About Piper Doone: A Primer

March 19, 2015

Piper Doone only does biographies of herself in third person. She works in professional sports during the day and before that she worked for Disney.

She is a treasure trove of recessive genes. She’s red headed, hazel-eyed, left handed, she can’t roll her tongue into that little hot dog bun shape that everyone else can make, her second toe is longer than all her other toes, she has hitchhiker’s thumb (look it up), and when she clasps her hands together, it’s right thumb over left.

She like The Monkees over The Beatles and The Rolling Stones over both of them. She doesn’t think The Clash is any good and doesn’t know why people look at her funny when she says that. She’s way too into Canadian indie music for her own good

She has a  pretentious screenwriting degree but her favorite movies are The Mummy and The Parent Trap (the original, not that remake that doesn’t actually exist, damn it), and she can quote every line from The Fifth Element instead of, like, whatever people with screenwriting degrees are supposed to like (probably foreign? Something French?).

Her preferred gym entertainment is reruns of Law and Order: SVU.  And new episodes of SVU. And, if I may take the opportunity here in public, that new detective, Carisi, is a-ok in my book. And by a-ok, I mean he’s really cute.  I hope this gets indexed by Google. Hey, here’s my blog…stop by. Wink wink. Also, here’s my Twitter. And I’m on Facebook….

She loves Cuban food. Like, a lot. A lot a lot.

She has a costume closet and never goes out in public without being in some kind of character, complete with name and backstory— Serena, the alcoholic trophy wife who had to give up her career as a ballerina when she married a rich investment banker, but never gave up the dream; Mallory, the poor art student who dropped out of school to run away to Coober Pedy to marry an opal mine owner; Mitzy, the Palm Beach wannabe heiress who dresses from head to toe in Lilly Pulitzer because that’s how she thinks all Palm Beachers dress; Christy-Sue, the southern university football coach’s wife who’s as sweet as pie in the streets and trash in the streets…. Because she lives in Miami and Miami, believe it or not, can be so boooorrriinnngg and why not have a little fun, right?

She is an archer and named her bow Janosz Bow-ha, after Peter McNichol’s character from Ghostbusters 2,  Janosz Poha.

She raises and breeds hedgehogs so she can give them stupid names like HedgeHäagen-Dazs, Quilliam Shakespeare, Quilliam Shatner, Peter Quill, Se-Quill (the second quilling),  and Josh Hedge-homme.

She is a photographer and is never without her camera. She uses a Pentax ME Super SLR  and a Pentax k-30 because her mom’s old lenses from the 70s fit both and HAVE YOU PRICED LENSES LATELY OH MY GOD.

Yucca of some sort…I’m a photographer not a gardener

 

She has run out of things to say 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.

The Living Desert

March 19, 2015

When I was promoting my last book, Playing Hard To Forget, I talked a bit about my weird experiences in the desert. Something To Die For was born out of some of those experiences.

I, being of red hair and see-through skin, really don’t belong in hot, sunny climates, but I keep finding myself in them. My skin keeps saying, “Move to Seattle. Save on sunscreen. Buy a pine tree farm,” but fate keeps flicking me off and throwing me to the hottest places on the whole of Earth.

It takes a special type of person to survive in extreme climates. My stupid body is stupidly efficient in temperatures above 90 and even more so when there’s the oppressive humidity of a tropical rainforest climate added to it, like where I live now.  I have the horrible feeling that even if I managed to outrun my destiny and move to a place unlike the desert or the tropics, where everything tries to kill you all at once, I would probably be dead of hypothermia within six minutes of any temperature under 50.

So, maybe there’s a reason I keep finding myself living amongst the palm trees, yucca, and agave I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with. I mean, it’s not all bad, I guess. Extreme climates tend to harbour extremely weird subcultures of people and I guess I have to count myself among their numbers. Beach bums, desert rats, island bums, we can’t do things the way the rest of the world does things and that’s okay.

And our stories are amazing.

 

Something To Die For takes place in the Mojave Desert. Things exist there that don’t exist anywhere else, like Joshua Trees and Palm Springs’ obsession with midcentury modern architecture.

But beyond that, the desert is alive. It’s its own character with a personality and motivations. As a child I used to frequently dream about being there at night. The desert protected me. The plants hid me from danger and the coyotes (and, unrealistically for modern times, the gray wolf, which is no longer roaming the deserts and hasn’t since well before I was born) stood guard.

Today I will be talking about some of the experiences and stories that led to Something To Die For, as well as other inspirations from music and pictures and I will be doing a giveaway as well.

 

 

 

I like painting the desert. I also like torturing myself with those 50 cent bottles of acrylic paint from the craft store instead of oils or whatever I’m supposed to use that probably costs a lot more.

