Last week I interviewed Kristen Ashley and we chatted about a time capsule, hot bikers and firemen she’s met, what it takes to be a Rock Chick and of course a mutually loved topic…yes, you guessed it—mouthwatering—food (I know what you were all thinking…..well, there is that of course).
Please join me in welcoming Kristen Ashley.
I had a wonderful time, chatting with Kristen. She’s outgoing, gracious and someone we’d all love to hang out with for an evening, sharing a cosmo, glass of wine or a cup of coffee, done up with big hair, heels, jeans and a kick-ass belt.
Kristen, welcome and congratulations on hitting the New York Times Best list with FIRE INSIDE.
Kristen: He’ya, girlie! Thank you for having me as a guest on your blog. Love to answer questions about my books and you have some good ones, Sistah!
Selena: You are most welcome, I’m as excited in having you here as I’m sure the readers are as well. First up: What three things would you like to put inside a time capsule that will be opened in 100 years and why?
Kristen: Oooo, fun question!
1. A copy of Rock Chick because for me that really started it all.
2. One of my Harley tees because everyone should know that Harleys have always been cool.
3. My keyboard, because by then people will wonder what it is but also because a number of the keys have had the letters worn off because I do so much typing and I think that’s hilarious.
Selena: I can only imagine how faded those keys on your keyboard are. Those are great items to put in a time capsule, and I bet the future readers will open the time capsule and say….“Hey, look the original Rock Chick!”
Have you ever met an MC member up close and personal and interviewed one for research purposes?
Kristen: Hmm… I don’t tend to interview so much as experience and observe and use both copiously. I went to Sturgis and we’ll just say I interacted with a lot of bikers there, but I didn’t have a recorder in my hand (more like a beer)!
That said, I’ve now got this obsession with firemen and was recently driving home at night. I drove by the local firehouse and all the boys were out front, shooting the breeze and I was this close to swinging in and telling them I wanted to write a series of romances about firemen and ask if they’d give me the skinny. Alas, I didn’t. But I should have!
Selena: You can always go back to the fire house with a box of donuts, and bring your recorder, because I bet they’d be all talking over each other to give you their own war stories. A Kristen Ashley firemen series….get out those hoses….for the readers that is, I’m sure the e-readers will be so heated up they’ll burst into flames.
What are the three essential wardrobe staples a woman must have in order to call herself a Rock Chick?
Kristen: I’d have to say none. Every girl is a Rock Chick, no matter what age or what they wear or what they do or how they are. So Rock Chicks have no rules. It’s all about being who you are, owning that, loving it, and showing that beauty to the world.
So the three essentials are what you think they are… and whatever those are, are totally essential.
As for me, it’s my silver jewelry, my vast collection of flip-flops and really good tees.
Selena: Love it! Books, jewelry and any footwear, sound good to me. I especially love the no rules part, because well….you know….writers tend to want to break them and always think outside the box, and as Dorothy Parker said, if you obey all the rules, you miss out on a lot of fun.
Kristen: Tex, half-and-half. He’s totally made up looks-wise however he’s based on an amalgamation of two different people in my life. One, I don’t tell anyone about. The other is my old neighbor, named Tex , who would be familiar to you because he’s a Vietnam vet, he had a lot of cats and he sat on his porch watching the neighborhood with a shotgun and night vision goggles (I’m not kidding). A very good guy who, way back when I was just starting life on my own, made me feel safe.
Tack looks a little bit like a guy I met in Sturgis, I also used him (since he was extremely good-looking so I had to spread that joy around) for Wood in the Colorado Mountain Series. But they don’t have the same personalities. Tack is… Tack. There’s no one else like him.
Selena: I agree, the mold has been shattered when it comes to Tack. He’s one of a kind.
I absolutely love the way you developed the girlfriend relationship (the-chicks-are-the-shit-posse) in your series. Friends who are like sisters enhances a gal’s life, knowing they’ll always have your back and you have theirs, and of course it’s natural to bicker at times, tease and banter.
Do you have a posse like that you can just rant, rave, share copious amounts of alcohol with, dress up and just let loose? If so, how do you let loose on these occasions?
