Spotlight & Giveaway: Ashes & Wine by TARYN ELLIOTT

Posted August 10th, 2012 by in Blog, Spotlight, _Entangled Pub. / 27 comments

Today it is my Pleasure to Welcome the author of Ashes and Wine and Creative genious behind this website Taryn Elliott to HJ!

Tell us about Taryn Elliott

*waves* Hi. I’m a contemporary romance author. I tend to write on the sexier side of the spectrum. I kind of tripped into writing really emotional stories with strong characters. When I started out I thought I was a rom/com writer because of my snarky voice, but I’ve found that I don’t know how to write a lighthearted story. I love that angst, I love that push-pull element in a romance when two people are falling in love. And I also LOVE the family element to stories. The sibling dynamic, family bonds, and the love…not to mention the fights–all of it makes for great storytelling in my opinion.

What are your hopes and dreams for the future with respect to your writing?

Of course the big dream is to be a full time author. I hope that happens someday. I would love to be able to focus all my attention on writing. But I just want to be able to keep on telling my stories. There are so many writers out there that will never realize that dream. I know how lucky I am to be published.

If you had a time machine…

Dangerous question. I’ve dealt with a lot of loss in the last 10 years. It’s very tempting to go back and see my parents. Especially as the woman I am now. To give all those hugs, spend all the time I could, and even change history.  But part of all of that loss has shaped me into the woman, and more importantly…into the writer I am today.

Let’s talk about your new release

If you had to sum up “Ashes and Wine” what would you say?

It’s about finding love in the middle of loss, and finding the strength and the bravery to make that connection when you’re at your most vulnerable.

What sparked the idea for “Ashes and Wine”

The bookstore. I’ve had that bookstore in my head for years. I’ve worked in the corporate run bookstores and wished for all the intimacy and uniqueness that As You Wish could be. But in this time where bookstores are dying out, it was a good way to twist the traditional store on its ear. Insert wine tasting and voila. Writer brain spitith outeth.

What is your favourite part of this book?

I should say it’s the guitar parts, or the winery parts, or even the family dynamic throughout the book–but in the end. I love the scene between Mercy (Tessa’s best friend) and Tessa when they are facing the truth about relationships over a bottle of tequila. It’s hilarious and so telling. Sometimes alcohol rips down barriers and hands you a truth you don’t want to face. And sometimes it just hands you a ticket to Hangoversville. Tessa got both. LOL

What were the challenges you faced in bringing this book to life?

The subject matter is near and dear to me. I lost my mom a few years ago to colon cancer and I drew on a lot of that raw emotion when I was writing this book. Having an editor get his fingers in there and pull that stuff apart was really a struggle for me. In the end, the edits were necessary of course, but in the middle of it–man, that was tough.

Are there any other books to be released in 2012?

I hope so. *Cross your fingers* I’ve got a Christmas story in for review, but I’m up against a lot of talent. So, we’ll see how that goes. I’ve also got another fall/winter book in the works right now. A cross country romance of the ultra sexy variety.

Would you please share an excerpt from “Ashes and Wine”

Sure. How about one that hasn’t been seen before?


By the time she dispensed with the minor catastrophe in the kitchen—thank you, missing
canapés—he’d settled into one of the u-shaped chairs. His arm was slung over the most beautifully worn
guitar she’d ever seen. The honey-colored wood was obviously well-loved and well-used. The only things
that looked new were the strings.


He’d pushed his shirt sleeves up, showing forearms dusted with dark hair over sinewy muscle. Each
wrist was cuffed in dark, engraved leather, obviously custom-made. She couldn’t make out the design, but
the cuffs were striking against his skin.


She stepped onto the small stage and scanned the mix of ages that peppered the crowd. A handful
of twenty-somethings had claimed one of the bartop tables by the cookbooks, and a trio of pre-club city girls
were settled with wine by the French doors. Women and men mingled around the open floor in front of the
registers, and snagged seats in the reading nooks.


Tessa leaned into the microphone. “Welcome, everyone. Unfortunately Toby Caine isn’t able to be
with us tonight.” The chorus of awws was expected.


She pushed on. “But I think you’ll like our alternative.”


Royal flicked a fingertip across her palm. A quick rash of goosebumps made her fingers curl. He
crooked his finger and she bent to him, covering the microphone.


“This is only for you, Tessa. Don’t market me.” His voice was for her ears only. The urge to nuzzle
into him was overpowering, but she managed to nod before she straightened. “This is a special performance
from my friend, Royal Andreas. Please give him a warm welcome.”


A dozen women came forward, dragging their chairs. She couldn’t blame them. Without strumming
a note, Royal possessed a presence that overshadowed even his amazing good looks. The solemn gray eyes
could lure anyone. Tessa stepped down, leaving the stage to Royal.He commanded attention. The first strains of the
haunting melody halted conversation. The hollow knock against the body of the guitar was like a
heartbeat. Steady and controlled, his long fingers manipulated the strings along the fretboard. A simple
instrument shouldn’t have so much power.


Sad and lonely, the song reached inside and carved Tessa’s heart out. No words were needed. The
smattering of applause at the end of the song turned into a roar as people shook out of their daze.


Royal was definitely no amateur.


The heavy fall of his hair obscured his face, as if he would only share so much. Song after song, he drew
people in until more chairs clustered around the stage than lined the store.


Tessa backed out of the intimate circle he’d created. A hammer to her heart would have been less painful.
It hurt to listen to the songs. Even without knowing why he’d written them,she knew they were his own.


Music like this was too personal for a cover song.


