She is one of my very favorite authors. When I discovered her Brooklyn Sinners series, I was hooked from the first word. SHE is Avril Ashton. We don’t talk a lot and we don’t hang out online together, but she’s become someone I look up to, we email sometimes, and have a deep, abiding NEED for coffee and most all things cake related. She’s no nonsense and she tells it like it is.
Please welcome her. It’s not the first time she’s been on the blog and it certainly won’t be the last.
These past few months have been filled with newness. Lot of newness. I moved my family to a new state on a whim, a hope and a prayer. Talk about new. Then I published my first self published book. Let’s not discuss that whole never say never ish. I’d always said I wouldn’t do it. So yeah, I’m steady eating crow. *coughs*
I’ve been re-evaluating my career, my process, my everything. I’d always wondered about my style. Like, what is it I’m known for? Can you pick up a book without knowing the author and be able to say yup, that’s an Avril Ashton book? After much thinking, I feel as if you should. At least, I feel as if you should know my brand and what I write, and know that it’s gonna be chock full of certain things, feel me?
I wrote So Far Gone because I wanted something short and not that complicated to take my mind away from the labyrinth of sticky ish that is my Sinners. The story wasn’t all that complex and the angst wasn’t all that deep.
In my mind.
Then I publish the book and I’m getting feedback that the book is all kinds of dark and painful. I had to question myself, like seriously? Is it really that messed up and if it is, how come I didn’t see it? Is my pain/angst threshold so jacked that I can’t even see it? Maybe my brain sorta figured hey, it’s not the Sinners, therefore it can’t be all that bad. An automatic pacifier. Crazy, but hey.
Here’s my thing: You should know by now how my stories run. I’m never going to apologize for what and how my brain translates my stories from my fingers to the page. Everything that’s there is meant to be. If you’re crying it’s because you’re meant to and if you’re all hot and bothered, embrace that, too. Now, you can step away from it, and put me on your “don’t read” list because I broke your heart. That’s sad, but hey, who am I to tell you how to feel?
I only hope to make you feel something, what that is, I have no control over.
It’s only fair that you know what to expect from my books. Let me tick them off my fingers for you. Heartbreak, pain, happiness, and arousal. Not a lot, but I’m pretty sure that about covers the range of human emotion.
I don’t know how to not make you feel something, and if I did, why would I? My goal has always been to make someone feel, to make you experience something, a genuine and valid emotion. There are authors out there who I really envy, because they can write awesomely funny and light-hearted stories that just make you laugh all day long.
That’s not me. You should know this. I don’t do much laughter.
There are authors who I envy who write amazing stories that warms the heart, but never makes you cry. It’s all a steady flow of aww.
That’s not me. You should know this.
I want to wreck you.
There’s a quote I printed out that sits on my computer desk.
“Break their hearts. Then fix it.”
That’s my goal.
To break you down. Sounds kinda horrific? It’s not. The worlds I build, the men I introduce you to aren’t the sunshiny kind, why would my books convey that? The subject matter is never soft or light-hearted, why would you expect that from me?
Loving each other isn’t easy in any of my books, why would you expect sunshine and roses and kumbaya?
I love romance. I love sex. I love angst and conflict and happily ever after. I give all of that to you. In my way. Don’t expect me to be someone I’m not, to write something that isn’t me.
Picking up one of my books ensures that you will go through it. You will run the gamut. I go through it, don’t for a second think that I don’t. I’m there on the frontlines, hurting before anyone else does. Don’t for a second think I’m writing my books just for the shock value, angst for angst sake.
But reading one of my books means that you understand, this is how I do things. It’s my way. Not for the faint of heart. If you’re looking for sweet and uneventful, my books are as far from it as you can get. They’re not the safe, sigh-worthy kind.
They’re the snot-crying, heartbreaking kind.
It’s for some. Not for all.
And you know what? I’m fine with that.
SO FAR GONE
One night? Feels like three years…
Jacob Donnelly wants something new. Something different. Which is why he’s got a one-way ticket to New York and his bags packed. One last night out to the bar finds him in a sexy stranger’s bed, giving in to an explosive chemistry Jacob had been searching for, but never found. Until now. It’s too bad he’s leaving town, although once he finds out his one night stand’s true identity, Jacob can’t get away fast enough.
Cash Warner made a mistake. It doesn’t matter that he’d never felt anything like the fire generated between him and Jacob. He doesn’t plan to ever see his one-night hookup ever again. Except he does. When the reality of what they’d done fully sets in, Jacob flees, leaving Cash struggling with how to deal with the bitter taste of betrayal he can’t escape. Because even with Jacob gone for years, Cash can’t stop wanting more of that one night. Fate conspires against them once again, bringing Jacob home after tragedy strikes, and they’ll find it near impossible to keep their distance despite being committed to other people.
Time fell away and he became lost in the sight of the man he watched. Something about this Cash perked his body right up, made his blood sing. Tonight of all nights. The feeling was bittersweet. He’d never had a reaction to another man quite like this.
