Hey guys, today’s Dreamspinner Daily Dose is The Byte of Betrayal by Ashavan Doyon, I managed to corner Ashavan and interview him and we have one copy of The Byte of Betrayal to give away, so remember to leave a comment. And don’t forget to click that Rafflecopter link for a chance to win all 30 Mended books 🙂 <3 ~Pixie~
And the lucky winner of M.A. Ford’s The Way Things Turn Out is Rod B 😀
Life comes with a bit of hurt, but luckily for these men, it also comes with the right amount of comfort to mend their breaks, both of the body and the heart. From facing deranged exes to economic trials, the men in these tales have faced trial by fire–or in some cases water–for the right to love and live. Step into their shoes as they rebuild their family after a gutting betrayal or traverse the stars with an unexpected partner. The Mended Daily Dose package delivers stories about all kinds of second chances built on love.
Felicitas Ivey Zahra Owens Emily Moreton Cardeno C. S.A. Garcia Elizabeth Noble M. Lee Ellis Carrington Kim Fielding Ari McKay E.T. Malinowski Bru Baker K.C. Wells Gwynn Marssen Lee Comyn Ashavan Doyon Eli Easton Charley Descoteaux Therese Woodson MA Ford Kenzie Cade Coral Moore L.D. Blakeley Chloe Stowe Ronnie Matthews Jayden Brooks Diane Lennox C. Callenreese Mars Novak Emma Wilson
Live Interview with Ashavan Doyon
Pixie: Hello to Ashavan Doyon who is joining us today for the Dreamspinner Press Daily Dose with his release The Byte of Betrayal, hey Ashavan *waves*
Pixie: Welcome to our interrogation *cough* interview room, how are you today, nice and relaxed I hope.
Ashavan: I work at a college during the day, and its commencement weekend, so between that and edits of my next novel, I’m a bit crazy, honestly.
Pixie: Aww I will take it easy on you then.
Ashavan: but I polished off my name rank and serial number… so I can give you those at least!
Pixie: LOL, that’s the spirit
Ashavan: Well, one has to be ready for anything! You never know when the pirates or ninjas will strike!
Ashavan: or tie you to a chair and demand details of the characters that live in your brain, as the case may be.
Pixie: We will get to that in a bit; the ropes are still being cleaned
Ashavan: So, about The Byte of Betrayal. What would you like to know?
Pixie: Well if you’re being so forthcoming tell the readers what it is about.
Ashavan: Well, The Byte of Betrayal is part of Dreamspinner’s Daily Dose collection. This year the theme is “Mended” — stories about recovery from trauma.
Pixie: Yours is about emotional betrayal isn’t it?
Ashavan: Whenever they put out a collection like this I think about the theme for a little while and brainstorm… what would be good hooks. Do any of them speak to me? Nothing sucks more than just writing something ho-hum. I want it to fit, you know?
Ashavan: But I also like it to be a little different, so I went with emotional pain, yes.
Ashavan: There have been some studies recently that show that we experience emotional pain in the same way we do physical pain.
Ashavan: And I think that’s a powerful message, to see that sort of pain play out in a story.
Ashavan: But you asked what it was about, so…
Pixie: Yes our readers want to know
Ashavan: The story centers around Caleb, a thirtyish fast food worker who lives most of his social life online. He’s even started to develop some rather strong romantic attachment to a friend online. And just when he’s thinking about talking to the guy about it, he discovers that one of his friends online isn’t real.
Ashavan: That he’s been deceived this whole time by someone he thinks of as a person and a friend.
Ashavan: And he cared about that non-existent person. So the story is really about that betrayal and how Caleb tries to recover from it.
Pixie: Caleb is a very lonesome character though isn’t he so the betrayal hits him very hard doesn’t it?
Ashavan: It does. Caleb has work friends, but they aren’t his closest friends, really they’re more of acquaintances. And he doesn’t have any family he can fall back on. So when he finds out that he’s been betrayed in that way by someone he trusted completely, he begins to doubt all his online friendships, everything.
Ashavan: And he falls apart.
Ashavan: Because his whole support system was online, he doesn’t feel like he can go there. He retreats.
Pixie: But there is someone who reaches out to him, a special someone
Ashavan: Yes, well, it *is* a romance.