I hope you’ll join me for the story behind the story.

 

Something To Die For

(a brief update on the Southern Living Best Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER recipe experiment mentioned in my first post: it’s 3/4 butter and 1/4 shortening. Is that the secret to making it the best? Stay tuned)

Something To Die For Release Party!

March 19, 2015

Okay, boys and girls! Sit down and strap yourselves in ‘cuz we gon’ have a release party!

The Dreamspinner Press people were so kind to let me, Piper Doone, steal the blog today to talk about Something To Die For, out March 18.

I mean, sure, I had to sneak past three security guards, four locked doors, and barricade the door behind me, but the point is that they haven’t broken that door down yet, so until that happens, this baby is all mine!

 

Stay tuned for behind the scenes insights, music, inspirations, a giveaway, and possibly even an honest review of the new cookie recipe I’m trying out in between posts (I picked up an old Southern Living cookbook that promises they are the best cookies ever. We’ll see).

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.

Drawing to a close and contest winners — (A Wounded Promise)

March 4, 2015

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I’m so sad. The end of our time is here already. We’ve talked fanfic and survivorship and father/son relationships. But it’s time for me to draw this event to a close, because it’s going to snow (again) and I’m going to have to shovel in the morning.

The winner of the copy of The King’s Mate is: JJ

and

The winner of the copy of A Wounded Promise is: H.B.

If the winners can email me at ashavandoyon@gmail.com and let me know what email they use for their account at the Dreamspinner Press store, I’ll get those books added to your shelf.

Thanks again for spending the evening chatting with me!

You can get A Wounded Promise from Dreamspinner Press at: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6121

The importance of fathers — (A Wounded Promise)

March 4, 2015

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Hope you aren’t sick of me yet! This is Ashavan Doyon coming to you from the Dreamspinner Press Blog. I know, that last post is a bit of a downer. An important one for the story, but still hard to talk about.

I wanted to touch on one last theme before I pick the winners and let you all off to read the story yourselves! One of my favorite characters in the Sam’s Café Romance stories is Justin’s dad, Sam. We see a lot of Sam in The King’s Mate, but in A Wounded Promise we get only glimpses. But the glimpses we get are critical ones.

One of the things I wanted with the character of Sam was a parent who had struggled with his son coming out, but one who came quickly to acceptance. I’ve tried to reach that in a few stories, but I think it’s the Sam’s Café Romances where I succeed the most. This is a parent in whom Justin confides. While we don’t know really what kind of relationship Justin had with his mom, it’s clear his relationship with his dad is one of trust.

In an early scene, Sam and Justin are talking about Justin being frightened. It’s an important scene, because you really get that Sam loves and trusts his son.

“But what do I do now? I ran away.”

Sam slid off the ledge and held out a hand.

“Let’s get you home.”

“I need to get back to Russ,” Justin said. “But I’m still scared.”

“Justin.” Sam was looking at him with a sad sort of smile.

“What is it, Dad?”

“I meant your home, not mine.”

I love you, Dad.

Justin hugged Sam fiercely.

“Don’t think this means I like it.”

Justin grinned. “I didn’t expect it’d be fighting with my lover that got you to admit that I’m living there now.”

“Hard to miss. House is too damn quiet without you.”

 There’s a closeness between the two of them I think I envy a little bit. It’s a relationship I saw sometimes with my brother and my dad, but I never had. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have it that when I write an accepting parent it tends to be the father?

So, this is the last chance to win a copy of the ebook for A Wounded Promise. Tell me about your favorite father figure in a male/male romance. I’ll also be here watching the comments, so feel free to just chat too.

And importantly, that buy link again, in case you don’t win! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6121

 

Broken — (A Wounded Promise)

March 4, 2015

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This is Ashavan Doyon, back again to talk about A Wounded Promise.

So I wanted to talk a little about trauma, and Justin’s particular feelings. Specifically, the difficulties he has as a survivor of sexual assault.

This is something Justin talks to Russ about relatively early in the fledgling moments of their relationship in The King’s Mate. It’s also at the root of much of Justin’s fear. We see this almost immediately. Sam’s reaction to Justin fleeing the home he’s been working to build with Russ. Sam says as much: (one more edit… block quote is not showing up, so I put the excerpt in italics instead)

“I haven’t seen you like this in a long time.”

“Since Peter.” Justin closed his eyes. It was hard to see, but Sam noticed. After Peter, Sam had learned to notice a lot of things.

“You need to know, Justin, I’ll always believe you. I don’t care if he’s—”

“It wasn’t that.” Justin looked up, and Sam’s heart splintered again. The steel-blue eyes that were the mirror of Sam’s own seemed to almost drown in the red that surrounded them.

“You cried all night?” Sam asked softly.

