Today's guest is fellow author Mickie B. Ashling, talking about the inspiration behind her novels.
Chicken or Egg?
So which came first? The vague outline of the story or the picture perfect inspiration? I have no idea. It just all came together somehow.
<< With Vessel, the sequel to Cutting Cords, a story began to germinate when I saw this picture.
How adorable, right? Who could resist these babies? The plot, conflict, and resolution were all worked out in my head within a few days. Then I did my daily trolling and I saw these two photos (below).
<<< Temptation #1
>>> And then this! Oh...My...God...
Vessel took off in a completely different direction! The original story was discarded and replaced with an entirely new plot. My newly hatched character, Trent, began whispering secrets in my ear. The words flowed, and when that happens, you know it's right.
And isn't that what writing is all about? It is for me. Allowing inspiration to take me on unexpected journeys and being a willing passenger. I've learned from my past mistakes. My muse is a control freak and does not like to be directed. She gets very angry when I do that and the finished product is mediocre and not what I originally envisioned. Her punishment comes in many forms but the worst of them all is writers block. It's a horrible feeling to stare at a blank screen and wonder if and when the next idea will strike. So to avoid trauma and major angst I've learned to play nice and listen.
Book three in my Cutting Cords universe is called Cleave. It opens nine months after the big fight in London. The release date is May 21, 2012 and will be available in paperback and e-book version. There is no cover art at this time I'm improvising with another photo that inspired me.
Before you move on to the excerpt, I'd like to thank Clare London for inviting me to participate in her birthday bash. This month-long event has become an anticipated tradition on this blog and Clare's welcoming personality draws the most interesting guests. There's something here for everyone if you scroll through all the posts. Enjoy!
Here's Chapter 1 of Cleave in Trent Hamilton's POV.
NOTE from Clare: the excerpt contains BDSM themes
The raw silk kept slipping through the loops as I stood in front of the full-length mirror attempting a half-Windsor. The simple knot was eluding me, impossible to explain given my mastery in the fine art of bondage. Everything seemed a little off-kilter this morning, most likely due to the aftereffects of last night’s debauchery.
A New Year’s Eve party at Wilde was always over-the-top, and once again, Max had not only exceeded last year’s celebration but had raised the bar for future parties. His table for twelve had simply groaned with delicacies from all over the world, and the men he’d lined up to serve were the perfect appetizers. Sloan had made a pig of himself with the caviar accompanied by multiple shots of vodka, which had also been my poison for the evening in the spirit of welcoming 2011.
I let go of the stubborn tie when my concentration was completely ruined by the music coming from Sloan’s iPhone. The name that flashed on the screen didn’t help my mood, and the ring tone had the same effect as nails on a chalkboard. Sloan had assigned Queen’s “Love of My Life” to his ex. The poignant melody had never played since we’d been together, so hearing it now raised questions and disrupted my plans for the morning. I despised people who pried, but seeing Cole Fujiwara’s name on caller ID was reason enough to break my own rule. Not only did I want answers, I even considered canceling the meeting I’d intended to keep in an hour. Although modeling was fun, and led to interesting perks, such as meeting gorgeous men like Sloan, it didn’t hold my attention. There was no challenge whatsoever so I’d kept my investment business and the handful of clients I’d retained made it lucrative enough to justify the time I split between my two careers. My potential investor was a player in the scene and a referral from Max who’d insisted on the New Year’s Day meeting.
Love of my life-you’ve hurt me.
You’ve broken my heart and now you leave me.
Just hearing the refrain repeat in Freddie Mercury’s distinct voice set my teeth on edge and elevated my blood pressure instantly.
There had been no news from Camp Fujiwara since the breakup in London nine months ago, and it had taken me that long to get my submissive-in-training to come to terms with the end of his long-standing relationship. Sloan could finally discuss his past without breaking down, and now our peace of mind was about to be disturbed by Cole’s reappearance. What in hell did the asshole want? And why in fuck did Sloan still keep his number, and more importantly, why hadn’t he ditched that particular ring tone?
