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Title: The King’s Mate and The Rodeo Knight
Author: Ashavan Doyon
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Romance
Release Date: 11/30/2016
The King’s Mate
Sam’s Café Romances: Book One
Russell Pine comes to Sam’s Café every morning to enjoy the best coffee in town and to chat with Sam Tesh, the owner, a loyal friend for the past twenty years. When Sam offers him a challenge, Russ reluctantly takes it on, acting as the master opponent in a chess tournament. As the days pass and the hopefuls fall to the chess mastermind one by one, Russ discovers that the contest isn’t the only game being played.
Russ finds himself the focus of a secret courtship through words and pictures left for him to discover each morning. Will a hint of cologne on the paper lead him to his admirer? In a café full of young and beautiful minds, who is looking at the graying chess master?
First Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, June 2013.
The Rodeo Knight
Sam’s Café Romances: Book Three
Struck by amnesia after a car crash, Brian Stouten has been living a life laid out by his family, a heterosexual life that just doesn’t fit. When he learns it was all a lie, he returns to the small college town that’s his only clue to his past. But the town is still unfamiliar, and the man he’d hoped would make all his memories return is on a honeymoon with another man. To add insult to injury, everyone thinks Brian died in the crash. It’s only when an out-of-place cowboy asks to bum a smoke that Brian realizes this trip was meant to be.
Sylvester Thomas has always fought a secret desire, and done it successfully. But when geeky Brian offers him a smoke and a light, a simple brush of hands has Sylvester’s hidden passions burning deep. Did he make a mistake letting Brian walk away?
Recent Release Spotlight with Ashavan Doyon
We are here today to talk about The King’s Mate and The Rodeo Knight. What can you tell us about them?
The King’s Mate is book 1 of the Sam’s Café Romances. It’s a story about finding love after loss and centers around Russell Pine. The owner of the local café he frequents is his best friend and he gets roped into participating in a chess tournament as a master opponent of sorts. Russ’s partner was a chess grandmaster, and playing the game is a painful reminder of that loss. As a romance, of course, there’s a happy ending and a path to happiness with a mystery suitor. It’s a fun but angsty story. It’s also a second edition, which gave me a chance to both expand the story (it’s about 11,000 words longer) and to address some concerns I heard in the original reviews. It was my first published gay romance story, and I like to think I’ve learned a lot since then.
The Rodeo Knight is book 3 of the Sam’s Café Romances. The first three books are collectively called The Chess Master Chronicles – there’s a print edition of all three novellas under that title – and they focus on Russ and the loss of his partner Brian. Russ as the chess master, Brian as the grandmaster. When Brian returns, he’s left with his own sense of loss as he realizes that Russ has moved on and found his happiness elsewhere.
Please tell us more about our main characters.
Russell is a business man. He’s been going to the same café for over twenty years, and over that time has become friends with the owner, Sam. He’s in his mid-thirties and struggling with the fact that being gay is something that favors the young. The tournament represents something of a wakeup call. Opportunity to move on is knocking, but is he going to take it?
As for Brian in The Rodeo Knight, he’s a grandmaster. He’s strategic, and his approach shows that. But he’s also suffering from amnesia. Coming back to town, visiting the café – those were his chance at remembering, at reclaiming a life that was stolen from him. When he woke up with amnesia, his parents decided that was their chance to erase the gay from their son. Brian’s always known something was wrong, and the story starts with his brother Brandon, a family member who wasn’t in on the deception, breaking through their lies.
What do you want to tell those who may be new to the series (if applicable)?
Please don’t skip The King’s Mate just because you read the original. The second edition is very nearly twice the length of the short story, and there’s a whole lot more development of both main characters, as well as some good foreshadowing of the later stories.
What about The King’s Mate and The Rodeo Knight makes you the proudest?
They can still make me cry. One of the places I still cry in The Rodeo Knight is a scene that got added during editing. Often that’s so rushed – there’s usually only a few days – that making a scene stick and fit is hard enough. Making it an emotional scene that evokes tears? I’m proud of that.
What is next for these characters? Is there more to this series? If so who will we hear from next?
There’s two likely possibilities, one for the Sam’s Café Romances, and one for a spin off. For the existing series, I think the new junior barista Jimmy is a likely choice that would keep it appropriately centered on the café. For the spin off, my beta reader wanted me to take a look at Brian’s brother. It’s a good possibility and I may even do that one first if Dreamspinner is interested.
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Sit down. Write. Don’t worry if it’s good, that is what editing is for.
What part of a new story comes to you first? Characters? Plot? A scene? A theme? Or does it vary from book to book?
Characters come first, almost always. First an image of them. Place them, let them sit, let them watch, tell the story. Listen. They’ll tell you when you take a wrong turn. Write them well, and they’ll start doing it with words, in conversation. Then you get the bonus points for people thinking you’re crazy for talking to people that aren’t there. I know better. Just because they’re in my head doesn’t make them less real.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing a good short story?
No one is happy with a short story. If you write the characters well, readers always want more, even if the story is best told in a short story. A short story means chopping out the unnecessary and you will often disagree with readers on what that is.
Do you ever abandon a draft partly written and just move on? Do you keep a file of plot ideas?
I rarely actually erase anything, and often keep multiple old drafts right up until something is published. But I have one story I started in college that has been at 45,000 words for over twenty years.
If you could be any Disney character who would you be, and why?
Stitch. He’s pretty much invulnerable, and he has an understanding that took me a long time to get to. A small and broken family can still be good.
Do you remember a character talking about a particular food and it made you want to eat it RIGHTNOW? and if yes, what was it?
Those drizzled pastry things Russ loves so much in The King’s Mate are based on an actual pastry made at a now closed local café. I’m devastated.
What are you reading right now and what is next on your to-be-read list?
I’ve been in the middle of a WiP and I don’t usually read while I’m writing my first draft, but next on my list is Tricks by Rick Reed. The cover on that book is the bomb! I’m hoping the story lives up to it.
Rapid Fire Time (Note: Pick 8-10 of the following to answer)
Neville or Ron? Totally Neville
Underwear and socks: folded in the drawer or tossed? Folded
Tardis or DeLorean? Tardis
Santa Claus or Easter Bunny? Santa Claus
Pastel or neon (bright?)? Neon
Handcuffs or Rope? Cuffs
Kirk or Picard? Picard
Lucky Charms or Trix? Lucky Charms
What are you working on? What is next?
I’m working on Forgiving James, book 5 of my College Rose Romances. I’ve been planning a series of gay superhero romances for a while and I’ll probably be returning to those once the current work in progress is done.
About the Author
For fifteen years, Ashavan Doyon worked with students in the student affairs office of a liberal arts college. He recently decided to shake things up a little, and is now working in the publications and communications office at the 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, but lavishes attention on his sole remaining fur child, a very elderly pug. 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.
You can find me online at:
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