guidelines are unequivocal when it comes to personal relationships with clients. However, the djinn has a thawing effect on the usually non-emotive Tam, who begins to feel true emotion whenever he is near. Tam has to make a difficult choice: to stay on the outside, forever looking in…or to turn her back on her entire world, just for the chance to finally experience what it means to fall in love.
Damn, but this was a miserable city.
A miserable city, in a miserable season, with a miserable chilly dampness oppressive enough to put out the hottest of fires. If he didn’t have to be here, he’d be reclining on a low couch surrounded by silken-clad women and the open sands of the high desert.
If he didn’t have to be here, he wouldn’t be standing in a cramped parking lot in an East Coast city (really. East Coast. The very thought made him curl his lips in disdain) staring up at a balcony three floors up.
If he didn’t have to be here, he wouldn’t. But it was here, and it was close, and he wouldn’t have to put up with this permeating on-again off-again rain much longer.
The thought of it being so close made him dizzy enough to sway on his feet. Ah, well. Wearing a human form had so many limitations. Take skin, for instance. And this ridiculous human obsession with trousers.
A loud argument erupted on the balcony above, catching his attention.
Women. Of course. Emotional, volatile, dangerous, loud…sometimes, good qualities. Especially where low couches could be found.
On balconies, peppered with vulgar language…just annoying.
Still. It was here, its presence burning like a dull itch in the back of his brain. That particular sensation, too, was annoying, but after so many decades of not feeling it all, it was a good kind of annoying. One that soon would be quenched.
Suddenly, the sensation brightened, became sharper, clearer, like the full moon sliding free of the clouds. The argument stopped.
Ah. Finally. He turned up the collar of his overcoat against the nip of a sudden breeze and tilted his head, scanning the balcony, watching. Waiting.
A young female with tousled purple hair hunched over the railing, resting on her elbows, trying to light a cigarette. Repulsive things, cigarettes. Lacked elegance. Why not a hookah, or even a slender golden pipe? This modern age was all substance. No style.
He unfocused his gaze and looked through the girl. Nothing remarkable about that female whatsoever. She had nothing to do with the object of his desire and so was of no consequence to him. He disregarded her completely.
Another figure appeared at the rail. Another female. This one seized his notice, snapping his spine ram-rod straight.
Long chestnut hair swept in waves over her shoulder, hiding her face. He zoomed in on her and almost fell flat backwards, buckling under the smacking impact upon his heart.
Her. She had it.
Suddenly, the low gray clouds burned off in a blaze of summer brilliance, so great was the feeling in his chest. Hope. Hope eclipsed centuries of despair in that single moment.
She had it!
He side-stepped the BMW behind him, wanting a better angle, wishing to see her face. So intent was he upon the other woman that he nearly missed the cigarette that sailed past his cheek to land on the car. He curled his fists, an oath on his lips. He should be used to the crude behaviors of mortals, but still, how it bristled against his insides. Obviously, they’d been raised by very different mothers.
But then woman turned, and his scowl melted from his face. Her dark eyes met his, a split-second connection that felt like the bite of an electric current. His heart tripped on a beat and he gaped.
Remarkable. This noisy, chaotic city where all was a tangle of technology and confusion and those odd diagonal streets—she stood out: a straight line, a calm constancy, the eye within the storm. He was confounded by the impression of her psyche. Unique was too commonplace a word.
A place to sit. He rubbed his mouth, staring up at her. To sit would be good right now. He didn’t want to end up on his knees, not here amidst the puddles and wet leaves.
The young girl twisted around and hopped up on the rail. Odd. The railing didn’t look wide enough to make a comfortable seat. Well. Considering her choice of hair color, he wasn’t surprised by her action. Obviously, she was a little off.
He thumbed the edge of the business card in his hand, one that bore the address and the name of the counselling center to which the balcony belonged. Of course, she was. Why else would she be visiting a therapist?
Apparently, the bird reconsidered her perch, because she disappeared in the next moment. A piercing shriek sounded, loud enough that he had to cover his ears. It only lasted a few seconds, however, followed by a few more desperate shouts.
And then there came no sound at all, except for the traffic and the sparrows making a racket in the hedges bordering the parking lot. The women and the mental itch had retreated back into the building.
He stood a few moments longer, watching the balcony, hoping for another glimpse of her. But the remarkable woman and that wonderful sensation did not return.
He brushed his fingers together and tugged his suit jacket straight. No matter. She may have that which he sought, but she did not need to come back out.
Because he was going in after it.
And this time, he was going to get it.
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I did, actually. And I think my mom still has newspaper clippings of my earliest attempts at poetry, somewhere in one of her scrapbooks. I’d always been a voracious reader, and at one point planned to become an English teacher. Somehow, though, I got drawn into the sciences, and my pursuits of literary happiness would have to wait until their own time came.
I’m a lucky one—I pursued my degrees in pharmacy and came back to writing about ten years ago. I have the best of both worlds with a day job I love and a writing vocation that I adore.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
I’d started writing my first novel in complete secret, with no experience, no planning, and with no skill whatsoever. (That manuscript is still unfinished.) When I switched to writing the book that became BLEEDING HEARTS, I began to study the craft of writing. I think I first considered my writing the very first time I let someone read it. Until that moment, I was still just a daydreamer with a pen.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
I started writing BLEEDING HEARTS in 2005 and finished the first draft in 2007. I was represented by an agent for a time in 2009 or 2010, and sold the novel on my own in 2011 to a small press called Pink Narcissus Press. BLEEDING HEARTS was published in 2012. So to answer the question—too long. J
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
I work in retail pharmacy, which is like being a policeman and a researcher and a stock boy and a counsellor and an insurance agent and a hundred other professions all in one. Plus, I give flu shots. I LOVE giving flu shots!