Justin’s answer was a shy nod and a look away.

“I mean it. I’ll believe you.”

“I know you will. It wasn’t that. I promise it wasn’t.” Justin pulled at the blankets with his toes. After a moment he let out a very long sigh. “We had a fight.”

Sam nodded. “I guessed. He hit you?” Sam braced himself for a yes.

An ongoing theme in the story is Justin’s struggle not to see himself as broken. I didn’t want the idea of Justin being a survivor to just disappear. He absolutely remains affected by his experience, and it’s the unexpected interaction between those triggers and Russ’s drunken anger that leads to Russ waking up alone at the start of the story. It’s important to me that a character being sexually assaulted isn’t some minor plot point. When I included that detail in The King’s Mate, I knew I had to bring it back to the forefront in the sequel. I hope I’ve done that some justice.

What are your favorite stories that deal with some element of survivorship? Comments for my remaining posts tonight count as entries to win a copy of A Wounded Promise in ebook format.

(edit)

Forgot that pesky buy link again. You know you want to… just click buy now when you get to the page! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6121

All about covers — (A Wounded Promise)

March 4, 2015

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And I’m back… sorry about that, travel time between the day job and home got in the way. For those just joining the party (we’re serving mocktails, people, as no one here seems to be the drinking sort!), this is Ashavan Doyon talking about my new release, A Wounded Promise.

I wanted to spend a few minutes talking about the cover. For The King’s Mate, because it’s a novella in an anthology, I didn’t have any say over the cover. It wasn’t quite long enough to get it’s own, so it has the standard anthology cover of a hot shirtless guy at a baseball field with my title and name below it. That was good (there was no need for trying to maintain consistency) and bad (consistency helps hold a series together). So for A Wounded Promise I was entering with a clean slate. It was exciting to finally try to put a little more imagery to the story.

For covers you fill out a cover request with some details… title, author, subtitle. Preferred styles. What covers did you particularly like. That gets you paired with an artist, who is given a brief synopsis, some physical descriptions of the characters. I try to include pictures, if I can, to give an idea of what I’m looking for.

I have to say, cover artists have a hard job. Unless I started with a picture or model in mind, I can spend hours trying to find something remotely close. For Russ I wanted to get the silver/gray. He’s young for that coloring, so the only pics I could find were older. This is the one I finally sent, with a note that Russ, of course, would be in a suit:

russmodel

Justin was easier and harder at the same time. While drunken anger instigates the drama, a lot of the conflict, most of it, really, is Justin. While Russ has angst, and the drinking is an expression of that, he’s had time and experience — and friends — that helped him cope. Justin has kept his angst bottled in, and I hoped that the artist could find a model that conveyed innocence and vulnerability. Of course searching the internet doesn’t find models the artists can actually use, which means trying to convey an idea, and that can be a struggle. Here was my model for Justin:

justinmodel

I think the artist did a great job coming up with images that fit those molds, and I’m especially happy with the model for Russ, because there is an age difference in the characters, and having a younger graying model here is important, because Russ isn’t so much older that the relationship should squick people, but the gray can make it seem so.

What really impressed me though was that the artist really took those vague images and managed to convey the angsty conflict that is in the novella. I’m really happy with it.

This is the last post to comment for a chance at a copy of The King’s Mate, so I hope you’re still up for some discussion! Do cover images influence how you imagine the characters? Do you prefer the sort of faceless bodies on covers, or do you like to see the whole character? Let me know!

And, of course, don’t forget to buy the book! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6121

 

 

Building the Cafe — (A Wounded Promise)

March 4, 2015

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Hello! Ashavan Doyon here, still talking about my newest release, A Wounded Promise.

I’ve mentioned that A Wounded Promise is a sequel, and I wanted to talk a little bit about the original story, and how I got to the new one. A Wounded Promise is book two of the Sam’s Café Romances. When I started emailing with Dreamspinner about the sequel, one of the things I had to do is name the series. They give that a fancy name, but really, it means boiling down the essence of the story.

The process drove me nuts. Ok, so I was already there… let’s just pretend for a moment that I’m not a crazy man obsessed with my characters, shall we? This is the sequel to a story titled The King’s Mate — based around a chess competition in a college town café. I’d already gone through agony deciding whether or not to carry through the chess theme in the title, and now I had to name the series? Ultimately I decided the central thing that brought the two lovers together wasn’t a chess match, but rather the café itself, and the significance of the café to both of them. I confess there’s a mercenary bent to this too. If readers are enjoying the café, this gives me room to please both those who want more of our lovers from the story, and those who might want other characters explored. Naming the series for the café gives me a little more freedom. Also, there were some folks who felt chess wasn’t as central to the story in The King’s Mate as they might have preferred, so I wanted to honor that and not have people feeling hoodwinked.