He’d always been a private man. Polite and friendly, even reserved. He’d never given a hint that
this soul-wrenching pain was inside of him.

Taryn will be giving away a copy of her book ‘Ashes and Wine’.

To Enter Giveaway: Please enter the drawing  in the Rafflecopter and Post a Comment for Taryn.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Character Interview:

Tessa / Royal:

Was it love at first sight?

Royal: Yep. Afraid so. I denied it for way too long, but in the end all it took was one look and one bottle of Tocai. She had me in that single instant.

Tessa: Man, how do I compete with that answer? Sheesh. Mine was a little later. I was halfway there that day in the winery, but I knew I was done for the first time I heard him play that guitar. It was like a key to his lock. I was done for. And the first kiss in the stacks certainly didn’t hurt.

What was the a-ha moment in your relationship?

Royal: Well, if you mean the oh, shit I’m a dead man…then it was the day she came to the winery after our…um.
Tessa: Hookup?

Royal: That was not a hook up. Hook ups don’t twist a man up until he can’t breathe. Hook ups are a stress reliever. There was nothing about that first time with you that could be called a simple hook up.

Tessa: Well, that’s a good thing. I think.

Royal: Very good. But in answer to the question. When she came to the winery and demanded answers. That’s when I knew that nothing would be the same again. Thank God.

Tessa: Yep. I think I better answer the next question before he gets to open his mouth. My answers are never going to live up to his. My a-ha moment was when he kissed me at As You Wish. Nothing was as perfect or as scary as what he made me feel. Everything changed from that moment on.

Royal: What was wrong with that answer?

Tessa: Oh hush. And stop smirking.

Tessa what is the most romantic thing Royal has done?

Tessa: The man has been making up for lost time let me tell you. The latest was a surprise visit in the middle of the week. He conned Daria–that’s the winery’s cook–out of a lasagne and brought me a bottle of our wine. We had a late candle lit dinner and he played a song he wrote just for me. No fan fare, no mad planning, just that wonderful moment between the two of us. The simple always works best for me.

Royal describe your perfect day with Tessa

Royal: I’m a simple man. We’ve taken to stealing a day away from the winery and her bookstore for day trips. We both have such crazy schedules that we make sure to take at least one day a month off and spend the day holed up by the water or at one of her girlie Bed and Breakfast places. I don’t care what the surroundings are, just that I get her alone.

And the future?

Royal: More wine and finally some laughter. Thanks to this amazing woman by my side I actually can enjoy both for the first time in too many years to think about.

Tessa: It took me three years to get this man to talk and now all he does is make me tear up. Some things are worth waiting for. The future is looking more amazing every day.


So, tell me, since that question about the time machine was a REALLY good one, what would you do if you had access to Marty McFly’s Delorean?

27 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Ashes & Wine by TARYN ELLIOTT”

  1. Kim M


    I thought the story was interesting. But the characters… Oh my gosh. They seem so happy. (Yes, I want to talk about them, like they are real people. 🙂 )

    • Taryn Elliott

      Thanks, Fiona. It was really nice to revisit my peeps with the interview. Royal took some time to get there, but once he did…the boy is shameless with his love for Tessa.

  2. Kai W.

    I love this story. Nobody wants to be vulnerable. We all hide that vulnerability so well in public and cry in private. I love heart-felted stories and Ash and Wine fit into this category.

    • Taryn Elliott

      Yes. Unfortunately I know that all too well. And I poured all of that stupidity into Royal. LOL It’s okay to need someone, he just took a few years to get the hint.

  3. Sasha H

    This book is in my must-read pile. Looking fwd to delving into some wine tastings, bookstore ambience and a love story, all in one book.

    • Taryn Elliott

      Thanks Sasha. I’m hoping to write a sequel to this with her best friend’s story. And I’ll be revisiting the bookstore then. I loooooove Princess Bride and just couldn’t resist all the touches added to the store because of that story and movie.

  4. Michelle W

    Hi Sara, Hi Taryn! Taryn, your comment about the time machine was so touching. I would wish for the same, by the way.

    In vino veritas 🙂 I look forward to reading that part in the story. I can’t see such a heavy discussion going as well over a cup of coffee. Yup, tequila is definitely needed. I don’t usually do angst so well, I am a Pisces after all, lol. But I’m willing to push that aside for now.

    I love character interviews. It feels like I already know the characters a little. It sounds like Tessa has him firmly wrapped around her finger. And I do love a guitar playing hero *sigh* Thanks for the giveaway!


    • Taryn Elliott

      Hi Michelle! Yeah, it does get a bit angsty, but the payoff is one totally head over heals man in love. Oh and she’s just the same. 😉

      *sigh* Yeah–the temptation of the time machine question makes you think really hard. But in the end it’s the life lessons we work through that make us the people we are. I’d totally go for one of my mom’s hugs right now though. It’s been a helluva week. LOL

  5. kylarae

    i’d be inclined to go back and change some of the things i did when i was younger. make wiser choices. but then again, if i were to do that, i may have never met my husband of 25 years and had our 3 children. i don’t know. i’d really have to think about it. my life is good. not sure what i would want to change. :o)

    • Sara HJ

      Thanks for stopping by Kylarae. I feel you. I don’t know that I’d be quick to change my fate. If I changed one thing, would I lose another? Damn tempting to go back and get a few lotto numbers in tho. 😉

    • Taryn Elliott

      Thanks for stopping by Kylarae. I feel you. I don’t know that I’d be quick to change my fate. If I changed one thing, would I lose another? Damn tempting to go back and get a few lotto numbers in tho. 😉

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