A Stella Review: Bishop Ridge (Sawyer’s Ferry #2) by Cate Ashwood

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

They found exactly what they weren’t looking for.

Logan:
I had almost everything I’d ever wanted—career, friends, my own easy life in Sawyer’s Ferry, Alaska. I’d given up on filling in the missing pieces long ago. Now, I was more than satisfied with the perfectly practiced, perfectly predictable routine I’d created for myself. At least until Jackson Daley walked into my clinic.

Jackson:
Working the rigs is temporary. Everything in my life is. Jobs, cities, and the guys I take home—nothing sticks, and that’s exactly the way I like it. After four years in Alaska, I’m itching to pick up and leave. I’m ready to move on and start over someplace new, until a one-night stand I can’t seem to shake has me breaking all my own rules.
Now as I get closer to walking away, my reasons for leaving seem blurrier than ever, and for the first time in my life, there could be something worth staying for.

This new release by Cate Ashwood is one of the reasons why I love the author so much, Bishop

Ridge was a very good novel and I will surely reread it in the future. This second installment in the Sawyer’s Ferry series was perfect as the first one.

I followed with enthusiasm and trepidation the love story between Jackson and Logan, how beautiful they were together, really made for each other, although Jackson’s determination at not falling in love with the sexy doctor. He needed an almost life ending situation to finally admit that he wanted logan in his world so badly. The chemistry was explosive sure, but what I adored the most was how the author matched the sex scenes with as many scenes where the characters deeply talked and knew each other backgrounds, they discovered their fears and qualities. And I was able to feel them and they caught my heart, and then meeting again Hoden and Gage was a huge bonus.

I was hooked by these characters lives from the beginning and really got stuck to them till the ending, I loved the writing, the dual POV was well done. The only reason why I am not giving Bishop Ridge the full five stars is that I need a little more from the ending part, I wasn’t ready to let these men go, I think they had a little more to say and for just a tiny moment, at the end, I was disappointed. I so hope the author will decide to write again about them.

The cover art by Cate Ashwood is lovely and fitting, I like it.

SALE LINKS  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 191 pages

Published November 13th 2018

ASIN B07KGP42QF

Edition Language English

Series Sawyer’s Ferry #2

A Stella Review: Alaska (Sawyer’s Ferry #1) by Cate Ashwood

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

Nobody says no to a Prescott.

Not even one of their own.

Holden:
Living up to expectations had never been easy, but when I went after something, I got it. Success. Money. Victory. I was standing on the doorstep to having it all. There was only one thing standing in my way.

Gage:
Power and prosperity are overrated. Especially when they come at a price. When enough became enough, I walked away. Nothing had ever tempted me to look back, until one day the past showed up in my backyard.

I’m not so sure I can walk away a second time.

Finally a book that truly satisfied me and left my heart full. I’m so happy Cate Ashwood wrote Alaska, she did an amazing work and missed nothing. A perfectly written book, with well defined characters, a good plot, clear and real chemistry and love between the MCs, hot sex scenes, a dreamy ending. And so much more. What else could I request?

Gage and Holden conquered my heart from the beginning, I was caught into their minds and was so curious to know how they were going to get their HEA, I couldn’t put my Kindle down. Maybe for the first time I’m glad the blurb told me pretty much nothing, that’s why I’m not going to reveal nothing in this review. Just know it will be almost impossible to be disappointed by the story, it’s funny, sweet and sexy, an easy read, with just a tiny bit of drama. I loved Alaska, every words and every characters. I can’t wait for the next book and the next couple to love.

With this first installment in the new Sawyer’s Ferry series, the author gave me everything I want to find in a story. It was a huge success and I can’t stop myself from recommending it to all of you. I think I’m going to reread it right this second.

The cover art by the same author is lovely, I can see Gage in the model even if his face is eyes are cut off.

SALE LINKS:  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 1 edition, 183 pages

Published April 22nd 2018 by Cate Ashwood

ASIN B07CKMRZ1J

Edition Language English

A Stella Review: ​Cruising by Cate Ashwood

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

Best friends Dylan and Jake have been inseparable since college, but Dylan has one secret he can’t bring himself to share with Jake—he’s completely, utterly in love with him.


