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.
- Where did you get the idea for the novel?
The inspiration came while I was writing another book. My best cure for writer’s block is to flip to a fresh page and write something else.
My sister-in-law is one of my most cherished beta readers; she’s also a licensed clinical social worker. I wrote the scene in which a genie walks into a therapists’s office as a sort of present for her.
Although it started as a way to “blow out the carbon” and clean my brain’s carburetor, my sister-in-law had other plans--she told me to get that book done.
- Your title. Who came up with it? Did you ever change your title? The title was mine, and I think it was hearing someone say “the ties that bind” that starting curling itself through my subconscious. As the details of the book came sharper into focus, the title tumbled out, as if it had been brewing the whole time. It always felt right, so I never altered it.
- Why did you pick this genre? What do you like about it?
I write under the broad umbrella of speculative fiction, with emphasis on urban fantasy and paranormal romance. I love the endless possibilities that the paranormal realm offers us as readers and writers. It’s true my first and best love will always be vampires (and my own demivamps) but, with so many amazing stories out there, I can’t help but developed an appreciation for the other intriguing species of beasties out there.
- Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you? I was lucky to do a book reading at Balticon one year—really enjoyed the experience, and the con as a whole.
- What book are you currently reading or what was the last book you read? I received a copy of “A Study in Silks” by Emma Jane Holloway when I was at New York Comic Con and I can’t wait to dig in! It will be my reward for surviving my book release tour.
- What is your writing process? I write in all sorts of situations, and take notes in between—so I guess my process is best defined as “slap dash”. I do like writing during organized “sprint” events, because it’s all about word count—sometimes I need the boot in the rear to get going.
- At a book signing, do you just sign your name or do you write a note? How do you come up with stuff to say? I like to include a note—I’m a talker so I love to chat with readers a little bit before writing something in their book. My books are personal to me, and reading is a personal experience to each of us. Personalization seems a natural element when connecting to readers. (Speaking of book signings, you can request an autograph for your ebooks, too! Look me up on Authorgraph.com)
- What is something people would be surprised to know about you? Although I am pro Windows, my first computer experience in college was on a Mac, which, in hindsight, looked very Minecraft-y. And I was good at coding special characters on it, too. Don’t tell my kids, though, because I’ll never hear the end of it.
- How do you react to a bad review? With gratitude... Reviews are meant to be for one reader to another. Everyone approaches a book as a unique individual with a lifetime of personal experiences, and when they read a book, those experiences help decide how they will take a story. I am thrilled when readers “get” my work because it is very affirming and kind of makes me feel more like I belong to the world (instead of just one solitary lady typing her stories when no one is looking.) And if readers *don’t* get what I write, that’s okay, too. I’m the only one who walks in my shoes so I can’t expect everyone to wear them—or like them. I am still appreciative that they took a chance on reading my story, so I react with gratitude for their time, thought, and consideration.
- How did you celebrate the sale of your first book? I bought a heart-shaped charm in a shop in Universal Studios. The book was “Bleeding Hearts” and the charm was a pretty token to remember the occasion.
“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.
She resides with her family in northeast Pennsylvania.
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