Sloan walked out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist and froze. He gaped at the phone in my hand and darted a quick look at my face to gauge my mood. When he saw nothing more alarming than a raised eyebrow, he heaved a sigh of relief and reached for the phone just as the caller disconnected. “I wonder what he wants,” Sloan mused.
“Are you going to return the call?”
“I suppose I should.”
Dove-gray eyes flared in defiance but banked just as quickly.
“What if it’s important?” Sloan suggested.
“What if it’s not?”
“Please, let me call him.”
“Not yet,” I said, bracing for an argument. “Anything he has to say can wait until after your meditation.”
“Sir, it’ll only take a second,” Sloan protested, clutching the phone and looking slightly panicked. “He’s never called before.”
Shaking my head, I took the phone out of his hand and tossed it back on the nightstand. “The reason I have you meditate first thing in the morning is to get you in the right frame of mind.”
“Sloan, listen to me. I won’t have you disrupting your schedule over a phone call. I want you grounded before you talk to him.”
I could see all the emotions warring in Sloan’s expressive eyes, as he wrestled with his decision, but I was satisfied when my boy took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and sank to his knees in front of me. Seeing him assume the rudimentary submissive pose―hands clasped behind his back and bowed head―was always a thrill, but this morning’s surrender was particularly sweet and deserved a reward. I lifted his chin and bent down to kiss him softly on the mouth. “Thank you.”
He responded immediately, opening his mouth and allowing my tongue to slip in. Submitting did not come easily to Sloan, but that side of his personality I’d awakened had grown and blossomed under my care. I stepped away from him reluctantly and resumed my meditation stance.
The towel that encircled his slim waist fell to the floor in a puddle, exposing the body that was Sloan’s undoing. Despite the positive physical changes that had come with maturity, and my very obvious appreciation, the mental image of an underweight and undesirable man continued to plague Sloan. He needed to be reminded that he was attractive and worthy of the adulation he received in the modeling world, along with the monetary and personal rewards. Part of his path of self-discovery was a daily mantra reiterating his worth.
“Take a deep breath and banish everything from your mind.” My voice acted as the trigger, guiding him through his morning ritual.
“Inhale…exhale.” I repeated the words several times until I saw the subtle shift in body language. The rhythmic rise and fall of his chest signaled his transition into a calmer space; one that didn’t allow outside influences or chaotic thoughts to intrude. I began with the usual questions. “Who are you?”
“What do you do?”
“I’m a successful model.”
“How do you know you’re a success?”
“The contracts I’ve acquired over the years and the financial rewards.”
“Do you believe you deserve the fame?”
“I’ve worked very hard to get here.”
“Are you beautiful, Sloan?”
“They say I am.”
“Why don’t you believe it?”
“Beauty is subjective.”
“You’re beautiful to me.”
“Thank you, Master.”
“Don’t you feel attractive?”
“When I’m with you, I do.”
“What about in front of the camera? I’m not the only one who thinks you’re special.”
“I’ve been lucky.”
“I think you give yourself very little credit. You work damn hard.”
“You’re very generous with your praise.”
“It’s the truth, boy, not flattery.” My body was reacting to the desirable vision in front of me, even as Sloan responded to my encouraging words. I couldn’t help but notice his growing erection. “Do you know how much I care for you?”
“I feel it in your voice and your touch, sir.”
“How else can you tell?”
“You’ve helped me find the special place where I can be myself.”
“Through physical pain?”
“And my surrender.”
“Good answer, boy. Open your eyes and look at me.”
Sloan blinked a few times. He appeared to be on a powerful hallucinogenic, when the reality was far more complex. He was in his subspace. To see him in this state was immensely satisfying, considering the long and somewhat rocky journey he’d traveled since we first hooked up. Taming Sloan was like trying to bottle lightning. As soon as I thought I had him, he’d slip out of reach, only to be subdued after an intense scene. It had taken patience and a lot of effort to finally arrive at this place, and I would be damned if one phone call from Cole would ruin it all.
“May I please you this morning?” Sloan asked, interrupting my thoughts.
“God, yes.” I sank down on an upholstered leather high back and spread my legs wide apart. My cock was throbbing, and watching my sub crawl naked toward me, with his massive erection leading the way, was making me salivate. Adding to the mix was the pungent odor of our mutual arousal. It enveloped me and I leaned back on the chair and moaned in anticipation. I was dressed for my meeting, however, and Sloan would have to work for his reward. He gripped my zipper in between his teeth and slid it down slowly, encouraged by my groaning.