Jake’s friendship is the most important thing in the world to Dylan, so as much as it hurts to see him with other people, Dylan keeps his mouth shut about his true feelings. When Jake wins a cruise to Alaska, he asks Dylan to go along, but what Dylan doesn’t know, is that there’s more on offer than a dream vacation.

Can Dylan and Jake sail off to their happily ever after, or are they cruising toward disaster?

Cruising is a lovely short story, I finished it quickly and was fully satisfied from what I learned about the MCs and how the plot went. I was able to connect with Dylan and Jake from the start, I felt the deep link they have for each other, an important friendship both of them scared to destroy with a possible love relationship. Problem is both of them are too deep into their feelings to ignore them and just continue to be besties. And so finally Jake decides to be brave and risk it all.

Cate Ashwood is one of my favorite authors since the first time I read Keeping Sweet at the beginning of my obsession with the MM books. From that moment I wait anxiously for each new release. Cruising is well written and engaging short story, just 13K words, plus I adore the friends to lovers trope, especially when they are well done as in this case. Moreover this is FREE, so if you haven’t read this author works, give this title a chance, it won’t cost you nothing but I’m sure you will looking for more from her.

The cover art by Cate Ashwood is well done, I like it and it reminds me of a specific scene in the story so it’s fitting too.

Sales Links: FREE here https://www.instafreebie.com/public/FC7UD

Book Details:

ebook, 45 pages

Published December 8th 2017 by Self Published

Word Count: 13,000 words

Genre: Contemporary m/m romance

Edition Language English

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Tasting Notes by Cate Ashwood and Narrator Michael Pauley

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Tasting Notes AudiobookThere’s nothing that can’t be solved over a glass of excellent wine.

 

Joseph “West” Weston has paid for his wealth and success with long hours at the office and no personal life to speak of. Meetings, conference calls, and paperwork dominate his waking hours and have kept him from honoring the promise he made to his late grandfather years before.

 

After leaving the Marines, Robert “Rush” Coeman returns to his hometown and settles in as a Christmas tree farmer. His life is quiet and simple, and he likes it that way. When West arrives in town and buys Rush’s parents’ vineyard on a whim, that simple life is turned upside down. The animosity between them is palpable, but Rush shelves his preconceived notions in order to protect his parents’ legacy. He agrees to help West learn how to run the vineyard, and Rush soon realizes that love doesn’t necessarily come in the package he expected.

 

West decides to take time off to fulfill his promise to his grandfather, the first impulsive thing he has done in years.  While on his road trip he quickly makes another impulsive decision to buy a winery even though he knows nothing about running one.  Rush feels obligated to show West the ropes in order to protect the winery’s reputation, but soon learns that West isn’t quite what he originally thought.

 

This story is told from both character’s points of view.  West feels so lost and hasn’t had anyone to rely on but himself for years.  When he is forced to get help from the gruff Rush he has a bit of a reality check, but knows this isn’t his usual environment.  Rush has to learn to get over some of his pre-conceived notions before they can make their future work together.

 

Michael Pauley did a nice job narrating this story.  The use of different voices for the characters helped me keep track of the story.  However, his reading was a bit mechanical and I got most of the characters emotions from the word more than his speaking.

 

Cover art by Anna Sikorska is beautiful and works well for this story.

 

Sales Links

 

 

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 6hrs 12min
Published June 30, 2016 (ebook first published October 26, 2015)
Edition Language: English

An Alisa Release Day Review: A Fallen Heart (Zero Hour #2) by Cate Ashwood

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

A Fallen Heart by Cate AshwoodAfter his last disastrous relationship, Joseph Ford has absolutely no interest in getting attached again. Concentrating on working as a trauma nurse and keeping his life as simple as possible are his only goals. Unfortunately, his plans could be derailed by the charming, sexy Nash.

 

Things are looking up for paramedic Ridley Nash when he transfers to Station 217. He gets along with the crew, likes his partner, and is finally on a team willing to accept him—gay and all. It’s everything he’s always wanted, but when he meets Ford, Nash knows his life is about to get very interesting.

