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Friday, November 28, 2014

Words That Bind by Ash Krafton ♥ Fun Facts, Book Tour & GIVEAWAY ♥ (Paranormal Romance)

Words That Bind
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.
Words That Bind is my latest book—a paranormal romance from Wild Rose Press. It’s the love story between a genie and his therapist. I had a lot of fun writing it. Burns, a djinn, is sassy, bold, and funny in a tongue-in-cheek way. He is prone to outrageous demonstrations of his power and easily gets his fur ruffled by us mundane humans. I loved pushing his buttons and watching how far he’d go…

As much fun as I had in writing, the research was tough—and accounted for more than half of the total time I spent developing this story.

I did spend a little time indulging myself in the lore of the djinn, reading all sorts of fiction and non-fiction (yes, non-fiction) accounts of the djinni and the timeframe I chose for my character’s origin. While I spent many enjoyable hours crafting Burns, it did not compare to the amount of time that went into developing and writing his love interest, the cool as slate social worker, Tamarinda Kerish.

When we meet Tam, she seems to be devoid of all emotion, unable to experience typical feelings like the rest of us. Occasionally, she would have vivid dreams and awake, heart pounding, feeling the memory of dreamed emotions fading quickly away. She only felt things when she dreamed…until Burns comes along. Then everything changes.

It’s tough to get into a romantic story when you can’t feel what the heroine is feeling—and it’s even harder to write a character that doesn’t emote like the rest of us. Tam studies emotional dysfunction, hoping to unlock the clue to her own. One thing she does is watch non-verbal communication intently, and use those cues to interpret what her clients are thinking.

Non-verbal cues often betray our deepest feelings, no matter how hard we try to suppress them. Not only did using NVC in this story allow me to keep the feeling flowing in this challenging story, but I actually developed the habit of people watching, which has deepened my understanding of all the characters I write. There are several great online references a writer can use to read up on NVC—I recommend that all writers find one they like and keep it on their reference list because it will be a tremendous craft enhancer.

In addition to studying non-verbal communication, I also worked closely with professionals to develop my understanding of the practice of psychology. I’m a pharmacist by trade, not a social worker—so I wanted to be sure I portrayed my characters accurately and sensitively. In fact, because of this research, I had to completely rewrite the plot—because Tam would have ended up doing something completely unethical.

Thing is, she would have been acting like an ordinary person. Sometimes, our feeling encourage us to do things that would feel like the perfect thing to do. However, Tam is bound by the therapist’s code of ethics—and while her original actions would have been right at home in a love story, they would have been bad for practice. I had to make her do the RIGHT thing, as would have been dictated by that ethical code. It made things harder for the couple.

But, know what? Conflict is a good thing in a romance, isn’t it? When we have to face tremendous obstacles to reach the thing we desire, it makes reaching it all the more appreciable. It makes the HEA even happier.

Studying the code of ethics and applying it to my story made it more realistic. I also used a reference book that had been written by one of my consults—“The Writer’s Guide To Psychology” (Amazon link: What I loved best about this book was the inclusion of various examples, books and movies where the writer made the science obey the story and not the other way around, along with stern warnings for the rest of us. Writers shouldn’t break the rules just for the sake of a story. It may be fiction, but it still has to be real. Dr. Kaufman made me think long and hard about my original plans for this book and, by providing me with the references I needed to better understand the practice of psychology, she helped me to create a much better story.

Research adds depth and substance to any story. Sometimes, it is the story. Words That Bind is a richer, more complex story for all the research that went into it, and I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
“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.

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.
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  1. Replies
    1. It's great to have you! And thank you for the amazing guest post! Happy Holidays!!!

  2. Ash...You mention the research was tough for this book. How so? As a librarian, I like to hear about authors' research strategies.

    1. The research was hardest when it came to getting the heroine right. I'm not a social worker, so I needed a lot of advice getting the therapist right. That meant working with psychology experts, because I needed more than what I could find online. Needed to talk to real people, find out what a therapist would actually do--which was nothing like my pre-researched first draft had her doing!

  3. Ohi had not imagined half of the researh you had to do... there is so much work behind a great book that we often forget it thank you for sharing these info with us. the knowlege behind your book is not a forbidden wish anymore

  4. Interesting forbidden wish blurb

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com


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