Moving Forward

Growing pains. I haz them.

Cover design by Scott Carpenter

In the past three weeks, I’ve finished the back matter on the three Caine novels; I’ve set up my Reader’s Group on Facebook, with some (a LOT) of help from Alexis M. Roark; I’ve rebooted my newsletter and gotten it sent out (again, with a LOT of help from Lexi); and I’m finalizing the last-minute touches on the Freebie novella, Wolf’s Heart, which will be going ONLY to my Newsletter Subscribers (woot, woot!) and will never be for sale in its current form. (Which means, I MAY re-write the whole thing and turn it into a full-length novel. We’ll see.)

I’ve also joined an Author Group Cinco de Mayo Pub Crawl, where the grand prize is a $175 gift card, and each individual author also has prizes to give away. The catch? You need to join each author’s Reader Group on Facebook – where you’ll get news before anyone else, be asked to review books in advance of sale, and other goodies.  This has been fun, and I’ve had a LOT of people join my reader group, which is so gratifying. I feel like I’m gearing up for next year, if that makes sense!  (For more information on the Cinco de Mayo Virtual Pub Crawl, which starts at 12:01AM, May 5th, and lasts 48 hours, go here. If you want to join my Book Love Reader’s Group on Facebook, go here.)

Travels of Christine

Cover for NWTS 2019

So far this year, I have been to the Northwest Tarot Symposium in Portland, Oregon, where I met so many wonderful people…I truly found my tribe. Or rather, my other tribe, as Romance Writers are my tribe as well. I am most definitely going back next year.

I learned from some wonderful people, and fell in love with way too many tarot and oracle decks. I have a new obsession, apparently…more on that in another blog post (but if we’re FB friends, you’re seeing my journey). I made friends so fast, and miss them. Ah well, there’s always Facebook…

Next, I’m off to Denver in July, for the Romance Writers of America’s National Conference. 2,000 women and men who write romance, getting together to teach, and learn, and laugh, and network. I have so many friends scattered across the country / world, and this conference is one place where I get to see/meet/hug many of them. I haven’t been since San Diego in 2016, so I am seriously looking forward to Denver!

Publishing Schedule, 2018

As I mentioned in my last blog post, City Lights Press is re-issuing my Caine Brothers novels with new covers (wowza!) and more content (yay!). I’m super excited for the re-

Cover Design by Scott Carpenter

launch – as soon as I get a schedule, I’ll be sure to let you all know, too.

Next up is an Urban Fantasy novel, which will be in an entirely FREE box set – 24 novels in all, FREE. My novel is A BRAND NEW SERIES titled The Blood Legacy Series, and the novel is The Curse of Elliott Jones. It should be available in July 2018.

In August, I’ll be putting out my smexy holiday story that was available last year in a box set…Snowed In at Christmas.

Then I’ll be writing furiously on the next full-length novel to come out in December, also in a box set…this will be the start of a ANOTHER BRAND NEW PARANORMAL SERIES. Once I have more info (that I can share, lol), I’ll let you know.

Well my lovelies, that’s about it for now. I’m aiming to get my wine reviews back up and running next week, which is always fun (and frankly, its been TOO LONG since I’ve done it).  My life is full, and happy, and I’m headed out to spend the weekend with my big brother because it’s been too long.

Sending you lots of love!

)O(

Pssst…check out my Amazon Author Page, and make sure you click the “Follow” button so you’ll get news of ALL my releases!

 

 

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Excerpt from Demon Rage…New Content!

My publisher has me polishing up the three Caine novels for a re-launch (new covers!), and adding or extending the books. Books 1 and 3 (Demon Soul and Demon Rage) have epilogs…book 2, Demon Hunt, has an extended ending, and I was so excited to revisit this world!

shhh….possible new cover design! Not sure yet!

As a teaser, here’s a bit of the new section of Demon Rage…hope you enjoy!

Excerpt:

Kellan wasn’t hers, despite what she may have thought around the time of the Solstice. Despite the longing that surged through her veins every time she saw him. She’d just have to put on her big girl panties and deal with it. Let him go.

She knew it, but every part of her rebelled against that course of action.

Sighing, Aubrey continued to the great room.

