Presents! — (Gerry’s Lion)

April 24, 2015

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This is Ashavan Doyon and I thought I’d spread some good cheer! I mean, giving presents is very much a part of Christmas, and the story does start with a Christmas cruise.

So, I’m giving away two prizes. I mentioned that commenters would be entered to win a giveaway! The first went randomly to a commenter on all the posts for the New Release Party up to this one. Yvonne is the winner - please contact me at ashavandoyon@gmail.com with the email you use at the Dreamspinner store. You’ve won a free copy of anything from my Dreamspinner backlist (that’s any e-book I’ve written for Dreamspinner EXCEPT my new release, Gerry’s Lion).  Pick from The King’s Mate, The Colors of Romance, I Almost Let You, The Byte of Betrayal, or A Wounded Promise.

I’ll also be giving away an e-book copy of Gerry’s Lion a little later tonight, so stay with me!

The start of Gerry’s Lion focuses on Christmas, and I think we see that both Gerry and Leo are very much drawn to their traditions. That was also part of my attraction to doing a story based around holidays, because I think those traditions can be very meaningful. For Gerry, they are so meaningful that he actually packed a small artificial Christmas tree to put up in his cabin on the cruise.

What is your most meaningful holiday (not necessarily Christmas) tradition?

EDIT: because I want to forget about this, but you know I need to remind you! PLEASE BUY THE BOOK:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6305

 

 

 

Time for an excerpt — (Gerry’s Lion)

April 24, 2015

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This is Ashavan Doyon, talking about my new release Gerry’s Lion.

There’s a scene where Leo has discovered that Gerry loves art and goes to the gallery on the Sunrise. He’s trying to learn more about Gerry, and he gets a little more than he bargained for.

Leo thanked him and took the stairs down to deck six. The hallway where the art was displayed wasn’t difficult to find. It was the only one that hadn’t been specifically decked out for the holiday.

Leo walked down hesitantly, looking at the artwork. Most of the names he didn’t recognize. He studied the paintings, wishing he knew anything about the artists or art. He could spot what he liked: bold oil paintings where you could see the texture of the paints. And there were a few. But the ones on the wall were painfully melancholy. Trees about to lose their last leaf. A single leafless birch surrounded by the fiery colors of autumn. They were vivid and almost angry.

“Brilliant, aren’t they?” said a quiet voice behind him.

Leo gulped and nodded.

“They are quite a departure for this artist. He’s known for more modern abstract work. His focus is usually on color and texture as much as content, conveying location and…. Well, he’s brilliant. These were his first works on the market in a couple years. But you can tell it’s him. See the birch, lonely, white, depressed… you can see the bark peeling. Look at how it’s so much more vivid than the brilliant colors of the trees surrounding it.”

“I like the textures,” Leo said, turning to find a well-dressed man in a suit. “I don’t really understand the rest.”

“Perhaps a Christmas-themed piece?”

Leo shook his head. “I’ve met someone. And he’s into art and I like art, but I want to understand it better.”

The attendant smiled. “I’m Nate. I can help you.”

Nate walked him down the hall and stopped at each piece of art. He spoke passionately about the pieces, describing the virtues of each one. Occasionally they’d come to a piece virtually locked to the wall, and Nate would drop a name even Leo couldn’t miss. Rembrandt. Picasso. When they reached the end of the hall, Nate led him into another small room. Leo stood in the doorway, transfixed.

“That’s another Tanner,” said Nate. “It’s the last modern piece he put on the market.”

“It’s pain,” Leo said, starting at the name.

It can’t be.

“You’re close. The title of the piece is Loss.”

Leo looked at the painting, studying it. Making his way through the sweeping strokes to find the objects in the sea of white and pale blues. To make out the figures. The sweep of the strokes conveyed a line. Peaks and valleys fading and then flat. And at the end of it a figure at the door, alone. A hospital room. The painting was a hospital room. An empty bed. A weeping black figure alone.

Choosing character traits for characters can be a struggle for an author. How does one convey a painting if one doesn’t paint? How does one convey the taste of a delicacy? The exhilaration of life on a motorcycle? I tried to pull Leo’s discovery of appreciating the artwork into his feelings for Gerry–important because for Gerry that artwork is very tied into Adam and Gerry’s loss.