Jacob jerked his head up and almost gasped. Cash sank into the chair opposite him, dark gaze intent.
“You been looking at me.”
That wasn’t a question. “I—” Jacob licked his lips.
“You.” The word mocked Jacob, but Cash’s gaze was searching.
“Yes.” Jacob cleared his throat. “I’ve been watching you.”
“You looking for something in particular?” Cash lifted a dark eyebrow and Jacob stared at him, trying to gather his thoughts. Cash didn’t break the gaze, he held Jacob tightly to him as surely as if they were locked in an embrace.
“Yes,” Jacob said slowly. “I was looking for something, but I…I think I may have found it.”
Cash blinked then, heat blazing in his eyes. He nodded once, but didn’t move otherwise. “I’m Cash.”
“Cash.” Jacob spoke his name for the first time testing it out. He liked it. “Jacob. I’m Jacob.”
“Jacob.” Cash smiled and Jacob shivered. “You should go to the men’s room, Jacob.”
His brain wasn’t working properly, wasn’t getting enough oxygen or something because for a second there, Jacob felt bewildered. Lost. He couldn’t process the words Cash spoke. He stared and Cash stared back, waiting…waiting…
“Oh.” He jerked backward then jumped to his feet. Cash’s gaze dropped to Jacob’s crotch. He followed the gaze then cursed.
“Shit.” He was hard. Clearly.
Cash’s lips quirked. “Bathroom?”
Jacob inhaled. “Yes.” One last gaze into Cash’s eyes and Jacob went. He walked to the bathroom on unsteady legs, palms sweaty, fists opening and closing as he tried to grasp and identify what it was he was feeling. He didn’t understand it.
All Romance: http://bit.ly/SFG01sh
A Caribbean transplant, Avril now lives in Stone Mountain, GA., with a tolerant spousal equivalent. Together they raise an eccentric daughter who loves reading and school (not so much school anymore). Avril’s earliest memories of reading revolve around discussing the plot points of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys with an equally book-minded mother.
Always in love with the written word, Avril finally decided to do the writing in August of ’09 and never looked back. Spicy love scenes, delicious heroes, and wicked women burn up the pages of Avril’s stories, but there’ll always be a happy ending; Av remains a believer of love in all its forms.
Addicted to cake, the ID Channel and the UFC, Avril writes Erotic and GLBT Romance for Ellora’s Cave, Evernight Publishing, eXtasy Books, Secret Cravings Publishing and Total-e-Bound.
Friend me on: http://facebook.com/writeravrilashton
I have a friend. Her name is Virginia Nelson. And her first Samhain book is out today. It’s called, Runaway Groom.
And it’s a hoot! Pick up a copy today!
He’s ready and waiting. She’s wanting…but wary.
Watkin’s Pond, Book 1
The groom is back in town.
Abigail lost her best friend years ago when he ditched her at the altar like a loaf of stale bread. Now he’s back and determined to do whatever he has to—even lie, apparently—to get under her skin. Although he makes her hormones rev to life in a way that no one has since he left, she is equally determined not to fall for his boy-next-door charm.
His bride-to-be is somewhat reluctant.
Braxton Dean was too young and stupid to know better when he walked away. Years of trying to fill the Abby-shaped hole in his heart have left him empty, and now he’s going to win back his girl—or get over her. But first he needs answers. Particularly why she never responded to any of his letters.
It might take a whole town to make this wedding happen.
With the help of their friends, the two battle it out. The army? An entire town of busybodies. The prize? Happily ever after.
Warning: Contains indignant old ladies, steamy sex (but not with indignant old ladies), seduction cake, and condom bouquets. Yes, we went there.
Enjoy the following excerpt for Runaway Groom:
July 7, 2005
I’m sitting in a diner in the desert. The sun peeking over the mountain lights up everything in these reds so bright they almost hurt the eyes. You’ve never felt a hot like this, all dry, nothing like the days that we went swimming over at Watkin’s pond…
I don’t really know why I’m writing you. I don’t have answers and right now you probably want them. I just know I couldn’t do it.
I miss you though.
Knuckles white, Abigail put her beat-up Ford Focus in Park, and glanced at her best friend. “I can’t do this.”
“Pussy.” Applying a coat of lipstick to her lush red lips in the mirror, Carnie shot her a glance. “You can do this. It isn’t like you’re about to face a firing squad. It’s just a bonfire.”
Shoving her hand through her short, pixie-cut brown hair, Abigail blew out a frustrated breath. “I would rather face a firing squad. If you ditch me to go running off with the new boyfriend…”
Carnie gave her a dirty look, tucking her red hair behind her shoulder. “I would never do that. I know how bent out of shape you get every time we go anywhere that Braxton might be. Really, though, it will be fine. The crap happened a thousand years ago. You’re adults now.”
Abigail didn’t feel like an adult. She felt like the rejected teenager even thinking of Braxton Dean.