The lights were off. Kellan sprawled in one of the chairs in front of the fireplace, his chin resting on his folded hands. He’d added wood to the coals and now the fire crackled and burned, sending out welcome warmth.

Aubrey kept walking to the mantel, ignoring the heat of Kellan’s gaze. She collected the first candle at the end farthest away from him, moved to the middle candle.

“For upstairs?”

Kellan’s voice was husky.

“Yeah.” She didn’t look at him, just moved to the last pillar candle that brought her within touching distance of him. Added it to the other two, now cradled against her chest. “Megan thought the scent would be soothing.” She finally chanced a quick look at him and the pain in his eyes caught at her heart. “Kellan.”

“Don’t.” The planes of his face looked carved of stone. “You’re going to take the job with my cousins, aren’t you.”

Everything inside her stilled. “Yeah, I am.”

“Good. They need the hand.”

“You could stay, you know. Help out. They need you, too.” Fuck. She hadn’t meant to say that. “Never mind. I know you’re already out the door. You need to get back to the desert. I’m sure the cacti miss you.” She headed to the door. Every step she took felt like a thousand.

He waited until she was at the doorway before he spoke.
“I can’t stay. You’re better off without me. Safer, without me.”

Internally she writhed. So he’d known of her crush. Damn it. She turned and drew herself up to her full height. “Thank you, so much, for clearing that up.”

“See, your words sound all right, but the tone? That’s the queen telling off her subordinate. Pissy, highborn queen, lacerating the lowly worker in front of her.” His voice had taken on an insolent tone.

She knew he was trying to make her angry, to burn out the feelings, and deep down, a part of her appreciated it. But the surface of her blazed hot with pain. She threw a candle at him, hitting him in the chest.

“Oof. Hey.”

“Bastard. You don’t get to just waltz out of here, wreaking havoc in my life as you leave.” She was proud of her controlled voice even as she threw another candle at him, this time catching him on his shin.

“Ow.”

“So while you sit over there, feeling sorry for yourself, and all righteous macho-ness as you sneer at me, just know one thing.” Aubrey hefted the last candle and eyed Kellan, who hadn’t taken his gaze off her.

“What’s that?”

Her voice deepened. “You are never. Getting. Rid. Of. Me. This I swear. I will be there when you need me, whether you want me there or not. This I swear. I will be a burr on your ass, a thorn in your side, a glass of water when you’re thirsty, a crown on your head. This I swear. You can run from me, but I will always find you. This I swear.” She lifted her chin and set the third candle on the mantel in a carefully controlled gesture.

“I’m leaving, as it’s past time for me to figure out my life. You can take the candles up to Rose, who undoubtedly has need of them by now. And when you are asked where I am, you will tell them the truth. That you drove me away while Rose is giving birth, but I will be back. When it comes to you, I will always come back.”

She blinked then, wavered a little on her feet. “Yeah, all of that.” Aubrey turned and this time didn’t stop when he called her name. Instead, she went to the bedroom that she’d been assigned, packed up her stuff, and let herself out of the house she had dangerously begun to think of as home.

***

So, shhh…Kellan and Aubrey’s story takes a new twist. They’re the kickoff in my new series, A Covenant of Witches – The Hidden One, which will release for a limited time in December. More news to come!

)O(

Haven’t read a Christine Ashworth book yet? Check out her Amazon Page…and may your day be filled with good things.

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Winding Down 2017, Planning 2018

Conflicted

I’m conflicted about 2017. Politically it has been perverted and ugly and it will take our country decades to recover from the policies put into place this year.

Personally, it has been the best of years, and the worst of years. The worst was losing my father in March. The best has been time spend with family and loved ones, stretching from early in 2017, to the time spent in Cambria over the Christmas holidays.

Working through getting my father’s estate settled meant I got to spend a lot of time with my brother from March to June; it seemed like every other weekend we were together. I also got to see my nephew and family (and my new baby grandnephew!), which was a delight.

I had one novel published, and two novellas. I wanted to do more in 2017, but grief slammed me sideways. I’m not going to beat myself up over it, because there’s no point – but in 2018, I am going to put me first, my work first, rather than give other work precedence. I am going to hew to my schedule, rather than let myself be swayed by the inaction of others.

