Hi peeps, we have Ariel Tachna stopping by with her upcoming Dreamspun Desires/ Lexington Lovers release Unstable Stud, Ariel chats about tropes, she lets us have a peek at an excerpt and there’s a fantastic giveaway, so enjoy the post and leave a comment to enter the giveaway! <3 ~Pixie~
Horses were his passion, until he laid eyes on his boss.
Eighteen months ago, tragedy struck Bywater Farm when a riding accident killed Clay Hunter’s lover and traumatized his prize horse, King of Hearts. Clay and King lingered in limbo, surviving but not really living, until a breath of fresh air in the form of Luke Davis, a new groom in the stud barn, revives them both.
When a fall from King’s back sends Luke to the emergency room, Clay watches the shaky foundation of their budding relationship tumble down. Can Clay really love a jockey again, or will his fear of losing another man he loves keep them apart for good?
Tropes… Love ’em, hate ’em, read ’em, write ’em.
When we first started discussing the idea for Dreamspun Desires, well over a year ago, we had a discussion of tropes. The reality is that every genre has them. Read enough fantasy novels and you’ll find recurring characters: the dark wizard, the young country hero, the older (frequently old) sage whose responsibility it is to teach the young hero. You’ll also find recurring plot tropes: overthrow a usurping ruler, find (or destroy) a magical or mystical object, reach a place of great significance.
The joke about the butler did it? That’s a mystery trope.
Romance has them too, and I’m not going to try to list them. I wouldn’t even know where to start. And that was my problem when we started the discussions. I read romance before I started writing gay romance, but I actively sought out the least typical romances I could find, the ones that had another plot in addition to the romance. Stephanie Laurens was a favorite for historicals because there was murder and embezzlement and race fixing and art forgery. So when the dinner conversation spun around all the different romance tropes, none of them really resonated with me. Realistically I’m sure I’ve used them, but I don’t think of them in those terms, and so it was hard to imagine putting a story together from those elements.
Then Elizabeth looked at me and said “stable boy.” Now, anyone who knows me very well knows I used to ride horses competitively. Olympic three-day eventing kind of stuff. Not at the Olympic level, obviously, but that kind of riding. Dressage, show jumping, cross-country jumping. From the time I was ten until my daughter was born, I rode for exercise. There are many things in the world I don’t know a lot about, but riding is in my blood, and with it, everything that goes along with it.
Damon and Nicki chimed in at the same time after that with “virgin” and “second chance at love” (I’ll leave you to guess which one said which), and Unstable Stud was born. Once I put pen to paper, the story came to life in just three weeks.
Turns out maybe tropes do work for my brain after all, because when I was done with Unstable Stud, a subsequent conversation led to “prodigal son comes home,” “self-made man,” and “doctor,” and not only was Matchless Man born but the Lexington Lovers series as well.
I grew up in Lexington, Kentucky (horses, right?), and even though I haven’t lived there in over twenty years, it’s still home in many ways. My parents, sisters, and their families all live there. I’m grounded there, even as much as the city has grown while I’ve lived elsewhere. Unstable Stud takes place on a fictional thoroughbred farm that draws heavily on a Standardbred farm where I spent quite a bit of time as a kid. (We knew the farm’s staff veterinarian). Once upon a time, I knew all the stallions in the stud barn by name. Pretty sure most of them knew me too. Matchless Man is even more reality-based. From the hospital to the restaurants to the neighborhood where the prodigal son ends up living, it’s all real. A tribute to the city that taught me to love horses, to love reading, and to love writing.
Because anyone who knows me knows those passions go all the way back.
A special thank-you to MM Good Book Reviews for hosting me today. Comment below with your favorite romance trope for a chance to win your choice of any of my books.
After he let King loose, Luke watched for a minute as the stallion bucked and raced around the sizable enclosure, but he had work to do inside still. He couldn’t spend his whole day admiring his new charge.
He started back toward the barn, only to freeze and wish he could sink into the shadows. Mr. Hunter stood at the far corner of the barn, watching King as well. Luke debated pretending he hadn’t seen him—Mr. Hunter had given no sign of being aware of Luke’s presence—but he owed Mr. Hunter a thank-you, if nothing else.
“He seems happy to be outside,” Luke said as he crossed the space between him and his boss.
“He’s always preferred to be outside,” Mr. Hunter said. “It doesn’t matter how cold or hot or wet it is, he’d rather be out in it than cooped up in a stall.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Luke said. “I can turn him out first thing in the morning and let him stay out if we don’t need him for something. He’s not likely to get out of his paddock.”
Mr. Hunter huffed a laugh so full of disbelief and irony that Luke wanted to sink into the ground. “Have you seen him jump? If he wanted out of that paddock, he’d be gone. He jumps five- and six-foot hurdles like they’re nothing.”
“I’ve seen him,” Luke said softly, “but only on TV. I always thought of the jumps as something horses did because they had to, not something they did just because.”
“For most horses, you’re right. They’d rather go around a barrier than over it, and they’ll let one stop them if they aren’t driven across it, but every once in a while, one will come along who doesn’t need the encouragement. King was one of those horses.”
When Ariel Tachna was twelve years old, she discovered two things: the French language and romance novels. Those two loves have defined her ever since. By the time she finished high school, she’d written four novels, none of which anyone would want to read now, featuring a young woman who was—you guessed it—bilingual. That girl was everything Ariel wanted to be at age twelve and wasn’t.
She now lives on the outskirts of Houston with her husband (who also speaks French), her kids (who understand French even when they’re too lazy to speak it back), and their two dogs (who steadfastly refuse to answer any French commands).