THE PASSION STROLL...
a blog by author Ashavan Doyon
My first several attempts at getting published with gay romance were rejections. It’s easy to look at my early success and miss the rejections in the realm of fantasy that spanned years from 2000 to 2008 or so. And it’s easy to miss the early submissions to Samhain and others that were rejected with one line rejections. “This story does not meet our publication needs at this time.” Whichever spin on that was popular at the time. In the intervening years, I’d had some success in writing for gaming companies, which gave me a lot of insight into what those words could mean. I credit an editor for Dragon magazine, with whom I was friendly on Facebook - they were more free about that then—for taking the time to really talk to me about what editorial rejections meant, and what those terse emails might really mean.
Changes in the landscape for game writing shifted my focus, and for a while I only wrote during National Novel Writing Month, a habit for which my little brother wholly deserves the blame (and the credit). I got into a fanfic community, and started writing very regularly. Prompts. Challenges. Eventually, a friend who had moved from that to writing for one of the small gay romance presses suggested I write something. They all knew I wrote stories outside the narrow fanfic world.
So I did. And got rejections, just as I had in the past. It was crushing, even knowing what the words meant. But I remembered the words of my editor friend, who had told me to always insulate myself from the rejections by having more things submitted and waiting, so it was never the last thing waiting to crush me.
Loving Aidan got rejected, and promptly resubmitted to Torquere Press. I worked on a anthology submission for a sports anthology, taking a sideways take - chess.
Torquere accepted Loving Aidan. The King’s Mate, my chess story, also got accepted for the anthology. Because of how publication schedules work, The King’s Mate was published first... my first published gay romance.
Now its coming out again. New cover. I’m very excited.
The King’s Mate (Coming Soon)
Mother's Day... it makes me think a lot about my books. I write a lot of college age protagonists. That means I write a lot of young gay men with family struggles. While that is getting better, it's far from good. LGBT youth represent a staggering disproportionate percentage of homeless youth because of both feared and actual rejection by their parents.
I've tried to be even handed about writing nasty parents and supportive parents. The relationships can get complicated, and they can be downright strange. Sometimes they involve total rejection, others there is more nuance involved. Sometimes one parent is supportive and acts as shelter. Sometimes the support is only in comfort afterward. So when I think about Mother's Day, I struggle.
I've been thinking about relationships with mother's a lot in part because I've been working on the current Work-in-Progress, The Rodeo Knight, and the mother/son relationship is a turning point in that story. Let's face it. Moms are important.
Mother's Day is over, but relationships with mother figures are still something formative. I'm revealing a bit about my next College Rose Romance, Book 4, below. But for a moment I hope you'll think about book 3. Because Andrew's Prayer is a lot about mothers, and how they love their gay sons, and also about how gay sons love their mothers.
I'm going to leave you with a quote from Andrew's Prayer, from the very first page of the book, but it's one that's particularly appropriate for Mother's Day, and also one that I think sets the tone for Drew's relationship with her:
Coming home hadn't been a difficult choice. Sure, it was over a thousand miles. Sure, it was going to be hot, sticky, and miserable. It was still home. His mom was the only person in his life who'd said "I love you" that he had believed. She'd even said it after she found out. She'd been in tears, she'd screamed. But she'd still said "I love you," and Drew never doubted for a moment that she'd meant it.
Andrew's Prayer is available at Torquere Press, Amazon, and other fine e-book retailers. The best ways you can support an author are to buy directly from the press or to leave an honest review or rating (especially on Amazon).
COVER REVEAL - BECOMING RORY
Rory Graeble returns to college determined to reinvent himself. Too many years have been wasted with masks, but becoming a student leader is a step Rory isn’t sure he’s ready for. A new identity takes more than just a new nickname, and Rory knows he has to take the chances that his old self would never risk. When that chance is a party that ends with an anonymous hot skater’s tongue down his throat and a phone number in his pocket, Rory knows what he has to do.
Danny Smits never expected to see stuffy lit geek Rory Graeble trying to be out, trying to be proud, trying to be… Rory. It’s damned sexy, and too much for the entrepreneurial skater to resist. When Rory calls him back the day after the party, Danny knows Rory has changed. But will Danny’s haunted past deter Rory? Or will Rory embrace the chance to experience everything the closet had stolen away? Danny believes in keeping things real, in a brutal honesty he knows means Rory will run screaming.
But this time Rory isn’t running.
Becoming Rory is book 4 of the College Rose Romances. While reading the previous books is not required to understand the story, there will be elements that make more sense if the entire series is read in order.
Published by Torquere Press. Now available for preorder. Use code preorder15 to save 15%!
I promised to offer free reads in this space, and I'm going to offer up a favorite story. This one never found a home with publishers, but remains a story that I'm proud of. I'll talk a lot about the characters in later posts, and more, I'm sure, about why I am offering this one. But for now, we'll start with a blurb and a cover.
The One That Feels
Thommas Ashforthe should never have met his ex Brian at the club. Never able to refuse Brian’s pleas, Thommas enters the Realm to seek out the lost spirit of Brian’s dying boyfriend Jordan. The price of travel in that place of magic is steep and oaths spoken in the Realm cannot be broken. With time running out before Jordan’s body dies in the world of the Real, Thommas rushes through the Realm on a hopeless quest.
Nem is a prince of Zaharoth, and Thommas represents a hope of escape from the ruthless authority of his father. But when Nem binds Thommas with an oath as a price of passage through the forests of his homeland, can he dare to hope that the stranger from the Real will be truly bound by it?
One of the difficult parts about writing love stories is that you can't aim for the target. The heart goes the direction it wants, and because of that, the path characters take to get there is often a meandering one. It goes slow when as a writer you want it to go fast. It speeds by when you're begging the characters to slow down. I love that about writing, because I've learned that the characters are the ones in control. And that's splendid -- because when I let the characters loose, they thrive and grow and they live, so magnificently that they can make me cry, and they do.
So where are they meandering and how and what do I think that means? Let's find out together. A blog is practically a requirement for authors today, but I hope I can make this one worth an occasional visit. Unlike my newsletter with its fancy formatting and strict length provisions, my thoughts here will be less guarded, more raw. Sometimes they may be angry or excited in the ways the carefully placed words of the newsletter cannot be. In my newsletter I explore the characters you've seen or will see soon. Here you'll also get to see the characters half-formed, and the stories as they become.
I'm going to share a story here. I'm going to do it slowly, and if you read, patiently, you'll get the whole story. And if you're impatient, and you want it NOW... well, once I get far enough into it, I may offer an opportunity for that too. For now, as I get this beast moving, I'll be sharing twice a month for the story. And I'll post a couple more times a month about other things. Sometimes that will be a thought on current events; others it may be about a writing triumph or failure. And yes, there's sure to be a bit of promotion now and then, not just of my stuff, but of stories, beautiful stories -- the ones I love and maybe sometimes the ones I hate too, because people's taste is always different.
Next week ARDOR, my formal newsletter, comes out with its February issue. I'm still writing the content (furiously, because it needs to get formatted as well as written!), but you can be sure that love and dating and Valentine's Day will all be covered. And there will be a short in that issue as well, connected to something that has already been written. While the editorial content is still being finalized, I do have the cover for the issue, and I wanted to share it with you, because it inspired me. Maybe it will inspire you as well. Enjoy, and I'll talk to you all next week!*
*Yes, I mean talk. If you comment I will always try to answer! Books are one way communication, but this doesn't have to be... it can be a dialogue, if you want it to be.
Writer of the mysterious, fantastic, and the romantic. Sometimes sappy. Often angsty. Always searching for the sexy. Stories about men who love men.