Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Mickie B. Ashling for taking the time to talk with us today.
Title: Loving Edits (series)
Author: Mickie B. Ashling
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Mickie B. Ashling is here to share her personal connection with ALS and how it prompted her to write the Loving Edits trilogy. She’s also offering an ecopy of one of the books from the series as a giveaway!
In the winter of 2009 I started my own ice bucket challenge. There weren’t any ice cubes involved, or a cool video, but there were butterflies in my stomach and a definite feeling of dread as I began formatting my document. It was time, and in the process, I hoped I would raise some awareness of ALS and contribute in the only way I could—by telling you a story.
My mother was forty-five when she started falling for no reason. She would complain of random pain in her back or legs, and a twitchy feeling as if someone had inserted Mexican jumping beans under a layer of skin. I always thought she was being overly dramatic to get a foot rub. She adored them and would bribe my sister or me to pour on the lotion and give it our all. Turns out it was way more.
After weeks of stumbling into objects, and dropping to her knees mid-stride, she finally went to see a neurologist. When she asked him if it was a brain tumor, he shook his head and said, “You would have had a fighting chance if that were the case.” Ironically, a brain tumor was the better option.
He diagnosed ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and at the time, I didn’t know what it was. I’m not so sure my mother did either or if she even realized the full scope of this death sentence. Lou Gehrig was mentioned, but we’d grown up in the Philippines, and American baseball players were unfamiliar to us. With a wry grin, she told me she was just as special as Lou, and only the chosen ones got this disease. Mommy had a dramatic streak a mile long.
She died in 1970, two years after her diagnosis, and I wish I could tell you that it was an easy death, and she didn’t suffer, but that’s the furthest thing from the truth. Being trapped in a body that has stopped functioning while your mind is completely unchanged is a form of hell you don’t ever want to experience.
Not many advances have been made since then. ALS is still a killer, and the only way to find a cure is through research. Anyone who’s been around a loved one touched by this disease would gladly pay a small fortune to make it disappear. The ice bucket challenge that has exploded on social media in the last month has raised an awareness and more money for the cause than ever before. I hope the momentum continues, long after the last bucket of ice has been poured. If you’d like to make a donation, here’s the direct link to the organization. http://www.alsa.org/donate/
The Loving Edits trilogy featured on this blog today was written as a tribute to my mother. It took me decades to mentally drag myself back to those terrible times, but I felt it necessary to chronicle her journey, albeit through the eyes of three very distinct personalities.
Before we get started on the questions, I’d like to thank the lovely ladies who run Prism Book Alliance for this opportunity to share a body of work that has a really special place in my heart. There’s an e-book giveaway (any one of the three novels in the series) as part of the deal. Leave a comment and Prism will pick the winner. Lastly, I have to mention my publicist, Joleen, of Parenthetical Author Services, who was instrumental in putting this together. She’s a gem, and anyone who’s wondered how it would be so much easier to have someone like her do the legwork should give her a shout. You can contact her at PAS Promotions.
Now to the interview…
We are here to talk about your Basque series, book one of which is Loving Edits. What can you tell us about it?
As I mentioned in my intro, this series was written as a tribute to my mother and all the people who’ve suffered from ALS. The topic is daunting, and I’ve tried to weave in the good with the bad, but the main things I wanted to focus on were the resilience of the human spirit and the infinite power of love.
Tell us about Mick, Paul, and Tono.
Mick Henley is a bestselling author who had a long relationship with Paul Alcott, scion to a publishing empire, also an aspiring writer. After the success of Mick’s first novel, he and Paul break up. Devastated by the end of their seven-year union, Mick travels the world to try and forget. While in San Sebastian, Spain, he meets Tono Garat, a Basque jai alai player, and they fall in love. When Mick falls ill with ALS, he returns to New York City with Tono, and Paul comes back into his life. Loving Edits opens when Paul gets a call from Mick inviting him over to meet Tono for the first time.
What inspired you to create a character with ALS?
ALS turned my world upside down. My mother’s death was a defining moment in my life, and I guess this was my way of exorcising some of the demons remaining from that experience. Also, very few people actually know anything about the disease. It’s been around for ages but hardly ever talked about. Coincidentally, it was during the time I was writing this trilogy that the show on Dr. Jack Kevorkian appeared on HBO. He was a proponent of assisted suicide, and a large majority of his patients suffered from ALS. His methods may have been questionable, but his heart was in the right place. If I’d been on that jury, I would have acquitted the guy instead of sending him to prison for being humane. But that’s another argument for another day.
How did you come up with the idea to make Tono a Pelota player? Did you ever practice Pelota yourself?
Pelota or jai alai as it’s known in the English speaking world, is a Basque invention. Since my mother was also Basque, I wanted to share some of her culture through this character. I have two cousins who were also pelotaris (jai alai players) and it was easy to get all the information I needed through them.
Is the Basque series complete, or will there be a reencounter, perhaps Baxter’s backstory or Paul and Tono ten years down the line or something?
The story is complete. I couldn’t possibly go back to it or add anything more.
What is your favorite Basque dish, and would you mind sharing the recipe?
