THE PASSION STROLL...
a blog by author Ashavan Doyon
I get some flack sometimes for portraying parents harshly. Sometimes it's both parents, sometimes just one, but usually a character has someone in their family who just is not that supportive person that we all hope to have;; coming out.
Romances are fantasy, but when we write about a community there's a responsibility to be true to the heart. And part of that is that the relationship with parents, especially with coming out, is complex. There's a whole range of reactions, and that should be represented.
But on Mother's Day, really I want to look at a story where the mothers are front and center—which means looking at Andrew's Prayer.
I love this story because the women who shape Drew are really incredible examples of how important the relationship with a mom can be. It's curious, I think, that Andrew's Prayer starts with an outed Drew returning home, knowing his mom has found out that he's gay. The second paragraph of the story says this:
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.
Throughout the book, the relationship with his mom is so important, but Drew is established as a character who doesn't really believe in love. Except that he knows his mom loves him. He knows it so much that he goes home, knowing, expecting that she won't accept him.
But she's the one who immediately confronts him with what's important.
“What about love? Andy, my precious baby, what about finding someone to love you?”
Drew doesn't believe in love, but throughout the book it is his mom who is there to help him recognize it, to help him find it, and to push him, when he needs it.
Pick up Andrew's Prayer at Purple Horn Press or get it for kindle at Amazon.
Happy Mother's Day to all the mother's out there, and also to all gestational parents, whether they identify as mothers or not.
Looking for a great book but not in the mood for the mom dynamic? May 13 is the last day of Dreamspinner's In and Out of This World Sale... lots of great paranormal and contemporaries on sale. Which includes all of my books with them.
I'll tell you a secret. I hate Valentine's Day. Maybe it's that I was dumped the day before (twice). Maybe it's that I lost a friend to suicide on the day. Maybe it's that I spent an awful lot of Valentine's Days alone when all my friends had someone. But for me, it was a horrible holiday. While I might dream of romance on the day, I never seemed to have it.
Needless to say I related to Theo Dwyer, the hero of my Valentine's Day story The Colors of Romance. When my husband and I first started dating, he used to get a teddy bear and chocolates and send roses to my office. He'd go all out. It's rather more subdued now, and even after the best of his efforts, I still have an urge to hide on the day.
Maybe that's why it was so important to me to write a truly sweet story for Valentine's Day when I wrote The Colors of Romance. Theo's story is a secret admirer story, which meant it had to be told from a single point of view. But I decided to write an intro story for it, just a brief one. And I immediately had a struggle. I couldn't use the character's name! I wrote it anyway, playing an old trick with first person point of view to keep the character safely anonymous.
I love The Colors of Romance for Theo's secret admirer and his relentless determination to bring romance to Theo's life. Turns out Dreamspinner Press wants you to share that romance. The Colors of Romance is $1 until 11:59 ET Feb 15. (link opens in new window)
And now for something special: an intro from the love interest's point of view.
The Shades of Romance
I'm always groggy when I wake up. I don't have an excuse, I grew up getting up earlier than most people can contemplate. But since I came to college my body's natural resistance to the effort has been rather more pronounced.
I have the usual rituals: a cold drink, a shower, brushing my teeth. When I get dressed I'm glad of my single room, because I'd hate to think of what the guys would think if they knew how long I spent getting ready, on making sure my jeans hug my ass just right. They just think I'm naturally rugged. I fucking work at it, harder than they can imagine. But I can't let them know, because if I did, they'd guess my secret.
Some days, most days, I wonder why I bother. If no one knows, how is anyone ever supposed to act on it? How am I ever going to find someone?
So I'm a downer. It's February, I'm twenty-one, and I'm a fucking virgin.
The reality is, it wouldn't matter if someone noticed my ass, or the deliberately just-tight-enough outline of my junk in my denims. I'm a hopeless case.
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%!
As promised, the February issue of ARDOR includes musings on Valentine's Day. My own this year was spent finally getting the curtains in the new house hung. I did little else, as it was seriously cold here in New England -- record breaking in fact. I spent most of it worried for my puppy, who is not really a puppy anymore, but quite elderly and suffering from the cold.
The excerpt in this issue is from Gerry's Lion and speaks toward the title. Gerry's Lion is organized as glimpses of life for the characters centered around major holidays, and appropriately this one is pulled from Valentine's Day. The parts of this story are more sections than chapters, and I love the Valentine's Day section in particular. I get a lot of flak for Gerry taking a long time to let go of his partner and be open to a relationship with Leo, and I confess, I don't see it. Gerry lost his husband and lover of over ten years. In what universe should that make finding love after his partner passes easy? It would be hard. It should be hard. I don't regret showing that difficulty for an instant -- in the end, I believe working through that loss with a partner is essential, hopeful, and powerfully important. Too often gay men are told that our love isn't real. Gerry's grief is a testament to how real it can be.
Ok, rant over, on to other exciting topics.
The new issue of ARDOR also contains a short, this one based on The Colors of Romance. I knew I wanted to do a Valentine's Day short from a Valentine's Day story, but I struggled a lot with a topic. Finally I settled on "The Shades of Romance" -- a story about TruClrs4vr, our mystery suitor. In the published story, TruClrs4vr comes across as, I hope, suave, romantic. He's a heroic figure, determined to woo Theo from despair and loneliness. But The Colors of Romance is a short story, and it suffers from the usual difficulties of characterization caused by brevity. The focus is so powerfully on Theo that TruClrs4vr can sometimes feel a little like one note. So with "The Shades of Romance," I tried to bring that focus onto our mystery suitor, make him live a little more. I hope I succeeded.
I definitely hope you'll check out the February issue of ARDOR (it's free), and tell me your thoughts.
You can always find the current issue of ARDOR at my website.
Gerry's Lion is available in paperback and ebook from Dreamspinner Press.
The Colors of Romance is available in ebook format from Dreamspinner Press.
Writer of the mysterious, fantastic, and the romantic. Sometimes sappy. Often angsty. Always searching for the sexy. Stories about men who love men.