 

As Ford and Nash find themselves stuck in the middle of a homicide case, things become more complicated. For the last year, the mutilated bodies of teenage boys have been showing up all over downtown. With no leads, the police are getting desperate. One of the victims is found alive, and he’s the best chance the police have to catch the killer—if only they can get him to talk.

 

Will Nash be able to catch Ford when he falls, or is there too much standing in their way to make it work?

 

This was a nice continuation of the Zero Hour series.  I enjoyed the first book and liked this one just as much.  Ford has closed his heart off after his last relationship ended badly, but Nash starts to tear down those boundaries from the first time they meet.

 

Nash has recently transferred stations and is now Adam’s partner and is happy to be somewhere he isn’t persecuted for who he is.  Ford has never hidden who he is, no matter what his ex wanted, but is afraid to let someone else in.  Their mutual friendships with Adam and Sam from the first book help bring them together even when Ford is trying to stay apart.

 

This story is told from both characters’ point of view which makes it easier to connect with the characters.  Seeing how scared Ford is to lose himself in another relationship just broke my heart, but Nash is determined to show him that what they have is good and not like what Ford had before.  I can’t wait for the next book in the series to see more of these characters.

 

Cover art by Bree Archer is nice and follows the pattern for the series.

 

Sales Links

        

 

 

 

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published: August 29, 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN-13: 9781634775793
Edition Language: English

Series: Zero Hour #2

An Alisa Audiobook Review: A Forced Silence (Zero Hour #1) by Cate Ashwood and Scott R. Smith (Narrator)

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

a-forced-silenceFor paramedic Adam Carson, his world is lights and sirens and saving lives. Pressures at work keep him firmly in the closet, and life is too busy to contend with the complications that come with dating and relationships. When a familiar face from his past turns up where he least expects it, Adam starts to question whether or not there is room in his life for those complications.

 

The last person forensic pathologist Sam McKenna expects to see at pub night is Adam, the guy who made his life hell in high school. The attraction is instant, but Adam isn’t gay and Sam has no interest in pursuing him. Still, the leftover animosity from their teenage years isn’t enough to extinguish the lust growing between them. After both are called to the scene of a horrific murder, Adam admits he’s not as straight as he led Sam to believe and they seek comfort and distraction in each other’s arms. One night becomes many as the murder investigation intensifies, but when Adam is faced with losing Sam, he is forced to make a choice: to break his silence, or to give up everything for the job he loves.

 

I enjoyed listening to this story.  Sam has been living openly since he left home for college and doesn’t want to hide himself while Adam has been hiding himself from everyone afraid to lose his job or family.  Sam and Adam used to be best friends with the same person in school, however were never friends themselves in fact Adam used to go out of his way to make his life horrible.

 

When this story starts Sam has grown a lot from the awkward and shy teenager he was when they were in school, but Adam has moved farther from his attitude he had in school.  I could feel both of their emotions, Sam absolutely loves the Adam he knows in private, but it tears him up to not show it in public.  Adam is constantly feeling down about not being there for Sam out in the open.  The story was left open and I hope I can see more of these characters in the future.

 

Scott R. Smith did a wonderful job narrating this story.  I was able to keep track of the stories and characters which is always nice.  He was able to portray the characters emotions in his reading.

 

Cover art by Melody Pond is nice and I wouldn’t change it.

 

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Audible | Amazon |  iTunes

 

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 5hrs 47min
Published June 3, 2016 (ebook first published December 11, 2015)
Edition Language: English

A Stella Review: Resurrecting Elliot (Newport Boys #2) by Cate Ashwood

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Resurrecting Elliot coverNightmares and panic attacks following a horrific tragedy leave Professor Elliot Lawrence a prisoner in his own home. After months of relying on his sister as his only connection to the outside world, Elliot is desperate for a sliver of independence. But leaving the safety of his home isn’t an option, not yet, and he reaches out in the most innocuous way he can think of: grocery delivery.

Colton Kelly, retired porn star and recent college grad, is struggling at two minimum wage jobs to make ends meet. During one of his grocery deliveries, he meets Elliot. Although the attraction between them is instant, they must first traverse the long road of putting Elliot back together. When disaster strikes yet again, this time in Colt’s life, Elliot’s not sure he’s strong enough to be the man Colt needs him to be.

