Choices and Second Chances with Nic Starr

August 10, 2015

choices

Hi. Nic Starr here. I’m joining you today to talk a little about my upcoming release, Andrew’s Promise. I wanted to share with you a little about the book, and its theme of life choices and the promises we make.

Andrew’s Promise is the story of a young man who is on the verge of starting his adult life when tragedy occurs. He has hopes and dreams, all of which he has to give up. Although some might argue he didn’t have to give up his dreams. Andrew could have been with the man he loved. He could have left his hometown and taken the road trip he’d always planned. Andrew could have handed the care of his fifteen-year-old brother, Josh, to someone else. But he didn’t. For Andrew there was no choice. It was inevitable he would stay and care for his brother, putting his own life—or at least the future he had envisaged—on hold.

I think we’ve all been in a position at some time or another, where we’ve had to make choices and decisions that result in sacrificing something important to us. I know as a mother, that’s definitely the case. I make choices on a daily basis that put my kids first. Having a child is making a promise to nurture, love, and protect.  Josh may not be Andrew’s child, but Andrew’s sense of family and the love he feels for his brother, are all encompassing and it is his instinct to protect and fill the void left by his father.

Andrew first appears in Charlie’s Hero, the first book of the series, as a responsible man who doesn’t seem to have much of a life of his own. In fact, he comes across as quite overbearing and a bit boring. He may have honoured his promise to look after Josh but he’s let that decision—the responsibility and fear of losing his brother—impact heavily on his own life and personality. But deep down Andrew is a wonderful man, and he deserved to have his dreams delayed not extinguished. The advantage of writing a novel, is the ability to make people’s dreams come true, to give them their second chances. For Andrew, it is all about his second chance at love with Tanner, the man he pushed away so many years before. And thus this second book was born. ☺

When I was writing this story, I thought back on my own life and the choices I’ve made. Would I have done anything differently? I’m not so sure I would have.

The first big choice I made was back when I was seventeen, so a very long time ago. *wink* I made the choice not to take a gap-year. A gap-year is the twelve months of travelling many Aussies do between finishing high school and starting university. I wanted to keep the study momentum going. After all, the quicker I finished, the sooner I’d be out in the workforce earning money. Did that choice impact me? Sure, it means I’ve worked pretty much full-time for twenty years and haven’t seen a great deal of the world.

That’s another fact of living in Australia—everything is so far away you need weeks and weeks for a holiday. Plus it’s expensive. I’ve seen a lot of Australia, the South Pacific, and a bit of Asia, but nothing of far-away places like Europe, Africa and the USA. Do I regret it? No, because I plan on doing a lot of travelling in my hopefully not-too-distant-future. The benefit is I now have a bit more money to travel in style. Although I do have friends who think backpacking as a youngster would have been more adventurous. Oh well, each to their own and better late than never. ☺

I’m starting my travels with a three week trip to the USA in October. GRL seemed a good excuse to plan a holiday. Hopefully, I’ll have a chance to meet many of you in San Diego.

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Anyway, enough of my ramblings but how about I leave you with a giveaway? If you’d like to win an eBook copy of one of my backlist titles, leave a comment on this blog post. All you need to do is share a choice you’ve made and whether you’d do the same thing again. Fingers crossed your choices have brought you happiness. ☺

Have a great day!

Nic xx

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And for those of you interested, here are the details of my latest release. It will be available on 12th August but is available for pre-order now.

Andrew’s Promise – The Blurb

Young mechanic Andrew Campbell’s life couldn’t be better. He is about to restore a Ford Mustang with his dad before heading off on the ultimate cross-country road trip with his best friend, Tanner McKenzie.

But tragedy strikes, and Andrew’s life is shattered. Worried his family will be torn apart if he doesn’t step in, Andrew makes a tough choice between following his heart and doing what he needs to do to protect his little brother.

When Andrew pushes Tanner away, Tanner heads off on the planned trip alone. Once Tanner leaves town, his life takes a different path and it’s ten years before he returns. Now a firefighter, he’s never forgotten his first love, and no one has ever taken Andrew’s place in his heart. He’s determined to see if Andrew feels the same way. He just hopes Andrew’s excited to see him, hopes that he’s available—and finally out—after all this time.

They might not have been ready to deal with emerging feelings years ago, but now might be the time for their second chance at love.