My Plans

So, for 2018, I have a new dark urban fantasy series (NOTE – this is NOT a romance series!) coming out, called The Forgotten Ones. The first novel I hope to have ready for June timeframe. In May the prequel novel will be out in a box set, and it will be FREE to all. I’ll post when that’s a done deal.

I’m also revamping Wolf’s Heart (which is currently unavailable), the Caine-adjacent novel that details Doc Megan’s romance. THIS book has a tie-in to the above dark urban fantasy novel…the master vampire at the end of the book is the villain in the Forgotten Ones series. I want this to come out in March, so I’ve got some work cut out for me.

I also have the ballet series that I’m working on – the first book is in edits stage and then I’ll send it to the editor who (fingers crossed) will get back to me fairly quickly and I’ll hop to finish the other two.

In between these, I plan to re-release Snowed In at Christmas (probably in July), and hopefully another holiday novella or two. We shall see.

And there are always the surprise novellas…those opportunities that come out of the blue. So my year is pretty full, already!

Travel

I’m planning on going to the Northwest Tarot Symposium in Portland, Oregon the first weekend in March, 2018, mainly to hang out with Arwen Lynch Poe but I’m also looking forward to the inspiration I know I’ll find there (plus maybe an opportunity to see relatives).

My next appearance will be at RWA National Conference in Denver, Colorado July 16 – 21, 2018.

The last one currently scheduled for 2018 is the Romance Author Mastermind conference with Skye Warren in Houston, Texas on September 26 – Oct 1, 2018. I’m looking forward to taking my career the next step.

So, that’s a brief round-up of 2017 and a more positive look ahead to 2018.

Oh, and I am planning on getting on the newsletter bandwagon – once every few months most likely to start. If you think you’d like to get news from me, please click on the link in the upper right corner on this page here.

)O(

May your burdens be light and your blessings be many. Sending love and hugs to you all.

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Christine’s Cassoulet

Cassoulet!

I was discussing, on Facebook this past week, the fact that I couldn’t find my favorite cassoulet recipe. My husband, bless him, dug through my many cookbooks and a three-inch, 3-ring binder of recipes, and found it for me. As several people wanted a copy of the recipe, I decided to put it here. Enjoy!

Christine’s Cassoulet – Made on November 4, 2017

This recipe is an amalgamation of what I remember from the Food & Wine version, and from a version that I found on the Internet in September 2004, on a website that no longer exists (yes, we checked). My husband found the printed version after I bemoaned the fact that I couldn’t find my original F&W recipe. However, I love this one, as it sticks close to the F&W recipe. I’ve made several changes, as noted.

Time: 30-45 minutes preparation time. At least 8 hours in a crock pot on low.

Servings: At least 8, possibly 10. It’s a terrific wintertime meal with good friends. Just pair with a crusty French bread and a good red wine, and you’ll have a meal that will make memories.

Ingredients:

½ pound small white navy beans (can substitute 2 cans white beans if you forget to buy the navy beans…which I have).

4+ cloves garlic, peeled and crushed, plus 2+ cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, chopped

2 carrots, cut into chunks or rounds, as you prefer

2 cups cored and chopped tomatoes, with their juices, or canned diced tomatoes

3 or 4 sprigs fresh thyme, or ½ teaspoon dried thyme

2 – 3 bay leaves

¼ pound salt pork in 1 piece

Note: If you can’t find salt pork, use ¼ pound whole slab bacon. If you can’t find that, use 5 or 6 bacon slices. 

4 sausages I’ve used sweet Italian, or chicken apple sausages – you can also use spicy Italian if that’s your style

1 pound boneless pork – shoulder, boneless rib meat, pork chops (whatever you can find)

1 turkey leg (or 2 duck legs, if you can find them, or 4 chicken legs)

½ pound any type of good beef steak (or stew meat)

Note: The second or third time I made this, I forgot what type of meat I needed to put into the cassoulet, and bought a steak. After I got home I realized it didn’t call for steak – but I used it anyway, and I find it gives the whole dish an added boost of flavor.

Chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or water, or a mixture, as needed…probably 4 – 6 cups

Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Step One:

Chop all veggies.

Step Two:

Brown all meats (including the salt pork) in a large skillet and transfer them to the crock pot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step Three:

Add crushed garlic, chopped onions, and chopped carrots into the crock pot. Add beans, tomatoes, thyme, and bay leaves.