Resurrecting Elliot by Cate Ashwood wasn’t what I was expecting, at all. I was first waiting for something still set in the porn industry, then reading the blurb I was sure it was darker. I love Cate’s writing and ideas so of course I enjoyed this book, I gave it 4 stars after all. Still, in my humble opinion, I think if she had decided to focus on or emphasize more the struggle both MCs went through in their lives, I could have been reading just what I love to read; maybe it would have been heavier but although I liked Resurrecting Elliot A LOT, too many times it seems to me the story flowed too easily.

The way Elliot could overcome his fears just with Colt’s help was beautiful to watch but was much too simplistic. I know when you close yourself off, after a trauma like the one that hit Elliot, the love of the person you have beside can be strong enough to help you heal but not so smoothly as in this book. Okay it’s  fictional but I’m always looking for reality in my stories. So for me the author made a couple of choices that prevent the book for being perfect like others written by her.

Now I’m going to stop to be so freaking critical and start talking about all the good aspects. First of all the book opened with the marriage of Evan and Bran. Do you have an idea how happy I was? Keeping Sweet, book #1 in the Newport Boys series, was the first book I read by Cate Ashwood and most likely one of the first m/m books I read in the 2013. I fell in love with Evan and knowing he would have had his deserved HEA was beautiful, especially after the little snippet in Thirty Things (https://scatteredthoughtsandroguewords.com/2015/04/17/a-stella-review-thirty-things-by-cate-ashwood/). Also you can read it as a standalone.

Resurrecting Elliot is set six years after the first one,  Colt has quit doing porn and is looking for a job as a teacher. Meanwhile he’s doing a couple of job, one of this as a delivery man. Guess to whom he goes to deliver groceries? Elliot is imprisoned himself a year after watching one of his students take his life. The trauma was so deep he’s having problems to even leave his house. When he meet Colt things finally change. They soon hit it off and start seeing each other first as just friends and then as lovers and Colt is able to help Elliot dealing with his fears and panic attacks. There is a little more I obviously can’t talk about that  was a great closure to Colt and the final push to Elliot to be stronger than ever and overcome the pain.

As every book Cate Ashwood wrote, Resurrecting Elliot was well written, sweet, hard to put down. A truly feel good story. I want to recommend it to all of you.

Cover art by Brooke Albrecht. I like it. Nothing special but simply and clean. Well done.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published July 20th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634762250
edition languageEnglish
seriesNewport Boys #2

Newpost Boys Series (Goodreads links -add  to your TBR list:

In the Book Spotlight: Resurrecting Elliot (Newport Boys #2) by Cate Ashwood

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Resurrecting Elliot (Newport Boys #2) by Cate Ashwood
Release Date: July 20, 2015

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Goodreads Link
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

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Sales Links:  Dreamspinner eBook | Dreamspinner Paperback | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Nightmares and panic attacks following a horrific tragedy leave Professor Elliot Lawrence a prisoner in his own home. After months of relying on his sister as his only connection to the outside world, Elliot is desperate for a sliver of independence. But leaving the safety of his home isn’t an option, not yet, and he reaches out in the most innocuous way he can think of: grocery delivery.

Colton Kelly, retired porn star and recent college grad, is struggling at two minimum wage jobs to make ends meet. During one of his grocery deliveries, he meets Elliot. Although the attraction between them is instant, they must first traverse the long road of putting Elliot back together. When disaster strikes yet again, this time in Colt’s life, Elliot’s not sure he’s strong enough to be the man Colt needs him to be.

Pages or Words: 200 pages

Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

TEN MINUTES. He was going to be here in ten minutes. Maybe. The website had given Elliot a window of an hour, but with ten minutes to, he was beginning to feel anxious. His heart was racing. His palms were already sweating. No one other than his sister and Dr. Mazur had crossed the threshold of his front door since it happened.
Nothing like throwing himself into the fire.

Elliot paced around the house, tidying what had already been tidied. He didn’t want this guy thinking he was a hoarder on top of being a shut-in. He double-checked that there was no clutter on his coffee table, that the newspapers his sister brought were neatly stacked and ready for the fireplace. The side tables had been dusted—twice—and the blanket on the back of the couch straightened. Pulling down the blinds on his front windows, he peered out, looking for a strange vehicle, but the street was deserted.