Is there something innocuous that you associate with loss? For me it’s a cologne. A whiff can send me spiraling for days.

About the Cover — (Gerry’s Lion)

April 24, 2015

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This is Ashavan Doyon again, here to talk to you about Gerry’s Lion.

Covers matter, a LOT. Often it is only the cover that first attracts a reader into taking the moments to read the blurb, and so it is an element, I think, that tortures authors. We want a cover that says EVERYTHING there is to say about our story. But it can’t. And if it tries, it can break the conventions of the genre so badly that no one will read it. I’ve seen incredible stories that just didn’t perform as expected, and sometimes I have to wonder if the cover is the reason.

Gerry’s Lion breaks the pattern for my covers with Dreamspinner. All my previous covers have been either photographs or photo montages. This one was drawn, which brought a new element into trying to find the perfect cover. When you submit an art request you give a brief character description, and that’s really almost all the artist has to figure out the best model for the character. They have that and a very brief synopsis. And a brief statement about the dream cover that you most want to see.

I described Leo like this: Leo Ystrabov is on the lower side of average height (about 5’6″), blue eyes, black hair. As a [spoiler redacted], he’s exceptionally well built and muscular. He favors tropical shirts.

And for my dream cover? This is what I asked for: An art gallery… the walls are white, but the room is dark shadows, a light shining on a single piece of art. It was radiant, like the sun. Yellows and reds and oranges, a mane of light around a dark figure, dancing–Gerry, engulfed by his lion. A man is seen from behind looking at the painting – this could be either Gerry, Leo, or the two of them together, all three situations happen in the book [minor spoiler redacted].

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I think I got pretty lucky, that comes really close. My experience has been getting a couple of covers built from watermarked stock images that give an impression of what the cover artist is going for. With a drawn cover it was quite different. I received sketches to show those ideas, and then the one I chose was drawn. Most of my editorial decisions once I’d picked which of the sketches I wanted were limited to how the title would be displayed.

What were the other two drawings? I don’t think I’m allowed to show you but there were two alternates. One depicted Leo, pulling off his shirt, in front of an abstract background of empty frames. The other showed Gerry, with Leo craning his neck over Gerry’s shoulder in front of a row of frames. I confess I had a hard time deciding, in part because Gerry’s character is African-American; I think there’s value in showing that on the cover. Unfortunately the depiction of Gerry just didn’t feel right to me (he was too tall, too muscular, the character didn’t make me think of the Gerry from my story) and I elected to go with the final cover shown here.

What makes a good cover, and what good stories do you think may not have been as popular because of the cover? Don’t forget–Responses will be used to help decide on a winner for one of the e-books I’m giving away!

And before I forget: BUY THE BOOK. PLEASE, PLEASE BUY THE BOOK:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6305

or in print:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6306

(in the interests of making people happy: the e-book version is part of the Wet Dream sale from today until 4/28 – 25% off)

Release Day Party — Gerry’s Lion

April 24, 2015

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Greetings Everyone! Welcome to the Release Day Party for Gerry’s Lion!

This novel is my first full length novel with Dreamspinner Press and I’m so thrilled to be able to hold a copy of my work in my hands. Today we’re going to talk a little about the story, I’ll talk about some of my inspiration. In there somewhere I’ll give away some e-books, and I’ll be choosing the winners from folks who respond to my end of post questions in the comments. I love to chat, so feel free to ask me anything!

So first a little more of an in person intro from me:

Gerry’s Lion

Gerald Tanner lost the piece of his life he loved most, his husband Adam. When faced with the prospect of another Christmas with a family who thinks he’s better off now that Adam is gone, Gerry decides instead to revisit the memory of when they met, and boards a Christmas cruise on the Sunrise. He’s not expecting to meet Leo Ystrabov. He certainly never imagined the courageous young man would challenge him into feelings of desire and the possibility of a love that isn’t his precious Adam.

Leo Ystrabov doesn’t quite know how to handle the shattered heart Gerry presents so hesitantly. But the offer is precious, and Leo can’t resist. However, with two families none too eager to accept them and a lot of baggage on both sides, their relationship faces an uphill battle. Leo will have to find his courage to be the lion Gerry sees in him.

