Ashavan Doyon Interview and The Rodeo Knight (Sam’s Cafe Romances #3) by Ashavan Doyon (giveaways)

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the-rodeo-knight

The Rodeo Knight (Sam’s Cafe Romances #3) by Ashavan Doyon
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reamspinner Press
Cover art by Bree Archer

Purchase Links 

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Today we have Ashavan Doyon, author of the recently released The Rodeo Knight here for an interview.

Thank you for having me today here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. I’m happy to be here to promote The Rodeo Knight, which released November 30, and also the first book in the series, The King’s Mate, which has a second edition that was also just released. I’m so lucky, because Dreamspinner Press also released all three novellas in the series as a print only anthology, The Chess Master Chronicles.

Are you a planner or a pantser when writing a story? And why?

I’m a total pantser. Most of the time I’m writing off a vague idea with only one character well defined, everything else flows from that. My problem is that when I’ve planned, my characters always rebel. And planning takes focus, energy, that ends up wasted, because you know your character is going to do x thing, and instead they upend the story and do something totally different. The Rodeo Knight is really the closest I’ve gotten to “planning” a story in a long time, because I sold the pitch for the story in advance at a conference, so I absolutely had to have more than “I’m writing a sequel to A Wounded Promise” — I needed to have some sort of structure. So in addition to Brian, the main character, I wrote the blurb for the story, which also introduced the love interest Sylvester.

Contemporary, supernatural, fantasy, or science fiction narratives or something else?  Does any genre draw you more than another when writing it or reading it and why does it do so?

I love writing contemporary. I do some modern fantasy also, and I regularly release chapters of an ongoing modern fantasy serial on my blog. Sometimes when I write fan fiction I’ll go a little further afield. Reading is something else. I grew up on fantasy, and outside of reading in my genre (Sue Brown and Cindy Sutherland are favorites), a lot of what I read is stuff like The Riftwar Saga and The Belgariad. My mom read me The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as bedtime stories, so I blame her for that.

If you had a character you’ve written you would write differently now at this time in your writing career, who would it be and why?

You know, as an author I try to not read reviews. And I fail spectacularly most of the time. That means I know what people have said about my characters and I struggle a lot with people who want these mostly college aged characters to be something they’re not. I try to write characters who are human and real and feel that way. I often say that my characters tell me what to write and that mostly I’m just reporting. But I’m not perfect. I did go back and change how I wrote Justin for The King’s Mate. In the second edition, he’s a lot more confident and stumbles a lot less, and I think that makes him more consistent with his portrayal in A Wounded Promise, and it also makes the places where he feels broken more stark, because it’s that much more clear that in most of his life he’s doing okay.

One of the things I’ve tried to show in my stories is the range of parental acceptance, from Adam’s father in Gerry’s Lion with his loving acceptance of Gerry as a member of the family to the ultimatum Brian faced as discussed in The Rodeo Knight, to Chris being kicked out by his father when he turned eighteen in I Almost Let You. I think I might look at how I wrote some of the mothers, and maybe adjust that some. But at the same time, I think it’s important, especially now, to remember the proportion of kids who do get kicked out of their homes when they come out, and the epidemic of homelessness in the LGBT youth community. So maybe it’s better to write those stories and let the characters overcome that than pretend that every parent is going to be like Sam.

Can an author have favorites among their characters and do you have them?

I think every author has some favorites. Of my Dreamspinner releases, as much as I love Justin and Sylvester, and I’m proud of how I wrote Brian, I think my favorite is probably Gerry. This was a man in love, a man grieving, and showing the depths of his love through that grief I thought made him a very powerful character.

If you were to be stranded on a small demi-planet, island, or god forbid LaGuardia in a snow storm, what books would you take to read or authors on your comfort list?

I’d pick LaGuardia (so I could charge my kindle) – that way I’d still have access to everything. Stuck on a dessert island? Probably The Lord of the Rings. I’ve been reading it over and over since I was kid and I’m still not sick of it.

How early in your life did you begin writing?

