Monster Mash Countdown Blitz - Day 4: 'Cutlass & Flintlock' by Ashley Nixon #Giveaway

Top 10 Favorite Things:

(in no particular order)

  1. Pugs
I have an obsession with pugs. So much so that my co-workers have taken to decorating my desk in pugs for my birthday, sending me pug (Childrens) books to read (Zorro the Pug!!), and given me pug socks.

  1. Tea & Coffee
I stopped drinking coffee for a while and relied mainly on I drink both. I think I find the act of drinking tea or coffee calming. It’s something I think about on a day that’s just a little too stressful and look forward to. It’s also a ritual I’ve combined with my writing time: make a cup of coffee or tea, sit down with my music, and write away.

  1. Sherlock
I don’t watch much on TV, but you can bet I’ll sit down to watch an hour of SHERLOCK when the new season comes out. I LOVE it for several reasons: amazing characters, creative plots, and clever dialogue.

  1. Reading
Well, you can’t be a writer if you don’t read. My current reading list is: DIE FOR ME by Amy Plum, Creating Characters by the Editors at Writer’s Digest (because you HAVE to read about craft), STRANGE ANGELS by Lili St. Crow. Here is a picture of my current bookshelf & office:  

  1. Writing (creating)
Of course one of my favorite things is writing! If I don’t write SOMETHING at least once a day, I feel like I missing part of myself. Below I’ve showing pictures of my books (CANNON has yet to be published, or written). I’ve been working hard on another book called WHEN STARS COME OUT that’s taken a lot of my time...but I love it, and I hope you will, too!

  1. Makeup
I love makeup...I buy various products to try, and am always trying different ways of doing my makeup. I recently go into lipstick, something I never thought I’d do. This was a look I did for my Bachelorette dinner (no party):

  1. Christmas
I love the feel of Christmas...there’s something about the lights and the colors that excites me. Below is last year’s tree, my roommates dog, Ollie (who hated those ears!) and my fireplace.

  1. Family & Friends
No explanation needed. <3 span="">

  1. Travel
I love to travel and I love adventure. I’ve been to Ireland, Peru, Italy, London, France, and Cancun. We’re hoping our next adventure will be getting to visit all the LotR sites in New Zealand!

  1. Disney!
Like many, I love Disney. I think it’s because I can relate to the stories, in particular, Belle and Cinderella. I loved the 2015 live-action version of Cinderella, and I can’t wait for the live-action Beauty and the Beast!

Alright guys—what are some of your favorite things?

Ashley was born and raised in Oklahoma, where the wind really does sweep down the plains, and horses and carriages aren't used as much as she'd like. When she's not writing (haha, like that EVER happens!), she's probably working out or pretending she's Sherlock Holmes. Her obsession with writing began after reading the Lord of the Rings in the eighth grade. Since then, she's loved everything Fantasy--resulting in an unhealthy obsession with the 'geek' tab on Pinterest, where all things awesome go. 

More Author's
Favourite things:

  • Cooking & Working Out - I know, I’m probably in the minority here. BUT, let me just say, while I don't always love either of these things, I do them consistently and they always make me feel AMAZING about myself and about my day. Starting a day with a workout, and eating well throughout the day makes me have a better day, I'm convinced. Some of the things I cook are below!

    Delicata Squash Salad

    Vegan Shepard's Pie!

    Music - I love to write with music, and certain sounds get me into a certain mind set so I can convey the feeling of what I'm writing better (or so I think). Here are some songs I've been listening to recently:

  •  Purple - I love the color purple. I have purple in my hair, the curtains in my office are purple, I even plan to have purple as a color for my future wedding. 

    Connect with the Author here: 


    Notorious pirate Barren Reed has one thing on his mind: Revenge against the man who killed his father. So kidnapping his enemy's fiancĂ© seems a perfect plan…until he actually does it.

    Larkin Lee is more than a pretty face and fiancé to a powerful man. Her fierce personality is enough to make any pirate want to push her overboard.

    But when the King of the Orient comes to Barren with a task—to find the Bloodstone, a powerful gem thought only to exist in legend, Barren sees another opportunity to destroy his enemy. Together, Barren, Larkin and a crew of pirates set off to find the stone, only to discover it caused the death of Barren’s own mother and Larkin’s, too. As his strongest allies turn into his greatest enemies, and the life of the girl he kidnapped becomes more important than he ever dreamed, Barren’s quest for revenge becomes a fight to save the Orient.


    Barren Reed hopes to protect the Orient from his tyrant uncle, but his plans to make the King’s life a living hell aren’t supported by the Elders of the pirate community. As it stands, Barren has earned the Elders’ disdain for his carelessness, and they threaten him into exile if he makes one more mistake.

    Barren’s not the only one feeling the Elders’ wrath—they don’t trust Larkin either. Worse, Barren can’t comprehend Larkin’s wish to have a relationship with her father, and the secrets she’s forced to keep create a tension that may pull them apart forever.

    When the Pirates of Silver Crest begin to die, bullets laced with dark magic are to blame. With more and more of these weapons infiltrating the Underground, discovering who’s behind the dissemination is no easy feat. As fear and tension mount among the people of the Orient, Barren and his crew find themselves in a race against time to stop the spread of dark magic before the world of Mariana spirals into collapse.