I know, sounds a little heavy. There’s a lot of angst in this story for some pretty obvious reasons. So, what attracts you to gay romances? Do your prefer a certain kind? I’m a sucker for a period piece. How about you?

A sad Good-bye

April 23, 2015

Well, it’s almost time for me to turn the reins back over to DSP.

Congratulations to Trix for being the winner of the giveaway. Cookie Monster was always my favorite!

I hope everyone will enjoy Arik and Donovan’s story, A Midsummer Dream. I would love to hear from you!  You keep reading and I’ll keep writing!

Blessed Be and Sleep Sweet!

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April 22, 2015

What do you like to see in your romance? Hot sex? Real emotion ? Casual  Humor? What does it for you?

I happen to like all the above, but I want it to be believable and I want it to move at a steady pace. If a story gets too bogged down with filler fluff, as I call it, I can lose interest in a story very quickly. A good story will grab you by the back of the neck and not let go until you turn that very last page. What are your thoughts?

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A Midsummer Dream – Excerpt 2 Adult

April 22, 2015

A spicy taste!

Then he felt it. Donovan’s hand slowly slid up his thigh to his waist. Donovan rose above him. He could hear the audience murmuring as he was slowly stripped before their very eyes. He could hear Jasmine with her pretend moans,

and Henry with his loud growls as the two mimicked sex. Yet his attention was focused on the hands roaming over his naked flesh.

As Donovan kissed his way down Arik’s chest, Arik arched in pleasure. His moan was real. He couldn’t have stopped it, even though he’d wanted to. Arik didn’t want Donovan to know how much his touch affected him. Yet there

was no hiding his reaction. Then he was being rolled onto his stomach. He closed his eyes as Donovan covered him. The upper halves of their bodies were clear of the bower foliage. They rocked together, mimicking an act they had done one incredible night. Arik couldn’t stop himself from wishing Donovan would actually slide inside him. He couldn’t help but want Donovan to take him to that place again.

“Why does this seem so familiar?” Donovan whispered quietly in Arik’s ear as he rocked against him in a feigned dance of love.

“We’ve only been rehearsing it for weeks,” Arik panted as he dropped his head to his forearms.

“Then why do I know exactly what you’d feel like if I took you right now?” he demanded. “How do I know that if I bite you right here, you’ll scream with pleasure?”

 

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Time To Desert the Desert

March 19, 2015

Well, that about wraps it up for me.The cookies are done and the verdict is…not so good. They spread despite chilling out in the fridge for awhile. Oh, well.

I saw an old travel poster and decided I couldn’t afford to start buying old travel posters, so I recreated it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a little insight into Something To Die For. It’s available now on Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, and your favorite ebook retailer.

 

Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a copy! I’m going to be hanging out, answering comments, and looking out for the winner of the giveaway. I’ll make one last post to announce the winner later on, so check back in a few hours or tomorrow to see if you’ve won.  If you are the winner, please comment on my blog and I’ll get back with you.

Please check out Something To Die For by me, Piper Doone. Out now.

Something To Die For

Josh Tucker lives a blessed life—great job, great family, perfect husband, and two wonderful children—but a mysterious man named Adam who haunts his dreams and soon his waking life threatens everything when he stirs doubt as to whether any of it is real. Adam makes Josh question the world he’s taken for granted—as well as the origins of Adam himself.

Even if Adam’s claims are true, Josh has nothing to live for beyond his fabricated life—except the possibility of a real man out there somewhere who can love him. Josh is left with an impossible choice: stay in his delusion where he’s assured some happiness or take a great leap of faith for a chance to make a life with Adam.

 

Thank you.

Call For Backup!! And a Giveaway

March 19, 2015

Calling in for Backup…and a giveaway!

 

As much as this is Josh and Adam’s (and the desert’s) story, there are a number of important secondary characters in  Something To Die For.

 

And I want to talk about them so badly, but in the words of River Song on Doctor Who…spoilers.

 

I can say right off the bat we meet Josh’s husband, Sergio. Sergio is an amazing guy: patient, kind, playful, sexy, and gorgeous. And so not what he seems.