My mom has a ‘swoofs’ fanfic (it was a Smurfs storyline) that I wrote on her portable typewriter when I was about five.

Were you an early reader or were you read to and what childhood books had an impact on you as a child that you remember to this day and why?

I think I mostly answered this. My mom was always told it was good to read to kids and that it didn’t matter what you read. So from the time I was tiny she read us all the books she liked. The Hobbit. The Dragonriders of Pern. Time of the Dark. Those were my bedtime stories. I read The Lord of the Rings on my own in first grade and I never looked back. My classmates would grumble that they couldn’t call me a book worm, book worms were slow. I was a book bird.

If you were writing your life as a romance novel, what would the title be?

I’ve considered sometimes writing the story of how I ended up with my husband as a romance novel, because there’s a lot of ways it would fit. For a title? “I know you probably hate me, but…” It’s the first line from a letter I wrote to my now husband. We had dated briefly when I was in college and for a slew of reasons, it didn’t work and I broke up with him. I decided life wasn’t worth having regrets about, so five years later I wrote him and poured my heart out in a letter. It’s probably the single most important piece of writing I’ve ever done in my life.

Thanks again to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting me, and I do hope you’ll check out those new releases. The Rodeo Knight is a particularly fun romp, and The King’s Mate, while it is a second edition, has 11,000 new words, making it almost twice the length of the original story!

I always love to hear from readers, please feel free to contact me, there’s a form to reach me at my website, which is in the contact information below!

Author Bio:

For fifteen years, Ashavan Doyon worked with students in the student affairs office of a liberal arts college. He recently decided to shake things up a little, and is now working in the publications and communications office at the college. During lunch, evenings, and when he can escape the grasp of his husband on weekends, he writes, pounding out words day after day in hopes that his ancient typewriter-trained fingers won’t break the glass on his tablet computer. Ashavan is an avid science fiction and fantasy fan and prefers to write while listening to music that fits the mood of his current story. He has no children, but lavishes attention on his sole remaining fur child, a very elderly pug. A Texan by birth, he currently lives in New England, and frequently complains of the weather.

Ashavan went to school at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, getting his degree in Russian and East European Studies, with a focus in language and literature. He has two incomplete manuscripts from college that he goes back compulsively to fiddle with every so often, but is still not happy with either of them. He still loves fantasy and science fiction and reads constantly in the moments between writing stories.

You can find me online at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ashavandoyon.writer

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ashavandoyon

Web: www.ashavandoyon.com

The King’s Mate

2nd Edition

Sam’s Café Romances: Book One

Russell Pine comes to Sam’s Café every morning to enjoy the best coffee in town and to chat with Sam Tesh, the owner, a loyal friend for the past twenty years. When Sam offers him a challenge, Russ reluctantly takes it on, acting as the master opponent in a chess tournament. As the days pass and the hopefuls fall to the chess mastermind one by one, Russ discovers that the contest isn’t the only game being played.

Russ finds himself the focus of a secret courtship through words and pictures left for him to discover each morning. Will a hint of cologne on the paper lead him to his admirer? In a café full of young and beautiful minds, who is looking at the graying chess master?

First Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, June 2013.

Buy link:

the-kings-mateThe King’s Mate (Dreamspinner): https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-kings-mate-by-ashavan-doyon-7831-b

The King’s Mate (Amazon):

https://www.amazon.com/Kings-Mate-Sams-Café-Romances-ebook/dp/B01N8XXY02/

The Chess Master Chronicles (Dreamspinner)

Sam’s Cafe Romances books 1-3, print only:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-chess-master-chronicles-by-ashavan-doyon-7830-b

The Rodeo Knight

the-rodeo-knightSam’s Café Romances: Book Three

Struck by amnesia after a car crash, Brian Stouten has been living a life laid out by his family, a heterosexual life that just doesn’t fit. When he learns it was all a lie, he returns to the small college town that’s his only clue to his past. But the town is still unfamiliar, and the man he’d hoped would make all his memories return is on a honeymoon with another man. To add insult to injury, everyone thinks Brian died in the crash. It’s only when an out-of-place cowboy asks to bum a smoke that Brian realizes this trip was meant to be.

