Friday, August 3, 2012

Guest Post + Giveaway -- Claire Ashgrove

What’s In A Superstition?

Hi everyone! Thanks for having me here today. I’m over-the-moon excited about the opportunity to talk about Bound by Decency, my debut historical. Pirates, quite frankly are fun. And what better way to get a peek at their psyche than to look at the superstitions that they believed in.

An Earring Aids In Bettering The Sight

While this has roots in what we know as acupuncture today, all the images we see of pirates with golden hoop earrings stems from the belief that piercing the lobe of the ear aided eye-sight. As sight was critical to pirates (they must be able to spot ships on a distant horizon), they readily believed.

A Cannonball Anchors the Dead

No, this doesn’t mean literally fastens the sailor to the bottom of the sea. Death was common in pirate life, and there were many rituals surrounding it. One was the habit of placing the dead body in his hammock and placing 2 cannonballs inside. 13 stitches sealed the makeshift “coffin”, the last was stitched through the man’s nose. This insured the man was really dead, and when the body was thrown overboard, it prevented his ghost from following the ship.

Beware the Lurking Shark

Sea creatures carried many meanings for sailors. Albatross sightings brought good luck as did dolphins. But the shark? If the ferocious man-eater was sighted following the boat, death would quickly come, because sharks laid in wait for their prey.

Watch that Whistle

Whistling was thought to bring the winds. Therefore, a quiet whistle on a calm day from deep within the ship might be welcomed. But never whistle on the decks, ‘else fierce gales and storms are sure to come.

Woe is the Power of a Woman

Women on board brought distraction to the crew. (It’s a 1:80 ratio – go figure.) Distracted sailors angered the sea who would extract her revenge. Therefore many sailors avoided them like the plague. But contrary to the stout logic of this superstition, a naked woman on the deck would bring good luck. (Perhaps not so much for her.) To merge the conflicting omens, bare-breasted women became prominent mastheads on the prows of ships. Her bare breasts “shamed the sea into certain calm” while her open eyes guided the sailors to safety.

Kinda funny isn’t it—these hardy men who plunder and raid, and deliberately seek out battles, brought to their knees by ghosts, sharks, whistles…and women.


“We can’t, Cain,” she whispered. Swallowing, she moistened her dry throat. Like someone cracked a whip above his head, all the dark intensity in his gaze shifted to reveal a spark of anger. “Surely you don’t intend to hide behind this falsehood of loyalty to Richard.”

She twisted out of his hold and rose on unsteady legs. Free of his intoxicating nearness, sense returned. She shook her head. “It’s no falsehood. We are to wed. You know this.”

A wry smirk danced on his mouth as he stood. “A wedding that can’t take place if the bride does not return.”

Indignation rode her hard. The heaving of her chest began anew, and she whirled around with a fierce scowl. “You cannot keep me here forever!”

One dark eyebrow rose to mock her. “No? I see no one to stop me.” In three long strides he closed the distance between them. His hand shot out to yank the leather strap from around her waist and wind it tight around her wrists. He held them in one hand. “Did you forget you are my captive? I can keep you as long as I desire. No one will stop me from tying you here, or binding you in the hold.”

She gritted her teeth in a vain effort to still her tongue and tell him all the vile things that ran through her head. But at the sound of his low chuckling, her temper got the better of her. “If your intent is to keep me prisoner for eternity, I promise you I will find a way off this ship if I have to jump overboard. I may not possess the legs to sail, but I am quite capable of swimming.”

With a broad sweep of his arm, he gestured at the window. “Swim if you wish. You will tire. When you do, I will be there to haul you in. And when I do, you will still be bound, and still my captive. And if we wish to enjoy each other’s bodies, we shall.”

Spluttering, she opened her mouth to argue with logic, but sensible words eluded her tongue. All that tumbled loose was the ridiculous protest, “What you speak of is indecent!”

Pain flickered across his face, so insignificant she wouldn’t have noticed had he not moved closer to the light. With a nonchalant shrug, the momentary crease to his brow smoothed and his devilish smile returned to lift the corners of his mouth. “I have no place among decency.”


After inheriting a portion of Spain’s Royal Inheritance, Cain left The Flying Gang for a chance at honest wealth. With the secrets of his piracy tucked away, he achieved his lofty aspirations. But when his partner and best friend betrays him to the Royal Navy, Cain’s dreams are ripped to shreds. He’s left with his ship, the tattered remnants of a stolen future, and a piece of Spanish mystery. Wanted by three nations and destined for the gallows, he returns to the legendary band of buccaneers for one purpose -- vengeance.

Kidnapped by the formidable Cain, India Prescott discovers he intends to kill the man she’s to marry. Cain’s story reveals betrayal. Treachery that extends to her as well. Although she holds the key to retribution, India refuses to become another man’s pawn. Freedom lies before her, the liberty to shrug off propriety, make her own decisions, and claim her destiny. But when she uncovers goodness in Cain’s soul and he awakens passion in her heart, she must combat the chains of convention once more.

Only this time India's not fighting society. She’s battling a pirate bent on keeping her decency intact.

Series Concept:


With Europe in chaos over who would claim the Spanish throne, the Atlantic waters bred a most despicable lot. Privateers who pillaged and claimed, loyal to no country, more thief than noble mercenary. One man would claim Spain’s inheritance. He would pass it on. To a band of cutthroats more terrifying and deadly than the nightmares of the deep.

As the nations settle into peace, The Flying Gang knows no boundaries. No sea is safe. No shore unchartered. Chilling Rogers raised to the sky, they reign with fear, bound only to the wind, the brotherhood, and the ships they love. One tiny jeweled box strikes a gleam in their eyes. A golden trinket four rogue Captains risk danger, capture, and even friendship to possess.

Until love interferes with their rapscallion hearts…


Claire Ashgrove has been writing since her early teens and maintained the hobby for twenty years before deciding to leap into the professional world. Her first contemporary novel, Seduction's Stakes, sold to The Wild Rose Press in 2008, where she continues to write steamy, sexy stories for the Champagne and Black Rose lines. Adding to these critically acclaimed romances, Claire’s paranormal romance series, The Curse of the Templars debuted with Tor in January 2012. For those who prefer the more erotic side of romance, she also writes for Berkley Heat as the National Bestselling Author Tori St. Claire.

She is an active member of Romance Writers of America, and her local RWA chapters, Heartland Romance Authors, Midwest Romance Writers, North Texas Romance Writers of America, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.

Claire lives in Missouri with her two toddler sons, and too-many horses, cats, and dogs. In her “free” time, she enjoys cooking, winning at Rummy, studying Ancient Civilizations, and spending quiet moments with her family, including the critters. She credits her success to her family's constant support and endless patience. 

To learn more about Claire, visit her on the web at, or


Claire will be giving away a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card to one random commenter during the tour. Follow the tour – the more times you comment, the better your chances of winning! Complete schedule can be found HERE.


  1. I do greatly enjoy a good pirate story from time to time. This sounds like a great start to a new series about these pirates. I look forward to learning more about the characters and the betrayal that brought them together.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  2. I would love to read this book. It sounds very good. I haven't read any pirate books yet. Please enter me in contest. Thanks for the giveaway.

  3. I love a good series, and pirates oh my :fans self: Thanks for entering me in your drawing! Carin

  4. thanks for a fabulous post and giveaway!

  5. Nice Tricia! Pirate inspired books aren't really my thing but after this I think I have a different view on this theme.

  6. Loved the superstitions thank you.



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