Pixie: *snort* you weren’t going to let me lead you astray
Ashavan: And the guy he’s been talking with, romantically, Nic, he’s devastated, because when Caleb retreats, he takes something special Nic was feeling with him.
Ashavan: So there’s a feeling of loss going on from both sides.
Pixie: So how did you come up with the on-line betrayal, because there’s more than just Caleb’s which is mentioned.
Ashavan: This one came out of real life experience for me.
Ashavan: The details are different, of course.
Pixie: Sorry to hear that, betrayal is hard to forgive.
Ashavan: Yeah. A bit hard.
Ashavan: But I remember how hard hit I was and I thought to myself that I was so lucky, because I have a support system. I have a husband and friends. I had people to turn to.
Ashavan: And Caleb really rose out of the thought of “what if I hadn’t had that”
Pixie: Yeah he really was cut off from everyone, but that shining light helped to lead the way back.
Ashavan: Well, Nic, the romantic interest, he comes from a very different place.
Ashavan: He’s established and he has that support. He has friends and a special sort of family of his own. And his problem is more in his desire to give Caleb space.
Pixie: But he has experience with the aftermath of betrayal, and knows what it looks like. I think he was a fantastic character, you couldn’t have created a better man.
Pixie: So how about a little teaser? Just to whet the appetite
Ashavan: Because of his best friend Natalie. Yeah, he does. But he gave Natalie space, and I think Natalie was more aware than Nic was that the space was a mistake.
Ashavan: CALEB MCDONNELL sat in the dark, looking at the glowing screen of his laptop. His back was pushed against the headboard, his fingers poised over the keys. Caleb was waiting for something, and it didn’t take long. The soft tone of an incoming message arriving sounded, and Caleb smiled.
kevin2010: hey! you’re out?
macalebhottie: yeah. done for the day, thankfully.
kevin2010: working late too much.
macalebhottie: need the money. how are u?
There was a long wait, and finally Caleb sent another message.
macalebhottie: sorry. know u hate to talk about it.
kevin2010: just, this is my escape, you know?
macalebhottie: it’s fine. I just get concerned.
kevin2010: appreciate it, but don’t bother. trust me, enough people worried here already. Hey, you ask him out yet?
Caleb closed his eyes for a moment. He should never have told Kevin about that. His little useless crush. He’d never even met Nic. Of course, he’d never met Kevin either. Hardly mattered. He told Kevin everything.
macalebhottie: that’s not happening.
kevin2010: why not?
macalebhottie: because it’s not. just stop it.
kevin2010: like you stop telling me to take care of myself? you should ask him.
Caleb ran a hand through the dark copper red of his tight curls. He sighed, letting the breath out, slow and long. “Sure, right,” he muttered. “Like I could ever really tell Nic.”
He glanced around the room. It was a studio apartment, and even now Caleb could feel the color in his cheeks. Even if he had the confidence to tell Nic, he could never invite him here. A crappy studio apartment? Besides, Nic was happy and far away in one of those Midwestern states. Caleb tried to pretend he didn’t know which one. That he didn’t know the city and the street. That he hadn’t used street view to look at the house. God, he was a stalker!
Pixie: Woohoo, nice little teaser
Ashavan: Well, that’s from the beginning obviously
Ashavan: but I think it outlines the character of Caleb fairly well
Ashavan: You get immediately that he’s excited to be online
Ashavan: But that he yearns for real life connections.
Ashavan: And I think that’s a conundrum for Caleb. He talks about his struggles relating to other gay men his age. How he wants a traditional relationship and his friends don’t.
Pixie: Yeah it lets us connect straight away. We see his loneliness and his yearning for more.
Pixie: Now before we dissect the book, let’s talk about you.
Ashavan: Okay. That’s a giant subject. And I’m the expert! So what would you like to know?
Pixie: Now, you have been around for a while, this is your second daily dose and you have several books out… so what comes next?
Ashavan: My first full length novel, Loving Aidan, came out last summer. I wrote a second book centering around one of the characters from that story, and it will be coming out at the end of the summer. That’s the one I’m frantically editing now. The title is Steven’s Heart and I really love the story, it starts in a really dark place but the end is worth it.
Pixie: Ah just got to love that editing, the bain of an author 🙂
Ashavan: And speaking of my Daily Dose from last year, The King’s Mate, I’ve been working on a novella with the characters from that story also.