 

Step Four:

Add stock mixture to cover by 2 inches, IF possible, as your large crock pot will be full. Cover, and cook on low for 8 hours (high for 5 hours). Don’t feel like you have to be home the entire time – go out! Have fun! Enjoy! When you get home, your kitchen will smell like heaven, I promise you!

 

 

<– I like adding 1/2 chicken bone broth, and 1/2 beef bone broth.

 

 

 

Note: Most cassoulet recipes that I’ve found have you leave all the meats whole when serving. When I first made this recipe in the late 1990s, I had two boys who were under the age of 10. Leaving anything whole, in a hot broth, was not practical. Therefore…

Step Five:

After 8 hours, when the meat is falling off the bone of the turkey leg, pull all the meats out of the crockpot and let cool enough to touch, while setting the crockpot to “Warm.” Once the meat is cool, shred the meat, extracting any fat and bones, and put all the meat back into the crockpot. Feel free to give the extra fats and skins to the dog. He’ll thank you for it.

 

Taste the broth – it should be rich and meaty, and need little extra seasoning. However, add the reserved minced garlic, and S&P to taste if needed (this one didn’t). Keep on warm until you’re ready to eat.

Note: The French typically put a breadcrumb crust on this. I never have, and I’ve never missed it. But if you wish, by all means, please do!

Note: This recipe can also be made in a Dutch oven; do everything in one pot, including sautéing the onions and carrots and garlic in the fat left behind by browning the meats. Cover with stock by 2 inches; cook on low for at least 5 hours. Check to see if the meat is falling off the bone before you take it off the heat.

Bon apetit!

)O(

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A rough few months

It’s been rough, since my Daddy died on March 14, 2017. Not quite four months have passed, but my brother and I have done what we were charged to do, as Co-Trustees of his estate. Soon it will all wrap up.

There are a lot of good things happening in my life, and I will post them here, but I felt since I hadn’t actually dealt with my father’s death here, that I’d better do so.

Chet Cunningham, June 2011. 325+ novels out and counting. He’s as real as it gets.

Boy do I miss him.

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Hot Billionaires, plus Venom & Vampires

Hello my lovelies!

I’m sharing a fabulous new book by Susie Nelson today, called Pretend to be Mine. Only .99, or FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

Welcome to the world of the Ramsey Billionaire Brothers and their empire of fashion, music and financial companies that rule the New York social and business spheres.

Jordan Ramsey manages a successful fashion label that has come under public scrutiny and in an effort to distract the negative media attention around his company, his PR guru, Barrack Amara, devises a scheme involving the hottest model of the moment, Danica Cliffe.

The glamorous blondie and Jordan engage in a fake public relationship that comes under fire when they are unexpectedly disgraced by a secret recording that is leaked to the press. In an effort to save both their careers and their clandestine love, Jordan and Danica battle with the media, their managers, and family members. But can they succeed?

Special bonus included.

 

Next, I’m thrilled to announce that I’m in a Special Edition Limited box set called Venom and Vampires. It’s up for pre-order, also .99 across all platforms, and will be available on July 25th.

A collection with bite…

Prepare to sink your teeth into 23 Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy stories featuring vampires, shifters, witches, demons, chimeras, and more from today’s NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, and internationally best-selling and award-winning authors!

With over one million words of fiction and over 100 hours of prime reading material, this exciting collection will treat you to brand new worlds and inventive re-imaginings of our beloved monsters-in-the-dark. You won’t want to miss out on these stories with bite. We’re certain you’re gonna love it…to death!

PreOrder VENOM AND VAMPIRES today to lock down YOUR copy of this Special Edition Collection!

Venom and Vampires Swag Pack giveaway!
Grand prize winner will receive a Tote bag, a Make up bag, book cards, bookmarks, a sticker, a button, a keychain, a necklace and a magnet!
Mini-swag pack winners will receive book cards, bookmarks, a button, keychain, necklace and magnet!
Enter the giveaway here:   http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/01c1b5292/?

)O(

Happy June!

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May Book Fair!

So, there’s this book fair – lots of books, most of which are .99 to $2.99. Check it out!

