Hello, all! Today is our stop on the Call Of The Raven Blog Tour hosted by Karen @ Literati Literature Lovers.
We have a really nice and informative spotlight post and a 20 Questions with the protagonist, Asher Lake AND a super cool giveaway for you! So let's quickly move onto it all.
AUTHOR: Shawn Reilly
GENRE: Paranormal Drama
PUBLICATION DATE: January 22, 2013
EVENT ORGANIZED BY: Literati Literature Lovers
Love is something everyone longs for at the deepest level—but for some, love is a curse. This is most certainly true for Asher Lake, the Keeper of an unknown group of people called ani-shifts. Ani-shifts, those with the ability to shift into animal forms, compose a secretive body of individuals known simply as the Union.
A wolf in shifter form, Asher lives with a curse placed upon him and his predecessors by the elusive Raven—a dark entity whose identity remains a mystery. According to the ancient archives, the Raven’s curse is conditional and set in motion by one fatal decision: if a Keeper ever allows himself to fall in love he will die.
Choosing to live in isolation within the walls of Lake Manor, a private estate concealed by the dense woods of Brokenridge, Asher has vowed never to love or to fall in love with anyone believing it to be the only way to survive. However, after ten years of neglecting his people and the protégés left in his care, along with the impending threats of an uprising, Asher learns the only way to break the Raven’s curse on future Keepers, thereby preventing them from suffering the same fate, is to accept his.
This becomes his strongest challenge of all when he encounters Elle Ison, the woman of his dreams. Does Elle hold the key? Can she help him change his fate?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
When it seemed like I was only an F away from flunking out of the sixth grade, a retired school teacher took me under her wing. After some tutoring and testing, she informed my parents that the reason I was having trouble in school wasn’t because I was dumb but instead dyslexic.
When my stepfather heard this, he decided to take me to a used bookstore with the belief that the best way to improve my reading skills was to read. Some of the books were hard to get through at first, but with his encouragement I refused to give up. We made many trips to that bookstore, and I especially loved the science fiction and fantasy sections.
Then one day, after complaining about the ending of a particular book, he told me that if I didn’t like the books that I had been reading, then to write one myself—so I did. My first attempt resulted in a horribly written western when I was fourteen, staring a cocky gun slinging cowboy by the name Curt Calhoun. Curt along with his seven brothers, who all shared C names in common, may never have seen the pages of a book, but that was the day I started writing, and never stopped.
I have over fifty books on my computer which I've written in various genres, all of which are waiting to come to life. Even though my ability to write has improved over the years, I am humble enough to admit that I cannot venture on this journey alone
Sincerely yours, Shawn Reilly
Shawn Reilly lives in Mt. Comfort Indiana with her husband, and three daughters. Call of the Raven is her debut novel. She is currently working on the second novel in the Union series. She writes in various genres, which include paranormal romance/urban legend, science fiction, dystopian, fantasy, suspense, and dramedy.
20 QUESTIONS WITH ASHER LAKE:
I stepped into the dining room instantly aware that, upon seeing me, Asher Lake’s face changed from his normal distant expression to that of annoyance. I wasn’t sure what it was about me, but I seemed to draw out the worst qualities from him. Often, I had to remind myself, when I was in his presence, that I am a tiger as well as a Pillar Council member and I deserved to be treated with respect.
However, more often than not, by the time our conversation was finished I walked away completely exasperated and intimidated. Despite his displeasure, this interview was an attempt to change that—how the Union and I felt about him. His family was gone and he was bored. I knew those two factors were the only reasons he had conceded to do this interview, but I planned to take advantage of his vulnerability. Walking to the table I sat down and placed my small recorder in front of me, along with my notebook and pencil.
“Is this really necessary Madam Linn?” he scowled at the recorder.
“You can either answer the questions through me,” I told him, “or you can subject yourself to Pixie Landers, the mouth of the Nashville Press.”
“You mean the gossip of the Union,” he sighed. “She derives pleasure out of twisting everything I say. I believe the last time she tried that though, I sent her an apple afterward that was enchanted with a truth spell. It turned her into a mute for three weeks. I don’t think her husband minded at all.” Asher laughed and, waving a hand toward the center of the table, he drew my eyes there. I noticed then the fruit bowl that displayed not one, but several juicy red apples. “Speaking of that, please do help yourself.”