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press: http://bit.ly/1ghCwTq

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1fXw6bG

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1UgKMSu

Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/1IdHI3X

All Romance eBooks: http://bit.ly/1ODE5GY

About Nic Starr

Nic Starr lives in Australia where she tries to squeeze as much into her busy life as possible. Balancing the demands of a corporate career with raising a family and writing can be challenging but she wouldn’t give it up for the world.

Always a reader, the lure of m/m romance was strong and she devoured hundreds of wonderful m/m romance books before eventually realising she had some stories of her own that needed to be told!

When not writing or reading, she loves to spend time with her family—an understanding husband and two beautiful daughters—and is often found indulging in her love of cooking and planning her dream home in the country.

You can find Nic on Facebook, Twitter and her blog. She’d love it if you stopped by to say hi.

Website & Blog: http://www.nicstarr.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Nic-Starr/e/B00MAWRRQG/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicki.nicstar

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/NicStarrAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nicstar000

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/nicstar000/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8139967.Nic_Starr

 

Man’s Best Friend with K. Lynn

July 22, 2015

-POP

Hello, all! K. Lynn here, talking about my new novella Must Love Dogs.

This novella was a labor of love and had its origination as an anthology piece. The story expanded outward and I wanted to see where it went, so the anthology submission didn’t happen. Instead, I went on a journey with my main characters, Colt and Ben and Dr. Jay, to discover how Ben’s recovery was still an ongoing process, but a determined veterinarian is going to be a vital part of that.

I’ve always been drawn to stories that feature characters dealing with life changes, including disabilities. For this story, I knew I wanted to focus on an artist who became blind, to delve into how he had to adapt and what that might mean for his future. However, it wasn’t until I was in the middle of writing that I realized just how challenging writing from the viewpoint of a blind character actually was. Ben can’t describe what’s going on around him visually, he doesn’t know what his new love interest looks like, so he must rely on other senses to ground him. I enjoyed the challenge, though. It stretched my creative muscles.

Ben took me places that I didn’t know I would go to, but that’s similar to all my characters. I never know what they might reveal, what kind of personality or secrets they might have, which makes the writing process all the more fun. With Ben, he has been through quite a lot in a short amount of time. He lost his boyfriend, his sight, and his livelihood. He has walled himself away to begin his recovery process, and his closest companion is his guide dog, Colt. When that connection is put in danger, Ben couldn’t realize what a fortunate situation it might actually turn out to be. He wasn’t looking for love, but it found him anyway.

Dr. Jay was a fun character to work with because he’s so different from Ben. He hasn’t been touched by tragedy, and he’s got a constantly upbeat outlook on life. All I knew going in was that he loved animals and he was going to fall in love with Ben. All the rest was up to Dr. Jay, and he certainly delivered. When Ben tries to push him away, Dr. Jay’s just that more determined to make their relationship work. And that determination is what helps see them through the ups and downs of what life throws at them.

And, of course, Ben and Dr. Jay would never have gotten together if it weren’t for Colt. He was their basis for introduction and remained a vital character throughout the story. Ben loves Colt, Dr. Jay does as well, and he is the third point in their triangle. The three of them together makes for a very strong unit, and I foresee Colt being an important part of a marriage ceremony if Ben and Dr. Jay make it down the aisle in the future. For now, he’s happy to stay by their sides and bask in the happiness that they are creating.

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Speaking of dogs, do you have a favorite? Maybe you prefer poodles over pugs. Great Danes over Greyhounds. Or are cartoon dogs your preference? Leave a comment with your favorite dog, real or otherwise.

 

I hope you enjoy Must Love Dogs, and the journey of Colt, Ben, and Dr. Jay. If you want to keep up with my current and future releases (it’s been a busy year for me so far!), you can check out my site at WriterKLynn.com or find me on Twitter @WriterKLynn.

Get your copy of Must Love Dogs here!

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Author bio:

K. Lynn has been an avid reader and writer since childhood. While in college, she increased her involvement in LGBT issues and writing within the LGBT fiction genre. She is a fan of authors who explore the commonality that exists within all sexualities and genders. Most of her own work features LGBT characters, many of whom are in established relationships and show how love perseveres. She has particular interest in seeing transgender characters gain a larger foothold within the genre and hopes the market for these works expands in the future.

 

I’ll Write You a Story… with Roan Parrish

July 10, 2015

Hi, all! Roan Parrish here, visiting the blog because my debut novel, In the Middle of Somewhere, is coming out today!