Sylvester Thomas has always fought a secret desire, and done it successfully. But when geeky Brian offers him a smoke and a light, a simple brush of hands has Sylvester’s hidden passions burning deep. Did he make a mistake letting Brian walk away?

Buy link:

The Rodeo Knight (Dreamspinner): https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-rodeo-knight-by-ashavan-doyon-7832-b

The Rodeo Knight (Amazon):

https://www.amazon.com/Rodeo-Knight-Sams-Café-Romances-ebook/dp/B01N8PT65D/

the-chess-master-chronclesThe Chess Master Chronicles (Dreamspinner)

Sam’s Cafe Romances books 1-3, print only:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-chess-master-chronicles-by-ashavan-doyon-7830-b

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Becoming Rory (College Rose Romance) by Ashavan Doyon

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Becoming RoryRory Graeble is a returning college sophomore and a new man. Or at least he’s trying to be a new man. Outed last year when a gay bashing turned the campus upside down, the former “Lawrence” Graeble, a geeky introverted guy who sucked men off in the steam tunnels off-campus, is now out-and-proud Rory, the sole leader of the Queer Alliance. Showing up early for orientation with other student leaders, Rory meets Danny Smits at a party, and the two literally make sparks fly together.

Contrary to his past introverted behavior, Rory decides to pursue Danny, who is the leader of the Young Entrepreneurs on campus. A skater, Danny and his group have designed a new board and are trying to find funding to move their ideas into reality. In the meantime, Rory’s RA, Barry, is becoming a close friend and is pursuing a relationship with Rory’s BFF, Stacie. Getting the support of his friends while he pursues Danny, who is sometimes like quicksilver, is important to Rory. But catching Danny, and defining their relationship is very difficult, and when he finds out why, Rory allows self-doubt to cloud the picture.

Danny suffers from a <spoiler> that has led to some very destructive behaviors in the past, including drug addiction and a criminal record. When the bank turns down the loan application to get the skateboard business up and running, he nosedives into a deep depression, knowing the cause is his criminal record. Rory has seen this disorder up close in a family member in the past, so he decides to find out more about it before he makes any commitment to his volatile lover. Will he go or stay? Will Danny’s moods even allow him to recognize his own feelings toward Rory? And what about Danny’s friends, his crew as he calls them; will they allow him enough slack to decide for himself about Rory? After all, they’ve been his rock and been his only stabilizing influence in the past. Will they now allow that role to be held by Rory?

There’s so much to this story that it’s difficult to sift through all the facts, emotions, and drama. There’s also a subplot surrounding Barry and Stacie, and there are references to the past gay bashing on campus and to the characters involved. I suspect these were featured in previous stories by this author and it was difficult to get them all straight, so this story should be labeled as part of a series. It can still be read as a standalone, but readers like me may be confused and long to have that backstory filled. I liked the basic premise of this story, however it felt too long. And there was a lot of sex, very rough sex, bordering on abusive sex. By the latter part of the book, I glossed over the sex scenes to get back to the rest of the action.

The disorder wasn’t revealed until later in the book, and it was treated with so much gravity that if I happened to suffer from it, I would have definitely tipped into depression. I don’t mean to make light of it, not at all. It’s just that it was treated like something insurmountable and fatal, and yet I’ve known many people with the disorder who have stabilized with treatment. But in this book it felt quite hopeless.

One other thing, perhaps minor, perhaps not—there was a concurrent romance between Barry and Stacie that I felt that would have been okay as a quick mention, but quite a bit of time was spent on it and I didn’t particularly care for what happened or the time spent on them in the story.

