A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Impacted! (Bay Area Professionals) by Mickie B. Ashling

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5 

As the author acknowledges, she had a limited knowledge of BDSM when this was written. While this story was originally written in 2009, this is a re-edited and re-released version for 2019. It does jump right into a rough sex scene between strangers with no real concern for trust or safety, not really enough lube, and no prep.

Scott Gregory has bought into a periodontal practice in San Francisco. Knowing his partner Ron is conservative, he decides to stay in the closet due to the trial period in the contract before he becomes a full partner. His hookup with Red, from a BDSM club during his vacation, turns out to be Robin Kennedy, his new dental hygienist. Of course he is in the same boat–working for a homophobe and worried about being fired. Scott’s best friend from school, Susie ends up being hired to be his assistant. I’m not sure that having Susie or Ron’s point of view helped this book.

As soon as Scott and Robin see each other, they want each other again even though it’s a terrible idea. Then they go straight to Scott calling him Master for their second scene and swiftly into a contract. The encounter where Scott tops Robin is uncomfortable; he’s a virgin and doesn’t bottom, or as far as we know even use toys and there is no prep at all! Robin says he would never risk exposing Scott, yet that’s exactly what he does. If you read the blurb and thought, what could possibly go wrong…then you know exactly what goes wrong. Of course, they get caught. Then there is an OTT (over the top) ridiculous plot twist!

Susie doesn’t come across as the most likeable character. She also can’t be that close of a friend if she doesn’t know about Scott. Now all of the sudden she gets introduced to BDSM. I found this whole plot point rather irritating to be honest. She obviously has trust issues, hasn’t seen a loving relationship, and treats men as disposable…but now all of the sudden that makes sense because she might be a Domme? The other dental assistant Jenna, Ron’s wife, and Ron’s daughter are not pleasant either. In fact, the only likeable female character in this is actually Robin’s mom.

I guess this is frustrating because I liked elements of this and it flowed well for the most part, but there were just so many things that didn’t work for me. After such a major conflict, everything gets wrapped up with a bow without really working things out properly in my opinion. It ends abruptly. I must be in the minority in my view because there are five books in this series, with Bonds of Love being the sequel that still focuses on this couple. I’m torn about whether to read it or not because I know these guys now and I want to see them progress emotionally and deal with things more maturely. I want to know what happens with Ron. However, I am annoyed with Jenna and she’ll likely feature in the sequel. I personally have no interest in Susie’s storyline going any further. I don’t see how Ron could be redeemed and I don’t have any interest in what that would look like. I have to decide if this HFN is enough for me, or if I want to read about what Scott and Robin’s relationship is like now that they are out of the closet. Also, there are some soap opera elements that should be wrapped up in the sequel.

The cover art is by Kanaxa. I don’t know who this is. Scott is described as having honey colored hair and green eyes. Robin is a natural redhead with freckles. This cover has no connection to the story at all.

Buy links:  Dreamspinner PressAmazon 

Book Details:

ebook, 234 pages
Published August 3rd 2009 by Dreamspinner Press (first published August 2009)
Original TitleImpacted
ISBN 1615810234 (ISBN13: 9781615810239)
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Bay Area Professionals #1
settingCalifornia (United States)

Mickie B. Ashlings on Writing, Romances, and her new release “Impacted” (author giveaway and guest blog)

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Impacted (Bay Area Professionals #1) by Mickie B. Ashling

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Kanaxa

Buy links:  Dreamspinner PressAmazon 

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Mickie B. Ashling here today with a wonderful interview and giveaway.  Welcome, Mickie!

Thank you for hosting the blog tour for the second edition of Impacted! This novel, the first in a series of five, was published ten years ago when I was new on the scene. It was my first foray into BDSM and I’ll admit I made a few mistakes. Nonetheless, it was surprisingly well received, and continues to draw new readers. This second edition offers a gorgeous new cover designed by Kanaxa along with extensive edits for a more enjoyable reading experience.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Mickie B. Ashling…

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

I know there’s a little bit of me in each character or situation I write. Even though my stories are mostly about gay men, and I’m obviously not, love and attraction are a human experience. I’ve drawn from my emotional well on more than one occasion. The Bay Area Professional Series is set in San Francisco, where I lived for over ten years. My experience as an office manager in a dental practice was a constant source of inspiration. Most of us are terrified of dentists and would never associate them with good times. I wanted to change the narrative. The men who populate this series are nothing like the ghoulish doctors most of us remember from our childhood.      

  • Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Yes. I’ve been writing in the m/m genre since I was first published in 2009. I’ve had to do my share of research on multiple fronts. Location is usually the easiest—and the most enjoyable when I get to travel—but I’ve been known to pester my gay friends with questions when I can’t find answers on the internet. My go-to for all things BDSM has been an online friend since 2011. He’s in a long-term, committed D/s relationship, and I couldn’t ask for a more generous and supportive resource. Last year, I started a fantasy series—a new genre for me—and I’m discovering the joys of world building. There’s a heady freedom to this genre I’m enjoying immensely.    

  • Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

When I started Loving Edits, the first book in The Basque Trilogy, I knew it would be difficult to get through without a lot of stops and starts. The story is a tribute to my mother who died of ALS. One of my main characters (I had 3 as this trilogy is m/m/m) also suffers from the disease. Difficult and gut-wrenching don’t even come close to what I experienced as I was writing these books. I was traumatized by the experience of nursing my mother during her last year. My knee-jerk reaction to the acronym ALS is to cover my ears and babble la-la-la until the moment passes. It took all my will power to plot the story and do the necessary research. I assumed there had been advances in the treatment of ALS since my mother’s death, but I was sadly mistaken. Despite the money and manpower, there has been very little progress in trying to figure out this horrendous and fatal disease. My beta readers were gutted by the end. It was hard for all of us.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

You can’t be a romance writer if you don’t like the happy ending, but I’m more inclined to leave my characters with a happy for now.  Love is a fickle mistress and usually unpredictable. Sustaining the happily ever after takes a lot of work and, as I’ve often said, good luck. We can’t all be blessed with the right partner from the start. Sometimes it takes multiple tries to get it right.

  • Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I read a lot of romances as a teenager. In retrospect I wish I hadn’t. It left me with high expectations that were completely unrealistic. Pair this with a Catholic school upbringing, and I was seeing the world through rose-tinted lenses. My poor mother had to deal with burst bubbles and the accompanying tears for most of my teen years. So much drama. I wouldn’t go back in time for all the money in the world. 

  • How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

This question was more relevant about ten years ago when I was first published. Back then, ebooks were a new thing, and a lot of readers rejected them, but history and Amazon have proven they are here to stay. The convenience of carrying your entire library in a tiny device is incomparable. Plus, there’s the question of timing. The ability to access your favorite author’s newest release within minutes of publication is very satisfying for people who don’t like to wait. I’m one of those type A-personalities who’d rather walk out of a store than stand in a line. One click was made for people like me. 

  • Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

It’s difficult to pick one among 34 full-length novels (and 3 novellas) I’ve written and published in the last ten years. Asking me which of my children is my “favorite” is a trick question, and I can’t answer without hurting someone’s feelings. While I’m working on the story it’s my favorite, but once I’m done, and it’s out of my hands, I move on to the next project. I guess if you pinned me down I would choose The Basque Trilogy as the most significant because of the emotional ties I mentioned a few questions up. I loved writing Yesterday and Mayon. Both of these historical novels are set in foreign locals—Yesterday in Pakistan and Mayon in the Philippines—where I resided at one point in my life. I relied heavily on my memories plus there was a lot of research involved in the case of Yesterday, which focused on the months leading up to the revolution in Iran. One of my MCs was a relative of the Shah and directly impacted by the overthrow of the monarchy. 

  • What’s next for you as an author?

I’ve just finished and submitted the sequel to my Legacy Series published through NineStar Press. A Noble Cause starts where A Tangled Legacy ended. I’m hoping to release in the late summer, but that depends on the publisher’s schedule. I have nothing definite to announce at this time. Last November, I self-published book five in the Bay Area Professional Series. Yield explores the darker side of BDSM and other taboo subjects. It didn’t fit the guidelines for Dreamspinner Press, so I chose to self-pub rather than submit elsewhere.   

  • Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

Yes. My Caucasian MC in Third Son was born and raised in Hong Kong. Like me, who grew up in the Philippines, Niall’s physicality didn’t match his Asian mindset. Trying to fit into both cultures seamlessly was always a challenge. Falling in love and being viewed as the “foreigner,” despite sharing a long childhood history, was painful. I made sure Niall got his HEA. 

 

  • What’s the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into a story?

A random stop at an ice cream stall at the Taste of Chicago turned into one of my bestsellers. Taste was inspired by a hot dude who handed me the cone. He had a colorful tattoo sleeve, a killer smile, and my muse decided then and there that he must be wearing pink panties underneath those faded jeans. I started writing the story as soon as I got home. 

 

  • What’s next for you as a writer?

I’ve got a few ideas percolating, but I haven’t started a new project yet. I’d like to do something different, in another genre perhaps, but wanting and getting it done don’t always go hand in hand. All I can say is there will be another story in about six months. Stay tuned! 

 

Impacted!

Bay Area Professionals

On his way home from vacation, Scott Gregory, a closeted sub, hooks up with the gorgeous Red, a flamboyant Dom, for a thrilling one-off at a BDSM bar. They part ways after a satisfying scene… but meet again when Robin Kennedy—Red—arrives at his new job as a dental hygienist and discovers one of his two bosses is Scott.

Robin and Scott embark on a journey of exploration into their kinkier sides and discover they’re more than compatible—they’re a perfect match. But keeping employer/employee and Dom/sub separate at the office presents difficulties, and to make matters even more complicated, the owner of the dental practice is an acknowledged homophobe.

They fall in love, but Robin chafes at all the secrecy, refusing to live in the shadows. Scott isn’t as brave; he’s desperate to protect his job and his future. Will they be able to find some middle ground… or will their entire relationship fall apart because of fear?