“Take care not to soil my pants,” I warned. “I have an appointment in less than an hour.”
“Yes, sir,” Sloan said, engulfing my rigid shaft down his throat.
He began to suck with due diligence, and I closed my eyes and sighed with content. I was right on the verge when I pushed the cloying mouth away abruptly.
Sloan looked confused. “Don’t you want me to finish you off?”
“To hell with my meeting,” I mumbled, pushing my pants down my thighs while I toed off my shoes. “Get on the bed.”
Sloan beamed at me happily. His lips were shiny with saliva, and he looked loopy from a combination of lust and meditative reflection.
I stepped out of my pants and boxers, folding them at the crease and laying them on the leather seat. Next off was my shirt, and instead of wasting time with the long line of buttons, I struggled with the top two, and yanked it over my head, draping it over the back of the chair.
Sloan was already waiting in the middle of the massive four-poster bed that took center stage. I straddled him and reached for the leather cuffs and attached the pair to Sloan’s wrists. I then clipped them to the chains that dangled off the wooden posts until Sloan was spread out and immobilized. “Comfy?”
Sloan nodded trance-like.
“I want to play with your pretty cock.”
I rolled my thumb over his slit, spreading the emerging drops of fluid until his impressive cock head glistened. I leaned over and whispered. “I owe you a present.”
“Yes, you do.”
“I haven’t forgotten even though Christmas has come and gone.”
“There’s only one thing I want,” Sloan replied hoarsely.
“Am I getting it?” Sloan’s cock rose appreciably, encouraged by the possibility of an unexpected bonus.
My boy had been trying to top me for months. His fondest wish was to lose himself in his “Highlander”, a nickname I’d earned after donning a kilt in London. That and the tawny locks I’d retained since the photo shoot had made me an honorary Scotsman in Sloan’s eyes. It helped that I was half Scottish, and soon I ranked high up on his list of sexy men in kilts, alongside Captain Jack of Torchwood, and the lunatic from Braveheart. Throughout our holiday in the UK, as we traveled from castle to loch, enjoying the magnificent views and exploring my ancestry, Sloan had pestered, begged, and cajoled. My continued refusal to allow any penetration had become a bone of contention and Sloan was starting to take it personally.
I knew I’d have to overcome this personal hurdle if I wanted to win his heart. I could feel his admiration and respect, but the deep connection was impeded by this one obstacle. I’d always been introspective, and there were times when this characteristic frustrated Sloan who was the most verbal and honest person I’d ever met.
My insistence on holding back often left Sloan feeling rejected, which was the last thing I wanted. Still, it would be a monumental task to divulge the reason I had issues with anal sex. On the other hand, what kind of relationship was this if I couldn’t share my misgivings?
“I’ll do it in a scene,” I said, blurting out the words before I could change my mind.
“We’ll discuss it at a later time. Let’s talk about something I want for you.”
“Tying you up and dripping hot wax all over you,” I growled into his ear, making Sloan shiver in anticipation. “Then I’m going to cut my name into your shoulder with that lovely new knife you gave me for Christmas.”
Sloan gasped and closed his eyes. I did the same, picturing the hot wax dripping over my boy’s legs and torso, along with a trickle of blood. Instead of freaking him out, Sloan was on the verge of coming. “Please, Master, suck me?” Sloan begged beautifully, sending signals straight to my groin. Mentioning the knife play was a stroke of genius. It was still Sloan’s preferred method of achieving subspace whenever we did an official “scene” and I wanted to accommodate my sub as much as possible. A happy Sloan was a wanton and uninhibited sex toy, and I loved this side of him.
Sloan buried his face against my neck. “Thank you, sir.”
Freddie Mercury interrupted our special moment, vocalizing angst through the small instrument beside the bed. “Fuck that phone!” I said, losing my patience. “Pick it up and see what that bastard wants then delete the goddamn song!”
