Please join me in welcoming Mickie B. Ashling to my blog today. Mickie’s here to talk about her writing process and characters:
Title: Third Son
Author: Mickie B. Ashling
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: October 2, 2017
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, mystery, action, family-drama, gay, crime, suspense, explicit, criminals, bodyguard
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American Niall Monroe returns to Hong Kong—a city he calls home—after being away for eight years. He hopes to finally find happiness with Peter Wei, his closeted lover of fourteen years, but is disappointed to find Peter has been put in an untenable position. He must marry and produce the long-awaited grandchild or get cut off by his millionaire father.
Gerard Sun, a talented artist, bursts back into Niall’s life after a one-night stand in Las Vegas. Circumstances force the men to deal with their attraction, especially when Niall’s firm considers Gerard to help promote tourism in the People’s Republic of China.
James, Peter’s younger brother, has been Niall’s best friend since they were schoolmates. He encourages Niall to ditch his brother and move on. He encourages Niall to ditch his brother until he finds out Niall is thinking of dating Gerard Sun, a talented artist.
Coming home seemed like a great idea until it wasn’t. Niall finds himself a stranger in a familiar landscape, slammed on multiple fronts by broken promises, jealousy, intrigue, unimaginable deceit, and undercurrents of evil. As his dreams quickly turn into nightmares, Niall reaches out to new allies for support.
Mickie B. Ashling © 2017
All Rights Reserved
“I’ve heard rumors you’re in denial,” the guy from Chatty Man commented.
Leaning forward, I waited to hear Adam Lambert’s response. I’d been ignoring the interview so far, but now I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the flat-screen, not after hearing that accusation.
Warily, the superstar asked, “About what?”
“Being a ging.”
Adam smiled, showing off those gorgeous white teeth. “I’m not in denial, just quiet about it.”
“What was it like for you at school being a ginger?” Alan Carr asked.
“Unremarkable. You know,” the stud confided in a mock whisper. “We’re said to have a lot of secret powers.”
“We can go for hours,” Adam replied, bursting into laughter.
“Yeah, right,” I slurred, flipping him the bird. Disgusted, I got off the couch and went to refill my drink. Super powers, my ass. If that were true, then how come the guy dyed his hair black? Because it’s a myth, I concluded scornfully. Like the correlation between fingers and dick sizes.
“A face without freckles is like a night without stars,” someone in the audience commented.
God…give me a fucking break.
My knee-jerk reaction to that old cliché was another shot of tequila. I was on day two of a monumental bender. Thank God, the weekend was almost over. Tomorrow, I’d be back to normal—innovative, focused, and coolly competent—despite this setback. Dealing with clients in my current state of mind wasn’t an option and could end up a financial disaster. A large part of my success as a top-tier exec at one of the most successful advertising agencies in the world was my inscrutable façade. It would have been the kiss of death to show any sort of weakness among Hong Kong’s movers and shakers. The majority of my clients were from the PRC. They asked to work with me, because I was born and raised here. Even though I looked like your average American, I spoke fluent Mandarin and Cantonese and knew the drill. Emotions, good or bad, were viewed as a character flaw. Men who allowed feelings to interfere with business were usually dumped like yesterday’s pork bun.
I tried making out my reflection in the glass cabinets above the bar and only saw a reddish blur where my head was supposed to be.
“If you’ve dated a redhead, raise your glass, if not…raise your standards.”
What in the ever-loving fuck was this guy yammering about? I turned my attention back to the TV screen and muttered, “Piss off!”
To my surprise, Adam looked me right in the eyes, with a sly grin plastered on his gorgeous face, and purred, “Make me.”
Blinking rapidly, I stared at the flat-screen. Was I hallucinating or what? Had the overpriced tequila finally destroyed my few remaining brain cells?
I staggered toward the sofa and threw myself backward, hoping the cushions would catch me, so I wouldn’t end up on the floor with a mild concussion. They did, thankfully. Never losing sight of the flat-screen, I took another shot of the aged Patrón and shuddered as it went down my gullet.
TV Adam snickered.
“Are you making fun of me?” I grumbled.
“You started it, honey.”