He walked back into the kitchen. Spotless. He wasn’t really sure how the whole delivery thing worked, if the guy just left his things at the door or if he brought them all the way into the house. Glancing at the clock again, he saw he had just enough time to fix—

There was a loud knock at the door. This was it. He hoped he wouldn’t puke on this guy’s shoes as soon as the door opened. He felt like he might. As calmly as he could, he walked to the front door and unlocked it.

Deep breaths, just keep breathing, he reminded himself before he clutched at the doorknob, turned it, and pulled his front door open.

He almost forgot to keep breathing.

The man that stood on the other side of his door, backlit by the sun, looked up and gave a crooked smile that made Elliot’s already rapidly beating heart hustle.

“Hi, are you Elliot Lawrence?” the man asked, his southern drawl warm and comforting somehow.

“Yes,” Elliot said unintelligently… and then forgot how to speak.

“I’m Colt.”

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Cate Ashwood wrote her very first story in a hot-pink binder when she was in the second grade and found her passion for writing. Her first successful foray into romance writing came five years later when she wrote her best friend, who was experiencing a case of unrequited love, her own happily ever after.

Cate’s life has taken a number of different and adventurous roads. She now lives a stone’s throw from the ocean, just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband, her little boy, and their two cats. Her life is filled with family and friends, travel, and, of course, books.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cate.ashwood
Facebook Author Page
Twitter: @cateashwood
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cateashwood/

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Tour Dates & Stops: July 21, 2015
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Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Resurrecting Elliot’ by Cate Ashwood
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A Stella Review: The Storm Before The Calm by Cate Ashwood

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

StormBeforeTheCalm[The]FSCharlie has one passion in life: dancing. It’s his salvation when it feels like the world is swallowing him whole. When his mom secretly secures him a spot in the summer intensive at the Free Rein Dance Company in New York, he is thrilled. He knows that once the summer ends, he’ll have to return to Beacon to get a job and help support his family, but for those two months, he can spread his wings.

In New York he meets Max, a junior instructor who is everything Charlie wishes he could be. Bold and self-assured, Max radiates pride in who he is. As they spend time together, Max shows Charlie what life can be like past the walls of his closed-minded home town. But Charlie doesn’t know if he’s ready to show the world who he truly is when standing in the spotlight is the last thing he wants.

I think I became a Cate Ashwood fan since the first time I read one of her books called Keeping Sweet and I can say that she hasn’t once disappointed me. The Storm Before The Calm was another winner. Simply beautiful and perfect. I highly recommend it! It’s a positive book, light, sweet, full of emotions. Exactly what I love to read!

The story between Charlie, just graduated from high school and Max, a twenty-one years old dance instructor, was a joy to read. The chemistry between them was explosive. They were good for each other. In a safe place and with a safe and right person, Charlie was finally able to be himself, he simply flourished. I usually tend to prefer stories with older MCs, but Max and Charlie were mature in their youth, solid in their feelings and career.

I was in love with Charlie’s mom. She was so sweet. I loved their relationship. It’s how I imagine a family should be. She raised him alone, she’s the greatest supporter of Charlie’s passion, dancing. She paid for his lessons even when they didn’t have much money. She’s the one to book him a summer internship in a dance company in New York.

Dancing is not just a passion to Charlie, it’s his lifeline, the only thing that saved his life in his worse days at high school. Days spent to be bullied and with no one to step by his side. Days spent feeling dirty. The same days spent in the beautiful world the dance is.

“When I reached my bathroom, I closed the door, locking it behind me. My mom wasn’t home, but shutting out the world made me feel better somehow. I stripped off my clothes and stepped into the shower, turned on the water and stood under the spray. It was so hot I almost couldn’t stand it, but I needed as much heat as possible to melt away the muck that clung to me. I scrubbed at my skin until it was red and raw, then stepped forward, bracing my hand against the wall as I let my head fall under the water. My tears mixed with the spray from the shower, and I could almost pretend they weren’t there at all. I let them fall freely, sobs shaking my body. All the frustration and anger and hurt I’d bottled up during the day spilled out of me. Dylan would never see me cry. Never. In this place, locked away, it was safe to let go.”