It didn’t help that he’d become sexier with age. Heartbreakingly handsome, Braxton made her thighs clench with just a glance. She needed to remember the pain and humiliation rather than how it felt to be pushed into a bed by him. Better to remember the chest-constricting, blinding terror when he’d ditched her and vanished rather than remember his face a mask of unleashed passion and his green eyes wild with need. The former would keep her knees together.
The terror of that time—it wasn’t something she shared with anyone, not even Carnie.
Remembering gave her the strength she needed to peel her fingers from the wheel. “You’re right, of course. I can do this. No big deal. We’re both more mature now. He probably won’t even say a word to me.” The last came out a bit hopeful, even to her own ears.
“Yeah, at his birthday bonfire, he isn’t going to say a word to the woman he dated for years and ditched at the altar like a loaf of stale bread. Really, Abs, you need to get pissed off rather than feeling pissed on. You’re totally the injured party here.”
“He had his reasons. I’m sure he did.” Why was she defending his dumb ass?
“What reason could be good enough for that grand act of douchebaggery?” Carnie raised one well-plucked brow at her. “Besides, these are our friends. You need to remember why we’re here. He took off. He stayed gone. This is our town. You’re going to walk in there and show him what he is missing. Rub in his face what he can’t have.”
“I don’t know. He really wasn’t a jerk…not most of the time.”
“Let’s just go find Mike and the crew, and have a good time. All of our friends from high school are here and it’ll be good to catch up with them.”
Nodding, stomach still a bit of a knot, Abigail opened her door and stepped out into the muggy Ohio night. Stars hung like tiny lanterns above the recently mowed field and the sound of laughter carried on the breeze. The bonfire, a huge conflagration, was surrounded by what looked like hundreds of folding chairs, coolers and other party miscellany that beckoned Abigail onwards. Who knew? Maybe she would meet someone new and end up being really happy she wasted the extra five minutes to make sure everything was shaved and neat?
Carnie strode with her usual impulsive bravery into the melee. Abigail stuffed her hands in her jeans and resisted casting her head down to avoid any stares that might be coming her way. Instead she held her head high, but refused to meet anyone’s eyes. In small-town Ohio, everyone knew she hadn’t seen Braxton since that fateful day when he left her standing, flowers in hand, waiting for a runaway groom. Everyone knew that instead of marrying her, Braxton—golden boy and football hero—ran off to parts unknown, and she’d neither heard from him nor caught a glimpse of him when he’d come to town until a few weeks ago. He only returned home now to help his father with his tool store after his father’s stroke made it hard for the old man to get around like he used to.
Everyone watched to see how she’d handle it.
She wouldn’t give them a show to chew over for the next decade. She’d act like it was ancient history, like she hadn’t spent years wondering how a man could go from saying he loves her to leaving her to stand alone against a whole swarm of gossips with nothing better to do than tear her to shreds for being moronic enough to think he would stay.
She concentrated so hard on what she wouldn’t do, she slammed to an abrupt halt against a firm chest. His firm chest. Braxton. He smelled the same, damn him.
Even over the scent of wood burning, the ripeness of summer and the bitter tang of someone’s spilled beer, she inhaled his soap, familiar cologne and under it all, simply Braxton.
Her stomach clenched. Part of her wanted to smack him and demand answers. Part of her wanted to run away. Part of her wanted to pull his face down and kiss him because she’d missed him so much.
Instead she hid behind an armor of polite civility and gave a short, sharp nod. “Braxton.”
“Abby.” The word came out almost a plea. His eyes held a sad look she quickly identified. He pitied her.
Double damn him. “Happy birthday.”
And even though she promised herself she wasn’t going to give everyone a show, promised herself she wouldn’t feed the rumor mills…
The sound of her slap rang out across the field. Even in the flickering light from the bonfire, her handprint marked his strong jaw and she couldn’t ignore the pleasure it gave her. Silence seemed to spread across the night as he touched his cheek. Her mouth hung open, shock rippling through her as his gaze locked on hers.
“I deserved that.” The timbre of his voice seemed to stroke across her skin, stirring up a potent cocktail of emotions—lust, love, fury and pain. The worst part was disgust at herself for feeling anything.
“You deserve worse.”
Instead of arguing with her, which almost would have made her feel better, like it meant something to him, he simply nodded. “Wanna go somewhere to talk?”
About the Author
Virginia Nelson believed them when they said, “Write what you know.” Small town girl writing small town romance, her characters are as full of flaws, misunderstandings, and flat out mistakes as Virginia herself. When she’s is not writing or plotting to take over the world, she likes to hang out with the greatest kids in history, play in the mud, drive far too fast, and scream at inanimate objects. Virginia likes knights in rusted and dinged up armor, heroes that snarl instead of croon, and heroines who can’t remember to say the right thing even with an author writing their dialogue. Her books are full of snark, sex, and random acts of ineptitude—not always in that order.