 

$20.00 DSP Gift Card Rafflecopter :

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Author Bio

Mickie B. Ashling is the pseudonym of a multifaceted woman who is a product of her upbringing in multiple cultures, having lived in Japan, the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East. Fluent in three languages, she’s a citizen of the world and an interesting mixture of East and West. A little bit of this and a lot of that have brought a unique touch to her literary voice she could never learn from textbooks.  

By the time Mickie discovered her talent for writing, real life got in the way, and the business of raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing–and the inevitable emptying nest–dreams of becoming a published writer were resurrected and she’s never looked back.

She stumbled into the world of men who love men in 2002 and continues to draw inspiration from their ongoing struggle to find equality and happiness in this oftentimes skewed and intolerant world. She admits to being an angst queen and making her men work damn hard for their happy endings. 

Mickie currently resides in a suburb outside Chicago. 

Contact Info

E-MAIL: http://mickie.ashling@gmail.com

BLOG: http://mickiebashling.blogspot.com

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/mickie.ashling

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/MickieAshling

INSTAGRAM: @mickieashling

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B004QSCN3E

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2904716.Mickie_B_Ashling

A Caryn Release Day Review: Being with Him by Mickie Ashling

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Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

It makes me very sad to give this book a poor review, because I was really looking forward to it for several reasons:  I read Chyna Doll a year or so ago (introducing the couple that are the secondary characters in this book) and thought it was amazing, and knowing that this book’s main character was a trans man, I expected to be similarly wowed.  I can tell the author really wanted to portray transgender people and their struggles realistically – especially given the current administration’s apparent systematic discrimination against them – and though I believe she did a fair job of that, the story itself had no soul.

Zeb Arenada is a young Filipino man from a very traditional patriarchal family who has emigrated to the United States to attend college at Cornell University.  He grew up in a life of privilege, and never had to face any significant prejudice or hardship, but he was also very sheltered.  When his roommate Luca told him that he was gay, Zeb was a little non-plussed, but his natural curiosity and non-judgmental attitude ensured that they got along well together.  Zeb hadn’t seriously considered his own sexuality previously, but knowing an openly gay man made him start to question who he was really attracted to.  Luca took Zeb to NYC when he went to see his own boyfriend Chyna, and there Zeb met Chyna’s roommate Alex.

Alex Boulet is a biracial trans man from Louisiana who has been working as a successful model for several years.  When he left the south, he expected to find love and happiness in the diversity of the big city, but so far all he has found are men who are either morbidly and intrusively curious about his genitals, or disappointed to find that they aren’t standard male issue.  Those experiences, as well as some ghosts from his past, have made him very wary, very slow to trust anyone, and very protective of his heart.

With that background, I was looking forward to complex relationship growth, perhaps a slow burn, and significant character growth.  But everything was just so clinical – there was way too much focus on the mechanics of sex with a trans man, and that made all of the many (too many) sex scenes completely uninspiring.  The couple’s exploration of NYC was straight out of a tourist guide book, as though Alex hadn’t lived in Manhattan for years.  Even the descriptions of Filipino culture were superficial and stilted.  There were so many little details that just didn’t fit, like the way Alex was always cooking and eating big southern meals and desserts, and that is completely unrealistic for a model.  And there’s a shocking event from Alex’s past revealed about three quarters of the way through the book that was completely superfluous because there was no real follow up about it.  It was like, this terrible thing happened, oh well, no big deal, moving on….

Overall, very disappointing.  To be honest, I wouldn’t have finished it if I wasn’t reading it for review.  I kept hoping I would be able to find something in these men to establish some sort of emotional attachment to them, but there was nothing.  Clinical is really the best way I can describe the overall feeling of the book, and it just didn’t make for enjoyable reading.  But I do appreciate the way the author clearly did some research and tried to present an authentic representation of a transgender man.

Cover art by Kanaxa is pretty.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, First
Expected publication: December 27th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleBeing With Him
ISBN139781640800519
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Stella Review: Forged in Trust (Bay Area Professionals #4) by Mickie B. Ashling

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RATING 2 out of 5 stars

Dr. Ethan Marshall is the young medical student on call the night Tessa Duran murders her husband for abusing her twelve-year-old-son, Rino. Ethan stays in the cubicle while the rape kit is performed and is surprised when the boy resorts to prayers instead of tears.

Despite compelling evidence, Tessa is sent to jail for life. To avoid placing Rino in foster care, their parish priest agrees to raise him. Ethan is touched by Rino’s plight and visits whenever possible, but the connection is broken when the priest and young boy leave the area months later.

Raised by the Dominicans in California, Rino considers joining the order until a romance blossoms with a fellow student. After much soul-searching, he turns his back on everything familiar, and chooses his orientation over his perceived vocation. Upon graduating dental hygiene school, Rino takes a job at the office of Scott Gregory and Robin Kennedy.

Seventeen years have passed since that horrible night in the emergency room. Forty-three-year-old Ethan is now a Dominant in search of a full-time submissive. Twenty-nine-year-old Rino is adrift, longing for someone or something to help him find the serenity he’s lost along the way. As they rekindle their friendship, they realize they might be perfect for each other.

Forged in Trust by Mickie B Ashling was a huge disappointment, although it could have been a great success because it has all the things I need in my books: damaged character, age gap, BDSM, characters with different backgrounds, wealthy MC.