The first couple of chapters were a little hard to read to me. Charlie broke my heart in more than one scene. I was afraid to have stepped in an heavy story, full of angst, something good but at the same time depressing, you know what I mean?

Fortunately, apart for a dozen of tears I shed at the start, this book was light and sweet. The story was good, the writing perfect and the characters amazing. I couldn’t have asked for more! And the title is right, exactly what the book is about.
5 full stars!

Cover art by Anna Sikorska. Beautiful cover! The icing on the cake.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe)  |  Amazon  |  Buy It Here

Book Details:

Published June 5th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ebook, 200 pages
ISBN13 9781634760867
Edition language English

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AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Storm-Before-Calm-Cate-Ashwood-ebook/dp/B00YHHHJZ6

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In the Book Spotlight: The Storm Before The Calm by Cate Ashwood (Author interview and giveaway)

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The Storm Before The Calm by Cate Ashwood
Release Date: June 5, 2015

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Goodreads Link
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anna Sikorska

Sales Links at Dreamspinner Press
E-book – Paperback

My Interview with Cate Ashwood!

1. Dancing is so very sexual. Is that what made you make it a central component of your story?
Partly. I wanted the guys dancing together because there is such an intimate connection between partners when they’re dancing together. A lot of the time it can be sexual, but it goes beyond that too. There’s a level of trust needed for lifts, a certain amount of connection needed to know where your partner is at all times, even without looking at him. I wanted all that for Charlie and Max. And since dance is such an explicit form of expression, I needed Charlie to be able to come into who he was through something he loved.

2. When I think of dancers, I think of people totally at home in their skin. What is it about dancers that made you want to make it a passion for your characters?
That was a huge part of it! Dance was the one place that Charlie felt safe to be himself, even if he wasn’t able to admit out loud who he was. It was an outlet for him as it is for so many kids (and was for me, too, which makes it very close to my heart).

3. I can think of several of my favorite movies with dancing at its heart. From The Red Shoes to Dirty Dancing to The Turning Point, even today those movies take me to another place. Do you have any favorites? Or favorite dancers?
Oh God. So many! Of course the classics like Dirty Dancing and Strictly Ballroom. One of my favourites of all time is Singin’ in the Rain (which of course isn’t a movie about dancing, but there’s enough in it to make me giddy). And I’ll admit to loving the cheesier ones too, like Center Stage (which was huge for me when I was a kid), Step Up, and Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.

4. What was the inspiration behind this title and characters?
The title comes from the song that I imagined them dancing to. “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” by John Mayer. I love the song and I saw a video of a dance choreographed to it that lit a spark for Charlie and Max. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hk9-qH5fyTU
When I heard that line of lyrics, I knew it was perfect for Charlie. It’s exactly his path–the storm is within him but eventually he finds his happily ever after.
Charlie came first. To a certain degree, he’s a very exaggerated picture of me when I was younger. Thankfully, I never went through anything close to what Charlie endured, but I knew people who did. The world can be an ugly place sometimes, and often people can’t even see it. Max was created for Charlie, not only to give him the love he deserved, but to help be the catalyst for Charlie to discover who he was.

5. I have always loved the “truthfulness” you seem to bring out of every situation in your stories when it comes to exploring a person’s growing aware of their sexuality. what do you think makes your scenes stand out with such authenticity and realness?
Wow. Thank you so much! I try to write as close to real life as I can. I know there’s a certain fantasy element that’s required when it comes to writing romance, but I always strive to make my characters as authentic as I can. I’d be lying if I didn’t say there was a bit of me in all of them, but I think that’s true for all authors. It’s impossible to create someone else without leaving traces of yourself within them.

In terms of sexuality, that’s difficult for me. I was raised in a very open household (I was taught about the birds and the bees at age 4) and my parents were always very supportive and welcoming of conversation and discussion if ever I had questions. Despite it all, I’ve always been borderline prudish when it came to talking about sex. I had a hard time telling my parents that my husband and I were going to have a baby because it would mean admitting that I wasn’t a virgin (which was ridiculous, I know). So for me, writing about characters coming to terms with themselves as sexual beings and expressing those emotions and that desire is liberating because I had such a difficult time with it myself.