Kristen: Well, I did, in two countries! But now that I’ve moved back to The States, I’m posse-less, kind of. I have my family and that’s the ultimate posse. My other gals and dudes are all still there but we let loose via email now. Though, those relationships in my books are about what I have with those women (and guys) in real life. I miss them. And I hope to build a posse here, eventually because I have lots of shoes that need uses! As for what we would do, anything goes. It could be ice cream. It could be fancy dinners. It could be concerts. It could be shop-a-thons. It could be big hair, high heels and drinks. It could be hiking. Anything goes!
Selena: You are more than welcome to join my girl posse any time you come to Canada. We’ll take you out for some Canadian fun and introduce you to some hot RCMP officers who can really ride….a horse that is…and rock that uniform. Could be another series in it for you.
One staple that is common throughout your books, which I personally love to read, because, hey, people do cook and eat, is either the hero or heroine’s cooking expertise, or lack of, and what they enjoy eating.
In FIRE INSIDE, there is a recipe for a quick Key Lime Pie mentioned. I want to give this a try. Is this one of your own recipes? Is it as good as Hop said it was?
Kristen: My grandmother was not a cook and this was one of her recipes. I know that sounds weird, her not being a cook and this being one of her recipes. But seeing as this takes no time to make and has three ingredients, well… there you go! She made it all the time. So yes, this is, in essence, is a “family recipe” and it… is… awesome! You must try it! It’s sweet and tart and delicious. Now I’m hankering for it. But be sure you let the lime juice concentrate thaw, stir it in with a whole tub of Cool Whip, pile that deliciousness in a graham cracker crust and let it chill (and thus set) for a good while. Ooo, this is totally going to be in my fridge tomorrow.
Selena: It does sound good, and I am going to try it. Actually, I’m going to make it for the Tasty Tuesday blog and feature it. Thanks for the recipe. Now speaking of food, let’s have a quick fire round.
This is how it will work. I will name a character and you assign a recipe name for him.
For example: If I were to think of Daisy (another favorite character of mine) and a recipe name for her, I’d say: Bubble and Squeak. I mention Bubble and Squeak in honor of our mutual friend, Gitte Doherty who introduced me to your books. Gitte, the Danish Rock Chick resides in the UK so I picked this intriguing named recipe. It also makes me giggle when I say, bubble and squeak.
Kristen: Waving to Gitte, to all the Rock Chicks and a shout out to the Sassy Siren Rock Chicks
Selena: Here we go with the quick fire round:
Kristen: Okay, just so you know, I’m not good at this. So I’m just going to type the first thing that comes to mind in the food and drink zone.
Selena: First thing that pops up, is always the best way to go.
Kristen’s answers to the quick fire:
Tack – Dark chocolate (you with me?)
Hopper – Kahlua and cream (this is what I think his voice sounds like, creamy and chocolaty)
Shy – Maraschino cherries (don’t ask me! It just came to mind – I think he might find uses for these with Tabby, though, at least the juice!)
Tex – Vanilla latte!!!!!! (‘nuff said)
Lee – Fat Tire beer (and pizza, obviously)
Hawk – Frosting (any kind) (as in, tasting it on his lips, not Hawk eating it.)
Luke – Milano cookies
Vance – Quesadillas (what I think he and Jules eat every night for dinner because that’s the only thing either of them know how to cook. Ha!)
Marcus – Caviar
I hope that works! I’m terrible at that kind of thing.
Selena: You did great! Now when we eat or drink the above mentioned, we can think of all your too-hot-to-handle hero’s.
Kristen, on behalf of romance readers who have discovered the treasure trove of your books, I want to say, “You’re the shit. Rock on!” Also, thanking on behalf of all the husbands and boyfriends who are reaping the benefits after their women read your entertaining, and engaging creativity. I’m also sure you have a bevy of male readers, and would hope they find this blog and give us their opinion on the books and how much they enjoy your writing as well.
Kristen: Aw, girl! Thank you! Right back at ‘cha, sistah! I feel the same about my readers. Know it! And rock on.
FIRE INSIDE is book #2 in the Chaos Series. It takes place alongside OWN THE WIND the first book inthe series.
ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Lanie Heron isn’t looking for love—she endured a near-death experience at the hands of her late fiancé, so she’s decided relationships are now taboo. However, she’s an alive, healthy, vibrant women who wouldn’t mind a night of hot lovin’. Lanie propositions the bad-ass-hot-as-his-motorcycle biker, Hop Kincaid, for one night of non-committal wild sex.
Being a hot-blooded—emphasis on the hot—-man, Hop would be crazy to decline. However, in Hop’s point of view, we learn that he feels Lanie is too polished, and too classy for his tastes. Even with these misgivings, this doesn’t stop them from burning up the sheets one night.
From there, one night only turns into many carnal nights together. Lanie is happy with the physical aspect of their relationship, which she wants kept confidential, however Hop wants more, only he has to work hard to help her get rid of the demons that haunt her. He is optimistic that they could have a future together. He also realizes he’s in for a bumpy ride, because Lanie has built a concrete wall around her heart. Hop has made it his job to break through that wall with one kiss, one orgasm and one heartfelt sweet word at a time.
My Opinion of Fire Inside by Selena Robins
Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for the opportunity to read the ARC.
FIRE INSIDE is classic Kristen Ashley. You’ll laugh, you’ll fan yourself and you’ll love Hop. You will be surprised (in a real good way) at Hop’s back story and hidden talent—which has nothing to do with bedroom activity.
Do you have a rich dark chocolate bar stashed away, for the days that you want to savor its lush taste, as the flavors dance on your tongue and your endorphin’s are released, leaving you satisfied, until you need another hit some other day?
Kristen Ashley’s books are the equivalent to my personal stash of dark Godiva chocolate with the same results for my imagination and escapism at its best, with alpha hero’s that are in danger of melting my Kindle.
Romance novels that feature alpha hero’s, whose lifestyles and career choices reside in danger zones, add a fair share of suspense, with hold your breath thriller-type scenes. Mystery, suspense, gritty scenes, hard core villains and heart breaking pasts are all elements that the reader experiences in Kristen Ashley novels.
The main themes that are weaved throughout her novels are first and foremost: tough guys who will risk life and limb to protect their family, and the woman that has captured their heart and soul. Threaded through each book is compassion, all consuming love, protection, strong family commitment, close friendships—cosmo swigging female posse, who really are all the “shit” and back slapping, good natured ribbing of a band of bad ass brotherhood, that have each other’s backs.
It doesn’t matter if the hero belongs to a motorcycle club (like Hopper in FIRE INSIDE), or that he’s a commando with questionable business practices, a policeman, a night club owner with a questionable sideline business, or if the heroine is an interior decorator, business owner, a baker or sales mattresses.
Their careers are secondary to the main element that comes across in all Kristen Ashley books which are: love is not just a word it’s an active verb, support for family and friends, respect and loyalty. These traits come through loud and clear, especially under extreme conditions and they prevail throughout each of her books.
FIRE INSIDE embraces the above mentioned themes. While most of Kristen Ashley’s books contain villains and perilous situations, FIRE INSIDE focuses on Hop and Laine’s internal conflicts, emotional turmoil and this couple’s journey to building a family, accepting their past, coming to terms with their personal issues and struggling to make it all come together.
FIRE INSIDE features redemption along with the loyalty and other elements of the ongoing themes from the other series.
Kristen Ashley’s extreme alpha males are all brawn on the outside, however, their intelligence, wit and sweet side that the reader is fortunate to be made privy to, is guaranteed to melt the reader’s heart.
Hopper Kincaid is no exception. The Chaos MC member is dedicated to the club, his duties and above all he is committed to keeping his children loved, protected and cherished. During his time with Laine, he applies the same commitment and loyalty to her as well.
Often times the lines of communication are blurry and hurtful words and actions ensue, but like any other couple, Hop and Laine fight their way back to each other, sorting through all the angst and pain to find a common ground to help each other heal.
Hop and Laine’s relationship starts off with a lot of lust, no promises, no commitment, and protecting their own hearts. However, Hop is a complex character, with his own demons he’s had to battle, and his back story and the way he handled a major challenge and disappointment in his life, demonstrates that this man has integrity, a deep and honorable sense of responsibility and a strength and attraction that is not only due to just his gorgeous exterior, but to his unconditional love for his children, family, the brethren, friends and eventually to Laine.