Sloan crawled over me and lifted the much-maligned instrument off the nightstand. My mood had turned black and I would have cheerfully thrown the phone out the window but I knew it would start a huge fight. Sighing dramatically, he said, "Hello, Cole."
Find my novels Here.
At the GLBT bookshelf
Mickie B. Ashling began writing stories about men who love men around the time she discovered Queer as Folk. The characters on that show intrigued her, and ground-breaking writers such as Patricia Nell Warren inspired her. She began to write the kind of stories that she enjoyed reading, spurred on by her muse, who really has this thing for hunky men getting it on.
Mickie has lived in the Philippines, Spain, the Middle East, and San Francisco but currently resides in a quiet suburb outside Chicago. She's a respectable office manager by day and a proud mother of four grown men who continue to wonder where this interest in gay romance has come from. They shake their heads and scratch their chins but ultimately leave her alone. Mickie's first love is writing, but traveling is a close second. Her dream is to be able to quit her day job soon so she can devote all her time and energy doing what she loves best.
From Clare: Like to stretch your writing fingers after Christmas' excesses? Fancy writing something for the visitors this month? It can be anything from a flashfic 3 sentences to a drabble of 100 or so, or even more. Any genre, any theme, any rating, any character(s). Maybe ones you already love, maybe the chance to try on a new character for size.
I'm holding a FREE FICTION DAY on the 28th, so send me new fiction - links to your existing work also welcome! - to clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and I'll post it all then :).
FOLLOW the Birthday Blog so far:
Don't forget the PRIZE DRAW for the (in)famous GRL bracelet **OPEN TO JAN 31**
Jan 23: J.L. Merrow and Josephine Myles discuss the better part of UST :)
Jan 24: Marie Sexton and Heidi Cullinan on their Cup-o-Porn Blog's birthday celebrations.
Jan 16: Sasha L. Miller making magic happen.
Jan 17: H. B. Pattskyn shares a free short story.
Jan 17: Becky Black on what can really happen after publishing.
Jan 18: Blaine D. Arden on keeping it close to her heart.
Jan 18: Tam battles with IKEA - and wins!
Jan 19: Toni Anderson shares her love of romance novels.
Jan 19: Poppy Dennison introduces the Boxer Falls m/m serial, plus a PRIZE DRAW for the (in)famous GRL bracelet **OPEN TO JAN 31**
Jan 20: Erastes shows us life from a horse's-eye view.
Jan 21: Anna Martin shares a beautiful and provocative ballet.
Jan 21: Andrea Speed shares snippets from Diary of the Damned.
Jan 22: Anne Barwell introduces her new WW2 m/m romance drama.
Jan 09: Lee Rowan shares her healthy resolution.
Jan 10: Rowena Sudbury and the beauty of a blue moon.
Jan 10: Sandra Lindsay and her WIP characters.
Jan 11: Shelley Munro and a tour of bedrooms through the ages.
Jan 11: Dany Sirene and her love of Goth characters.
Jan 12: Sarah Madison and her decision to stop competing.
Jan 13: Alix Bekins shares her love of kink.
Jan 14: Janis Susan May on writing one word at a time.
Jan 14: Charlie Cochrane watches movies with hankies at hand.
Jan 15: Megan Derr and the inspiration in fairytales.
Jan 01: luscious_words shares some fabulous icons.
Jan 02: Jordan Castillo Price shares her experience of re-releasing books.
Jan 03: Mara Ismine wonders how important is continuity in fiction?
Jan 04: Jen shares her favourite Rom Com movies.
Jan 05: Karenna Colcroft introduces her unusual werewolf.
Jan 06: Stevie Carroll takes us on a pictorial tour of her favourite locations.
Jan 07: Tinnean quotes Jack Benny on age.
Jan 07: Josie makes a brave leap into a scary sport.
Jan 08: Elin Gregory finds inspiration at every turn.
Check up on: Prior years fun HERE
and The 2012 Guest schedule HERE.
Want to join in but missed the original call? Email me at clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and I'll happily find you a space
NOTE: most pictures chosen by me and credited where known, others may be used without direct permission, please contact me with any queries/concerns.
****All my posts are being mirrored at Dreamwidth, please feel free to friend me over there as well****