My favorite dish is Bacalao a la Vizcaina, a staple in most Basque households made with salted cod. The Italians have a similar version they call Baccala and usually serve around Christmas. It’s simple enough to prepare, but you have to start the day before you plan to eat since you have to soak the cod in cold water to get rid of the salt. If you Google the dish, you’ll find a few different recipes. Some include potatoes and others don’t. My family prefers the ones with potatoes.
Where do you prefer to live, in Spain or the US or somewhere else entirely? Do you have a favorite place in the world and if so, where?
I love to travel and would gladly spend the majority of my time traipsing around the world, but there’s no place like home (Chicago or anywhere in the USA) when it comes to the best medical and dental care, functioning utilities, and yes, even running water. We take this all for granted until we find ourselves in situations where something we’re so used to having at our fingertips is missing.
If you could breed a character who was a love child of three different media icons, who would you choose?
Rob Lowe, Jennifer Lopez, and Adam Lambert. Rob is not only gorgeous, he’s smart, a nice guy, and a great dad. Jennifer because she’s real and has the type of beauty that’ll last for years, and Adam exudes talent in a super sexy package. He’s also very comfortable in his skin, which makes him even more appealing .
Rapid Fire Time
- Fire or Ice? Ice
- Music or TV/Movies? TV/Movies
- Alone or At a Party? Alone
- Sausage or Hamburger? Sausage
- Coke or Pepsi? Pepsi
- Vanilla or Chocolate? Vanilla
- Underwear and socks: folded in the drawer or tossed? Folded
- Tea of Coffee? Coffee
What are you working on? What is next?
Cutting Out, book four in the Cutting Cords series, will release at the end of October. The fourth novel in the Horizons series has just been contracted and will be out in February 2015. I’m currently working on a new story, but I won’t talk about it, or I’ll jinx myself. All I can tell you is that it’s a brand new universe for me, and the research has been a blast.
Basque Trilogy: Book One
Rainbow Winner Award, Best Gay Contemporary Romance – Honorable Mention
When bestselling novelist Mick Henley contacts his editor and former lover, Paul Alcott, after a seven-year absence, hearing Mick’s voice reinforces what Paul has known all along—he still loves Mick. The possible reunion entices Paul into considering a dinner invitation, but his hopes are dashed when he learns Mick is in a loving relationship with Spanish Jai alai player Tono Garat.
Paul still accepts the invitation, and Mick asks Paul to help Tono through the final revision of a love story he’s written, inspired by his affair with Mick. When Paul refuses, Mick reveals he’s been diagnosed with a fatal disease, and the novel is Tono’s only means of coping with the eventual outcome.
Paul and Tono resent each other, but they can’t deny the strong sexual attraction between them. Can the past blend with the present to ease the way for Mick’s inevitable future? Will they overcome their differences to provide the loving support necessary to sustain the man they love or will their collision destroy Mick’s final days?
Tono, Sequel to Loving Edits
Basque Trilogy: Book Two
In the aftermath of Mick Henley’s death, his two lovers, Paul Alcott and Tono Garat, find themselves at odds. Tono has rejected Paul on the pretext that the public will find out about their love affair, thus tarnishing Mick’s memory; the reality is that Tono fears Paul will lose interest in him because they’re not intellectual equals. Tono’s fear is compounded when Mick’s final novel, Momentos, is presented to Paul posthumously with a request to start a trust from the proceeds to aid artists and writers suffering from ALS. Mick’s only stipulation is that Tono spearhead the organization.
Paul is energized by Mick’s request, but Tono is angry and conflicted about the challenge. After a five-month separation, they reunite, rekindling their strong physical attraction—and illuminating their many differences. As always, Mick’s presence lingers, intruding at unexpected times. Are their memories preventing Paul and Tono from finding true happiness as a couple? Can there be a life for two vibrant alphas without the gentle Mick to buffer the discord?
Momentos: Mick’s Journey
Basque Trilogy: Book Three
Rainbow Winner Award – Honorable Mention
Before Mick Henley brought Paul Alcott and Tono Garat together in Loving Edits, it was simply Mick and Paul, two optimistic teenagers who began a love affair that would span twelve years—and leave an indelible mark on their lives.
The passionate young lovers shared a series of firsts before Paul’s harsh father drove a wedge between them, shattering their dreams and destroying everything Mick believed to be true about love. After Paul’s defection, Mick met Tono, a closeted Spanish athlete, who helped heal his broken heart.
From passionate highs to heartbreaking lows, Mick inspires the two most important men in his life and brings them together with his impending death. They’ll learn that all their memories, even the most difficult to bear, are precious and that love is the most amazing journey of all.
About the Author:
Mickie B. Ashling is the alter-ego of a multifaceted woman raised by a single mother who preferred reading over other forms of entertainment. She found a kindred spirit in her oldest child and encouraged her with a steady supply of dog-eared paperbacks. Romance was the preferred genre, and historical romances topped her favorites list.
By the time Mickie discovered her own talent for writing, real life had intruded, and the business of earning a living and raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing and the inevitable emptying nest, dreams were resurrected, and the storyteller was reborn.
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.
Mickie loves to travel and has lived in the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East but currently resides in a suburb outside Chicago.
Mickie B. Ashling has kindly offered an ecopy of any one of the Loving Edits series books. Just leave a comment below.
Contest will end 7 days from original posting date (or as stated on the Rafflecopter) at 8pm CDT. Must be 18 or older to enter, void where prohibited.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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