Grabbing the remote, I pointed it at the TV and made stupid pew-pew noises, hoping it would blow up. The room was plunged into darkness, and the abrupt silence was a much-needed reprieve. I waited a few minutes to see if Adam would goad me again, but nothing happened. All I heard was the soft hum of the central air. Good. I could chalk this up to an overactive imagination and some wormy tequila.
When I woke up on Monday morning, daylight seeped in through the vertical blinds. The noises in my head had been replaced by a relentless pulse of pain. I gritted my teeth, forcing myself to focus on my goals. Aspirin, shower, change, meet with the client, close the deal, and send them on their merry way. Now was not the time to dwell on my love life or lack thereof. Glancing at the digital clock on the nightstand, I saw that I had two hours to get my shit together and walk into my meeting with a studied look that oozed calm and confidence. It would be a stretch given my current condition, but I knew I’d pull this off. I had to. There was no one else on staff who could deal with Minister Xiang Guo. She was a formidable negotiator and set in her ways. It was my job to open her eyes and help her understand that, if the Chinese hoped to improve their status abroad and lure in more tourists, they needed a serious makeover.
I sat up and swung my legs off the bed, immediately regretting the sudden move. My head was spinning and I cradled it between my hands, hoping that would help. When the room stopped tilting, I inched my way toward the bathroom, grabbing on to the wall whenever I found myself lurching. My earlier assessment would need a hard edit. This hangover was going to be a bitch. I reached for the bottle of aspirin, shook two in my hand, and used the shower water to chase them down. Under the stinging spray of oscillating heads, I recalled how this binge had started.
☆ Guest Post ☆
Mickie B. Ashling – My Writing Process and Characters
Many thanks for giving me the opportunity to share an exclusive excerpt from my latest release, Third Son. The idea for this novel appeared out of the blue like all my other stories, and I jumped on the chance to explore the mind of a character whose outward appearance and psyche are completely at odds. Having grown up in a country where I was a minority—the Philippines—it was easy to relate to Niall. Although he speaks the language, and understands the prevailing mindset, a blue-eyed ginger in China sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb. This story is a departure from most of the romances I’ve written in the past and I’m happy it found a home at NineStar Press.
I write every day and have a certain word count I try to meet. If the fresh ideas don’t flow, I’ll end up editing or researching. My writing style is a combination of plotter and pantser. I start out with a very basic outline, but nine times out of ten, my characters veer off in another direction. The first time it happened, I was caught by surprise and tried forcing them into submission. That didn’t work out at all. Allowing your characters to guide you on a different path is a leap of faith, especially if you’re a control freak. You don’t always end up where you expected, but through the years, I’ve learned that the detour oftentimes improves the story.
There’s a specific website where I can pull up names by country of origin and gender. It’s got over 20,000 choices. Keeping names simple and easy to remember are important to me, especially when there are more than two main characters. It makes for an easier read when you’re not trying to figure out how to pronounce or remember a name. I wanted English given names for my Chinese MCs. Peter, James, and Gerard are quite commonly used in that part of the world. I chose the name Niall, a variant of Neil, for my American MC because I’ve always liked it, and haven’t used it in any of my other novels.
I’m a gypsy at heart and happiest when I’m visiting other countries. Reading is another one of my passions. Depending on my location, I’ll either be on my Kindle or plugged into my phone listening to an audiobook.
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Meet the Author
Mickie B. Ashling is the pseudonym of a multifaceted woman who is a product of her upbringing in multiple cultures, having lived in Japan, the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East. Fluent in three languages, she’s a citizen of the world and an interesting mixture of East and West. A little bit of this and a lot of that have brought a unique touch to her literary voice she could never learn from textbooks.
By the time Mickie discovered her talent for writing, real life got in the way, and the business of raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing—and the inevitable emptying nest—dreams of becoming a published writer were resurrected and she’s never looked back.
She stumbled into the world of men who love men in 2002 and continues to draw inspiration from their ongoing struggle to find equality and happiness in this oftentimes skewed and intolerant world. Her award-winning novels have been called “gut wrenching, daring, and thought provoking.” She admits to being an angst queen and making her men work damn hard for their happy endings.
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