Although Laine yearns for a family and love, she fights against it, because she has yet to face her demons. With Hop’s help she slowly releases the past, but not without a lot of angst, arguments and break-ups.
It is in their journey that the reader experiences how any two people can let go of the past, face challenges head on and put the pieces of their life and hearts back together again, even though it’s a bumpy, rocky road to happy ever after.
Readers will be pleasantly surprised to learn of one of Hop’s secret from his past. One that will have the reader smiling, cheering and visualizing it long after the book is finished.
I recommend you hop on—pun intended—to the back of Hopper’s motorcycle, wrap your arms around this bad ass, hot biker and get ready to immerse yourself in a hot and steamy ride, right from the first page to the last.
FIRE INSIDE will have you laughing at the witty dialogue we have all come to expect from a Kristen Ashley book—one of my favorite lines in the book, which had me laughing out loud:
Hop is telling Laine about Hawk (the hero in Mystery Man): “Hawk is a functioning lunatic.”
KRISTEN ASHLEY’S GIVEAWAY
Ultimate Prize Winner to include:
- Signed copies of Own the Wind and Fire Inside
- Forever Swag Bag – Canvas tote bag to celebrate 10th Anniversary of Forever – Full of Forever books
- $15 gift card to BN or Amazon
- Rock Chick Bumper Sticker
- Print copies of Rock Chick, Rock Chick Rescue and Rock Chick Redemption
- 2nd Place – Signed copies of Own the Wind and Fire Inside
- 3rd place – Signed copy of Fire Inside
- 4th place – e-copy of Fire Inside
- 5th place – ecopy of Fire Inside
Welcome to Tasty Tuesday, where this we week go from hunka-hunka-hot-Beefcake in the form of another Kristen Ashley alpha hero (Brock also known as Slim from WILD MAN) to a delicious hunk of Carrot Cake (recipe below).
WARNING: This blog post is for adults only. Some of the language in the quotes may offend some, as it is explicit. If this is a problem for anyone, then you can scroll right down to the carrot cake recipe, if not, sit back and enjoy Heidi and the other gals thoughts on Brock (also known as Slim) from WILD MAN by Kristen Ashley.
So how does a beefcake (and I’m talking drool-worthy-bad-ass-but-oh-so-damn-sexy beefcake) connect with carrot cake?
Tessa (the heroine in WILD MAN) is a baker…correction an awesome baker; pies, cakes, cookies, cupcakes, cheesecake. I was hankering for some fresh baked goods while reading this book. Good thing fantasizing about the aromatic and delicious sounding treats have zero calories.
I don’t have Tessa’s exact carrot cake recipe, so you’re stuck with my version. I’m pretty sure she would approve of this recipe.
I’m also certain that Brock/Slim would gladly lick the icing, slowly, and with purpose, taking his time, expertly swirling his tongue and hitting the sweet spot…off the icing spoon of course.
What were YOU all thinking, eh?
You can share your thoughts in the comment section. Right now please join me in welcoming, reviewer Heidi Wiley as she shares her thoughts about WILD MAN.
Plus, the Sassy-Kick-Assy-Dessert-Lovin’ bunch are back to chime in with their favorite quotes from the book.
REVIEW OF WILD MAN by HEIDI WILEY
Author Kristen Ashley has succeeded in building a story around two people that already had a beginning, but tied in circumstances of the past that could tear apart their future.
I immediately liked Tessa. She is strong, sweet and has a willingness to forgive without being walked on. Brock is quick tempered but dedicated to his woman, his job and his family and will do anything to protect and take care of them.
There are authors who shy away from including children or young adults into their storylines and if they do, they’re at times only mentioned in passing. Kristen Ashley not only includes them, she gives each of them their own unique voice and personality that fits perfectly into the narrative of the main characters lives.
The author surrounds this couple with plenty of challenges; a rocky beginning, conflicted family issues, a crazy ex-husband and an even a crazier ex-wife, drug dealers and snicker doodles, but still manages to incorporate a scorching sexy romance and bring it all together for a great read.