And if you haven’t grabbed Guarded Star yet, it goes back up to full price on June 1st – so get it while you can!

More later, lovelies – I’m in the middle of a deadline. Sending love and hugs, always.

May Book Fair

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GUARDED STAR on Sale Now!

It’s true! Guarded Star, the first full-length book in the StarTide Agency series with Boroughs Publishing Group, is on sale for the ENTIRE month of May across ALL platforms!

Bestselling author Louisa Bacio said this: “Guard your heart because Christine Ashworth has done it again. Despite all their differences, Evie and Jake share combustible chemistry, and a past that won’t stay behind. You’ll enjoy the sweet music of this romance.”

BLURB:

Singer/songwriter Evie Marcherand is about to begin her first three-city tour whenGuarded Star4 someone threatens to stop her music—permanently. Private investigator Jake Wells is about to give up his vacation—and his heart—to see that doesn’t happen.

MAKE A WISH
Everyone leaves twenty-five-year-old Evie Marcherand, but with her naturally husky voice and musical talent she’s done okay, and her star is rising. Her songs and her guitar? Those she can count on. She’s just booked her first three-city tour. Too bad someone else wants to stop her music. Permanently.

Jake Wells. 39. Private investigator. Tall and lanky, with brown hair that’s going silver at his temples. What does he want? To go on vacation. But with four younger sisters, “protective” doesn’t begin to describe him, so a promise to a dead man means he’ll play bodyguard instead. Threats of violence against an up-and-coming singer/songwriter have been escalating, and there’s just no way that’s going to happen. But after he gets a taste of Evie’s music—and her lips—there’s no saying what will.

Find Guarded Star here: (sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to copy the link to iBooks! sigh.)

Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble,

Other News

There’s been a lot of personal turmoil in my  life, and I haven’t been here very much at all. I aim to change that. As well, I have a newsletter that was sent out today for the very first time.  If you read that newsletter and are here because of the super sekrit contest, then you know what to do. *vbg*

If you aren’t on my newsletter list but want to be (freebies, etc), leave a comment here with your email address and I will add you to the list.  Right now, I have no idea how many I’ll be sending out, but I swear unless I have amazing news or giveaways, it won’t be more than once a month, and probably a lot less.

Thank You!

A huge thank you to Boroughs Publishing Group who have worked with me on this promotion. Another huge thank you to Rebecca Hamilton, and to all the friends and family who have been there for me during a really rough patch. Sending love to all.

)O(

Now…go on and grab Guarded Star! You know you want to…

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Precipice

I do not think it is his time. But he hurts, and seeing your parent in pain is just as impossibly frustrating and heart-wrenching as seeing your child in pain.

I am here, bearing witness. Talking when he wants to talk, watching over him as he sleeps. Soon I will head for home…but for now, I am here.

Sharing space with him. Guarding his sleep. Watching as his hands work, searching for something that he doesn’t find before coming to a rest.

My heart aches even as I am profoundly grateful for being able to be here with him for the past three days.

Precious Time - photo by Christine Ashworth, image arrangement by Mary Bogue
Precious Time – photo by Christine Ashworth, image arrangement by Mary Bogue

I’m fully planning on him being around for at least another decade. I just need him to get with that program, too.

)O(

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Happy New Year!

It’s happened again, that arbitrary day we call “January 1” of whatever year.  I have begun the great cleaning out of my office, as well as my closets and dressers and kitchen cupboards. Found my raspberry beret, which had gone missing, as well as some colored pencils and a small bag of electronics that I travel with, so that was a good thing.

I have let blogging slide, for whatever reason; but it is past time to get back into gear. There are wines that need discussing, and books, and recipes…oh yes, recipes!

And there’s a freebie going on, in case you haven’t read anything I’ve written yet (except this here blog)…but just until January 4th, so grab it while you can!

15820634_845400775599764_2033665108_o

Three Times More Lucky, Sizzling Stories of Menage and More, from Louisa Bacio, Erzabet Bishop, Kim Carmichael, Sascha Illyvich, Solera Winters, and me. Get it here…

But for today, I just want to say Happy New Year. There’s a lot of life to live…may your 2017 hold love, and strength, growth and change for you…in the very best ways possible.

And have a sip of champagne for me, will you?

champagne

 

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