“Not at all,” she said and took his hand.
“Hullo. I’m Jared.”
“Glad to meet you. I’m Tarika.”
They shook hands, laughing, and she caught sight of the inside of his wrist. The remnant of his self-inflicted wound, though over a year old, still bore a raw and purplish countenance around the raised and striking white line of the scar, and there was absolutely no doubt as to the nature of it. His breath catching in his throat, he tried to pull his hand out of her grasp but her fingers tightened around his and refused to let go. With the fingers of her free hand, she lightly traced the scar all the way up his forearm. The touch was so incredibly intimate Jared felt as though she had undressed him.
“Why did you do this?” she said, her eyes riveted to the scar.
“I . . .”
She looked up and met his gaze, and he saw that her eyes were glazed over. As many seconds of palpable silence passed, Jared tried several times unsuccessfully to pull away from her.
Finally she spoke, and her voice sounded distant and utterly different. “You don’t know who you are. There is something inside you that . . . you are hiding from yourself and others . . . something you find terrible –”
Politeness be damned, he started to yank his hand out of hers, only to have her fingers tighten so forcefully he started to squirm. A distant voice in his head, oblivious to the circumstances, said, Those are a fencer’s hands, no doubt about it.
“You’re afraid of it, you don’t understand it, you fear it will consume you –”
Using his free hand as leverage, he finally managed to pull his hand from her grip and put both hands on her shoulders, shaking her, furious.
You just read an excerpt from:
Ashley J. Barnard
Today, we’re here with published author, Ashley J. Barnard.
Ashley: I write fantasy, historical fiction, and a little mainstream fiction.
Kage: What happened to the first book you ever wrote?
Ashley: The first book I ever wrote is also the first one published - Shadow Fox. It went through many drafts in the 12 years it took me to get it published.
Kage:What’s your pubishing history look like?
Ashley: My first and only published novel just released this week: Shadow Fox, which is a fantasy. Its two sequels, Fox Rising and Night of the Fox, will be releasing in April 2011 and September 2011 respectively.
Kage: So, so tell us about Shadow Fox.
Ashley: Shadow Fox released on October 4th with Champagne Books. It's a dark fantasy about a man who is abandoned in our world and must find his way home to his own world. When a woman hires him to teach her swordplay, he discovers they share a link to his home, and as he is trying to unravel the mystery, they fall in love.
Jared Bruin doesn’t know who he is. He remembers nothing of his early childhood before the age of seven when he was abandoned in a park in St. Louis, left in an unfamiliar world that terrified him. He knows only that he is driven to learn everything he can about swordplay and sixteenth-century combat.
Almost twenty years later, as he is battling a heroin addiction, suicidal tendencies and a violent affliction he doesn't understand, he is hired to teach swordplay to an enigmatic woman with secrets of her own, who somehow provides a link to his past.
Then a missing journal arrives that provides many answers to Jared’s past, and in it another world is revealed, one of a Goddess, prophecies, elves, a devastating love triangle, and a war in desperate need of a hero.
Kage: What would the story be rated if it were a movie?
Ashley: All three of the books in this series are rated R, especially the two sequels..
Kage: If you HAD to fit this story into a cliché, which one would it be?
Ashley: Oh, boy. It's a few I guess -- forbidden love, save-the-world, battling one's own dark nature while trying to do all these things, ala Batman.
Kage:Okay, now that we have a general idea which class to fit Shadow Fox under, what makes this book so unique from every other book out there?
Ashley: I can't speak for every story, since I haven't read them, but I haven't read any other fantasy novels that deal with sexual dysfunction as a main theme. My hero is a victim of childhood abuse and has to battle perpetuating the abuse...most of the time he doesn't succeed.
Kage:What was the easiest part to write?
Ashley: Dialogue is always the easiest component for me. I try to hear as much of it as I can in my head -- I'm always mouthing it as I write it -- to make sure it sounds authentic. I, at least, think it is for the most part. I love building tension with dialogue, and that's always when I'm writing at my fastest -- and, in my opinion, my best.
Kage:What do you like most about the main character(s) and what do you like least? Did you learn anything from them?
Ashley: I love my "hero" Jared for all of his flaws. I'm very drawn to characters who are always sabotaging themselves, and Jared is constantly doing this, even when he's fully aware of it. I love how he throws himself into his vices with such gusto. What I don't like about him is how he's always crying "victim" to vindicate himself from his actions. It's taught me to be very aware of my own behavior, to never blame my actions on my circumstances. I'm a firm believer in taking responsibility, and I do think Jared learns this eventually, albeit when it's too late. I love my heroine Tarika's light spirit; she always maintains a high vibration and sensibile outlook. I don't like her cliched aspects -- beautiful, and talented at anything she tries.
Kage:Ashley, Thank you so much for stopping by today and gracing us with your presence. Before we go, is there anything else you’d like to say to wrap things up?
Ashley:No, just to thank you for having me! It's been a blast experiencing my first book release. I think people will find the book suspenseful and intriguing. It's definitely not your typical fantasy novel.
Now that Ashley has totally made us want to buy her book, she was kind enough to provide us with a a buy link to Shadow Fox: Champagne Books
If you're still curious about Ashley, here are other places to find her on the web:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A31OQP9P1Q5GRE/ref=cm_psrch_profile
Publisher’s Author Page: http://champagnebooks.com/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=239