Highly recommend 5 stars
Heidi’s Favorite Quote:
“You ever,” he dipped his face close, mouth and eyes still smiling, “ever lock onto your control while we’re enjoyin’ each other, I’ll know one thing. And that is, I’m not doin’ it right.”
“Brock–” I whispered but stopped when his face dipped even closer.
Favorite quotes from some of the members from the Sassy, Classy, Kick-Assy Group
From Ladybug (who by the way has claimed Brock/Slim as her absolute favorite. We all have a favorite, mine is still Tack, so I have stepped aside and given Ladybug full access to Slim, although, Tess may have something to say about this.)
For all those who think we treat these characters as real people…we don’t really. Reading books in this genre provides great fantasy escapism, and it’s a shitload of fun discussing these books with these gals.
Moving on to Ladybug’s favorite quotes:
“Tess, I learned somethin’ early about you. You are the only woman I know who doesn’t need words. Everything you do speaks for you and it never lies. Just your hand on me, babe, says it all.”
One of Ladybug’s favorite exchanges between Slim and Tess is when Slim drinks straight from the milk carton.
Tess said, “Um… well, now that we’re on that subject, it’s somewhat unhygienic for you to drink out of the milk jug.”
“Babe, I had my tongue in your mouth for ten minutes this morning. How’s that any different?”
Pat Fordyce’s fave: “No one calls me Brock, they call me Slim.”
“But you aren’t slim!” Tess said.
Luci Cassar’s fave: “You wanna tell me, sweetness, how dessert for seventeen people translates into seven pies and two cakes?” Brock asked.
“Babe, you think I found the women of my dreams at 45 years old and I’m gonna let anything happen to her, think again. That’s a long fuckin’ time to wait for what you want. I waited. I found it. I’m pullin’ out all the stops to take care of it.”
Kelly Bennett’s: Slim said, “I can’t make any promises about where this is gonna go but what I can do is give you me, keep you safe while you walk on the wild side and work my ass off to do what I can so this never goes bad for you.”
Grettel Ballestero’s: “Don´t you see? I’d walk through fire if you were what I was walking to.”
Scarlett’s: Tess talking to Elvira (By the way, Elvira appears throughout the series in each book. She’s as sassy as they come and says whatever is on her mind, no filter…kind of like the Sassy Chicks here.)
“When a woman means something to him, he takes care of her. He told me this and I believe him. I mean something to him. I don’t know what you’ve heard or who this Hawk guy is but I know who Brock is to me. Now I’d love to have cosmos with you and the girls. But I won’t listen to anyone trash talking Brock because he also means something to me and only he and I know what’s going on between us and all that other shit, well, Elvira, it just doesn’t matter.”
Selena Robins’ faves: “Darlin’,” Brock said. “The last time I walked into a mall was two presidents ago.”
I stared at him in shock. Then I asked, “Is that even possible?”
“I got a dick and I was single so, yeah, it’s possible.”
Tess said, “When my phone rang at the bakery, this usually meant someone wanted to order a birthday cake. When Brock’s rang at the Station, this usually meant someone had a cap busted in their ass. My job was WAY better.”
CARROT ZUCCHINI CAKE
4 egg whites
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1-1/3 cups vegetable oil
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups finely shredded carrots
2 cups finely shredded zucchini
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
5 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Whole or chopped pecans or walnuts for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 350F
In a large bowl beat eggs, egg whites and sugar until frothy.
Gradually beat in oil.
In a separate bowl combine: dry ingredients.
Add all dry ingredients (except the carrots and zucchini and nuts, keep them on the side for now) to the frothy mixture.
Beat for 5 minutes.
Stir in carrots, zucchini and nuts.
Pour into three greased 9-in. round baking pans.
Bake at 350° for about 35 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched.
Cool 5 minutes before removing from pans.
Cool thoroughly on a wire rack.
Directions for Frosting:
Add cream cheese and butter in a large bowl.
Beat until smooth.
Add sugar and vanilla.
Continue beating until sugar is dissolved.
Spread between the layers and over the top and sides of the cake.
Garnish with whole or chopped nuts if desired.