Pixie: Sounds good, I love when a Daily Dose has spin offs, these little teasers kill you sometimes LOL
Ashavan: It’s in the desk drawer phase before I go to editing and polishing so I can submit it.
Pixie: You need to get on to that *nods*
Ashavan: It’s got some really dark elements to it, though, and those can make it hard, sometimes, to get it accepted for publication.
Pixie: Did you just say that to tease me???? That’s mean!
Ashavan: No. It’s complete at 32K words.
Pixie: Hmmm I will be waiting…. although if it’s got dark elements I will have to fight it out with a couple of the minions.
Ashavan: Well, The King’s Mate was really a “finding each other” story. What I wrote is about the two primaries discovering what living together in a relationship means, when both of them have demons of their own.
Ashavan: I think Daily Dose stories lend themselves to the “finding each other” stories, because they really are a tease in a lot of ways.
Pixie: They are, but because they are shorts it also lets readers try something different and also try new authors.
Pixie: Now Ashavan tell the fuzzy stalkers where they can find you.
Pixie: Plenty to go at…. now about your address *snigger*
Ashavan: Definitely. My own introduction to Dreamspinner was one of the Advent Calendar collections.
Pixie: Oh yeah Dreamspinner has something for every season, all those yummy stories *sigh*
Ashavan: They do. I like the Advent Calendars and Daily Dose though, because they have just a slightly longer max word cap, which means a chance to really write something approaching novella length.
Pixie: Can we expect to see you in next years Daily Dose?
Ashavan: Next year? I don’t know. It depends a lot on what the theme is. It has to speak to me. I don’t like to write just for inclusion, and even when you write a really good story, it doesn’t always “fit” for the collection.
Ashavan: I had a beautiful story I wrote last summer for the Advent Calendar that didn’t make it.
Pixie: I suppose competition is stiff for a place in these type of collections…. I never really thought about it…. just gimme the books lol
Ashavan: The advent calendar in particular gets a tremendous number of submissions, as I understand it. I don’t begrudge them that. One of the hard things for an author to learn is to adapt. I Almost Let You, which was released in January, was originally an anthology submission. And the Christmas story that was rejected I’ve been reworking into a novel.
Pixie: It’s nice to know that if you don’t get in there is a chance it will be a normal submission, or you might go back to it and rework it. Stories are too precious to be discarded.
Ashavan: Which doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when you receive a rejection email. I try hard to always salvage something from any story that’s rejected. A scene, a character. SOMETHING. Writing is a hard vocation, and like most creative ones, you have to produce and do all the work up front and hope someone will believe in your vision.
Pixie: It must be hard as well with so many different publishers looking for different things in their submissions.
Ashavan: Well, especially with anthologies editors are working with a number of needs. Broad variety of stories, themes, tones. Adherence to the core theme. Avoiding repetition. Giving new authors a chance and showcasing authors who write longer pieces, which keeps those authors in the readers eye and spurs sales of their full length novels. In a sports related anthology if there are five superb soccer themed stories submitted, chances are some of them aren’t going to make it.
Pixie: True, there has to be a range of variety.
Pixie: Now before we finish is there anything you’d like to say to your fans and (hopefully) new readers?
Ashavan: When I wrote gaming articles years ago, an editor once reached out to me to remind me that rejections were a rejection of the work. And that they didn’t mean the work was bad. He said one of the hardest parts of his job was that he had to reject really superb publishable articles all the time because they just didn’t fit, or he’d had too many “magic ring” articles lately, or because they dealt with a niche rpg class that didn’t sell well, and they’d already had one article on that class that year and couldn’t afford to run another one.
Pixie: It must be hard for an editor to have to turn down lovely books just because they haven’t the room or it isn’t what they need right then.
Ashavan: I hope they’ll join me at the end of the summer for Steven’s Heart, and I encourage all my readers to keep in touch with me on twitter or facebook. I really love my characters, and it’s a delight to be able to share them with people, and I’m really honestly very approachable. I love to talk to fans about my stories. Also, I’d be remiss in not plugging my published stories with Dreamspinner, check out my author website for the full list, but if you haven’t yet, give The Colors of Romance a chance. I love the story. There’s no sex, but the romance is particularly strong.
Pixie: Thank you so much for joining us here at MM Good Book Reviews Ashavan and I really hope you do great with The Byte of Betrayal.