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My latest book is WORDS THAT BIND. This paranormal romance is a love story about a genie and his therapist. Twenty words? That’s tough. Try…
Never fall for a client—especially when he’s an immortal djinn and you’re the talisman to which he is bound.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
WORDS THAT BIND is published with The Wild Rose Press
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Every book is different. I also tend to work on more than one book at a time, so they overlap. Last year, I finished two novels and started a third. However, I’ve worked on each of them over the space of two or three years. I really envy writers who can sit down and plug their stories out in months. One day, if I retire from the day job, I might get a chance to see what the other side is like.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
My next project is going to be a lot different, in that it will be for YA/NA as well as adult audiences.
THE HEARTBEAT THIEF is a paranormal tale about the flip side of immortality. It’s a cross between Jane Austen and Edgar Allen Poe and I love writing every gothic inch of it. Since it will be pitched toward a different audience, it will be released under the pen name AJ Krafton. While the book is not yet in its final stages, the cover design is complete and can be seen on www.ashkrafton.com I’m hoping for a release by spring 2015.
What genre would you place your books into?
Speculative fiction, all the way. What a wonderful umbrella term for every type of writing—fantasy, horror, sci-fi—that asks the question “What if--?” While my previous ventures have all been in the realm of urban fantasy, WORDS THAT BIND is my first paranormal romance.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
Honestly, from the first lines I’d written in that manuscript, I knew it could be no other. At times, I was tempted to allow my urban fantasy tendencies to take over, but the characters deserved much more than simple romantic elements. They were destined to enjoy all the sorrows and joys that a true romance brings.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I wrote as a kid, but didn’t really get into serious writing as a possible career until 2005. I published a lot of poetry and short stories while I was shopping my first novel. BLEEDING HEARTS, the first book in the Demimonde series, was published by Pink Narcissus Press in 2012.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I can write anywhere, anytime, as long as no one is standing behind me. That just skeeves me out.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I do. I even share clips of them occasionally.
Sometimes, I get a bad review and I rant to my kids about it or write the reviewer into a brief but horrifying story. J However,I get over my tantrum pretty fast and go back to read it again, to see if there is anything I can take away from it.
I appreciate each and every reader who takes the time to read my work, and I doubly appreciate the ones who review it, too. If anything, they encourage me to write another book, one that they would absolutely love reading, so I can’t say a single negative thing about bad reviews.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
Depends. Sometimes I’m happy with the original title, like WORDS THAT BIND or THE HEARTBEAT THIEF. Other times, the title comes after the book, like with WOLF’S BANE. (The original title was “Fur and Feathers”. Can you blame me for rethinking it?)
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
In The Books of the Demimonde, I used vampires as a metaphor for spiritual redemption. The story is about a woman who will do anything to save the man she loves, and that theme of redemption is woven throughout each of the books. I think each of us is worth redeeming, in all sorts of ways, and that you have to work pretty hard at being damned. I have an unwavering faith in the strength of humanity, even if my characters spend a lot of time with supernatural creatures.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
Paperback, because I can stuff one anywhere and take it with me, and still get the tactile pleasure of holding a book in my hands.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
The Golden Key by Melanie Rawn. I’ve read it more times than I can count and I own several copies of it. Although the cover art has changed over the years, my favorite is the original by Michael Whelan—because he painted himself in as the Master artist and focus of the story, Sario.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
Sometimes. If I haven’t read a book before a movie comes out, I wait until after seeing the movie to read it. A movie can portray only so many aspects of a book. Reading the book, then, allows me to discover all the depths and nuances and extra bits so it’s like a bonus for me.
I most enjoyed The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. Though not exact to the books, you can tell the films were crafted carefully who dearly loved reading those stories.
Your favorite food is?
A vegetarian dish called Navratan Korma, or “Nine Jewels”. It’s sweet and spicy and creamy and full of chunky vegetables. Hmm. I think I just decided what’s for dinner tonight!
Your favorite singer/group is?
RUSH. When I grow up, I want to be just like Geddy Lee.
Your favorite color is?
Depends on the day. Today, it’s green. Funny, it was green on Thursday, too.
Ash Krafton is a speculative fiction author from northeastern Pennsylvania. Krafton’s first novel, Bleeding Hearts was published in 2012 as part of a three-book urban fantasy series The Books of the Demimonde (Pink Narcissus Press).
An urban fantasy novella, Strangers at the Hell Gate, was published by Wild Rose Press in 2013. Her latest project, Words That Bind, won first place in the HeRA RWA “Show Me the Spark” 2013 competition; it is also available through Wild Rose Press as an October 2014 release.
Krafton also writes New Adult speculative fiction novels under the pen name AJ Krafton. Upcoming titles include The Heartbeat Thief, Face of the Enemy, and the award-winning Takin’ It Back. She is part of a YA/NA collective known as the Infinite Ink Authors.
In addition to novel-length fiction, Krafton enjoys writing poetry and short prose, some of which earned distinctions in various writing competitions. One of her poems was also nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She’s a proud member of Pennwriters, Romance Writers of America, and Pikes Peak Writers. Krafton is also a staff blogger for the Query Tracker Blog.