“How about we just get started?” I frowned to express how I feel about his behavior. While I opened the notebook and turned on the tape recorder, he removed an apple from the bowl and took a bite. There was no denying the smirk on his full lips as he waited for me to begin.
Linn: “First of all, tell me about Asher Lake, describe yourself to me.”
Asher: “I am quite sure that opinion would change depending on who you ask, but since you asked me, I consider myself a caring, creative and complex man.”
Linn: “Caring? You would describe yourself as caring, when you’ve chosen to ignore the Union for the last ten years, and the protégés left in your care?”
Asher: “I believe the words you so eloquently used to ask that question were ‘describe yourself to me,’ which I can only assume, Madam, meant that you wanted me to give an accurate conjecture of myself. And despite what the Union or certain members of the Pillar Council and my family hold true, I am caring in that I have done things, without their knowledge, for their benefit.”
Linn:” Would you care to elaborate on that?”
Asher: “No I would not. Next question please.”
Linn: “You’re the Keeper to the Union and a wolf in your animal form. How do you feel about both?”
Asher: “Neither are things I would have chosen for myself. Next, and please don’t be boring. I hate to be bored.”
Linn: “When you’re driving down the road what music do you like to listen to?”
Asher: “I love all sorts of music,” he paused, long enough to study my features. Asher never left Lake Manor so I was quite sure he thought my question was an attempt to tease him. When he saw that I was perfectly serious, he proceeded to answer. “I especially like Breaking Benjamin. They have a particular song that I often consider my theme song. It’s titled Forever. You should listen to it sometimes, maybe then you’ll have a better perspective of me.”
Linn: “I’m sure, but for now answer this. If you had a free day and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do? Where would you go?”
Asher: “I believe, if I could do anything, I would like to see the ocean. I would sit on the beach and watch the sun set over the horizon. I wouldn’t do anything else but be thankful that I was there and that I was alive.”
Linn: “Tell me Asher, what are your strengths, weaknesses and talents?”
Asher: “I believe the consensus of rumor is that my magic and fighting skills are my strengths, since I am both a mage and a martial arts master, but I would have to say the bond that I share with my brother is my strength. Nevertheless, that same bond can also serve as my weakness. Talent, I guess, that would be the fact that I like to build things, write…and draw.”
Linn: “Why does that seem to embarrass you?”
Asher: “I guess it’s just not something a man like me should do.”
Linn: “Since that last question about your weakness seemed to invoke feeling from you in respect to Ari, can you tell me how do you feel about him and the protégés now that you’re an adult?”
Asher: “I imagine I feel the same way about them now that I did when I was younger, except the rat. He especially gets on my nerves. If I were you, I would watch my phone. He has a thing about taking things that don’t belong to him.” Asher produced a small flame of fire on the palm of his hand and continued to place an apple in that flame. Within seconds the sweet aroma of roasting apple filled my nostrils. With a widening leer, he doused the flames and bit into the warmed fruit. “But let’s not discuss rats or my brother any longer. Go ahead Linn. Ask me the question that you’ve been dying to ask.”
Linn: “How do you feel about using death magic, as you just showed me you are quite skilled in, when according to the archives it is illegal and punishable by the Council?”
Asher: “I feel that using death magic is a contradiction to everything that I am forced to uphold. But if you knew anything about death magic or my history, you would know that I never intentionally set out to learn it. Next question?”
Linn: “Fine, since you’re not into expounding on things, tell me then how do you express your happiness and anger?”
Asher: “Believe me Linn, as I know you have witnessed, when I am angry there is no doubt of that. As for my happiness, I can’t say I know what that feels like anymore.”
Linn: “When was the last time you remember being happy?”
Asher: “When Grant was still alive and Ari and I were just boys, but things changed and so did I.”
Linn: What is your greatest fear?”
Asher: “Losing those I care about.”
Linn: What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?”
Asher: There are far too many of those to answer properly.”
Linn: “Okay, name two.”
Asher: “I put someone in the hands of an employee I thought I could trust and here recently I learned the price of that decision. The second thing would be taking someone’s memory, and even though I was forced to do it, I still live with regret. And no, I will not go into detail on that either.”