I’m very proud of The King’s Mate. Oh, I got some middling reviews. And I was new, so I did the unthinkable and I READ THOSE REVIEWS. After I was done gouging my eyes out with a spoon and crying for days, I found some better reviews, and some worse ones. And then I got the good advice from a friend: only read the reviews the publisher sends you — they only send you the good ones. And I try to do that (and fail, frequently). But I also got a review that made my heart soar, and that kept me writing. I still go back to that review now and then, when I’m feeling in the dumps. It was from GayList book reviews and said, in part: “This story felt new. Beautiful. All of the men in this story made me ache.”

In writing A Wounded Promise, I’ve tried to keep up to that standard, and I hope Russ still makes readers ache, in that beautiful yearning way that keeps us turning pages. I get criticized sometimes for my characters being angsty. I don’t apologize for that. I like angsty. I think the angst and struggle and desperate wanting is where the best parts of romance is. It’s that stuff, the heartache and despair and surety of pain that make the reward worth it in the end. When I see characters go through hell, whether emotional or physical or traumatic, and see them somehow still come together, it gives me hope.

This is a progression from The King’s Mate — where we see a sweet exploration and a bit of mystery and a hint of pain lingering in the background – to A Wounded Promise where we see that hint suddenly so brutally clear that there is no longer a choice. They have to face it. Because the promises they’ve made to love each other are wounded.

And we’ll talk more about that later. In the meantime, a question, because I still want those comments (and someone still has to win that copy of The King’s Mate!) I based both stories around a café – loosely based around a couple of similar places in the town where I grew up. Is there a similar sort of place where you go to get a coffee? Do homework? Write? What does café mean to you?

You haven’t bought A Wounded Promise? What are you waiting for! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6121

What’s that? You can’t without buying The King’s Mate too! EXCELLENT (can I do that with a Mr. Burns style tenting of the hands?) Here’s the link for that, just in case! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3947

 

Release Day Party — A Wounded Promise

March 4, 2015

Hello! This is Ashavan Doyon and I’m here to take over the blog for a chunk of today and talk about my new release: A Wounded Promise.

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Somewhere someone is opening A Wounded Promise, and stumbling into Russell Pine waking with a hangover. The room begins to spin (or maybe it never stopped) and Russell tries in the haze of his hangover to make sense of vague recollections from the night before. Drinking vodka right from the bottle. Anger welling up. He’s woken up alone, his lover gone, and he can’t even remember what happened.

I like Russell, and I’ll admit putting him in that place was hard for me. I’ve never had a drunken night, or a hangover in the morning (I’m not and have never been a drinker). I relied a lot on waking up with a migraine to frame the descriptions of how he feels and what that’s like, and I hope it comes across well.

As a character, I love Russ. I write a lot of early college age romances, and while his lover fits that bill well, Russ is older, in his mid-late thirties. He’s a returning character, as this is book two of the Sam’s Café Romances. While I try to make it possible to read the book as a standalone, it goes without saying that it will help enormously to have read The King’s Mate first.

So, next post I’ll do the standard cover and blurb thing, but I’d like to start with a question: What was your most memorable drunken night (or morning after)?

Yes, there will be some giveaways for commenters. Also don’t forget to BUY THE BOOK… you know you want to!

Buy link is here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6121

(want to read The King’s Mate first? Link is here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3947)

 

 

The Top Five Most Amazing Exploits of the kiddos from Ever the Same

February 27, 2015

Randi and Grainger are the heart and soul of Dixon and Audie (and by association, Ever the Same). They start out, as so many of my fictional relationships do, with a fist fistfight (note: when I met my wife in person the first time, at one point she did threaten to beat the hell out of me while I was driving in a pouring down rainstorm on the highway in San Antiono traffic. True story.).

However, a birthday party, a giant mouse, some horses and a guitar later, they became partners in crime.

Instead of having fights with each other, they turned on the world.

1. During a riding lesson, Grainger dares Randi to impersonate the trick rider they’d seen at the rodeo and when Audie turned around, she was standing on Sarge’s back.

2. Randi dared Grainger to trap the possum so they could keep the babies and raise them. Possum bites hurt. So do the rabies shots.

3. Together, the kids decided to find out which spice burn. Cinnamon for the flamtastic win! FYI, powdered creamer burns pretty damned well too.

4. Grainger told Randi that she couldn’t be a cowgirl unless she rode a calf backwards holding his tail.

5. At Christmas, they dressed the dachshunds up as reindeer, tied them to a miniature sleigh that belong to Randi’s gran and proceeded to take down the tree. Dachshunds are not beasts of burden.

Much love, y’all

BA

Ever the Same is available now!