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In the Middle of Somewhere is a contemporary romance, featuring a scrappy professor, an intense carpenter, and a stray dog. Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates look down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Northern Michigan, but, a city boy through and through, when Daniel arrives in Holiday, Michigan, it’s clear that this small town is one more place he just won’t fit in.

Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his large, muscular body until it can handle anything, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people. Though he loves the quiet and solitude of his little cabin in the woods, Rex can’t help but want someone to share it with.

When Daniel arrives in Holiday, they are smitten with each other, but though the sex is intense and explosive, Rex fears that Daniel will be one more in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in could be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls that have been keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia where a secret is revealed that changes the way he understands everything.

In the Middle of Somewhere came about rather by accident while I was working on another project entirely. I was visiting my dear friend A in Phoenix, and we were talking in her kitchen while we put together an elaborate cheese plate—talking about books in general, talking about M/M in particular; talking about various real life annoyances, dissatisfactions, and desires. The usual. A said that she wished someone would write a romance about someone in her situation: having recently moved to a brand new place to take an academic job and having a tough time adjusting. Never one to let dissatisfaction fester when there’s cheese to eat, I blurted: “I’ll write one for you!”

On the plane ride home to Philly the next day, I wrote a little story and emailed it to A. It was about Daniel, who was just finishing his Ph.D. in Philadelphia, and has to totally turn his life upside-down when he moves to small-town Michigan for his first teaching job, but ends up meeting the love of his life there. I assumed that, my duty dispatched, I’d go back to the grim urban horror story of capitalism I was working on. Except that A wrote back, “Send me MORE!!!” So I did. That story was the first chapter of what became In the Middle of Somewhere and I just kept sending her more.

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As an ex-academic who worked for years on a book that only about five people in the whole world ever read, knowing that there was someone on the other side of those emails who was reading what I was writing and actually enjoying it was like a drug. After I’d written five or six chapters it stopped feeling like something I was writing just for fun. The characters started to feel real so I knew I couldn’t abandon them in the middle of the story. That is, I started thinking of it as a real book. Then as a series.

And that’s what I’m working on now: the second book in the In the Middle of Somewhere series! It features a new couple, who you’ll meet in book one, but Rex and Daniel definitely make an appearance. The second book is a bit darker, so that’s been a nice change (what can I tell you; I’m moody). I’m also having a smashing time working on a brand new project. It’s a series of novellas set in 19th century New York City, each of which revolves around one of Edgar Allan Poe’s detective stories. What do you get when you combine a very practical detective, an eccentric Poe enthusiast, and a copycat killer who may or not operate in a supernatural realm? Intrigue, horror, and a whole lot of heat. More nerdiness and ratiocination coming your way soon!

Thanks for hanging out today, everyone! I have two copies of In the Middle of Somewhere to give away. So: our hero, Daniel, has a lot of tattoos (with a tattoo artist for a best friend it’s kind of to be expected). To win an e-book of In the Middle of Somewhere, tell me your best tattoo story in the comments. If you have tattoos, you could tell me the story behind your favorite one; if not, tell me about the best (or worst!) tattoo you’ve seen. Have you always wanted a tattoo but never gotten one? Tell me what it would take to make you take the plunge. Extra credit (can you tell I used to teach?) if your story includes getting a tattoo for love. Spill all your inky tales in the comments for a chance to win!

 

Find In the Middle of Somewhere on:

Dreamspinner Press   |  All Romance eBooks

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 Find me on: 

 Twitter

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Kinky Experiences with Grace R. Duncan

July 6, 2015

kinky experiences

Hello everyone! This is Grace R. Duncan and today is the release of my new contemporary BDSM novel, Turning His Life Around.

I actually started Turning a long time ago. When I first started writing it, I was just beginning to understand all that BDSM was about and what it meant to me. Make no mistake, I’ve been kinky for almost as long as I’ve been sexual. But I didn’t really understand what it all was or how it worked.

Not all of my kinky experiences happened within a romantic relationship. In fact, many of them were with people who are just friends. Sometimes, play is just that—play. Two people have fun and enjoy something mutual. One thing to remember, here, is that BDSM doesn’t require sex. One of the best scenes I’ve ever had involved me getting my ass paddled (and spanked, among other things) but the guy spanking me never touched me sexually. Another time, I volunteered to let people learn fire play with me and though I was naked, there was nothing sexual about it. Sure, sex can be involved, but it doesn’t have to be.