    Excerpt #1:
        Larkin had a hard time trudging through the mushy path of water, rocks and mud wearing a ball gown. She tripped several times on the too long skirt, only to be caught up in the ever-present arms of her kidnapper.  It was infuriating. She would prefer being covered in mud, rather than allowing Barren’s constant attempts to keep her on her feet.
        She couldn’t really figure out how to feel—she was scared, yes, but also strangely intrigued. She knew why they’d taken her: as bait to lure William to sea. Her father had warned her that she might be targeted, and she felt stupid having been taken. Every time she looked at Barren, anger flared in her chest.
        She’d decided to leave the engagement party after spotting Barren. She’d gone through her options—returning home meant signaling a carriage and drawing attention, and while the castle might offer safety, it didn’t offer her peace. That’s why she’d chosen to head to shore—why would a pirate ever suspect she’d go there? She was a lady, after all. She’d thought she had been discreet on her way out, even escaping Barren Reed’s notice…but, instead, she’d drawn it.
        She fell again and jerked away when she felt his hand on her arm.
        “I am perfectly capable of standing on my own,” she spat.
        Barren gave a short laugh. “Really? Because you’ve been stumbling all over since we left the ship.”
        Larkin reached down and gathered her dress up as much as she could and continued forward. “If it is too bothersome for you, we can cut the skirt away.”
        Larkin twisted, almost slipping as she did. Her eyes fell upon Barren, narrow and unkind.
        “You will not touch me.”
        Barren held up his hands. “I was just offering an option to ease your struggling.”
        “I’m not struggling!”
        She turned around and to her great annoyance, fell again as the rocks and mud gave way beneath her feet. This time, Barren stood aside as she got to her feet again. She refused to look at him, her face burning with embarrassment.


    Excerpt #2:
        “It is required by the code that I kill any privateers I come into contact with—a waste, really. You were brave.”
        Barren moved his arm back and thrust the blade toward the young lord. Larkin moved quickly, snatching Leaf’s cutlass from his hand, she deflected Barren's sword and stood between the two.    
        “No!” she cried fiercely. “You will spare him!”
        “You do not command me!” Barren’s voice was deadly.
        “What would you gain from his death?”
        “He cannot be trusted!”
        “You've spent all your life killing the wrong people! How many more lives will you take to pay for one?”
        Barren let his blade fall to his side. His gaze seared her, and he could tell she was afraid. Her eyes were wide, and she breathed heavily, but her hands tightened on the hilt of Leaf’s blade. For a moment, he wanted to end her life. Then he would have no more interferences, but he knew he couldn’t. He took a step toward her, eyes narrowing.
        “Move,” he commanded. Larkin glared up at him and shook her head. Barren tightened his jaw.
        “It's okay, Larkin,” she heard Jonathan's voice. “Move.”
        Barren watched as she turned to face Jonathan. Because she was distracted, Leaf was able to reach forward and pull her away from the scene, ripping the blade from her hands.     Barren stepped forward, repositioned himself before the man and pointed the sword at Jonathan’s neck. All Barren had to do was push ever so slightly and blood would pool on the ground, a terrible gurgling sound that would fill the air. Larkin would scream—scream that he was a monster. Only now, she would see it, she would really know it.


    Except #3:
        Barren gazed at the crowd, sifting through the faces. While he wasn’t sure who he was looking for, he could only imagine what sort of wife William would need. A woman who was slight and meek, someone who didn’t like to stand out in the crowd, or speak up—obviously—or she would not have agreed to marry William. Then again, perhaps Barren was not giving this mystery woman enough credit. Perhaps she saw William as a way out of a situation. Either way, he felt sorry for her.
        Barren heard Leaf chuckle and he looked at the Elf. “I think you have no idea who you are dealing with.”
        Leaf pointed toward a circle of people. Barren’s eyes shifted there, and his breath caught. What he had expected was a fragile girl—someone slight, doll-like, and silent. This girl was not so. The first thing he took in was her strength. It radiated from her like warmth from a hearth. She stood straight with her shoulders back, an observing eye upon everyone. Then he drank in the features composing her beauty. Almond-shaped eyes gleamed with emerald irises that shone like sun on the green sea. Her smile, while charming and beautiful, had something mischievous about it. She had high cheekbones, blushed with pink and long, dark curls decorated with white flowers falling down her back and over her shoulders. Her dress, crimson in color, was unlike the others, hugging her hourglass figure like it was made on her. Barren could not have thought up a more beautiful girl, and no one around her compared.
        A smug smirk crossed Leaf’s thin lips.
        “What am I supposed to do with her?” asked Barren. His thoughts were all muddled. He had forgotten why he was here, or how he had intended to attract this girl’s attention. Could he even do that?
    Leaf laughed. “Oh, you silly boy, we won’t make it out of this one alive, will we?”
    Barren glared at the Elf. “Don’t tell me you expected her! How could she ever agree to marry my brother?”
        Leaf shrugged, still smirking. “Ask her.”

    Cannon (coming soon!)

    The king is dead, the Network is destroyed, and Barren Reed has been exiled by the Elders of Silver Crest. To make matters worse, the black spot--a curse of dark magic--continues to devour him. It’s true purpose is still unknown, but one thing is certain: It will corrupt Barren in the worst way.

    With her greatest secret revealed, Larkin Lee flees Maris. Accused of slaying the king, there’s only one place to go--Silver Crest. But Barren isn’t happy to see her, and their reunion leaves more questions unanswered, including whether they have a future together.

    As Datherious rises in power, Barren and Larkin must work together to find the fifth Relic to complete the King’s Gold and prevent Datherious from obtaining control over dark magic, but the black spot has other ideas, and the closer they get to finding the final Relic, the more corrupt Barren becomes. Larkin finds herself in a head to head battle with the only man she’s ever loved and the reality is harsh--only one can walk away alive.

    Photo Shoot:

    Want to see some of the wonderful picture from The Cutlass Trilogy photo shoot?

    Don't you just love them!

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