 

Josh and Sergio’s kids, as well as Josh’s mother and siblings, figure heavily in the story as anchors for his sanity. Or do they? Because there are others who show up and throw that idea on its head, leaving Josh to wonder just who is real and who isn’t.

 

Saying too much more would give it all away…so, in that spirit…let’s do a giveaway!

 

In the comments, tell me the most magical, inspirational place you’ve ever been to. The more unusual, the better! This isn’t your typical café in Paris or three weeks in the Alps kind of question. Mostly because I haven’t been on real vacation in over a decade. Well over a decade, actually.

 

If you have photos, show us! Tell everyone about the time you took a wrong turn in Kenosha and ended up almost getting eaten by a moose and you were taken in by a kindly old couple who housed you for a night and you learned to crochet and make maple syrup pie.

 

Winner receives a copy of Something To Die For!

Something To Die For

Josh Tucker lives a blessed life—great job, great family, perfect husband, and two wonderful children—but a mysterious man named Adam who haunts his dreams and soon his waking life threatens everything when he stirs doubt as to whether any of it is real. Adam makes Josh question the world he’s taken for granted—as well as the origins of Adam himself.

Even if Adam’s claims are true, Josh has nothing to live for beyond his fabricated life—except the possibility of a real man out there somewhere who can love him. Josh is left with an impossible choice: stay in his delusion where he’s assured some happiness or take a great leap of faith for a chance to make a life with Adam.

Mysteries of the Desert

March 19, 2015

When I was promoting Playing Hard To Forget (looky…it’s on sale, too, for $5.24. Would you look at that), I talked about how the wolf has figured into my family history for a thousand years. On my father’s side, the history was bloody and my family became known as wolf-slayers in Scotland around the turn of the last millennium thanks to an ancestor who saved the King from an attacking wolf in the forest.

 

So when I began having dreams of being in the desert at night with an old man speaking to me in a language I understood at the time but never when awake, hidden among the bush as a wolf stood guard to protect me from the dangers outside the protective circle of the fire and plants, my mother became fascinated by them and was obsessed with finding its meaning. This was well before I learned of my father’s side’s history.

 

Many bottles of sunscreen later, I still don’t know what they meant. All I do know is that the desert was its own character in my dreams. There was danger outside the light of the fire and the desert had sent protection for me. The only thing anyone can agree on is that it was odd that I was dreaming of a wolf, an animal not seen in the desert for many, many years, and not a common coyote.

 

I’ve always held the desert in high regard since then.

I call this one “Agave Agave Everywhere…and not a drop (of Tequila) to drink)

But a few years ago, I saw something that left me, for lack a better term, completely freaked me out. And it was then that the seeds of Something To Die For were planted.

 

I still have trouble processing what I saw into words, which, as a writer, really says something about me that using my words is difficult.

 

What I will say is that writing Something To Die For was a way for me to come to terms with what I saw that night. Giving it some humanity and a happy ending was something I needed to do, whether it got published or not.

 

I needed my desert to be the place it once was–my protection, my safe place. I didn’t want to think of it in the context of that horrid night and turning the story into something I could control from start to finish was a form of therapy for me.

 

In Something To Die For, just like in my dreams, the desert is a secret main character. Josh needs his desert to ground him. It is a part of him and helps him to get to where he needs to be.

 

But beyond all that, it’s a love story. The love story of Josh and Adam. And a love story from me to my desert.

Something To Die For

Josh Tucker lives a blessed life—great job, great family, perfect husband, and two wonderful children—but a mysterious man named Adam who haunts his dreams and soon his waking life threatens everything when he stirs doubt as to whether any of it is real. Adam makes Josh question the world he’s taken for granted—as well as the origins of Adam himself.

Even if Adam’s claims are true, Josh has nothing to live for beyond his fabricated life—except the possibility of a real man out there somewhere who can love him. Josh is left with an impossible choice: stay in his delusion where he’s assured some happiness or take a great leap of faith for a chance to make a life with Adam.

(Cookie update—the dough is chilling in the fridge. I’ve eaten 4 spoonfuls now. Everything seems good from here. I must do further research, though)