This novel is part of the Bay Area Professionals series but it works perfectly as a standalone, especially because the secondary characters (MCs in the previous books) take a lot of space, so you could have not read their own story and still easily understand them (I will talk more about this in a bit). Moreover halfway through the book I realized I had actually read the first book, Impacted, when I began to be obsessed with the mm world. And I remember I quite loved it. Probably my tastes changed in time and that’s why I surely will read it in the next future.

Back to Forged in Trust, one thing I liked was there was an initial part where I met Rino when he was a baby, the author showed me where he came from, what he went through and who he became. I understood the baggage he has on his shoulders.

And then a row of details I hated began.

First of all I didn’t like the writing, I can’t even explain why, it just wasn’t for me, it made my reading hard and discontinuous. I often had to reread the same sentences, maybe it was just that I wasn’t into the story at all, I don’t know.

Then religion plays an important role  and I don’t want to go into details, but I deeply despised a couple of things the author decided to speak of, and I’m saying this as a non churchgoer. They still disturbed me.

An important role is played by Robin and Scott from book #1. While I’m happy when I get to meet again the MCs I loved in the previous books of a series, here in Forged in Trust I met them too much. They were not part of the story as second characters, they had their own chapters (see the plural), long scenes I was no interested in reading, they already had their own space in another book, why I need to find their sex scenes here? Probably they were there to make up for the BDSM tag.

At the end everyone has important roles here, except for Rino and Ethan. And that made Forged in Trust barely a two stars read to me.

The cover art by Catt Ford is well done and lovely. I like it a lot.

Sales Links

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, First, 200 pages

Published September 4th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN 1634764706 (ISBN13: 9781634764704)

Edition Language English

Bay Area Professionals series

Impacted #1

Bonds of Love #2

Fractured #3

Forged in Trust #4

One Pulse Anthology and a Interview with Jon Keys, author of A Single Night

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one-pulse-anthology

One Pulse (A Dreamspinner Press Anthology)

Release Date September 17
Purchase Links

Stories drive life. Sometimes life is good; sometimes life is bad. But it’s the nature of our community that in the aftermath of an act of hatred, we respond with love. Because darkness cannot exist in the presence of light. Cruelty cannot stand against compassion. Negativity will never overcome hope.

To show our support for those affected by the Orlando shooting, our authors, editors, artists, and staff have volunteered their talents to create this anthology. All proceeds will be donated to LGBT organizations in central Florida. Join us as we celebrate the triumph of love over every obstacle.

Jon Keys—A Single Night
Alicia Nordwell—About Best Friends & Boyfriends
Mickie B. Ashling—Adíos
M.T. Aspen —Asking for Trouble
M.A. Church—Chasing Tyme
Caitlin Ricci—Coming Out
George Seaton—Cucurrucucú
Jayce Ellis—Dance
Bree Cariad—Everyday Miracles
Chrissy Munder—Everything I Need
Ellis Carrington—For the First Time
Felicitas Ivey—Get Me to the Church Town Hall on Time
John Amory—Happy Pride
Grace R. Duncan—Hope
John Goode—Let Them Eat Cake
J. C. Long—Magical Boys Just Wanna Have Fun
Elizabeth Noble—Magicicada
Renee Stevens—More Than a Pact
Troy Storm—One Big Happy… Bunch
Connie Bailey—One Heart at a Time
Dev Bentham—Perfection
Andrea Speed—Pride
Laura Lascarso—Pull
Lila Leigh Hunter—Raffled Kiss
Emery C. Walters—Ranch Dressing
C.C. Dado—Read My Lips
Sera Kane—The Stag’s Bane
KC Burn—The Tithe
Vicktor Alexander—The Wooing of the Marqués de Sierra de Outes
Edmond Manning—They Danced

~~~

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is proud to help host Dreamspinner Press’s release week for its One Pulse Anthology, a collection of stories written in the aftermath of the horror of the shootings in Orlando.  Here today, is Jon Keys, author of the wonderful Obsidian series and the story, A Single Night. Welcome, Jon, to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.