Linn: When it pertains to the Union and the protégés, what could you have done to make things better or different?”
Asher: “I would have been a true Keeper, one that warranted respect and one that ruled as he saw fit—free to make his own choices—not one forced to follow outdated archives.”
Linn: “How do you feel about the Council?”
Asher: “I hate the Council and find everything about them evil.”
Linn: “How do you feel about the threat of an uprising and those that oppose you?”
Asher: “I feel that I’ve opened doors and given them permission. I haven’t been the best leader Madam Linn, or, are you failing to remember that about me?”
Linn: “No, I haven’t and stop trying to needle me. How did you feel the night Grant was called?”
Asher: “Lost, alone, and scared….next?”
Linn: “How do you feel about men who abuse women?”
Asher: “I feel that when a man is accused of abusing a woman he should be tied to a pole and held accountable by the very women he abused. She should be given her choice of weapon and be allowed to do anything that she pleased with him, until she felt worthy, beautiful and loved. That is how I feel.”
Linn: “Okay then, since we’re on the topic of women. Describe your ideal dream mate? If you found the ideal mate, would you want to marry and have children?”
Asher: “I know you are perfectly aware of where I stand on the matter of children. Without love, I will not marry or have an heir, and to say that I dream of a fairytale life is highly unproductive isn’t it—since, in fact, I have made a vow not to love.”
Linn: “Hypothetically speaking then, describe your ideal mate.”
Asher: “Preferably, she would be one that doesn’t ask annoying questions,” Asher heavily exhaled, and removing a small tin from his shirt pocket I watched him take out a mint and place it in his mouth. Asher had nice lips, which made me wonder if he had ever kissed a woman before. Clearing my thoughts, I tuned back in to listen. “The ideal mate would be one that I feel needs my protection. She would be a woman that receives me and my family for who and what we are. And in the end, accepts the fact that I may not be around for very long.”
Linn: “That being said, I’m surprised that your criteria doesn’t come with hair color and bust size preferences, given you have Ari for a brother. So…there are no specific features that you like in a woman?”
Asher: “I prefer blue eyes.”
Linn: “Oh, is there any particular woman in your life that you’re attracted to with blue eyes?”
Asher: “Yes, and to challenge my previous statement, I have pictured her in my dreams many times, but sometimes dreams and reality fail to communicate.”
Linn: “I get the impression that you don’t like talking about this particular subject. Can you tell me what scares you most about this person?”
Asher: “Other than my death? I would think that would be enough to scare any man. Two more questions, Linn and that is all. My brother should be arriving home shortly and we have business to discuss, so choose wisely.”
I carefully looked over my list of questions until I came to the last two. Asher’s reluctance to talk about a mate originated from the knowledge that he lived with a curse upon his life. Just as the Keepers before him, the curse is set in motion by the simple act of falling in love, and the result was always the same. When the Keeper fell in love they died. But Asher also had a destiny that, on occasion, I needed to remind him of.
Linn: “What would be the one thing you would change if you could for future Keepers?”
Asher: “I would prevent them from having to live under the same fate I have. I would give them the chance to know life, love and happiness.”
Linn: “Good answer, and with that said, what would you like it to say on your tombstone?”
Asher: “It would say just one thing below my name, and that would be the word protector.”
With that Asher Lake stood and walked away from the table. He left me with my pencil and notebook, and a great deal of emotions stirring that I never felt toward him before and that was sympathy, sorrow, and regret. Quite possibly, I realized, I had him all wrong. And then, as I sat there pondering my thoughts, I reached for the tape recorder only to have it burst into flames. Dropping it to the table I sat staring at the fireball, while behind me Asher Lake’s laughter resounded off the dining room walls.
~For our giveaway, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below.
~If the form doesn't load, click here.
~If the form doesn't load, click here.
~The giveaway is US ONLY. The book will be shipped by the author to the winner.
~After a winner is picked, they will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or we'll be compelled to pick another winner.
A big thank you to Karen for hosting this wonderful tour and to Shawn for the giveaway!
Good luck in the giveaway, thank you for stopping by, and happy reading!