But sometimes kinky relationships stem from existing romantic relationships. Couples—or more—who discover kink after being together for a long time. It’s often a natural progression to go from vanilla sex to experimenting with other things—tying someone up, blindfolding them, a swat here or there—all of which can lead to even more.

However, it’s not always that clear cut. Sometimes what seems so to be only friendship between two playing starts to feel like something more. BDSM—especially D/s and pain play—involves a lot of trust, on both sides of the relationship. For a submissive to be able to let go and simply experience, they have to be able to trust their Dom. Some level of trust is necessary if they’re going to go into that oft-coveted place: subspace.

It can mean that the lines between simple play between friends and that of a romantic relationship can be blurred. It’s even worse if those boundaries weren’t that clear to begin with. What happens when two best friends who’d been so all their lives start to realize there’s more between them then occasionally fucking or saying, “Yes, Sir?”

Turning explores that. Things have always been relatively simple for Kane. They were rough when he was little, but still fairly simple. He avoided his mom’s boyfriends. He spent his days with his best friend, Ian. As they got older and away from his mother, that didn’t change all that much. Now, he didn’t have to worry about the boyfriends, but he still simply hung out with his best friend and focusing on being a teenager like most others—except for being gay, of course.

But that friendship was always there and Kane never questioned that. Until his life turns upside down and he’s faced with a whole mess of change he never expected. And through it all, the one person he’d come to depend on is still there, still his rock.

They’re not just best friends, though. They’ve been happy to be fuck buddies when neither was dating anyone. And a few years before Kane’s life goes so crazy, they start exploring BDSM.

So when it does get more than a little crazy, those already-fuzzy lines get much blurrier. Kane is asked, on more than one occasion, what Ian is to him and he discovers he’s having a hard time explaining. Everyone seems determined to label Ian as Kane’s boyfriend or partner, but Kane keeps refusing… until he tries to list all the things Ian is… and isn’t quite sure where to stop.

A big portion of what pushes him further is when they start playing more often. Kane needs the grounding the scenes with Ian gives him, with all the changes in his life. And the more they play, the harder it is for him to find those lines once again.

* * *

Have you had relationships where the lines blurred for you? Could you play with a friend? Tell me about these for a chance to win a copy of any of my backlist titles!

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Be sure to follow the tour for more opportunities to win and learn lots more about Kane and Ian! Check it out here!

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About Grace:

Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination.  She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.

A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States.  She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.

As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics.  She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.

Find Grace here:

Website  ◊ FacebookTwitterGoodreads

 

Turning His Life Around

ebook            Paperback

The Connection Between Food & Love with Rick R. Reed

May 1, 2015

Food & Love

 

Whenever I read a book and the author mentions that the characters are having a meal (or even a snack), I always, always, always want to know what they’re having. If the author just tells me that the characters just had dinner and gives no details, I’m disappointed. “But what did they eat?” I whine, before flinging the book at the wall.

So when I write a story, I never leave out that important detail. Why? Because what we eat matters. Eating and loving are probably two of the most significant, life-affirming, and joyous activities we can engage in as human beings.

So why on earth wouldn’t you want to know what our couple-about-to-fall-in-love had to eat on their first date?

In my latest, Dinner at Fiorello’s, it’s all about passion—whether that passion is for cooking, for eating, or for someone else, it’s the kind of universal stuff we can all identify with. In the book, I meld my main character, Henry’s, passion for food with him falling in love for the first time.

Through the lens of food and wanting to do something meaningful with his life, he discovers his first real, true love—Vito, the quiet chef with a secret who works at Fiorello’s. Henry aspires to being a chef just like Vito, yet he also comes to fall in love with him. But while he’s falling in love with Vito’s technique in the kitchen and the magical food he makes, Henry is also falling in love with the man. They’re inextricably linked.

There’s a certain alchemy that goes on when one makes good food. It becomes more than the sum of its parts. The same is true of two people in love. That’s what I tried to bring together in my new book. I hope that, just like when you take a bite of something delicious and you sigh and have the instinctive reaction of joy, you’ll have the same experience when you read about Henry and Vito’s torturous but ultimately rewarding path to love. Because, whether you’re cooking or falling in love (or even writing a book), to do it well, you have to do it with your heart.