~~~

A Single Night by Jon Keys from the One Pulse Anthology

Interview

  • Where do you normally draw your inspiration for a book from?  A memory, a myth, a place or journey, or something far more personal?Good question! For me it can be from almost anything: a random comment; a location I’ve never been to before, or a familiar one I revisit. I’ve written a few stories based on fairy tales. Many of the contemporary novels begin as a “what if” story. For example, a novel I’m writing now is built from the question of what would happen if a college professor fell for his mechanic. From there I’ve added twists and turns to take it beyond the obvious.
  • Are you a planner or a pantzer when writing a story? And  why?Both. I start out planning the important elements of the novel. Lately I’ve been mapping stories out to get their flow. But once I begin writing, all kinds of twists and turns happen that I hadn’t foreseen. When they do I usually let them run their course.
  • 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?Well the reading side is easier, so lets start there. Science fiction and fantasy are big time favorites. I enjoy the peek at another world or another time. All of those situations appeal to me as a reader. So far as other genre that are in the mix; some murder mysteries will fall in from time to time. I enjoy solving the puzzles and figuring out the who done it. Contemporary is also in the combination. Nothing scratches an itch sometimes quite like a good love story. But even then I want to know about their life, where they live and other background. I guess that element comes through on both my reading and writing. I want them to have a feeling of place.Writing follows some of the same lines of thought, but the emphasis has been different. Most of my writing has focused around contemporary, or at least the first handful of stories was firmly rooted in the here and now. They also had a strong rural/cowboy flavor to them.  But over the last several stories the focus is on fantasy. Whether it was the retelling of a classic fairy tale or the worlds of high fantasy, I’ve found writing these created worlds very satisfying. I love creating worlds and the animals and people who populate them. But in my next novel set to be released early in 2017 I’m back firmly in the contemporary world, telling cowboy stories again. I seem to have somewhat of a split writing personality!
  • 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?The characters I’d probably want most to redo would be some of the antagonists, particularly Peter’s ex from Home Grown. He’d be much more multilayered now, more ominous. Yeah, he would be the character I could change more than most others.
  • Can an author have favorites among their characters and do you have them?Sure! I think authors can definitely have favorites. Some characters come out with so much personality and personal growth that you can’t help but cheer them on and want them to win. Terja from Obsidian Sun was one of those. He grew and changed so much through the course of the books.
  • If you were to be stranded on a small demi-planet, island, or god forbid LaGuardia in a snowstorm, what books would you take to read or authors on your comfort list?Oh jeez, I always go back to these later and can think of a dozen more. My test of a good read is how many times I’ve reread them. Some authors who have made it on my reread list: Anne McCaffrey’s Pern, Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar world, Allen Dean Foster, and for humor I love Robert Aspirin; the MYTH series, Phule’s Company and the Dragon Series. Yeah, that would be the short list, at least for now.
  • How early in your life did you begin writing?.I’m not one of the child prodigies I’m afraid. I never considered writing until a few years ago and I thought, “I can do that” and gave it a try. Now? Well it’s become quite an addiction for me.
  • 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 read a lot of books, but don’t remember too many of the early ones. Actually the oldest book that I remember was Mother Goose. I had people read that book to me until I could ‘read’ the book out loud. Oddly enough the novel I remember from elementary school was Farmer Boy and yes, I was an adult before I realized it was part of the Little House on the Prairie series. But I could identify with Alfonzo. Later I found more science fiction and fantasy books. Of course I had the classic collection of all the comic books I could afford. I’d never heard of a graphic novel in those days.
  • If you were writing your life as a romance novel, what would the title be?Oh wow, hard question. I agonize over titles. I really like for them to work on a number of levels. Maybe “Here we go again.”

Blurb:

The aftermath of tragedy calls for more than just physical healing, but Devon and Logan may find it with family—and with each other.

Author Bio

Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, Native American, westerns and comic books.

A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.

Buy links:

eBook: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/one-pulse-7577-b

Social Media:

Excerpt:

Logan couldn’t help but notice Devon’s limp was more pronounced than normal. The wear and tear on his husband was visible tonight when Devon grabbed the back of the sofa. His fingers dug into the thick padding as he sighed.

“Sit down, please. I’ll call Michelle and Doug and reschedule. They’ll understand,” Logan said.

“I’m fine. Watch.” Devon winked at Logan, then vaulted over the back of the heavy piece of furniture to land with a bounce on the dense cushions.

A slight rattle and a stifled groan of pain made Logan cringe. “Would you behave, Devon! You’ll mess something up.”

Devon wrapped his meaty arms around Logan and worked to pull him on top. But Logan grabbed his face and planted a kiss on his forehead.

“Knock it off. It’s your sister who’s on her way,” Logan said.

But Devon ignored the protest, pulled Logan close, and pressed their lips together. The tingle in the pit of Logan’s stomach was the same he’d gotten the night they met. In the years since, it had only gotten stronger. Logan took a deep breath and filled his senses with Devon’s masculine scent, letting himself melt against the muscular chest and feel safe. His thoughts became fuzzy and his crotch tight as their closeness sent delicious jolts through Logan. He realized this wasn’t going like it should when they had guests arriving. Logan pushed away, wet his lips, and grinned.

“I have to cook supper before they get here. Go change into something comfortable. And hang up your dress clothes, because I’m the one who has to iron your crap.”

When Devon made an attempt to stand and his breath hissed through his teeth. Logan stepped over to help, but Devon waved him away. “When I can’t get my fat ass off the sofa, I’ll let you know.”

Logan rolled his eyes but stepped back. The effort took several tries before Devon stood. He shot Logan a wink and a smile. “See, told you I didn’t need help.”

Logan’s lips formed a tight line, and he started toward the kitchen. “You’re a stubborn jackass. Now go change.” He pulled out ingredients for dinner and within a few minutes had food strewn across the counters. He had the ingredients for the first course ready when Devon reappeared, still wearing his clothes from work.

“What do you want me to do?” Devon asked.

Logan glanced over and sighed. “Just once you could listen. Sit. Rest. They’ll want to play games until late.”

“I’ll help. I can make a pasta dish.”

Logan studied him for a minute before lifting an eyebrow. “Yeah, pasta would be good. What did you have in mind?”

