THE PASSION STROLL...
a blog by author Ashavan Doyon
First of all, if you were looking for ARDOR briefs, I'm so sorry, that's one of the things that got dropped in the craziness last month. Never fear, the full issue will be out in a few days—first few articles are already written. If you haven't signed up I truly recommend it. And there really truly is some free stuff coming for subscribers, I hope before the end of the year.
When last we left our intrepid heroes, they had eluded the knights of Zaharoth by negotiating passage into Garuth with the bridge troll. The toll? A truth, spoken with the power that all oaths have on those of the Real. Now our heroes are in the city. Will Thommas go through with it and elope with Nem as he has sworn to do? Find out now!
What do you mean you don't know what's going on? Why not? It's free! New chapters are posted twice a month. Go read chapter one and get caught up.
Nem held tightly to me from the moment we entered Garuth, never without contact against my skin for more than a moment. I knew why, but it still unsettled me. I had been long alone, and I hadn’t felt the familiar clutch of a hand on my forearm, against my waist, brushing my back—all those little touches—in what seemed an age. Now they were there, desperate, and I felt them to my bones.
I gave Nem what I hoped was a reassuring glance as we made our way through the streets. I had clothes again, a shirt meant to be worn loose that clung to my frame on account of being several sizes too small. Nem had bargained for it with a merchant on the road as we approached the inner districts, and my pleas that I didn’t care did nothing to dissuade him. He’d proudly stripped me of his cloak and pulled the shirt onto me with promises that if I’d just wear it he’d be all too happy to rip it off me when the time was right. I didn’t ask what he meant me to do for a shirt after that. I don’t think he’d th0ught much beyond the moment.
In the city, I felt eyes watching us. Nem’s features alone marked him as nobility, and most of these creatures, from goblin to pixie, could sense the Real that oozed from me, even if the light of that place was tightly held in by glamour. Nem was clearly used to the attention, but it had been long since I’d walked the streets of a city in the Realm.
He brushed a hand against my cheek. “Are you well?” he asked, his voice husky and sexy beside me. It still managed to be musical, and I wondered idly whether it was his glamour or my feelings that made it so.
When I first started looking at publishing my gay romances, I struggled to find a publisher, as any unknown author does. I submitted Loving Aidan to the publisher I felt was strongest, but for whatever reason, it failed to meet the needs of their editorial calendar at the time. Maybe it was the angst level, or perhaps they rightly identified the struggles readers have had between Aidan's dual interest in both Sammy and Steven. Maybe they felt I wasn't ready, or they simply had enough new adult romances on their calendar. It doesn't matter. It was rejected and I fell apart for a little while.
Many of the gay male romance publishers still published anthologies at the time, and I decided to try instead to get into one of those. Unwilling to give up on Loving Aidan, I researched publishers and instead of settling on the strongest, I settled on one of the most venerable. Torquere was small. It didn't promise a lot of sales, but it had a good, solid reputation, longevity. I was seeing a series for these books, and I wanted that sense of longevity. So I took my chance and submitted the story again.
Torquere accepted the story, and the sequel, and the sequel after that. Loving Aidan became the first of the College Rose Romances, a series of new adult gay male romances focusing on the college experience. A series full of angst, drama, trauma, and love.
It was a series that reviewers either loved or hated. Sales were moderate, but enough that I kept getting books accepted, kept receiving encouragement.
Then the rumors started. There were authors who weren't getting paid. Ridiculous, I thought. I checked my statements, the status of my checks. I bluntly asked the owners about it and was assured that everything was fine.
Everything was not fine. Earlier this week, Torquere notified its authors that it would begin the process of closing down. I could feel my heart break. My series was going to die. My requests to get my rights back were sitting in mailboxes. The paper copy sent registered mail hadn't been picked up, and I knew from communication with other authors that I was not alone in this.
When I was contemplating sending my books to Torquere, some friends had recommended Silver instead. I remember doing my research and deciding against it because of a warning sign I'd come across in researching the press. I felt like I'd dodged a bullet. Maybe I had. But I got caught in a ricochet. EC, Silver, Samhain. Torquere.
My books for Torquere are a series. More than any payment, I needed a piece of paper returning my rights. Without it, the series was dead in the water. James, whose story I've been working on these past months, would never live for readers. Getting my rights back meant losing my covers. But I can deal with that. I can design a new cover.
I am heart broken. The college rose weeps. My dreams are shattered.
Today I received my rights back. The rose is not dead. Just maybe, if I tend it, the college rose will bloom. Peach blossoms will shine and you will all meet James again, and just maybe, you'll forgive him.
(* Torquere retains all rights to the cover of Loving Aidan. The image accompanying this post is separately licensed through 123rf.com)
I've been missing in action for a couple weeks. I know that is small comfort for those who have been waiting for Chapter 15 of The One That Feels, and maybe, hopefully, you've missed by scintillating personality as well on the between weeks.
This election cycle has put a lot of stress on me, more than I'm used to, and the election results have made it worse rather than better. When you put all that stress into a pressure cooker including National Novel Writing Month, Thanksgiving, the release of an anthology collection and two novellas and an eleven stop blog tour, something had to give. I'd hoped it wouldn't be my own blog, which should have been promoting The Rodeo Knight right along with the blog tour. Sadly I didn't even get ARDOR briefs, the off month email only newsletter, out to subscribers.
On top of it all, this is the one year anniversary of losing my pug Piggy, and I am still in the early adjustment period of a new job. Which are all excuses for the end result: some posts haven't been getting up. Left to choose between mine and the ones promised to other blogs for the blog tour, I made sure the blog tour still happened.
I know what the problem is and it's not an easy immediate fix. Obviously these stressful points are going to hit and hit hard from time to time, and I need to have some posts prepped in advance so that when they do they're invisible to readers. I'm not there yet, so I'm asking you to hold in there with me while I work to get there.
The good news: I have not disappeared. I'm still here, if a little tired. Chapter 15 exists and just needs a spit shine before it gets posted. Also: new books... The Rodeo Knight, the second edition of The King's Mate, and The Chess Master Chronicles have all released. There was an 11 stop blog tour and I encourage you to check that out! If you're counting that's over 11,000 words worth of me talking about the books, and there's some cool info in there you won't find anywhere else.
Chapter 15 will be posted soon™, I hope by Monday of next week. In the meantime, take in some of that blog tour, read my Sam's Cafe Romances, and prepare for the release of December's ARDOR, which will be out before Christmas.
Is there a Christmas scene any of you are anxious to see with my existing characters? I haven't written a holiday short this year, but it's not out of the question. Let me know in the comments.
Writer of the mysterious, fantastic, and the romantic. Sometimes sappy. Often angsty. Always searching for the sexy. Stories about men who love men.