Overall, the storyline felt very dark and depressing. I honestly don’t recommend it if you are looking for a sweet young adult romance, but if you like hurt-comfort stories and don’t mind some dark angst mixed in, you might want to consider this one.

~~~~~

Cover Art by Kris Norris fits the story quite well as it features a headshot of a young man with a skateboarder jumping in the background.

Sales Links:  Torquere Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published June 8th 2016 by Torquere Press LLC
ASINB01GLQA3KS
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesCollege Rose Romance

Love Contemporary Romance? Check Out ‘Becoming Rory’ by Ashavan Doyon (excerpt/giveaway)

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Title:  Becoming Rory

Author: Ashavan Doyon

Series Title and Number: College Rose Romances 4

Publisher:  Torquere Press

Cover Artist: Kris Norris

Release Date:  6/8/16

Heat Level: 3

Pairing: M/M

Length: 75K

Genre/Tags:  New Adult, Contemporary, M/M Romance

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Synopsis

Rory Graeble returns to college determined to reinvent himself. Too many years have been wasted with masks, but becoming a student leader is a step Rory isn’t sure he’s ready for. A new identity takes more than just a new nickname, and Rory knows he has to take the chances that his old self would never risk. When that chance is a party that ends with an anonymous hot skater’s tongue down his throat and a phone number in his pocket, Rory knows what he has to do.

Danny Smits never expected to see stuffy lit geek Rory Graeble trying to be out, trying to be proud, trying to be… Rory. It’s damned sexy, and too much for the entrepreneurial skater to resist. When Rory calls him back the day after the party, Danny knows Rory has changed. But will Danny’s haunted past deter Rory? Or will Rory embrace the chance to experience everything the closet had stolen away? Danny believes in keeping things real, in a brutal honesty he knows means Rory will run screaming.

But this time Rory isn’t running.

Excerpt

It was quiet. Rory knew that wasn’t normal. He gazed out the windows. The angle of the building meant that one side was faced toward the campus, a miniature city full of towering buildings scattered in clumps, the other faced the mountains and woods. Two contrary images. It appealed to his poetic soul. That was a part of Lawrence he had no intention of letting go. It spoke to his core, that love of words.

Rory opened a window against the heat. Wentworth was an older building, and Rory half expected in winter that he’d have to keep the window open just to breathe. For now though, with no air-conditioning and a fan that did nothing except when pointed at bare skin, an open window was a welcome reprieve from the late August heat. There wasn’t enough of what he wanted Rory to be, not yet, for him to be comfortable with naked skin—at least not his naked skin.

His dorm room was taking shape. The books were on the bookshelf, two deep. An index card on the end of each shelf cataloged the books on the back row. They were books he wouldn’t want often, but when he wanted them, they’d be easy enough to find. Each shelf had a theme. On each shelf his favorites were in alpha order in front, and those he’d brought only out of fear his dad wouldn’t… Rory closed his eyes and took a long breath. There were reasons for his rebirth as Rory, and not all of them were here at school.

The boxes for the books were broken down and in the back of the closet. His clothes were hung up or carefully folded and in drawers. They spoke of Lawrence, not Rory, but they were what he had. It would be easy to fall back into wearing these. He’d have to for a little while. Clothes cost money, and for the first time in his life, Rory was not confident a call home would yield any more, not even for clothes. Especially not for clothes. What’s wrong with the clothes you’ve got? It’s what his dad would say. Probably his mom too.

With three beanbag chairs, the chair for his desk and the bed, that meant seating for five, at least. Anything over ten was considered a party. Not that he had any real hope of filling even the five spaces he had. Rory chuckled at himself. He could hope, but it wouldn’t happen. Still, he might get Stacy and Barry to join him. He walked up against the window, pinned between the steady whir of the fan and the tiny breeze from the window. It was comfortable. Well, not yet. Not really. But it would get more so over the course of the semester. He had to believe that.

On the desk next to his laptop, too hard to ignore from where he stood at the window, was his student leadership packet. The college had found some money somewhere. The portfolio wasn’t the cheap paper folder he’d expected. The mock-leather portfolio marked with the school seal—embossed on the cover, not just ink—had come with a lapel pin and a school pen. Okay, so the pads of paper inside were cheap, but that the school had done that for all the student leaders who arrived early? The communications major in him couldn’t help but analyze it for the message, and it wasn’t hard for him to guess. Take this seriously; they want us to take it seriously.