Devon smirked as he made his way to the refrigerator while Logan worked on getting the entrée ready. He was preparing steaks and fresh vegetables from their garden for grilling. Logan spread them over two trays, seasoned them, and then coated everything with good olive oil they’d discovered on their trip to Italy. It was one of the little indulgences they allowed themselves. Devon was still working his way through the contents of the fridge when Logan stepped out onto their patio to get the grill ready.

While it heated, he looked around the yard and enjoyed the spring flowers he and Devon cared for with meticulous attention. They’d remodeled the deck last year and put in a Jacuzzi. He’d paid for it as part of Devon’s fortieth birthday gift. But he’d also hoped it would help keep the scar tissue on Devon’s leg a little more flexible. Whether it did or didn’t, they enjoyed having the little oasis to escape into each evening. Devon’s job as a victims’ advocate became stressful at times, and Logan wanted him to have a place to unwind.

Logan turned his attention to the barbecue, decided everything was fine, and slipped into the house. He glanced over at Devon and froze. A second later, he started laughing.

Devon turned to him and lifted an eyebrow. “Something wrong?”

“Nope. Not at all. I was just wondering if you’d left anything in the fridge.”

“You questioning my ability to make pasta salad?”

Logan held up both hands in surrender. “No, no. Nothing like that.”

Devon turned to his cutting board and diced peppers with the chef knife Logan bought him last Christmas. The mix of ingredients was unique, but Devon seemed satisfied with his hoard, so Logan didn’t care. No one’s crying, no one’s bleeding, then it isn’t a big deal. They worked together in the kitchen with practiced ease. Logan decided to make shot glass desserts for a treat. Devon was putting his salad in the fridge as Logan sprinkled pecans into the last dessert glass.

Devon was up to something; he was smirking too much over making pasta salad. Logan waited a minute before checking to see what was happening. He wasn’t surprised to discover the source of Devon’s amusement about the dish he’d made.

He frowned at the penis-shaped pasta filling the bowl. “Really? Another porn pasta creation? And for your sister?”

By this time Devon was cackling. “She’ll think it’s great, and Doug will turn a nice shade of red. It’ll all be good.”

Logan sighed and glanced at his watch. “Fine, keep your cock pasta. Your sister will be here soon. We need to shower.” He looked at Devon and lifted one brow. “And taking off your tie doesn’t mean you got relaxed.” Logan stood with an expression he hoped looked appropriately stern.

“If you ask me if I need help, I swear I’ll beat you with a wet noodle.”

Logan chuckled and waved him away. “Go shower. I’ll set the table. If you behave, I’ll come wash your back.”

“If you put out later, maybe I’ll let you,” Devon said with a laugh.

A Free Dreamer Review: Yesterday by Mickie B. Ashling

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

YesterdayIn June of 1978 Grady Ormond, eighteen-year-old son of diplomat Peter Ormond, accompanies his father to his new posting as US Ambassador to Pakistan. Neighboring Iran is on the brink of a civil war, with the monarchy in danger of being overthrown.

Grady will be leaving for New York City in late August to study cinematography and has been warned to keep his homosexual orientation tightly under wraps while on vacation. Repercussions in the predominantly Islamic region could be severe.

On their first night in Karachi, his father hosts a cocktail party to meet the local dignitaries. Grady is introduced to His Highness Prince Kamran Izadi, nephew of the shah of Iran. Twenty-three-year-old Kamran has recently returned from the UK, where he spent eleven years, first as a student, and then as a financial analyst.

The attraction is immediate—unforeseen and dangerously powerful—but neither one dares to make a move. Odds are so stacked against them it’s futile to even entertain a friendship, but they do, and their world tilts precariously.

With his country in turmoil and Grady about to leave for college, Kamran makes a decision that will change their lives forever.

First of all, I want to congratulate the author on braving such an unusual setting. It’s the number one reason why I picked this book up.

Okay, so I’m having a really hard time rating this book. On the one hand, I absolutely loved the setting and want to give this book 5 stars just for that. On the other hand, however, quite a few things in the story itself just didn’t work out for me.

For one, the whole story felt a little rushed. I get that Grady and Kam were on a deadline from the very beginning. They only have till the end of summer before they have to face their real adult lives. For Grady that means the start of his cinematographic studies at the renowned Tisch College in New York. For Kam, that means getting married to a woman he has never even seen before. But while I understand that feelings had to develop fast, I still would have liked for the protagonists to have more time to really and truly fall for each other. A somewhat slower progress from friends to lovers would have been nice.

I liked that a lot of the political and historical background was explained. I would’ve probably been a little lost without that. Unfortunately, Grady essentially got a lecture from his dad and it was a lot to take in at once. There was no slow interweaving of necessary information and plot, which is a bit of a shame.

You do need a certain basic knowledge of the political happenings in Iran. Nothing elaborate, the more complicated things are explained by Grady’s father. But in order to understand this extra information, you need a bit of previous knowledge to work with.

