Cover Art: Kanaxa
Buy links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
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!
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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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.