In closing, I’d like to share with you a little taste from Dinner at Fiorello’s, this taken from when Henry interviews for his job working in the kitchen of Fiorello’s. You can see even at the tender age of eighteen, Henry Appleby understands what makes food—and love—good (here he talks about his family’s housekeeper and cook, Maxine):

“Well, she sees it as more than a means to an end, which is why I love her so much. She sees food as something that isn’t just about filling your belly, but filling your heart. She didn’t just feed me growing up, she nurtured me. She showed me that making food for someone can be a way of showing them you love them.” He looked at Rosalie, trying to make sure she was taking in, understanding what he was saying. “When I understood that, I knew that food can actually be a very powerful thing. I don’t know if I knew it right away on a conscious level, but I knew it. When I was about ten, I began asking her if I could help her make meals. My parents didn’t know what had gotten into me. My father said that I shouldn’t be helping her, because that’s what he paid her for. But I wanted to learn what she did to make her food not only good, but good for the soul.”

 

***

BLURB

Henry Appleby has an appetite for life. As a recent high school graduate and the son of a wealthy family in one of Chicago’s affluent North Shore suburbs, his life is laid out for him. Unfortunately, though, he’s being forced to follow in the footsteps of his successful attorney father instead of living his dream of being a chef. When an opportunity comes his way to work in a real kitchen the summer after graduation, at a little Italian joint called Fiorello’s, Henry jumps at the chance, putting his future in jeopardy.

Years ago, life was a plentiful buffet for Vito Carelli. But a tragic turn of events now keeps the young chef at Fiorello’s quiet and secretive, preferring to let his amazing Italian peasant cuisine do his talking. When the two cooks meet over an open flame, sparks fly. Both need a taste of something more—something real, something true—to separate the good from the bad and find the love—and the hope—that just might be their salvation.

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GIVEAWAY!

DinneratHomeFS

Share your most romantic meal, either eating or being served, in the comments below for a chance to win an ebook copy of my other romance that revolves around food, Dinner at Home!

 

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BIO

Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Raining Men and Caregiver have both won the Rainbow Award for gay fiction. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

Web: http://www.rickrreed.com 

Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks

Twitter: www.twitter.com/rickrreed

E-mail: jimmyfels@gmail.com

 

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BUY LINKS

Dreamspinner ebook: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6333

Dreamspinner paperback: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6334

Amazon (to come)

AllRomance Ebooks (to come)

 

 

Wrap up and our winner – (Gerry’s Lion)

April 24, 2015

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Ashavan Doyon here to wrap up and award one of you with the final give-away – an e-book copy of Gerry’s Lion.

As for my quirk? Like Leo, I love the tropical shirts… so much so that they even let me wear them as business attire at work!

LEO LOOKED through his closet. It was hopeless.

“What do I wear?”

“It’s my mama, and my sister, and some kids. Wear something comfortable. It’s not a service.”

“She’s gonna hate me,” muttered Leo, sliding hanger after hanger to one side.

Gerry grasped his arm and turned him, staring at him in that intense way that made all thought flee from his head.

“You’re telling me that John didn’t make one of these for Easter?” Gerry asked, indicating one of the tropical shirts.

“But that’s so casu—”

“It’s you, baby. That’s who I want them to meet. If they’re going to hate you anyway, at least let them hate you for who you are, not someone you make yourself in hope they’ll accept you.”

“But—”

Gerry pulled him close. “I love you, baby, but I watched Adam do this for years. It didn’t help. If it didn’t help him, what’s the point in you repeating the mistakes Adam and I made?”

Leo did have a tropical shirt for Easter. Several. He turned as Gerry released him and with two quick slides had the hanger he needed. Stark black with Fabergé-style eggs covering the surface in metallic colors. Bunnies hopped along the bottom hem. How John had justified the custom print, Leo still didn’t know. Leo pulled the shirt out and held it against his bare torso. “The neck is low. They’ll see….”

Gerry reached in and pulled out a lavender turtleneck.

Leo shook his head. “Not on your life.”

“Another color, then? That tan would match the bunny rabbits.” Gerry hung up the shirt and pulled out another. “Come on. It’s not that bad. Aren’t layers supposed to be in? Anyway, you’re wearing tropical shirts. How fashion conscious can you claim to be?”

And our winner? Denise Dechene. Please email me at ashavandoyon@gmail.com and let me know what email you use for your Dreamspinner bookshelf. We’ll get Gerry’s Lion added for you.

Thanks everyone for attending. I’ll stick around for a little while to answer any lingering questions. I hope you learned something about Gerry’s Lion and I want to take this final opportunity to ask you to buy the book:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6305 – it’s still on sale until April 28!