Now, I’m no expert on the history of Iran, but it did all feel very realistic to me. Grady really is essentially clueless about the political situation in the Middle East and has no real idea of even the most basic Muslim traditions, such as the five daily prayers or the ban of alcohol. And that’s what actually felt realistic to me. I really don’t think even the son of a well-travelled diplomat would know things like that in 1978.

I would have liked more scenes that didn’t solely revolve around Kam and Grady. More scenes about Grady getting to know Pakistan and the Middle East in general would have been interesting. But I guess that’s to be expected from a romance and I shouldn’t complain.

The ending felt a bit over the top. To me it seemed like Kam changed his mind very suddenly. A lot of drama followed. But I guess all that was necessary for Kam and Grady’s HEA.

I did really like the epilogue about Kam and Grady’s life together over the years. I think this would make an excellent sequel.

Overall, a few more pages probably wouldn’t have hurt to make the events feel less rushed. Still, the setting was intriguing and very unique. I really did want to love this. As it is, I’m torn between a rating of 3.5 and 4 stars. I think I’ll round it up to 4 for now, mostly for the great setting.

The cover by Catt Ford makes me feel just as torn as the story itself. On first glance, it looks a bit cheap. Once you’ve read the story, however, it does get a deeper meaning. Homing pigeon play an important role, so that works. Still, I can’t help but slightly dislike the cover. That pigeon looks very strange.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published January 22nd 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634766792 (ISBN13: 9781634766791)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A BJ Review: Chyna Doll (Horizons #4) by Mickie B. Ashling

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

ChynaDollLGChyna, an intersexed male raised as a girl, is struggling with identity issues as she enters adolescence. She finds herself suddenly attracted to her brother Chip’s friend, Luca. Luca, who has grown up with two gay Dads, struggles with his own sexual identity when he finds himself torn between an attraction to Chip and his twin sister, Chyna. .

While the cover and blurb made me think this book concentrated on the relationship of Luca and Chyna, that’s only partially true. A large section of the book concerns the somewhat troubled relationship of Luca’s two Dads, Grier and Lil. This is definitely not a young adult book, since the sex between the two older characters is quite kinky and includes such tantalizing bits as diamond tipped penal plugs, sounding and men who like wearing lacy women’s undies. So a small warning: don’t go into this thinking it focusing only on young adults and their issues. That is not the case.

Chyna’s sexual identity issues were exacerbated by the deplorable way Chyna’s parents handled her upbringing, lied to her and others, and kept from her so many things that could have made it easier on her. Heartbreaking to read about such betrayal from those entrusted with such responsibility.

This book covers some intense and interesting issues pretty thoroughly and from various angles. The ending wasn’t cut and dried but and all tied up sweet, which felt right. But it left me cheering for Luca and feeling hopeful for a HEA for him and Chyna.

This story had excellent potential, but ultimately fell short for me. The writing style varied from extremely readable to parts an info dump of telling. In addition, I found it jarring when we move totally away from the main characters and focus exclusively on the vacationing gay parents and their issues for the space of quite a few characters in the middle of the book. At that point, I’d invested myself in the story of Chyna and Luca and had to resist the deviation to skim forward. Finally, the large number of POVs characters sometimes felt a bit like head hopping and make it hard for me to anchor to any of them long enough to develop a rapport.

Cover Artist: Anne Cain.A lovely cover that portrays two of the main characters close to the way I’d pictured them. This cover gives the impression that these two are the only focus of this story, when actually there’s almost equal focus on Luca’s gay parent’s relationship. In that respect, the cover misleads.

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

Book Details:  

ebook, 320 pages
Published February 23rd 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
(first published February 23rd 2014)
ISBN139781632167323
edition languageEnglish
seriesHorizons #4

Horizons series includes the following:

  • Horizons (Horizons, #1)
  • Taste (Horizons, #2)
  • Daddio (Horizons, #3)
  • Chyna Doll (Horizons, #4)

A Closer Look at Chyna Doll by Mickie B. Ashling (excerpt and contest)

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magnifying glass and book                               Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Takes

                       A Closer Look at….

 

ChynaDollLG

 

Chyna Doll by Mickie B. Ashling
Publisher Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist Anne Cain

Thank you to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting my Chyna Doll blog tour visit. Although this is the fourth novel in the Horizons series, it can be read as a stand-alone. We’ve moved ahead several years and Grier’s son, Luca, who was seven when the series started, is now almost fifteen. I’ve brought an excerpt to share, as well as some goodies to give away, so stay tuned to see what you can win!

Blurb

Lil Lampert’s forty-fifth birthday turns the effervescent architect into a brooding mess, and his partner, Grier Dilorio, takes him to Italy to help him regain his zest for life. The timing is bad—almost-fifteen-year-old Luca has just started high school, and his mother and stepfather are also traveling. Luca is left in the care of Chicago Bear, Clark Stevens, and his partner, Dr. Jody Williams.

Growing up with two dads and two gay uncles has given Luca a unique perspective on gender roles, but not all the answers. He’s had a secret crush on his straight best friend, Chip, for years. Suddenly, Luca finds himself attracted to Chyna, Chip’s twin sister. Now he’s wondering if this means he’s bisexual.