6. What’s next for Cate Ashwood?
Lots! I have a book coming out at the end of the month that I co-wrote with L.J. LaBarthe called Brick by Brick. That one drops on the 29th.
On the 15th of July, the second book in the Newport Boys series (Keeping Sweets was the first) comes out. This one is Colt’s story!

I have a novel in edits right now called Tasting Notes. It’s the first in a new series and it’s about a venture capitalist who one day realizes that he has money but not happiness, so he takes off for California to spread his grandfather’s ashes and take a step back from work. He arrives and buys a winery on a whim, and then meets the son of the original owners who is none too happy about him taking over his parents’ legacy.

There are a few more books in the works, as well–I am set to finish the first book in yet another series in the next few days. This one is about emergency service personnel. The first book follows a paramedic and a forensic pathologist. I also have two more co-writes that will hopefully be finished soon, one with Skylar Cates, and the other with LJ. And then eventually finishing up all the series with a few standalones thrown in for good measure. It’s going to be a busy year!

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Charlie has one passion in life: dancing. It’s his salvation when it feels like the world is swallowing him whole. When his mom secretly secures him a spot in the summer intensive at the Free Rein Dance Company in New York, he is thrilled. He knows that once the summer ends, he’ll have to return to Beacon to get a job and help support his family, but for those two months, he can spread his wings.

In New York he meets Max, a junior instructor who is everything Charlie wishes he could be. Bold and self-assured, Max radiates pride in who he is. As they spend time together, Max shows Charlie what life can be like past the walls of his closed-minded home town. But Charlie doesn’t know if he’s ready to show the world who he truly is when standing in the spotlight is the last thing he wants.

Pages or Words: 62,000 words

Categories: Contemporary, Gay fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

My fingers tugged at the edge of the cardboard cozy wrapped around the cup as I waited for him to speak. The silence between us felt heavy, and the awkwardness settled in around me as he stared at me, his mouth quirked in a playful expression.

“What?” I asked finally.

“Nothing,” he replied, smiling. “So I guess we should get started.”

“Sure.”

“I think maybe just one, two songs at most. The festival isn’t until the end of the summer, so we have lots of time.”

“What festival is it again?” I asked.

“OutShine,” he responded.

“What kind of festival is that?” I asked.

“It’s a big arts festival that takes place throughout the city, mostly in parks. There are exhibits and performances, and a huge celebration at the end. It was started a few years ago to raise awareness and money for gay rights.”

“Oh. Are you… I mean….”

“Gay?” Max supplied.

“Yeah.”

“Yes. Are you?”

“I… no, uh I…,” I stuttered. I was stunned by how nonchalant and completely unapologetic he’d been about his sexuality, as though admitting to me he was gay was the most ordinary thing in the whole world. A part of me wished I could do that. I could nod and say the words like it was as natural as telling him I was blond or I liked chocolate ice cream.

“It’s okay, Charlie. No big deal. You don’t have to be gay to participate. Originally, all the artists were gay, but it has grown and evolved now to include everyone, which is how it should be,” Max said, shooting me an understanding look.

I should have corrected him. I should have told him, but I’d never said the words out loud. Hell, it was hard enough for me to form that three-word sentence in my head. Even as I sat there, my brain rebelled, doing its own version of sticking its fingers in its ears and humming. So instead of being honest with him about who I was, I let him assume I was something else.

 

RC

 

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Cate Ashwood wrote her very first story in a hot-pink binder when she was in the second grade and found her passion for writing. Her first successful foray into romance writing came five years later when she wrote her best friend, who was experiencing a case of unrequited love, her own happily ever after.
Cate’s life has taken a number of different and adventurous roads. She now lives a stone’s throw from the ocean, just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband, her brand new little boy, and her two cats. Her life is filled with family and friends, travel, and, of course, books.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cate.ashwood
Facebook Author Page
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cateashwood
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cateashwood/
Other: http://www.cateashwood.com

 STRW Spotlight Contest Header

Giveaway: Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions. Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘The Storm Before the Calm’ by Cate Ashwood.

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8-Jun
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