Rory wondered if they knew that the fledgling leaders were coming back in an hour as the sun finished its descent with the makings of a party. He wondered if Barry knew. Bronzed. Fit. Popular. Of course Barry knew. Rory glanced at the door he’d left open. He tried to pretend it was for something as mundane as airflow, but in his heart where the dull ache of the afternoon’s discussion still sat like a leaden brick, he knew better.

“This is where you do something stupid, Lawrence,” he whispered to himself. He knew what he wanted to do. Want is a strong term. Maybe it’s just the only way you know how to deal with it. And your name is Rory, dipshit. Lawrence is dead.

He looked again at the pile of leadership materials. How had Aidan talked him into this again? Oh, right. There was no one else. Aidan and Michael, they were gone. John Simmons was gone. All they had was a scattered and broken community.

Rory looked out at the slowly illuminating lights in the buildings across campus. It wasn’t like it would be when classes started. Right now it was just dots of light here and there. Athletes. Student government. Student organization leaders. It was getting dark. The party would start soon. As a leader, he’d been invited, quietly, with everyone else. Would the athletes be there to make him feel inadequate? Rory let out a breath, slow. Lawrence would never have gone. Maybe that meant Rory needed to.

He sat down at the desk and quickly flipped through the packet. Even on a cursory glance it was clear that the real requirement was to be present for the workshops throughout the week. The administration had scrupulously left the evenings to the students. It was a kindness, he noted, they had not extended to the residence life staff. He’d seen Becky and Barry earlier, making door tags for each of the residents. It would take them hours to do, and he’d wondered at the time why they’d started so early. But if Barry knew about the party… Rory sighed. Why did it matter if Barry was there? He wasn’t interested.

He’s comfortable. I’ll know someone. It’ll be bearable.

Rory closed the portfolio and pushed it away. His thoughts turned to how he could almost see skin under that too thin shirt of Barry’s. Also pretty uncomfortable.

He stood up and walked over to his closet. They were nice clothes, but they all fit into a particular mode. He pushed the hangers aside one by one. White shirt. Blue shirt. Pastel shirt. All of them button fronts. Then cardigans. One after another. Trousers and corduroys. Tweed jackets. Two business suits his parents had bought him for interviews. At least one of them was sleeker and more modern.

“They’re all Lawrence. All of them,” he muttered. He rested his forehead in one hand, massaging his scalp with his fingers to try to stall the oncoming headache. His eyes opened wide. “Maybe…”

He went back to the desk, trying to stay calm, and pulled out his laptop. Two quick searches and he’d found it: what good-looking fashion models could do with a cardigan. It wasn’t Lawrence at all. That was good. But could Rory pull it off? He was no top model.

He looked back at his closet. “Better than locking myself into being Lawrence again all year.” He combed his fingers back through his hair and closed his eyes again. “I can do this. I can choose to be Rory.”

Purchase

Torquere Press

Becoming Rory Square

Meet the Author

Ashavan Doyon spends his days working with students as part of the student affairs staff at a liberal arts college. During lunch, evenings, and when he can escape the grasp of his husband on weekends, he writes, pounding out words day after day in hopes that his ancient typewriter-trained fingers won’t break the glass on his tablet computer. Ashavan is an avid science fiction and fantasy fan and prefers to write while listening to music that fits the mood of his current story. He has no children, having opted instead for the companionship of two beautiful and thoroughly spoiled pugs. A Texan by birth, he currently lives in New England, and frequently complains of the weather.

Ashavan went to school at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, getting his degree in Russian and East European Studies, with a focus in language and literature. He has two incomplete manuscripts from college that he goes back compulsively to fiddle with every so often, but is still not happy with either of them. He still loves fantasy and science fiction and reads constantly in the moments between writing stories.

Ashavan loves to hear from readers and can be reached at ashavandoyon@gmail.com.

Social Media Links: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Website

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