Born with a sexual development disorder, Chyna should have been raised as a male, but due to an epic parenting fail, is being raised as female. Hiding the truth becomes more difficult when Chyna hits puberty, and crushing over Luca adds another element to Chyna’s struggle to fit in.

Is Luca’s moral compass strong enough to guide him successfully through this period of discovery or will he succumb to peer pressure and shatter Chyna’s dreams for happiness?

ChynaDollLG

Excerpt

LIL GROANED when he opened his eyes and shut them instantly. Lancing pain behind his right eyeball was an unwelcome reminder of last night’s overindulgence. He could practically see his arteries clogging up and exploding thanks to the appetizing array of decadent finger food he’d popped into his mouth at regular intervals without a second thought. He’d washed down the high-calorie goodies with one champagne flute after another, and he moaned in dismay when it dawned on him that he might have overdone it.

“Are you all right?” Grier asked sleepily.

Lil sat up and clutched at his head like it was about to fall off. “Please tell me I didn’t make a fool of myself,” he lamented, envisioning wild scenes in a swimming pool with a handful of nubile young studs.

Grier snorted. “I saved you from that fate.”

“Thank God,” Lil said, sinking back down on his pillow. “There’s no fool like an old fool.”

“Don’t start….”

“Can I get a blanket dispensation for anything stupid I did last night?” Lil asked. “I don’t remember much after that fifth round of champagne.”

“I’m starting to wonder if they slipped you a roofie.”

“What? Why would you say that?”

“You were insatiable,” Grier explained.

“Truly?”

“We fucked three ways from Sunday and then did it all over again. I can’t recall the last time I had so much fun.”

“Are you being sarcastic?” Lil asked defensively.

Grier got up on an elbow, scrubbed his thick morning growth, and smiled down at Lil indulgently. “You wore me out.”

Lil grinned. “I hope I was fabulous.”

“Don’t you remember any of it?”

Lil’s eyes widened. “Do you think I’m getting Alzheimer’s?”

“Now I’m sure you were drugged by those assholes up the hill.”

“Could be,” Lil said, “or I was just shitfaced.” He wiggled his butt around and moaned. “I’m sore, lovey. What unspeakable thing did you shove up my ass?”

Grier laughed. “Other than my dick?”

“It feels like half the town was down there paying me a visit.”

“You may have asked for a toy or two before we got down to business.”

“Oh? Did you fist me?”

“You seem to have that on your mind lately, but no, I didn’t.”

“It’s been a while—” Lil broke off.

“Is that a request?”

Lil smiled shyly. “You know I’d never turn that down.”

“It’s not something we’ve done on the spur of the moment.”

“It won’t take me long to get ready.”

“Why don’t we plan to revisit in a few days.” Lil nodded. “In the meantime, I’ll pave the way, so to speak.”

“How can anyone so amazingly abandoned in the sack be so uptight about everything else?”

“Good question,” Lil said. “Perhaps my sensible side keeps warring with my inner child on principle.”

“I’m the Gemini, not you.”

“And yet you’re far less mercurial.”

“I like it when your Mercury shows up.”

“He is rather fun, isn’t he?”

“A blast from the past,” Grier said, nuzzling Lil’s neck. “What say you junk cautious-Lil for the rest of the trip and let the boy back in?”

“Are we negotiating here?” “You were intrigued by the offer of an orgy last night. Was that the booze talking, or are you in the mood for some group sex?”

“Would you be shocked if I said yes?”

 

More About Mickie B. Ashling…

Mickie B. Ashling is the alter-ego of a multifaceted woman raised by a single mother who preferred reading over other forms of entertainment. She found a kindred spirit in her oldest child and encouraged her with a steady supply of dog-eared paperbacks. Romance was the preferred genre, and historical romances topped her favorites list.

By the time Mickie discovered her own talent for writing, real life had intruded, and the business of earning a living and raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing and the inevitable emptying nest, dreams were resurrected, and the storyteller was reborn.

She stumbled into the world of men who love men in 2002 and continues to draw inspiration from their ongoing struggle to find equality and happiness in this oftentimes skewed and intolerant world. Her award-winning novels have been called “gut wrenching, daring, and thought provoking.” She admits to being an angst queen and making her men work damn hard for their happy endings.

Mickie loves to travel and has lived in the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East but currently resides in a suburb outside Chicago.

Connect with Mickie

Email | Facebook | Website | Blog | Goodreads and Ask the Author

Purchase Links

Dreamspinner | Amazon | ARe

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Giveaway

Using Rafflecopter below, enter to win one of these prizes (contest open internationally): a $20 Dreamspinner gift certificate, one of five ecopies of Chyna Doll, any two ebooks from Mickie’s backlist, or a signed paperback of Chyna Doll. Must be 18 or older to enter.

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Tour Schedule

March 2 – The Novel Approach

March 3 – Cup o’ Porn

March 4 – Hearts On Fire

March 5 – WoW…from The Scarf Princess

March 6 – MM Good Book Reviews

March 7 – Book Reviews & More by Kathy

March 9 – Prism Book Alliance

March 10 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

March 11 – On Top Down Under Book Reviews

March 12 – Sinfully…Addicted to All Male Romance

Tour and materials organized by PAS Promotions