Brown Eggs in the Woods — (Gerry’s Lion)

April 24, 2015

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Ashavan Doyon here, celebrating the release of Gerry’s Lion.

It wouldn’t be fair to talk about family traditions without speaking to my own. For me the tradition is for Easter. And while I’ve made up a lot of the traditions Gerry and Leo speak about, this one comes from my own family–so we have a little bit of an excerpt from the middle of the story:

“It’s just Easter,” Gerry said. He was trying to be reassuring. It was sweet. Also terrifying.

“Yeah. Just Easter.” Leo shook his head. “You’ve only told me about a million times how it was his mom’s favorite holiday.”

“She won’t hate you.”

“Maybe. But she’s not going to love me either.”

Gerry swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing. “She’ll understand.”

“Will she?”

Gerry’s voice was very quiet. “I hope so.”

Leo glared at the snow and ice. “At least we’ll be able to see the eggs.”

Gerry laughed. “She’ll just huck ’em into the woods.”

“You’re joking.”

Gerry’s laugh became a grin, and it was a broad one.

“Oh, fuck. You’re not.”

“It’ll be fun.”

“You weren’t joking, were you? She paints them brown?”

“Afraid of the bears?” asked Gerry.

“A little!”

“It’s a tradition. Don’t worry, you’re not actually expected to find any.”

“But the little kids will, won’t they?” Leo sighed.

This was a little bit of a memorial to my Grandmother. Yes, we hold an Easter egg hunt every year. And yes, the adults have to search for brown plastic eggs, hidden in the woods, with the bears. I’m totally not kidding. For the record, the hiding of these eggs in the woods (with the bears) is now my job, with the help of my husband. And the place we hide them? Black Bear Pass. You thought I was kidding about the bears, didn’t you?

I like putting these bits of myself into stories now and then, because honestly, I think it helps the stories come alive a little bit more.

So, final giveaway. The winner will receive a copy of Gerry’s Lion as an e-book (delivered to your Dreamspinner Press bookshelf): If you were writing a romance, what quality or quirk of your own would you lend to a character to help give them life? I’ll have an answer for myself at 9 pm when we wrap up, along with the winner.

Of course, everyone is welcome to BUY A COPY NOW at: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6305 <–25% off because of the sale going on now! or in print (sadly not on sale) http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6306

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.

Sailing on the Sunrise — (Gerry’s Lion)

April 24, 2015

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This is Ashavan Doyon, here talking about the release of Gerry’s Lion.

I have a confession. This story originally started life as a submission for the Advent Calendar. I wrote it in the middle of my vacation in July two years ago. Competition for the advent calendar is really tough, and when it didn’t make it, I was heart broken. I loved the story of Gerry and his lost love Adam. For months it drove me nuts, until I finally just sat down and said to myself, what if this is the middle of the story. And I tried starting the story at Thanksgiving instead. For anyone who thinks this version has too much angst, try to imagine the Gerry that emerged in THAT story.

With Thanksgiving not working, I turned instead to the next holiday–Valentine’s Day. It was here, I think, where Gerry really started to shine again, and the angst balanced out enough to work. But I owe this story, in many ways, to a cruise I took with my long suffering husband, who endured me writing over 17 thousand words on a one week cruise to Bermuda.

norwegian-dawn-ship

I chose holidays to focus the scenes of this story around because they are moments of glorious potential drama, and that is magnified for many LGBT folks, as there’s additional layers of acceptance or lack thereof with their families. And we see a lot of that nuance in this story – from the angsty Christmas cruise that starts it, to the nervous wrangling of traditions for Valentines Day, to the mystery Easter egg hunt where they hunt for eggs painted brown and hidden in the woods. I actually found focusing on holidays a good way to move the story and also to jump it forward every so often, and I think it helped a lot with pacing the story.

What’s your favorite vacation/holiday story (either personal or in a romance?) I’ll be using the comments to help determine who wins the prizes!

Don’t forget to 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

–> my vacation story: On this infamous cruise, I was in one of the bars on the cruise ship in the middle of the day (it was almost completely empty) when I was approached by one of the other cruisers, who asked what I was doing. I explained that I was an author, writing gay romances. She blithely explained how those were her favorite, while her husband got redder and redder, sure she hadn’t heard me say “gay” romances. To this day I don’t know if she did, but I gave her my card, it would have been hard NOT to tell from that.