Words That Bind
by Ash Krafton
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.
“So. You’ve destroyed a stereotype for me. A genie who lives in a library. Different.”
“When in Rome, no?” He stirred his cup before setting down the spoon with a light clink against the saucer. “Or, I suppose it is more accurate to say when in human form. When I am Burns, I prefer here.”
“Human form.” It didn’t sound right. Who said things like that, and meant it? “Can you change into anything you want? Any shape at all?”
He stretched out his legs and cocked his head, sliding his gaze up and away. “I suppose I could. I’m getting old and set in my ways. There’s this…” He swept his hands down the line of his body.
Her eyes were unable to keep from following, not even when he lingered over his midsection. Even lounging, his shirt was tightly tucked into his beltline. No belly fat there.
He tilted his head and gave her an upper-teeth smile, nibbling gently at his lower lip. “And apparently this form is pleasing to the eye, so I wear it often. But there are others. Tiger, a favorite. Savage and regal and the colors of flames in the night. Fearsome to behold, but very useful when dealing with physical conditions in which a human form may be outmatched. Plus, I can lash my tail.”
His voice took a teasing, conspirator’s tone. “I love my tail. You’d love it too, if you saw it.”
She trained her eyes firmly upon his. No way would she give him the pleasure of checking out his tail.
It is my pleasure to welcome Ash Krafton to Room With Books!
What do you do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing, I’m at my day job in retail pharmacy (anybody need a flu shot?), ruling my domestic kingdom with my trusty steed–a German Shepherd named Scooby, or plowing through historical dramas and Bollywood movies on Netflix.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I remember the first time I read “Pardon Me, You’re Stepping On My Eyeball!” by Paul Zindel. It was a YA book that came out in ’76 and I read it in the early 80s. Needless to say, I was just a kid and quite confused by most of the book, so I read it again and again right up until I went to college in ’90—and each time I read it, I found something new. It was a bizarre book, but I got my favorite book quotes from it—such as the recipe for a Harvey Wallbanger and “Electra loves Daddy”. The only downside was that my friends were completely baffled by anything I said. Oh well, I was a weird kid. *grins*
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I think the biggest challenge was the time I spent seeking—and then dealing with—agent representation. Unlike most writers, I had an unproductive agent-author relationship. He didn’t know my book at all, which kept him from being able to promote it correctly. I was naïve and so excited about working with him that I didn’t realize the damage that was being done until it was too late. That’s why I am very glad that I work closely with QueryTracker.net—I’m glad to be in a position where I can help emerging writers on their path to publication. I’d hate for anyone to go through what I endured.
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
Ooh, let me think…I’d like to be able to conjure illusions, like holding fire or a sphere of light. I just want to mess with people a little. When I was at New York Comic Con in October, I got to see the pilot for Constantine–twice—. At the end of the episode, John did this little trick and lit his hands up to freak out some would-be muggers and I was like OMG THAT’S ME.
What was your first job?
I got a job at a farm dairy that had an ice cream parlor when I was 14. I had huge ice cream dipper biceps and made the best chocolate milkshake in town. It was tough physical work, but I also learned ice cream. (Best combo—1 scoop chocolate, 1 scoop pumpkin.) This past summer, I stopped in one day with my kids. They still make whipped cream in the huge metal pressure canisters the same way they did 25 years ago. I pitied the kid behind the counter when she told me. Tipped her big time because I’d been there.
What types of books do you write?
I write urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and I can’t keep my sense of humor out of them. I do have a dark side, but it’s a cheerfully dark side.
Who’s your main audience?
Adults 18+. Sometimes my daughter’s friends will read my novels but I’m not sure they “get” it. Not that they are too young, but rather because their worldview is so different.
Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite? Why?
I do like the hero of my current release, Burns from WORDS THAT BIND. He’s a sassy genie with a quick-fire temper and a cheerful dark side. I’d never written a genie before and I just let him run wild.
What does your writing schedule look like?
I don’t write full-time, but I do write in every bit of time in between. My writer’s brain is always going, always tumbling ideas around. Then, when I get the chance to sit and type, I bang the words out like mad.
Do you use your OWN experiences?
Are you kidding? My life isn’t exciting enough! However, I do take my inspiration from the people and places around me. I just add my layer of fantasy and spin off from there. Kind of like fanfic of Real Life. Every now and then, people who know me will pick out a phrase or a line and laugh out loud, remembering what actually inspired the words. My sister thinks my Demimonde series is autobiographical, but I swear—never met a demivamp and never dated a werewolf.
Was it easy to pick the title for your book?
WORDS THAT BIND was an easy one, and it came to me pretty early on. I wasn’t as fortunate with other titles, some of which took a lot of work because the first attempts were retchingly awful.
What one profession would you choose if you were not an author?
Astrophysicist, because some of my heroes are astrophysicists, like Neil Degrasse Tyson and Queen’s Brian May *sigh*. I love looking at Hubble images because those pictures are like poetry that transcend written description. We are all made from the dust of the stars, and I would have loved to spend my life studying them.
What are you currently working on?
A NA gothic-paranormal-time travelish novel called THE HEARTBEAT THIEF. Think Jane Austen marries Edgar Allen Poe.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Funny you asked! Gotta say chocolate and pumpkin!
Night owl, or early bird? Night owl. Oh, how I hate the morning.
Red, or white wine? White, like Mt. Hope’s Niagra.
Roller Coasters or Water Rides? Coasters. Water rides threaten the tech I always have on me.
Swimming in the ocean or a pool? Ocean. I love jumping waves! But hate when horseshoe crabs clamber over my feet. GACK.
Walking or fitness club? Walking. I’m an incidental exerciser.
Any last words?
Persevere! No matter what you choose to pursue…whatever is worth having is worth fighting for.
Thanks you for chatting with our readers and for allowing Room With Books to be part of your tour!
Thank you! This was a really fun interview and I enjoyed sharing my thoughts and my newest book with you and your readers!
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Ash Krafton is a speculative fiction author from northeastern Pennsylvania. Krafton’s first novel, Bleeding Hearts was published in 2012 as part of an urban fantasy trilogy 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 newest release, Words That Bind, won first place in the HeRA RWA “Show Me the Spark” 2013 competition as well as a Zebulon award in 2014.
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 also writes for the Query Tracker Blog and the Prose and Cons blog.
She resides with her family in northeast Pennsylvania.
Ash will be awarding a $25 gift card to Amazon or BN as well as a unique handmade book-inspired keychain to a randomly drawn commenter.
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