Ashavan: Thanks for having me! And as always, I love to talk to readers and they can reach me through facebook or my website http://ashavan.weebly.com
Ashavan Doyon spends his days working with students as part of the student affairs staff at a liberal arts college. During lunch, evenings, and when he can escape the grasp of his husband on weekends, he writes, pounding out words day after day in hopes that his ancient typewriter-trained fingers won’t break the glass on his tablet computer. Ashavan is an avid science fiction and fantasy fan and prefers to write while listening to music that fits the mood of his current story. He has no children, having opted instead for the companionship of two beautiful and thoroughly spoiled pugs. A Texan by birth, he currently lives in New England, and frequently complains of the weather.
Ashavan went to school at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, getting his degree in Russian and East European Studies, with a focus in language and literature. He has two incomplete manuscripts from college that he goes back compulsively to fiddle with every so often, but is still not happy with either of them. He still loves fantasy and science fiction and reads constantly in the moments between writing stories.
Ashavan loves to hear from readers and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Series: Daily Dose Mended 04
Author: Ashavan Doyon
Length: Short (73pgs)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (1st June 2014)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥ 3 1/2 Hearts
Blurb: Caleb McDonnell lives his life online. A thirty-year-old fast food worker, he spends his time talking in an Internet world where his job and living conditions can’t dictate his friendships. He’s found acceptance, friendship, and even romance. But when an online friend is revealed as a fake, Caleb loses all sense of trust. To stave off the emotional collapse of his betrayal, Caleb leaves his online life behind and retreats into the monotony of his job.
Nicodemus Rokos feels like his heart has been torn out. He knew Caleb would be hurt, but he’d hoped not to be shut out of his boyfriend’s life. He can only hope Caleb still feels something when he shows up in person to reclaim what he’s lost.
Or as part of the 2014 Daily Dose Full Set Mended: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5113
Review: Caleb lives a lonely life, his friends are all online and his job as a fast food worker means he lives on a very tight budget. His online friendships mean the world to him and one of those friends he has a crush on, but when his online best friend is revealed as a fraud Caleb cuts himself off from the internet. Nic has been slowly romancing Caleb for some time and when he reveals the truth about a mutual online friend he never thought that Caleb would cut him from his life, Nic takes a chance hoping that he can regain the trust that was lost.
This is a great story of abused trust and emotional fallout. Caleb has had a rough time in the past and even though he only has a job serving fast food he knows his life could be so much worse, his online friends are his salvation from a lonely life and when he discovers that one of those friends is a complete lie he is devastated. Nic is an incredible man who has supported his best friend Nat ever since she was taken in by an online boyfriend, so when Nat digs up information on a fake profile Nic acts and nearly loses the man he dreams about.
This is a story that is very relevant in this day and age of online profiles where people can create any image they want and be who they want, some do it to be the person they wish they were and some do it for darker reasons. Caleb and his group of friends were sucked in by a person who just wished they were someone else but the effects on Caleb were devastating; obliterating any trust that he had in any online friend, the shattering of that trust has him sinking into depression and he can’t even trust the man he has come to care for, Nic, because how could Caleb believe he was real? Nic has been through the abuse of online trust once before and this time he refuses to be pushed away and knows that only breaking down Caleb’s defenses is he going to get Caleb to accept him as a real live person.
While I enjoyed this story and found that the vicious stab of hurt caused by broken trust was quite realistic, I found that I had difficulty grasping the overall reaction to the betrayal of trust. We have all at one point in our lives had our trust betrayed, some worse than others, we have all met people online and in real life who have pretended to be something they are not and if they have hurt us we discard them and don’t look back, so I found the complete shutting down that happened first with Nat and also with Caleb to be very severe and hard for me to grasp. Yes, Caleb opened himself up and discussed things he never would with anyone else, all his painful secrets, his secret longings and his dreams and yes I can see how it would have ripped his heart out to be so betrayed, but to cut everyone else off??? I could see him being more cautious and wary until he could trust everyone again, but I suppose because he was so alone with no support that his reaction was harsh and that let me get a handle on the situation better. Nic’s handling of the situation was great and his approach to Caleb was the only one he could take and I was so happy that he could get Caleb to open up to him.
I recommend this to those who love angsty love stories, who love emotionally hurt men who try to protect themselves, who adore men who take a chance to break down some emotional walls and the beginning of a sweet romance.
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